Ask Ivan Q&A : Players haven’t joined because they’re at big managerless clubs

by & filed under News Review.

The big Q&A with Ivan took place last night. Our CEO took on the questions of 300 curious Gooners. This year was different. The legend of Wenger has somewhat faded. The fans propensity to accept PR spin has almost totally diminished and though 4th place felt glorious at the time, the reality has kicked in that we’re treading top four water again despite having the funds to be so much better.

So how did this affect the proceedings? Well, to start with, I’d say nearly all the questions put forward were good. In years gone by, you get bogged down in petulant items such as the temperature of the coffee or the brightness of stewards jackets. Yesterday, people were shooting potent darts at Ivan… And structuring their language to make it politically bullet proof.

To be fair to Ivan, he tried to take the slickness out of his performance. He slated the preroll video of Arsenal creeping into 4th as ‘not what we’re about’. He tried to blend humour into his piece, he tried to convey passion and he tried to the best of his ability to reassure the fans the club intended to spend some money.

… though the caveat was that the final say sits with Arsene who presides over salary and valuation.

So before we crack into the key insight of the night, a few interesting bits revolved around protecting our away fans from permanent category A ticket prices. He said he’d back a steering group on the issue and look to rectify the issue. On the issue of safe standing, if the government backed it, he’d look into it at The Emirates… though he was keen to point out, the desire to push that through in government is low. No politician wants to pin their name to that sticky issue. Cowards…

Someone asked if we’d ever have ticket prices like Bayern… because we clearly want to be like Bayern financially. I thought this was a silly question. Too many football fans forget the game is a business. The new stadium was built to drive match day revenue. We can’t sell season tickets for £106. That’s like moving your suburban cafe to Mayfair and still charging £3.50 for a full English. Our business model is different to Bayern. For starters, they have sugar daddy like commercial deals with partners who have controlling interests in the club. We’ll only be like Bayern in the sense that we’ll be self sufficient. It’s a good place to be if it allows us to compete.

FFP raised its boring head. Someone asked if we had a plan B if UEFA fail to impose it. Again, this question kind of grates me. Chelsea are pushing to conform to FFP. Looking to sell Luis, Mata and Torres to fund the good times. I just don’t understand why, if there are rules in place that sugar daddy owned clubs are trying to adhere to, Arsenal should ignore the rules. Such a dim argument. Also, what business plans for rules to fail?

‘Hey Pete, I’d like a marketing campaign that abides by the law… but just in case they drop that rule about lying to consumers, can we have one where we pretend the car can fly?’

Other areas of chat centred around the manager. He dictates the talent of a player and therefore decides how much money we pay players… and how much we bid. Ivan seemed to think we pay market rate for players salary wise. No one told him why we couldn’t shift Denilson, Bendtner, Almunia, Squillaci and Andrey? It wasn’t because we were paying market rate.

Still, there was acknowledgement that to compete we need to pay the best salaries. Which, according to Ivan, Arsene is fully on board with. When talking about making big moves, he said the club weren’t willing to spend over the odds to make a statement on an average player. No one has asked him to do that… so whilst being a valid point, it’s an irrelevant one. What fans get upset with is that we don’t pay market rate for great players.

He kept stating Wenger looks at quality first, price second. This is totally wrong. We look at price, then we look at quality if it’s a dirt cheap bargain. If we could have 5 Santi’s this summer… I’d be all over that. Fact is, football isn’t that kind…

The major insight of the night came with one of his last points. Not the one about having great pies. Saracens Rugby club have great pies, Arsenal have disgusting pies. No, the insight came from this question…

Do you feel you’ve missed a trick by not landing players when other clubs have been manager less and in turmoil?

Ivan responded that he hadn’t missed a trick and the reason we hadn’t made any purchases was because we’re going after top end players at clubs that lack a manager. Hello Higuain, Rooney (new manager, Fellaini (new manager), Martinez, Isco, Begovic… and obviously a whole raft of Wigan players ripe for the taking.

That my friends was the biggest talking point of the evening. Like I’ve been pushing for weeks… the club are trying hard for players. Whether they’ll come is down to money, ambition and a great sell. If City could land Yaya when they were rubbish, we can land big names.

So a big thanks to Arsenal and the AST for letting me in at short notice. It was great to hangout with everyone after. I’ve said many times before, the cost of the membership is peanuts in relation to what you get back in information, access and great people. I always like the fact that in real life, people have opposing views and still get on. Social media, you have a lot to answer for.

Also big respect for Ivan. He answered all the questions, took them from the floor and left the room with people feeling positive. Taking on 300 informed Arsenal fans is a tough job.

To join the AST, click here.

Have a great day and get excited for the summer madness that’s about to kick off!

P.S. I’m doing to rounds on SSN this morning…

P.S.2 To also those that took ire at my off the record meeting with Ivan. I’ve just written a whole article about an on the record meeting and I’ve not dropped a single quote. You don’t need quotes to tell a story… just a good memory.

Have a good one, I’m going to Spain now to bring Isco home.

396 Responses to “Ask Ivan Q&A : Players haven’t joined because they’re at big managerless clubs”

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  1. reality check

    Arsenal 1886

    Your right, some players you like some you don’t.

    Giroud is not my 1st choice either, hell! I was pissed when anelka left but since then, I’ve got used to players I like.. Leaving. So many heros, so many players. I struggle to care about any of these guys today. But.. Giroud, could end up being something special. With an attitude, I can see him going face to face with terry or gerrard over some shit and being like..
    “I don’t care what your name is!!”

    This is the team. We are not going to sign 5-6 players. So we have to get used to supporting the ones that already wear the shirt. If higuian or williams comes in, then cool. But as it stands, giroud has already done more for us than a whole load of players.

  2. Rohan

    Don’t want to get all you mancs jumpy, but everyone’s favorite winger Wilfried Zaha has looked a bit shite hasn’t he in the Euros? Not much footballing intelligence. Athletic yes, but I think he’ll struggle in the Premiership. Bit of a Gabby Abgonlahor about him.

  3. Dan Ahern

    Mental Strength — FFP is on rolling 3 year periods. So Monaco could not give less of a fuck. They have plenty of time to set up a shell company to pump in sponsor money.

  4. reality check


    “Not much footballing intelligence.”

    I hear/read so many people using this term,
    Not much footballing intelligence?

    Got any examples.

    (Not being a douch, I’m really asking)

    [ Gabriel marcotty (spell.) ] on talksport. Transfer talk.

  5. GervinhosForehead

    with the confederation cup kicking off on Saturday and Wenger’s ‘passion’ for commentating, it means we are fucked considering he’s a totalitarian when it comes to players transfer. From Gazidis comments it seems he lives the whole process to Wanker HOPING he will do the right thing. We know how it ends… Don’t we?????

  6. Cesc Appeal

    Why do the board give Wenger so much power?

    I agree a manager should be able to highlight players he likes, but what they’re essentially saying is we know nothing about football, so we defer to Arsene when it comes to player values and what wages we should offer.

    Basically, there is no one at the club (of whom the board should be more powerful in a lot of regards than the manager) with enough footballing insight to overrule Arsene or to contribute to transfers.

    The manager should highlight areas of the team he wants to improve as well as listening to what the board think needs improving. Scouts should then list high priority targets/the manager has his own ideas of who he’s watched/played against and likes.

    That should be the end of the manager’s input aside from talking to the player himself.

    I hate all this, Arsene decides how much they’re worth, Arsene decides how much they’re worth a week when it’s obvious to anyone who has two brain cells to rub together that he CAN’T do that.

    Djourou, Diaby, Chamakh, Santos, Park, Bendtner, Denilson, Squillaci etc etc are all testament to that.

    He’d rather spend a lot on a lot, hence get less bang for his buck if any bang at all.

    Rather than spend a lot on a little and take the risk that HE’D then be blamed if he couldn’t win anything/or HE bought expensive flops.

    Wenger is a coward, there’s no other word for it.

  7. TitsMcgee

    Navas is a very good winger. Very good. A scorer he is not and maybe because we don’t usually use a traditional winger he wouldn’t tickle Wenger’s fancy but he is very good at his position.

    People still doubting Higuain?


    It wouldn’t surprise me however if this summer panned-out the same way just about every summer does. You can almost see Wenger giving us the “we don’t need another striker because Olivier will get better in his second year” kind of excuse.

  8. TitsMcgee

    Not that is a reputable source but if there is any truth to the “not wanting to match Madrid’s 25.5 million for Higuain” who would really be shocked?

    We always under-bid and are left wanting afterwards.

  9. Rohan

    By footballing intelligence, I mean decision-making, when to make a run, when to pass back when to push forward, when to press, passing at the right time to the right person. Not necessarily vision but more the footballing brain and decision making which you need at the highest level.

    Headless chicken would be the opposite I guess.

  10. TitsMcgee

    Wenger deciding who makes what is completely asinine way to do things.

    Arsene deciding how much they are worth is precisely the reason we have so much nothing players on our wage bill.

    He’s completely obsessed with saving a buck.

  11. Dan Ahern

    I think what Rohan is saying is that on a scale of Cesc to Gervinho, Zaha appears to be in the forehead’s gravitational field.

  12. TitsMcgee

    Giroud and Podolski are good squad players and I have no problem with them coming in off the reserve bench.

    Starting at the head of the attack though? Not sure they have the overall skill to be efficient enough for that.

  13. Dan Ahern

    Tits — I wouldn’t let it get to you. No team wants to pay asking price for a player. And players are not often sold for asking price. What matters is how much we (and they) are willing to negotiate. If we stop at our invisible £15m fence we’re almost certainly fucked again.

  14. TitsMcgee


    Yea I know but then when people say “Wenger isn’t to blame and blah blah” it amazes me because how can a man that decides who gets paid what not be blamed for signing the dross we have?

    He clearly is in total control of the squad aspect and even in control over how much they get paid.

  15. Rohan

    isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco isco

  16. TitsMcgee

    “Malaga will have to sell this summer for sure”

    Yea I saw that. Isco is there for the taking now for sure.

  17. Dan Ahern

    Tits — I was responding to you asking about saying we don’t want to pay £25.5m. But yes, that stuff amazes me too. I mean, look at the blog today or any other recap of Ivan’s Q&A. The essential point Gazidis keeps making is that Wenger has near absolute power at the club. He decides who to bring in, how much to pay for him, and how much his salary will be. IG appears to be leveraging his own position the only way he can: by providing more money to Wenger. He’s making it clear that any squad shortcomings can only be seen as Arsene’s fault now.

  18. Dan Ahern

    Isco is certainly not there for the taking. Malaga were already punished. The court just upheld the ruling. They have to pay a €300,000 fine.

    This doesn’t force them to sell Isco. The only thing that might help is he now has no continental football next year.

  19. Dan Ahern

    Sorry, I shouldn’t even say “he now has no continental football next year”.
    He already had no continental football next year. They were just hoping they’d get that overturned. They didn’t.

  20. TitsMcgee

    ‘The essential point Gazidis keeps making is that Wenger has near absolute power at the club. He decides who to bring in, how much to pay for him, and how much his salary will be. IG appears to be leveraging his own position the only way he can: by providing more money to Wenger. He’s making it clear that any squad shortcomings can only be seen as Arsene’s fault now.”


  21. TitsMcgee

    Malaga are banned from Europe are they not?

    Less potential money for them. They’ll be more enticed to sell and he’ll be more enticed to leave I’d imagine.

  22. Nasri's Mouth

    @Dan Ahern

    Malaga need to sell because they’re broke. Doesn’t mean they’ll sell Isco, but it’s pretty likely he’ll go.

    He’ll probably go to Real Madrid, but if they buy Bale / Suarez, maybe they don’t need him. He’s not needed at ManCity, and to be honest, they’ve already spent a load this summer.

  23. Dan Ahern

    (That said, no need to. Just offer good money for Isco and get Cazorla and Monreal to tap him up like it’s their full-time job.)

  24. Mental Strength

    Where would he fit in at Madrid? He’s a LW/CAM, Ronaldo and Ozil are both Untouchable.

    I could see him going to Dortmund.

    Overall we are favourites if/when we are interested.

  25. kwik fit

    Now that the Q & A session of last night is over , isn’t it amazing how the big transfer rumours have stopped. Or maybe not. Fuckers and gobshits the lot! 🙂

  26. TitsMcgee

    “Isco has a release clause…of €35m (£29m).”

    “Overall we are favourites if/when we are interested.”

    Not anymore if true lol

  27. Keyser

    “Yea I know but then when people say “Wenger isn’t to blame and blah blah” it amazes me because how can a man that decides who gets paid what not be blamed for signing the dross we have?”

    Seriously, who says that ? He signed Squillaci, Denilson and whoever else you want to mention, It’s just odd that this translates to everything that is wrong at the club, like this is what holds us back.

    When it’s patently not we’ve had quality teams and players and failed to keep them together, there’s loads of telling things from what Gazdis says, like how he talks about Van Persie, or skirts around financial restrictions.

    In the end none of that matters, it’s what Gazidis does now, if he’s providing more money now then all that tells us he wasn’t providing it before.

  28. Nasri's Mouth

    Keyser: if he’s providing more money now then all that tells us he wasn’t providing it before.

    No-one is denying there is more money now. That’s the whole point

  29. Hitman

    Higuain is £25m cos Real realise Arsenal have very few choices & in a weak position.

    Jovetivic – not interested & we cant afford Rooney.
    Very few quality forwards out there and Arsenal desperately need a No1 striker.

    I guess we will get a lower price if we hold out until transfer deadline day but he could be gone elsewhere by then.

  30. Rohan

    Marcotti: “Wenger has gone quiet. He’s not returning people’s calls. It could mean they [Arsenal] are working on something big.”

    hahaha, classic. Hes probably lost it in his zipped up jumper.
    Marcotti is more reliable than most imo. Miles better than Ballbag

  31. TomNW5

    Talking about manager-less clubs doesn’t absolutely imply our target is at one.
    Basically it means the whole tranfer system is in paralysis and players and clubs are waiting for the new men to come in which will launch a flurry of movement. Players and agents know if they wait there may be more options.
    I think it’s a misread by Pedro and others to assume Ivan was hinting at a specific player.
    Though of course, I might be wrong.

  32. dialsquare

    Oxlade-Chamberlain played 25 Premier League games of which 14 were as a substitute with only 1 goal scored, this is a poor return for someone who cost £12m.

  33. Keyser

    NM – Lol because they can’t, they’ve just re-negotiated new sponsorship deals it also implies he’s only now suddenly been embued with new powers, which again only begs the question what was he doing before.

    His words mean nothing unless he and the club act on them to move the club forward.

  34. Kleinfeld

    I’m going to give up playing FIFA online. Fucking piece of shit game.
    Got whipped 5-0 by Brazil and Julio Cesar got 10.0 man of the match rating.

    It’s almost like the game fucking decides before hand if you’re going win. He made about 5 Pele vs Banks esq saves. Piece of shit game, fuck off.

  35. Kleinfeld

    Keyser – Wenger really is a skinny fuck in those pictures. I know why we signed fuck all that summer too – he had the chequebook in his swimming shorts pocket. We went to sign the cheque for Juan Mata and the paper was saturated.

  36. Kleinfeld

    Mental Strength June 11, 2013 21:50:37

    Yeah keepers in that game can be ridiculously good sometimes.


    Yeah except Chesney the dumb cunt. Can’t hold onto a ball to save his life.

  37. reality check

    Cheers rohan

    As for marcotti, over the years he has come across as reliable. If wenger is working on something big, i can’t imagine who it could be.

    Dan Ahern

    Zaha or walcott?

  38. Cesc Appeal

    When Gazidis etc say ‘major transfers’…

    Remember last season he said ‘we’ve got the big transfer done already, Lukas Podolski.’

    The German was £10 Million.

    I’ve really got a horrible feeling about this summer again, we’ve got no one decent to sell at least, but I don’t know, Wenger is such a prick he always has to feel as if he’s got a deal, so he won’t want to pay what Real want for Higuain, nor Everton for Fellaini, nor Valencia for Rami blah blah

  39. Kleinfeld

    If he is working on something big…maybe it actually is that fat cunt Rooney?

    Or maybe Samba? Johnty will spunk his y fronts at that one…

  40. Rohan

    I’m still holding hope for Cesc returning. We have a bit of a Spanish contingent in Santi, Arteta, and Monreal and coke dealer Rosicky is still around. What more could he want?

  41. reality check


    Cesc. Really? C’mon man. We all feel the same but the lil punk aint coming. I tell you what if he comes. Ill make a Rohan is the best t-shirt and post it on legrove.

    Mental strength

    Sterling. Over walcott and zaha? Okey dokey

    Sterling vs the Ox

  42. Rob

    My mate Richards player liaison officer at Watford,he knows the arsenal player liaison pretty well and he told me that he’s been given a heads up about a Spanish based player joining us who he’ll have to help settle in.Now obviously that could be anyone but let’s hope a higuain/isco would be nice

  43. Dannyboy

    What was all this bollocks about Wenger cancelling 2 international commentary jobs to wrap up some transfer dealings? Worked out well that dint it! ffs

    Still buzzing kwik?

  44. Rob

    Could easily be that youngster from Barcelona b team but generally he only deals with first team players as the youngsters stay with ‘foster’ families still I think in barnet.I do agree with you though that I think it’ll be an underwhelming signing but I’m staying a little optimistic,especially the Malaga situation at the moment plus considering man shitty have signed up fernandinho & Navas already I just don’t know whether they have a place for Isco right now so could be a one in a million chance

  45. Klauspoppe


    £460k a week is equivalent to USD37million a year. Thats what Kobe Bryant gets paid. Messi is actually the only player that deserves such amount!

  46. Moray

    “Paris St-Germain sound out André Villas-Boas over manager’s job”

    muah haha hahah hahaa.

    Take Bale with you when you go mate! thanks very mooch

  47. Moray

    @ Keyser

    “Wenger has gone quiet. He’s not returning people’s calls.”There’s just no pockets for a phone in his swimming trunks.

    – Where then does he keep the sweeties?

  48. Nasri's Mouth

    Keyser: which again only begs the question what was he doing before.

    Wenger was being given money before, it’s simply that the amount has just gone up significantly. Wenger hasn’t spent all that’s available to him before, there is now decent pressure from above (if you assume Gazidis is actually his boss) and if he doesn’t spend it will be his choice…

  49. Oh Theo Theo!

    Pedro, Pedro..
    where’s the post,
    where’s the post,
    wheeere’s the post
    Pedro, Pedro
    Where’s the post,
    where’s the fucking post!

    you know the tune….