Do Arsenal buy a player who is ‘Proven World Class now, one who was ‘Proven World Class’ last season or one who will be ‘Proved World Class next season?

Just who is 'Proven World Class?'
Just who is ‘Proven World Class?’

It is at this time of year that the majority of Arsenal fans want the club to spend the whole £100/£120/£140 – enter amount you want, on 2 or 3 ‘World Class’ superstars. The ‘Finished Articles,’ the ‘Real Deals,’ or the guaranteed ’30 Goal a Season Man.’ I have written about the mythological 30 goal striker often enough but they are a rare breed as we know but my question is to everyone is do you know who next season’s ‘ real deal’ or finished article’ is? I work in financial services and if any of you invest money you may well have seen or read this or similar “Past performance does not guarantee future results.” Truth is that not only do we not know who will shine in 2014/15 based on who shone in 2013/14 but equally we do not know if those who shone in 2013/14 will shine in 2014/15.

Narrow £25m Escape?
Narrow £25m Escape?

Many of you and you will know who you are were all over Wenger splashing £25 million on Benteke last summer off the back of one great season at Villa and the same could be perhaps said of Michu. I have also had many debates on social media about the whys and wherefores of Arsenal spending £30/40 million of one of the ‘so called ‘ world’s top strikers to replace of supplement Giroud. As it happens it is some of those ‘so called ‘super strikers, guaranteed 30 goals a season men that I can use to illustrate my point.

Unheard of 2009
Unheard of 2009

In the summer of 2009 on the back of a season where he scored16 in 37 for River Plate and none in 6 for Colombia few took any notice when Porto splashed £5 million on Radamel Falcao. In his first season he hit 29 in 36 for Porto and the following season 33 in 36. He then moved to Atletico for £22 million.

Did you want Jackson in 2012 for £7.75m?
Did you want Jackson in 2012 for £7.75m?

In the summer of 2012 on the back of 2 good seasons in Mexico were we all screaming for Wenger to spend the exorbitant £7.75 Million Porto outlaid for Colombian striker Jackson Martinez? No surprisingly we weren’t. 12 months later after he had hit 31 goals in 40 appearances we all knew his buyout clause. Would we like him at Arsenal? BET YOUR ARSE!

Too late know for Diego
Too late know for Diego

In the summer of 2011 were we all screaming collectively at the board to nip in ahead of Rayo Vallcano to secure the loan services of Diego Costa from Athletico Madrid? No I guess we weren’t but I am certain by the end of that season of 2011/12 when Costa having recovered from a cruciate ligament injury finished the season with 10 in 15 the world was clamouring to sign him? No I guess we weren’t. NOW WE ARE!

£15m a snip but were we interested last Jan?
£15m a snip but were we interested last Jan?

Closer to home when Brendan Rogers decided to offer Daniel Sturridge a chance to relieve himself of the splinters in his arse from sitting on the Stamford Bridge bench were we Gunners up in arms? No why would we want a Chelsea reject (although many wanted Ba) for a measly £15 million. Top strikers surely have to be more expensive don’t they? Well 35 goals in his first 50 Liverpool appearances is Rush, Fowler Owen territory – FACT.

Top scorer in Italy for £3m in Summer 2013!!
Top scorer in Italy for £3m in Summer 2013!!

Finally let’s bring this right up date and consider the striker making all the headlines and apparently about to be subject to a tug of war between Dortmund and Barca if the press are to be believed. The question is though why was Ciro Immobile, the 22 goal Serie A top scorer not subject to a tug of war or a mad scramble only 12 months ago when Torino picked him up for 12 Italian Sausages and a crate of Chianti from Genoa? – Or £2.4 million if you prefer. ON THIS ONE, WHY ARE WE NOT INTERESTED? I have laboured my point but I am sure you will agree that I am only dealing in facts here and not supposition. I am not saying we should not outlay copious amounts of our swelling bank balance on a new and shiny striker but I am saying we need to select the one that fits with our team and our style not with our wealth.

Where were you last summer?
Where were you last summer?

I suggested Bony last summer and Swansea took a chance and it kept them in the Premier League. Had we purchased him I suspect many would have been underwhelmed by his lack of shininess and star quality. When you think on this perhaps ask if Torino fans said Ciro Who? When they saw Immobile had scored 5 in over 20 starts for Genoa in 2012/13.

You all wanted me at Arsenal
You all wanted me at Arsenal

It works both ways and as I said at the outset ‘Past performance does not guarantee future performance.’ Throughout 2012/13 I was continually told the must buy player for Arsenal was Younnis Belhanda from Montpelier. A season on a glance at his first year at Dynamo Kiev reveals that in 31 appearances he has contributed 7 goals and 4 assists. Indeed in the last 6 league games he was substituted in 4 and did not feature in 2 before the league suspended due to the political situation.

13 in 13 how did we miss out? Oh thank God we did!
13 in 13 how did we miss out? Oh thank God we did!

As I wander aimlessly about I am sure you get my point. This year’s star may be next year’s ‘one season wonder’ For those whom cursed that our scouting network failing to uncover Papiss Cisse after he scored 13 in 13 for Newcastle from January to May in 2012 you are probably now relieved and trying to forget you thought it. Anyway just a discussion starter inspired those who keep telling me Arsenal deserve ‘Proven World Class’ and the continual search for those that are just about to become so!

To be proven world class????
To be proven world class????

From what I hear Morata might fit that bill?      Watch this space! Like what you read?

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  1. What an excellent article. Brilliant facts and makes such a good point. Thanks mate. I enjoyed reading that. Morata I believe would fit the bill really well. I am also mindful of Podolski still having a big part to play. I wonder if a brand new shiny left winger would be more important. Di Maria or Griezman both fit the bill as long as they have the right mentality for a change of culture/football style etc

    1. Time will tell I just wanted to make the point that that who really knows who will perform at a top level next season. Today’s headlines are tomorrows fish and chip wrapper potentially

  2. How about a recently proven manager, 1 scrappy cup win in 9 years isn’t a proven manager. Sack the clueless one!

  3. Let’s be honest though, we aren’t necessarily looking for a “big name” striker. In January we were looking for cover. Look at Remy, Vela, or even maybe Morata, they are all relatively cheap, and they are by no means a massive downgrade from Giroud. We know Giroud will not be able to bring in the goals we need, and he frankly doesn’t cut it in his hold up play. But there are cheap strikers out there that seem to be easily available that have a great chance at bringing in the goals we need.

  4. Good article.

    I think a further point would be that there are only about five to seven players in the world who would, barring injury, near enough guarantee you thirty goals.

    Two or three are absolutely untouchable- Messi, Ronaldo- it would involve the entire kitty for the fee alone, world record wages after that, and, much as we love the club, they’d prefer to be where they are anyway. We’re not there, and until the day capitalism collapses or a Saudi prince has his way with the club, we won’t be. I can handle that, so long as we push it right to the edge of that territory and explore dipping into it if ever there’s a chance.

    Another two or three are scarcely more viable- Ibra, Suarez (aaargh, yes, he is not viable now), Aguero (barring injury, remember), Falcao

    Then there’s Benzema and Cavani, and just below that an injury free Van Persie.

    After that we’re probably onto Cavani, then Rooney

    My point being that anyone who, injury free, would guarantee around 30 goals currently retails at about 50 million minimum, with another 50 mill for a five year contract (though at current inflation the wages will have doubled again by the end of that five years)

    So…yes, it is not an easy thing to secure one of these players. Only one of them seems reasonably viable to me, Benzema, and many would dispute if he is quite in the 30-a-year category.

    Also, with our financial model, we would be pushing ourselves up to and a little beyond our utmost limits on the cheapest of these players, meaning an injury like Falcao’s would be an utter disaster.

    Still, I hope something can be done. We need it. The best bet for me if someone amazing can’t be found, is to think of what attributes we have cried out for at times in last two years- pace! deadliness, trickery- and bring in not one but two 5-15 mill strikers who can (at worst, reasonably; at best, excellently) cover that between them. Ideally both from the potential category, i.e players who might turn out great- Batsuashi, Morata, * the fella Lothar lied about,etc- or one of them, alongside an experienced choice who we know will never be a great but who offers some of the attributes we need, such as Kalou. We have fantastic passers of a football but, without Walcott, no one with any pace to make runs for them. In football terms : criminal

    I’d be happier with that than 25 mill on Bony. Michu, meanwhile, was an absurd call as far as I was concerned. Benteke? Guilty. I knew there was every chance he could dip a lot, and may not be quite right for us, but…I was desperate at the time and the appeal of a guy who, with good reason, looked not the tiniest bit intimidated by the likes of Vidic, and could do some very decent stuff when in the flow was big.

    What’ll it be? I don’t know, but I can’t wait until the day we have someone who can regularly produce pure magic up there. We were spoiled by an unbroken run from Berkamp to Rvp with Henry in the middle, and it just ain’t the same without that up front.

    *Best of all in that category for me would be Fulham’s Pat Roberts- totally unproven at senior level, not a striker, and would cost silly money, but the best English 17 year old I’ve seen bar Rooney, and with oodles of the magic I crave. Utterly unsuited to the championship he now finds himself in.

    1. I agree. You may be new to my site but the myth of the 30 goal a season man is a hobby horse of mine and I have written on it and proved they don;t readily exist as you say several times

      1. Ha, is that ‘several times’ a hint that I went on a bit? If so, it was deserved and I agree. Don’t have knack of keeping it short when talking Arsenal.

        I’m off before I start again.

  5. Great read as ever Dave. I’m so pleased to see that the more, ahem, ‘senior’ supporters amongst us have the common sense to tell it how it should be.
    I’m happy to watch and hope that our scouts and manager come up trumps. We all have our own ideas but it’s a thankful task being the guy who has to put the pieces together.

  6. Arsenal needs Mario Balotelli.He is a GREAT young talent and he has proven in Italy that he aims to mature and improve his game and who else than Wenger to do just that.Other than Mario I only see Ciro Immobile and Alexandre Pato as suitable fits.Arsenal needs a striker who play more open and with pace that can exploit the likes of Mezut,Santigo,Jack and Aaron to our advantage.

  7. Well, all those experienced strikers are just expensive for nothing, they are of no big impact to Arsenal. The likes of Balottelli , he is a indiscipline player who will bring bad behaviors to the dressing room. Why does he play one season per club? Morata is my choice and a perfect signing for arsenal.

  8. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for a great article! I haven’t commented in a while, but I still always read and enjoy all of your posts. I thought I’d have my two cents worth on this one because I’ve also had my fair share of debates around this subject. I really do think it’s a double-edged sword. I love it when we sign a successful striker out of football obscurity and he does really well. As you have said, past performance does not always guarantee future results. And spending 30 or 40 million on a striker that had one good season in the limelight somewhere, doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll do it consistently with us. Bullets dodged on some of the examples you gave us – so true! In saying that though, world class names bring the best out of everyone at the club – players and fans. I think we saw that with Ozil this year. So it is tricky.

  9. A very well laid out and excellently written article. I did not follow all of these targets before and after they became ‘targets’ for transfer speculation. I feel I understand the situation a bit better now. Thanks for your efforts. A very educational read.

    RE: Morata
    I’m an amateur, but Sanogo looked far superior in the matches I saw him play than Morata did in the Champions League final. Just in terms of physical specimen, I don’t think Morata is the pacy type – but I could be wrong. In my humble opinion, Sanogo has the makings of all the football qualities of Drogba – beast of a man and still so young.

    1. I agree regarding Morata. I think Arsenal need an option up front (speed) that is different from Giroud, and Morata does not seem to fit that billing. That also goes the same for Benzema, he is too similar to Giroud. There seems to be a trend of the top strikers in the premier league being more shifty and speedy, in the mold of suarez, sturridge, and aguero (though not top of the league, remy has been successful, also naismith at times). Van persie, who doesnt have blistering pace, had two back to back incredible seasons, but you could argue that he is/was the best pure finisher in the world at the time. To add to the argument against the “world class” (30 goal) striker, all the available expensive targets don’t provide that different dimension of speed (Benzema and Mandzukic for example).

      1. Agree. Walcott will provide the speed when fully fit and I expect him to be huge for us in 2014/15

  10. This is both a subjective and objective question. A larger enterprise dealing in millions would pay for the objective route and ask objectively:

    1. Does he have experience? (Has shown promise)
    2. Does he have skills, and shown at a top club/level. (meaning has he played under pressure, and can handle them)
    3. Does he have enough in his locker to offer to team when they need that something extra?
    4. What therefore is the probability of success and what is the rick associated?
    5. What is the value/quantum of risk the club can afford in this financial, given other expenses / commitments.

    All these are objective questions. And then there are subjective ones about character, spirit, learning potential etc which the Manager has to take a call on. But in a way that should be low risk given Club are spending top dollar on the decision maker (7.5mm/yr) . There is therefore very little room for gambling. We know most of the possibilities before hand (the club does). e.g. a. Can we splash on an < 5mn kid / loan move … pffft no brainer . b. Can we spend 40 mn on a 27yr old? What will be his value next year. What could be add. What will be the worst case scenario loss.

    And I think all this plus actual market place possibilities + availability go into the ultimate decision making. Very little whim involved.

    Just my thoughts on the process.

    And if I were the judge to decide who should we spend money on?
    I think spend money in a 2 pronged manner. Build foundation + add cream. As far as a CF is concerned spend it all on a consistent performer. Who has made some demonstration at least. We might end up with a Torres kinda case. That's a risk surely. But don't we trust one of the best/biggest coaches in world football to handle that?

    I do.

  11. A top class article written in a very logical manner.Even the so called “main stream media ” is lacking writers who can create and analyze unique but important views like this .Thank you very much!!!

    As a typical arsenal fan, i love and respect AW,the squad and the philosophy of the club.Based on our track record and a well improved financial status of the club,i expect AW to buy strikers like Loic Remy or Alvaro Morata or some one in their level,not a top class striker.i would love if AW can go for a top class striker but i really do not think so.

    Sagna is on his way out and Jenkinson will get a very good competition if we sign Serge Aurier or some one in similar age and status.Hopefully,we will buy or capture on loan a new goal keeper to replace Fabianski.

    i really hope AW will do similar moves as i mentioned above.If AW decides to be more active and grab big names it will be more fun and success to our Arsenal.
    Come on you gunners!!!!!

  12. Wonderful article mate! Logical and very thorough…. Everyone is talking about bad boy Baloteli,i personally agree, he would be an absolutely wonderful signing…as long as he keeps his ego to himself. He is one of the very few players in the world that has outstanding technical ability as well as physique.

    Another player i would suggest is Alexis Sanchez. He is a wonderful dribbler, pacy and he is a very versatile player,with the ability to play on the flanks,as a main striker or even as a number 10.

    Other than that, we also need a defensive midfielder, personally I would like Schneiderlin from Southhampton. He has premier league experience and he would be a realistic signing as well, with southhampton having a summer exodus. I also think that ( I might sound a little dumb by suggesting this) Vermaelen might be good in a holding midfield position, as he is a naturally defensive player, a good passer, good aerially and a pretty good passer.


    1. I write a piece on here suggestion Morgan last March mate and I still believe he is the man

  13. There is no doubt that Morgan can be our new Gilberto. However, what are your thoughts on Vermaelen as a DM?

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