Arsenal’s transfers in process

By Tony Attwood

Sky sports runs a rolling news list of transfers at this time of year on its internet site.  On the morning of 7 June you had to go down to around position 100 on the list of transfers before you find Arsenal mention.   And then what you get is the Sagna is leaving story.

This is of course ammunition for the AAA as they run their endless and regular rather tedious war of words over Mr Wenger’s alleged slowness.

So it is worth pausing for a moment to think exactly how this process actually happens, and why Arsenal haven’t signed anyone yet.

Of course one good reason is that the transfer window isn’t actually open – although clubs can reach agreement ahead of that window with the new contract starting 1 July.

And also not much has happened.  Indeed so far the actual transfers we have had which involve Premier League clubs paying a fee are…

  • Milinkovic from Vojvodina to Man U
  • Zárate from Vélez Sarsfield to West Ham
  • Rickie Lambert from Southampton to Liverpool
  • Ayoze from Tenerife to Newcastle.

So not too much to get worked up about.  And indeed can you imagine what the AAA would be saying if Arsenal had bought a player for around £4m as Liverpool have?  While I haven’t seen any Liverpool supporters critical of the move, I can imagine that the AAA would have gone apoplectic by now if that had been us.

But the fact remains that most of the time in what look like reports of serious possibilities of transfers this summer Arsenal are not getting many mentions.  Thus we ask, is nothing going on?  Or is this like last summer when suddenly out of nowhere the transfer of the window will happen?

Much of what is happening now is the obvious and the usual – two clubs have to agree, agents want their cut, the player has to be happy etc.  Everyone is jostling for position.

But below that there is far more, and it doesn’t always work in Arsenal’s favour.

Arsenal have a reputation both for uncovering unknown talent, and for reactivating talent that is not reaching its fullest potential.  And Arsenal added to this, last year, something else.  With the transfer of Ozil Arsenal threw the football world into turmoil, with chairmen, managers and scouts all shouting at each other in terms of “Why weren’t we bidding for him?”

The answer generally was, “we never believed that Real Madrid would let him go.”  Indeed it was only on the last day of the transfer window that anyone got wind of what was going on – and much of that came because when Tottenham transfer negotiators bumped into Arsenal transfer negotiators they tumbled what was up and suddenly tried to tie the Bale to Real Mad transfer into the Ozil situation, by demanding the now notorious clause that would have stopped Real Mad selling to Arsenal.  Fortunately for Arsenal, Real Mad needed the Ozil money to help pay for Bale, and so they flatly said no.

But the story still has its impact.  Indeed the International Business Times has got a headline today saying “Arsenal Transfer Dossier: Wenger Must Repeat Ozil-Like Addition”.  Yep, its the old rule.  Do something amazing once, and then everyone wants you to do it again.

But all this gives Arsenal a problem.   If Arsenal are on the trail of some incredible unknown, or even promising unknown, the moment the story is out, Chelsea, Man City, and Man U will be making counter offers – not necessarily because they want the player, but because they want to scupper Arsenal’s chances.

Indeed any club that has money to burn and doesn’t care about FFP could actually buy the player just to stop Arsenal, while those who don’t have a scouting network up to Arsenal’s standards could well simply use Arsenal’s interest as a way of spotting talented players.

Meanwhile if Arsenal are going to do what IBT claim, and in public, then the secrecy that was so vital over the procuring of Ozil is blown, and the deal will fall.

Of course we don’t have to treat IBT with much seriousness.  The phraseology such as

Arsenal supporters will be pleading with manager Arsene Wenger to loosen the shackles in the transfer market.    They talk about fans “pleading with Wenger” to buy, and that “the Gunners must invest to keep pace with their rivals. More frugality could be a step back.”  They’ve read AAA blogs and think they are a blueprint for football journalism rather than a warning of how not to do it.

So Arsenal need to conduct business in secret to avoid getting it scuppered.  But journalists need stories so they are concocted such as that of Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne being chased by Arsenal.

Now when we get phrases in the press such as “Reports in England claim Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is ready to make a £17m bid for the 23-year-old this summer,” you know it is tentative.  Someone in some club or other starts a trail either to hype up a player, or put a smokescreen in front of another player’s move, a journalist picks the story up and treats it as real rather than fantasy, and  then other journalists report the first journalist…

If you want an example, try this…  “We take into account the praising reports that Wenger has given about the player,” Insigne’s agent, Antonio Ottaiano, said to

“We are honoured that a club like Arsenal could have Lorenzo on their wish list. However, from here to take it to the next level, that is a possible transfer, there is a huge mountain in between.   The club consider him without a shadow of a doubt as one of their key players for their ambitious project.   Hence, as of today, I don’t see that there can be any further developments unless Arsenal speak to Napoli directly and Napoli change their view on Lorenzo’s role here.”

And what a god-send this is for the AAA.  If Arsenal doesn’t speak – because Arsenal is not interested perhaps, the AAA blame Wenger’s slowness, lack of willingness to spend etc etc etc.

Last summer I got what I thought was a real bit of inside information on a transfer, and published it.  It was totally wrong – the player moved, but not to Arsenal.  What I had picked up was an element of the background noise that involved the moving of half a dozen players around which when complete resulted in Bale to Real Mad and Ozil to Arsenal.

This summer I’m trying hard not to do that again.

But let me just leave you with my favourite headline of the last transfer window.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti admits the club made a ‘mistake’ in selling Mesut Ozil to Arsenal last summer

Daily Mirror.  Jan 14 2014.
Well, you know, these cock-ups happen.




19 Replies to “Arsenal’s transfers in process”

  1. Just as well there’s no movement of players affecting Arsenal FC at the moment.
    It gives us time to reflect on all those who died on D-Days on battlefields throughout WW2.

  2. The whole transfer window farce is yet another media inspired circus designed to sell papers and accumulate website hits. 99% of it is absolute bullshit but the media whip it up into a frenzy and unfortunately most of the brain dead fan gullible fan base play straight into their hands. There was even one report earlier this week saying we had an offer for Hulk on table. It turned out to have been started on Twitter by a person falsely claiming to be an NBC reporter but people were actually taking it as being true.
    Why don’t we start our own ‘rumour’ and see just far it goes before it is found out as being fabricated.

  3. @Mick,
    You’re quite right of course. The other day I tried to start one after reading that Steve Bould was going to WBA as manager. I said that Tony Adams had applied to become assistant to Arsene but it didn’t catch on.

  4. @Nicky
    Did you initially post it on Twitter? That appears the way to do it, or maybe Facebook. I don’t understand either, if I want to start a rumour I just tell my grandchildren and say “keep it to yourselves,its a secret”, it works every time.

  5. All very true, but the transfer window is there to legitimately conduct….err…transfers, and the media speculation can actually be quite productive in the respect that it masks the real business going on between clubs, agents, players etc. Hats. Rabbits. Pulling. I love the whole process and what is there to become irate over?

  6. @oldgrover
    I don’t think anyone is getting irate about it, we are just saying it is all a load of bollocks. If you enjoy it that’s fine.

  7. With Arsenal spending millions on a player, do you think that it all takes place during the close season.

    Each purchase is religiously researched and scouted over a number of years to ensure that the player is right, obviously no club or manager are infallible on this.

    Never believe the media, what the hell do they know without being told. Arsenal do not tell until the deal is done!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Well said Nicky. Very moving watching some of that D Day footage and those heroes over there for the anniversary.
    As for potential transfers , there is another complication, especially with players who have a wide choice of clubs. Any big signing coming here will have to put up with ref shite, unpunished rotational fouling, media shite, corruption, of which we will never be the beneficiary….just watch what happens to Utd next season.
    It takes a brave and special player to come to Arsenal, and a special manager to lure them
    But whatever the problems, the manager is under big pressure to get it right this summer, as mentioned, Utd will be given every favour, like Liverpool this season. A bad summer, and the media and aaa will raise the spectre of Cesc

  9. Why would any self respecting international want to be embroiled in a transfer with world cup here?

    Lambert, seriously this hasn’t caused any kind of mass hysteria, even mugbreakers fail to mention this business done by the so called special club.

  10. @nicky

    Good point about the veterans & those who did not come home, we all owe them an immense debt – a debt beyond value in monetary terms.

    Re transfers – we all have to be patient and let AW get on with it. The rumor mongers are having their usual field day, but let us not be distracted by their attention seeking nonsense & wait for the official announcements.

  11. Although off topic and I make no excuses for that, I am reminded of the moving inscription at the British cemetery at Bayeux, Normandy. In Latin, the English translation reads:

  12. It is all a bit of a circus at this time of the year with transfers, however I think it is fair to be critical of Arsenal’s transfer ‘performance’ (I was about to say policy but probably not the right word). We seem to have a habit of bringing in players AFTER the season has already started. I can appreciate that it takes some time to iron out the details but you would have to think that clubs don’t start the process during the window – they are surely talking all through the year and setting things up?

    I would be happy if Arsenal just get their business done prior to the first game! If you think back to the recent past we have been hammered by Utd and then brought players in, had the rather stupid spectacle of Nasri playing one game for us before heading off to City, brought Ozil in on the last day having already started the season with a loss. (the lift he gave to the whole club upon signing was noticeable).

    Of course it is easy to be too critical without knowing the details but I am not going to believe that it is by design that we start a season each year then buy new players. Makes no sense.

  13. @Bootoomee,
    Think about it.
    1.England was once conquered by Duke William of Normandy who then was crowned King.
    2.In 1940 the Germans conquered Normandy and the rest of France.
    3.In 1944 the Allies recovered Normandy from the Germans.
    All the inscription does is record history and the fact that those who finally freed Normandy, now lie in this honoured ground.
    ANYONE who can see anything gloating in the words must have a very warped mind indeed.

  14. nicky,

    Please spare me the history lesson, I know my history very well. Thank you.

    If you once invaded my home and I help you to get rid of some home invaders some years later, it would be gloating on my part to put an inscription on your house saying: I, ONCE INVADED BY NICKY, HAVE NOW SET FREE THE INVADER’S OWN HOME

    Somehow, I don’t think you’d like the inscription very much. As an Englishman, your quoted inscription might not sound like gloating to you but I think French people and indeed other nationalities will feel differently.

    Gloating or not, I certainly don’t find it moving and I don’t think that it is fit for the solemn occasion.

  15. @boo/@nicky
    I suppose the equivalent would be Wenger saying ‘I once learned to play a game of yours, now you learn how to play it properly from me.’ Except now PGMOL are showing another aspect of how not to be sporting.

  16. @Boo…
    Born in the Channel Islands, of half French extraction, I feel you do need educating as to the feelings of Islanders after 5 years of German Occupation.
    It is so easy to be patronising, from afar and probably decades in age, about history in which you fortunately took no part.

  17. At this point, all Arsenal/ Wenger can do is to work extra hard. Talk to more agent and players and throw out more smoke screens.

    There is a problem… others might think the club aren’t serious when they make and approach still that’s another issue.

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