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The summer of unexpected transfers as Chelsea and Man C “refresh” their teams.

By Tony Attwood

I’ve been ruminating in recent articles about the fact that three of the top four clubs have new managers.  Hardly a revelation, but I’ve been trying to think through what this actually means.

Now normally a new manager means new players, but that could be a problem for both Chelsea and Manchester City if, and I make that quite a big IF, if they are thinking of at least making a show of complying with the new European financial fair play regulations, and the recently agreed Premier League’s own version of FFP.

So, take a look at Manchester City, and wonder, will the new man really want to keep Samir Nasri who got a few nasty comments about him last season over his work rate and is on a high salary while only playing some of the games.

But there is more, for there is not just Nasri who might be subject to the foibles of a new manager, for there must be questions about the likes of Carlos Tevez.  Not to deny that he is a fine player, but to question whether he is the sort of player the new man wants.

And that is before we get to Edin Dzeko, Gareth Barry, Scott Sinclair…

And indeed if one looks at Chelsea there is Fernando Torres.  Stay or go?  And if Tottenham were to lose their young AVB, they might also find they lose their logo king Mr Bale to Real Mad.

But there is yet more and then some…

For it is not just the case of who the manager particularly values, but also the approach that he has to training, whether he wants 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or 4-3-2-1 or whatever – all of these things can lead to a desire to move some players out simply because they don’t fit the new cause.

But then there is a problem – because since Chelsea and Man City, and to an extent Man U, can pay pretty much anything they want in terms of transfer fee, agents fee and salary, to get the man to fit the system, they do this, rather than take the more cautious approach of Arsenal, where finances have been more limited.

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However when they come to move the player on after a short spell, it is often the case that no one in the super-finance league (which now includes PSG and Monaco as well as several Russian clubs) will pay the high fees, so the player is sold at a loss.

That transfer results in a significant saving in terms of salary, which overcomes the issues inherent within the Premier League’s own FFP, but causes a problem when it comes to the Champions League FFP.  The fact that West Ham are reported (and yes it is just reported) to be paying Andy Carroll £5,200,000 a year shows just how the player wants to keep his salary when he is moved on.

So Arsenal might be able to pick up a bit of a bargain in terms of a transfer fee, but they will still probably have difficulty meeting the financial demands of the player and his agent.  In the end the player might simply refuse to take a pay cut, and so have to go out on loan, or sit in the reserves.

This is not very good for a player who has no business activity outside football – if all his earnings relate to image rights and salary, and if his world is training and playing, he will be lost in such a situation.   Only a player with a successful business world outside of playing will survive this readily.

All of this makes for a very mixed transfer market.  Clubs wanting to move players at the behest of new managers, worries about FFP implications, other clubs not being willing to maintain the current salaries, a surfeit of players being offered on loan with salaries being topped up by the lending club…

I would not be surprised if, as a result, we see several unexpected loans and transfers – or some players just playing out time, as Arshavin did with us.

Exactly how much autonomy each new manager enjoys when it comes to “personnel refreshment” of a squad always remains unclear but Pellegrini will surely want to establish defined areas of authority with Soriano and Begiristain.  And no one is ever going to suggest that the new Chelsea man is not going to be given the fullest of opportunities to win his third champs league title.

But amidst it all there is Arsenal.  Our expenditure options and salary options are big, but nothing like the money available to Man C or Chelsea if they choose to ignore European FFP and instead put their faith in a legal case against Uefa on the grounds that FFP is anti-competitive within EC directives and special sporting regulations.  If they do I don’t know who I want to win.  I really dislike the benefactor model of football, but equally dislike Uefa’s approach as a significant part of Fifa.  Bit of a quandary if that happens.

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23 comments to The summer of unexpected transfers as Chelsea and Man C “refresh” their teams.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    I’m no accountant Tony, but as far as I can tell, and according to the club, City are compliant with FFFP regs, and are completely co-operating with them.

    The expenditure so far is within the parameters allowed, bearing in mind the big earners now off the wage bill such as Kolo Toure, Wayne Bridge, Roque Santa Cruz, probably £300k a week with those three, and the sale of Balotelli in January gone also made a huge difference.

    As far as changes in system, I suppose the management are confident if the player is world class, and many of them are, they could probably play anywhere, for anybody, and still be a roaring success, combine them all together, with the right manager, you can’t go wrong 🙂

    It looks like Mancini was vindicated by his bemoaning of the lack of early transfer activity, shame he’s not around now to benefit from the new arrivals such as Navas and Fernandinho – I would imagine other transfer targets will look at these signings and be encouraged that City mean real business this year, last year, not so much, and it showed.

    Those Arsenal fans who are already worried about the lack of transfer activity should indeed be concerned if City’s example last year is anything to go by, you need the boost of a marquee signing if you want to win the Premiership it seems, as I believe the other top players will follow if you are bullish enough, and the existing squad will be more on there toes.

    With the best will in the world, the City squad who won the title were probably not too concerned with the last minute signings of the elderly Maicon, the young Scott Sinclair, the unproven Nastasic and Richard Wright, the understudy’s understudy. Jack Rodwell was an early signing, but again injury prone and unproven, hardly going to displace Yaya Toure! Contrast those signings with the two already in the bag – these guys will be in the first team more often than not I have no doubt, which will be a boost for everyone from the fans to the Sheikh, and if Isco and Cavani also turn up as reported in the media, then the buzz around the City will be immense.

    I don’t understand why the Arsenal haven’t had a good go at spending the money alledgedly available, and as far as I can see have already conceded the title – who is left to sign who can make the necessary difference? I was gutted when Falcao went to Monaco, Cavani looks like Madrid bound, Levandowski is staying put – there are a limited number of these type of player on the market, and in a window without major internationals, they need snapping up.

    Well, we shall see how it all pans out, which is the beauty of football, nothing is certain, just ask Wigan fans 🙁

  • Adam

    It’s Grim Oop North,

    The three players you mention, their wages did not have to be taken into account for UEFA’s FFPR, due to the dates the contracts were signed, you have a few players wages who are exempt.

    The point being made is similar to Arsenals situation of trying to move players on, and getting the buying club to match the high wages as everyone is trying to adhere to one form of FFPR or another.

    We all, also, have to keep in mind the wage cap in place, Arsenal get around any of that via the sponsorship deals, Manchester city by releasing players registrations, as you have already committed the big sponsorship deal to getting around FFPR. (I’m open to being corrected on that).

    So many clubs have been trying to trim their wage bills over the last couple of season’s especially the Italians, I personally don’t think City or Chelsea will fall foul of FFPR but neither club is an example of how clubs should be run, however I also recognise this; if a person wants to spend their money on something, who are we to stop them?

    Just so people are aware, there are only 5 teams in the premiership that are now allowed to operate a wage bill over £100million per season without justifying it via added sponsorship deals.

  • Adam

    And Grim,

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/transfer-news/chelsea-transfer-news-agents-go-1781517

    This is madness, and the agent who is in the middle of all that, is the same agent of the three players you mentioned before.

    This is greed on a whole new order, I don’t really blame the clubs, but the agents who tell the parents “this is what we can get”.

    The reason I put this link up for you, is that David Manasseh has had a lot to do with Manchester city and their player acquisitions.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Fixture list is out, and I venture to say the first 3 months are kind to Arsenal. We have 8 winnable games plus Tots at home. I’d say we should get 25 points out of the 27 available till end of October. Fingers crossed, of course. 🙂

  • Stuart

    Kind of on topic, I notice the Guardian have released the annual report into football ticket prices and provided the usual mis-informed information just like the BBC last time around.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/jun/19/premier-league-ticket-prices-club-charge-the-most

  • blacksheep63

    dear It’s Grim etc

    what an odd comment is “s far as I can see [Arsenal] have already conceded the title – who is left to sign who can make the necessary difference?”

    the transfer window has a while to run and the confederations cup is underway, players are on holiday, as are managers. So there is plenty of time and plenty of players. Citeh may have done their business (or some of it) but United have only bought in one youngish player. Who knows will run out in red and white vs Villa in August but it is arrogance of the highest order for you to write us off so early.

    City deserved the PL title in 2012 but let’s not forget they spent hugely and only won it on the last day, by a whisker. Utd put them back in their place last last quite easily. And City have a lot to do to demonstrate they are a major force in European football, despite having (officially) the largest wage bill in the world game.

    I hope FFP is applied properly and that UEFA and FIFA shows some balls (heh..) about this. regardless of whether we are competing for the PL or any other trophy what is most important to me is that we are around to compete in future championships – and not bankrupted or liquidated or tumbling through the leagues because of the involvement of sugar daddies (see Portsmouth, Leeds, Hearts etc). Enjoy it while it lasts Citeh

  • Arun

    @Stuart
    Some posters have pointed out the facts in the comments. Hopefully, some of the readers will bother to take a look at the comments.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Thanks for the replies Gooners,

    very interesting how the media is continuing their campaign of “wind ups” to sell papers/ advertising space online, particularly the season ticket “myth” – and if I can concede that, I wish some of you would drop the Etihad sponsorship “cheat” line, it’s old, and has been proven to be market rate, and very beneficial to the airline in increasing market share, awareness and is now into profit.

    I agree the agents are hard nosed business sharks, but everyone is in business when dealing with these sums of money – doesn’t make it very palatable, just true. Kia Joorabchian had a lot of influence at City until he messed up with the Tevez saga – uurgh, I feel dirty just thinking of these snakes.

    Blacksheep, I didn’t mean to come across as arrogant, maybe just a bit provocative, but then Tony and Walter do it all the time to City, and it can be stimulating for debate, no?

    I did give examples of how not getting the Marquee signings in early cost City last season, and I suppose if I’d used the RVP transfer as an example to back up my argument it would have strengthened it, but I didn’t want to mention our “quiet neighbours” or give them any credit, much less annoy you lot any more than necessary 🙂

    I caught MOTD last night, and watched Neymar banging in a decent goal, and rip the Mexicans apart (in the highlights of course), so that’s an example of how you can sign a player pre tournament without a problem (he’s off to Barca if I’m not mistaken).
    Genuinely, who do you think you can sign this window to allow you to win the title? This is assuming you concede your squad isn’t good enough as it stands, which I didn’t think was in dispute, but by all means if you disagree, tell me why.

    I don’t think it is arrogant to write the Arsenal off for the title already, just as I can write off Liverpool and Spuds, pretty sure you’d agree with me on those two, what makes the Gooners any better right now? If City hadn’t bought Navas and Fernandinho, repeating the failures of the last summer, and still chasing top players, then I’d have to be seriously worried about our chances this season.

    As an outsider, I’d guess you need a good five or six very high quality players to win the title, at a cost North of £100 million – if you disagree, then lets have a debate on it 🙂

  • Grimey

    @It’s Grim
    I appreciate your points and agree with most in terms of marque signings etc.
    I’m an Arsenal supporter and can see things in our current squad that maybe you cant (granted, your knowledge of ManC is far greater than mine).
    What Arsenal are doing is playing the long-game. The slow build up of players, resources and unity that I would suspect that ManC has suffered recently. We both have or will have world class facilities, youth programs, players and a manager. Th biggest difference I can see between the 2 clubs (and I honestly hope I’m right on this)is that Arsenal have a more cohesive unit with the team coming together at the right time (No ‘I’ in TEAM anyone?).
    I respect city and they play very, very well individually at times but they do suffer, by media accounts, more disruptions due to player tiffs, big egos and managerial changes. Pelligrini is untested in the Prem as well.
    My last point is a simple cliche that I was once told-
    ‘It is easier to give birth than to raise the dead’. Arsenal have been in labour a long time and I believe our water just broke.
    COYG!

  • Antique Gunmen

    Whatever, I envy those moneybags club for getting any one they want. Unlimited football, not fair but real.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A tricky time of year. If reports are true , and we are going for top in demand players, we will be in a chain. Higher up in this chain than previous years, but not quite at the top. Just suppose we are after a Madrid striker, we may have to wait until they have secured ….say a target from maybe Napoli or even Liverpool. Then there are the wild cards like monaco and psg. Not saying these specifics are what’s actually happening, just pointing out the difficulty of our position. Even if we are closing in on higuain, things , maybe beyond the clubs control can still go wrong, still, on that note of relative pessimism, the situation, as far as we know, much better than in previous seasons.

  • it’s grim oop north so looks like you a woman who depend on her husband hey its high time you fight that and win yourself a medal.Citeh spent,Wigan spent and don’t forget Harry the dog- Qpr.
    Who are the high quality 6 or 5 players do you propose!And give us a guarantee that we will win the premiership after buying them.
    We tend to forget that to win the Premiership these days you have to be a friend to Mike Riley, like it or not if you are not a friend then you have to be with an extraordinary eleven gentlemen’Or else i promise you will never ever win the premiership.

  • Adam

    It’s Grim Oop North,

    Why do you feel the need to defend a position that no one has attacked? Seems you know the truth?

    Anyway don’t get defensive, I was trying to give you information, as a kind gesture.

  • @Adam thanks for the update but for me may because im not a coach, i would prefer Tevez in Huguain’s place. Yes Tevez is a bit cocky but ooh boy with the chances Arsenal provide and the experience he has in the premiership and he is cheap compared to Higuain he will destroy teams.
    But could my Team Arsenal pay 22m for him?? May be but i dont think so.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I’ts Grim,

    RVP was a late buy for United last season. 😉

  • Stuart

    It’s Grim,
    We don’t need to sign anyone to win the title, just fair and even application of the rules would do.

  • Andy Mack

    Without the vastly increased TV income for the coming season Citeh would definately fail the FFP requirements. With the money it’s still not a certainty that they’ll comply.

  • The Awenger

    My biggest fear about the FFP is that when a big team, Chelsea and City who have powerful owners and world wide fan base, breaks FFP rules how strong a penalty will they be willing to give? Point deduction is the best penalty but that will affect viewership and ultimately TV revenue. So for the UEFA and FIFA what is more important? Money or implemeting a rule which might decrease the influx of money.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Just got back in from work, plenty of points to adress 🙂

    Grimey – I believe City had a strong team spirit the in the title winning season, last year, bit of a damp squib, maybe the new faces and manager will restore the enthusiasm – I admire Wenger’s coaching and philosophy, up to the point where he needs those world class players, but I don’t see them on the horizon yet.Nice childbirth metaphor btw, just as I’m eating a late dinner!

    Mandy – forgot about Higuain, he’s one of the worldies I’d expect you to buy/need 🙂

    Kampala, if your team is good enough, you can defeat the refereeing agenda, like City did the year before last – it’s tough, but doable.

    Adam, sorry, I made so many points I genuinely don’t know what you think I’m being over-defensive about? If I was, it’s just part of venturing onto “enemy” territory, don’t mean to be too entrenched, although those blue tinted specs are more or less welded on for life 🙂

    Walter – you got me there, but the point that you need big name players for a confidence boost for the season still stands – united got the title on that purchase I think in the end, much to my disgust, and yours too I imagine?

    Finally, those five or six worldies you need – I’m afraid I don’t know who they might be, but start with Cavani, Falcao, Lewandovski, and you get the level of player you have to bring in to win the Premiership title. If the talent isn’t there, you really can’t coach it in at the very top level it would seem, although I’d love to see someone do it!

  • WalterBroeckx

    don’t remind me of RVP any more ;)ah the same for you?

    We will see come August what has happened. I’m not losing my sleep on such things to be honest. Wouldn’t mind one or two big signings of course. Who knows Higuan maybe (would be 1 big) and then one more and I think if we can keep the balance in the team on the field like in the final 10 games of the season… we might be close.

  • Rufusstan

    Grim, it is interesting to see how you look at the way we work. For me, Arsenal is not in particular about marquee signings, but building the squad. We do have a huge Striker-shaped hole in the squad right now, which is why the rumours of Higuain or someone similar makes sense.

    After him, we need to strengthen in a few spots: a centre back, maybe a right back (depends on Bac), a keeper if we can find an older, more experienced guy (Cesar?). After that, I’m not sure, being torn between adding to the squad and disrupting what we have. I know there is a lot of interest in a specialist DM, but only the right guy.

    In terms of competing, I think you underestimate Arsenal, because of the last couple of years. 10-11 we were pushing for the title until it all went wrong in Feb/March (don’t go into why THAT happened). The last 2 seasons have been defined by the disruption from losing key players.

    Both seasons we reinforced and integrated the new players, but that takes time. The stats highlight what happened. The second half of last season (not just the last 10 games), we outperformed everyone short of United. — games 20-38: United 45 points, Us 40, You guys and Spurs 39, Chelsea 37.

    The reason for optimism is less about the ‘big’ signings, and more about us being able to hit the ground running next season. To an extent, its why I worry about bringing in too many new players to go straight into the first team, got to find the sweet spot where you can add strength without disrupting what we already have.

  • It's Grim Oop North

    Ruffustan,

    building a squad to compete is surely what we all want, but recent football history tells us big money world class players need to be added to win the title, without exception, therefore, if you don’t spend now, you won’t win it.

    Having said that, if you do win the title without spending north of £100 million, I will be eating a very sizeable slice of humble pie – I hope it tastes nice 🙂

  • Andy Mack

    Awenger, in the last 16 pretty much all the teams have a big following, and bear in mind that UEFA would love to penalise an EPL team as they see us as being ‘too big for our boots’.