Arsene Wenger was recently quoted in the English media launching an attack on big-spending clubs like PSG, Manchester City, & Chelsea. His exact comments were as follows:
“‘We (Arsenal) consider ourselves in a privileged position because we have a massive income. But overall we are not mega-rich because we do not have unlimited resources. A club can buy players like PSG has done or Manchester City or Chelsea, with unlimited resources, but overall football suffers. Look at the activity on the transfer market since the start of the summer.”
Arsene has a point, I’ll give him that. All clubs that have spent big money in the transfer market are in debt, while Arsenal (who some argue are a feeder club) are financially well-off. But he failed to underline the counter-argument. And since I’m such a generous person, I’ll do it for him.
All player transfers are done at an inflated price. It’s a fact that football clubs have learned to live with. Even Arsenal have, as they have priced their want-away skipper Robin Van Persie at £20M. Granted he had a superb 2011-12 season, but he’s aging, injury-prone & is in the last year of his contract. That itself should bring his price down to £10M. But we all know that’s not going to happen.
Also, Arsenal are in a solid position financially. That’s very good. But exactly how many trophies have they won recently? Zero? Yeah, I thought so.
Funnily enough, it’s the clubs who spend big money that actually win anything at all. Just look at how English clubs fared last season. The Premier League was won by Manchester City, who have been spending the big bucks since 2008. Chelsea won the FA Cup & the Champions League, & were fairly active in the transfer market. The Carling Cup was won by Liverpool, who spent large sums of money on over-priced players. But they still won more trophies than Arsenal.
The argument that Arsenal are a “poor club” is funny. They are valued at £1.3 billion, & the majority shareholder in the club is American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke, who’s net worth as of 2011 is estimated to be at $3.2 billion. Hardly poor.
The fact is that Arsenal have sold so many players over the years, yet have failed to come up with quality replacements. For instance, Fabregas was replaced by Mikel Arteta. I’ve been an admirer of Arteta for a while, but he’s no Fabregas. Until the acquisition of Olivier Giroud & Lukas Podolski, the club had no quality back-up for Robin Van Persie.
So while I wholly agree with Arsene Wenger that the transfer market is a crazy place, one cannot ignore the fact that in order to win trophies, you have to spend money. The proof is in Arsenal’s trophy cabinet.