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August 2021

Transfer rumours as market tipped into chaos by club with 18500 capacity ground

By Tony Attwood

During last season we got used to three teams who were seemingly willing and able to outbid anyone for the player they wanted: Chelsea, Man C and PSG.  Since two of those three didn’t win the league in which they play they are expected to spend more and more this summer.

Meanwhile Barcelona and Real Madrid are expected to spend big, because both suffered deep defeats in the Champions League semi-finals, and in the traditions of fine mathematics it is recognised that each year only one of them can win the two-horse race called a League in Spain.

So that makes five clubs spending big.  Man U might spend, but probably not as much as any of those five, despite having a new manager.  Bayern Munich will presumably also slosh some money around a bit.

So there we have it.

Except we don’t.  For we now have a club that this past season played in the second division in France, and which has a ground capacity of 18,523.  Namely Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club (Monaco for short), whose most famous manager was… Mr Wenger (1987 to 1994).  Now it is Claudio Ranieri.

And we think of Monaco as a member of the mega rich because in December 2011, the majority share holding of the club was taken over by an investment company headed by Dmitry Rybolovlev who is, wouldn’t you know it, a billionaire.

There is of course a second reason for Monaco going down the route trod by Manchester City et al.  It is a tax haven, and so the players can be paid far less than elsewhere and still end up with the same money.  Tax on salaries for employees is about 10%.  There is no tax on company profits earned within the Principality.

And so up turn two Porto players James Rodríguez and Joao Moutinho signed for a combined fee of around £60 million.

Next up will perhaps be Radomel Falcao from Atlético Madrid utilising the £48 million buy-out clause.  He fancies a £5 million a year salary after tax.  Monaco is where he can get it.   The Qatar Investment Authority, who own PSG, are not amused, since it makes their FFP qualification even more unlikely.

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All this comes before we think of how new managers like to bring in new players, and with new men at Man U, Man C, Chelsea, and Real Mad that is another reason to think all hell will break out.  PSG and Monaco fighting each other will be interesting, not least because players at PSG have to pay a tax rate of 66% rather than 10%.

Put another way, in round figures in order to get £1m a year a player in Monaco needs to be paid £1,110,000.  A player at PSG needs to be paid £3 million just to make his £1m.

And since we are now in the era of the £10m a year salary (see below) that means that PSG have to pay £30m against Monaco’s £11m for the player to line his pockets in the same way.

So does this mean the whole transfer market has not only reached insanity levels it will also stop Arsenal buying, as the prices escalate?

Although clearly the whole thing is utterly insane, no one quite knows how the four mega rich clubs in France and England plus the bank and local authority supported Real Mad or “new economics” at Barca (among whose new inventions in recent years have been not paying players on time and abandoning colour photocopying) will run things vis a vis FFP.

They might try and carry on as normal, and let the lawyers sort it out, which could be interesting – because supposing Chelsea and Man C both take the legal route, and take two of the top four places in the Premier League.  The legal case might finish six months after the season ends.  Do Chelsea and Man C get thrown out of the Champs League?  Maybe – but probably they will be banned for the following five seasons.  Then they appeal…

But it is clear that there might well be some players available at lower prices as the mega rich clubs clear out unwanted riff-raff, and as their targets are more clearly identified.  Cesc is one obvious example.  Having to go back to Barcelona because of a DNA problem, it seems both parties are now not quite sure that his DNA was all it was cracked up to be.  It is said that Arsenal have a first refusal clause in the sale.

As for the rumours, London 24 says Podolski doesn’t want to move away, and the Daily “Look at me I’m on another planet” Mail says Arsenal are going to buy Wayne Rooney and give him a salary of £10,400,000 a year.

Napoli are about to sign Vermaelen (Talk Sprot – although I really ought to be nicer to them as I just did a two hour interview with them on the history of Arsenal) and with a new sort of story Sport 24 say that Serge Aurier says he will not leave Toulouse unless something crazy happens.  I quite like that.  Name any player and then say that he won’t be leaving his club unless something crazy happens.  That must be the easiest bit of journalism on the planet.

Herbert Chapman says he won’t be rising from his grave unless something crazy happens.   Contradict that if you dare!

Oh and the ever truthful Sun says Christian Benteke claims that Villa won’t hold him against his will (ie won’t make him stick to his contract), and that he’d like to go to Arsenal.

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27 comments to Transfer rumours as market tipped into chaos by club with 18500 capacity ground

  • AL

    Good observations Tony. I think we obviously need to strengthen but the sort of world class signing many yearn for will not be available for the reasons you state above. All of Bayern, Barca, Real, PSG, City, Chelski, Monaco & possibly utd are all actively in the market for different reasons, and all are capable of offering ridiculous salaries, more than we could ever match. For this reason I think we will sign a player or two, but not the marquee signings many are dreaming of. Possibly the Koscielny-type of player noone has heard of before?

  • ClockEndRider

    Which in turn will really anger all those fans who know far better than Wenger and were ridiculing the purchase of Koscielny at the time since he was clearly too short, too unknown,too French to cut the mustard.
    Strangely, they haven’t deemed it necessary to write apologies for their vitriolic outpourings at the time and after the signings of other such obviously inferior players such as Vermaelen (too short, too Belgian), Mertesacker (too tall, too German) and decrying the need for their expertise to be heeded since only Christopher Samba (too expensive, too relegated) would suffice.
    No doubt well be hearing from the same experts again shortly anyway…..

  • Adam

    Entertaining as ever.

    So when we buy all these players, what are we going to do with the ones we already have?

  • Adam

    Weird I have been aware of Aurier since his youth days when he was being punted around as the next best thing. Looks like his representation is finally trying to get that big pay day.

  • Matt

    Clubs with ambition, that’s just plain wrong. How dare they want top quality players at there clubs.
    What next? Clubs will be expecting fans to pay their season ticket renewals by 1st June

  • AL

    You’re right, we will definitely be hearing from the experts soon.

    Personally, I would prefer an unknown player who is prepared to work their socks off to get into the team, and won’t mind being on the bench to start with. Rather than some ‘proven’ player expecting a huge wage to match their big ego, who will only succeed in unsettling the balance in the current side.

  • Joeos

    A club with a ground capacity of 18,500 spending on transfer fees and wages at that level means that FF in FFP stands for Fantasy and Fiction.

  • Great comment ClockEndRider.

  • colario

    Thanks for another interesting read.

    I had noted elsewhere of the demise of Monaco into the French second division and the subsequent take over of Monaco by a billionaire. I thought it ironic that having sacked Arsene as a failure for losing a few games led to relegation. The Arsenal supporters calling for Arsene to ‘go’ should take note of that fact.

    Would Monaco still have a stadium of a mere 18 000 if he had stayed?

    Their loss our gain.

    Would Arsenal now be ‘a toy’ of some unknown? Probably.

    True, we don’t know too much about ‘Silent Stan’ except that he doesn’t have a record of using sports clubs for his own ends. He doesn’t interfere with the football side of the club.

    True we haven’t won a trophy for ! although many unbiased claim we have had at least one denied us.

    True, the billionaire take over industry is expanding and it has brought success – Chelski is a good example of this.

    However this industry has also shown itself to be a house of cards as appears to be happening to Malaga. Just as quickly as money is poured into a club so it can be taken out and the club left destitute ie Portsmouth.

    Do we want this to happen to Arsenal? Not me.

    Arsene has shown that without the billionaire money but for a poor standard of refereeing exciting football can be played and trophies won.

  • Cyberian

    Almunia in goal for Watford at Wembley today playing for a return to Premier League next season. Perhaps AFC will see him again.

  • Adam

    Cyberian, Arsenal see Almunia all the time, Watford train next door to us.

  • AL

    Rooting for Watford, Almunia is a nice guy, and so is ,Zola(but certainly not the palace manager).

  • Mark

    If one takes performance and cost together often cheaper players are worth more, have better value. So Carzola was a better value than Hazard because he performed better and cost less.

    Football is a team sport so team relationships are important. So just buying pricey players does not mean those players will work well together and work for each other. How well will Neymar and Mesi be able to gell? Clearly RVP and Rooney did not gell that well forcing Rooney to either find a new position or leave.

    Being able to see potential, assess ability and understand the team dynamics always make it possible for clubs with less money but more smarts to succeed!

  • Persian gunner

    Thank you so much for such a fantastic article
    I do really need to read about transfer news here on untold, as the other sites are just playing game with my nerves!
    I’ve just saw this article about Cesc, whit this title: for me, it’s only Arsenal! And while I was going to have this joy inside me, it turned out that they were referring to his comments of 2 years ago!!
    Damn it! How could you do that!? For a few clicks more!?
    I am not so eager to have him back, though, I don’t want to see him anywhere else specially in utd’s color!
    So here is the only place I can trust, where every things are “logical” and “moral” !

  • Adam

    So we get to play Crystal Palace twice next season, The only team in the championship top 6 to have a negative away goals difference, scored 21 conceded 31. Should be good for target practice at the Ems next season. I’m starting to feel sorry for Palace already.

    Really feel sorry for Watford finishing the season on 77 points only to be usurped by a team with 72 points, kind of makes a mockery of the whole season.

    Welcome back to the premier Ian Holloway and goodbye this time next year.

  • americangooner

    I really don’t see FFP working well. since the introduction of FFP we have seen clubs takeover by powerful & rich billionaires who are splurging untold wealth into the clubs. some are really unworthy like Monaco- who have a 18K seat stadium but are located in a tax haven. I am just surprised why that billionaire did not bid for teams in Eredivise, since I haven’t yet heard any dutch clubs spending like crazy.
    in the past 2-3 years we have seen Anzhi, PSG, Monaco, Malaga, Zenit, City prop out of nowhere to become major players in transfers, despite the clear lack in commercial power.
    Combining billionaires with TPOs,which is legal someplace & illegal in others, is probably potent enough to tip the scale & meke the footballing world go berserk.
    Given the incompetence of FIFA, UEFA to tackle racism, corruption & , doping, it is quite far-fetched to think that those bodies will be serious about implementing FFP to the fullest.

  • jayjay

    “Herbert Chapman says he won’t be rising from his grave unless something crazy happens. Contradict that if you dare!”

    Quality as always

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice Tony ,am looking forward to the bloody free-for-all feeding frenzy thats about to ensure .There will be much unwanted prime-cut scraps falling off that table that we could use .
    Any truth to the rumour that the Rosie 47 account has been active of late ?

  • Herbert Chapman

    its a mad world

    I have risen

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And since we were (actually, I was ) talking about a smart dog,here an old joke about a canny canine .
    A man is at the talent agent’s office with his pet ,and he tells the agent that it is a talking dog .The agent tells him to proove it and the dog owner asks ,” What is on the top of a house ?”
    The dog answers ,” Roof ! Roof !”
    The agent doesn’t seem to be impressed at all so the man asks ,”How does sandpaper feel to the touch ?”
    The dog barks ,” Rough ! Rough !”
    The agents eyes roll up but before he can say anything ,the man asks the dog,” Who was the greatest baseball player of all time ?”
    The dog replies ,” Ruth ! Ruth !”
    The dog and its owner are both unceremoniously thrown out of the office ,and as they are sitting on the kerb ,the dog turns to its master and asks , ” DiMaggio ? Was it Joe DiMaggio ?”
    Told you it was an old joke !

  • Shard

    I think the rationale behind FFP is being misunderstood. It doesn’t aim to stop clubs getting money from outside. It’s main aim is to ensure that a club doesn’t go out of existence (or into administration) on account of it’s owner.

    The FairPlay bit is just a name. The rules themselves allow a lot of freedom for clubs like City and Chelsea to operate without changing their modus operandi too much.

    However, it is also wrong to say that FFP will have no effect. It’s already having an effect, and creative accounting can only go so far. Ultimately, clubs will have to start playing by the rules once they reach the outer limit of stretching them (any loopholes that are too big will also be closed) It won’t be a panacea to the oilers, but should be a curb on it becoming a never ending spiral. And it should ensure that if the oilers leave, the clubs won’t go bankrupt.

    I don’t think most clubs would want to upset the Uefa applecart too much. It pays the clubs good money. The real legal challenge which is there comes from agents (and indirectly, players) who would want to keep making money off the growth in the industry. I’m not sure how the law will work, but I feel there has to be a wage cap of sorts. Already the money that some players at the top of the pyramid make, are obscene. It can’t keep going higher and higher at the cost of the grassroots level of the game, and the viewers.

  • elkieno

    americangooner: I think that said billionair chose Monaco because he can spend a third less and get same player and PSG or anyone else. So effectively he could trump every deal.
    Isn’t that cheating?

  • elkieno

    actually I didn’t think it, Tony’s article said it.

  • Stroller

    Why bother about all the boring business of kicking a ball around a pitch. What really matters is the exciting business of trading players for the highest possible amounts during the summer season. We should construct a league based on turnover of players and money spent, and award a trophy in September for the winner. Sadly for a lot of fans, Arsenal will only be a mid-table side in this league.

  • Matt

    So Arsenal have been waiting 8 years to be at to this point where they have money to spend, the commercial deals are in place,stadium built, tv money has improved again and there in the CL.

    We cant spend now though as there are so many bullies in football who will spend more money than us. I bet the board are devastated.

  • Gooner S

    Nice read.

    Well Monaco and their owners aren’t breaking any rules are they? Therein is the problem. What should and will the footballing authorities do about this? What can they do? I have little faith in Uefa. Until then we just get on and look after ourselves as best we can don’t we?

  • Goona Gal

    Thanks Tony, very good read.