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June 2021

The tale of the sale of the ox, and how Arsenal played the market

By Tony Attwood

Apparently the Ox has signed for Liverpool, and that takes me back to a comment that several writers sent in yesterday following our regular update on the transfer rumours

Who cares about how many players the press thinks are leaving or joining arsenal.
More importantly, have you actually got anything to say about the ox transfer? Do you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing?

Also, Wenger must have been aware of the situation with the ox so why did he say this on July the 15th:

‘I expect him to stay, 100%. No matter the speculation, he will stay.’

The word ‘expect’ makes it a slightly ambiguous statement, but why come out so strongly when the clearly the situation with the player was nowhere near resolved?

Wenger was being disingenuous I’m afraid. If Alexis goes that’s even worse.

So what actually went on?

I am, of course, not involved in any such matters but I can piece some possibilities together.

From the off there were rumours about the Ox, just as there were with 30+ other players at Arsenal as you may have seen listed in the Out Index.   One could ask, what might the manager do?  Here are five scenarios that were available to the club.

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Scenario a) The manager knows the Ox wants to leave, would like him to stay, but in the end is willing to let him go.

Possibility 1:  He can say, “yes he wants to leave. I would sooner he stays, but if he wants to go, there’s not much we can do.”

Result of possibility 1: The price goes right down, as the buyers are pushing at an open door.

Possibility 2: He can say, yes he wants to leave. But I am not selling him.

Result of possibility 2: The price goes up.

Possibility 3: He can say, yes he wants to leave, but I hope to persuade him not to.

Result of possibility 3: The price stays low, not as low as P1, but still low.

Possibility 4: He can say, “really, I’ve not heard that.  I hope it’s not true, I’d like him to stay.”

Result of possibility 4: The price rises and rises, on the implication that the story is so wild it hasn’t even reached Arsenal.

Possibility 5: He can say, “he’s not going.”

Result of possibility 5: The implication is that the club knows all about this and is trying to hold the player.  The price rises, but not as much as option 4.  Option 4 looks the best way to handle this scenario.

Scenario b) The manager knows that the Ox wants to leave but will try and hold on to him

Here there is only one thing to do and that is to say, no he’s not going and face it out.

Scenario c) The Ox didn’t want to leave, but all the negativity in the media and sub-media (the bloggettas, Talk Sprout etc) turned his head after a while.

Here there is only one thing to do and that is to say, no he’s not going (which was the truth at the start) and face it out, until such time as the media have persuaded the player to go, and then try and force the price up by holding onto the “not going” story to the last minute.

Scenario d) The Ox didn’t ask to leave, but the club wanted to get rid of him.

Possibility 1: The club put him up for sale

Result of possibility 1: The implication is that there is something wrong, he is troublesome etc, and so the price stays low.

Possibility 2: The club feed the rumour to the press that he wants to go, and then say “he’s not going.”

Result of possibility 2: The price goes up.  (This one is slightly dangerous because it involves having a deal with the player that he says nothing, but it usually works given that in this scenario the player normally gets a percentage of the transfer fee, so it is worth his while shutting up.)

Scenario e) The Ox wanted to go, Arsenal wanted him to say, but at the end the Ox said, “right if you try and keep me I will play so badly I will be useless to you”.

The club only has one choice.  They put out the rumour he is leaving, but then say he is not, in order to push the price up.  Nothing else would work in this setting.

What all this now leads us to is this question: is it better for the club to manipulate the media, who are known to anyone with the tiniest spark of intelligence to be running invented stories all day long, in order to get higher prices for players, or is it best to be the one and only club in the league that is totally honest and tell the truth about transfers all the way through so that the fans know exactly what is going on?

As a fan I’d go with the former, and indeed if I were a director of Arsenal I’d go with the former, since my job as a director is to do the best by the business (not to keep fans happy, unless of course the fans are refusing to renew their season tickets en masse, which they are not).

The fact that the there are lots of people now writing variations on the “I have been lied to” story, shows how very successful the Arsenal strategy has been in getting the best out of the situation.


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43 comments to The tale of the sale of the ox, and how Arsenal played the market

  • Luscious lisa

    Haven’t assimilated all your scenarios, but whatever the truth it seems odd he was picked on Sunday, when the club knew he was bent on leaving.

  • Stevo

    I can’t help thinking that although the Ox put in some good performances for us, there were far to many important games when he played more like a donkey.
    Sorry but needs to be said.

  • Goonermikey

    It’s probably still too complicated for some “supporters” to understand. Nonetheless the simple summary is the club and/or AW are not going to be honest publicly because it would be to the detriment of the club. What I find stunning is that some people can’t even grab that concept.

  • Jammy J

    Hopefully we’ll replace him with a player (either through the academy or a transfer) that doesn’t repeatably give away the ball in the middle of the park, or constantly misplace passes, or one that has a few decent games and suddenly thinks he’s Messi. There’s no-way Liverpool will allow him as many chances as he was given at Arsenal. After all the faith Wenger placed in him and this is how he repays him. I hope that he is rightfully greeted by a chorus of boos, when he comes back to the Ems.

    I’ve never had a strong opinion about the Arsenal board, but after hearing them tell us that we don’t have the money to spend (for this transfer-window, we’re in a profit, for fuck sake), I think it is extremely apparent where the issue is coming from.

    Why is it that Wenger gets all the flack, for the way in which they run this club? If they won’t give him the money to spend, then what’s he to do? Honestly, I think it’s disgusting the way that the board leaves Wenger out to dry like that, when they know full well, that it is their greedy and selfish attitude that is causing so many issues. How the hell are we meant to compete, when we simply are not allowed to have the money to do so (even though we do apparently have huge reserves of cash)?

  • Ox was persuaded to leave, prov someone aais you need to leave to to get into WC squad, he’d go anyway,

    He’s not so dumb Liverpools style suits him much more and will only highlight his technical inability once in a while when he kills a breakaway dead. Hr also has to track back less but his pressing is woeful.

    I think his father who thinks he’s a am or cm, which he is not at least yet in the modern games has much to account for.

    Then the media pushed and the fans had mixed opinions and it was too late to turn back and 180k is too much.

    So he left. Wengwe tried to keep him and used Liverpool as the final test, so he was honest. The club leaked tue result of the meeting, also honest and just used the media to assist the price, but his age, experience, potential and British status did tue rest. If stones is 55m 45m is abit right.

    It was about ensuring the fact he wanted to leave didn’t come out until late and they got it spot on. I wonder home office and spurs woekws out permit here real easy, paper trails! Aurier.

    Chelsea odds on for Mahrez, which leaves arguably the beat 2 out!

    West Ham nothing, VVD no he’s staying no nothing.

    Perez next with Debouchy.

    And let’s get that done quickly so we can work out Welbeck, Walcott, Mustarfi and more importantly what we will pay for incomers!

    Exciting stuff! Butland for ospina and cash 😀 no that is askig a bit much.

    Looks lielke Minreal stays, so many players eat him for pace, its going to have to be choice games.


  • Brickfields Gunners

    Scenario (f) – The OX spoke to players who had left Arsenal and who ( Hey presto !) found themselves suffering less injuries; mental anguish from so called fans ; and better treatment from the refs , and on their encouragement he left.
    We really cannot complain for getting 40 million pounds for a good squad player , who may not have convinced us that he is an integral cog in the Arsenal team.
    So everyone should be happy ?

    We are all happy aren’t we ?

  • Clarification required according to BBC

    Ox went for £35 mill also turned down £180 k to stay and has signed for 5 years at £120 k a week
    Therefore taking a £60k drop can it be true ?

  • Nitram


    I certainly am.

    For sure, of late he has put in some decent performances. But he still runs down blind alleys and he still gives the ball away far to much. What’s more he gives it away in very bad positions.

    He still doesn’t score enough goals. In fact, nothing like enough goals.

    He was improving his assists, but not that significantly.

    On balance I always liked the guy, and always thought he had massive potential, but has he ever really convinced me that he will actually ever for fulfil that potential?

    No he hasn’t.

    Therefore on the face of it Liverpool are paying a lot of money for ‘potential’ that has as yet failed to appear on anything like enough occasions.

    So all in all I’m happy with what we’ve got for him, but that being said there is of course the chance it will bite us on the bum. On balance I doubt it will though. Only time will tell.

  • Dom

    No BG, I’m not happy, surprised he’s gone, but the kid feels he wants to play in a different position (I guess those of us that played the game for fun, understand where he comes from). Good luck to him I say.
    Now should he not improve his game at L’Pool, who will look daft…Wenger or Klopp ?
    Interesting scenarios evoked by Tony I must admit. We tend to forget that this is Big Business after all and God only knows who controls what at Arsenal.
    To be fair, I don’t really care as long as we have 11 players to field for our next match…which I’ll wager, we shall win.

  • It appears Wenger did all he could to keep him but unfortunately it was not to be

  • jjgsol

    I think the reason why AW gets all the flack, is because he deliberately puts himself in the way.

    He has always been extremely loyal to his players and to his club.

    I suspect that he knew he was going to have to let him go, and Sunday was the last throw of the dice to get him to stay, and it was clear that it was a waste of time.

    Sanchez next, although I suspect he really wants to keep him and accept the financial consequences.

    I doubt if anyone wants to pay as much as we want to make it worth while selling him.

  • Dec

    Always enjoy the twice yearly struggle for Sky sports to make a full day of ‘Breaking sensational news’ out of transfer deadline day. Almost feel sorry for some of the reporters trying to generate excitement out of what in most cases amounts to nothing to report.
    However, going on the basis of no smoke without fire, it might appear that there are a few dramas ongoing at GunnersHQ.
    1. Ox is done and dusted and probably a good piece of business at the end of the day?
    2. Alexis – will he stay or will he go? Suspect all of us would prefer he stays and honours his contract, then realise he’s a Gooner at heart and sign up again. (We can hope!!)
    3. Mustafi – apparently he’s not happy in London?( maybe a Brexit thing) Don’t know enough about the details. Default is ‘Arsene knows best’.
    4. Lucas Perez – never let the shirt down ( which is more than many can say) and just never got a real chance to date. Hope he gets the outcome he’s looking for and moves on in his career.
    5. Marez or Lemar – wouldn’t it be nice, especially if Alexis goes but even if he stays it would be good use of Liverpool’s Ox money.
    6. Calum Chambers – seems Leicester are offering 20 million??? If so take hand and all and put it towards Johnny Evans.

    Probably none of these will happen but amusing to ponder, even if just twice a year.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    With the signing of Sergy Aurier by Spurs from PSG today, that signing must have allowed PSG to escaped FFP sanction and punishment that follows if they sign Mbappe today on loan. The consequent of this for us is PGS will no longer be under pressure to sell Julian Draxler to Arsenal even if Arsenal are interested to sign him today. But why is Arsenal slow and not fast in getting their incoming deals over the line in time as they continue to delay and delay until their rival clubs undo them in the market? What’s their problem? Lack of sufficient funds to do the incoming transfer they would have wanted?

    And Arsenal should not gamble on Sanchez extending his staying at the club beyond this season unless they are prepared to pay him the wages Man City have offered him whivh could make him to extend his staying with us. Man City obviously want to sign Sanchez from us, otherwise, they’ll not have submitted a bid of £50m to sign him from us. I think Man City are seriously under pressure to sign Sanchez but they could sign him if Arsenal agree to sell him to them. But Man City don’t look they’ll allow Reheem Sterling, the Arsenal want to come to us as part of the deal for Alexis to go to Man City. What next for Arsenal to do? Not sell Sanchez? What of if they refused to sell him to Man City today and can’t convince him to extend his staying with us later on as he can leave on the free next season? Would that not be a failed business decision adopted by Arsenal today? So, in my opinion, let Arsenal sell him to Man City todsy.

  • Nitram


    I agree about Wenger. Loyal to fault, and what good does it do him in the long run?

    I give it a week before the OX is slagging Wenger off personally or his methods or his handling of him or just the club in general.

    I hope I’m wrong but history suggests I wont be.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I really can’t understand that fans believe all the crap that is being told in the media and in press conferences. If Arsenal would be completely open we would have no players left now.

  • WalterBroeckx

    There is Wenger and there is the board of course. And if the board want to accept money, they will. Not much Wenger can do then but step down.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I am shocked and perplexed to say the least as I’ve just read the Arsenal transfer bidding of £90m of this century submitted to AS Monaco today to sign Thomas Lemar. Thus hijacking the deal from Liverpool who think they’ve gotten him. But wait a minute, who is hijacking what from who? I think it’s Liverpool should be the ones who have wanted to slap Arsenal on it’s face by trying to sign Lemar under it’s nose. The Lemar who Le Prof has painstakingly suffered to unearthed otherwise, the football clubs across the world would not have known he is a top quality worthy of bidding so much for.

  • para

    Can’t even be bothered to write anything today…
    Oh, I just remembered that Mou once said, give him Arsenal as it then stood and he would turn them into the team it can be, or something to that effect.

    We will never know if he was right, but it sure does look as if the finger he(and others) pointed at AW has been justified all along?

    Anyway, for me, the training, preparation and strategies of Arsenal just (and has for a long time) lacks something, and we have seen this proven year after year after year as a whole.

    Situation is toxic man. Toxic fe real.

    Arsenal’s next move?
    Bring on the next youths, and sell them in a few years to recoup the money spent on them, that is, if they do not start to already consider their options after this debacle, as i’m sure many of them are probably doing right now.

    AW needs to start thinking of revising his strategy of not ever breaking a contract, after all, how much more can he take?

    He must have a skin as thick as an armadilla. He is continually staying in the hole he helped to dig and may well soon be buried in it.

  • Josif

    Meanwhile, we have managed to sell another player: Donyell Malen has left Arsenal for PSV Eindhoven. He was the only Mino Raiola’s player at Arsenal.

    Given the current state of our club, if I had to put a paper with the script written down into an envelope, it would say this:

    “We will sell Alexis and won’t sign anyone to replace him, mostly because big players rarely come to clubs who are prone to selling their best players. They want to play with star players, not to replace them.

    We will get another short notification after the transfer deadline at without further explanations. Just like when the seriousness of Welbeck’s injury was published hours after the transfer deadline in 2015. Or Jack’s in 2011.

    There will be baffling attempts to dress up Alexis’ sale as an Arsenal victory – “last-year-contract, 60 million pounds etc” – as early as in the morning of 1st September.”

  • GoingGoingGooner

    I liked the Ox and am sad to see him go. He seemed to be a positive member of the club. However, as is sometimes the case, I must admit that my affections for the MAN sometimes clouds my judgement of the player. In my opinion, Oxlade-Chamberlain is not a key member of the team. He is skilled but has not convinced me that he should be on the team list every week. Fifty million quid is a good return and can be invested elsewhere. I don’t think he is a traitor and I wish him well.

  • gouresh

    Alexis fee agreed. Hope we sign someone…dont hold your breath.

  • Nitram

    Same old whingers. Same old lines.

    Funny how they still cant explain how this toxic club, with a crap manager who makes crap signings still managed to out perform the wonderfully managed and run clubs such as Liverpool and Spurs, by winning not 1, not 2, but 3 FA Cups and 3 CS’s in the last 4 years whilst the magnificently run Liverpool, and Spurs especially, have won what?

    Yes we have come up short in the league but trophy count wise we match the 3 mega spenders in the PL, and we’ve threatened the title a great deal more than either Spurs or Liverpool.

    I’m not saying that’s all I want to win. I’m not saying everything is perfect, but Jeeeeez, take a reality check.

  • Polo

    So many players offloaded, I assume there will be a big transfer announcement soon, Lemar?

  • Jerry

    Good follow up Tony on the Ox. Honestly, I think I’m more upset about the loss of Malen than Ox. Ox is easily replaced with Bellerin and then putting Kolasinac on the left.

    Malen showed so much promise, would have been good to our own developed striker from the academy. I hope there is a buy-back or sell-on clause in his deal.

  • Nitram

    I only turned SKY on for 5 minutes to see if they where saying a bid had been put in for Sanchez and guess what. Same old same old.

    If Citys bid is correct, snap there hand off.

    One thing I know is, and listening to SKY, it’s all going to be negative regarding us.

    Simon Jorden slagging off Wenger.

    Slagging off our board.

    They moan and groan that we wont spend money. We get told you have to ‘spend what it takes’.

    Now we possibly are, and are bidding £90 million for a player we’re wrong for doing so. Yes, of course it’s over the odds, but as we know that is where the market has gone.

    And of course no other club has paid over the odds for a player this summer have they !

    Also of course, now it’s a panic buy. Even though it seems we’ve been after him for weeks, if not months. How’s that a panic buy FFS.

    Of course Liverpool signing the Ox on the last day isn’t a panic buy. Nor would it be if they signed Lamar at the last minute. In fact you could bet your bottom Dollar SKY would be creaming there pants.

    Apparently according to Jordon Wenger’s lost his oxygen. We won the FA Cup and finished just ONE point behind Liverpool for pities sake.

    Is it a prerequisite to slag off absolutely everything Arsenal do to work on SKY?

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  • Jammy J

    According to Sky, Arsenal have just bid £92m for Lemar! Was this all a clever ruse? Or is he a replacement for Sanchez?

  • Polo

    @Nitram, understand your frustration, the media been publishing that AW want Lemar since who knows when, but as soon as rumour said Arsenal put a mega bid in for a player they themselves point out have been linked with Arsenal, now it’s a panic buy.
    When it comes to Arsenal bashing ‘it’s ground hog day’.

  • alexanderhenry

    Evidently not all press stories on arsenal are made up.


    Speculation over the ox has been going on all summer and Arsenal have mishandled the situation as usual. Instead of selling him off earlier which would have ended the speculation and the uncertainty it brings, typically ,arsenal allowed it to drag on all summer. Some fans will argue that the club were holding out for a higher price. Personally I think wenger genuinely wanted him to stay. If the club did know he’d be sold, it’s same old penny pinching arsenal- it’s debatable whether we would have got less if we’d sold him early on anyway.

    Keeping a player who you know wants to leave throughout preseason, and playing him in early fixtures is counterproductive. We should have sold him earlier which would have given us more time to get an adequate replacement, unless of course arsenal just want to bank the money.

    The bottom line is this; arsenal have sold one of – allegedly- their best players to a rival and that player has accepted lower wages than the wages arsenal offered.

    Having said that, I’ve never rated the ox that highly and I think £35 million is an excellent price so his sale is not a bad thing as far as I’m concerned.. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on under Klopp.

    Regarding your scenarios, they are presumptuous and a little smug.
    Standard responses to questions regarding a player’s future don’t necessarily guarantee that the price ‘goes up’ or ‘goes down’.
    The most important factor is whether there is a potential buyer out there and how much they’re willing to spend. It’s a lot simpler than you make out.

    Also scenario C)’ The Ox didn’t want to leave, but all the negativity in the media and sub-media (the bloggettas, Talk Sprout etc) turned his head after a while.’

    .. is not a scenario that actually exists. Professional footballers aren’t influenced by Untold, arseblog, le grove or teamtalk Nor are they interested in the Metro football gossip articles. They probably never read them. I know I wouldn’t.

    The one big factor you neglected to mention is agents. Now, they do make a difference for obvious reasons.

  • Polo

    I’m praying that Arsenal announce a major signing after selling The Ox, otherwise this season is going to be really ugly on the PR front. Every haters will use this transfer period as a whacking stick, they are already warmed up.

  • al_the_gunner

    Monaco ACCEPT Arsenal’s £92million offer for Thomas Lemar
    SAMI MOKBEL: Arsenal have indeed had a £92million offer accepted for Thomas Lemar. Now up to the player to decide whether he fancies it. He did earlier in the summer…

  • Jammy J

    I had my fingers crossed for one of those high-profile signings that just seem to pop out of nowhere (as we were led to believe that the entire Lemar transfer wasn’t going to happen). This will be some signing, if we manage to pull it off!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    As the clock winds down , here is an interesting subject . Many of the terms reminded me of posters on here.


    1. The space between your eyebrows is called a glabella.

    2. Petrichor – The way it smells after the rain is called petrichor.

    3. Aglet – The plastic or metallic coating at the end of your shoelaces is called an aglet.

    4. Wamble – The rumbling of stomach is actually called a wamble.

    5. Vagitus – The cry of a new born baby is called a vagitus.

    6. Tines – The prongs on a fork are called tines.

    7. Phosphenes – The sheen or light that you see when you close your eyes and press your hands on them are called phosphenes.

    8. Box Tent – The tiny plastic table placed in the middle of a pizza box is called a box tent.

    9. Overmorrow – The day after tomorrow is called overmorrow.

    10. Minimus – Your tiny toe or finger is called minimus.

    11. Agraffe – The wired cage that holds the cork in a bottle of champagne is called an agraffe.

    12. Vocables – The ‘na na na’ and ‘la la la’, which don’t really have any meaning in the lyrics of any song, are called vocables.

    13. Interrobang – When you combine an exclamation mark with a question mark (like this ?!), it is referred to as an interrobang.

    14. Columella Nasi – The space between your nostrils is called columella nasi.

    15. Armscye – The armhole in clothes, where the sleeves are sewn, is called armscye.

    16. Dysania – The condition of finding it difficult to get out of the bed in the morning is called dysania.

    17. Griffonage – Unreadable hand-writing is called griffonage (Are you reading this dear doctors?)

    18. Tittle – The dot over an “i” or a “j” is called tittle.

    19. Crapulence – That utterly sick feeling you get after eating or drinking too much is called crapulence.

    20. Bannock Device – The metallic device used to measure your feet at the shoe store is called Bannock device.

    Am sure that there will be some new and colourful footbaling terms added to the English language at the close of this transfer window !

  • Nitram


    Even if we do we will face a shite storm.

    That’s exactly where they are already going with the Lemar deal, if it indeed goes through. They will spin this as a bad day for Arsenal no matter what happens.

    But for me if today ends with the loss of AOC and Sanchez, allied to the acquisition of Lemar I think we would of had a decent window.

    I would of loved Sanchez to love and pledge his loyalty to Arsenal, Arsene and the fans, but alas it seems he hasn’t. So as such we are best shot of him.

    The truth is, as good as he is he’s not as good as he seems to think he is. Similar to the OX.

    We will survive without them and just may be better off. Only time will tell.

  • Chris

    I just love the bias. Whoever AFC is buying, it is a panic buy.
    Early buys ? Well proof of panic, they are rushing out

    LFC bying Ox – and as far as I am know at 1/ a much higher price then what AFC paid for and 2/ a higher price as was mentionned a few weeks ago – is a smart buy
    And the guy AFC will get today will be a panic buy.

    And, IMO, if we get a Lemar or Draxler, I see no issue with Alexis at City. I’m fed up by the antics, fed up by all the hoopla disrupting the team. Just make sure they pay a lot of money.

    And I am not at all convinced that the Ox will have an open avenue for his next career, and frankly, even Alexis at City is not a given, considering how he does not slot in. Football is a team sport. Not an individual one.

  • Polo

    I asked my old school friend, what’s happening with Lemar earlier, I just received his reply saying ‘ Arsenal signed Lemar yesterday after Monaco signed Balde from Lazio, an announcement to be made after France match’.

    Not sure if he’s joking or not but hope it’s true.

  • Nitram


    Thanks for highlighting just how ignorant I am.

    I only knew one of them. Tines. And that’s because it comes up in crosswords fairly regularly.

    Will I remember one of the others after reading them? I doubt it.

    But thanks again for reminding me how stupid I am.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Nitram – I too only knew one – Aglet . But you would think that I should have at least also known Griffonage !
    Then again I don’t have to read my own writing !

  • Nitram


    That’s the advantage of keyboards my friend.

    Nobody has to ever know just how ‘griffonagey’ our handwriting is.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Am afraid I still write out all my refferals to colleagues by hand.
    And the occassional prescription.
    My notes are also hand written too.
    Single finger typing often takes too much time !
    At least on the hand phone there is auto correct – needed or not !

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I now see why we lost 4-0 to Liverpool…
    There were 12 Liverpool players and only 10 Arsenal players on the field.

  • Mike Collins

    35 to 40 millions for a player whose final ball and the ability to give that ball away in midfield. Arsenal should have almost bitten Liverpool’s arm off to get that money.
    What I am more concerned about is the lack of faith in playing our youngsters. If the youth system is not able to feed the first team (As in days gone by) you might as well save money and shut it down.