Promoting Youth …….. The AFC, Ajax or Man City way?

If there is one club in the world that comes into your mind when it comes to a Youth Academy, it is probably Ajax Amsterdam. 

Considering the country is rather small with less than 20 million people, the academy’s sustained ability to produce talent is rather amazing. 

Ajax is not a rich club in the likes of City, Utd, Real, Bayern, Juve…but it does provide these rich clubs with confirmed talents. It is a bit like the official provider of Dutch-trained talents to the riches of football. Ajax had a good shot at winning the Champions League last year but that was a one-off and they will not dominate European football like in the 70s – yet they may every now and again, get into the last 8 thanks to a uber talented pool of young players. 

Who does not remember the 1995 magic of Van Gaal where he fielded many academy graduates in the final to win the Champions League. These graduates included Van Der Saar,  Seedof, Davids and Kluivert but all were in the early stages of their careers and were starters at Ajax.

Ajax is a talent factory with a very clear model – they recruit young players more based on technical skills and football IQ rather than just focusing on physical abilities. The youth team trains in the same way that the professional team trains and there is only one system: 4-3-3. If you make it through the ranks by the age of 17, you are almost guaranteed a spot in the professional squad and will probably get some playing time and if you are very talented, you will be a starter. 

Most of the transfer money is re-injected into the youth development system. Ajax plays in a league with maybe 2 or 3 competitors with PSV, AZ and Feyenoord at times breaking the Ajax national hegemony. The league will never become a huge league like the EPL so maybe Ajax’s model is suited for their league and it is definitely sustainable. 

Dortmund and Leipzig have been following the same model to a certain extent BUT they focus their attention also in attracting promising players into their ranks. You know about Dortmund’s Sancho and Haaland and you are now discovering the likes of Upamecano, Nkunku and Werner in Leipzing since they caused a bit of pain to our best enemy’s in North London last week. 

The point is – if Arsenal cannot or does not want to compete financially with the likes of City, Utd, Chelsea or Liverpool (and most likely Everton soon), then which model should we adopt? Shall we adopt an Ajax model blended with Dortmund/Leipzig so that we can compete in domestic Cups and European Leagues? Or shall we really try to bridge the financial gap with the wealthy EPL clubs and start spending bigs every summer?

Arteta seems to be keen to integrate the young players into our team, maybe he knows that we will have to rely on them since our tranfer kitty will be reduced since we won’t qualify for the CL so he fees like he has no choice but to rely on the youth. BFG and Ljungberg are keen for the youth to make the first team and I think that the three of them will agree that the Academy players should get used to playing in Arteta’s favoured system 4231 but that requires Vincatesh and Edu’s validation…

Our young players seem very promising with Saliba, Saka, Douzi, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli, Nelsson and Nketiah leading the way but can Arteta really bank on them to bring EPL points into our basket? Are they ready? Can we afford to play them more regularly so that in 2 or 3 years, we could sell them to the highest bidder? What is the right model for us? It is hard to tell but this summer, our management team will need to come up with a 3 years plan and will need to stick to it…Whether it is to heavily invest or build a team full of Academy graduates, these models come with positives and negatives but a model should be selected. The good news is that if we decide to go the Ajax/Dortmund model, maybe our good friends Overmars and Bergkamp could help 😛

Back to you fellow AAers – what is your favoured model?

RC78

38 Responses to Promoting Youth …….. The AFC, Ajax or Man City way?

  1. Thank you RC78 for the post.

    I think the Arsenal way is to utilise the talent, if we’ve got it, mixed with the ability to add players if we need them in other positions.

    Are we in a ‘purple patch’ of talented players all coming of age at the same time?

    It takes more than talent to make it as a top footballer and possibly even more to make it at a top club. The professionalism required from these young men is intense and they do have to give up things that their peers take for granted. I’ve watched really talented young footballers go by the wayside (all be it for the club down the road) but even so, a loss to football.The ones that make it really do have something extra special about them.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    It’s got to be the way forward RC78.

    Arsenal have a huge talent pool right on their doorstep in London & the surrounding areas. Arsenal used to be very good at attracting these kids into their set up, but fell behind Chelsea and Spurs in recent times. Things are looking better now.

    The Ajax model was implemented at Barcelona by Cruyff in the 80s with a big influence on the youth academy. It has produced lots of seriously good footballers.

    The way transfer fees and wages are going there will be more focus on youth and discovering cheap talent.

    I find it amazing that Wenger neglected this area.

  3. LBG says:

    ” It takes more than talent to make a great footballer”…..a great landlady helps, eh Peaches!
    Said it before, TA was 17 when he started playing alongside O’Leary and making his mistakes. Captain by 21! What about Gilmour last night, great talent and old head on 18 year old shoulders. Cultivate our youth, inculcate the Arsenal brand through their whole existence like a stick of rock, and watch (most of them) fly.

  4. Paul says:

    The major difference in the finances in the leagues you mention. Ajax don’t have to worry too much about the teams below them, they can’t buy success themselves. So as long as their youth is better then they’ll be fine. For Dortmund, they buy their best youth and it keeps them successful to an extent but it doesn’t trump the financial spending of Bayern. In the Premier League, the money available to the bottom half is astronomical and all 20 teams can afford players than trump even the best youngsters. The United class of ’92 only got away with it because the league was poor and they didn’t have to worry about what everyone else could buy in, it was who could produce the best. In today’s league we have Newcastle and West Ham with £40m strikers. Every team is a collective of internationals from around the world, not good enough to beat the best but certainly too good for a team of youngsters.

  5. RockyLives says:

    Really good read RC – thanks.

    My take is this: the Ajax model works in Holland because, as you say, it’s a small country with a not particularly competitive league, so Ajax can both invest in youth development and still be successful in the Dutch league and cups.

    But that can’t really work for Arsenal because if we double down on youth we will almost certainly not succeed in the EPL or domestic cups. Being an EPL team that does reasonably well and brings through lots of talented youth might be OK for Southampton, but the Arsenal is bigger than that.

    On the other hand we cannot compete with the likes of the Manchester clubs and Chelsea (and Liverpool) for players unless the Kroenkes decide to start splashing the cash, which is about as likely as me opening the batting for England.

    So we need to steer a middle course. There’s no reason we cannot become the best nursery for up and coming young players in the UK. It must really help the recruiting scouts currently working at schoolboy level when competing to sign up a talented kid to be able to point at all the young players who have broken through at Arsenal in the last 18 months.

    You can imagine them saying: “Sure, go to Man Utd/Man City/Liverpool… you might make it if you’re incredibly lucky. But chances are your position will be filled by an expensive import. You might get the odd game in a cup competition here and there but that’s your lot. Here at Arsenal on the other hand…”

    We then use the young players who break through to (a) bolster our team and (b) to make money in the transfer market when we sell them on.

    But, crucially, we also do the best we can in the market to bring in established talent in key areas to immediately improve the team and to provide experienced models for the up-and-comers.

    With the current crop of young players we could have a chance of Top 4 next year provided we make a couple of key moves in the transfer market. If we get Top 4 we get into the Champions League, we earn lots more money, we’re better at retaining good players and attracting new ones. The virtuous cycle resumes.

    Simples 😳

  6. RockyLives says:

    Paul
    Excellent point. There is no league even remotely like the EPL, where even lowly teams can field international superstars.

  7. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC78, an interesting debate subject. It begs the question of what is our best model moving forwards. To best determine this I think we have to realise where we are now, relative to where we have been in the recent past, and where we really should be.

    One thing to consider is that there could be a big difference in where we can be as a club, i.e our potential, and where kroenke sees us as being. This will dictate his behaviour and therefore the future model of our club. Will we realise our full potential and what we can become or will he sell us short?

    Definitely project youth should feature heavily in our DNA, both now and moving forwards, but also we should be a club that has some significant transfer and wages clout. There shouldn’t be too many teams out there that are ahead of us in this, so we need to be a mix of youth development and also key big transfers when needed.

    I would start by thinking about where I would place Arsenal in terms of financial clout. Whenever I do this now I can’t help but feel we have fallen down the rankings somewhat here recently, and I feel I can only point a huge finger at Kroenke for this. It has happened under his watch.

    There were many seasons, in recent past, when many of us were urging the regime to push the boat out a bit, to speculate to accumulate. In many businesses there are certain years where extra investment is needed for the continued growth of said business and failure to do this can actually see the business shrink in its value, as a consequence, slightly further down the line.

    Without absolute certainty, I do feel that the Kroenke regime has trodden this path, and it has quite possibly been one of the key reasons why we haven’t had a bit more success, as a team, and more obviously why we were caught and then passed by other clubs that were behind us in our domestic league, and why we have subsequently slipped out of the champions league positions with its obvious financial benefits.

    I am not sure if Kroenke has a different agenda and view on this slide, and actually doesn’t feel his investment is significantly harmed by this so doesn’t really care, but part of me feels that top level European football clubs are a different animal to what he has been used to with his other sporting franchises elsewhere, and that he has only recently come to realise his mis-management and its consequences.

    I don’t think we have permanently dropped down the rankings though, and still feel we have that big club status, but now is the time for Kroenke to redress his mistakes with a bit more investment where needed.

    For me there are a tier of clubs that stand alone in terms of their spending, those being:

    Barca, Real, PSG, Man City, Man Utd

    Even with those clubs it is hard to determine whether they can sustain being mega spenders moving forwards. There is heavy debt (I believe) on Utd, Real, and Barca, and with City being investigated one wonders whether the whole fall-out from this will turn eyes on PSG. I don’t actually want us to follow that model, even if we had a new shiny gazillions sugar daddy at the helm.

    I haven’t included Chelsea in that tier because it seems to me that they are no longer looking to be mega spenders but more a big club that will invest reasonably heavily but be a bit more organic in their growth moving forwards now so are in the next tier.

    The next tier very much fits that identity anyway. Unfortunately Spurs have been allowed to creep into that tier, and ignoring us for the moment I feel that tier includes:

    Bayern, Juve, Dortmund, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs

    We are in reality in that tier but have dropped a bit to the bottom of that tier. It is this tier we should strive to be in but at the top end of it like Bayern, Juve, and currently Liverpool. That is achievable, and really we had that but have let it slip away from us, so we need to reclaim that position.

    I feel very strongly about promoting our youth, and wouldn’t want to replace one with a player that only provides a slight current upgrade. We should be patient and wait that 6-12 months for said young player to reach (and possibly surpass) that level because we will gain more longer term.

    Significant upgrades are fine in areas where we are missing key quality players, and with nothing obvious on the horizon from the academy that will fill the void in the immediate future.

    I feel we should be a hybrid of both a youth development club and a big club that can invest. As such we shouldn’t be an identikit of Ajax. By all means look to develop in our academy as they do, but in reality they know they have a limited time with their best emerging young players while we should be looking to retain ours.

    What we should look most closely to resemble is Bayern. A big club at the top of the 2nd tier. Not mega spenders but big spenders when necessary, with a constant cycle of quality young players being trusted to come in from the academy across different periods.

    A club in this position, as Bayern have shown, will often secure a player even when competing against a mega spender, because the player just sometimes wants to play for Bayern. We need to get back to the top of that tier and having certain players only wanting to play for Arsenal.

    That way we can compete with the mega spenders both in securing top players and in footballing success, so that is the model i feel we should aim for.

  8. RC78 says:

    Hi GoonerB, I agree with you but I think we will only be able to achieve a hybrid model between Bayern and Dortmund UNLESS we can flex our financial muscle and then we will be more like Liverpool.

    Bayern guarantees titles and a good shot at the Champions League. Bayern is also the ultimate dream for players playing in Germany, whether they are Germans or not…

    I also agree that Kroenke is a large reason for our current standings and our falling from the EPL elite.

    In any case, we have to build our Academy and make sure that by 2020 that at least 3 players from our Academy are starters and another 3 are in our professional squad. I also think that we need to go back to the model that Minslat had initiated at AFC in terms of talent scouting. We need to rely on ourselves more than on agents – it is just more sustainable.

    Minslat signings for Arsenal include Auba (the star) and Douzi (a future star) and he put in place a data analysis center for scouting but Vincatesh wanted to be more direct and go with agents…It may be good to get stars but we also want to build in a pipeline of talented players that we can snap from England and other countries. Netherlands, Germany, France, Brazil often produce young talents so it is important to have our eyes on the ground and/or we could also seal a partnership with Gremio, Porto or Benfica, Betis or Valencia, Sassaoulo or Fiorentina or Roma, Dortmund or Leipzig, Salzburg, Monaco or Rennes, Ajax or PSV related to youth development, So we could have first dib on their talent and we in return would loan them out some of our players. For example, we could have loaned out Balogun and Smithe-Rowe to Salzburg in return of signing Haaland 😛

    Anyways – the point is that we need to build a strong academy and make sure that we can integrate some players into our first team. At the moment, Saka seems to be the only one that has acquired the first team status and we also have two young players that we have recruited that are close to being regular starters in Douzi and Martinelli. Nketiah, Willock, Nelsson are also making a push so we are definitely going in the right direction.

  9. RC78 says:

    In terms of English talent – if we can make a move for Rice and Grealish, I wouldn’t be upset.

  10. Pete the Thirst says:

    @RC78 it’s funny that both of those English players were U21 internationals for Ireland…

  11. HakI says:

    Nah come on we can and need to compete financially with those teams it’s embarrassing
    that we can’t with all the money we have let’s unite and get this cancer owner and board out

  12. Rasp says:

    Great post thank you RC78. The comments it has attracted have left me little to say, except there is a critical level at which clubs can afford to hold onto players that the elite group of big spenders GoonerB lists. This is relevant to the development of our young stars. Members of that elite group are already sniffing round Saka and Martinelli.

    I’m all in favour of developing young talent and bringing it up through the ranks, what I don’t want to become is an elite nursery that the big spenders can raid when the fancy takes them. We need to raise the profile of the club again so that we are viewed as ‘The’ club players want to go to. For that we will need regular CL football and hope the owner doesn’t want to milk us to support his other investments.

    Mikel has already started the mission of raising our profile, but it will take 2-3 years to get back to the level we were. In the meantime, let’s hope the class of 2020 turns out to be a golden era for our young stars.

  13. jjgsol says:

    The problem for and with these young potentials is that as soon as they gain potential they start thinking about money and before you know it, they have agents who insist on tens of thousands a week and the players then become complacent and lose their hunger.

    With all that money around the EPL is becoming a graveyard for good talent who are corrupted by the wads of cash that is being thrown at them.

    I remember many years ago when Kanu was at the height of his success he started negotiating a new contract and that was the end for him.

    The success of the EPL will be its downfall.

  14. GoonerB says:

    RC, I have often thought about why we don’t connect more with other clubs for loans and first option on players, and why other big clubs aren’t doing it more as well. I know it exists to a degree, where one club becomes kind of a feeder club for another, but it doesn’t seem that prolific.

    This makes me think that either there are FIFA/UEFA rules, that I don’t know about, preventing this from becoming too commonplace, or that it is not actually as desirable to one party or the other as it might look at first glance. It is kind of like making one club subservient to another.

    How attractive are we right now to other clubs as a senior partner anyway? I can’t think of too much we could offer a club like Salzburg right now. They seem to be doing all right under their own steam and probably maximised Haalands value far more independently than say had they been tied to us.

    it is also a model that is full of too many variables to guarantee its success. Those really top young players that you want to have an advantage on securing over another big club are few and far between. Who knows where any of these top youngsters like Haaland will be at any given time, We could have chosen 3 clubs to have this type of arrangement with and then that player is at the 4th one we had considered.

    Many of these loan spells are very hit and miss as well, and you can’t force a club to play your loan players no matter what arrangement you have with them. They may have a certain manager one year and are playing good football, so a loan there is a good option, but 2 years later that manager has left and the club is playing football that is less favorable to a loan players development.

    I think Saliba will turn out to be a major coup if injuries don’t hamper him, so maybe more of that sourcing a quality young player and then loaning them back for a season, as we did there, could be an option that might satisfy all parties to the extent we get a jump on other clubs.

    The club that doesn’t want to lose him (but accepts it will happen anyway) gets a good fee but has him for longer, so sees us as the best option to do business with, while the player knows he is off to a big club that nurtures youngsters but has another year at the club he has developed at.

    How effectively we scout will probably still be at the forefront of things, particularly with the young players. More importantly, how good our academy training is (aka Ajax) will be critical and we need to turn out that greater number of raw but high quality players as we seem to be doing right now.

    If we can turn out young players like Ajax after that we have an advantage over them in that we are a club of a size and stature that should be able to retain these young graduates rather than lose them to other clubs as they hit their peak.

    For Ajax it is probably part of their revenue generating model so they expect to lose their top youngsters but rely on the funds generated from this. In essence they are looking to do it. For us it is also part of our revenue model structure but is more about trying to have 3-4 academy players graduate every couple of years or so thus saving us spending £120m in the transfer market.

  15. LBG says:

    Jigsol
    Certainly, that is a major part of the problem with footie today.
    The question is, in the modern age, can it be changed. Can an “old fashioned” manager like Mikel resurrect from the moment they walk through the door, the all encompassing belief that the Club and the team are paramount, whether for 8/9 year olds or established multi million pound Internationals?
    Some will have their heads turned by money, by agents or by so called bigger Clubs. Let them go, let them either “succeed” or see the grass is not always greener, but keep your principles, expect loyalty, and dont allow ever, anything other than 100% effort.

  16. Pete the Thirst says:

    @GoonerB Interesting points.

    We have definitely dropped a level. I think the turning point was losing Cole to Chelsea. It showed we were being out-gunned for wages by smaller teams, Man City followed.

    Of those elite clubs you highlight (Barca, Real, PSG, Man City, Man Utd) only United are self funding. All the others have or have received huge state funding Man City – Abu Dhabi; PSG – Qatar; Real – Spanish Govt; Barca – Catalan Govt. This is extremely hard to compete against.

    Even Chelsea can’t (or Abramovich won’t) outspend Man City. They’ve focussed on youth and young signings.

    The only side that has competed recently is Liverpool and they have done it with a big plan. Good manager, clever transfer policy (Coutinho out / Van Dyke in), youngsters coming through and board backing. This is the blueprint we have to follow.

  17. jjgsol says:

    LBG.

    The reality has always been those young players who have left us for greener pastures have invariably flopped and ended up either playing in the lower leagues or not at all.

    I think one can count on the fingers of one hand the number of such players who have been successful. Andy Cole is one and another is Gnabry. I, actually, cannot think of any others.

    The lure of money, fuelled by greedy agents always seems to blind these young boys and their families.

  18. JM says:

    Firstly, I cross out Juventus, Bayern & PSG because these 3 teams are almost guaranteed to win a trophy (their respective domestic league, domestic cups or the odd European title) every year. Failing so, their managers/head coaches would most likely be dismissed by their demanding board within 1 to 2 seasons. Arsenal cannot afford to do either.

    Established star players will always look to join them from other European leagues while they get 1st picks on the hot young prospects from other clubs in their domestic league.

    In recent years:

    Bayern signed established players Lucas Hernández (from Atlético Madrid), Benjamin Pavard (from Stuttgart), Leon Goretzka (from Schalke) and Corentin Tolisso (from Lyon) and acquired young prospects Alexander Nübel(coming in 20/21 season from Schalke), Alphonso Davies (MLS’s Vancouver), Niklas Süle (from Hoffenheim), Kingsley Coman (from Juventus) and Serge Gnabry (indirectly from Arsenal via Werder Bremen)

    They have also used 6 different managers/head coaches in the last decade (Louis van Gaal, Jupp Heynckes, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti, Niko Kovač and currently Hansi Flick).

    PSG signed established players Keylor Navas (from Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (from Sevilla), Idrissa Gueye (from Everton), Kylian Mbappé (from Monaco), Leandro Paredes (from Zenit) and Neymar (from Barcelona) and young prospects Abdou Diallo (from Dortmund) and Thilo Kehrer (from Schalke)

    They have also used 5 different managers/head coaches in the last decade (Antoine Kombouaré, Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery and currently Thomas Tuchel).

    Juventus signed established players Danilo (from Man City), Aaron Ramsey (from Arsenal), Adrien Rabiot (from PSG), Cristiano Ronaldo (from Real Madrid), João Cancelo (from Valencia), Douglas Costa (from Bayern Munich), Leonardo Bonucci (from AC Milan), Mattia Perin (from Genoa), Emre Can (from Liverpool), Blaise Matuidi (from PSG), Juan Cuadrado (from Chelsea) and Wojciech Szczesny (from Arsenal) and young prospects Matthijs de Ligt (from Ajax), Cristian Romero (from Genoa), Luca Pellegrini (from Roma), Merih Demiral (from Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (from Fiorentina), Rodrigo Bentancur (from Boca Juniors) and Mattia De Sciglio (from AC Milan)

    They have also used 4 different managers/head coaches in the last decade (Luigi Delneri, Antonio Conte, Massimiliano Allegri Italy and currently Maurizio Sarri).

    These 3 clubs are also run by trophy/glory seeking and football “mad” owners or board: Bayern’s board consists of top men from Deutsche Telekom, Volkswagen, Deutsche Börse, UniCredit Bank and previously adidas, PSG is under Qatar Sports Investments while Juventus is owned by the Agnelli family. They are also able to attract substantial commercial revenue with their already established branding within their domestic leagues and consecutive appearances in the champions league.

    Dortmund used 5 managers/head coaches in the last decade (Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Peter Bosz, Peter Stöger and currently Lucien Favre) while winning 2 domestic leagues, 2 DFB-Pokal and 2 DFL-Supercups. Their board consists of top men from PUMA, Evonik Industries, Signal Iduna Group and other German conglomerates

    RB Leipzig in its currently 4 Bundesliga seasons from 2016 to now has used 3 managers/head coaches (Ralph Hasenhüttl, Ralf Rangnick and currently Julian Nagelsmann). Their owners, Red Bull, is aggressive in their sporting franchise.

    I would choose Atlético Madrid, the 3rd best club in La Liga during the last decade (2010 to 2019) and counting, as well as one of the toughest opponents to meet in European competitions (1 QF, 1 SF and 2 Finals appearances in the CL, twice winners of the EL, 3x UEFA Super Cup winners).

    Their CEO, Miguel Ángel Gil Marín (since 1993), is the son of the previous president Jesús Gil (1987 to 2003). Their current president is Enrique Cerezo, since 2003.

    For us, Jose Kroenke, the youngest director in our board, is likely to take over the reins from his father, Stan Kroenke and he could even be a candidate for our new Chairman when Sir Chips Keswick steps down.

    In the last decade, Atlético Madrid has used 3 managers (Quique Sánchez Flores, from 2009 to 2011; Gregorio Manzano in 2011 and most currently Diego Simeone, from 2011 to now). So far, they have stuck with Simeone for a decade.

    Quique Sánchez has won them a EL title and a UEFA Super Cup in his 2 season, while their former player Diego Simeone has got them a La Liga title, 2x EL titles, 2x UEFA Super Cups, 1 Copa del Rey and reached 1 semi-finals and 2 finals of the CL in 10 seasons. Here is hoping that our former captain Mikel Arteta shall do somewhat similar for us, win some trophies and titles in his time with our club.

    Their current UEFA club coefficient ranking is among the Top 5 (others being Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus).

    They have either promoted players from their youth ranks or signed young prospects who later became their regular starters and played for their national teams:

    From 2000 to 2009,

    Fernando Torres, Antonio López, Gabi, Pablo Ibáñez, Luis Perea, Raúl García, Sergio Agüero.

    From 2010 to 2019,

    Koke, David de Gea, Saúl, Raúl Jiménez, José Giménez, Lucas Hernandez, Diogo Jota, Thomas Partey, Ángel Correa, Yannick Carrasco, Gelson Martins, Rodri, João Félix, Renan Lodi

    They also recruited established players:

    (2000 to 2009) Leo Franco, Maxi Rodríguez, Diego Forlán, Simão, José Antonio Reyes, Tomáš Ujfaluši

    (2010 to 2019) Tiago, Filipe Luís, Diego Godín. Diego Costa, Juanfran, Miranda, Arda Turan, Radamel Falcao, David Villa, Mario Mandzukic, Toby Alderweireld, Sime Vrsaljko, Antoine Griezmann, Jan Oblak, Stefan Savić, Kévin Gameiro, Álvaro Morata, Thomas Lemar, Santiago Arias, Kieran Trippier, Héctor Herrera

    Koke is their current captain while Torres, Maxi Rodríguez, Antonio López, Gabi and Diego Godin were their former captains.

    They are able to buy and sell players well at the same time.

    The Atlético Madrid supporters are one of the most fanatical in Europe and they are also very demanding of their club, the players and the manager/head coach.

  19. Pete the Thirst says:

    @JM very in depth. Do you do this as a job?

    A Madrid are a good example of what can be done with a plan. It feels that a lot of it depends upon Simeone staying put. His tactics are very negative, but the fans have bought into it and backed him.

    Their transfers business has been savvy, but there has been significant involvement of ‘Super-Agents’ like Jorge Mendes and the opaque investment funds that ‘own’ footballers like Peter Kenyon’s (remember him). This can work but there will be consequences like the top players moving on every season.

    Something similar is going on at Wolves. Half the Portuguese national team is playing there under the agency of Jorge Mendes. They have done well, but watch the high profile players being sold on over the next few seasons. I feels like a shop window for Jorge Mendes.

    The way things are going I can see top football becoming a closed world league with franchise teams based around the globe. Just wait for the first team to up sticks to another country…

  20. GoonerB says:

    Pete, what you said earlier about Utd being the only true self sustaining club out of the mega spenders is quite interesting. It does beg the question as to why it is only Man City that are being pulled up by FFP rules right now?

    That is something I’d like to put out there to see if anyone has an answer. RC78 is a big PSG fan so it would be interesting to hear his take on why it is just man City?

    I would like all the clubs that are state/government sponsored to be reined in to be fair, but when I heard about Man City’s situation there was a part of me that felt there was some prejudice being shown by the authorities and that things weren’t being looked at fairly and equally.

    I wonder whether Man City may open this up and question the authorities lack of scrutiny with the other mega spending clubs, and whether a can of worms is about to be opened.

  21. RC78 says:

    I think Man City did a bit more cheekiness in terms of their financial reporting than PSG did but make no mistake, everybody hates PSG especially Barcelona and Bayern ppl…they dont want new clubs to emerge and shake the established order…so I wont be surprised if PSG is called out next

  22. RC78 says:

    @JM – The Atletico model is also suitable for me. They did spend a huge amount the past summer: Trippier, Herrera, Llorente and Joao Felix to refresh the squad – I think it was close to 200 Mln.

    Arteta’s blueprint to success is probably a blend between Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Ajax and Dortmund. Let us see…I hope he is given the time to set up the team as he wants our club to play. He seems to like the 4231 system with a high press and possession based footie so let him make the tweaks to the team in the next 2 years with big spending blended with youth development, He can maybe become our Klopp or Simeone

  23. Sue says:

    Away to Sheff Utd!

  24. Sue says:

    Great post, RC… with some great comments! And what a great win for PSG tonight 👍

  25. Rasp says:

    Totts are out 😂😂😂

  26. Sue says:

    Thank you, Norwich 😜

  27. RockyLives says:

    Je suis Canary

  28. RockyLives says:

    I’m so glad the Spuds are out. I hate drawing them in the Cup because the possibility of losing is so ghastly.

    Obviously beating them in the Cup is amazing, but there’s all that anxiety to go through first.

  29. fred1266 says:

    Wait Norwich one nice, last score I saw was 1 nil

  30. fred1266 says:

    Seems good thing happened when I don’t watch football, Liverpool lose, spurs lose hmm

  31. RockyLives says:

    Sheffield Utd away won’t be easy.

    But it is the FA Cup, which is our competition…

  32. Sue says:

    The spuds are out in full force moaning about Maureen, their toilet.. etc etc….. 😆 What a fantastic week it has been!
    To finish it off, how about Rooney dumping the Mancs out later?!!

  33. RockyLives says:

    Sue

    Now we just need to overhaul them in the league to really get them sobbing into their super strength white cider.

  34. Sue says:

    I bet they’re sweating now, Rocky 😂😂 About time we put them back where they belong!

  35. RC78 says:

    If we win the FAC Cup, finish above Spurs ideally in the top 6…it would not be a bad season given our earlier struggle. I would not be upset with this ranking on the very last day of the season:

    1. Liverpool
    2. City
    3. Leicester
    4. Wolves
    5. Chelsea
    6. Arsenal
    7. Utd
    8. Spurs

  36. RockyLives says:

    Bite your hand off for that RC.

    But a lot of big IFs along the way…

  37. RockyLives says:

    New Post…

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