As the transfer window trundles to a close today prior to the Premier League opener tomorrow, I thought I would share some thoughts on the market, and how Arsenal have performed.
My thought can be summed up in the statement it is not what you spend, but who you buy.
Fans can often become obsessed with the value of the player, rather than the ability of the player. Thinking that the more expensive the player, the better he must be. But with brilliant recruitment you can sign top class players at the fraction of what other clubs are spending.
It is dangerous to look at what other clubs have spent over what they have actually signed.
This summer West Ham, Everton, Fulham and Leicester City have all outspent Arsenal (at the time of writing – Wednesday lunchtime), and some people might use that fact to attack the club. But look at what the actually signed.
Everton spent £42million on Richarlison from Watford. He hasn’t scored since November, and no assists since December.
West Ham also went big on an attacking Brazilian, spending £38million on Felipe Anderson. The former wonderkid has never really developed into a consistent performer and £38million is a lot of money for a man who was restricted to just 9 starts last season due to a serious knee injury.
Leicester City signed James Maddison for £25m, Ricardo Pereira (who?) for £23million and Liverpools 9th choice goal keeper Danny Ward for £12.5million. Over £60million spent on Championship players.
Also buying Championship players are Fulham who have spent £37million on Aleksandar Mitrovic and Alfie Mawson – two players who have previously been found wanting in the Premier League.
Now lets shut our eyes and imagine Arsenal bought the 7 players mentioned in this blog. Nearly £180million spent. Would you say it is good business? No. It would be big money wasted.
Arsenal spent just £67million on Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira & Mattéo Guendouzi.
What would be the better business? £67million on what Arsenal got, or the £180million on a bunch of tripe?
Perhaps what sums up what I am saying is 4 players signed by Arsenal and Chelsea. Two a piece.
Lucas Torreira + Bernd Leno = £42million
Jorginho + Kepa Arrizabalaga = £130million
Now I am now saying Chelsea have made poor signings. Joringho is a very good central midfielder and Kepa a top young keeper. But are they much better than Torreira and Leno? Are they even actually any better?
Torreira and Jorginho both played in Italy last season, slightly different styles of play. They both bring a lot of ability to the middle of the park. For me, they are both equally as good as what they do. Torrieira defending, Jorginho keeping the ball moving.
As for the goal keepers, Arsenal are getting an experienced German keeper who is on the fringes of the national team, Chelsea a less experienced Spanish keeper who is on the fringes of the national team.
The uneducated amongst us will point to Chelsea and say “they have spent £130million, they have shown ambition” whilst criticising Arsenal for “going cheap”. But the reality is the quality of the players being bought in is not much different.
Arsenal have not gone cheap, they have bought the right players at a good price. Meanwhile Chelsea have probably over paid for what they have bought in.
I have always been a student of Soccernomics where you do not focus on what has been spent, but what has been bought in, and what Arsenal have bought in is plenty to be happy about.