Wenger's taste of his own medicine
22:35 GMT, 8 July 2012
Arsene Wenger has an economics degree from the University of Strasbourg, so let's keep this simple. Let's put what is happening at Arsenal in terms he will understand. It's Schumpeter's Gale.
No How about creative destructionist theory, then Still nothing All right, Le Professeur can skip this part. He already knows what it is coming. Joseph Schumpeter was an Austro-Hungarian born economist whose 1942 work Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy offered a much-admired treatment of Marxist economic theory.
Schumpeter saw capitalism as moving relentlessly forward through innovation propelled by entrepreneurial investment. In turn, this new capitalism destroyed established companies and monopoly powerhouses, propped up by previous economic regimes.
Schumpeter's Gale: Arsenal are reaping what they sow
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He called this process Creative Destruction, although through his writing it has subsequently become known as Schumpeter's Gale: one form of capitalism blowing away its predecessor.
Schumpeter used the example of the Illinois Central railroad, bringing new business and new cities to the Midwest, while simultaneously destroying old agricultural companies and communities.
If he was alive today, he could equally cite the boom in internet sales businesses impacting on high street retail, or how cassette machines were outstripped by CD players and CDs by MP3 players, and why Arsenal keep losing all their best players to Manchester City.
It is Schumpeter's Gale that is blowing right up Wenger's passage and has been for several years. Football's new money, most particularly at Chelsea and City, is wreaking creative destruction on established businesses such as Arsenal and Liverpool, the way iPods have overtaken Walkmans.
The difference is that in football, unlike any other industry, this is perceived as unfair. If Robin van Persie is the latest to depart Arsenal for City there will no doubt be a fresh round of outrage that foreign wealth is messing with the fabric of the English game.
Yet Chelsea and City do not poach players from Manchester United; not even from Tottenham Hotspur in the past year. Schumpeter's Gale most drastically affects Arsenal, because Arsenal have fallen behind.
Indeed, why should Arsenal's monopoly – a Champions League appearance for 15 consecutive seasons and counting – be artificially protected Nobody saved Sony when their technology was overtaken by Apple. Nobody rushed to protect Polaroid as it was being swept away by Nikon and Minolta.
The reality is that Arsenal's sustainable business model is not as special and altruistic as they would have us believe.
'Sometimes your work is destroyed by
others,' said Wenger at the weekend. 'I am a victim of that. I lost
Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas at an age when they should
have been playing their best football.'
Pastures new: Arsenal have lost many of their best players in recent seasons
Yes, but those players were the product of other clubs. The raw talent was already there; Arsenal polished it up and sold it on. They were middle men. They got their cut. Ashley Cole was the last entirely home produced player who Arsenal lost to a major club and that was six years ago.
Since then, the most controversial departures have all been players who were given their biggest break by Arsenal, but were schooled elsewhere: Fabregas (Barcelona), Nasri (Marseille), Kolo Toure (AS EC Minosas), Clichy (Cannes), Emmanuel Adebayor (Metz) and Van Persie (Feyenoord).
What Manchester City have done to Arsenal is only what Arsenal have done to smaller economic entities. One form of entrepreneurial capitalism consumes the other. It is a tough world, but not unfair.
It is said that Theo Walcott could be the next to leave, making further protest ironic. For if you want to look at a genuine victim of capitalist economics, try Southampton. One might argue that – the often beautiful football aside – Arsenal are not holding their end up in terms of innovation.
Their ideas are not winning trophies and their most precious commodities are largely imported, repackaged and resold. Yet Luke Shaw, a 16-year-old yet to start in Southampton's first team, is believed to be the subject of a 4m bid from Chelsea.
If this is acceptable, he will be the
latest in an impressive line of talent produced by the club dating back
to 2003. Over the past decade, Southampton have been consistently
responsible for some of the finest young footballers in the country: yet
in that time they have fallen, and risen, through three divisions, gone
into administration and flirted with bankruptcy.
Patience of Saints: Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bale left St Mary's in recent years
They remain at the cutting edge of innovation, yet are crushed by creatively destructive forces just the same. Wayne Bridge left Southampton for Chelsea in 2003; Walcott was 16 when he joined Arsenal for an initial 5m in 2006; in 2007 the same figure took Gareth Bale to Tottenham; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain moved from Southampton to Arsenal in 2011 for 15m; now Shaw.
He is unlikely to feature in Southampton's first team next season and has only played 13 minutes of an FA Cup fourth-round tie with Millwall, but already he is regarded as the most promising left back in the country.
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Bob Diamond's daughter is called Nell. No, really, she is.
But did you know Danny Welbeck’s father is a famous bomb disposal expert Stan.
Chelsea see him as the long-term successor to Cole – although where that leaves Champions League winner Ryan Bertrand is a mystery – and Arsenal are also interested.
If a bid from Wenger was successful, Shaw would become the third Southampton protege to migrate to the Emirates in six years, a fact that does not seem to carry the same weight with those who would wish Arsenal protection from Schumpeter's Gale, through UEFA's financial fair play rules.
Not for the first time, president Michel Platini has missed the point. If anything, it is those below who are most wickedly exposed to the prevailing wind; and, for them, nothing changes.
Robin and Rooney threat for City
All the talk is of Robin van Persie going to Manchester City, but it is
surely at Manchester United where he could prove most devastating.
Imagine a forward partnership with Wayne Rooney: two No 10s, who could also operate as No 9s, constantly switching, alternating, dragging their markers out of position, always thinking, always posing questions.
If Arsenal decide they have no option but to sell, this could be Manchester
United’s best chance of matching City’s firepower. Whether it is wise for
Arsenal to create a second rival that they cannot get close to is entirely another matter.
Roo's the best Van Persie could link-up well with Wayne
Serena's hectic schedule
Further to last week's column about the differences between men's and women's tennis, here is Serena Williams' schedule for the second week of Wimbledon.
Monday: Ladies Singles, fourth round. Tuesday: Ladies Singles, quarter-final; Ladies Doubles, second round. Wednesday: Ladies Doubles, second round (carried over); Ladies Doubles, third round. Thursday: Ladies Singles, semi-final; Ladies Doubles, quarter-final. Friday: Ladies Doubles, semi-final. Saturday: Ladies Singles final, Ladies Doubles final.
The athletic achievement is incredible and the Williams sisters are exceptional competitors. Serena is among the greatest tennis players of all time, male or female, and has revolutionised her sport.
Even so, the same demand while playing five sets in the men's game would be impossible. Andy Murray was right. No man can attempt more than one Grand Slam title at an event these days.
Financially, this places them at a disadvantage. It will be intriguing to see how this issue is resolved.
Keeping busy: Serena was battling on two fronts for glory at SW19
It's hard being you, Charles
Charles van Commenee, head coach of UK Athletics, is predicting an enjoyable time for his charges at the Olympics.
'We are doing sport,' he said. 'Something fun. A lot of people in athletics make it sound as if they are living a hard life, as if they have to go to the coal mines in Azerbaijan every morning or maybe work for the Daily Mail. That's what I call tough.'
Well, thank you, Charlie. Nice of you to notice. We do put the hours in here, although unlike your place we don't seem to speak to each other through lawyers as much, if you talk at all, in the case of Phillips Idowu.
How is he, by the way, or are you still at that awkward 'don't ask, don't tell' stage Never mind. No doubt it will work itself out and you'll have as much fun together as we do at the Daily Mail every day.
In fact, as you may be able to tell, we're laughing right now.
Playing is a fact for Mata
Juan Mata will not be available to play for Chelsea until the middle of September. The club are giving him time off after the Olympic football tournament, where he will represent Spain.
This means Mata has played the 2008-09 season for Valencia, 2009 Confederations Cup, 2009-10 season for Valencia, 2010 World Cup, 2010-11 season for Valencia, 2011 European Under 21 Championship, 2011-12 season for Chelsea, 2012 European Championship, 2012 Olympic tournament and will then embark on the 2012-13 season for Chelsea.
Can you imagine if he was English His coaches would be on trial for attempted murder. Now, obviously, Mata does not play every game for Spain and has often been a bit-part player at tournaments.
But he trains with the team each day, travels, is ready to participate in every game and was hardly underused by his clubs in the interim.
So why isn't he tired Why isn't Mata dead on his feet It's that passing to each other thing again, isn't it
All action: Mata has played constantly in recent years without showing fatigue
Sarah's split loyalties
Reflecting on the controversy around taekwondo No 1 Aaron Cook's failure to make the Olympic team, Great Britain's medal hope Sarah Stevenson said: 'What I think has happened here is that a lot of people who don't know much about our sport have become fixated on the fact that Aaron is world No 1 and should be the automatic pick when that is not necessarily the case.'
Of course, it could equally be argued that what has happened here is that a sports personality, Stevenson, has been given the space to write a newspaper column and has used it to defend a highly dubious decision taken within her sport, without mentioning the fact that her husband, Steve Jennings, was part of the five-man committee that made it.
British Taekwondo did not even want to publish the panel's names initially, until they were revealed in a newspaper.
Perhaps Stevenson felt that full disclosure of her husband's involvement would have made taekwondo's hierarchy appear insular and self-preserving. Not that an outsider would know, obviously.
Best foot forward: Stevenson will represent Team GB this summer
Harry's record stands the test
Now Andre Villas-Boas has been installed at White Hart Lane, some are already comparing his record favourably to that of predecessor Harry Redknapp.
'At 34, Villas-Boas has won more silverware than Redknapp has in his entire career,' sniffed one commentator.
Yes, indeed, there is a difference in taking over a club that had won the league in 12 of the previous 16 seasons and had finished third in the last campaign (Porto, before the arrival of Villas-Boas) and one that had not finished in the top two since 1963 and were bottom of the league (Tottenham Hotspur before Redknapp).
'A man who could bring Juan Mata to London offers something far beyond Redknapp's ken,' our expert continued. Even if this were true, Villas-Boas didn't bring Mata to Chelsea. He had been linked with them since before the end of the 2010-11 season, when Villas-Boas was still managing Porto.
A more fitting example of insight would be the transition in a player like Luka Modric: signed by Juande Ramos and utterly ineffectual, transformed by Redknapp and now to be sold for 35million.
The same old arguments are made by those desperate to rewrite history. Redknapp's achievements are a myth, propped up by his friends in the media (funny how the critics are never referred to as his enemies but any praise is apparently biased).
Achiever: Redknapp had a fantastic record at Tottenham
And, of course, unlike Villas-Boas, he is tactically naive. Yet it wasn't Redknapp who conceded five goals at home to Arsenal playing a high-line back four that did not suit his best defender John Terry. That was Villas-Boas.
The world is full of tactical geniuses who would all run rings around poor old Harry. It's a pity so few of them finished above him, given the chance, in any of the last three seasons.
Out For A Curry With Andy Murray
On the Couch With Peter Crouch is apparently a new chat show on Sky. What came first, do you think, the title or the concept And why stop there This could open up a whole new area of media exposure for sports stars.
Just think of it: On A Chair With Dusty Hare; Across A Futon With Eddie Newton; In A Car With Demba Ba; Out For A Curry With Andy Murray; Back Of A Cab With Bob McNab; On A Swing With Ledley King; In A Hole With Martin Jol; Waist High In Mud With Toby Flood; Niagara In A Barrel With Owen Farrell.
Indeed, this is an idea that could expand through so many areas. Travel (Christ, It's Hot With Jonathan Trott), cooking (What's For Tea With Francis Lee), the arts (In A Tutu With Adrian Mutu), comedy (Having A Lark With Ji-sung Park), science (What's That Pong With Nigel de Jong), even fashion (In A Caguole With Younes Kaboul).
And as for Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck – (that's enough shows. Ed.)
Next TV sensation: It's unlikely Murray will host his own chat show
Hollow victory for Roy's boys
When Roy Hodgson took the England job, among the list of credentials read out by Football Association chairman David Bernstein was the fact he took Switzerland to third in the FIFA world rankings.
Now we see the ridiculousness of that boast. Next month, England, too, will be third in the world when Uruguay surrender their place in the top four.
Bernstein will surely not be claiming that achievement with any confidence and Hodgson would find it embarrassing if he did. He is not one for rash claims.
Hodgson did an excellent job with Switzerland, but as he said of that FIFA ranking, 'we were no more third in the world than I was a Chinaman'. Sensible chap.
Do not expect him to switch nationalities to commemorate England's elevation, either.