What is this? Last I remember, I was cycling home from watching Arsenal beat Newcastle 1-0 and… oh yeah. “Mind that bus! What bus? Splat.”
Up until that point, I was having a great day: pints and pierogis with pals, Arsenal beating Newcastle on the final day to secure fourth, the Spurs fan’s reaction in White Hart Lane when Lord Sugar tweeted that Newcastle had equalized, all in all a perfect day.
And now I wake up in this hospital and scour the internet for transfers and there is nothing.
I suppose this article on Europe’s 60 most valuable players is slightly interesting. My take away?
Arsenal have 3 of the 60 most valuable players: Cazorla – £32-37m, Walcott – £25-29m, and Wilshere – £21-25m. Cazorla is Arsenal’s most valuable player and 19th overall on the list of most valuable.
I also noticed that teams with 4 or more of those 60 most valuable players (Barcelona 7, Real Madrid 7, Man United 7, Man City 5, Bayern 5, Chelsea 4, Dortmund 4) are the teams who all challenged for and/or won various titles this season. So with three of the top 60 players, that puts Arsenal just on the edge of being among the elite teams in Europe. Which is how I like to look at this list.
There are a number of notable academy players on the list who are still with their academy team like Jack Wilshere and Andres Iniesta but by and large most of the teams purchased the players on that list.
Some of the teams also have spent an insane amount of money trying to accumulate the numbers needed for a title run. For example, Chelsea have over £800m in debt owed to Roman Abramovich (since taking over) and at the end of the season finished with just 4 of the most expensive players on this list, though the Chelsea four, combined, are worth about £50m more than the Arsenal three.
Given that it’s tranfer season, however, I think most of us are inclined to look at that list and see what happens if Arsenal gets just one or two of the targets we have been linked to. For example, if Arsenal got Higuain (as is expected to be announced soon) that would put Arsenal at 4/60 and slightly above Dortmund in value for those four.
If Arsenal got both Fellaini and Higuain, the Gunners would have 5 of the 60 most valuable players in the world and be placed above Chelsea but just below Bayern in terms of the value those 5 players represent.
And then there’s the big “what if?” What if Arsenal were to get all the players on that list that they have been “strongly” linked to this summer; Rooney, Fabregas, Higuain, Jovetic, and Fellaini?
That would give Arsenal 8 out of the 60 most valuable players and well above Man U in terms of value for those players with those 8 coming in at over £250m.
Now, that’s about as likely to happen as a man surviving a zombie holocaust in a coma. Because Arsenal aren’t going to spend the £150m or so it would take to make that happen, even if Arsene Wenger wanted it to*.
However, Arsenal do have the money to buy, say, Higuain, Fellaini (I know that this has been rubbished by Everton), and Jovetic. Which would be an incredible summer of business by the Gunners and almost certainly make this Arsenal team strong enough to compete for the League title if not the Champions League**. I’m not saying that’s going to happen. I’m not saying that buying a player automatically means winning a trophy. I’m not saying that there aren’t better value players out there who would bring real strength to this squad. And I’m not saying that just throwing money at a player like Rooney means success***. I am just saying that instinctively (or perhaps we’ve all been conditioned this way) we want big named players because we believe that big named players will bring us success.
In fact, we look at lists like the one above and see that most of the teams there have bought success. And I think we can all agree that Arsenal would be stronger if they managed to get Higuain, Jovetic, and Fellaini. Or maybe you don’t. I’d like to hear how we’d be weaker.
One final note, a negativist might look at the list and complain that had Arsenal retained Cesc and van Persie we would have 5 of the blah blah blah, worth yadda yadda yadda, but, well, dogs testicles to those two. They left before the project was done and we don’t want them back.
Now, if you don’t mind, I have to wander around central London in a hospital gown looking for actual transfer news.
*At least not this season, perhaps over the next two seasons!
**Fellaini would foul out of every game! That’s why he’s crap, right? Get a grip, people.
***Did I cover all the “buying doesn’t equal success” arguments or should I also have listed expensive flops like Torres, Shevchenko, Carroll, in fact, all the Liverpool players, most of Chelsea, and Wayne Bridge?