Monthly Archives: November 2008

January transfer advice, Manchester City edition

Don’t do it, Sparky!

And by “it”, I mean spend hundreds of millions of pounds in the January transfer window. There are numerous reasons why that is a bad idea, the most important of which is that there is very little time to integrate a number of new players. That’s why it’s important to buy players in the summer and give them time to work out with their team. So, my advice to Sparky is this: don’t spend a buttload of money just because you can.

The template for elite development has always been Arsenal. Under Arsene Wenger, that club typically spends far less on players than Manchester United and Chelsea while still remaining competitive. No, they haven’t won anything for three years but there they are, near the top of the table, every year.

Why is this? It’s Wenger’s amazing worldwide system of scouts combined with his ability to spot talent. Other managers can see talent at 20 or 22 but Wenger sees it at 15 or 16. And that’s how he remains competitive. He’s even spawned a few imitators, from the successful (Everton) to the laughable (Newcastle).

What does this have to do with Sparky? A lot. I think he’s a very good manager and, while City isn’t as good as I thought it would be, I think he’s the man for the job. So he needs to resist offering 60 million pounds for John Terry or 100 million pounds for Kaká and, instead, find players who are useful and fit his system. In the US parlance, find a couple of glue guys, especially on the backline, to shore up your team. Take the next 6 months and find 2 or 3 players you want to sign, and who fit your system, and bring them in.

And, in the process, if you make me look good, that’d be awesome, too.

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