by .

I didn’t want to do it, but I am going to. Yep, I’m planting a flag on the whole Antonio Conte thing because I think it perfectly captures the difference between being strategic and reactionary when it comes to the beautiful game.

Daniel Levy has had an up and down career at Spurs. His peak was undoubtedly hiring Mauricio Pochettino. The guy had vision, he was charismatic, everyone loved him, and he delivered as much as one could without silverware.

That’s when things started going wrong. You can luck out in business, catch fire without really knowing why, and that seems to be what happened here. Just look at how many visionary business people that can never replicate their initial success. Steve Jobs did Apple, Pixar, and NeXT… Mark Zuckerburg made ranking babes a billion dollar venture and hasn’t had an innovation since.

Serial success comes from thinking strategically.

After making the Champions League final, Poch was very public about the dip that was coming, but Daniel Levy didn’t have the stomach to take the pain of the rebuilt. Ray Dalio, one of the greats of the hedge fund game, always says that people run from things that hurt in life which is why they fail to improve.

So where did Levy run? To the place of least pain, at least on paper. He looked at a Champions League finalist squad and instead of understanding why it made it that far, he assumed… incorrectly. His assumption was that Spursy in elite football was a thing and there was only one man that could fix it: Jose Mourinho. Why? Because he’s a ‘winner.’

That move made sense to the countless people that talk about ‘elite’ online without knowing what it means. It was clear that the squad he inherited was not going to react well to an old school dictator telling them they were soft boys. Poch was a modern leader, empathetic, understanding, and mentor like. Jose came in, did his usual wrecking ball job, and left a mess. The mess was so extreme, no manager in Europe wanted to touch it. One would assume that the money wasn’t there for the rebuild, Daniel Levy wanted to control things, and their new tech director isn’t that impressive.

They landed on Nuno. A second Mendes shill. What was the thinking there? Is he a master of coaching? No. Is he a visionary? No. Does he play the sort of football Spurs fans demand? No. He’s a coach that shills for super agents. That’s why the Valencia fans heckled him out despite him making top 4 for them. That mistake, which we all saw coming, cost them £10m.

So now they’re at attempt number 3 post-reboot and Daniel Levy has made the most unimaginative hire possible. He’s gone all-in on a ‘winner’ again. Can I knock the talent of Antonio Conte? Absolutely not. He’s a winner. He improves all types of players. He will 100% get an uptick in results because he’s ruthlessly organised.

But what is underpinning this decision?

What is the strategy? Because ‘winning’ isn’t a strategy I’m afraid.

Conte is a short term fix, but for me, he’s a very rich fix for a very different type of problem.

What are the ingredients for 2021 Antonio Conte to work.

He needs to work with good players.

When he rolled into Chelsea, the job he did wasn’t a miracle. He took over a squad that had won a title in 2015 and he made them purr that season. He did a fabulous job, but let’s be clear, Jose Mourinho did the hard work on that squad. They were winners. It was a more elite version of what Emery did for Arsenal over the first 21 games.

He moved to Inter Milan under the guidance of Beppe Morotta, arguably the best technical director on the planet. He was given money to spend, but he was controlled. He beat out a Juventus in decline after they moved on Allegri. A terrific job, but he had loads of resource and elite people surrounding him.

Modern Conte needs money. He needs good players. He needs to make an impact fast.

I’m not sure he has that at Spurs.

There’s a tremendous leadership job to be done as well.

Harry Kane doesn’t want to be there. I have extreme doubts Conte changes the equation for him because being an elite manager in the Premier League at the moment, in all reality, is hardly a game-changer. Being a ‘winner’ doesn’t mean anything in a league with Tuchel, Klopp, and Pep Guardiola. Spurs is a rebuild, Kane is 28 years old, he doesn’t want to be the old man crowning a 3 year journey with an FA Cup win.

Antonio Conte is on record saying that he’d rather kill a player than let him upset the camp. That’s his style. It’s brute force dictatorship. The Italian might have a different approach to Mourinho, but it lives in the same world. Do we think that sort of approach is going to map to the profile of the players? It didn’t under Jose or Nuno.

He also needs money and he will bang the door for it. When he was let loose at Chelsea, he made some pretty dire signings, then proceeded to crash the team the next season… throwing the players under the bus when he did it.

Then you wade into some of the murky details. Conte already said no in the summer. We know he’s on record saying Spurs is second rate. What changed?

Football knows Conte. His team were fast out the traps for the United role because that is the job for him. He’s built for that sort of expensive mess. In my view, if he’s taking Spurs it’s because United told him there wasn’t going to be a job for him, and more broadly, there wasn’t a better offer in Europe. No Barca, No Madrid, No Paris… so Spurs became the only option on the table.

I don’t know how many times I need to say this: There is nothing elite about being difficult to work with in 2021. You can’t be ‘too much of a winner’ and use that to write off bad behaviour. Someone was talking to me on Twitter yesterday, explaining Conte’s eliteness, and in the same breath admitting he crashed his second season at Chelsea because ‘he didn’t get the players he wanted.’ Can you imagine doing that in any other business? No. Because it’s embarrassing. Sulking because you want things your way is what children do.

But… he does win things.

He won the Premier League with record points.

He broke the Juventus stranglehold on Serie A.

He has an aura that follows him from club to club.

It’s a big signing for Spurs and it will feel very good for them right now.

I’m just not sure he’s the fit for where they need to go.

This is a desperate hire. £15m a year for a brand name that will bring a 20 person coaching staff is not how football works in 2021. I am going to be honest here, I’d have been more worried if they’d given Graham Potter or Ten Haag the keys to the castle for the next 5 years. They didn’t, you know why? Because it’s painful.

Arsenal went down a crappier version of this path with Unai Emery. We invested in ‘nearly’ players that looked good on paper but couldn’t deliver. Last summer, we did the same, it didn’t work.

So what are we doing this season? We’re taking the pain. We’ve alligned on a strategy that meets where we are as a club. We’re going to build back based on a Project Premium Youth model. It will be tough because getting back to the top is tough. But you know what? It’s sustainable. You know what is elite? Sustainable models in football.

RB Leipzig is a sustainable model of football. They grow coaches and players and have a standardised way of playing across 4 countries. They can still compete even when they lose Nagelsmann or Marco Rose. Why? Because the strategy is clear and it is ruthlessly adhered to.

Liverpool are peak sustainable. They have a clear approach to how they operate. They have a very specific style of football. They win trophies and maintain an incredible level of football. There’s no drama up there.

Manchester City is another side that does that same. They have a style that has been implemented up and down the club. They don’t fire their manager all the time. They are now developing elite young talent and compliment the side with big signings every year.

Teams that aren’t sustainable?

Manchester United. There’s a vision, but it’s not very good. They buy stars that don’t fit to any particular model. They chop and change their managers. They don’t really progress. It’s a mess because they live in a world of star fuckery. Jadon doesn’t get games, despite costing £70m. Ronaldo gets all the games, despite being 36. It’s about share price over there and selling shirts. They’d be more dangerous with an actual vision that was sustainable.

Spurs might make top 4 this season, but they are not working with a vision of 5 years in mind, because if they were, the chances are, they’d not have hired Conte.

So in short, there’s a lot of glitz, there’s a lot of ‘THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT’ from people that don’t know, and I suspect that all that glitters is not gold might be a truism here.

Well, I hope so. Let’s see what they have. Top 4 just got spicier.



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. China1

    I think Pogba has world class talent but not sure his head is there.

    He is world class when he feels like it – but truly world class players don’t pick and choose when they show up. That was Ozil’s problem too

    Mentality is what distinguishes a Pogba from a Vieira or an Ozil from a DB10.

    World class is unapologetically world class and does not require an *, an excuse, or any ifs, buts or maybes. Pogba unfortunately has all those

    But ability? He’s insanely good

  2. China1

    No one used to say ‘on his day Vieira is incredible’ it was just expected 4 games out of 5. Same for Bergkamp. Same for Henry. Same for Cesc etc

    Players who need to have their shortcomings apologized for are simply not world class irrespective of their ability

  3. WengerEagle

    That’s the thing though, world class players don’t turn in one great performance for every 3-4 below par ones.

    Pogba on his day has as much ability as any other MF around but what good is it if he can’t string multiple performances together? He doesn’t deserved to be mentioned in the same sentence as Vieira imo.

  4. China1

    Exactly weagle

    Ability is only as good as it delivered on the pitch each week, not only when the sun is shining and you’re in the mood

  5. Rich

    Samesong, if we don’t show up with the right level of commitment, and aren’t efficient at both ends of the pitch, then it’s a game we could easily drop points

    Recent performances against Brighton + Palace are reminders of that, if we don’t win, then we could find ourselves back in the bottom half at the beginning of December

    Sunday is a must win, we have to win our home games if we want to get back into Europe

  6. Bradybunch

    Of course Same. They are clearly there to be taken apart, but if they are sat off , as we have a tendency to do this season, then who knows what appears when they find some rhythm. Rafa knows I guess.

  7. WengerEagle


    Watford are a side we should be beating on paper at home but as we know football isn’t played on paper. They still aren’t besrly as dangerous as Palace imo who have so many weapons now in Zaha, Olise, Edouard and even Benteke on his day as we saw.

    Joshua King was a nice pick up for them, was surprised that he wasn’t taken by a PL club sooner and given a real crack considering he has scored 51 PL goals and got 15 assists in 149 starts, not shabby numbers at all for a guy that plays across the forward line and isn’t playing for very creative teams.

    I think we’ll win but doubt we keep a clean sheet, 2-1 or 3-1 I reckon.

  8. Samesong

    Rich, Brady

    Watford seem to be quite a physical side. I guess they will try to hurt us on set pieces? what do you guys think?

    If Rose (Ishola boy) lol plays Saka can destroy him down that flank.

  9. Leedsgunner

    Remember it was Watford who derailed Liverpool’s attempt at replicating the feat of the Invincibles a couple of years ago.

    Obviously this isn’t the same side but it goes to prove you can’t take anyone lightly anymore.

    Besides Arsenal has already done their bit in terms of charitable giving in dropping three points to Brentford for the opening day match.

    We need to be ruthless and get three points, first. Second keep a clean sheet. Third, try to win by three or four goals (or more) to improve our goal difference.

    If we had a better goal difference we would be above Man United right now… and it’s going to be very very tight at the end of the season.

  10. raptora

    Pedro: “Being a ‘winner’ doesn’t mean anything in a league with Tuchel, Klopp, and Pep Guardiola.”

    Could someone explain this sentence, please?

    In fact hiring winners looks the only way to compete with them. As they, themselves, are winners. It’s clear by what happened to the likes of Lampard and Ole. Am I wrong?

    And stop comparing Mouninho with Conte please.

    Conte just had a phenomenal season at Inter where he reached 91 pts, improving on the 72 pts peak in the last 10 years they had before him by almost 20 pts. The title he won at Chelsea makes him one of two managers to win the EPL title vs Pep (the other one is Klopp).

    Mouninho’s last title was 6-7 seasons ago and he’s only been regressing since then.

    It’s like comparing current De Bruyne to current Ozil.

  11. The Bard

    Raptora mate try and fill in the blanks. Which managers come to mind when you think of managers who are successful very quickly, win a trophy, fall out with players and/or the club hierarchy and then leave in a huff for the next project ?
    Of course Maureen is yesterday’s news but surely you can see the similarities.

  12. Tom

    United should have their team doctor give Ole something to knock him out just before games start, and after he comes to, tell him they’re behind and there’s fifteen minutes left on the clock.
    He’d be amazing.

  13. Leedsgunner


    I remember being overjoyed when they did it. The subsequent crowing that would have happened from Liverpool fans up and down the land would have been insufferable.

    Until that result, pundits favourable to Liverpool were ALREADY saying that had Liverpool gone through that season undefeated their streak should be considered of superior quality than what Wenger achieved because they did it more wins.

    No such such thing as acknowledging graciously a feat by another team as far as Liverpool is concerned… they think the universe revolves around them.

    I can appreciate that they are a good side and they have some wonderful footballers but they think they are God’s gift to football and I can’t bear their self entitled superiority.

  14. TR7

    A lot of people here are downplaying Conte’s appointment. He is not just another manager, easily one of the top 5 managers in the world. If nothing else, his appointment doesn’t do any good to our top 4 hopes.

  15. WengerEagle


    Yep, the first managerial gig there will be short-term for their climb up the table. A 2 year job max before you are shitcanned out for an elite gaffer.

    Like Mark Hughes at City, as soon as something better comes along (Mancini), you’re out of there.

    I’m more interested in who the first group of players they get in, who will be their Robinho statement signing.

  16. Habesha Gooner

    Watford is a tricky game. The player that is one to watch out for is Ismiala Sarr. He is their most dangerous player. Joshua king also seems like has found some form. Dennis was also very good vs Everton. If we show up, we will tear them apart. If we think this is in the bag though, it will be a disappointing result.

  17. WengerEagle


    Yep we were fortunate there. Granted City and us beat them too but that was when they had already wrapped up the title.

    100 point seasons are obviously more ‘successful’ but our unbeaten season is unique in the modern PL and will never be repeated imo.

  18. englandsbest

    I hate bringing politics into the discussion, but the issue at Arsenal mirrors the issue that faces mankind: do we live for the present or do we take steps to secure the future?

    Most on here apparently would answer, “Both.”

    The grim truth is that ‘Both’ is not an option.

  19. WengerEagle

    Talk on Luis Diaz (Porto) being Newcastle’s 1st big signing.

    He is a brilliant player, was great in the summer Copa America for Colombia and has been top quality for Porto.

  20. TR7


    Think Newcastle will aim for players who are out of favor at big clubs. For them to lure real big name players they will have to first finish in the top half of the league.

  21. Habesha Gooner

    I am still waiting for Liverpool to lose. They are 6 wins and 4 draws right now. Every season, as soon as every team has lost once, I breath a sigh of relief. It is not that teams don’t deserve to go unbeaten. It is just that the 2003/4 Arsenal team had everything. More so than these teams that are trying to achieve that feat.

  22. InsideRight

    The team is going to need to be in the right head space for Watford.

    Arsenal’s carefully guarded secret of an explosive start has been rumbled. Watford will expect it and I would be stunned if they aren’t set up to try to press hard from the off to unsettle us and stop the ball reaching ESR and Saka in particular.

    If Watford turn up like they did at Everton we might have some problems. If they turn up like they did against Southampton, we should be OK. Having the Tinkerman in charge means there’s no way of knowing which Watford we’ll face.

    I’d like to see us take more shots from outside the box to mix things up and force the Watford backline to come out a bit, because I think they will sit deep.

  23. WengerEagle

    We always came up short in Europe though Habesha. This Liverpool team won the CL to be fair to them.

    2004 was our golden chance to win, best team in the competition that year and we would have beaten Monaco and Porto if we hadn’t shit the bed vs the Chavs.

  24. WengerEagle

    CL Final 2006 obviously a bitter pill to swallow but we overachieved in finishing Runners Up with that team.

    Still think we would have won that game with 11 men if Eto’o goal stood.

  25. Habesha Gooner

    Wenger eagle
    Yeah. I think winning the Champions league counts for something. But it is also a cup competition. It doesn’t mean you were the best team or had the best players. It is like holding it against Messi for not having a world cup.

    Mane and Salah are great players but Henry and Bergkamp were ridiculous. I think that team would brush this liverpool side aside. I think Liverpool are playing to their fullest potential. If klopp wasn’t there then this team is one that would compete for top 4 and not the title every year.

  26. China1

    Weagle I don’t think we overachieved. That was a great team with a great manager playing great football and earning every step of the way

    Tho that defense did over achieve. Statistically the greatest defense in CL history was for the most part

    Flamini, senderos, toure, eboue. Toure was the only top quality established player of the bunch!

    That was some feat. Martin keown defensive coach take a fucking bow. Not keeping him on as defensive coach goes down as one of the poorest mistakes of the wenger reign. We should’ve been doing absolutely everything to keep him.

  27. Leedsgunner

    Another day, another long drawn discussion about how great Conte is.

    He is a good manager, even a great manager but he is not infallible, he can be beaten.

    Plus think about this, if you were approached by Tottenham to buy this or that player, I would try to drive up the price up and bleed Spurs dry. Levy is going to be between a rock and a hard place and he won’t be able to drive a hard bargain because Conte will have been given assurances that he will be able to bring in the players he wants. Unless Conte has got every one of his targets spot on, he’s going to spend a lot of money on possibly very average players.

    It’s the ultimate short term gain mercenarial manager appointment.

    Have heart fellow Gooners, if we keep playing to our strengths and we will keep up with them, if not pass them.

    In the long run they are going to be left up the creek without a paddle.

    We have a clear plan, all they are doing is throwing a mountain of money hoping it will buy them success.

  28. WengerEagle


    It is on every season though compared to the World Cup every 4 years and is a 2 legged cup competition as opposed to 1. So the cream of the crop do tend to win it mosts seasons with the odd surprise like Chelsea last season and in 2012.

    Real and Barca winning 5 CL titles in a row when they were the two best teams on the planet from 2013-2018 tells you that.

    How many underdog sides in the super financially doped era have upset the odds and won the CL?

    Even Chelsea last season spent like £250m before the season started on players.

  29. WengerEagle


    That is what I meant by overachieving, holding 3 top sides in Real Madrid, Juventus and Villarreal all goal-less over 6 combined matches with Flamini at LB and Senderos CB for large spells. Ridiculous feat.

    We also needed Henry to pretty much single-handedly drag us into the top 4.

  30. WengerEagle

    I would back our Invincibles side to beat this Liverpool side too but the fact remains that they achieved success in both Europe and the league.

    And as a result, many people (non-Gooners) will rank them above the Invincibles historically in years to come once nostalgia is on a level footing.

  31. TR7

    Well Liverpool can win the CL yet again this season.

    Barca in disarray, Real and Bayern struggling and PSG still not clicking as a unit. City and Chelsea are perhaps their closest rivals in CL too.

  32. AFC Forever

    Wenger Eagle

    I don’t think anyone could claim Pogba is as good as Vieira, it’s not even close. On his day Pogba is a very good player but he makes too many bad decisions. As you know, football is about using your brain not just your feet. Vieira was a beast and truly World Class. I’m not even convinced Pogba is a CM, his positional sense is all over the place.

  33. Rich

    Samesong, we’ve got some tall players now:

    Gabriel 6ft,3
    White 6ft
    Tomiyasu 6ft,2
    Tavares 6ft
    Partey 6ft,1
    Lokonga 6ft
    Smith Rowe 6ft

    There’s also much more pace, power, athleticism, and dynamism in our squad, than there was last October

    We should be fresh + well prepared with 8 days rest before Watford, anything but 3 points at home would be a terrible result, and I’d like to see a good performance along with those points

    I’m certainly not taking the points for granted, you never know which Arsenal team will show up, but if we’re disciplined + committed, it’s a game we should be winning, because we have superior quality to Watford all over the pitch

  34. WengerEagle

    Yaya was for sure more gifted than Vieira but for every intangible from leadership, mentality, big game performance and effect on spurring on the rest of the team when the chips are down, give me Vieira all day.

    I’m biased but I would take prime Paddy over Yaya.

  35. WengerEagle

    Vieira was so underrated on the ball too. He didn’t score many but he finished like a ST when he was in those advanced positions.

    His dink finish vs Everton in the 7-0 and walking the ball around the Leicester keeper to ensure us of an unbeaten campaign just two off the top of my head.

    Miles ahead of Keane as a player on the ball while losing none of that physicality and mental toughness that Keane brought to the table.

  36. Shaun

    not having that for one second there is no way in this life or the next that Poggy can be compared to Viera .put Viera in our team now next to Partey and we would win the prem .the guy should be a blue print for the modern day CM .I hear a lot of Arsenal fans say fab is there favourite CM but for me Viera had it all

  37. WengerEagle


    Agreed, Pogba is your classic ‘moments’ player with as spectacular a youtube reel as anyone.

    Watch the 90 min games though and you will find he struggles to dominate the MF most of the time unlike Vieira and Yaya.

  38. WengerEagle


    Are Bayern struggling? They sure do ship a lot of goals but they ourscore all of their opponents and absolutely blitz even very good sides on their day.

    I actually think they will win the CL. They just have too much firepower for any defence to contain and unlike PSG they click perfectly as a unit. Lewandowski is a machine and you have Gnabry, Muller, Sane, Coman, Musiala on top. Great MF too of Goretzka and Kimmich.

    They need to sort out CB though, Upamecano is a big problem. Teams like Liverpool, City and PSG can really hurt them as they are now.

  39. AFC Forever

    Pedro / Wenger Eagle

    Yep, that’s an accurate description of Pogba.

    Vieira was such an important player, he ran that midfield. I loved watching him with the elegant Gilberto, what a player Gilberto Silva was.by the way.

  40. Tom

    The Arsenal unbeaten season was great obviously but I feel the main reason it will never be repeated is how much more money there is available to the rest of the PL teams outside of the top four these days.

    The total spend for the six remaining clubs in the top half of the table in 2003 was around £30m.
    Compare that to the £500m clubs from 5-10 place in the table spent in 2019-20 season and you’ll get a more accurate picture.

  41. WengerEagle

    It’s true Tom and a very valid point.

    Lower PL sides have better players now and there are much more strong teams that can beat the best sides on their day.

    Even outside the ‘traditional’ top 6 teams you have West Ham, Leicester, Everton that have all spent a lot of money on players.

  42. WengerEagle

    Everton have literally spent 100s of millions on players and can still barely crack the top 10.

    Back in the mid 2000s you had Bolton, Blackburn and Everton all finishing top 6/even 4th (2005, Everton) spending peanuts.

  43. Tom

    WE, when I ran the numbers from the Transfermarkt there were Charlton and Bolton sitting in 7th and 8th in the 2003-04 PL table.
    Now both clubs combined value at $20m.


  44. Pierre

    “Lower PL sides have better players now and there are much more strong teams that can beat the best sides on their day.”

    If so, what you are implying is that the city, chelsea and liverpool are in fact better and stronger sides than the invincibles as the average points for the last 5 title winners is 95 , whereas the invincibles only managed 90 points against apparently inferior opposition.

  45. Tom

    In the 2003-04 season there were actually three clubs in the top ten that didn’t spend a penny on transfers that season.
    A different era.

  46. AFC Forever

    BREAKING NEWS: Mourinho talked Conte into taking the Spuds job.

    The conversation went like this:-

    Conte: Daniel Levis of Tottingham called me, He begged me to be their Manager but I turned them down again.
    Maureen: You are crazy. Take it, it’s an easy job:
    Conte: Easy? But they are shit.
    Maureen: I know but you have to take the job.
    Conte: But I’m waiting for a big club.
    Maureen: Look they will pay you to come, pay you to leave and there is zero pressure because you don’t have to win anything..!
    Conte: Sounds too good to be true. So what do I have to do then?
    Maureen: You have to play the Spurs way.
    Conte: What is that?
    Maureen: Tell everyone how good you are, what you are going to win and then lose.
    Conte: What so they call that?
    Maureen: It’s called Spursy.

    They both laughed as Conte dialled Levy’s number.

  47. WengerEagle


    In a vacuum maybe but it’s a game of eras and considering we were buying players for £5m and £10m a piece compared to £30-50m a piece like City and Liverpool, I don’t see an unbeaten season today as being any more valuable.

    Just harder as the lower teams now have better players and there are more good teams.

    We had no right building such an amazing team in the Invincibles era with such a low spend compared to United.

  48. China1

    Would like Utd to draw with city

    Mathematically it’s good for us meanwhile it keeps Ole in the job without actually bagging him 3 points

    It’s the best arrangement for us

    Also if we win we’re only a point behind city!

  49. WengerEagle

    We also coasted a bit in the Invincibles season and our squad was nothing like these modern super squads with x2 top class players for each position virtually.

    Always irked me a bit that we drew 12 games, some of them were down the stretch though like to Portsmouth, Fulham and the Spuds and our squad ran out of steam a bit.

    An Invincbles XI vs City/Liverpool in a one off match, I would back us.

  50. Pierre

    “We had no right building such an amazing team in the Invincibles era with such a low spend compared to United.”

    The work of a genius , without a doubt.

  51. China1

    Ultimate PL team


    Fuck having fullbacks and yeah Bergkamp is deeper than normal but fuck it he can be free and do whatever he wants

  52. Tom

    China , are you suggesting keeping pace with City is a priority?

    With Conte off the table who would United replace the Norwegian genius with anyways?

  53. China1

    Iirc we drew loads of the final games in 04 when the season was already virtually wrapped up

    At the time I found it frustrating. How cute to be annoyed about that in hindsight

  54. TR7

    In a hypothetical world Wenger wins the CL in 2006 and the league titles in 2008 and 2015 and goes down as the greatest PL manager ever ahead of Fergie.

  55. WengerEagle

    I mean £6m bought you prime 26 year old Tomas Rosicky in 2006, established international star and Bundesliga champion.

    How much does a player like that go for in 2021, £50m+? At least. With nothing a secret anymore as every league is extensively covered and televised from England to Timbuktu and all of the stats/data recorded.

    No secret talents anymore unless you are really looking in obscure places.

  56. China1

    Tom look we don’t expect to finish above city but we’re right behind them.

    1) they might not have a great season. If for any reason they don’t we shouldn’t be saying we have to finish behind them just because we expect to. We should take advantage if they don’t hold their expected level.

    2) until it’s mathematically or realistically impossible you should always aim as high as possible. Leicester won the league at 5000-1 odds. If they’d said they aren’t interested in keeping up with city that mindset would’ve seen them land mid table or worse.

    Go into every game aiming to win, hope your rivals stutter and see where it leaves you

  57. WengerEagle

    Drogba the ultimate Finals man and Arsenal-killer but he doesn’t deserve to get into a PL all-time XI.

    Aguero, Shearer and even Kane all have much more legit shouts if it is a x2 ST formation.

    Salah is a pretty fair shout at this stage though.

  58. WengerEagle

    We should have won the title in 2003, better team than United and we had a clear lead on them which we blew.

    Would have meant we defended a title/ even likely 3-peated and Fergie vs Wenger would have been 4-4 in PL titles by 2004.

    Bold statement there TR7. Even 2008/15 wouldn’t have been enough to put AW over Fergie.

  59. AFC Forever

    Wenger Eagle

    “We had no right building such an amazing team in the Invincibles era with such a low spend compared to United.”


    It is a point often missed. It is impossible to compare football now to 20, 30, 40 years ago.

    Sol Campbell said.”Would our team be the best today? Oh yeah, You look back at the team we had and you think it would cost more than £1b to buy those players now. Easy, £1bn”
    This wasn’t anything like we have today where doped clubs can buy the best players. This was a team that didn’t even buy a World Class striker to score the goals, Wenger recruited a winger/wing-back and converted him into that role. It was the perfect case of a Manager/Coach building a team by profiling players and training them, without buying any superstars.It was also about the science Wenger employed, this was a monumental achievement.

    Thierry was £11m, Pires £6m, Ljungberg £3m, Lauren £7.2m, Gilberto Silva £4.5m, Lehmann £2m. Kolo Toure cost £150,000, Ashley Cole academy, Patrick was £3.5m and Sol Campbell the Spuds captain came on a free.

    Wenger also had an edge with his knowledge of sports science, so it was one of those things when everything came together. It is probably the greatest example of profiling players you will find because he didn’t go out and buy the names everyone knew. It was why there was an element of dislike for Wenger, his recruitment of foreign players often cited by the media in what would now be classed as Xenophobic. Don’t forget, as anyone who witnessed the 50th game knows, back then Fergie had a stranglehold on the officials.

  60. TR7

    1 CL title, 5 league titles, 1 invincibles, 20 plus straight top 4 finish, 6 FA Cup titles with limited finances, a stadium move, constantly losing your best players, bias from officials and perhaps the lowest net spend among top teams – no contest as far as I am concerned but sadly it wasn’t to be.

  61. WengerEagle


    He also had the French market sussed out long before anyone over here caught up hence getting in Petit, Henry, Vieira, Pires, Wiltord, Flamini, Diaby, Clichy, list goes on.

    Even in the more modern (ish) era getting Sagna, Nasri, Koscielny and Giroud on the cheap.

    Wenger absolutely was a great manager and a visonary back in his earlier Arsenal days.

  62. Spudnik

    Pedro, Spurs are a wheat field of dicks and Antonio Conte is a combine harvester armed with Hattori Hanzo blades. The eventual ego showdown between Levy and Conte will leave nothing but a charred husk.
    Meanwhile, across north London there is relative calm. A rookie manager is to be given more time to get things right than any other in the top flight since Alex Ferguson. The scouting department has been cleared out and reset. The playing squad has been cleared out and reset. The executive leadership has been cleared out and reset. The club is now on a path of nuture and growth and even if the manager or Dof fail, the path has been laid for others to come in and follow.

  63. WengerEagle

    I still hate United more than any other club, including the Spuds

    Even though I respected him greatly could never stand Fergie and United. Still pains me seeing their band of Utd mafia dominating the football punditry world but at least they are all keeping the party going and Ole at the wheel.

    Hate Neville, Ferdinand and Scholes. Former is a decent pundit but he is a weasel and was a nasty and dirty little thug of a player. Him and his dopey brother used to hack the shit out of poor Reyes and probably helped send him back to Spain they would knacker his ankles so badly.

  64. AFC Forever

    Fergie managed the richest and biggest club in the World. As such, there was nowhere for his players to leave for to better themselves. This was a huge advantage. They could also buy anyone they wanted and pay whatever they needed to pay. It was like Maureen at Chelsea. The difference was, Manchester United’s financial dominance was organic. Not artificial like Chelseas’s.

    Fergie’s team had a monopoly on the league. In his book, former referee Graham Poll wrote about how importance Old Trafford was and the influence Fergie had on match officials. According to poll, referees knew that having a bad game against a Fergie team would lead to Fergie contacting the FA and that referee no longer getting their games. Fergie time was a consequence of that. Because Man Utd at the time were winning everything, that meant missing the big games.

    PS: I understand Clattenburg has just written a book about how some PGMOL referees are still affecting results with ‘favourite’ teams. I believe it is to do with the fact PGMOL only employ Northern referees into their ranks who list non-league teams as their team of choice to ensure they are up for selection to PGMOL. Haven’t read it but should be a good read!

  65. Rich

    Tim Akinola in the under 23, can apparently run at 10.4 metres a second

    The athletic profile of some of these lads is insane, they’re not human beings, they’re cheetahs

    Remember Bellerin’s interception + assist for Ozil against Bayern, I’d never seen pace like it

    Apparently Tierney is currently the quickest in our first team

  66. WengerEagle

    It was organic to a point but they caught lightning in a bottle happening to have all the right pieces fall into play and a great team assemble just as the Sky takeover money exploded and was being pumped into the league.

    If the class of 93′ was the class of 2003′ and our Invincibles side happened in the mid 90s, it may well have been us to dominate the PL era.

  67. AFC Forever

    Wenger Eagle

    “Hate Neville, Ferdinand and Scholes. Former is a decent pundit but he is a weasel and was a nasty and dirty little thug of a player. Him and his dopey brother used to hack the shit out of poor Reyes.”

    That 50th game proved everything.

    By the way I watched Gary Neville on his Soccerbox programme with Rooney. In one game they were reviewing, the Man Utd team were spitting bile at a referee as they surrounded him. Neville said something along the lines that they were a horrid team to referee and how he looks back now embarrassed. Rooney just smirked as they both laughed, They know it worked.

  68. China1

    Drogba wasn’t the best goal scorer but him and Henry is scarier than him and Aguero for me. He had that nasty cunt presence and bullied defenders in a way I don’t think Aguero could despite being a better goalscorer

  69. WengerEagle

    Alphonso Davies is the current fastest player in Europe apparently by the metrics.

    Find it hard to believe that anyone is faster than Mbappe, I haven’t been mesmerized by pace like that since young Walcott.

  70. Jamie

    Man U were the ‘biggest and richest club’ when Fergie took over in 1986, that’s why it was so easy for him to win.

    In fact, they were so dominant their last First Division title came just 21 short years before they appointed Fergie.

    Elite hot take.

  71. AFC Forever

    Wenger eagle

    “If the class of 93′ was the class of 2003′ and our Invincibles side happened in the mid 90s, it may well have been us to dominate the PL era.”

    Impossible to disagree. When the Invincible team broke up and we went through a period of selling players to generate cash for the stadium project, the oil money had arrived. Couldn’t have been worse timing. That and the fact there was no clear strategy in place in future years is why we are where we are now. I’m lucky enough to have watched football throughout the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 0’s so my benchmark was never the Invincibles or Wengers early teams. I have seen some proper crap football and bottom half finishes on pitches you couldn’t imagine!.The early Wenger sides were something else.

  72. Leedsgunner

    “Pedro, Spurs are a wheat field of dicks and Antonio Conte is a combine harvester armed with Hattori Hanzo blades. The eventual ego showdown between Levy and Conte will leave nothing but a charred husk…”

    Take a bow… genuinely laughed out loud.😂😂😂

  73. WengerEagle


    No doubt Fergie the GOAT PL manager for me and what he did there was amazing.

    Things did fall nicely for him with the class of 93 and being the top team when Sky were pumping unprecedented levels of money into the league though.

  74. Dissenter

    There’s talk that Spurs ared set to sign Franck Kessié on a low fee in January because he won’t extend his contract at Milan.

  75. Alexanderhenry


    Good assessment of the Conte appointment.

    I agree, I’m not sure it will work long term but in the short term there will be a bounce at spurs.

    That makes things tougher for arsenal.
    The club is playing a long game but I’m not convinced that it will work- is there room for long term squad builds in the PL anymore?
    And, let’s be honest, we’ve been here before.

    The team has been impressive lately and so far the kids have done extremely well but heading into the brutal end of year schedule, they may struggle – understandably.

  76. WengerEagle

    Up until he fucked his knee up in the 2-0 Cup win vs the Spuds in 2014, Theo was as quick a player as I have seen over short and longer distances.

    He used to be such a valuable weapon against sides that gave you space to run into, it’s why he would do well against Pep’s Barcelona even.

    Against sides that sat deep though he was as basic a footballer as you would find starting for a top club.

  77. China1

    Fergue benefited from money, the class of 93 and all that stuff but he also managed to win the league usually with a fair share of average players in his teams

    Darren fletcher, Phil Neville, Wes Brown, Silvestre, Anderson, Nani, the da Silva brothers, the list is LONG. He managed to always do enough so that even some of their pretty drossy players were somehow able to do enough

  78. Pierre

    “Find it hard to believe that anyone is faster than Mbappe, I haven’t been mesmerized by pace like that since young Walcott.”

    Will be interesting to see how fast Tavares is,..

  79. AFC Forever


    Man Utd had always been a big club. The Busby Babes cemented them as the Nations favourite. The air-crash that resulted in the sad death of many of their players further attracted global sympathy and with it support.

    When Fergie first joined Man Utd, it is true the club weren’t the financial powerhouse they became later. Michael Knighton had promised to inject cash into the club towards the end of the 1980’s but when that deal fell through Martin Edwards decided on another path. In 1990 or 91 they were floated on the stock exchange generating a lot of cash for the club and Fergie. Ten years later, in 2001 Manchester United was the most successful stock market listed football club in the world. They also benefited from the huge sums of money Sky, during its formative years, pumped into football.

  80. WengerEagle

    Yeah look Fergie’s 2013 title win (at a canter) over that stacked City side along is an elite managerial feat.

    With the likes of Rafael, Cleverley/Fletcher, Young, etc as starters.

  81. Dissenter

    The best part of Fergie is the manner he reinvented himself over decades.
    He embraced change a lot more than Wenger, even though our Wenger was always lauded for innovation.
    Fergie constantly changed his backroom to tap from his assistant managers, Wenger just stayed the same and eventually became a salt statue. I

  82. China1

    Like let’s be real, Darren fletcher was a mid table level player at best. His entire skill set was to commit fouls.

    He was a central player in a CL winning and multiple title winning teams.


  83. Rich


    Apparently over 30 metres, Tavares is second just behind Tierney

    Tavares apparently has the best stamina at the club though, he looks like some athlete, there was a picture of him on the club website competing for a header a while back, and the leap on him was phenomenal

  84. AFC Forever

    Fergie was able to buy the best players when he needed them. Sure he was a great manager, he had already proved that at Aberdeen, but he had the same clout the doped clubs have today. If he needed a striker he could buy and attract the very best.

    Andy Cole
    Ruud Van Horsey Rooy
    Waynetta Rooney
    Robin Van Persie

    You still have to manage well but this was a big advantage he had.

  85. Rich


    Remember Fergie saying something like:

    “If you don’t change your team every 5 years, then they’ll change you”

  86. Biggles

    I accept the points Pedro is making in this post, but let’s be honest, results are the be all and end all. If Conte can deliver top 4 for Spurs and we finish outside it, he’s done better. His team might not be sustainable, but Wenger did the whole sustainable thing without winning or seriously challenging for years and it wasn’t enough for us as fans.

  87. Zacharse

    If results were the be all and end all then managers would not get booed after a win.
    But we all know this happens

  88. Zacharse

    We could finish 3rd with another strong transfer window. No prob saying that here, esp if man city dont sign a striker in jan, but even if they do we cN challenge them.
    No europe is turning out just like it should, extra rest less
    Injuries and better league results

  89. andy1886

    The year that RvP won Fergie his last title I’d argue that they had a weaker side than we did. Look at the lists. Latter day Wenger handicapped himself by ignoring obvious deficiencies in the name of his ill guided principles.

  90. Paolo

    Taking my son (age 7) to his first Arsenal game on Sunday so hoping for great game & gunners victory!!

    We’ve suffered in recent years but things are looking positive & it’s fun to follow ‘the Arsenal’ right now.


  91. Habesha Gooner

    The discussions were top notch today.

    Anyway, I think we definitely should go for a CM in January. We need one because Xhaka is poor normally and he would be returning from injury. Elneny and Partey are going to AFCON. So Lokonga and AMN plus Xhaka isn’t enough to hold it down. I would go for a left sided attacker too if there is an opportunity. We need to loan out the likes of Balogun though. Same for Martinelli if he isn’t going to play. He needs a series of games.

  92. AFC Forever


    Hope you have a great time mate, your son will be buzzing. Get there nice and early, so you can take some photo’s outside of your Junior Gunner around the ground, the Canons and statues – then blow your cash in one of the shops….!!! COYG

  93. AFC Forever

    Jamie O’Hara is such a melt. He was behaving like the deluded Spuds we’ve been accustomed to, similar to some people on here to be fair. He was goading us Arsenal fans, hailing Conte as the second coming. As if Spurs fans could come twice.

  94. Paolo

    Thank you Pedro & AFC Forever

    Yep we getting 9am train from Brighton so going to make a proper Gooner day of it!!

    We get off at Finsbury Park so we’ll go for a pint (or two) in Auld Triangle, get a burger, show him Highbury & let him enjoy the Armoury before the game.

    Also taking my daughter (age 10) who’s been twice before but this time feels so much more exciting.

    My son Ted is so excited we drive past the Amex all the time & he asks if the Emirates is as big! I say its twice the size & he cannot believe it.

    Nothing like going to the Arsenal with family.. cannot wait COYG!!

  95. MidwestGun

    Some interesting results… Ajax balling out literally in the CL.. Ball breaking goal. anyhow.

    PSG still look fragile as hell. And good ol” Lexi Sanchez scored today. Forgot he was still playing.

  96. Tony

    ‘Alex, the long play is next season top 4, the season after titles.’

    This your thinking, Pedro?

    So what’s your target for us this season?


  97. Tony

    Emery surprised me not taking the Magpies job. Apparently, didn’t like the KPI of getting the sack if Newcastle went down.

    Not being privy to the details other than it was in the press I’ll assume the caveats were not to Emery’s liking.

    Shame because it would have made another derby game: the manager’s derby, Arteta v Emery.

    Arteta dodged bullets because he has no idea how to beat Emery.

    Those who wanted Eddie Howe here will get to see what he can do with the type of TW kitty the Saudis are offering. Bournemouth he was restricted heavily financially.

    Low news day today worth reading or writing about.

    Have a good day Grovers.

  98. Tony

    Predicted Premier League table via (Sporting Index)
    Man City points – 84

    Chelsea points – 83

    Liverpool points – 82

    Man Utd points – 69

    Arsenal points – 62

    West Ham points – 60

    Tottenham points – 58

    If we can get 5th via a supercomputer then 4th is attainable with Ole at Manure.

  99. Tony

    ‘A cheaper striking alternative for the Gunners comes in the form of Genk’s Paul Onuachu.’

    Anyone know much about this 42 year old?

  100. China1

    62 points would be very poor with this squad. 70 is the barometer for acceptable this season and anything higher will be good

  101. China1

    Not aiming for top 4 this season would be very silly

    There are only three teams in the league who we are very unlikely to finish above.

    United are very inconsistent and have a poor manager. Spurs have a worse squad than us. We have no excuse for finishing behind teams like west ham. Leicester are no better than us, I prefer our squad.

    Not seriously aiming for 4th this year when it is quite possibly attainable would be very lightweight from the club.

  102. China1

    If Utd blow up and end up getting 75+ points and are above us come the end, fine. But I don’t currently think they will. They look more likely to get 65-70 than they do 75-80. We should be realistically about 70. So if utd get sub 70 and still finish above us it’s an L for arsenal

    If they get 75 and finish a few points above us, fine by me

  103. China1

    If we win this Sunday there is every chance we’re already above Utd. What gives anyone any certainty they should finish above us this season?

    They have a more talented squad but a talented squad does not equal a good team and their poor manager is confounding this point. Their entire game plan is just hope one of their ballers can bail them out. We’ve already seen that is not reliable at this level of the PL right now so unless something changes, they are not going to have a great season

  104. Habesha Gooner

    Not aiming for top 4 is stupid. You have to do your job and see where you are at the end of the season. We have no Europe either. Which means as the season progresses, our players will be fresher and fitter. We can also keep playing a consistent line up with out having to worry about a big game in mid week. Meanwhile, United will have Champions league or Europa league to worry about. Westham and Leicester definitely have Europa league to worry about, and Tottenham have the Conference league. So there are a lot of things that are going for us if we want to take our chance.

  105. Kroenkephobe

    We get off at Finsbury Park so we’ll go for a pint (or two) in Auld Triangle

    Have a great day with the nippers mate – might be a good idea to put a lemonade top in their pints unless they’re already hardened boozers! That pub is the one formerly known as the Plimsoll right? I gather it’s being changed back to its old name.

    Give them the full unabridged history mate. Tell them about the statues and show them the art deco exteriors at our proper home. You might bore them enough so they fall asleep on the train home and you can fully appreciate our impending victory over the hornets with a few more cheeky cans!

    Be good to find out how the day went. Makes a pleasant change from some of the angry accountant stuff on here and the confected division.

    My first game with my little man was away at Villa Park the year they got relegated. He never stops talking about it.

  106. Habesha Gooner

    The strikers that I have my eye on are Isak and Vlahovic. I like Osimhen too but there is no way we are getting him from Napoli because they are impossible to negotiate with. Adeyemi from Salsburg has impressed me in the Champions league because of his overall ability. Lille’s Johnathan David is also a good shout. Other than that there aren’t a lot of strikers that excite me.

  107. Kroenkephobe

    Anyone know much about this 42 year old

    Hiya Tony,
    A spring chicken compared to us grizzled old bastards!

    I gather he does this neat trick where he deflects his shots off his zimmer frame with unerring accuracy and has a stannah lift installed to rise like a (tin of) salmon at the back post.

    Can’t believe another fucking international ceasefire is imminent. So dull. Like watching a breaking bad boxed set and someone slips in an episode of the fucking Vicar of Dibley into the dvd.

    Cardiff last night. 220 mile round trip to watch them lose 0-1 to west London’s finest QP ha ha ha. Could be a relegation scrap unless the Bluebirds pull their feathery heads out of their parson’s noses. Might go up to Preston to see them again soon. The championships where its at!

  108. Terraloon

    Within a very very short period the impact of the International break and of course the additional demands put on the PL and EL clubs to qualify for the knock out stages of their respective competitions will be a thing of the past.Ok around the corner we have the likelihood that clubs will be losing players to that African Tournament.

    All obvious I know but to this point in time the lack of European football has benefited matters at Arsenal . Of course they the likes of Man Utd still have to go full pelt over the next two CL games but the danger is that they will stumble on a formation , a pattern or a solution to their inconsistency

    It seems to me that Arteta has just about arrived at the style, the formation that he will rely on but there is so little depth in terms of quality that should there be more than just the odd injury form could be impacted in a blink of the eye.

    By mid December Arsenal , in my mind, have to be in the top four because looking at the players that will not be available post the Boxing Day will surely impact significantly


  109. englandsbest


    Mate, look I know there’s little of interest today, but re-stating the obvious makes the day even more tedious – and we get more than enough of that already from Tony

  110. Moray

    How the hell can Spurs afford Conte? They’ve already borrowed heavily to build an empty stadium. They have little in the way of winners prizes for decades.This changing managers and regimes with regularity must be putting them at big financial risk.

  111. Bob N16

    Moray, I had that same thought. Can’t afford to do it, can’t afford not to do it!

    If this doesn’t work out for them, which of course we hope it doesn’t, I think ENIC will have to try and sell up but it won’t be an attractive option compared to many other clubs – massive debt on top of what ENIC will want.

  112. Ishola70

    The only thing to say really about Spurs hiring Conte is we will see just how good Conte is because managing Chelsea and Inter is a whole different kettle of fish to managing Spurs.

    Conte may get that initial new manager bounce might do but if he actually succeeded with Spurs then that is on a different plain than doing well with Inter in Italy and Chelsea in England.

    And success now for Conte at Spurs will most likely have to be redefined. Top four for Spurs is success. Conte will most likely have to forget about being a title winner with Spurs as he was with his previous clubs.

  113. AFC Forever


    They’re desperate mate. I suspect they’re gambling on Kane money, so if he doesn’t find his form, they won’t be getting £120m for him.

  114. Shaun

    Lots of worry on hear about Conte , lets see what the opinion is on the top five club mangers in the world currently .I think three of them already have the top 3 spots in the prem rapped up

  115. AFC Forever


    Conte chat is just more of the same. We had the same when Maureen joined them. It’s hard to remember a time when their fans weren’t running off at the mouth. It’s in their DNA, that’s what Levy meant. They are programmed from birth to ignore history and carry on the deluded bragging. Child abuse and something needs to be done about it before more kids are damaged.

  116. Ishola70

    Kris don’t compare Juventus with Spurs. Or even Inter for that matter in Italy.

    That’s silly.

    Spurs last won a league title back in the early 1960s.

    What this Conte appointment has done really is just to emphasise the huge chasm there is at present between challenging for the title itself or winning it or getting into the top four in the EPL. The fourth place in EPL is up for grabs.

    Can Conte get 4th place in the EPL in his first season or following seasons? Possible.

    Can Conte win a league title with Spurs? Never.

    There is a huge gap in between the two.

    If Conte did win a Epl title with Spurs he would go down as the greatest.

    It’s actually more doable now for an EPL club finishing third or fourth to win the CL rather than winning an EPL title.

  117. Ishola70


    “can he win at least the mickey mouse cup with serial losers such as spurs?”

    Why would anyone be concerned with that?

    Everyone knows that the true mark of a good manager is to cut it week in week out in the EPL.

    That’s why Poch got respect in some quarters. He got Spurs for a few seasons into top four or if not that challenging for top four. Don’t underestimate what that signifies or means at a club like Spurs.

  118. Leedsgunner

    Two strikers we are heavily linked with,

    Luka Jovic, 23, out of favour at Real Madrid, plays a game very similar to Lacazette, apparently we’re looking at a loan to buy. Hardly got a sniff at Real Madrid but was electrifying at Eintracht Frankfurt which earned him a move to Real Madrid – fits our present


    Andrea Belotti, 27, possibly available on a cut price fee (available on a free this coming summer) because their present club Torino is desperate to sell him to a club outside Serie A… and not lose him to Inter Milan, Juventus or AC Milan on a free.

    Older, so less of a resale value but not an issue if we acquire him on a free. He is also good in the air which is what we need.

    Although Italian strikers for some reason have not settled well into the EPL.

    Both have risks and pluses who would you prefer?

  119. The Bard

    I dont think we have to worry too much about Conte and the Spuds. He was a panic hire to cover Levy’s arse in the face of fan unrest. Spurs don’t have the money to buy the players Conte will want. He will undoubtedly make the team better but it will end in tears sooner rather than later as he makes demands that Levy cannot/ will not meet. Levy is no match for Conte. He took on Abramovitch and won.

  120. Ishola70

    lol Belotti.

    He’s a donkey.

    And Juve will not be moving heaven and earth to obtain him.

    He is at a cut down price now because it’s become apparent after he was being highly rated several years ago that he isn’t the mustard that some thought he was previously.

  121. Ishola70

    Juve might actually go in for Belotti actually because they love their free transfers but he will be signed as a squad player like a cover player rather than a star player for them.

    For Arsenal? Keep away from him.

  122. Marx

    Arsenal should be talking to Ten Haag right now hes an amazing coach. He is tailormade for this type of project. Josh should be reaching out to his people right now. Ten haag would walk the league in 2 seasons time. Hes that good with young players. We could sell 70% of the team and still thrash the 80% of epl teams with a young & cheaply assembled squad. Arteta should consider a lower/smaller club to build his career

  123. Ishola70

    Jovic is more interesting but there would be concerns that he was a one hit wonder in that one season in the Bundesliga a few seasons ago.

    And we know that filling your boots in the Bundesliga doesn’t many times translate into killing it in other leagues especially when that entailed just one season in Germany.