Signing Gabriel Magalhães: what’s the delay?

By Sir Hardly Anyone

Arsenal have agreed a deal with Lille for Gabriel Magalhães.  And yet he has not arrived.  So what is causing the problem?

One issue is that other clubs have an interest, and all seem willing to pay the fee quoted variously as betweeen £22m and £24m.  But it is not just between the clubs.

And the problem is not with Lille who have already signed Jonathan David from Gent.  Rather, although it is easy for fans of any team to think that of course the player will want to come to our club, because we are great, and who wouldn’t want to play here, players and their agents have a much deeper knowledge of the way clubs can differ and what it is like in different clubs. Just as anyone who has worked for several employers in the same industry will learn: each employer has his own way of doing things, and some are far less pleasant as employers than others.

So what exactly is it that makes a player go to one club rather than another?

1: Salary, bonuses and extras

The salaries may seem extreme to us mortals but when there is a chance of getting an extra £10,000 a week, well, why not take it if that is what is on offer?  But the salary is only part of the deal.  There are the image rights, sponsorship arrangements, promotions etc.  One particular issue is often how easy it is for the player to deal with a sponsor in another country.  Will the club co-operate with the sponsor’s demands?

As for bonuses and extras, the current round of cost cutting and redundancies does not give Arsenal a good image in this regard.  We are seen as a club in retreat, and will continue to do so until the club shows that it is making real progress.

2: The country and the language.

Arsenal under Mr Wenger always had a huge benefit with his ability to speak half a dozen languages, and his easy availability to the players.  Not all managers have that reputation, but we are fortunate with Arteta.  His recent comment about slipping from English to French to Spanish when giving instructions to players, both to help them and to confuse a rival manager (especially if English), boosted his reputation among players.

Most European players come to the club with some English; it is some of the South Americans who struggle, having grown up on a continent where Spanish and Portuguese are the two languages spoken.  Again Arteta is a bonus here.

3: Players relatives

How easy is it to bring relatives to the country?   This is a major issue at the moment for the UK since no one knows what the regulations will be like from the start of next year when the transition period of leaving the EU comes to an end.  Already there is a tightening up of the rules, and quite simply the uncertainty about the ability to bring the wife’s family and others to England from Europe can scupper a deal when others are available.  No one really knows what the new regime is going to be like – not even Mr Gove, and he’s seemingly running the show!

4: Club’s position

The FA Cup showed Arsenal haven’t lost the knack of winning, but the slippage to our worst league position since 1993 is not a solid advertising point – especially given double change of manager.

5: Is the player an obvious first choice? 

The problem here is Pepe – at a cost of around £72m, and then having him not play in every game, and looking out of place on occasion, does not help.  Media talk of him being ditched after one season has not helped either.

6: Fans

Players want to play in front of never-say-die fanatics, and that’s not the image of Arsenal around the world.  The pictures of the planes with their messages, the cardboard signs, the black scarf marches, and above all AFTV (which is of course available world wide) has made Arsenal a club to avoid.

7: Trophies

Under Wenger the lack of a title since 2004 didn’t matter while we were second only to Real Madrid in terms of consecutive years in the Champions League, but all that has slipped away.  Again, the FA Cup was a real bonus, not just as a trophy but a route to Europe, but the player needs to be convinced that this year will at the very least mean replacing one of Liverpool, Man U, Man C or Chelsea in the top four.

8: Tax

This is a real problem.  Players immediately lose 50% of their salary in tax, and the old loophole of image rights is being aggressively attacked by Revenue and Customs who are not known for turning a blind eye.  The expectation that the club will “get around the tax issue” is normal in some countries, but it doesn’t happen that much in England.

9: Accommodation and lifestyle

This is where we do score.  There are some beautiful luxury houses in and around north London, and the nightlife of the city is much prized among those with the money – once the virus goes away.  Our position in that regard is not good – we are not seen across Europe as having been as successful as some countries in dealing with the virus.

10: Manager

Arteta is highly regarded as a tactician, and that is a help.

11: Training facilities, the stadium, the training

The first two of these are again, positives, but it is noted just how many injuries Arsenal players get.   The old notion that it was all down to Mr Wenger, was not widely accepted outside of the UK media, and now that the high rate of injuries has continued after his departure that notion has been swept away.  But leaving the high rate of injuries unexplained means players worry about it.

12: The media

This is one of our biggest problems.  Players don’t normally read the media from other countries, but given the choice of going to Arsenal or clubs elsewhere, their agent might well give comparative reports.  And then we can be scuppered.   My own view is that in a number of cases of prospective purchases from overseas, the agent of a player has thought that Arsenal is simply too high a risk, from a reading of the newspapers and blogs.  Too much turmoil, too many negatives, not enough positive.

Overall Arsenal have a lot to do in all transfers of players from overseas to overcome these negatives.  Just because a deal looks to be on, it can easily slip away.


9 Replies to “Signing Gabriel Magalhães: what’s the delay?”

  1. Very valid points.
    However, it might just be that he’s forgotten where he has put his passport.

  2. Lets hope it gets done soon or the Sun is going to go into Arsenal bashing melt down.

    We wasn’t even playing last night.

    As everyone knows we haven’t even been in the Champions League for a few seasons.

    So you’d think last night results had nothing to do with us wouldn’t you ?

    We won yet another trophy this year, actually making us the 2nd most successful team in the Premier League this season.

    All in all you’d think we were safe, but no, because Gnabry scores a couple of goals it’s another excuse to have a pop at ‘bungling’ Arsenal. Their report on last nights match makes more of Arsenal selling Gnabry, a player who wouldn’t sign and nobody suggested we should even try to keep, including those geniuses of hindsight at the Sun. (they really should take up management you know as they would be brilliant. But hey why do that when you can earn a fortune righting garbage all day?) than it does of the match itself.

    I mean WTF, it’s not as if selling a player that goes on to do well elsewhere is unusual, it happens to everyone. I mean even when you turn the page the Sun itself lists FIVE ex United players who are in Euro finals this year alone. Irwin calls us ‘Bungling Arsenal’ at least twice and says we should be ‘shame faced’. “Oh how Arsenal could do with Gnabry now as they go a fourth successive season without CL football” That would be the CL football the likes of Irwin endlessly critisised us for continuingly qualifying for then !!

    But not once does he accuse United of ‘bungling’ or suggest they should be ‘shame faced’.

    The Sun. At least it gives my little cats something to shit on.

  3. Nitram,

    swiss TV last night was all over that story. Almost each tim Gnabry touched the ball, they were snarling : “the player Arsenal deemed not good enough to play for them”.

    Fascinating how that bashing has made its way across the continent and is done by people who have no damn idea what they are talking about. And can’t even start to understand the concept that what is valid now may have been different 5 minutes ago, a week ago, 5 years ago.

    We live in an instagram type world where only the last picture is valid, and the past ignored unless you can smear someone with it. And no one is standing up to their past anyway.

  4. Every team buys players that don’t turn out as good as you hoped.

    Man Utd bought Sanchez which was an absolute catastrophe for them. ‘Bungling’ if ever I saw it.

    Chelsea bought Torres from Liverpool. How did that work out. Chelsea shouldn’t be ‘shame faced’ about that.

    Everyone sells players that either don’t look good enough or simply want to leave.

    At the time Gnabry didn’t look special and anyone who says he did is lying, and I believe despite being offered a contract decided to leave to get game time. That is my understanding anyway. At the time nothing much was said about it least of all by ‘Mystic Irwin’ at the Sun.

    And the truth is just about every brilliant player out their at the moment was sold by someone who either didn’t or couldn’t keep them. It happens to all clubs, all the time, but hey lets make like this is the only time it’s ever happened and that yet again it’ Arsenal, who of course do it all the time, whilst nobody else ever does.

  5. Nitram,

    right on.

    One added thought. Mr Wenger was right nonetheless. He had started playing him. The field was crowded at the time. But that does not change the fact that he got his chance because Mr Wenger knew what was there, alas still as a rough diamond.

    And playing in a second caliber team in the Bundesliga helped start polishing it in a way no PL season as Player Nr 15 or 20 in the picking order would have never done. Credit due as well to Gnabry, he decided to go try his luck far away from the corrosive ways of Arsenal so-called facts. And when he left, how many were criticizing Mr Arsenal and Mr Wenger for another youth failure ?

    I hope the Young Guns we have on board now will have a far better chance to be nurtured and brought up to football greatness. I trust Arteta has what it takes.

  6. Arsene Wenger is being reported as saying it was his biggest disappointment, when Gnarby refused to sign a new contract, so it is true that AW wanted him to stay.

    But when have “facts” ever got in the way of rags like the sun?
    As far as I’m aware, they are still banned in Liverpool for their obscene coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.

  7. Also widely reported we ‘sent him’ to WBA when in fact he chose to go there out of a few options as they were in the Prem.

  8. Wenger wanted Gnabry to extend his contract but his head had already been turned by Bayern via Werder Bremen. How can anybody expect a player who is kicked by opponents and not protected by PGMOL to chose to stay in the EPL?
    Gnabry went to WBA on loan and returned injured despite not playing. Arsenal made a decent profit in the sale but sadly didn’t have any sell on clauses.

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