The Sound of Silence: Arsenal in the transfer market

By Walter Broeckx

Continuing from my previous commentary Arsenal never spend anything much on transfers. Or do they?

Yes Arsenal has to be silent about their transfer dealings. If Arsenal were to go public on who they are talking with the other big money spenders might step in and outbid us. For those who have paid attention they know that we cannot spend like mad. Forget the cash balance stories. A cash balance is not a transfer kitty. It really isn’t.

We have a fair deal of money available for transfers but this money cannot be thrown away as if we were City of Chelsea. So what Arsenal is trying to do with their silent negotiations is to outsmart the other teams who can spend like mad. Frustrating? Yes for the fans it is as it might look that nothing happens. And as far as we know lots of things might be happening.

But for the generation who plays their computer games and can transfer a player with a few clicks it is too complex to understand that the real world out there is not like a computer game.

Players do want to come to the PL. And if I would be a young man and having the chance of going to play in Spain or in England… hell… even I would pack my bags, make sure my sun blocker is packed and head to the sunny climate of Spain.  This might be a little exaggeration from my part but this might well be one of the criteria that makes a player decide to go to Spain and stay out of the cold English winters.

And then we have the interference of the almighty managers. And the cosy friendships between club managers and player managers. We all know the special one has a few friends with whom he can do lots of business without any problem as long as the club he works for pays ludicrous amounts of money to the player’s manager.   Something Arsenal don’t like doing. As it takes money out of football.

So I can imagine Arsenal not being the most popular club when  Mendes and Raiola meet in the pub after counting their money from their transfer deals. And being very close to those people has helped the moaning one a lot in his career. But it all plays a big part in transfer deals.

Arsenal are certain to not have access to certain players because of their manager and the relation he has with other managers.  Of course Arsenal could join the other spending clubs and decide to play the filthy game but thank god we are talking about The Arsenal and we do things our way.

So yes in a way lots of things about Arsenal transfers are frustrating. But not all of them are our own making.  If you want to have clean hands, you better not stick your hands in the mud.

Because of all this Arsenal has to be more patient to get transfers done. We are very much down to other players moving first before we can get our real top targets.  Top targets we know nothing about.  Frustrating yeah….

If there is one thing I also have been told it is that if we are not able to get our top targets…. Then we will not revert to second quality players. Only in case of a real emergency we would do this. No, if the top players Arsenal wants don’t become available for a price we can afford we will keep our powder dry. There is always a next transfer window.  And then we could try again.

So is there a chance our top targets don’t materialise? Yes that could happen. Then people will go bonkers and will blame all and everyone. Or one in particular.  Even if it is not the fault of Arsenal that the players didn’t come/couldn’t come/didn’t want to come/…. As I said there are all kinds of reasons why players don’t want to come. Unless you pay them silly money and most of all if you pay their managers silly money.

And if there is one thing Arsenal don’t have then it is …silly money. Arsenal only have money (not unlimited!) because they have been working for that money and have been careful in how to spend it. This will continue in the future.

Like it or not, but this is the path that Arsenal has chosen to follow. And if it is too frustrating for you I suggest you could get away from it. I just look at it from an interesting point of view. I like the players we have till they are gone. All of them, yes. And I just want them to do well and be successful for us.

Any new player will get my love from the start and I will wish him all the best. I will not think : what if we had bought X or Y, because that is useless. We didn’t for whatever reason and that is it. I probably would be a poor  manager and would spend all of Arsenal’s money in 1-2 seasons and might get no return at all.

So I just stick to the supporting of the club and players we have. I think I’m better in being a supporter than in being someone who can say what the club should do and how it should be done. I know my limits. So I will just stick to shouting: COYG!

PS: I do believe that Arsenal is working on a big transfer. But don’t know if it will work out as planned. But that is my personal belief based on my own gut feelings.

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47 Replies to “The Sound of Silence: Arsenal in the transfer market”

  1. Nice one Walter, pretty much says it all really.
    I also get the feeling there could be a bit of a surprise if we are patient…but if not, will back those we have.

  2. I live in hope there will be a deadline week signing or two? Really 2 should be the minimum, I also agree that we cannot really spend the sort of money that city and Chelsea spend. But nevertheless we should be able to spend the new TV money. Last season we got more from TV than any other club in England, we certainly should be able to outspend Liverpool, by virtue of the tv money and much larger gate receipts. We should be able to spend somewhere near man United. However, my belief has always been that kroenke has an agenda and that’s to make sure that the net funds available to the club are equal to if not more than the overall debt of the club. I think he also wants to put himself in a position to force Usmanov, to lose interest and sell him his share. Once all this happens, I think we might see changes, kroenke would then be in a superb controlling position, thatched possibly make him a billion profit.

  3. @ Atid,

    Manchester United have an annual turnover in the order of £100m more than us – there is absolutely no way we can match their expenditure on players either in terms of transfer fees or salaries and there is no way we will be likely to do so unless their current sponsors decide that they are not getting value for money and withdraw. Should United continue their recent trend of underperforming on the pitch that may well happen in time but it won’t be soon.

    If Usamov decides to sell his 30% (approx) stake in the club then he is quite at liberty to do so. If Kronke buys them then he will probably also ‘hoover up’ all of the minor shareholdings and become the outright owner. That would have very profound consequences for the club. If Usamov were to sell to another party then the present status quo would continue. The new owner would still not have a seat on the board and would effectively be ignored.

    As far as I am aware the Krone family have never sold any of their sporting clubs and I think it unlikely that they would either start soon or begin with Arsenal.

  4. Which is very worrying. Kroenke has never made any statement of intentions around seeing Arsenal as becoming one of the most successful teams on the pitch, just a profitable business organisation that carries a health bank balance that he can withdraw £3m bonuses from every year.

    I truly believe Usmanov and Dein would prioritise success on the pitch in addition to keeping the club afloat financially. Usmanov is a businessman so he is hardly going to bankrupt his own club if he owned it.

  5. Unbelievable we buy a player that I do not rate but I have to be happy and pretend is a good player and support him, puppet comes to mind or lap dog. Our CEO told us two years ago we were ready to compete perhaps not against Utd, CFC City but ready to be at the next level. It’s not happening but they take the tv money, gate receipts, and so on. Do you have your own opinions, views, beliefs? It’s cult like to just agree because the person that said it comes from within the club, what a scary gullible site this is.

  6. Tony,

    i was waiting for such a piece (2 pieces in fact) just laying down facts and ‘defending’ the Arsenal way.

    Maybe you ought to sell to Electronic Arts a new algorythm that takes into account silly money, sunshades and managers so make building a team in their game more interesting and challenging…..

    I get the same gut feeling that something bigger is in the works. I’d love to see Mustafi join the Gunners however.

    I wonder how the whole process would look like with a system like the draft used in the USA for football for example.

    Thanks again to you and the whole team for offering us a safe place from the insanity that is the web these days.

  7. Andrew – that is why I believe in a change in Law to ensure only British domiciled individuals should have rights to own sporting entities. That would get rid of all the money grabbing wealth merchants from the UK.

    The BHS debacle has given us a warning of what can happen if the law is not changed.

    Portsmouth has set the example of risk in stone for sporting entities.

  8. “Yes Arsenal has to be silent about their transfer dealings”
    If this is true then how comes the whole world and its dog knows who we are negotiating with and for which players?

  9. Does it not bother you that despite Wenger admitting that he needs both a striker and an experienced centre back, that it seems likely we are going to get neither of these. Where’s the ambition of the club gone? Surely the fans deserve for the club to at least try to compete for the league which you can’t with the strike force and centre backs we have currently. Supporting a club is a two way street, they take our money and ask for our support in return we expect the club to do their utmost to compete at the high level they can. I don’t think they’re doing that perhaps you do.

  10. Leon,

    They don’t have a clue and just make things up as they go along. That’s the point

    Arsenal never say who they are bidding for and usually walk away from any potential target of interest is leaked If it’s in the media then 98 % chance it’s made up.

  11. Leon,

    Looks like you know about the only dog in the world that has info of Arsenal’s negotiations.

  12. Menace,

    That isn’t going to happen and indeed can’t happen under UK law.

  13. Andrew & Usama
    My point is that whenever we sign someone it’s been well known in advance. It doesn’t make any difference how much misinformation is out there, everyone still knows our transfer business long before we complete it.

  14. @Walter
    “We all know the special one……” Sounds like you are alleging ‘kick backs” to someone!!! This doesn’t sound good by any stretch of the imagination, perhaps you could expatiate further.

    Of course if you don’t want to I can understand.

  15. So now Mahrez signs a new Leicester contract and we never confirmed we had an interest in him, probably entirely fabrication of the gutter press The tossers are all chucking their toys out of their prams. Our so called fans are truly embarrassing.

  16. Sorry, that last article paragraph shouldn’t have come in into this topic posting in my own opinion. Because other big clubs around may start to wonder who could be that big player Arsenal are working on him and trying to get him transferred to us at the market. No disrespect to you please Mr Broeckx.

    I’ve been watching the Olympics football semifinal match between Nigeria and Germany. And so far the Germans are leading us by a goal to nil via the early goal they scored in the 1st half. My hopes and prayers are, Nigeria will equalise in this 2nd half encounter and go ahead to beat Germany by whatever goals margin. But the problem we have in this match so far is our final ball has let us down baldy unlike when we played against Denmark and hit them 2-0.

  17. The only superstar movement that is likely to happen around Arsenal is Sanchez and Ozil heading for the exits. The confusion and lack of ambition around Arsenal transfer activity (or lack thereof) is mind boggling. Throw in the recurring injuries, inflated wages for some of the average players, refusal to get rid of deadwood, lack of accountability for failure, lack of transparency and you have to say gooners are a tough breed.Tough to envision a premier league title under the current management. Can Sanchez and Ozil stomach that? Highly unlikely.

  18. Leon, I don’t think it’s true that signings are known well in advance. The thing I come back to, which backs up Walter’s point, is the success of recent deadline day transfers. In recent years we have signed Welbeck, Ozil, Per and Arteta all on deadline day. I don’t remember any of them being trailed more than a few days ahead.

  19. Mad Eye

    I think all of those you mention (other than Ozil) were panic buys due to the freak circumstances at the time. Fortunately they all worked out well for us apart from Santos who came in the same time as Per & Arteta. None of them were planned, so the word didn’t get out. Although Levy seemed know about Ozil to the extent that he tried to sabotage our deal.
    But Cech, Sanchez, Holding, Gabriel, Xhaka were all over the media for weeks (months for Xhaka). I think Kos, Monreal, Chambers & Elneny were kept reasonably quiet before we bought them, so it can be done.
    Here’s to some secret deadline day stuff if that’s what it takes.

  20. Great to see Giroud back and getting ready for the weekend . However that large beard worries me he’s not the quickest is it likely to create some drag factor and slow him down even more

  21. @ Leon, what’s in the media are all rumours, if you look Arsenal are linked to almost every player in Europe, so of course 1 or 2 players they will get right. How many times the media say X player to sign in X days or having a medical and never did? What I see is when the deal is done either the players manager, colleagues, friends, or club post clues either on social media or to the media. Look at the Xhaka deal the media say he’s going to sign, then not going to sign, but then his girlfriend tweeted his photo shoot and then we know before Arsenal officially confirmed it. Sanchez deal Liverpool was favourite to sign him but AW went to WC and signed Sanchez not many people saw it coming, they had a hunch that Arsenal was interested but didn’t know the stage of negotiations.

  22. People sure like to abuse the metric system. Okay Shoot, I found some cycling data. They were testing different bicycle wheels assuming 15mph rider riding into 15 mph headwind (30 mph effective airspeed). The fastest a human has run, is about 29 mph, and Giroud is nowhere near that.

    There graph shows “320 grams” of drag difference between best and worse wheel, regardless of yaw angle. The worst wheel being the standard wheel everybody uses, which is about 250 grams of drag. I’m sorry, grams is a unit of mass, and they are obviously looking for force, which is Newtons. But, a cyclist is in a more aerodynamic position than a runner, and they are seeing about 1/2 pound of drag force attributable to a “cosmetic” change in the bicycle. At most, I would expect this beard to only account for 1/4 pound of drag.

    How he holds his hands and fingers probably makes more difference.

    Giroud tries and he takes a lot of abuse (from defenders and referees). But he is not a speed daemon.

    Long hair of any kind, just gives defenders more places to grab.

  23. Walter, Usama, OMG, other referees.

    I think the intention of the system (ignoring 😈 Mike Riley is part of it) is that EPL referees are professional. They make enough money refereeing that they don’t have to hold down a regular job. Maybe they have a regular job, and maybe it is full hours and maybe it is part-time.

    The players are training in some way most days, and they are monitored (heart rate, blood pressure, maybe blood chemistry, …).

    The referees are monitored, but that is mostly 😈 Mike Riley making sure they do his bidding.

    How much fitness training does a referee do during the season? Is it on the bicycle, cross country running, treadmill (with hills?) or something else? Do referees do Olympic lifts?

    Many years ago, there was a program on the PC which exercised your eyes. Do they do things to exercise ability to focus or improve range of angle of vision?

  24. Menace

    In the bigger picture it’s about money. Money needed that provides jobs for people in UK. Football in itself needs to be successful to be able to do so and the rich foreign owners make the club successful economically.

    I think that if there were British “domiciled” who had the money and inclination to buy an English club, they would have done so.

  25. Hugo Lloris Spurs keeper out for a month with hamstring injury, where’s the ‘he shouldn’t have been rushed back’ criticism from the media or is it only apply to AW? But then it’s probably AW fault for Lloris injury.

    And they question why Kos shouldn’t be back playing, ‘experts’?

  26. Walter
    Putting up with Arsenal transfer policy? – no problem.
    Respecting Arsenal transfer policy? – sure, why not.

    Loving Arsenal transfer policy? – I think I would need some serious pharmaceutical help to achieve this level of tranquility in regards to Arsenal transfers.:)

    That said, I’m happy for you if this is trully how you feel about it.

  27. The transfer window is open to buy and to sell i guess.
    I haven’t read or heard that Arsenal are selling x or y players……WHY ?????

    In order to buy or bring new players somehow we have to off load some players i guess.I mean selling or loaning players.The hot topic is coming a new defender.Are we just piling one on top of the other defender or there is a need to sell?

    Kronke is here to make money folks and i dont see it any other way.This is Kronke way and please do not mix up the dignified Arsenal way ?????

  28. hahhahah,, Gord.

    Giroud with his beard has given defenders another “thing” to hold (grab/grope) on to. Referees will look the other way and say “fondling” in their report. So its all Girouds fault that hez effing gorgeous and sports a beard too.

    So what solutions for this??
    Shave him clean, Oil him and send him on to the pitch with a Kevlar innerwears.

  29. Walter, your piece makes sense to me. I think our club does have to treat its transfer and wages budgets carefully. Mr Wenger can’t just say,” Get me this player and get me that player”. He knows, although it may be a sizeable budget, that it is still limited by the Club’s sustainable business philosophy and he needs to balance out the figures. So yep, if we have spotted a player and there is very little competitive demand for him (either because nobody else has spotted him or wants him or because we’ve managed to keep it a secret) we can pounce, ahead of the game e,g Xhaka, Elneny. And yes, if on the other hand, its complicated, we can’t just throw endless amounts of money at it ‘cos it ultimately it scuppers plans for other players we may have our eyes on. So we have to box clever, ducking and diving in the Great Shopping Trolley Dash at the end of the Transfer Window. I can’t help worry though that we risk ending up with no-one or end up with someone who isn’t quite good enough to make a significant difference. It’s hard to name a player who has made enough of a significant difference in a few seasons now. Don’t get me wrong; I love Ozil, Cezh and Ospina are possibly the strongest keeper and back-up keeper combo we’ve ever had, I sense a strengthened midfield with Xhaka and Elneny but there is, to date, no real or tangible progress in our League or Champions League campaigns as a result. (Last year’s second place was not tangible progress) We always end up thinking, we need a couple more players. And in the case of this summer’s couple of more players, Arsene has himself said we need another striker and now another experienced central defender. You write,”There is always the next transfer window”. Don’t worry, we will sort it then. And therein lies the problem. There’s always next season. But next season never comes. A team needs to be created reasonably quickly. Before key players want away or get poached. Otherwise we are forever replenishing rather than building. If you like to watch your Arsenal matches each season just happily taking in and admiring any new player as and when we get them then all of that’s fine. But if you are hoping for a champion team to be built, it isn’t. It never gets completed. But hopefully, Arsene, in order to get the players he really wants, is having to and is prepared to risk lost points in the early part of the season until he window closes in order to get his men. It seems daft to me but I’d rather that than find out we are just gonna let another season go by incomplete. I might ask the club for a part refund. Sorry sir, I know you were hoping for four wheels for the car you paid for but you’ll still enjoy it with 2. I’ll get you the other 2 tyres next year.

  30. Leon

    Looks like according to you all our best signings are panic buys. A great last minute buy is surely shrewd business. It’s not as if all these players hadn’t been Wenger targets for years.

  31. Keeping our transfer targets a secret (until the contract is signed/concluded) is an excellent strategy. This is an excellent negotiation strategy. The press don’t like it because it doesn’t feed the media with tittle-tattle and gossip which they use to sell newspapers or to discuss on the airwaves.
    Harry Redknapp is very popular with the media because at every transfer window he would gossip with the media as to what the transfer targets were. We all remember Harry driving a van (without seat-belts) talking to Sky reporters. This is nonsense. We are lucky to have a professional manager like Arsene who is always polite, is very intelligent and who doesn’t believe in feeding transfer gossip to the media.
    Obviously, this is one of the many stupid reasons why the media don’t like Arsene Wenger and tend to negatively spin information against him and Arsenal.

    Another reason why I think the media don’t like Arsene and Arsenal is that Arsene doesn’t follow the opinion of the press and broadcasters when managing his club or doing transfer business.

    The only point where I think the media is right is when they say we need a striker. The main reason why I think they are right is that Arsene has been trying to buy strikers in the last 4 years (e.g. Vardy and Suarez. And possibly others we don’t know about).

    Arsene Wenger gets to too much unwarranted criticism. He is a brilliant manager and a gentleman. He is right most of the time. But like all of us he sometimes makes mistakes. What is sad is that we as Arsenal fans are now too sensitive and too polarised that even if a genuine Arsenal fan (not an aaa or a hater) says our great manager has made this or that mistake, it is taken as a cardinal sin by some who have now taken the position that “Arsene can do no wrong.”

    Arsene Wenger has made some of the best transfer deals in Premiership history (such as Viera, Anelka, Thierry, Sol Campbell, Özil, Fabregas, Pires, Kanu, etc. Etc.
    It’s a pity most of these great transfers relate to the Highbury period but this is understandable in that Chelsea, Man United and City have developed very deep pockets in the same time when Arsenal became handicapped by the cost of building the Emirates Stadium. Many great players were earmarked by Wenger to sign for Arsenal but the players decided to join the super-rich clubs like Chelsea, City and Man Utd. Examples of such players include Cristiano Ronaldo who had been scouted by Arsenal (and he even visited the Arsenal stadium with his mum and both were given Arsenal shirts!!!), but he decided to join the richer Man Utd. Hazard too was scouted by Arsenal but he decided to go to the “richer” Chelsea.

    Wenger is a great manager. I have confidence in him. (But I really hope he manages to get us a striker to complement the efforts of Giroud).

    Thanks Walter for writing this great article in support of our manager and club. And thanks to Tony for responding intelligently to my posting yesterday by doing some good research on goal scorers and league winners.

  32. The best thing of all is that our owners combined are worth far more than abromovich and the glazers! Yet this site continues to use the excuse that we can not compete financially! We have more available funds than any team in Europe yet Walter is quite happy to accept any sub standard player and be happy? Really?? Is that not verging on insanity???

  33. Oops! It was Polo (not Tony) that responded very intelligently to my article yesterday.
    Thanks Polo for doing the research.

  34. Really Andrew? Everyone knew Xhaka was coming, everyone knew Holding was coming, even Asano! The reason everyone knows is because the owner doc the clubs we try and buy players from can’t help but laugh at our opening bids!

  35. Omg I would like to call you a lot of things! However you would not be able to hear me due to your head being stuck in the sand

  36. @ Zuruvi, you’re welcome. I was surprised how low the goals were for the winning club top goal scorer were back then.

  37. @ Wengers Warriors, you are only looking at the club’s cash balances but not taking into account the club’s short-term payables (money owing that need to be paid within a year). If you take the cash balance minus the short-term payables, it won’t leave much money left. Looking at the 2014/2015 Annual Report it indicate there’s about £55 million spare.

    In saying that, Arsenal could use the whole cash balance on transfers but how will they pay the creditors when money is due? Borrow from bank and pay them more interest? This will mean less money in the future for player transfers. Maybe the shareholders should put more money in but then it goes against the companies philosophy of being a self-sustain company.

  38. Also, the long-term payables (money owing that can be paid after 1 year) is about £265 million I think most this would be the stadium debt, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Board put the extra £100 million from the TV revenue to pay this debt off.

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