Have Arsenal Become a Feeder Club?
What is a Feeder Club? A feeder club is defined as a “team or club whose role is to provide experience and training for young players, with an agreement that any successful players can move on to a higher level at a given point. Now with that being the case, ‘Let me ask you one Question what do Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas all have in common? the answer seems pretty obvious they all played for Arsenal Football club at one point in their respective careers, I mean who wouldn’t want to play for Arsenal? they have won the F.A Premier League (formerly known as the First Division) thirteen times, they regularly compete in the Champion League every year, the Emirates Staduim is a first class venue, and the Club has a rich Heritage and History with icons such as first Herbert Chapman and currently Arsene Wenger changing the philosophy and making Arsenal into a more attractive team to watch.
Remember at the beginning I posed the Question What do Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas have in common? Well they all have two things in common 1. those four players were sold to other teams 2. the other team happened to be Barcelona. Now I understand that Football, especially in the modern day is Big Business it has come a long way from its humble beginnings, players have agents, clubs have to think about their marketing appeal, sponsorship money, TV rights etc however my question is how can a club like Arsenal claim to be a big club if it consistently and continually keeps selling its best players?
Big clubs do not sell their star players, example last season Wayne Rooney dropped a bombshell on Manchester United by announcing his intentions to leave the club; now Manchester United were faced with two options, do they sell Rooney and make a lot of profit but make one of their rivals stronger? or do they keep him and cave in to his demands? in the end they made the right decision and a few days later Rooney performed a u-turn and announced that he was signing a new contract. Although Manchester United’s debt has been well documented, they do not sell their best players unless Sir Alex has a ready made replacement examples of this include Cristiano Ronaldo replacing David Beckham, Nani replacing Ronaldo.
This unfortunately cannot be said about Arsenal, every year the same rumours surface. Last year it was the whole Cesc Fabregas will he won’t he? saga and this year its Robin Van Persie refusing to sign a new contract which has fueled speculation that he will be leaving the club.
This baffles me as an Arsenal supporter. How can Arsenal compete against the best teams if they are continually selling top players to rival teams? For a club like Arsenal, Champions League participation should be a minimum requirement, Arsenal should be looking to win the Competition and compete against the best teams Manchester United, City on the domestic front, instead they are competing for fourth place with the likes of Tottenham and Newcastle. Where did it all go wrong?
Moreover I understand that in football just as in business you have to spend within your means, and one thing that I like Arsenal for is they are a self-sustaining club and they or rather Arsene Wenger places a large emphasis on nurturing young players and turning them into the stars of tomorrow. As good as that is, my whole issue is once these players reach that level then why are they sold? It is like a merry-go-round where is the clubs ambition? What kind of message does that send to not only their rivals but other players within the squad?
With UEFA Financial Fair Play concept being introduced, big spending clubs such as Manchester City and Real Madrid cannot go on wild spending sprees as we have been accustomed to seeing in seasons gone by, from my understanding this means that clubs have to make sure their finances are in order before they can add to their squads, in some cases players have to be sold before new players can be brought in, at clubs like Man city squad players are being sold in order to free up the wage bill and make room for new acquisitions. So far Arsenal have brought Olivier Giroud from Montpellier and Lukas Podolski from Cologne, it seems like Wenger and the Arsenal Board have finally listened to the fans and started doing the right thing, facts do not lie Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005, and the reason why is that their best players have been sold to other teams and they do not have ready made replacements to fill their boots.
So to answer the Question Have Arsenal Become a Feeder Club? In my opinion yes they have because you can’t keep selling your top players to your rivals and still expect to challenge for honours, furthermore by not winning anything for eight seasons and counting this shows that Arsenal as a club lack ambition and drive and if a club lacks these two fundamental principles then how can they attract the very best players? We have to remember that footballers want to be successful and win things, at the end of their careers they want to be able to look back at all the trophies and accolades they’ve won so that is why you find top players will only go to clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United etc because these clubs have a proven track record of success and are ambitious and want to win things.