By Tony Attwood
Way back in August the Daily Mirror announced that “Arsenal’s fanbase has been riddled with arguments and in-fighting in recent years.” What they didn’t add were two key points. One was that a lot of the stoking of the discontent was the doing of the media, and the other is “and by and large they are no different from other clubs existing within FFP rules”.
But no, the media loves to stoke the flames of dissent, and portray Arsenal as ridden both with anger and incompetence.
Indeed one could fill up this blog with headlines about dissent
- Arsenal fans left outraged at Willian: ‘Terminate his contract!’ (Daily Mail)
- ‘Strange’: Some Arsenal fans react to ‘concerning’ rumour (HITC)
- Arsenal fans have taken to Twitter to react after The Athletic revealed that Eddie Nketiah has rejected the club’s latest contract offer.
- ‘Terminate his contract’ (HITC)
- Willian reveals the role that Arsenal fans played in his departure (Metro)
- Arsenal fans fume at Mikel Arteta and Edu’s latest transfer … (Mirror)
- Arsenal fans go into meltdown (Sun)
- ‘WHAT A JOKE!’ – Arsenal fans vent fury at club (Goal.com)
According to one insider, the media is gearing itself up to focus on Arsenal yet again over the club’s alleged chaos in terms of having players who will be at the end of their contract with their current club in the summer of 2022. As a result, they will be allowed to leave and will sign a deal elsewhere for free after January 1, with the player moving in July.
The Daily Canon has already published a list of the Arsenal players who will be free to negotiate a transfer after New Years Day, with the club they move to, paying no transfer fee when they arrive on 1 July. The opening paragraph sets the scene: “Arsenal currently have five players out of contract next summer and they actively tried to get rid of at least three of them this summer.”
And how do we know they “actively tried”? We aren’t told.
Now we must be fair, as the Canon does admit, “more and more players are finishing their contracts, thus taking over the transfer market from their clubs. Less financial transactions between clubs and more signing bonuses for the protagonists: this is the trend that seems to be emerging in the last one or two mercato windows.” (Quite why they suddenly veered into French, Italian or Spanish I am not at all sure, and by the way it is “fewer financial transactions”, not “less”).
What isn’t often mentioned in the English press however is just how far this tendency has gone. In Europe, the main talking point is Kylian Mbappé. His contract ends next summer and he is expected to tell his staff to pack his bags and head for Real Madrid with no transfer fee paid.
Except, hang on a minute. Real Madrid (a club which in the past has been known as Real Mad on these pages because of their bonkers behaviour) could lose Isco, Gareth Bale, and even Luka Modric, the 2018 Golden Ball winner, without financial compensation.
According to L’Équipe Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) and Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona) also “do not know yet which shirt they will wear next August.”
And if that doesn’t seem much of a list you can add Angel Di Maria (PSG), Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado (Juventus), Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen, César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), and Niklas Süle (Bayern), all of whom will be leaving the club at the end of the current season unless a new deal can be arranged.
Of course for the buying club getting a player on a free is not much of a saving, since the money that would have been spent on the transfer contract is simply added to the player’s wages. It is the “selling” club that loses out.
But what of Laca? Certainly, he’s never been a top scorer…
Games per goal
Laca is sixth in the list of Arsenal’s Premier League scorers this season behind Smith Rowe, Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard and Aubameyang.
Now there is a completely different way of writing this story, for it could be argued that Arsenal have realised ahead of the game that with older top players now doing every single thing to screw the clubs for every penny, investing in youth could be the way forward. Of course, the youngsters are paid a lot, but they are often not quite ready to go to a foreign city.
The fact is that this situation has been brought about by market forces not adjusting quickly enough to the total change brought about by the coronavirus. All clubs are being caught out and will be for the next year or two, but then new contracts will emerge and things will settle down a little.
In fact it is just another factor to add to issues concerning footballers: physical injuries, illnesses, wayward lifestyle, mental health problems, lack of form… And certainly next year we will be hearing about clubs who have bought players and are paying them a fortune each month, but they aren’t playing. And why are they paying the players so much? Because they came on a free at the end of the contract.
In reality Arsenal are handling this situation quite well, because for years the club has invested in youth. We can probably thank Mr Wenger for that.
- How many spare places do we have in the squad for purchases in January?
- How free thinking and alternative visions for football are constantly suppressed.
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women
- Which 4 Arsenal transfers are being mentioned the most by the media?