Nice Work, You Broke It

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5 days and hours left….not that any of us need reminding really.

It’s starting to feel like one of those cheap 90’s discount store ads, you know, the one’s where they’ve got those massive sales on for a ‘limited time’. “Players, we’ve got lots of players, and we’re willing to sell them to YOU! Tall players, short players, fast players, slow players, bitey-divey-racist players! We can’t have these players up for sale forever though! So head on down to Crazy Sepp’s Transfer Market, but make sure you get here before 11pm on the 2nd of September, DON’T MISS OUT!”

Of course, the current football market is anything but a 90’s discount store. A simple look at the fees recouped from the sales of Cavani, Falcao, Willian, Fernandinho and now potentially Gareth Bale are extremely frightening and threaten to permanently damage the current football landscape, making our current situation even harder.

In previous Podcasts we’ve touched on how injections of money from some of these big spending clubs can contribute to an influx of trade in the market, but what should also be addressed is the affect these clubs have on the market values for players around the world. You only have to look as far as Cavani and Falcao to see how these situations can begin to have an impact on clubs such as ourselves. Those two strikers inflated fees would have certainly had some sort of influence in the Suarez saga in my opinion; had they gone for fees closer to £37-40 million, then Liverpool may have been more willing to take what could have been seen as a very generous offer for their star striker, as things stand, in comparison to his compatriot Cavani (taking into account Cavani does not have a history of biting or racially abusing his opponents), what was offered from our camp was apparently not enough (Brendan “Lord of the Wankers” Rodgers did comment on this very subject).

Now, I’m sure Liverpool would still have been as stubborn and delusional as ever in regards to the Suarez sale if the Falcao and Cavani prices had been lower, but from a PR perspective it could have possibly been a deal that they would have been willing to sign off on. So much of this debacle seemed to be an exercise in saving face by the Scousers, and being able to point out that they sold Suarez off for more than either of Cavani or Falcao would have been a large feather in their cap, and a relative success given what they produce on-field nowadays.

This market fluctuation doesn’t just affect the Suarez deal though, it affects almost every possible deal we can do. One only has to look at the Cabaye situation as well; Newcastle have apparently set a price (rumoured to be £20 million) and are awaiting Arsenal’s response. The fact that Cabaye could be viewed as having a value of £20 million is another indictment of the current Transfer Market. Cabaye was purchased by Newcastle from Lille for around £4 million around 24 months ago, and although he has performed very well for Newcastle, he was also performing quite well for Lille in Ligue 1 (the reigning League and Cup champions at that point). When you take this all into account, Cabaye is playing in a more superior league, for a team whose standing in it is inferior to that of Lille’s in Ligue 1, is two years older (now 27) and is apparently now worth £20 million in the eyes of Newcastle. If we hadn’t of seen these inflated purchases taking place in the last few seasons then Newcastle’s asking price would likely be somewhere between £10-15 million, which given the player’s ability, age and injury record all seem quite fair to me.

So, I can hear you all wondering what my point is, am I making excuses for the club not having landed a big fish (or any fish for that matter, sorry Yaya) at this stage of the window? Am I claiming that the super, super quality signings we hunger for so much are financially out of reach? The answer to both questions is no. The mess we currently find ourselves in is of our own doing, we’ve had several opportunities to adequately strengthen key areas this window (none more so than Gonzalo Higuain, who know seems like a bargain in the current climate) and have either been beaten to our targets, or deemed them not quite worthy of the money their clubs were asking for.

My point is that the Transfer Market, like everything else in life, is affected by inflation and we were always going to see an increase in player prices, but the emergence of these petro clubs and the two giants in Spain are now going to accelerate the climbs in player value to new heights, possibly faster than most teams will be able to keep up with financially. Players of the ilk of Cabaye, Michu, Di Maria, Williams and Benzema (just to name a few we have been linked with) are going to be sold for prices that would have bought two of them only 2-3 years ago and that’s not a healthy scenario for any club in world football. A little food for thought really, some may not be too concerned about the above, but it certainly scares me a fair bit, and makes me fear for the future of the game we love so much.

To a more positive subject, after a positive week or so of football from the Arsenal, we will again be put to the test tomorrow morning (Australian time) against Fenerbache at The Emirates in the 2nd leg of our UEFA Champions League Qualification tie. Given the fact we currently lead 3-0 on aggregate this result should really just be a formality but a good performance and another strong win could be crucial for our confidence and form heading into one of the most important North London Derbies in the last few seasons this weekend.

Possible Line-up:

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I was giving some though before I started writing this blog as to which players I think we could rest in the lead-up to this weekend’s game and it really struck me as to how thin this squad is. The inclusions of Wilshere, Jenkinson, Monreal and Gnabry were really the only changes I think we could make before we start to field what could be considering a non-competitive side. The team with the above changes should still be able to make short work of this Fenerbache team if they play anywhere near as poorly as they did back at their place in Turkey.

Well, that’s it for me, we’ll be back towards the end of this week with a new Podcast reviewing tomorrow’s game and a few other little tid-bits for you.

Come on you Gunners!

-Matty B

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