How the Arsenal transfer policy works

By Tony Attwood

According to those who don’t like Mr Wenger, the Arsenal transfer policy doesn’t work.  Wenger is lazy, won’t spend money, and each time there is a player to get, we let someone else get him.

As I have been trying to point out all year, there are some big problems with this analysis.   Such stories take no account of the financial reality of clubs, with endless talk of clubs that are on a very tight line in relation to FFP, spending and spending without any reference to the restrictions.

Nor does such an approach take account of player’s own views, and instead promote the notion that notion that players can be equated to packets of meat that can be bought and sold at a market, without any reference to their own personal wishes and wants.   This is sometimes extended to the assumption that players will go anywhere and do anything for money – this may be true sometimes, but not always.

Of course not all managers plot and plan as carefully as Mr Wenger.  To my mind, B. Rodgers of Liverpool, and indeed the club’s owner, have not always been the best advocate of the club as a place where top players might want to play.

One thing managers really can’t afford to do is to attack journalists, because they will simply turn anything said upside down, inside out and round about.  And this is where I think Rodgers is not helping a difficult situation.

He’s been expressing annoyance with the criticism of Sterling following Liverpool’s defeat to Man U.   The newspapers quote him as saying that the press are “trying to kill us” through their “analysis” (I use the word lightly).

But the issue was not only Sterling: it is also of the tactics the club employed.

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger get this all the time, day after day of course, and apart from the famous confrontation on the steps of Highbury on day one, Mr Wenger has the journalists get on with their wild ravings, including for many years their rampant anti-French and anti-foreigner approach.

But Rodgers now feels and complains about the exact mirror image of what happened to Mr Wenger in the early days, arguing that, “The other night it was a British coach playing 3-4-3 so he has probably thrown the team together. ‘He has played seven midfielders?’ If it was a foreign coach it would probably have been seen as a wonderful tactical idea of playing the game. ‘Sterling playing through the middle – what is he doing?   Markovic out wide?’ But that is the key for us – trying to get the players in position who can make us effective.”

Naturally we don’t know if Rodgers said this or anything like it, it is after all only in the papers, but if he even touched on criticising journalists he has probably made he own situation much worse.

And I am not sure that he really helps himself by saying that he would have been better off if Suárez had been replaced by Sánchez.  It doesn’t say much about the players he has, and given the journalists and bloggers insistence on the “players as meat” approach it is a story that is unlikely to be given much positive treatment by the media.

We know Sánchez was Liverpool’s first-choice target to replace Suárez in the summer but they lost out to Arsenal.  That should be the end of it.

But if Rodgers said what some papers say he said (and I know that is a big if) then Rodgers has been generous in his assessment of the player his side will face on Sunday.  And maybe not done his own cause much good.

Of Sánchez, Rodgers is reported to have said,  “He was someone we identified who would be perfect for us. He not only has outstanding quality but an even bigger work rate. If you look at how I ask the team to play it is critical, not just with the ball but the intensity with the pressing.   He was identified for us as someone who would have been a key signing and really just a roll-on to what we had with Luis Suárez. So to not get him was obviously bitterly disappointing but once he was gone that was it, we just had to focus on what we had.”

Faced with the same sort of questioning Arsène Wenger has a stronger situation for no one knows for sure which players Arsenal tried to buy in the summer and did not get.   This is, I think, the better position to hold, and reflects Arsenal’s growing mastery of the Vapour Transfer, of which we have spoken before on many occasions.

It was particularly interesting that Mr Wenger gave the clear but quite misleading story to the anti-Wengerians that he was not focussed on the club, by allowing the press to photograph him playing foot volleyball on the beach during the World Cup, when the AAA were screaming for signings.  It was a nice bit of camouflage to let the deal go through, just as the Higuain and Balotelli stories have been used at different times to cover the genuine transfer moves.

When asked, Mr Wenger has admitted that Liverpool were trying to do the deal at the same time.  Mr Wenger had added to the smoke surrounding the issue with the fun and games over the £40m plus £1 “offer” which in turn caused Mr Henry, the owner of Liverpool to lie about there being no such clause in the Suarez contract.  The lack of response of Arsenal to this claim (which as we’ve noted many times before, Mr Henry later admitted in a sports conference, was a complete falsehood) shows clearly that Arsenal knew exactly what was going on, and really were pulling the strings.   Suárez was never a target, but Ozil was, and there was a need to get Ozil out of Real Mad without Tottenham being able to force their “don’t sell to Arsenal” clause in the Bale to Real Mad contract.

In a recent interview Mr Wenger said, “I thought Liverpool was a serious candidate [for Sánchez] because they had Suárez going to Barcelona so you think that’s an easy way to do the deal.  But at the end of the day, the player always has the decision.

“Was I worried that Liverpool might get Sánchez? Yes. It could happen. There were some other clubs that were in for him as well. The fact is the transfers at that level today always take time to get every detail right so, because it takes time, you think always that somebody else can come in – Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern,– to do the deal.”

So what was Arsenal’s ploy to counteract such moves as Liverpool, PSG or Bayern screwing up the deal?   Simple – long term planning – exactly the sort of thing that is not covered by the press or blogs today.  Mr Wenger had Sánchez tracked by Arsenal scouts since the player’s days at Udinese, and he personally stayed in touch with the players’ agent.   Where the current thesis is that everything happens in the last few moments mostly it is planning, planning and planning.  But that never makes for an exciting back page story so it doesn’t get covered.

“The history of every big club is made up of many big players that you missed.   It goes on and sometimes you get another one. I wanted to play Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka together. Maybe, if Anelka had stayed, Henry would not have become the player he became. Sometimes, it’s coincidence that decides your destiny.”

So when Arsenal went after Sánchez the door was already half open because of the long term contact, which told the agent that Arsenal were serious, and not engaging in a Vapour Transfer cover for some other deal.  Liverpool could not show this – but needed to, because of their loss of credibility following the stories about how they lied regarding the Suarez contract.  Arsenal showed how many years they had been in the Champions League and of course Sanchez wanted to work with Wenger (something the AAA can’t comprehend), wanted to play with Mesut Özil and fancied living in London.  Plus, as Mr Wenger added,  “I just tried, like every manager, to convince the player that you can help him to develop the quality of his game and that the way we play football would suit him.   As well, we have continuity. All the players want to play in the Champions League – it is quite simple. And we have quite a good continuity on that front. At the end of the day, every great player has a choice to go where he wants today. He has chosen us and we are very happy for that.”

But he also admitted to one negative, “You have to say: ‘Be careful. In England, there’s no stop in winter.’ Many of them suffer physically.”

Untold’s index

59 Replies to “How the Arsenal transfer policy works”

  1. Sanchez was a brilliant buy, no one would argue with that. The jury’s out on Ozil. Not his outstanding quality but whether it can be utilised by AW at Arsenal because it hasn’t happened yet. But what is incontrovertible except to the most one eyed Wenger sycophant is that he left us desperately short of defensive cover in the close season and we have suffered for it. And we were crying out for a Matic like defensive midfielder to replace the ageing Arteta and game but limited Flamini. We have suffered for that as well. Yes, transfer dealings are much more complicated than fans and the media sometimes make them out to be but to pretend that AW couldn’t have addressed these burning deficiencies over the entire summer is absolute nonsense.

  2. Arsenal – Integrity, honesty, sincerity, quality, morality, support, consistency, care & commitment. Just some of the qualities that attract players to our club.

  3. What are your opinions on the Kallstrom signing last january .I suppose it was another master stroke from Wenger.

  4. Arsene Wenger

    The lone truth in a gabble of lies.

    Wisdom in an ocean of foolishness

    Foresight in the waves of blindness

    Courage in front of cowards.

    Loved and respected around the world.

    But not in the country where lies are promoted as ‘truths’.

    Foolishness is said to be ‘wisdom’.

    Blindness is thought to be ‘all seeing’.

    Cowards are seen as heroes.

  5. I thought the article was going to be about Wenger’s transfer policy. Turns out that it was simply a turgid treatise on the Alexis transfer and the mistakes made by Liverpool regarding this transfer. Thoroughly unifying, and it fails to discuss the years-long absence of a plan to deal with our deficiencies at CB and DMF.
    In sum, a pointless article.

  6. Nick Lee – what is your problem?

    Both Ramsay and Wilshere were injured and Flamini was suspended.

    Short term loan deal, he arrived and had fallen on his back playing beach volley, two days before.

  7. @nick lee,

    although i will admit kallstrom wasnt the big signing alot of fans were wanting. i mean lets face it, in a perfect world pogba would have been better…

    however the signing of kallstrom is very much in line with what tony is saying. arsene felt we needed someone, but because he was unable to get any of his long term targets, or the right player for the right price, he took the safe option for the club and signed someone on loan for little money. to be fair to kallstrom in his brief cameos for the club he did well and never made mistakes that cost the team.
    i think alot of clubs and managers in the same position would have signed someone, anyone, shelled out a few million on transfer fees and contract to plug the gap. but then end up with not quite the right fit for a few years of that players contract.

    i think in that regard kallstrom was a good signing. cheap, provided some cover, and protected the club from not locking themselves into a player that wasnt top of the list. benayoun is another example of this, the right players werent available so arsene signed him on loan. fast forward a couple years and we have ozil and sanchez. if we had gone out and signed someone for the sake of it we might not have those two brilliant players now….

  8. Professional football is now so much part of the world of big business, that the associated chicanery and sharp practice a la James Bond, is normal procedure in transfer dealings.
    One aspect at Arsenal is, if true, a bit of a worry.
    There is a widely held view that the Club has missed out on a number of desired signings because it would not pay more than its own valuation for a player.
    In these days of acute economic supply and demand, I think that at times we all have to pay over the odds to get the item we need.

  9. The more Rodgers talks about Sanchez and his would be transfer , the more demage he’s doing to himself and Liverpool, which is fine by me btw.

    Yes , Sanchez would’ve been a perfect fit for Liverpool’s high pressing game couse that’s his natural game but what’s done is done Mr Rodgers , so move on.

    Also , questions have to be asked of Liverpool’s vision and thought process behind bringing in players like Ballotelli and Lambert ,neither of whom excel at high pressing game.

    At the end of the day Liverpool’s credibility wasn’t the issue I think.
    Sanchez simply chose to play in a bigger city, better stadium, surrounded by better players , for the manager with a better track record.

    I’m sure he would’ve talked to Fabregas and Mascherano before making his decision and we know how Fabregas feels about Wenger, regardless the circumstances of his departure. What could’ve Mascherano told him about Rodgers? Nothing.

  10. Kallstroms impact we’ll never know. Its not just the playing time a player gets, but its also about the total time he has spend with the team. Training time to be more precise. On a long term he might have done a lot more to the club than what his contributions on the pitch were.

  11. Some of you on this site are blind.How anyone can defend the signing of kalstrom is just plain ludicrous.
    Menace-a worthwile gamble WTF. A gamble that failed horribly more like .We were pushing for the title unless you have forgotten and signed an injured player .How was that supposed to strengthen us..
    John L -We have money to do so.There is something horribly wrong if you are saying that last january we had no money whatsoever to spend and the best we could get was an injured player on loan for free.We are supposed to be one of the top clubs in europe with the biggest gate reciepts in world football.We have 2 billionaires at the club and that was the best we could do.This is why many don’t see wenger as being able to take the club to the next level and why hes happy just to be in the top 4.Many managers would of been sacked for what he did in that window.But we all know arsene is untouchable.

  12. DC – how do you know there was no plan? Where is your evidence. The article points out the difficulties in getting the right player – which is backed up by comments from various people, including Mr Wenger as quoted. So come on, give us some evidence. We didn’t sign the sort of player you wanted – but showing that there was no plan is quite a different matter.

  13. Very well written as always Tony. But maybe the club are complicating things… a well known and much admired …by some..blogger has recently compared football to marketing! Beats championship manager I guess!
    So it seems any aspiring manager just needs to get the latest marketing texts coming out of Soho or NYC or wherever they come from, and get on with it, none of these intricate vapour trails or transfer manoeuvring and chicanery. Apparently, one has to be youthful, fast moving and dynamic to achieve in football.
    I should add this is this guys opinion, he is entitled to it, indeed many of us are related to those who have made great sacrifice for the right of free speech……but marketing?

  14. Fascinating article – as ever. If occasional readers of this site won’t accept the basic truths contained in it, then they could do worse than read the chapter in The Secret Footballer about transfers. If I remember rightly it also has an interview with an agent, which although not revealing everything, does throw some light on the whole business.

    What might be fun would be to try to spot which current rumours are pure fantasy, which are carefully laid vapour trails and which (if any) have any semblance of truth behind them. Morgan Schneiderlin seems to be flavour of today: apparently we want to offer two players plus cash: Southampton favour cash only. I know nothing about transfers, apart from the obvious observation that if it is hard to get one player to agree a move, then how much harder must it be to involve player swaps. So I would put that one down as pure fantasy – and in any case can’t see why Southampton would wish to part with him mid-season unless he has made it very clear that he won’t really be properly fit for them any more.

  15. @John L,
    1.Arsenal have had the money for some time now.
    2. In any event payment for signings are often accompanied by the most involved methods spread over years, appearances, trophies and anything else you can imagine in order to delay handing over actual money.

  16. Re Kollstrom, this is what Arsen Wenger said about Kollstrom signing in his presser after beating CP 2:0 at home to go top of the league on February 3rd 2014.

    ‘We will only know if we were wrong or right at the end of the season’

    We were wrong.

    To call now Kollstrom signing anything other than failure to strengthen at the time when we were going for the title , takes a certain mind set for sure.

    I usually stay away from using non football related analogies but if you think Kollstrom loan was a success than you probably also think the Iraq war was a success s well.

  17. @ nicky,

    my point was more in regards to being willing to ‘overpay’ on your value for a player. for the past decade or so we havent been in that position and so we have lost out on players coming in. it also, for various reasons, caused us to lose some of the players that were at the club.
    that has changed in the past couple years and lo and behold we have made at least one major signing a season since. (ozil followed by sanchez) im not saying that we over-paid for those players but comparative to the types of signings and sales we have had in the past decade i think you see that while the club was always after players of the highest quality it often lost out in some way because of monetary restrictions or players wanting to go elsewhere which happens at every club. now that the club has come out of that i believe you will see us be a little more aggressive in the transfer market in the coming years.

  18. @ nick lee @ tom,

    yes we had the money. my point is that the right player, a top player in that position or someone with huge potential, was not available as in; he did not want to come, his club did not want to sell, his club and agent were demanding hugely inflated prices especially to move mid-season.

    when that happens the club is faced with a choice:

    sign no one, and hope that if needed a young player can be promoted from within.

    sign someone anyone, pay for that player and his contract (which will probably be a couple years as most players dont want to sign a one year deal at a new club) and despite that player not being the top player you really want and need, hope that it all works out for the best.

    sign a player on loan, you probably want an experienced player that will cost little to loan, assimilate into the squad with maturity, and hope it works for the best.

    the third option is best in the long term planning of your club, because it potentially fills a gap. although it is a gamble in the short term it costs little up front and doesn’t tie you into anything long term. this allows you to save those moneys (at a top level club say 5-15 million, maybe more) and put them into the top top player that you really want and need a few months later during the summer transfer window, when there is a more active and open market.

  19. John L

    ‘yes we had the money. my point is that the right player, a top player in that position or someone with huge potential, was not available as in; he did not want to come, his club did not want to sell, his club and agent were demanding hugely inflated prices especially to move mid-season.’

    And how do you know this? Is there a quote out there from Arsene Wenger to collaborate this?

    Here’s another quote from Arsene Wenger in regards to Kallstrom loan.

    ‘I would not have signed him if we’d had two or three more days to do something…’, which would suggest there might’ve been other players available( there usually are).

    Ultimately we all believe what we want to believe.
    You believe Kallstrom was the best option available for a club with more cash than any other club in the whole wide world, experiencing a midfield crisis, while topping the league table.
    And Tony believes Arsene Wenger was never in for Suarez .

    I happen to disagree.

    Oh yeah, did I mention Kallstrom hadn’t kicked the ball in anger for some seven weeks before he was signed by Arsene?

    You still think he was the best option available?

  20. Kallestrom was a strange one….but who knows.
    Personally, I hope Shad and others can work to put us in a position whereby we have more of our key players available throughout the season so we do not have to make too many emergency signings in Jan. Wenger is not an emergency signings man. I am sure Shad and co are striving to do just that, but they need a bit of help as well from the refs that allow our players to be kicked with impunity.
    Yes, the Southampton MF is flavour of the month this Jan, reports say Spurs are worried we may pounce for a player they have earmarked.
    Would be very…..very surprised if Southampton sell him unless they have someone lined up…..which let’s face it, they are rather good at.

  21. John L
    Fully agree with what you say. We had the players but they were just out injured. And to go and offer someone a four year contract to plug a gap doesn’t look like a very wise thing to do, especially when the players you’re trying to provide cover for will return one day.

    Some people aren’t capable of thinking for themselves, just go with the media who says Arsenal should buy so and so. Kallstrom was bought to provide cover for an injured Ramsey, and I think he did that when required. Nothing less, nothing more. When he joined he had 108 caps for Sweden, and to call a short term loan signing of a player with that many caps for their national team ‘ludicrous’ says a lot about the person making the comments.

  22. This is the full quote from Wenger;

    The Gunners say they only became aware of the problem when Kallstrom had a medical on the final day of the transfer window.
    Wenger added: “I wouldn’t have signed him if we had another two or three days, but it was on Friday at 5pm.

    The quote provided above is misleading, as the context is twisted. Wenger said it crossed his mind not to do the deal after the club had become aware Kallstrom had injured his back two days before transfer deadline, at 5pm on deadline day. This was only after his medical. So Wenger had not known his back was injured at 4pm on deadline day. It was then that Arsenal agreed to split the costs for the loan with Spartak for the duration of the injury. Context is everything, please stop misleading people.

  23. @ Tom,

    i believe your quote answers your question for me. if wenger is saying that he needed more time, what im hearing is that he was after other players but when we was unable to get those players, for the reasons i stated above or other complications, he went for a loan that was available. in that regard i believe that was the correct option for the long term vision of the club.

    as to whether kallstrom was the best option available i truly couldnt say. but then thats true of every transfer.

    we dont have more money then any club in the world. we were experiencing an injury crisis in midfeild not a crisis of quality. evidenced by the fact we were top of the table for so long. its hard to say that signing carvalho or pogba or anyone else would have led to us winning the title since is all conjecture.
    i disagree with tony on saurez. i think we really were in for him.

    i just dont agree with the club signing a player that isnt a top, long term and thoroughly scouted player to fill a gap. if theres a player this january that wenger and the club feel is the right man i believe they will act, because they also see the need. however if that player is not available, then i stand by the clubs decision to hold off until the summer to get the right man.

  24. By ‘the quote provided above’ I mean toms quote. It’s used out of context to create a different impression to what the manager meant. And I don’t know where or what this stuff about him not having kicked a ball in seven weeks is coming from or means.

  25. After years of Stan Collymore castigating Wenger on the radio for being stubborn and not spending more money on players he is now saying in regard to West Ham how nice it is to see a club succeeding on a low budget without spending vast sums and hopefully wouldn’t it be nice if they could replace one of the ‘regular’ top four teams and claim a champions league spot, Arsenal for example.

  26. I think the boss knows far much about doing transfer than his being imagined by us. This is a manager who has been at Arsenal for the past 18 years and has done so many successful transfers for Arsenal. Didn’t Kim Kallstrom scored a penalty goal for the Gunners in the FA Cup semi-final game with Wigan Athletics at Wembly? Would it have been better if the cat had not been let out of the bag? This article has exposed the boss and made other managers to know what they might not have known about the boss transfer strategy. This is a let out. Does the boss plays chess? With what you have said of him doing his transfer deals in much secrecy, he must be a crafty buyer in the transfer market. Which is very necessary to be. I am impressed.

  27. Whether or not a club buys/sells top players or squad players it is important to conduct all affairs in an honest manner. When the club starts telling lies – a la Henry – integrity and reputation are lost – and when lost they are very hard to regain.

    Similarly with the AAAA and media, re Arsenal they usually specialize in untruths, half-truths and deliberate distortion – all unsubstantiated. As such the AAAA have probably reached rock bottom in the integrity stakes with the media not far behind.

  28. Mandy, BJT, others

    Are my comments about numbers Webb brought up obtuse or something in the other active thread (match officials)?

  29. Al

    My quote ( from Google search of British press covering the story) was good enough for John L to decide that he had it right all along( fair enough to him) , you fully agree with him, but then you say my quote was …misleading?


    Kallstrom came from the Russian Premier League, which takes a winter breake in December. As of Kallstrom’s signing at the end of January transfer window , he would’ve been inactive for almost two months – hence the ‘hadn’t kicked the ball in anger for seven weeks’ comment.
    Now you know.

    Also you said
    ‘ Kallstrom was bought to provide the cover for an injured Ramsey , and I think he did that when required. Nothing less , nothing more.’

    Ramsey missed some 1260 minutes of PL competition from December 26th to April 5th ,when he again featured against Everton. Not to mention other competitions like CL and FA cup.

    Kallstrom, the player who according to you was bought to provide cover for injured Ramsey, played a total of 128 minutes in three games.

    Now forgive me for thinking that the cover provided by Kallstrom for Ramsey was on the ‘less ‘ rather than ‘more’ side.

  30. It seems like all the argument that fans argument of Wenger-San transfer policy in the case of Kallstrom was largely based on an assumption at 31st Jan 2014 was that we didn’t win the league. Our fans had aready had already done a self fulfilling prophecy that we won’t win the league .

    What happened if we had won the league ?

    My teaching told us; As fans, we walk the journey with out team, whether they are up or down. This discussion on Kallstrom transfer is rubbish. Our role is pray and motivate the players despite difficulty. whatever those attacked the transfer is not a Gooner fan . Just leave arsenal, find your peace.

  31. @Gord

    I didn’t see your comments about Webb until just now – your comments are excellent & very revealing. Judging by Webb’s own reported remarks he is still in the PGMO cover up and make believe departments. His statistics cannot be correct.

    We should challenge Webb to carry out a ref review for Untold – just to see how his mind works and to see his response to our probable criticisms!!

  32. BJT

    Thanks. I was beginning to think nobody was seeing what I was seeing. Webb was trying so hard to impress, that he provided details that we can probably shoot down. The simulation data has to be wrong. Only 9 simulations in 140 games, when we all know there were 3 in 1 game? That can’t be correct.

    In reading the article about Webb, I don’t think he has the time, even if he wanted to do a review or if Mike Riley 😈 would let him. He retired from being a police officer, because he was too busy. Or that’s how I read it. But yes, it would be nice to see how he would review a game. Or for that matter, Hackett or Poll.

  33. I think the Webb numbers can be described as : move on, move on, nothing to see here. Mostly said by a police officer on a crime scene where the dead body is still lying on the floor. I think Webb as a former police officer will be in the know how to say such things 🙂
    Without them giving details their numbers are unbelievable.

    Come on Howard show us the details…

  34. Webb is after bigger things, he will say what needs to be said. Soon, the head of the pgmol will pass from one known Utd sympathist to another and the status quo shall prevail.
    Unless FIFA fall and some clever journalist exposes what is happening in our league.

  35. That may be true Mandy. But, Webb let the cat out of the bag with those numbers. Or, maybe just a leg. There is enough data there, that it may be possible to refute with a high probability.

    I suppose I should look up other news versions of that article, they may have other tidbits that got edited out of the Independent version.

    I am specifically looking for many people, to tell me in their expert opinion, that N simulation incidents happened in the first 140 games of the season. Then I can fit a model to PGMO and UA data on simulations, and maybe show their data is inconsistent (at a high probability value) with other review data.

    I did write a nice note to Sepp on today, telling him that as far as I was concerned, the crisis wasn’t over. First, it needed him to leave FIFA. It probably needed other people to leave FIFA. And it needed an effective means of policing ethical issues. I doubt he, or anyone at FIFA, replies.

  36. Nick Lee – ‘we’ is used when suitable but ‘Wenger signed Kalstrom’ & ‘we’ were going for the title. Get a life prat. Wenger is always going for the title & makes decisions based on positional reality. He knows how much his budget is just as he knows what he needs to make his squad stable. It is his team & his squad and we support his decisions. He does make mistakes but Kalstrom was not one. When you use ‘we’ include the Lord Wenger & the Arsenal supporters & accept that he pulls the strings.

    There is nothing more ironic than a group of stupid idiots sitting in the Arsene Wenger Stadium saying ‘spend some fucking money’!!!! They sit in comfy chairs with incredible view of the pitch & think their stupidity bought all this.

  37. Tom
    I fully agreed with John on other posts,and I still do, but I didn’t say I agreed with him on his interpretation of your quote. Your quote was missing some important stuff at the end, particularly the Friday at 5pm bit. The bit that you put in seemed to suggest Wenger risked this because he simply left things till late, when there were other targets he could have gone after but didn’t. Yet what he said in full showed Wenger believed Spartak had not been truthful to him by withholding some details about the injury, and he only found out at 5pm on deadline day the player had been injured two days earlier. That’s why Spartak were made to pay his wages for as long as he was out. So technically Arsenal signed him around March. Is it any wonder he played less than anticipated then if he was out injured? As someone who is always attacking Arsenal and the manager I have no doubt you deliberately left out the 5pm bit to make the quote suit your agenda. Wenger clearly stated it was 5pm so it was either him or nobody. And he adds we may have needed more bodies around March so it made sense to sign him under those conditions- thar Spartak continued to pay his wages till he played for us. What’s wrong with that???

    When you quote someone try to quote the statement in full, not to chop the quote in half as that can create a different impression of what the person was actually saying. Regarding the winter break he was injured while training with Spartak in the middle east. He may not have played a competitive match in the preceding weeks but so what, he was with the squad and training. Did we not sign Arshavin over the same period but he went on to put in some magical performances instantaneously for us? And it’s not just Arsenal who have signed a player from Russia in January. Wenger has made some amazing signings over the years, but according to you he’s supposed to have walked stupidly and blindly into the Kallstrom signing? Be fair to the man for once.

  38. What I really hate about football media is the year after year idiotic comments about “Wenger not spending money”. Firstly, the football manager neither spends money nor signs players. There are loads of other people negotiating and the manager probably only has conversations about the player’s role etc. Probably the Financial Director has the biggest influence what transfer is feasible and what is not.

    Unfortunately too many people are more focused on rubbish media’s “stories” about transfers and nothing has been talked about training and improving the current players and plans for the hot prospects coming up from the Academy. There are UEFA and PL squad regulations and these media people should study them and think about several years forward. It’s not about “buy this, buy that right now”, but understanding the long-term planning in building the squad. If Arsenal happens to have one spot free on the A-list, it’s not smart to fill it when it must be understood when young players have to be promoted from the B-list to the A-list. If you will buy one experienced player for a 5-year contract and the next season your own young player must be promoted to the A-list… What would happen then? It needs long-term planning and fortunately Arsenal is now getting to the higher financial level to think far to the future.

  39. Menace There is no need for your little insults because you disagree with what i posted.I dont have blind faith in our manager unlike yourself .You state that wenger is always going for the title but if that was the case he would of been sacked many years ago.Van persie knew this and thats why he left for a team with real ambition..His objective is to finish top 4 therefore making the club money and while this is the case he will remain in charge.How can you say kalstrom was not a mistake ,he hardly played for christ sake and when he did really didn’t make any sort of impact.He certainly didn’t push us orward.
    You may think that all the WOB are idiots but they all want the club to not just make top 4 but challenge for major honours ,something we were promised when we moved from highbury.Remember “we need to move from highbury to compete with the real madrids and barcelona’s” not to compete with the evertons,and spurs.
    I do blame the manager for most of our recent failings and a man who is on 8 million a year shouldnt have that many flaws.i don’t put all the blame on referees,players and pundits like most on here.

  40. All I know is, up until last year, with an almost ZERO annual net spend on transfers, whilst others had a near £50 Million annual net spend, Wenger maintained Champions league football, and on occasion put us in a position where we actually looked as if we could, some say should (though not me) of won the Premier League.

    Despite Wenger obviously not being perfect (as some seem to think he should be) in the transfer market, to question his overall performance is simply mind numbingly ridiculous.

    As I say, no he is NOT perfect, but I suggest achieving what he did over a sustained period with an almost ZERO budget would certainly be beyond 99% of managers, and personally I think even Fergie and definitely Jose, would struggle to maintain the level of performance that Wenger did.

    Honestly, I read what some people have to say with utter bewilderment.

  41. Al
    ‘Kallstrom was bought to provide cover for an injured Ramsey, and I think he did that when required. Nothing less, nothing more. ‘

    Is this not your statement word for word ?
    Or did I chop it in half and put it out of context?
    ‘ Out of context ‘ is the most often used defence when someone doesn’t like what’s being quoted btw.

    Just to finish my involvement on this thread, I was being generous when providing Kallstrom’s minutes as a ‘Ramsey’s cover’ , as you put it. But in fact, Kallstrom only played 11 MINUTES from the time he was brought in , to the time Ramsey became available again.

    Do you still think Kallstrom provided adequate cover for Ramsey????

    You may be thinking why am I being such a dick abou this, well you probably think I’m being a dick all the time, seing how I ‘chop’ up Wenger’s statements to be mean to him and all, but in fact I thought Kallstrom loan was a total disaster for the team and the players in real time ( check the archives). When the squad needed a real pick me up, they got a real downer instead. And if you don’t believe my playing experience just look at Arsenal players’ emotions and statements after the Ozil or Sanchez signing.

    Last season was Arsen Wenger’s best chance to win the title and he didn’t give his best.

    And since this thread envelopes Arsenal and Liverpool as well, let me remind you how critical of Brendan Rodgers’ tactics I was in real time, when I thought he totally blew it at the end of the season and handed it to Man City.

    But I guess I’m just being mean to everyone now 🙂

  42. Tom, Kallstrom was brought in because we had so many midfielders missing at the time, Ramsey was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Saying Kallstrom was brought in to provide cover for Ramsey specifically is not quite correct, he was brought in to provide midfield cover.

    I’m guessing you know why teams have squads, not just eleven players, don’t you? Kallstrom was brought in to add depth to our squad, in case we had more injuries or suspensions. Imagine if Kallstrom had not been brought in on loan and another player picked up a month long injury. Thankfully that didn’t happen.

    Tom, you really are tryindesperately hard to find fault with every little thing about our transfers, aren’t you? AL has explained it perfectly to you, Kallstrom was the best we could do with the time we had available.

  43. Jampot

    I saw what you did there…very funny.

    I think I’ll have a go…Dick Lee !!

    How does that work? Very well I think, even if I do say so myself.

  44. Anyone with two football brain cells worth rubbing together who would look at last seasons squads and quickly comes to the fairly obvious conclusion that the title last year was City’s to lose. Minus Negredo (FFP) they have a weaker attack, an attack which last year clocked up over one hundred goals…

    Then there was Gazprom. Speak to most Chelsea fans that are capable of actually talking (that’d include Mike T 🙂 ) and they’ll tell you that Mourinhio’s desire to play games with his squad etc. meant that selling Mata last winter completely blew their hopes of winning the title, and more
    , last season. Only the biggest and most proven irrational haters of AW and fans of “shit on a stick” would disagree with what many Gazprom fans themselves can admit, that selling their best player for the previous two seasons in order to placate their manager’s infamous ego had a negative effect upon their season. I don’t need to be a proven and witless liar in order to work that one out.

    Nice try Groaner, a poorly disguised attempt at an adult debate. But, yet again, you’re going to have to try again.

  45. “How the Arsenal transfer policy works?”

    Not really an expert on such matters myself but a cursory glance over the years at the fees paid for the following compared to others raises one consistent observation:


    Özil I’ve chucked in there because in the. Clubs own words they felt they were overpaying in that case, so they will do that on occasion. But generally we can conclude that AFC are operating in a different market to the petro clubs. A market that is about half the rate that those others are happy to use. A market that, possibly, includes about 50% of the agents fees that the petro-clubs are happy to mark up! For some unfathomable reason which I could never ever guess at. Ever. What we do know for sure is what the fan and former owner of the club from Middlesex keeps on telling everyone:

    “Wenger knows the market”

    And of that there is plenty of evidence. Plenty. Don’t worry they no doubt about it. And there’s no point in anyone denying it. So they just attempt to brand him a Scrooge instead. When he’s saved his club say £45M in agents fees and stuff alone in one window (Sanchez and Chambers and Welbeck transfers?) it’s not hard to understand why some would want to give the club bad press for their transfer policy, is it? You don’t have to approve of everything the club has ever done to arrive at this simple conclusion.

  46. Well that was another woeful performance.Tactically we were clueless and its a shame how much we have regressed as a club and team.But lets not blame the manager.No.Lets blame the ref,opposition players and pundits because Arsene is here for life..

  47. I am glad for the consistency. We are a well established club with an impeccable record of CL qualification in the most difficult league in the world. Look at every other league and look how easy it is for the PSGs and RMs to qualify. The parity is a joke. I won’t say Wenger is a genius but he’s smart enough not to risk ruin splashing 100mil in a single window while keeping our quota of British players while staying in FFP, while juggling academy transitions, while signing amazing players, while dealing with the rise of petro clubs, while dealing with Kroenke’s apathy, while dealing with massive egos in the dressing room and bizarre injury luck. Ok maybe he is a genius. 😉

  48. Another enlightening article.

    I know from an ‘inside’ club source that each possible player is extensively researched over a period of many years before any negotiations take place.

    The idea that Arsenal deal in last minute/ditch transfers is absolute rubbish.

    That is something which can very easily be worked out.

    If the club make any signings in January, rest assured that even if the completion is on the very last minute of the window the new player will have been on the ‘possibles’ list for ages.

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