One day it’s £45m total budget, now Arsenal are spending £75m on one player

By Tony Attwood

Until the Arsenal supporters club meeting with Arsenal directors at the stadium on 25 July the story was everywhere: Arsenal had a budget of £40m or £45m.  Anything else had to come from player sales.

Indeed so hard up is the club (so the story went) Ozil was going to be transferred to a Turkish club simply to save half of his salary (Arsenal paying half, even though Ozil would not be at the club).

And then the club confirmed what a lot of us suspected (given recent transfer window singings) that there was no £40m or £45m limit, and it was all a fantasy of bloggers and newspaper journalists.

Then, wow!   Next thing you know we have headlines like…

  • Arsenal lead race for Liverpool & Man Utd target Nicolas Pepe after submitting new bid (Metro)
  • Nicolas Pepe agent ‘pushes for Arsenal transfer’ amid Man Utd interest (Mirror)
  • Arsenal chief makes admission over Unai Emery’s real summer transfer budget (Mirror).   

Actually that last one is really sneaky because “admission” sounds as if the club was hiding the story and the brave and fearless journalists forced the club into the open.   But what was actually said at the meeting was “£45m – that is not true – I don’t know where that story came from.” 

It was of course made up by journalists who like to cast Arsenal in a bad light.

Then we find Ozil is rehabilitated – which you might think is a good thing but no, it gives a “Major issue for Emery” (FootballFanCast).

Oh yes, and just in case anyone missed our series on the pre-season games not giving a fulsome indication of what will follow we have the helpful headling “Arsenal pre-season games are fun but generally meaningless” from Just Arsenal News.

They tell us that, “The classic example, of course, is the Invincible pre-season that saw a defeat to Peterborough United and draws against Barnet and Austrian minnows SC Ritzing.”

Which is getting on for pretty much being word for word what was said in the series Arsenal in the Summer published recently Untold’s companion site: The Arsenal History Society.   In case you missed it, here are the latest pieces from the series “Arsenal in the Summer” which covers over 60 different summers from 1893 on to 2018

But I am sure it is just a coincidence that they picked on that story just after we did.

However back to the spending of money.   Sky Sports tell us that “Arsenal lead Pepe race” rather by passing the whole issue of the fact that they are one of the drainpipes that have been pushing the £45m limit.

There’s an interesting vision of the role of the agent in this sudden knockabout rise from a £45m limit up to, well, no limit, in our transfer spending in that Arsenal Fever tells us that the “Agent of €80m forward urges star to complete Arsenal transfer, after agreeing financial package” – a story published just one minute after the Liverpool site “Empire of the Kop” ran the piece from their perspective saying, “Greedy agent wants his client to reject the Reds in favour of Arsenal”.

In fact if one stands back a pace or two the whole abandonment of the £45m story is screamingly funny, given the way the media has had to do 180 degree turns and virtually end up eating their own tails.    Which is about all you can do when you go into total denial that you were ever running the previous story.  And that is the line of the fanatical “why wait until October let’s kick Europe out of Britain today” approach of the Express newspapers who go with “Arsenal table £72m bid for Nicolas Pepe as Gunners lead race to sign Lille star”

The stories go on like this, adopting the style of newspapers in Orwell’s “1984” (written in 1948) in which the hero spends his days re-writing the news.  Except Winston Smith actually goes back and re-writes past editions of the Times.   Today, no one bothers.  Football supporters are treated with such total contempt that the scribblers assume we won’t remember that until yesterday these rags were saying Arsenal were not going to spend anything.

So what of Pepe?

He’s 24, and his career goes like this

Seasons Team Apps Goals
2012–2013 Poitiers 9 2
2013–2015 Angers II 41 9
2013–2017 Angers 40 3
2015–2016 Orléans (loan) 29 7
2017– Lille 74 35
2016– Ivory Coast 15 4

These figures from Lille are really quite amazing.

He signed for Lille in June 2017 for €10 million, and in his first season helped Lille just avoid relegation.  But then he announced himself in 2018 as the goals started coming by the bucket load, and Barcelona started talking about taking him.

He ended the 2018/19 season with 22 goals from 38 games, second only to Kylian Mbappé.

One may start asking, how many goal scorers do we want in our lineup?   Or put it another way, who care how many goals our defence lets in away from home if we have this guy in the forward line.  Along with the two goal scorers we already have.

On the other hand, like the old £45m max story, it might all be a load of made up garbage.

19 Replies to “One day it’s £45m total budget, now Arsenal are spending £75m on one player”

  1. Until it’s official then I’ll rest my case. But for now I can’t give any credit

  2. Untold Arsenal is always right.
    Untold Arsenal is never wrong.

    All hail Tony the hero we need !

  3. I think my policy is the best regarding transfers.
    Wait until the day after the Window closes before checking who we have signed and who we have sold.
    It’s amazing how accurate the news is by then!

  4. The 45m pound myth has also shone a light on the way some Arsenal fans (especially the extremely active ones on social media) play a central role in spreading some of the worst propaganda about our club. Huge Arsenal fan accounts sharing links to obviously made up stories, while hundreds of fans gather in the mentions and argue about rumour as if it was fact.

    I even saw a fan of a rival clubs say “of course the 45m budget is just a ruse” while several Arsenal fans replied “no no, it’s true because Ornstein said it”. Even Arseblog took to mentioning the mythical amount in nearly every post about a possible transfer.

    Kudos to you for maintaining that it was always absurd on it’s face.

  5. kaiuus
    Ornstein actually rubbished Crosses £40 million claim a couple of days after the Mirror article and said he had heard a figure of closer to £100 million being available. Unfortunately it was the Cross figure which gained momentum and became ‘THE TRUTH’ rather than Ornstein’s £100 million, which now appears to be much more accurate.

  6. I agree with your interpretation, Arsenal never ever have discussed money/transfers publicly (£45) before the player sign, Papers only scratch the surface in their articles about our defence conceding 51 goals last season few mension the loss of Holding, Bellerin and Mavropanos, that Chambers, Beliek and Jenkinson all unavailable due to loans plus Koscielny and Monreal reduced playing times which played a major role in the goals against column.

    Newspapers only exist by creating headlines which will entice people to purchase them and will tell you anything to achieve the sale.
    I have never purchased a daily newspaper (or lottery for that matter) in my entire lifetime only seen the awful headlines they create only to draw the purchaser in for financial gain, it’s only their opinion be it politics or sport with there personal hidden views of these which they express and turn out rarely accurate.
    I did not expect Arsenal to purchase the very best like Pepe?, Ceballos (loan), Saliba, or maybe Matinelli it is very refreshing to see what looks like a plan working successfully only time will tell how good and successful these players will be in the seasons ahead without the papers having a clue who or how.


  7. MickHazel

    I have told this story before, but given his name has come up again it bears re telling.

    Many years ago when I was stupid enough to buy papers I actually wrote to John Cross in the Mirror asking why he hated Arsenal so much, and why he felt the need to constantly criticise.

    This was just 2 or 3 years into our austerity period.

    I got a mocking reply from one of his lackies informing me how stupid I was because, he said, ‘John is actually a massive Arsenal fan’.

    I never received a reply from Cross himself.

    I couldn’t believe it when I was told he was an Arsenal fan, and if it wasn’t for the fact Arsenal TV were dumb enough to actually have him on that (when Tom Watts was doing it) I still wouldn’t believe it.

    The guy was forever criticizing and bitching about the club. With friends like him who needs enemies. The guys a complete numpty.

  8. Nitram
    Why on earth the main stream media and blogs would give more credence to a negative John Cross story that paints Arsenal in a poor light rather than a positive up beat one coming from the reliable, better informed David Ornstein is a real puzzle don’t you think!!!!!!!!!

  9. Excuse me, I am begging every Gooners and none Gooners alike to please forget about the £40m or £45m Arsenal summer transfer signings kitty rumour that gained ground in the media and believed but later proved to be the contrary after the club Directors dispelled the rumour that ran a mock. Since this particular rumour of Arsenal summer transfer signings low budget is no longer relevant as it’s no more an issue to worry about even if us Gooners and none Gooners continue to debate on it, it’ll not add or subtract anything from Arsenal. Therefore, let us please jettison debating and commenting on this purported Arsenal summer transfer signings low budget this summer window and move on discussing on better things for Arsenal to happen next season.

  10. MickHazel

    Yep. Cant understand it at all !!!!!

    But honestly Mick, they wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t for the fact so many of our own fans, and to use a turn of phrase the much missed Bill from Manhattan would use, ‘lap it up like titty milk’.

    Most of my friends and colleagues who support teams other than Arsenal, oddly enough especially Spurs, Liverpool and Man Utd fans, were always much more positive about Arsenal and Wenger than a vast majority of the Arsenal fans I know.

    “Be careful what you wish for” was oft used turn of phrase.

    The exception to the rule was Man City and especially Chelsea fans. Strange that !!

  11. The budget could still end up being around 45M, if Arsenal start to sell a few players AFTER their buying spree is done.

  12. Tony

    Of course the money figures are made up. There is no accountability for these ‘journalists’, lol. A 180 degree turn from day to day is normal and acceptable to them because they think the public have no memory and live just in today’s cycle like they do. Always glad for the sanity at UA.
    Re scorers; I rcall when Emery came on board he said he’d rather “win 5-4 than 2-1”. After a full season in the EPL does he still feel that way? That’s a fair question the the supposed journos should be asking. Why don’t you pose it in an article and then we’ll watch the British press pick up on it, lol. It does need to be asked.

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