Yesterday Scouse dreams ended when they came up against a very good Sevilla side who have come up with a formula for winning the Europa League, and quickly frankly, they’re good at it.
I have no major beef with Liverpool fans. I know a few southern Scouse wannabes though, most of whom are quite unbearable when it comes to talking about the size of the club and its history. I get it; they won lots of stuff and they’re proud of that, we would be too if it happened to us. But as we get constantly reminded – so what? We haven’t been competitive in a big competition for some time now. The same can be said for Liverpool, but I do have to laugh at comments from utter tools like Michael Owen, saying things like “what other club in England would you go to?” In reference to players moving from Liverpool. Unfortunately, his warped view of Liverpool FC i.e. It’s Barcelona, Madrid then Liverpool, is symptomatic of the extreme blinkers I see.
So why all this in an Arsenal blog? I dunno. Perhaps it’s because there’s little going on now the season has finished. Or perhaps it’s this notion of ‘big club’ and recruiting the best talent that has intrigued me.
Michael Owen’s laughable notion that you wouldn’t want to leave Liverpool for any other team has clearly been proven to be false by Raheem Sterling, but what defines a players desires to move on to ‘bigger and better’ things? Do they look at the league table from the previous season? That would make some sense, as perhaps to a foreign player who dips in and out of watching the Premier League, it’s a rough barometer of how good a team are. Liverpool are therefore a less attractive proposition than Arsenal or City, it would seem. But we all know that Arsenal lost its competitiveness when challenging for the league in March, so would we be a step up from Liverpool if we wanted one of theirs?
Probably. At the moment you can guarantee a Liverpool player Champions League football and given Arsène’s track record over the last couple of decades, you would feel that you should be able to get it for next season too. But that doesn’t really give an indication of a ‘big club’ i.e. Champions League football. After all, the Spuds are in the competition.
Is it the history of the clubs that attracts players? I don’t really think so. If I was a professional footballer and I’d just signed for the club, I’d do my research and find out about its history, but only for my first press conference so I can get the fans on side. What’s the point in signing for a club who have a rich history that is decades old? Footballers live in the here and now and if there doesn’t look to be any success on the horizon or has been any in recent seasons, then they won’t be interested, which is why I’m also a little nervous about our predicament this summer.
I’m nervous because our immediate history has a couple of FA Cups. Is that enough to tempt a player in to ‘doing an Arteta’ and forcing a move to us? I’m not sure it is. Not unless it’s from a smaller team in England and the player wants to step up a level. But I don’t see any players in lower divisions or even the Premier League who are that good (when I say that I mean world class) and have been for a number of seasons consistently, who would massively improve our squad at the price Arsenal would be willing to pay. And here lies the conundrum: our valuations on price. I spoke about it yesterday so I won’t labour the point, but if players aren’t enticed by history, then they’re enticed by money, and so are the teams they play for. So the only way this summer that I see us getting a player for anything approaching what is market value or below, is if the player forces the move, which will drive down the price. If the player is motivated by winning the top trophies every season, right now he doesn’t join Arsenal. If he’s motivated by the history of the club like Michael Owen says, right now if he’s looking at recent history, he doesn’t join the club unless he’s playing for a smaller team. (For the record and to reiterate, I don’t think that does have an impact, so am just playing devils advocate). So the only other area that we can prize the Mesut Özil’s and Alexis Sanchez’s of this world, is to pay the bigger prices and the higher wages. Which is why I’m worried.
Of course, one immediate way in which fears can be allayed will be an early signing, with which Granit Xhaka would be both welcome and also reassuring that Arsenal will do what’s needed. But until that happens, I don’t think this feeling is going away from the pit of my stomach, when it comes to The Arsenal.
But what do you think? Let me know in the comments.