By Tony Attwood
With a day of birthday celebrations with my daughters and their families now over, and my head still over expanded following yesterday morning’s homily, the old man makes a desperate attempt to get things back together. And yes I’m late this morning, but at my age…
But there is a new story in town, and interestingly both the Independent and Telegraph have articles suggesting that Arsenal will need to sell players to cope with the new salary caps in the Premier League which come in this season in certain situations. Although also interestingly each sees the matter from a different perspective.
The Telegraph leads with “Kylian Mbappe open to Arsenal transfer from Monaco” while the Independent has “Arsenal considering summer sell-out as they bid to tie down star pair”.
Actually that Indy headlines wasn’t the first one that captured my attention – I rather liked “Give me the tractors you promised or my son will leave Juventus’.”
That story has the sub-heading, “Juventus risk losing youngster Moise Kean on a free if the club do not deliver on the fleet of tractors they are said to owe his father,” but actually the situation seems even more confusing than an agricultural spat since there appears to be disagreement as to who the agent is as well. Footballers’ fathers eh? What would you do with them?
Anyway, the point about Arsenal is that from this season forth clubs’ wage bills cannot be more than £7m up on 2016-17, or £19m more than from the 2012-13 season unless the extra money comes from club profits on player sales, ticket sales, or sponsorship and marketing money.
It’s a rule open to breaches because where a sponsor is closely linked to the club as Ethiad is to Manchester City, there can always be (and indeed has been) a lot of disputes as to what a reasonable level of sponsorship for a stadium or the shirts actually is. Indeed if we look back to PSG, when Qatar Tourism Authority started to sponsor them they actually backdated the sponsorship deal by one year – a total nonsense of course, but one that seemed to flummox Uefa.
So I would expect certain clubs to find ways around the rules and for the PL to do very little about such breaches. But until we see how they will play the game, for now there is an issue.
In fact for Arsenal two issues – and it is these two that the two newspapers separately consider.
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First there is the wage increase issue for Alexis and Mesut. The word down the journalists’ pubs is that “Arsenal are willing to pay the pair close to £280,000 per week each to keep them at the club beyond June 2018, when their current contracts expire.”
Now that would add £14,560,000 a year to the wages bill on its own which would take Arsenal way over the regulatory limit. Worse, because we are now in the Europa, income will drop significantly this year, for although the affairs of the first knock out round have been the centre of a lot of derision, Arsenal’s position there year after year has meant significant income, helping somewhat to narrow the gap with Chelsea’s money from its owner, Manchester City’s income from the country which owns the airline, and Manchester United’s from the worldwide marketing.
The drop in money doesn’t affect how much uplift Arsenal can give on salaries but if we were still in the CL we could have got some extra from that source to help ease the problem.
The Telegraph has said that “Although Mbappe has a choice of major clubs in Europe should he decide to leave Monaco, he has indicated that he does regard Arsenal as a potentially viable solution at this early stage of his development, essentially because of manager Arsene Wenger and his track-record for nurturing young players.”
Thus the issue is not the cost of the player – which of course can be paid over four years, but rather the salary. Add Mbappe’s to Alexis’ and Mesut’s and you have a lot of dosh.
“Ah,” say Barcelona, emerging from their latest court case, “this is where we come in, we’ll take Bellerin off your hands.”
This means the money will have to be found in player sales this summer, not just of fringe players, but first-team players too. And this is where the Independent has a chance to run its regular Arsenal-knocking line with “but Arsenal are determined to block his dream move back to Barcelona, so Oxlade-Chamberlain is likeliest to leave.”
Note how they slip it in all the time. Who says it is his “dream move”? Certainly not Hector, he has never said anything of the course. Which can only mean that the Independent is now using a dream interpreter.
Now you may recall that Blacksheep wrote yesterday of my interest in the Roman Republic – that amazing civilisation that lasted nearly 500 years until Julius Caesar declared himself a god. They were very big on dream interpreters and every rich family employed several. So it must be with the Independent, but I suspect their man inside everyone’s head needs more practice.
So in a trice they then sell off the Ox to save money.
But if Alexis and Ozil are kept and Mbappe is brought in, we already have a number of players we can remove from the costs, in order to take the salaries back down to the right level.
In this scenario I would certainly expect either Welbeck or Giroud to go. Also I wonder if there is a future for Jack Wilshere – whose return would put us over the 25 limit (Mbappe wouldn’t as he is under age).
Other players who in this sort of scenario might move on are Calum Chambers, Wojciech Szczesny, Chuba Akpom, Kieran Gibbs, Lucas Perez and Carl Jenkinson. And do for a moment forget the transfer income from these – it is salaries that matter this year.
So overall, I suspect no problem. But it is a nice idea to suggest there could be. Another day another Arsenal catastrophe. It was always thus.
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