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This kugelsortierer sorts Arsenal's ambitions

914   //    09 Jul 2013, 09:09 IST

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League

Luis Suarez is reportedly a target for the north London club this summer

It’s a larger problem for the smaller clubs, whether they’re facing relegation in the Prem for fighting to win the Eredivisie; they’ll lose their best players to larger clubs. It’s inevitable. Heck, we took Giroud from Montpellier, a huge factor in them tumbling from first place in 2012 to ninth in 2013. Much as we lament the loss of various players to other clubs, we do have to admit that we inflict similar pain on other, smaller, clubs.

As we’ve discussed, Arsene considered signing Bale in 2007. Maybe this would have been an example of the kugelsortierer doing its job. Bale has arguably outgrown Spurs and is ready for somewhere bigger. Perhaps he should’ve come to Arsenal.

Over the last five years, if not longer, Arsenal has been guilty of letting itself be that club that lets the larger ball-bearings roll past to end up in bigger slots. Van Persie. Fabregas. Cole. We won’t even indulge in the list of players we’ve “almost” signed.

The question that then arises is, under the current system, how does Arsenal see itself? Where do we lie on the kugelsortierer? Sure, we were once at the very-left end and deservedly so. How far to the right, though, have we slid?

Back in January, I would have said we’d slid pretty far. Being linked with the likes of David Villa, a 31-year old coming off of a broken leg, suggested that we saw ourselves as a club with modest ambitions with talk of fourth place as a trophy.

Now, however, we seem to be moving to the left. Our pursuit of Higuain, a prolific scorer for the world’s largest club (financially, at least), suggests that we have our sights set on goals that are larger than a fourth-place finish or finishing above Spurs. The idea that we’re seriously linked with Rooney further suggests that we’re eyeing a return to our days of glory and have outgrown our current stasis.

However, the larger problem still persists. Under the current system, a “small” club’s reward for success is to see its best players leave. Whether it’s Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke or Spurs’ Gareth Bale (or Arsenal’s Robin van Persie?), the current system will send the best players to the biggest clubs. The rich get richer; the poor get the picture. Whether FFP has the teeth to address this remains to be seen.

On one hand, I am excited at our activity in this summer’s transfer-window. I would lovelovelovelovelove to see Higuain join us and would lose my mind if Rooney does the same.

On the other, I look forward to a system, perhaps under FFP, that would bring about a bit of parity through which clubs, regardless of size, can keep their best. It might be a little self-serving, but we’ve already proven that we can live within our means and win, falling behind only those who live beyond theirs.

In other words, once the kugelsortierer is level rather than pitched, Arsenal might just end up as the club best-positioned to win the Premiership.

Say what you will about our signings and ambitions over the last few years—we’re looking lively in the transfer-market for the first time in ages. Not only are we looking to maximize our position under the current system, we’re positioning ourselves astutely for the restrictions to come.

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Jon Shay has been an Arsenal fan since he as about seven years old, discovering the club on late-night cable tv. Growing up in football-challenged United States meant that he couldn't actually see an Arsenal match with his own eyes until 2008, but he's followed the club closely through thick and thin before deciding to start writing in early 2013.
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