Arsene’s deal with the Devil is over: time to pay up.

Doesn’t Arsene know, you always pay the devil.  Maybe the French think the government will pay.  Regardless, it’s time for Arsene to pay for his success. Years ago he could have scoured the continent with his tentacles of scouts with no one the wiser.  No longer.  The 10 year deal with the Devil is over.  Arsene’s success has created the Arsenal premium.  And while I generally accept his aversion to paying too much for too little, cough cough Berbatov, Arsene needs to reassess his buying strategy.  Simple economics requires splashing a little more cash; not a lot, but it’s time to loosen the purse strings.  Accept it Arsene, to get the players we need, £12m is the new magic number.

Arsene’s instinctual hatred for paying too much for a player is known throughout the world.  And as much as we Arsenal fans complain, he’s been more right than wrong.  This isn’t to say he won’t pull the trigger on a deal (Nasri £12m, Arshavin £17m).  But none of us expect a splashy purchase.  And Arsenal fans are notorious for scouring foreign language websites after we make a purchase to figure out ANYTHING about our new buy.  Anyone speak Flemish (Vermaelen)?

All of this aside, Arsene cannot keep expecting to unearth an unknown gem.  He’s going to pay more these days because of his success and because anywhere he goes, a legion of other Clubs now follow.  Unfortunately, Arsene seems to have interpreted his options in two ways, (1) seek younger players to find more gems and develop them; or, (2) buy more extremely expensive players.  Sadly, Arsene seems to have chosen the first strategy without fully exploring the second one.

Fact is, Arsene is not that good at developing really young players -he’s a manager, not a youth coach.  His real strength is in identifying that 19-22 year old already on a first team and developing them.  More to the point, he’s good at developing a kid who’s talent and skill are fully developed, but still need to learn the game.  Real Madrid and Chelsea on the other hand skip straight to the end -the player already knows the game.

Seriously, of the new batch of “Arsene’s Kids” which players count as a success?  He finds players that have the technique already then develops their game.  All of them already had the technique: Ramsey, Fab, Merida.  He taught them the game.  This is why he does the best with purchases like Henry, Toure, he who shall not be named, Sagna, Song and Vermaelen.

This bodes well for the someone like Chuck Aneke.  Arsene has already determined he has the requisite skills.  It does not bode well for anyone else, yes that includes Wilshere too believe it or not.  Bartley might, emphasize might, be the exception surprisingly.  But at its core, Arsene is only good for those players that can already fit into the starting XI of a second tier team based on their talent alone, not those that need to develop their talent.

This means he needs to change his transfer policy.  Right now Arsene is obsessed with unearthing gems.  As a result, he has to get younger and younger talent for the price to be right.  But that’s just not going to work.  So while I respect the Brazilian purchases as a long-term investment, it should go no farther than that.  And while I respect his attitude to the overpriced Dzeko, I cannot accept his failure to purchase a young player with the upside of a Chamakh (even if I don’t want him).

If he doesn’t want to pay the GDP of a small country for a Melo, fine.  But Arsene’s own strategy requires he pay the extra million pounds for Matuidi.  Or, the extra £4m for a Sissoko.  You can’t fight success and Arsene’s success has driven up the cost of players.  When he comes looking, everyone else follows, so accept that and pay for it.  Years ago he could have gotten away with it, but now the Arsenal is known far and wide for its ability to develop young players.  The Toure investment is not going to happen again -this is the price of success.

So while Arsene may not want to pay top dollar/euro/pound for the more established players and the ridiculous premium that comes with them, he must accept that a slight premium will be paid.  I don’t need to know the details on every player we buy and they don’t need to have played in the champions league already.  I’ll learn the little Swahili I need to read the website. But Arsene, the price is no longer cheap, get used to paying £8-12m and lets go forward and accept the risk.  You studied economics Monsieur, it’s very simple: the price has gone up.

-the student


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