Thursday 23 February 2012

False economies @ Arsenal

As anyone that has read my musings or heard me mouthing off will testify, I've never been a huge fan of Arsene Wenger. However, I believe in giving credit where credit's due so when I hear the AST are complaining about players' salaries, I think they're barking up the wrong tree.

We are the fourth biggest wage-payers in the league, therefore we should expect to finish fourth. Where are we in the table? Fourth. So what's the problem with that?

I, personally, think we should pay players more. Then we'd get the best of the best. Instead, apart from a few notable exceptions, we have the best of the mediocre. That's a false economy, in my opinion.

Simon Hill's comment that Arsenal could fall foul of the Financial Fair Play rules are particularly interesting. He points out that if we do not qualify for the Champions League then our wage bill will suddenly be considered unsustainable. I'm not sure if there calculations are done on a season-to-season basis anyway, so more research is required, but FFP is so something of a red herring to me as I don't think it will ever be effectively enforced.

Nevertheless, Hill makes a good point, as the club are forever priding themselves on being within FFP guidelines, so it will be funny to some to see us slip outside primarily because of a lack of investment in the playing squad and perhaps in the back-up team as well. I mean, do we pay top dollar for Pat Rice? I would think not. Another Wenger saving perhaps. You could argue all this saving money is going to cost us a lot. It's has certainly cost us trophies but once the results of this ill-conceived policy finally hits the club's bank balance perhaps something will finally be done about it.

We've missed out on countless transfer targets because of our parsimony and surely the AST must admit that Wenger is solid when it comes to economics. The guy is well qualified on that front and no one can dispute what he has done. Yes, some players are overpaid, but you can't tell me some are not overpaid at Spurs too, despite their wage bill being 40 per cent less.

When it comes to players, you win some, you lose some! In short, it's a gamble! But on the financial front, Wenger has come up trumps more than any other manager I've ever heard of.

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