Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Is Arsenal Destined To Be A Selling Club?

Morning all. I've been out of town all weekend so sorry for no blog but I had no computer. I'm sure you all survived. If you didn't, then you wouldn't be able to read this anyway.

So while I was away it doesn't appear I missed all that much, so today I've decided to cover possibly the most controversial comments of the whole transfer season (and that's saying something.) Many people are worried because Arsene Wenger reportedly said that Arsenal were going to have to be a selling club for the next seventeen years. The quote reported in the article (from News of the World) was as follows:

'The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players. We manage at Arsenal to maintain all our football ambitions - national and European - while having to free up - for 17 more years - an annual surplus of £24million to pay for our stadium. 'The club's strategy is to favour the policy of youngsters ahead of stars and to count on the collective quality of our game.'

So if you go directly by the quote and don't go with what makes sense and read between the lines, you'd think Arsene meant he was going to sell Adebayor this year, Cesc next year, and Nasri in a few years from now. But I do read between the lines and this makes perfect sense to me what he's saying here. Arsenal have a 265 million pound debt that they want to pay off. They have a 20 year fixed interest rate on the loan they took out (thanks Arseblogger) that they want to pay off on time. The loan started two years ago and Wenger is saying we need that 24 million quid surplus each year to pay off the rest on time. That isn't unreasonable. While ManUre and Liverpool are sidled with debt we are trying to pay ours off. At the end of the day football is a business and a business needs to pay off their debts to be successful.

I don't think Arsene Wenger means we are going to be a selling club for the next seventeen years, I just think he means business will continue in the way it has at Arsenal for many years under his watch. Buying Anelka for 500 thousand pounds and selling him for 25 million, selling Vieira and Henry when they were past their primes and bringing in Eduardo for much cheaper. In this way, Arsenal under Wenger have always been a selling club. Our record transfer fee is still 14.5 million for Sylvain Wiltord as far as I can remember. Our transfer sales usually outweigh our transfer buys, that's just how the club has been run.

Just look at last year for an example, when we lost Thierry Henry. We sold Aliadiere, Henry, Reyes, Ljungburg, Muamba, and lost Lupoli on a free for a total of 31 million pounds. We brought in Eduardo, Sagna, Diarra, Nordtveit, and Fabianski for a total of 23 million pounds. Can anyone say that our team got worse? No, in fact the team did better statically. Yet the club made an 8 million pound profit on our transfers. Would you say that we were being a selling club or improving the team with those moves? I don't think many would. While nobody wanted to see Henry go, it was a shrewd business move to sell him because Arsene could tell (as most people can now) that his best days are past him.

So does it make a little more sense now? Arsenal have a debt and want to get it paid off. Does it mean we are going to sell all of our best players in their primes to pay it off and have a mid-table team for the next seventeen years? Not at all. We're going to be sticking with the same system that has worked for Arsene his whole career here. A lot of people are making this out to be worse than it is, but remember: 1: Arsenal is never been a club that spends more than everyone else, they are shrewd businessmen, and 2: The source of this article is News of the World. Not exactly the most respected of journalistic enterprises.

Hopefully this clears up what this all means, at least in my opinion. Maybe I'm wrong and we'll sell Cesc tomorrow, but I certainly think I'm right on this one. It'll definitely give you all something to debate on the forums and comments at least, but I wouldn't let it worry you. Business at Arsenal will continue as usual.

The other main news of the day is Mr. Aaron Ramsey, who I call Mr. because he seems to deserve it. These quotes demonstrate that:

“Obviously the plan for me is to have a good pre-season and try my hardest to get up to the fitness levels the Premiership requires,” said Ramsey in the South Wales Echo

“I will try my best to get in the starting line-up at the beginning of the season against West Brom."

Perfect statement Mr. Ramsey. You have the right mentality exactly. He's been here two weeks at age 17 and is already talking about making the starting lineup for Arsenal in the first game of the season. Spectacular. I love it. I don't think there is much chance he makes it into the starting lineup for the very first game of the season but who knows? Maybe he really is that good. It's only 11 days until the first friendly of the season against Barnet. We get to see him in action on that day and I can't wait. Hopefully Nasri will be here by then too because I really want to see these new signings plus all the youngsters. Football is in the air again! I can't wait.

Cheers all, comments, forums, email (arsenole{@}arsenole(.)com), all that good stuff. Till tomorrow!

Also, in non-Arsenal related news, I have recently acquired a new domain name (http://worldcupUS.com). If anyone can put together a website idea for me I would be willing to pay someone to design a page to put on that domain. Please let me know if you can do anything for me.


Joaquin said...

Good insight today. I am ready for the matches to begin. Are you going to be able to see these friendlies?

ArseNole said...

Yeah I may head over to London to watch the Emirates cup and the rest I'll be able to watch online

Joaquin said...

you are going to cross the pond? I am green with envy. Good shit though.

Anonymous said...

Best analysis of the Wenger quotes I've seen. I couldn't agree more. Well done!

patrick said...

Arsenole, man you seem to be softening things. The truth is we are selling our best players. You know 90% of us Arsenal fans don't want to see Helb go, save for his comments. Yet Arsenal is selling him. So is Ade (Milan and Arsenal have not been able to agree a fee). We are never made happy. All we get is worries about this and that player leaving. Unlike ManUre or Chelski, we don't make big signings. Hell, we are supposed to be made happy even if once. Face the truth and let's get the message to Wenger. WE ARE NOT A SELLING CLUB. I can see ManUre fans laughing at our ever present predicaments, whilst they have been able to quiet down Madrid at least.

ArseNole said...

Thanks for your comments anon, much appreciated.

Patrick, I entirely disagree with you. Henry was just as unheard of when he signed for Arsenal, but did he make you happy? He sure did. Adebayor made us all happy last year with his 30 goal season. Big name signings are not what should make people happy, but productivity once they are here should be the real factor.

Liverpool make "big name signings" and they can't even finish above us. Why do we need a big name? Hasn't Arsenal's philosophy always been about the team and not the name?

If ManUre want to laugh at us, then I'll let them. Fact is we were only a few points behind them last season and we'll improve on it for next season, plus we're eliminating our debt while they add to theirs.

Matt said...

Agree with anon good critique...

One question.. i also live in the states and i was wondering where you watch the games online...

Anonymous said...

We can see the beginning of a problem at AFC in terms of future trophies. Now, Arsene knows what to do but, as he has stated, the transfer market has been ruined by the prodigious sums one or two clubs are happy to pay. Now smaller clubs are holding out and demanding ridiculous sums for un-established players. Huntelaar for example, is routinely mentioned by the media speculating a move. But his club is asking for the moon, and why not, they’re in a win-win situation. If he goes then they get a huge sum, if he stays they keep a quality player. The likely result is that he stays where he is another season, and contrary to fergie’s view there will be less transfer activity this summer, not more. Another example, Veloso, who didn’t feature for Portugal at euros are asking 20 million quid. Veloso has qualities, but he’s no scoring threat, he’s not the finished article, as such this sum is badly miscalculated. Now these clubs, who can’t make any sense, leave it to us to make some sense of what’s happening. Any club who grossly overprices it’s players, which include most clubs these days are telling the marketplace that their player is not interested in a move to Arsenal. Why? Because Wenger’s reputation and transfer policy are well established, AFC doesn’t pay stupid money, any self respecting club knows this well, as should any player interested in playing for us. If a player wants to join AFC two things must happen, he’s priced right and he keen to play and succeed at AFC.
Now, to be fair and comprehensive, as Vieira has stated, we’ve had to review our pay structure and with our vital players we certainly have, but at AFC the players must earn their pay. It is entirely misplaced that Ade demand an Henri level salary after one good season. Henri was 29 and he earned it, Ade at 24 years is either developing a massive ego problem or is on the receiving end of some horribly bad advice. Ade, let me help you, one off-season at Milan and you’re on the bench, later to be shipped out to a smaller club with no ambition left to wonder where it all went wrong, someday, maybe you’ll make it back ala Anelska, but past your prime and not much to show for your ‘lost years’. Stay at AFC, stay humble, work hard, earn it, be a leader and help grow the club.
Back to the main point. So now what’s Wenger left with? Well, a youth policy only gets you so far, and as he’s stated some time ago ‘the club could benefit from experienced proven talent’. What does experienced talent mean? It means world class players who can calm the youngsters, solid role models on and off the pitch, are not intimidated by other big players, can rise to any occasion, and are determined to win and likely have won a lot. Will these players cost extra, sure, because they’ve earned it as have their clubs by keeping faith and a sound relationship between the two.
Things change, and to reclaim trophies AFC must also change and adapt to a market that is silly by paying a bit more but not compromising our principle beliefs. As Arsene knows better than most, if the price goes up the risk goes up and with all the ‘rotten mercenary’ players out there who exhibit little gratitude and loyalty beyond hollow press statements, the vetting process just has to be more than thorough. Which, I believe, brings us to where we are and why things are taking so long. Wenger can spot a talent, no question, but what of the players desire to play for AFC? Therein lies the major hurdle to signing experienced talent. Spending big sums and then players leave for whatever reason(Reyes got scared of rain), and far earlier than hoped. We must only sign such players determined to succeed at AFC, fact is such players are harder to find these days. If a player and club are just shopping around for money, ala’ Arshavin, Huntelaar, Veloso, and de la Red(who, btw, looks like my sister only prettier), these are not the ones AFC need. The player must have a dream to play at AFC. To players one and all, come to AFC with love for our football, come with class, and if you earn it, we’ll gladly pay. And if you’ve established yourself as world class we’ll pay for that too(we’re not poor just smart).

ArseNole said...

matt, first to your point, thanks for the comment and I watch games online using TVants or Sopcast.

anon at 4:03 pm. That was brilliant. Everyone should read that.

Loopy said...

Do you know if either of those work for macs, #1 and #2 that was a great post by anonymous

ArseNole said...

Yes loopy I believe you can get versions for Macs but I'm not positive about it...just google "Sopcast" or "TVants" and see if there is a download option for Macs.

jamesgillesp said...

Top post mate. Very well put, I agree exactly. We don't need to make massive signings, and we are not a selling club in the way people think.
People need to realise that Wenger signs up talent and Arsenal are improving.