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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Accounts show Wenger has £74m transfer kitty. What should he spend it on?

By 1970's Gooner

A few months ago Arsenal Holdings Plc announced bumper financial figures for the year ended May 2006. The results include the hugely positive effect of the extra revenues arising from the move to the Emirates.

Arsenal now take in £3.1m per match day as opposed to about half of that during the Highbury days and this extra revenue has generated a lot of cash that are available for transfers.


The financial figures revealed at the time that £74m is cash was sitting in the company’s bank account! It is very interesting to note what the Board had to say about how this cash is to be used:

”The Board believe that the best long term policy is to re-invest the cash back into the development of the team. The objective is to make available to the manager the maximum possible funds for the development of the playing squad.”

Also added to this income is the extra net cash generated by Wenger’s transfer activity during the summer which includes the lucrative transfers of Henry to Barcelona and Ljumberg to West Ham (see my posting: Arsenal’s transfer kitty is still bulging).

There is no doubt that there is a lot of cash available for transfers; if Wenger chooses to spend any that is!

But which are the areas that he may consider strengthening?

Goalkeeper

The sensible thing to do here is to see if Lehmann will continue until the summer. If so Wenger may resist strengthening for January, giving Almunia the chance to prove himself. He will then know what to go for; a new number one or another number two.


However if Lehmann is to leave in this January window then Wenger needs to recruit a new and experienced goalkeeper that will be able to challenge and provide cover for Almunia; and vice versa.

Right back

No need to strengthen. Hoyte, Eboue and Diarra are very adequate back ups for Sagna

Left back

There is a need to have an experienced defender to cover for Clichy. But Wenger values Traore and will not want to jeopardize his prospects by buying another left back.

He has cover after all, as the players available for the right back position can fill in, but additionally there is Gallas and Flamini.

Central defenders

The two first team choices of Toure and Gallas are beginning to jell at last but it is in their cover again that reinforcements are needed especially with the African Cup of Nations drawing near.

The current second choice central defenders are Senderos, Djourou, Gilberto and lately Song.

The problem is that of these only Djourou looks capable of rising to the task. Gilberto is experienced but lacks pace and Song is still too young to be trusted.

Senderos has not been convincing this season.

Lack of pace and positional sense being his two major deficiencies.

Wenger may utilise some of that available cash to bring in a new experienced centre back and consider allowing the young lad to move on.

Wide midfielders

There seems to be an abundance of wide midfielders available for Wenger to choose from. His preferred options are Rosicky and the excellent Hleb. There are of course Eboue and Walcott available who have been coming into form lately.

Wenger may not add to this list in January as he will want to give first team games to both Eboue and especially Walcott in order to allow them the chance to blossom further.

He will probably want to reassess the situation ready for the summer transfer window especially if Eboue does not continue to improve.

Central midfielders

There is an abundance of riches for these positions and if anything Wenger may be forced to unload than to recruit.

There is Fabregas and Flamini of course but there is also Gilberto, the captain of Brazil, the excellent prospect that goes by the name of Denilson, Diaby the new Vieira, the newly arrived Diarra who looks promising and Song whom I rate highly as a central midfielder.

The more likely candidate to be sold on is in fact Gilberto. His transfer will create the space for the other players to blossom even further and the transfer income and savings in his wages makes even more financial sense.


Judging by Wenger’s transfer behaviour so far do not be surprised to waive good buy to Gilberto! However this may come next summer as his experience will be very valuable for this young and title chasing team.

Forwards

The pairing of Robin Van Persie and Adebayor needs time to jell further and Arsene Wenger will want to give it every opportunity of doing so as this combination has the potential to grow into something beautiful.

He has already bought Eduardo and brought young Bendtner back from his loan stint at Birmingham. He will also want to give them the opportunities to show what they can do.

The problem however is that Eduardo has not settled in yet and as such has not been able to offer the outlet that the recent absence of Van Persie cried out for.

Bendtner, although promising, is still young and as such has not been trusted by Wenger to start important games (I disagree of course).

Wenger recognising this lack of cover reverted to the rather conservative 4 5 1 for the two crucial games against Liverpool and Manchester United leaving Adebayor, by his own admittance, isolated. (See my posting on this subject: Arsenal’s Formula One Car Cannot Run With The Handbreak On. A Critique)

He has the Hleb option available of course which is a realistic one; as long as Hleb actually plays that support role behind the front striker.

So it is unlikely that Wenger will buy in any more front players during this window.

Conclusion

Yes there is a large transfer kitty available to Arsene Wenger and if he does use it in January, it will probably be for experienced back ups in the goalkeeper and central defensive positions.

Otherwise he is unlikely to use any substantial amounts in strengthening what is already a strong squad; which is “getting better all the time”!

Remember the Beatles song?


Arsenal’s "Totaalvoetbal" a First in the Premiership. Wenger and Michels, Hleb and Cruyff

Wenger’s midfield options for Wigan limited due to injuries and suspension

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good article.

A proportion of that cash has to remain locked up as security for the various stadium/property/player LC financing arrangements. However there's still enough to spend on a keeper and centre back and I quite agree, these are the only areas that really need strengthening (and in the latter case, only for cover).

Some have argued for a "pacy" winger type, but with the exception of Overmars (for whom, read Walcott), Wenger has tended to go for skill (Pires = Hleb/Rosicky) and/or strength (Parlour = Diaby) over pace in the wide position, and, as we've seen so often, "Arsene Knows". Remember Glen Helder?

As for names at GK and CB, no ideas. But I don't think Richards will come. He's a great prospect, why would he accept playing second fiddle to Gallas and Toure (because they would definitively remain first choice). Shame, really - because it means that one of our rivals will probably sign him.

Anonymous said...

kaka!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

kaka & buffon please

gazzap said...

Also Vela could come back, who is not strictly a signing and could play either on the wing, as he is currently doing in Spain, or his favourite position, as a striker.
I think with Djourou coming back we may not need a centre back in January, but come the summer and Gallas being another year older then I think we do need a class defender.

Anonymous said...

An abundance of wide players? That's why we see Diaby shunted out onto the left wing is it?

I think we need a fast, tricky, direct winger. Someone who is able to get to the by-line and cross the ball in as well as being able to cut inside and have a crack on goal.

I say Wenger should go all out to get Ricardo Quaresma from Porto.

Anonymous said...

This is a decent article. For me, there are several players to consider.
GK's - Jaaskelainen will be available in January for around £500,000. I also think green will be available for 5M and Carson for 10m. Almunia has never looked great and Lehmann... well..is Lehmann. Bring in Jaaskelainen and Green, Micah Richards for around 12m. He will play most of the season as Toure will be away for 2 months and probably come back injured. For additional winger see Luka Modric for 15m. This guy is an destroyer. Him down one side and Hleb down the other is a frightening prospect. Total outlay would be around 32.5m. However outgoing Gilberto 7m, Almunia 6m lehmann 500k and probably Eboue for around 12m. Total income £25.5m. Net 7m. The nominal balance could be saved for next year, which would be around 115m assuming we do reasonably in Europe. Given that there would be little need for expenditure beyond that debt reduction would be probable.

Anonymous said...

Very good article. I would like to see us sign a new keeper and a centre back. Although Senderos is young and I hate to say this, I think we should sell him on and try to sign Micah Richards. Senderos would proberly do well in a country like Italy where the pace of the game is slower as he seems to come unstuck when facing pace and aggression. Richards would be a fantastic signing and would eventually replace Gallas and partner Toure. I think Djourou is going to be a great player when he comes back. We dont need anymore wide men because our full-backs always provide us with width by overlapping and we have enough players to cover in these positions. I would'nt be surprised if we did'nt sign anyone anyway!!! Wrighty7

Anonymous said...

Run Jens, run as soon and as fast as you can. We need you in Germany! Don't risk your place in the national team for Arsenal and let Wenger mess with your head. If Almunia cocks up and ruins Arsenal's season it will be Wenger's problem alone.

Anonymous said...

Winger: Ricardo Quaresma would love to see at Arsenal, but i dont see Wenger bringing in some1 of his class in January and disrupting the team. Maybe in the summer. Modric will most likey be snapped up by Chelsea.

Keepers: Jaaskelainen is a great option. I really think him or Green he will be our new keeper!

Denfender: Richards wont come and sit on the bench, because sagna, toure, gallas, clichy are all better than him! I think Djouru or Sendros will start for the 6 weeks that Toure is gone! And Wenger will save his money!

mike said...

Goalkeeper : almunia is doing ok, apart from his occasional masterclasses in Crrrazy goalkeeping. lehmann might sort his head out but we've still got Fabianski to come and he looks good.
Defence: class through and through, senderos is looking better this year, and we've got cover coming out of our ears.
Midfield: the only worry is rosicky but hleb and theo can play both wings. centre is covered well.
Attack: solid, eduardo (hopefully) will start to shine after xmas and we've still got carlos vela to come back from spain.

all in all, wenger's got it right. quality players and a good balanced squad. keep the money arsene, buy yourself a new pair of specs and some shoes. you deserve it!

Anonymous said...

M.Richards will go to Chelsea.

However well we are looking at the moment Man utd are still the strongest team by a mile. For Arsenal to win the league would need major long-term injuries at Utd for us to have a chance.

Anonymous said...

Agree with getting in Jaaskelainen at christmas (and getting rid of the disruptive influence of Lehman)

Benzema would be an excellent signing as can play on the left wing or up front and is seen as 'the future of french football'. Adebayor is good as a target man but not a goal scorer (how many will he get against the top teams in the premier league or in the champions league knockout stages?). Henry's 30 odd goals a season need to be replaced properly and benzema could be the player to do it.

Anonymous said...

i think Arsenal should bid for Kaka, and then Modric then the bolton keeper, then the Aston villa striker

Anonymous said...

I think WENGER should buy KAKA.

One_Touch_Genius said...

1. Carcares
2. Benzema/Ben Arfa
3. Agbonlahor

Anelka_19 said...

I think arsenal should definitely try to acquire the services of sunderland keeper - Craig Gordon.... he easily looks to be a better prospect than both almunia and lehman.

Additionally it would be interesting to see how Benjani would play if he was a gunner.... he looks like he could be the next drogba and perhaps a better alternative to Adebayor, who still misses a lot of chances infront of goal. I think benjani is definitely far more clinical infront of goal.

Finally arsenal would benefit greatly in purchasing a pacey and strong centre back as cover for kolo toure/ Gallas. Michah Richards would be ideal... at the right price....

Trennon said...

A very, very good article. However, you are wrong about Senderos. He came in place of Gallas and did very well. Infact he was even better than Toure in a couple of the games and scored!

Only player I would like is Quarezma

Anonymous said...

dont mean to be pedantic but its 'gel' and not 'jell'

anderslimpar said...

you see this stuff is what pisses me off. you maintain this tone of self-importance, as if you are confident you have a clue, yet you clearly can't write (there is no flow whatsoever) and your analysis stinks. i hope you never get a job writing about football.

Anonymous said...

The only area to change is goalkeeper. We don't need Psychokraut bitching about Almunia in the media. Thanks Jens and piss off. Senderos and Gilberto shoud stay. We'll need cover for the ACN in central defence and midfield.

Anonymous said...

we will be needing a central defender (on loan if possible) and a good midfield playmaker (most as a substitiute)to protect our main players as cesc and alex.

Improve fabianski.

mercurial said...

Although Wenger has big money available, is it worth spending just because its there?
Almunia is definetely a back-up keeper and we need some English input, Robert Green would be ideal. We could generate some cash by offloading Lehmann,Song and Hoyte. I think we need some extra firepower infront of goal and would like to see either Anelka return or Agbonlahor come in.

Anonymous said...

It rarely pays to be pedantic. Mike, who correctly points out that "jell" should be "gel" fails the apostrophe test!

Good article. I would take Rob Green but it depends on how far away Wenger sees Fabianski. I like Almunia and he seems to have 'gelled' well with the team but deep down I don't think he is truly of Arsenal 'No 1' standard. We should have one of the best half dozen keepers in Europe and unfortunately he is not one of them.

We definitely need CB cover & Wenger should buy in January. Neither Djourou (has anyone else been watching much of Birmingham?) and Senderos are not good enough at the moment to play a prominent role in a real tilt at the Premiership & makeshift answers like Gilberto and Song, or Hoyte or Sagna in that position are ludicrous given where we now stand in the Premiership, the money we have available and with the opportunity to buy or take on loan during January.

What do people know about this Lyon chap: Squillaci?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mike, it wasn't you!

Matt said...

2 words...LUKA MODRIC. This kid is an out an out world class player. I know the term world class is used very loosely these days but this kid is genuinely that. Apart from being a tad short, which he more than makes up for in his ferocity and technical ability, modric is a multi-talented able to do anything type. If we buy this bloke they may aswell hand us the title. Must snap him up before euro 2008 though before his value exceeds more than 30million. Probably goin to leave dinamo in january and arsen is keen. Cmon luka!!!!!

Agbonglahor. and/or benzema would be handy too

Anonymous said...

Must be a couple of CB,s to bring in on wages 4 3 months that r out of contract whats Stam doing & two wingers 1 on each side as alternatives to R & Hleb Anasri is far better to Quarresmo & a left footed left winger

Anonymous said...

we need a CENTRE BACK and Karim Benzema who can play upfront or either wing otherwise we are fine

Rant over

Anonymous said...

Djourou is not good enough but very young So? as 4 Wenger using play maker wingers instead of direct Fredie was direct Wenger bought Reyes who would be a super star if still here could do it all he wanted SWP so he has always had or at least wanted 1 direct winger & i think Asimir Nasri is in our future PLEASE

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As this well written article is out of date could a later version be written. Really appreciate everything you all do. Keep up the good work.

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