So I posted up my thoughts on the captain of Bosnia coming to join us yesterday evening to a crescendo of AKB angst.
After letting the dust settle, I thought I’d give you a more reasoned analysis as to why I’m still dead against his signing and why I won’t be blindly lapping up his move as a potentially shrewd piece of business.
Firstly, I don’t think a team with the most expensive season ticket in the Premiership should be sniffing around average teams for old defenders (He’s 30 in 3 weeks, he wouldn’t be getting anymore than a 1 year deal if he was currently with us) who’ve had one good season.
He’s clearly not the best defender in France, becuase last week anyone who’d caught one game of Ligue One was busy telling me Kozzer was the best defender out there. Interesting that neither of them appeared in the official French team of the year that Chamakh was in. It was Ciani and Diawara.
The key arguments yesterday seemed to run along the lines of…
1. Bosnia are a great team and he’s the captain of it.
Response: Bosnia are not a great team, they didn’t qualify for either of the last 2 major competitions. They are an average team with a good goalscorer. Without using Wikipedia, a majority of people in Europe would struggle to name 3 of their players. It’s also key to note that being the captain of a team does not mean you are the best player. Take Gary Neville for instance.
2. Trust Wenger to make the right signings
Response: I’ve been trusting Wenger to make the right signings for the past 5 years. Last season we needed a keeper, a striker and a decent back up centre back. We didn’t sign any of those players and we paid for it when our squad came up short. If you go back over the past 5 years, Wenger has NEVER make the right signings despite our shortcomings being blatantly obvious.
Ask around your friends who support other teams what they think of Arsenal and their transfer policy. If they’re anything like mine, they’ll be chanting ‘de ja vu’ at you.
3. Montpellier fans rate him and I’ll trust them over you because they watch him week in week out.
Response: If you went into deepest darkest Brazil and met a native tribe and they told you the Amazon water was safe to drink, would you drink it?
No? How come? They drink out of that river everyday?
Montpellier fans do not watch world-class talent week in week out and it’s doubtful they are too heavily into Premiership football. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but France isn’t a football crazy nation. If they think he’s great, that has to be put in context… their fans are not used to seeing superb players and I’m pretty sure they thought Ibrahima Bakayoko was an excellent player until he bombed at Everton.
Ben over at Arsene knows (French based I understand) had this to say on him Spahic…
‘Spahic is ok. No more than ok. Could be little more than a slightly improved Silvestre.I’d be disappointed if we signed him’
Hardly a glowing reference from a guy who is into French football.
There is a big fear amongst certain sections of the fanbase when it comes to having an opinion on an Arsene bargain bucket player… you know, just incase they become a superstar. I don’t care how this guy turns out, I’m just disappointed we’re aiming so low in our quest to become the biggest club in the world and I’m pretty upset our season is being gambled on despite the millions pouring into the club every season.
If you think I’m acting like a spoilt child, take a look at what our captain has been up to all summer. Do you think he’s agitating for a move because the level of class in the dressing room is showing him up? Or do you think perhaps he sees another two bob signing as a complete lack of ambition on the Arsenal front?
4. Weight doesn’t matter, what are you talking about?
Response: Well, facts and figures do deliver, so I spent a bit of time doing some research and came up with some interesting evidence about weight and age.
This is a bit rough and ready, so please excuse me if I haven’t got the weights of each player here 100% correct. I’m in the ball park regardless and you can cross reference me against ESPN or the said players websites if you don’t have a life (says the man who compiled this dossier).
Right, firstly I took the weight and age of the first team centre back pairings of the top 2 clubs in each major European league (France, Spain, Italy, England).
The above table shows you that youth can work for you in the Spanish league which perhaps gives you a good indicator as to why Pique failed at United. The emphasis is on technique, pace and passing… not really a power league. Ryan Garry told me that the reason defenders don’t make it until they’re in their mid twenties is because older players are so much stronger. In England and France, the average age of a successful partnership creeps up to 30 plus.
My final table compares the average to Arsenal’s and the difference.
So Arsenal and their current set up are 10% lighter than the best defenders in Europe as it stands. Our centre backs average weight compared to Drogba alone is 23% lighter. The age differential is also huge. To reach to top two standard, ideally, if you took the figures literally, we’d require an additional 21% of ageing in the next few weeks. The average centre back pairing in Europe are a massive 4 years older than our main two of Kozzer and Vermaelen.
Even when you compare us to the Spanish teams, we’re still 7.5% off their averages.
You might point to our lack of success last year with the older heads of Gallas and Campbell in the team as being a spanner in my theory. Well Sol was clearly far too old but his experience was highly valued by all who watched him. Our moody Frenchman was doing pretty well until he picked up an injury late on in the season. If he’d stayed fit, the outcome of our league position may have been different.
My last revelation on the weight issue. How about our most successful partnerships weight average? Well, the 98 double winning pairing of Adams and Keown weighed in with an 86kg average and the invincible pairing of Kolo and Sol weighed in with and 83.5kg average.
So in short, I believe that I’ve conclusively proven that experience and the power that comes with weight DOES matter in top class football. So apologies for not reaching for the Champagne when I heard a 30 year old, 77kg Bosnian with one average year of football under his belt was heading our way…
Hopefully this is all one big lie, the trouble is, we all know this story probably has legs…
Have a good day Grovers, see you in the comments!
P.S. In case you were wondering… Mertesacker wouldn’t do much for our age differential but he’d put us within 1.4% of the European average for a top class centre back pairing.