There are a lot of things to hate about Billionaire’s playthings Manchester City and Chelsea. A lot.That Chelsea were saved from bankruptcy (and almost certainly a subsequently enforced relegation into The Championship)when Roman Abramovich came in and pumped hundreds of millions of pounds into the West London side is one of them.Their team would have been fire-sold had that buy-out not been completed but what really galled me about Chelsea being saved by money was the flip side – this money allowed the club to throw around an almost unlimited transfer budget and bred a scouting system that went something like this:
“So, who shall we buy for Chelsea today then, Claudio?”
“Who is featured in World Soccer this month?”
“Hernan Crespo, Adrian Mutu and Jon Obi Mikel.”
“’…Da! Thanks Senor Mendes, da, da…your usual 15%…Cayman Islands account? Fine.Das vidanya Jorge. ’ Done, right…where were we Claudio, are yes, who are Arsenal scouting? That Wenger knows a thing or two about buying a player.”
“I have heard he’s after Michael Essien and Shaun Wright-Phillips.”
“’It’s is me again Jorge…Essien and Wright-Phillips…20%?’ Done. Can we buy any of Wenger’s players too..?”
Arsenal fans watched as Patrick Vieira heir-apparent Michael Essien was snapped up, possible Wenger target Wright-Phillips was snaffled away from pre-billions Manchester City and then, following Jose Mourinho’s appointment, Ashley Cole; lured away after some contract disputes. I say ‘lured away’, I meant to say, outrageously tapped-up. Despite Chelsea having Wayne Bridge on their books, the era of player hording had started. At the time of writing, Chelsea have twenty two players out on loan, four of which are internationals, on top of a squad of twenty eight. Let Demba Ba get a game at Arsenal, heaven forbid. Sell Juan Mata to a team that will use him and harness his abilities…no, we’ll conspire to sell him to a team who still have to play our rivals. Let it not be said that there is very little to like about anyone involved at Chelsea Football Club.
To say Manchester City have ramped up player hording would be an understatement. Joleon Lescott, Jack Rodwell and EdinDzeko have all seen their promising careers falter as the stockpile of players builds up around them. Now, I have little sympathy for players who pocket hundreds of thousands of pounds sitting in the stands or on a bench, but when you factor in the idea that it is unlikely that they will be sold to another team in the division, it gets very annoying. Dzeko would be a superb fit upfront for Arsenal; indeed, the striker was once hailed as the ‘Bosnian Andrei Shevchenko’ whilst he was rattling in goal after goal at Wolfsburg…now he’s a Bosnian Roque Santa Cruz. Rodwell – albeit very injury prone – has fared even worse. Has anyone seen him this year? Should someone check on him?! He really could have been England’s great midfield hope to play alongside Jack Wilshere and Ross Barkley…now he is an expensive punch-line to an oft told fable. Let us not forget Steven Jovetic – another alleged Arsenal target, and again, another player who would fit right in at N5, a rather good fit in fact, in my humble opinion – but he also finds himself utterly side-lined, a promising career dribbling away like piss down a Western Road gutter on a wet Friday night in Brighton. And these billionaire playthings can afford for a player to be unhappy. They don’t feel obliged to sell him on; they don’t need the money. They don’t see it as wasted wages if he isn’t playing; I dare say the fees involved barely dent the interest rates these billionaires earn weekly from their many, many banks. Scott Sinclair, head turned after blossoming at Swansea City, now finds his career in free-fall; promised much by his buyers, but delivered nothing but money.
Player hording seems almost consigned to the Premier League and the two billionaire-run clubs. In Serie A, some of the biggest names in football went from team to team to team in their careers. Whilst yes, the clubs involved all needed the money, transfers between them never seemed to carry the spiteful rivalry we see in the Premier League. Alessandro Nesta moved fairly easily from Lazio to AC Milan…Andrea Pirlo moved between Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus (with at least two teams regretting their folly at letting him leave)…Marcelo Salas went from Lazio to Juventus…Juan Sebastian Veron appeared for Sampdoria, Parma, Lazio and Inter Milan…Clarence Seedorf played for Sampdoria, Inter Milan and AC Milan… Edgar Davids played for Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan…Fabio Cannavaro moved between Parma, Inter Milan and Juventus with little friction…why, Cristian Vieri was practically a hit-man for hire for any team with excess cash; turning out for thirteen Italian teams, including Juventus, Lazio, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Sampdoria, in a career that seemed to provide a lucrative transfer every season. And as for ZlatanIbrahimovic…
What has this go to do with Arsenal? Well, firstly, transfer targets have to be bought early and in utter secrecy, or the club risk being gazumped. Whilst it was (just about) stomach able when Manchester United would do that – Cristiano Ronaldo was very close to joining and had a number nine shirt already prepared for him – as they had made their money through success, it sticks in the craw when Chelsea sidle up to Cesc Fabregas replacement Juan Mata and blow Arsenal’s package out of the water, or Manchester City wave huge cash at current players and turn their heads – not disastrous when that player is Emmanuel Adebayor or KoloToure, but highly irritating if it is Samir Nasri, who had just found his form at The Emirates, or Robin van Persie, who like him or loath him, had his head turned by northern overtures and did little to dampen their hopes of signing him up.
Whilst, as I’ve stated, I have little sympathy for millionaires who have little to do on a Saturday afternoon except stare moodily out from their thick, club crested bench coats, I have a lot of sympathy for managers of teams, like Arsene Wenger, who see years of scouting and preparing suddenly go up in smoke when the latest nouveau richefootball club blaze through the saloon doors, spunking cash at the bar like Ron Jeremy in a Western.
What is the moral of the column? Maybe Arsenal should get their business done a little quicker…certainly I think there has been too many times when dithering about wages and fees has clouded Wenger’s thoughts and lost a player to a rival, especially when someone else really should be worried about that side of the club, but mainly, the point has been that Chelsea and Manchester City are greedy bastards who are steadily ruining the game we love and any chance to see them conspire to cock things up will be greeted with animalistic glee. The twats.
Have a great one, enjoy Coventry this evening and let us hope for some surprise Arsenal signings…because let’s face it, any signing now would be a surprise!