Accepting reality: are Arsenal and manu tier two teams?

Is Arsenal a tier two team?  Arsene is really frustrated at the market.  Arsenal prepared itself to join the elite, then the elite changed the game.  Where there used to be three tiers in football economics, there are now four, and Arsenal appears to be tier two…with Manchester United.

Back in the day, only 10 years ago, there were the big clubs, real madrid, barca, liverpool, manu, the Italian trio, bayern munich, and yes our beloved Arsenal.  Although the clubs had different histories and money budgets, they effectively competed with each other in the market place for players.  Then a new player joined the mix: chelsea in 2003.

Chelsea introduced a team with seemingly unlimited money.  And player prices increased around UEFA.  But even still, the market settled.  Just as important, even with chelsea’s pocket book, the market survived the first Galaticos era at real madrid.

But then came manciteh and galiticos part deux this past summer.  The combined spending power of manciteh, with the new galacticos project at real madrid and chelsea’s wallet forced the creation of a new tier clubs.  One superego club the market place can handle and even enjoy;  two superego clubs the market can handle and even leverage; but three superego clubs and we officially have a new tier and a changed marketplace.

Lets be clear, superego clubs are defined by their essentially limitless money and inability to make a profit.  Hence the term superego, not superclub.  While I might enjoy the collection of players a team puts together, I refuse to concede the title superclub when the team is functionally insolvent.  Not because I’m jealous, but because to encourage such behavior is short-sited, it harms the game’s sustainability.  Remember it’s not just the purchase price of a player that matters, wages also matter.

So with three superegos roaming the marketplace, prices and wages have increased considerably.  Consider the bids that have been REJECTED!  £60m pounds for Ribery.  Even Chamakh’s club wanted over £7m even though bordeaux will  lose him on a Bosman.  Dzeko’s club are demanding 40m euros and atletico madrid want something on the order of £50m for el Kun.

So before we start complaining, lets take a deep breath -ask ourselves, what can Arsene actually do?   There are now effectively four tiers of clubs and we aren’t in the top tier.

Tier one: Superegos. These three clubs roam the planet and bid against each other at a level no other club can compete.  Should an agent even think one of these clubs is sniffing around their player that player’s price just skyrocketed.  total of three: manciteh, chelsea, real madrid.

Tier two: Superclubs.  These clubs make and lose money, but basically operate with some concept of financial discipline.  total of six: manu, Arsenal, the italian trio and barcelona.

Tier three: Competitive clubs.  These clubs make money and occasionally drop some big cash in the market place.  But they can’t compete with tier two clubs should tier two get serious about a player.  total of around 10: lyon, bayern, atletico madrid, formerly valancia, roma, liverpool (yes ‘pool is down here now) and a cadre of teams from Serie A.

Tier four: the Rest.  It might seem scary, but his is the vast majority of clubs, with only a few having a hope of making it to Tier three, absent a new billionaire owner (like what happened with manciteh).  This doesn’t mean these teams are bad, Aston Villa, Bordeaux and Napoli are examples of really good tier four teams.  It just means they lack the financial clout to purchase at the level of tier three clubs.

So with manciteh sniffing around his ankles, Arsene is now competing on tier two.  Which is unfortunate, since he thought (and so did we) that he would be tier one after the stadium.  But it just goes to show you how fast things change and if the Arsenal hadn’t made their moves when they had, we’d be a tier three team today.

-the student.

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