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When the best you can do to create some hype around yourself is use Wayne Rooney as a hypothetical example of who you could sign if you really wanted to, you might not actually be in a great footballing situation. I’m talking about Arsenal. Sorry in advance. (Not really sorry.)

I always find the he trick with bigging-up your buying power is not to say you could do something, which tells everyone that it’s a potential world which might never exist, but to say that you will do something. Use strong, positive signals, not ‘maybe we’ll sign a pale English bloke. We’ll see…’ Because no matter how much you wink, that possibility isn’t going to turn anyone on—you may simply appear unhinged. Also, if you really want to impress everyone, don’t say that you might sign someone who spent last season looking a bit bloated. There is nothing romantic about a bloated striker. Or a bloated anything, in my opinion.

Which brings me to the thing about Arsenal and their potential new money (announced by the co-owner this week); they still can’t really compete, can they. Ivan Gazidis declared that Arsenal are ready to “compete with any club in the world,” but he has done a mistake. Someone tell him, quick!

It’s a rubbish world where one of the only properly profitable clubs can’t produce as much cash for players as their nouveau riche rivals, but can we all admit now that it is the world that we currently exist in? (my editor Richard Whittall aside, he told me he is an alien). You can’t just make up a different world where Arsenal are competing with Chelsea and Manchester City for big name players, which appears to have been happening this week. It’s not allowed.

No matter how much you want to believe something, repeating over and over again that it’s true doesn’t make it so. A life lesson for you, here. You end up boasting that you can sign Wayne Rooney, which makes you look the opposite of cool—’looc’, if you will.

At Arsenal, then, some perspective is necessary. They’re talking about signing Rooney, a man who requires pre-pre-season training if he is to be anything like as good as he briefly was. Don’t get me wrong, this is an improvement on their previous position of selling all of their best players (though one might well be suspicious that the only reason they’re no longer doing that is because they have none), but it’s still not competing in a really meaningful sense of the word. Rooney is, at the moment, a second or third order talent; a player Manchester United want to sell. So are Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, the other players Arsenal are being linked with.

By comparison, look at who Chelsea and City have already brought in. Chelsea have Mourinho and probably André Schürrle, and they’re also being linked with Edinson Cavani and Hulk. City have Jesus Navas and Fernandinho and are also being linked with Cavani and Radamel Falcao, two players associated so strongly with each other because, let’s face it, they both have long black hair. These are steps up from Wayne Rooney, if only because their clubs aren’t waving them off with smirks on their faces and high-fiving each other as soon as no-one’s looking.

And there’s more on top of that. Arsenal supposedly have £70 million to spend this summer—though we’ve heard it all before, obviously—but even if that turns out to be the case, they’re going to have to spread that money across five or six or seven players, not two or three like City and Chelsea. Arsenal don’t have the luxury of tinkering; they finished fourth last season and if they have any ambition to finish higher than that next time around (which they may well not) then they’re going to have to reshape their squad. £70 million to do that isn’t as much as it sounds.

So back to the advice. I reckon what you do instead of saying you could sign Rooney if you wanted to (‘We weren’t even trying that last time!!!’) is you say nothing. In an ideal world, you’d say you were definitely going to have Lionel Messi playing for you this time next month, but if you’re Arsenal that can make you look silly too, so instead you say nothing. Just sign the players—seven if they have to be Wayne Rooney—and see how it turns out. Because ultimately Arsenal still can’t compete ‘with any club in the world’ and attempting to maintain that illusion makes fools of us all.

I once tried to convince everyone I knew that I could compete with their spending. I lied and lied and lied and then I finally cracked and said I could sign Wayne Rooney. Now Wayne Rooney is my best friend. Don’t let this happen to you, Arsenal.

Comments (21)

  1. Rooney is third tier but Navas & Fernandiho are a tier or two up? What sort of nonsense tier system are you using to make these judgements.

    You say being linked with players isn’t an achievement, yet then link Chelsea/City with Cavani & Hulk. City have already spent £50m on two 7.5/10 players.

    • Also dismissal of Benzema & Higuain as ‘second or third tier’, compared with potentially signing Schurrle, Hulk, Navas etc (Falcao has already moved.) I know who I’d rather have.

      It’s all just a bit confusing

    • u are trying to make sense but ur points are pointless,no arsenal fan need ur stupid advice,keep it to urself.

  2. But your advice of silence wouldn’t help them shift those season tickets now would it…? :)

  3. Defintally disagree with this. Arsenal keep on buying several cheaper good players and it isnt getting them anywere. Eg. Podolski, Giroud, Mertesacker ect… Arsenal need the star player that can lead them. Arsenal needs to spend big on a big money player. One that has experince and skill. Rooney may not be the option but they need to find a world class player.

  4. You do know that Falcao already signed at Monaco…he isn’t going to be linked for City for another six months at least.

  5. I agree with the overall point of this post, but as Lewis notes, you are equating high transfer fees directly with player quality. Just because Hulk may move for £40m plus twice in two years, does not mean he has become anything remotely close to an efficient player (he isn’t). Only seeing Shakhtar in a few UCL games, I can’t speak to whether Fernandinho is good enough to justify the price tag of £34m (£34m!!), but only 5 caps for a 28 year old raises a few questions, no?

  6. I’m guessing you’re placing Rooney, Benz, and higuain as the same tier as sneijder and robben were during their spells at Madrid right? Wenger already gets the best out of average/slightly above average players, by buying players like higuain or benzema, he will make them top class as he did to titi because hees that good. Higuain and benzema are in the same situation as sneijder and robben once were, put them in a consistent playing situation and they’ll perform alongside a great manager who knows how to get the best out of the talent he has. (And I’m pretty sure higuain and benzema have far more talent than schurrle and hulk, you’re basing your comments on form, but you’re leaving out key factors such as the managerial aspect and the ability to play 90 minutes every week to gain form).

  7. I take your points and you are right (in a sense), Aresnal should put up or shut up. But i will point out that most if not all that is being said is what is being printed by journalist. You guys take some simple that is said and put your own interpretation on it. Buying doesnt gaurantee success. I still have faith that the manager will make the rite buy…i am back Higuain

  8. Higuain is in no way inferior to Hulk…how many goals en la ligua? Isn’t just behing Ronaldo?

  9. Seems to me dean Richards u are just a wanker who worried about the gunners u little tosses

  10. As for signing Roney, Wenger was only responding to a question. Have you heard Wenger coming out to make a categorical statement on any particular player? Most of the statements credited to him were answers to probing questions from some stupid journalists who are looking for ways to haraounge him. Many players been tutored for signing are just suggestions and unnecessary hypes from some fans and those intentionally promoting some players. Wenger knows what he wants. He is not swayed by public opinion. He is focused and at the appropriate time things would unfold. Any club can sign even an idiot at an outrageous amount, afterall they are spending from their loots but a team with legitimate sources of income would act responsibly. Arsenal must not join the league of irresponsible clubs and wasteful spenders.

  11. W@nk writing at it’s worst.

  12. Ethan, ethan, ethan… You need to do more research, come on man. You’re good at writing but you shouldn’t be writing a whole article based on you not being able to tell the difference a statement and an answer to a specific question.

  13. It is all a bit confusing. Are you saying that a organization like Arsenal which spends only what it has should not compete with teams like Man City & Chelsea which throw money down the toilet year in & year out?
    You sound like an offended fan of Man United, Man city, or Chelsea? Or my be you are just scared?

  14. I think you are bias on rooney nd arsenal. let the players you mention come pL nd see thr performance. Is Carzola a bad buy?

  15. Poor article. To say Schurrle, Fernandinho and Navas are a class or two above Rooney or Higuain is just a travesty. I think the mentality with many journalists is if they are linked to Arsenal they can’t be that good.

  16. How can you say we can’t compete with the best in the world?
    We are generating the best profit margins in the league, and up there with the best in Europe. We also have major sponsorship deals arising, such as the recent massive deal with Puma (biggest deal in the prem) We have almost payed off all debt for our state of the art stadium. We continue to get champions league football despite ridiculous spending from elsewhere. And we have a shareholder in Usmanov who has a 13.3 billion pound fortune, biggest in the football world, with the exception of Man city who are uncompetable and perhaps Madrid. The fact is we are already a massive club in Europe and if we choose to spend we could probably outspend most. The best is yet to come.

  17. this article was the opposite of looc

  18. This article was really doog yllaer.

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