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Cazorla and Sahin, Vapour Transfers and the trapping of RVP

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Who invented away support?

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By Tony Attwood

In the last few days we have been discussing the collapse of the transfer market – and would you believe it, just as I get ready for the final part in the series of articles on Vapour Transfers we find that Santi Cazorla has undergone his medical and is about to be signed for £16m from Málaga.   The loan of Nuri Sahin from Real Mad is still under discussion, but could be on.   As for Cazorla there is talk of him playing against FC Köln.

We covered the Cazorla and Sahin stories a while back in one of the regular updates on transfers that Untold does, and Málaga has been in our sites since we started the Billionaire files.  If ever you wanted an example of something going seriously amiss – and if ever there was a warning to Chelsea, Man C, PSG and the rest, then this club is it.

The press, a little behind Untold on this, but gradually getting into the habit of reading our columns I see, are now saying that Málaga is like a soap opera.  Maybe, or maybe it is a bit more serious than that.

Anyway assuming there are no last minute what-nots, Cazorla joins Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud but Cazorla looks even better.  This could be a player we’ll love and love again.

(Incidentally there are moves the other way: Benik Afobe has gone to Bolton Wanderers for the whole season and there is talk of Ryo doing another loan spell.

So, transfers all the way round – just as I was saying that The transfer market is on the edge of collapse on the basis that prices had got out of control, and the Billionaire clubs were just buying more players than they could actually play.  As a result some players were finding themselves at clubs and then unable to get games.  I also referred back to the Flamini Effect in which players are tempted to move in the belief (talked up by their agent) that they will play every match and become stars.   Given that this is the anniversary of Theirry Henry’s signing (see the Arsenal History Site article for more on that) it gave me the chance to point out that each time Henry played for Barca it cost them nearly half a million quid.  What a shame.

Anyway in the second article in the series on transfers I talked about Vapour Transfers  and noted three types of such moves:

1: The Distraction – in which a club seriously looking at buying a player will slip out a story that it is actually after someone quite different, just to keep the hounds at bay

2: The Deception – in which there is no deal.  This is all an invention, set up to confuse the opposition clubs.  A DC judge, on watching this happen in the IT industry described the process as  “a practice that is deceitful on its face and everybody in the community knows it.”

It goes like this.  Everton want to buy Peter Poppit.  But Liverpool slip out the story that Chelsea looked at Poppit and decided he was ok, but had an injury problem (that is all lies – they never looked at all).  So they turned their attention to Dirk Frog.   They rate Frog, but Frog is concerned he won’t get enough games at Chelsea, so is hesitating in signing.  Everton lose their focus and start chasing Frog.  Eventually they find that Chelsea never looked at Poppit, and never looked at Frog.    But by then the transfer window is coming to a close and Poppit, fearing that no one wants him, has gone to Wolverhampton, who are thrilled with the capture.

(This is of course a mythical example – but you see how it works).

3: The Destructive Expectation   Here the story goes around that a big time operator (we’ll call them Fix FC) wants to buy a top player (we’ll call him Rip Van Pobble).  The story is untrue but it creates an expectation.  Rip, who was ready to sign a new contract, then stops because he thinks someone else is after him.

The top clubs really can’t be arsed with the player like Rip because he has had so many injuries, but the expectation builds, and the clubs know that if they don’t deal the press and bloggers will write that the club have no ambition, or that they are slipping backwards, or that like Malaga the money has gone.

But if Rip is injured all season the manager is in trouble, given that everyone knows of Rip’s injuries.  If the manager doesn’t sign and doesn’t win the league, everyone will say he didn’t have the right vision.  He’s in trouble however he moves.

So that’s all bad enough, but there is more…

Vapour Transfer 4: The Agent’s Game

These first three Vapour Transfers are created by clubs either to put stop rivals nosing around a deal about to happen, or to distract a club so that a deal that might happen doesn’t, or they try to tangle up a club thinking about signing someone they don’t want or need.  The word “marquee” was devised to apply to transfers and players just to help Vapour Transfers along.   Think back – we didn’t have “marquee” signings four years ago.

But clubs are not the only ones involved.  The media, players agents and bloggers (some of whom are little more than the media’s lap dogs) also get involved – and that’s what we see here.

Imagine: The Daily Sniff is in financial trouble due to declining readership, several members of its journalist staff being arrested for phone tapping, a plethora of legal cases, and a decline in advertising.  So, to fill pages at no expense they make up transfer stories.

Jack Dealmaker is an agent who like all agents get a fair old percentage of the salary of his players plus part of the signing on fee.  He has a vested interest in his players moving around as much as possible – and if they can’t move then at least signing a new contract with a new loyalty fee.  So Jack Dealmaker and the Daily Sniff have a good reason to talk to each other.

Now let’s take the famous Daily Mirror story that I quoted in the last article in which on 6 June 2008  it ran the headline “Arsenal line up shock move for Peter Crouch”

Everyone knew that this was tripe, but what it did do was make some of the not so bright directors and managers of smaller clubs think, “hey Crouch is available”.  They were expected to guess that the story was nonsense, but to take the possibility of a move seriously and so start asking.  If not now, then maybe in a year or two.  A marquee signing for a little club.  In doing this they were merely providing background defence should Revenue and Customs get involved – see below.

These stories can be spotted because of their language (“high alert”) and their repetition.  Try this one in the Metro, “Reports from Italy have suggested Juventus are lining up a shock move for Liverpool striker Peter Crouch, as a replacement for David Trezeguet, who could be on his way out of the San Siro”.

It is similar to the Mirror story because it is vital in this business that those “in the game” know which game is being played.

But the question can be raised: why on earth go to such lengths as to persuade the Mirror and Metro to run this tripe when a phone call to various clubs would tip them off.  OK there are rules that say that contacts about transfers have to be club to club, but these rules fell into disrepute long ago, and quite honestly among the clubs the FA is held in such disdain that no one cares a toss about them.

But by running unattributable stories in the press (which the papers like because it allows them to suggest they have their own “sources” inside each club feeding them info,) it is easy to beef up the story and get one club bidding against another.  In effect what the agent wants is for clubs to come to him saying “will your man go for this?”  The agent does not want to go to the clubs directly, because what he really wants is everyone involved in a bidding war.

Vapour Transfer 5: the fraud

However there is more.  Let us suppose that somewhere out in the great wide world of football there is a manager or a club owner who is bent.  Hard to believe I know, but just stay with me on this one.   Maybe he is involved in money laundering. Maybe he is just involved in shipping drugs.  Maybe its fake currency.  Maybe he is running a far right wing political party.  Maybe he’s a banker.

One of the ways he can do his deals, moving money around as he needs, is through football transfers.  In such a case he needs transfers more than the club or the player need movement.  Of course a sudden movement of a third rate player for far more money than he is worth looks highly suspicious – and that is exactly what our neo-fascist drug dealing banker wants.  But supposing the agent, player, club and the rest can point to media speculation.   “What do you mean, he’s not worth £10m – Arsenal were going to pay more than that.  It said so in the Daily Prat.”

“Don’t talk tripe,” says our man at Customs and Excise.  “Crouch would never go to Arsenal.”

“As it turns out, no,” says the criminal interest rate fixing banker with a penchant for Nazi regalia.  “But the fact that they looked shows there is more to Crouch than meets the kneecap.”

And the Customs and Excise man, knowing little of the inner workings of football, lets the matter drop.  It was in the papers after all (see above).

So this is the world of transfers.  Santi Cazorla is moving because the billionaire owner of his club has suddenly failed to come up with enough money to allow the club to continue in the Spanish league.  The owner is stunningly rich – rich beyond anything you or I could imagine.  And we are asked by the press to believe that his failure to sort out the club is due to his eccentricity and lack of understanding of Uefa rules.

Yeh, right.

Welcome Santi Cazorla, assuming there is no last minute hitch.  And hopefully welcome Nuri Sahin.  Welcome to a world of sanity in an ocean of corruption.

All we have to do now is sort out the referees.

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43 comments to Cazorla and Sahin, Vapour Transfers and the trapping of RVP

  • Arvind

    Forgive my ignorance Tony. However does it mean that Malaga’s problems are NOT because they overcommitted and the owners were stupid? Does it just mean that the owner put money in, promised a million things and then told the club to f*** o** when the players had to be paid?

    Could you please clarify?

    As always of course I love reading everything on this site and you’ve made me take a interest in a subject I hated. Finance :). Thank You.

  • RobL

    Who are these nobodies we keep signing? Clearly we lack ambition!

    Do you think RVP wanted to go or wanted to talk up his wages and re-signing on fee? Wonder if he’s regretting it now…

  • Jon

    Loving all your conspiracy theories, but I can’t help thinking that the two really obvious main drivers here are tabloid journos desperately trying to keep their readers interested and agents trying to talk up moves for their players, because that’s how they make most money. Or failing that, to bump up the next contract, so their cut is higher.

    I’d say that explains pretty much 90% of the whole ‘vapour transfer’ thing. I’m not sure that the average football manager/PR/player/agent is actually bright enough to be behind your more sophisticated smoke and mirror initiatives. Sometimes the simplest explanation actually is the most likely one…

  • Arvind: I have no idea what is going on at Cazorla’s club – the owner clearly has more than enough money to pay off the debts, and there was no reason for the players not to be paid in June.

    But they were paid very late – if they have all been paid. So what is the problem? It makes no sense at all – and that is the issue. We haven’t got all the bits and pieces of knowledge so it doesn’t make sense.

  • Lanz

    @Arvind. Not to worry. Let us just theorize that the Malaga ditcher is done with his real reason for buying the club. Finish. Some others will very soon be done too or be caught. Patience.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Malaga, like MCFC is/was a rich man’s toy. Either he’s got bored or cold feet because he’s decided that he doesn’t want to pump in as much money as it would take to match the big two and he also doesn’t want to wait four/five years for his money to have any real effect.

  • Jon, what you say is true. But try this argument: football is a giant industry just like IT. football has its mega-rich owners, just like IT.

    Vapourware is a proven part of IT. So why would similar tactics not apply in football?

    These are not really conspiracies, rather the games clubs play, just like the Mircosoft vapourware scandal was not a conspiracy, just a company driven approach to making money and throwing the competition off the scent.

  • createstrain

    medicals huh? 16million golden nuggets? an announcement today would be nice.

  • nd

    with all these transfer tactics dont you think wenger’s own is obvious. He always states he has no interest in a player then bam the player signs

  • Ugandan Goon

    Sorry, Tony.
    But there is a suggestion out there that all this palaver has been generated by one of those “official” twitter accounts, that has since been debunked as a fraud, the account santicarzola12, directed all traffic to the clubs website after fooling l’equipe and everyone else onto believing the player had passed a medical exam and agreed personal terms. to be fair he / she held his hands up.
    I am of the opinion this and the van persie oficial website are fabrications of attention seeking 10 year old’s, who might not remember that the carzola story has dogged us for the last 5 years.
    We get it boys, it is summer, arsenal are going to buy carzola, that’s until next summer when arsenal are going to buy carzola, or spend less on arteta and oxlade camberlain to play the same position. oh, it is summer arsenal…(ad infinitum)

  • Stuart

    Is this Malaga owner rich with lots of liquid cash or is he rich with lots of assetts? Does anyone know the truth because this would make a massive difference if one of his assetts are under performing and he can’t get credit or his overdraft has been called in (which wouldn’t be public knowledge)

  • bob

    Ugandan Goon,
    How about giving us all (we who dwell in darkness) a link or two so we can all see this for ourselves? And what does it mean – is the playa coming here or not?

  • Mic

    Ugandan goon,cazorla passed a medical today and met with the players at the club. Arsenal now waits on malaga for completion.

  • dan

    Hopefully we will sign Bane, most impressed!!!

  • iniez

    Ugandan Goon is right about the account being fake, but this was noticed about two days ago and most have since moved on (I say most because I believe some have decided to ignore the fact that it’s fake in hopes of getting more clicks). I believe the fake account said something like “I’m a gunner” or something along those lines. But (bobs favourite) the guardian, and a few other outlets have reported that it is complete. I think it’s legitImate but I remain cautious until it’s announced by arsenal. It’s being reported that santi has completed his medical today and whats keeping arsenal from announcing it is an issue on malagas part, something to do with not knowing who will sign off on it (not sure what that means). Here’s the link from the guardian, but again, I await confirmation from the arsenal

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/aug/02/arsenal-santi-cazorla-robin-van-persie

  • bob

    iniez,
    I hope he’s accurate for a change, but the author, David Hytner, is one of the Manchester Guardian football department’s trio of prime Arse-Bashers. Not saying he’s wrong, but as is typical, there is no documentation, no need to document it, and no conscience about not having the documentation to give. We all need to await Arsenal’s official announcement, because to go be David Hytner’s announcement is to go by a non-objective source of information. That senior football lot is a place where (unlike much of the rest of that newspaper) non-accountability flourishes. He’s just gone out ahead of the pack with no evidence.

  • bob

    Mic,
    I hope so, but since the club hasn’t announced it, what’s your source?

  • iniez

    bob,
    Agreed mate, its like reading it in a fortune cookie.

    Though the mirror (not that they’re any better) is also reporting the same thing, I was trying to find the link before and finally managed to:
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/arsenal-transfers-santi-cazorla-has-met-1212264

    Still waiting for confirmation from arsenal though. I remember last season mata and ricardo alvarez were “done deals” then both ended up in blue. So lets hope arsenal announce something soon

  • critic

    Off topic:

    UTD have signed a new shirt spons deal worth £50 m a year¡¡¡¡¡ This is just ridiculous. Throws ur theory out of the window dat utd wl be reaching saturation in commerrrcial deal soon….

  • bob

    critic,
    To remain evidence-based, please give us a link to this news, Ok? If it’s so this new 50M deal, then I would agree with you that they still retain a massive marketing advantage that no one else comes near. If they tank on the pitch, that will decline; but they have had years of these deals, many in the pipeline, and to wish this away, yes, like has happened here on UA. That desire is not based on the data and on industry reports of ManUre’s being the top merchandiser in ALL of Sport (not only football). And, what the just-completed stock flotation on the NY Stock Exchange does to their relative advantage and ability to buy also needs to be factored in. I don’t know yet how to do that, but some readers here surely can. Again, IF your information is right, then we need to understand AFC’s comparative financial position in an accurate way. Unlike you, however, I take no (apparent) pleasure in finding that the merchandising gap is as wide as ever (or is it that a UA writer was wrong?).

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, meant to say: “…like has happened here on UA would be mistaken.”

  • Goona Gal

    The Santi Cazorla deal is the only transfer rumour thread that I have really taken seriously because ‘it had legs’. I thought we would of had an announcement by now though.

    There are a lot of numbers floating around regarding Cazorla’s transfer fee and I am hearing that Arsenal paid £20m..really?? I ask you how plausible this figure is considering Malaga paid around £17m for him a year ago. If anyone has bought a distressed business, property or car under firesale conditions you would be the mug if you paid the owner more than what they paid originally! £20m is a great figure for the football fan who needs a shiny trinket to wave around and only values a players ability by their price tag.

    I don’t feel sorry for Malaga at all in this deal either as regardless of how it was reported, they hijacked our Villarreal deal last year gesticulating their new found wealth about and gloating over their coup. Ha! who’s laughing now? It’s a victory for financial prudence!

  • iniez

    Goona Gal,
    I could hardly believe it either. I hate to do this because there’s no source, but if it’s true then I’m really impressed..apparently there’s a spanish journalist named Kike Marin who said that the arsenal board were “master negotiators” for bringing the price down from a supposed 20-23 million to the 16 million + add ons that’s being reported now. Considering this is true, what a great win for our often-criticized ability to close a deal

  • iniez

    bob,
    Unfortunately it is true that manu have signed quite a hefty sponsorship deal with GM
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-03/manchester-united-says-gm-deal-to-generate-559-million

    Though it’s also being reported that soon after the deal was finalized they fired their global marketing chief, Joel Ewanic. For all that money they don’t even get to put their name on their jersey.
    http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-gm-ewanick-fired-20120730,0,1002620.story

  • Goona Gal

    @ Iniez – I would say the real figure would be more like £12 – £15m max in reality which does not smash our transfer fee range at all. I believe that the Arsenal negotiation team are adapting well to the ever moving goal posts in the transfer market. I won’t praise them outright until they have taken Dein Jr down who is already planting transfer stories in the press about Song. I have said this a few times now, Song has to sign up or be replaced in the next six months.

  • Odhis KenyanGunner

    Rob van Pobble? Hahahaha. Funny. So after all is said and done, who is this Cazorla kid, uh? Some technical analysis of him pliz, anyone? Is he Cesc-que or what? Enough of this financial conudrum, lets now talk about on-the-pitch football. Coz everyone (well, almost) knows that crooks are buying clubs as platforms for money laundering. Its a use-and-dump affair.

  • bob

    iniez,
    OMG, thank you for the link. People need to know this (so I paste some of the content). Indeed, it is as amazing as it is depressing to behold:
    “As part of a deal to become the soccer team’s exclusive jersey sponsor starting in the 2014 season, GM will pay about $18.6 million in fees for each of the seasons this year and next, according to a filing yesterday. GM will pay $70 million in 2014, with the payments rising 2.1 percent each following season, the soccer club’s filing said. As part of a deal to become the soccer team’s exclusive jersey sponsor starting in the 2014 season, GM will pay about $18.6 million in fees for each of the seasons this year and next, according to a filing yesterday. GM will pay $70 million in 2014, with the payments rising 2.1 percent each following season, the soccer club’s filing said…
    “Nigel Currie, managing director of U.K.-based marketing adviser BrandRapport, said GM’s deal with Manchester United is the richest in soccer. Currie negotiated one of Manchester United’s previous shirt sponsorship contracts with Vodafone Group Plc. (VOD) “It’s incredible, unbelievable,” Currie said in a telephone interview of the GM deal.”

    Also amazing, as you note, is that GM inked the deal and then axed the deal maker for brokering an inappropriate deal. There is something really weird and shady in this whole thing.

  • bob

    p.s. to give ManUre that AMAZING deal and NOT to ensure that the GM/Chevrolet name would be on ManUre’s T-shirt!!! Incredible. And then the guy is fired and walks. This is a UNIQUE deal and perhaps there is a juicier scandal in it that will see the light of day. WOW! It’s like a subsidy of ManUre with no quid pro quo. A pure handout – this after the US taxpayer put GM back on its feet with a bailout. Perhaps UA will delve into this and explore the massive gap that this puts between ManUre and the rest of sportsdumb. Think they can’t afford to buy RVP now for, oh, 30M or so? 🙂

  • bob

    pps. Is ManUre now too big to fail? Will Wayne Rooney ever receive another red or yellow card for the rest of his career?! Is The Rednose XX now guaranteed? Is the Ascension of Lord Football now sealed by fate? Vigilance!

  • bob

    Goona Gal,
    Yes, and lo, the Dein-Song was sung this week by Busquets. Citing the x-Cesc travesty as precedent, my hope is that AFC would take action against Busquets/Barca for tapping up; and I would agree that Dein/Song should be somehow be put on notice that we will not be held hostage to their game. (If that is possible in any more than a shambolic way?)

    There are two years left in Song’s contract and this game has begun. (The media will surely have some more red meat, eh David Hytner?) Song cannot be naively thought of as loyal or innocent in this matter. He’s definitely entitled to a raise, a major raise, imo; but is any raise acceptable to Dein the Lesser? Indeed, is any contract acceptable to him? Not that I’d know, but the agent’s biggest cut typically lies in the transfer fee, right?, not just a raise? Is it not then high time that we go to war with Barca and make a series of counter-raids for their blue chip Academy boyz; and bare our teeth and bite. This really is economic warfare and perhaps this is another pre-emptive strike by Barca-Dein, as we will pose a threat to them in the CL once again.

  • iniez

    bob,
    Further, the glazers are selling roughly 10% of the club on the NYSE, and are planning to pocket half the profits, instead of injecting it all back into the club. This after signing that lucrative deal with GM. Quite a bit of money. Maybe the glazers feel they deserve a tidy profit for all the money they’ll be bringing in. Maybe they needed that shirt sponsorship to open the door to a place on the stock exchange considering they were struggling before? Having that sudden influx of cash and being sponsored by a brand americans are more familiar with could have been just ticket
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/man-u-launches-new-york-stock-exchange-listing/article4450197/
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jul/30/manchester-united-stock-exchange

  • Stuart

    Dein will only get a small agent fee if Song signs an improved contract so I imagine this will be his last season with us. He’ll be on the wrong end of some dodgy challenges (set up by whom?) and will see that players get better protection elsewhere whilst getting paid more. Dein wins again.

  • bob

    Stuart,
    Do you think the set-up violent “warning” tackles that you mention were also aimed at x-Cesc in his last two seasons? I thought he was targeted a few times with no cards presented, and may have been a factor (one factor) in speeding his departure…(to Dein’s benefit of course)….

  • Stuart

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised. As an agent, you can’t make a player move clubs, but you can make them WANT to move. It’s all about making the player feel uncomfortable and deciding in their own mind that they want to move on. Then they wont back out of the deal.

  • Stuart

    Bob,
    How about Eduardo too? He was showing signs of becoming a superstar.

  • bob

    Stuart,
    Yes. Complete tragedy. our Dudu. And also blamed on him and AFC by the media-scum, n’estce-pas? Cesc saw these horror tackles up close and personal and, though I consider him poorly (let’s leave it there for the moment), I can’t fathom how anyone could see these that close and not fear for his longevity in the EPL. I think it was a factor in his departure, though it would take analysis of what happened to him during the season to make a better case for its possibility.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Tony – belatedly, I wanted to say this is a great article and for those that are able to follow your drift, well follow your drift!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Bob – Anyone who signs up with Dein Jr to me is red flagged for the reason you suggested. Agents are unregulated so there is no standard protocol relating to how one should behave and there are no laws against recieving payment/bonus/gift for facilitating a negotiation. Sir Red Nose was recently spoke about the details of the Eden Hazard deal where the transfer fee was £34m + 6m agent fee + wages around £200,000 per week. I would think Dein Jr would be aware that Arsenal would’nt pay him £6m to negotiate a deal with a player that was currently under their employ! Though I must confess that in principle I see nothing wrong with Dein Jr trying to obtain the maximum amount for his client and himself in the process. As a AFC supporter however, I object to Jr destroying the squad that AW worked so hard to build and reducing our chances of silverware over a number of years by forcing us to rebuild.

    The growing body of evidence suggests that client’s of Dein Jr employed by Arsenal, are more than willing to leave the club, despite what is otherwise stated by the player and agent. Therefore I now believe the club need to plan for life without the Dein Jr client to minimize disruption to the squad, phase them out even if possible at the earliest opportunity. Player appreciation, respect and loyalty for the club that patiently developed them and gave them a chance to shine no longer has much value so Arsenal need to be more clinical and precipitate moves. I commend the club for doing that with the RVP situation and bringing in Giroud & Podolski, they need to do the same with Song.

  • Goona Gal

    On paper we have a contract with Song for 2 more years, but Song has the ACN this season again as well as WC qualifiers so he will be absent for key parts of our campaign. This season is as good as any to plan for life after Song if need be. Dein Jr’s players being in the papers regarding contract speculation is great fodder for the newspaper rags but it’s a tired negotiation technique and after a while there are diminishing returns as they become predictable. The desire maybe to create a ground swell of fans that say ‘sign him up Arsene and give him what he wants’, but to me it should be ‘get rid and move on with the nucleus of players are committed to staying’. If we get good offers for him and he wants to leave, then maybe now is the time to cash in.

  • bob

    Goona Gal,
    It’s interesting that Song took on Dein as an agent sometime in March. Why this move then?, I wonder. Clearly a decision or new strategy is afoot. Perhaps Dein tells him that RVP is a goner and the team is destined for mediocrity. How could RVP not be mentioned by Dein at that point, used for leverage on Song’s psyche. Song has clearly developed, and Dein swoops: I will “take you to the next level.” I love Song’s game and that it continues to evolve toward greatness, imo; but Dein is a demonstrated world-class serial wrecker and Song, I have to agree, is the designated next wrecking ball in Dein’s war game$.

    Dein and Barca already are paired, business-wise, in the transaction that brought Thierry to Barca; and of course Cesc to Barca. Now it’s RVP’s turn (barring a spectacular U-turn). And Song’s departure (much as I hate to type these words) seems to fit Dein’s modus operandi. The Barca tippy-tap has begun in the same old way as with Cesc (through the player); and I would have to feel that joining a midfield with old buddy Cesc is a magnet, actively or not.

    This is a good business move for Dein, if Barca can pay the freight. And, perhaps this explains the continuation of the raft of rumors that Arsene will make yet another DM/midfield move this summer. Perhaps grab off the out-of-favor DeJong from City. As a realist, how could Arsene not ensure against this serial predator.

    It will be painful to lose Song, but Dein is a siren singer and Arsene, having been burnt to a near crisp by Dein-Cesc won’t play sentimental sucker to Dein-Song. Alas, I’m riveted and bow to your way of putting it: Dein has been “destroying the squad that AW worked so hard to build.” Never again.

  • bob

    Stuart,
    Before I forget to mention it, to your observation: in the footage of player reactions to the damage cause by Taylor’s assault on Eduardo, one of the Gunners who are there on the pitch and Clearly Deeply Shaken is our Alex Song. Also Cesc. Also Sagna. It’s traumatizing enough from You Tube video distance. Imagine what it is to be there, up close and personal. That Martin Taylor has not faced legal charges for this is beyond words. Then again, such is the corrosive power of the blind eye of the EPL/FA.

  • Heci

    Very entertaining article, as always 🙂

    I always thought an owner like Abramovich was kinda laundering his money with Chelski, do you suppose there could be something like that involved? After all, football isn’t immune to shady stuff like that..

    Btw many people fell for the fake cazorla account but there are other more reliable sources that have spoken exclusively about him being in London last week going to the training ground, shooting his interviews with Arsenal TV (Player), photo sessions and so on. Contract has been signed for ages now and the only thing needed was the official sign off from a Malaga director (they fired some kind of big guy there so there was bound to be confusion). I see that today they’ve signed off Rondon to Runin Kazan, so I expect to see in the next few hours the official Arsenal.com confirmations regarding Cazorla. There have been reports about the fee beeing only 12m pounds plus some bonuses and some kind of contract between Malaga and Arsenal about us loaning them some players. (Bendtner could replace Rondon, perhaps??)