By Tony Attwood
It is a view propagated by lazy journalists that transfers are just things that clubs do. Dead simple. Arsenal need a new player in the certain position, so they identify the best player out there, and buy him.
It is an interesting and rather amusing approach based on the notion that all the power is Arsenal’s – they just have to spend the money on the fee. Rather than also take into account
a) the player’s wage demands
b) whether the player wants to come
c) whether the club want to sell
d) whether anyone else is in the market
e) what the agent is looking to do, in order to maximise his income
And all that is before we take into account the really shady side of transfers such as
f) the transfer that is never going to happen but is invented by an agent to up the value of his player
g) the transfer that is invented to take attention away from the real transfer that is going through quietly
h) the transfer of a non-existent or lower-grade player that is suggested in order to make other clubs waste their time trying to find out about the player and watch him play – thus wasting club time
i) the transfer involves a certain amount of money laundering to which the buying club must be party (see our articles on this range of activities too).
There is more and more of this type of thing, the vapour transfer, the phantom transfer – we’ve covered them all here.
But for the journalist and their allies on the blogs, such things don’t exist – if Arsenal need a player and don’t get the player it is a sure sign of Arsenal’s ineptitude, rather than anything that is actually going on in the increasingly murky world of transfers.
The ins and outs of transfers rarely make the news because it is not in the interest of clubs, agents, players or money launderers to have them made public, because doing so could well screw up current or future business.
However one little story from the murky world did emerge this week (sadly on a day when we were not so much Untold as Unavailable) and that was the attempt by Tottenham to stop Mesut Ozil from moving from Real Mad to Arsenal.
What Tottenham tried to do was include in the Gareth Bale deal a clause preventing Real Mad selling players to Premier League clubs for a year. Tottenham recognised, of course, that Real Mad would have to sell in order to afford Bale – not least because of the impending inspection of Real Mad’s accounts over the land deal they have done with the Madrid city authority. So Tottenham thought they had a chance of getting their own rivals taken out of the equation.
Now this is quite interesting because it goes some way to explain why the Bale deal was delayed and how Tottenham were signing players ahead of the deal to replace Bale. It was presented in the press at the time that the delays were due to arguments about money. Now we have found out that the arguments were about this additional clause in the contract.
Four players were named in Tottenham’s proposal: Ozil, Angel Di Maria and Karim Benzema – all of whom were being talked up last summer as possible Arsenal transfers, and Fabio Coentrao, who Manchester United wanted.
Of course much remains unclear, but it is being said that Ozil made it quite clear that he wanted to play for Wenger – having talked to our boss before he went to Madrid. Real needed some cash from a club that was able to pay sooner rather than later, and so the deal was done, with no guarantee to Tottenham.
Although the ploy failed it is an interesting example of exactly how these things work, and the new ways clubs are finding to manipulate the market to their own benefit.
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