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Wenger’s Reluctance To Buy British Talent Is Costing Arsenal

In 1930, Herbert Chapman, one of the most successful, innovative and forward thinking football managers in the history of the beautiful game, signed a young Austrian goalkeeper called Rudi Hiden for Arsenal. The transfer was about as unlikely as today&…

In 1930, Herbert Chapman, one of the most successful, innovative and forward thinking football managers in the history of the beautiful game, signed a young Austrian goalkeeper called Rudi Hiden for Arsenal. The transfer was about as unlikely as today’s Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, signing an English player, for international transfers, in the 1930’s, were almost unheard of.

The transfer however, fell through thanks to the intervention of the Ministry of Labour, who concluded that, by signing a foreign goalkeeper, Arsenal endangered putting a British goalkeeper out of work as a consequence. The government of the day told Arsenal, in no uncertain terms, to go out and buy British players instead.

Most football fans baulk at the idea of the government interfering in football matters, football is something far too important for politicians to be trusted with. But perhaps, deep down, there’s a guilty, sneaky thought within every Arsenal fan’s football psyche that wishes their foreign master’s hand might be forced into sanctioning British jobs for British workers.

Like Wenger, Chapman had a great eye for quality, signing some of the greats that Arsenal fans still appreciate today. The signing of Alex James from Preston in 1929 was comparable in magnitude to Wenger’s signing of Thierry Henry 70 years later. Like Henry, James made an instant impact, something Wenger needs from his business, if he is to do any.

Arsenal fans will wonder what Herbert Chapman would have made of Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, and Shay Given. As well as countless other British players who could be plying their trades in North London. A minority of fans have even whispered Joey Barton’s name of late, exactly what a no nonsense Yorkshireman like Chapman would have made of him though is anyone’s guess.

Wenger seems reluctant to sign Barton and the acquisition is unlikely. Besides all the obvious drawbacks which come with signing a character like Barton, the Liverpudlian’s wages will also prove a stumbling block. Bizarrely, for a player who was playing in the championship two seasons ago, Barton’s wages are, I’m told, are higher than what Arsenal usually pay for a player of his quality and in his position.

Scott Parker is another English warrior who would be at home in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. However, Spurs have been particularly quiet this summer and Parker seems destined for a deadline day move to Tottenham in the traditional last minute scramble. It’s an art form that Harry Redknapp has perfected over the years.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger seems determined to prove his critics right. Two clean sheets so far this season against Newcastle and Udinese paper over the cracks, Arsenal look decidedly shaky at the back and are still short of a tough tackling, experienced midfielder. Preferably someone who will serve them better than a would be tough guy who can’t tackle but can trample on people’s toes and thighs.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, even with Fabregas and Nasri gone, Arsenal still possess great attacking quality and play the game true to a quick, counter-attacking policy that both Chapman and Wenger endorsed. ‘The most opportune time for scoring is immediately after repelling an attack, because opponents are then strung out in the wrong half of the field’ said Chapman, but this could have easily come from either of the two men. However, ‘maintaining a good back line is the rock bottom of football’ could have only come from Chapman.

If Wenger continues to refuse to splash the cash on the best of British, perhaps it’s time to ask Nick Clegg, who’s an Arsenal fan incidentally, to pull some strings in government and ban Arsenal from signing more foreign players. He must be useful for something after all.

Submitted by Football Friends




  1. Alex

    August 19, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Laughably biased and blinkered article. If the author feels a need to write again he should fight that urge for the good of humanity. I’m English myself but this line of thought and logic is demented.

    • wolfgang

      August 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Sorry to disagree, but the point that has been missed by Wenger and yourself, is that UK players have the extra fight and bite, that is required at Arsenal. A tough British captain, central defenders, possibly goalie too. My take on this is that the Arsenal Manager, possibly, understandably, cannot deal intelectually with these types of guys, traditionally beer swilling, womanising types. Whatever the reason Arsene Wenger has brought all this upon himself, he is a brilliant Manager with one eye open and the other closed, who prefers playing beautiful football but not defending and no killer instinct, that is it, nothing else to argue about, we can go on for another hundred seasons and nothing will change, he buys wingers, wingbacks and strikers well, the rest is a nonsense!

  2. pontus

    August 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm


    A) British talent is over-priced and very hard to come by.
    B) Liverpool has signed a lot of Brits recently and when looking but when looking at their recent signings the only one I really want is Suarez
    C) We have a lot of British talent already! Wilshire, Ramsey, Walcott, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Chamberlain, Frimpong plus a few on loan. That’s not less than the other big clubs.
    D) The author of this article is either blind, stupid or racist.

    • Jay

      August 20, 2011 at 9:37 am

      I agree. Reprehensible racist views cloaked as footballing wisdom. What Arsenal really need is Wenger to be sacked and some one to start replacing the useless twats that currently pepper the squad.

  3. Donhou

    August 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Just read this article and i should`ve used those minutes rather to watch how the grass grow.

    Writer should just start supporting liverpool if he does not already do so…

  4. Anon

    August 19, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Reluctancy …. to buy yes, but he has been growing them to for some ten years.

    Wilshere, gibbs already playing

    Just watch Lansbury, aneke and Henderson get chances this year aswell

    Great english prospects

  5. Wayne

    August 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Article meaningless please stop wasting out time

  6. wengers rivetted wallet

    August 19, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    what message the author is trying to put across is this : there are no british bulldog type leaders on the pitch. We have english talent yes and they are and will be top quality players, but we have no tony adams or keown and the author is hoping that say cahill or jagielka could lead us in the future. I think the author has not seen the criticism coming due to his less-than-watertight argument but i think we all get the ghist of what he is saying.
    i think the author should have concentrated more on the personnel we have in defense and what we need there.
    My god squillacci should not even be a squad player!!!!

  7. guyfox

    August 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    where the h are the British talent. what British talent will make a top 4 team in Spain or Italy, these overpriced lilies. Buy Barton? don’t know what realm u are from, certainly not our solar system. U should b watching rugby. I ask u name any British talent worth 25 mil actually. U say Scott Parker, that’s a temp fix and d dude is 30. Even Man U won all their late titles w a foreign goalie. This site should be brought down.

  8. Anthony

    August 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    We have bought 3 players this summer. 2 are UK based. So what’s your argument again?

  9. Rayjnr

    August 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Point of correction Aaron ramsy and Frimpong are not british!

  10. Ahsan

    August 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Wilshire is English but classified as a British citizen so by default Ramsey may be Welsh but that also makes him British.

  11. Tendai Mareya

    August 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I agree to differ with mr writer. One point which the writer creally wanted to say is that Wenger opts for average french players why?, nobody knows, is it for communication purposes. This guy Squallicc is not even worth talking about. We used to have Ray Parlour, this is the type of midfielders we are missing, thats why the name Scott Parker crops up every now and then. He can give us a solid two years and by the time he wilts out youngsters coming up will have learnt the trade.

  12. Mohamed Zubairu

    August 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    This is an unfortunate article that is heavily tainted in racism. It is very difficult to find an English player that has flair. I think that there are only one per seven millions of the population. When you get them, they are over priced. Look at Rooney who is costing Man U £250k per week! That is tantamount to financial suicide. Thank God for EU laws that won’t allow such obnoxious and racist laws see the light of day.

  13. kosmic

    August 20, 2011 at 6:45 am

    There is no such thing as British football talent.

  14. daz

    August 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Shay Given is Irish, not British, as the article infers he is.

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