Arsenal: Arsene Wenger is worth 16.6 points to the overachieving Gunners every season
WHAT is Arsene Wenger worth to Arsenal? Of late, the one who, as the famous banners declares “Knows” has had his position questioned. Results have gone against the Gunners. Defeats to lower league opposition in this season’s domestic cups and no silverware since 2005 are cited as evidence for Wenger’s declining influence. But to get rid of Wenger would be wrong. It’s not that Wenger’s Arsenal is failing; it’s more that his side have been fighting above their weight for years.
A study by Zach Slaton, a US analyst, shows that in the past nine seasons, Wenger’s Gunners have won, on average, 16.6 points more than their transfer spend should expect to gain.
Premier League teams who spend as much as Arsenal have the last several years tend to have an average table position of seventh. Over the long term, teams that spend “as little” as Arsenal does are expected to finish tenth or worse once every ten years.
Let’s see it in graphs:
The first table of data presented below represents the overall manager rankings from all 20 years of the Premier League. As the overall ranking was supplied in the earlier post, a comparison to each manager’s performance from the previous ranking (through the 2010/11 season) is also supplied as a part of this table.
It is time to turn our attention to the post-Abramovich era now that the overall 20-year rankings are understood. It’s this ranking from the “financial doping” era of the Premier League where savvy managers really display their unique buying and selling powers to assemble low-cost, high performing teams. A table ranking the 52 managers who meet the 38 match minimum threshold is shown below. As there was no such ranking done in the previous post, the table below does not contain a comparison to each manager’s 2010/11 ranking.
Simon Kuper noted:
In his first seven seasons at Arsenal, from 1996/1997, he [Wenger] averaged a league position of 1.6 while accounting for 7.5 per cent of the Premier League’s wages.
With 20 clubs in the League, 5% is the mean.
…From 2005 through 2010, Arsenal had an average league position of 3.3 while spending 8.8 per cent of the Premier League’s wages. That’s only modest overachievement. Yet during Wenger’s worst moments, especially after Arsenal’s 8-2 thrashing at Old Trafford last August, his critics were too harsh on him. Given that he was up against richer clubs, and against another great overachieving manager in Ferguson, it would have been astonishing had Arsenal continued to win titles. In particular, it was unfair to castigate Wenger for his regular defeats to Chelsea. The wage gap between the two clubs has been vast since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, and gave his manager Claudio Ranieri a mammoth 16 per cent of the Premier League’s wage spending for 2003/2004.
Last season, after nine years and more than £1bn poured into the club, Chelsea turned their first profit of the Abramovich era. They made £1.4m. And they had to win the Champions’ League prize money (about £47m) to do that.
Note: Arsenal need to spend £100m to regain the Premier League, or come close to doing so.