In today’s “Err…” news, Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez seems to have left no stone unturned in his search to explain his sides 6-3 thrashing at the hands of the Arsenal U-12 team – his latest reason being *cough* Arsenal’s superior spending power?
“If Arsenal can play nine reserves and score six at Anfield, people should be asking why,” said Benitez.
“There is a lesson for the whole of our club. That lesson is that if you want to compete at the top level you must be able to spend a lot of money – not only on your first team but on the young players and the reserves.
“My scouting department has done an excellent job but sometimes we go too slowly as a club to make signings we need.
“We need to work quickly. And when we do, there is not a lot of money. Arsenal spent Â£4million on Abou Diaby, Â£4million on Denilson, Â£8million on Theo Walcott and Julio Baptista is a Â£22million player.
“Arsenal have two or three players, for example, who we were monitoring but couldn’t sign because we didn’t have enough money.”
Interesting theory, considering that if you wrote down all the reasons for Arsenal’s success under Arsene Wenger – “Massive Spending Power” probably wouldn’t make the list. Without taking the time to add up every transfer ever, we’re guessing that Liverpool have spent comparable amounts to their London rivals over the past decade.
But Benitez’ point is probably more about willingness to gamble on youth rather than having the actual resources. And he’s right.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal have made it a point to invest a sizable portion of their modest transfer budget on youngsters, and kudos to the club for trusting Wenger and his scouting team to identify and nurture the right talent. You’d be hard pressed to find another Premiership club, or any club, willing to shell out millions on players who won’t make the first team for years. But if you do it right, as Arsenal have, the long term financial and footballing benefits are tremendous.