Carra claims ‘genius’ Arsenal transfers put them ahead of Liverpool
Posted On March 25, 2020
Jamie Carragher has hailed the “genius” transfers made by Arsene Wenger in his early Arsenal career, that put the Gunners way ahead of Liverpool in the contention for Premier League titles.
Arsenal won three league titles between 1998 and 2004, with Manchester United winning on the other four occasions.
And despite Liverpool and Arsenal having similar budgets to spend on players, Carragher claims Wenger spent more wisely than Gerard Houllier at Anfield.
“I think us and Arsenal were pretty similar in what we were spending,” Carragher said on Monday Night Football Retro.
“I think [United] probably spent more than us, you bought Rio [Ferdinand for £30m].
“And the way I look at it and to be honest the big difference between Wenger and Gerard Houllier, Gerard Houllier who I absolutely adore, but I think Wenger was a genius in the transfer market.
“If you actually look at, and I’m not criticising the players we signed because they were actually very good players for Liverpool, but if you think we signed Emile Heskey for about £11m – Wenger bought Thierry Henry for about £11m.
“I think we signed Nick Barmby for about £6m-7m – they signed Robert Pires for £6m-7m.
“Do you see where I’m going with those type of players? They got Sol Campbell on a free at that time.
“But that type of thing with the signings where it was pretty similar fee-wise but they became superstars where ours just became very good players.
“I think Wenger had an ability in the transfer market, I think that’s why they competed with [United] because they couldn’t match them money-wise.”
Meanwhile, former United right-back Gary Neville says it felt like Liverpool were not willing to go the extra mile in the transfer market.
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“It did always feel like [Liverpool] were toying at it in the transfer market, you wouldn’t quite go for the best players,” Neville said.
“There was a feeling you either couldn’t go for the best players because financially you didn’t have the money or you couldn’t attract the players to come to Liverpool because Arsenal were better, we were better.
“You weren’t at that time attractive to come to as a club because you hadn’t won the league for a number of years.
“It always felt like you were toying with it in the transfer market.
“If the market was at £13m, £15m, Liverpool were at £8m. If the market was at £25m, you were sort of at £16m. You were never quite up there.”