During Arsene Wenger’s press conference ahead of our match against current Premier League champions Leicester City, the manager claimed that he’s made over 400 transfers during his career – but has he?
At first, this seemed like a number he’d just plucked it from the sky since he was being badgered by journalists about his current transfer plans but we all know this isn’t Arsene Wenger’s style. He’d have to have statistics to back it up – the man loves statistics.
The number intrigued me because it’s not 400 ‘signings’ as many people were initially assuming, he just says ‘transfers’. It sounded like an awful lot but he has been managing since 1984. If you look at it from that perspective, 400 doesn’t actually sound that high.
“Look, we work very hard [to bring in new signings] and I cannot tell you much more,” he said.
“What I fight against is to think that the only way in football to deal with is to buy. It is right when you need the players and you identify the players and we are not scared to spend money, but to buy in itself is not a quality but to buy the good players is a quality and I think this club has been built on that.
“We had great success in the last 20 years in improving our structures and the main thing is based on a transfer policy. From that we have built a club. I know that everybody questions that at the moment because we haven’t done as much as people wish but we are out there and I believe I have made 400 transfers in my life approximately and I know that every transfer has a ritual. You are not the only one to decide.”
At Arsenal, he’s made over 120 signings during his 20 years in north London. However, he’s also let around 200 go. I say ‘around’ because out-goings are a little more complicated; some of them were the same players he signed so do they also can as another transfer when they leave? I imagine so.
Not only this but he says in his ‘lifetime’, not just at Arsenal. Before taking over the Gunners, the boss managed Nagoya Grampus Eight, Monaco and Nancy-Lorraine. He was at Monaco for seven years so I’d be surprised if he’d signed less than 400.
The sheer amount of players he’s seen come and go shows his longevity in the sport and how much of a part of the furniture he’s become at the club. Hopefully, there will be more signings to add to that list very soon.