Arsenal are signing the cheap options, not the best players

Let me stress just because a player signs on loan does not mean he cannot be a good signing for Arsenal . Nor am I one of these fans who needs to see someone brought for 30 million every window. Yet it’s hard not to feel that we as a club prioritise value over quality.

From a pure business point of view, Cedric is a no brainer. A Portuguese international who knows this League. If he does well, we get him in the summer for nothing. If it doesn’t work out, you have lost nothing because we haven’t paid a fee.

Yet should the priority not be giving this team the best possible chance of finishing 4th or winning the Europa League? Not getting bodies into the squad the cheapest way possible.

In that sense I can understand why the Kroenke family will feel that Edu and Sanllehi are doing a good job, they continue to show you can find value if you look hard enough. That is fine but we are 10th going into February.

That is not acceptable for a club our size. Yet we continue as a fan base to accept standards being lowered.

Our owners should be embarrassed about our League position and insisting that our recruitment team fix this mess.

After months of the world knowing our defence needs improving, do you really think everyone has done the best they can do to give us the best chance of rescuing this season? If you do, then it must be a coincidence that the two signings that you think will bring us back to our old level happen to be loans who you can then buy for a can of coke and a Milky Way.

Would anyone else in the top 6 have this kind of policy? Be honest, if we had to pay 15 million for Cedric would be on our shortlist?

So, he’s literally got a move to the Emirates based on happening to have 6 months left on his deal not because he’s been one of the best full backs in this division.

I stress this is why Arteta got the job, a rookie so grateful for an opportunity he will tolerate this policy. An Allegri would have laughed in the interview hearing this. Didn’t Enrique admitted that lack of ambition put him off the job?

Some gooners point to the revenue we lost by being in the Europa League, our high wage bill and myriad other excuses.

We make loads of money. The wage bill has been slashed. We are owned by a billionaire. If he cared, he could make a side in 10th better.

Some of you are blinded by the improvement under Arteta. It doesn’t change these same group of players have taken us to 10th heading into February.

We used to be mocked for only ever finishing 4th.

As I write this, Man United spent 55 million on a midfielder and want a striker, West Ham are splashing out 20 million on a player from the Championship, Spurs spent 25 million the other day, Inter Milan got Ericksen for 15 million……

Unless we are the only club who lose money, why can they show ambition, but we can’t?

When United wanted a centre back and right back, they got Maguire and Bissaka. Say what you want about Ed Woodward, the Glazers let him spend.

When Liverpool wanted a defender, they got Van Dijk.

Us? We got a defender who never got a start at City and Saints 2nd choice full back. I ask again, do you think that’s the best we can do?

If standards are not high at the top, it trickles down throughout the club. By tolerating it, nothing will change.

So, in July, when you’re forking out another 60 pounds on a shirt, maybe you should question why you’re putting so much money into the club – but the club can only do loans?

Dan Smith


  1. Liverpool sold Suarez and Coutinho, then spent the money wisely on good players. Whereas Arsenal have been mismanaged by the previous regime, so the current management team have been trying to fix it

    The current regime have made several wrong purchases as well, therefore they tried to play safe by loaning. Better try our luck with cheap players first, rather than buying another incompatible foreign player like Pepe

    Leicester City did it sucessfully with Vardy, Mahrez and Kante. So Arsenal should also be able to achieve it, if their management people are competent

  2. United got Maguire and Bissaka for loads of money yet they’ve conceded more goals than Sheffield and Palace. Leicester sold Maguire to United for a monster fee and got Soyuncu for peanuts yet Leicester have conceded less goals.

    The problem is not how much is spent on players but the structure of the team and how they’re well drilled. Apart from VVD, would you consider any of the Liverpool defenders WC 2 yrs ago? Apart from the front 3 and VVD, most of the other Liverpool players look average on paper.

    Most of the so called “average” players in Arsenal were not particularly cheap… Mustafi, Xhaka, Pepe, Ozil, Lacazette, etc yet they seem to underperfom.

    How much did Leicester pay for Kante, Ndidi and Maguire? How much did Southampton pay for VVD and Mane. Our scouts need to also learn how to identify talents who have not yet hit the limelight. We don’t always have to wait until these players prove themselves in other teams be for we start running for them. United have spent a fortune on the likes of Sanchez, Pogba, Maguire, etc, yet they’re still languishing.

      1. 100% on point. We been jerked for as long Kroenke came in.

        Wenger simply made miracles, genious youth devellopment strategy, all in CL final.

        Wl2 decades of CL football with, over a all decade with no way to compete!

        Every teams copying Wenger model with youth; end of the game, they still running on Duracell while older struggle. Wenger played with that physicalalty and keeping possession, to make up for top players and experience. Turning young players to experimented and top ones!

        Emery couldn’t take pressure for over a year, doing miracles and was not allowed to bring players he asked for; Maguire, Partey, Zaha!

        It would have been a complete different start, levels of ambition and motivation. He tried to upgrade team from season he missed both Top4 & EL targets. Think his choice were very accurate and indeed a better team.

        Bellerin Maguire Chambers Tierney

        Then had many options in attack. Saka, Martinelli, Nelson, Nkethia, Laca, Auba. Same in middle; Gendouzi, Torreira, xhaka, Ozil, Niles, Willock…

        Emery knew it was not enough in the back, in order to compete. The all world as we saw and nothing really changed! A loan of a back up for Bellerin, missing as season started and all we needed was same on LB, Tierney is out and Kolas injured; we were after Kurzawa, then ghost!

        It is a very bad management, none!

    1. Please continue to tell. I wonder if it is always that money can play on the pitch.
      How many players did Klop bought at over 70m? How much did Marshal cost United and how much did Martinelli cost us?
      I think the best is to identify a good material. Where would have gotten Ramos to buy this January?

      1. Would you say money didn’t help City or Chelsea win title
        Did Alison and VVD not cost over 70 million.

        You then boast , how much Martinelli cost
        Are you suggesting are transfer policy works ?
        We are 10th ?

        1. For every VVD and Allison, there’s also Maguire and Kepa (Chelsea keeper). Not all expensive players will end up justifying their cost.

    2. It is fairly well said, Impenia, I like that you didn’t just go cherry picking Leic finds, you pointed out Maguire.

      A lot of AFC fans said that if we meant business, we’d have gotten Maguire instead of Pepe. I think I might have wanted him too. Both players will improve, esp Pepe who we see has stuff about him that you cannot coach, you either move like that or you don’t, he just needs to tighten it up a wee bit and learn when to go direct, to do stuff within a touch or two. In reply to the article, I really do get your point but you might be overlooking something.

      Say we know who our first couple of targets are for the summer, and say we would’ve been keen to get them in now if only a half a chance. What happens when we show our hand and everyone is aware of our targets, there could be bidding wars thanks to the clubs having months to shop them round as well as the agents on their cases. Teams with more money could do what Che used to do to us the clever wnkears, they stockpiled players because they knew it was hitting two birds as they say, slowing their biggest rival and having someone on board who Arsene had on the top of his hit list. The best players are under contract, most teams want to see where they stand at the end of season.

      1. Yes, if you have the funds to make wholesale changes in every department of the team plus hiring a WC manager.

  3. Hard to disagree with the article. it’s stupid how Stan Kroenke wont spend a dime on his own investment and still expect it to grow! Arsenal is way off FFP limits, Kroenke and co should stop feeding us BS. Law of business; invest or sell- no two ways about it.

  4. A writer like u would hv said d same about martineli nt been a good quality but d whole world is kicking themselves how they missed him. We may have not brought in the best but we got enough to take us to summer where we can get quality like upamecano.

    1. A writer like me would have said in summer we took cheap option swapping Koscielney for Luiz
      You talk like I have been proven wrong
      As I write this we are 6 points above relegation

  5. Dan you speak the clear truth. How we are controlled from America makes us the loveless child. I admire both Edu and Arteta they are real ‘Arsenal’, I have just a little time for Venkatesham or Sanllehi, they are employed to love Arsenal, but I do not have a minutes time for the Kroenkes. When you learn your parents are not good people but rich and self absorbed and they don’t prize your only happiness…. you have the Kroenkes. Arteta will get the best out of us, but our formula set by the Kroenkes will luckily max at the top four. Win the Champions league????…..more chance of relocating to LA. We are 10th, but equal fourteenth on just points. To say we have no money is an oxymoron….Kroenke and Wife who share their club portfolio to meet US rules, are worth between them over $15,000,000,000. Fifteen billion dollars. Of course we support our club under thick and thin…support them whatever, but to be blind to Arsenal’s parents is how the multi-billionaires get away with it. We just shut up do we? That’s what many on this forum tell me. Arsenal supporters are the best in the world though and with our strong unified voice one day the Kroenke’s will sell us.

    1. I can’t agree more with your assessment of Kroenke who I detest as an owner and can only wonder how the previous shareholders were duped by him when Usmanov was in the wings.
      However, he will only sell when it suits his business interests so as supporters we then have to get on with the cards dealt and trust in this present senior structure to do the best they can. Far from ideal I know. No oil rich owners for us or an owner who has a passion for ‘soccer’. It’s so depressing

  6. Dan, I think manure have just purchased a forward on a loan deal as well, it’s amazing how they and us have, seemingly, plummeted downwards at the same time.

    As we needed to address our defensive issues like yesterday, I think they have done pretty well and don’t forget that we have Salibas coming as well.

    The club did spend £72 million on pepe let’s remember as well.

    But the situation you are describing, not buying top names and/or spending a kings ransom has always been the club’s philosophy – with the odd one or two mega buys (malcom mcdonald, wrighty, ozil and sanchez as examples).

    The loan type of deal is a new phenomenon that seems to be coming more and more prevelant, especially as players can now run down or even disregard contracts as and when they feel like it.
    With silly money being paid for average players (£80 million for maguire!!!) loan deals, with an option to buy, seem a really sensible way for clubs to proceed and I see even shorter contracts becoming the norm, say a maximum of three years.

    If we are being realistic, the club has fallen down the pecking order in the last four years and, until we get back into the CL money again, this latest transfer window will be the norm for us, in my opinion anyway.

    1. Yep sad truth ken1945. We relied on Bertie Mee, George Graham and Arsenal Wenger, to generally be astute and rely on youngsters, like David Rocastle, Paul Davis, Tony Adams….I could go on and on. But since the advent of SKY and BT big money took over and big money wins. Only the billionaires who ‘love’ their clubs as well as finance their clubs seem to succeed. It now take Big Money and Big Love (not the Fleetwood Mac version sadly) to win the Premiership. Leicester won it on Big Love only….are we expected to wait and win it in this way.

  7. We have invested in expensive players yet we couldn’t bank on their contribution to the team and if this try on loaned players will give the desired result, so be it. Thus very same crop of players have showed a different attitude from what it was under Unai and Arteta places premium in milking the best out of his current squad and its beginning to show flashes of positivity.

  8. We all knew this window would be fairly quiet, as we had one of our best in the summer.
    We needed to bolster the defence and we have. There will be more action in the summer.
    I don’t recall anyone complaining about Ceballos being a loan, maybe because he came from RM?!

  9. Good blog and totally agree Impenia and a good example is 7 mil Martinelli, which shows the real value of Laca and Pepe. Sometimes it is not the price but the necessity at the time.
    If Mari and Soares play better than some of the current defenders, then they have got like for like at bargain price and would also show the current defenders real value.

  10. Disagree.

    – We’re 6 months into a 72m (albeit by installments) that hasn’t quite paid off so there’s a bit of a sting that still hurts.

    – Personally I think Manure’s 55m purchase of Fernandes is a bad decision. It may appease the fans and fulfil the proverbial ‘show of ambition’ but a lot remains to be seen how it will pay off on the football pitch.

    – Who fairly priced above 50m would realistically come to a 10th place side?

    – At this moment, it looks like marquee names won’t solve the problems we have the club. Objectively we need promising names willing to buy into the Arteta project to forge a winning culture over the next 2-3 seasons, not proven names who expect to be the missing pieces in a title winning squad for 1-2 seasons.

  11. We could have brought in Messi, Ramos, Van dyk, Rinaldo and the likes in (this) January.
    Yes, say what you like about MA, but he’s better than your experienced UE.

  12. Why do we always have something negative to say, we have started a rebuilding process and there is a need for a very shrewd approach to things; there is no reason why we should rush-buying the so-called BEST now when we can take our time and plan well for the summer to come and then ensure that whoever we bring in shall deliver; that is why these two players were signed on loan and they are not faring better than Arsenal football club, are they? these players want to play for Arsenal football club and they are not worse than some of the current crop of players on our roaster at the moment…the “BIG BOYS” we have are either finished or do not want to play…Let’s keep the faith, give our “managers” a benefit of doubt and chance to do whatever they feel is best for Arsenal football club, they didn’t start the rot…we did…ASK ARSENE WENGER & HIS COHORTS, when they shut out Usmanov for Stanley Kroenke, didn’t know that Arsenal football club will only be the Kroenke’s second option?…WHY DIDN’T WE SPEAK OUT THEN?

  13. Sorry I somehow committed writing what I ha in mind on the fourth line of my article, I was talking about Man. United and their purchase of Mxguire and Wan Bissaka and was asking whether they are faring better than Arsenal Football club?

    1. Sorry, I somehow omitted what I had in mind on the fourth line of my article. I was talking about Man. United and their purchase of Maguire and Wan Bissaka and was asking whether they are faring better than Arsenal Football club despite their league position?

      1. Are man u faring better then Arsenal is your question.
        Table says yes?
        The defence of koronkes not having ambition seems to be well man u spent loads flops
        Difference is they will keep spending till they get it correct
        Did money not help City and Chelsea win titles ?

  14. It’s not about spending BIG, it’s about having the money there if you need it. That seems a good way to run a club.

  15. For me, given the funds available, we have done well. We keep talking about UPAMECANO, is-it that so good ? No idea and it depends on the price.
    For example, PEPE is far much too expensive, it will be difficult to make it profitable. We have young people who are worth it: NELSON and MARTINELI can play at his post (but better on the left, I think), even MAITLAND NILES. AUBAMEYANG can, also, play on the right side (with LACAZETTE and MARTINELLI on the left).

    PEPE can play exclusively on the right side, on the left, he would make no difference. However, his free kicks and his success on penalties remain, that’s a point for him.

  16. While I agree with the points about the owners not investing and keeps earning….Americans first and foremost are tru business people they love to make and spend little if possible. Arteta was given the job on the basis that he got guarantees about getting players, because none os stupid enough to take this job and not get such a guarantee. Allegri was not in for a job and neither was Poch based on the alleged clause he had at Tottenham if true. I don’t support unnecessary big spending as they won’t always be the solution, but if we spend on good talent I’d support that and the market is too inflated. I’d say they did good business this window and let’s see how Pablo does, which I think might surprise us.

  17. I think slashing money on players is not the best option, now we just need to change the mentality of the game. Our tactics has change, great work from Mikel arteta, edu as done well we all can see the addition of martinelli that it was great and cheaper. mari is also a great addition he played very well against Liverpool in the club world cup let’s be patients and see what can arteta bring out of this signings.

  18. This is about quality and balance. Arsenal started the season without the first choice FBs being fit. Arteta evidently wants more cover in key areas. The problem is that getting top class players is especially difficult mid season. So Arteta/management have gone with a “pragmatic” approach.
    Up till now the covers for RB have been a CB and a midfielder. Arsenal have been doing this kind of thing for years going back to Wenger’s time.
    This has been a regular problem for Arsenal and meant that players were often drafted in to play in positions for which they were not ideally suited. In some instances players were probably brought back (after injury) too quickly or could not be rotated. This is not really good enough for a team that wants to challenge consistently.
    To make matters worse there were too many average players that were kept around for too long. Some of those have been moved on over the last few years. Unfortunately, the squad still lacks sufficient quality.
    Arsenal got rid of 15 players during last summer; this tells you a lot about how poor the recruitment strategy has been.

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