Can Any Manager Win The Premiership On Arsenal’s Budget?

I realize this is a radical question that can easily be misinterpreted as being defeatist or lacking ambition. But that doesn’t take away the fact that apart from Wenger no one has come close to winning the Premiership on Arsenal’s budget. Even then if we accept for a moment that Arsene should go, it’s important to consider who can come in and deliver the big trophies.

Obviously, the key question is what is Arsenal’s budget?

It’s impossible to get official figures on this but my guess is that Arsenal can spend a net of about £40M once. It must be noted that this kind of spending cannot be done every year but once. Subsequent years will either see much lower spending or a high degree of churn and instability.

I noticed this table on the transfer league website.

Click on the image to view a larger version

It must be noted that some numbers are clearly skewed due to freak cases. For instance, Ancelotti’s Net spending is high but that is due to the signings from this January that have not had enough time to make an impact. Similarly, Fergie’s numbers are affected by the sale of Ronaldo and the length of his tenure. That doesn’t take anything away from his abilities but it’s something to be kept in mind while analyzing these numbers.

It’s interesting to note that plenty of managers have spent a Net amount in excess of £40M without coming close to the title. Of course, it hasn’t always been spent in one year but we can see there is no shortage of managers who have tried spending money with little success.

Hughes, Houllier, Benitez, Ranieri, among others have spent a lot without winning the title. Mourinho and Ancelloti have benefitted from the spending of previous managers. They haven’t won the title with the kind of budget that Arsenal have.

Fergusson is a special case and I don’t want to bring him into the picture as it will make it unnecessarily complicated. But he has spent considerably large amounts on a consistent basis.

In fact, there are far too many managers who have spent huge sums without even making it to the top four. Hughes, Eriksson, Ramos, Jol, Keane, and O’Neill are excellent examples of good managers who have failed despite spending money. Redknapp and Mancini are flirting with the fourth spot but both have the benefit of relying on their predecessors’ spending and have forked out significant sums themselves.

Considering these numbers it seems the only managers who have competed for the title are 1)Ferguson, 2) Wenger, 3)Some managers with a few hundred million pounds of spending, 4)Benitez in one year after a high degree of churn in his initial years, eventually left the club in a mess after constant demands for more money.

It must also be noted that no club has become successful after one season of spending. Abramovich splashed his cash for two years before tasting success. City have already seen three years of spending. Tiny Totts have spent £300M over eight years for one spot in the Champions League.

Based on this background the following questions seem relevant

1)      Can any manager win the ‘current’ Premiership with Arsenal’s budget?

2)      Can it be done in the first year of spending?

3)      If not how long will that manager be given?

4)      Since there is no sugar daddy at Arsenal (Kroenke is not in the same league as Abramovic or Sheikh Mansour, and the financial fair play rules are now closer than ever), can Arsenal risk giving all their transfer budget to a new guy and hope for the best?

5)      What is the contingency plan if the new manager fails to win the big trophies?

6)      What is the disaster recovery plan if the new guy fails to make it to the top four despite spending all the money?

I know some fans don’t like to get into so many details. For them it’s easy to claim Arsenal just need two or three players (take your pick from Goalkeeper, central defenders, left-back, DM, winger, clinical striker) and success is guaranteed (this assumption in often implied even if not stated explicitly). Those opinions are a waste of time. So leaving aside the simplistic claims that Arsenal just need two or three proven players to win everything and be a football superpower, can someone answer the above questions?

I’m not saying it cannot be done. I’m just curious to know how it can be done and what the contingency plans are. If we blame Wenger for not having a plan B how can we propose simplistic solutions without a plan B or C?

I understand the temptation to list out a few names and claim that they will take Arsenal to the next level. But if you want to do that can you also realistically factor in how many of the new guys will adapt to the league immediately, how many will need time and if so how long, how many will suffer injuries, how many will have attitude problems, and so on.

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Anyone willing to take him on?


81 Responses to Can Any Manager Win The Premiership On Arsenal’s Budget?

  1. Albo says:

    And don’t forget, that table includes several years when Wenger DID spend money. His net since 2003 is a negative figure!

  2. SUGA3 says:

    Desi,

    nice writing, however, there was no need to impose the restrictions as much as AW did, i.e. we could afford to top up the team in the winter, plus, we could have and should have replaced four shit players who never get a look in anyway until it’s too late because of being shit with two players who would constitute genuine options…

    and if we are to compare, perhaps we should ask ourselves the following question:

    can any manager do much better job motivation and tactics wise given the same team?

    • sameep says:

      Please tell me how do you know that we could afford a player in the winter? From the recently published half yearly financial results, Arsenal did not make any profits (actually we lost about 2 millions). So isn’t it a smart approach from the manager to wait for the yearly results before spending unearned money?

    • Mik says:

      can you tell which players actually were available in the Winter which were in our budget? Torres?

  3. John says:

    Excellent piece Desi as always I think most people know only Wenger could have kept us competitive on the budget he had.

    I feel he was let down by not having the background team Fergie had at Utd to push the commerical income and increase staduim revenues.

    That said the move to the Emirates is complete we also have money there and it should be invested thats all the fans want. I do understand if he brings in an experience player like a centre half then Bartley will leave but he must get the balance of experience and youth right thats what the man has got wrong the past number of years.

    That and he has be badly let down by players he shown huge believe in aka Denislon, Alumnia, Rosicky, Arshivan, Eboune and Bendther and Squallaci.

    If they are sold and added to what money we could be reinvested the lot in players who want to play week in week out and will fight for a first team spot, not just be happy taking a pay cheque.

    • noname?? says:

      arshavin??? whether he plays in his unfavourable position, he still produces a lot of assists and goals compared to the other… plus, he is not fragile… small but can play till end of the season… that is much worth than being sidelined(because of injury) most of the season…

  4. Ole Gunner says:

    Can Any Manager Win The Premiership On Arsenal’s Budget?

    YES

    Arsene Wenger.

  5. SUGA3 says:

    Ole,

    I think you will find that we have not won an argument since AW stopped spending…

  6. JP says:

    In football you have to buy players that’s the way it works. Wenger has to take the blame because the players he rolled the dice on have come up wanting. ie Chamack, Kos, Squilaci

    I am watching Chicarito tear up SCH, Man United made a good buy with him and he didn’t cost much. Yes buying is a risk but that’s the nature of the business. You cannot let fear cripple you and not buy players.

    WE NEED BETTER PLAYERS! There is a reason why Denilson and Almunia are left at Arsenal during International break.

    I certainly enjoy the your analysis that are full of insight. But it comes down to getting the right personel, and we don’t have it yet.

    • santori says:

      United have some very ordinary players in their ranks. BUT their work rate is enormous and only matched by the size of SAF’s hairdryer or his threat to cut them.

    • Domhuaille says:

      JP it isn’t that simple…..we need to bring in some new blood for sure and get rid of the baggage like Eboue,Almunia,Vela,Squillaci,Diaby,Denilson. However we also need to KEEP our best players and that means fighting off poaching clubs like Barca,Real,Shitty, AC Milan etc. Cesc,Nasri,and Clichy have all been approached or tapped up this season or last so we need to be wise and aware.

  7. Andy says:

    if you are going to talk about budget then what about Arsenal’s wage bill….third highest in the league! Rather than buying players Arsene decided it would be better to reward kids and under-achieving players with vast sums of money and new contracts.

    • desigunner says:

      I agree the wage bill is high but I don’t want to comment on it until I see the breakdown of all the top teams i.e. the kind of wages players are on.

      It is also a catch-22. For instance, Nasri is not on a high wage and he might get a big offer in the summer. People will then blame Wenger for not giving him the right hike. Fans criticize Wenger for not giving Flamini a crazy hike. If he’d stayed on big money and flopped (which is quite likely given his performances before and after that one season) the same fans would be criticizing Wenger for giving a big salary to a guy who isn’t doing enough.

    • sameep says:

      Well, again, we are third on wage bill (and will be 4th after this years results, Man city will surpass us.) and who is ahead of us in that list? Man United and Chelsea. And who is ahead of us right now, I think you guessed it. You are actually talking in favor of Desi’s point. With Arsenal’s budget (include your wage bill point also), Arsene is producing what is possible and actually could produce miracles if injuries, referees and his own players try to help!

  8. Tim says:

    Our budget is 111 million pounds in wages. This is almost as big as Man Utd and Chelsea who have aging squads but we never finish in top two.So the answer is yes of course ferguson and ancelotti have done that (won trophies) last season and this season. Andre Villas-Boas can do it if given the chance.

    • santori says:

      Correct me if I am wrong :

      Since we balance off our investments in players, player wages are then met by our income (not least where our continued qualification for CL becomes crucial)

      Bottom line is we put ourselves in the position to afford our wages.

      • santori says:

        OTOH there is a case not to go over the top with our wages (arseblog has a good piece on this) AND we should be culling some of the non perfromers putting a strain on the structure.

        Allowances will have to be made to bring in new players so some players will have to go.

        I see three being (should be) culled (denilson, Vela and Rosicky) and 3 which may go on their own accord (Bendtner, Almunia and Fab if Barca can meet the price)

      • Tim says:

        Santori
        Yes, we put ourselves in the position to afford our wages but THIS IS NOT THE POINT.
        The actual point is that our player get paid (almost) the same money as the opposition’s players but they win trophies while we do not finish in top 2.

    • desigunner says:

      United are about 20% more than Arsenal and Chelsea are around 35% more than Arsenal. I don’t see how ‘this is almost as big as Utd or Chelsea’.

      Arsenal have a huge wage bill but don’t lose sight of the relevant details.

      • santori says:

        We have to be realisitc. We need to make allowance to keep the players we need these days.

        It’s too easy otherwise to lose your players to the clubs with deeper pockets.

        Just think Clichy, many have derided him thru the season but there ares till big clubs out to court him.

        What Arsenal have suceeded in doing is in keeping a team together which ensures stability and understanding (City and Spurs struggle because they have lacked this, but this might change)

        Agree we need to cull expenses on some of the players who have failed to achieve but it is a delicate balance none of us but Wenger has privy to.

        After all, if we are too quick to cull some of the young talents, we would not have witnessed Song stepping up or indeed Jack and Nasri this season.

  9. SoCal_Gun says:

    really good article, I love how soooo many Spuds managers are high on that list….and they haven’t accomplished anything. None of those guys (except for 1) could beat the Gunners let alone challenge for any competition.

    the ONLY manager who can win on Wenger’s budget is Wenger though

    Man City and common sense tell us that wholesale changes in players and coaches don’t lead to success. You need stability and continuity in the group.

    Wenger can win on his budget, but he needs to use his budget. We’ve all heard the stories of how Arsenal chase proven players, and then their bid falls short(usually by only 1-3 million). Also, every transfer window (this January included) we hear from the club’s leadership that Wenger will be given ample funds to sign new players, but nothing usually happens (except for Arshavin a few years ago)

    I know you say it’s the easy way out, but all that needs to happen are 2-3 additions, 2-3 subtractions, keep all the key guys here, and maybe change 2-3 people in the coaching staff. Pat Rice wants to retire, this could be a blessing in disguise.

    Nobody doubts Wenger’s ability to find and develop talent. He is THE BEST IN THE WORLD at getting a good deal. As of late though, people have been questioning his ability to motivate players and of course his stubbornness with tactics.

    I would have said that he also seems to get attached some players, and really wants to see them succeed to vindicate his belief in them. But with Eboue being left off the team all together, hopefully that will be a thing of the past

    IF UEFA decides to enforce the Fair Play regulations (which I seriously doubt they will) then Wenger will dominate the world without having to change anything

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not against two-three additions. But if the additions are not big names fans will not take them seriously. The vibes will be extremely negative even if the players are good. Just look at the reaction when Vermaelen was signed or Koscielny. I am really disappointed with that attitude. Not saying all fans are like that, perhaps the majority are not, but the noise-makers certainly are.

      Another important point is that there is an inherent assumption in your statement that two-three signings will take Arsenal over the line. But if the key players don’t deliver (like they haven’t in the last few games) these signings won’t make a difference. At that stage fans will find someone else to criticize.

      I think some reshuffling of the squad will be good but there are other fundamental issues that need to be addressed. Wenger can achieve both but it will take some doing.

      • Northbanksy says:

        Signing any “big name” player is increasingly difficult for AFC.Even if the club was able to stump up the transfer fees, the wages policy would be a problem. The sad reality is that in the UK alone there are 4 clubs that are prepared to pay more…in Europe probably another 5/6. So if any of these clubs is competing for the same player, the liklihood is that they won’t go to Arsenal.

      • Mik says:

        actually Fabregas in my opinion completely failed to deliver this season. 3 goals vs 15 last year. He could have made the difference to win a title. But even if we sold him, which world class player would be available and able to deliver immediately?

      • santori says:

        Think a 40m transfer kitty. If you need to reinforce 3 positions (which we may have to), it won’t get you much.

        That’s say 2 15m quality players and a 10m.

        The crucial thing is IF Fab leaves, we may get a little bit extra to play with but I really don’t see Wenger breaking the bank for the big marquee names. We simply can’t sustain competition against the likes of United, Chelsea or City (Let alone the other big clubs on the continent)

        With that in mind, our continued youth development has been extremely successful in keeping us competitive.

        What we need is a bit of balance. Wenger will probably get one experience player to come in and shore things up but the philosophy of youth development will be continued and that would mean graduating those capable to take the step up into the first team (Maybe Frimpong)

        OTOH those that are unable to swim (Denilson, Vela, Bendtner) should make way for the wage allowance along with those a little past the sell by date (Rosicky)

  10. klaus says:

    If we sign only one player, my wish is for us to sign Neymar. Brilliant in every way. And maybe the only really world class (top ten) player we can hope for in this inflated marked

    • santori says:

      He will be too expensive as his profile is rather high at the moment. It will also leave us with less to einforce other crucial areas.

      OTOH, his compatriot Ganso may be more affordable. If Fab, leaves, he may make a worthy understudy to AA or Nasri who should be moved in field to take over the mantle (I personally prefer Andrei as he has been consistent with his assists and has lost a bit of pace)

      The other thing about Ganso is he plays with both feet and is not afraid to shoot from distance. His height is also useful (6ft). He is willing to track back and win the ball and is good with his off ball movement. Did I mention he’s Brasilian?

    • SoCal_Gun says:

      NO

      that’s a typical knee jerk reaction

      He’s a young kid, unproven at a high level and he’s going to be expensive

      All he’s done is impress in Brazil and in 2 international friendlies (that didn’t count for anything)

      He might be truly world class in 3-5 years, but that won’t help the Gunners next season

      they need PROVEN players

      • santori says:

        Too late for Ganso even. He is being courted by the Milan clubs. Interesting times with the Calcio up ahead.

        If we lose Fabregas, I expect Wenger might go to Nasri and Andrei as playmakers. Then perhaps reinforce our wings with some extra speed.

      • santori says:

        What is a ‘proven’ player?

        If you mean one that has won a title, there are plenty of average ones that have that to their credit.

        1) The players we have (although they have won nought) have has top experience for the last 5 years and are still growing in capabilities.

        2) Proven players have beenr ecruited by other teams (Chelsea) but have not delivered them anything more than we have either.

        What we need is the right player for the dynamics we are trying to achieve. If they come with some experience then all the better. BUt the first priority is the capability they bring to the team that we may lack at the moment.

  11. Tim says:

    Desi, people say to Wenger to splash the cash because HE IS GOOD IN THE TRANSFER MARKET. His scouting is good.His most expensive signings have turned out to be success most of the time.Henry in 1999 for 10 millions. Vermaelen for 10 millions.Koscielny for 10 million euros at least for me is a good signing. Arshavin and Nasri for 15 and 12 million euros have turned out to be good overall. Lauren from Mallorca in 1999 for 7,5 millions.Pires and Edu for 6 millions. Jeffers and Wiltord and maybe Reyes have been flops.Adebayor,Walcott and Rosicky(before the injury) were good signings.Hleb for 11 millions was a good signing.

    • santori says:

      2-3 astute signings will do us a world of good.

      Whilst we won’t have the money to get marquee names, I think we can be competitive with players who are willing to play for Arsenal (Hazard) or those who have lost some value (Benzema) or those still slightly under the radar (Ganso)

      • santori says:

        I’m told Ezequil Garay is also worth a look at as he has not featured regularly for Real.

        I’m just not quite sure if Wenger will think he can accomodate Garay with Vermaelen set to return to partner Djourou and given Koscielny is only in his first season.

        Squillaci would be the most likely to make way but he has the benefit of being content to warm the bench for periods of time and also room has to be made for Ignasi Miguel.

        One way to accomodate a new CBack might be to experiment with moving Kos into DM cover for Song which will also somewhat help solidify the midfield, particularly when we need to close games or when we’re leading 4-0 😉

      • SoCal_Gun says:

        yupp exactly

        I’d say the goalkeeping situation is fine.

        the Verminator should be back next yr, so they only really need 1 central defender.

        Maybe 1 midfield player, as Denilson and Rosicky have proven to be crap. Diaby and Song should continue to improve and Arshavin WILL be better too

        And up front, RVP is the definition of injury prone. I haven’t given up on Chamakh either, but idk about B52 or Vela so much any more. Theo really improved this year, and his speed scares everyone. He should start from now on. So maybe add 1 attacker as well

        add 3 players, cut some of the fat (Almunia, Denilson, Eboue, mayb Vela and/or B52), and most importantly find a realllllllly good assistant to replace Pat Rice if he leaves and Arsenal WILL win things next yr (and I’m talking about something more significant than the Carling Cup)

        the team is really strong, just a few tweaks are needed

  12. Tim says:

    Desi, it is true that the other managers have spent ridiculous money and they have not had that much success but they are stupid.They do not know how to spend the money correctly.
    For example, even my grandma knows that Alberto Aquilani would be a flop for 22 millions because he is injured all the time every season for Roma. Benitez obviously knows nothing. Glen Johnson is a good player but 17 millions for him ? What a rip-off!
    Fernando Torres has been poor and very injury prone for the last 18 months and he is 27 years old.He has 2 max 3 good years in him and they spend 50 millions on him ? It does not make sense. Carroll for 35 mill is just stupid but makes more sense because he is 22.I can go on for a lot of players.

    You just know who will be a SUCCESS and who will NOT BE VALUE FOR MONEY MOST OF THE TIME !
    These stats you are showing us do not mean that much.Wenger is a GOOD JUDGE of Talent. Cahill is overrated. Aguero and Vertonghen will be successful.

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure if you realize this or not but with the kind of knowledge, insight, and intelligence that you seem to think you have, there is a big market out there for you. Club owners and directors will pay you good money to help them make better decisions. You should try to reach out to them.

      I have seen way too many people belittle the work of those who are at the highest level in professional football. It’s easy to say all these managers are stupid. But I’m not sure that opinion carries much weight.

      On one hand you want to say that signings like Vermaelen and Koscielny are good, on the other we hear constant criticism of Arsenal’s defence and Wenger’s failure in signing the right goalkeeper or centre back. Who is right?

      This is a point I have raised quite often. There are hundreds of vocal critics out there but there isn’t much agreement amongst them. The only point where people unite is that the blame falls on Wenger (which is to an extent correct). But the hate and bitterness is extremely disproportionate.

      • Tim says:

        I agree with the first paragraph.If a top club hired me, I would make them successful 😛 😛 haha
        Seriously though , some of the transfer decisions that some(probably most) managers make are ridiculous.Are they retarded or what?

        In response to the third paragraph:
        We hear a constant criticism of Arsenal’s defense because we need a better defensive COACH just like you say in your articles and more tracking back from the midfielders.Vermalen and KOscielny are good signings.Kenny Dalgish appointed Steve Clarke as their coach and they have kept 9 clean sheets in 18 games while they have had tons of injuries and having to play youngsters in defense.

        Vermaelen is poor in the air so he should not be a centre back.Unfortunately, Wenger is not bold enough to make him a left back. Clichy’s crossing is not good enough while Vermalen can cross and shoot and he is quick and aggresive.Thomas is perfect for the left back. Full-backs are really important in the modern game.They must be able to attack so Clichy must be sold. It is as simple as that.
        I feel that if Wenger was training the players but I was able to pick the starting line-up and the substitutions, we would be successful.Bendtner must not be played on the right wing ever again and all that…

      • Phil23 says:

        This is in reply to Tims second comment “Vermaelen is poor in the air” Sorry but what? He’s better than Djourou in the air? He scored clutch goals for us with his head last year? (as well as his left boot of course) Sorry mate but Vermaelen is a wonderful Center back. His biggest weakness in defence is tracking players runs and he is not terrible at it either. Him and Djourou will prove to be the best partnership in the prem next year. Him and Koscielny will be the best parnership in Europe. Vertonghen fits the bill perfectly because he is the perfect replacement for Vermaelen when he is injured but also I would put him ahead of Gibbs as second choice left back and ahead of Denilson as second choice defensive mid. Something that is really bugging me also is that people keep saying we need a leader in defence and imo both Vermaelen and Djourou have proven to be those players… Djourou has faded but thats because there was a period during the year where they played an insane amount of games together and then just like I said they would they have both felt the effects later in the season. Its kind of simple to see that United are on a good run now because they used there back up players throughout the season and now there first team is not at the point of exhaustion like ours is. Then on top of that the Arsenal fans decide to pile on the pressure and make it that much harder for the boys. Anyway… if Vertonghen comes then we will have three authoritarian Center backs two of them having already captained Ajax.

      • santori says:

        Agree.

        Vermaelen (despite his stature) is very strong in the air (Not for no reason he pops goals in on the other end)

        Djourou has been strong too (Bolton apart), Koscielny and him have been pretty effective in cutting out service in the air (to say Carroll) so I think it’s a bit of a falcy that we are weak aerially.

        What we do lack is concentration.

        I’m not sure how Wenger will fit in another Cback.

        Given Vermaelen/Dourou have the potential to be a step up over our reasonable defense this season, I think Squillaci is the most likely to give way. However he has some utility in that as 4th choice, he is content with sitting it out for somee spells of time.

        That leaves Koscielny. I expect Wenger will give him the benefit of the doubt as it is his first season.

        The big worry for me is IF Djourou gets injured, we lack his physicality.

        I’m just not sure if we will enjoy as much success with a Vermaelen/Kos partnership.

        One way to accomodate another Cback may be to move Kos into midfield to cover as a DM for Song.

        However, we have a lot of players at the moment vying for this piece of the park (Song, Diaby, Frimpong to some extent Ramsey and Jack) and Kos can still cover whilst functioning as third choice Cback.

        It’ll be tricky to get the balance right as we must also leave possibilities for replacement up front (more likely IMO) particularly if Fab leaves.

        Here’s where I think Wenger earns his money.

  13. peter says:

    Don’t like this article at all, which is sole written from the perspective view of the club management. Fans only wish to get silverware. If the club offers little budget and AW manages to win something, that’s fine. If not, something needs to be changed.

    • critic says:

      typical example of a glory hunter……

      • santori says:

        Yes the longevity of the club at the highest level is more important. It does not discount a hunger for silverware but you need your basics right. The last thing you want is to be a Yo-yo club.

      • peter says:

        I wish to know now much Fulham and Stoke have spent to achieve their recent 5-nil and 3-nil win against Bolton. Probably, either one of their managers can easily take Wenger’s job.

  14. highaimer says:

    Hi,

    Good post. The only problem i have is this:

    Wenger has not managed to win a single trophy with Arsenal’s budget in six years…I, like many other gooners, believe he is the best manager in the premier league for what he does with so little. So, if he cannot win the league on our budget, nobody can.

    However, I do not see this as a good thing because that means Wenger is in need of doing things differently. Unfortunately, We all know how stubborn he is…

    People keep saying certain top players (the players arsenal need) are “too expensive”/”not worth it”/”too high-profile” but let me ask people this:

    If those players that are considered the best or most talented players available are outside of our transfer budget, then how will we ever compete? I mean, if we try to find cheaper players then those considered the best necessary to strengthen Arsenal, don’t we also lower the potential quality bracket?

    It’s straight forward, the complete and finished articles we need cost money. You have to move with the times, just like the average man had to find a way to make more money to survive in the current recession. Would you pay for the price increase in bread or choose to starve?
    Only people who have something to gain would choose the route we took over winning trophies. C’mon, think about it people…

    • JP says:

      i agree with you, We try and make lemonade out of Lemons all the time, high risk business. But all we seem to be getting is lemons. If we are not in the market for big names then we get what we get and that’s what we have now. 2nd and 3rd rate.

    • Domhuaille says:

      Highaimer: there is one glaring problem with your post….it isn’t a black or white issue when we talk about transfers. Yes, the top International transfers are way out of Arsenal’s reach (Torres, Ronaldo, Carroll, Higuain, Benezema, etc.) BUT players in the 10-15M Euro range (Wenger’s maximum) ARE still very good and CAN be integrated into the Arsenal,trained to the Arsenal strategy and tactics and produce). Wenger did that with Henry,Bergkamp, Viera, Cesc, Nasri,Walcott etc.)
      Therefore we can compete with mid-range skilled players and with out rapidly improving youth and veterans. As far as lowering the quality…not true at all: Arshavin, Ramsey, Miyaichi, Wellington Silva, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Szcesny hven’t lowered our quality.

      • highaimer says:

        @ domhuaille.

        I hear what you are saying mate but do you not think that, after six years, to still be in the 10 – 15 mil euro range player market is not good enough? We ain’t even talking GBP here…

        I’m not saying this for arguments sake, as i don’t agree with 50 mil £ signings, but i do expect arsenal to have some sort of progression in terms of transfer policy.

        The thing I’m really getting at here is 10 – 15 mil euros today gets you less quality than it did say 3 years ago. Times have changed and i think we should at least be talking between 15 min – 30 max for a shrewd (modern) Wenger signing.

        Arshavin – inconsistent this season. Ramsey – like him a lot but where does he fit in the current formation if cesc doesn’t leave. Miyaichi – has good potential but unproven on English shores. Wellington Silva – has talent but hardly plays on loan and again unproven. Vermaelen – injured all season but is our best defender. Koscielny – decent but is error prone. needs to bulk up. Szcesny – is our no1, confident but still requires more experience. Saying all this, there’s a lot of potential but, bar carrol, the other players you said would improve us. Wenger could get torres firing, don’t you agree?

        Lastly, name some players you like who you think would seriously strengthen Arsenal. now, tell me, are all their market values less than 15 mil euros? bearing in mind that’s a little less in £’s.

      • santori says:

        I think we have to be realistic.

        We are not in the business of breaking the bank for players.

        Long term stability is key, particularly if we can sustain CL qualification year in year out. That really is the real proof in the pudding that we are a successful club.

        So long as we can achieve that, we will always be in a position to challenge for honours (owever frustrating it has been in past seasons)

        Bearing that in mind, we do not have quite as much money to go around recruiting top top names given there are some teams willing to spend incomprhensible huge sums of money of late.

        Wenger will (have to) continue to get value for money. We may be able to splash out on one big marquee name but I think we need to be frugal or risk not being able to reinforce all the areas we need to.

        And here’s where Wenger has earn his keep.

        Considering that our revenue was below Chelsea’s pre-Abramovich at the start of the 2000s, Wenger has done an amazing job growing our financial power whilst moving to a new stadium AND crucially challenging for homours year in year out with our below par , inexperienced and weak defense team.

        That team has gained a lot of experience meanwhile and this season we are (vexing to say the least) closer than ever.

        What we need now is the right tweaks to get us a cross the line. 2-3 astute signings in key areas.

        IF we can say City, Spurs have improved significantly this season, then we should not belittle our effort in keeping ahead of them either.

        Hopefully we can pip Chelsea for second. That would represent some achievement considering we were told that we would finish outside top 4 at start of season in the first place.

        Bottom line, we have some lemons (like any team) but the bulk of the team are excellent and need the proper focused coaching./tactics to fully complete them.

        And it all points to Wenger’s astute abilities in the market. If we lose him, this could be the biggest IF factor, whether we will continue to find such value for talent in future.

        I’m not for any change in the manager. Just coaching staff refresh IMO.

    • desigunner says:

      How much did Wilshere cost? Djourou? Ramsey? Nasri?

      Have you noticed the change in the transfer policies of Chelsea and United in recent years? Torres and Luis were signed in desperation because Chelsea couldn’t develop the younger players like Arsenal did.

      That is why it is very important to keep the squad together and add whatever is required. Wenger has not been successful in finding the right balance but that is a separate and a lot more complicated issue.

      It certainly isn’t as trivial as you’ve made it sound.

  15. Bob says:

    the question you should be asking is where has the money gone if it hasnt gone on players….

    dont say the stadium, thats wrapped up in a commercial loan.

    so?

    3 guesses 🙂

    • Phil23 says:

      Very good point. I have grown to have a certain dislike for the Arsenal board. Hopefully the return of David Dein will help sort them out a bit. (if he comes back)

    • desigunner says:

      I think a huge chunk of the loan has been paid back. I don’t know the exact figures but won’t be surprised if it’s around 150-200M or more.

  16. Northbanksy says:

    AW will continue with his current policy because looking at the business as a whole, it is working & working rather well. The only thing it hasn’t delivered is a trophy..& that’s only one part in the great scheme of running a “successful” football club.

    On the field something isn’t quite working, but our showing in the EPL & Ch L tells you that it isn’t that far away & certainly not in need of some major overhaul in terms of players.

    For several years Arsenal have not been able to compete financially with bigger clubs when it comes to established class players & that’s not about to change. Whatever people may like to think this is never going to happen, because we can’t compete with the likes of Man City, Chelsea, Man United or Liverpool in the transfer market. The one area in which Arsenal can compete though is attracting & developing young gifted players because of Wengers youth policy & style of football. This has been his vision & it’s still the clubs trump card.

  17. james says:

    You focus on net spending but is it possible that your ignoring the cost of paying a team in wages is in a way terribly skewing the facts to show that Wenger does not spend. We have paid players like Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, Silvestre, Almunia and more upwards of 50 grand a week to kill our team- we are currently among the top 25 payers in all of sports (notice I said sports, not just football)- can you honestly answer why we should be among the top 25 paying teams with some of the muppets we have.
    The truth is that the small amount we spend in transfers adds up to a rather large amount we pay to youths and a number of Wenger’s kids who he’s spoilt and haven’t come through at all- it would be wonderful to do the necessary thing and whip some of these players away for a good amount. I do agree that there’s no one like AW and it would pain me to see him go at any time especially now when his work with us would end with an uncompleted asterisk- I said the same earlier this year but Wenger has obviously deserved something more than time: he fully deserves the respect from fans and management to correct his mistakes (he pretty much carried us into the new generation and we’re close to being among the most successful and profitable teams in the planet). I think the biggest problem everyone has with Wenger is his seeming intransigence and stubborness, simply put, a manager who was once loved has taken the art of ‘defending one’s team’ to the direst of straits especially when it looks like he’s lost a number of his players (mentally). I believe there’s a time where humility involves deciding that there is more than 1 way to challenge the status quo and you might have done more than enough in proving the point that money does not solve all. Wenger needs to show humility and get honest with himself because this poor run at the end of the day is hurting him the most. Nobody will say he doesn’t care for the club (as many managers are guilty of), he does but ask yourself, is he risking all of himself for nothing?

  18. Archimedes says:

    Good Article, but u need to add wages. Then u need to deduct revenues because they generate TV, ads, shirt sales, etc. By then it’s the club total finances. Fans are patient but 2010/11 is the first season post Emirates digestion, that’s why fans are disappointed. Kroenke rules now and he is shrewd, and will play the rolling 3-year rule, and will give Wenger max 2 more seasons to win either CL or BPL. So AW will spend 40m now and make the biggest squad change in years by dumping/selling 5-7 players and if the usual 2-3 players move up the ranks he’ll buy 2-5 players. He says nothing now because he does not want to move asking prices.

  19. WC says:

    I’m still on the big signing bandwagon because I think Arsene needs to sign someone who has shown that he is a winner.

    That aside, I don’t think any rational Arsenal fan is expecting Man City spending but we really want Arsene to come out and say “Alrite I screwed up, I admit it, this youth project didn’t work out. I’m going to try something else”. Additionally it’s not so much his spending or lack thereof that really has people fumed it’s his attitude. Fergie has won alot more than Wenger and continues to win. Fergie’s spending aside, he demands winners in his team.

    Can Arsene say the same? I think alot of fans would get off Wenger’s back if he could show some backbone and either bench or sell the players that are just not good enough. However he persists with players who just cannot make the grade. Fergie and Mourinho for example don’t tolerate that. As soon as you become a liability you’re either shipped out or disappear into the reserves. I mean the likes of Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner et al have all had 3 years or more to show that they can be stars but neither have showed up when it matters but they still play every season, some week in and week out.

    • Jp says:

      I certainly agree. It’s the “don’t blame the players, their attitude has been perfect” attitude that kills the drive of the players I think. Fergie has a ruthless streak that keeps the players honest and wanting to impress. I think Wenger could benefit from this a bit. I don’t want him to publicy bash players but your actions by not playing them, demoting them to the reserves or ruthlessly clearing out in the summer sends a message that you are serious about performance and output. I know we can’t clear out the whole team but we must look at what we are going to do with Denilson, Rosicky, Bendtner, Vela and Squilaci in particular. Some would add more names (I surely could also) but for starters these need addressing badly.

  20. Phil23 says:

    Arsene has always said that after 6 years the club are going to go over everything with a fine tooth comb and if it hasn’t worked something will be done about it. Tbh I think 40m after 6 years of never spending more than selling is a joke. 40m was in January but I expect the budget to rise to 60m although wages will probably be included in that. 40m including wages is like 25m in my book which is pitiful considering we have achieved our plans in those 6 years. People dont get that we aimed to stay in the CL for those 6 years and we over achieved although sadly won nothing along the way. These next 5-6 years will be the trophy getting years. Its quite funny because everyone puts out a list of names that would make us a winning club and everyone says we need x new coaches etc. I tend to agree with most of them but only because Arsene has laid such great foundations that pretty much no matter what we do to this team, hell even if we did nothing, I would expect them to push all the way for the title next year. Thats how good this team really is and how much natural growth they have each year. So add to that some quality back up in some places, some Arsenal legends in coaching positions and imo a huge campaign to fix the Emirates atmosphere. P.s Desi, I believe that the last 6 years have put us in the position that we could spend 20m a year net and still sustain ourselves, this will prove right when our commercial side of things is fixed and imo thats the only reason why we need Kroenke (to buy out the Emirates deal and some other bad deals). Also, 20m net is huge for Arsene, and he would probably spend a large percentage of that on 15-18 year olds. We are still on a huge upwards curve and I’m 100% certain that Arsene will make the right changes needed around the club.

    • santori says:

      Even 40m won’t get you much if you are reinforcing say 3 positions.

      that would tantamount to say two 15m players and one on 10m. Considering some of the recent transfers (If we remember, Caroll, Suarez, Luiz and Torres) you can see why those hankering for a top top name won’t get their wish.

      He’ll need to balance out any emerging names (Vertonghen) with those who have intent on coming to Arsenal (I believe Hazard is keen) and those who may have lost some value in recent seasons (Say Garay, Benzema at real…still a lot of money I’m sure)

      I don’t know many coahces who can do it and still remain competitive CL and title challenge for that sort of money in a major league.

      • Phil23 says:

        Don’t forget that if he has 40m to spend on players he also has the extra funds generated by getting rid of whoever is in the position. E.g if he buys a midfielder he will sell Denilson, Rosicky or Diaby. In defence, Squillaci or Eboue. Selling Almunia will also generate funds.

  21. Kushagra India says:

    Only under Wenger we could have remained competitive when we moved to emirates imo…but in the last 2-3 years I believe we could have won some trophies but for some tactical, mental and injury issues which we at length have discussed and some players letting the manger down(Rosicky could have been our Giggs wise old head chipping in),losing 3 cdms in 1 year and not replacing them with xperience was one his major mistakes imo….and some of the restrictions have been self imposed especially for a guy who has such a keen eye for a talent.The amount of money we are spending on youth is a bit OTT for me, Arseblog gave a good example of Traore…….

    • Kushagra India says:

      Wenger has provided us a gr8 foundation which we will fully realise when he leaves ……Its high time Arsenal enjoy the fruits of his labour…..There is no excuse for sticking with a GK like Almunia…imo other positions one can always give leeway but this 1 is critical if we see over the last 2-3 years..

  22. Mike gunner says:

    The move to the ES was/is to generate funds for the gunners in the the transfer market. In an inflated market an average player will cost twice as much. But Wenger went to buy kids not one or two but many. Some like/Ramsey are the highlights. The rest have been sold.
    If he were willing to pay slightly more we could have A

  23. Mike gunner says:

    Mu/Chelsea/MC are currently in debt. Does the red faced cunt care. He has been winning trophies and put MU on the world map.To Wenger this smacks of financial doping. He can wait to spend till UEFA’S fair play kick in . By then the rfc and Chelsea could have won a few more trophies. As for the gunners,they would consider it a success to be in the cl and mark my words will be eliminated by the qf/sf stage with the former more likely.
    It’s hard to say whether any manager with Wenger’s budget can win the epl.Stranger thins have happened in soccer but with a pragmatic manager who plays to his strengths why not.He would shore up the defence and make the gunners hard to beat instead of Wenger’s all out attacking which I blame for causing the gunners endless problems.

  24. ceejay says:

    Only Wenger can. However I’m of the opinion that players like Denilson, Rosicky, Vela, Bendtner, Asharvin and Almunia should be sold this summer. add whatever that’s gonna be generated from their sales to whatever amount that’s going to be made available to Arsene and we can try and see the possibilities of luring players like Facao from spoting cos RVP needs support, Hazard, Inler and probably a cover for the CB seeing Vamirlen might be ready and available for next season, not 4getting that we ve still got young Miquel also looking to get a nod. I believe the above mentioned players can make Arsenal a very strong side next season. But pls ARSENAL SHOULD NOT LET GO OF CESC JUST YET cos we still need a player of his quality and vision if we re really serious about winning anything. Remember that we ve still not been able to replace players like Viera, Henry and Toure since they left.

    • santori says:

      Not Arsharvin.

      We’ll have to see what Fab does.

      Remember, the Russian has the most assists for us.

      I think he has struggled this season through a lack of pace. Amove infield to playmake as he does for Russia may help and may be needed (in concert with Nasri) if Fab leaves.

  25. ceejay says:

    And ooppsss did i forget to mention Diaby? imo his useless to Arsenal. these re the players that ruining every work Arsene is trying hard to put in but why wenger has not deem it fit to let go of these players still baffles me. yet they re collecting huge pay pack weekly.

    • santori says:

      I don’t think so. he is erratic yes but over the last few games, we have seen that he can be effective when focused and provides us a physical presence plus some going forward.

      He won a lot of balls for us against Blackpool, Liverpool and weighed in with a goal.

      I think we should give him another season but he needs to be focused.

  26. Arsenal says:

    Desigunner – I’m not sure you agreed or object to this view. Wenger speaks of commitment of players to the club which pay the wages.

    Wenger are constantly questioning his principles and tactics of his games. Can he fail to realised that the dead woods players are either not good enough (I see mentally, physically & intelligence of Arsenal play.)

    Don’t get me wrong his young policy to spot raw talent is good and you need influx of potential talents to fill majority of our continuation to the first team players now as well as future.

    But Wenger had to acknowledge the players which he claimed quality is good enough for all competitions?
    Players like Alumina, Rosicky, Bednter, Denilson, Squallichi, Eboue, Vela, Diaby are they quality to help the team when they are called to change the game or are they just wasting and eating up the huge wages structure where we can proceed to invest in real potential youth players or even quality seasonal players.

    It was clear to see for the past 4-5 seasons when you tax our first 11 for the entire season they will start to produced more draws or lost matches during the last 10 matches or so…..Is this short comings not the glaring Wenger faults? I still trust and support Wenger but his stubborness to get rid cause the first 11 players to play many games which in turns fatigue crept in….The last Bolton game shows the truth and Wenger had a lot to be blame for his negligence season after season

  27. Jp says:

    Some questions raised on Goal.com:
    Why did you not buy the commanding central defender everybody knew you needed?

    Why did you not dip into that £40 million transfer kitty to sign a top-level goalkeeper?

    Why rely so heavily on youth when great sides need experienced winners?

    Why defend so poorly from set-pieces? (ongoing for at least 3 years)Remember Delap???

    My question to add to the list:

    1. Why persist with Bendtner on the wing? HE IS NOT A WINGER!!!!!

    2. Why not change tactics occasionally? Play 2 up front in a 4-4-2, Fergie adapts quite easily to counter attack and beat us regularly the last few match ups, he even put Rooney in the midfield (shows flexibility and adaptability)

    3. Why do we always look for the perfect pass in the box when a shot on goal is on??? Keep defenders honest! We are too one track in this regard! SHOOT more often from distance (around the 18 yard box)

    Why oh Why !!!!!

  28. Kushagra India says:

    a comment worth mentioning from other blog….

    albo says:
    April 27, 2011 at 21:37
    So, is now the time to point out that despite having Mourinho, despite having spent £100s of millions, and despite facing a depleted Barcelona team, Real still coulnd’t to what Arsenal did, and beat Barca in their CL home leg

  29. Claver says:

    The best manager for Real Madrid is Wenger. With their financial and political clout, and the standing of Wenger, it’d be a couple of years dominance of European football.

    Plus, the ability of Wenger to manage young players…it must be looking attractive for Wenger right now.

    Cesc and W

  30. Claver says:

    The best manager for Real Madrid is Wenger. With their financial and political clout, and the standing of Wenger, it’d be a couple of years dominance of European football.

    Plus, the ability of Wenger to manage young players…it must be looking attractive for Wenger right now.

    Cesc and Wenger off to Real Madrid?

  31. Claver says:

    Alex Ferguson has nothing to boast about, he’s been buying trophies for as long as Wenger has been in the EPL.

  32. CLARENCE says:

    Is it possible we look from the other side of the coin? we have wonderful players and we dun actually need any major changes except a few additions and getting rid of non-performers.

    Instead of investing in players, can we actually poach coaches from other teams? Our team has failed to perform up to expectation and imploded far too many times this year. Wenger’s abilty to influence games thru subsitution is quite suspected as well. I love Wenger for his ability to bring the best out our players, but we need a ‘field general’ who can help make tactical changes in mid of games, as well as backroom staff who can help to strength the psychological side of our players.

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