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Has Wenger’s Thrift Kept Arsenal From Silver?


Arsenal fans love to speak of Arsene Wenger’s shrewd and miserly eye for talent.  Up until a few years ago, Wenger’s net spending in the transfer market was something around ten million pounds, extraordinary when you consider the amount of trophies Arsenal have won since his arrival.  Of course, much of Wenger’s bottom-line performance can be attributed solely to selling Nicolas Anelka, who’s sale managed to pay for everyone else on the France squad, including Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires.

All of this is great for Gooners, just another aspect of Wenger’s purist notions of the sport.  With clubs’ spending ballooning every year, this is just another badge to point to when arguing in Arsenal’s defense, kind of like driving a Prius in middle Texas.  A lot has been made of Wenger’s philosophy, not coincidentally, since the last time a team of his came close to sniffing  silver was three years ago while mired in a battle for fourth place.

Arsenal’s wage bill is one of the league’s largest, but the stubborness in which Wenger deals with the transfer market certainly differs from most of his peers.  Definitely shrewd, his reasoning is that in order to maintain the financial stability of the club, he must be prudent and not give in to the temptation of spending big in the windows.

A good portion  of Gooners realize that this would not even be a discussion if it were not for the Frenchman.  Arsenal fans would not have such high standards without Wenger, who has not only spoiled fans in north London, but fans of the game overall.  But to consider that one or two good players could be what keeps their team competitive down to the end, many are frustrated at times with the lack of signings.

On their day, Arsenal can beat any team.  If they’re really on their game, they can even make it look easy.  But it can’t always be their day, which is why big squads are so important.  For Wenger, it’s a competition like the Champions League that may redeem him rather than the long marathon of the domestic campaign.

Wenger’s bargain boys will find it hard to slay the big spenders [Daily Mail]

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  1. Sarah

    October 25, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    One word answer yes. I however think it goes deeper than Wenger’s reluctance to buy as I just don’t think he has money to spend. I believe if he had 20m to spend he would buy someone that could help, but am sure that money is going to the shareholder or interest payments.

  2. ArthurArseGooner

    April 29, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    he just bought arshavin. that wasnt thrifty. the only depth we lack now is a central defender .

  3. Brian

    April 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    The problem with Spurs, Sunderland and Man City is that they bought the wrong players, not that they didn’t buy enough.

    While Arsenal were seemingly a “tackle away” from winning the Premiership, you have to wonder if a little depth in a few positions would’ve made the difference.

    I appreciate what AW has done for the EPL, and for the game as a whole, but when does the lack of trophies become an issue?

  4. tony

    April 29, 2009 at 7:41 am

    smart guy. when the bankers come for old trafford and anfield, arsenal will be safe.

  5. Jerome

    April 29, 2009 at 6:03 am

    If I could measure the strength of my support for Luke’s contention it would be in Superman’s range!

    Also: “the last time a team of his came close to sniffing silver was three years ago.” Define “close”, because I think one could pose a really strong argument that last year, we were tackle away from winning the premiership.

    Plus I don’t really think the Invincibles had a large squad, but on this I could be wrong

  6. luke

    April 29, 2009 at 3:42 am

    no one can be absolutely sure that arsenal would be winners even if we buy four central defenders and six holding midfielders. that is just football. if buying players led to something where would spurs; sunderland and man city be. people should learn to appreciate Wenger’s guardianship of the club’s finances and stop moaning about lack of trophies. it’s not as if no one is trying.

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