Thursday, June 9, 2011

Penny-Pinching a Problem

United have spent 16 million pounds to bring in Phil Jones from Blackburn- a player Arsenal might have had an interest in, but certainly not at that price.

Liverpool have spent an initial 13 million, and also given the much-maligned David Ngog to Sunderland in part-exchange, to sign Jordan Henderson.

Jones is just 19, Henderson 20.

It is an understatement to say that they have paid over the odds for the two players. Henderson in particular comes to Anfield off the back of a largely unimpressive season. He broke briefly into the England squad early last campaign but has since struggled to replicate the form that got him there.

Both of the deals represent gambles on potential. They also point to the expensiveness of young English players. Arsenal fans can only hope that these deals do not set the tone for a summer of exorbitant transfer fees, because Arsene Wenger is renowned for refusing to pay a cent more than the value he places on a player.

There is almost always better value in signing foreign players, but I for one have come around to the viewpoint that Arsenal need more English blood. Not all English players, in fact very few, have the talent of Jack Wilshere, but the blatant complacency and lack of commitment from some of Arsenal's Frenchmen has grown tiresome.

And the fact is that most of the time, when an Arsenal player starts to deliver on heir potential, they start to dream of a move to a bigger club. After a season that was one half outstanding and one half borderline-anonymous, Samir Nasri is already looking for a hefty pay rise that he will otherwise get elsewhere.

In the George Graham days, Arsenal had players loyal to the club. In the successful Wenger days, the players were loyal to him. Now, I'm not sure either is the case. Fabregas has already shown some loyalty to the club and the manager who helped make him a star, and Van Persie shows an admirably idealistic commitment to the manager and his vision of the game, but too many of Arsenal's foreign players invite the term "mercenary".

Some English players could help give the squad more character and help mend the bitter relationship that has lately developed between fans and players, but when Bolton are said to be asking 17 million pounds for Gary Cahill, a player with a single year left on his contract, you can't really blame Wenger for looking elsewhere.

One other thing should be said. If Jordan Henderson is worth 20 million or so, Barcelona should double the money they have apparently been bidding for Cesc Fabregas.

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