Does Arsène Still Know?

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
May 22nd, 2012
21 Comments

I’ve had many interesting conversations on twitter and quite a few seem to be about Arsenal’s recent scouting failures and people questioning Arsène’s recent judgement in the transfer market.

According to many fans Arsenal have missed a trick with these players in recent times: Cisse, Ba, Kompany, Vidal, Nocerino, Cabaye, Parker and Cahill.

Whilst each player on that list has gone on to prove their worth I wonder whether they would have been as successful with Arsenal. I decided to look into each player and have come up with my own thoughts on whether or not we’ve missed a trick.

So does Arsène still know?

Ba

Would he have scored playing on the left? He didn’t at Newcastle

Demba Ba joined Newcastle on a free transfer after seeing West Ham relegated whom he joined after initially failing a medical at Stoke.

It would have been risky for Arsenal to have taken on Demba Ba at the time and whilst he has an impressive goal tally in the premier league this season and his pass success rate is good for a forward at around 74% it should be noted that all of his best performances have come from playing through the middle and as Van Persie has stayed fit all season I doubt many Arsenal fans would have been happy with us signing him at the time and leaving him mostly on the bench.

Verdict: Right call

Cabaye

Better than Ramsey? Errr… actually no.

I feel with Cabaye it is best to compare him to the three players at Arsenal he could have replaced in the first team; Rosicky, Ramsey, Arteta.

 CabayeRamseyRosickyArteta
Appearances (inc sub)34342729
Assists6442
Avg Passes Per Game42.756.645.576.9
Pass Total1451192512752229
Pass Success80.4%87.3%85.3%90.8%
Key Passes Per Game1.61.61.52.1
Key Passes Total56554160
Accurate/Total Long Balls95/175 (54%)105/136 (77%)36/75 (48%)152/172 (88%)
Accurate/Total Through Balls8/28 (29%)6/30 (20%)11/31 (35%)6/21 (29%)

It is clear that overall each of our current midfielders suits Arsenal better and in the main would be/is a better option for Arsenal. The stats show that the much maligned Ramsey is actually the same or stronger than Cabaye expect for through balls which he can improve. Being only 21 I’m more excited about Ramsey’s future with Arsenal than I am about missing out on Cabaye.

Verdict: Right call

Cahill

Would we have had a better shout at those trophies with him?

We were linked with Cahill for a long time and I think many Gooners were disappointed to “lose out” to Chelsea but I really don’t think we had any interest in him in January. The table below compares him to Mertesacker as I believe that is who we chose over Cahill in August and Djourou as we signed Djourou to a new contract in January when we could have bought Cahill.

 CahillMertesackerDjourou
Appearances10 Chelsea
19 Bolton
2118
Pass Success85.3% at Chelsea
74.4% at Bolton

Avg = 79.9%
89.2%90%
Tackles Total10 Chelsea
14 Bolton
1726
Interceptions Total13 Chelsea
40 Bolton
3513
Offsides Won Total9 Chelsea
37 Bolton
1514
Clearances Won Total57 Chelsea
187 Bolton
9342
Blocks Total9 Chelsea
24 Bolton
128

I think when we compare Cahill and Mertesacker I believe for the money we spent (Per was cheaper than Bolton were asking for Cahill at the time) we bought the right player for the game we play. When compared with Djourou I feel Cahill’s improvement in a short time at Chelsea, especially on the passing side, shows that we made the wrong choice in sticking with Djourou.

Verdict: Missed a trick

Cisse

How many would he have scored from our bench?

This one is simple for me. Cisse is an out and out striker and as we do not play with two strikers we need versatility á la Podolski. If we are to consider Cisse a missed trick then we must consider Yakubu a missed trick. Cisse is a great player but he is an out and out number 9, a scorer of goals and we have that and more in Van Persie.

Verdict: Right call

Kompany

Would he still have been holding that trophy if he was in an Arsenal shirt?

He cost City just £6.7m. Best defender in the league.

Verdict: Missed a trick

Nocerino

Cheap but not as good as what we have according to the stats

A defensive midfielder come play-maker who can’t really defend. Tackling is a weakness of Antonio’s but his pass success rate is decent at just under 84%. For €500k he might have been worth a punt.

Verdict: Right call but maybe worth a punt

Parker

An excellent tackler, great at intercepting the ball and with a pass success rate of 89.5% Scott Parker seemed at the time and has shown to be a lot of what Arsenal need. If it was a straight choice between him and Arteta I would say Arteta all day.

I wasn’t going to post a picture of him in a Spud’s shirt

Based on our midfield always being light with injuries and Song’s demonstrations of his attacking ability I feel there could have been room for Arteta and Parker for a season or two.

Verdict: Probably the right call but maybe worth a punt purely based on injuries

Vidal

Not as good a passer as what we have already

A player who cost just €12.5m however with similar stats to Cabaye and only 85% pass success rate in a league where you have a lot more time on the ball to pick out a pass makes me feel we aren’t missing out too much.

Verdict: Right call

It is easy to say that Arsene is losing his touch in the transfer market but our signings over the past few seasons when compared with the players “we could have had” we haven’t really done too much wrong.

We’ve missed out on lots of players over the years who we could have had on the cheap such as Defoe, Carrick, Drogba, Essien, Cech, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho but for one reason or another we missed out but then again we’ve signed gems like Vieira, Henry, Cesc, The Ox, Toure, Koscielny, Vermaelen etc for a song.

Arsène Knows

I don’t know about you but I still trust Wenger in the transfer market even if I don’t understand all of his moves. He’s managed to pick up one of Europe’s hottest strikers for next to nothing so I’m looking forward to seeing what he has up his sleeve next.

For me it’s still “Arsène Knows”

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

21 Responses to “Does Arsène Still Know?”

  1. Madge says:

    Ypur right, Daniel, We could have bought Any number
    Of players over the years, bit buying just for buying sake is
    Ridiculous. Cahill was overpriced as with most english players
    Are now. Every manager has bought players that don’t turn
    Out to be as good as they were meant too. At least we try to bring
    Young players through the Arsenal ranks. We wi never be able to
    Compete with Man C, so if we have a mixture of young & experienced
    Players, then I dor one will be hsppg

    A

  2. Jody says:

    Park, Chamakh, Squillaci, Bendtner, Denilson etc. …Has Wenger still got it?

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I was wondering when those names were going to come up. I’m doing a piece shortly looking into this but here is a quick synopsis.

      Park – never gets a game so cannot judge him.
      Chamakh – Excellent to start with then lost steam (as many players discovering EPL for the first time do) and hasn’t found any form since because he never gets a shot in the team because RVP is the main man and we don’t play with 2 strikers
      Squillaci – never adapted to the league, decent in Spain and quite a few caps for France, a decent continental player but cannot cope with the speed of the game here. A bad buy but not for lack of quality, just a lack of adaptation.
      Bendtner – another player who never got to play in his best role which is with another striker. His stats for Arsenal aren’t bad. He isn’t a bad player, he is just not up to our standards. He came through the youth ranks so doesn’t count as a buy really.
      Denilson – regularly has excellent passing stats and decent in the tackle but his passing isn’t incisive enough and probably not suited to our league as he passes sideways too often. Would be a hit in Italy or Spain and if he was playing abroad and we never bought him I’m sure many people would tout him as someone we should buy.

      Everyone makes mistakes but Wenger buys many good players often for little money which is an exceptional talent especially in the benefactor climate we live in.

    • Jody says:

      Why doesnt Park get a game? – Probably because he’s not good enough! He was a panic buy and came from a relegated Ligue 1 team. Wasn’t good enough to even make our bench in the final months of the season. We don’t have an endless supply of money at the club so it has to be spent wisely. Spending a couple million on Park and then giving him reported wages of £40k-50k has turned out to be a big mistake and a waste of money. During the last summer’s transfer window there were much better strikers in Ligue 1 who would of came to us – Gameiro, Moussa Sow etc. But we went for the cheap option again.

      Chamakh – Yes, I agree he had a brilliant start to his Arsenal career. However, his drop in form has been much more severe than most other players coming to the EPL for the first time. RVP has limited his appearances but you’ve got to think that if he was showing it in training more – Wenger would’ve given him more opportunities. His off the field conduct hasn’t helped either. Seems like he’s been pretty happy to pick up his wages and not get his head down and work harder to reclaim his place in the team.

      Squillaci – wasn’t good enough for the EPL. We spent around £5-6 million on him and he’s on decent wages as well. At the time of his transfer we were crying out for a CB and we were linked with a lot of better players. We missed a trick not getting Cahill 18 months before he went to Chelsea.

      Bendtner – Yes he was played out of position for us towards the end of his team at the club. However, he’s been at Sunderland for the whole season now and hasnt impressed them enough for them to want to sign him permanently! If he’s not deemed good enough for them – then he should be no where near a top 4 club with aspirations for winning the league. He doesnt count as a buy but as you know we pay him very high wages. Too high for a player of his quality.

      Denilson – stats dont tell the whole story. His passing stats were so good because he always chose the safe option. He was playing as our DM but couldnt track back! Defensively very poor and he regularly got out muscled in midfield. He wasnt good enough but was paid high wages and a replacement wasnt brought in because it would’ve ”killed’ his development.

      Wenger has a lot of faith in his players but at times he puts too much faith in them. Some are obviously not good enough for the club but he’s stuck by them for too long. Almunia falls into this category. Everyone makes mistakes but you have to realise when the mistake has been made and then try to rectify it sooner – rather than persisting with the wrong solutions.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      There is a new post coming out soon that will answer all of these points but very quickly, you are contradicting yourself by saying no-one will pay for these players yet saying that Bendtner hasn’t impressed enough to get a permanent deal. Maybe he has but maybe they can’t afford him. Does he get the delivery at Sunderland that he would get at Arsenal? I don’t think so, so it is difficult to compare his effectiveness for Sunderland against his worth as a first team player at Arsenal. If he was playing on loan at say Swansea where he will get plenty of chances then we could make that comparison.

      Denilson was also not a DM. There is an obsession about DM’s at Arsenal at the moment and as @goonerdave66 quite rightly says, we didn’t play with a DM prior to 2007/08. Denilson was fine at tracking back, you might say stats don’t tell the story but statistics and perception are often different things. Would you say that Ramsey is a good passer? Possibly not but his stats say differently and that is what is important. A players effectiveness is important and Denilson’s job wasn’t to spray 60 yard balls around or to sit in front of the back 4. His job was to pick up the ball deep in midfield and find the best route to get the ball to Cesc which often meant passing sideways or backwards so Cesc could find some space for someone else to pick him out.

    • Jody says:

      I disagree. There is no contradiction in saying a player with a high wage [B52, Denilson, Squillaci] will be difficult to transfer out the club because other clubs wont be able to pay those kind of wages. It’s a logical thought process and it has happened in the past and will continue to happen in the future as long as we maintain the current wage structure within the club.

      With regards to Bendtner – if you ask Sunderland fans or look at their forums the generally consensus is that they don’t want him at the club. Martin O’Neill doesnt want him at the club. Main reasons being his poor attitude [eg. various car issues, late nights, being late for team bus… etc.] and apparent laziness on the pitch. He is not worth £52k a week. It’s just too high for a player of his quality. If he was paid £25k then maybe a club like Sunderland would be more interested in signing him permanently. When it comes to offloading our ‘deadwood’ – the higher the wage the more difficult it’ll be to transfer them out. No contradiction there whatsoever.

      Whilst Bendtner played as a striker for Arsenal he had a decent record. But he isnt good enough to lead our line. RVP is the kind of quality striker we need to lead our line. Man U have Rooney, and City have Aguero. The difference in quality between those kind of players and Bendtner is vast.

      To say we can’t make a comparison because he played at Sunderland rather a team like Swansea is wrong IMO. Of course we can make comparisons. Both teams finished near each other in the league [Swans = 11th, Sunderland = 13th] and scored a similar amount of league goals [Swans = 44, Sunderland = 45]. Would he of gotten more goals at Swansea? No-one can be sure but you cant dismiss his apparent underachievement at Sunderland and just blame it on poor delivery.

      When I refered to Denilson as DM I know he isn’t your classic defensive midfielder like a Makelele or a M’Vila but when he played he was the most Defensively Minded out of the two CMs. Back in the day when we played 442 we would have CMs who were more defensively minded or would take it turns to sit and hold. In the 07/08 season Flamini did a lot of the defensive work and he regularly came off the pitch having ran the most Km during a game. He was constantly closing the opposition down and he allowed Cesc to focus on the offensive side of his game. Denilson didn’t/couldn’t do that.

      I really cant agree with you when you say Denilson was fine at tracking back. He was infamous for not tracking back and losing his man. I havent met any other Arsenal fan who thinks this side of his game was ‘fine’.

      Stats and perception can indeed be two different things – thats why its important to take into account BOTH when assessing a player. Cesc’s stats and perception backed the claim that he was a world class midfielder for us. Denilson’s stats backed up his was good but this was not congruent with his perception. Its clear he wasnt as good as Flamini or Song in that role.

      I would say Ramsey is a good passer. He’s had a difficult season and has areas to improve on [eg. finishing, releasing the pass quicker etc.] but he doesnt hide during games and at least tries a difficult pass/through ball every so often.

      The reason why there is ”an obsession about DM’s” atm is because we’ve been conceding more and more league goals each season over the past 5 years.

      2007/8 – 31
      2008/9 – 37
      2009/10 – 41
      2010/11 – 43
      2011/12 – 49

      Title winning sides are built on a strong defense. Its an area we need to improve on if we harbor any hopes of winning the league or winning a trophy. Our current group of first team midfielders aren’t defensively minded enough atm. Look at the recent game against Norwich. Wes Hoolahan played just behind Holt and Jackson. He wasn’t picked up by either of our midfielders and he had a hand in both of their first half goals. A classic DM would’ve realised his threat and marked him out the game.

      Anyways mate, I look forward to your new blog posts in the future. Keep up the good work.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      You said Bendtner hasn’t impressed to get a deal and you also said that his wages are too high. Which is it? It can’t be both.

      Sunderland fans may not want him at the club but they have foolishly bought into the “Bendtner is crap” way of thinking. He has a goal or an assist every other game for Sunderland. He has been Sunderland’s 2nd most effective attacker this season behind Sessegnon with 1 more goal and 4 fewer assists but Sessegnon played 11 more games.

      I don’t disagree that high wages stop clubs buying our players and you’d know that is how I feel if you are a regular reader of my blog but you can’t on one hand say that his wages are too high but also that he hasn’t played himself into a contract because he was Sunderland’s top scorer and 2nd best assist maker. If he hasn’t played well enough then wages are moot but if he has played well enough then wages are the issue, it’s one or the other.

      Bendtner works best in a 2, we don’t play with a 2. If he or Chamakh played upfront with RVP they’d be decent.

      You can’t compare on league finish at all because Sunderland play different football from us. Swansea play similar football. Bendtner played 25 times for Sunderland and scored 8 times. Our top scorer got 30 goals, Theo got 9. NB got 8 and was SAFC’s top scorer. If he played for a club that made as many chances as Swansea, Arsenal and dare I say it Sp*rs do then he probably would have scored more than 8 goals.

      You can blame it on poor delivery. As a team you can only beat what is put in front of you, as a footballer you can only score what is put in front of you (unless you make it yourself but Bendtner isn’t that kind of striker).

      You are so wrong about Denilson Jody, so wrong. He regularly had more KMs on the clock that our other players and in 08/09 touched the ball more than any other player in the league. To say that he couldn’t put himself around like Flamini is a fallacy.

      Statistically Denilson was better as a “DM” than Song was last year which was arguably Song’s best year as a holding midfielder. Denilson’s problem was a lack of urgency. Nothing more.

      Funny that the obsession with having a DM coincides with us actually having a DM which coincides with our worst defensive years. Pre-DM we just had intelligent midfielders who knew when to sit and when to go forward because they were experienced. Our best years never had DMs.

      We have a very good holding midfielder in Arteta. We looked exposed when he was unfit.

      Glad you enjoy the blog. I look forward to more of your comments.

    • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

      Jody-Jody….if you want an AAA, anti-Wenger site to excrete in, try LeGrove….here we try and see both sides of the situation and please keep in mind that: Chamakh,Bendtner and Denilson were quite useful in their time and filled a need (RVP’s absence, need for a DM while Song and Diaby were out and Walcott’s varying form).

    • Jody says:

      I’m not anti-Wenger at all. I’m just against this apparent infallibility he seems to have amongst some of our fans.

      It seems that if you dare to question or criticise him you’re immediately labelled as being ”anti-Wenger”. He’s made a lot of correct decisions but he’s also made mistakes. Pointing out his and the club’s mistakes doesn’t mean I don’t support them. I’m just highlighting areas that need to be improved upon.

      We’re currently in a position where we’re finding it difficult to offload our ‘deadweight’ – why? Because they’re paid too much money and no other clubs want to take on their wages. Whose fault is this – Wenger and the board. We pay mediocre players top quality wages.

      Chamakh, Bendtner, and Denilson are not the kind of players that will win you the league.

  3. pedantic george aka Blackburngeorge says:

    Hey Jody
    Wilshere,Song RVP,Rosisky,AOC,Koscielny,TV ,Sagna ,Arteta
    Has Wenger still got it ?You cherry picking mug

    • Jody says:

      Surely you’re doing the exact same thing I just did?

      What my point was getting across is that for every Wenger transfer success story – there’s been a transfer flop.

    • amaher15 says:

      I’ve gotta agree with Jody here. It’s unarguable that Park was a flop, reports coming in we’re trying to sell him after he didn’t play for a year that’s a crazy signing. Though I think the need to jump to Wengers defence is justified as well.

      Wenger has done a fantastic job making profit and staying competitive, he’s the best at it. I don’t think I can name one other manager in football right now as good at balancing transfers than Arsene, at least that’s something we can all agree on. He’s managed to increase the amount of money coming in from transfers and thereby increase the amount of risk we can take on signings and football in general. It’s a pity it just hasn’t yielded an increase in quality. Jody you also did not not say that, so not attacking you!

      Finally I want to end up at a place where Jody is right. People do follow Arsene blindly, I’ll admit that I’m one of them. I like his style of play, I agree with most his philosophies and I feel like he gets the Arsenal way. I value what he brings to the plate (believe it or not along with Ivan Gazidis) to the Arsenal culture which is good, open minded, sensible football. Arsene brings to the club a lot of wonderful idealistic virtues which I’d much sooner get behind than a sugar daddy oil man. His ideals are simply far more worthy of support (even if they do mean a loss of trophies) than say the virtues of Chelsea or Man City. Once upon a time these were working class clubs, can you believe that? What’s being born into billions of dollars got to do with the working class?

      Anyway, rant over.
      See you all on the blogs!
      Andrew

  4. Philbet says:

    I supose he could have bought Shevchenko and Torres for a combined £85Million or RvP for £3.5 million or even paid £32million for Bebatov……..Hindsight is a wonderful thing…..

  5. Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

    Based on your excellent and insightful analysis, which AFC and AW surely do as well, and much,much more…it is a fair assessment of Wenger’s skill and expertise/experience in the transfer market. Remember there are a number of factors that are unpredictable and impossible to calculate, as follows:

    1)The team chemistry is crucial for Wenger therefore he always looks at players who can slot in very quickly and share a similar philosophy to his team’s.
    2)The cost of bringing in a player is always calculated based on the transfer fee, the agent’s fee, the compensation package and additional expenses and revenues he can bring in….it isn’t as simple as most of our fans think.
    3)There is also the medical and health history of any player. Wenger is an expert at finding players who get injured regularly but he seems to be improving? He has to try and predict what will be the player’s fitness for at least one season!
    4)There is also the trainability and adaptability of the player coming in. Wenger has a specific style akin to paternalism. He treats every player like they were his sons (since he only has 1 daughter at home) and expects that his loyalty,respect and patience is rewarded. For the most part (like RVP) it does get rewarded but there are always the $$ players like Flamini,Na$ri,Ca$hley who claim they leave to win silverware, which is partly true but in reality 99% of the decision is based on $$$$.
    5) Things like age, EPL experience, workrate, International status (we have 5 captains or ex-captains of their national teams at AFC)and 90% of our starting 11 represent their nations, including our newest signing Podolski. Wenger wants leaders on the field, and with RVP

    He has made mistakes in the past but which manager hasn’t, SAF and Mourinho are perfect examples and what can we say about AVB and Dalgleish! Wenger likes taking calculated risks but even he gets burnt on occasion like any of the greats…hindsight is easy for our fickle fanboys as they sit on their fat arses and criticize him like Jody did…..but of course they know better because they are ALL certified Fantasy Football Managers.

  6. Breakfastegg says:

    Thanks Daniel, really interesting subject and a good take on it I reckon! So my pretty much valueless South African two-cents worth: I agree with you on all accounts!

    If I must create a bit of debate on something, it must be about Parker. Initially, I also thought we missed a trick with Parker. And maybe did, when you compare him to Song. But I recently read an article that changed my mind a little -http://fourfourtwo.com/blogs/statszone/archive/2012/05/16/why-michael-carrick-should-start-for-england-this-summer.aspx

    What I got from it is that Parker’s ball retention isn’t the greatest. And that he clears the ball a lot, and he does this quite a bit further up the field. I’m not sure of the stats myself, and I’d like to see them, but Song doesn’t have the worst ball retention (based on watching him play). Okay, Song gives away a couple of silly passes, but he never looks to clear the ball so far up the field. Parkers excessive clearing may not be conducive to our style of play.

    In saying that though, and this is where the debate comes in, this (clearing the ball more often) may well be a complimentary trait for Parker playing alongside Arteta. I commend Parker for his battling qualities, and this might have worked well in tune with Arteta’s ability to distribute so well. Especially when sometimes we need to simply get the ball out! So the duo may have played in complete harmony.

    I think it wasn’t the worst call to miss out on Parker because of his inability to retain the ball. Anyway, just an opinion. Thank you for a thoughtful read. Chat again soon!

  7. Matt says:

    What about Juan Mata? My understanding is that we had a deal done for him and failed to transfer the money over and missed out when his price went up.

    It’s very easy to identify players that have been great for us, just as easy as it is to point to those that have been rubbish.

    My frustration comes with the penny-pinching on fees and wages. He can hardly whine about salaries when he’s the best paid EPL manager. And it’s equally frustrating that he fills our ranks with kids (70 professional players on our rosta before we let a few go today). Lowering that figure and paying a few world class players appropriate wages would be a better route IMO.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I don’t buy into the whole “we had a deal for Mata” thing because if we had agreed on a transfer then we would have transferred money over as and when agreed in the payment schedule. We would have lost out on Mata because we maybe didn’t meet the release clause or couldn’t agree terms with the player before the deadline and his fee went up. I think either way we would still have lost out to Chelsea because in recent years they are the more successful club and they could offer him more money.

      We don’t actually penny pinch on wages, we have a significant wage bill, we just don’t pay our wages proportionately. We have a very Marxist wage policy whereas most successful clubs have a meritocratic one.

      I used players that were frequently mentioned to me as players we missed a trick on, I could have included Mata but I don’t think we missed a trick, I think we just lost out to bigger bucks.

      With regards to 70 players on professional terms that’s not really much different from most other clubs. I would say that 25 first team players over 21, at least 5 players under 21, 4 out on loan, 25 reserves and 10 17-18 year old’s is what most clubs would hope to maintain and that is roughly 70 players.

      Once we release/move on a number of these players we should be able to move to a meritocratic wage structure which will see us better placed to pay world class stars world class wages but whether we do or not remains to be seen.

    • Matt says:

      I’m going to disagree with you on several of these points.

      We will probably never know the truth behind why we didn’t sign Mata, but it’s a pretty good bet that it was wages and not recent success of the clubs. Everybody knew that Chelsea was very much a team in transition last year into this so settling in and having a chance to win something was no more likely with Chelsea than it was with us. No one could have predicted the CL result and the FA Cup is anyone’s at the beginning of the season.

      Mata’s style of play suits Arsenal much more than Chelsea, so if it comes down to a straight choice between the two teams it can only really have been money as a mitigating factor and it would have required us to break our stupid pay structure.

      In terms of how many players other teams have on their books, I’ve just spent a little time sullying myself by visiting the websites of the teams around us to see how many they have.

      Man Utd have 53 players on their books. Chelsea have around 70, although about 20+ are out on loan so you’d hope a lot of their wages are being picked up by other teams. Man City’s website is rubbish, but from what I can tell they have less than 40 players on their books (they might pay the ones they have lots of money but they don’t have many – that may change as they develop their academy). Spurs have 61 players listed as ‘first team’ or ‘professional’ and again, many of those are out on loan.

      And in actual fact when I added up the Arsenal professionals, we were closer to 80 than 70 (although we obviously moved on 7 of those earlier this week).

      Don’t get me wrong, from what I can briefly tell, we clearly have an outstanding youth training set-up that none of those other teams come close to matching, but how much benefit does it actually deliver us? Particularly when we have soooo many of them! That’s why our wage bill is so high. Not because we pay the best players the best money but because we pay so many players far more than their true worth.

      Players like Ramsey, and more recently Toral and Bellerin, came to us for money more than anything else – Ramsey had an offer with Man Utd and the other two joined us from the Masia.

      Splashing out idiotic sums to tempt these young players is stupid and doesn’t show a great deal of letting up – Eisfeld joined us in January and we’ve already been associated with a couple more this window. We may have moved 7 on, and let’s hope it’s just the start, but don’t count on it.

      I’d much rather have 15-20 less ‘professionals’ on our books, save that cash, keep the most promising youngsters, have a more meritocratic pay-scale and sign some world-class players.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I’m going to disagree with you too Matt.

      If Mata signed with Chelsea because of wages then he never really wanted to come to Arsenal.

      I disagree that Arsenal have more players than anyone else. There is no way City could have just 40 players. No way at all.

      United will have more than 53 players, 25 in the main squad, at least 20 for the reserves, they must have more than 8 youth players over 17.

      Our wage bill is high not because of the youth or reserve players but because of our “first team” players who get paid too much. Don’t forget that our wage bill includes all employees of Arsenal football club not just the players. However by releasing the players we have and moving on just 4 of Bendtner, Vela, Denilson, Squillaci, Chamakh, Park and Arshavin we will free up around £20m per year or about £385k a week.

      We do need a more meritocratic wage system, I totally agree but I wouldn’t say that having a lot of youth players makes a big difference to being able to pay our stars better.

      For example, a board member said “If Diaby earned £30k instead of £60k we would have been able to pay Nasri what he asked for” not “if we have 6 less youth players we’d have been able to pay Nasri what he wanted”

      I don’t believe Ramsey joined for money. I believe he joined because he thought he’d get more game time. The kids from Barca probably joined because they know we give youngsters a chance and they saw how Cesc’s career rocketed with us. I genuinely believe that younger players join us for footballing reasons.

  8. John says:

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    we can share lot of players tooarabic mehndi designs

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