Tottenham Hotspur have spent £140 million in transfers in the past two years, yet they are just one point away from the relegation zone.
Does money buy you success? Ask Newcastle, ask Spurs, ask Chelsea. They have all spent vast amounts of money and whilst the rentboys were repaid with a couple of great years, they too have now fallen by the wayside.
Whilst money certainly helps you win things, it is not the be all and end all. You need to buy the right players, you need to have the right man in charge and most importantly, you need a team that will fight to win. They’re not there just to pick up their cheque at the end of the month, rather they really, really want to win things.
26 different players have represented us in the league this season (including on loan Carlos Tevez). 10 of them have come from our youth teams. 7 of them cost less than £8 million. 5 of them cost £9-20 million. 3 of them cost over £20 mill. When not including Tevez (who has not been paid for), 17 of our 25 chosen players cost between £0-8 million.
Wenger has a bee in his bonnet regardless know, suggesting that we’re top because we’ve paid for it and reckons they’re on a good run.
In that same time period, United have made £32.1 million from selling players (Heinze £8 mill, Rossi £6.6 mill, Smith £6 mill, Richardson £5.5 mill, Pique, £5 mill, Howard £3 mill, Bardsley £2 mill, Shawcross £1 mill, Jones £1 mill) meaning £64.9 million came from the money we’d made as back to back Premiership Champions, as well as European Cup winners.
The prize money alone for the Champions League prize money for 2008 was £85 million. The prize money for the Premiership is around £15 million. Add on to that the estimated £35 million in TV rights for the winner and you can see where the money is coming from.
Had Arsenal won anything since 2005, maybe Wenger would have more cash in the kitty to spend. Buying players with the money you’ve won through being successful surely shouldn’t be seen as a negative things, or “buying success”. If you win £85 million for being crowned the best side in Europe, then what is the problem in spending some of that on a World class striker who can help you try and win the competition again?
Between 1997-1999 Arsenal spent £27.5 million on players, with the prize money from the Premiership and the FA Cup to help them out. Having won nothing between 2006-2008, and despite prices obviously being inflated over the past 10 years, Arsenal spent just £25.1 million.
However, it is their wages where Arsenal spend big, with last season’s bill topping £100 million for the year, with the Deloitte and Touche report showing they spent just £2 million less in wages than United (to get that in perspective, just over a months worth of wages for Robinho at City!).
“Manchester United bought Berbatov for £31.5m and you look at the cost of their team and you will understand why,” said Wenger. “We can of course compete, but we have a young team and we have gone a different way. We go through a period where we have to accept maybe to be strong and patient a little bit. We are on a good run, but the big problem is once you are behind every point you drop looks like a disaster. However, if you look at our run in the last 10 to 12 games I feel the team is improving. We lack still a little bit of creativity and a little bit of invention but overall we are consistent, we are fighting.”
When looking at the last 8 games in the Premiership, West Ham, Everton and Villa are amongst the clubs who have enjoyed better form than Arsenal’s men. They’re currently five points off fourth place and despite playing a game more, ten points behind United.
Overall they are consistent? Consistently what? Average?
For Wenger to claim United are top of the table just because we’ve spent a lot of money is insulting. We’re not City, we’re not Chelsea, we’re a team with a great history, with a brilliant manager and with a core of local lads. Five of our sixteen man squad in the European Cup final came from our youth system (one youth team player in Chelsea’s team, two youth team players in Liverpool’s in 07, one in Arsenal’s in 05), with us getting just the right mix of spending and developing. If being top of the league was a simple case of throwing money about then why are Chelsea looking at being 8 points behind us?
Bye bye Wenger, the past 10 years were fun, but your rivals are Villa, Everton and Wigan and West Ham who are all closer to you in the table than United are. Concentrate on getting in to Europe next season and leave out your snide digs about the better team.