‘Wenger was a genius in the transfer market’ – Carragher on previous difference between Arsenal, Liverpool

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has outlined how Arsene Wenger’s influence was crucial for Arsenal in the early 2000s.

With the Premier League on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, the Monday Night Football team had a special programme looking back on previous memorable talking points.

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Part of their discussion centred around Liverpool in the early 2000s, and while the Merseyside giants did enjoy plenty of success in cup competitions, they didn’t quite kick on and compete for the major trophies as they would have liked to.

Carragher has taken a closer look into why he believes that was, and he has argued that when comparing them to Arsenal and Wenger’s ability in the transfer market to identify top players, and then develop them into world-class individuals, the Reds fell short.

Liverpool struggled to bring in players who could match that despite spending similar amounts of money or perhaps spread their spending and didn’t focus on one or two top class additions, and that was ultimately where the gap was created.

“I think we were spending similar to Arsenal, and the big difference between Houllier and Arsene Wenger, though I adore Houllier, Wenger was a genius in the transfer market,” he told Sky Sports.

“We signed Emile Heskey for £11m, Wenger signed Henry for £11m. If we signed Nick Barmy for £6m, they signed Robert Pires for £6m. They also got Sol Campbell on a free at that time. They just became superstars, whereas ours became very good players.”

It’s a fascinating viewpoint, one that many will agree with. Now though, the tables have seemingly turned as Liverpool’s recruitment under Jurgen Klopp has been spot on to get them into the position that they’re in now.

As for Arsenal, they’ll hope that they can now get it right under Mikel Arteta moving forward, but in the latter years of Wenger’s tenure and for Unai Emery’s stint in charge, they simply didn’t have the quality in the squad to match their rivals and that is perhaps the biggest frustration as far as their fans are concerned given the success that they enjoyed previously.

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