Thursday, January 27, 2011

Master of Economics - Arsene Wenger

A football club should be able to support itself, right? Not wallow in debt for years on end, flinging money in all directions in an insane attempt at balancing the books. Like Real Madrid maybe, spending €1,000 million on transfers in the last 10 years? Or Barcelona perhaps, spending something like €700 million through the same sort of period.

Arsene Wenger of course, seems to be well aware of this. His Arsenal side has been frugally complied over the years and he has continually made money from sales before laying out money for players. As a dedicated student of business and economic principles and factors, he has managed to keep Arsenal's transfer dealings well within reason compared to the extravagance that is engaged in by his major rivals in England and abroad.

Wenger melds his business-minded approach with a love for beautiful football. His teams must always play football, it seems, and in terms of current footballing excellence, they are the only team in England and perhaps world football that comes close to resembling the almost peerless brilliance of Barcelona in full flight. Barcelona of course are the "darlings" of world football, because of the style they exhibit, the total football ideal molded to fit today's game.
Barcelona though have spent many, many millions more in building the side they have managed this with.

In terms of feasibility, Arsenal's growth seems the more sustainable and the more cleverly executed as it adheres to ideals of sound and fiscally intelligent business practice.

Wenger's current most expensive buy, has looked disinterested on occasion this year, but in terms of the market and the amounts that exist on it, remains a bargain.
Clive Mason/Getty Images Arsene Wenger has always remained somewhat bound by his ideas of what players are actually worth, refusing to throw money at players just because certain clubs in the game have pushed the prices up because of the outrageous amounts they have bid on players.

His current side's most expensive acquisition was Andrei Arshavin at £15 million. Compare this with other sides in the EPL and Europe and it becomes quite embarrassing for his rivals considering the way his side have outplayed some of the more expensively arranged sides they have come up against.

Wenger's team sit second on the table, five points behind Manchester United and five ahead of Chelsea who sit fourth behind Manchester City, who trail Arsenal by a point and have played a game more than the London club. When this form is weighed up against the spending of the club and the amount spent by other teams in the premiership, including some well outside the top four, it is easy to see that Wenger's Arsenal are setting the benchmark for football clubs around the world in terms of effectiveness through superior management practices and business planning.

Arsenal actually come up against a side that spends outlandish amounts of money in their quest for success very soon when they take on Barcelona in the Champions League second round. The Spanish club somehow conveniently escape mention when "big spending" clubs are moaned about, more often Real Madrid and Manchester United and of course more recently Manchester City are mentioned before the Catalan giants come into the conversation.

Nicolas Anelka's sale directly contributed to much of Arsenal's later success, part of the money securing the services of one Thierry Henry.
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images In many ways it will be a case of David and Goliath, and especially when the financial records of the two sides are compared.

What could well be the most captivating tie of the second round will also captivate for the reason that realistically, with the football they have been playing this season, they could conceivably spring a surprise on the Spanish giants.

This would be a victory not only for Arsenal, but for the common sense style practiced by the club's manager. A long shot it could well be, but football is a game that can be won or lost on the bounce of a ball, and as long as you prepare in an intelligent and prudently inspired manner, you give yourself the chance to triumph, whoever the opposition.

Wenger's management style is obviously based on realistic goals and targets, in tandem with growth and performance over time. It remains to be seen if he can bring the side trophies this season, but he has certainly paved the way for the opportunities at success to come along. It will be another thing to see whether his team is ready to deliver.

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