By Tony Attwood
At last, the agent Darren Dein no longer has any influence in the world of Arsenal. It is something that has taken a lot of time to accomplish, and of course we must say from the start that there is no evidence that Arsenal directors have deliberately sought to sell off everyone associated with Dein. We have to say, because of the lack of data, that it could just be a coincidence.
The last two players in Mr Dein’s wardrobe (as it were) were RVP and Alex Song. Both have gone in the matter of a week. Maybe that too is a coincidence.
Now it is not common that I give credit to the right wing xenophobic English paper The Daily Mail, but on 6 March this year they ran the story that Song and RVP would go, and the connection in this departure would be their agent: Mr Dein.
They said in this piece, “Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis and manager Arsene Wenger are convinced the real stumbling block to a deal will be Darren.”
Of course I don’t know if that is true, since I have only met Mr Gazidis once (on the occasion when I suggested putting up the statue of Herbert Chapman – I thought I would drop that one in, in case you missed it last time) and we certainly didn’t talk agents. We talked history.
So, who has been under the Dein umbrella so to speak?
- Thierry Henry, (Dein was best man at his wedding)
- Emmanuel Adebayor, (although I gather this happened after he moved on from Arsenal)
- Gael Clichy
- Cesc Fabregas
Here’s another point, the Mail made at that time… “In the past, when the majority of Arsenal’s players were represented and managed by Jerome Anderson’s SEM Group, the star names traditionally remained loyal. ”
They cite Ian Wright, David Rocastle, Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp as players who turned down financial incentive to stay with Arsenal.
Now it appear that Mr Dein was able to get very close to the players at Arsenal, even going so far as to travel with the players on Champions League trips.
But of course it would be ludicrous to say that everyone who has left ARsenal for more money was linked to Darren Dein.
Samir Nasri had as his agent Jean-Pierre Bernes, who according to CNN was the “right-hand man to Marseille president Bernard Tapie during France’s biggest football scandal. The pair were found guilty of attempting to fix a Ligue 1 match against Valenciennes in May 1993, in the week before Marseille beat AC Milan in the Champions League final.”
However it is possible that the removal of the influence of Mr Dein might well be very positive for Arsenal. Indeed it is not impossible to imagine a situation in which the club will say, “If you are represented by Dein, we won’t sign you”. Of course I just made that concept up, but it does seem strange that one agent should be so closely involved with Arsenal.
On the other hand one could see some of the things that happened as positive. Mr Dein, it is said, arranged for Thierry Henry to come back to Arsenal as cover last season, and I think most of us enjoyed that.
But could one actually say to an employee, “you must not change agents and have Mr Dein while you are at Arsenal”? I imagine it is not too much of a restraint of trade to put that in a contract, providing it was made abundantly clear to the player upon signing, and not slipped in through the small print.
Maybe that is happening. Maybe the club has gone about setting up a Dein free zone. We’ll never know of course, but it will be interesting to see who the agent is of each new player coming in.
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