How the transfer market has been utterly screwed this year

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By Tony Attwood

There is a continual theme that emerges from those people who like to call themselves Arsenal supporters but who criticise virtually everything the club does, and it goes something like this:

The club is being run as a money machine, not as a football club for football supporters.

One element in the argument to support this is that the club takes its time in securing transfers.  Players who are leaving are not sold quickly enough, other players who Arsenal are reported to want (probably in the past by the News of the World – although thankfully that source is no longer with us) are not signed quickly enough.

Delay is then seen as a sign of incompetence.

I can only assume the people who say this have never been involved in serious business discussions over anything much.  But if you have ever bought, sold or rented business property, if you have ever tried to negotiate a financial settlement around a divorce, if you have ever had to deal with a business that won’t pay you the money they owe, or  if you have ever been bought or sold a company, you’ll know, no matter how straightforward it all should be, in the end it all takes time.

People jostle for position, people play games.  People who are really naff negotiators think they can solve problems by shouting a lot or making outrageous demands which are never going to be realised, and announce that they are non-negotiable (and then send a fax or email asking why you haven’t replied).

In the real world it doesn’t work like that.  Yes people can get worked up, but generally speaking it is more like poker than children in the playground.  You send a fax, the other side waits.  They ask a question, and you have to spend time trying to work out why lies behind it, what strategy will follow from your answer, and so on.

That’s how it goes generally, but I really do think we have an extra problem with the market at the moment.   With PSG being taken over by the Arabs, we now have 3 firms to whom money is no object, and as a result, every time there is a possible sale of a player the clubs looking to do the deal are also looking to see if PSG, Chelsea or Man C want to  move for the player.

Those three know just how much emotional power they have, so they keep slipping out noises to their friends in the media, about maybe they are wanting this or that player, knowing full well that they don’t but also knowing that such an approach screws up deals for their rivals.

Everyone knows this is going on, but no one can stop it, because no one really knows what the financial big three are up to – and they are certainly not going to tell.

To make matters worse there is the special case of Man U, where Ferguson is just daring the owners to stop him buying anyone or come to that everyone.  We all know that Man U is making huge losses all the time, and have no entry back into the Financial Fair Play regs (unless their lawyers have come up with something and are just waiting to spring it).

So Man U play their own game.  They think FFP will buckle and Ferguson believes that the owners won’t dare stop him buying.  Hence his policy of rushing out and paying top price for certain players even before the transfer window opens, and then suggesting he can still buy anyone else he wants.

One day the Glazer empire will fall, one day Sir F Word will retire, one day it will all end in tears – but until then, he just buys.

And yet it is not just Manchester U that causes the problem.  Consider Barca.  Just 13 months ago they failed to pay their players, and now they are saying that they are making cut backs by telling staff only to photocopy in black and white.  Consider Real Mad, who spend money as if they had the ability to print it…  which is quite an interesting thought given their reputed connections to the top echelons of Spanish society.

Who knows what is going on in clubs like that?  Are Barca bankrupt?  It certainly looks like it.  So how can they offer £30m or whatever it is for a player that they let go for a spot of compensation money?  The further one looks, the more insane the situation appears – and that makes it even harder to negotiate for anyone.

(Actually there is one more oddity in all this, which occurs when you have a player like Modric reportedly telling Tottenham that he is confused about his own future.  I rather liked that.)

Where does that leave the normal clubs like Arsenal?  Arsenal don’t have a country or its oil wealth to back them, so they aim to make a profit and use that on salaries, transfers, youth development, stadium development etc.  In the transfer window that means

a) keeping as quiet as possible about a deal for as long as possible.  It doesn’t always work, because the other club involved, and the player’s agent, are both likely to alert the financial big three as to the deal, to try and jack the price up.  But Arsenal can only try.

b) buying players not on the radar of every other buying club, rather than pitching for the big name deal

c) doing nothing to dissuade bloggers and journalists when they print wholly fallacious stories about Arsenal buying X or Y.   Why should the club do that?  After all, if all attention is on Arsenal buying X when the club is actually trying to conduct private negotiations about buying Z, so much the better.

Unfortunately because the under 10s don’t get this, they then blame Mr Wenger and the club management for being incompetent by not buying players that Arsenal were never trying to buy in the first place.  Equally, because against all the evidence these same under 10s also believe the rumours in the press, they get worked up about things that are never going to happen.

So it is that a difficult market (with maybe 50 or so big clubs worldwide jostling for the services of a few) is made impossible by the advent of the three financial superpowers.    And then made more difficult by the oddity of the Man U / Barca / Real Mad situation.

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164 Replies to “How the transfer market has been utterly screwed this year”

  1. Top post Tony. Double thumbs up!
    Pisses me off – the negativity of our “fans”.

  2. Thanks Tony for another good well reasoned article. You mentioned FFP rules, did you noticed the other day Man C appear to have found a way around by effectively getting a blank cheque for the naming rights for the stadium. btw Etihad means United

  3. One day the wheels will fall out and there will be an almighty crash and the fun will begin.We whould be insulated because of our prudence and just practices.Up the Gunners !

  4. Great article

    If only all the negative Arsenal fans realised this.

    I respect Wenger for the way he conducts buisness.

    The FFP rules don’t look like doing what they have been designed to do.

    One day the bubble will burst and Arsenal will still be around while other clubs crumble and we will have Wenger to thank.
    Surely people remember what happened to Leeds Utd.

  5. @Paul Southcott
    I think I’m correct in saying that if the naming rights for the stadium and shirt sponser is much higher than the perceived market value then it will not be allowed under FFP. Say MAN U & Chelsea get £20 million a year for the shirt sponser, if city then say their shirt is being sponsered for £50 million (by a company they own) then this will not be allowed. Though they may be able to get away with stretching it to £25 million if they could convince the authorities that they will have huge growth over the length of the sponsership contract.

  6. I love this post!

    This makes so much sense of what is happening now.. Man U buying early with top dollar, and all other clubs (except Sunderland and Norwich) not having finished much transfers yet…

    This entire post should be put up on the other Arsenal blogs to put some sense in the other parts of the Arsenal fanbase.

  7. They have been called the “necessary evil” and rightly so. Contracts are there to be broken, only the good guys honour their contracts. It only takes the slightest upset between manager and player and in jumps the `agent` to throw fuel on the fire suggesting to the player he`s worth more money. Left alone the situation would settle down but to the `agent` it`s too good an opportunity to pass up.

  8. This article is made up of a number of lies.

    Firstly, it compares a signing of a player like that to a divorce case. It says that a transfer takes a long time….but unfortunately, its only in the case of Arsenal that it happens consistently. Do you see ManU or Chelsea or City or Liverpool or Madrid or even Sunderland taking such a long time to complete a signing?? But look at us, remember Koscielny, Arshavin, Schwarzer, even Gervinho (whose signing isn’t yet complete till now). It only shows that the board is very hesitant in matters that is involved in first team. But then the signings of the youth players happen as fast as possible. You can only blame the board for their stinginess in every clause of the deal.

    Secondly, it says that ManU wont get an entry back into the FFP regs. Which again is a lie. Maybe you can check out the FFP more clearly and see that ManU were actually in the profit zone according to the rules, even though they were sufferering losses in actual balance sheet. The FFP has certain rules and regulation and clauses. And, as i said b4 millions of times, there were many ways to go around these rules. And thats what other teams are doing. Its jus a matter of ignorance if you didn’t see this coming.

    Lastly, it indirectly says that the Board is not responsible for the decisions it takes. Arsenal like other big clubs do have the financial prowess to spend big. But its a decision taken by the board to not spend when it is required. Its their stinginess that causes lots of delays in the signing of the players. And hence they are responsible for it.

  9. @Dan

    I totally agree! There should be a clause in the FFP that limits (or better yet forbid) companies owned by or affiliated with club owners to sponsor the football club.

    (A bit like how transfer pricing is a forbidden practice)

  10. Great article Tony. I just wish some of our fans could read this and get over themselves.


    I agree with what you are saying, but what is ‘market value’ actually? As far as I knew, market value just means however much someone is willing to pay for it. The problem should be in any related company buying into any other marketable commodity (say the stadium)at the club, and that should not count. If we go down the road of market value, and we start comparing deals with other clubs, it can lead to a case of all big clubs agreeing to outspend each other as best they can (business as usual), and agreeing to allow a certain amount of money to each other by similarly inflating their own ‘deals’. However, it is exactly why the FFP were brought in and agreed to by the big clubs. The rich stay rich, and they block any other club getting to their level by cutting off their money supply. Simple.. I never had any hope for the FFP and nothing I have seen has changed that view.

  11. Good article Tony. I feel the same way. We have allready 3 new players in the team, and there is still time for a 1-3 players to join.
    I’m really excited about Ryo and Gervinho. I haven’t seen Jenkinson at all in action, but hoping for the best. In addition I would like to see Bartley on the starting eleven at least a couple of times. And of course, then there is as well Emmanuel Frimpong who might prove a valuable competition/cover to Song.

    Though I fear the possibility of loosing Nasri at the end of the season. And if the reports about his steep wage-demands are correct (110k/week!?) I would fully understand if he would be sold during the summer. Financially it just would make sense.
    I also have the feeling, that Niklas and Almunia are going and maybe a couple of others as well. Players like Vela and Denilson could still leave. Even on loan they would get playing time to prove them selves and their value could rise.

    I’m also waiting to see where the big clubs like Real Madrid accommodate all their squad memebers? Maybe there are some “cut-priced” gems still waiting to be picked?

  12. @Dark Prince:

    It took us long time to sign players, not trouble. I don’t see any trouble during the process of signing Koscielny, Arshavin or Gervinho. We bid, we negotiate, they agree, the paper work is processed and the deal is sealed. You feel such a long time because you are harassed by rumors from media every day when actually nothing is happening. It makes you lose your patience, then time seems to pass by so slowly.

    Beside, the deal is much more likely to be processed when one side offer an amount of money that goes beyond the expectation of the other. That may skip the phase of negotiation. Did Spurs spend a second to think when ManU offered £30 million for Berbatov? I think they nodded faster than i can blink my eyes

  13. Dark Prince, if you act like Chelsea, City, Utd, Real Mad and think there is no tomorrow yes then it takes us a long time before we complete a deal.
    And yes I would like it to be shorter. But then again I think it shows that we just are a completely different team compared to the rest.

    Now of course if you want us to say yes to any stupid or silly amount of money other clubs ask to give for their players it could go much faster. But will it be for the benefit of Arsenal in the long run?
    Remember : this is Arsenal, we do it our way, the Arsenal way.

  14. Good article Tony, it puts everything into perspective.

    @DP: I don’t think you have read the article properly.

  15. Critic,
    you should be able to post a link. I don’t know if you get any messages but it is allowed to put one link in a comment

  16. Great post!! I feel frustration when I think about all the people that don’t get the basic concepts of economy. But it’s also a basic concept of economy that you have to take risks if you want to win. I would like to see Arsenal take another loan and maybe invest £100M in players this summer. I think that it is very important to put Arsenal back on the map before we fade away. If that money could buy us a EPL or a CL title it would easily be worth it looking at the bigger picture. I live in Sweden and a few days ago I looked around in the sports shops here and I couldn’t find any Arsenal shirts, but every store had the shirts of for instance ManU, Barca and Chelsea. I think it’s very imporant commercially for us to win something soon so I think an investment is justified.

  17. Hi Tony.

    I think perception is a big thing as well. Take what Dark Prince says about other clubs getting deals done quickly. If you look at the facts that is simply not true.

    I’ll take de Gea as an example. According to most fans he was accepted as a Manc before the u21s which is simply not true. They put their stuff in the press and it’s all good and done. Except it wasn’t good and done until after the u21s. But despite that his ‘completed signing’ was long used as a stick to beat the oh so slow Arsenal. Compare and contrast with Gervinho, who although there was far more evidence he was signing, was not accepted by Arsenal fans as a signing until announced officially. Why?

    Well obviously the main reason is we don’t talk about transfers until all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed. As a club I’m sure we could have comfortably announced Gervinho long before we did but that’s simply not our way and that creates a perception that our deals take so long, even though de Gea took just as long to fully tie up.

    I suppose Nasri is the classic example, where the contracts etc were signed long before the announcement due to the other side getting pay-back on Wenger/Boro for the French scandal by holding his international clearance so long UEFA/FIFA got involved. Now it was one hell of a long time before we *announced*, but he had long since signed. But to many fans that was us taking an age to make a signing.

    The big question for me is whether Arsenal should, in this multi-media 100 articles an hour age, should change this policy and announce signings when agreed. To be honest I;m in 2 minds about this but probably prefer the way we do things when all is said and done.

  18. What we ought to do is start negotiating these transfers a year in advance so that the deal is done before the window opens and the rest is a formality.
    Like the Chamakh deal.

  19. Well at least we don’t do like Mu who announced the signing of Aaron Ramsey on their website and then later had to admit they had been announcing him too soon.

  20. @Travis- its those very same long lengthy negotiations that make us lose players who should have been playin for us rather than other teams. Also, the transfers of Koscielny and Arshavin did take a long time, infact so long that Arshavin’s transfer happened 2 days after the transfer period got closed. Now thats late. Very late.

    Also, keeping such long negotiations dont jus invite the attention of other big clubs towards the player, but also frustrates the player itself. Not to mention the selling club, who themselves might get frustrated and rather sell the player to any other club involved, like for recent eg Alvarez. So its not really preferrable to go on lengthy negotiations.

  21. I’m going to just put a thought out there. Essentially, all the fans decrying everything and anything about the club, whether it be our commercial income, or ticket prices, or the board being greedy, or our signings taking too long, etc etc.. are actually ONLY upset about a lack of trophies. Everything else is a shadow form of criticising the same. ManU fans don’t care about their club’s debt, or them announcing the Ramsey deal early, Che;sea fans don;t care that they are lied to about breaking even each year. All such fans want is trophies because that is supposed to represent success and everything else is failure.

    I for one do not like micromanagement. What our training is, how your fitness team do their work, how deals are signed, what tactics are used, form an interesting discussion, but I would always be satisfied that the club has people who are professionals at their job and they will know better than me. So I can criticise the results (again trophies pretty much) that they may/may not be getting, but I can’t say for sure they are wrong in terms of the way they operate. Maybe they are, maybe Arsenal do things the wrong way, hell maybe the self sustaining model is not the way to go (though I genuinely believe it is). But it is too early to say that it IS wrong. Especially because we all KNOW that the competition we face both on and off the field isn’t really fair, and that there was always going to be a consolidation period.

    My point in that is, that all criticisms of the way the club operates, at any level, basically start from a point of view, that SOMETHING is wrong, and the only reason for that is a lack of trophies.

  22. Tony i agree that we can not do transfer dealings like manure,chelshit,mancity and like.

    But you say that manu have no entry back into FFP, i disagree.
    FFP do not take into account charges related to goodwill and depreciation of fixed assets.Most of man united’s debt payments are in the form of goodwill and hence would be IGNORED by uefa.
    Manu’s loss previous season was 80 mil but more than 45 mil were goodwill interest payments,you take that out there loss is less than 35 mil which is acceptable under FFP.

    FFP is just a face washing exercise intended to maintain status quo i.e. not allow any other club in future to rise on the back of sugar daddys.
    Why else do you think someone like ibramovich agreed to FFP as michel platini has said?

  23. Walter- maybe if we start acting better and faster than City, Madrid, ManU etc then probably we can start getting the right players and start winning again.

    But dont you see the folly of lengthy negotiations?? – you attract the interest of other clubs towards the player, and when that happens, the seller clubs will demand more lookin at the competition for the player.

    Also i dont know how you tagged ‘lengthy negotiations’ as a part of The Arsenal way. Bcoz this has been consistently happening since last 6-7 yrs and not for Arsenal’s entire history. So its not Arsenal way, its jus Wenger way, or to be exact, its the Wenger way post the new stadium debt situation.

  24. An analogy:

    Surgery is difficult. It’s risky. It’s expensive. It’s pressurised. The results of the procedure has very real, very scary consequences. Make one mistake that you can kill your patient. But it’s done every day and it’s done in a routine manner by skilled professionals who are highly trained, dedicated and passionate about their work.

    Transfers happen all the time. It’s not rocket-science. Nor brain-surgery.

  25. I only tag doing business in a correct way with the club and the player, and not with the press, as the Arsenal way, Dark Prince.
    I do tag not paying over the top for a player and lengthy negotiations as the Arsenal way.
    Was Arshavin worth the 12M we paid for him? Yes (imo)
    Was he worth the 25M Zenit asked for him? NO (imo)

    But if we would have done it the City or Chelsea way we would have paid 50M for him. And Utd would have paid the 25M.

    And I know there is a risk in doing it our way. But at least we will not to worry about possible FFP rules that come around. Because the clubs can modify their accounts to fit within the rules but things will change in the future. Not as drastic as I had hoped at the start (but that is another discussion) but things will change and clubs will have to change.

    In my country they see this as the last “big” transfer market where the prices are too high.

  26. @Shard
    Fair point. No-one would bat an eyelid if we were fielding eleven midgets that won every game 4-0…
    Funnily enough I think the Cules were calling for La Masia to be metaphorically ‘burnt down’ during their trophy drought, now it’s the saviour of their bankrupt club.
    What you really mean is that we should be paying for the worst offenders at PGMOL to be shown a good time by some hookers dressed in Nazi uniforms, then “leaking” the pictures just before they screw us over in a big game? Our existing players would be more than good enough if all the games we played were refereed to Champions League rules and we’d have no need to buy new ones. But that is absolutely not the “Arsenal way” 😀

  27. Walter- sorry to say, but Arsenal have never always been doing things the right way. If u forgot, we signed Chamakh on a free transfer after failing to meet his price a year b4. Even the Bordeaux official said that Arsenal was not right in its way to go after a player. Even our players like Djourou talked about Gervinho even b4 his transfer happened. So how can you claim that only we do things the right way?? Thats a very silly arguement you made and again it smacks hypocrisy when you accuse other clubs to doing the same things but dont even talk about it when Arsenal does it.

  28. @Woolwich Peripatetic- seems like you have already got an excuse ready just in case we fail this year.

  29. @Dark Prince

    How long did it take Chelsea to buy Ashley Cole? That was pretty close to the transfer deadline. The same with Berbatov to Man Utd. And how long did it take Real Madrid to sign Cristiano Ronaldo? And how long has it taken Barcelona to sign Fabregas (I’ll give you a clue – he’s still an Arsenal player). And how long has it take Man Utd to sign Samir Nasri?

    On top of this we have clubs like Bolton who need to realise some money by touting Gary Cahill around and then giving ultimatums that “Arsenal have only 10 days left” to sign him. Why would Arsenal want a centre back with no European experience and only 1 1/2 international matches under his belt? How bad must this man be that he can’t get into the current England team?

  30. Dark Prince, did you speak with that Bordeaux official yourself? Did he tell you what Arsenal did wrong? Apart from not willing to pay the price they thought was too high?

  31. And if I may admit about lengthy transfer dealing: the Gervinho transfer should be recognized as the longest transfer dealing in history of football. Because Wenger wanted him already in 2006. But the Beveren manager Walter Meeuws refused to let him go in those days. And maybe he couldn’t get a work permit in those days which also could have stopped it. So this deal took some 5 years in total. But at the end of the day he comes.

  32. @DP
    Seems blatantly obvious for whatever reasons some of the refs do not like us. They might as well REALLY dislike us.
    Chelsea managed to beat the refs by packing their team with England internationals, because once you pull on the three lions you become untouchable it seems.

  33. @Andy Kelly- thanks for pointing out how long some other transfers have taken place. And tell me how many times have Arsenal done this consistently??

    For Arsenal even buying a youngster can sometimes be a very lengthy proposition. Almost all of their transfers tak a long time. Yes, the examples you have given are true, but those are minimal cases for those clubs, but by and large, the clubs you talked about quickly negotiate the signings.

    As i said b4, if its happenin consistently, then its a problem.

    Regarding you 2nd question, you have to ask Wenger why he signed Sol Campbell or why he wants Gervinho bcoz they too dont hav much european experience when they signed. Whatever you say about Gary Cahil, he’s a talented player. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playin in europe or national team to be accepted as a talented player. Ryo Miyachi is never played for his country or in european games, but we know he’s talented. Also when a player like Phil Jones is bought at £20 mil then why wouldn’t Bolton want £17 mil for Cahil??

  34. Walter- i dont remember which official it was from Bordeaux, but that official did publicaly say about the wrong way which Arsenal took to sign a player on free transfer.

    And regarding Gervinho, how much ever time we took, if there was some other serious club involved then we would not had have Gervinho.

    Look what happened with Alvarez, we were in prime position to sign him and as usual, we took too long, eventually and unfortunately inter came along and signed him in how many days? And it isn’t that they paid some crazy amount, they too agreed almost the same fee which we were supposed to sign him, but they closed it much faster than us. And that how transfers should be done.

    You too should know how many players we had almost signed in last 6-7yrs, but couldn’t jus bcoz we were jus pullin it too long.

  35. Walter- let me give you another good example of how we’re being looked at.

    Jus look how the Cesc-Barca thing is being played out. Barca are being stingy and are taking their own time with it. But lets admit, almost all parties involved, except for Barca, are frustrated. Arsenal is frustrated, Arsenal fans are frustrated, even Cesc is frustrated. But Barca wont mind tagging on till whenever they want. But tell me, if 2moro, a club like Madrid comes along and pays up £40 mil for Cesc and Cesc agrees, dont we all be willing to sell him to Madrid rather than Barca??…… We are doing the same thing, but the only difference being that the players we’re after dont have ‘Arsenal DNA’ in them, and hence they wil accept any good offer from any other big club as well.

  36. @Woolwich Peripatetic- yes, i admit that English bias is definately there. But its something that will remain for ever. Afterall its the ‘english’ premier league.

  37. brilliant post, make it compulsory study for all who wish to be allowed to support our wonderful club!!

    DARK PRINCE seems to be a bit of a nutter or should that be a l(r)ooney man?

  38. Dark Prince seems to be in the dark on some of his comments.

    The Arshavin delay was due to the bonus that Arshavin had to repay to the selling club. Ivan Gazidis sorted this out and Arshavin was shocked at his first pay slips as the loan had to be repaid! The reason for the gutteer press and Arshavin’s shock and the sacking of Arshavin’s agent.

    As for the Cesc transfer, this was all about bragging rights last summer. Laporta and Darren Dein had a done deal until Rosell stepped in. All about bragging rights and Cesc was the “dupe”. The close friends of Cesc and the coach of Barça want Fabregas in their team. Mr Wenger does not want to sell Cesc but every player has his price.

    As for Chelsea nd ManCiteh, the owners are determined to ensure that they have an exit strategy, if they are forced into exile?

  39. The speed with which a transfer happens has to be a new low in DP’s attempts to find fault. It’s almost laughable.
    The fact is that the ‘big spending’ clubs have that label is because their player recruitment record is actually quite inefficient. By overpaying they can acheive the appearance of having done a quick deal (no competition to create a slow moving auction) and, when the player doesn’t work out, they spend even more to replace him. How many goes at replacing Schmeichel did Manure take until they bought van der Saar? How many goes have Chelsea had at getting themselves a right back that they actually trust? How many strikers have Man City bought(including one from us) before they settle on one who becomes immovable first choice?
    Having to spend money in the transfer market is a sign of failure, not success. Spending lots of money in the transfer market often indicates that you’re making frequent errors.
    If it’s someone elses money then maybe you don’t care and maybe you want to do it quickly before you get found out and stopped.
    The Arsenal way has always been to promote from within as much as possible and, if they have to buy, to try to do it below the top of the market. It’s been like that for decades and, in the absence of a sugar daddy, it’s the only model that delivers the self sustainability that the authorities want from everyone.
    ON the Man City/FPP point – the question is whether the reported £400m ‘sponsorship’ will pay for the past or the future.

  40. I think the other factor that is perhaps complicating matters is, that there are currently less spaces in the squad 25 with some players now being older from last season meaning they have to now be included in the 25.

    We therefore need to let players go before we can bring new players in, not only for financial reasons but to free up the squad numbers.

    Unless of cause you take the Man City model of having highly paid players such as Adebeyor/jo/Bridge/Wright Philips on the payroll but not being allowed to play in the EPL!

  41. Dark Prince, give up all a break and get off this site with your holier than thou attitude. I suppose you never try to make a bargain when you go shopping, you just reach into your pocket and shell out the dough. If any player truly wants to play for us they will, it doesn’t matter got long it takes. Secondly, don’t always believe what you read in the papers about Arsenal transfers, Arsene doesn’t announce his targets. Thirdly, well, i suppose you could join the Spuds or them Chavs!

  42. I acually find myself a leaning a little bit towards agreeing with DP. I think the original article was good, but highly biased. Arsenal has made mistakes taking too long to sign players, but we generally have not had any big money transfers end up being a flop either. Financially this is sound, but from a footballing perspective, maybe not so much.

    How much value is there is having new players available for a full pre-season with the team? We’ve seen that it takes time to settle in to Arsneal’s style of play, and perhaps, paying a little more to hasten the transfer would mean a full pre-season, and therefore a better regular season.

  43. @Dark Prince:

    I take issue with your post above where you essentially call Tony a liar. You’re free to have a difference of opinion, but there is absolutely nothing constructive about accusing him of publishing “lies,” when he’s clearly just stating his own opinion on these issues.

    You should apologize for that.

  44. @Tony:

    Good post overall. However, I disagree with the part of your article when you accuse Barcelona of irresponsible spending on the transfer market. The Villa signing last summer was expensive, but aside from that, they don’t blow the bank on transfers the way that Chelsea, ManU, or Madrid does. They haven’t signed anyone this summer, aside from renewing contracts of their existing players. I also don’t believe that they’ve actually made any offers for Cesc this summer.

    Here is what Barca’s official website has to say about their current transfer policy and the finances of the club:

    “Rosell seeking economic sustainability

    The president of Barça has reiterated that the club’s transfer policy this summer will have economic sustainability in mind.

    Rosell wants to put the club back on solid financial ground with an eye to the future. “When we came in, we found the debt was much bigger than they had told us. We negotiated a syndicate credit with the bank. We were very worried because we had no money to spend. We have sorted out the situation and what the economic area has achieved means we have 45 million to spend on transfers this summer plus sales. We have a business plan and after what we have said, the banks trust us and have given us this credit. But you have to pay credit back.” So Rosell said they have had to make some difficult but necessary decisions. “I am concerned about the club’s economic sustainability. We have to balance the books. In two or three years we hope to be a solvent club”.

    On potential new players, he said “it depends who stays and who leaves.” Guardiola has not asked to sell any of his first team players, and the president also said that they are negotiating a new contract for Abidal, which should be finalised when the Frenchman returns from his holidays.

    Rosell also spoke about the historic agreement with the Qatar Foundation, which will bring the club an additional 150 million euros, saying the deal was essential for the club’s financial needs and debts. He also claimed that the members are fully supportive of the deal, which is permitted by the club statutes, and that he will once again be explaining the full situation at next general assembly.”

    So, Barca is having some financial problems, but as of now, it appears that they are taking steps to address it and get out of debt, as opposed to just piling on more as you would expect from a ManU.

  45. @Woolwich Peripatetic:

    “Funnily enough I think the Cules were calling for La Masia to be metaphorically ‘burnt down’ during their trophy drought, now it’s the saviour of their bankrupt club.”

    You’re correct that, during Barca’s trophy drought, they were facing the same issues in the press and with some of their fans as Arsenal are now. And you had the same complaints about the youth system, etc. But now that they’re winning trophies, suddenly they’re “the best club in the world.” It all goes in cycles.

    However, I don’t see why you need to gloat about the fact that Barca is having some financial problems. It has nothing to do with Arsenal, and the only reason you even know about it is that the club has been open with the public from the outset about what’s going on and the measures they’re taking to address it.

    I’m sure that other clubs have similar problems as well, but just haven’t chosen to share them with anyone. The fact that Barca operates on an electoral system means that more of their dirty laundry gets aired publicly than anyone else’s. But what’s it to you about their finances?

  46. @Dark Prince:

    Is it me or are you just kind of getting too predictable lately?
    I see your Screen Name and I already have a feeling as to what you have to say about any given topic that is presented.
    We call you Mini Le … ???


  47. @Anne

    Because Barca (with aid from the media as you have shown) have p****ed Arsenal fans off good and proper. But is it really true that the club has been open from the outset about what is going on? Maybe with Rosell, but surely not in the Laporta regime?

  48. When arsenal make transfers they buy at a relatively good price (even a “small” fee of 10 million is a lot of money for a guy who’s just gonna be kicking a ball, put in perspective), not an inflated price. It’s obvious. If arsenal started spending alot, I would stop supporting them.

  49. clubs like city and chelsea are ruining football imo the amount of money being thrown about is crazy. fifa’s fair play rules are a joke too if city’s naming rights isn’t exposed for the sham it is

  50. @Shard:

    No, I guess not in the Laporta era. But they have opened themselves up to this criticism by their own decision to come clean about it. And I don’t know how many other clubs would be willing to do that.

    And yeah, I already know that Barca have pissed off Arsenal fans, and that’s why Arsenal fans take pleasure in Barca’s misfortuntes. I didn’t need to ask… I guess I was just in denial about it for a minute there 🙂

  51. c) simply confirms that there is a ‘real world’ in which the club operates and a ‘virtual world’ where fans dream, guess, debate, exhort, and criticise it’s operations. The media pretend that they have an ‘in’ on the real world with a ready stream of stories and quotes from allegedly inside sources. In fact they have very limited information. Hence the propogation of myths and rumours at this time of the year (to fill column inches), fuelled by repetition on Internet blog sites (to maximise site hits).

  52. Spot on. I doubt that some of the other bloggers will bother to read your post though. Nonetheless, great post.

  53. tonbridge plasterer,
    I couldn’t agree more on the ManShitty deal’s threat to us, and the danger to the fair financing rules/policy that Arsene/Arsenal have stood for. The long and fair-minded article by the Guardian give Arsene’s views on this now:
    And the 2009 Times interview, gives Arsene’s philosophy and politics, which are in sync with the position he takes above:
    Together, these two articles show how powerfully Arsene champions the SSM (self-sustaining model) against the BTM (billionaries’ takover model) and, in my view, a major reason why billionaire monopolist ideologues like Murdoch have put him/Arsenal soooo on high on their to-be-hard-done-by list.

  54. on your moderation of my previous comment,
    please consider my running the two links together here because they really and necessarily complement each other and show Arsene in a consistent and important principled light – plus it will educate people on this key topic, as you also have championed.

  55. Sorry, a little off-topic here.

    But, those of us that actually support Arsenal, continue to see all kinds of articles in the press about player or team statements. This article from The Guardian is actually quite reasonable.

    And if one looks at all the other articles in the press about arsenal involving Jack Wilshere, you will see a HUGE variation in their story.

    Personally, I think Jack Wilshere could have worded what he said a bit better, but he is still young, and some things slip out. From what The Guardian reported, I don’t think Jack Wilshere said anything wrong or controversial.

    But, if you have to churn the news to get readership (such as you are running an “Arsenal” website (along with a zillion other football websites), I can easily see how rearranging words and looking to see if the result resembles a sentence), I can easily see how the various articles in the press materialized.

    As much as silly season floats around rumours, I still think that players who do not want a tranfer, should keep their mouth shut. And if they are asked a question “off topic”, “no response” should be what they say.

    I’ve highlighted Jack Wilshere here. It could easily be any other Arsenal player. Or a former player.

    I do get annoyed to see “nothing” articles, turned into all kinds of things which were never intended.

    I think something Untold Arsenal might consider, is to keep a tally of “honesty” of the various sources that report about Arsenal.

    Have a great summer people!

  56. Great article, Tony. I applaud the way Arsenal are dealing with transfers, never paying highly inflated prices, never been put to ransom by other clubs and not giving in to pressure from media and fans. Arsenal have a way of doing things that all fit with the self-sustainability. At times the lack of factual news (from Arsenal directly) can be frustrating as a fan, but if you ignore the media linking Arsenal to a hundred different players, driving you crazy about some superstar possibly signing, it is quite manageable.

    Responding to DP’s comments, there is no truth in it that Alvarez passed on Arsenal and went to Inter because Arsenal was acting too slow. In the first place, there were only rumours that linked Arsenal with Alvarez. Secondly, perhaps Arsenal was interested, but did not want to meet Velez Sarsfield’s demands, while Inter was happy to do so, but Arsenal is not just going to pay top dollar for an unproven player (42 appearance for Velez in three years). Thirdly, maybe Arsenal did offer more money than Inter, but Alvarez chose for Inter. It is not just a matter of club A willing to pay club B a certain amount of money. The players’ own interest play a big part as well, which is why ManCity failed to attract some of the biggest names before as they were not in the Champions League.
    Gervinho proofs my point here; he wanted to play for Arsenal and he has joined Arsenal despite interest from other clubs and despite the apparently lenghty process. As an aside, I just read on that Gervinho apparently is not suited for the EPL. The media attack on Arsenal continues.

    Apparently it is also bad business if you wait for one year to get Chamakh for free instead of paying an inflated price. Bordeaux knew Arsenal was interested in Chamakh and they knew his contract would expire in one year. Yet Bordeaux chose to demand a price for Chamakh which Arsenal did not want to meet. By the way, like Gervinho, Chamakh had indicated he wanted to go to Arsenal, so no risk of another club highjacking the transfer. Bordeaux did not want to let Chamakh go for any less, Arsenal did not want to cough up that much, so all parties waited for one year. Who is there to blame? You could argue Arsenal could have made good use of Chamakh during that year, but that is all speaking in hindsight.

    I believe the way Arsenal is dealing with transfers is the most sensible way. Arsenal take time to track potential players and make sure they will fit into the team instead of just buying super stars hoping it will work out (Torres anyone?). And then they do not let them be guided by an inflated transfer market or media claims. They have an idea what a player is worth to them and will not pay double of that. And at times that means you do not get what you want. But that is life, you cannot always get what you want.

  57. @zulu gooner- the last man to be cald a ‘nutter’ was Wenger himself, so i dont really mind you callin me that!! 🙂

  58. @Notoverthehill- what you have presented are just excuses. The fact remains that we take a long time to negotiate. And obviously it has more drawbacks than advantages.

  59. @r- “spending money in transfer period is a sign of failure and not success??”

    Thats the most ridiculous statement i’ve ever heard!!

    You mean to say Arsenal spending in this transfer period is a sign of failure, or are you saying that remaining stingy is a sign of success??

    Either ways, ur statement was absolutely funny!! 🙂

  60. yes DP,
    spending some 75M in one day is a sign of failure. Ask Chelsea. But as they have money like water on the planet it doesn’t matter for them. But once all the good water is polluted it will start to matter for us all.

    For Arsenal such failure would mean that we will be in big big trouble. And I mean BIG!

  61. @9jagunnerdoc- yea, why dont you try to bargain a season ticket price from Arsenal. Surely they would be willing to come down, right??

    And its not like shopping, its more like an Auction. Whoever bids the highest wins. And the way our board does it, its like they waiting for all the buyers to come and counter bid b4 they can real the deal.

    Thats a sad way to do it.

  62. Walter- are you saying that success and failure depends on what we spend and how much we can spend rather than on the league position or titles won??

    In that case, stoke or bolton or any other team except for top 6 are successfull teams, bcoz they hardly spend….

    Also then you would rather prefer Arsenal to be a financial institution rather than a football club…

  63. @Todd- you raised another valid point. Completing transfers fast will also help in the team to gel with each and having more time with each other in pre season.

  64. @Anne- look back at the article, its maybe an opinion, but an opinion backed with false claims.

    For eg, ManU have no problem whatsoever in complying with the FFP rules. They dont even have to bend it. You need to tak a look at Swiss Ramble blog who himself says that according to the FFP rules, ManU are in the profit zone.

  65. Did anyone tell you DP that you are very good at putting words in to someones mouth? 😉

    Only one team in the league has spend less in total than Arsenal DP in the last decade. I read the table somewhere on the internet a while back. So yes we are a very successful club in a way.

    No I want Arsenal to be run so I can take my grandchildren to the Arsenal in some 10-15 years time.

    Oh and if MU keep spending like they do, the picture might change a bit about the FFP rules.

    And I get far more joy from one Jack Wilshere, Frimpong (if he makes it), JET, Ramsey, ….. making it then from 10 transfers.

  66. @Walter- to be honest, i had read few months back in an article where it stated with exact figures that Arsene Wenger has spend more than £200 mil in transfers since coming to Arsenal, yes that right – £200mil!!!! and also that Arsenal are the were the 4th highest spenders, behind Manu, Chelsea and Liverpool in last decade (2001-2010). So it kinda demolishes your claim. And its not any nonsense bcoz they used Arsenal’s financial accounts for each of the years in last decade to prove it.

  67. @Walter- so do you still think we’re more successfull than ManU or Chelsea?? Do u still think having the money to spend or willing to spend money is a barometer to judge who is successful and who is not??

  68. Just imagine how much money we would have spend if we done our deals faster….
    I talked about the difference between spending and receiving and in this only one team spend less than we. Don’t know which team it was exactly but I thought it was Wigan.

    And I’m not against spending. I’m against silly spending.

    Again you put words in my mouth DP and I like to discuss things but for some reason you always seem to not understand what I mean. It could be my fault but it doesn’t happen that much with other people who seem to know what I mean. So if anyone else doesn’t understand me please tell me and then I will try to explain it further. But now it doesn’t make sense for me. And I have to work a bit harder today so I can be ready to see the game this afternoon.

    Finally, yes spending 100M in one season like Chelsea did last season and they won nothing in terms of silverware. If you spend that amount of money and win nothing then for me that is failure.

  69. @Walter- Ok let me put it in this way…. In last 6yrs, Chelsea spend £400 mil, won 3 epl titles, 2 fa cup, 1 carling cup, and some community shields as well.
    In the same 6yrs, Arsenal spend £100 mil, and won nothing…..

  70. p.s. The joke was misplaced since it is Arsenal’s 100 m spend which is the gross spend, as in not accounting for money received, and Chelsea’s net spend must be near that 400 m mark.. I don’t have the figures off hand. But it is Chelsea’s net spending which is gross after all 🙂

  71. @Dark Prince:

    Maybe you should take a closer look at what I said in my earlier response to you. Specifically, you owe Tony an apology, because even if you believe that he was mistaken about certain facts, he is most certainly not a liar. Here, let me provide you with a template so that you can just fill in the blanks:

    I, ________ (Dark Prince), do hereby offer my sincere apologies to Tony Atwood for my unfair aspersions on his character. I realize that I was wrong, and I am very, very sorry.


    Dark Prince

    Otherwise, shut the f*** up you t***. And please feel free to present me with your own template for the apology that I now probably owe you for saying what I really think 🙂

  72. Um…ok….Tony? Walter? I’m already really, REALLY, sorry for hitting “submit” on that one…I lost my temper and didn’t think ahead…Sorry…Maybe you should just delete that?

  73. @Shard:

    Glad you appreciated it in the interim, though. I can assure you that it came from the heart 🙂

  74. Lol, now you guys are debating on gross and net spend?? Lmao!!!! This is very funny!!

    So let me get this straight, Arsenal spend £200 mil in Wenger’s era and its ok to call other teams spending more as financial dopers?? Thats Hypocrisy.

    Also you guys say that having a ‘net’ positive spend is a sign of Success?? Thats totally absurd. Do you guys think Arsenal is a football club or a financial balance sheet?? Really ridiculous. You guys are probably why this club has to face tough times like these.

    Understand it in this simple way… howmuch ever you spend or not spend doesn’t matter. What eventually matters is the success on the pitch in terms of titles. Thats the only barometer for success for a football club. If you try to measure success by any other methods then you’ll jus be laughed upon.

  75. Dark Prince

    I doubt anybody is ‘debating’ anything where you are concerned. If spending doesn’t matter then don’t compare figures of Chelsea or any other club. It doesn’t matter how much anyone spends. that bit is true. All that matters is that you spend what you have. We do just that, other clubs don’t. Hypocrisy seems to be your favourite accusation to throw about. You might want to look in the mirror more often.

  76. @Anne- i got a better one,

    I, Dark Prince, do hereby state that Anne is a complete moron who doesn’t kno how to debate. I realize she’s a dumba**.

    Dark Prince.

    And Anne, pls shut the f**k up you wh**e.

  77. Tony, Walter- i hope you dont delete my or Anne’s post, i hope everyone can see how people debate over here.

  78. There was someone who is active in this blog who tried to tone down the claim of this blog that referees are corrupt through the arguments of unprovable intention of the referees.
    And now the same person claimed that someone was a liar, which somehow explicitly stated that he knew the intention without giving any evidence to his claim.
    So, I think this person owes the writer an apology. Otherwise, what he said/says is inconsistent.

  79. Shard

    Again, your post smacks hypocrisy. I’ll tell you how.

    Firstly you state that spending doesn’t matter. But then in your previous post, you talk about gross spending and net spending. And many here talk about the investments of other clubs to give an excuse as our own failure. Whatever other clubs buy or not buy, eventually it upto 11 players going against 11 players. Its about 1 manager’s tactics going against another manager’s strategy. The club doesn’t win on the prowess of what they spend, it depends on the prowess of the team that they have and how they perform.

    Secondly, you say that clubs should spend only what they have. This statement is again hypocritical as Arsenal itself didn’t have any money to spend on players 3-4yrs back, but yet we did spend. Also when you say club should spend only what they have, then why are you complaining when the club owners spend their own money?? Are they stealing from a bank to pay?? No, they spend what they have. So again its hypocrisy.

    Also, Hypocrisy is not my fav accusation but what else can i do when people over here are really hypocrites??

  80. Owners and Clubs are separate legal entities. And we have always spent what we have produced. ManU in a sense have as well, but because their owners loaded them with debt, it is not the case anymore.

    What else you can do? You can follow Anne’s advice, or mine to look in the mirror.. Whichever you prefer. Actually do whatever for all I care because you either intentionally or unintentionally always spectacularly miss the point of anyone’s post. So it is not how PEOPLE over here debate, it is YOU. I have gone over this with you on that long winded, exhausting conversation we had, in the hope that you would understand because I think you do have some good points at times and I would really like to debate things with you. But you never look to debate, and it seems like I am not the only one who thinks so. And once again, I’m sure you’ll twist the meaning of this post as well and come out with some accusation to throw back at me, or show me up. Keep at it. I’m going to watch the match now.

  81. Paul Southcott, Not that anyone cares but Etihad doesnt means United in any language of this world. It means unity.

  82. Dark Prince is way, way out in his calculations on the transfers incurred by Mr Wenger.


    FACTS from the Transfer Market 1995 to date:


    OUT £271,238,200


  83. Dark Prince there was simply no need to use such low level, below the belt, insults.

    FACTS speak louder than words. The Swiss Ramble was completely wrong on his assessment of The Arsenal budget. Like you he cannot solve the problem regarding The Arsenal. At least TSR is a good read for those who wish to buy shares in other football clubs?

  84. @Notoverthehill

    I have seen this statement from you many times, not just on this site, that the Swiss ramble is wrong in his calculations. You even once gave an explanation for it, but alas it was beyond me. Could you put in simpler terms so that I perhaps could take it on board?

  85. Shard, in brief TSR forgot to read the notes to the last Financial Reports.

    In brief he took the Cash at bank £110 millions rounded, with Short Term Deposits of £47 millions. A grave miscalculation by TSR as at least £30 millions for the Debt Service Reserve Account and the Interest due on these for the complete year plus £6 millions ring-fenced from Newton H A. For the remaining six months of the Financial year I would agree operating expenses of £42 millions and £10 millions for transfer enhancement payments. The next grave miscalculation was the last of the Highbury Square apartments, the least desirable! He completely forgot about the completion costs. In the accounts 50 apartments produced a profit of £3 millions so the last apartments are unlikely to have reached that profit level. The Reports state that The Arsenal do not want to be involved in construction and estate agency businesses as the profits were much lower than expected.

    Sorry to debunk TSR but it is The Arsenal and I believe in comments are free but facts are sacred!

  86. Notoverthehill

    No need to apologise for debunking anyone. However, I am still struggling to understand this. SO let’s see. TSR says there is 110 million in the bank, with SHort Term Deposits of 47 millioms. You bring up a 30 + 6 millions that he has not accounted for. Would this mean that the Short term account would then be at 11 million?

    And including the apartments, by how much, in your estimation, would TSR have enhanced Arsenal’s cash at hand?

  87. @Shard- Owners and Club are different entities?? So if an owner injects his own money into the club, so he’s wrong?? Has he done anything illegal??

    As i said b4, most readers here are jus too concerned of how other big clubs spend. Thats bcom an excuse. Now the new excuse is the owners and club are different entities, so clubs should only spend from its income and if the owner injects funds into it then its immoral. Thats ridiculous. Cant believe i’m debating to such ideas. Ignorance i say.

  88. @Notoverthehill- ah, i forgot, everyone is wrong except you, right??

    I mean, Arsenal, as you put, spend £333 mil since 1995 and we’re complainin of other clubs doing the same?? I dont know which world you live in, but thats still cald hypocrisy.

    Also, even the swiss ramble is wrong, Fifa is wrong, Fa is wrong, Chelsea is wrong, infact Arsenal too are wrong,…the only one right is you.

    @To everyone- only this guy is right, we all are wrong. He knows more about Arsenal’s finances than SwissRamble himself.


  89. In relation to Dark Prince’s “response” to me, above, and just to clarify for people who might be on this blog for the first time, the overall quality of the reasoned debate in these comments sections is higher than I’ve seen on any other football blog.

    And the above was certainly the first time that I have ever resorted to an ad hominem attack directed at anyone. However, this was the second time in recent weeks that I’ve seen Dark Prince make a cheap and insulting comment directed at the writers of this blog. When he attempted to defend said comment in a second post, I had had enough.

    If Dark Prince wishes to be treated with respect (by me at least), then he needs to behave respectfully himself. If he fails to do that, then I’m not going to indulge him with any reasoned debate. And that won’t change, no matter how many times he calls me a “wh**e.” 🙂

  90. Yes, The Swiss Ramble is God’s gift to us and his word as such will always be Gospel, and anything contrary to that is heresy. It’s kind of funny the way Dark Prince throws out the same accusations at people that he is most liable to receive. Notoverthehill always has to be right?? Really? I thought that was you. But then I am the hypocrite, ignorant, evasive etc etc. Oh and I’m not an Arsenal fan either, isn’t that right? And then you try and be the martyr anytime someone calls you out on your nonsense. You deliberately misrepresent what someone else says and try to prove to I don’t know who that you are superior. Dark Prince, I feel sorry for the people that have to put up with you in real life, if you have one. Try and get that chip off of your shoulder some other way, cos this is getting just too predictable. I’m not having any fun anymore.

  91. P.S. If the concept of owners and clubs being separate entities is too complex for you, I’d hope you have a good, trustworthy accountant.

  92. Dark Prince has proved himself to “not in this world”.

    Correction as I have cross-checked the Transfermarket and some of my figures were incorrect. The sense is the same, Mr Wenger spends money as if it does not exist.

    In i.e. spent Dark Prince £365,613,300.00

    Out i.e receipts Dark Prince £292,305,200.00

    My sources are Arsenal Holdings Financial Reports 2009/2010 and Half-Yearly November 2010. The Transfermarket which gives ALL the transfer fees for ALL the leagues and ALL the clubs.

    Садиться не в свои сани!! That is my opinion of your detractor, Anne.

  93. @Notoverthehill

    So could you please explain by how much has TSR overestimated our funds?

  94. @ Shard
    From the official financial reports TSR estimated £50 millions as the transfer budget. Barratts (Sol Campbell did this?) at the moment seem to have paid £25 millions for one of the last sites. My gut feeling here is that there is a front loading of £3 millions for enablement and legal fees and a back loading (no cash) of perhaps £5 millions for the site to comply with Council regulations.

    My estimate (subject to the 2010/2011 Financial Report) would be £25 – £30 millions including the Clichy transfer fee.

    Sorry, there is NO bumper transfer budget UNLESS I could juggle some of the Debt Service Reserve Account. Technically it can be done BUT officially it is a no-no.

  95. Gord,
    I’m glad you linked to the Guardian piece. There’s a lot of football writers there and many of the articles are neutral to appreciate; but a lot are also vicious against Aresene/Arsenal and way way pro-Fergie/ManUre. They are in no way in the same table as The Sun when it comes to anything Arsenal.

  96. @ Anne, it’s a thin line between love and hate as the saying/song goes. I used to love them (I have even been to a couple of games, got the shirt, done the tour etc) but now I detest Barca, they absolutely make me sick. They have no class and believe they are completely untouchable. They spend most of the season between siesta’s playing weak opposition and under the protective gaze of the referee. Nowadays, when they come up against tough challenges they get desperate and their football/play acting is very ugly to watch.

    Whilst the English and Spanish media has spun the Cesc story to ridiculous levels, the behaviour and attitude towards Arsenal by Barca FC is disrespectful. It has been for years. I have always suspected that they tapped up quite a few of our past players like Van Bronkhorst, Overmars and Petit. I recall that Adebayor mentioned in an interview that they made it known whilst he was an Arsenal player that they were interested and they did the same thing to Cashley Cole. Back then when we were at Highbury, we just could not compete with the financial muscle of that disgraceful club. I also questioned how much Dein resisted their advances too as Barca at one point were determined to swipe most of the first team in a few short years whilst he was the key figure head.

    The Gunners have come a long way since then and Barca can no longer push us around like before, in fact like Tony has excellently documented the money is running out. Embarassingly since they can no longer pay their way, they have resorted to media love letters to Cesc.

    Xavi today with his comments on the official Barca website, shows again why they are less that a club. I have long said that if the players were not operating with the explicit approval of their pay masters, the club whould of come out and reprimanded those involved, or at least clarified that they would handle the matter in a proffessional way. What’s clear from this posting on their site, they have truelly reached a new low.

  97. Sorry, I went off a bit there Anne but Barca are right down there with clubs whom I wish the worst. In no particular order:-

    1. Spuds – Local rivalry
    2. Man U – National rivalry
    3. Barca – CL rivalry

  98. @Gooner gal:

    You’re right that those comments by Xavi are absolutely appalling. I hate to see something like that on Barca’s official website. Honestly, I’m furious about it….

    Overall, I still love Barca. I have too much of an emotional connection to Catalunya in general to support another club in the same way that I support them. However, I’m fully willing to admit that their behavior in the past has not always been the best. Particularly with these comments…I’m SO ANGRY about that that I don’t even have the words to tell you…(although I do still believe that most of this anti-Arsenal stuff is driven by the media, rather than Barca).

    In a lot of ways, I guess that truly supporting a football club is similar to a marriage…You have to stick together through the good times and the bad, and even when you have MAJOR disagreements. But I do certainly understand why you feel the way you, and I respect your opinions. I’m never going to feel the same way about Barca as you do, but I’ll agree to disagree if you will. 🙂

  99. @ Anne,

    For some people their ill feeling towards Barca might be media led, but in my case, as I explained above, its goes back years. My utter distain for them has been growing for some time and it’s like (using your analogy) finding out the person you have been married too, was living a double life as a repulsive criminal. You suspected things weren’t right, but not as bad as they turn out to be.

    We could agree to disagree, but I hope you understand if I voice my disgust at the classless football club.

    Cesc would be nothing without Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. Was he a stand out player at 16? Did Barca fight for him before? Would they of patiently given him a chance to shine and develop? They spit players out aged 16 all the time with little support. I am tired of the Barca myth – the truth needs to come out.

    I wonder how many games Cesc will start, when he eventually goes (preferably not this season) over to the dark side before he is consigned to a super sub role and eventually dropped for a different, faster, younger shiny trinket footballer. I doubt he would make progress in the national team based on the limited playing time given too. His sharpness would definately be affected and in turn his confidence as the Barca fans turn on him.

    This is probably his last year at Arsenal so I expect him to play out of his skin. I wouldn’t be suprised if TV got the captaincy due to this saga.

    The best thing about Barcelona is Joan Miro.

    Anyways, I am off now to catch a flight.

  100. In response to Anne’s previous comment, i’d like people to the read all the comments in the article and see how the debate has turned out into no more than a procedure at insulting someone jus bcoz you dont agree with them. And believe me, it isn’t the first time happening with me.

    Also would like to show everyone how Anne herself is lying when she said that i gave cheap insults to the authors. I simply stated that the article was made of number of lies, and i’ve also stated in detail how. But people here dont really accept a 2nd opinion. And eventually resort to cheap insults and bad words.

  101. And yes, the SwissRamble is the most ahead in football finances. And if people go around saying, without any proof, that he’s wrong, then its really ridiculous. Ignorant i say again.

    Also, the topic of Owners and Club being seperate, some people here need to check out with their accountants on what happens when an owner injects funds into the club in form of capital or loan. Bcoz either ways, when the money comes into the club, its the club’s money. And the club can use the money in whichever way possible they like. Thats simple accounts for my ignorant friends here.

  102. Also, let me give a very simple example in accounts….

    If Roman Abramovich is sole/owner of Chelsea, whatever money he injects into the club, becomes Chelsea’s money. In what way it came inside, whether loan or capital, it doesn’t stop the club from spending the money in the way they like it. So in short the money injected into the club is the club’s money.

    Same goes for the Man City.

    Also, in football, its generally accepted that owners inject money into the club so that they can spend for transfers etc. It will be the same case if Kroenke does it. Neither is it illegal nor is it immoral. Its how the football club runs.

    Also its pathetic to see people goin around here raising the issue of spendthrifts when we ourselves are the 4th highest spenders in last decade. And then flog around showing financial sustainability as an excuse for the failure on the pitch, bcoz eventually it doesn’t matter and it shouldn’t matter how other clubs or our own club spends.

    All that matters is the performance on the pitch. Thats the only measurement for success for a football club.

    And its no use to talk about such things, bcoz throughout history, almost all clubs have been running by their Owner’s money. Including Arsenal. Jus bcoz the current owners dont choose to spend doesn’t mean all the other clubs will change accordingly, and neither its an excuse for our failures.

  103. Another simple example in accounts: if you earn 50M a year and spend 200M each year you will be bankrupt.

    And it isn’t Arsenal that invented the FFP rules. No it was Uefa/Platini who (whatever the reason might be) had enough of two teams in the CL final with more debt than the countries of Greece, Portugal and Spain together.
    In fact it was the first good and decent idea ever produced by Uefa as far as I can remember…

  104. Another simple example of accounts: if the owner gets arrested, loses interest, dies, gets divorced…. the club will have no money left and will be bankrupt. Those things happen. My local team over here had the “privilege” of instead of going to the second division of going down to the 4th division because the owner and money spender got arrested.

  105. @Dark Prince

    So just because someone has a different view from the Swiss Ramble, we should dismiss it out of hand rather than enquiring into it? He could be wrong, but he could be right as well. But you’ll just take it on authority of a blogger who does good work, but is obviously not infallible. You just played the martyr again by saying it is people attacking your alternate view while you do the same to Notoverthehill. Again you threw out the same accusation at others that would best fit you.

    The only ones being fooled by this now would be the ones who are new on this site. Seriously Dark Prince, you spoil all the good points you make by these idiotic stunts that you pull, and your desire to be seen as some upholder of truth and the sole voice of reason, even when you have nothing to contribute is highly annoying.

  106. The FFP (which YOU have hailed as well meaning) operates on the basis of owners and clubs being separate entities, and owners not being able to put funds into the club beyond a certain amount. So how does that sit with your contention that owners can put in whatever funds they want?

  107. @Walter

    Weren’t Fiorentina also relegated to the 4th Division in Italy because they went bankrupt, about maybe 10 years ago? I think so.

  108. @Walter

    I just checked and it seems that Fiorentina didn’t just get relegated, but ceased to exist. Another club was set up which was admitted into the 4th division of Italian football, and this club later bought the rights to use the Fiorentina name. So Fiorentina’s spending started in around 1993, at the time when the Italian League was the richest in the world. 10 years later they ceased to exist.

  109. Yes Shard you are right. Fiorentina went bankrupt in 2001. They even were very “successful” in 2001 as they won the Italian cup. I think the supporters will have enjoyed their triumph….

  110. @Gooner Gal:

    I do understand where you’re coming from, and I agree to disagree with you about Barca. However, I don’t think that Cesc is going to leave. I don’t think that he even wants to leave. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, but I hope that the future proves me right on this. I would much rather see him continue at Arsenal.

    And I think that part of the media campaign that is targeting Arsenal is intended to make Arsenal fans angry at Arsenal players. Particularly the captain. So, personally, I’m giving Cesc the benefit of the doubt. I hope that you will as well, and that the future won’t make me a fool for being optimistic about this. For now, I stand by this opinion 100%.

  111. @Walter:

    Why did the “the owner and money spender” get arrested? Sorry, but I guess I don’t know much about your domestic league 🙂

  112. I’m glad Wenger has finally decided to tackle some of the news reports and noises from barca camp head on.

    What is important is that Cesc Fabregas is contracted to Arsenal. That is a fact. Arsenal wants to keep him and all the rest is comment. If I found Barcelona in exactly the same position, I believe a mutual respect between the clubs should stop this kind of comment. If it is true then it is very disrespectful and it is not the first time that Xavi has been disrespectful to Arsenal.

    Good on you Arsene.

  113. @Shard:

    Do you by any chance happen to have a video or anything of Arsene’s comments about this? I’m on right now, and I can’t find anything about it. Not even about Xavi’s comments. The Xavi comments on the Barca website are there, on video, in full, but unfortunately I can’t speak Catalan…However, in regards to the translation, there’s definitely nothing said about “Ibiza” as it’s translated on the website. However, he definitely said something about Cesc and the past summer.

    I’m not trying to say that there’s nothing to this. Obviously, there is, because it’s on Barca’s official site. However, I really would like to hear Arsene’s comments in their full context (not to mention Xavis’). Can anyone help me with this?

  114. Tax fraud, social security fraud, …
    Let us say that the players earned more money than the taxman thought they were earning.
    And as the club was fully depending on the money of the owner the players didn’t get paid anymore and then left the next season and from a team that could be challenging for a place in the highest division we suddenly had a team that was going down, down down…. and we are still down in the 4th division.

    Call this one of the reasons why I don’t want an Sheik or an Abramovitch type of person at Arsenal. It can be fun when things go your way but all things come to an end and I know that the end can be very, very bitter.

  115. Oh and I wouldn’t expect the official site to carry those comments even if they were made. is the most boring, sterilised place you’ll find on the web.

  116. @Walter:

    Even without the example from your own personal experience, I wouldn’t want Arsenal to be handling themselves financially in any way other than they are now.

    But it’s really interesting to hear about these things, and I guess that it’s true that when you’re depending on the money bags of a single owner, that owner could always choose to abandon the club at any time. And that would be a constant risk. I hadn’t thought of it from that perspective before.

    I suppose that if you want to operate on that type of model, the best way to do it would be to invest in a country where law enforcement can be rendered impotent at the bequest of certain powerful people…

  117. @Shard:

    I responded to you more fully on this issue on the thread from my last article. Honestly, I don’t know what to say about it right now. I’m too upset about it to have a clear opinion, so I’ll have to take a few days before I decide what to say.

  118. @Walter- i figure you dont know much about the footballing finances. City used to earn £50 half a decade back. And in last few years, they spent a fortune….and guess what, after their recent commercial deals, they earn as much as we do. Neither are they bankrupt, and are much successful on the pitch, as of now, than Arsenal.

    And yea one more thing, such owners dont even become bankrupt, bcoz they are backed by princes of middle eastern countries. Jus like the big spanish teams being backed by Spanish banks and Govt.

    Cant you see?? They are well prepared.

  119. @shard- you should read you comments again, its more about saying some thing against Dark Prince rather than the topic in hand. Thats how people go about over here includin Notoverthehill and Anne. If you want, you can check how they started their comments as well, it was pretty much something against Dark Prince rather than debating about the topic.

    Also regarding the SwissRamble,

  120. @shard-and also regarding the swiss ramble, he’s using the financial accounts of the clubs as his reference. While people who accuse him of being wrong are using their own theory without backing up with facts. Thats the reason the SwissRamble is the most respected blog in football finances.

  121. @shard-also regarding FFP, the owners can bring in their funds in many different ways as showed by Man City. As i said b4, the FFP has been built on very vague pillars. Man City killed it in one single move.

    Also, Roman Abromovich can bring in his own funds from different companies like City did, and show that it is completly valid. And once that happens, whatever money comes in, is completly the club’s money.

  122. @Dark Prince

    This is true – the FFP regs are being treated as a joke, or so it would seem – I’ve heard varying figures as to what the stadium naming rights deal for MC is worth – anything from 200-400 million?

    Please correct me if there is a firm figure availiable now.

    Although saying that – we have not yet reached the stage where these regulations come into force, we all ‘know’ what ManCity’s game is with this deal and it is yet to be seen if it is deemed to represent ‘market value’.

    This will come down to litigation if UEFA deem that it does not [represent market value] (and City can afford the best lawyers). As I see it the price for naming rights that would see them clear of FFP regs in the 3 year rolling window for CL qualification would NOT represent market value UNLESS (and it’s a big unless) Manchester City can achieve marked success in the Champions League itself… which is rather a Chicken and Egg argument of speculate to accumilate on the prescient nature (or not) of the naming rights deal in the first place.

    That court case could run and run..

  123. @Dark prince

    Why people even mention you is because of the way you behave not just in one thread, or in response to a topic, but all throughout. Once again, you sometimes do make very good points, but mostly you do what I said you do, which spoils it all. So stop playing the martyr and saying people gang up on you because you know as well, that that is not the case.

    yes, I agree with you that the FFP won’t be enforced. In fact, I even doubted the intention of the rules (unlike you, so I am more sceptical about it then maybe even you are. But you ridiculed the concept of owners being separate legal entities from the clubs. The FFP is based on that, all tax laws etc are based on that basic premise. That is all my point was. Owners are separate from the clubs.

    Now if you say that clubs are getting around the rules. Most certainly. They are well prepared, and in all likelihood, this won’t stop. I agree. The real question is, what do you want Arsenal to do? Go down the same path as everyone else, which inludes all the benefits but also all the risks, or go down the self sustaining path which we are doing?

  124. @Shard – I agree Dark Prince seems to like nothing better than to get on everyone else’s tits.

    For instance – he accuses people of not listening to him because they believe that they are ‘always right’ and then he declares them of being ‘hypocritical’. Pot… Kettle… Black..?

    (Sorry DP, just got to call it as I see it 😉 )

    That said, he also does appear to be a genuine supporter who cares passionately about the club and I think this is more to do with his personality (in that when he gets locked into a train of thought he finds it hard to get out) rather than him being a troll.

    We should, with that in mind, all try and respect each other a bit more to keep this a happy place to be – arguments on the board just put off new posters from contributing as do some of the more aggressive and judgemental opinions from the resident passionate.

    Now far be it from anyone to declare or dictate opinion as a supporter on this board BUT I do think that it might contribute to the discussion to let the old ego take a bit of a back seat once in a while… after all – we are all gooners together (and if you are not a gooner, I will find you… oh yes!) and we are not pitch side on a match day so there are no excuses for tempers to boil over.

  125. @Dogface

    It would appear my ego is out flying planes and writing checks my body can’t cash.. Putting it in the backseat may only result in a crash 🙂 I felt there were certain other things that might put off new participants on the site more than an ‘argument’, but your point is taken.. The Ego has landed 🙂

  126. Oh also, Dark prince..Notoverthehill did mention that in his opinion TSR forgot to include the last mid yearly report which he says is the source of his claims. I still don’t know who is right and I have taken Swiss Ramble on board because he is respected and does good work. But I won’t dismiss the possibility of TSR making a mistake or being wrong, offhand.

  127. @Dogface-

    Firstly, appreciate your comments. And yes, i’m a genuine Arsenal supporter and i passionately love and care for the club. Ironically, Untold Arsenal (the only Arsenal blog where I consistently comment in) is the only place in the whole world where i’m questioned regarding my support to Arsenal, bcoz everyone else at other places, know me as a true and crazy Arsenal Supporter from top to bottom.

    Now regarding the FFP, as far as i’ve read City’s stadium rights are around £10 mil a year for 10yrs. But they have yet to confirm this.

    £10 mil a year doesn’t sound too much of a exaggeration of market values, in my opinion, as Arsenal earns, if i’m not wrong, around £4-5 mil for their stadium naming rights which was signed 7 yrs back. Though many questions can be raised regardin the value of naming an old stadium as against a brand new stadium, but it would be tough to say that £10 mil a year is way too much.

    Also, City have signed a commercial sponsorship deal with Etihad. Now no figure is not confirmed as of now, but in terms of true ‘market value’, this can be anything between £25 to £30 mil, bcoz Barca recently signed a shirt deal which was also in between £25-30 mil. So City can easily take this figure upto £30 mil a year without letting UEFA complain.

    Add both the above figures and you easily get £40 mil a year.

    Add to that the growing popularity and new fanbase around the world, City can earn another £10 mil extra in couple of years.

    Thats a total £50 mil extra revenue every year. Now there might be many other ways to increase their revenue further, like going on special pre season tours, etc but lets assume that they will increase their revenue by £50 mil.

    Now tak a look at their expenses, they spend around £200 mil in last 2yrs, but still according to FFP rules and normal conventional football accounting rules, amortisation comes into effect. Which means, £200 mil new players on 5yr contracts will only cost £40mil every year.

    And this £40 mil expenses every year will be easily spend through the new £50 mil revenue. And they still have another £10 mil left for other expenses like wages.

    Thats how easy it is to play with the FFP rules.

  128. Also let me clarify, the extra £10 mil revenue i stated bcoz of growing fan base and popularity was related to increase in commercial sales. I guess the company can set up different shell companies in U.A.E to buy Man City shirts. Dont know till what extent they can do this, but 300,000 shirts each costing £30 can easily get them d additional £9-10 mil….

    Dont think whether FFP has any regulation to stop such activities.

  129. @Shard- firstly, let me clarify, i didn’t ridicule the fact the Owners and Club are different entities. But i did ridicule the fact the this statement had anything to do with how clubs should be run or how FFP can work.

    The FFP does prevent owners to directly put money into the club. But it doesn’t allow an Owner’s company to invest into the club, like Etihad does for Man City. Or Couldn’t it be possible that AON (principle sponsor of ManU) have a member of Glazer family in its board of directors??

    What i’m tryin to say is that FFP is based on rules which were very vague and very subjective from club to club. A statement like ‘spend only what you earn’ can be twisted in many ways. A statement like ‘Owners cant put their money into the club’ can be taken for a ride anytime.

    But everyone fails to realise, how the FFP is actually a problem more for the smaller clubs rather than the big spendin clubs. Bcoz the big clubs can easily work their way around the rules, but what about the smaller clubs?? If tomorrow a small club like Everton which runs in losses reaches the champions league qualification and comes to know that their are barred bcoz their relatively poorer owner cant work around the rules like other super billionaires of big clubs. Thats the other side of FFP.

    Also regarding Arsenal, as i’ve told earlier, money is not the matter of concern here. The matter of concern with Arsenal is what happens on the pitch. What matters is whether we have a squad and manager that can win the league and other competitions. Its never about how much you can spend or how much you can earn, etc. Its only about the team, its only whether we are progressing. Man City ending up 3rd has nothing to do with how much they have spend, its what they have on the pitch and how they perform in a season. Though i believe that City spend a fortune to build that team, but Arsenal doesn’t need to spend a fortune to build a team. Arsenal already have a decent set of players, but there are some problems in strategy and some weaknesses that has to be addressed. Thats only what i would wish Arsenal to do.

  130. @Shard- regarding Notoverthehill,

    I’ll not comment on his 2nd post bcoz he talked about his ‘gut feeling’ as his main source. Which i feel is not reliable source, according to my gut feeling. 🙂

    But i’ll talk about his earlier comment where he talked about the Debt Service Reserve and the Interest. First of all that Debt Service Reserve he was talking about was only applicable in previous financial accounts. Bcoz till that time, Arsenal were paying off a big stadium debt. Even Ivan Gazidis has stated that the stadium debt is completly paid off. Now the rest of the debt which is left is in form of bonds for 20yrs. And thats the reason, the Debt Service Reserve is not taken into account.

    Regarding the 2nd ‘miscalculation’ he talked about – he has stil yet to tell exactly what type of completion costs he’s talking about. Bcoz as i remember, the Arsenal board had claimed the property debts at the old Highbury area where apartments were built to have been completly wiped off. And hence, whatever the sales proceeds will be completly in favour of Arsenal.

  131. @Dark Prince – yes, but I would argue that Barca and Manchester City reperent two different ends of the market with regards to a ‘global brand’ – which was my point about CL success.

    At present they have very little presence on the world stage.

    Would they recieve their naming rights as a lump sum or on the drip? It would make a difference…

    …and also – how would they cover their wage bill after the first few years?

  132. @Dogface- look at Chelsea, they had no presence in champions league 4-5yrs back, and they still have to win the champions league till now, but yet, they still earn as good as ManU or Barca in terms of Sponsorship today. Man City has entered directly into the champions league group stages, plus their line up is also star-studded, so they can claim their sponsorship revenues for that amount. And lets face it, its very difficult define a ‘market value’ for sponsorship. The only values we know in sponsorship is the highest amount paid and that belongs to Barca. Also ManU, Chelsea and Liverpool earn £25 mil by their current sponsorships, City can very very easily claim for atleast £25 mil. Dont think even UEFA can argue on that.

    Whether he revenue from naming rights will be City’s decision. At the moment, my guess would be as good as yours.

    Also they are even plannin for investing in a new training centre, which doesn’t come in the purview of FFP.

    Regarding the wages, i believe that City have almost reached a saturating point as regards to wage bill, not bcoz of FFP rules but bcoz of the 25 man squad limit rule, City have very small space left in their team right now, they can hardly add one or 2 players, if i’m not wrong. Once they are added, their wages will be stable for sometime. Any further additions in wage bill by incoming players in later seasons will be nullified by the wages of outgoing players. Whatever reasonable increase in wage later on can also be nullified by more commercial revenues. But i dont think there can be any major increase in wage bill of big clubs from now on bcoz the big clubs have hardly any room left in their squad so as to comply with the 25 man squad limit rule.

    What i can admit is that the 25 man squad limit will be more of a hinderance to the big clubs in the transfer market rather than the FFP.

  133. @Dark Prince

    This is precicely my point – until Man City play a season with some success (i.e. Semi Finals or Final) – they cannot claim to have any presence on the world stage as a global brand – that is what advertisers pay for after all.

    This deal (15 years did you say) is being brokered on the premise of future success – it can be argued and, as I pointed out, it will be argued that this is merely a savvy investment…

    …but if it was that savvy then why didn’t they get a better deal on it?!

    Which brings me back to my first post (way back there) – the sucess would have to be guranteed to present a reasonable return on the investment.

    If City crash out in the group stages this season it’ll make that job much harder – although that presumes that UEFA have any balls to begin with.

  134. @Dogface- well, success too could be well subjective for everyone. Coming 3rd, winning the Fa cup can be called a success for Man City. Plus with teams like Liverpool earning £25 mil even after not qualifying for champions league for 2 consecutive years, it could well be a very tricky case.

    What should be seen is that City dont earn something which is impossible or out of order. But earning £25-30 mil a year in sponsorship revenue is not tough for a premier league team as shown by Liverpool or ManU or Chelsea, so how can be possibily single out City??

    Plus City crashing out in group stages wont be as tough as not finishing in top 4. City’s main strategy should be to qualify for champions league every year, bcoz even that means an additional £25 mil of broadcasting revenue from UEFA.

  135. @dark prince
    While im not gonna get involved in the ffp debate or wether you post to piss off, I do question your belief that money has nothing to do with winning. Do you honestly believe chelski would have won anything had Abrahamovich not bought them? They would still be mid table without his billions.

  136. @Dark Prince:

    Your latest posts on this thread have a much nicer tone to them than the earlier ones, and I appreciate that. For that reason, I apologize for what I said to you earlier. I want to clarify that the reason I lost my temper with you was not because of the arguments you were making, but because I felt that you were insulting people.

    However, I still shouldn’t have lost my temper. I take it back and I’m sorry.

  137. @Stevie E:

    Sorry, off topic, but I just wanted to let you know that I got back to you on some questions you asked me on the earlier thread from my article. Cheers.

  138. @DP

    “But everyone fails to realise, how the FFP is actually a problem more for the smaller clubs rather than the big spendin clubs. Bcoz the big clubs can easily work their way around the rules, but what about the smaller clubs?? If tomorrow a small club like Everton which runs in losses reaches the champions league qualification and comes to know that their are barred bcoz their relatively poorer owner cant work around the rules like other super billionaires of big clubs. Thats the other side of FFP.”

    I agree with that completely. That was the intentions that I was talking about. the way I see it, the big clubs have all agreed to make it a closed battle between them and not let any of the smaller clubs follow the same path to success. FFP will not work. I said it before, the football authorities will apply these rules, the same way they apply the laws of the game on the field. It will always be different for different clubs.

    But I must disagree about money not being the issue. I see what you are saying in that ultimately it is the football you produce that wins you things, and not how much money you have in the bank. Still, money brings success has always been true, and will always be true and it is a factor that cannot be ignored. I’d rather there were no FFP rules actually because I prefer things to be open. This way there is more potential for wrongdoing, and punishing clubs arbitrarily.

    Oh and your explanation of the Debt reserve does make sense, though I am still ignorant of the facts and looking through the financial records would just make me go to sleep 🙂 So I’ll wait for Notoverthehill’s response (if he so chooses) but as I said, your explanation does make sense.

  139. @Dark prince

    We are also in agreement that the 25 man squad rules will have more of an impact than the FFP. Still, I think only both working together will have any impact. Otherwise, you’ll just have a higher churn of players with the big clubs swallowing all the talent each year and simply taking a financial hit in terms of offloading the excess players. It also might have the opposite than intended effect in that instead of promoting the use of academies, it might encourage clubs to stop their academies altogether and just buy English ‘talent’. 21 is too early an age to determine whether a player can be relied upon enough to take a very limited squad space. Some clubs may decide it just isn’t worth the effort and they’d rather have older players turn out for them.

  140. Tony-I think you are pretty much out on your own in trying to defend Arsenal’s record in buying players in the transfer market. If it takes so long to complete a deal-why does it take our competitors so much less time and how long does it take the club to sign kids??
    We know why-because Arsenal are not prepared to pay what our competitors are for experienced, especially English players-some of whom come at a premium.
    Wenger/the club drives a hard bargain in every transaction- often offering several million below the asking price- an admirable policy maybe in your eyes-but it also means we often don’t get our man- even in relation to low cost deals like Schwarzer last year. We are not talking just the last 2 years either.
    Even strong Wenger supporters -like Bob Wilson have argued against Wenger’s caution in the transfer market-and I think you are misguided if you think that all those critical of the club’s transfer policies in recent seasons are disloyal anti Arsenal fans.
    Arsenal might eventually shock us this year and buy an established top player-not a kid or an unknown- and if they do it will be a shock – and it shouldn’t be a shock for the world’s seventh most valuable sporting franchise to be able to buy a top player.

  141. @Dark Prince – Liverpool are a massive global brand after their success in the CL over the years… I’d hardly call City’s tally i.e. an FA cup since the 70’s a success that rippled around the world.

    Give then a few years of big names and CL competition and summer tours and then maybe they can build a global fanbase but at the moment nobody outside of the UK and UAE have a clue who they are – so at present I would say that in an open market the next highest bid for sponsorship of the wastelands would fall well short of what Etihad will be shelling out.

    The other thing you mentioned that the owners of City will just pull a few more sponsorship deals out of their arse when they need more cash to foot the wage bill and/or buy new big names… I may be lacking imagination here but I’m not quite sure what they would be and how they would be justified? Zero interest loan maybe – after all my local pegeout dealership is offering it on the latest 5006 estate so I imagine that UEFA would be hard pressed to argue against such a thing?!


    But this is all speculation and time will tell how UEFA react to this… although a part of me is in your camp with reagrds to them being weak willed and I don’t have much faith in their integrity.

    The best course of action (for anyone who thinks that this is not in keeping with the spirit of Fanancial Fair Play) to express your disgust and generally make your feeling known about it in public forums and maybe even write a letter to Platini explaining how MC are making his FFP regs look rather toothless – public pressure and all that.

  142. @Stevie E- Money doesn’t buy you trophies but it certainly buys you quality players. And it was those quality players that won Chelsea, ManU or Arsenal to win their titles. Yes, Money does give you the potential to build a team capable to winning. But it doesn’t guarantee anything. Chelsea having spend a fortune still only won 3 league titles in last 8 years of spending. Even after spending that fortune, they could never win the Champions League. Barca are not winning bcoz of their money or transfers. They win bcoz they are far more superior on the field. Its not bcoz of money that Arsenal lost to Chelsea so many times in last 5 to 6 years. We lost only bcoz Chelsea were better than us on the pitch. And the last time, we won against them, not because we spend more, but we’re jus better than them.

    Hope you get my point.

  143. @Anne- apologies accepted and i myself apologise for my personal comments on you. I’m not usually a guy who uses bad words, so i’m sorry for those comments.

    I guess we’re havin a happy endin……atleast for today 🙂

  144. @goonergerry

    World’s 8th most profitable I think it was, and that disregards the fact that we have debts and certain liabilities at this point in time due to the building of the stadium and the commercial deals being locked in. 2014 would probably be when we can spend more freely. till then, I doubt we’ll see massive transfer fees from the club.

    Also don;t kid yourself that no other club’s dealings take time. All clubs dither over targets and haggle over the price. It happens all the time for all clubs and you are just more aware of Arsenal and more emotionally involved so you feel it takes too long. Sure paying the extra 2-3 million might help smoothen the deal. But this is an extra 2-3 million which easily rises to 20-30 million because THAT is a slippery slope to go on. Every club then knows you are willing to pay the extra amount and will hold out fr ever more. Then you have cases of paying 35m for Caroll, or even 30m for Berbatov. We are NEVER going to do that. I would say deal with it, but in fact I think you should be proud of how we operate. Even if in some cases it works against us, we just have to accept the bad with the good because on the whole it is the right policy.

  145. Also, I’d like to bring up the fact that is often mentioned in regards to commercial deals and that we should cancel them and renegotiate. Leaving aside the fact that renegotiation requires both parties be willing to do so, the thing that is blamed is that the board says this is not ‘The Arsenal Way’, and this is treated with much ridicule.

    But to me it is clear, this Arsenal Way, is nothing but a brand positioning. That is how our club is marketed in the world and compromising on that will also compromise on our brand image. I’m sure some people will see that as an attempt to portray everything about the board as good, but that isn’t it at all. Brand image really is all about how people view you, and right now, despite all the noise to the contrary, we are seen as the good guys, the underdogs, fighting against the mercenaries of the football world. Would it help us to break free of that image? Perhaps, but only through organic growth, not artificially like cancelling deals.

  146. @Shard- regarding money being a factor, i believe its only limited till buying top players. But it doesn’t guarantee anything. Eventually it will come down to which team is better. If you look at teams like ManU or Chelsea that have won the league title, its simply bcoz their team was more superior to us.

    Regarding the FFP, I personally want it to be there, but i want the foundations to be strong. One thing we have admit is that it does make big clubs act accordingly, like City did by announcing the new deals. So, even though the big clubs are working their way around it, atleast it does show that the FFP does have an influence. What UEFA has to do now is tighten its grip by making it more stricter. Many more regulations which will eventually stop clubs from going around the rules. My only complain being the UEFA didn’t think like a billionaire running a club b4 introducing these rules, bcoz then they would have known the ways a billionaire would have tried to dodge the rules, and then they could have come up with a better FFP. But atleast i credit them for takin a step in the right direction. But yes, as of now, the FFP would be ineffective. I hope there are more reforms in FFP as the years go by.

    Also, the reason why the 25 man squad limit rule is more of a hindrance is bcoz the rules, though very simple, are also very clear. Big club or small club, no one can go around this rule, something the FFP should learn. Though i disagree that the big clubs will go through massive churns in their squad bcoz its not easy to sell a player these days. Even last year, City were facing a problem of offloadin some players. So they might be a little careful in this respect. Also, lookin at a quick glance at City’s squad, i can already see that they are already choked up their limit on the squad rule. So i dont think City will be buying more than one or 2 players this summer, unless its a under 21 player. And this is not jus limited to City, even ManU and Arsenal and Chelsea have to think about it. As for Arsenal, if i’m not wrong, we have only one space left after the signing of Gervinho. So its everybody’s problem now 🙂

    Also regardin the academies, i agree with you that it could go either way. Some might abandon their academies while some will tak advantage of it.

  147. @Dark Prince

    My contention is that the FFP wasn’t brought in for the stated intentions anyway. I think it was a way to garner votes from the smaller nations (who would have smaller clubs) and at the same time, increase control over the competition. Right now, anybody can buy their way in, and play by whatever (financial) rules they please. My Guess is UEFA wanted some control back over what, and who, will be allowed to succeed or not. They have always functioned in a quid pro quo fashion, and the big clubs have been bargaining for a better deal as well. my guess ( and it is a lot of guesses and cynicism) that the big clubs get to remain unchallenged, and hence assure themselves of whatever revenues UEFA gives them, who also gain from having the star names in their competition (who otherwise might have broken away at some stage).

    Why I would prefer no FFP to FFP which are unclear and half hearted is because I feel it just makes it even more unfair because the laws will be applied arbitrarily, to suit certain interest groups.

  148. @Dogface- “Give then a few years of big names and CL competition and summer tours and then maybe they can build a global fanbase but at the moment nobody outside of the UK and UAE have a clue who they are – so at present I would say that in an open market the next highest bid for sponsorship of the wastelands would fall well short of what Etihad will be shelling out.”

    Completly agree on this statement and thats exactly what i wanted to point out when i compared them to Chelsea. Chelsea too jus 3-4yrs to become a very popular figure in World football. And even City are plannin to do the same and thats the reason they have ventured into all these deals now, bcoz the FFP wont come into effect for another 2 years. Though the accounts for next financial year will be taken into consideration, but the actual implementation still has 2yrs left. So at the moment, the UEFA can only look at them as a suspect and max to max warn them. But if City do reasonably well in Champions League for next 2years, then they would rightfully earn the commercial revenues they state by the time the FFP comes seriously into effect.

    But as of now, UEFA can only look and talk about iti…

    Also the commercial revenues change all the time, includin sponsorship deals. Teams like ManU and Chelsea renegotiate their sponsorship deals every couple of years, so even Man City too could do the same and bring in more revenues. It could be easily possible that in the next 5yrs, sponsorship deals of £50 mil a year will be a normal thing.

  149. I have to agree with Dark prince here Dogface. i’m not sure how anyone could think that the FFP would be applied in it’s right spirit. Who are the enforcers of this rule? UEFA.. the same UEFA we all agree (I think) are corrupt and display that corruption many times.. Besides, thse clubs have enough money to have hired the best accountants and lawyers to look for loopholes in the laws. In fact accountants and lawyers working for the law breakers always seem to be a step ahead of the ones working for the law makers. And even then, in the unlikely event that some club is caught foul of it..Money talks. either in the form of bribes, or UEFA’s own interests will never result in any club like ManU, or Barca, or Madrid, being kicked out.

  150. @Shard- i dont really know what the intention of UEFA is, but yes i admit, as i said b4, they wont hit the hammer on their own feet. Bcoz these same big clubs are the ones who provide them with the revenue. But i’m not willing to discount that they dont really care, bcoz lets face it, even though teams like City will end up going around these rules,their owners eventually had to shell out more by their new commercial deals. So it has take a hit, a minimal hit, but a hit nonetheless.

    The real intentions of UEFA can be known only if they reform these rules in the comin years. But as of now, its provides nothing.

  151. @Dark Prince

    So you are saying that these rules provide potential for actually making an impact? I’d agree with that. But I also think that they have a potential to simply bring in more arbitrariness and confusion thereby handing the powers that be more..well..power. Normally I’m an optimist, but nothing about the way football is governed throughout the world leads me to the conclusion that it will be the ‘right’ path that they will follow.

  152. I knew that bringing in a Belgian politician would be the end of FFP rules from uefa. The moment I heard that they had appointed our former prime minister as the head of the committee that had to look after it I felt it was the end. He was one of the culpable of making Belgium unmanageable and now he will do the same thing with the FFP. (I even wrote an article about it in those days)

    And the funny/strange thing is that he is very much involved with one of the big clubs in Belgium and so a correct implementation of the FFP rules could lead this club to come back on the European stage (as Belgium clubs once won things in Europe…). So one might say that as a supporter of a “smaller” club he has all the interest in making the rules as tight as possible.

    But on the other hand… as a former known “union based politician” since he has made it to the top he earns a lot of money from sitting in the board of big companies who reorganize at random to maximize the profit of the shareholders and they throw out the local workers to do this.

    Okay, I admit I would kick his fat ass out of Uefa as I really don’t like him at all. Arrogant tw$t. 🙁

    Come to think of it… is there anyone in Uefa that I do like? 😉

  153. @shard- i dont think the current rules have any potential for impact, but the overall idea itself can generate lots of potential ideas that can create some panic for some big clubs.
    Ideas like squad size limit, salary cap, maybe also minimum number of club-grown players (players spending atleast 3 yrs in their club b4 18yrs of age), also making the broadcasting revenues equitable in other leagues like la liga, also transfer caps Etc…

    There could be many ideas generated to stop the inflation, but only UEFA can act. But yes, the general idea of FFP of controllin the price rise is the good part.

  154. Walter- believe me, it wouldn’t matter who’s on the top, even if it was Arsene Wenger himself, he too couldn’t have done much to stop the clubs from going around the rules. The problem here is not the person implementing the rules but the rules themselves, which have many loopholes.

    Its kinda like our judicial system, many corporations and influential people easily make way through the loopholes of law even though the judge residing is an honest guy. Eventually its not bcoz of the judge but bcoz of the law itself that people are not punished.

  155. just a comment i read on some blog recently about arsenal’s delaying tactics in transfer dealings was that over the summer when no football is played, the club still has to pay the players their wages, so for example if Arsenal do intend to sigh ‘Super Star with many years of experience who with will guarantee us success in the coming years” at suppose 100 grands a week, we would end up paying an extra 400,000 a month and 1.2 million over the summer!

    hence delaying tactics!! but then it works the other way as well – you would want to get rid of players sooner.

    p.s. after reading what Rooney earns in the region of 250K a week, the 100K sounds like a joke

  156. Dark prince is suspicousley similar to jabbas delight from cultured left foot. A total hypocrit.

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