Wenger And Arsenal Do It Again! Time To Win

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Aug 6th, 2012

The year is 1999 and Arsenal have just finished the season without a trophy. They have been comprehensively beaten by an inspired Chelsea by 5 goals to nil in the Worthington Cup, have exited the Champions League in 3rd spot behind Lens in 2nd and group winners Dynamo Kyiv, lost the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United in extra-time and missed out on the league on the final day of the season to Manchester United by 1 point. (Incidentally United conceded 37 goals that year and still won the league, Arsenal conceded 17 and finished 2nd. These days “defensive frailties” are often quoted as a reason for not winning the league but I would suggest that United’s 80 goals scored to our 59 and Man City winning the league on goal difference shows that attack is quite often the best form of defence.)

Giggs knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup

Arsenal had started the season poorly with 4 draws and a loss before the end of September leaving them with just 10 points and though they fought extremely hard to get back into title contention they ultimately finished the season pot-less and with a bitter taste in their mouth. Things for the fans were about to get worse.

Picked up for £500,000, free scoring Nicolas Anelka looked to be the buy of the century until Real Madrid came calling and Anelka left in a £22.3m deal. Financially it was very good for the club but having come so close to retaining the title and with no prolific striker in the ranks with Ian Wright having left the summer before the fans were understandably tetchy and worried about our ability to compete.

We had a lot of news this summer that was not too positive for the club. It didn’t send any message about ambition. It made the fans feel down.

Arsène Wenger speaking in August 1999

Shortly after losing Anelka we signed Thierry Henry. Thierry who had started his career as a striker joined Arsenal with a decent reputation as a wide player but coming off the back of a disappointing spell in Turin. At the time he was not considered a direct replacement for Anelka and many felt that we would still be lacking up front. We had replaced our best goalscorer with a winger.

He’s just a winger……

The following season we finished 18 points behind United and never really looked like challenging for the title. That summer we sold Overmars and Petit in a £30m double deal to Barcelona but we made an early statement by signing Pires and Edu for a combined fee of £12.5m fighting off interest in Pires from Real Madrid along the way. Arsène Wenger had essentially replaced two star players with players of equal calibre for less than half the price. He also picked up future defensive star Lauren for £7m and the often forgotten Fourth Musketeer Sylvain Wiltord for £13m. Wenger had managed to replace and strengthen the team for a net spend of £2.5m.

The Fourth Musketeer

The new signings were effective but the gap could only be closed to 10 points at the end of the season.

That summer major reinforcements came in the shape of Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and Sol Campbell. The latter joining on a free transfer from bitter rivals Tottenham. Kolo Toure was also bought that summer. This team that Wenger had been building over the past few summers went on to win a League and FA Cup double that season and became the foundation of a team that won two FA Cups and went unbeaten in the league over the next 3 seasons.

You may, by now, be wondering where this is going. Well I’ll tell you.

With the arrival of Santi Cazorla to add to Giroud and Podolski and the signings of the past few years I want to bring a little more positivity to your Arsenal supporting lives and lay out some similarities between these periods of time. We’ve been rebuilding the squad under the radar masked by the sales of some top players which we didn’t have to deal with last time but then again last time around we only really had one big name and that was Dennis and he wasn’t going anywhere! We’ve also had to contend with finishing significantly behind the champions.

Made by @Lagvilava7 – Stolen by me from poznaninmypants.com

Over the past few summers we have seen the arrival of Vermaelen, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gervinho, Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud.

That could easily read Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Edu, Pires, Wiltord, Kanu and Henry. Not in terms of direct comparison of ability but in terms of spend, squad depth contribution and current and future playing contribution. The current lot cost a combined £83m (approximately) and the 1999-2001 signings cost a combined £48m (approximately). The £35m difference is easily swallowed by the change in spending in football over that period. In 2000 Pires was earning £17,000 per week and Bergkamp was our top earner on £30,000 per week. We have sold fringe players over the past few years that have earned more than those two figures combined.


Going into next season we have a fantastic squad who I believe are capable of challenging for the title despite some concerns over our defence which I believe I did a decent job of defending in my last post.

We have international pedigree strikers entering the peak of their careers, three international class centre-backs, six “first-choice” players for our three midfield spots, three promising youngsters pushing them hard for a spot and if the rumours of a swoop for Sahin on top of the signing of Cazorla are true then we’ll have 14 players fighting for 5 spots across our midfield and wide areas. That is the sort of strength in-depth so many have been crying out for and the likes we haven’t seen since our early noughties purple patch.

Wenger has built an incredibly good squad on the quiet and players that were maybe maligned for their performances last season will be considered excellent depth players going into the new season. Wenger has, in my opinion, built a title challenging squad and has quite remarkably done it almost entirely unnoticed.

So far this summer Wenger and the club have brought in Podolski and Giroud for a reported combined fee of approximately £20m. There are varying reports on Cazorla ranging from £12m to £20m but I feel comfortable in the £16m range that’s been reported and even at £20m Cazorla is an absolute steal and Sahin on a season long loan would be incredible business.

Next season’s fire power

Those players combined with our other purchases of the past few years would see a complete overhaul of the team with real strength in depth and quality of competition with a transfer spend of roughly £35m a season. When you consider that many clubs drop £35m on a single player you can’t help but admire the club and especially Arsène for their stubbornness to stick to their principles and their ability to spend extremely wisely in the majority of cases.

For years fans and the media have been calling on Wenger to spend big bucks on one player. In the early part of the century it was £20m on a player. Then it was £25m. Then it was £30m and these days we see figures of £35-40m thrown out there. Götze being a perfect example. There was so much willing for Arsenal to spend £40m on Götze but Wenger instead spent the money on AOC, Arteta, Gervinho and Mertesacker. This summer it was Hazard for £32m and if Arsenal do manage to pull of the deal of the year by getting Cazorla for £12m then that will see Santi, Giroud and Podolski for the same fee.

I’m sure there have been plenty of players over the years that we would have loved to see come to the club but you cannot help but admire Wenger’s ability to pick up fantastic players for next to nothing when compared to the spends of other clubs.

 ArsenalOther Teams
1999/2000Thierry Henry - £10m
Kanu - £4.5m
Anelka - £22.3m - Madrid
2000/2001Pires - £6m
Wiltord - £13m
Edu - £6.5m
Overmars - £25m - Barcelona
2001/2002Campbell - FREE
Toure - £150k
Veron - £28.1m - Man U
2002/2003Gilberto - £4.5mFerdinand - £29.1m - Man U
El Hadji Diouf - £10m - Liverpool
2003/2004RVP - £2.75mMutu - £15.8m - Chelsea
Crespo - £16m - Chelsea
Duff - £17m - Chelsea
Saha - £12.8m - Man U
2005/2006Diaby - £2m
Adebayor - £7m
Walcott - £5m (eventually £9.1m)
Wright-Phillips - £21m - Chelsea
2006/2007Rosicky - £6.7mShevchenko - £30m - Chelsea
2007/2008Sagna - £6m
Eduardo - £7.5m
Anelka - £15m - Chelsea
Hargreaves - £17m - Man U
2008/2009Ramsey - £5m
Nasri - £12m
Arshavin - £15m
Bosingwa - £16m - Chelsea
Berbatov - £30m - Man U
Keane - £20m - Liverpool
Jo - £18m - Man City
Robinho - £32m - Man City
Bridge - £10m - Man City
2009/2010Vermaelen - £10mZhirkov - £18m - Chelsea
Aquilani - £20m - Liverpool
Johnson - £17m - Liverpool
Santa Cruz - £18m - Man City
Adebayor - £25m - Man City
Toure - £16m - Man City
Lescott - £22m - Man City
Tevez - £25m - Man City
2010/2011Koscielny - £9m
Ryo - £1m
Torres - £50m - Chelsea
Luiz - £21m - Chelsea
Ramires - £17m - Chelsea
Carroll - £35m - Liverpool
Suarez - £22.8m - Liverpool
Meireles - £11.5m - Liverpool
Kolarov - £16m - Man City
Balotelli - £24m - Man City
Milner - £18m - Man City
Džeko - £27m - Man City
2011/2012Gervinho - £10.5m
AOC - £12m
Santos - £6m
Mertesacker - £8m
Arteta - £10m
Jenkinson - £1m
Campbell - £1m
Eisfeld - £450k
Lukaku - £13m - Chelsea
Mata - £23.5m - Chelsea
Meireles - £12m - Chelsea
Young - £17m - Man U
Henderson - £20m - Liverpool
Adam - £12m - Liverpool
Downing - £16m - Liverpool
Aguero - £38m - Man City
Nasri - £24m - Man City
2012/2013Giroud - £12m
Podolski - £9-10m
Cazorla - £12-16m?
Sahin - ???
Hazard - £32m - Chelsea
Oscar - £25m - Chelsea

It’s amazing that Wenger has managed to keep us in the top four for so long when you compare what we have spent on teams and others have spent on players. This is not to say that any of those players are bad players but would you really swap 4/5 very good players for 1 very good-class player?

As good as Cazorla, Giroud AND Podolski? I don’t think so.

To think that we could have Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla for roughly the same price as Carroll cost Liverpool. Arteta, AOC and Gervinho for the same price as Aguero. Or all of our purchases that are in the squad at this moment (RVP included) for the same price as Torres, Carroll, Dzeko and Aguero or all of Liverpool’s most recent buys.

I’m extremely proud of our club for the purchases they have made with the funds they have spent and I’m so pleased to have a manager like Wenger and a CEO like Gazidis who can keep their heads whilst all around them scream for oil money and extravagant purchases.

Arséne Knows

It reminds me of one of my favourite poems by Rudyard Kipling.


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Thanks for reading! If you liked what you read please comment on this post, subscribe by email, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan).

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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.

98 Responses to “Wenger And Arsenal Do It Again! Time To Win”

  1. spotty says:

    Just one thing is missing in the above story. No trophies for 8 years.

  2. bdd says:

    Could have sworn this was a liverscum article. The delusion is extraordinary!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      What delusion is that then? You cannot say that the players mentioned for Arsenal were not value for money.

  3. Adeniji ademola abdulahi,nigeria says:

    U’re an oustanding writer and d article is up there among some best posts.

  4. kelvin says:

    excellent and well detailed writing….judging from what Mourinho and Fergie had to spend to stay on top of the league,compared to what Arsenal invested,you cant fault our business policy. Mutu,Veron,Crespo,Voroni,Robinho and all the shite players that have commander heavy price in the past years,shows we are still brilliant when it comes to player transfer and development. In Wenger we trust.

    • Tom says:

      Thoroughly agree with you, and had forgotten about Mutu! Look what happened to him..In Arsene we trust!

  5. cupsui loves kozzer says:

    Good talk…although i still think it would have been a much smarter play to get Carroll for 35 mill than Giroud, podolski, cazorla and maybe sahin for about the same price…
    I mean we could probably just have him doing it all…

  6. @beyondthe_grove says:

    A balanced, well tought thought analysis on The Arsenal…brilliant! So many jump on the broken crest bandwagon and are quick to blame Wenger or ‘Silent Stan’ when in actual fact Wenger is a genius that has kept our beloved club punching above our financial weight for far too long, and having a silent owner ISN’T a bad thing just ask any Leeds supporter! It really is fascinating watching the transformation that is quietly taking place, it is building belief and optimism that we may actually win something or at the very least be still there at the end.


  7. Admir says:

    Actually, Lens didn’t went through despite the fact they were second in 1998-99. Dynamo Kyiv won the group with 11 points, Lens was second with 8 (just like Arsenal) but they failed to qualify since they were among 4 2nd-placed-teams that didn’t went through.

    I would be really happy if all these additions during past years make anything similar to Arsenal campaigns in 2002 (winning double without single defeat in away matches) or in 2004 (The Invincibles) but let’s not forget that back in time we didn’t have competition like Chelsea or Manchester City – clubs with unlimited budget that can buy (almost) every player they want. Manchester United 1999-2004 was powerful both off and on the field but they didn’t shake Arsenal internal structure like Chelsea and City did.

  8. simpdon says:

    Good post. I am so tried of reading negative reports from people who claim to be die hard supporters. We can’t sign every wünderkind that comes along. Like you I believe that Wenger has done a fantastic job over the last two summers assembling a team. I think that at sometime in the future we will hear a new legend of how the 8-2 defeat and the 4th of July letter from Robin Van Persie spurred (excuse my choice in verbs!) Arsenal and Wenger to spend big to build the basis of the team that was so successful for so long. Like every legend it will be only a little true but everyone will say that these were the turning points, when the Arsenal decided to stop treading water and get back in the hunt.

    • 'desi'gner gooner says:

      Awesome Simpdon…….and yeah you’re excused for your choice of that expletive for a verb!!!

  9. Damo says:

    Great article and really embodies our belief that something truly wonderful is about to happen at the Emirates.
    On top of Cazorla, Giroud, Podolski, RVP? And all our other existing great players I feel that this season will be the watershed moment for the often maligned midfield maestro Diaby.
    I’m picking a double with RVP staying, apologizing and becoming the true Arsenal legend we all thought he was a month ago

    • Mutsa says:

      I toltally agree, I belive this season will be one to remember for the gunners. However I would really like to see two more defensive signings, fingers crossed for Sahin loan, and a quality CB. Does anyone know if the Verminator has a little brother?

    • just me says:

      If we get sahin on loan then i’d say arsene will use alex song as 4th or 5th choice centre back when needed and with coquelin or yannaris more than able to play some part at right back this season i’d say we are pretty much ok at the back, we just need to keep every1 fit and defend a bit deeper and concentrate as a defensive unit, cut out the silly mistakes and we’ll be there or thereabouts at the business end of the season me thinks, COYG.. IN ARSENE WE TRUST!

    • just me says:

      also i think the appointment of steve bould as no2 is good appointment

    • Godwin says:

      I am totally in agreement with you on RVP staying, apologizing and becoming the true Arsenal legend.

  10. Gem CASA. says:

    Lovely post. I can forsee the season already.

  11. oneniltothearsenal says:

    f**k me I enjoy your articles lol, top notch stuff

  12. Mahatma Nayaka Adhitama says:

    Nice piece, well written and articulated. Good addition with Kipling’s “If”. Nowadays everyone is fixated on the end result and not caring about the process to get there. It doesn’t matter if we’re throwing away tons of money as long as we win. It doesn’t really inspire integrity or responsibility to our future generations. If winning trophies is what people only care about, these examples might make people think twice: Penn Sate (American) Football the cost of winning trophies was allowing young boys to be raped by the assistant coach, Marion Jones the cost of the her gold medals was doping, and many other “winners” or “trophy bearing individuals” who believed that winning is more important than the game it self. In retrospect lets look at the costs of this ridiculous sports environment on our values. Winning isn’t everything, what matters is playing for what you believe in. Thank you Mr. Wenger, for providing hope to the next generation, and for teaching us to respect our own value and to put forth what we believe in before winning some piece of symbolized metal. The game is always bigger than the prize.

    Nice piece, absolutely stunning Daniel.

    • Godwin says:

      I just can’t wait for us to win the title this season and display the trophies in the faces of Chelsea, Liverpool and Man city, so they would know that it’s not about splashing cash.

  13. Lawrence Ochogwu says:

    Great Great article. This all leaves us supporters with a new found believe for the new season. Personally, I don’t mind if we still don’t win anything, I just want to be excited by this new season and all these signings are already making it so. Thanks for the article and a bigger thank you to Arsene.

  14. […] Right about now though everybody is feeling pretty good and buzzing about the new season and rightly so. We have brought in 3 world class players and done it the old Wenger way, right from under everyone’s noses, and for crazily low fees.  @thedanielcowan over at North London is Red summarized this tradition superbly well this week so no need for me to duplicate his quality work. http://northlondonisred.co.uk/wenger-and-arsenal-do-it-again-time-to-win-2/ […]

  15. Excellent article – clear thinking and rational. I feel sick when I see Arsenal fans bemoaning Wenger’s methods – it’s nice to hear a sensible fan’s thoughts.

  16. Hey Is it just me or can u really replace 1999 with 2012 and arsenal with manu. . “The year is 1999 and Arsenal have just finished the season without a trophy. They have been comprehensively beaten by an inspired Chelsea by 5 goals to nil in the Worthington Cup, have exited the Champions League in 3rd spot behind Lens in 2nd and group winners Dynamo Kyiv, lost the FA Cup semi-final to Manchester United in extra-time and missed out on the league on the final day of the season to Manchester United by 1 point.” OK not exactly but very close just hope manu doest fces same as what we did.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      The idea of that part of the post was to describe how we had missed out on winning trophies (like we have in a few recent seasons) and then lost key players (like in recent seasons) but had managed to quietly go about building a very strong squad that won a lot of trophies. I believe we are doing that now.

  17. Nir says:

    good to know about the money spent on caroll by liverpool is the combined total of the money we paid for santi, poldi and giroud. Good job, Arsene and gazidis and Daniel 🙂

  18. Abdul Raheem says:

    Fantastic article, spot on with the statistics. this has given we Arsenal fans more hope for a better tomorrow. the buzz may have just began but the excitement of lifting a trophy at the end of the season continues to grow with lesser days to the match against Sunderland on August 18. i cannot wait for the season to commence coz something big is about to happen.
    Daniel thanks for these though inspiring articles also read the last one but could not comment. please keep it up.

  19. John Paul Goddard says:

    Firstly very well written piece and something of an inspirational burst prior to the new season. That being said I would add just a couple of additions – Wenger didn’t just rebuild a team he grew it. This point is somewhat missed as I personally believe that this season the young-guns, Walcott, Ramsey, Wiltshere and Oxlaide-Chamberlain will become firthright players in their own right. Second, whilst AW does demonstrate depending on your point of view principled consistence or obstinate stubbornness (on this issue I fall somewhere between the two!) in his buys, there is an argument to be made that with the drought of trophies for not just ‘a few seasons’ but for 8 years that unfortunately if you wish to play the game you have to play by the same rules as everyone else. You quite rightly point out that it is admirable that compared to our contemporaries it is amazing that we still secure top 4 and play Champions League football – but the world is changing, in fact it has changed and it is not a case of sacrificing 3 or good players for one very good player but you do need the addition of one World Class player. It is a false economy to suggest otherwise. Record signings usually create record merchandise sales, which in other clubs also lead to increased ticket take-up (not a problem for Arsenal) and have in all cases a retained ‘sell-on’ fee or an insurance policy for career ending injury. But it is more what it does for the club, the fans and the players. It instills belief, it sends a message, it announces we are ready for a fight to the world. Whatever anyone’s personal views with the recent news re RVP, it is clear to me that his issue was not one about finances or wage structures but about ambition and ability to compete and deliver. Equally around half of the bargain buys you have listed despite 1 good season or a few good games didnt really produce much. With higher paid, world class players of course this can happen to (Torres at Chelsea for example) but it happens less so. Do not get me wrong I think this year we have shown more ambition in the market than we have for a long time and I welcome this and even if we were not to capture Sahin this time I would still think it has been our best transfer period for perhaps a decade. That being said look at some of the other buys at other clubs and please do not delude yourself that this is the Arsenal ‘invincible’ team of old, it is not and it wont be. The real criticism, in fact the only criticism I have of your very well written and informed piece is one of duration. It seems to me you believe the rebuild job to be done, my own opinion is that it is a very good start but an awful long way from completion. The biggest accolade I can pay Wenger however is that there is always pressure for managers to spend especially at the creme de la creme of clubs and when he does finally open his wallet, it is very likely we are to get value for money. Either way a nice optimistic start to the season, so thank you for that!!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks John. I’m not arguing that the rebuilding has finished but that we have built a squad on the quiet that are truly capable of challenging (in my opinion) for the title. Every season we have a team good enough to win a cup, luck, injuries etc allowing but rarely in the past 8 years have a I felt that our squad could challenge over 38 games especially with the style of football in the league and certainly with the brutishness of some of the teams we face. With such a young and increasingly small team I always felt we’d get bullied too easily but not this time.

      I disagree on the world-class player requirement. In 2002 we can argue that we didn’t have any world-class players but that our double winning season created world-class monikers for half of those players. I believe that in the current squad we have a number of extremely good players who given the chance in a successful season with Arsenal will finish the season with world-class monikers or very close indeed.

    • John Paul Goddard says:

      Well I take your point although still disagree the wonderful thing about football is in 8 months time we will know who was right – also don’t discount the fact that there still may be a surprise in the transfer window – he has always been canny like that too. Either way let the positivity around the team we both love continue and come on the Gooners!! 🙂

  20. createstrain says:

    brilliant. i defy any team not to be even more worried now especially the tiny tots, i almost feel sorry for them…..almost.

  21. sam says:

    Excellent article! love the depth of research. I know I’m biased but this is the type of analysis that the main stream media outlets simply fail to offer.

    One thing that really struck me instantly about Cazorla is how genuinely happy he seems to be. He looked like a kid at christmas during his interviews. I really hope his personality translates into the way he performs on the pitch. It always nice to see players perform with a smile on their face.

    Still worried about the defence tho! 🙂

  22. Khang Bùi says:

    i still can not imagine how arsenal gonna be without arsene, what he did for the club is incredible and people still question about his managing skill, the one thing i am questioning is medical staff, arsenal have more injury and players recover slower compare to the top clubs, also we really need an appropriate coach for our back fours, arsenal has been scoring most but as well conceded most over the past 8 years, i think it due to the lack of communication between players and offside trap.

  23. Debo Aladekomo says:

    What an interesting write up. Looking forward to a most memorable season with our new inclusions. Proud to be a gooner.

  24. manjiT says:

    Very good indeed! Also the poem..

  25. wilfried says:

    i really love the post but i think sometimes when we play to win something it is worth to spend even once more money on key players that can contribute to winning.i think it is time to win at least one trophy this coming season.we cannot keep on being third in the league for almost 4years now.let’s gun them all and take what is ours.

  26. I totally agree with Sam up there! Nothing to add, except: Great read!

  27. Kay says:

    Good article and Frank comments– The right full back remains a concern with SAGNA’s Injury. We need a very solid back four. i like what is happeneing at the left full back where we have two superb options.

  28. Alp says:

    Great writing! And good points. Here is more positive about the Gunners http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Sxsj7QBHk&list=HL1344420705&feature=mh_lolz

  29. 'desi'gner gooner says:

    Excellent article. Yes he has managed to do it again – in his own inimitable style – thats Wenger for you….We have got the signings and a proper Squad as you mentioned. The only thing now is how quickly these players can gel together and start playing the Arsenal way. Last season’s late signings affected our play in the beginning of the season and it will indeed take a bit of time for the likes of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud to settle in the Arsenal team and Premier League football. But hopefully they can hit the ground running soon enough – that will ensure that we are in the hunt for the league this time around. A good start I believe is vital for us this time around. Especially since the other contenders don’t look too better placed than ourselves….

    The league will be interesting this season. Man United have a new look midfield which will take time to settle…they have their own Wellbeck contract issues going on as well. Chelsea have got a practically new team if we consider the fact that Torres has yet not settled there, and they have made a slew of signings…they will definitely take time to gel together and this season will be their re-building. And of course the January transfer window will see the customary managerial sack as well down there….Liverpool have massive re-building to do after Kenny’s bunch of overpriced dead-woods were exposed last season. Tiny tots well….they are never in the running anyways – this line I wrote just to rub it in…..

    The one team that looks well settled is Man Citeh. But to expect an equillibrium in a system that consists of elements like Balotelli & Tevez is too good to be true….there will be blood down there. They have been remarkably quiet in the window as well. I won’t be surprised if they made a surge for RVP late on in the window….
    And that is where I think we can really stamp our authority this season. The squad is looking great at the moment…We can seemingly cope even with the departure of RVP, but if we really hold on to him I think – it will be a massive boost to our prospects. Our squad looks all the more lethal with him in it….That is the one bit of decisive business left to achieve in this window. Sahin…its okay – I can live without him.

  30. Doye says:

    A very good and true article. However, I must point out an important fact we all know. Unfortunately Arsen has been replacing his initially cheap players when they become sought after players. Although he is reaping hugh profits making smart buys he is just wasting his time in terms of winning trophies. I’m all for saving money but he needs/wants to keep theses sought after players as the younger ones mature in order to form his super squad but he can’t. Its like filling a bucket perfectly to the brim while simultaneously punching holes in the bottom. It’s the managers job to retain/attract good player. Some do it by winning trophies, Others do it by serious spending, currently we do neither and it hasn’t worked for so many seasons as we patiently await a miracle.

  31. andy says:

    Added to bookmarks. Will be reading this again when I get the time. Brilliant post!

  32. David Van says:

    The Idea of barca looping in and out every season over arsenal players therefore, making unstable is not fair. There are not the only club in the world that play the best football or can win trophy. They play best football with cheating every well using tricks to deceive ref just for them to win trophy. Also there are racist club.They will sign players from other countries and never start game, they only useless them and dump them. They only value spanish players and use them as first choice why others comes as substitute. They bought Alex Hleb when he was on fire at arsenal and there couldn’t used him and left with anger is this not useless? Bosquet is playing nothing but they use him ahead of Yaya Toure and Keita so to you Song if you eventually go there and at the end they will dump you also. How about Afeley. Fabrigas only being used bcs he’s a spanish player and also from their Academy. So be warned song. Thank you. David Die Hard gunner

  33. Following you on twitter. Class article.

  34. peters says:

    putting my thoughts into words better than i ever could. it’s not really hard to see the structure arsene has built which i strongly expect to begin to bear trophies this season but most people prefer to hear big monies being spent because that’s the new world order of show off. monies u can’t really throw around if u made your money in the uk, us and other civilised places.thanks for helping me put it so well bro.

  35. tyler says:

    As smart as Wenger is, I think we can all say that last season he failed in the transfer window. He panic bought at the end of the window. Yes those were players he already knew well and wanted, but the 8-2 thrashing is what opened his eyes to the fact that his youth were not as good as Man U’s youth. However, he learned. This offseason he has taken care of the RVP situation early. Now whether he stays or goes, RVP does not make or break our team. Yes we are stronger with him, but who isnt? Wenger has put together a great team for a fraction of the cost. What happens when Chelsea and Man City over pays for a mediocre player? They turn into Liverpool or Malaga. Over spending clubs will eventually eat themselves. Only responsible business & good management will keep the club at the top for years to come. And only Arsenal and Man U will still be at the top in 20 years. Hats off to our competitors in Man U, they do business the right way, as much as it pains me to say it. As long as the title doesn’t go to the blues, I’m happy. However, I prefer it to go to London draped in RED!

  36. Homer says:

    Nice Post. Many thoughtful comments here. Many less so.

    The trophies/silverware thing. Look lads, its a sport. Competition. Game. Anything can happen and it usually does in the Prem. Splashing cash, ambition and all that is just blabber.

    If the cups were handed out on so-called “ambition” or “spending” or (and I hate this one) number of “world class players”, then why even play the games? Just Give Real Madrid the CL cup now. Give Chels. or City the Prem cup now, and let’s all go to the beach! Oh right, right … need to play the games first.

    Love the optimism of this post. Keep it up, sir!

    Wenger is smart man and brilliant manager. The Club is well financed (w/o the threat of implosion. Which reminds me: Fack OFF Dein the Younger. You are a parasite; and that great oaf Usmanov, too.)

    Great things to come.

  37. Anuj says:

    I am a gooner and for me I’d say arsenal is not a club that buys world-class players, but makes world-class players. All these big-spender clubs have been buying world-class players by big spending but instead all the talent of the player washes away with that big-money. There are places where you get comments on Arsenal that they have no players and won’t finish in top 4 this time but get themselves proved wrong because they think their club bought great talent and after the talent gets washed-off they are like just wait and watch. I always have one reply for that ‘Just wait and watch, because Arsenal has made some great talent.’ I still remember when the AC Milan manager told about Arsenal in Champions League that they don’t have star players while they have got Ibrahimovic and Thiago. But now I see the stars were not loyal for the club. Look at Arsenal, no matter in whatever condition is the squad in but they surely turn out to be a threat. And I can see nervousness in Mancini from now.

  38. Byensi Bin says:

    This is not about valuation, its about scouting for them at a low price, relax and read through again

  39. Only thing about that transfer comparison chart is we’re comparing ourselves to more successful teams. That chart basically states that the teams getting big money players have benefited from it. The key is to build a strong team like we currently have now, and have 1 or 2 superstars as the centerpiece. With the purchase of Carzorla, Giroud, Podolski im proud to say have strong positional competition within the team finally, but I still think a major defensive purchase is in order. Mertesacker sucks unfortunately. Vermaelen is great but is a number 2 center back, not 1. Koscielny should be an outside back, he was incredible there. Sagna is fine. So Arsenal should bid for either (Rami, Chiellini, or Ramos). ***Not revising this so sorry if their are errors***

  40. Kiran Shetty says:

    Fantastic article. Worth $1 million

  41. Fola says:

    Good article,looking forward to an excitement season.Gooner 4 life

  42. Masiya says:

    Masiya Madzima
    Wow!! Fantastic article… Truth told with stats.. Done well my son..

  43. james says:

    while i am happy that arsenal are now buying the standard of players they should have been buyin three years ago. i do belive that the club needs to think bigger and move for world class defenders like hummels or lahm of germany. not the player who cant get into the team anymore(mertersacker).
    arsenal used to have teams that could challenge for the titles and champions league but chose to cash in on limited success Anelka 22m,petit 15m,. instead of doing what the other top teams do add players who are better than you already have.
    heres hoping the signing of santi is a sea change in that arsenal will now strengthen what they have instead of selling off the top players.
    would manu sell rooney to us ..liverpool…chelsea…or city no chance.

    • Clam says:

      Anelka left, King Henry came – whats your problem? And for the rest of your comment do read the article once more I believe you didn’t really get Daniel’s gist.

  44. Shubham says:


    Well written piece. This shows how Arsenal has remained competitive without throwing crazy money that some clubs have. Btw, you missed Rooney, Nani, and Anderson at MUFC.


  45. BrisVegas Gooner says:

    Hey man! Good job! Been reading the last couple of blogs that you posted and It is nice to have someone so optimistic as I am! Kinda went pessimistic when Captain Vantastic threw a bomb with wanting to leave but I reckon he just wanted to get the management to open up the check book. You know, to force a change of direction. He will resign after signing Santi I think! I hope so anyway.

    Really excited about the new season now and I really believe that we got it right this time around with the capture of Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla. It is definitely the time to win!

    I still think we need better cover for RB. Jenkinson has plenty of pace and chucks in good crosses but his positioning has a long way to go. It will be a source of a lot of heartaches this season if its not sorted before the start of the season.

  46. Adedipe Adekunle says:

    Well said, well researched.Nothing to add except that it is unfortunate that players like RVP who had not contributed much to challenges for trophy prior to last season and AW kept faith with him all along can now turn round to lay the charges of low ambition. He should be made to serve his contract and let us see his market value at 30+.

  47. rokan says:

    u stole my slang(pogoalski)

  48. Ton D says:

    How North London Is Red has been under my radar is beyond me. But I’m glad somebody from The Official Arsenal Supporters Club Philippines posted a link to this article. Well-written and insightful. Well-researched as well. I’m glad I’m not the only person who’s genuinely positive about the coming season.

  49. Richard says:

    A great article, I’m sure the trophies will come soon, last seasons wasn’t our best, losing two quality players, and panic buying, but at the end of the day we finished third, above Chelsea and Tottenham, who both spend quite big on players.
    I think we are going to have a great 2012/13 season, I don’t even think that winning the league is out of the question, as long as players stay fit, having Wiltshire and Diaby back will make a big difference.

  50. Onalaja Oluwalana says:

    Honestly, this is a nice piece……I have always believe and positive my loving club is going for at least a double this season. We watched the team for the love of the game and total loyalty and dedication to the club, it is always fascinating seen this guy’s playing whether we win or loose it is always a great thing watching the game, unfortunately some fans only watch the goal “Little do they know”. AFC is a culture and a lifestyle, I believe in AFC, AW and the GUYS. Someone should talk to RVP to be very careful, He mean so much to me like an IDOL, if he loose that, he may never regain it cos I don’t change my mind easily……Does he have a dream at all? if yes! what could have been the great dream of having his statue in the Emirate and considered as legend forever, If he really believed in the club as claimed, he should be reasonable to know that the club is on the verge of getting many trophies, “MANY PEOPLE CAN’T SEE IT BUT WE DO”

    Daniel you have done a great job here, KEEP IT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Onalaja Oluwalana from Nigeria

  51. Ayo says:

    Fantastic article! In Arsen we TRUST…am proud to be a GUNNER & belive this season will be one to remember for us gunners.

  52. SimP says:

    I see Conte’s been banned for 10 months so Juventus is looking even less attractive for RVP. So – if he stays – what does AW do about the captaincy? Anyone else feel that it’s been used as an incentive to keep players at the club?

  53. Julien Durand says:

    I’ve only been reading for two week, but the depth and breadth of the research in each of your articles is astounding, and, quite frankly, refreshing.

    Would love to see you do a piece on the Invincibles season with that kind of dedication. I lived in the States at the time and missed pretty much all the magic, which I now try to recapture by watching poorly edited YouTube clips :p Anyway, your take on it and how it compares to where we are today would really interest me.

  54. Lawrie Armstrong says:

    Wow. This transfer list makes other managers seem completely imcompetent. Maybe we haven’t won a title in several years, but in that space of time, the quality of football as an actual spectacle has been the best on display in Europe,aside from Barcalona. Consider that we’ve qualified for the Champions league every season in those eight years, and it starts to become very clear the Wenger has taken a giant crap on the rest of Europe’s elite, especially the clubs owned by the mega-rich. Bravo.

  55. Fantastic article!! I love your writing and you obviously have taken your time to do your research. Big admirer now, I’ll be reading from here on out. I’d love for you to critique my new blog and perhaps give some points of advice for an aspiring Arsenal blogger?

  56. […] Stellenwert bei Talenten genießt.Der Weg wird fortgesetztDaniel Cowan stellt in seinem Blog North London Is Red Arsenals Transfertätigkeiten seit 1999 jenen anderer Topklubs gegenüber. Während aufseiten der […]

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