Sunday, June 29, 2008
Is it all Wenger’s fault this transfer activity?
By 1970’s Gooner
Arsene Wenger obviously knew what was coming when right after the last gasps of the League season he warned that his first priority in the transfer market would be to try and keep this team together.
For, when your club’s strategy is to rely mainly on youth and to “make the stars rather than buy them”, it is crucial that time through proper training and on the job experience be allowed to do its work.
And that is to impose the required maturity on all the young and talented players on the club’s books.
It is no surprise therefore that all of Arsene Wenger’s teams have been vulnerable to young and up coming as well as ageing stars been lured by the sirens blown by the bigger clubs, mainly from the continent.
Older players start getting itchy feet if the club doesn’t win anything of note either in the domestic scene or in the Champion’s League.
They realise they do not have far to go before they are put on the scrap heap. Like Hleb is going to do this year…Like Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira did before him.
Younger players get itchy feet because their talents, given the chance to play and shine in the first team by Wenger, become so apparent in an Arsenal shirt, that they attract the bigger clubs offering them more money, status and the chance to win major trophies.
Trophies they may feel might not be achievable with an emerging team littered with young and exciting talents (like themselves).
Like Flamini did and Adebayor might do for example. As Anelka did years ago (and regretted it) and as Fabregas, Clichy and Van Persie might do if Arsenal remain trophy less for a few more years.
It looks that we the fans might have to endure more frustration since this type of situation is likely to arise with each transfer window for years to come.
This is because the two major factors that are underpinning this strategy and vision will likely be in place in the coming years.
The first one is Arsene Wenger’s own natural tendency to build teams up by relying on what he does best: spotting young and relatively unheard of talent (which might not be so young) and nurturing it to play the beautiful game.
This allows him to mould the players as he likes them to be but also makes a huge profit when he (ideally) disposes them in their latter and therefore not so productive years (see Henry and Vieira).
He also doesn’t have to break the Bank buying them in the first place thus not jeopardizing the financial viability of the club.
The second is the financial impact the new stadium is having on the ability of the club to fund major transfers.
The huge loan burden taken on to fund the stadium will need to be eased off before there are real surplus cash generated.
This is not expected to happen soon as the loan will have to be repaid over a very long term horizon (over 25 years).
It will be eased however in a few years time when the Highbury Stadium’s property development would come into final fruition and bring more cash to the club (which would then go towards alleviating the club’s loan burden).
The funny thing is that, whatever the state of Arsenal’s finances, Wenger will probably still do what he does best: “Make the stars, not buy them”
Which also means that we the fans will have to be ready to put up with more anguish and frustration every time a transfer window creeps near….
Arsene, take the Adebayor money and buy Arshavin
Arsene’s revised transfer plans?