Ahhh, well some of you may have been expecting a match report this morning. Most of you probably knew the Arsenal game wasn’t until today. So if you want to read my match preview, check yesterday’s post. It was most enjoyable, even if a touch early!
So, instead, today, I’ll just hammer into some transfer stories and we’ll see how far that take us.
First up, finally, Wenger has delivered to news we’ve been telling you for ages. He’s the man responsible for the wage structure… you know, the one that pays the poor players too much and the great players not enough.
“We don’t have a big gap between what our players earn at Arsenal,”
“We are more a socialist model and vulnerable because of that.
“We have something that is defendable in front of every single player. We make exceptions, but the exceptions are maybe not as high as elsewhere.
“We have an amount of money that is dedicated to wages. Within that we try to do things that make sense and are defendable.”
“I’ve believed all my life to pay well people who work for us. If you can afford to do it, you do it. But we have no players on £200,000 a week.”
So there you have it. The problems we’re having at the moment with certain players is down to one man and a CEO who refuses to challenge a fatally flawed philosophy. We don’t have any players on £200k a week, yet we have the same sized wage bill that City had a season ago. So it’s not like we can’t afford it. Wenger is supposedly umming and ahhhring over whether or not to sanction Theo Walcott on £85k a week, y et he’s more than happy to sit on £140k a week himself!
Our wage structure doesn’t stand up to basic sporting ideals. Sport, in essence, is a meritocracy. You earn what you’re worth. Sometimes, you earn what you could potentially earn, but mostly, it’s down to what you can do. If the club you’re with can’t pay you that, you tend to go to one that can. Arsene Wenger has taken the merit out of giving out deals. For me, that’s buying love… which again, everyone knows you can’t do. It works with poor players, because they’re never going to get better elsewhere, it works with very young players because it means they don’t have to work for the big dollars… but as soon as the money drys up, the players whose talent exceed their salaries look elsewhere.
Arsene, just because you can afford to do something, doesn’t mean you can defend it and it doesn’t mean you should do it. The very fact you haven’t defended it in your comments says it all. The output of the wage structure shows it’s not defendable… our best players leave, our worst ones won’t leave. Could it be any clearer?
‘If you can afford to do it, you do it.’
The above snippet is exactly why there is no wiggle room in our wage bill. If we paid our players what they were worth, we’d probably have £50million more a year in profit which would mean we wouldn’t have to sell to buy and it would mean we could bring in some hefty talent.
Anyway, back on the transfer round. So, David Villa was heavily linked yesterday. Upon further reading, it would appear Barcelona don’t want to let him go this summer. There’s a chance of a loan move and apparently Wenger has called him personally. He’ll apparently go for £16million. Now, there is so much smoke here, there must be a fire somewhere. For me, I’m not a fan of the deal. So many people have said ‘oh, you want world class players, now you’re moaning’, well, for me, that’s a pretty dim way of looking at some valid concerns.
A few reasons I’m not a fan of this…
1) He’s two years older than Robin Van Persie was. Unlike Robin, he doesn’t have 56 games of fitness behind him. He’s coming back from a very bad injury on the wrong side of the thirty. Our most expensive buy every should not have these risks attached. It was ok when it was Overmars because he was 24…
2) He’s world class, don’t get me wrong, but he’s played his whole career in La Liga. If he was 28, I’d be game on. However, at 31, it’s a massive ask to come over the toughest league in the world and hit the ground running. Sure, Didier Drogba was banging them in late in his career, but he was build like a WWE wrestler. What happened to Shevchenko at 29?
3) The whole Theo Walcott deal hinges on him playing central striker. Now we’re bringing in an old player to step into that role for £16million? How often has Wenger ever killed the career of a love child?
4) Sticking him out on the left makes little sense as well. He’s just invested £90k a week in Podolski. When has #WengerLogic ever seen him give up on a player after 6 months?
5) He purchased the 26 year old Giroud who has 11 goals and 9 assists for a half season. I’m struggling to see how he’d make a marquee signing which would effectively relegate him to 3rd choice striker… because you’re not rotating a £120k a week player are you?
Now, if we sign him and he bangs in loads of goals, I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m not saying he can’t be effective, or he’s a bad player. However, for me, I’d prefer to see us invest in a player the right side of the 30 so we’re not scrabbling around next January because we’ve got a massive injury pile up on our hands. If we wanted value for money, for the life of me, I still can’t work out why we ignored Demba Ba who banged in two goals for his new club yesterday. He’s 4 years younger, has proved his fitness and he’s Premier League ready… for half the price.
Anyway, we’ll see. David Villa looks like we’re buying a name. He’ll get goals for sure, and I’m not saying his signing wouldn’t mark an exciting turn of events… I just question the value of making our most expensive signing ever a 31 year old who Barca are looking to shift on? Why would they sell him? What’s the underlying reason here? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to keep our 29 year old Dutchman on board for another season?
The fact everyone seems to be ignoring is that it’s not actually the strikers that are the problem. It’s that we don’t seem to be able to get the ball to them. Theo has some of the best conversion stats in the league, yet he hardly had a sniff the other day. For me, it’s that box to box midfielder we lack. David Villa is going to be no use if he doesn’t see the ball for ninety minutes. We need to be looking at someone who can take people on in midfield… a player who can intercepts and turn with pace… someone who can boss the midfield like Patrick Vieira used to. It’s a shame Mark Van Bommel isn’t 7 years younger… he’d do very nicely!
United are apparently looking to sign Dortmund’s Sven Bender. A player we’ve seen a few times line up against us. The German defensive minded midfielder is 23 years old and he’s a born winner. Just the sort of player we could do with at Arsenal. Why are we not linked with him? At £15million he’s well within our reach. In fact, why is there no smoke around centre midfielders or any player outside of an attacking one? It’s all very odd and very disappointing. Wenger doesn’t see what the fans see… or the pundits, or the ex-players… and that costs us year after year.
Anyway, enjoy the game today, see you tomorrow with the match report.
P.S. Looks like JD didn’t take a pay cut as he left on loan… defend that Arsene!