We lack ability, not ambition
The transfer window is in full swing, and not surprisingly every day seems to produce new Arsenal transfer rumours. We are linked with God knows how many players. Most of them make no sense at all, and my guess is, at least 90% of the rumours are inventions by either the press or by agents, who have a clear interest in stirring them up.
If you subscribe to the usual myths about Arsenal not spending etc. the rumours, can easily be taken as “proof” of that particular point of view. I mean, we have probably already been linked with at least 20 players, and as we haven’t confirmed any signings yet, isn’t that proof??
Of course not. It is a simplistic way to look at it. Like looking out the window and using the “Eye test” to see the Earth is flat.
A bit along the same lines are the demands, that if we don’t buy this or that player, it is because we lack ambition. A claim, which is rooted in the same false myth about Arsenal’s lack of spending. This lie is then connected to our owner, and in a manner, which would leave even Trump envious on how to use fake facts, we have completed the picture, that our owner’s greed is really our problem. What makes it even more strange, often it is claimed our owner is both greedy and at the same time should have an interest in Arsenal becoming a mid-table club. It only takes 30 seconds of afterthought to comprehend how contradictory this is.
Anyone wanting Arsenal to really make money, has a clear interest in seeing us back in the Champions League on a regular basis. The loss of revenue by not being there is so significant, I would think nearly everybody should be able to see it. Even our owner, can probably see it, don’t you think?
It would of course be very handy to explain our lack of ability to challenge for the PL title, which we have seen for so many years, with just pointing the finger at our owner. It can’t be denied, if we had an owner with both the desire and the need to use Arsenal to wash money, wash reputation and/or a political regime, we could well have been in a different situation. But I am extremely happy that we don’t have an owner buying us titles with blood money, and I would take our owner any day in that comparison. Quite frankly, I find it a bit embarrassing that Arsenal fans complain we lack ambition, because we supposedly spend less than those owners do.
Each person can of course make up his or hers own mind about the moral issues.
What really shouldn’t be up for debate are the facts.
This past season marked the seventh season in a row, where we finished below both Liverpool and Spurs. A disturbing fact.There is no doubt, there is some correlation between how much you spend, and the results you get. So of course, you can say, you must spend to stay among the top clubs. Whether you want Champions League because of monetary ambitions or sports ambition (or both), you do need to invest in players. In that respect, the actual investment in players is a relevant way to measure ambition. Here, it is important to establish, it is the nett investment in players, that is the relevant figure. The nett shows the difference between how much you make on selling players, and how much you spend on new players.
As it happens, over the past 10 years Arsenal have a nett investment of around £525 mil. in new players. 2 clubs have invested more; Man U with around £864 mil. and Man City with 839 mil. Cheslea have spent less than us with a nett investment of around 366 mil. and Liverpool are fifth having invested around 339 mil. Spurs have only invested around £221 mil.
In fact, we are not far off having spent as much as Liverpool and Spurs have combined!! Unfortunately, I think the picture would only look much worse, if salaries were added to the spending over the years.
Let’s then make some fact based conclusions:
Arsenal do not have less ambition than other clubs
- Our owner is indeed willing to spend
- Huge sums have been spent, but they are not giving the desired results
No. 3 is the most interesting conclusion, I think. Because this means, our real problem is not lack of spending, or lack of ambition, if you like. Our problem is obviously, we either have spent the money on the wrong players, or we haven’t been able to create a team strong enough out of the huge investments. Maybe a bit of both? And the problems go back many years.
So, what I am hoping is not so much for a lot of money being spent again in this transfer window. Especially not spending on one or two players, which some fans might want as “proof” of ambition. What I am hoping is that we will see clever spending on players, that can add to the talent we have and create a competitive team in the years to come.
That would be ambition, I think..
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