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July 2021

How Arsenal and Real Madrid took the media and their allies for a ride this summer – part 2

By Tony Attwood

Sorry there was a slip in the first publishing of this, and then a computer glitch as I tried to correct it, over the Cavani story.  Hopefully my brain and the technology are now at one.  Too many notes on the desk, too much typing at 6.30am.

This is part two of the story of how Arsenal came to sign Özil having seemingly failed to sign Higuain, Rooney, Suarez and a few other players who (it was said by the anti-Wengerians, and their supporters in the media and in some associations supposedly supporting Arsenal) decided  instead to go and play elsewhere.

Part one, in case you missed it, set the scene by giving an example of what was being said by one typical anti-Wenger, anti-Kronke, anti-Gazidis blog half way through the transfer window.  Now we move on to real events.

Let’s now look at Suarez first … a player whose purchase seemed to be a wholly unlikely Arsenal buy.  Arsenal are known as a club with their own style and sense of being, and Suarez’ history has never fitted that style and self-image. The player entered the 2013/14 season banned, had vacillated over whether he actually wanted to stay with the club that had stood by him during the multiplicity of claims against him, and who had seemed to give the impression of a man who cared for little other than himself.

But not only did this potential purchase of Suarez seem odd, because of the player involved, but it also seemed odd since it was hard to see how Suarez would play with Giroud, in whom Mr Wenger was showing increasing confidence.  Was Giroud to be relegated to the bench, getting games only when Suarez was banned, or decided to go home for a while?  Could they both play up front?  Both seemed unlikely given the style and approach adopted by Arsenal in 2011/12 and the early games of 2012/13.

True, Giroud in his first season had not emulated Henry’s first season (17 goals in 47 for Giroud, 26 in 47 for Henry) but even so, there were promising signs.

So might it have been that maybe Arsenal didn’t actually want Suarez?  Certainly all that business of the £40,000,001 offer, and the notion that it would mean Suarez’ release clause would be activated, turned out to be untrue.   The anti-Wengerians had a big laugh at Mr Wenger’s and Mr Gazidis’ expense for not knowing what the contract said, but the club gave nothing away as to their purpose.

However as Untold reported at the time, Liverpool had history in this kind of deal, and it is not impossible to believe that if Untold could so easily uncover Liverpool’s contractual style in the past, so could Arsenal.  It is certainly very possible that Arsenal knew fully well that £40,000,001 would not bring in the player.

Why do it then?  Why make bids for a player that you know you won’t get?

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Well, annoying and distracting other clubs while unsettling their players is what many clubs do (see Chelsea and Rooney this summer), but much more importantly, the failure of such an open and obvious bid along with the failure to sign  Higuain made it look like Arsenal were at sixes and sevens.  The club said they were working away but the notion of signing Özil would have seemed preposterous at the time.

Now it appears clear that Suarez was a decoy – and a highly effective decoy to deflect from Higuain, the bid for whom was a way of helping Real Madrid maximise its income in order to pay for Bale.  It was in return for this help that Arsenal were granted their prize.

So at this point, let’s go back to Higuain.   On 4 July 2013 the Guardian said,

Gonzalo Higuaín is on the verge of signing for Arsenal for £23m. The Argentinian striker is hoping to fly to London on Thursday evening to complete the move after Real Madrid gave him permission to formally reach agreement with the London club.

Higuaín, who has been talking to Arsenal for some time, had also received an offer from Juventus. But the Italians’ bid failed to convince Madrid and they instead signed Carlos Tevez.

Higuaín’s father and agent, the former footballer Jorge Higuaín, told Fox Sports Latin America that a final resolution was close. “We managed to get permission from Real Madrid to negotiate face to face with Arsenal,” he said. “Fortunately, I will soon be able to watch my son play in the Premier League.”

Higuaín is expected to sign a deal on £100,000 a week, putting him among the club’s top earners, and Arsenal remain keen to pair him up front with Wayne Rooney should Manchester United be willing to let him go.

Now let us consider in detail one little phrase in this Guardian report.  …after Real Madrid gave him permission to formally reach agreement with the London club.

You will recall that later Real Madrid said that they had never even received a bid from Arsenal for the player, and yet they “gave him permission to formally reach agreement with the London club”.  Apart from the rather awful split infinitive (come on Guardian, you should know better) this tells us a lot about the source of the story.  Either Arsenal had made a bid or they had not.  If not, (and Mr Wenger made it clear later that he had no interest in Higuain) then no permission would be sought or given.

Of course the anti-Wengerians in the media, blogs and associations loved this – a pure example of Arsenal incompetence.  But that ignores Higuain’s father’s report that Real Madrid had given permission.

And just in case you still think this is all gossip in the up market papers, here’s another side of the story.   On 6 July The Sun said:

ARSENAL last night smashed their transfer record when they agreed a £23million fee for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

The Argentine will undergo a Gunners medical today and is expected to sign a three-year £100,000-a-week deal.

Now there is always a temptation to suspect that the Sun has simply copied another paper, especially when some of the details are the same as appeared elsewhere.

And so we turn on 8 July to the  Independent  which said

Gonzalo Higuain’s move to Arsenal has been thrown into doubt after Real Madrid president Florentino Perez claimed the Gunners were yet to make a bid for the striker.

Perez also claims Real Madrid do not want to sell the Argentina international.

It is the latest twist in a transfer that has been dragging for weeks. It was reported that Higuain was in London recently to discuss terms over a move to the Emirates and it was thought a deal was imminent, with the player’s father and agent saying a move was at an “advanced stage”.

However, during an interview with Univision, Perez insisted: “We don’t want Higuain to leave. What’s more no-one from Arsenal has come to us and made us any offers at all for him. There are no offers on the table.”

This in fact was the masterstroke within the whole story, for here was an outside source, a non-Arsenal blog, a non-UK pundit, making Arsenal seem like incompetent idiots.   If Perez seems to say Arsenal don’t know what they are doing, then clearly Arsenal don’t know what they are doing.

As we know Higuain then went to Napoli.  On 24 July the Daily Telegraph reported that, Napoli midfielder Blerim Dzemaili said: “When players from Real Madrid come to Napoli, it must be a reason for pride for Napoli and the Italian league.”  And since Real Madrid were selling players wholesale to Napoli, that is rather an interesting thought.

So, time to ask what we know of Napoli.

Just nine years ago Napoli were bankrupt and in the third division in Italy.  Yet Deloitte now have it listed as the 15th richest club in the world.     Last season Napoli finished in second place in Serie A, nine points behind Juve who won the league, but six points ahead of Milan in third.   It should also be noted that Inter – who one might often associate with the top reaches of the league came 9th, 24 points behind Napoli.

So we see Napoli’s best year since winning league in 1990.   But after this amazing triumph the manager Walter Mazzarri left Napoli to become coach of Internazionale. He was replaced by Rafael Benítez.

But to step back a little, for in April 2011 the Swiss Ramble blog wrote a long article about the wonders of Napoli’s financial structure, stating that “according to respected website Transfermarkt, Napoli have spent more than any other Serie A club in the last four years with net spend of €118 million, just ahead of Juventus. The fact that they have still managed to balance their books (and more) in the face of such heavy spending is testament to their ability to keep a lid on the wage bill, while boosting revenue, most notably in the commercial arena.”

Impressive indeed, until on 3 October 2012 Reuters (one of the few news outlets you can trust) reported that “Four officers from the finance police, which is a wing of the armed forces specialising in financial crime, spent over two hours at the club’s [ie Napoli’s] offices going through documents at the request of the Public Prosecutors Office in Naples.

“Police also spent about half an hour at the offices of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), taking copies of Napoli player contracts and contracts between players and their agents.

“Local media reported that the authorities were acting on information received as part of a “pre-investigative measure” looking into player purchases and sales by the club.

“The police requested copies of contracts between agents, the players and the club and we obliged. That is all we can say on the matter,” said an FIGC spokesperson.

So, brilliantly financed, or something nasty still lurking?  We are still waiting to see.  Neither Swiss Ramble nor Reuters have returned to the subject which suggests an on-going investigation.

But now, this summer Napoli plus Benitez were nothing if not active.  They sold Cavani to PSG for £56,750,000 and bought Higuain for £32,500,000 from Real Madrid plus Raúl Albiol from Real Madrid for £10,560,000 and José María Callejón for £8,360,000 from, well, you probably guessed, Real Madrid.   Not to mention Duván Zapata from Estudiantes de La Plata for £6,573,000 and Dries Mertens from PSV Eindhoven for £8,536,000.

You’ll see a pattern in this.  £15m not spent with Madrid, £51m with Madrid, total £66m.  Income from Cavani sale, £56m.

Despite Higuian having been in London to meet Arsenal, Higuain goes to Napoli for almost £10m more than Arsenal were said to have agreed.

The key to this all is that Real Madrid needed money urgently for the down-payment on Bale and they knew just how much money PSG were paying Napoli.

Quite how Arsenal and Real Madrid worked together to make all this happen and how they continued to dupe the anti-Wengerians and their media and association allies will be revealed in the next article, as matters reach the boil.

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63 comments to How Arsenal and Real Madrid took the media and their allies for a ride this summer – part 2

  • para

    I suppose that a company like AFC can really only survive by swimming with the sharks. And if this is any indication, AFC can do this. A club that can manage it’s limited resources for nearly 10 years, yet still compete with most of the top dogs, surely does know a thing about business. Sadly many of us, (me included, although i realised soon enough after analysing that AGM meeting some time ago) could not then see the path our club was taking. Sadly some(no names) still cannot see it. Looking forward to the next part.
    Please do an article on the “current trend” of English players and all the noise being made currently, first by Shearer, now Ferdinand and others about reducing the number of non english players in the PL. Seems there is a new “media campaign” to influence people under way. Would be interesting to hear Arsenal’s fans and supporters views on that.

  • muttley

    Great piece of business for a wonderful player and it could only have been done on the last day. But where was the striker we desperately need and the central back? Sanogo, Flamini and Viviano were fine as back up players as the squad really was finally trimmed of the waste this year.
    All summer, and we only spent some money come transfer deadline day.
    Structure of the club is wrong – needs a massive rethink. And how we can be talking about renewing Wenger’s contract now is a joke – let’s see how he does this season.

  • Florian

    Tony, when you say Cavani was sold to Real Madrid, surely you mean PSG.

  • Michael

    Cavani was sold to PSG and not Real Madrid for the figure quoted. Nice article as always and keep up the good work.

  • Florian

    Ok, I see it’s fixed now:)

  • americangooner

    I think we were genuinely interested in Higuain. As with every player Arsenal is interested in, it enters into a confidentiality agreement with the related parties.So Real Madrid had to fabricate the interest from Arsenal by denying any interest from Arsenal and saying things like Higuain is a RM player. But then AW was told of a ,now non-existent, release clause for Suarez. This diverted attention from Higuain to Suarez, as suarez is ‘footballistically’ superior to Higuain. Despite reports that Higuain preferred Arsenal, he had to leave for Napoli because of Suarez interest.
    Suarez interest cooled when Liverpool were in no way giving up without a bid of ₤50M+. But when Bale was almost confirmed to be RM player someone had to give way. Either it was DiMaria or Oezil. When it was known that Oezil was wanting to leave, Arsene must have thought ‘Eureka’ or something like that. And so he makes an ‘audacious bid’ over the phone. All these years of financial prudence meant that Arsenal couuld pay in one-lump-sum, which RM also wanted after their acquisation €100M most expensive ape.

  • Tony Attwood

    Hi everyone. Sorry for the cock up on the article – everything seemed to go wrong at once, an early version being published instead of the final one, and then an IT failure – which means I can’t actually get back onto the site as an administrator to make the final changes that should have been made to the article before publication. I knew I should have done it last night, but I watched “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” on Channel 4 instead.

    That will teach me. Hopefully I can get back in soon.


  • shedzy

    desperately trying to find links to the articles where i said all summer that i thought Arsenal and Madrid were in cahoots – from the day we ‘lost out’ on Higuain, i thought it all looked a little too convenient……

  • rizal

    Hi but I got to say – “Bull story”, want to make something out of benefit of a hindsight-the present picking on the past. The Suarez BID was NOT A DECOY – he is unsettle by Liv deceive-able promise so Arsenal bid for him and then his stupid agent leak about the stupid clause so Arsenal could not help but to bid for $40+1. There is no ulterior motive in a bid of Suarez because he is the better player and he fit into AFC system better then Higuain.
    I could go on but hey what is the point…..
    As usual with all of the conspiracy story sometime there are back by undeniable truth but sometime it is just a case of curve fitting into own intention or scenario or perception = which is with your case.

  • elkieno

    The Vapour Transfer!!!

  • Barton

    Wow tinfoil hat time!

    I know you guys are strong defenders of the club and Wenger, I respect and agree with your sentiment however you would maintain more credibility if you were so gracious to accept sometimes mistakes are made.

    No need to make up all this cock & bull, usually the simple explanation is the explanation.

  • Mark

    England wanting to limit the number of foreign players in the EPL is stupid. It will not help England players improve. It will drive the price and wages of England players up beyond their ability but it will not make better players.

    It will also make the value of the EPL go down. The main appeal of the EPL is that the best players are there and it is very competitive. But if the world wide public has to watch poor quality England players they will vote against it by watching other leagues.

    If England wants better players than they have to get better coaching into the youth systems. Better value for the kids with high mental ability and lower physical ability. They have to value the kind of football that is creative, cleaver and thinks faster than the opposition rather just aggression and physicality.

  • elkieno

    Rizal: Or we could all do fuck all and wait until Sept 14 comes along as slowly as it can.
    I love Untold you are not afraid to put out what many of us have thought in one form or another, we are Arsenal fans desperately needing an Arsenal fix and not a dirty Ajax spiked, hot shot that kills us, go to le groan for that.
    Mutley: I was thinking Arsenal should give Wenger a new contract as soon as I heard it needed to be renewed. This last Ozil signing tells me why haven’t we done it yet?
    AW doesn’t need to resign just on the back of Ozil deal. he needs to resign cos he is a fuking legend!

  • elkieno

    Whats the point of having big, tough, lumbering English players when you are playing against the small, faster, nimble, intelligent ones?
    Doesnt make sense…
    I watch EPL to see Arsenal FC.

  • Michael, yes, I put up the wrong edition of the article, but have changed it. Thanks to everyone else who was so quick off the mark – the wrong edition was only on line for five minutes. I’m not putting up all the comments about this – I know I made a mistake – but I think it gets a bit boring to read that over and over.

  • Chris

    This article is based on old quotes and speculation. If the writer thinks Wenger and Arsenal are master players in the murky world of top football politics I think he / she is deluded. I think Wenger had to be forced to spend by Gazidis laying it on the line publicly – with the ” £70m war chest ” announcement. And he (Wenger) only just avoided complete failure at the very last moment … having actually failed to buy a top striker – which was what we really needed and still do.

  • AL

    Intriguing, lets hope more gets revealed about Napoli and their shady deals, don’t trust Italian teams.

    Agree with this, the prem is exciting but that’s only because of the top players from all over the world playing there. And one thing clubs need to learn is not to be scared of appointing young foreign managers, and move away from recycling old and failed managers like Pulis, Bruce, etc. Look at Simeone at Atletico Madrid, almost broke the Barca – Madrid duopoly. I can guarantee you if there’s a vacancy in the prem right now the first names in the hat will be Warnock, Pulis, Dowie, McLaren, etc. England risks falling further behind by continuing to give these failed managers jobs.

  • AL

    Off topic, but noticed the sun(who else) took the trouble to travel all the way to Italy interview Gervinho(dont recall them ever interviewing him while he lived only next door to them in the 2 yrs he was in London). Pathetic attempt to discredit Wenger, cant decide who’s worse between the daily wail & the sun. Gutter press.

  • AL

    If you believe you can buy the world’s best no 10 (stats back this up) for £42m from under the noses of hawks like PSG, United, etc, by accident, then you’re clearly the one that is deluded.

  • Pete

    I am certain that Arsenal (or at least part of Arsenal) were preparing for Higuain’s arrival so I’m afraid that I don’t buy the elaborate decoy line unless misinformation had been spread internally… Sorry!

    I still believe that Wenger walked away from Higuain when Real put the price up at the last minute. Happy to accept that Perez may then have promised Arsenal first dibs on AN Other player subject to Bale’s arrival.

  • Just wondering, England won the world cup in 1966 or im i mistaken! Since then what have they won?1970,74,78,1982,86,90,94,98 they had a few foreign players. I think what Hoddle and Ferdinand are talking is cry for spoilt milk. England as of now have some young boys coming up mand if they stay fit and focused they might be in there. But last time when i looked at this young man Wellbeck i was perturbed with what he was telling the ref that it looked like he was either insane or he never knew wot he was doing.I promise you he will never get away with it in the world cup.

  • elkieno

    Don’t like posting links to other blogs but this is a great one, an olive branch for the AAA

  • Mandy Dodd

    There is always clearly more going on than we know, but ultimately, of all the names we have been linked with over the summer, we have surely reeled in the best of the lot! Jose and Levy seem to agree as well!

  • colario

    I quote these wordsfrom your article:

    “Now it appears clear that Suarez was a decoy – and a highly effective decoy to deflect from Higuain, the bid for whom was a way of helping Real Madrid maximise its income in order to pay for Bale. It was in return for this help that Arsenal were granted their prize”

    Are you saying that Perez of Madrid and Arsene of Arsenal were working hand in hand to help Madrid raise the money to buy Bale? For Arsenal’s help Arsenal would buy the player whose place in the team Bale took.

  • alex

    It is all speculations no one has concrete facts. No one is bothered to write something after doing a good search.The author of this article too is speculation based.

    Yourself wrote here that Higuain matters are deal done once during the last TW saga.Speculation

    You mention Suarez cannot play with Giroud. Serious ?
    Giroud is a striker that is :
    Good in air .
    Strong physically well able to keep the ball but not a dribbler that pass 2 or 3 players before shooting. In other words as an out out striker expects chances/assists to be created for him.

    Suarez creates chances for him and others. Has the ability to move in pocket spaces and still able to find space to assist or score.In this regard would have been a fantastic partner to Giroud. Seriously you don’t mean it.

    More than the reasoning of TW you try give in your article I guess you trying to show/stand to the anti wengerian.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I have to disagree with Tony, an actual conspiracy would have been far too complicated.
    However I can believe that our actions were genuine but also highly devious.

    Assuming that any other club is any better than Arsenal at navigating the transfer window is laughable. When you see the fees paid for players who are laughably bad, you can see that most clubs are totally inept. Occasionally they get lucky, but then so do we. Michu might have been £2 million. Cazorla would probably be on Barca’s radar if Iniesta was crippled, how much would we want for him, £40-£50 million? £15 million looks like a bigger bargain in that context.

    If you want to read a load of bollocks about the transfer window, there’s an excellent fairy tale on the Guardian website ‘explaining’ United’s summer transfer strategy.

  • Gooner S


    This is a great read, I would like it to be true and if accurate well played Arsenal and Real Madrid but isn’t this all conjecture? What evidence do you have that supports this view?

    Wengers statement about the transfer window “begins now” I took to mean nothing more than we had qualified for the Champions league for certain and therefore made life simpler.

    Regarding Higuain my take was that Arsenal withdrew from the deal because MAdrid put the fee up. It is clear from the various statements that something isn’t adding up and, of course, Arsenal aren’t saying much.

    Regarding Suarez, I agree it is odd to leave it at £1 over £40m but then again that might be interpreted as the maximum worth of Suarez or that fact that ARsenal didn’t want to deal with Liverpool given the way they reacted.

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on the hand had a simpler plot by comparison 🙂

  • ARSENAL 13


    We not only swim with the sharks, instead we feed on the vulnerable ones too. Our most recent meal…..Real Madrid.


    Ozil episode is not worthy enough to give Mr Wenger a new contract, agreed. But the years of work that went before which finally culminated in Ozil episode deserves him a deal. And I bet he will sign an extension when he deems necessary. He is a legend, and we dont decide the fate of legends……

  • Stuart

    Not only was Suarez a decoy, it was also a tool to force Real Mad into selling us a player otherwise we will go and buy one of their future targets and not sell him to them

  • Stuart

    Your comment : “You mention Suarez cannot play with Giroud. Serious ?”

    To be honest, I must have missed that bit in the article. Are you confusing this with the part of the article querying who would be dropped to the bench?

  • Digvijay

    Ok ok, after going through a couple of times, now I know what you are trying to say. It took some time to reverse engineer your thought process but i did it \m/. SO here is what I deduced:
    You mean to say, Real Madrid and Arsenal, were hand in hand, to help each other – how?
    How Arsenal helped Real:
    1) Raising the price of Higuain. Real were really trying to balance the books, so the the Higuain story was cooked up, so to shoot his price when Napoli came buying in.
    2) Buying a player reportedly in the fee around 42 mil Pounds. Hmm surprisingly(:P) it adds to 55 mil to get about the same figure as the reported Bale deal.
    How Real helped Arsenal:
    1)Promising a “top,top” player. (Real knew they had to sell to balance the books, so maybe left it in the hands of Ancelotti to choose from Di Maria and Ozil – names given by le Prof possibly.)
    2) Helping to do damage control when Higuain wasn’t going to sign (before the big one that Higuain who was destined for Arsenal has gone to Napoli), when Perez came out to say Arsenal wasn’t anywhere close.

    But some open ended questions?
    Why Suarez? To unsettle him for Real Madrid next season? But then all so much for Real just for a 42 Mil deal seems imbalanced. What more did Arsenal get?

  • alex

    Read the article please.It states that to play Giroud and Suarez seems at odd.
    Hence my comment.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Someone clever said that.

    Not too sure about where this article is going…post hoc ergo propter hoc? Because something happens after another thing does not make it caused by the former.

    I would suggest that Arsene Wenger’s manner of working is to keep his cards close to his chest and to act honourably which would seem to speak against outside people knowing too much about any of his work and against him using the machinations described above. I would therefore suggest the simple conclusion that Arsenal was trying hard to bring in a variety of players and for a variety of reasons they failed or succeeded. Not so many connections between them.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Hindsight is marvellous.
    Higuain is manifestly not worth £35 million, £23 million is a bit on the low side but for an extra £5 million, why would you pay £35 million for him when you can get Suarez.
    Which leads to:
    Suarez isn’t worth £40 million. His true value if he wasn’t banned/racially insensitive/cannibalistic is the same as his compatriot Cavani.

    The only conclusion I can draw from the Suarez bid is that it was sending a message. Whether that message was aimed at the press or Madrid, the message was simple ‘Arsenal are prepared to pay £40 million for a player worth at least that amount’.

    The game then becomes, who can Madrid get money out of (Arsenal, United, Munich?), who can they sell for the highest amount (Özil, Di Maria), can they complete the Bale signing in enough time to agree a sale?

    You have to think that Daniel Levy deserves a round of applause from the Emirates faithful, we have him to thank for making Madrid need to sell AND for engineering the transfer of Bale in such a way that their desperation worked to Arsenal’s advantage.

  • Stuart

    I have read the article. I think we are interpreting things differently.

    Ps, it’s ‘Stuart’

  • alex

    It is kind of habit this days to make something out of nothing. We just give to much attention for something undeservedly.
    Sometimes before the end of the season and I am sure it was before the Newcastle game Wenger said :
    “Top four or not we are going to add definitely two players”period.
    On Suarez Wenger clearly said that there is bid when asked and later confirmed that he is not coming after the refusal of Liverpool. It is clear English not French or Italian.

    I ask why do we have to interpret this ?Is there any black and silver ?

    The anxiety of all us was there specially when it wasn’t happening as early as we want it.

    Finally three players signed long contracts and the fourth on loan for a season.
    If this are the facts for all of us to see and judge why oh why we run round on speculation ?

    The writer as I said early is kind of digging at the anti Wenger’s and needles to say at Liverpool too.

    As for many of us we just refusing to admit how impatient we where and also how easily where fooled of those unsubstantiated gossiping in the past TW.

  • AnonymousGun

    Too much conspiracy.. I prefer the conspiracy about Gervinho to Ozil lol.. theres 1 floating about where Gervinho sales leads to a merry go around of transfer and we end up with Ozil..

  • Sam

    If your theory is true, then it involves three clubs, RM, Liverpool and Arsenal to work closely for it to be successful. But where is the incentive to Liverpool and RM in it. If fact RM lost out on maximum value they could have got by putting Ozil in the open market earlier. Then why would they do us a favour. Simple fact is that we got lucky with Ozil. I am nether AAA nor AWB. These two factions have too unrealistic and idealistic views and opinions. Yes I was singing in the stadium ” spend some money”. This is the only time I have sang like this since I have been going to Arsenal since 1996. Previously I sang ” one more year” , when I wanted to pass message to my manager about Dennis Berkamp. These are the only two occasion. I believe that I have this much right. And by the way I do own, as a collective group, a share of Arsenal shares. That makes me owner as well. I believe that indirectly AAA, AKB and likes of me are needed to act as natural checks and balances to our club. Overall our transfer policy is not cohesive and structured. We should identify the realistic targets and do most of our business before pre season starts. And then if we become lucky later on with a signing like Ozil, that is icing on the cake. Signing of Ozil has bought renewed excitement in fans and players. Board must build on it. My mate got offered season ticket this year from a waiting line position of 19200 couple of years ago. Great for him, but not for club. There are still areas of the team that has not been addressed. This is unacceptable.

  • A. Stewart

    Wait Tony…If I am reading you correctly Re: Suarez:

    You’re endorsing a theory championed by many of the so-called AAA that the club wasn’t serious about buying Suarez, you’re conclusion seems to be it was for destabilizing purposes of other clubs (do you/have you ever complain/ed when other clubs are accused of doing this to us? I don’t, it the professional world of cut-throat football), while others think it was for PR purposes (especially since it was way below Liverpool’s state valuation of the player). The point it both you and them now seem to agree that it wasn’t serious, and it was never likely (you’ll find most so called AAAs were saying that for a long time too) for the very reasons you now promote such as his ban, his price, and others including the so-called AAA simply thought Suarez was a detestable character that didn’t fit the values of the club they also love like you.

    But somehow this was coordinated long in advance to get Ozil, the very Ozil who on transfer deadline Weekend, said as late as then wanted to be a Madrid player and thought that he still would be one?? Ok then.

    Re Higuain..:
    Respectfully you are all over the place with what you are suggesting is credible and matter the twists and turns and PR exercises and no-one really knowing what transferred, you seemed determined to fit everything based it seems largely on conspiracy (hesitantly saying that since I am eagerly awaiting your third article on the topic) into you’re pre-arrive conclusion(s) that a) this was largely accomplished on the backs of negative blog writings and b) Madrid and Arsenal were in cahoots for months specifically on Ozil, the very same Ozil who again up to last week said and thought he would still be a Madrid player.

    A little less conspiratorial analysis, suggests that there was some mutual interest in Higuain/Arsenal, (how much so, and the extent of any agreements, who knows) his price point was lower initially, before Napoli sold Cavani was flush with cash and needed a replacement. Madrid then could clearly extract more from Napoli, to go towards funding their interest in Bale which, in case you forgot, long preceding this past season, and transfer window..So maybe it was some really convoluted masterstroke by Arsenal and Madrid that was in the works for a couple of years now that resulted in Bale and Ozil moves. 🙂

    As I posted in the other thread, to me at least a more believable scenario surrounding Ozil is:

    “a) Isco and Bale (more so) were bought for huge money and statements of intent, as is Perez’ known m.o. especially in response to when Barcelona does something big/wins as they did with Neymar/last season.

    b) Madrid hierarchy interferes with first team playing matters arguably more than any other big club. I think everyone can accept this. Thus Isco and Bale will have to feature and feature heavily. They don’t often do things conventionally or as some may argue, sensibly, in this manner. So therefore (just like before with Sneijder and Robben who both went on to win the CL which Madrid still hasn’t won since) very good and/or potentially great players and talents have to make way for big marquee signings. In this case the names floating around were Benzema, Ozil and DiMaria.

    c) Ozil and DiMaria were the most likely to be affected by Isco and Bale due to their winger/attacking mf roles. Not so much Benzema who is closer to a traditional striker, and especially with Higuain departing.

    d) DiMaria reportedly was more willing to accommodate the new signings in playing position and playing time that was Ozil.”

    Pretty simple. Maybe not as sexy as these convoluted conspiracy theories of perfectly coordinated months of strategic deception and cooperation by Madrid and Arsenal involving multiple players, transfer sagas and multiple clubs, media, bloggers and fan-bases to ensure we ended up with Ozil….but pretty simple and believable.

    Everything happened pretty quickly, Ozil himself confirmed that he thought he would still be at Madrid as recently as a week ago, so it’s really difficult to believe your conspiracies on this.

    Also as I wrote on the other thread:

    “…as mentioned with Robben and Sneijder, and another example amongst more is Makalele. Madrid (especially under Perez) getting rid of very very good players to pursue more “Galactico” names is really not unprecidented. And has left many outside observers, many Madrid players and others connected with the club confused and in disagreement with such moves. And like Inter, Bayern and Chelsea benefitted to win big trophies (including the CL) with key contributions from Sneijder, Robben and Makalele respectively, so too will we hopefully benefit from Madrid’s and Perez’ once again bewildering moves, with our purchase of Ozil. Again this is not some unprecedented rare stroke of genius (especially at the price we paid) but rather a club once again benefitting (or in our case stemming to benefit) from Perez’ “Galactico” policy, thankfully we convinced the player and as importantly had the cash to pay (good work Arsenal).”

    This is not as unprecedentedly unique as you seem to suggest when dealing with Madrid and Perez, some club always seems to benefit from him casting off good/great players in pursuit of the galactico policy. Thankfully it’s now our turn, there was still work to be done to convince the player and pay his valuations, and we did it! Good job Wenger and AFC!

    To me at least it’s so transparently clear that two of your regular targets: The Media and the AAA had to be fit into all of this. So you have penned two conspiracy driven postings that were designed to focus on them as the targets of your ire in relation to the Ozil signing. I’m sure if you could find a way to work Referees into it and how that somehow their agenda against Arsenal made the Ozil signing possible, then you would have the trifecta! 🙂

    Why can’t we all just be happy at the Ozil signing? To me it’s kind of obvious why, because those who were largely championing this type of signing often to loud opposition have to be discredited by you and those of your beliefs. I see no or very few so-called AAAs using this Ozil signing as a stick to beat so-called AKBs or Wenger with, why not? Because they are happy! And finally have the kind of signing they have been loudly calling for. But I do see this seemingly never-ending campaign to beat back the so-called AKBs with over the Ozil signing.

    Let’s just all be happy we got a great player in and hope for more in future transfer windows.

    Is that so difficult without further trying to ferment divisions? This can be a starting point for healing amongst AFC fan factions, but it seems that some are just determined to divide even more.

  • soglorious

    Tony has written the story (or let me say he’s still writing the story). Either U believe it or not is a matter of choice. It should however not cause a tense argument about what is what here. Afterall this is just the Part2. I am waiting till the story ends before making a comment on the story. You all might be surprised that by the end of the story, you’ll feel ” okay, now I understand. Its what I too have been thinking”. Its like reading a book here, don’t make a judgment half way through it. PATIENCE Gooners.

  • A. Stewart

    Sam re: “If your theory is true, then it involves three clubs, RM, Liverpool and Arsenal to work closely for it to be successful. But where is the incentive to Liverpool and RM in it. If fact RM lost out on maximum value they could have got by putting Ozil in the open market earlier.”

    Good post, actually if his theory is true, it involves cooperation amongst and/or deceving of more clubs than that 3, several players involved, months of secrecy amongst too many individual parties to imagine, exploitation of sects of the media and blogosphere (see part 1), some of the fan-base and even far more…


  • A. Stewart

    Hey soglorious, yup me too, as I said above, I can’t wait to see how all this ends, and I am eagerly awaiting part 3 and whatever proof it provides.

    Why the need for the story though in the first place? Because I think the vast majority of gooners no matter what side of the issues they fall are simply ELATED about the Ozil signing, and see it as a job well done by the manager and club.

    There was an opportunity, we did the work to convince the player in the face of some competition, paid the going rate and got him!

    But this blog just doesn’t seem like it will be satisfied until it drives home some theory and has everyone bow down to the fact/suggestion that it wasn’t that simple, but rather some totally unique slice of convoluted genius planning, deception/complex diversions, cooperation and strategic planning over months amongst several parties..all while spearing its targets along the way (the media, blogs, and AAA)..that made us end up with Ozil.

    You say “it should however not cause a tense argument about what is what here”..

    But how can it not, when it is (seems) intentionally divisive (no shortage of AAA references [pt 1])? If practically EVERYONE is happy about the signing, then the only thing that can come out of a provocative series like this that points a lot of fingers along the way (so far, through 2 parts) is division and argument.

    A week on from the Ozil signing and UA is STILL (to me at least) taking potshots at its targets based on it (who were largely asking for this type of signing for a while). Maybe I missed it and apologies if I did, but where’s the discussion and article of how this is going to excitingly manifest itself on the field and all the possibilities Ozil brings in terms of formation, tactics etc? I think that is what most gooners are excited about now!.. Nah, let’s continue on the conspiracy theories and take shots at the so-called AAA and the media along the way.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Al: “If you believe you can buy the world’s best no 10 (stats back this up) for £42m from under the noses of hawks like PSG, United, etc, by accident, then you’re clearly the one that is deluded.”

    I don’t think anyone thinks it was “by accident” Rather, the player became available, we convinced him in the face of competition (not under anyone’s nose) and paid the Going rate money for him…42 mil is a heck of a lot of money, not many AMs have gone for more than that in recent years, if so please let me know.

    Ozil himself said that he was sure that he would be a Madrid player even on the weekend before the transfer deadline. He has since alluded to not being valued etc. Honestly this is not unprecedented with Perez’ Madrid and Galactico pursuit, great players like Sniejder, Robben and Makalele have also be cast aside to in some cases much opposition from outside observers, Madrid fans and teammates.

    Stories have come out that Ozil didn’t think he should have to have less playing time or alter his role/position to accommodate Bale and Isco… And I agree with him! While DiMaria (the other potential goner) was far more conciliatory in those respects.

    I see quite a few practical reasons he would chose us over United and PSG.

    1- Style of play (he said this too!). We play the, or try to play the technical short passing game more than United and PSG (who is still trying to establish a style).

    2- With regards to PSG there is simply less competition than at Arsenal. We currently (as acknowledged by the manager) have a pretty think squad, and PSG has more established quality/big rep players in attacking positions than we do. Note I’m not saying they are better individually or as a team, but rather playing time is far more “guaranteed” at AFC than at PSG, a big consideration especially in a world cup year.

    Also PSG has a model in recent times where the club hierarchy interferes in the first team management, something Ozil it seems would be keen to get away from at Madrid.

    3- United don’t play our style, and are in a transition period with new management and it may take a while until they establish their identity under Moyes. Moyes, who though it’s early doors, is showing signs of not knowing how to utilize a talented creative number 10 like Kagawa..and has earmarked it seems for Rooney to play there, and are also showing (with the departure of their CEO) a little incompetence/naivety in dealing with the transfer market at this level.

    4- Location and League regarding Us over United and PSG respectively.

    So I don’t think anyone thinks it was “by accident” but rather most importantly we had the money to buy what a player of this quality cost after he quickly became available, and had many things in our favour to convince him to come over the competition. And good job by Wenger and the Club on convincing him to sign!

  • Sam

    Ref. Stewart . Agree with you. Ozil has bought huge excitement to our club after many many years and we should be discussing about all the positive effect it brings, such as whether this could finally lead to a charge for the title. As I said, AAA, AKB and likes of me are all needed for healthy club. But Tony somehow is more concerned about proving that only AKB brigade are real fans.

  • A. Stewart

    Hey since we are on conspiracy theories: (Chris alluded to it above I think), How many here are even remotely willing to consider that the principle drivers behind the Ozil signing regardless of if Wenger was the deal closer and the designed PR beneficiary, was a) Gazidis/Ownership and b) pressure from the fan-base or at least part of it…?

    I mean Gazidis didn’t mince any words about what he thought of our buying power, and Wenger has a very long record of not wanting to spend big and developing internally based largely on his idealism.

    And also he (Wenger) isn’t living in a bubble and has surely heard the chants from the stands over the last couple seasons, has publicly spoken about and acknowledged fans’ “frustrations”, has at times reacted angrily to media questions based around many of the fans frustrations with his moves or lack of in the market.

    So it it even remotely conceivable as another conspiracy to add to the Ozil affair that Gazidis was the driving force behind the deal, influenced largely/somewhat by mounting external pressure including sects of the fan-base especially as the strength of our financial situation has become more clear and less obscure and deniable in recent seasons?

    For some here, I’m sure it will be hard to even contemplate this conspiracy as remotely plausible (even though a good case and be presented). Anyone can play this conspiracy game to suit an agenda and attack their targets.

  • americangooner

    If credit is given to owner/manager/CEO/Law or whoever is/was involved in negotiations, that is fine by me. Because if negotiations had not gone well, they would be the one to be blamed by the media or certain sects. Whenever certain transfer target was to fail, most notably Mata, the owner/manager/CEO/Law were roundly criticised. Now that they have pulled a surprise in signing of Oezil from RM, somehow certain group believe that the chanting had some kind of effect.

  • colario

    @ A.Stewart.
    You wrote at 5.07pm
    “the so-called AAA and the media along the way.”

    The ‘so called’.

    Please go to this link and listen to podcast 120:

    When you have done so, please return and give us your opinion of what you heard. Thank you.

  • A. Stewart

    Colario, no thanks, I will pass.

  • A. Stewart

    Americangooner re:
    “Now that they have pulled a surprise in signing of Oezil from RM, somehow certain group believe that the chanting had some kind of effect.”

    To be honest, I haven’t seen much of that anywhere that fans are saying that it is them who made this happen (regardless of me raising it as a conspiracy theory possibility)… rather fans are just happy.

    And there’s a false argument being created that these cretins need to be beat down from celebrating precisely because they are supposedly saying they caused it. That is what is seeming to get you guys worked up. That those fans are happy because they finally got the type of signing they have been calling and asking for.

    That being said, what conspiracy seems more believable to you:


    1) The fans (you know part of the club’s consumer base) that you acknowledge have been chanting and calling for investment into top players have had some sort of effect through their pressure?


    2) The signing is more likely the result of an genius elaborate and sophisticated collaboration and diversionary strategic tactics played out over months involving no shortage of competing parties and stakeholders that needed to the cover of a fooled media etc. in order to accomplish?

    Do you really think that in the history of sport/football, that clubs do not in any way react to increasing pressure and discontent amongst its fanbase? Any business knows that it needs to keep its customers happy, and growing discontent (regardless of the overall percentage) doesn’t aid in that.

    Again I’m not saying that is the reason we signed Ozil, but as far as conspiracy theories go it’s to me at least, a heck of a lot more believable that that fan pressure had some effect on making a big signing as opposes to the convoluted 2 part theory presented so far (maybe part 3 might clear it up).

    And again, I haven’t seen (at least around the blogosphere) much of these fans chest thumping, but rather just elation at the signing happening, regardless of how it came about. Look outside the bubble and you’d be surprised to see the amount of credit or at least benefit of the doubt going to the club’s management for pulling this off.

  • colario


    Your words not mine:
    ‘Look outside the bubble’.

  • rantetta

    Here’s an example of the stuff you “buy”, from our dear friend Amy (an Arsenal fan). You Buy It, don’t you?
    (Check out the choice of picture, too).

  • Tom

    Tony. This article is so far-fetched, it casts a shadow on some of your other and most certainly better posts. I’m not sure you realize it , but by painting Wenger to be this behind the closed doors mastermind manipulator, you actually suggest Wenger had acted with malice trying to destabilize a club that finished well below Arsenal in the leage last season , by bidding for a player he had no intention of buying . I’ve been critical of Mr Wenger on more than one occasion but I’ve never acused him to be dishonest or underhanded in his dealings. Sure , he will stretch the truth to protect his players occasionally, every good manager does. Sure, he will sometimes start bidding for a player low enough to piss the selling club off( Gary Cahill for 4M from Bolton). Some may even call it being a good negotiator . One thing is for sure, no one has ever acused Mr Wenger of divulging confidential information , leaking information for his or club’s benefit or doing anything whatsoever that goes against his strict moral code. If anything, people have acused him of being too honest and too loyal at times. I can assure you Tony, no one in business makes a 40M ( plus one pound) bluff unless they are ready to follow through. I’ve been around long enough to know that sometimes the simple explanation is the correct one . Maybe Arsenal never made an official bid for Higuain because they understood he could’ve been had for 23M, and they first wanted to make sure his contract demands could’ve been met. In steps Napoli with a higher bid and Mr Wenger pulls the plug( as he always have when a bidding war ensues). Why do I get the feeling that no matter what Real Madrid player Arsenal got ( Higuain, Di Maria, Benzema or ultimately Ozil) you would be writing the same kind of article , praising Mr Wenger for pulling off the transfer of this Summer?

  • Tom

    @ Americangooner. Your take on this Summer’s TW appears to be spot on. Unfortunately if the events took place the way you describe them , there isn’t much room for ” anti Wengerian” digs , which seems to be the primary motivation for writing this article.

  • colario

    However the transfer came about, one thing is certain, it is the transfer of the TW.

    There were around 200 players whom the media, the bloggers and Uncle Tom cobberly’s extended family all said that Arsenal were going to buy or would buy. Not of these experts named Özil as a player for Arsenal.

    June slipped into July and July became August and we only had sight of a 20 year from the French Lique 2 on a freebie. The demand that Arsene and the board should go for there was no hope for Arsenal.

    Are their apologies from the experts for all the misinformation? Are there congratulations?

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, the usual Arsenal muddle over transfers, seems to have exceeded everyone’s expectations!

  • americangooner

    @stewart, unlike you I don’t consider fans to be consumer as this would mean that they could change productss/services if they are dissatisfied and/or their concerns are not heard. Fans have been calling for major/marquee signings since 4-5 years but like I said, there were quality players who could combine and uderstood well each other. so there wasn’t the need to sign. But then they began deserting for various reason -boyhood club, small child inside me, more money, no ambition, whatever. so everytime a core group of player(s) left we had to rebuild from scratch. yes we did buy gervinho, santos, chamakh, etc, but these players weren’t meant to be first-choice players.
    I don’t think there was any conspiracy or elaborate genius or whatever. the player became available. several parties wanted the player. the selling party wanted to sell the player in order to pay for a purchase. the player was given certain assurances from one of the party despite being offered better financial terms by another. and so when three entities-buyer, seller, player- agreed on each other’s terms, the transfer went through. its just business and wenger has done such signings -petit, overmars, pires, henry. Maybe wenger wasn’t allowed to and/or given the budget to make marquee signings earlier on. Nobody can deny that Wenger was a major factor in signing Ozil as evidenced by the player himself. Good Managers buy players such that the team balance is still preserved. pandering to fanbase isn’t effective management/leadership.

  • Tom

    @ americagooner. Fans calling for marquee signings is common place at any sports club. What’s unusual about Arsenal is that it’s the players themselves calling for those signings, which could presumably limit their own playing time.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    It certainly looks like AW was in conversations with his friend Fiorentino Perez all summer; that the journos smokes more weed than allowable, as they often do, is not our problem.

  • Far East Gooner

    As I see it, whatever conspiracy theory written, I only believe that we didn’t bid for Suarez as he is not that sort of player that Arsenal wanted and Higuain is not world class . AW has been eyeing for Ozil for a while but kept quiet (or maybe some other stealth) and had to wait for Bale’s deal to be completed so that Arsenal can approach RM. the rest is history.

    We just had 70million and these were hard earned saving, AW would have put a lot of thought of just making sure the money was very well spent. Thus he would had short listed a few world class players but only 1 world class purchase this season. The rest of the story was fabricated by media.

  • Arvind

    @Tom: The players calling for it was interesting indeed. And usually the ones who do it, based on my experiences elsewhere in life are ones who do want the best for the club/company/emplyer as well… as they have been well treated.

    Sure, you might add Barca and Real do it.. but that’s normal.. that’s just the biggest clubs in the world talking. At Arsenal I’d think it’s just players who want to stay, do well themselves and genuinely want the club and the manager to do well too. Win – Win.

  • Tom

    @Arvind. Thank you for your response Arvind. I think you are spot on about Arsenal players wanting to win for the club , themselves and the fans. However , when players at other big clubs advocate for big name signings, it’s usually in response to a transfer rumor or as a confirmation that they too would like to see said player in their ranks . Rarely do you hear players lobby for marquee signings without being specific as to the name or position of a player , indicating they are well aware the squad isn’t good enough to win and needs to strengthen in more than one position. Players who are at the top of their game don’t want to participate in youth projects waiting for talented players to realize their potential. It’s a manager’s job to walk the fine line in trying to develope those talents without compromising the clubs ability to win . Case in point- Carl Jenkinson, who by all accounts is a splendid young lad but not yet ready for big time , as it was clearly demonstrated in the Tottenham clash when Nacer Chadli made him look quite average .

  • ARSENAL 13

    Did some one say Real Madrid lost out on true value for Ozil???….

    Well, if you look carefully, you’ll see that ARSENAL are the only club around (ok may be other than the oilers) who could pay up such a big sum up front. One time payment no bitching around…..ala Cesc, has Barca payed the money they owe us???

  • sukebe

    Yeah! Conspiracy theory, yeah Mr. Atwood!!