German football is BACK (nearly)

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via @t0wey (instagram)

Well, well, well… I didn’t see it coming, but it is the German’s that have plunged themselves back into football first. Angela Merkel has pushed her footballing will onto clubs and ensured that we’ll be seeing some games this month. This, despite Macron poking his nose in and lobbying for them to cancel like Ligue 1 did (shame bells).

This is very exciting. It’ll put pressure on English, Spanish and Italian clubs to follow suit. Is it the correct decision? Only time will tell, but at least the Premier League has an excuse now.

‘The German’s made us do it’

Rapha H’s piece in The Athletic focused on how they’re dividing up the fixtures. There are a number of proposals under consideration, but one of the more radical ideas is the rework the fixtures based on geography, playing the local games first, then as the impact is played out, the distance can widen.

I like that approach, mainly because if we did it in England, we’d avoid facing Pep G on our return game. It wouldn’t be easy, our first batch of games would be Watford, Spurs, and Brighton… but it’d be better than a fresh Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta and Ian Wright had a fun chat for Adidas.

Key takeaways. Ian Wright loves Arteta.

Additionally, it would appear that Arteta loves Kieran Tierney. There was quite the section dedicated to how impressed he was with the wee Scottish lads’ attitude and application. I think a lot of Arsenal fans are wondering what the future of the left looks like. We have so many sexy options. Martinelli, Tierney and Saka is a problem that any manager would like to have. That piece about Saka being a top 30 winger, versus a top 3 left back weighs heavy… the left side equivalent of Lampard/Gerrard. It’ll be very interesting to see how that’s solved.

It was also interesting to hear Arteta talk about being ready to get the season underway for the country. That sort of tone indicates to me that he’s keen to get the season underway and I would assume that the players are feeling the same way as well. Not all of them. Getting Ozil up for an away game is tough in the best of circumstances, can’t imagine he’ll be putting his hand up anytime soon for a corona derby.

There are some loose rumours about us trying to sign up Angelo Stiller. If you remember him, you are a better man than I… but here he is forcing Mesut into a tackle.

The Bundesliga website reckons he plays a little like peak Nuri Sahin.

A deep-lying play-maker just as willing to create as convert chances with a wand of a left foot? Stiller has more than a little in common with Nuri Sahin, the Borussia Dortmund legend who remains the Bundesliga’s youngest ever debutant aged 16 years, 11 months and one day and now struts his stuff for Werder Bremen.

If there is one difference, it’s that Stiller is just as able to burst forward and attack as he is to sit deep and dictate play. Sahin spent two seasons away from Dortmund at Real Madrid and Liverpool between 2011 and 2013. Injuries aside, he was also used in more advanced positions than he was comfortable with. Stiller gives his side options, being equally happy playing as a No.6 or No.8.

I like that we’re looking to bring in midfield talent and this sort of move reeks of Project Youth, Reboot Edition. I really hope that as we shift out expensive deadwood, the transfer strategy refocuses on elite kids that we can grow. The situation we’re in at the moment demands it.

On the coaching front, Santi Cazorla opened the door to a return to the backroom team.

“I don’t know what my legacy is. You have to ask the fans, but I want to thank everyone. I don’t know what I will do next, maybe a coach, maybe a sports director, but I would like to come back”

Makes sense from a feelings perspective, but I don’t know much about him as a potential coach. One to watch. Interesting to note that Pep is leaning into Alonso as a candidate to be his number two.

Cesc Fabregas also has it all to be a coach. Ruthless, intelligent and product of La Masia. It’ll be very interesting to see how many players from that elite batch of Spanish players take up the management tools. Or maybe he’ll move into biology if his latest book choice is anything to go by. He’s reading Robert Sapolsky, Behave. If you like that sort of read, can I highly recommend Some Assembly Required, Neil Shubin. It’s a certified mindblower that fills in some of the gaps Darwin missed out in his classic tome (it’s not a creationist book).

Back to the football.

Mikhi and Roma might be a permanent deal. The clubs have agreed that a 10m euro fee feels right. The Premier League has not been good to the Armenian. I’m shocked we’ve managed to land anything for him. That’s a chunk of change off the wage bill we could do with. Put the spare cash into Saka. Plenty more work to be done this summer, but at least some of the pieces are moving.

I was going to touch on the Premier League doctors asking 600 questions of the league, but it feels kind of pointless now. If Germany cracks football, the Premier League will have to. Watch this space.

Right, see you in the comments. x

175 Responses to “German football is BACK (nearly)”

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  1. Emiratesstroller


    Use a bit of common sense we are talking about the current situation and not
    what has happened in the past.

    Last summer Arsenal offloaded something like 10 first team players and apart from Iwobi we generated in transfer revenues about £7 Million which was the
    same as we earned from Bielek an U23 squad player.

    On paper these players were valued by Transfermarkt at over £100 million so
    they were fairly meaningless in the light of what they were sold for.

    Arsenal’s problem was a combination of failure to qualify for Champions League, too many players aged 30+, others at end of contract AND average
    players earning in many cases £100K pw +. In other words they were unsaleable.

    Yet Arsenal despite this fiasco still managed to buy new players costing us
    £130 million in transfer fees. The major difference is that most of players
    recruited are costing us a lot less in wages.

    My guess is a similar exercise will be done once again this summer. The club
    will buy two or three new players including perhaps Mari plus perhaps a couple of Bosmans, but the major difference will be that their wages will be
    significantly less than players being offloaded.

  2. jwl

    I would be quite surprised if there are more sales than trades this summer, a nuclear bomb has been dropped on football clubs, and all other businesses. That is not easy to recover from and vast majority of clubs don’t have huge cash balances, teams will be swapping players for a while.

    And I am far from convinced that international transfers will happen at all now because of how off kilter all different leagues are at the moment. Some leagues still hoping to finish season while others have had their season cancelled early. How do you align all the different leagues to allow selling during transfer window?

  3. Graham62

    Henry on sky with Jamie Redknapp.

    Going through some of his great goals.

    A legend and a half.

    The way he talks about Arsenal and Highbury, emotional stuff.

  4. jwl

    And I also wonder if UEFA or individual leagues will pass rule that bans the few mega rich clubs from buying a bunch of players at reduced cost because other teams are in dire need of cash?

    It is not particularly fair if the two manc clubs and chelsea can buy up all the talented players from distressed clubs while everyone else has liquidity issues and can only trade players.

  5. Marc


    How the hell do you enforce that? You think UEFA or FIFA are going to set player values? What happens if they say Mane (for example) is worth £50 million which someone is willing to pay but Liverpool don’t want to sell at that price?

    I’d also point out that Abamovich has stopped bank rolling Chelsea to the degree he used to and with City having a CL ban if they go crazy spending they’ll fall even further foul of FFP rules.

  6. Guns of SF

    Still waiting PSG to get the hatchet for the Neymar deal.

    The mega rich teams are the dirtiest in the biz.

  7. Marc


    He has not been spending like he used to – I think the transfer ban has over shadowed the effect of him losing his VISA.

    We’ll see over the next couple of years.

  8. Terraloon


    Here’s what The Swiss Rambler said in his assessment of Chelsea’s 2018/19 Accounts

    “Since Abramovich acquired the club, he has put £1.2 bln into the club (including a chunky £247m in 2019), split £876m loan & £350m share capital. Most of this funding has been seen on the pitch with a massive £1.1 bln (83%) spent on players (net), while £164m went on capex.

  9. Terraloon


    No. They reflect their trading year 31/5/2019.

    Based on transfer league , and if you include Morata, they made £192 million from sales with just Kovacics deal completed due in part to their transfer ban but also of course the fact that they have had to promote so many academy players to their first team squad.

  10. Marc


    I’m not saying he didn’t put money in before. The £247 million in 2019 could have been an advance on not being able to buy in the summer 2019 and having Hazard leave.

    I’m not going to argue with Swiss Rambler’s analysis on the numbers but there needs to be a context.

  11. jwl

    Marc – I didn’t say anything about UEFA setting players values, I was thinking it or individual leagues could ban buy/sell players but allow trades for this summer only, or they could limit how much each club is allowed to spend to make things more equal.

    But I am also sure there will be many distressed clubs who need to sell players to raise cash to pay bills, it is difficult situation.

  12. Marc


    I don’t understand what you’re suggesting – banning transfers but allowing them for this summer – do you mean only allowing swap deals? – putting a transfer cap on clubs?

    Can’t see any of that working. If City try to flout the rules chances are the other clubs will go after them through FFP.

  13. jwl

    Marc – I don’t really know what I am suggesting either, I’ve not spent much time thinking about it.

    I am Canadian and was thinking about North America sports rules, where players are traded, not bought/sold, and there is transfer cap. It is not really fair that 6-8 teams across Europe can buy/sell whoever they want while all other teams need to trade players because they have no cash to spend.

    And it would be for this summer only, I much prefer buy/sell model of European football than how American sports leagues operate.

  14. Marc


    As Pedro alluded to earlier if the Barca exec’s are talking about swap deals I’d guess all teams are going to be in much the same boat. Woodward has already talked about ManU having to realign their targets from Kane / Sancho types to something lower.

  15. Terraloon


    RA put in the £247m in one trading year which ended on 31/5/19.

    In the summer 2019 and Januray 2020 transfer window they sold £192 million worth of players .These sales will be reflected in their 31/5/20 accounts. Although it’s probable that the Morata sale won’t be appearing until the 31/5/21 accounts as he is on loan with AM till 31/5/20.

    My guess is that the £247 m was used to fund their 2018 purchases which cost them the best part of £185 million, to pay of Conte & pay Saris release fee which together was rumoured to be another £30 ish million.

  16. Dissenter

    “As Pedro alluded to earlier if the Barca exec’s are talking about swap deals I’d guess all teams are going to be in much the same boat”

    Same way everyone started buying players at 130 million because Barca executives did it?
    Barca are also broke because they’ve been dog-shit at transfers. They can talk swap until they turn blue in the face, no one else if following them. Clubs need the flexibility cash more than anything else.

  17. jwl

    Marc – now that you questioned me when I was just talking shite, I think the two manc clubs, Chelsea, PSG, and maybe Bayern have unfair advantage this summer.

    I don’t know about two Spanish clubs, their finances always murky because they seem to get unconditional support from banks.

    And what does Woodward mean when he talking about realignment? Does he mean club would have paid $150 million for Kane or Sancho but now club can only afford $40 million or are they now looking at buying Giroud for second string duties?

    What is bothering me is that there are a handful of clubs that could buy quality players at reduced prices this summer from almost bankrupt clubs looking for cash to pay bills and all other teams are looking at swaps or nothing.

  18. Emiratesstroller

    The agents acting for Saka are Elite Project. They act also for Sancho, Iwobi and FOUR other Arsenal players who are Nkietah, Nelson, Omole and Balogun.

    Looking at this Agency’s published accounts they appear to be insolvent and
    have been recently struck off by Companies House for non presentation of accounts.

    One of the original shareholders has also left the company.

    So there should be considerable concern about what is going on with both
    Saka and for that matter Sancho at Borussia Dortmund who is also on their books.

    One has to ask the question is this agency more interested in players being
    sold than negotiating a new contract? There must be also concern for Arsenal
    that four more talented players are on the books of the same agency who could also follow Saka out of the door.