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The Wrong Kind of Money (Weekend Review): EPL Talk Podcast

EPL Talk Podcast Logo draft 300x242 The Wrong Kind of Money (Weekend Review): EPL Talk PodcastManchesters City and United are slated to meet in the FA Cup semifinals after weekend victories over Reading and Arsenal, with the Royals putting up the better fight. The Gunners were unable to get past a patchwork United side, leaving them with one win in their last 11 meetings with teh Red Devils. They bow out at the quarterfinals as to West Ham United and Birmingham City, with Stoke City and Bolton set to meet in the other semifinal.

On this edition of the EPL Talk podcast. myself, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Laurence McKenna discuss the weekend’s action, to the extent we were able to do so without driving off course. And when we did deviate, Liverpool’s ability to recruit reinforcements without European football was on our minds, as was the concept of good investment versus bad investment in football.

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21 Responses to The Wrong Kind of Money (Weekend Review): EPL Talk Podcast

  1. Jim says:

    I hate Squillaci has much as anyone on this planet, but I think this common narrative about Arsenal’s central defense is overblown. Given the criticisms of their defense and goalkeeping, I think we need to remember that Arsenal have allowed the third least amount of goals in the League this year, with numerous clean sheets to their credit. Their defense has been much improved since Djourou replaced Squillaci and I don’t think he gets enough credit. (And of course Djourou is now hurt).

    That being said, I’d love to see Vermaelen back healthy next year and for Wenger to add someone over the summer. I’d love nothing more than to never see Squillaci in an Arsenal uniform again, but I don’t think their defense is as bad as it’s made out to be given their clean sheet count and goals allowed totals.

  2. Jim says:

    In light of the criticisms of Wenger, I thought listeners might find the below article from the Wall Street Journal of interest. While I think there is a valid argument that Arsenal / Wenger have lacked for silverware in part due to their lack of net spending compared to other clubs, I also think that this huge delta needs to also be accounted for in evaluating Arsenal’s / Wenger’s success and consistency over this time. Further, as Financial Fair Play begins to come into effect, I think it bodes well for Arsenal’s potential to continue to consistently compete while operating at breakeven or at minor losses on both a transfer and operating basis compared to clubs that will no longer be able to operate at such huge losses as it relates to transfers.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704893604576198444113377296.html?KEYWORDS=football

    Outtake from article:

    “Wenger hasn’t splashed the cash like most of his competitors, either. Since the drought began, Arsenal has a positive net-transfer spend of around $25 million. According to the website TransferMarkt.de, its rivals are all squarely in the red: Manchester United (negative $80 million), Liverpool (negative $150 million), Tottenham Hotspur (negative $275 million), Chelsea ( negative $332 million) and Manchester City (negative $582 million). By any measure, keeping a team competitive in those circumstances is a phenomenal achievement.”

    • Laurence says:

      Thanks for the input Jim. Marcotti has a great perspective on Wenger.

      I’d like to see more of the financial analysis to back up what Marcotti says.

      I guess it all depends on who you want to keep happy. We kinda touched on it in the podcast. Does the money, play, success or reputation hold the most sway?

      • EdmontonScouse says:

        That was one of the more interesting facets of the conversation that I was able to listen in to live. The question seems to come down to whether you personally believe that clubs that have developed their prestige in the past have the right to maintain their position at the top of the pile? Or do you think that billionaires with a love of football have a right to buy a club and sink the money required to float their teams to the top of the pile?

    • Richard Farley says:

      Jim: The information you provide is great to provide context, but I think this was said on the show today – we’re judging Arsenal against the standards they’ve set for themselves. Wenger deserves a lot of credit for the manner in which he’s reassembled a team that needed rebuilding only a handful of seasons ago. But the reality is AFC, fans, and us look at this huge talent pool that’s been assembled and reasonably ask “why hasn’t it achieved the goals that were set out,” particularly when they should sights of being able to do so. When the team looks ill-prepared to beat inferior opposition (Brum, Manchester United B), the question shifts from squad formation to the manager executing once the whistle blows.

      But this may be all off-topic. I’m not sure you’d disagree with anything I just wrote. You’re just providing a different context.

      • Jim says:

        I’d love nothing more than to get some silverware and I do indeed hope the purse strings are opened up with summer and hopefully that can get us over the hump. I for one was definitely excited in January when the Per Mertesacker rumors were flying.

        But I guess I’m just looking looking at the glass half full. While I’m disappointed in the recent title drought (and have in no way written off the Prem this year three points back with a game in hand), at the same time I’ve been impressed that they’ve consistently been able to stay near the top of the table despite a much more conservative (and therefore sustainable) transfer strategy. Generally, I think the best thing a club can do is put itself in a position to consistently compete, and eventually those titles will come through. There’s going to be a very good Premier League team (likely Tottenham, but perhaps Chelsea or Man City) that won’t even be in Champions League next year. Again, just trying to focus on the positive.

  3. Robert Hay says:

    I’m sure I’ll stop harping on you gents at some point, but I want to offer an alternative theory to your French defense point. And I think Jim touches on it above – Ligue Un players are cheaper than EPL and La Liga players, who are artificially overpriced because of where they play. Wenger looks at Gary Cahill, sees he could pay more than he’s worth, then sees a Squillaci who he can get for a pittance (relatively speaking) and turn him into a star. Maybe this is the wrong strategy (and I’d argue it can be at times) but I think it’s more bargain shopping/using a strategy than wanting all his defensive-minded players reading Proust in the original language.

    As for Arsenal’s needs, I think Wenger would be well served getting another holding midfielder. Wilshere is not a true one, Denilson has been exposed, and Song is quality but likes to rang forward too often. They need a brickwall to not only have Song’s back on his forward thrusts but break up counters like the ones ManU put up on Saturday. It would allow the offense to get into a rhythm.

    • Richard Farley says:

      Squillaci didn’t come from Ligue Un. Nor did Vermaelen. We didn’t mean to imply Wenger only shops in Ligue Un. He doesn’t.

      • Robert Hay says:

        Point taken. I think the key though is Wenger’s attitude of taking cheaper youth over overpriced experience trumps everything else. And, as you folks state, this can be a detriment when the youth hasn’t won anything. I wouldn’t wholesale change this approach, but allow for a Cahill occasionally or at least resign a current player (William Gallas excluded).

        • EdmontonScouse says:

          The issue isn’t even Wenger’s preference for younger players. Squillaci was 30 (maybe 29) when signed at the beginning of the season, and Sol Campbell was signed on loan last season, and he was in his 30′s. Arshavin was signed at 27. The issue is that Wenger has no interest in spending money on central defenders, because of his overly concentrated devotion to playing an all-out attacking style of play. Couple that with the fact that the quality defenders he does have are out on long-term injuries and you have a formula for a persistantly “also-ran” team.

  4. Jon Sharp says:

    With regard to the ability of Europa Cup to attract players to clubs, it’s a no-brainer in Birmingham’s case. The fans are extremely excited about the prospect of any kind of European football and, assuming Birmingham stay up, will be a big factor in retaining (and attracting) quality players in the summer signing period. I am not as sanguine as Laurence that Liverpool’s absence from Europe is a non-issue with regard to motivating players, but I do agree with him that the top teams including Liverpool as well as the likes of Chelsea, Man U and Man City, Arsenal and maybe even Spurs now, view the Champions League as the only meaningful European competition. Of course, that wasn’t the point Kartik and Richard were making – but that’s Laurence for you ;-)

    • Laurence says:

      I think that wink means I should thank you…:)

      • Jon Sharp says:

        Well Laurence, “thank” may not be the operative word in this case! I was yelling at the computer as you were speaking “THAT’s NOT THE POINT KARTIK WAS TRYING TO MAKE!” I do find your articulate narratives follow very well-informed but sometimes predictable paths in as much as they tend to gravitate back to the top clubs (much like most everything I comment on revolves around Birmingham ergo the bottom clubs). But you should certainly take it as a compliment that you, Richard and Kartik have created an excellent podcast that is thoughtful and football content rich. Better than the Guardian podcast in that regard. So take a bow for that.

  5. Q says:

    Haven’t listened for a long while, ditched the pod for the guardian and soccernet, gave it a second chance today and it only reaffirms me leaving. Regardless of what you would like to think about Arsenal for whatever reason the fact remains they continue to contend at the highest tier year in and year out without having to break bank or even spend more than just a little. Kartik’s views on the “failure” of Arsenal’s performance is just more of the same old sensationalism, and borderlines on hatred. With 18 shots and 11 on goal its hard to say that they weren’t trying and when you have to play at Man U after losing controversially at Camp Nou only 4 days earlier in a competition that is second to your primary goal what are you to expect? Sorry guys, you just don’t cut it.

    • Richard Farley says:

      Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy the show, though if your standard for choosing podcasts is finding people who agree with your views, our show was destined to rub you the wrong way eventually. I hope you find shows that you like, and thanks for the comment.

  6. Richard Farley says:

    BTW, I also really and truly want to thank all the listeners. We have a lot of opinions on the show. Obviously, a lot of them are wrong. None of us are under the impression we’re football geniuses, but in the interest of having an honest discussion, none of us are afraid to be honest, even if we’re eventually proven wrong.

    I’m under the impression that most people get this, but that doesn’t make me any less thankful to those who do. The interaction that I have with posters and listeners is one of my favorite parts of the podcast, and disagreements or not, I hope it keeps coming.

  7. Mammoth Beer says:

    For what it’s worth, I love this podcast. I used to listen to World Soccer Daily but the Audio was just terrible. You guys are informative, let each person speak without jumping on top of each other, and seem like although not always agreeing with each, generally a nice group of people. I started listening to the podcast just before leaving to South Africa for the world cup, and every time I hear the intro music I’m brought back to walking to work listening to the discussion of each group getting excited for the tournament. Again, great show, wish it was daily! Thanks for taking the time and the energy for us fans to get our fix.

  8. BC says:

    I could not disagree more with Kartik with regard to the financial fairplay. It’s pretty obvious to most people that football clubs with exogenous investment have often been pretty poorly managed. What Laurence calls “inorganic growth” are debts that are wiped out by sugar daddy’s, and when they leave, the club implodes. I don’t understand how Kartik can possibly defend this as being good for football in the long term. Clubs like MU and Liverpool are benefiting from success throughout the years, so why SHOULDN’T they reap that benefit? Or may be, the contrary is that, why should Man City, by virtue of winning the lottery jackpot of having rich owners, be in the same boat?

    Keep in mind, while previous success are entrenched, they’re not guaranteed. Liverpool is already an example, despite 2005, haven’t won major trophies in a long time. A more extreme example is Leeds.

    It’s obvious the existing system is broken, and is harmful to the growth of the game as a whole (it’s further complicated by the fact that football clubs are not allowed to fail– but that’s another issue). Contrary to what Kartik claims, Platini’s quite aware that the fair play rules have a lock-in mechanism that entrenches the stratification of clubs. But Platini is also aware that what we have now in terms of the rich daddy model is much more dangerous to the health of the game in general.

    I can sort of understand where Kartik is coming from, I almost get the sense that Kartik might prefer a U.S. sports model. The problem is, U.S. major sports are geared to a (relatively speaking) egalitarian model that does not punish organizational failure and underperformance on the field. Baseball teams are willingly underinvested because they can actually make more money that way (the pirates is one example). In football, if you fail (on the pitch), you do a Leeds (a Newcastle is rare). I’m not sure however, if this is a realistic strategy because even then, big markets tend to dominate. The only way to have “equality” is the NFL model of a hard salary cap, and I don’t think that could ever happen.

    P.S. I understand this kind of argument can get kind of hot, but please don’t yell Kartik, it got kind of hard to listen to towards the end, and you sounded very bitter.

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The Wrong Kind of Money (Weekend Review): EPL Talk Podcast

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Manchesters City and United are slated to meet in the FA Cup semifinals after weekend victories over Reading and Arsenal, with the Royals putting up the better fight. The Gunners were unable to get past a patchwork United side, leaving them with one win in their last 11 meetings with teh Red Devils. They bow out at the quarterfinals as to West Ham United and Birmingham City, with Stoke City and Bolton set to meet in the other semifinal.

On this edition of the EPL Talk podcast. myself, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Laurence McKenna discuss the weekend’s action, to the extent we were able to do so without driving off course. And when we did deviate, Liverpool’s ability to recruit reinforcements without European football was on our minds, as was the concept of good investment versus bad investment in football.

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