After Ivan Gazidis claimed that Arsenal’s performances were objectively very good relative to spending, one blogger tried to establish the truth of his statement. Can you guess how much he found?
Gazidis said in his speech at the Arsenal AGM: “There is one very accurate and objective way to assess how well and how consistently clubs perform in this area [transfers] over time. It is very simply to compare team performance by a series of objective metrics, usually league position or points against expenditure on transfers.
“No club has a perfect record every year under this scrutiny but Arsenal has probably been, of the big clubs certainly, the most consistently over-performing team over time. On an objective basis, we perform very well and have over a long period of time.”
7amkickoff.com wrote that Gazidis was wrong to make the claim, and Arsenal are actually the “most inefficient” spending club in the league.
This was based on the fact that over the last four years, Arsenal have spent £224m (net), and earned 300 points, giving them 1.3 points per million pounds spent.
Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool are all ahead of that figure, with 57.8, 4.7 and 2.9 points per million spent respectively. That is not a typo. Arsenal have earned 1.3 points per million spent while Tottenham have earned over FIFTY SEVEN.
However, in the time period he’s analysing, Manchester United and Manchester City have been even more inefficient than Arsenal, so at this stage he hasn’t fully explained how the Gunners are the “most inefficient”.
Also, as he rightly highlights later in the article, Gazidis could well have been referring to a different time period.
The last four years have been a new era of spending for the Gunners, and arguably we’re yet to feel the full effects of that investment.
Other than Petr Čech, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, the rest of the players purchased are yet to reach peak age, and the three mentioned have certainly been influential to the success Arsenal have had. So I’d say the verdict is still out on such a recent period.
When 7amkickoff.com looks at the last 15 years, and performs the same test of net spend versus points earned, he finds that yes, Arsenal are in fact the most efficient.
I can hear you now and I completely understand why that is a meaningless statement to many fans.
Who cares about points earned if they don’t result in trophies?
Who cares how much Manchester City spent if they’re the ones with the Premier League title at the end of the season?
But then the objection you’re putting forward isn’t that Gazidis is wrong, it’s that what he’s saying shouldn’t be a relevant concern.
Also, if I’m nitpicking, the article confuses ‘spend’ and ‘net spend’ a lot. I don’t mean to sound like Moh from ArsenalFanTV, but they’re very different things.
For example, 7am writes: “Those two players (Alexis and Özil) represent £75m of Arsenal’s £224m net spend – 33% of Arsenal’s spending.”
£75m is 33% of Arsenal’s net spend, but it isn’t “33% of Arsenal’s spending”, and to say so is very misleading. For example, Tottenham spent £36m on Davinson Sanchez, and their net spend over the last four years is £5m. But you couldn’t therefore say that Davinson Sanchez made up 720% of Tottenham’s spending!
Back on point, perhaps Gazidis’ evaluation was deliberately framed in a way that was beneficial to Arsenal, and perhaps we shouldn’t even care about points earned that don’t lead to titles anyway.
But over the last 15 years Arsenal have been very efficient in the terms Ivan specified, so it’s hard to argue with that statement in itself.