Part Deux – How We Win – Kloppelganger

Click here for the 1st part of this blog post : Part Un – Step Back From The Ledge, Gooners

Making Sausage

The summer transfer window is like making sausage. You don’t want to see how those delicious bad boys are made. And you don’t want to know what’s in them or whatever happened to Squillaci. It’s not a pretty process. Into the sausage goes all the players we can’t or won’t keep. But out comes delicious Arteta, Oxlade and Yossi sausages.

As an old fat man I used to know would say, it’s time to pull on the tough skin. Summer transfers and contracts ARE WAR. So let’s all grow a big pair, sling them up on the table and roll them into the middle. Now let’s negotiate without whining. It’ll be a long summer either way, most likely.

Winning Against The Dopers

So how do we win at this doped game? Obviously, it won’t be easy. And we won’t win it very often. But we can win in the season where the stars align for us. In every other season, we can put together an XI and a squad to be proud of, Gladiators to do battle for us.

Courtesy of @lagvilava7

So, can we win in 2012/13?

Last year’s Man United has had their belief punctured. They really weren’t a very good team. They stunk in Europe. And they bottled it in the Prem. Wellbeck refuses to sign a contract going into his last year because United are cheap these days. They desperately needed a Hazard or a Modric to run their midfield. Also, remember that we could have taken them at the Emirates this year, had it not been for having zero fullbacks, no Arteta, Robin missing a sitter, and having to sub off the Ox for Arshavin. Both their goals came from our fullback vulnerabilities. Give us 2 fullbacks, Arteta, the Ox for 90 minutes (and Jack would be nice too,) and let’s see how that game turns out.

Next year’s Chelsea is loaded with new star signings and will be much tougher than last year but they still have to gel as a team with a new manager who must put his stamp on a dressing room with a powerful old-guard. With a bit of luck, by November, Roman will find the need to make daily visits to the training ground to look over Di Matteo’s shoulder. We can hope.

Man City will be formidable foes. But evil should always be a formidable foe.

And whether RvP goes to City or not is pretty irrelevant from a footballing standpoint, in my opinion. RvP would make United a real contender. But he would only be a marginal improvement for City, perhaps allowing them to compete more fully across domestic and European competitions. Would we really care, in potency terms, whether we were facing Aguera, Tevez or RvP, If they don’t buy RvP, they’ll have someone else of  that class. I say, take the money, Arsenal, one more time and spend well…very, very well. But, for the love of God, do not strengthen United.

If City want to piss money away, let it be to us. I think we should continue to sell our players when it suits to Manchester City or whoever wants to overpay us, and then watch most of them sit on the bench or get loaned out.

Stuff an extra 20 million in Arsene’s continental man-purse and warm up the magic supermarket trolley, the one with the big wheels. And let loose the dogs of shopping.


But can we really compete year in, year out? Well, yes, I believe we can. It’s hard to see the wood from the trees when we talk about Arsenal. So let’s not. Let’s talk about our Doppelganger: Dortmund. And Wenger’s Doppelganger: Klopp. Or should that be Kloppelganger. Ahah. Ahahah. Ahahaaaaah.

Dortmund was effectively bankrupt when Klopp took over. They had attempted to buy success, and it hadn’t worked. They had thrown money at the problem of surpassing their nemesis, Bayern, and found that money spent poorly hurts more than helps.

I have sampled, (as the young people say,) an excellent Bobby McMahon article on Dortmund from Forbes Magazine:

“The team inherited by Klopp had an average age of 28.5 years, over the last two seasons it has not been unusual for Klopp to field a side that was over six years younger on average.

Dortmund`s coach Jürgen Klopp (Image credit: AFP via @daylife)

The club was forced to build in a more intelligent manner and to constantly maintain an eye on their bank balance. If Klopp wanted new players he had to develop them or sell some of his existing squad to finance new acquisitions – often plucked from the bargain bin.

Mario Gotze will only turn 20 in June and graduated from the youth ranks. He is considered one of the world’s most promising young players.

Centre-back Mats Hummels who was allowed to leave Bayern Munich is only 23 and is now considered one of Europe’s best centre backs.

Support striker Shinji Kagawa was signed from Japanese football for a pittance but is now in demand with a number of Europe’s richer clubs interested in signing him.

And there are many others with centre back Neven Subotić, striker Robert Lewandowski and Kevin Grosskreutz springing to mind.

All of this has been achieved by a club operating on a smidgen of Bayern’s resources. Bayern’s annual wage bill is almost three times that of Borussia Dortmund – approximately $200M to $75M.”

“The last Forbes listing places Dortmund’s revenues at less than half of that of Bayern Munich and values the club at about one-third of Bayern’s worth.

But the commitment to ongoing sustainability does leave Dortmund open to raids from other larger and wealthier clubs. To date it is something Dortmund has been able to absorb and they have even found a way prosper from regular sales.

Mladen Petric, Dedê, Alexander Frei, and Nuri Sahin were all key players for Dortmund at one time but all moved on.

Sahin was at the club captain when they lifted the Bundesliga plate in 2011 and his departure to Real Madrid last summer had the purveyors of gloom and doom forecasting one-season wonders.

That places a premium on players with a hunger for winning and a willingness to sacrifice for the team ethic. These tend to be qualities more readily found in younger rather than more experienced players.

During the last January transfer window there was also an interesting development that tossed a gauntlet in Bayern’s general direction. Both Dortmund and Bayern made offers to sign Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Marco Reus a young attacking midfield player.”

Marco Reus chose Dortmund!

The parallels between the situations of the 2 clubs are uncanny. But Arsenal has the bigger mountain to climb. We face 3 Bayerns, not one. 2 of them essentially have unlimited funds. We must hope that FFP can rein them in just enough to keep their spending within a range where they are not out of sight.

We should love our players while we have them. They may stay 3, 4, 6 or 8 years. Then we part ways, in an organized and classy manner. And then we re-invest. We sell the old Ox and bring in the new Ox plus a bunch more players. And repeat. We should remember that one of the reasons these talents come here is the fact that they can get into the XI before they’re 24.

Depending on our revenues we should keep them longer as our pockets get deeper or as FFP has some of its desired effect (but I am as cynical about FFP as you.) Surely even Oligarchs will tire of pissing away money at some stage.

So let’s be the club that the best young talent wants to come to. Let’s bring through the Wilsheres, Oxen, Szczesnys, Gibbses, Theos, Koscielnys, Vermaelens, Songs, Miyaichis, Campbells, Anekes, Afobes, Coquelins, Eisfelds and even Girouds of this world at a team that will develop and showcase their talents and get the blend right with the Artetas, Yossis, Podolskis, and Mertesackers so that we have leadership, stability and experience when the going gets tough at the business end of the season.

Young players want the chance to play. But they also want the chance to play alongside the Artetas and the Podolskis of this world. They want to learn “the secrets” of the top players to accelerate their own careers. The trick is in the balance.

There are a hundred criticisms and “yes buts” that one can make: “not more kids”; “the youth project failed”; “you can’t replace a player at his peak with one that hasn’t proved anything yet”; “we can’t be a feeder team for our competitors”; “Our best players leave us just when they’re starting to deliver.” It’s all about the execution, the balance, the judgment and the skill of the managers – Klopp and Wenger.

But this is the game we must play every summer.  Horse trading is part art and part science so there will be many mistakes, false dawns and near-miss messiahs.

But the alternative is no alternative. The alternative is to take the same approach as City, Chelsea and to a lesser extent United but on half the budget. That would guarantee half the result.

Let us be the home for talent. You can buy them when we’re done with them.

So let’s grow a pair each, you and I.

Let our motto be: “We sell when we want to.”