Would it be possible to replicate the incredible quality of the Invincibles: Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and Campbell?
An in-depth reply by Richie to The Gooner’s post ‘Lack of world-class talent keeps Arsenal from reliving glory years’, posted on Friday 9 December 2012.
Managers no longer have the power: since ‘Bosman’, players have the power.
Take Van Judas: he refused to be sold abroad and refused to re-sign. He would only sign personal terms with our biggest rival; the choice was cop for £24 Mil or get nothing within a year.
Cesc’s replacement wasn’t an easy find and Arsene nearly replaced him almost instantly with Juan Mata. But after landing at Heathrow, and on his way to the Emirates to sign the contract already agreed upon; his father and agent get a call from the Chav’s doubling everything, transfer fee’s, and wages etc… the rest is history.
As for not replacing like for like, that’s only possible if you are playing fantasy football.
Even if money was no object, name me 5 players the equal of those you identify as not being replaced.
I cannot think of a colossus like Sol anywhere in Europe; Vidic might come closest but even he isn’t ever going to be Sol. The only player I’ve seen in recent times who has the sheer physical potential to develop into a Sol-ish type is an Italian by way of Nigeria: Angelo Ogbonna. Not surprisingly, MU are amongst others supposedly interested. Cost for the potential Sol-ish type: a cool €25Mil, and that’s a payment in the hope he totally fulfils his potential.
Next, Patrick, who I suppose has a facsimile in a player I saw play in an Arsenal shirt way back: Yaya Toure (incidentally he wasn’t as good as Diaby back then). Can anyone actually imagine Yaya besting Patrick in a midfield dual? Vieira was a one-off; you don’t buy PV’s off the peg, and I can’t think of money no object replacement; can you? If I had to buy a midfielder as an all-round PV replacement, I suppose the obvious choice would be “the Bastian” Schweinsteiger.
Next up Bobby, who you identify with no little conviction as the player you liked best in an Arsenal shirt. I suppose if you were looking for a (money no object) replacement winger you’d have to pick the second best player in the world Ronaldo: a snip at €80Mil. Who’s the winger after Ronnie? Nani? (Ha! Ha! Ha!) Bale? (Hee! Hee! Hee!) Ashley Young? (Not even funny).
O.K how about another Frenchman? Ribery: nowhere near Bobby’s class. The only winger in the world I think could hold a candle to Bobby Pires, should’ve come to Arsenal to continue his development; and then under Arsene’s guidance he would’ve really fulfilled his potential. However like so many others he chose the money – shame Eden Hazard.
The only player I’d currently mention in the same breath as “God” – probably my all time favourite Arsenal player – is another Dutchman who at his best could do a fair imitation of the genius at work. Although, even he wouldn’t really come up to scratch which might leave me no choice, other than to pick: “The No.10”, Messi – a wonderful footballer no doubt; but a totally different type of No.10. So, he is not exactly an obvious replacement either.
How about the best of British then? Yes I know it’s laughable, I mean no one would choose Rooney over DB10 would they? So, another orangie then: Wesley Sneijder.
That just leaves the small matter of Thierry’s replacement. There was a time when only Torres looked even capable of lacing Henry’s boots, but since his £50m move everything’s gone South which kind of rules him out. The same might be said of Villa at Barca, although that’s through injury. We’ve just sold Henry’s successor at Arsenal, so let’s disregard Van Judas, which means a new face is required. There’s no one with Henry’s speed, and intelligence; so, I’ll plumb for more of an Ian Wright type all round striker: Radamel Falcao.
So let’s recap.
We could relive our previous glory if we replaced like for like:
Sol = Angelo Ogbonna €25+Mil
Patrick = Bastian Schweinsteiger €35+Mil
Bobby P = Eden Hazard €50+Mil
God = Wesley Sneijder €45+Mil
Thierry = Radamel Falcao €50+Mil
I think, it will come as a massive shock to all if they realised that it would “only” cost about €200m minimum to relive our previous glory. I say minimum, because the above prices are conservative ‘guestimates’ and could cost considerably more (and salaries are not included).
So to conclude it all: replicating the incredible quality of the Invincibles: Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and Campbell, is currently almost impossible for Arsenal.
Written by: Richie.