If you’ve been an Arsenal fan for the past few years, you’ve probably become accustomed to accepting that when a transfer story breaks concerning your club, it will probably involve a player between the ages of 16-22.
History would dictate that the majority of the time what follows is that the prodigal young starlet will be moulded by the experienced hands of Arsene Wenger into a player of real quality, before then being picked up by one of the financial powerhouses in football's elite bracket.
As I said, you’ve probably become accustomed to it. That doesn’t mean you’re happy with it.
Since the departure of the last great machine manufactured at Arsenal, one Robin van Persie, the emphasis has notably shifted at the Emirates, and the arrival of Mesut Ozil in the summer heralded not only a dawn of hope for the Gunners’ title ambitions but also gave fans hope to believe that the north London giants would now be adopting a marketing template that is far more successful: buying world-class players rather than attempting to make them.
Cue heavy speculation that Arsenal want to bring in another youngster; Julian Draxler.
Gifted, promising, experienced… very very expensive. £37million to be exact. Whilst Arsenal’s publicised pursuit of the golden boy of Germany’s next generation appears from the outside to continue in the vein of recent deals that have bought the likes of Ozil and Santi Cazorla to the club, it’s one that has a future which spells trouble.
Firstly, let it be known that I am sceptical of the ‘world-class’ attributes of any 20-year-old unless their name is Lionel Messi. The last time I checked the papers, Draxler’s name hasn’t changed to Lionel Messi.
Put more concisely, Arsenal wouldn’t be buying £37million worth of talent that will go straight toward their title charge; they would buying £37million of potential. Potential, as we’ve seen in the past, does not win you titles and, if you’re a Gunners fan, you’ve considerable reason to fear that you wouldn’t have the chance to see that potential realised before the player moves on.
Next there’s the case to argue that Draxler may not develop into a player who’s worth just shy of £40million. There are, naturally, an innumerable selection of factors to take into account, the biggest perhaps being that the Premier League has a nasty habit of breaking foreign players, and that Arsenal have a very refined way of doing things.
It’s fair to say the mooted fee would take a chunk out of any club's budget, particularly one as thrifty as Arsenal. Would Wenger be prepared to take a gamble on a signing that would need to bring about an exceptional amount of benefits to justify its outlay? You would think/hope - depending on where your footballing loyalties lie - not.
That’s without even taking into account that it’s £37million we’re talking about. Not £10million that can be viewed as an unfortunate investment, not even £15million to tempt a club into letting go of a home-grown gem, but £37million. That’s more than Arsenal made when they sold Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona at the height of his powers.
Lastly of course there is the briefly aforementioned point which would imply that the Gunners may not ever get to reap the true benefits of the huge expenditure on Draxler. Supporters should have come to the realisation that they are not, in the current climate at least, capable of competing with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona in the financial leagues.
It’s all to easy to envisage a scenario wherein Draxler begins to showcase evidence that he has developed into the footballing genius many are tipping him to become, before a club with more money than sense steams in to benefit from the creation that Arsenal have manufactured.
An overpriced, raw and let’s be frank here risk for £37million? Could Arsenal fans become accustomed to that?...
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