Arsenal fans, myself included, have become frustrated with our lack of activity in the transfer market. Despite having a “war chest” which is widely reported to be around £70 million, Arsenal have struggled to get close to making a deal happen.
It was strange that Ivan Gazidis publicly announced that we had £70 million to spend on players and we could afford the top wages, suggesting that affording £250,000 salaries would not be a problem. This has instantly weakened our position in the transfer market – that’s if we intended to spend anything at all.
On top of this, it has given the media a field day, and we’ve been linked with Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney, Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, Gareth Barry, Cesc Fabregas, Lars Bender, Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Williams. That’s 10 players (and I’m sure I’ve missed some other names) and out of those, we’ve made 2 concrete bids. One for Lars Bender which was instantly denied, and £30 million for Luis Suarez, which we know is well below his market value, which is roughly around the £40-£45 million range.
And according to reports, Real Madrid value Gonzalo Higuain at £37 million while we want to get him for closer to £22 million.
So have Arsenal given up in the transfer market?
The problem is, we haven’t haven’t paid the top top money for players since we signed Dennis Bergkamp in June 1995. He joined for £7.5 million which back then was massive money. In terms of record transfer fees in that year involving British football clubs, Andy Cole moved from Newcastle United to Manchester United for £7 million and Stan Collymore from Nottingham Forrest to Liverpool for £8.5 million. In 1995, Arsenal paid top dollar for a world class player.
But now, however ambitious Arsene Wenger and Arsenal may have been, and while there may be good intentions, it seems that we have bitten off more than we can chew.
For the first time in about 20 years, we’re going for proven, world class talents. We’ve spent decent sums on Thierry Henry, Andrei Arshavin, Sylvain Wiltord and Jose Antonio Reyes but apart from Arshavin, they still have something to prove and weren’t commanding the top prices because they still had some potential to fulfil. For example, when we bought Thierry Henry in 1999, a certain Nicolas Anelka was sold for £22.5 million.
So now we’re after players like Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain (who are reportedly valued at £45 million and £37 million respectively) we’re struggling to compete. We have our war chest but we simply don’t know how to spend it. We’ve tried screwing down transfer fees and getting bargains for so long that if we did pay the top money for these players Arsene Wenger might keel over. We simply have no idea how to negotiate effectively at the top end of the market. We don’t have a David Dein type figure to seal these deals.
This useful website lets Arsenal fans know whether we’ve spent any money in this transfer window.
Will it still say “no” once the transfer window closes?