The former British Prime Minister Disraeli once famously said that there are “lies, damned lies, and statistics”.
Over the past week, it has been widely claimed that Arsenal spent more money in the transfer window, spending over £150 million to bring in Nuno Tavares, Albert Lokonga, Ben White, Martin Ǿdegaard, Aaron Ramsdale, and Takehiro Tomiyasu.
This figure, though, is deceptive, because it includes staggered payments, and various performance-related add-ons, which will only be payable to former clubs if ambitious targets are met.
And it also masks the fact that the new additions have been brought into to lower the cost structure at the Emirates, paradoxical as that may seem. The club have deliberately targeted younger players with room to grow, who are on significantly lower salaries than some of the experienced figures they have recruited in recent years as a quick fix to get back in the Champions League.
An example is White. The Gunners paid £16 million more to Brighton for the central defender than Manchester United gave to Real Madrid for World Cup winner Raphael Varane. However, that disguises the fact that White is on £80,000 a week as opposed to the Frenchman who is now believed to earn in excess of £300,000.
Over a four year period Varane will have cost United some £33 million more in wages, and, by the time he is finished, he will be 32 with little resale value, whilst White will be entering the prime of his career at 27.
Sometimes it is best to look further than just the headlines.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.