The transfer window is only into its fifth day, and already an inordinate sum of money has been spent on players. United have splashed 50m on three, Liverpool 27m on one, even Spurs are getting in on the act, spending 25m on two.
And reports are being widely circulated that Tevez is about to take United’s spending over 70m for the summer.
Now, before we go on, a word of caution – although the Tevez talk is widespread, it all seems to be based upon the ‘understandings’ of one Mihir Bose, so has to be taken with a pinch of salt. All other media outlets are simply saying that other news sources are reporting it.
So it may or may not be true. If it is, its quite a frightening prospect, but surely means they need a clearout to balance the books. Having said that, replacing Saha with Tevez can’t be anything but an improvement.
And in the midst of all this, the likely lowest summer spenders in the top five will be Arsenal. Currently, it’s actually Chelsea, what with their free transfer activity, but if Malouda and Pato arrive, they’ll be totalling aroun 25m.
With Arsenal’s spending currently around 8m (if the da Silva price is to be believed), the question is, why can we not emulate them? The probable answer is: we can, we just don’t want to.
Wenger won’t spend 27m on Torres because he thinks he’s a good enough talent spotter to pick up an equally good talent for a quarter of the price. He won’t spend 17m on Malouda because he isn’t good enough to justify that price. He won’t spend 16m on Bent because, well, because he’s not utterly stupid.
No, he deals in young players he can pick up on the cheap, and established but not world famous names costing 3-8m. In short, Arsenal do not have a set of world famous superstars.
Which is not the same as saying Arsenal do not have world class players.
It’s a distinction that is often hard to make, and it is made harder when you see these clubs splashing the cash on household names, but Wenger has the power and means to sign these players if he wants them, and he decides not to.
Wenger is building a team – Henry is no longer the focal point, but his departure may just release the shackles of other players. We’ll see.
On the flip side, Alex Ferguson is in the process of giving himself the same management headache Mourinho has got – he is forcing himself to leave out multi-million pound signings.
Just over a month to go.