20 March 2013

Carpe Diem: Gettin' What You Pay For...

Once upon a time, we worried that losing Van Persie might just consign us to the heap of also-rans. After all, his 30 Prem League goals last year would be nearly impossible to replace. Without him, we worried, we would never replicate, nevermind surpass, what we achieved in 2011-12. However, for as much I might deride Spurs as a one-man team or criticize various teams for being profligate in their spending, it's well worth a closer look at what the buyers have gotten for their dollar (or pound).

On on the one hand, we have one Robin Van Persie, scorer of 30 Prem League goals in one season and 19 so far in the current campaign. He's currently earning roughly £200,000 each week. He plays for one of the league's powerhouses, sporting such other marquee names as Rooney, Giggs, Scholes, Carrick, and Vidic, an aging if not all-star cast of players. 

On the other, we have one Theo Walcott, scorer of 29 Prem League goals in eight seasons and 11 so far in the current campaign. He's currently earning roughly £100,000 each week while playing for a once-great powerhouse, sporting very few marquee names unless we're willing to project Cazorla, Wilshere, or Gibbs as such.

On balance, then, we might hope for Van Persie's replacement to be a rough facsimile of statistical terms. However, on financial terms, we've come out quite a bit ahead of ourselves, and the future looks even rosier, even if the future looks less-so. For half the price (even admitting that financial balances are a poor way to assess a club's success), we've come out a bit ahead. We're spending less per goal on Walcott than we would have spent on Van Persie, a figure that becomes even more impressive when we look at the near-future. Put simply, we have one striker who has had one great season at the age of 29 and who has hit a bit of a dry patch lately and another striker just coming into his own at the age of 24. Yes, it's true that the only real measure of quality is the number of goals scored, but all the same, we've not come out all too shabby.

Given that each team, Man U and Arsenal, are both essentially in the same positions a year ago as they are now, the trade-off doesn't look half-bad.