by Tony Attwood
Today we are going to sign Pedro from Barcelona and Turan from Atletico Madrid, although Turan is going to Chelsea. Or Man U. I know this as it is in the Telegraph.
But who actually decides who Arsenal is buying?
The Guardian has published its own guide to who it is in each club who chooses the players. I’m not qualified to judge how accurate each one is, but looking at the Arsenal section it is clear that although it makes interesting reading, it brushes over specific issues.
Here’s what it says about us…
Arsène Wenger is the lord of the kingdom he has built over the past 19 years. His influence extends into every pore of the club and where transfers are concerned, the manager’s authority is total. Wenger always has the final say. The board have attempted to put support systems in place around him, such as their purchase of StatDNA, the football data analytics company, which can help to identify potential signings. But Wenger continues to rely on his own eyes, together with those of his scouts. Dick Law is the club’s chief negotiator.
Chelsea has José Mourinho and Michael Emenalo on look-out but Roman Abramovich has the ultimate say as to which targets are pursued. Marina Granovskaia, a long term adviser to Abramovich, negotiates contracts. Which seems quite a diminution of Mourinho’s power.
At Palace on the other hand Alan Pardew appears to have considerable perhaps absolute control like Mr Wenger, and the same is true at Everton where Martínez has absolute power.
These absolute power cases don’t preclude discussions of course and the manager doesn’t necessarily lead the negotiations, but the number of clubs where the manager does occupy a similar role to that at Arsenal is bigger than we might think.
Leicester have a research system set up – they use Wyscout which anyone can buy into for 39 euros a month. Pearson has gone of course but Steve Walsh who is the recruitment man is still there and the owners tie up the deals, not the manager.
If Liverpool supporters had their way they would be in charge of recruitment, and their first move would be to give Mario Balotelli away. Indeed where most clubs’ fans talk about who they want to buy most of the time Liverpool fans discuss who to ditch. 48% wanted Balotelli gone, 31% Borini, 12% Lovren, 9% Enrique.
Man City have what the Guardian calls the continental model of having expendable managers within an over-arching football structure. Nice one.
Manchester United under Sir F Word had one man who dominated it all, and by fair means and foul won lots of stuff, and Van Gaal has taken over that mantle.
As for Newcastle, the hand of Mike Ashley is everywhere and one wonders what on earth Steve McClaren will do except take the wrath of supporters when things go wrong. The chief scout identifies targets and Lee Charnley tries to get them. After that Ashley gives them to Rangers.
At Norwich City Alex Neil is something of a hero and it wouldn’t be surprising if he is able to dominate transfer deals and do what he wants – unless and until relegation beckons. They have a Head of Recruitment position but it is been vacant for four months which given the window is open means, there isn’t one.
As the Guardian says, “succession planning” is the Southampton game. They know they are going to lose players so when they do, they have replacements already lined up.
At Stoke, Hughes announces what sort of player he wants and the tech director finds one. I guess it goes like this:
Hughes: I want a thug who plays a long ball game.
Repeat ad infinitum.
Sunderland have a sporting director who reports to the tech director who reports to the chief exec who reports to the owner. Or something like that. I got lost in the labyrinth and so I think have Sunderland.
Swansea City are known for watching targets for a long time, and have a sacred trinity of a head of recruitment, a head of scouting and a manager and we can’t knock it as they survive on a tiny supporter basis.
And so we come to Tottenham who have a committee of four made up of Daniel Levy, Daniel Levy, Daniel Levy, Daniel Levy and, ooops that is four. He targets the Europa league each season, and succeeds.
Watford are owned by the family that controls Udinese and Granada in Spain, and it looks like all three clubs work together to get players as needed for each club.
At WBA it is the chairman who puts the manager of a leash and he’s got rid of the hangers on like a tech director and head of recruitment. But then the manager is Pulis so who they want is simple. See Stoke for details.
Tony Henry, head of recruitment at West Ham has been told to broaden the base of the team but it is the joint owner David Sullivan who does the transfers.
So what do we conclude? It’s all a bit technical but in essence if the manager really knows his stuff, let him do it. Don’t let semi-skimmed power mad bonkers owners take control. In fact don’t let any owner take control. Sacking the manager doesn’t work, unless the manager is Brendan Rodgers when it might.
Selected anniversary of the day
4 July 2013: Hector Bellerin signed a new long-term contract. Having transferred from Barcelona in 2011 as a youth player he had been on loan at Watford during 2013/14 before in September 2014 making his Arsenal debut following a spate of injuries to other defenders.