By Sir Hardly Anyone
At times the transfer window almost read like one of my columns containing as it did the notion that there might be something there in that makes sense, but for the moment it is hard to see what it is. No one new was signed, and the Arsenal directors and owner pretty much got away with their policy of ensuring that the aaa supporters, and the newspapers who give them their lead, were busy blaming the manager. If I were an Arsenal owner or director that’s what I’d do too. Anything for a quiet life, spot of horse racing, that sort of malarky.
Meanwhile it all continues – at least in Spain – as their ventana de transferencia keeps going. And someone or something called COPE has the headline “Barcelona turn attention to Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil” after failing in their desire to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool. A bit late but you never know.
Oh and there are “Reports” claiming Arsenal have spoken to Barca “about a potential swap of Ozil for Arda Turan.”
The other amusing factor was that although it was thought to be a joke at Untold, Manchester City did apparently fly a plane load of people and medical equipment to Chile to give Alexis a medical before during or after an international match, so certain were they that they had a deal to buy him.
So Arsenal stayed true to their word that they were not selling him. And you might think the newspapers would admit they were wrong, or at least shut up, but no, they now claim that Arsenal were more than willing to sell the player for £60m providing they could bring in their man first. So it was all Arsenal’s fault after all.
We ran that tale (although it sounds more like a tail) of players moving around from one club to another in a last day of the window sequence, but in reality it hardly seemed likely, given that it involved PSG who have openly flouted Uefa’s rules not just once but twice and seem beholden to no one except Qatar.
Now all eyes are however on PSG, the other French clubs, Uefa and Barcelona, not to mention the Court for Arbitration in Sport which is still hearing the Manchester City case (or as some stories have it, have conveniently delayed the Man City case so City could buy everyone they wanted ahead of being banned from doing transfers for a couple of windows).
The Lemar story of course is the one that is being pushed, not the nonsense of Man City in Chile, because bidding €100m at the last moment and then failing to get their man has got everything in it that the Arsenal haters love. Delaying, incompetence… all the usual. There is also the notion that Lemar rejected Arsenal – or maybe the Arsenal board, or the Arsenal manager, or the Arsenal fans, or the way the media treats Arsenal – or maybe just the whole lot.
Interestingly, some of the more literate journalists are today realising exactly why Arsenal were willing to hold Alexis for the rest of his contract. If he gets Arsenal back into the Champs League that gives the club another £40m a year – plus they get him this year on a salary that is a fraction of what he will demand next year. So why sell him now for £50m? Wenger was always right, they have realised (although not admitted). It did make sense to hold onto him.
It is almost something Untold could have written.
Meanwhile it is also being writ that Arsenal also received a €40m offer from Juventus for Héctor Bellerín just before closing time, clearly not having realised that he had already gone to Barcelona. Quite how they missed it is beyond me – it was in all the papers.
Lucas Pérez went back to Deportivo La Coruña and Joel Campbell to Real Betis, respectively. Mathieu Debuchy, Chuba Akpom and Jack Wilshere all stayed at the club.
But no matter what fuss is made about Arsenal one can’t help but smile just a little about Chelsea, who through the summer have been putting out little bits and pieces about Marina Granovskaia the negotiator who could out negotiate Daniel Levy. Her profile might slip a little after Ross Barkley became rejected a move despite a fee of £35m having been agreed with Everton. Could it be that no one asked the player.
Now, some people go on and on about Arsenal incompetence, but they ignore what happens at other clubs. Chelsea were, may I point out, supposed to get Fernando Llorente, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Romelu Lukaku and Barkers. What could possibly have gone wrong? They had oodles of money, and the best negotiator in town, and….
Someone else who might get a bollocking is Riyad Mahrez who allegedly left the Algerian team and go and do his own negotiations. And yes, this time he really was spotted at the airport.
So Arsenal ended up with a profit of £21m from the adventures – more if any club in Spain fancies buying Ozil. Other headlines were that Chelsea did 29 loan deals, and Man City had a nett spend of £128.2m which might just bring a further enquiry from Uefa. Tottenham made a profit on deals as was demanded by owner and chief exec but only of a few million. Here’s the list.
- Bournemouth spent £30m
- Brighton spent £43m
- Burnley profit of £11.5m
- Chelsea spent £80m
- Crystal Palace spent £58.2n
- Everton spent £46m
- Huddersfield spent £33,4m
- Leicester spent £13,8m
- Liverpool spent £15.5m
- Man City spent £128,2m
- Man U spent £136,2m
- Newcastle spent £29.2m
- Southampton spent £23m
- Stoke profit £6,3m
- Swansea profit £28m
- Tottenham profit £5,7m
- Watford spent £36.3m
PSG spent £155.1m but tellingly that is without Kylian Mbappé who is classified as a loan. Add that in and they are at around £240m – £100m more than Man U. Come on Uefa, wake up.