In a market where a one season wonder commands prices one would have associated with a prime Zidane but ten years ago prices associated with players have never seemed more disconnected with conventional economics. Amid such an environment I find the ensuing clamour amongst fans of clubs across the spectrum of the premier league to spend for the sake of ending August 2016 with a net spend exceeding that of their rivals ever perplexing. I would usually associate such frenzy with the elite of Knightsbridge competing with regards to the extent their Ferrari, Gucci handbag or property is a reflection of their social status. At the very least the latter case the concept of social status presents the end rather than the means. However the brunt of supporters seem to have forgotten the transfer window is simply the means by which to achieve the end.
With cash in my pocket I’d have to think long and hard about how to place a bet let alone spending the crazy amounts of money that clubs spend these days.
Personally as an Arsenal fan one might find me ‘lacking in ambition’ given I am averse to the idea of spending figures exceeding £40mil on a striker relatively unproven simply because the market dictates the price to be such. However that is not to say I am averse to the idea of spending. I accept the current landscape demands every player commands a price far exceeding what common sense prescribes but in an environment where the media and indeed social media plays a prominent role in establishing reputation and hence misconstruing achievement one must refrain from self-proclaiming themselves managers superior to David Moyes let alone Alex Ferguson.
Football whist recognising the undoubted impact of individual brilliance is a team sport. By definition, as repeatedly reiterated by mangers, the chemistry of each group forms the crux of results achieved throughout the marathon spanning the league season. When we purchased Ozil and Sanchez I won’t deny I revelled in the excitement of having players renowned worldwide at our disposal. However, had we purchased Aubamyeng, Verrati, Stones, Koulibaly, Pogba in one transfer window I would’ve been deflated. Yes, we may have been treated to the spectacle of the Arsenal squad jumping in jubilance as they brandished the coveted PL trophy whilst parading in front of euphoric fans atop a bus, yes years of goading by our cocky Chelsea and United supporting mates would instantly be rendered history and indeed our roles may even be reversed. But…..seriously?! Splurge £100mil and chances of glory rise immeasurably, splurge £150mil and they may even be guaranteed but I would feel hollow. I shall always want Arsenal to thump Chelsea, Sp*rs and emerge with tangible proof of our endeavours but clichéd as it may sound ‘buying our way to the title’ is more of purchase rather than an achievement.
Unearthing gems via an extensive scouting network, promoting from within and establishing an identity in terms of playing style, in my opinion, not only constitute the identity of a football club but also lend to its success as an institution. Takuma Asano may not, and probably never will, be held in the same regard as Suarez but he excites me. Watching Iwobi emerge from the shadows of his much vaunted academy colleagues and surpass them excites me. Most Iwobi’s and most Asano’s may fail to do little more than excite but satisfaction derived from the select few that do is well worth it.
I realise my examples are extreme and we may well be treated to an unexpected transfer surprise come August but the anxiety plaguing our fan base seems to indicate the single instant making a football season worthwhile is the snap taken of the points table once every team has played 38 games. We watch the team we support not just because of any potential glory they may achieve but the pleasure derived from viewing them.
Arsenal are the club I’ve every supported and the only club I’ll ever support but I won’t deny it won’t every prompt me to enter meltdown mode. In that sense I suppose my view lacks some of the sheer weight of emotion perpetuating the smouldering sense of resentment but I also feel excessive emotion sometimes cause one to look past the obvious.
Mean Lean's Response
Interesting piece and thank you for submitting.
It is rare to read your perspective these days, especially during a time where the transfer window, big money deals and the transfer rumours appear to be a separate (and more exciting to some) game in itself. Yet I can understand why a transfer junkie is in need of his/her regular fix.
Football fans from the bottom up to the top essentially want and crave the same thing. To win as many games as they possibly can and preferably to do so in an exciting and entertaining manor. Buying better players give you a better chance of achieving this goal thus giving your team a better chance of winning trophies. That is a rather simplistic way of looking at it because as professional managers know all too well, building a team is not just a simple case of throwing the most expensive players together. But us fans do not have to take into consideration balance, partnerships, characters, chemistry and probably dozens of other factors. So it is easy to say from the comfort of our seats 'why didn't we just splash the cash on Mr Scorey Mcscorer from Scorie A.
The reaction to our signing of Takuma Asano was laughable but not really a surprise. Which player do we have at right back at the moment? How did he get there? But I guess we do not have to concern ourselves with that part of the job.
I also love watching the development of the younger players, wondering if that 17 year old will be able to make the step up in quality over the next few years. That to me is one of the reasons why I enjoy the game but I am not at all adverse to see us use the ridiculous amounts of money in the game to improve our squad. It is already out of control at the top level so we have to roll with the punches and give as good as we get, within reason of course.
I fully expect us to add to the squad, it is something that we do 99% of the time every season and we have done so already with the signing of Granit Xhaka. But I'm like you, meltdown mode is something I try and avoid. After all football is here to be enjoyed, and I will continue to try and do that regardless.
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