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At What Price? – Arsenal

by SimonSEEZ

Howdy Goonerland!!!

Now that feels awkward. Goonerland. Is Goonerland a geographical location filled only happy Arsenal fans. Where the only permitted clothing is different shades on Arsenal gear, only Arsenal fan songs blaring out of the public radios? Worship only takes place at Ashburton Groove where a huge statue of Arsene Wenger with arms spread out like “Christ the Redeemer” watches over the Emirates where all Arsenal players referred to as Knights of the Goonerland reign supreme? Now that is a heavenly picture. Hell on the other hand would be a very dark place filled with Chelsea fans, guarded by Piers Morgan and Michael Owen.

Snap back, all that wasn’t in the script.

Or was it? A study has to be conducted to measure the effect of transfer windows on Arsenal fans. The 24hr social media coverage of the event or non-event as the case ended up being must have a way of burning up some core brain cells. Let’s be honest, a lot more than a few brain cells were been burnt at Man United considering how they went about signing their “Martial” artist. Or were any brain cells really burnt? What do you think?

Listening to Arseblog’s Arsecast Extra and a very good question was sent in? As an Arsenal fan, would you rather have Martial at the price he was signed or sign no one at all? I was surprised Andrew went for sign him as my immediate reaction was HELL NO!! Shouldn’t everything boil down to value? How much value can we extract from signing a player and in what terms, immediate value? short term value? long term value? or even resale value?

A signing like Benzema on paper would instantly tick all those boxes, Martial in my opinion would not. However, once value is determined, its twin shows up, “Price”. At what price? During this whole Benzema business, a lot of tweets I saw maligned the manager for penny-pinching, stating if he slammed anything within the range of 75-85million at Real, all their doors would come crumbing down. Is Benzema worth 85million? How do measure a players worth? By his current performance stats, or by how much you need a player of his skill or stature in your team or by his potential to improve? Or possibly, by what the current market value dictates as the price for a player of that quality?

As you would have noticed by now, I found myself asking a lot of questions during that drive home listening to the Podcast and then I asked myself, should I really care? Is a fan expected to consider things like value, return on investment, potential for resale etc when your club is interested in signing or needs a player? Isn’t that a more shareholder type of problem? In the end, I decided to ask a few Arsenals fans what they thought. The question was phrased like this.

“Should fans consider long term value and cost when signings are made”?


With Arsenal, knowing how funds are hard to come by, cost and long term value should be paramount. Fans must realize we are no UTD or City, so when we buy we must put things into careful consideration, so as to get real value for money in the end when purchases are made. Take for instance, the Benzema/Cavani deals, some would say go all out for them, if it is £70m their clubs are asking for, go for it. If we want to win the league like it is written in stone if we do. Both are 28 years of age, in 2 years they will be 30 and that’s downhill for them, so with no resale value, that’s money down the drain.

So to answer the question, I think we as fans should think long term values and cost when signings are made because it gives you full understanding why some deals can’t be brokered. I support my club for the long haul and I would want my club to be here till infinity meaning careful considerations must be taken when buying a player.

I think it depends on what sort of fan you mean because I’d like to think of myself as the total package and not the type whose sole interest is on the pitch.


In an European market filled with over-valued stars, it’s become a prerequisite for clubs and fans to exercise patience in getting value for new signings. However with the instant success of players such as La Liga imports – Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez, a dilemma ensues for fans.

This ambivalence is often met with even more impatience and premature inferences, especially for signings such as Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech, two players who had been labeled as ‘game changers’ at their different periods of acquisition.

Unlike Andrei Arshavin’s hastened arrival for short term results, Arsenal’s record breaking fee for the 25 year old German International should have sent a clear message to fans about the club’s belief in Ozil, to justify his huge figures with steady seasonal progress.

However, with a huge signing such as Alexis hitting the ground running, the microscope was always bound be firmly gazed on Arsenal’s £42.5m man to replicate the speed of value for money, which is quite unfair on the German.

In conclusion, the need for fans to support in favour of long term value couldn’t have been better illustrated, with the transformation of Francis Coquelin from an £880k acquisition in 2008, to a top Premier League midfielder after SEVEN years.


It’s not easy being a fan nowadays. Long gone are the days when your greatest worry was if the chant you created for that new speedy winger would catch on. That is no longer enough. Now fans must deal in the currency of net spend, sell-on value and player value amortisation before even starting to question the coach’s tactics and training methods. All very boring to me. All you have to do to be a super fan

When I became an Arsenal fan almost two decades ago, all I cared about was the club played attractive football and was successful. Not much has changed now, even I know a bit more about how a football club is run. I still trust those charged with making business and tactical decisions for the club because I think it’s their job to worry about long term value and cost of a player and whatnot.

All I still care about is that Arsenal still plays attractive football and is run successfully.

Maybe I don’t want to be a super fan.



What do you know of amortization? Or image rights? If player A cost $10,000,000 and scored 10 goals, and player B cost $30,000,000 but scored 25 goals, who is better value for money?

There are intangibles to signing players; signing a world class player might lift a dressing room, inspire confidence, and improve results. How do you put a value on that influence?

A world class player might help you win trophies but have no resale value. So does the short term value or little or no resale fee supersede superior commercial clout?

It is the job of management to decide what is best for the clubs finances, both short and long term. Leave that to them and do your own bit. Support your club and its players regardless of signing or long term value. At least till those players start to prove they are not good enough.


In any business its assets are key to its performance both in the short and long term. Some assets appreciate some depreciate but value for the money spent must always be a key consideration when purchasing. The same must be considered when looking at the value of player purchases at a football club. The fans need to appreciate this; well most do when we invest in a potential like Ryo or a medium term stop gap like Park, the cry is “what a waste of money!”

That should be remembered when calling to buy anyone or “spend some fucking money!” This window presented no opportunity for “medium term” or “marquee” investment. However, the club invested in the “potential” bracket with The Jeff and didn’t spend £50 million doing so.

Any purchase must be balanced against value. Cost, potential return, both in terms of football played and future sell-on value, and fit in terms of team dynamics must be considered.

What is your take? Agree? Disagree?

Above all, the assumption is that we all want our team to do well. Share your thoughts on the comments section below or on Twitter @canoncrested. Give us a follow,we always follow all Arsenal fans back.

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Sesan Osijo September 11, 2015 - 10:30 am

In any business venture, there is always an element of risk and we have so many “wise” sayings based on it. Sir Fergie bought RVP for £25m- a player with one year left on his deal and with a long injury record. It clicked for him and Man U that year and they won the league. Everybody hailed Fergie. If it had ended badly, he would have been ridiculed. So for me, playing it safe isn’t going to get us anywhere fast. We have been told we are quite rich now and we have had no problems buying potential. I believe we need to take the odd risk once in a while.
And in a market where martial, sterling and de bryne went for such fees, I don’t think the price been quoted for benzema is too much. If 2 years after the purchase, we are taking pictures with out UCL and EPL trophy double, who will remember his price? Again, it could all go wrong and we could end up with nothing but like they say – nothing ventured, nothing gained

Andre September 11, 2015 - 1:34 pm

This ignores the rapid growth in fees, which will only continue to grow with the coming increases in TV money. This inflation means you will only get less for your money the longer you sit on it. Barring special circumstances such as those which allowed us to get our stars cheap, the player we dont want to pay 40m for this year will cost 45m+ next. Similarly the player we buy for 40m we could get the same or more for barring catastrophe. Look at DiMaria, panned as one of the worst PL flops in ages and still United recovered the majority of their money because even a flop DiMaria is worth big bucks as fee inflation continues. We need to invest in the assets that are players to make the most of our money

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