Slowly But Surely For AOC & Agents Are Paid For What?

As Arsenal head to Dortmund with a carefully packed suitcase €34,916,427, all in freshly printed mixed denomination notes, hoping to return with a sparkling new Mario Göetze in their duty free bag, an equally young starlet is moving centre stage. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been praised all over the shop, emanating from the words of his manager after the defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday night.

Not that the player is complaining, nor should he. Compared to the career paths trodden by younger players than he, AOC is being afforded the rare luxury of growing up in private. Or relative privacy. Wenger believes he has seen a massive improvement from the player on the training pitch. In matches, he has played well but, for example, was better against Manchester City than his cameo in the previous round.

That consistency will come. His England form has been scintillating and after every Under-21 international there is a desire for him to be included in the senior squad. It is not my choice but having seen the Theo debacle in 2006, to take Chamberlain would be Capello’s folly.  The player is not worried about this and that bodes well. Interviews with him and his father suggest that like Walcott, he is well-grounded. Anyone who is utterly focussed on the club is taking one step at a time. Anyone who believes signing for Arsenal is a better career move than Manchester City is always going to win friends…

Performances such as those against City will hopefully put him more into the manager’s mind. Gervinho has shown how a direct player can influence proceedings when brought into the fray; ‘impact substitute‘ is the fad. AOC seems to fit that bill nicely.

Red and White Holdings are, I should imagine, an irritant that Stan Kroenke wishes would go away. They won’t just yet, like KSE insisting that they are in for the long haul. As they edge toward the 30% shareholding that will allow them access to Arsenal’s books, they seem to want to talk to Stan but he’s being evasive.

The 30% threshold is getting everyone all very excited. Once he crosses the rubicon, what wonders will Highbury House hold for him. Nobody quite knows since the Premier League rule that is triggered – not a law – has not been triggered before with such a hostile intent. Cubic did at United and there is more on that in a minute.

But will Usmanov find. You sense that his search will be the footballing equivalent of the ‘smoking gun’ and equally fruitless. Any transactions with sister companies in the KSE empire are declared in accordance with law. Salaries are entirely confidential and I doubt that the Premier League rule would allow him to see those of the playing staff individually. Certainly to make that public is a breach of confidentiality which is inherent in his shareholding.

The crux of the matter is that whilst Usmanov wants the club, Cubic wanted Ferguson; it was personal. Anything that happens will take place so long as there is a real or perceived benefit toward that aim. There is no altruism at stake here. He is a very generous suitor but that is easy when you know that the options will be rebuffed.

Crucially though as United made it clear, you can ask your 99 questions but we are not going to answer. Whether the Arsenal board or owners are going to cede on the point of inviting him into the boardroom remains to be seen but I would not bank on it.

Part of the United contention concerned payments to Agents. The new transparency engulfing football showed Arsenal paid £4.6m to agents in 2010/11. That does not seem to be an excessive amount considering the headlines and reputations. Not inconsiderable not big though compared to the £10m City paid.

Which is where it does not make sense given their level of spending. So how have Arsenal incurred half of their level of cost when the spend is roughly a tenth? Perhaps Arsenal pay Agents for contract renewals which is simply bizarre; “Yes, I know my client who is injured for half a season at a time has taken you for an extra £25k each week plus other costs on top of that but here’s my bill for £500k“. Or may be Arsenal are just really bad at negotiating fees with Agents and other clubs?

The spend for 2011/12 will be interesting when the amount will be significantly higher given the transfer activity. Perhaps the Premier League could make the clubs go further and identify the amount paid for each transfer or at the very least make them split between signings, sales and renewals? Or is this transparency just lip-service to make Fifa look even worse…

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on December 1, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 161 Comments.

  1. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Arsenal, Happy Birthday to you

  2. Limestonegunner

    to Goonerkam from previous thread:
    goonerkam, we’ve seen that before and it wasn’t especially successful. I don’t know why AA should play in another position not best suited to his skills or style of play. It is true he has good touch and can pass well but Theo says he wants to play centrally and has for some time. AW has listed him when he has tried to counter suggestions of buying a striker in the past but hasn’t played him there. In a game that won’t matter to our qualification, it seems a good time to try this and assess the potential for a half or 65 minutes.

    Di Natale, as we saw, is a really top striker with a great mentality. We had to respect him as he was always looking dangerous.

  3. Limestonegunner

    Happy, Happy Birthday indeed!

  4. Limestonegunner

    That’s an interesting point about the agents’ fees, YW.

  5. Happy 125th Arsenal

  6. “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Arsenal, Happy Birthday to you”

    And many more…

    We did do a lot of business in the summer when you consider how many players arrived and departed, and I would not be surprised if some clubs are less than transparent and use every loophole available to pay in a way that does not have to be declared.

  7. Who shall we get in the media to help with a story to “link” Di Natale to Arsenal. We’re going shopping for strikers and need some interference.

    And on the first Day of December in 1886, a group of shop floor workers at the munitions factory at Woolwich Arsenal (what’s now Royal Arsenal) decided they wanted to start a revolution called Dial Square. Actually, it was a more complicated name than that – but it was the best decision in football. Happy birthday Arsenal.

    And don’t forget, Arsenal are making a bid for Di Natale as cover for Robin Van Persie in the January transfer window.

    Pedantic George, tell John to pull his finger out and do a Di Natale story or something.

  8. HAPPY 125TH ARSENAL!!!!!

    good morning YW, great work as always.. i take it you don’t care for the italian forward or maybe you see other positions in the team needing more immediate attention than the central forward.

  9. Thank you Passenal, you expressed what I was thinking more eloquently than I could. But in these times maybe our accountant should be a bit more creative.

  10. Bringing up something said on the previous post:

    “a mate and i, when we used to watch football together before i moved over to germany, we would always get frustrated watching the replay of a goal. you know why? because they always only show you the assist. they don’t show you what happen before that. what my mate and i call the ‘penultimate ball’. the pass that created the opportunity for the final ball to be played.”

    The difference in our game today, is that both Gervinho and Theo, and even Arshavin to a lesser extent, are more direct wingers, as opposed to Nasri, and the man he replaced, Hleb. They were supreme at this particular aspect of play, in that they were able to craft out an opportunity for an assist to be made.

    I believe that Rosicky is one of our squad members who is still very talented at this, and should be getting a game on a more regular basis, especially when we are playing more difficult opponents and need to be able to control the pace of the game a bit more.

  11. Passenal

    The club’s financial year ends before the transfer window opens so we’re talking summer 2010 – we weren’t very busy then except for contract renewals. A high proportion of our transfer activity is releasing players who won’t make the first team which costs no agents fees at all.

  12. lol good morning DARIUS mate. glad to be of service propagating this nort rumor. george please don’t forget to tell john cross to credit my name.
    by the way Darius, i agree with you that the rest of the crew need to up their production and we don’t necessarily need to strengthen in the central forward position. fullbacks is another story altogether. we are looking thin both at RB AND LB.

  13. Just Another Luke


    If Mark Hughes is appointed Sunderland’s manager, he could have 2 shots at Mancini:

    1st Jan at the Stadium of Light and 31st March at the Etihad Stadium.

    Isn’t that interesting?

  14. For years the argument has been made that clubs should not be paying agents a sous. If the agent is engaged by the players and to ensure that he lands the most advantageous deal possible there is no logic in the party on the other side of the table paying the agent for their services. Macmanus was rightly incredulous that Darren Fletcher received £500,000 for his efforts in “persuading” Roy Carroll to quit Wigan for Old Trafford, in a move that trebled his salary anyway. Unless the clubs get together to stamp on the parasites, or at least ensure the players pick up the tab for their questionable services, on it will go.

  15. and this brewing storm with RED&WHITE HOLDINGS better get refused and fast. last thing we and the crew need right now is a war at boardroom level…

  16. As the Baganda would say, 125 years ago my forebears were walking “bukedi.”

  17. that’s defused , not refused.

  18. Interesting write-up Yogi.

    We must pay Agents for contract renewals. We just must. I asked the question a few weeks back when I heard that Song had signed on with Darren Dein. If agents only get paid when there is a transfer then we can kiss both Song and Van Persie goodbye over the next two years. On the other hand maybe they do get a cut of contract negotiations, in which case I’m not as worried by the news that our two best players have shacked up with the man who represented Nasri and Fabregas last year.

    Oh, and 30 million for Göetze? On what planet would Wenger ever pay that amount? Is anyone seriously taken in by this bullshit?

  19. @Limestone
    i think AS skills are more suited to play centrally or attacking central midfielder.
    and i would also rest all first eleven for the last cl game so that they get the rest they have earned and also avoid unnessacery injury to our main players, theo being one of them…

  20. i don’t think we will even make an offer for Mario at 30mil. too high

  21. Markus, I don’t thing Nasri used DD as agent. AW has said he would pay that amount for the right player. There were reports that offers in that range were made for players last summer but rebuffed. Or do you want to reinforce the notion that AW is tight fisted? I’d rather think he is a great judge of talent and value. If he says he would pay 30million for the right player and has found him, I am hoping we get the player.

  22. Of course we don’t know if any of this is true–but he has said he would pay that amount for the right player. So dismissing the very idea of it as outlandish seems off the mark. It would be historic for the club certainly as it has never happened. We also never sold a player for that range either. But we did last summer and another for 24million.

  23. Limestone, yes, I am definitely dismissing the very idea of it as outlandish. Even if we were in the tightest of situations, had no strikers fit and no propects of our own I still couldn’t see us paying 30 million for a 19 year old. As it is though we currently have 3 strikers, including the best in Europe if not the world, as well as half a dozen prospects, not to mention players like Walcott who are dying for a chance at filling the position.

    Not saying it will never happen, just that it will not happen this year and definitely not for that kind of money.

  24. Matoo,

    we have 2 very direct players in gerv and theo now on the flanks and that is positive as well, especially since rvp can create a lot of movement in the middle.

    i have always thought that a very direct winger on one flank, and someone less so, more technical, can hold on to the ball forever and come inside on the other would be the perfect combination. or at least someone who can go direct and also go slow and hang on to the ball forever. maybe gerv or walcott can do that. rvp can. but i think it would be an interesting quality for one of our wingers to have.

    i believe that is the quality goetze has. and that is why i want him to come to arsenal. because in terms of personality, he looks like an arsenal player as well. down-to-earth, intelligent.

  25. btw LG, i have tried responding to your question on yest’s post… if you are still interested.

  26. left-back wise, i won’t be very worried if we have to play miquel for one or two games. and vermaelen can still play there as an emergency left-back.

    right-back wise, it is currently a testament to koscielny’s quality that he can play there. with both jenkinson and sagna coming back, i think we are doing ok.

    le coq and frimpong’s performance on tue show that we have 2 able deputies for song.

    i think we are good right now, numbers wise.

    of course we can argue all day about the attackers. i have personally said enough about that. so i won’t today.

  27. Happy birthday Arsenal. Thank God on this day 125 yrs ago you were born otherwise we’d be resigned to watching football that wouldnt have been football.

    Markus I also think it is outlandish to expect Wenger to buy a teen for 30m.

  28. korihikage – “i believe that is the quality goetze has. and that is why i want him to come to arsenal. because in terms of personality, he looks like an arsenal player as well. down-to-earth, intelligent

    Very much so. He is simply a very good player who would fit well into our side. I think he would be perfect as the advanced midfielder sitting behind RvP as it goes. If we can afford it and Arsene wants him, why not?

  29. firstlady,

    i personally hope that goetze himself wants to come, and that can lower the price. a little bit like what happened with fabregas, but this time we end up on the right side of things.

    i think dortmund knows that goetze will eventually leave. he himself says not now. and personally i think that’s a sign of his intelligence. i like that. so if we have to be patient, we have to be patient.

    i think we have taken the first step in signing him though.. by bringing in mertesacker!

    mertesacker can tell him: it is great here. and don’t worry when you come, i will help you with things.

    i was thinking maybe vermaelen can do the same with hazard.. but i think vermaelen is flemish and hazard wallonian. but then, we have gervinho 😉

  30. goonerandy,

    no if he comes, he will play on one of the flanks. to do what hleb used to do. nasri tried to do.

  31. korihikage – I agree with you about left back as well. Santos is doing well at the moment, but if I am being honest I have never really been sold on Gibbs as the long term option there. He did start the season well though before (imagine my shock) he got injured.

    Miquel did well enough the other night I think, but our strength in that area is a bit of a gamble. Hopefully Santos will continue to improve and remain injury free.

  32. somehow i think when grimandi and co were saying that they have found the players they want, but they are currently not available, the players in question are hazard and goetze.

  33. korihikage – More than likely, but I have seen a fair bit of him and he would be well suited to that forward midfield role IMO. Plus we know how Arsene likes to change people positions. Either way, we would have a quality player able to cover a few positions.

  34. goonerandy:

    santos is brazilian through and through. an entertainer. he takes many many risks. but he is very quick-thinking. i think he will give me a heart attack one day. but he is a better defender than many people think. he is actually quite good at intercepting balls, and taking the ball off the attacker when you least expect it.

  35. kori, where? I must have missed it.

  36. Yeah he is. He plays on a knife edge of brilliance and calamity. So far he has stayed on the right side of the balance.

  37. Im with markus on this one , although their were reports of that ampunt being turned down last window I just cant see it , Wenger tends to watch several players with the patience of a saint and do the deal at the time the player presents value for money and that is not always when their press is at its highest . Oh and obviously HAPPY BIRTHDAY ARSENAL trending on twitter I believe

  38. sorry didnt proof read my last post their should be there and ampunt should read amount

  39. goonerandy: yes he would. but we play 4-3-3. and we have enough midfielders to play in that 3. personally my choice is wilshere for that position you are talking about.

    a mate of mine has suggested something i have never considered: playing without song. he was asking me what would be my first choice midfield. and i was saying: well song is definitely playing. then wilshere. then between arteta and ramsey. then he just said: maybe you can play without song.

    now before all of you start blasting me, his suggestion was: ramsey-arteta-wilshere.

    and when i think about it, i think it is possible. it can work.

  40. Markus, as you can see in comments above, I think it is worth giving Theo a chance in some upcoming games in that position. All I can say is that on this issue I’d rather trust Wenger’s own words about what he would be prepared to do for the right player. Whether that is Gotze and whether any of the reports about rumoured bids last summer are true, I have no idea. We’ll see what Wenger does and what the club pays in January if it makes any moves.

  41. LG, i believe it is the very very last comment on yest’s post.

  42. korihikage – Interesting thoughts. I think Song brings more to the table than Ramsey though (at the moment anyway) and gives us that axis that we need. I also think Wilshere is best suited to that advanced position.

    Song/Arteta/Wilshere will be our prefered line up I think.

    Also with the emergence of the likes of Le Coq and to a lesser extent Frimpong, Diaby really can’t afford to miss much more of the season. An injury or two could see eihter of the aforementioned players get a run in the side and jump him in the pecking order. We really do have some depth in central midfield.

  43. Anyway, off on a mtg. Will catch your further thoughts later.

  44. goonerandy: don’t get me wrong.. he does.. but my mate just gave the matter a new perspective. cos i ave always been fixated on the need to have a defensive midfielder. turns out maybe you don’t. don’t think we will do that though. and we don’t need to.

  45. That 4.6M is outlandishly high in proportion to MC. Perhaps our global scouting network is counted under ‘agents’? Far fetched maybe but I’m struggling to think of a satisfactory explanation.

  46. korihikage, this was posted at the end of March 2011 (so toward the latter half of last season), not sure if the figures are correct, but I have no reason to suspect they aren’t.

    Arsenal’s win percentage with Alex Song starting this season in the Premier League is 71%, without him 0%.

  47. Matoo | December 1, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Good observation and one that is overlooked by most fans; that element is missing with our managers favorite XI. Ramsey needs additional nurturing, but Rosicky has this ability, even more than Arteta.

    I do think that Jack has a similar game to Hleb……strong at winning the ball and keeping it away from opponents…….then being direct in attack, taking on opponents with the dribble and utilizing excellent passing skills.

  48. Marcus – firstlady

    Agree – can’t see Arsene spending that amount of money on Goetze.

    Maybe other players would be included in the transfer to soften the expenditure. (Bendtner for example)

    I believe our current roster is proving to grow in size as far as players that can step up and deliver performances.

    I believe any new transfers in January or next summer are contingent on the status for:

    RvP and / or Arshavin and / or Rosicky; there departures would fuel Arsene to bring in experienced players…….but not on a $30 mil price tag. (imo)

  49. “Maybe other players would be included in the transfer to soften the expenditure. (Bendtner for example).”

    Good call Arsesession!

  50. For me, it’s a case of the devil you know that the angel you don’t know. Usmanov strikes me as a man who wants a plaything, how can that possibly be good for Arsenal going forward?

  51. If we are going to spend £30 million buy Kaka from Madrid.

  52. And a happy birthday to Arsenal, I started following Arsenal and the old first division in 1990. I’m glad I did.

  53. Collins onyekpa

    ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN is a great player…i love him the way i love Arsenal fc

  54. Markus:

    not calling for song to be dropped or whatsoever.

    just saying: maybe if song for some reason can’t play, rather than playing le coq or frimpong (and let me assure you, i won’t hesitate to throw them into the fray. frimpong caught my eye against liverpool. absolutely my motm until the sending off), we actually might get away playing with 3 non-dm central midfielders.

  55. maybe usmanov should go buy portsmouth.

  56. £30 million on a 29 year old with a history of injury problems who has never justified the absurd price-tag he was burdened with… no thank you.

  57. Johny, i see your point however i dont think we would have to pay that and in fact that could work out as the fee and wages for two years. Given what Wneger dd with Overmars, Veira, Henry and perhaps a sentimental view of what he was at Milan i think he would be a good fit better than a 19 year old.

  58. Korikhage @ 1.26 pm Arteta says he played DM often at Everton. He was trained in the Pep Guardiola role at Barca

  59. Interesting stuff Yogi. I guess we will see how Ox does in the first team in the next few weeks. He certainly is talented. I still think we are best off keeping him in cotton wool for a little while but thats just me and I suspect he will be getting more chances to shine very soon. The board room stuff is obviously important to the club but I have very little interest.

    Much as I hate it, I suspect the people that say Arsenal would never pay $30M for a player are probably right and that is remarkably frustrating. The goal is to get the best player who can help the club the most. We can clearly afford a $35 – 40M player if that player could be a true difference maker for this club. I know that the fascination with big name signings goes overboard but at the same time not making a deal that could really help the club just because a BNS isn’t the Arsenal is ridiculous.

  60. vernat1066, I wouldn’t take Kaka for free. His wages alone would be rediculous for a man that doesn’t actually play football anymore.

    korihikage, I know mate, just found that stat interesting. Of course we didn’t have Coquelin and Frimpong last season.

  61. Interesting result at OT again last night. I didn’t watch the game but I read that the overtime goal for Palace was marginally off side. On Sat. the penalty called against Ferdinand was clearly a bad call and the winning goal that Hernandez scored was correctly judged off side because of his shoulder but the goal could easily have been given. All of this is happening at OT. Funny how a month of relatively poor form from the Red Manc’s and the ref fraternity has turned on them. A friend of my son is a Manc fan and he is beginning to wonder if Fergie is losing it because of the teams he is picking. Can’t wait to see the panic in Manc nation if they don’t get any trophies this year.

  62. Being realistic for a moment, my only two transfer requirements are:

    1) That the player actually wants to come to us.
    2) That the player only has a year or two left on their contract.

    Both of these things work in our favour since they drive down the transfer fee. There are plenty of top-class players who fit this criteria. For examples all you need to do is look at our recent purchases: Gervinho, Mertesacker, Arteta.

  63. Bill, if I were a believer in conspiracy theories I’d say it’s no surprise United have suddenly been getting bad decisions this season while City are top of the league with their cash. As for Fergie’s team selection, he doesn’t have what he needs in midfield. It was clear for everyone on this blog that they needed to add a central midfielder in the summer.

  64. what if wenger bought gotze, hazard, m’villa? it aint going to happen i know but what the heck i am allowed to dream 🙂

  65. For the first time in years we look pretty well set at CB and GK. We could probably use a full back or 2 but thats not really a big need since our CB can all cover very well at the 2 full back positions. With Jack W. coming back and Le Coq we are probably OK in the midfield although a really great player would be nice. Unfortunately up front we are very thin and we need a top notch goal scorer who can play across the front line.

    IMO we don’t really need numbers, we have a lot of young players who should be moving up the ladder. What would really help the team is 1 or 2 top notch players who can come score goals and really make a difference quickly. Those type of players usually do not come cheap and rarely are they a “good value” Fortunately, according to our money people we have at least $50M gathering dust in a bank vault. Will be interesting to see if anything happens in January.

  66. Limestonegunner

    thanks, kori, will go read it.

  67. Markus:

    When you play poorly you tend to focus on bad calls and they seem much worse and much more common. When you are playing well you do what is needed to win even when the inevitable bad call hurts you. We did that against Chelsea this season. Their 3rd goal clearly should have been disallowed but we ignored it and came back and won. Had we not been playing well we probably would have hung our head and cursed our bad luck.

  68. Can we please stop naming positions after players? There is no such thing as “makele role”, or a “wilshere role”, or a “guardiola role”. The aforementioned players didn’t invent the position, they might have revolutionalised it but they surely didn’t invent it.
    There are 11 positions on the pitch from goalkeeper to striker, so can we please call it what it is? A player playing in midfield could be a playmaker, a deep lying playmaker, a trequartista, a winger, a defensive midfielder or a holding midfielder.
    Not the “makele role” or “wilshere role”. If Makele were still playing today, I wonder what “role” he’d be playing.

  69. I hope we never pay £30 m for a player.
    We pay Arsene handsomely so as not to have to do just that.
    How much is Jack worth?

  70. The Bergkamp role.?Dont tell me he didn’t invent it.I know for a fact he did.

  71. @ George. LOL

    the bergkamp Role… Hmmn, much as i like the sould of it i do think he has [redecessors for that role, from Dutch and Brazil

  72. The point was brought up yesterday, and certainly at earlier times…….Arsenal/Arsene are not likely going to find another quality striker that will want to join Arsenal and then be a ‘temp’.

    I still see value in Berbatov. His game would certainly fit Arsenal and he seems to be out of favor with Fergie.

    Two goal scorers that have caught my eye are with Napoli – Cavani (only 23) and Levezzi (only 25). Both move well without possession and are terrific at taking on opponents.

  73. Pedantic,

    I think I would like you to be in charge of my money too as you seem to be a very parsimonious meerkat.

    I am amused by your use of the possesive ‘we’ in “we pay Arsene etc”. On most other sites, the bloggers are very spendthrift with the clubs’ money, when suggesting we buy x or y and sod the cost. Then it is easy to be foolish with someone else’s dosh, I suppose! 🙂

  74. George – pull your finger out and get your mate John to link us with Di Natale. What’s his use as a mate if he can’t get the bread and butter of tabloid bs right?

  75. team spirit.
    Dennis invented the role of living God playing as a shadow striker.(I know there have been other No.10’s,I simply choose to ignore the fact)

  76. George:

    “I hope we never pay £30 m for a player.”

    To each their own I guess.

    I don’t know how much he would cost or if he really would want to join us but think what a difference Di Natale could make for this team, but he would certainly not be a good value signing. Aguero cost $35 which we could easily afford now days. Imagine the team with him rotating along the front with RVP, Gerv and Theo. Wow!!!!

  77. Darius ,did you see our man David”Horatio”in the film “Kiss of Death”?It was on last night.Decent effort wit Nicholas Cage.
    I am planting the Di Natale seed as I speak!

  78. Scotland Yard have confirmed that they’ve passed a file to the Crown prosecution service in the case of John Terry’s racial abuse to Anton Ferdinand.

    The met usually don’t hand files to prosecutors if they don’t have substance enough for a prosecution.

  79. “Aguero cost $35 which we could easily afford now days.”

    As a one of Bill .But what about the £250k per week wages?And the knock on to the rest of the wages?
    Glad you don’t manage my pocket money for me.

  80. Darius Lets hope they had Bradley Walsh on the case.

  81. I wasn’t watching the Kiss of Death movie George. I just flipped between the football and CSI Miami – and I just found myself laughing at Caruso’s acting in the CSI show. it really is off the grid.

  82. George:

    You are right, I don’t know his wages. Dzeko cost in the high $20M is another example. The point is that I hope we are going to do what the team needs to improve itself and not limit our options just because we hate the idea of paying above a certain price tag or because we can’t stand making a deal that is not a “great value”. Unfortunately, no trophies awarded for the team getting the most value from its transfer deals.

  83. Limestonegunner

    Bill, our CB’s playing wide has kept us defensively strong but maybe has taken away something from our attack. For me all the more reason to get another goalscoring option in attack or someone who can create more chances for Theo and Gervinho, like Gotze. That is the area where we can improve, to my mind. We have lots of central midfielders but Ramsey is the only one who has shown that sort of creativity. Jack might be able to do this but he hasn’t played there at this level and will just be coming back sometime in February if everything goes according to plan. How often does that happen. Ramsey took quite some time to get adjusted again after being away for such a long time. I’d like to see more from Arteta in this capacity before pulling the trigger on a deal, but I don’t understand what people want us to do with the proceeds of our sales of players and property on top of a 6% season ticket rise.

    We are in 7th in a year of massive transition and unfinished rebuilding with the loss of a central player around whom the team was tactically designed and many other players (8 or 9 was it?). We suffered a horrendous start and brilliant string of wins with a high proportion of goals coming from RvP, who needs to have some rest, and are facing the most competitive fight for 4th we’ve probably had. (we should be targeting 3rd or we will again be hamstrung in the summer market until we qualify for the group stages near the very end of the window with the usual consequences of losing preseason for the players who will take time during the start of the season getting acclimated). It is fantastic that we have done as well as we have and down to the spirit of the team, the quality of the players AW brought in, and the acumen of our manager. To imagine he is finished rebuilding the side is pretty incomprehensible since everything we have learned about the summer suggests that we had targets that we weren’t able to land. Both Wenger and Gazidis have suggested that we aren’t finished buying. Wenger has said he would spend big if the players were of the right quality and age. He astonished many by paying 13-15million for the Ox, a 17 yr. old, from a League 1 team! Hello! His record of picking players between 19-23 is astoundingly good. Is it so ridiculous to pay between 25-30 million for a 19/20 year old who is a creative attacking player and has already led his young team to a Bundesliga championship, has played effectively in the CL, and has his team at the top of the Bundesliga again? He has bought Theo, Reyes, Arshavin and others in January for large sums.

    Honestly, it doesn’t seem such a stretch to me, if any of the reports about our summer bids has a shred of truth. That we don’t know. I am not saying it is likely that he will spend 25, 30 or 35 million on a player, but dismissing it out of hand goes against those reports, the competitive context we are in this season, against statements AW has made, against a history of spending quite big–even club record levels–on attackers in January, and against the fact that we have sold players for club record sums this summer. (though in inflation adjusted funds the Anelka deal may have been bigger than the Cesc sale–I don’t know).

    I think it is more likely that we’ll get someone less celebrated and perhaps a little older– probably a versatile striker who can play in the front three as well. But I think AW could surprise us. I think ultimately it might be more important to use our resources to raise our wages for top players, but that is a different issue that involves restructuring not just more spending.

    What is at stake for people in denying that it might be a possibility? We become like all the rest? Nonsense. It is not the amounts but the approach that distinguishes us as the greatest club in the world.

  84. Bill.I don’t need this club to win trophies in order to love it and appreciate its values.
    I do need it to maintain its values in order for me to keep loving it.
    I would rather lose the Arsene way that win the Mourinho way(for example).
    As you say “each to their own”

  85. Limestone:

    As always very well said.

    George @ 3:49:


    I will be a fan long after Arsene leaves and I will still be a fan if the fat Russian takes over and hires Sam Allardyce to manage. Different point of view obviously. As long as we can afford it I would like us to do anything we can to win even if it goes against the Arsene way to do things.

  86. PG – I am not actively advocating that we spend that type of money £30M, but on the other hand I don’t think that there is no way we should spend tyhat amount.

    If a transaction is within our financial means, and it is a player we want there really should not be any type of limit on what we spend. As long as we don’t over commit why shouldn’t we spend £30M if it improves the squad?

    Of course the price tag is not a guarentee that a player will do the business, but the reality is that players have higher price tags for a very good reason. Their quality. Obvisouly Arsene has been great at finding gems and turning them into great players, but there is nothing wrong with shelling out for a player who is by all accounts likely to perform well for the club.

    Like I said, I am not after us spending that amount. I what us to have top quality players regardless of price. If it is cheap, great. If it is expensive, it is no great shakes.

  87. The £30 m fee is not the problem.Its the wage that would go with it,and the knock on effect.
    Be careful Bill when you said “fat Russian” I very nearly exploded!

  88. george – i’m with you in terms of selling out our future and screwing our values…however i think spending in the region of £30m is not going against our values, as long as the wages that go with the fee are affordable and within our structure (whether that structure is changed in the near future is another debate). If we have the money, and we can afford the wages, then i see no reason as to why not spend that much money on a player. 5-10 years ago that amount would have been obscene, however in todays climate, unfortunately, 25-30m seems to be the going rate for the top tier of players. (at least those established ones). I would never advocate gambling our future over signing a player, however if we can afford it then why not? We spent £10-13m on Wiltord & Henry back in the day when £10-13m was considered a lot of money, and we spent in the region of £15-17m on Arshavin and Reyes which in the case of the latter was considered a high transfer fee at the time. The key thing would obviously be wages, as we could technically afford Aguero’s £35m fee, just not the 250k wages…however if we could get Gotze for £25-30m on wages of £60-70k then i dont see why that would be such a problem. We sacrificed a lot to give ourselves more financial clout, and if we are now in a position to use that clout, that doesn’t mean we’ve reneged on our values (particularly the financially-astute ones which were implemented because of the stadium move), but are using the stadium for the express purpose that it was built, to give us a platform to compete with the richest clubs out there (man city/chelsea aside obviously)

  89. George:

    You know I meant Usmanov.

    Should you actually choose to explode please warn me and I will be sure to seek cover. Skies are rather open here in texas so the fall out could be deadly.

  90. George,

    I’m sure we can pay the wages of a 1 or 2 superstars without breaking the bank. Why would you think any different?

  91. I have to say Goetze, from my limited viewing of him, does look like an Arsenal player. If AW goes for him he’ll do what he always does – offer what he thinks he is worth, whether that’s £10 million, £20 million or £30 million. (And of course wages would have to somehow be in line with our structure.) The value which he looks at is the value to the team – could the player improve it enough to make it worth spending £x. In the end, that will always be a personal judgement by the boss.

    @ LSG
    Regarding a striker, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. If you’re worried about covering the time when Chamakh is away, either to rotate with RVP and Park or to play if RvP is injured (God forbid), then we’d have to have somebody who is ready to go from day one. I think that’s where the difficulty will lie. He does buy in January, but not often, and only AA, as far as I remember, hit the ground running.

  92. The problem is that we’ve never been in the overt “superstars” market. We’ve always been in the clandestine “superstars” market. Scouts now operate worldwide and every player with potential is monitored and catalogued in some statistical database. Grubby agents will also be operating worldwide to ensure the price is hiked. The pundits say that this is one of the reasons for Wenger’s lack of edge i.e. the scouting networks that we used to have in place offer no advantages any more, because the same networks are in place by the other major clubs.

    If do not believe we will start playing over the odds for players, as we define ourselves by financial prudence/sustainability.

  93. It appears that our manager prefers to find unknowns or low profile players and then provide the catalyst that fuels their abilities.

    Maybe Ox was Arsene’s choice over bidding on Hazard?

  94. Henristic @ 4:25:

    “I’m sure we can pay the wages of a 1 or 2 superstars without breaking the bank. Why would you think any different?”

    If we can’t we will never be able to hold a great team together or realistically have any chance to compete. Arsene has done a great job holding things together for as long as he has but even he has limits and what happens when he leaves?

    Muppet @ 4:34:

    “If do not believe we will start playing over the odds for players, as we define ourselves by financial prudence/sustainability.”

    IMO that the pendulum which defines our level of financial prudence and the definition of paying over the odds has swung way too far to one side which is why we have these debates.

    Just my opinion but I am very happy that we can have debates like yesterday and today without it degenerating into name calling. Hard to imagine that happening in the past.

  95. Happy 125th birthday Arsenal! We love you!

    Good post YW as usual. Just because we were tracing Mario Goetze and Shinji Kagawa, I started watching Borussia Dortmund’s matches. I tell you, they are an excellent team to watch, very young and exuberant. They are the Arsenal of Germany. Goetze has got goals in him and in every match, he had some telling moments. Excellent dribbling, passing and creativity from the youngster. Goetze was also rated as the best player in the Bundesliga. He would fit straight right in if we bought him because of the footballing philosophy with which he is brought up. I am rubbing my hands to see his transfer go through.

    A nice point to raise about the agent’s fees, 4.9 million is a big sum because, we only signed Koscielny, Squillachi and Chamakh last year and if memory serves right, no one in January. Do loan transactions take any payment to agents? Because we let a lot of our youngsters go on loan last year. And did Chamakh’s free transfer have a big signing on fee for the agent? It may have been inflated because of that.

    Some one mentioned Di Natale, I would welcome him because he is a little wizard, amazing right foot and scores at will.

  96. “Just my opinion but I am very happy that we can have debates like yesterday and today without it degenerating into name calling.”

    But didn’t you just call him a “muppet” WTF ?

    Henristic .Do you believe that you could pay one or two players £250k PW and the rest of the squad would be happy with their current pay?Or do you think they would not notice.

  97. In the match against City, we all could see that if we had a cutting edge striker, we could have edged past them very easily.

    AOC was brilliant in his own right, but he did not link up well with the forwards. Chamakh, for me, does not look very hungry to get a goal. Even RVP couldn’t take it when he didn’t throw himself to put the ball into the net from Gervinho’s cross right at the death.

    I know it is late, pardon me, could not talk yesterday!

  98. Sriram,Can you give me one example from the city match where we made an opening that our non cutting edge strikers missed?
    And Chamakh did indeed throw himself at the ball .It was taken off his head by a slight deflection.If you are going to join in at least try not to make inflammatory statements ,because some pedantic twat will always bite.

  99. i thought that we were slightly lacking in the final third, but was not for lack of effort, and was as much to do with lack of service for our strikers as it was their efforts. nevertheless immensely proud of our boys and thought they did tremendously well – even have united supporting colleagues coming over to tell me that i was right when i said that our boys will surprise a lot of people this season.

  100. Happy Birthday Arsenal! Great post as well Yogi.

  101. Pg- I know you bite pretty well. I am not against Chamakh, nothing that was said was meant to be inflammatory, I want him to score as much as you do. I didn’t notice the deflection, if there was one. Maybe I didn’t care to see the replay.

    Of course, I know that you can’t except someone to just start a match and start scoring, it looks like both our forwards need some time on the pitch to get their scoring boots back. We should start killing games by the hour mark and give time for our other striker options, we can keep them on fire that way. I wish Chamakh becomes the same player we saw when we first signed him, he was so good, my frustrations are because he is not the same. The lack of confidence makes him not try things which he would have done on a confident day.

    But anyway, nothing should be taken away from the performance, we deserved at least not to lose it because we owned them in midfield, created better chances, just didn’t find the net. Again, the second team has not gelled, there is still time for them, if they start playing together for a while, then we can see them get the fluidity too. I am excited on one side about the squad but gutted on the other because we crashed out.

  102. Hey – as regular as clockwork – Podolski has been drawn into the “Podolski linked to Arsenal” narrative.

    ‘Lukas Podolski eyes Arsenal move’.

    Next, Sly Sports will quote that paper with that headline as the source and then that paper will re-quote Sly Sports as the source, and they’ll then get a German hack to give an opinion that is then printed in Germany, and Goonerandy will rush here to tell us that “Look – it’s in the German paper, so it must be true” – and then a German hack will ask Podolski to comment (Oh wait, he already has commented after being asked).

    Next Wenger will be asked at the Wigan game press conference “Arsene, are you going to buy Podolski in January” and Arsene will say how much of a top top player Podolski is and the cycle continues with a “Podolski issues a come and get me plea to Arsene Wenger”.

    See – I’ve got this transfer window thing figured out.

    Now George, where are you with John on the Mirror linking us with Di natale. Let’s get this going.

  103. It is really sad to see people getting on the back of Arshavin. The guy played for four minutes in the game and had some nice touches, and still there are some who call him useless and blame the result on him. With a run of games, we will see him back.

    My only regret was we should have brought on Arshavin at the 70 min mark and let him do his magic in the centre. We should have throw ourselves for the win. But that is just my opinion.

  104. Darius- Exactly! Way to go!

  105. Sriram

    And you know what else will happen. Wenger is not going to buy Podolski and fans are going to spit fire and Brimstone (Bill – how you doing?) complaining how Wenger has lost the plot and refuses to sign a German international capable of quality and more prolific than Chamakh and Park – all this without even considering whether Podolski was ever in Arsenal’s plans in the first place.

    Then the story will move to Jermaine Defoe who has told the God and authority of football news Mr Alan Brazil that he is looking to move from Spurs in January so that he can get games before Euro 2012. And as regular as clockwork, Defoe will be linked with a move to Arsenal as Arsenal are desperate for a striker to stop them being a one man show. Defoe is not getting game time at Spurs and Arsenal would be ideal for him.

    And you know, I bet you the bartender at the Dog and Hare would tell you how many pints he served Darren Lewis and John Cross to come up with the ‘Defoe to Arsenal’ rumour mill to fill in the column inches of the entire January transfer window.

    And Talk Spite – who apparently say they’ve been told that Mario Gotze is not available to Arsenal for less than £35 million – the mind really boggles as to who told them – maybe the Dortmund directors put in a call to Adrian Durham – but I digress. The incredulous punks at Talk Spite radio will claim that Jermaine Defoe personally told them Wenger is interested in reviving his career because Wenger wwent to see him in his Hertfordshire home and met with his wife and mother and they all agreed he would be given the necessary game time at Arsenal because Chamakh and Park are just not cutting it.

    George, we need that Di Natale story out there – pull your finger out.

  106. Darius- Hilarious! Bloody brilliant, sadly though you are writing the truth as it is.

  107. Sriram @ 5:42 pm
    I like your perspective for the match.

    – “Maybe I didn’t care to see the replay.” ditto

    – “Of course, I know that you can’t except someone to just start a match and start scoring, it looks like both our forwards need some time on the pitch to get their scoring boots back.”

    Chamakh and Park need to be regularly injected into the line-up otherwise we are not likely to witness their abilities.

    Also, can you send on a new striker in the 86th minute and expect him to influence (unless he is tall and good with his head on set pieces)?

    Arshavin should have been brought on along with Gervinho.

  108. Music Thurs is it not?

    The best band on the planet bar none. I was in this crowd as well at the Werchter Festival

    And a couple from the best voice in rock and my favorite artist. Mark Lanegan

  109. For music Thursday, I’m feeling the 80 style disco.

    Warning: Not conducive for those who don’t have rhythm – best for a dance floor

    But I’d also use this tune as the soundtrack to a video collection or montage of classic Arsenal goals of the last few years.

  110. Arsesession, I am glad someone agrees with me. I think Park is going to be huge though, the one chance he got, he made City’s goalkeeper make a big save, he was out of balance that too.

    The only real criticism against Chamakh was, he didn’t get himself in to the box much to be threatening, for all our domination of the ball, our strikers never really attacked the box. I am very sure with time and confidence, we can see that happening. But the problem with playing VP alone up front is, it cuts down the chances for our other forwards.

  111. Darius, have you seen all of Di Natale’s goals last season? Perfect poacher, perfect finisher! But the problem with a player like Di Natale is he is extremely loyal to Udinese, it would be very very tough to make him move, that too when their club is hovering so close to the top of the Italian league.

  112. Andy I have been listening to more and more QOTSA. such a solid rock group!! The sound they get from the guitars is so damn thick. mesmerized i am.

  113. Will – My favorite group. I am into the desert rock scene and love the driving riffs. Queens play downtuned to standard C. I have managed to get quite a bit of their stuff down on guitar and it is fun to play. I have just bought a Hagstom semi hollow and are going to leave it tuned in C I think.

  114. I love the Pixies as well though. Great band.

  115. Cool!

    I was born a little too late to catch the Pixies in their prime. Still, I can hear their influence on so many modern bands.

    “if the devil is six, then god is 7.”

  116. Andy:

    I agree with you on a lot of stuff but when it comes to music to each their own. I guess you appreciate it more because you play the guitar. I think you said your avatar is from the band but it looks like a human sperm penetrating the capsule of an ovum to me. May be thats what its supposed to be.

  117. Pixies – Caribou

    Pixies – Something against you

    Pixies – Gouge away

  118. Beautiful Lanegan song.

    Lexington Slow down

  119. Bill – Yeah, each to their own mate. Especially where music is concerned.

  120. Back to football; I wonder if we will be able to offload Denilson to anybody now that the season has finished in Brazil? He has no chance of even getting on the bench now IMO. Frimpong and Le Coq are streets ahead of him.

  121. My contribution to music Thursday – ASIWYFA

  122. For Andy – I’ve seen this performed live a couple of times

  123. Andy:

    I suspect wages are the reason we could not find a buyer for him or NB52. With Denilson we will probably have to buy out his contract or wait until it ends or keep him on loan and pay part of his wage. Hopefully someone will want NB52. He has 2 goals and 3 assists in 10 games so I guess he is doing OK.

  124. Ha, interesting.

  125. Bill – Yeah, I agree. The fact that none of the (even average) European sides showed any interest spoke volumes I think.

  126. Wow DeiseGooner that song is awesome!!! definitely going to listen to more of that band.

  127. Does anyone know how long Is left of nb52s contract? Or Denilsons?

  128. Jonny – Not sure about Hannon’s story though. No One Knows is a QOTSA original as far as I can see. Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan are the credited songwriters. If they had sampled it whoever did the original would also have to have a credit.

    I have to say, is nowhere near their best work though.

  129. I wonder how Denilson did in Brazil?

    NB52 is not setting the world on fire but not bad. If he is starting and playing full games then 2 goals in 10 games is rather slim for the central striker but 3 assists is pretty good.

  130. They are an awesome band william, saw em live and they blew my mind. 2 albums from them to date – self titled debut and also Gangs, both rock gems.

    I dont think we will see either Nic or Den back in an Arsenal shirt to be honest.

  131. A.o.C reminds me of another player that looked absolute class at 18……although now a granny shagging fat classless coont was ready to play as is the Ox….let him loooose i tell thee.

  132. Carlos Vela has 1 goal and 2 assists in 10 games in Spain. Not sure if he is starting regularly. I really thought he would be knocking in goals for fun by now. Carling cup wonder boy but never much else. So much talent, hard to understand.

  133. Sriram @ 7:06 pm

    Park is quick and moves well…….he just needs better service and playing time & much sturdier than I expected.

    Chamakh spent majority of his time coming back to support the midfield…..there just was no service in the first half; 2nd half just as frustrating. This player can help Arsenal. Completely different playing style to RvP – awkward at times, but is effective in the air, holding the ball, and pressuring. Look at his start last season. No one expected him to make that kind of contribution – HE IS THE SAME PLAYER, only needs PT.

    Let both play with a supporting midfield of Song, Rosicky, and Arteta.

  134. Limestonegunner

    FG, that is the period I am most concerned about, but also for the run in. You raise some good points about adjustment, but that is why the best thing is to bring in someone at the beginning of the window and start the process now.

  135. Good discussion today.

    As far as music, my dad used to play “dis ya chune” all the time when I was a yute!

  136. colney | December 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I think your comments were aimed at my earlier post, but Guardiola was playing in that role when Arteta was training at Barca is the point. Arteta himself referred to it in an interview.

    Good point re £30m players Jabberwocky. The move from Highbury was about enabling us to compete with the top teams. The blue mancs and chelski funny money has affected that somewhat, but I believe that Arsene would spend if he could find value – look at how much he paid for Theo and Chambo. I guess the risk is buying a 19 year old for £30m. If he stays for many years, great. But if he wimps out before hitting his peak, what do we do then? It’s not easy for a self-sustainable business to swallow that loss. And judging by the bleating about the ticket increase for this season, I can’t see the same people clamouring to buy big actually wanting to contribute to the cost of it.

  137. ‘look at how much he paid for Theo & Chambo’ + the likes of Wiltord and Reyes in the past.

    Transfer window T-Minus thirty days.

  138. how’s j.cross doing with the di natalie rumor george. it should have been in the daily hail already. I’m assured by his agent that you and i will be reimbursed for time and effort. leave no stone unturned. 🙂

  139. We shouldnt let clubs that spend money foolishly, dictate what buying big is. Look at how much RM paid for Ronaldo and Kaka, should that be the barometer for buying big?

    A few clubs have great amounts of money but that doesnt mean that because we are making some money we should spend a bunch of it on one player. Not when we got Gervs for much less. He is pure class! better than many of the big money signings.

  140. Paul,he is class ,but not Ronaldo’s class,not by a long long way.On the other hand we could have 10 Gervinho’s for the price of one Ronaldo.
    Good point all the same

  141. Aw Andy – Hannon is joking beyond belief. He LOVES the original. Seen QOTSA once.

    I like your perspective on the game – it’s nice to see you have good taste in tunes too. I was just chipping because I like Hannon’s complete love for the song.

    I just came home from seeing Red Snapper at The Garage in Islington. Saxamapohone (Simpsons).

    Last point Tonight We Fly has the most heart wrenchingly brilliant lyrics that carried me through the drawn out death of my mum. Amazing song, the lyrics that close speak to my heart.

    Tonight we fly
    Over the mountains
    The beach and the sea
    Over the friends that we’ve known
    And those that we now know
    And those who we’ve yet to meet

    And when we die
    Oh, will we be
    That disappointed
    Or sad
    If heaven doesn’t exist
    What will we have missed
    This life is the best we’ve ever had

  142. Good article Mr Passenal – I think you are a solid ACLF voice.

    2 questions – where are you from/are you now?

    Why is your name?

    I know Muppet’s real name. Mine is too obvious, eh.

  143. George you are as cool as a Meerkat in a cryogenic lab. Eating ice cubes. And doing ice-cold martial arts like Tony Jaa on a ninja-penguin.

  144. Fins – did you see my response?

  145. Jonny ,have you watched my videos on FB.?You might change your mind 🙂

  146. Yes I did, George.

    So Geography test

    Jonny – London via Dublin
    George – Blackburn
    Irish – NY via Dublin
    Consolbob – Cornwall
    Andy- Germany
    Maria – London?
    Kenyan Gunner – hmm no idea.
    Geo –
    Spectrum – from Satan’s bum piece
    Darius – from Saffaland
    Firstlady – ditto
    Muppet – outer London
    Spy – from the MI5

    Anymore for any more?

  147. Me

    Born London – Living in Ireland

  148. Jonny

    CB will not be happy you put him in Cornwall.

  149. Dups, Andy – oh no!!? I feel SO foolish.

    Damn – I’m sorry Mr Bob.

    I can’t tell you why,but yer Consolbob is in many ways the person I respect the most on here. He’s economical with words, wise (and surprisingly hard to spot in a crowd). Especially when he looks right at you.

    Dups – Where do you love in Ireland good sir?

    My family are from Carlow (mostly).

    It took me an embarrassing length of time to ‘get’ your handle. Which makes it all the more worthwhile.

  150. I thought all fossils lived in Cornwall. No?

  151. @ JONNY, DID U JUST WRITE MR. PASSENAL????????????????????????

    No way! Thats a Lady thru and thru, we are too few on here to be over run by the lads!!!!!!!!!!!!

  152. Aw. I’m on fire tonight.

    She sounds sensible though. *fleeing for safety*.

    I should probably hide for a while. CB thinks in speak to much anyway.

    Miss Passenal – my sincere apologies. I am just a foolish man. Who hangs outside women’s toilets. Allegedly.

    My fave band evah –

  153. *I* speak to much.

    I can hear CB shaking his head from here.

    *hate myself right now*

  154. Cornwall – ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  155. Limestonegunner

    Hang in there, Jonny. The only way from here is up!

  156. Limestonegunner

    I agree with you, though, Jonny. I really respect Cbob’s voice of wisdom on this blog.

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