Arsène Wenger made it perfectly clear at the shareholders meeting that he is not going to let Helb leave.
Inter Milan have acted just like Chelsea, in tapping up Alex Hleb, and the papers have finally got around to understanding that there is the Webster Clause which allows players to buy out their agreement after 3 years. (The clause was highlighted here last year when Fabregas started to negotiate a new contract).
Arsenal will deal with Inter as they dealt with Chelsea, and expose all their wrong-doings. But more than that – Wenger has made it clear that the club is aware of the implications of the Webster clause. On the web site he has said, “What people say about the buy-out clause, it is not as simple as it looks. It is much more difficult and the clubs are reluctant to do that. “We want to keep Hleb, we want him to be part of our team next year. It is as simple as that. We have lost one player [Mathieu Flamini], we do not want to lose more.”
The point about the Webster clause is that all clubs know that it can work two ways. If you start buying players through this, then your own players will start making use of it themselves – and clubs certainly don’t want that.
As a piece of legislation it is totally biased towards the players – the contract gives the player the right to receive his salary for the length of the contract, even if he loses all form or is injured. But the player can terminate the deal after 3 years and go elsewhere.
The only power the clubs have to stop this is to agree between themselves that they will not use this approach – so even if players and agents tout themselves around clubs, if the clubs won’t play no deal can be done.
Wenger is suggesting that this is what is happening, and it seems most likely, given that there are hardly any Webster deals around. It is quite like Bosman – the moment that rule came in, every out of contract player was up and off – because there was nothing to clubs could do.
So as M. Wenger says, “Helb is staying”.
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