Last week I listened to a number of end of season podcasts. Needless to say the non-Arsenal assessments were damning of the team and in particular the podcasts made by professional journalists.(SkySports, Guardian etc). Almost to a man the journalists blamed Arsenal’s failure on Mr Wenger lack of activity in the transfer market and his reliance on his youth policy.Their reasoning was thus ….
Arsene is scared of buying because his record with big signings is very poor. They cited Reyes, Arshavin and Wiltord as evidence, stating AW’s fingers were burned by their “failures”. Is this true? It must be if the Chief Football writers of The Guardian, Mail, NOTW, Sun, and Times are to be believed. Judging by the attitude of other journalists, they are in agreement. One of these men actually said that AW lacked “bottle”.
Total cobblers I say. Firstly, let us look at their examples:-
Reyes – cost an initial £10.5m rising to £17m if he achieved certain targets (which he didn’t). After winning a PL title, and FA Cup in his two seasons at AFC he was sold for £12m. Probably what we paid for him. A flop? Well, it was true Reyes didn’t live up to our hopes for him, but hardly a disaster economically.
Wiltord – Club record signing in 2000 at £13m. Scored a goal every 3.5 games for Arsenal. Voted 33rd in the Best AFC Players of all time (madness!!). 2 PL titles and 2 runners-up, 2 FAC winners and one losing finalist. Played 175 games and saw out his contract prior to leaving for Lyon. Was he a success? IMO in a limited way, he rarely showed that he was proud to wear the shirt and was rumoured to be a troublemaker in the dressing-room, but the title winning goal at OT will live long in the memory. A flop – definitely not.
Arshavin – 9 years after Wiltord, AW broke the record again, signing the Russian for @£16m. By the end of his first season AA was voted the PL most effective player (http://rt.com/news/arshavin-effective-imscouting-england/) . He continues to contribute scoring 10 with 17 assists last season. It is true that we hoped for more from a World Class player, but a flop? Hardly.
Is Mr Wenger’s record in the transfer market any worse than his direct rivals? Has he spent £100m + for players who sit on the bench every week like SAF. Or loaned out players with a value of over £150m because they aren’t good enough for the squad, like Mancini. Look at every Chelsea manager – how many can say they bought well in every case? For every Lampard there is a Shevchenko. And then there is Liverpool …… !
Spending Big money does not directly lead to winning trophies. It just doesn’t. Best teams in Europe this season? Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund – common ground – Youth Policies. Wenger’s reluctance to buy a proven player is primarily because he believes in the need to develop a player in the Arsenal way. As London wrote recently, MU will go down this road as they realise it is the way forward, and so will all the other top teams. This does not preclude signings but the basis of AW teams will always be homegrown.
So what are the journalists talking about? These men are experts, their job is to inform non-experts, their opinions should be valuable and yet they are completely ill-informed. Is this important? Yes it is, because the majority of football fans don’t accept the evidence of their own eyes, they believe what they are told by an increasingly anti-Wenger media.
What do you think, is fear the reason for Mr Wenger’s reluctance to buy?
Written by BigRaddy