Wenger was right not to buy Babel – A transfer window warning

Ryan Babel was a Wenger transfer target in the summer of 2007. The press were reporting that it was a done deal, that Ryan would be joining Arsenal in a matter of weeks. However, the deal fell through, and it looked like the Ajax player would remain in Amsterdam, that was until Rafa Benitez came in with an £11.5 million bid which took Ryan to Liverpool.

Image courtesy of Paul Blank

This season Babel has been a much maligned character in the Liverpool team and there are hints of a transfer out of the club, albeit ruled out by Rafa. He has played poorly and £11.5 million looks expensive.

Babel is a fine example of a young player with talent being linked with Arsenal, but at the wrong price. It could be argued that he is a useful player, but I would say that is not worth £11.5 million, for what could have been another Reyes.

From this we can conclude that it would be rash to plunge headlong into this January transfer window and throw money at problems within the team. As we have seen from the emergence of players such as Alex Song, the potential within the club for the team to evolve and grow is great.

Great clubs need great players, but maintaining balance within the team is of utmost importance. Wenger could splash the cash on players – but that means the risk of a flop. I would agree with Wenger – if a player of special quality comes up then bring him in, but spending money for the sake of it makes no sense.

30 thoughts on “Wenger was right not to buy Babel – A transfer window warning

  1. gary

    If Babel would join Arsenal he would be much better than he is now of course. Pool dont even let him play so much anymore. So yes he is worth the 11,5 anyways.

  2. DeiseGooner

    I happen to think that if Babel joined arsenal at the time he might have become another Henry – or at least 3/4 of another Henry – Wenger said hes more suited to play through the middle – where Liverpool wont play him

  3. Zane Wilcox

    I’m really hoping that Wenger finds the quality out there somewhere. We know that Dzeko has been on the radar for some time now but his price tag of 30-35mil really inhibits the possibility of him coming to the Emirates. Lets hope a possible swap and money will enable us to pick up another quality forward and we WILL win the league.

  4. Gareth the Gooner

    I have to disagree with the article, Babel has not improved at Liverpool. thios is due to Rafa. His talent would have een nutured at The Arsenal. I still think he could be a great player for The Arsenal at a cut price, premier league expeience(not much) & world cup year he will be hungry.

    1. Jetto

      there are risks when you buy south american players, veron is flopped at united and chelsea, EPL is more robust than other league, and if we buy him, he might need times to get used with the league, unless he’s arsharvin.

  5. Bright

    I think Babel would have been a great player if he had joined arsenal! Benitez doesn’t nuture talents half as good as d prof does. Going 2 liverpool is d biggest mistake of his career!

  6. nicholas coleman

    Jimmy Briand of French club “Rennes” is a very good striker who will fit in well at arsenal.

  7. nicholas coleman

    We really need a striker who is very good with his head and that is why Chamakh comes in. We need to vary our play when teams pack the middle of the pitch. Our full backs cross the ball and nobody is there to challenge the defenders for the ball. We might not get Chamakh this January window but Jimmy Briand of French Ligue 1 is a very good substitute if we wanna win anything this season. Check him at youtube and you will see what l am talking about

  8. I agree. Babel is a massive talent. Rafa is a crap manager and even worse judge of talent. Name one player that has improved at Pool.

    1. jjjjj

      Fernando Torres! Average 14 goals per season for Athletico, 30 goals per season for liverpool! but maybe Torres would have hit those heights anyway without playin under benitez! Debatable, Scousers would argue i suppose!

  9. emperor song

    Dzeko wants A.C. Milan and I think he is destined to be next Van Basten there. We don’t need to buy anybody if everyone can be fit. If we must, find another Henrik Larsson kind of short term, stop-gap signing. Hard to find but I’m sure there are a few.

  10. Henry

    Babel’s transfer value was GBP 6m, which the Arsenal bid. However, it was written into Babel’s contract that any transfer of that amount he would personally receive HALF!

    Enough said…

  11. Tunde Bello

    Babel would probably have been a class act at arsenal,he wanted a move to a big premiershp side,we couldn’t pay his price tag liverpool did and he went there,now he’s off form that doesnt mean he’s no good,this things happen. I’ll rlly to see RVN at arsenal a half season loan deal will do it for me since it looks like we’ll get chamak in d summer

  12. steve

    rubbish. as everyone has said babel took his career out at the knees by entrusting it with rafa benitez (who is worse than avram grant imo; spent so much money at pool and his only winnings are attributed to having steven gerard in his prime by default.) reyes was class as well, but he was a bumpkin from rural spain who struggled to adapt to the fast-paced life of london. if babel was at arsenal, london would be divided up the middle over who had the better striker in he and drogba.

  13. harish

    babel will be great sign.. for arsenal. i dont think he will come for that he can buy hulk from porto . he will suit arsenal style of playing he and arshavin would play full attack and scored more goals so that we can win title by goal difference.. i think he should by hulk or dzeko … i dont think arsenal will buy gignac he said he is not good enough for arsenal.. i think chamakh will come 2 arsenal on free transfer on june… i think wenger his waiting for that… i hope arsenal should buy hulk or dzeko both of cost about 20-25 million.. so wenger pls buy hulk or dzeko

    1. Jetto

      i’m agree about hulk and dzeko.. both players good with balls at feets and good in the air. they can qualities to arsenal and i think they can suit themselves asap in the league

      1. jjjjj

        I remember alot of people saying the same about Julio Baptista! What a waste of space he was. Dzeko is a good player tho, Hulk looks average.

        Why dont we just Give Denilson, Eduardo and 20 Million for David Villa? that bloke would be a superstar at Arsenal!

  14. Damn_Gallas

    If Babel was to come to arsenal, he would fill in pretty nicely on the left. Babel is a talent and he is fast.

    He would suit arsenal’s dynamic style of play. He also has a great shot in him. For him to fail at liverpool, is probably due to his lack of chances to impress and thus leading to his lack of confidence. Liverpool is all about Gerrard and Torres. The other players does not matter much.

    At arsenal, we are not a one or two man team. People talk about RvP, Fabregas, Arshavin, Vermaelen, Song. Therefore, at arsenal, every player knows that they are important to the team. Therefore, every player in the arsenal camp is high in confidence, and not suffer like how babel is suffering at liverpool currently.

    If babel is to come to arsenal, it would be perfect. But I dont think he would ever come to arsenal in the future. Wenger misses his chance to sign him, and he would never sign him again.

    Talking about signing of hulk or dzeko, I dont think wenger would sign either. He is still waiting for chamakh to make his move to arsenal. If the chamakh move falls through, then i dont think anyone would come to arsenal at all. Given that chamakh is a free agent in the summer, i think he would be moving to other clubs like inter milan rather than arsenal.

    Therefore though most of us would like to see some addition to the current squad, i think at the end, there will not be any additions at all.

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  16. nofrillz

    babel is definitely a talent. liverpool especially under rafa are not known for brining on young talent. tell me a young player they have that has either lasted the distance or improved under benitez. none is my count. he either buys established players or they dont make the grade. i think babel is someone who could do it with us. it’s easy to see that he is suffering a crises of confidence. and unlike reyes he won’t run at the first sign of a strong challenge. the nevilles gave it to him and he bottled it (even robert pires took his lumps). it is equally obvious that rafa isn’t the best at putting an arm around his players if needed. wenger could get him going. and he wouldn’t cost us 11.5 mill either. but if wenger is one thing he is careful with his cash. reyes was definitely good enough but as i said earlier he lost his bottle. but after all that. i still don’t reckon he’ll buy him. we don’t need a player of his type. a big strong front man is what is required and a holding midfield player to back up alex song. edin dzeko is an obvious choice who would cost a fortune in wengers eyes. i think he is working on chamakh behind the scenes but he may not come until the summer. i also heard that he is after jimmy briand of rennes. he is a forward who is out of contract (at his own choice) in the summer and is apprently a near cert for the world cup squad.

    we have been watching james and i was watching him way before then too. he needs to be guided beter than rafa is right now.

    sorry for repeating myself

  17. nofrillz

    oh.. anyone with a bb know of an arsenal deicated bb group. ive seen a liverpool one, a man u one. chelsea, spurs and even pompey have one but i cant find a gunners one. anybody?

  18. im an arsenal fan but i strongly believe Babel was and is stil worthy that amount. if he was given enough chance on the pitch rather than on the bench he could have develped into a top class player. the problem lies with Rafa. i think arsenal needed him at that time and i saw him fit to bang in goals for us. Babel is a quality player, all what he needs is to be given a chance to prove himself

  19. Moses Watasa

    Rafael Benitez is a proven undertaker of promising young players and Liverpool FC is the graveyard for the same! I guess Rafa splashed out 11.5 million bucks on Ryan upon learning that Arsene Wenger was interested. But Babel is typically an Arsenal player! The lad is quick, has skill, can dribble and possesses a thunderbolt shot. There is a Thierry Henry in him – if only Babel were to join Arsenal!

  20. bjohnson

    I totally disagree with your article. Babel is a very good player in an average team, under an average manager. Wenger could turn this guy into a world class player in 6 months. Plus – Babel is 10 times better than Walcott. But no doubt you think Walcott is world class…

  21. Am

    Although Reyes was a good player for Arsenal he never proved to be value for the money spent.

    I think Wenger learnt from this whereas Benitez will never learn from his mistakes as he is too stubburn to listen.

    A player needs the right manager, the right players and the right determination and needs to be settled. Babel seems to have none.

    The formation does not suit him, as he is forced to play second fiddle to Toress, as Striker, and he is not as effective as a wide striker.

    The play at Liverpool can also be a bit long ball, which dont suit his game.

  22. If Ryan Babel joins Arsenal and if we get at least 3 defenders, keep Fabregas and if all the roumers about the players we got comeing in, then i have alot of optimism about the forth coming 2010/2011 season.
    Babel should never have gone to pool, when you saw him there you could see that he was Arsenal through and through.
    But at this point im not so optimistic that he will be in an Arsenal shirt, Wenger would bring him through no doubt! but will he sign him, lets bloody hope so!

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