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Why Arsenal can’t sign any free contract players from overseas despite rumours

by Tony Attwood

According to Teamtalk there is a strong chance of Arsenal signing another player this transfer window.

Now yes, I know the window has “slammed shut” but the rule is that players who are without a club can still transfer into PL teams until the end of the month (or at least that is how I see it).

As a result Teamtalk have been getting very excited about our signing Sami Khedria.  Their argument is that “Juventus are set to terminate Sami Khedira’s contract as they look to push the Germany midfielder out of the club – and reports in Italy claim Arsenal are set to take advantage.

“The experienced midfielder has two years remaining on his contract at the Allianz Stadium and has been told by Juve that he can move on this summer.”

The suggestion seems to be that the club and player could cancel the player’s contract by mutual agreement leaving the player free to sign for Arsenal.  Or apparently Wolverhampton.  Indeed within the article there is even the suggestion that Juventus might actually pay the player to leave.

Further, according to the same website

“Khedira was strongly linked with the Gunners this summer, but Unai Emery shelved his interest to a) pursue other targets and b) in the belief he could bring in the player as a free agent after the window shut.

“Arsenal would likely offer the player a two-year deal, but on significantly reduced wages from what he was earning in Italy.”

Except, as reported yesterday, from our calculations, Arsenal already have the maximum permitted number of non-Home Grown players.  Now of course we may have got our calculations wrong, but it is also possible that excitable websites might have forgotten the 25 rule with its maximum number of “foreigners”.  If that is so it would not be the first time, as it seems to have every single transfer window.  Buying can only happen if we sell first – there is not time to buy and sell later.

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Meanwhile a few fans are turning on Mkhitaryan – just as the transfer window closes.  Is that helpful?  My answer would be no, but it appears to give some people personal gratification at being able to spout negative stuff.  For them abusing a player is much more important than supporting the team.

They must know if does no good – not least because there is quite a while to go before the next transfer window, and we are rather short of players due to injuries and events.  For example consider these headlines….

“Emery: ‘I don’t know when Ozil and Kolasinac will be back’.”   That from the Evening Standard

“Arsenal star’s wife leaves England due to safety fears” which came from the Daily Cannon.

Not the sort of headline that makes everything seem hunky-dory in the Arsenal camp. 

And just in case that is not enough negativity for one day, there is a wonderful story doing the rounds in which the conclusion is reached (in some editions) that Arsenal actually did only spend £45m this summer.  In fact as you may have seen in our comments columns, it is possible to construct it to read that Arsenal only spent £25m.

The way it is done is to assume that Arsenal only pay a part of a transfer fee now, and the rest over a number of years.  Then add on to that the notion that when Arsenal are buying a player in a year’s time they only start paying for him in a year’s time – and nothing now.  Plus, then assume that there is no fee for a player on loan for a year.

That reduces the amount Arsenal have spent this summer.

Then the next assumption is made, that with each of the players we have sold, Arsenal get paid for all in one go.   In other words Arsenal is able to negotiate long term payments for players, while any club buying an Arsenal player pays it all up in one bash.  This is the reversal of the normal argument which says that Arsenal are so dumb that while everyone buys players over time, Arsenal pay up front straight away.

So that increases the amount of money that Arsenal receives.

Next, there is the assumption that Arsenal have no further expenditure for players that have been bought in the past, using the same system as is proposed here – paying slowly over time.   In other words we are doing part payment deals now, but never did before, so we are not spending any other money – only the first parts of the new sets of payments.

Add in also no payment for loan players and no payment for anyone who has been bought this year but will be joining the club next year, and with a bit of jiggerypokery you can indeed get our transfer budget right down.

The only perfidious newspaper I have seen trying to run this story is the Daily Express, and even they gave up after a day.

The fact is if you read the serious reports on what business clubs have done this summer, these quote, as they have always done across the years, the full amount spent and the full amount received, so nothing is carried over.  Then, in keeping with other limited companies in the UK, the clubs, in their annual accounts to Revenue and Customs, who gather tax for the UK government, they write their assets off over a period of years.

Usually for a player, the transfer fee is written off over four years, irrespective of what contractual agreement the clubs have come to between themselves.  But generally speaking the four year arrangement is both how the payment is made and how it is accounted for.

It was, I suspect, a complete misunderstanding of how these things work, that led to the first wild Arsenal Supporters’ Trust allegation against the club for secretly hiding a vast amount of cash that could be spent on players but was being hidden away so that it could be paid to Mr Kroenke.    It was a semi-skimmed reading of the accounts, and after Ivan Gazidis went public in denouncing it, that matter was left.

Although I often accuse the newspapers of various perfidious commentaries when it comes to Arsenal, I don’t think they generally misunderstand what is going on in accounts (leaving aside the Express of course) – they just repeated the AST accusations.

13 comments to Why Arsenal can’t sign any free contract players from overseas despite rumours

  • billy bunter

    Would we have the maximum permitted number of non-Home Grown players if we sold one?

    Secondly The implication is that the way to extend the transfer season is to have a gentleman’s agreement for a team to cancel the contract of a player in order for him to sign for a UK club with an agreement that a friendly is played pre-season following and the UK club will pay X millions for the privilege (by way of a delayed transfer fee)

  • David Croucher

    Arsenal can get another foreign player in, it the amount of players they are allowed to register that matters. So if they get a player in for free and register him and not one of the foreign players that are already at the club that will be ok, plus there is still time to get rid of a few foreign players that are there as the transfer window is still open in other countries.

  • Atid

    As I reported yesterday there is also the eligibility rules for the Europa League to consider, where Arsenal currently have 2 players too many. Last season Mavropanos was left out for the second half of the tournament, for the same reason. This season he could be left out for the first half of the tournament as he is injured and even when he does complete 2 years service will not be eligible to join the b list. Whereas Guendozi for example whilst being on the a list for now, will be eligible next season to join the b list. Confused well, let’s put it like this. If Arsenal sell Mustafi, Elneny and shed one more then we could sign someone

  • Ed

    Mustafi defo and possibly one other will be leaving freeing up space

  • David I suspect that most players have in their contract that while they are on Arsenal’s books they are registered to play in relevant competitions. It certainly is the case in English law that if you employ a person in any walk of life to do a job but don’t allow them to do the job you are in breach of contract. That results in a case in court for enforced dismissal and the employer paying significant damages. But far worse, the reputation of the club sinks and players with a choice of where to go, will look askance at any club that has done that sort of thing.

  • Ben

    Interesting tweet from Swiss Ramble if you have the time to read it. About how Arsenal had money to spend during teh last transfer window.

    https://twitter.com/swissramble/status/1161168659861127169

  • In essence he is saying there are many different ways to calculate Arsenal’s nett spend this summer, and yes in one way you can make it come out to around £45m as AST predicted. But what he doesn’t say is that AST said that it would be £45 when accounted for this way, meaning we could buy players costing much more. They said it was £45m and suggested that everyone else was spending much more. If one wants to calculate the Arsenal spend that way, then of course all other clubs have to be calculated using the same method, and I suspect from a very quick look that we’d still come out with the second highest net spend – although maybe the third.

  • Segun Eris

    I tried to post a comment on here a few times, but it’s failed to appear. Pardon me, therefore, if a torrent of same post comes tumbling in.

  • Like many web sites with a sizeable readership we get bombarded by comments that we don’t want to publish for a whole variety of reasons. If you take a look at the Comments page (listed under pages on the left of your screen) you will see some details of why certain comments do not appear. It is worth reading that to see if your comment falls into those categories.
    Otherwise please do try again – our software is not perfect in terms of what it stops but it generally does not block anyone completely unless they have broken the rules that we have always had on this site.

  • Ben

    Its like they never learn.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/amp/football/49337051

    Pitiful fine wont do anything.

  • league cup
    half-time
    salford city 0 – eddie 1
    that boy’s gerd mueller reborn

  • Nitram

    They spend more than that on the Christmas party.

    Beyond laughable.

    I must remember that defence if ever I’m up in front of the beak:

    “Honestly your honour, I didn’t mean it”

    Off you go then.

  • Gord

    The Gronod (or however you spell it) seems to think Eddie was of no consequence in the result. They think Kliscplksjhfndmclikjd was the important man of the game.

    How I read this goal of this Klis* person, is that if nothing else Eddie was present to provide an alternative which made it easier for Klis* to score.

    Is this Klis* person a Man* person also playing at Leds?

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