Touré: good value at £15m?

I don't think many would doubt that Kolo Touré has been a terrific servant to Arsenal. Coming in as a somewhat erratic full-back he's become one of the better centre-halves in the Premier League under the tutelage of Arsène Wenger. In seven seasons at the club he played over 300 times, and was a key member of the 'Invincibles' side of 2003/4.

Their fans, however, somewhat to be expected, seem keen to paint a picture of a player in rapid decline. Someone who, once it looked like he was on his way, was all of a sudden a squad player, indispensable, and a bit of a calamity, and not the solid, dependable defender we've all watched impress season on season.

They do, perhaps, have a point somewhere in the nonsense they've been spouting since the player indicated he'd be open to moving on. He probably isn't the player he was five years ago, but i'm not sure that's too much of an issue. He's been playing in a weaker side, it's quite simple, and alongside a partner in central defence with which he has previous. For him to no longer be one of the two or three best centre-halves in the league, on form at least, doesn't mean he isn't still a very, very good one.

Whether he's worth £15m is arguable. We have probably slightly overpaid, i'm not sure it really matters, we're building a side on someone else's money, and spending it at a much slower rate than he's earning. Being in the position we're in, without European football, and having not finished near to the top of the league in years, we will understandably have to pay a little more to entice players from these sort of clubs. I don't think anyone would have batted an eyelid had another club paid, say, £10m-£12m for the player, so we shouldn't lose sleep over it. The fact that he was out of contract in a year's time is neither here nor there, the most important thing is that we improve our side and squad.

Arsenal will miss Touré, it's a fact, and any of their fans who aren't idiots would freely admit as much. He was after all their best centre-half, to say otherwise would be quite mischievous. Whether his form last year lived up to previous seasons is questionable, even as outsiders who don't watch the club week in, week out, we could probably say it wasn't, but that far from makes him a bad, or poorer player, it's completely natural for players form to differ, he's not 'in decline' in the same way Micah Richards isn't, neither does one good season make a player great.

Getting an eight-figure fee for a player you bought for peanuts and have had such a good innings from would have to be considered good business. Wenger has a history for doing such, and things generally go in his favour. I'm not sure he's quite the magician people make him out to be, he, like all managers, has made his mistakes in the market, but the offer we made Arsenal was very healthy for them, as well as meaning we added a quality player of proven pedigree to our squad.

Indeed this to me seems like a transfer that simply makes sense for all involved. Arsenal have received good money for someone who didn't want to sign a new deal and who could have walked away for nothing next summer. We've addressed our key area of concern, the centre-back position, and acquired a player with experience at the very highest level and who has proven himself to be one of the better defenders in the country over a number of years. The player, who did put in a transfer request early this year, can have a fresh start at a club who seem to be making, or attempting to make, great strides forward, and obviously the deal on offer would appeal to most of us.

I've no doubts at all that we've bought a very good defender. Paying a little more than his market value is water under the bridge, he'll improve us no end. Any City fan will agree that we needed at least one centre-half, and he was a player on all our lists of possible signings. He'll bring strength, pace and an aerial presence to our backline, as well as experience and a work ethic to the dressing room. Good business for everyone.

1 comment:

  1. We have definitely over payed but teams are going to make us, he is a good signing and will hopefully prove to be worth every penny.