No one can agree

by & filed under News Review.

I uhmmed and ahhed over whether to address the horrendous race riots in America. I don’t know how you say something that means anything when you write an inconsequential blog. Then I realised that my privilege allowed me to decide whether to say something. I’m living in the heart of the BK protests, I can watch safely from my window, this is not ok. Black lives matter. What is going on in America is absolutely horrendous. We should all stand united against hate, bigotry, and lies. I truly hope America votes with its conscious this November. One positive: Nothing warms my heart more than to see people of all races, gender, age, and sexual orientation peacefully protesting injustice.

Onto news of a more trivial nature.

There is a battle of PR going off in the media, BATTLE OF THE FEE, is how it shall be labelled.

You have Amy Lawrence saying £24m for Luiz, consisting of £6m in intermediary fees, £8m in transfer fee, and £10m in wages.

You have John Cross saying Arsenal didn’t give more than a £1m away in fee and we’re negotiating down from £130k a week, with Arteta hopeful of him agreeing to a new deal based on performance.

You have Kia saying on Talksport, “we have all the proof and have gone legal with them (The Athletic).”

I’d be super interested to see if Kia goes ahead with this threat. He’d have to prove that the story was untrue and in the process, he’d have to subject himself to some form of discovery which would mean allowing lawyers to explore bank accounts, contracts, interrogate clients, rifle through e-mails, put him on the stand, and it’d all be under oath. You’d have to be pretty offended by a story to go through that to make a point about something that could just be a simple correction. Also, who is he getting angry for here, because football agents are there for the fee, £6m is a lot, but in the grand scheme of BIG numbers, Raiola picked up £40 million for the Pogba deal… the number quoted in The Athletic would have him laughed out the room at the Super Agent Christmas party. Be interesting to see how that plays out.

Anyway, what to make of the noise on the wages, which weren’t disputed by Kia, but were by a few other club-friendly journos.

What do we actually know before the actual payslips and agent contracts are leaked?

  1. Luiz signed a 2-year deal 3 months before moving to Arsenal with Chelsea
  2. He moved to Arsenal on a 1-year deal, with an option to extend
  3. He moved to a club in a total mess, to play for a manager with a less than elite reputation

Does anyone, anywhere in the world, think that a 33-year-old footballer breaks a 2 year deal with a club in the Champions League, opts for a move to a club in disarray… for less money, and less security?

Whatever the lowered rate is, it’s too high for Benfica who said they couldn’t match it.

“He was in a car with businessman, preparing to renew his contract with Arsenal. He is someone who loves Benfica, is a great professional [but] has to earn money. What he earns [with Arsena] is unthinkable for Benfica to pay.

“If David Luiz one day decides ‘I want to leave here’, is 35 years old and in perfect condition, of course we would take him. [But] eight million [in wages] would have to be one million.

“But, as a father, I would say no. I’d say: ‘oh, David, you’re not coming, don’t be crazy.”

Is there a round two of intermediary fees associated with this renegotiation?

Also, just to clear something up.

I actually LOVE David Luiz. I do not want people thinking my critique of this deal is a slight on him. When he moved to us, the worry was age, suitability, and another ‘character’ signing from Chelsea. I wrote this at the time.

What I’m saying is this… don’t turn your nose up at someone that isn’t Mustafi. I’d hire you mum if the chance arose. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that one of these last-ditch ‘character’ signings from Chelsea (or anywhere) finally pays off at some point.

I’d be delighted if he signed back on (which Kia seems to think is on the table). He’s a strong leader, he clicks with Arteta, and we know he has star power for the kids. However, you cannot tell me the investment we made in him was worth The Athletic numbers Kia is disputing. Even if you take out the agent fees, we paid £8m for someone on a 1-year deal. At the lower end of Arsenal freindly journos estimations, all in, we’d have paid £15,760,000 (£120k p/w (6.76m) + £600k Kia fee + £399k (Arsenal said less than a million in fees) + £8m transfer fee) for someone who we are currently renegotiating with so he doesn’t leave for nothing. That is terrible business, especially after the fuss we kicked up to earn a fee from a 9 year veteran of the club.

So for all the ‘THAT WASN’T THE FEE’ noise from Arsenal and Kia, the reality is, even without it, the deal was still an abomination.

Anyway, to refresh my point if it was lost yesterday.

Super agents should not lead or interfere in the process of player/manager identification. They are an unfortunate byproduct of elite scouting. They live for one thing only, the fee. Doesn’t matter who they support, it’s all about the fee.

The patterns are clear with Arsenal. We have too many favourable agents that sit front and centre at the table of our worst decisions. That has to stop if we’re going to be more efficient with our limited funds moving forward.

Caggigao should be bringing the names to the table. More Martinelli like talents. More Cesc’s. More players that have a long future at Arsenal.

Talking of our limited funds, according to Julien Laurens, we have not offered a new deal to Auba. For a Football CEO who said we’d never let a player run their deal down again, we’re in a moment where Auba, Saka, Mustafi, Sokratis and Ozil all have 1 year left. Our 2022 holdouts are Matteo, Lacazette, Eddie, Kola, Cal and Martinez. That’s 11 players with two years or less on their deals.

I think we should sell Auba. I love him, but I’m not sure I see the value in offering him a £300k a week deal heading into his 31st birthday. If our ability to manoeuvre this summer is going to be drastically limited, every penny counts, and there are positions we absolutely have to address. We need a powerhouse central midfielder, we need a centre back, we need a decent right back, and possibly a modern number 8 like player.

There is a lot to do. We have very few assets that are going to fetch mega-money, so we need to raise cash and make tough decisions. The club need to give our young players the best chance to thrive. We don’t need hacks, we don’t need whispers in the ear, we need players like Martinelli. That’s where the magic is at. You only get there by listening to the recommendations of the smartest scouts and analysts… not the slick-haired, pin-striped suited fee merchants in the executive box pretending they love The Arsenal.

Anyway, tomorrow, we talk about something else because we need to start getting excited about ACTUAL football coming in 3 weeks time.

Big love, stay safe, be kind x


What’s up at Arsenal?

by & filed under News Review.

Yesterday, I touched on the David Luiz deal that all fans should find abhorrent. Today, I wanted to map out the journey Arsenal are on. We’re fast-moving from a club that was mocked for not moving with the times because we believed in the integrity of the game, to one that is seen as a feeding trough for super-agent fees.

This is a rundown of what’s happened since Wenger was fired.

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