Arsenal meet €63m price tag + Are we screwed on EPL wage regs?

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What’s that you can hear? It’s the last gasps of a banter era, tears rolling down its eyes as it withers on its deathbed. The Arsene Wenger circus is well and truly over, well, at least when it comes to transfers.

Ivan Gazidis, wounded this summer when Stan K awarded Wenger a deal over his head recuperated and metaphorically koshed Wenger’s knees in while he waited in line at the Colney canteen.

News spread like wildfire last night when the Kicker print edition revealed Ivan G and Michael Z had come to an agreement of €63m, shattering Arsenal’s fairly fresh transfer record set last summer of Alexandre Lacazette.

A sticking point appears to be whether Dortmund can bring in a replacement. Olivier Giroud is still on the table, though it’s believed his wife doesn’t quite fancy the move (agree with here, Dortmund is no London). He’s apparently angling for a move in London, with Chelsea desperately hoping for the deal.

For me, that’s an absolute fucking no no. Remember Chelsea walking us down the garden path with Demba Ba and even more embarrassingly, Loic Remy? I hope Raul Sanllehi shows a bit of Giroud skirt to Abramovich then tells them where to go. The only way I could even slightly stomach that sort of a move is if there was a big chunk of cash on offer. We simply can’t be strengthening our rivals in a very tight top 4 race, you know, more than we already have done with Sanchez going to United.

Anyway, this is super exciting. Big questions around why we didn’t do this deal in the summer when we were all questioning the talents of Lacazette. Now we have £100m worth of striking talent, with Mikki, Jack and Ozil feeding it. I’ve no idea how we’ll work all these players together. Lacazette is either sitting on the bench, or he’s going to find himself in some 2002 rehash of Sylvain Wiltord out wide. Even Wenger wouldn’t be mad enough to put a 6 ft 1 striker on the wing in place of a slow, weak guy who has struggled with the physicality of the league? I’m also not quite sure we have the players to play 2 up front? Or will we roll with 4-3-1-2?

Whatever, it’s an exciting problem to have. Aubameyang banged in 31 goals in 32 games for Dortmund last season in the league. He scored 7 goals in 9 in the Champions League, only a terrorist attack stopping a very exciting Thomas Tuchel Dortmund side. He’s also managed 21 goals in 24 games this season, 4 in 6 in the Champions League, at a club that’s on it’s 3rd manager inside a year.

There’s also still time for us to bring in Jonny Evans and cap off what I’d confidently call our most successful transfer window in well over 15 years, and without a doubt our greatest ever January.

Can this team challenge for the title? Absolutely not. But that’s not what these signings are about. This window was about pulling together a band of players who could make a go for 4th place (think Arshavin way back when). I think that’s well within our remit now. Liverpool are wobbling, Spurs haven’t been great, and all the teams above us are in Champions League contention.

Whatever you think about the players we’re signing, one thing can’t be denied, we’re going to be a lot of fun to watch for the rest of the season.

Mikki and Auba are top-talent. They could be immense. Ozil feeding Lacazette never felt like a dream to me, but watching him tee up one of the best finishers in Europe (and fastest) is going to be a joy to watch. I can’t tell you how excited about Arsenal I am right now.

Not just that, we’ve bombed off a sulky brat, we’ve moved on Coquelin, Theo, probably Giroud and Debuchy. Which is an incredible achievement!

My one concern?

That we seem to be the only club in the league that plays by the rules of wage inflation. You’re only allowed to increase your wage bill by £7m a season, unless you can show you’re increasing commercial revenue or match day revenue.

Wages Out:

  • Theo: £140k
  • Sanchez: £140k
  • Giroud: £110k
  • Coquelin: £80k

Total: £470k

Wages In:

  • Mikki: £200k
  • Auba: £200k
  • Jonny Evans: £100k

Total: £500k

Net Spend: £30k (£1.5m)

Doesn’t seem like much, but if you consider Ozil is going to want a £7.8m increase, it puts us in a spot of bother if we’re looking to drop a rebuild this summer.

However, then I looked at squad dross we’ll likely shift on.

  • Petr Cech: £100k
  • Debuchy: £90k
  • Santi: £90k
  • Ramsey: £100k
  • Mertesacker: £100k
  • Ospina: £65k
  • Welbeck: £70k

Total £625k (£32.5m)

That’s actually not a bad sum to be playing with. I reckon Sven M and Raul S could do some damage on the wheeler-dealer front with those sorts of numbers. Also, the squad clear out we’re always promised but never get might actually happen this time. If there’s a war chest, we might actually use it for once! Get me some of that Leon Bailey magic please!

So literally, we are all good in the hood.

Remember what I said would happen when Wenger was taken out of the equation?

The catalyst for change is here, and the path forward finally feels exciting!

See you in the comments.


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365 Responses to “Arsenal meet €63m price tag + Are we screwed on EPL wage regs?”

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  1. Emiratesstroller

    I will be quite sad if Giroud leaves this week, because despite Le Grove negativity he has been a good servant of the club.

    Arsenal will have in effect sold/transferred their three top goalscorers [64 goals] from last season in January transfer window.

    However, it unlocks the transfer of Batshuayi from Chelsea to Borussia as part
    of the deal to buy Aubameyang then it will be a deal worth making.

    Giroud is now 31 and if he had stayed at club he would become our third string striker option at best and even conceivably fourth string if you remember that
    Welbeck started season ahead of him as well.

    It is clear that Arsenal are rebuilding squad/team and for that reason we should not be too critical of this deal although I might be more inclined to
    offer an exchange between Giroud and Luiz than take a £15 million transfer
    fee. Both players are now 31.

    Somehow I don’t think that Chelsea are in any position to sabotage the Aubameyang deal as some have suggested. Borussia may have stated that the
    sale will not be completed until they find a replacement, but realistically they
    are not going to hold onto an unhappy and potentially disruptive player after
    all that has been said and done recently. They will complete the sale by the deadline.

  2. DaleDaGooner

    I really don’t get Arsenal fans and knee jerk reaction that comes with player influx….so Lacazette struggles with physicality now? A guy who has been able to hold up play well despite not being as tall or burly as Giroud? What he is suffering is what most of any striker we had, Podolski among, no proper and consistent service from Midfield bar Ozil brilliance once in a while, Jack Wilshere pass to Sanchez over the top has been a prime example of what we miss with Ramsey and even Ozil, no through balls to split the defense, Lacazette dropping deep to receive the ball shows there is a problem with service, Sanchez had to drop everytime he played as the lone striker.

    Also, We are about to lose Giroud to Chelsea….you will miss him! all the shit he gets. I just hope we’re at least getting David Luiz (we love cast offs in exchange)

  3. Thanos

    I don’t want us to sell Giroud to the chavs he will help them he is better than bash and will score and bring in the attack of hazard etc. He has been a good servant to the club send him home

  4. Marko

    but realistically they
    are not going to hold onto an unhappy and potentially disruptive player after
    all that has been said and done recently. They will complete the sale by the deadline.

    Oh the irony

  5. BacaryisGod

    First, I think it’s hilarious that everyone is assuming some Italian journalist has a direct line to Chelsea-Arsenal negotiations and knows the price that’s been discussed.

    I’m more likely to believe that Dortmund would snap up Giroud immediately if 15m was the price (unless Giroud refuses to leave London).

    More recently, it was reported Arsenal were looking for around 30m for Giroud, which in this market makes a lot more sense.

    Regardless, we have to look at this situation with a clearer head. First, it has to be Giroud to go and not Welbeck because at least Welbeck can play out wide. Giroud is a one-position player. Next, Giroud will be 32 in September. We know he’ll see next to no playing time at Arsenal and he’s been a loyal and mostly effective player for the club. If he wants to stay in London and we can’t get West Ham to buy him, then the best available option has to be Chelsea.

    It’s a tough one, but if Arsenal are forced to sell at a discount just to clear his salary off the books then in the larger scale of things, we could do a lot worse.

  6. Nw9 gooner

    ES yes I think the deal will go through- reports suggest only details are being finished- I am sure Borussia would have been scouting from the last two weeks for a replacement

  7. Carts

    You can tell Sturridge was prepared to join any team, no matter how shit, in order for guaranteed game time.

    Too bad he’s also made from the same stuff as Wilshere.

  8. Bay Area gooner

    David Luiz is a cast away now at Chelsea
    He can play defense and central defensive midfield he has the skills to do both if that’s what we’re looking for doesn’t this make sense

  9. Bamford10


    There is absolutely no chance that it was Wenger’s idea to spend 55m on a CF just five months after spending 52m on another CF. None.

    Unless, as someone else mentioned, he has already given up on Lacazette, but that too would be massively un-Wenger-like.

    Add in W’s comments about the pursuit of Aubameyang — “we will still develop youth, stay true to our values” — and it’s obvious that this signing was not driven by Wenger and that things are changing at the club.

    As is often the case, you’re just a little clueless.

  10. David Smith

    On Auba, Wenger wouldn’t have the idea, even if he did,he wouldn’t do it in Jan, and he would have walked at the first hurdle, he lacks a bit of stamina on transfers.
    This has precious little to do with Wenger, get the feeling he would have preferred Malcolm this summer
    If anything, signing Auba puts further pressure on Wenger, and not sure he will get away with the eventual Arshavin treatment this time

  11. Bamford10

    Another thing: Aubameyang is a better CF than Lacazette and he is a good signing, but if we play the same football we have been playing for the last few months, he won’t do much more than Lacazette has.

    Aubameyang has pace and needs space in which to operate. However, if we employ the slow, predictable, crab-football approach we’ve been employing for some time now, teams will simply fall back into a compact shell, get ten men behind the ball, and Aubameyang will have no space in which to operate.

    The only way you break something like that down is through clever combination play (a la Barcelona) or that plus smart, wide overlapping and underlapping patterns (a la City) but we don’t have any of that and, given our personnel, I don’t see where that is going to come from. If Mkhitaryan regains his Dortmund form, if Ramsey returns to health and plays CAM, if Ozil is in the mood, and if Jack stays healthy and helps in advanced positions, maybe I could see us combining and interchanging so as to create spaces and chances for Aubameyang, but that is a lot of if’s.

    I could see Aubameyang scoring a boatload of goals for our 2010-11 team, i.e., playing with Cesc, Nasri, Arshavin, Walcott-2010, Rosicky. But I don’t know about this iteration. We’re missing dynamism in midfield and in wide positions.

    Again, I like Aubameyang, but I think people should be reasonable re what he can accomplish given the slowness, predictability and staleness of our football at the moment.

  12. Emiratesstroller

    Wenger may have been consulted about the deal to buy Aubameyang, but I am pretty sure that he has not been involved in the transfer negotiations.

    I do think that there has been regime change in how the club conducts the business of transfers and wage negotiations.

    The club has made a hash of negotiations too often in the past. The way that the Lemar and Sanchez negotiations were handled in the summer was probably the last hurrah of Lawes and Wenger’s involvement.

  13. Carts

    Bay Area

    Sadly, I feel like arsenal supporters have arrived at a place whereby Arsena supporters throw shit at a wall hoping it sticks.

    This is the David Luiz who during his first stint at Chelsea was nothing short of a liability.

    The only reason he looks better than he did the first time is because Conte grabbed him by the scrote and drilled into him what his expectations are.

    Wenger couldn’t drill a Philips countersunk screw, correctly, with a black a decker drill, let alone convey a defensive strategy to Luiz, along with the other lot which means 5 players won’t be attracted to a circular white leather thingy

  14. David Smith

    Wenger, Dick Law and Steve Rowley, probably no transfer target on earth that lot couldn’t screw up
    Just wonder how long Wenger will accept the new regime, even if he has taken a shine to the “Greek Boy” bought to us by a scout who only knows the German second or third division. Still hoping he will walk, get back with his wife, head back to Paris and take the France job

  15. ArseneisaFraud

    “get back with his wife”…. she left him…. why? Because he cheated on her…. so much for a man with values.

  16. Bay Area Gooner


    I respect your opinion but I dont think as a team we are in the position to attract world class anymore. We can get near world class perhaps., auba etc.
    Luiz is a Brazil international, PSG an Chelsea experience. He is still got age on his side and can add some needed energy and experience to our side. We are not going to spend much in the summer- perhaps a goalie, thats about it. lets bite down on the bit when we have the chance to get someone decent. Evans vs Luiz? Hands down its Luiz for me.

    He is versatile as well and can play DM.

    Good size speed and strength. Wenger is gone in a year and a half, the new coach will hopefully help him and others reach their potential.

    I would grab him if we could….. !

  17. Black Hei

    “Did the oil crash badly affect Abramovich?”

    You sir, have no idea how bad it is.

    As far as I know, it is never going to recover. O&M industry is now paring down on their scale into something more sustainable.

  18. Bay Area Gooner

    If we bring in Luiz-…………………..

    The reports are saying we are not done- a third player is in the works.

    Imagine this:

    All in the winter window.
    What. The. Shit.!!>>!!@O#

    Cutting massive deadwood as well…..

    Progress finally!

    The Ghost of Kalstrom is being put to rest finally!

  19. Black Hei


    1. I don’t think under the old structure we would have pulled off Aubameyang.

    2. But if Aubameyang comes, it is also because Wenger have given the green light. BBC has reported that Wenger told Giroud that he needs to go in order to get playing time. So he is on board the new structure (well he can’t say no really unless he wants to bail early)

    3. Lacazette’s only time in a single striker position, prior to Arsenal, was last season. He struggled initially before growing into the role.

    4. Aubameyang’s purchase can be seen as a way to switch Lacazette back into his old role where he made his name as the 2nd striker playing off the target man.

  20. Goobergooner

    Bay area,

    you have to be joking about luiz.

    Id take evans over him any day of the week.

    In saying that, why a club of our stature be after either of these players is beyond me. We need a young experienced cb not an old has been.

  21. Goobergooner

    Like a few people have said,

    In order for both lacazette and auba to work, we need to stop playing our shitty crab football, and be more efficient going forward. The quicker we are in transition, the better those two players will perform. Having the best passing stats doesn’t mean shit if we are can’t break a defensive line and all we do is hold onto the ball around the halfway line playing one twos between defence and midfield player dropping deep.

  22. Black Hei

    Any rational manager would pick Evans over Luiz.

    But if you want fun, you pick Luiz.

    Luiz “Mr Wenger, what do you want from me?”

    Wenger “I want you to start in the CB position, before overlapping down the flanks”

    Luiz “You are alot of fun, unlike my other stuffy bosses; what if the grass is slippery and I lose the ball”

    Wenger “Its ok, just run as fast as you can”

  23. Goobergooner

    I don’t even know why we still haven’t looked at a DM.
    We seriously need that player to make a decisive tackle when the opposition has committed men forward, and to make a quick, incisive forward pass.

    The play leading to Giroud’s scorpion kick is prime example of when our quick break works, even though the goal was an absolute freak of nature hahaha.

  24. Goobergooner

    Black Hei

    hahahaha that is luiz at his best, and i could see it happening with wengers express yourself style. With him at the back we would always have one extra player forward

  25. Bay Area Gooner


    With him at the back we would always have one extra player forward

    Ill give you that…. that was funny. He can be a headless chicken at times. If we get him, I would make him the CDM.

    I think that Luiz wont need to add too much to our attack compared to Chelsea.

    Someone needs to show him a map of the field and circle the center area back to the defense. Do not go out of this area.

  26. 1886not1996

    Someone needs to show him a map of the field and circle the center area back to the defense. Do not go out of this area.

    Yeah because that wenger’s real strength. Managing players on discipline. Tactics. defence.

    You new to Arsenal?

  27. Black Hei

    Wenger will show Luiz a map of the field and circle the center area back to the defense before drawing a curly-twisty-turning arrow down to the other side with the words in bold, ATTACK HERE.

  28. 1886not1996

    Wenger will tell Luiz, aubu, mkhit to
    Express themselves.

    And we will finish the season exactly where we were when they arrived.

    6th place. A million points off the pace.

    In Wenger we trust

  29. Bay Area Gooner

    Have faith man. All those changes we have discussed forever as slowly taking place.
    Bar Wenger, these pieces are clearly non Wengeresque

    When he does walk away, we will have the chess pieces in place. Now is the time, not when he leaves to rebuild. Smart on Ivans part

    Do we have a chance at 4th? I would say yes. Can we win Carabao with Mik and Auba… I say yes too.

    Keep you chin up brother!

  30. Black Hei


    I am cautiously optimistic that we will blast everyone aside with the most sexy football ever.

    Caution: I am wearing my AKB glassess

  31. Akilan

    Those who prefer Evans over luiz dont understand one thing. This guy looks good in a hyper organised, heavily drilled wba defence. He looked out of place in a man utd defence too. Coaching defence will never be of Wenger’s interest. IMO, Evans is nothing but a slightly polished English Gabriel.
    Luiz should play the el neny role in the back 3 and be a cover to Kos and mustafi in the back 4.
    Defensively speaking Evans or Luis wouldn’t make that big a difference but offensively Luiz could be the best of the bunch. He is also deadly from set pieces.
    Arsenal could sign Ramos, varane, pepe, hummels, lahm, Alba et al and they will still be vulnerable at the back as long as we have the Weng in charge.

  32. Akilan

    Remember, a couple of years back when the welbz scored at the old trafford in the fa cup… Guess who played the back pass? Its Johny fu*cking Evans.
    And here in arsenal, for 60 percent of the match, he has to be in that type of situation.

  33. Bay Area gooner


    I agree Luiz would add something to our attack as well with dead ball situations
    Good leaper too

    I would rather do with some samba in the team versus bland pudding Evans

  34. BacaryisGod

    Akilan-you might want to do your research on that Welbeck goal… was Valencia not Evans who made the bad back pass. Evans wasn’t even on the bench for that game.

  35. Akilan

    Oops. I posted it off the top of my head and I always thought Evans played that pass. My bad.
    Still I stay with my point tho. Strictly No Evans.

  36. UTarse

    How the fuck can a bunch of penny pinchers value PEA at an original offer of £43m and then stick a £35m price tag on Giroud ?? Our negotiating strategy is comical at best and utterly disrespectful at worst. Fucking buffoons.

  37. qna

    Its hard to believe it could happen, but if we somehow managed to do a deal that involved Giroud + 20m for Aubamayang, I would have to admit that that is one of the best deals I can ever remember us pulling off. If only we could offload Welbeck as part of the deal.

    As for future transfer targets, my number one attacking player would be Fekir. Wanted us to desperately sign him before he did his knee and even at the beginning of this year. After that it probably has to be Lemar, although I feel he is slightly over-rated in terms of what he has actually done on the pitch thus far.

    Will be glad if we avoid signing Evans. What a pointless signing that would be, especially this season in the winter when our chances are already dead in the water. I have been going on about Laporte since before we signed Chambers and I would rather look for the next “one” like him. Imagine, Chambers and Laporte are the same age. We could have picked up Laporte for around 25m at the time, but instead we went for Chambers for 16m.

    Seriously, I don’t think we could have made worse decisions if we tried. That window we were gifted Sanchez as he was being forced out of Barca for Suarez. He chose us instead of Liverpool. Not even a decision to be made. Then look at the actual moves we made, that were in our control – Debuchy (12m), Ospina (3m), Chambers (£16m), Welbeck (16m).

    Every step forward we make, we always take several back. If we do manage to take a step forward with Auba, please dont let us take a step back with Evans.

  38. Rambo Ramsey

    UTArse, maybe because that’s the way negotiations work?

    The buyer starts bidding at 5-10 million lower than their evaluation of the player.
    The seller slaps 5-10 million extra on their own evaluation of the player.

    In the end, they meet in the middle and both parties get the deal as per their valuations.

  39. Rambo Ramsey

    Giroud’s value is somewhere between 22-27 million.

    Chelsea will make their first bid less than 20. Arsenal demand in excess of 30. In the end, Giroud will go for his real worth maybe 25 million.

  40. qna

    RR: Chelsea will make their first bid less than 20. Arsenal demand in excess of 30. In the end, Giroud will go for his real worth maybe 25 million.

    That will be a good deal. Nothing to help restore our poor record in the transfer market, but a good deal. It also gets his 100k/wk wages off our books. In the summer if we can offload Welbeck and upgrade him with somebody like Fekir or Lemar then we start to look dangerous again. Having said that, until we get a quality defensive midfielder to sit alongside Xhaka we can’t possibly compete. This is the very least and still doesn’t make us genuine contenders again with the state of our overall squad.

  41. UTarse

    Rambo, BD asking price was €70m according to various reports, we offered €50m.
    As for how negotiations work, you can’t undervalue on one hand by 20m at the same time as overvaluing your own by 15-20m especially when the deals are not mutually exclusive.

  42. Ughelligunner

    “How the fuck can a bunch of penny pinchers value PEA at an original offer of £43m and then stick a £35m price tag on Giroud ?? Our negotiating strategy is comical at best and utterly disrespectful at worst. Fucking buffoons.”

    Carts, Bamford, understand me well,

    The old negotiator (Dick Law) night not be in the house, doesn’t mean Wenger isn’t the one calling the shot on players needed for his team. Wenger doesn’t negotiate, they report back to him on the budget made available to spend on players. He is the one to manage the players needed. And he makes the list of players needed.

    New negotiators or not, the evidences from the penny pinching deals according to Utarse above, points to the same factors. Arsenal doesn’t have money to spend on players as we think.

    There might be a worldclass player available who nobody wants, Ala sanachez and ozil style, that’s where we jump in.( as Aubumayang has proven)

    Bamford ask yourself this, if any other top club was in for Aubumayang, do you think Gazidis-mislintat will be making bids?

    I think we would have pulled out. The new boys can’t even sign Malcolm for a patry 44m, something the Manchester clubs can risk.

    As for me, I know Wenger is still involved in any player coming in.
    We would see in the next summer window . Let just bid our time.

    Just like I told you Wenger would sign a new contract after the Fa cup, when many thought he would resign, we would see the true answer in the next window.

  43. UTarse

    I don’t believe the notion that we don’t have money, it’s just that we don’t like spending any of it.

  44. Ughelligunner

    Kronke, Gazidis got Wenger a negotiator so as to preserve his new contract ahead of him. Wenger is a safe haven for Kronke, even Klopp isn’t doing so well after spending more than 75m on a defender.

    Kronke’s view would be, why should he sack Wenger when teams sacking and bringing in new management every 2 to 3 years haven’t delivered on a trophy even as small as the carling cup? Those that have delivered (man utd, man city and Chelsea) are spending over the odds on Players transfer, wages and agent/family fees.

    While teams like Tottenham and Liverpool are struggling to win a cup while spending yearly. Everton tried it and catapulted.

    Tottenham spend 2017/18 ( Davison Sanchez – 35m, Serge Arier (22m), Fernando Loreinte 13m, Joan Forte -10m

    2016/17 Sissoko- 32m, Vincent Jasen – 20m, George Kelvin – 9m, Wayanma – 12m, Paul Lopez – 1m

    As seen above, Tottenham has lucked out on their youth team project in Kane and bargain deals for Dele Alli

    These are Tottenham last two years transfers.

    Liverpool – we all know Liverpool have spent considerable sum on players coming in.

    This shows that Arsenal isn’t doing any different from the above clubs, however these teams aren’t their major competitors when we talk about trophys and status but as far as spending on players, they are their rivals.

  45. Ughelligunner

    You mean we have money to spend like the manchester clubs?

    We are like dortmund, we spend what we earn. Lol. We can’t even pay our best players above 300k per week. Lol… Where is the money then?

    You want us to risk spending the 200m we have on young upcoming youths? Do you think if we have been spending like the way you want, the so called bank balance will still be intact? I belive the money would have been exhausted, if we had spent like Liverpool (nothing to show for it) and the manchester clubs.

  46. UTarse

    No I didn’t mention it with a view relative to Manchester and frankly we do possess the financial clout to spend more than we are currently spending on a net basis. Kroenke has to invest to get us back to champions league rewards which in turn will enable us to be more profitable and hence more competitive. The team was neglected because we depended on AW getting us into champions league football, he no longer posssess that ability and to get us back there we need a new manager and to invest in the team. Please don’t compare us to Spurs and Liverpool, we have more revenue than both.

  47. Dream10

    Ughelli, UTarse

    I think it is more of a wage bill than a cash for transfer issue. The PL short term cost control measure allows a team to increase their wage bill by 7m per season when factoring in PL revenue. An increase in overall revenue thru matchday sources, the outgoing transfer of players, shifting wages thru loans & commercial income allow you push up the wage bill.

    We have little commercial movement. But, primarily, we have been horrible at selling players. For a club who is not among the elite money wise (Real, Barça, City, Utd, PSG, Bayern) our revenue from selling is too low.

    Wenger’s loyalty to fringe players who are on decent wages has held us back. He wants better players but won’t sacrifice his favourites. One of the best developments this season has been the transfer of non starting XI players, Ox, Theo, Coquelin, Walcott, Gibbs and Giroud*. Those are 7/10 players who you don’t want starting more than 15PL matches.

    We’re not a Utd who can keep a 300k/week Rooney & Schneiderlin (on more $$$ than Özil/Alexis) both on the bench & sign a couple of 200k/week players.