Thursday, 10 April 2014

As the days go by, Klopp seems more and more perfect for Arsenal

What a performance by Dortmund; with their backs to the wall and marred by injuries, they nearly pulled off the impossible and shocked Real 2-0. Even as an Arsenal supporter, it's difficult not to feel for them.

Have Arsenal ever done something like that? The last time they did so, I recall, was when they defeated AC Milan 3-0 at the Emirates, a game where Chamberlain had a screamer in central attacking midfield. Today, under the excuse of injuries, Wenger's Arsenal seem dubious of beating even Wigan Athletic.

Could you ever imagine Klopp getting hammered 6-0 at Stamford Bridge and insisting that Ramsey, Ozil, Walcott and Wilshere were the reasons? Let's not forget that he had Subotic, Schmelzer, Gundogan, Bender and Sahin out for this match, yet managed to scare the coconuts out of one of the best teams in the world. And had Mkhitaryan not played like Nicky B, they could well have pulled off the impossible.

I know that many people worry that Dortmund's present injury crisis might be passed on to Arsenal once Klopp arrives. However, under Wenger, isn't there a guarantee that we WILL suffer injury crises and we WILL collapse? At least under Jurgen we know for a fact that the team will give its all regardless of injury hamperings.

And it's not like Dortmund's injury crisis was Klopp's fault. Upon close insight of Dortmund's squad, it's obvious that less funds are the root cause of their injury woes. Due to less money there's less players, due to less players there's overplaying, and due to overplaying there are injuries. Sounds similar to Arsenal of six years ago?

Actually, it's not. In Dortmund's case, Klopp is forced to overplay his key players due to lack of options. He's forced to keep a small squad. However, at Arsenal, Wenger chooses to overplay his key men regardless of other options. Did you know that Ozil, Chamberlain, Koscielny and Wilshere started the match against Coventry? Lest we forget, options like Zelalem, Vermaelen and Frimpong were available. Why play your key players against the worst team we've faced this season? No wonder they're injured now.

Klopp's present Dortmund are similar to Arsene's Arsenal of 2007ish. Klopp has less funds, and is forced to keep his side in the top-flight. However, upon comparison, Klopp's present Dortmund are doing miles better than Wenger's Arsenal should have been doing 7 years ago, during their financial difficulties. While Arsenal used to scrap fourth place on the last day (and still do), Klopp challenges Bayern year after year and takes his team far into the Champions League.

What's the notable difference that separates Klopp's present Dortmund to Wenger's past Arsenal, you'd ask. The answer lies in the wage budgets.

To see the astonishing cash wastage of Arsenal under Wenger, enlighten yourself by looking at the money spent on some sample deadwoods:

Sr. No.
Transfer fee
Weekly Wage
Annual Wage

Money wasted on transfer fees:  £53,500,000

Wage budget wasted (annual): £39,936,000

Total money wasted (annual):   £93,436,000

All these duds have stayed in the club for at least two years.

Wage budget wasted (2 years): £79,872,000

Total money wasted (2 years):   £133,372,000


Just let that sink in.

We've spent £133m - as mathematically proved - on players like Fabianski, Mannone, Squillaci, Djourou, Andre Santos, Diaby, Frimpong, Denilson, Rosicky, Arshavin, Gervinho, Bendtner and Park Chu Young on 2 seasons alone. Most of these players mentioned have stayed at this club beyond those two years. Arshavin, for example, was four. Mannone was six. Diaby was (and is) eight. Frimpong was around eight. Johan Djourou was TEN.

Okay, you might counter that by saying players like Rosicky and Fabianski have repaid the money invested in them. Fine, then. You could replace them with Almunia. Or Eboue. Or Miyaichi. Or Kallstrom. Or Senderos. Or Cygan. Or Merida. Or Traore. See my point?

The total wastage of cash on these players must be absolutely horrendous. At financially crippled times in Arsenal (2004 - 2009), Wenger must have tossed around approximately half a billion on these players, stubbornly trying in vain to bring 'Project Youth' into fruition. To add to that, he sold the world-class players that he did create from the flop project. Destroying a club's wage budget to such an extent - especially in lean financial periods - is not only a sackable offence. It's a scandal.

How could Wenger have repaired that? Instead of keeping Diaby, Frimpong and Denilson on combined £150,000 wages, he could have bought ONE world-class players on that pay packet. To use an example, Wenger confessed in October 2009 that he had the chance to buy Gareth Barry and Xabi Alonso, but refused to do so because he didn't want to stunt the progress of Song, Denilson and Diaby. How stupid does that sound?

And Wenger has an economics degree?

In all honesty - wouldn't you rather have one world-class player in the team than two average players? Isn't it better to have one van Persie in the team than two Bendtners?

Of course, I wouldn't deny that there would have been side-effects of having one decent player rather than two appalling ones. Due to the length of the squad being downsized, players would be overplayed and stretched to the core. Injuries would doubtless follow as well.

If you haven't deduced yet, the above perfectly describes Dortmund's present state. Dortmund's current injury problems aren't down to Klopp, it's down to being forced to having a thin but talented squad. Due to being hamstrung by money woes, what they've done is absolutely the right thing. As Klopp and Wenger have proved, it's better to have a thin, talented squad than a large, mediocre one.

If Klopp ever was to come to Arsenal, he wouldn't have to worry about a small squad. All he has to do is fire the current medical staff and fill depth in the team. Arsenal are currently lacking five players - 2 goalkeepers (Viviano and Fabianski are to leave), a centre back, a defensive midfielder and a striker. With £140m in the bank to spend (averages £25m per position with £15m to spare), that should be no problem.

Of course, my main objective of wanting Klopp at Arsenal is not because he'd sort out our injury woes. Rather, I want him because he can motivate teams, his pedigree will attract top talents and he can replicate Dortmund's pressing philosophy at Arsenal - a significant upgrade on Wenger's tippy-tappy football. This article was simply to erase fears that Klopp may be too similar to Wenger, when he is actually a whole other animal.

"Animal" is right, innit?

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )