ARSENAL have spent over £100million MORE than Liverpool since Jurgen Klopp's 2015 arrival – yet achieved considerably less in that time.
The Gunners take on the Reds in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday night.
And Mikel Arteta will be hoping to mastermind a victory over the two legs to set up a cup final date with Chelsea in February.
With Arsenal crashing out of the FA Cup at the weekend with a shock third-round defeat at Nottingham Forest, the Carabao Cup has become all the more important.
The North London giants haven't won the Premier League since their 'Invincibles' campaign of 2003-04 and have never won the European Cup.
For much of Arsene Wenger's reign, the club were criticised for their lack of spending in the transfer market.
But now the club's biggest failure appears to be their poor overspending.
Incredibly, since Jurgen Klopp's arrival at Liverpool in October 2015, Arsenal have spent a staggering £662.55million.
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In contrast, the Reds have shelled out £114m less – at £548.55m.
In that time, Klopp has won Liverpool's first-ever Premier League title in 2019-20 and the Champions League a season earlier.
On top of that, the Anfield side have consistently challenged for the title, including the thrilling 2018-19 season where they secured 97 points, only to miss out to Manchester City (98) on the final day.
Liverpool's squad, too, has been overhauled for the better.
In Klopp's debut season, he inherited a team in which Simon Mignolet, Mamadou Sakho and Adam Lallana were key players – with very little Prem quality on the bench.
But thanks to some shrewd sales and spot-on investment, the club now boast a spine of Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Mohamed Salah – all Klopp-era signings.
Sadio Mane, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota, Andrew Robertson are just a few other key players in the German's Gegenpressing machine to have been signed under his leadership.
The Gunners, in the same span, have won two FA Cups and the subsequent Community Shields.
But they've finished fifth, sixth, fifth, eighth and eighth in the Premier League – and failed to even qualify for Europe last season, let alone the Champions League.
A major problem has been their shoddy investment.
Arsenal spent a club-record £72m on Nicolas Pepe – who barely gets a sniff in the first-team at the expense of youngsters Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli.
The Emirates side certainly have an impressive array of young talent at the club.
But their big-money arrivals have been poor. Along with Pepe, their four other most-expensive signings since October 2015 have been:
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £60m. Scored 44 times in his first two full seasons and won 2018-19 Golden Boot. Since then, has been involved in a contract stand-off, signed a £350,000-a-week deal, been made captain, stripped of captaincy for disciplinary reasons and, currently, frozen out. Set to be sold this year.
- Alexandre Lacazette – £52m. Has always played second fiddle with managers struggling to find a way to get both the Frenchman and Aubameyang in the same XI. Was destined to leave in 2022 only for the Gabon star's situation to throw a spanner in the works. Huge overspend.
- Ben White – £50m. Endured a tough start to life at the club but settling down nicely. But spending £50m may still be a little on the high side for a player's whose only major senior experience has been for Brighton and then-Championship Leeds in 2019-20.
- Thomas Partey – £45m. Has come nowhere near his Atletico Madrid form. Reeks of big-money panic buy after triggering his release clause on deadline day while in desperate need of a new midfielder. Talented, yes. Overpriced. Certainly.
Thankfully for Arsenal, there are signs Arsenal are turning a corner under Arteta.
Compared to Unai Emery and even the final few seasons under Wenger, the club at least appears to have some sort of direction.
The results aren't always ideal, the Forest defeat being a perfect recent example.
But the club appears to be focusing on youth – and who can blame them – with the young blood battling back from an horrendous start of the season to put them in the mix for a top-four spot.
Currently fourth in the table, Arsenal are, arguably, favourites to land the final Champions League spot behind Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
The Gunners have made some mistakes.
But they're now in the early stages of a new era – and a Carabao Cup victory could truly kickstart Arteta's revolution.
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