Who decides who Arsenal is going to buy? And what about other clubs?

by Tony Attwood

Today we are going to sign Pedro from Barcelona and Turan from Atletico Madrid, although Turan is going to Chelsea.  Or Man U.  I know this as it is in the Telegraph.

But who actually decides who Arsenal is buying?

The Guardian has published its own guide to who it is in each club who chooses the players.   I’m not qualified to judge how accurate each one is, but looking at the Arsenal section it is clear that although it makes interesting reading, it brushes over specific issues.

Here’s what it says about us…

Arsène Wenger is the lord of the kingdom he has built over the past 19 years. His influence extends into every pore of the club and where transfers are concerned, the manager’s authority is total. Wenger always has the final say. The board have attempted to put support systems in place around him, such as their purchase of StatDNA, the football data analytics company, which can help to identify potential signings. But Wenger continues to rely on his own eyes, together with those of his scouts. Dick Law is the club’s chief negotiator. 

Chelsea has José Mourinho and Michael Emenalo on look-out but   Roman Abramovich has the ultimate say as to which targets are pursued.   Marina Granovskaia, a long term adviser to Abramovich, negotiates contracts.  Which seems quite a diminution of Mourinho’s power.

At Palace on the other hand Alan Pardew appears to have considerable perhaps absolute control like Mr Wenger, and the same is true at Everton where Martínez has absolute power.

These absolute power cases don’t preclude discussions of course and the manager doesn’t necessarily lead the negotiations, but the number of clubs where the manager does occupy a similar role to that at Arsenal is bigger than we might think.

Leicester have a research system set up – they use Wyscout which anyone can buy into for 39 euros a month.  Pearson has gone of course but Steve Walsh who is the recruitment man is still there and the owners tie up the deals, not the manager.

If Liverpool supporters had their way they would be in charge of recruitment, and their first move would be to give Mario Balotelli away.  Indeed where most clubs’ fans talk about who they want to buy most of the time Liverpool fans discuss who to ditch.  48% wanted Balotelli gone, 31% Borini, 12% Lovren, 9% Enrique.

The amazing thing is that 45,000 people voted in a poll as to who to get rid of, which suggests the anti-Liverpool Liverpool gangs have a much higher number of supporters than our own dear little aaa ever got.  Indeed maybe the aaa have drifted over to ALL so they can be among fellow negativists.

Liverpool is famous for doing its own thing, and a lot of the time not quite managing to do it, and so it is with transfers and its infamous Gang of Six decide the whole policy.  That could work I guess, except that Brendan Rodgers is on the committee.

Man City have what the Guardian calls  the continental model of having expendable managers within an over-arching football structure. Nice one.

Manchester United under Sir F Word had one man who dominated it all, and by fair means and foul won lots of stuff, and Van Gaal has taken over that mantle.

As for Newcastle, the hand of Mike Ashley is everywhere and one wonders what on earth Steve McClaren will do except take the wrath of supporters when things go wrong.  The chief scout identifies targets and Lee Charnley tries to get them.  After that Ashley gives them to Rangers.

At Norwich City Alex Neil is something of a hero and it wouldn’t be surprising if he is able to dominate transfer deals and do what he wants – unless and until relegation beckons.  They have a Head of Recruitment position but it is been vacant for four months which given the window is open means, there isn’t one.

As the Guardian says, “succession planning” is the Southampton game. They know they are going to lose players so when they do, they have replacements already lined up.

At Stoke, Hughes announces what sort of player he wants and the tech director finds one.  I guess it goes like this:

Hughes: I want a thug who plays a long ball game.

Repeat ad infinitum.

Sunderland have a sporting director who reports to the tech director who reports to the chief exec who reports to the owner.  Or something like that.  I got lost in the labyrinth and so I think have Sunderland.

Swansea City are known for watching targets for a long time, and have a sacred trinity of a head of recruitment, a head of scouting and a manager and we can’t knock it as they survive on a tiny supporter basis.

And so we come to Tottenham who have a committee of four made up of Daniel Levy, Daniel Levy, Daniel Levy, Daniel Levy and, ooops that is four.  He targets the Europa league each season, and succeeds.

Watford are owned by the family that controls Udinese and Granada in Spain, and it looks like all three clubs work together to get players as needed for each club.

At WBA it is the chairman who puts the manager of a leash and he’s got rid of the hangers on like a tech director and head of recruitment.   But then the manager is Pulis so who they want is simple.  See Stoke for details.

Tony Henry, head of recruitment at West Ham has been told to broaden the base of the team but it is the joint owner David Sullivan who does the transfers.

So what do we conclude?  It’s all a bit technical but in essence if the manager really knows his stuff, let him do it.  Don’t let semi-skimmed power mad bonkers owners take control.  In fact don’t let any owner take control.  Sacking the manager doesn’t work, unless the manager is Brendan Rodgers when it might.

Selected anniversary of the day

4 July 2013: Hector Bellerin signed a new long-term contract.  Having transferred from Barcelona in 2011 as a youth player he had been on loan at Watford during 2013/14 before in September 2014 making his Arsenal debut following a spate of injuries to other defenders.


26 Replies to “Who decides who Arsenal is going to buy? And what about other clubs?”

  1. The old saying ‘if it works don’t fix it’ is the golden rule at Arsenal and it works.

    Arsene is not perfect. He has bought players that haven’t delivered.

    But the list of players he has bought who have become great players or bought as great players is unbelievable.

    So why shouldn’t he have full control over who comes and who goes.

  2. Glad (and relieved) to see that the head honcho at the Ems for transfers and the like is claimed to be Arsene Wenger.
    Knowing the survey emanated from the Guardian, that pillar of all things ridiculous in football, For one horrible moment, I had thought they would nominate my Gran (who cleans at the Ems). 😉

  3. Morning just off topic this morning when I tried to enter the site from newsnow the site opened but had an add for bet 365 covering it and I could not close it.
    This has happened a coulpe of times recently is it happening to anyone else.
    If this is meant to happen I am fine with it untold arsenal has to earn income to run the site.
    But is the away to close the add I haven’t found.

  4. Wenger should extend his powers on the players too not just the clubs funds .he should be ruthless and be targeting the best in the market and removing deadwood

  5. Gunner joke,

    I suspect it is a problem initiating with newsnow as I get it with various links from that site, sometimes there is a cross that works, sometimes it actually enters the site being advertised, sometimes a message inviting you to skip the link and enter the site. The only sure way is to enter the site direct. If it still happens then you have to decide if you really need to get the information that way.

  6. Gunnerjoe,

    I’m sorry my auto change kicked in in the above post and I didn’t spot it in time please accept my apologies!

  7. Arsene knows we’re he needs to strengthen we need holding midfielder and another striker to take weight of giroud and the coc

  8. This is interesting Tony, you have given us an insight into the state of affairs in the Clubs with regards to who takes the decisions on ‘who decides who Arsenal is going to buy?’ Let the fans add two and two together from the information laid bar before us with regards to Arsenal’s slow nature approach to the transfer Market. As for me, I see Wenger as a child in a candy shop with perhaps one penny in his pocket but loves all the candies in the shop. Our bloggers have speculated on every imaginable player on the face of the globe as Arsenal’s interests in this summer transfer window but one may ask; how much in truth, is given to Wenger in this Window?

  9. As we are still in the silly part of the season and with no moves of note seen , here’s a story from an earlier time .
    Could players have done this to check on their worth ?

    A Little boy went to a telephone booth which was at the cash counter of a store and dialed a number. The store-owner observed and listened to the conversation:

    Boy: “Madam, can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?”

    Woman: (at the other end of the phone line) “I already have someone to cut my lawn.”

    Boy: “Madam, I will cut your lawn for half the price than the person who cuts your lawn now.”

    Woman: “I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting the lawn.”

    Boy: (with more perseverance) “Madam, I’ll even sweep the floor and the stairs of your house for free.”

    Woman: “No, thank you.”

    With a smile on his face, the little boy put the receiver down. The store-owner, who was listening to all this, walked over to the boy.

    Store-owner: “Son…, I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.”

    Boy: “No thanks.”

    Store-owner: “But you were really pleading for one.”

    Boy: “No Sir, I was just checking my performance at the job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady I was talking to!”

    This is called “Self-Appraisal”

  10. I have had enough of these unrealistic transfer rumours we all know Wenger no need for any explanation hope he knows what hes doing looking foward to the preseason and see our preparedness and whether a plan B exists also looking foward to the performances of Wellington and Toral I’ve never seen them in an arsenal shirt before

  11. Good p.m north london fans!!if I could contribute on whom arsenal will signs this summer let’s go for benzima,vidal and tuzan!!best of luck 2 arsenals as whole and good luck and more victory ahead mr manager!!

  12. I don’t read Turkish (and the English side of the website is not working), but I assume this headline:

    > Lukas Podolski Galatasaray’da

    means that Podolski has completed his transfer. Nothing at the Arsenal website yet, including such trivial things as removing his name from the first team.

    I wish Lukas well in Turkey, I would imagine they well know by now, that he will not try to help in defence often.

    Just checked Arsenal, still nothing official.

    17:00 local time is the Copa America final, with a Columbian referee. This is apparently 16:00 EDT, or 14:00 MDT. According to Wikipedia, Chile recently decided to stay on Daylight Saving Time all year long, so CLT is UTC-3. The other time zone for Chile is only used in the Easter Islands, and is UTC-5.

    People are writing about the atmosphere, I would imagine the atmosphere will be about 20% oxygen, and the pressure will be close to 101 kPa.

    After the game, everything will be history. The exciting and the mundane.

    Someone at CNN spotted a ticket being advertised for $25,000.

    The TV networks finished screwing around with fixtures, at least for the first month or so. There was a chance West Ham might need to be move due to Europa league (for West Ham). It is now “firmly” scheduled for a Sunday. A couple of teams have been given long away games on Monday nights, Arsenal not included in that. But, Liverpool does have to come visit Wenger Stadium on a Monday night. Does that mean more flares and incendiaries than usual?

  13. England play Germany in WWC 2015 (3rd – 4th game). It looks like all the Arsenal contingent are on the bench again.

    Both the above game, and the Copa America final are about 50 minutes from kickoff.

  14. Merlin……please clarify what you mean by the following:

    1)extend his powers on the players?

    2)be ruthless?

    3)who are the best in the market?

    4)who are the deadwood and how do you define deadwood?

    Useful statistics and specific examples,plus a reasoned argument to support your contentions would be welcome…..

  15. No goals in either game. Alexis is still running all over. At least one of the Arsenal Ladies managed to get off the bench. Does extra time produce goals, or do we need penalties?

  16. Arsenal Ladies player for England gets brought down in the box for a penalty, converted.

    Disappointing turnout at Commonwealth Stadium for England – Germany was only about 40%, there are LOTS of English and German heritage people around Edmonton.

    Congratulations England for getting the Bronze at WWC 2015! And I can hope that if Canada hadn’t of made their mistake, that they could have had Bronze this time. 🙂

    The Guardian call Alexis for diving, after all, only players from Man Chest Hair don’t dive. Like Ashley Young. Like Rooney.


    And we are off to penalties in Santiago. It seems likely that many government/public services quit working about 30 minutes ago. Expect more services to “take a break” in the next 10 minutes or so.

    Long time Arsenal “target” Higuain misses for Argentina. As does Banega.

    And then, Alexis finishes off the Argentinians. Messi can go find another trophy, this one belongs to Chile.

    Congratulations to Chile and Alexis Sanchez!

  17. Menace

    I like your version. 🙂

    It was time for Chile to win. That Alexis plays for us, is a bonus!

  18. I think the stadium was sold out, just under 50,000 (48,665 for football). Nothing wrong with that number at all. But it does put a slant on the WWC 2015, where more than 50,000 was seen a few times.

    Congratulations to all.

  19. Gord – It’s a media technique. 😉 claim the whole show (share nothing!).

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