Paul Merson believes the impact of coronavirus on the transfer market will force coaches to coach, and believes Mikel Arteta will get more time at Arsenal.
Merson cannot envisage clubs being in a position to pay over the odds for players over the next few transfer windows, which could see an increase in the use of young players and a levelling of the playing field.
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In his latest column, Sky Sports pundit Merson sees some managers flourishing in this scenario, and predicts the pressure to be lifted off Arteta’s shoulders at Arsenal in particular, but worries about the futures of clubs in the lower leagues…
‘Arteta will get more time’
Every manager is different. I’ve worked under some great coaches who weren’t good managers, and I’ve worked under some great managers who weren’t good coaches.
You need the team around you, the coaches around you to challenge you. When you have a coaching staff around you who don’t, and are just yes men, that can be a problem.
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But I think this situation helps someone like Mikel Arteta. Arsenal need such an overhaul of players that it’s actually almost impossible to get that many players in. There’s now an opportunity for him to work with the current crop, and I think it actually takes the pressure off of Arteta, and now anything is a bonus.
Arsenal’s expectations will be nowhere near as high as they were a few months ago. I think he’ll now be given loads and loads of time to build. He’s young, he’s enthusiastic, and he’ll want to work with younger players.
He’s not a Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, who I’d call your Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroys, they’re just dealing in majors, nothing else! Arteta is the type who might work from the ground up with lesser players.
‘Coaches have to be coaches now!’
I just don’t think clubs are going to be in a position to pay £70m, £80m on players anymore. I don’t see that happening.
If a player is 27 or 28, I don’t see them moving for massive money any more. Instead of £80m or £90m players, it could be more like £40m or £50m. And how do you sign players from abroad if travel is restricted?
I quite like it because now coaches have got to be coaches, they’ve got to make these players better. I think clubs are going to be really, really cautious in the market.
Before all of this happened, I thought sooner or later a player would be earning half-a-million pounds in the Premier League, no problem, but I don’t see that happening now, not any time soon.
For me, this is where coaches become coaches. It’s all well and good buying £80m players all the time. Seriously, what do you need to coach an £80m player? If you’re coaching an £80m player, telling them what they need to do, he isn’t worth £80m.
The good coaches will come to the fore, and those that aren’t will struggle. Some will blossom, some will not.
I think this situation really helps youth players, because you’re going to have to give them a chance. There are some brilliant kids out there who don’t get chances because clubs can go out and buy a £50m player in the blink of an eye.
Managers like Jose Mourinho will have to start making youth team players better. He’ll have to start concentrating on bringing players through, and showing how good a coach he is. Tottenham have some brilliant kids, don’t worry about that.
‘I’m scared for lower-league clubs’
I look at the lower leagues, and these players could easily move to month-to-month contracts. If you’re on those deals, you’re under severe pressure to play well every week. Nobody can play well every single week! It’s hard.
I worry for these players, those in the lower leagues who have mortgages to pay.
For teams like Liverpool, even if they play behind closed doors, they’ll be fine financially in the future. But for teams in the lower leagues, it’s not going to be enough.
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