This season we’ve seen the most unlikely candidates in the Premier League getting to the top, or close to the top and Champions League places.
Leicester of course, relegation fodder last season and this season probably Champions. But we’ve also seen West Ham, Stoke, the Genital Warts from N17 make bids for CL places. Alternatively Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool and the Chavs have all under achieved. We have been the only constant this season, staying in the top four, but perhaps next season we could be ousted.
So my question is…… is it a one off or will it continue next season?
That question probably has several answers. Firstly, if any of the teams mentioned want to improve on this current season then they will have to spend money to make that happen. The usual top four need to invest, firstly they will do that by changing manager. City will get Pep, United will get an improvement on Van Gaal, Chelsea will get someone unless Hiddink gets them CL football next season, Liverpool have already done it with Klopp and the Genital Warts already have a capable manager and so do Leicester.
Secondly, funds will be made available for those teams to buy the players to improve on those who have underperformed this season. The Chavs, United and City will all have a clear out and rebuild.
The likes of Leicester, Stoke, Everton, West Ham and Southampton will be getting extra money from the TV deal and you can guarantee they will invest in their teams. Leicester and the Genital Warts will also get CL money and you can bet with confidence that that money will be reinvested in team upgrades.
Furthermore, the normal mid-table teams will also be getting money from the TV deal and will inevitably invest in team improvements.
So what will be the outcome of all this money coming into the Premier League, well for one thing, the fucking goalposts will be moved. The usual suspects for the top five or six positions will find it harder to win the League or to even get a CL place. Leicester, Stoke, Everton, Liverpool, West Ham, Southampton and a few others will start to take points off the ‘normal’ top performers, and even challenge for the title and CL places. Leicester have shown the way, they’ve shown that it can be done, that will only give confidence to other clubs who usually struggle.
Although I don’t like the idea of all these minnows challenging and making it more difficult for the elite teams, I do think it will be good for the Premiership and more importantly, it will be good for the Arsenal. Next season we won’t just be trying to beat City, United, Chelsea, Spervs and Liverpool to guarantee our top four spot. Oh no, next season we’ll have to beat an improved Stoke, an improved Everton, an improved Southampton, and a fucking improved Crystal Palace if we are to challenge for the title or even just for a CL place.
Next season will have to be a season where we have drastically improved the team, spent some money on quality (expensive) players and keeping up with the Joneses. If not we will be the poor relations and it wouldn’t be unlikely if we end up below the Stokes, the Watfords, the Southamptons, the Evertons and the Liverpools. Furthermore, City, United, the Chavs and the Spervs will all be there as usual jockeying for the top spots because money had been made available to their managers during the summer.
So back to my original question….. Is this season an anomaly?
In normal circumstances, ie: without the TV sponsorship, I would say yes, it is an anomoly…. but times they are a-changing, as Bob once sang. Combine all the ingredients and the fact that some of the normally lower Premier league teams are improving with choice of manager, will have more spending power next season and therefore being able to offer higher wages and to invest in better players, then I think it will not be an anomaly. This is the future and the Arsenal need to make preparations now.
If Wenger is going to remain manager then he needs to spend the money to build the best team possible. It makes me wonder if the rumours about the people upstairs telling him to spend are true. Do they foresee the future? Have they finally realised that to stay at the top a rebuild is necessary? That perhaps the bargain hunting needs to stop and quality expensive players will have to be purchased instead? Because be sure, the other teams have seen the writing on the wall and will do it!
With the TV sponsorship PL teams will get on average £80m plus per season and a consequence will be the transfer market will become further congested and quality players will become harder to find, lower league teams will be able to buy three or four top players priced in the £20 – £30m bracket and compete with the Arsenal on wages.
We may not win a trophy this season, but if the wind of change is as I predict, then next season if we don’t improve and keep abreast of the others, then get ready for a mid-table finish.
Just to finish on some more Dylan songs, ‘The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind’. So, management, ‘When you gonna wake up?’, because if you don’t, you’ll definitely end up on ‘Desolation Row’. I couldn’t resist that last one!