The former Liverpool defender noted that his side and Arsenal had similar budgets at that time.
Former Liverpool defender and legend Jamie Carragher sung praises about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger’s transfer policies in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was a time period where Arsenal’s shrewd transfer policies put them ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League title challenges.
The 42-year-old claims that both Arsenal and Liverpool had more or less similar budgets in terms of the money they could spend on players, but it was Arsene Wenger who used to spend more wisely. The former Arsenal manager was known widely with his transfers tactics – unlike his French compatriot Gerard Houllier at Anfield.
“I think us and Arsenal were pretty similar in what we were spending,” Jamie Carragher said on Monday Night Football Retro.
“I think [United] probably spent more than us, you bought Rio [Ferdinand for £30m].
“And the way I look at it and to be honest the big difference between Wenger and Gerard Houllier, Gerard Houllier who I absolutely adore, but I think Wenger was a genius in the transfer market.
“If you actually look at, and I’m not criticising the players we signed because they were actually very good players for Liverpool, but if you think we signed Emile Heskey for about £11m – Wenger bought Thierry Henry for about £11m.
“I think we signed Nick Barmby for about £6m-7m – they signed Robert Pires for £6m-7m.
“Do you see where I’m going with those type of players? They got Sol Campbell on a free at that time.
But that type of thing with the signings where it was pretty similar fee-wise but they became superstars where ours just became very good players.
“I think Wenger had an ability in the transfer market, I think that’s why they competed with [United] because they couldn’t match them money-wise,” Jamie Carragher opined.
However former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville felt that Liverpool weren’t that serious in the transfer market at that point of time as they would often refrain from going an extra mile for a talented player which obviously reflected on their performance and did not make them title contenders.
“It did always feel like [Liverpool] were toying at it in the transfer market, you wouldn’t quite go for the best players,” Neville said.
“There was a feeling you either couldn’t go for the best players because financially you didn’t have the money or you couldn’t attract the players to come to Liverpool because Arsenal were better, we were better.
“You weren’t at that time attractive to come to as a club because you hadn’t won the league for a number of years.
“It always felt like you were toying with it in the transfer market. If the market was at £13m, £15m, Liverpool were at £8m. If the market was at £25m, you were sort of at £16m. You were never quite up there,” he concluded.