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May 2021
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Wild rumours are undermining Arsenal day by day. But who is responsible?

by Tony Attwood

There is a commentary that has appeared in the website HITC in which it is proclaimed that “For far too long Arsenal have been toothless in the market. They’ve missed out on targets and settled for second-best far too often.”

There is no evidence for this, we are simply asked to accept this is true.  Quite how long “far too long” is, we don’t really know but let’s have a look at a few.  I am not putting in every transfer, but I am just wondering how many of these involve in settling for second best, taking into account their transfer fee.

Player From Cost When
£24.30m  2019/20
£6.03m
£22.50m 2018/19
£7.20m 2017/18
£57.38m
£47.70m
£40.50m 2016/17
£2.70m

I am not saying that these players are all SuperPlayers in the AAA*** class, but rather that these were not accepting second best players when they were purchased.  Some were incredible bargains – such as Rob Holding, at least one (Guendouzi) may be slipping through the net now (but that is not the same as accepting him as second best).

It may be that Lacazette and Aubameyang are reaching the end of their time at the club, but that is not the point of being “toothless in the market”.  We most certainly were not “toothless in the market” when we bought those two.

Indeed when TalkSport join in with the commentary with a headline such as “Arsenal are ‘Banter FC’ and a club ‘everyone can laugh at’  we know that all attempts at sensible discussion are long since gone.

Basically Arsenal has, within its budget, probably performed as well as any other club – all clubs make mistakes in their purchases, all get a few players on the cheap, all pay too much because they are desperate.

Where the notion of Arsenal being useless at buying players comes from, is the fact that the media endlessly predicts who Arsenal are about to buy, and then to cover up their sheer and absolute hopelessness in terms of predictions, blames Arsenal for not doing what the media has said.

So I thought that from time to time from here on I would record the players who the media are predicting we will buy.  And instead of grouping them by player as I have done in previous years, this year I’m doing it by source.

And remember this is only a couple of days-worth of trawling.

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Source Player From 
101 Great Goals Folarin Balogun Will sign new contract
Express Yves Bissouma Brighton and Hove
Sergio Aguero  Manchester City
Lucas Vazquez Real Madrid
Julian Draxler PSG
Football League World Emi Buendia Norwich City
Football London Emi Buendia Norwich City
Yves Bissouma Brighton and Hove
Pedro Goncalves Sporting Lisbon
FourfourTwo Sergio Aguero Manchester City
Achraf Hakimi Inter
Wilfred Zaha Crystal Palace
Ivan Toney Brentford
Give Me Sport Hakan Calhanoglu AC Milan
Hard Tackle Wilfred Zaha Crystal Palace
HITC Wilfred Zaha Crystal Palace (2)
Emi Buendia Norwich City
Nabil Fekir Real Betis
Tariq Lamptey Brighton and Hove
Yves Bissouma Brighton and Hove
Just Arsenal Bryan Gil Seville
William Zaha Crystal Palace
London Football News Seny Dieng QPR
Mail Achraf Hakimi’ Inter Milan
Jerome Boateng Bayern Munich
Folarin Balogun Will sign a new contract
Metro Dybala Juventus
Mirror Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace
Shoot Wilfred Zaha Crystal Palace
Sky Sports Hakan Calhanoglu AC Milan
Sports Lens Achraf Hakimi Inter Milan
Sports-View Achraf Hakimi Inter Milan
Wilfred Zaha Crystal Palace
Sun Hakan Calhanoglu AC Milan
This is Futbol Emi Buendia Norwich

Now we have seen in past that only about 3% of these transfers actually happen, but that never stops the journalists, but I am hoping that by undertaking the analysis by source, we will see which outlets are setting out deliberately to cause difficulty to Arsenal by ceaselessly reporting players as coming to us, who never do.

It will also raise another interesting question: when a player is predicted to be coming to Arsenal by multiple sources, how do they all get the story — and only later tell us that it has not happened because Arsenal are too slow?

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