Arsene Wenger struggles to build without DoF

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Blimey, you have to look at the state of play with our contracts and wonder if – when Arsene Wenger asks:

‘What does a Director of Football do?’

He’s being deadly serious.

We’re in a hell of a pickle when it comes to player contracts. For me, there’s a mix of things at play here. We’ve suddenly gone from the club that knows how the make the last 16 of the CL, to one that’s fighting in the Europa League. We’ve also neglected to be assertive about who we buy and sell. Because we’re in a state of transition (again), players don’t want to commit.

Arsene Wenger has let the club slide into a very worrying position. It sure does sound great to hear the club put their foot down and dictate that Alexis and the rest of the ingrates they have to stay, but the upshot of that next summer is we’ll have lost out on £60m-£100m because we’ll lose Sanchez for nothing, and we don’t have a bold owner who can counter the issue by dropping some of his own cash.

It doesn’t stop there. As we don’t have a DoF overseeing wage structure and planning, we’re either in a situation where we’ve failed to sell players at the peak of their valuations. Or we’re in a situation where we can’t sell players for proper valuations because we pay them too much


We should have sold Aaron Ramsey at the peak of powers last summer when we’d have landed £40m for him

We should have sold Jack Wilshere last year when he’d finally regained fitness for £20m. Very clear he was broken and uninterested in being a star.

Chezzer was a £20m player last year. We put him out on loan which indicated he was a problem. We’ve only been able to recoup £10m for him from CL finalists (partly due to £90k a week wages he wasn’t worth)

Club can’t shift Jenkinson – a really weak player – because he earns a salary Palace don’t want to pay

Kieran Gibbs, a player everyone at Arsenal knows is a bottle job, is 27 years old and somehow on £70k a week. A number he’d struggle to make anywhere else, unless we have to take a massive hit on his fee.

As it stands, unless we act now we stand to lose the following next year.

Sanchez: £60m
Ozil: £50m
Chamberlain: £35m
Wilshere: £20m
Gibbs: £15m
Campbell: £10m
Ospina: £5m
Santi: £2m
Cech: £2m
Matt Macy: Errr?

That’s quite a lot of dough we’re leaving on the table and it’s not very smart that we’re letting these guys either go on a free, or leave for nothing.

We’re losing 3 of our keeping roster in a single year. How have we not planned more for more stability?

Arsenal desperately need a DOF. Someone who can plan more than 6minutes ahead of time, someone who can offer up instant tiered solutions to player issues. We shouldn’t have let the Sanchez thing drag on this year, we should have acted early to clear out dross when it was at peak price instead of constantly loaning and hoping, and we should be securing players earlier.

It’s all an Arsene control thing and the staggering thing for me is that Stan doesn’t seem to care that his star man is literally hemorrhaging money these days. The Arsenal wage bill should be nowhere near that of Manchester City. It should be Spurs level. We could have raked in £50m+ for the British project that flopped, instead, we’re now looking like we’ll lose there. We should never be in a situation where we’re letting our star man leave when there’s £60m on the table and solutions like Auba available who could step in.

Crazy times.

But to be blunt, a good DoF takes care of these things so the manager doesn’t have to.

I’ve written this before, but when I worked with a successful sports club in London, their CEO would plan transfers three years in advance. He’d understand the weaknesses of the manager and he’d build strength around those issues and problems. He’d be deeply connected to clubs all around Europe, able to spy out potential opportunities.

Wenger demands that he’s put in a situation where he’s the one controlling all the details, so it’s mostly his fault we’re in this situation. But a massive chunk has to sit with our spineless CEO who doesn’t simply demand a DoF is brought in. It wouldn’t be difficult to plot the cost of not having a DoF.

  • Cost of players we’ll lose on frees
  • Cost of players we can’t shift
  • Cost of dross we have trapped in our MASSIVE squad
  • Market rate for players contracts vs what Arsenal pay for contracts
    • You could probably work out what Sanchez would have been worth if we’d tied him down last year, vs the premium we’ll have to pay this year
  • Cost of missed opportunities in the transfer market
  • Loss of commercial deal value

We are a club that’s pretty much hit the same points total for 10 years running. What’s the shot in the arm that’ll change that? A Performance Director? Please. A guy from the SKY cycling team? Please. We need to think about the bigger picture. Someone needs to be given this brief.

Brief: Modernise Arsenal without Arsene Wenger realising you’re doing it.

Our season will now be judged on how well Wenger dealt with the summer of turmoil he created. It’s mad.

Anyway, I’m back in NYC this week. So more footballing goodness on regular from me.


460 Responses to “Arsene Wenger struggles to build without DoF”

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  1. Joe


    Fine. I’ll judge him over his 20 years. 3 league titles out of 20. Not the best results for a supposed top top qualidee coach. Especially at the salary he demands. Not the best return.

    Oh and most importantly 0 out of 20 European titles. 0. Zero. And quite embarrassing that last 7.

    Is that better Daz.

    Also remember wenger went 3 years without a trophy in his prime with Arsenal as well, In a two team league.

    You’re right daz. I should have judged him
    Over 20 years. Doesn’t make great reading for a supposed top top manager earning 10m pounds a season

    20 years 3 league titles 0 Europe cups.

    8 years 2 league titles and a European cup.

  2. graham62


    Are you Arsene Wenger in disguise? As Walcott was born March 1989, he would have been either 19/20 in the 2008-09 season and how do you know he requested the #14 shirt? From what I know, he wanted the #8 shirt.

    Wenger may not have forced him into taking the shirt but he certainly paved the way for it to happen, as he does with most things at the club! Remember Arshavin, forced into being something he wasn’t. A Russian magician before coming to Arsenal, he ended up a broken and confused man!
    AND any manager who sacrifices a quality player like Gilberto Silva for the disfunctional Denilson is either deluded or blind!

    I reitorate, Theo Walcott remains an example of gross mismanagement and is one of Wenger’s greatest failures.

  3. graham62


    Totally agree. GG was by far the better coach. Given the same set of circumstances/infrastructure/players and resources at his disposal , over a twenty year period, George Graham would have achieved far more success for the club. Maybe the football wouldn’t have been so pretty, but it would certainly have been more effective. “ONE NIL……TO THE ARSENAL”

  4. graham62

    Can anyone explain to me why the BBC pays Chris Evans over 2.5m a year? That’s wound me up more than the Sanchez saga!!!

  5. N5

    @graham62. I read an interview that’s all. I’m going on what Theo himself said during that interview about requesting Henry’s shirt number the moment he left.

    I’m not arguing that he’s being mismanaged, but I’m also not going to agree that he’d be a world beater at any other team because he wouldn’t, he just isn’t good enough. If you think so fine, but I’ve seen enough of him over the years to know that Wenger has giving him waaaaaaay more chances than I bloody would.

  6. N5

    West Ham apparently about to complete the signing of Hernandez. That’ll not be a bad window for them. They have managed a new keeper and striker with out spending much at all.

  7. China

    As has been said

    Terry was totally peripheral last year

    Matic hasn’t been sold yet so let’s not jump to conclusions on him

    Costa needed replacing, whether morata is as good is another story. He has a lot to prove because he’s mid 20s and never been a first choice striker, which honestly doesn’t reflect brilliantly on him at that kind of price bracket. We’ll see with him. I guess his career path in some ways aligns with Higuain who was second fiddle at the top for a while before he made a name for himself as deserving of being first choice at an elite club

    By the end of the window Chelsea have Sold like 8+ players and bought in like 3 first team players. I don’t see that those numbers add up to replacements.