Friday, March 31, 2023

Arsenal’s Reluctance To Spend Money Has Haunted Them Before, Wenger Now Needs To Change

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Arsenal’s long serving manager Arsene Wenger has been the epitome of consistency both in his performances and with his principles related to football. The French manager has always believed in attacking football with fluid movement and quick passing and getting almost all deals done on a bargain price, which has served the club very well in the past but as it is evident for all at the moment there has been some considerable changes in the game owing to the money involved which needs to be accepted.

For a long time, Wenger utilized his brilliant scouting links to buy talented young players for peanuts and turned them into the globally recognized superstars of the game. His eye for talent has always been admired as the manager seemed to have consistently made the right choices in bringing players from different parts of Europe. With the clubs now being very serious on their technicalities linked with identifying a player of talent most of the clubs have enhanced their own scouting bases.

Last season, Leicester City surprised everyone to lift the Premier League crown as the Foxes provided a breathtakingly efficient counter attacking brand of football under Italian Manager Claudio Ranieri. The two biggest architects of their success was a testament of the excellent scouting structure of the club as they successfully foresaw the talents of a certain Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kanté. Players who were snapped from the 2nd tiers of French football.

The Premier League announced the new mega television deal which will ensure that the clubs would get significantly richer as there would be a windfall of £1.08 bn annually from the television rights alone from this current 2016/17 season. The mega bucks have significantly thus changed the market for the English clubs, with more and more clubs now being able to offer the kind of transfer fees and wages which were done by only the ‘elites’ previously.

The new spending power has also resulted in the player being quoted at prices higher than normal. After all that is the premium you got to pay for the financial advantages you enjoy. Calculations done on the basis of transfer fees to the total turnover of the clubs still show that the fees are in par with the football inflation meaning that clubs can very well afford to spend the quoted money on the players without seriously weakening their finances.

All the top clubs in England have so far embraced the strategy and concept but even though he paid considerable sums to sign Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Granit Xhaka in the recent past, Arsene Wenger seems to have difficulties coming to terms with the elevated spending power of the clubs and the corresponding prices of the players.

In an independent structure, where the club is not reliant on any individual(s) or owner to shell out and manage the cash reserves, a systematic and methodical approach is of paramount importance. Equally important is the ability of the team to compete in the competitions they participate and the results they generate at the end of the season. It can be argued that Arsenal have always under Wenger finished in the top 4, which is undoubtedly a remarkable achievement and has always qualified for the Champions League as well.

However, they have fallen short in the European competitions as well as the domestic by not being able to take cross the final hurdle in the league and the round of 16 in the CL for many years in a row. This is the reason for the frustration of the fans and critics were right in pointing out that his reluctance to spend on players who could have won them the league has cost his team dearly.

While it’s good to have ideologies, in a competitive environment you need to change in order to stay competitive and must always learn from your past mistakes. Wenger doesn’t need to start paying insane amounts for every single player from now on, he just needs to spend on the right player and sometimes a bit more than what he’s worth for the obvious ones. The situation has changed and Arsene Wenger also needs to change to ensure that his final year at the club is not counted as a failure like the previous one.

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