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Arsenal don't have to spend all their transfer kitty

There's no reason for Arsenal to be required to use all of their available transfer funds, despite what outsiders may claim.

Alex Livesey - Getty Images

We haven't done anything like this in a while, I feel, so I think it would be prudent to explain here, at the start. There is an ex-blog known as Fire Joe Morgan that, in its time, was the home of some of the finest sports media criticism that I have ever seen. If you haven't encountered it before please take a moment to poke around, especially if you like baseball or hate Bill Plaschke (I do). Basically the idea was to take baseball Hall of Famer and broadcaster Joe Morgan's web chats and television appearances and dissect them, because while he was one of the greatest second basemen ever, he was a pretty bad analyst. Michael Schur of Parks and Recreation was involved. It was great.

In that spirit, we occasionally give relevant writing and/or analysis the FJM treatment, but since Joe Morgan doesn't talk about soccer and probably hates it, we call it Fire Paul Hayward instead. Today's target is not Paul Hayward, but Matt Law, who I don't actually want fired (for your information) but did write a pretty silly column today that deserves a treatment.

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Should Arsenal fans cheer or jeer if the accounts reveal Arsene has £50 million burning a hole in his pocket?
The Sunday Mirror's chief football writer plays bar economics with Arsenal

OH NO transfers and financials in one column?

If you walk into the pub and tell your mates you have got £100 in your pocket, then you will receive just one response: "It's your round."

"No, it's not. Buy your own damn drinks, I plan to deposit this money in a Roth IRA."

Your mates won't care if you try to argue they already have a full glass in front of them, or that yet another pint might not be the best idea.

It's your round, get to the bar and spend your money. Oh and once we've finished up, we'll move on to the cocktail bar round the corner – on you.

Man, my mates really like drinking. This all sounds like very poor policy, though. Why buy a drink if you already have one? One's going to get warm while you drink the other one, and neither will end up as good. Matt, where are you heading here?

Arsenal, and manager Arsene Wenger, are put in this predicament once every year, when they release their financial figures.

Ah, that explains it. The old "SPEND SOME F*CKING MONEY" yarn.

Of course the fans are delighted Arsenal have made an impressive start to the season, they have got pleasantly merry on new signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski, and they are excited by Jack Wilshere's return to full training.

But, much like a thirsty drinker on a Friday night, the Gunners faithful have got the taste and, in their eyes, Wenger has got the cash to really make it a night to remember. To put it simply, they want to get smashed.

This is a thing that really bugs me about sports, though it pops up in other areas as well. Don't say "the fans" want things. "The fans" are not a thing. We are not a monolith. Hell, even among the readers and writers on this very blog, there's a wide range of opinions on basically every subject concerning the Arsenal Football Club. The louder fans may stand together on this, but to be frank, if Arsene Wenger were to spend money like mad, I'm not sure I'd be that pleased about it, depending on who he bought.

Wenger's last round of transfers have largely gone down well. Cazorla once again showed his class in the draw with Manchester City, while Podolski has scored Premier League goals against Liverpool and Southampton. Olivier Giroud may yet come good.

A victory over Chelsea this weekend would really underline Wenger's claim that Arsenal can be genuine title contenders.

"Arsenal bought some players already, and they are good. This team as currently constructed is good."

But that will not stop supporters eyeing up another pint or suggesting they move on to the more upmarket, and pricey, cocktail bar.


Okay, I'll bite. Who should we bring in?

Fernando Llorente

sure, fine

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

ugh WHY

I haven't seen a lot of Yanga-Mbiwa, but he impressed me in the game we had against Montpellier. He's strong and really good on the ball, if a little overzealous in the tackle sometimes. He reminded me of Adult Frimpong. But the narrative all season has been that Arsenal's defense is good. I said a month ago that we didn't really need to buy there, and certainly not at the centerback position. Travis wrote five days ago that we had a "conundrum" at the position - that we have three players who all deserve to play. Why buy there? None of the three are that old (all mid-twenties), and all are under contract for the near future. Yanga-Mbiwa isn't young enough to make the move really worth it, so why waste that money on an unnecessary player?

Oh, right, because the fanbase is drunk. I forgot.

Arsenal supporters have become disillusioned and frustrated in recent years by Wenger's refusal to splash the cash.

They have paid the high entry prices to hobnob with City, Chelsea and Manchester United supporters in the exclusive 'Top Four' cocktail bar, but they have not been able to drink at the top table for too long.


There was much celebration when he returned from the bar with Andrey Arshavin three years ago. But the Russian gave Arsenal and Wenger a nasty hangover, which they can't quite shake off.

The Frenchman has also proved his biggest strength remains the ability to make the most of a Happy Hour, rather than throw his money into the air.

"When Arsenal spent a ton of money that one time, and it went moderately badly. They're better at buying mid-priced players in bunches."

A good start to the season and money in the bank, however, only puts more pressure on Wenger to treat Arsenal to something special.

"But, you know, do it anyway."

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I suppose I understand why fans get excited by transfer talk and want the team to spend. To an extent I agree - I like hearing about new players and thinking about how they could fit into our team, and when a new player comes in it's fun and exciting. Sometimes it feels like the only way to win in football is to spend, and to an extent that's true. But it is not a magic bullet that solves all ills. And certainly after the start that Arsenal's had - good enough, with signs of possible brilliance - it seems that people's first thought shouldn't be "you know what we need? MORE NEW PLAYERS!"

And certainly the media should know better. Matt Law is not stupid, though I disagree with him so often in analysis that I've stopped following him on Twitter. He's a fine reporter. He ought to do better than this. The sections of the media (remember, like "the fans," they are not monolithic) that harp on Arsenal to SPEND at every turn should know better. They should know that not all clubs can be run like that, and not all clubs want to be run like that. We are not Manchester City, and even when we have money, sometimes it's better to save it for emergencies - like when you need to buy a new team on August 31.

Yes, we have money. No, we won't necessarily spend it. If that's Wenger's choice, it's fine with me.