Guest Post Tuesdays: Arsenal and the transfer market

‘Ello there! Nice to see you again.

It’s Tuesday and it’s Guest Post time. I’ll get onto that in a moment but before then it’s a quick, bullet-pointed Arsenal news round-up:

  • Manuel Almunia has called for Arsenal to make a better start to the new season than they made last campaign. Makes sense: if we want to win than we’ve got to start well.

Oh. That’s it. Right-o, moving on.

As I mentioned earlier today is Guest Post Tuesdays and that means another guest post, this time from Australian reader Shane Nash. He’s written about that death trap of inflated money and ridiculous transfer fees that is the transfer market, with a direct focus on how it effects Arsenal and their very respectable youth policy. It’s a good read and as usual, both he and would love to hear your opinion.

Just a reminder that if you’re keen to write for Guest Post Tuesdays just drop me a line via Twitter or Facebook.

Have a lovely Tuesday folks.

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Big Spending…. Big Trouble? by Shane Nash

In the current economic climate of a world recession, there has been a strong focus on the debts of clubs in the major three leagues who have shown their willingness to spend big money on players.

Michel Platini labelled Manchester City unethical for their reported 100 million pound bid on Kaka. The Citizens immediately showed their willingness to spend big when they broke the British Transfer record with their signing of Robinho. Real Madrid similarly showed their willingness to use the chequebook upon spending 160 million Euros in current window on both the current and former FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka. 

But what impact does this have on Arsenal?

There is very little doubt that for Arsenal to remain competitive as a top four club need to strengthen the squad. The youth policy which was implemented by Wenger four years ago has not bore the fruit that it was expected to. This is of course not to say that it has been a complete failure. But there has been a recent need for Arsenal to move in the transfer market to obtain targets who have the required credentials to help the team win i.e. Arshavin.

Buying established players already comes at such a high cost, but recently with Real Madrid’s splashing the cash in the current transfer notable managers and officials such as Barcelona’s Joan Laporta, UEFA president Michel Platini and our very own Arsene Wenger have been quick to recognise the negative impact that the spending of both Real Madrid and Manchester City could have on the transfer market.

The policies of both these clubs is going to have a profound effect for any club entering the transfer market. The transfer prices and wages for the best players is going to surge and incorrectly represent the economic times. Angel Barajas, a professor of Finance alluded to the current market as being inflated by the big spending clubs.

The impact on Arsenal currently is not as significant. As highlighted earlier, its youth policy has given it other options by which it can promote players from the reserve squads rather than purchasing established stars within the market and training them to Arsenal’s style of football. It is however having an impact on the club’s transfer practices in two ways.

First of which is the price of players increasing. I am sure that many have heard of the Gunners proposed interest in Lyon star Karim Benzema (who has since joined Real Madrid on a 35 million pound move). Lyon president were said to be willing to sell, but the interest of Real Madrid has proving to be a driving point for the price. While it would be optimistic to assume that Arsenal were intent on gaining him, and willing to battle Real Madrid for his signature, it is fairly unlikely that with Arsenal’s amounting debt that they would be willing to take on the big spenders. Arsenal is faced with a strong competition in the market, and are unable to compete with the large spenders.

Even in cases where the players are purchased for reasonable prices it is still unlikely that Arsenal can compete, not only on the transfer fee but also the personal agreements for the players. Manchester City were able to capture Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry for a 12 million pound move. And while it may look like a steal now the question has to be asked: how often do players perform at their peak after age 31? Rarely.

Additionally, when you add in his wages of 14 million pounds for, say, three years plus the transfer fee you’re looking a total of 26 million pounds for three years service for a player likely to dip below his peak. Hardly good business. There is no denying Barry’s quality, but this shows the impact that personal terms and the willingness to meet huge demands have on the transfer market. Subsequently Arsenal, a team with a rigid wage structure, is not able to compete with the money monsters like Manchester City.

Another way that Arsenal are effected in the transfer market is via other clubs willingness to be open with the transfer fee figures. Ronaldo, Benzema and Kaka for example, all had large figures confirmed by Madrid, which becomes an issue when the selling club chooses to purchase a replacement.

Using Fabregas as an example; if Arsenal was to sell him for 50 million pounds and Real Madrid were to make the fee known, it is going to have a negative effect when Arsenal seek an able replacement. Attempts to secure a player from another club may mean that they will demand a higher price for a player. Once the fee is made public, smaller clubs are more likely to charge a higher fee for players upon knowing how much certain players were sold for.

Michel Platini has come out and said that the mega transfer fee and huge wages are destroying the game. I think there is some truth to this, but at the same time I think that Arsenal with their youth policy are less reliant on this than other clubs. Arsenal stand alone in the top four because they are less likely to spend because of the huge debt which they had massed from moving to the Emirates. Liverpool splashed the cash on Torres, United on Ferdinand and Chelsea are one of the biggest culprits of transfer inflation in the football market.

I believe that Arsenal’s youth policy has helped us massively. However, I do feel that if Wenger wants to bring success back to the club then he and the club’s management need to find a way to bring experienced heads in this inflated market.

Have your say on Shane’s guest post by leaving a comment.

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39 Responses to “Guest Post Tuesdays: Arsenal and the transfer market”

  1. khoune
    July 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm #

    arsenal`s youth policy is great but threr are some important field need the experience players such as defenders, goalkeeper and defending midfield. it could not be all of the squad are the youngsters.

  2. TheSKAGooner
    July 7, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Good stuff, Shane.

    The numbers in the transfer market are almost beyond belief. I’m all for players getting the wage, and for clubs to recoup investments through transfers.

    But is one person REALLY worth 80m pounds?

    From a commercial perspective, sadly, the answer is yes and that’s what drives these kinds of numbers. RM will actually make money on the Ronaldo buy through marketing and rights, as well as whatever performance on the pitch they come up with in Spain and the CL. Over the life of his contract, Real Madrid will come out ahead by his presence.

    Among English clubs, Arsenal are unique not only because of our youth policy (and tremendous youth academy), but also because our clubs debt are tied directly to real assets that will be revenue producing elements over time. The Emirates already provides a massive turnover every year, and every year we pay on that loan the net positive effect of that turnover is greater relative to the outstanding debt. On the Highbury development…well, we’ve had a bit of bad luck there with the economy and housing market downturn. Not to get into the Rights issue here, but I am wondering if Usmanov really wants to help the club, why he doesn’t just buy Highbury and clear that debt off our books. He’ll have a great piece of real estate over time and simultaneously provide Arsenal with a massive injection of cash without creating any extra boardroom tensions.

    In any event, as has been said many times here and elsewhere, money may be tight right now but Arsenal are doing this the right way. Within 5 years we’ll likely be the one of the top financial powers in the Premiership. Winning some trophies will help that arrive sooner though, and that goes directly to your point about buying some experience in a prudent fashion…as much as that’s possible in this market.

  3. Scott mcguirk
    July 7, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    A very good & honest peice! I am a fan of the way arsenal stand alone in the Market and I’d rather arsenal sign more players like eduardo & sagna who are good players before wenger and now great players after! They only cost £9 & £7 million and I think that is a better gamble than ones like chelsea’s £30 million purchase of shevchenko which failed! I’d like to say to all those fans that want arsenal to spend £50million every summer to come back in 5yrs when arsenal are so much stronger fianancialy! From what the club say they are paying off the clubs stadium debt ahead of schedule. Sooner or later that money going to those payments will be free to go back into the club and that my arsenal friends makes the club secure for years to come! We can’t support arsenal fc if they go bust & this way arsenal won’t where others might!

  4. planet goon
    July 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Good and interesting post Shane. I believe we all feel that certain clubs spending spree is insane, but it is also very much out of our control. Let’s hope FIFA assesses the problem, because it is indeed a problem.

    Our youth policy is a good longterm investment, and I’m very pleased that the club has chosen this path instead of seeking fantasy money from the middle east. The youngsters at the acadamy are making excellent progress and hopefully some of them can take the big step soon.

    Experience however, is different. If you don’t have it at the club, you need to buy it, simple as that. Our young first team squad could use a few older players to look up to and learn from, so fingers crossed we are not done with our summer spending just yet.

  5. Armiyau
    July 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    You are absolutely right about your aticle.we need xperience players who will lift d club when d moral is down.atlist ryan giggs did it for ManU.Y R WE FACING this bcus untimely circumstance is coming.

  6. venkatesan Rangan
    July 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Shane is spot on in saying that Arsenal’s youth policy helped us in transfer market.I agree there is already enough debt,but if we fail to bring in about 2-3 players – thats all we need,a finisher, for God’s sake not another ADE,a CB,a defensive midfielder – there is a huge possibility that this season may also be trophyless,which in turn may decrease the attendance which would mean not enough money to pay the debt.The answer is simple: sell Ade,utilize that money and coming season the trophy is ours

  7. carole osako
    July 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    Nice piece Shane. However, as much as we need to consolidate our youthful team, we cant go out of our budgetary limits. I can remember prof Wenger saying we could spend less but still win Arsenal players are good, all they need is focus and I believe in them.

  8. Spanish Fry
    July 7, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    Well done on the article Shane. It’s certainly a very complicated issue, as you can all tell by the comments.

    I think the idea about striking a balance is right and the signing of Arshavin in particular shows that the manager and the club will still spend money if they need to.

  9. TDP
    July 7, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    What disappoints me is the British media. They scrutinise and criticize Arsenal because of a lack of first team British players, yet completely ignore the fact that we are the only club in the top four that has really put everything into youth development – and many of the players this focusses on are Brits.

    England won’t win tournaments be in a position to create the conveyer belt of talent the public want until other clubs follow the lead of Arsene Wenger. Cultivating talent is a far more noble pursuit and offers far more rewarding results than just buying the finished article with no deep affinity to the club with which he plies his trade.

    Unfortunately, the emphasis is on spending – Arsene is deemed to show no ambition by the British media. The truth of the matter is that he is doing the best work for football’s progress in the country out of every manager in the league.

  10. Dally
    July 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    @Shane very interesting post and one that it is difficult to explore, one rule for the rich and one for the poor. AS you read the comments attributed to your article you can only think that if Arsenal cannot compete with the likes of Real, Barcelona, Manure, Chelski etc, what teams can compete with us? Arsenal recently has put a lot of faith in the youth policy as manure did in the mid 90’s, Beckham, Giggs etc and see how they turned out, but previously we did spend in the market, Malcolm Macdonald £333,333.33p the most expensive player at that time springs to mind, well I think he was the most expensive! Going back to my first comment who can compete with Arsenal apart from the other three in the top 4, well Man City have been thrown a load of money but unless the lower teams are given money to burn like city, how can they afford to compete? Given that Arsenal invest in the youngsters if a good and up and coming youngster comes available who will he sign for, Arsenal, this was shown with Ramsey for instance. It is difficult to say, certainly as I support Arsenal if it is better now than when any of the Division 1 teams could have won the league, maybe that is a bit of an over statement as Liverpool certainly dominated in the 70’s. If this is a bit of a ramble I do appologise.

  11. anicoll5
    July 7, 2009 at 9:12 pm #

    Hi Shane,

    Good stuff, I read a great metaphor for football club finances along the lines of it is the commercial equivalent of tightrope walking, not enough risk and it is not worth watching or doing, too much risk and you plummet to your doom (ask Ridsdale)

    One little point on the “poor” Arsenal theme though that does not quite sit right it strikes me.

    If we are not able to compete with our PL peers and have a “rigid wage structure” then how come we have the 3rd highest wage bill in the Premiership ?

  12. lady
    July 7, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    i thought i was the only one who thinks those greedy clubs were ruining the art of football, apparently there are some football fans who have the same idea as i do. because of these clubs, mediocre clubs will eventually resort in taking as much money as they can whenever one of their players being courted by top clubs, including Arsenal. knowing Real Madrid had interest on Benzema, the club quickly released a quite disaastrous amount for a young player such as him. had Arsene Wenger decided to try, Lyon would have certainly snubbed his offer and instead going for the higher bidder, which will eventually land on Real Madrid anyway. start from now on, we can dream to land a player like Benzema because clubs won’t let a player go without heavy price tag. sad day for football

  13. ALGunner
    July 7, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    @Shane Hammered the nail at the right area. The financial area is such as complicated thing for an normal arsenal football fan who always looks at the other club spending and thinks that why we can’t buy that player and than feeling frustrated by that. Yes some people as suggested would rather like to be free of debts than in the debts in the next five years. And as far as spending is concern for experienced player arsenal will do that time to time

  14. Spanish Fry
    July 7, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    @ lady – I think you’ll find A LOT of football supporters share yours and Shane’s attitude towards money in football. However, if we focused on it all day we’d never be able to enjoy the game. That’s why they’re able to get away with it…

  15. butterfingers
    July 7, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    Nice post shane and really liking the idea sf as it is a nice change.
    @ ska gooner can you send Usmanov an e-mail with that idea as I bet no ones thought of him buying highbury and that makes really good sense. But I really don’t think our wage structure is that far behind the other top 3 clubs as in what we pay players it’s more that we don’t have as many big names that joined us as we turn them into big names as look at arsnes track record Henry, Viera, Ade, Rvp and fabregas to name a few. We make them big and in the end we do offer them the usual money to stay but if we had won a few more trophys players like hleb might of stayed. Also look at blackburn when they started megga money transfers with sutton and shearer won a prem league and became a mid table team and then look at newcastle they spent more than the portsmouths and the west hams and they are in div 1 and just lost their biggest asset in owen to manure on a free. Arsne does great buisness and we do have a really good team when we don’t have all these cursed injuries plus it won’t be long till the sugar daddies move on and we will have our time and say told you so and the media will say we are the club that kept the England team going.

  16. Shane
    July 7, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    @anicol5- The reason why we have the 3rd highest wage bill is because of our youth. Since we have so many youth players in uopur squad who are of high quality, we need to pay them at a higher wage to tie them down for long periods of time. Aaron ramsey’s wage is roughly 10,000 pounds a week wen united were looking to pay him less than half that. We have expensive you players on long deals. Gibbs. Walcott was in the top highest earners for under 21’s. If you look at our wage structure, it is rare for wages to exceed 80,000 a week. We could have met Arsharvin’s wages. After all Hnry was on well over 100,000 pounds a week. But we chose not to.

    As for the article. It probably sounded a bit like an essay. That is probably due to the fact that I am so used to writing 1000 a year. Glad you guys enjoyed it.

  17. LRV
    July 7, 2009 at 10:56 pm #

    Shane, good try mate. Over the last four years, I have seen quite a lot of Arsenal fans work themselves into a panic. What we should be celebrating and be thankful for, some seem to be apologetic about; others seem to be up in arms. Quite a few fans even thinks that Arsene Wenger has come to destroy the Arsenal. Others, like the British press, believe that he has come to destroy English, or Indeed British, football. If he was British, or even better, English, then all will be singing quite a different tune. Don’t you think?

    Time, they say, heals wounds. But I tell you, TIME has a great capacity to catch up with, and punish, errant irresponsibility. None of those clubs that spends irresponsibly can continue like that for ever. Even Chelski is slowing down. Does anyone remember when Real Madrid was just a tick away from bankruptcy? The Spanish government had to find a back door way to rescue them; buying a training ground at such inflated price as makes the heart flutter. Mark my words, TIME will catch up with them and their irresponsible spending will get the better of them. Neither the corrupt Spanish govenment not the equally corrupt Spanish banks will be able to bail them for ever. You just wait and see.

    When that time comes, all of those Arsenal fans who provide the English press with the ammunition with which to clobber Arsenal, will then eat their words. As for the press, they have proven themselves, time and again to have no shame anyway. They will just jump on the bandwagon and start sing a different tune. That’s when they will start writing ‘What wonderful foresight Arsenal has.’

  18. jay-jay
    July 7, 2009 at 11:04 pm #

    I think we are very lucky to have the youth players we have. Randall, Ramsey, Wilshere, Mannone, Barazite, G.Hoyte, Vela, Gibbs, Lansbury, Merida, Simpson, Emmanuel-Thomas, Watt, Murphy. They all have quality and could easily get in the CC squad. last season, our youth team destroyed Sheff Utd 6-0. That is not easy for any youth team to do. Vela, Wilshere, Merida all these players played. And when Gibbs had to fill in for Clichy, wasnt a lot different. He filled in well. Everyone screamed for more playing time for Ramsey and Wilshere cuz they are quality players at such young players. Simpson good english strikers. I am a fan of the youth team. Even lesser known names like Kyle Bartley, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Sanchez Watt, all play in the youth cup win and all very impressive players. Even in out first team we have good youngsters – Vela, Bendnter, Song, Djourou, Wilshere, Walcott and Denilson. I am very proud to have our youth squad.

    With players like Lescott (20mil), Dzeko (35 mil), Melo (21 mil), Valencia (16 mil) going for stupid prices when they are just average or had 1 good season and then better players valued for less. Its good for arsenal cuz our youth players have such quality we can pick a youth player and be quietly confident. Wenger is the master at maturing youth talent.

  19. GunnerBoss
    July 7, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

    Sometimes, its good to just spend the $$$$$. Barcelona got Henry after they sold Ronaldinho. Plus Eto and Messi = Champions League victory. We have Arshavin/_______……Eduardo/Rvp…….Walcott/________. I’m not mentioning Ade and Bentner because I dont see them right now as being able to shoulder such attacking responsibility. In the midfield, Barcelona has Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets/Yaya and Xavi. We seem to be at par here with Nasri/Rosicky, Song/Melo and Fabregas…..barring no injuries.
    We seem to have no problem at the back cos if Gallas(we all saw he was in a superlative form) wasn’t injured before the semi-final match against Manure…we would’ve beaten them. Anything can happen in a final as it would depend on the tactics and players approach on that particular day…who says we couldn’t have been Champions of Europe by now? But, I guess it had to happen this way so the Manager buys…he saw the failures of last season and only got us Arshavin in the transfer window. What if we didn’t get him?????? For one, we would never be fourth in the EPL. Any more guesses? We have a fantastic manager, but I feel his tactics would best be played by more experienced players. From my little comparison above, I would say we need atleast one sniffer/finisher(another Eduardo) and another creative midfielder and train someone in the squad for set pieces.
    I love shane’s piece….all in context, but, we need to win something this year-EPL or Champions league-not cups, even though they can be added. This is why a TOP QUALITY STRIKER is a must. WHAT I’M SAYING is I dont care about the debt or prices of players right now, we’ve won nothing for 4 years now and we will be losing our abiities to attract top players or keep our best players(Arshavin and Fabregas) if we dont assert ourselves this year.

  20. GunnerBoss
    July 7, 2009 at 11:39 pm #

    Sometimes, its good to just spend the $$$$$. Barcelona got Henry after they sold Ronaldinho. Plus Eto and Messi = Champions League victory. We have Arshavin/???……Eduardo/Rvp…….Walcott/???. I’m not mentioning Ade and Bentner because I dont see them right now as being able to shoulder such attacking responsibility for a champions league final victory.

    In the midfield, Barcelona has Iniesta, Busquets/Yaya and Xavi. We seem to be at par here with Nasri/Rosicky, Song/Melo and Fabregas…..barring no injuries.
    We seem to have no problem at the back cos if Gallas(we all saw he was in a superlative form) wasn’t injured before the semi-final match against Manure…we would’ve beaten them. Anything can happen in a final as it would depend on the tactics and players approach on that particular day…who says we couldn’t have been Champions of Europe by now?

    But, I guess it had to happen this way so the Manager buys…he saw the failures of last season and only got us Nasri, then Arshavin in the transfer window. What if we didn’t get Arshavin?????? For one, we would never be fourth in the EPL. Any more guesses? We have a fantastic manager, but I feel his tactics would best be played by more experienced players. From my little comparison above, I would say we need atleast one sniffer/finisher(another Eduardo) and another creative/defensive midfielder and train someone in the squad for set pieces.

    I love shane’s piece….all in context, but, we need to win something this year-EPL or Champions league-not cups, even though they can be added. This is why a TOP QUALITY STRIKER is a must. WHAT I’M SAYING is I dont care about the debt or prices of players right now, we’ve won nothing for 4 years now and we will be losing our abiities to attract top players or keep our best players(Arshavin and Fabregas) if we dont assert ourselves this year.

  21. Mike
    July 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    Platini’s criticism is misguided; last time I checked these clubs were private enterprises and they should be able to spend themselves into oblivion if they so choose. When did it become OK for the president of UEFA to legislate fiscal responsibility?
    http://bit.ly/HDmYM

  22. anicoll5
    July 8, 2009 at 12:29 am #

    I had to larf today – John Obi Mikel has been awarded a 5 year contract from Chelsea on a basic wage of £70k a week, up from his paltry £40k a week.

    Did anyone notice a queue of clubs all clamouring ” Cooooee – JohnObi – sign for us”!

    Nor did I

    Just shows what a talentless hoofer with a decent agent can get 🙂

  23. MexicanGunner
    July 8, 2009 at 1:47 am #

    If Arsenal sells Cesc that doesnt mean that all the teams will start to ask a lot of money to Arsenal because they know that Arsenal have 50 mill.

    You can put a clause where the signing cant be anounnced until x day so that could give you the time to buy the players at normal prices.

    Also does somebody could help me to understand the Arsenal debt?? I search on google and I cant find the numbers.

    Why if Arsenal sells the Highbury apartments doesnt has the money to pay the debt of the Emirates?? I mean with Highbury they could pay at least 70% or 80% of Emirates, right??

  24. charles
    July 8, 2009 at 1:48 am #

    what is the status on felipe melo? what are the odds that arsenal are going to get him? Also, is Cesc going to go? it’s always tough losing your captain, but there is always a price that cannot be turned down.

  25. anicoll5
    July 8, 2009 at 2:03 am #

    Dear Mexican,

    The club borrowed approximatekly £325 million, with around £260 million in bonds that wre issed paying 5%, and redeemable in 20 years, and the remainder in short term bank debt probably paying 6-7%

    There is no need, nor any intention to pay off the bonds in as much as they are part of the long term financing of the club – every big corporation issues bonds and we got them away under very favourable conditions on 2007.

    As for the remainder of bank debt some will be paid off with the sale of various property development but some of the additional schemes which ciould have paid it off in full will be put on hold because of the poor
    market

    It is a long game and one we are well ahead in

  26. Johno
    July 8, 2009 at 2:09 am #

    Shane,

    I like your style, a good well reasoned post, most of which I agree with, what concerns me most is the sudden decline in the ability of most English clubs to attract and retain the very top players.

    Due to Gordon Brown’s disastrous policies the value of Sterling has fallen to such an extent, against the Euro, that clubs are having to pay much more in transfer fees and wages thereby adding to the inflation, already at epidemic levels, caused by the lunatic antics of clubs like Manchester City and Real Madrid.

    If the present trend continues and we see more and more of the top players leaving The Premiership then the value of TV rights will inevitably fall. Sky will not be anywhere near as generous next time round.

    As the level of debt increases and TV revenue falls then many clubs are going to be in serious financial trouble. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or more Premiership clubs falling into administration.

    One immediate result of the loss of value of Sterling is that Arshavin, already p****d off about the exchange rate and the upcoming 50% tax rate, is making noises about Barcelona, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go if not this summer then in January.

    The SKA Gooner,

    I doubt if Usmanov has the ready cash to buy the Highbury Square development and any way the parasite only has his own interests at heart not Arsenal’s.

    It’s only the second day of pre-season training and already the injury jinx has struck, Vela has injured his left ankle while playing in some twopenny ha’penny tournament in Mexico. X rays ruled out a break, but ligament damage is a possibility.

    Oh! and Shane, Brett Lee is out of the first two tests with rib injuries. What bad luck! Lol.

  27. Goona-in-exile
    July 8, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    I think we all may have to accept the fact that as long as there are uber-wealthy individuals from around the world who will splash money on this kind of scale, and teams that are supported by governments and banks using whatever shady/grey-area methods available to keep their teams afloat…well it’s going to remain transfer madness in the Prem. The smaller clubs are the ones that truly suffer from this kind of nonsense. They are being literally priced out of the league; some teams will probably struggle to ever reach the top half of the table. There are really only two major forces that push back against the spending.

    First: Winning. The success of carefully constructed, well trained and managed teams…it actually works.
    The classic example of this is in American Baseball – which I couldn’t give a shit about – but they have the same problem. Some teams pay ridiculous money for whoever is the hottest player of the moment, but those teams win a lot less than they ought to. These aren’t teams…just collections of superstars that don’t gel together, don’t play together, and are so self concerned that they can’t put away their own egos long enough to achieve the common goal. Football’s the same…winning a championship is a seriously difficult proposition, in any team sport, and it requires just that…a team. No individual is sufficient to pull it off. There are many superstars that have played on teams their entire careers and never won a trophy. No one is trying to claim that Real is not going to enjoy remarkable success…they likely will. Even so, they aren’t going to win every game. Not only that, they will get their arse handed to them a couple of times by teams that ought not have a chance against them…life is like that. Hull did it to us. Remember USA basketball getting trounced in the Olympics?

    Second: The Players. It’s true that clubs decide on the final transfer, but players have a lot to say about how these things come off.
    The same ego that makes us hate some players…Ade I won’t mention any names, also stops this type of silliness. I started to really respect Kaka when he laughed at Man City. That’s what will kill off some the more ridiculous level spending. When the top players realize that they look silly bouncing from club to club, and then decide to start committing themselves to the winning again, some of this foolishness will fall off some. We…the fans…we love our teams. Players and their egos want to be loved. Ask Ade if the pressure is any fun. Fans punish mercenary players and mercenary teams…meh, there will always be players who will do whatever for money but there are also players like Van Persie who don’t want to bounce around for money…they want to win. Our job as fans is to support those guys, respect those players and back them to the end. The kind of respect that Gooners showed Pires in the Champions League is what players, all players, are really after. Honor, tradition, commitment…these are things that we have as tools to fight against this madness. The ones that participate should get nothing but scorn from us. This isn’t going away but it can get toned down a bit.

    Anyway, just my thoughts on it.

  28. Johno
    July 8, 2009 at 2:16 am #

    @ anicoll5 and Mexican,

    Arsenal have already put a price of £40 million on Fabregas so if he is sold everybody will know the price is not less than that.

    This is just the sort of thing leading to the inflation mentioned in my earlier post.

  29. MexicanGunner
    July 8, 2009 at 2:55 am #

    Thank you “anicoll5”!!

    And “Johno”, Vela is NOT injured!!!

    He´s fine the doctor of Mexico said today the he is fit and will play on thursday.

    Also the tournament its not in Mexico, its on USA. And even that Mexico and USA are not playing with their “european players” the winner of the tournament will represent North America in the next Confederetations Cup. The final is always Mexico vs USA.

  30. charles
    July 8, 2009 at 3:09 am #

    @gunner boss

    I agree arsenal need to win at least a league cup this year if they want to attract/ keep players, however, I don’t think that forwards are what we need. we have van Persie, and arshavin should and can play forward, plus we have eduardo, vela and of course adebayor. If a trophy does not come home to the emirates this year, things will be bad.

    also, what will our lineup look like next year. we have many options, and i am hoping arshavins talents are used up front with RvP.

  31. Adam
    July 8, 2009 at 3:35 am #

    Firstly, great post Shane, I really enjoyed reading it and you made some great points.

    It’s just not a realistic or level playing field any more, with some clubs with wealthy foreign owners able to live well outside their means and muscle in on any given league competition because of this. The lack of morals and perspective in the game is saddening, and inarguably unsustainable. When these individuals tire of their ‘playthings’ and move on, the clubs will simply be unable to function.

    This is not the case with the Arsenal due to our sensible financial control and youth policy that guarantees the continued existence and growth of the club into the future. I, for one, would not have it any other way.

    On a different topic, Dennis Latcher doesn’t seem to be such a bad guy, (as has been stated on certain blogs after ‘his’ comments about Barca) there were some quotes attributed to him that he has renounced, and seems still to be representing our Russian genius.
    http://www.goal.com/en/news/9/england/2009/07/07/1369457/dennis-lachter-i-am-still-arsenal-star-andrey-arshavins
    Andrey thinks that Yuri Zhirkov will be quite a hit in the prem, and I must say that I reluctantly agree. He has all the attributes that a player needs for success in our league, and Chelsea have always lacked quality width on the left. Fortunately, Ancelotti is not as competent as everyone seems to think and is certainly not an improvement on the excellent Hiddink.

    Some good news about Melo is floating around at the moment, and I am now quite hopeful of him moving to Ashburton Grove.
    http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,11670_5418693,00.html

  32. Nighthawk4900
    July 8, 2009 at 4:46 am #

    Great post!! Kudos!

  33. Anonymous
    July 8, 2009 at 7:30 am #

    can somebody tell me how much debt arsenal are in?

  34. Anonymous
    July 8, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    @goonainexile
    that was an excellent comment

  35. Hey Nonny Mouse
    July 8, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    Good pics of The Arsenal back in training (in the rain) on the official website. Man, Wenger looks fit. Isn’t he 60? He looks like he could be playing. (Maybe he should??). I like the shots of Vermaelen. He looks tough and I hope it proves so. Rosicky looks like he’s enjoying it – not! ha ha ha.

  36. censored
    July 8, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    vermaelen look likes vidic

  37. Owen aka Ronaldo7
    July 8, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    why do u think its so hard for united to sign a star replacement for ronaldo….cause united sold ronaldo for 80million. Everyone wants to charge united double for there stars.

    I have a feeling fergie will hold off this summer…sign players that are cheaper…and rely on Rooney to be the star player.
    If it doesnt work then next summer when real arent around, he will chase a gem.

  38. Shane
    July 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm #

    Just reading the comments. I noticed that someone mentioned clauses which suggest that you can delay the announcement. But Real Madrid will rarely do that. They always tout the big spending. And always do things opennly. They may have spend 50 million more than market. But they still got all their players. With Ronaldo. I think its also hard for them to sign a replacement because he was so good. And there are only few players who can play his game and fit into Man U’s counter attacking game. Any player who is capable is going to have a massive price tag slappped on them. Without Ronaldo, Man U’s game is going to change.

  39. GunnerBoss
    July 9, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    Lets not forget that Barcelona had our once cherished Hleb in their squad just in case.
    But we all know how many games he played in. They were Champs because they had strength in depth. The team was not afraid of any particular player getting any injuries, so they were confident.
    We could be invincible this season if the defensive midfield compartment is bolstered with an experienced buy. The striking department reshufled with Ade(I dont believe in him at all) leaving and getting us another Finisher/Sniffer.

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