Blogs & Opinion


David Jones says quality not quantity is key when it comes to player transfers

David Jones - David Jones Posted 19th February 2013 view comments

Arsenal are only ever one defeat away from a crisis - but the crisis is always bigger when the defeat comes at the hands of a lesser opponent.

And so it proved after Blackburn dumped the Gunners out of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Their under-fire manager Arsene Wenger came out fighting, again, but a quote he gave earlier this season stuck in my mind: "Defeat can never make you stronger, only weaker."

Cazorla: Summer signing has been a success at Arsenal

Cazorla: Summer signing has been a success at Arsenal

But perhaps not for too long.

The timing of this latest Arsenal armageddon was interesting given the subject of our debate on The Footballers Football Show last week.

Our panel, which included the man who brought Arsene Wenger to North London, David Dein, concluded the new era of financial fair play could lead to a new period of success for Arsenal.

David Dein shrugged off the need to simply 'spend money', which is the criticism most often flung at Arsene Wenger, and instead highlighted the importance of the quality of recruitment.

David Jones
Quotes of the week

Dein shrugged off the need to simply "spend money", which is the criticism most often flung at Wenger, and instead highlighted the importance of the quality of recruitment.

"It all comes down to talent identification", said Dein.

And while Dein was walking the marble halls at Highbury and the Emirates Arsenal seemed to get it right more often than not. Henry, Vieira, Petit, Anelka and more recently Van Persie were not world beaters until they arrived at Arsenal.

So it's not just about signing players, what's paramount, Dein would argue, is signing the right players.

Scouting system

To do that, all clubs have a scouting system but we know little of how they really work.

Some clubs even employ a director of football to oversee player recruitment, knowing that, as coaches and managers come and go, the ethos of the club can be preserved by the man signing the cheques.

But it's a model at odds with the traditional British manager, who still sees as his duty to scout, recruit, coach and pick the team. And those who have experimented with the continental approach have done so with limited success here.

Damien Comolli and David Pleat are two of the more high profile figures to have held such roles within our top division and this week both join us on The Footballers Football Show to explain the benefits and perhaps highlight the pitfalls too.

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