A Round-Table: Which Club Will Be Best In Five Years?

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst IFebruary 18, 2011

A Round-Table: Which Club Will Be Best In Five Years?

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    With Barcelona arguably the best club in the world, not to mention one of the best teams ever assembled, the competition is getting harder for every club to be their at the top.

    Clubs are undertaking hefty transfers while are others are maintaining disciplined youth development policies to fight for the future. Modern football has changed so rapidly that no one can predict what a team will be like in the next season, leave alone after five years. Treble winners Inter Milan are languishing this season as are last season's Double winners Chelsea, which proves the above statement correct.

    In the following slides we will look into a discussion on which club will be the best after five years and the reasons why. The contributors are as follows:

    Mohammed Eldin Masri :

    Arsenal's hard-hitting community leader and also a very popular writer in B/R. We have clashed on numerous articles and discussions over the months and I was delighted and a bit surprised on him reverting back to my questions. His sporting behaviour is sincerely appreciated.

     

    Chris Potter : 

    A Spurs' Featured Columnist in B/R and also a very active contributor with a number of fans.

     

    Maxx G : 

    The Red Devil's Featured Columnist has been a bit idle in recent days but nevertheless a very respected and widely followed B/R contributor.

     

    David Tenenbaum :

    An active contributor in B/R and also a Featured Columnist for Juventus.

     

    Ed Wyman :

    A World Football Featured Columnist with quite a number of quality articles under his name worthy appreciating given his young age.

     

    Timothy N :

    A World Football FC and also a Chelsea fan, Timothy has launched his new book to guide guys on how to date girls with boyfriends. Otherwise a very vocal supporter of the Blues'.

     

    Roberto Alvarez-Galloso :

    A senior analyst in B/R, Roberto is a great friend and also a very active contributor who always informs us about any latest news through his articles here in B/R.

     

    Saura Bhattacharjee :

    A passionate Chelsea fan and FC for my favourite club. People who do not know me can ask any Arsenal, Liverpool or Manchester United fan and you will get to know that I am B/R's most-hated author.

Which Club Will Be the Best Five Years Later

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    Mohammed Eldin Masri

    It’s hard to say at the moment, the strongest candidate would be Barcelona, but they’re losing Xavi due to age, while Real Madrid are somewhat contenders as well. Manchester United and Arsenal are also good contenders, assuming they fix all their weak spots.

     

    Ivan Soldo : AC Milan and Real Madrid.

     

    Chris Potter : 

    Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal will still have the best teams in the world, as they all have youth systems with a proven track record of finding and developing extraordinary young players, who in turn feel loyal to the club that has made them into superstars.

    Manchester City and Real Madrid are the only other clubs with the necessary financial power to remain in this elite of five teams and I can see the Premier League and La Liga attracting and retaining an even greater quota of the best players by 2016.

     

    Maxx G : 

    Being an avid fan of the Premier League and a strong head supporter of Manchester United, it does not leave any doubt that I will take the name of the Red Devils only. They are looking super good and have come out of the shadows with pillars like Berbatov, Hernandez and others being the pioneers of success in this year.

    Five years down the line, they will be more powerful I hope. I would also like to mention the names of few more clubs whom I think will be great to watch down the line. Barcelona obviously. Manchester City… I know they appear as a rival to United, but seeing the amount of riches they have in their hands, they perhaps need more stability in the team with chemistry, and then they will be a treat to watch.

     

    David Tenenbaum : 

    The best team in the world 5 years from now? That’s a hard decision to make, but I’m going to go with Barcelona.

     

    Ed Wyman : Barcelona

     

    Timothy N : Barcelona

     

    Roberto Alvarez-Galloso : 

    While many people will not agree with me, I have to say that it will be Manchester United.

     

    Saura Bhattacharjee :

    None other than the Mighty Blues' i.e. Chelsea. Some Arsenal fans may faint, but I believe with the right signings Arsenal too can be the best.

What Are The Reasons

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    Mohammed Eldin Masri : 

    The reason is mainly the current squad present for those teams, along with their age group, a team like Arsenal have their players at a young age. Meanwhile, Chelsea’s veterans are getting older, while their squad is one of the strongest in Europe, they are losing momentum.

     

    Ivan Soldo :

    AC Milan finally made some smart moves in transfer campaign and they are now heading to the Serie A title after 7 years. I am pretty sure that having Ibrahimović in Milan makes them the best team in Italy and definitely in top 5 when we talk about Europe. 

    If they just focus on getting good players and not unknown ones, they will, without problem, once again rule the world just like they did in the past decade (2002-2007). 

    Real Madrid did a fantastic job by hiring Mourinho as their coach. Why? Because he is definitely number one! He brings success and he will probably take Barcelona down next season. The only problem is his behavior, but I think Perez with get along with that because trophies will come very soon.

     

    Chris Potter :

    It’s simple: find a strong manager, some wealthy backers and create an ethos which centres on hard, work, loyalty and an ability for players to express themselves as part of a team which enjoys its football.

    All aforementioned clubs now have these in place. If Chelsea and Liverpool can quickly resolve internal problems and Spurs can move to a new stadium and retain Bale and Van der Vaart, those clubs will remain in the running also.

    Elsewhere, the Germans have not had much domestic success recently for no apparent reason and Ligue 1 and Eredivisie are not popular or important enough to foster and retain sufficient talent in order to produce a club team challenging for honours at the very top.

     

    Maxx G :  

    Does it require a reason to support one of the top most clubs in the world? United has proved everything nearly, they are class and have set benchmarks in the world.

    I believe that 5 years, the legend and heart of United Sir Alex Ferguson will not be there. United will miss him though. But the class and name of United will lure any top notch coach who will help United to stay and win the race.

    Recent reports say that Jose Mourinho wants to be back to England. I would love to see him shout and guide the players of Old Trafford.

    What more? We have been bugged by financial problems which do not seem to leave us. But 5 years down the line, I expect a new management with healthy ownership who will add the boost to support the manager in every possible way. Go to hell Glazers.

    And the players coming through seem to be fine and fantastic. The youth academy, the reserves, the subs and the United current talismans all look good and competent to chase and hunt down the title. Just visualize Chicharito, imagine where he will be 4-5 years down the line? I believe he will be one of the most venomous and feared strikers in the world.

What Are The Reasons

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    David Tenenbaum :  

    Barcelona has been one of the best teams in terms of player development over the past decade or so, and Messi is only 23. Iniesta and Xavi are going to be up there in five years (Iniesta will only be 31 but Xavi will be 36) so there will probably be new players manning the midfield.

    That being said, Chelsea’s youth program has become one of the best in the world recently, so they could continue their relative dominance and perhaps have even more success.

     

    Ed Wyman : 

    This is a hard question to answer as it is so dependent on who has the money and pulling power to sign the best players over the next few years. Teams like Manchester City and Chelsea have basically come from nowhere to be two of the biggest sides in the Premier League almost entirely due to new ownership that his given them the funds to overhaul their squads and put them in a position to challenge for titles.

    This means that it is perfectly possible that a team nobody would have thought of as the best side could be among the best in a few years.

    I don’t see Manchester United being the world’s best side in five years time. Fergie may well no longer be the boss, a change that United will take time to adjust to.

    Their debt is going to be an issue, Rooney may not be there and Evra may well have left as well. Ferdinand will be 37 and Vidic 35, so a new centre-back pairing will need to be sorted out.

    Obviously a side as prestigious as United will have few problems replacing players and even Fergie, but I think the changes could take a while to adjust to and the new rules over spending could hit United if they do have to bring in new players.


    Manchester City could be the best side in the world in five years time. In order for City to become the best side in the world, however, they need to finish in the top four this season and break into the Champions League.

    Once they have managed that, which looks likely at the moment, they need a buying policy that is not aimed solely at buying every striker on the market and ensure that they are not overly reliant on a single player, as they are at the moment.

    The spending rules are likely to hit City harder than most, which is the main reason I think they will not be the best side five years from now.

    More likely to be the best side in the world, in my opinion, is Barcelona. They have such a constant supply of youth players that they do not need to conduct a time consuming team overhaul, which would disrupt their performance for a season or more but can slowly integrate new players into the side.

    Furthermore, Messi will be 28, still in his prime, Fabregas is likely to have joined and will be 28 and Iniesta will be 31, hardly past it.

     
    Barcelona are having financial difficulties so they could experience problems which force them to sell and stop them from being the number one side in the world, but I think that the nature of the club means that they will have someone to fund them and allow them to be the world’s best side five years from now.

     

    Timothy N : 

    They have great young talent, solid veteran leadership, and their academy continues to produce the best players in the world.

     

    Roberto Alvarez-Galloso : 

    The team is beginning a new era with Javier (Chicharito) Hernandez. He has been the wheel behind the recent victories in the Premier League. He is disciplined, quick, fast, yet aggressive.

    The other reason has been that Sir Alex Ferguson (who has been technical director since the late 1980’s) has placed emphasis on the same type of game as practiced by Hernandez. He has also left an imprint that will last long after his era.

    The last reason is a financial one. I have the feeling that the same supporters of the club will buy back Manchester United from the Glazers and Qatar. It will be the beginning of a club that will be owned by its players, almost debt free, and recovering its soul.

     

    Saura Bhattacharjee :

    Chelsea might be investing huge, but they have many promising youngsters coming up through their youth academy and in five years those youngsters will take responsibility from the veterans.

    Moreover, the club is likely to achieve break-even in a couple of years which will also make them financially independent. So the future looks very bright for the Blues.

    The signing of young players was a step forward in that direction. In five years the likes of Sturridge, McEachran, Borini, Kakuta and others will hit their prime and it will be only forward for the Blues' then.

    Moreover, new signing Luiz will too become experienced enough to guide the youngsters as well the Chelsea youngsters. People are criticising Chelsea for investing heavily in new players but they fail to understand that Chelsea are investing after a dull period of five years and these investment will go a long way in ensuring them to becoming the best in five years time.

What Should Be a Club's Approach To Be a Success

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    Mohammed Eldin Masri :

    It’s easy for a club to be the best when they have the money to spend, like Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid, but at the same time it’s not really the way to win you fans.

    Playing football the right way, and maintaining stability through reasonable transfers and nurturing the youth academy is guaranteed to earn you respect from fans of the footballing world.

     

    Ivan Soldo : 

    Be smart on the market. Just like Milan for example, they got Emmanuelson for only €1.7 million, Cassano for nothing, Ibrahimović for nothing (they will buy him this summer for just €24 million), experienced Van Bommel who can help when everybody are injured and a great talent in Didac Villa only for €3 million.

    Galliani is really a magician! Real Madrid will not have trouble by signing the best players in the world, because they are the best football club in history.

     

    Chris Potter : Identity, loyalty and trust. The success of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger in England have shown that it really is hopeless aimlessly throwing money at problems. Club management needs to be a bit cleverer than that.

     

    Maxx G :

    Invest, Build and Win (The IBW Strategy)… United must keep on investing to hunt down young talents who will be focused and go-getters and will stay with the club for years to come.

    More and more care should be taken for the talents that have been coming through. Players like Rafael or Smalling have a lot of potential but they must be nurtured properly to head to the right direction.

    While players like Giggs, Edwin and Scholes are getting up in age, United should build the strength now on such youngsters who can reach such heights someday in the future.

    And United must keep on chasing dreams, must keep winning.

     

    David Tenenbaum :  

    Player development. A great club isn’t built only from transfers, although a club needs some good transfers, but a club like Manchester City will not be able to continue their recent policy of spending tens of millions of euros on players, mostly due to the impending UEFA financial rule change.

    For a club to be both sustainable and successful it needs to develop world-class players.

    That’s not to say transfers are a bad thing. They are not, sometimes there’s no one in the pipeline for a club, and there’s nothing wrong with bringing in a player.

    Even if there is a player on your team, sometimes a club will have the opportunity to purchase a better player, and they should take that opportunity.

     

    Ed Wyman :  

    I think sides need to focus on producing their own players rather than buying players who are already the finished product. Producing your own players means that far fewer multi-million signings are required, something that is especially important given the rules that are going to come in to reduce clubs’ spending.

    Youth players who fail to make the cut can be sold, providing a source of revenue. Producing your own players creates players with far more of a tie to the club than those who have purely moved there for a pay-check.

    This is likely to lead to better performances and help a side hold on to players they might have lost if they had moved to the club halfway through their career.

    This is the type of policy that helped Manchester United, with players such as Beckham, Giggs, Scholes and Neville, become the best side in the world during the 1990’s and has made Barcelona the best side in the world today.

    Arsenal have a similar policy at the moment, but have not experienced quite the same success. This shows that developing young players is not a guarantee of success, but I still think if there was one area to really focus on, it would have to be producing young players.

What Should Be a Club's Approach To Be a Success

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    Timothy N : 

    Focus on continuity and development of team ethic at all levels leads to being the best.

     

    Roberto Alvarez-Galloso : 

    A club should have an efficient owner willing to pay for the best players, a disciplined, technical director with athletes who are willing to work for the good of the team instead of their egos. A Club should also have a strong supporter base as well.

     

    Saura Bhattacharjee : 

    A good youth academy capable of regularly producing first team youngsters. A good financial position with debts at possible lows helps the clubs in the long run.

    Importantly, rich owners who can invest in the team as per requirements and also have a passion for the club they own. A quality manager with an eye for talent and brilliant vision also adds to stability and in a way helps the club to become the best.