Newspaper launches another fierce (and misleading) attack on Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

It’s another “Knock Arsenal” day in several newspapers.  Here’s just one example…

According to the Mail, one of several papers running the story of the Willian transfer, he will earn £220,000 a week at Arsenal.   This gives him an cost of £34.32m over three years.  There is nothing to pay for the transfer however.   However TransferMarkt have his value at £20.25m.

It is the lack of transfer cost that has pushed his salary up.  If we had paid £20m for him and the average monthly salary for a Premier League player (around £240,000 according to Eurosport) then his total cost would have been £20m plus £240,000 a month for three years (which is £8.6m), giving a total cost of £28m.

So to be clear, if he had been bought in the normal way we might have spent on transfer and salary £28m.  But he was on a free, which puts all of us cost into the salary of (allegedly) £34m.   We’ve paid £6m over the average.

Now I suspect the club is recouping this because of the way tax works – I don’t think the club can count a transfer fee as a way of reducing tax liability, but they certainly can claim the cost of the salary against tax liability.   So, the cost is just £6m above what might have been expected if he still had several years left to run on his contract, but he has a shorter contract than normal and there will a reduction in the tax Arsenal pay, because all of salary cost is tax-deductible against the club’s profits.

If the Mail meant this story seriously they ought to sack their financial team.  But of course they didn’t.  It is after all the second “Oh my God Arsenal have spent all this money on one player” story this year, and the last one was highly dubious since it involved paying impossibly massive (and indeed illegal) sums to an agent – again something they didn’t work out when publishing their story.

Now the full Mail headline was “Willian’s Millions! Arsenal to pay 32-year-old former Chelsea star an astonishing £220,000-a-week once he completes free transfer amid growing anger following club’s proposals to make 55 members of staff redundant.”

The newspapers and other media are constantly portraying the issue of staff redundancies as a cost cutting measure, which either shows that the writers of the Mail are totally ignorant of employment legislation in the UK, or they are deliberately lying.

People can only be made redundant in the UK if their job ceases to exist.  If the employer tries redundancy just as a way of getting rid of an employee, then that’s not on.  They can’t use redundancy for that.

So if, as I suggested in an earlier article, the jobs don’t exist because Arsenal is moving over to a technology based player tracking system instead of having scouts, then redundancy is appropriate – and that has nothing that is comparable with any transfer Arsenal is arranging.

But the Mail says, “The vast sums involved raise questions after Arsenal’s announcement last week that they are proposing to make 55 members of staff redundant.”   Are they ignorant of redundancy law in the UK, or simply throwing that in to annoy Arsenal fans?  Who knows what goes on (if anything) in the mind of a Mail fantasist and his/her editor.

However what Mike Keegan and Sami Mokbel have done in writing this story is either cynically deliberately sought to mislead readers or they have simply put together a knock-Arsenal story without bothering to check anything.

The latter might be true of course, given that one of their headlines is

  • Sportsmail can revealed that a deal in principle has been in place for some time

Now I know that Untold makes mistakes such as writing “revealed” instead of “reveal” all the time, but the problem here is that I am a useless proof-reader, but because of our shortage of cash, I can’t afford to employ a proof reader.   Maybe with the Mail it is just general sloppiness all round.  I think they are making a profit out of all this gunge.

But maybe also they are deliberately winding up Arsenal fans – in which case they have done that rather well.  So maybe they will get a bonus.

As for the line that “Willian will earn an astonishing £220,000 a week at Arsenal…” no – that is not astonishing, given his talent, and that he comes on a free.  Still at least the paper does admit that “Willian’s basic weekly salary will be lower than at Chelsea, but once a huge signing-on fee is factored in — along with loyalty payments and other bonuses throughout the three-year contract’s duration — the staggering mark will be hit.”

And that brings us to another thing.  “Other bonuses”.  None of those have been revealed but they probably mean performance payments.   As the player gets older, if as we might expect, he doesn’t play nearly so often, then his salary will go down.  But the Mail is clearly not taking this into account.  I think they have calculated the money earned on the basis of him playing every League and Cup match through the season!

So what was already looking like a perfectly reasonable deal does have a guarantee within it for Arsenal.  If the player gets injured or simply isn’t picked, those bonus levels decline.  The deal starts to look rather good at this point.

The Mail does try to excuse itself near the end of the piece saying the player “The signing-on fee reflects that it is a free transfer and if he sees out the duration it’s a great deal for him.”

So, yes they know they are mucking about, and they are banking on some Arsenal fans only reading the headline and the opening bits before all the adverts get in the way.

Interesting though, that they spend all their time bothering with that, while deliberately avoiding any mention of what is happening to Fifa.  Still I am sure they know best.

13 Replies to “Newspaper launches another fierce (and misleading) attack on Arsenal”

  1. The Mail is a fascist hate spewing rag. This story is just, made up BS! They dont know what hes on and yet run a sensationalist smear job and then as you point out back track at the end!

    It seems that Willian is on a pretty average (for a PL player, still obscene in the real world) and he will have to produce on the pitch to get the bonuses. Seems pretty logical and sensible on the clubs part.

    If on
    Before we signed him Willian was a fantastic player who would improve any team he joined, now Arsenal are about to sign him, the media are doing their hardest to undermine him and the club.

    A sad reflection of the piss poor state of the British media and society.

  2. ESPN today reporting that the Pepe deal is under investigation by the club in the way that it was negotiated . The premise is that some of the people being made redundant over paid badly and has left the club with a badly structured deal affecting future cash flow.

  3. yes, tony, but the fact remains that we splash a lot of money on a chelsea 32-y-o player, with an achilles problem, while we have youngsters like nelson who will get less playing time now (not to mention özil’s presence in the squad still).
    and after soares’s 4-year-deal (what about osei-tutu, whose bochum loan looked successful to me?), Luiz’s extension (for all the man’s obvious qualities), and maybe coutinho’s signing, it’ll be very hard to convince me, at least, that there is no Kia Joorbachian problem at Arsenal now. never, ever, would AW have sanctioned such deals, we all know that …

  4. @ Le Gall

    “never, ever, would AW have sanctioned such deals, we all know that …”

    I don’t know that as I can’t read minds and I’d feel a little embarrassed claiming that I could. I know what you’re expressing is just your subjective opinion but claiming to know what someone else thinks when, presumably, you don’t even know that person does tend to detract from what your saying rather than enhance it.

  5. Just a quick look at Opta stats for those who area already wanting to slag off a new player before he has touched a ball for us.

    Opta says, “With nine goals and seven assists, 2019-20 was Willian’s most productive Premier League campaign in terms of goal involvements.”

    It also shows that in this regard he has improved every year for the last five years which would suggest that this is a very good signing rather than the expensive load of rubbish some are suggesting.

    Apologies for boring people with facts………..

  6. @Mickey,

    had we signed Messi they’d all be saying that he is too old, Neymar that he is too unreliable, Salah that he can’t play without Klopp.

    I’m just bored stiff by opinions based on the BS you read in the blogosphere or some pseudo analysis based on nothing concrete. And the funniest thing is that if Willian would come knocking on these people’s door to say Hi, they’d all want to have selfies taken, autograms on their shirts, and they’d be all over the internet showing it off.

    Why the f..k cannot they just damn support their club and welcome any new player into the family and make sure he feels accepted ? Would it help him get his confidence and performance up ?

  7. i sure can read your mind, mikey,and see how patronizing you enjoy being
    anyway, i keep worrying about a few things goin’ on at the club at the moment; but i won’t write about any of them any time soon
    i’ll never write “i told you so” either, but on the other hand, a year from now, if things have turned out wonderfully for The Arsenal, i’ll acknowledge how wrong i was

  8. If it is correct that Ozil was being deliberatly ignored because he refused to take drop in salary, then the redundancy of 55 people and the signing of Willian, as well as the other signings and contract extensions, leaves an enormously bad taste in the mouth.

    Let us say, for arguments sake, that Ozil’s contractual salary is £350k per week, (which I do not believe and no one has ever produced anything like evidence to prove it) then a 15% reduction for a 6 month peiod would be in the region of £1.365m.

    In the context of the money splashed by the club in recent weeks, that is a drop in the ocean.

    IF it is correct that that is the reason why Ozil has been snubbed and Arteta has succumbed to pressure from on high in the club to behave in such a way, then we really are in trouble.

  9. The way I look at is:

    Ozil is not playing because:

    a) He is injured.


    b) He is out of form.


    c) Others are in better form.

    All fair enough if you ask me.

    We have just signed a great player at a fair price. Exciting bit of business if you ask me.

    We have re assessed our scouting system and as a result adjusted it into a more modern, slimline system, that makes use of modern technology and takes in to account a post Brexit and Covid affected World. Brilliant foresight if you ask me.

    We have a magnificent crop of youngsters that will hopefully make the necessary improvements to push us back into the top 4 and with a bit of luck and a following wind take us even higher.

    Now that is how I see it, but then again I don’t read all that shit that’s printed in the papers, and said on the TV and radio.

    Now I’m not saying all my assessments are true, what I am saying is they could well be, so why think anything different? And more importantly you can be sure if it was Spurs who were in this position the manager would be managing the players brilliantly and the club would be running the club expertly.

    but this is Arsenal, and whatever, I mean WHATEVER we do it is spun into a disaster, and you know what’s the worst of it, some of our fans fall for every negative, club insulting, player abusing word that’s written.

    We’ve just won yet another trophy and qualified for Europe and still the abuse goes on and on and on, and that’s just from our own fans.


  10. @ Le Gall

    I had no intention of coming across as patronising so I’m sorry you feel that way. I was merely trying to explain things from a scientific/factual perspective.

  11. Martin, let us look at your 3 alternatives.

    He is not injured, because there is no reference to him on the website as being one of the injured.

    If the club wanted to use that as a reason, then they would.

    Your 2 other alternatives, are really one, aren’t they?

    Now, seeing as he has not played one minute after the break and every game under Arteta before the break, why should there be such a sudden drop of form, so great that he cannot be consiodered even to come on as a sub?

    YOu have seen many more of the post-break games than I have, but from the ones that I have seen there was a total and utter lack of creativity.

    Were the players who played so badly against Brighton, the scum, Man$ity in the league and many more of those games in such great form that their places could not be given to Ozil.

    I admire your loyalty to the club, but were you so loyal in the last few months of the Emery debacle?

    Yes, let us support Arteta and the team, but let us not also look at everything through rose-tinted glasses.

    Winning the cup was nice, but having our worst league preformance for many years was not.

    The point I made is simply that, if Ozil’s allegation that the reason he has not been picked is because he refused to take a cut in his salary, and the club do not set up a genuine and believable reason as opposed to that, then a pattern of behaviour is being shown by the hierarchy in the club that should be a cause for great concern to us supporters.

    IF you are happy with things as they are then good for you.

    If that is how you would like your club to behave, then that is your choice.

    I am not and I suspect there are many you may agree with me.

    If there ae not, then I am entitled to my opinion.

  12. jjgsol

    “I admire your loyalty to the club, but were you so loyal in the last few months of the Emery debacle?”

    Yep I was.

    But in hindsight, and as we all know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, I have conceded that perhaps a change of manager was the correct thing to do. But if you look back I advocated giving Emery more time.

    “IF you are happy with things as they are then good for you.”

    Yes I am.

    “I am not and I suspect there are many who may agree with me.”

    You are probably right, many will agree with you, but come on, when are Arsenal fans happy? Sorry jj but you’re just a bog standard ‘never happy unless you’re moaning Arsenal fan’.

    “If there are not, then I am entitled to my opinion.”

    Yes you are, it’s just sad that so many Arsenal fans are like you, constantly unhappy with the club. try being a Spurs fan to see what supporting a badly run club is really like.

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