- Forecasting without reality: how Tottenham will knock Arsenal out of the top four
- 36 players joining Arsenal; 22 leaving the club, and next season’s line up.
By Tony Attwood
10 years ago Untold Arsenal ran the headline Half of Arsenal’s mid-field and attack will be different next season and the talk at that time was of a midfield that read
while in attack we were talking about…
Oxlade Chamberlain Van Persie Podolski
As for the back-ups and changes that could be made from the bench we noted that Gervinho, Walcott, Ramsey and Rosicky were all available.
So the talk is of all the newcomers, but there is also a sudden change in the transfer rules which apply from now on. Following Chelsea’s attempt to get around the Financial Fair Play rules by putting players on very long contracts that has now been stopped.
In the past a player’s value was written down across the length of his contract. This meant that players put on eight-year contracts would have only half the impact on the level of expenditure for FFP purposes than those on a more normal four-year deal.
The reason clubs have not generally implemented eight-year contracts is because it gives the clubs an obligation to pay the player over that length of time – which is a danger if either he gets a serious long-term injury, loses form, is found never to have had the form anticipated or a new manager comes in and thinks he doesn’t fit into the new plan.
But Chelsea have not cared for such detail, merely wanting to get around the FFP implications of their huge expenditure. So Uefa have put a stop to that. No matter how long the contract, no fee can be spread across more than five years for the purposes of calculating FFP.
The arrangement is not retrospective so Chelsea have got away with it over Fernández and Mudryk who are both on eight-and-a-half-year deals – although it will be interesting to see if Mudryk does come good.
Anyway, back with Arsenal who appear to have confirmed that they are paying £105m for Rice and £65 for Havertz.
The signings have been greeted positively by the media with the Telegraph saying Mikel Arteta and Edu have earned the right to risk £65m on Kai Havertz, in which they note that, “Encouragingly, there are several occasions where Arsenal manager has got the best out of a player who is far from their potential.”
So we are looking at a team that might be
Timber, White, Saliba, Zinchenko
Rice, Odegaard, Havertz
Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
Which compares with the opening game for last season – the three changes are in bold
Gabriel, White, Saliba, Zinchenko
Xhaka, Odegaard, Partey
Saka, Jesus, Martinelli
Very interestingly the media are starting to turn not on Arsenal players and Arsenal management, as they traditionally have done, but now on Arsenal supporters. And while Untold was constantly critical of Arsenal fans during the days of the AAA I am not sure this is warranted in terms of last season.
Their argument is that “When Ben White joined from Brighton for £50 million, a large section of the Arsenal fanbase was alarmed by the size of the fee. When Martin Odegaard signed for £30 million in that same summer, there was disgust from those who wanted James Maddison instead. Such was the dissatisfaction with the £24 million move for Aaron Ramsdale, the goalkeeper received horrific online abuse and was sent threatening messages.”
Yes there are always some (particularly some who don’t attend games) who criticise players for not being at the standard that these “supporters” demand, but mostly they are led on the scurrilous scallywags in the media who themselves created what we called the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal. You can read up on them through that link if you are interested. (But of course I am not trying to excuse any abuse of any player – I’m just reflecting on the origins of the discontent among fans that leads to the abuse).
So will we be seeing any more arrivals? Jurrien Timber from Ajax is often talked about. He’s a centre-back and right-back, which raises the question, how many centre-backs and right-backs do we need? Although of course if you want a full list there are the 36 players joining Arsenal; 22 leaving the club, and next season’s line up.
As for getting these signings done quickly, that seems like a really good idea to me. Artetea’s plan clearly is to sign players and then modify their approach to playing in a different role to fit in with the Arsenal approach, and to allow them to maximise their own potential.
Such a job takes a bit of time, and so is much better done in the training sessions and practice games in July and August rather than in actual matches in August and September.
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- Did Arsenal want Mudryk and Caicedo, and was it just luck that they didn’t sign them?
- Is the Premier League getting more exciting or simply ever more predictable?