Tuesday, 24 July 2007

The Art Of Patience

While some clubs are going wild with their newfound wealth and snapping up every journeyman on the go (vide: West Ham) others are taking it handy, so let's have a quick look.

Everton are currently around £29million in debt, which, relative to the new TV deals, is pocket change compared to a few short years ago. Since Moyes has taken over he has had to be wise with his money, a succession of managers having turned Everton from League Champions in 1986–87 to mediocrity in the new Premier League, with debt increasing.

The purse strings have surely been loosened, but Moyes appears to be trying to pick up bargains again. A suspected bid for Nugent never materialised, only Jagielka has signed for about £4m. Steven Pienaar, the classy (well, last time I saw him) former Ajax midfielder should join on a season long loan. Perhaps Moyes is right to be hesitant in bringing in too many faces, his team finished 6th last year after all, and the amount of money required to push them up to 3rd or 4th is not available. A stable squad that includes the talent of Arteta, Cahill, Lescott & Johnson, as well as the rising stars of Vaughan & Anichebe does not need much surgery.

Blackburn, ever since the demise of Jack Walker, are following a similar trend, to similarly good effect. There have only been 2 signings so far this summer, Dutch forward Maceo Rigters and reserve goalkeeper Nielsen. Their squad seems almost as strong as Everton's (Pedersen, Bentley, Savage & McCarthy and Derbyshire coming also through) finishing 6th and 10th the past two seasons.

JJ ran the rule over West Ham's pathological spending yesterday and Spurs, Sunderland & Liverpool have also been adding heavily to their squads. So which is the best way to achieve success?

My opinion is, sign as few as possible. History shows the risk of destabilsiing the team with unnessary purchases (Chelsea 2006, United 2001, Liverpool 2002, Spurs in the past 10 seasons, Leeds ~2001) . Far better to build a solid team by gradual increments, and not fixing what isn't broken (Chelsea 2002-03, Everton 2005)

Agree/Disagree? Comments below.



JJ said...

I do have a bit of a liking for Blackburn this year. Bentley, or “the well rested David Bentley” as the English press seem to always refer to him as, should come on even more. Pederson is still playing for a move to a big side next year or in January so expect good form from him too. If Rigters and McCarthy hit it off then that's a great strikeforce in the making.

With Everton it’s a bit more complicated, they have Cahill back after missing most of last year and this will be huge for them. They’re awful to watch though and will rely on Arteta being quality and Johnson fooling plenty of refs. There may be trouble ahead and Moyes may get even paler by the end of the season if that’s possible.

Mark said...

I think Everton are better than Blackburn, and both clubs are likely to be under pressure from Newcastle, W Ham and Pompey, but I fancy both to see off those challenges.

Mal said...

How many players did Jose sign in his first year at Chelsea? They went on to win the league. Wenger signed quite a players when he arrived at Arsenal too, as far as I remember. I do agree with your point of incremental increase in general, but it's not always the case.

Mark V said...

I take your point Mal, there is a fine line however. In general if you have a core group of players performing well, in 2004 Lampard, Terry, Gallas and a very good manager, it is easier I think. Arsenal similarly had the solid back line to build on and an excellent manager.

Mal said...

On the subject of Pienaar, I thought he was sensational against Arsenal in the champions league around 5 years ago. He's gone backwards since then by all accounts and his move to Dortmund hasn't worked out. Maybe Moyes will be able to get the best out of him and re-ignite his career. Why is it that many Ajax players seem to peek at around 19-21?

Mark said...

yes I remember watching Pienaar closely when he first came on the scene, about 18/19, he looked a quality player, excellent skill, able to control the play from midfield, not sure what he has been like recently but the reports are not good. Another guy who looked great was the (older) Trabelsi who was not even good enough for Man City.

there are others too, Van Der Meyde, Bogarde, Arveladze, even Van Der Vaart hasn't really lived up to his initial promise.

They do have an outstanding academy though, if you check their list of notable former players on Wikipedia it's a who's who of brilliant Dutch players including, Van Basten, Bergkamp, the de Boers, Wim Kieft, Koeman, Seedorf, etc..

Mal said...

You can add Mido, De Ridder to that list.

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