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Six top players in and three out. Arsenal’s summer transfer news

By Tony Attwood
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Go through the web sites, newspapers and blogs and you get a huge list of potential buys for Arsenal this summer, plus quite a few players who are on the way out.
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Coming in we have the likes of
  • Isco (Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez ) the attacking midfielder from Malaga for £35m,
  • Valdes the Barcelona goalkeeper
  • N’Koulou from Marseille
  • Vorm, the Swansea goalkeeper
  • Martin Skrtel from Liverpool
  • David Villa from Barcelona
In the departure lounge we are told to expect
  • Mertersacker to Wolfsburg
  • Bendtner to Zenit
  • Sagna to …. well take your choice
None of this lot would normally appear on Untold since they are not “untold” – you can read these on a lot of sites.

But what is “untold” is what makes a transfer actually happen, and what it is that stops a transfer going through.   Of course the ones you read about in the blogs and fantasy press don’t happen because they are never going to happen, but there are other issues that circle around real transfers.  So here we go…

What stops a transfer in to Arsenal

Everyone talks about it – so the price goes up.  This doesn’t apply to the last few days of a real transfer, when the agent leaks a done deal, but it certainly does kill deals at other times.

The Anti-Arsenal Arsenal.   Arsenal is starting to get a bit of a reputation in Europe as a club where the supporters are in revolt.  Of course the story is exaggerated – just as the Arsenal blogs exaggerate the transfer stories – but it is the reports in the blogs and other media about Arsenal unrest that screws up deals.  No one wants to play for a club where he is likely to be booed by his own club’s fans.

Inflated prices.   It was noticeable that the Malaga transfers in this season not only came out of the blue, but were also at very reasonable prices, given the quality that we have seen in Cazorla and Monreal.  But this is not always the case.  Malaga has been a good hunting ground because of their financial collapse – and no one really wants to play for a club in financial collapse.  But some clubs try to get out of financial collapse by inflating prices.  It is a high risk strategy but many try it.

UK tax.  Our tax situation is nothing like that in France for top earners, but the government in the UK is talking up its proposals to tighten tax law so that companies like Amazon and Starbucks that trade in Britain, and employ people in Britain do actually manage to pay some tax in Britain.  This may reduce the attraction of Britain, where the 50% top rate of tax plus National Insurance has seemed high, and players have been enticed here by having their pay put through artificial tax schemes.

What enhances a transfer

The Rooney Factor.   When Ferguson dropped Rooney from his team to play Real Mad there was a lot of stories to the effect that Rooney was leaving.  Ferguson then denied it.

But then the question popped up – if Rooney went, who would buy, and it began to look as if no one would.  Manchester City had tried in October 2010 but failed and now seemed to have no interest.

The problem for many clubs is the salary of £250,000 a week.  The transfer fee of £25m or so would be manageable, but not a £13m a year salary over 5 years.

Paris St-Germain could look at that sort of money – but they would have to pay more, because France has a high rate of tax for very high earners.  Since top footballers’ agents negotiate salaries net, the £13m a year would have to rise to £27m a year to compensate for France’s top earners tax.

By and large clubs are looking to unload or not renew – and that means more players in the market place.

Big transfer teams losing interest in big transfers.   Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona and Bayern Munich seem not to be less interested in big name players as they re-organise their finances to meet FFP regulations.  Internal arguments at Manchester City might move them into this camp but it depends who wins the battle at the top.  The manager wants lots of new players, the owners are saying, “you’ve had your chance”.  Again this means lots of players available with prices declining.

Then there is Financial Fair Play.  Despite all the people who still claim that it is going nowhere because of imaginary EU rules, or clever ways around it, there is a growing feeling that FFP is on the way in and will affect clubs.  Not only is there the European version, there is also a Premier league version on the way, and it will have an impact on this type of transfer.   This means some clubs will unload a few high earners to clubs that have plenty of room to accommodate them – Arsenal being one.

The big spenders can’t buy players they won’t play.   David Beckham aside when top clubs buy men who are considered top players, those men expect to, well, play.  And because some players find themselves surplus to requirements they are moving on.  Which brings a lot of talented players onto the market after a year of languishing on the bench or even worse.   The unloading of players bought in a rush at Manchester City and PSG, and by some of the Russian billionaire-run clubs, means there are a lot of players sloshing around the market this year.  That doesn’t mean Arsenal will buy Man City rejects, but it does mean that Arsenal’s typical under-the-radar deals will have more players to choose from.
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Arsene Wenger.  Yes, the AAA see him as an obstacle.  The footballing world sees him as a huge attraction and players everywhere would like to see what it is like to play for him.
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London.   Maybe we all get a bit used to it, but the capital of the UK is still an attraction for many peopleIt is not a defining factor, but it is an addition.
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The profits are there for purchases.  Arsenal is one of the few clubs that doesn’t even have to think about FFP it is so far ahead of the base line set by FFP.
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Arsenal’s stability and history.  Everyone knows that some clubs are more stable than others.  The way Arsenal has resisted the manoeuvres by Mr Usmanov is highly welcomed by many in the footballing world.  No player wants to play for a club that is so unstable that the instability affects what happens on the pitch.
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The Flamini Factor.   Although the AAA will never admit it, the majority of players that Arsenal have let go in the Wenger era have done a lot worse in their new club than with Arsenal.   Mat Flamini after whom the factor is named, went on a free to Milan after having one good season at Arsenal.  His career dipped dramatically and Milan were unable to sell him on.  Eventually he left on a free, couldn’t find another club and returned to Milan with a dramatic wages cut.   RVP has done very well, that can’t be denied, but most of the others have experienced more time on the bench than they would have imagined.  Even Henry’s time at Barca (which cost them £250,000 a game) was uninspiring.  Hleb’s move was a positive disaster.  Song is the latest to have found life beyond Arsenal is not so good.
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The Emirates and the Training Ground.  Last point – we know that some grounds are good, but few match the facilities at Arsenal all round.   The training area is a very positive plus.

Recent posts…

The books…

The sites from the same team…

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38 comments to Six top players in and three out. Arsenal’s summer transfer news

  • HR

    To anyone thinking these lists are in any way reasonable, if not desirable …

    Isco for £35M … ha! In your dreams. That is, even if Malaga would sell. Which they won’t.

    Skrt’l … (a) he looks like a transgender alien – and while I have no problem with the former there’s still the Vogon to deal with, (b) too few vowels. Please, God, no. Also, he really is overrated.

    Mertersacker … he’s fine. He’s one of us. He may be big, and lumbering, and has (as everyone keeps telling me) eighty-odd caps for the GNT and you don’t get eighty-odd caps for the GNT unless you’re pretty oinking good. On the other hand, if the anme on the list was Varane (RM) … then it’d be a different matter altogether.

    N’Koulou? Really? ACN/CAN every other whenever. Been there, done that with Kolo. It’s OK for the front six, but not the back four … err … five.

    Vorm AND Valdes … well that settles Szczesny’s future at the club. Show some respect.

  • @blacksheep63

    agree with ll of this intelligent insight as usual Tony but would add that (for some of the reasons you state – i.e FFP)this summer might be different. Clearly where we finish will be important in attracting players. But also I think there is a groundswell of opinion that while this Arsenal team has a nucleus of good (potentially great) players, it lacks real class in several key areas. This undermines AW’s desire to compete for honours. The reality of another season without a trophy is less important here than the distance we are from winning the league. In that respect Utd are in a mini league of their own, and we want to be in that league instead of scrapping for titbits with the likes of Liverpool, Sp*rs and Everton (and even Chelski this year). So I expect (hope?) to see a couple of marquee signings this summer plus the exit shown to some players who have had more than long enough to prove they have what it takes. AW has been very loyal to certain people who have not demonstrated they deserve it.
    We’ll see what happens

  • Super Singh

    Good Morning Tony, agree with everything you say except the Anti-Arsenal bit. During my business years I had the good fortune to deal with a high ranking official from Parma, and during our conversation he had stated that “The Arsenal” are very well respected club in world football.

    Well why is that I asked? It’s the way WE conduct ourselves and the way we do business. So in the reputation you speak off is slightly off the mark, and for fans to boo players unfortunately happens at a lot of clubs.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some great points. Arsenal are hugely respected world wide amongst the ranks of those who know anything about the game. And so is our manager – some anti Wenger sites regularly suggest Wenger replacements, but the board will be well aware, that when the great man calls it a day, the likes of Moyes, Martinez – or with some, unbelievably….O Neill or Coyle will never have a fraction of the kudos Wenger has in the corners of the globe the club are aiming at. Wenger is still a big draw despite what critics in this country would have you believe…as David Dein said, he will not be hard to replace, he will be impossible to replace. As for the transfer rumours themselves, I can only really see a top forward, maybe a more trad type holding MF such as Capoue and maybe an experienced keeper who will be available, but will help coaching rather than ruin the promising, but I really hope there is no truth in us losing the likes of Szes, Vermaelen, Mertesacker or Baq, we really need players like that. I am not saying who we have cannot improve, because clearly they can but the main thing we need is stability. Vermaelen’s future with us worries me most of that lot, if Wenger decided the captaincy was harming his game, he might offer him an exit route rather than take away the captaincy and keep him. Personally, I think he is a great player, a versatile player, an important part of games where we really go for it, but one who needs a bit of work on positioning in some cases, a bit more organisation from those upfield of him, nothing more than that.

  • Elvis

    Hi, interesting read this. Although you could add Nasri to the has-been pile. He’s no longer getting starts (unless others are injured). And RVP seems to be getting fat (still scoring atm – but for how long?)
    I’d say Wenger will repeat last year’s buying. A couple of good bargains + a somewhat proven striker.
    The main difference will be lack of key players leaving.

    ??? Arshavin, Chamakh, bendtner, squillaci and djourou ( I like the swiss chap, though).

  • Jon

    I’m pretty sure that the Villa ship has sailed. 15 mill for a 31 year old was pretty unlikely in January but with six months less possible playing time I’d put it as an infinitessimally small chance. Regardless of our “warchest” I don’t see us spending 35 million on Isco, either. More likely than a combined 50 million on Villa and Isco, I’d be less suprised to see us spend 20-25 million on Jovetic, who can offer on his own a lot of what the other two do. I’d rather we signed Ogbonna than N’Koulou as I thing that N’Koulou’s a bit on the short side and for me relies a bit too much on his recovery pace (Ogbonna has pace too, but tends not to need it so much). Skrtel’s rubbish, we should keep the BFG, who only ever looks bad because he’s playing in such a poor defensive unit. He’s not quick and so has to rely on positioning – however if the people either side of him are in the wrong place and leaving gaps then he’s going to get exposed. Don’t want Vorm or Valdes. Vorm’s got a poor attitude and my mum could keep a clean sheet for Barca in La Liga. I’d prefer Begovic, Mignolet or Ruffier.

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    I’ve been in the belief that Vermaellen is also a Darren “Damien” Dein client. If that holds true, then surely another move to Barca or ManUre is in the works… 🙂 There may be a Dein the Lesser factor here and, TV will have been our next (to be) ex-Captain (Cesc, RVP) who is a client of this poacher/predator/asset-stripper/wheeler-dealer (who Arsenal has done business with) will have had has last client grace the pitch at the Emirates… until the next one is wittingly seduced. I feel this bears closer watching, given this link-up. Has Tommy V. so totally gone to pot? is he that injured?

  • Rupert Cook

    Six players in! Can’t see it happening unless we sell half the team. I’d like three world class players in, one being a striker.

    As for players not coming to Arsenal because of this mythic AAA beast I think that is highly unlikely. If any team has a set of disgruntled fans it’s Chelsea despite the fact they’ve little to moan about. Do you think they’ll have trouble attracting players?

    The only reason we might not attract the best players is through failing to qualify for the CL. Nothing to do with the fans.

  • cptn

    I support the best club in the world!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Rupert,
    Chelsea and City will always be able to attract no matter what, who or when as they got money to burn. We don’t and have to attract them with “other things” apart from money

  • bjtgooner

    @Mandy

    I agree that this summer we really need stability and the retention of our first team players. A small number of quality additions, as you have identified, would make us into a title threatening team for next season.

    Mind you, it would take a strong willed player to want to come to Arsenal and risk having the rupert (depressive AAA sewer rat) writing rubbish about him several times a day.

  • Asif

    TV is not going anywhere…if you all remember he was the only player to have signed a contract extension at the time when Cesc, Nasri (the bastard) and Clichy left…and Wenger had thanked him for it!

    It is just that the squad is being rotated. I also don’t think that we will buy more than 3 players…

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Other things?
    We might get Isco but I’m not sure how. Villa looks to have played his way back into the Barca team (a shame, shows how valuable he is), Valdes would want to be first choice (albeit he is an excellent keeper) and might suffer from De Gea syndrome (even the refs in Manure games don’t protect the keeper THAT much).
    Who’s contract is run down at the end of season, that’s your almost certain departures list. Anyone with a year left and hardly any appearances will be put up for sale at bargain basement prices but I struggle to see who will buy them.

  • WalterBroeckx

    About Mertesacker: just look at this picture on arsenal.com

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/mertesacker-our-new-view-on-defending

    He loves it here.

  • Rufusstan

    Rupert — I’m guessing Chelsea’s fan disgruntlement is unlikely to last longer than Benitez’s contract. Chelsea’s issue is increasingly going to be attracting managers. Who is left that both: Abramovich wants, and is willing to work in that environment? I agree CL may well be an issue, hopefully it could be balanced by the stability, hopefully one-off nature etc…

    By the way I love the irony in the fact that paying off a manager tends to go in the books as exceptional items. When it happens every year?

    Bob — May be goodish new about Vermaelen. His agents are these guys http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk/en/sports-entertainment-group/details/berater_586.html, downside, they are RVPs as well so obviously are not fluffy bunnies either.

    I think Deon has no players left in the Arsenal squad (Song was the last), so he has no direct impact. Better still he worked as an ‘advisor’ as well, so it may limit his access to other players in the squad.

  • Rufusstan

    As far as the transfers go: Isco is always an option unless Malaga’s finances have suddenly improved. (Seems mean to do to them what everyone has been doing to us; but what the hell). Whether he solves our problems is another story.

    Funny thing is, looking at the rumours there are very few connecting us with strikers. It may just be me, but I thought a striker was generally thought to be what we need the most. The only one on the list is Villa and that is not exactly a rumour since we bid (ok enquired) for him January.

  • Ong Bing

    I think Sagna will go, age factor. And Jenks needs time to play, so new right back I think, except our youth step in.

    Joel Campbell improving, but I don’t know is he good enough to break to our first team?

    How about Ryo?

  • A. Stewart

    Honestly, do you not think that the seeming cultural acceptance of “4th as a trophy” and where that measures on the ambition scale could be seen as a deterrent for a transfer coming in?

    Top footballers, athletes etc are motivated by winning and an inherent competitive fire to be the best (as much as motivated by money). Don’t you think it’s remotely possible that some top players could see our seeming acceptance of 4th as a trophy as a deterrent?

    “Everyone talks about it – so the price goes up. This doesn’t apply to the last few days of a real transfer, when the agent leaks a done deal, but it certainly does kill deals at other times.”

    There’s truly nothing unique to Arsenal about this. In this day and age it’s hard to keep the lid on transfer targets, worst yet big names. So it then becomes a question of will. Are we willing to accept it and still pull the trigger ( that in many cases we can still easily afford) or take the moral high ground and accept missing out on heightened by still affordable transfer prices for a target that could provide some serious quality (and thus recoup their outlay financially on and off the field), because we pull out in the price is (in some cases reportedly) raised by a “just” a few million?

    “Arsene Wenger”: It depends, I think he is seen as attracting factor depending on the type of player. For a younger player, absolutely he is, because they will arguably generally get more play, more pay, and more chances/forgiveness than at any other elite club. For a more seasoned player, and those in the elite bracket, I disagree, I think once was seen as how you describe him..: “The footballing world sees him as a huge attraction and players everywhere would like to see what it is like to play for him.” (Sorry you cannot categorically state that’s how the footballing world views him, because that’s simply not true), I think that was once true, but not so much anymore.

    Another deterrent to transfers in (elite targets) is that top players want to play alongside top players, learn from them, and compete with them, to become better players themselves. We surely have some good players no doubt, but the culture of gifting chances to youngsters and regularly underperforming players may not appeal to many elite players.
    Do you think it’s even remotely possible that for example a midfielder considering a new club (of which Arsenal is one) may be deterred by coming to the club, because say Ramsey (bless his heart) and Diaby are seemingly assured countless chances in the squad regardless of form/production and injury record? When that midfielder may think or know he is a much better player that these, don’t you think that could be a deterrent?

    Re: the AAA’s influence, and it’s second spot in your list (and by that I infer you think it’s a major factor). Please, that’s just silly. Do you really think footballers live in a vacuum? I’s bet most are aware of the real and genuine problems at AFC that have in part caused legitimate fan unhappiness in some segments, and see the genuine problems resulting in the unrest as more a deterrent that the symptom the underlying malaise has caused i.e. fan unrest. And please, it’s a an unfortunate but real modern football culture that is surely not limited to AFC i.e. fan unrest (especially in this day of the blogosphere) and even booing at games, which is (again unfortunately) too common at many big clubs in recent times..City, Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs, Milans and many more have all had to endure their share of matchday fan unrest in recent times.

    “Although the AAA will never admit it, the majority of players that Arsenal have let go in the Wenger era have done a lot worse in their new club than with Arsenal.”

    I think you know it’s truly not as straightforward and simplistic as that, especially when considering the stages at careers some have left at. Since our last trophy players that have moved on have collected many medals around England and Europe, many have collected much more pay (that has to be factored as to whether they have done “worse”).

    “The big spenders can’t buy players they won’t play.”
    Completely agree, and that’s why this meme of never being able to compete with City/Chelsea (never mind we only play them twice per season in the league) is just silly. They simply CANNOT buy all the good players (seasoned or young) out there.

  • SouthernGunner

    Nice article Tony.

    You’ve highlighted the importance of a club’s stability and good reputation. Hopefully the new financial rules will only help strengthen all clubs in the right way, lessening the dependencey on big money men. Who knows, eventually the may come a time where the oligarchs might loose interest in football altogether?

  • nihirealist

    A. Stewart

    It is willfully manipulating Wenger’s statement as to 4th being like a trophy being equated to being happy to settle for 4th. He’s said that good players will not ask whether you won the FA Cup or League Cup last year, but whether you are in the CL places. Hence making 4th more important than winning those two trophies. That makes perfect sense.

    I also think the CL is slightly exaggerated by Wenger as a draw for players, because in my view, players would be willing to play for a club if the money was right along with the chances of growth. But CL does bring in the money, hence making his statement about players joining true.

    As for the last point. The money clubs can’t buy everyone but a) they do push up the prices and wages required for everyone else. b) they win out on the players who we are in for, and c) the sort of players who can really push a team on from being 3rd or 4th to being the winners are limited. They can’t buy everyone, but they don’t need to. Elite players are few and far between. Players who can do a good job are far more, and we actually have many of those. Scope for improvement always exists and no one denies that.

    But this is also where Wenger’s ‘top top quality’ phrase is misunderstood. Sure, point to Gervinho and say he’s not top quality. But he was an addition to the squad in absence of being able to purchase (for whatever reason) a player of superior quality. That doesn’t mean we should buy some other player whose expected output is similar. e.g. Buying Cabaye would have improved us. But will buying Cabaye, for 15m and for 4 years, preclude us from being able to buy someone better in the next 2 years? It’s possible. These sort of squad calculations need to be made, especially when it is essential to be efficient. Which it is for us. But is less so for City, Chelsea and ManU. Spurs and Liverpool are not efficient, and hence, although they’ve bought much more than we have, they tend to not get the same level of output as us.

    I am certain that because our transition has been so well managed, keeping us stable for so long, is why people don’t appreciate what we have, and what Wenger has done. Because we took steps to ensure we never ended up going bankrupt like Liverpool did, and worked hard at staying in the CL (also so we wouldn’t go bankrupt), people don’t appreciate that work. Because the danger was avoided, everyone thinks it wasn’t really possible. On the other hand, Liverpool did go bust through mismanagement, and then have unsuccesfully spent 100m just to try and get back to where they were, but they get praised for this ‘ambition’.

    But this whole ‘debate’ is never ending. Some people are never happy, no matter what. In any case, the spending capacity is going to increase soon, and I believe it will be this summer, especially if we get CL, that we will see some good additions to the squad, while maintaining squad stability. Don’t expect 50m pound signings though. That won’t happen. Because there aren’t any players worth that who will be available.

  • nihirealist

    Southern Gunner

    Exactly. It’s only been 10 years since Abramovich came on the scene. Things have changed so much since then. Who knows how it’ll work out another 10 years from now. Footballing glory is limited and the spending required is ever increasing. How many of the oligarchs will stick around if denied the fame, but having to shell out more and more of their money?

  • Stuart

    It’s time to finally close a discussion that quite often comes up and gets misinterpreted.

    4th place is like a trophy. This is because 4th place is one of the targets for the club, it’s one of many not and I repeat, not, the ultimate aim of the team.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think wengers ambitions go far higher than fourth, and have maybe at time cost us lesser trophies than his true aims. But events have hampered his true aims.

  • Linz

    I fully expect Sagna and Vermaelen to leave this summer, along with the out of contract Arshavin,Squillaci,Frimpong and Fabianski.Attempts will be made to get rid of Denilson,Chamack,Santos,Park,and Bendtner,but i expect we will end up forking out for these players to see out their contracts playing elsewhere.I can also see Djourou,Mannone,Rosicky and Wellington(who?) moving on,along with a few fringe youngsters such as Eastmond and Watt.Despite all the glamorous names being bandied about in the press,all these departures will necessitate less stellar reinforcements to the squad in the form of at LEAST one centre half,a GK,and a right back.I can see a DM coming in, maybe another attacking midfielder and finally a striker,hopefully a top quality one,as boy we certainly need it.Better get that top 4 now!Remember my predictions,and feel free to shove them back in my face on Sept 1st,as my crystal ball has become a little cloudy recently.Note i did not name any new additions,as ,quite frankly,i haven’t got the foggiest!

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I do not believe that we will land David Villa because of his resurgence, and his value to Barca, just take a second look at his chemistry with Messi.
    Same for Skrtel: He is way too valuable for Liverpool, and Carragher is about to retire; they will keep him. Ditto for Vorm and Valdes. By the way, after watching the Sp*ds implode against Liverpool, I understand why Arsene passed on Lloris despite having the insider track to land him (Remi Garde, the Olympique Lyonnais coach, is a friend of Arsene Wenger’s) and first dibbs (ahead of the Sp*ds) to get him to the premier league. By the way, Lyon is a mini-Malaga, as they have let go of several players like Hugo Lloris and Michel Bastos.
    We may have an interest in Isco, but he will be gobbled by a big club. I find the Jovetic link more likely.
    Incidentally, I am puzzled by the fact that the Qataris have yet to purchase a Premier League club as a French Ligue 1 club is a very bad investment, even considering Marseille and their huge roster of fans, or Saint-Etienne with their 100% attendance. Incidentally, I cringe when I think that oil and gas money may buy well run clubs like Arsenal, Saint-Etienne, or a German club. I guess spending money to prop up salafistas in the Middle East is costly enough to “only’ afford the Qs Malaga and PSG, but hey AC Milan is for sale.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Ray, initially thought the quatar story was crap, but have since revised my opinion. I believe there will be,an offer, whether stan takes it or not,is anyone’s guess, but if there is an offer, I can only assume it will be a good one,, maybe designed to be too good to refuse. The Mid East consortium would have so many reasons to own a club like ours. Whatever the truth, still think ffp will,have some sort of effect though

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    We need a real bench.
    Getting rid of Arshavin, Bendtner, Denilson, Andre Santos, Squillaci, etc… is great.
    We should have a bench that would look imposing even if we had to deal with several injuries.
    This is why Jovetic, being different than Giroud, offers so much. He also plays ahead of the midfield. Isco would compete with Wilshere and mostly with Cazorla; in fact, my theory about us landing Cazorla is that someone at Malaga suggested that Isco could replace our little magician.
    Incidentally, Cazorla is the best at keeping and moving the ball with his vivacity, he can also intercept the ball often as he can see the game very well, even when we do not have the ball. He reminds me somehow of Cesc Fabregas.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Mandy Dodd:
    I will take usmanov ahead of the Qataris.
    I cannot support the Qataris.
    They have started a bloody civil war in my country of origin.

  • Stroller

    An interesting article as usual from Tony. But I really wonder if transfer decisions are analysed by potential signings to the degree suggested. I would suggest that money and the way deals are structured, along with the expectation of regular first team exposure play a big part. Remember that players have their own sponsorship deals to think of and Arsenal’s worldwide fanbase is a positive in this respect.

    At the same time I feel that there a lot of myths concerning this areaa as well. Like joining a club supported as a boy or joining because of friendships with players already there. We all know that the London club players mix with each other out of hours even although we don’t like to think about it.

    Finally I would recommend this article by Martin Samuel in today’s Mail concerning the scandalous state of the loan system. (No it’s not about Rio Ferdinand)

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2294941/Rio-Ferdinand-perform-England–Martin-Samuel.html

  • americangooner

    4th is a trophy cliche is an oft-repeated by those fans who see AW sacking as a way towards success at arsenal. as illustrated by nihirealist players don’t go to a particular English club because they won league cup and/or FA cup, they go for a chance to play in CL. Arsenal are consistently in CL, hence we have upper hand over a team not qualifying for CL.
    Vertonghen & Mirallas have, on record, snubbed the chance to play for Arsenal owing to, in their perception, competetion for starting position. Hence, we can refute our squad lacks competetion against supposed elite talent.

    Last year we signed 29 y/o arteta, 28 y/o mertesacker, 31 y/o benayoun (on loan); this season we signed 26 y/o giroud, 27 y/o podolski & 28 y/o cazorla. This refutes the theory we don’t attract players of experience.

    Players don’t play for arsenal because there are no consequences. There are consequences for being, indisciplined, lazy and being invisible during games. Yes, players do face less harsher consequences for failing AW at Arsenal but this doesn’t mean their action/inactions is consequence-free. Even if the club is less harsh on players, some section of fans won’t be. They will boo, write half-truths, slander any player performing poorly. So players know there are repercussions.

  • Adam

    Always loved guessing games as a kid, just cannot help myself.

    Antoine Griezmann, Sergio Sanchez or Daniel Estrada, Jorginho

  • Adam

    Or we could go all out for the left footed right back, Matteo Darmian, just to confuse the rest of the league?

  • Messi's dad

    Interesting perspective as always Tony.

    After the years of plenty (champagne soccer, double doubles, Champions league finalists, The Invincibles), we have waited long and very hard through years of famine for the promised big payoff from the stadium move.

    Now it looks like we will be fully paying down our stadium debts within the same few years of:
    – new sponsorship deals
    – full implementation of FFP
    – expiry of several existing contracts (Squillaci, Arshavin, etc.)

    Our increased purchasing power is going to be a double whammy to teams like Liverpool, Everton and Spurs, who have not achieved much of note (cup wins? bah!) in the same period, and who still have yet to resolve their own stadium issues to secure their long term future.

    (Assuming all the obvious assumptions) when the time comes, will we (Wenger) then be splashing the cash? Will we be the new Chelsea / Man City / PSG of the FFP era? Should we be? Or should we stick to “The Arsenal Way” of doing things and not sell our souls?

    Whatever, I am just grateful we are able to have a debate like that!

    If we have 35 million to spare, I vote we bring back Cesc from Barca!

  • nihirealist

    Mandy Dodd and Ray,

    Even before I read Ray’s statement about preferring Usmanov to Qataris, I was going to say that I think the whole story about the Qatari and UAE (joint bid remember) interest was a plant by Usmanov.

    If you read the article, it basically contained all the propaganda talking points about Arsenal and Kroenke, yet mentioned Usmanov as having a dream to own Arsenal (while Kroenke was supposedly not interested in the sport at all- despite his more involved record with sports teams) It is a convenient way to launch the same criticisms of Arsenal from an as yet, unnamned source, making the source above scrutiny or criticism, and giving it a veneer of impartiality.

    The Arab bit gives visions of wealth even beyond Usmanov, without his alleged criminal baggage, and makes people more receptive to the message of Arsenal being in a bad state, and more receptive to change.

    The bit about this being a one time offer does two things. 1) It forces fans to think of it as now or never, and hence force them to choose sides, many of whom will align with the alleged money bags to force Kroenke out (remember, if the fans turn, ARsenal’s model fails on its own) 2) It allows a convenient cover for this mystery consortium to just disappear, allowing the semi endorsed Usmanov to take up the mantle once the fans have turned on Kroenke.

    Keep in mind, that any person/group aiming to buy Arsenal needs either Kroenke be willing to sell, or force him to sell. If they have enough money, Kroenke should be open to a sale (unless the stories about him having no passion for the sport are wrong) and hence leaking such stories is useless and serves no purpose.

    But if you need to force Kroenke to sell, you need to ensure that his investment in Arsenal proves to be a bad one. Hence, it requires Arsenal to be harmed. Making any hostile takeover contrary to the fans’ interest, despite what they might want you to think.

    Could there be genuine interest in Arsenal? Of course. But I think Arsenal are not interested in selling, and inviting Kroenke itself was a means of protecting against such a move.

    Anyway. I call motivated hoax on the supposed 1.5bn bid.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very plausible Nihirealist, must admit that was my initial take on matters, but have heard a couple things since. They could be wrong of course. Also, that story was initially printed in the Telegraph, they also get things wrong, but we are at least led to believe they are a bit more careful with their sources than some I could think of. I cannot prove anything but just have a hunch something is afoot in the background, I believe there is a potential bidder from that region. They may have good reasons, possible image issues in some cases and more global acceptance, the world cup, and there may be an arguement for getting some money out of oil. If the size of the bid is true, they are desperate for something, and Arsenal fits the bill in so many ways. Ray mentions he would be wary of such owners due to a human tragedy, fortunately, I have not such bad experiences with such people and I sympathise with anyone who has, but I would be extremely wary of anyone who compromised our hard and at times painful march to sustainability, anyone who went against FFP, and anyone in anyway fickle who could plough a load of money in, then desert us after their world cup….or if in some event they were stripped of the world cup for whatever reason after Blatter has gone….It is of course possible someone could come in, keep Wenger and keep to FFP of course, and they may show considerably more interest…and dare I say ambition that Stan APPEARS to demonstrate. But as you say, bid or no bid, if Stan is not interested, it will not happen. If he is, we will eventually be sold to someone. But if this were true, it may give us some indication whether Stan does care about the club, or is a purely financial investor, he has done nothing wrong, but some would quextion what he does right by his clubs.

  • Tasos

    How long before Usmanov gives up on his quest to own Arsenal outright and moves his efforts elsewhere?

    Could happen.

    As I understand it Stan Kroenke has never sold a single share in any of his sports teams to date.

  • Stroller

    If you are following events surrounding financial crisis in Cyprus you will know of the possible Russian involvement and a bailout in exchange for gas drilling rights. The company being mentioned is Gazprom.

    To quote Wiki: “He (Usmanov)is chairman of Gazprominvest Holdings, the investment holding subsidiary of Russia’s state-owned gas company Gazprom, where his role is to manage its most difficult and sensitive financial transactions.

    Usmanov is the sole owner of Cyprus-registered Gallagher Holdings, described as a global conglomerate with main investments in mining and steel industry, technology, oil and gas, media and pharmaceuticals”

    So indeed he might be moving his efforts elsewhere.

  • Andy Mack

    This summer I expect us to buy 3 ‘internationals’ and to promote some reserves into the 1st team squad.
    Unlikely to be any of the names menmtioned in the press.