How do Arsenal compete with Manchester City long term?

Morning Arsenal.

October and top of the league. It feels good. Although I don’t expect us to stay there as we haven’t really played a top team yet.

We might be above Man City right now but I think even the most optimistic of fan would still expect them to win the league.

They don’t even look like they are out of second gear yet and are brushing opponents aside with ease.

The WhatasApp chatter over night was “what do we need to do to beat them to the title?”

My answer was simple – increase our wage bill by 50%.

Long time followers of the blog will know that I am a big believer of that, on average, the more you spend on wages the higher you finish up the table.

Manchester City reportedly spend around £355m a year on wages. We spend “just” £244m

If you go through Manchester City’s starting XI, almost every player is “a level above” Arsenal’s:

  • Ederson > Ramsdale
  • Walker > Tomiyasu
  • Dias > Saliba
  • Laporte > Gabriel
  • Cancelo > KT
  • Partey = Rodri
  • Gundogan > Xhaka
  • KdB > Odergaard
  • Saka = Silva
  • Foden > Martinelli
  • Haaland > Jesus

And this is replicated in the key replacements:

  • Ortega = Turner
  • Stones > White
  • Ake > Holding
  • Phillips > Elneny
  • Grealish > ESR
  • Mahrez > Vieira
  • Alvarez = Nketiah

Now this blog isn’t a debate of who is better individually, but who is better as a whole. And no one can deny that Manchester City have a better starting XI and better squad then us.

To compete with them we need to improve our starting XI. And with that comes spending more wages.

Now improving the XI is not just about signing better players, but developing our players to be better.

Take William Saliba.

He could us quickly becoming one of the best central defenders in the league. He would not be out of place in Manchester City’s XI. He is reportedly on just £40k a week.

Compare that to John Stones (£250k) and Ruben Dias (£180k).

If we want to keep Saliba, eventually we will need to pay him those sort of wages.

Bukayo Saka is another example.

He is already one of Arsenal’s highest earners on £120k a week – Jack Grealish earns £300k and Bernardo Silva earns £150k.

Whilst I think Saka will sign a new deal, we will not keep him more than a couple of years longer if we do not pay him what he would command at Manchester City.

We also need to improve the XI by continuing to sign better players.

Martin Odergaard is brilliant, but is not Kevin de Bruyne. Gabriel Jesus is no Erling Haaland, Gabriel no Amyeric Laporte and Granit Xhaka that level below Ilkau Gundagon.

I am not saying they are bad players. They are just not as good as their City counterparts. And it is why City spend 50% more on wages than us.

And then this is represented through the “2nd XI” as well.

Stones, Nathan Ake, Kalvin Phillips, Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez are all better than Ben White, Rob Holding, Mo Elneny, Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira.

Now shit your eyes and imagine for a bit.

Imagine we bought a central defender better than Gabriel, and then White and Gabriel were our 2nd choice CB pairing. You’d argue they are on par to Stones and Ake.

Or imagine we went out and signed Rafael Leao – in turn relegating Martinelli to the bench. Martinelli v Grealish. That’s par.

Or we went and found a better attacking midfielder than Martin Odergaard. Someone who is as good as de Bruyne (easier said then done). We’d then be talking about Odergaard v Mahrez.

Now this isn’t to say Arsenal are a bad team. We are not.

This is all about how we compete longer term with Manchester City – and the only way we do that is by improving the players in the 1st XI, which in turn improves the squad. But that costs money.

On 2019 (pre-Covid) we generated around £340m. We made a £32.2m loss. So it is clear that if we want to match Manchester City’s wage bill (£355m) we need to begin increasing revenues.

A return to Champions League football and the new Adidas deal will be small steps towards that. But we have a long way to go.

We might compete with City this year. We might be “best of the rest”. But to be long term competitors, we need to be increase that wage bill.

Have a good Wednesday.



6 thoughts on “How do Arsenal compete with Manchester City long term?

  1. Let arteta Build

    Rubbish, Stones > white? clearly dont watch them do you, foden > martinelli? wow some dumb things you have said. one of your worst posts, this arsenal team is still young and yet to peak, what makes you think MO, Saka, Gabriels and co will not reach levels above the current city? its ctrazy how u discount ictisy average age is 27, arsenal is 24, 2 more years and ucl experience and this team is alot better than now, but ok lets relegate everyone to the bench



    Finally You Have Started Saying The Truth But Never Would You Compare World Class Players that Is Man City Players To Cassva kitchen Players never Do That. Again arsenal Players Are called Cassava kitchen Players because Non Of Them Have Had Experience about Europe Top Flight (champions League) with The Exception of (zinchenko and G Jesus) of Which The Move From One Of The World Most Biggest Club In Man City. Even Just Take A Look At The Derby Which We played Against Tottenham non Of Them Have Experience They Are Going With Idea that Dribbling or Playing With The Ball Is What Makes Them Perfect. But I Don’t blame Them Is Just Because All Of Them Are Below 30s. And All Those Below 30 have no Experience with The Exception Of Few. Cassava kitchen Players Are not Comparable To World Class Players In Man City Players


  3. Johnno

    Totally agree about there being a direct correlation between wages and overall finishing position. You might get a couple of teams who overachieve over a 2 or 3 year period but over a sustained spell you`ll find the bigger the budget the higher you`re likely to finish.
    This is why Arteta has done such an incredible job in my opinion, not only has he built a totally new team which is different class to the one he inherited but he`s done it without massively increasing the wage bill. I`d love to know what the wage bill was when he arrived compared to what it is today. It might have actually gone down.
    As for competing with City, that`s going to be difficult for a number of reasons. 1. No properly run Football Club (Man Utd probably the one exception) can hope to compete financially with a Nation State. 2. City simply have better players than us. 3. They`ve probably got the best manager that there has ever been. Guardiola and to a lesser extent, Klopp have taken coaching to a new level in my opinion. I`ve always said that if Guardiola was The Arsenal manager between 01 – 05 we`d have been invincible for 3 or 4 seasons, not 1. That`s no disrespect to Wenger, he was a genius and the best about during that period but Guardiola is something else again. When they`ve got the most money, the best players and the best manager, it`s going to be extremely difficult to knock them off their perch.
    Our team will continue to improve over the next couple of years and we`ve just got to keep getting it right in the transfer window. We`ve got to try and become the 2nd best team in the league (like Liverpool over the last 5 years) and hope Guardiola fucks off soon for a new challenge. There`s bound to be a dip of some sort in City`s form when he does and we need to be there to take advantage of it.
    Right now, I`m just enjoying watching The Arse again and it`s been a while since I could say that. I`d still be over the moon to finish top 4 but it`s just nice to see a young hungry team who are willing to fight for each other and have a right go no matter who they`re playing.


  4. Ben

    This makes no sense. The city model only works because there is only one city. If there were two, both would fail.
    What you are suggesting requires finding a second 11 who are world beaters but satisfied to be but part players. I think Players will only play from the bench (regardless of wages) for the trade off that they will win trophies. If Arsenal for arguments sake were exactly the same as city across the board then both teams would expect to win the league half as much. Watch how quickly the city model comes undone when another team makes a sustained run and actually maintains parity with them.


  5. Pingback: How Do Arsenal Compete With Manchester City Long Term? - She Wore A Yellow Ribbon - AhrefsDexer

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