Financial foundations to pave way for more Wenger success
If you take a look at English football’s movers and shakers, almost all of them have one thing in common – masses of money to spend. It seems every club from Manchester United to Notts County is either in the hands of a rich foreign owner or in takeover talks with one. These people often bring short term success but very rarely concern themselves with long-term fortunes.
However, one club has decided not to follow this trend and while the fellow members of the ‘big four’ have all been taken over in recent years, Arsenal have so far resisted any approach. In addition they have also built a new stadium and remained a threat on the domestic and European stage. This has been achieved in large, due to their manager’s shrewd transfer policy and faith in youth.
“A team which averages 28 or 29 years old can maybe improve by 5% but a team averaging 22 years old can improve by 30%” Arsene Wenger told BBC Sport.
He added that Arsenal would only buy if: “we find better players than the ones we have already”.
It seems a simple philosophy but one that nobody else in modern football seems to share. Though it may be tempting to splash the cash when it becomes available, there is often a better solution. Manchester City are a prime example, having forked out over £100million on strikers in the last 12 months. There is little doubt the City now have a better range of options but unless Mark Hughes is planning to play six up front, the chances of discontent, resulting in poor team morale are high.
There is little doubt that Arsenal have endured a difficult 12 months but with a number of big players returning from injury Wenger is feeling confident.
“I envisage only one order,” the 59 year old said.
“That is Arsenal finishing on top and all the rest can do what they want.”
With a net spend since 2004 of minus £25million, any such success would cement Wenger’s status as one of English football’s greatest ever managers. It may even make other clubs think twice about their financial dealings. Well, it’s unlikely, but you can but hope.