Friday, September 09, 2011

Wenger: Panic Buys and Historical Truths in the Transfer Market

I went to the website Transfer League to look at Arsene Wenger’s recent transfers.

I was looking for a pattern for this oft-cited project. But you can’t find significant patterns on just dates and prices. And overall, it’s not that important. Yes, Wenger has been very effective and prosperous by spending a mere 11 million net in his 15 years at Arsenal (and that’s without amortization). But that is not the narrative I was looking for.

It took birth dates and age at purchase to provide the patterns I was seeking, and then I needed to expand it to his full time at Arsenal. If you start to look at Wenger’s purchasing history, there is a very different story to the one we hear about his genius at purchasing youth. It turns out that he is far from a genius and is rather pedestrian at scouting teenagers. But once a player hits 20, Wenger becomes the best assessor of talent on the planet. Unlike a Ferguson, Schaaf and Moyes (contemporaries by duration) who all buy duds on occasion of all ages, Wenger rarely buys a dud with players aged 20-26.

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