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Transfer Deadline Day: Some things never change…

Transfer Deadline Day: Somethings never change

It always amazes just how restricted the view of the average football fan is. Despite his record over 16 years and amazing media and pundit bias against Arsenal many have chosen to ignore the obvious over Arsenal’s current transfer dealings.

Lets look at some of AW’s recent comments, then interpret them.

“We are in the market”

“We are a bit short numbers wise”

“Yes” (will you bring in new signings?)

“Yes” (are you confident to get in the new signings you need?)

So is there any reason for the average fan to panic, over the squad being thin due to injuries, a clear-out of below-par players and the new signings not yet being complete? Certainly if the average fan only listens to the average (very average in fact) pundit and journalist who happily put the knife into Wenger at every opportunity.

Now lets consider some other recent quotes to understand a little deeper about what is going on.

“it is changed now, everyone knows everyone in the market”

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Translation: Our previous advantage in scouting is much reduced and furthermore many teams steal our targets when news that we are seeking a new signing “leaks” out (Mata in 2011 for example).

“You can see my phone; I get 50 players offered to me everyday”

Translation: There is no shortage of players that can be signed, but we are very selective, selective over price and quality. We don’t sign anyone.

“They are very generous”

Translation: Real Madrid are over paying for Bale, we prefer not to overpay, there is always other targets.

“We know them” (what are your thoughts about the players Tottenham have signed/are signing?)

Translation: We know these players, have scouted them and none of them did we decide to try and buy (they do not have the qualities we are seeking). We didn’t put a bid in on any of them this window.

“(joking) I don’t know, it’s not like a supermarket where if you buy two you get one free.” (Are you after Benzema, Di Maria and Ozil?)

Translation: I don’t want to talk to you about the possibility that we may want one or all of them.

The system works like this at Arsenal

AW is fully in charge of squad numbers and how the balance between home grown, UK, foreign, young players, etc works, including who he promotes to the first squad and when. AW is fully in charge of the scouting network, he directs which positions may need filling and what technical qualities he wants.

AW also gets regular feedback from the scouts on the talent they are interested in. AW and the scouting team prepare lists of potential players per position and according to circumstance, age, years left on their contracts, unhappy, too many in their position at current team, etc.

Then with this shopping list ranked from first picks to last, Gazidis and his negotiating team take over. Gazidis has limits imposed by the Board/Kroenke and works to that, including salary limits and with consideration over which players have left and salaries saved.

Gazidis is in constant contact with AW over progress and whether they can get their targets within the budgetary constraints (and with some flexibility eg. get two medium priced, rather than one high priced player, consideration for new long term injuries, etc – according to AW’s needs).

AW may get involved if needed, for example to speak to a player (with other club’s permission) if needed to spell out how he will fit into the team, and so on. This system is no different than most other clubs. Managers (or Directors of football) request X, Y, and Z and may or may not get them.

It is grossly unfair and inaccurate to blame AW for lack of transfer activity, when ultimately the signing up of players is really in Gazidis’ hands (working for the Board/Kroenke). You win some, you lose some and that’s the same for all clubs, even those with ridiculously deep pockets (Chelsea, M City, PSG). Which brings us to…


Again it is strange that so many people cannot understand the basics. You can target to get players in early or late in the window. Last season with the plan to sell RvP the club consciously moved early in the window and got in Podolski and Giroud to help with assimilation and to avoid any late in the window drama. Tottenham have clearly bought many players early in the window this year as everyone is well aware that the Bale money will inflate the money they can ask Spurs for their target players.

So go early and possibly pay more than you need to, but get the players in early and avoid late problems, or play the waiting game. A deadline is a deadline. Remember Arshavin’s last minute deal at a little over £15 million, when all and sundry said just pay what Zenit want (£20+ million)? A deal was struck but at the 11th hour.

Arteta at £10 million; very last minute and also requiring input from the player. Sometimes you miss out on the last day as well, so it is not without risks (Liverpool failing to get a striker last year when they thought they would get Dempsey – who Spurs took). There is also the “phantom transfer” with everyone watching AW’s every move and word, remember how he once said:

“Pienaar is a player I like very much” and he backed it up by saying “he would definitely play in my starting 11”

Translation: I have no intention of bidding for Pienaar, but someone else may do so.

Spurs duly spent £10 million on him and he hardly played for them before being returned to Everton.

Having cleared out the stables and stated the intention to spend where does the club now stand with deadline day looming?

Perhaps we can take some encouragement from this recent quote from AW:

“The players we are interested in all want to play here” (in response to a question of whether he is concerned by the lateness of the hour)

Translation: If we face some roadblocks on the way (like Levy delaying Bale as much as he can to mess up other buying clubs) we can move quickly, move very quickly in signing a player(s).

Real Madrid know the game well. Last Monday night they played Benzema, Di Maria and Ozil in their league game showing the players fitness to play and fitness to be transferred late in the window (if it gets to it). AW also knows the game well. With the world’s best players and a few targets all watching Arsenal vs Fehnerbahce, he played is best 11 with no rotation to put his team in the shop window for aspiring talent to see what they would be joining.

Don’t take any notice of player statements of loyalty to the club as well (eg Di Maria and Benzema). Most of them are on significant loyalty bonuses so it would be madness to request a transfer, particularly when the club is thinking about transferring them anyway.

Another big positive in Arsenal’s position is that with it being a world cup year, everyone is desperate to be a starting player in the top clubs (Champions League) and AW has an excellent record of getting his players into and staying in the national teams (note well: Juan Mata who has just been dropped from the Spain squad).

This is not to say that all will go swimmingly on transfer deadline day, you win some and you lose some. But it is sheer folly to abuse AW and the club until the deadline is passed. One last quote from AW:

“We have a large team who works on transfers here” (in response to harsh questioning against his approach)

Translation: Don’t attack me, I am only one part of this team which brings in new players.


“Today is not the day to explain that, one day maybe” (over Suarez failings)

Translation: Don’t accuse me when others set the policy. One day you will hear the full story.


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33 comments to Transfer Deadline Day: Some things never change…

  • TomJ

    Frankly, I find your translations an insult to the average fans intelligence. The majority of us know exactly what he means, It is just that you cannot believe anything he says anymore.

    And what you omit is his assertion about over inflated prices, and his admission that he will only pay what he thinks a player is worth, and it is not 2002 anymore, where Wenger still seems to live.

  • TomJ

    And Spurs did not pay £10 million for Pinaar, the actually bought him for £3.5 million and sold him back to Everton for a profit

  • TomJ

    Also blaming Gazidis instead of Wenger works for you, but Gazidis’ job is to make Arsenal more profitable, and he is very successful at that. Wengers job is to build a squad competing on 4 fronts, and he has not achieved that in a decade

  • Joe

    Good analysis.

  • Sid

    As much as I appreciate any views that counter the lazy media one, there is nothing that even remotely points to this transfer window being anything other than a humungous and potentially cataclismic PR and sporting disaster.

    There is no way Wenger thought that he would be scrabbling around trying to put out 11 fit bodies for the 3rd game of the new season. For whatever reason (and that depends on the hue of your spectacles), the squad is still painfully thin and there is no way they could be expected to mount any sort of challenge on one front, never mind, potentially four.

    Targets have been missed, and we still have not signed a striker a year after selling the dutch rat. The players have been a credit to the club and they deserve loads of respect for putting their bodies on the line. But when the players are demanding new faces, god knows how they will feel if, come Tuesday morning, we have not adequately strengthened.

    The fact we are still discussing this now, with a little over 24 hours remaining in the window tells us how utterly woefully the club have operated this summer. Gazidis much copy and pasted words have only helped to inflame the situation.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Well put ,Jerome – its going to be an interesting 24 hours.
    Some quotes to put things in perspective .

    “What I am doing today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.” Unknown

    “The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.” Chinese Proverb

    “A smile is a curve that can straighten out a lot of problems.” Unknown

    “There are moments when everything goes well, but don’t be frightened.” Jules Renard

    “For every problem, there is one solution which is simple, neat, and wrong.” H. L. Mencken

    “A man always has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason” J. P. Morgan

    “Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.” Unknown

    “Most persons would succeed in small things if they were not troubled with great ambitions.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    “The one who complains the loudest is generally he who contributes the least. Unknown

    “The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from.” Andrew S. Tanenbaum

    “We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?” Jean Cocteau

    So here’s to our success and achieving our targeted goals, to keep smiling and not holding our breaths !Good luck !
    Up the Gunners !

  • AL

    Good points, and interesting read. Signings aren’t everything, some fans don’t seem to understand this. And some fans think a player is only worth their weight in gold if one pays a ridiculous amount for them. Flamini would’ve been more accepted by certain fans had we paid a fee for him, but since he came on a free he’s supposed to be useless. Ditto Sanogo. Nice thinking.

  • Kevin Clark

    As I make my way to the game cant but help think where you get your info from or are you just guessing. This site just defends the indefensible. And is gullible beyond belief.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very interesting. I do not think many issues on modern day transfers sit well with wenger and this could explain our apparent hesitance or for some dithering but we really need to strengthen our numbers this time. Failure to do so could to some at least make gazidis look like either a bit of a fibber or a weak figure with no control over his manager. Failure to do so would seriously expose wenger if things go wrong for right or for wrong especially in the year I for one hopes he extends his contract. Lets hope by late tomorrow we are in a position whereby ADM and others are arsenal players and we can put all this to bed

  • MoW

    Jerome, you can’t write as many articles as you like suggesting Wenger isn’t responsible for our transfer results, but I suspect most Gooners and pretty much all of me media don’t buy it. I guess there’s no cast iron proof either way.

    Did you read his press conference yesterday? He was very prickly about having a Director of Football at the club to help him, but he did concede he struggles the transfer duties while preparing for matches! A very uncomfortable read indeed.

  • MoW

    can, not can’t

  • colario

    Time and time again a player on joining a club (not just Arsenal) will say they that they joined because of what the manager said to them.

    Does Arsene still talk to prospective players? We don’t know.

    I believe we have great players who can bring in the silverware. I also believe we need a bigger squad to support them. So I am hoping – but time is running out.

  • We will never win any silverware with this doughnut Manager.

  • Nelson Wong

    I say that we wait a few more hours before concluding the transfers of this season.

    Its not good and there are some not so good moves plus bad management of expectations. It can be blamed on the team staffs or bad luck, whichever you like.

    Just a thought…. Arsenal (after moving the Emirates) and Real are the two extremes in the two ends of transfer… Would be very interesting to see how they work out this deal and how the involved players end up in two years from now.

  • Persian gunner

    Believe it or not I am crying my self out, by that picture of in Wenger we trust at the end of the match

  • Mandy Dodd

    Here a new keeper on his way from Palermo?

  • para

    Well done lads 1-0. Spuds look so toothless, while we played it a little cautious today, cos win was important.
    Our team will get players in tomorrow to ADD to the team and not to REPLACE the team. Arsenal does not just buy anybody, they have to 1:want to come, 2: be able to enhance the team and 3:pretty much multi faceted.
    Will be looking at who comes in tomorrow, hear a GK Emiliano Viviano from Valencia is coming on season long loan, and at AFC for medical tomorrow.
    Well, we are 5th now, and need to concentrate on making the newbees welcome. Our injuries will be back soon(recovering(ha ha) during international break) and our squad will be full again.

  • para

    Sorry, GK from Palermo.

  • Persian gunner,

    Same sentiment here man! I was really really moved by it. I have nothing but respect for that ma.

    BTW, our fans were great today.

  • nelson wong

    Good game and really hope they reinforce. The team is good. Young players close to maturity although still far from full potential, got enough experienced players, the team have developed understanding and spirit. A few good reinforcements and that’s it. The years before were spent like the Iron Duke carefully position and covering his troops and now the chance appears. The time to advance has arrived.

  • Para,
    We are 4th. Stoke 5th and Totts 6th.

    I have always moaned about international breaks but boy, am I happy about this one. Granted that I’ll be bored nearly out of my mind but our players will get the opportunity to recover.

    Oh, I am so happy right now!

  • @Bootoomee just wondering why the site is not crowded what happened! The usual sewer rats, is it a bank holiday or the end of the world can someone explain !

  • KampalaGun,

    You never see them here when we are doing well but they cry when you call them AAA. They are sewer rats indeed.

    I am happy when my team wins and sad when they lose but what a sane fan never does is develop a rabid hatred of components of a team that they claim to support.

    They’ll be back though. Many of them depend on Untold Arsenal for communication with other non-pathetic humans.

  • Ha ha ha ha Bootoomee,lets wait and see’ wonder what will they come with this time around, otherwise thanks for the support.
    I Salute all the gunners who stand together IN THINK OR THIN. KEEP IT UP.

  • dan

    No news, no WiFi in Disney land, most welcome news now I’m in the hotel.

  • Tjekem

    I am very happy for the team and happy for Wenger. Let’s hope proper reinforcements come in tomorrow.

    Victoria Concordia Crescit

  • Matt

    Blah,blah,blah it’s like being in a tardis.

  • Arsenal1Again

    “He used his best 11 players“ to put the team in the shop window. 😀

    “The system works like this at Arsenal” Translation: This is how I imagine how things are done at Arsenal after speculating.

    “Strategy” Podolski was bought before the season ended so no, he was not bought early in the transfer window to compensate for the sale of Van Persie which was not even a certainty at that time. Jesus wept.

    Arteta held out for the wage he demanded just like Gallas did. On the dealine the player’s demands were agreed to out of panic. The strategy was to under value players and sign them cheaply, gambling the selling team will panic sell their player at Wenger’s valuation rather than risk an unhappy player on the books. It often backfired.

    Many of the players Wenger buys are already on the fringes of international teams or already in them. Fabregas was the last success story.

    The entire article is condescending and generalising about “average” fans.

  • Vscls


    Arteta took a paycut to join arsenal. Don’t speculate do your homework

  • Nelson Wong


    Let’s define “success” as you mentioned it.

    And it is wise to beginning with the following quote:
    “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” – Warren Buffett

    I would suggest two ways to measure success.

    The first is based on the performance of the team in relation to transfer. That means the amount spent compare to result.

    Ideally, if every penny provides the equal level of performance, the club with the highest transfer spending should win( you can factor the player wages if that pleases you). Make a list of the spending and compare it to EPL standing of last year. There are teams that rank higher in points compare to their rank in spending. Now that is the “basis” of success. If a team spends the most money and got no.1 in EPL, that is hardly a success. That is just a given based on transfer. And a team spending no.1 money and get no.2 is in no way a success. [e.g. US army beating a warlord in Mogadisu is no success. Its a given. It can be a success of a solidier in battle because he might be fight against the odds but the army in general… no)

    People can easily make a list of flops the teams had. It’s quite a stupid thing to do because its relative to the $$ spent. Let’s say you have 50 M. You can spend it on 1 experienced player like Torres or you can spend it on buying 20. Torres has a much higher chance to deliver than a no-name kid brought in at 50K at an age of 17 but you get far more chances so if one or two become quite good, you and 20 of those players are flops, you are still doing better than getting Torres and he works out. And then there is always a chance that Torres becomes a flop which we can see more frequently than we expect.

    So listing the names of flops is senseless. Even saying Torres signifies the failure in transfer of certain team is silly because their 2M player might be doing the job of Torres and balance out the poor performance of Torres.

    This sort of calculation is called “probability” and in investment terms “risk management”. There are different strategies and you can only measure success taking the result of whole sets of transfers.

    Arsenl have gotten more in points than their spending for a while. So in transfer dealing terms, they are having a big success.

    Yes, there is a lack of success in terms of trophies. People are arguing whether the team do not have the big cash or they are holding the spending. For those who believe they are holding, some believe its a good strategy while others do not. The less spending there are, the less likely to get trophies but that is a known thing.

    Whether its a success as a team, we do not know because we are not one of the majro share holders and we do not know what strategic goals they have. As long as they can fulfill it under the money they invest, it is a success. It doesn’t matter to us anyway because we are not the share holder and things they say to us is simply PR.

    At the end, I list all the things a team do and I’ll say whether Arsenal are successful in each.

    financial – success
    There are two goals here. no.1 is to survive. Going bust like the Scottish Ranger means ultimate failure regardless what result the team has on the pitch.
    Then we look at the revenue and income and so on. Arsenal is doing quite alright.

    Trophies – failure
    No denying. Simple as that. We are fans and we want trophies so its very bad. Its even worse because the team could have gotten one or two if they perform just slightly better.

    Results – above average
    Ranking 3 or 4 in EPL isn’t great but not rubbish. The team can play good games and beat great teams like Bayern Munich but they haven’t do that often enough and sometimes the lose when they shouldn’t have.

    Transfers – success
    See above

    Facility – success
    Arguably the most successful of all. They financed a nice facility which can be used for a hundred years in a window of less than 10 years. Don’t forget that the economy is quite bad during 2/3 of that period

    Strategy – a mixture
    They invest the stadium instead of player beliving that it can give the club the edge when FFP comes into play. The plus side is they got the stadium and the team did not sunk to the bottom of the club. The bad side is that the FFP is not coming in and more clubs are ready to splash money around than before. Econ hasn’t gone well and young players took longer to be able to support the team. Its not a failure but not very successful so far. Worht trying though.

    Owner’s strategic goal – unknown (success)
    Although we are not sure what Stans thinks and plans his position very safe. He has a financially healthy business and it is giving a stable profit. The brand is enchancing. Regardless whether he wants to hold Arsenal for a very long term or he seeks to sell in a few years once the team start winning trophies, he will surely make a lot of money.

  • Mihir

    Honestly, I’ll be surprised if a striker comes in. The way i see this system panning out, I think we already have backup strikers at the club. Either one of Podolski/Theo/Sanogo could play up front. Although yes, Sanogo is a bit raw. Even though a world class striker would be great, in the absence of many of those in the market, I think that’s what the professor is going to go forward with.

  • Jig

    Jerome that was very good read! I think you should have put up this publication long, long time ago while AW was getting lots of sticks from everyone. I never knew the level of work goes into signing a player and also the games that are played by one club onto another.

  • Don't feed the trolls

    Sports analogies – use with care.

    “Par” is a golf term. Like golf itself, it’s very hard to understand, and use correctly. For example, below-par is a good thing. Getting below par gives you serious bragging rights. Nowhere else does the concept of “par” apply (go ahead — look it up).

    With that in mind, we wouldn’t *really* want “a clear-out of below-par players”, would we?

    (yes, I know “everybody” uses it that way. It’s just wrong, though, so don’t use “par” when you’re describing things other than a golf game.)

    Other than that picayune quibble, and excellent article.