The law of crystal-ball success in the realms of fandom seems to be on money spent, and then some, these days. Manchester United have already spent a staggering £50million before June’s end, and are currently being linked with the disaster that is Michael Owen. All that dosh has been splashed on the adequately talented Owen Hargreaves, the potential of Anderson, and what can only be described as ‘potential-as-spun-by-mega-ManU-P.R’ in the form of Nani. Forums everywhere will have you know of the ‘mindboggling’ show of skills that will be paraded before the world when Nani, Anderson, Rooney and Ronaldo start tearing up the Premier League and Europe, having practically won everything already, before a ball is even kicked. Torres is on his way to ‘Pool, as is some Lucas kid who apparently is the next big thing. The irony here is that the only team I can say has bought clever is probably Chelsea, having secured a handful of free transfers in the form of Sidwell and Pizzaro.
What really baffles me is the constant outcry from certain sections of Goonerdom. Success, or whatever it is that will sate the appetite, is being linked in direct proportion to Pounds Sterling spent. This seems the case, the endless hype that surrounded Jeffers (9m), Reyes (between 10-16m) and Walcott (up to 12m) – though the latter may prove to be justified – is evident enough. “Can you just think of the carnage we’ll unleash on the league with the likes of Jeffers, Smith, Sidwell, Thomas, Svard, Volz, Taylor and Grondin in tow?”, I’ve been want to hear on several occassions. Sidwell and perhaps Volz aside, none of these cut the standard required, and even those two are bench players at best. The current crop of youngsters can be associated with similar hype – Bendtner and Vela are often mentioned, as was Lupoli, followed by Merida, Traore, Connoly and Lansbury. There’re at least three players that definitely could make the grade out of those, if not more, but what must be emphasized here is the need for caution.
What Wenger has over Ferguson (and almost all other managers) is the ability to bring youngsters in, especially foreign youngsters. Ferguson got lucky with Ronaldo, as the kid did the scouting himself by demolishing a defense of Silvestre and Brown in a preseason friendly. But the actual scouting seems to be done by the media for them, and Anderson and Nani do not excite me nearly as much as the ability of van Persie, Rosicky and Fabregas. The point is: Man Utd have bought youth and potential, at an absurd price that is hardly justified. Ferguson has bought many bad players that often go unreported (Kleberson, much?), and his record in uncovering youth is abysmal. So why panic?
Fans seem to want big money to be splashed around. I cannot remember a day when Arsenal was associated with this. Big names, sure: Bergkamp, Campbell, Kanu, Henry to an extent, Gallas, Suker, et al. The want for a big signing comes as a result of frustration and a lack of immediate success in Wenger’s rebuilding of his squad. Only Ljungberg and Lehmann really remain from the ‘old firm’, as such, the former no more than a bench player, the latter with some heavy competition from the reliable-when-called-upon Almunia, and the very exciting Fabianski. What’s been done here is quite incredible – only Chelsea, with their millions to spend, could rebuild an entire squad as Wenger has done. Perhaps Mourinho should put that in his pipe when smoking on Wenger’s ‘ability to win zero trophies’. The ponce.
Spending does not necessitate success. Look at West Ham and their Argentine double-coup come beginning of last season. Damn well nearly sent them down the drain, before Tevez dragged them out kicking and screaming, and could yet end them in trouble anyhow. Speaking of Tevez, he’s getting linked to Arsenal strongly by the day, lately – I for one would welcome him with open arms. He reminds me somewhat of Zola, but that’s more than likely down to his stocky build rather than a god-ordained ability…having said that, Carlos is a bloody good player, and the only transfer rumour that is really exciting, right now.
Does Arsenal need some big signings? We should expect one to replace Henry: That could be anyone…Benni McCarthy, Nicolas Anelka, Carlos Tevez, Samuel Eto’o (long shot that it is), and a winger is essential. Malouda is named again and again, but I’d rather chew on a shower rug than find out we bought him. But spending big is not the answer. Spending big is nigh on an impossibility, given our debt, and would you really be confident with Darren Bent in your ‘all-conquering-strike-force’, cough cough?
Old adage, but true: Spend well. Wenger is the proven master at this. If you insist on calling for his head, you’re more suited to Real Madrid. And what a class act they are.