The absolute peak of arrogance is conducting grim business in plain sight of the whole world.
Raul and Edu have moved into the ‘I don’t give a fuck’ territory and it is utterly miserable. We’ve let the foxes into the chicken coup and no one is concerned that there will be no eggs for breakfast tomorrow, next week, or in 5 years time.
We are a super-agent fee trough. That my friends is a terrible place to be. I have been warning you things aren’t right at Arsenal for a while, now you’re witnessing first hand what’s important to our leadership as they double down on average deals with new contracts with a cadre of select super-agents.
Now, to be clear, you can find good deals from super-agents. Their presence in the game is very grim, they suck money out of the sport and offer next to no value, but sometimes the cost of dealing with them is worth it. At a modern superclub, the process should always go in the order of data > extensive scouting > club engagement > super-agent. Not super-agent first. We are now the latter and that has lead us to one of the saddest David Ornstein tweets of 2020.
🚨 Hearing Arsenal have signed:
🔴 David Luiz to a 1-year contract
🔴 Cedric Soares to a 4-year contract 🔴 Pablo Mari to a 4-year contract
The defenders will be part of Mikel Arteta’s rebuilding job at #AFC@TheAthleticUK: https://t.co/qDXi0s3GLI
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) June 23, 2020
The problem is this: If the majority of your average deals go through the same people, serious questions arise about the truth of how you landed on the decisions. Why would a club as prestigious as Arsenal lean so heavily on 2 agents? Why do we keep signing up average players from these people? Why, even when our money is being spent badly and we’re 10th in the league, has the club not stopped making these awful deals? How has no one at Arsenal flagged that a technical director using his own agent for a bunch of shoddy deals looks very bad? Huss? Vinnai? Friar? Where are you? Who at Arsenal has the power to scrutinise these deals?
At the moment, it looks like Arsenal are beholden to two agents that are favoured by Raul: Kia and Arturo Canales.
They both have abysmal records with Arsenal.
Canales repped Unai Emery who was an absolute disaster. He repped him BEFORE he officially represented him. His recommendation was so powerful, Raul managed to jam the deal through even though Emery couldn’t speak a word of English to the CEO.
Kia has managed to push Edu, Luiz, and Soares our way. He’s working on Willian and maybe even Neto according to reports in Spain.
Yesterday, despite Arsenal pleading poverty, it was announced that those two agents have managed to land deals for Pablo Mari (4 years), Cedric Soares (4 years), and David Luiz (1 year).
That is contacts football at its peak.
I like Luiz, but his record this season has been atrocious outside a small patch of good games he had before the break.
David Luiz with a red card once every 160 PL games with Chelsea, once every 13 games with Arsenal. Gave a penalty away once every 53 games for Chelsea, once every 6.5 games for Arsenal.
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 17, 2020
Pablo Mari, a player I really want to like, has managed a single full 90 minutes for Arsenal, outside that, he has 22 competitive games in Brazil to his name. He lands a 4-year deal with an injury that sees him out until November. Why not a 2 year deal with an option for an extra year? Just to play it safe? He’s a risky signing and let’s be honest, Raul hasn’t exactly been hitting 6s with these sort of deals.
Cedric Soares, a player that Southampton were willing to lose for free because they thought he’d go to a lower league club, has landed a 4 year deal with Arsenal without playing a single minute of football for us. He arrived injured. The player is 28 years old, we’re in the worst economic crisis football has faced in its existence, and Huss Fahmy is out here dishing out long-term deals to questionable talent AGAIN. The man who wanted to instil high-performance culture and smarts on deals is locking an average player into a longterm deal before we’ve seen a single minute of him play? Quite remarkable. Where are the standards?
You’d be hard-pressed to find many people in the world of football looking at these deals positively. The length of the contracts is generous given what we know, the quality of the players is barely subjective, and it is very, very unlikely the players move us onto a level we require. They are unimaginative deals and they are all tainted by cronyism.
Where does Arteta fit in all of this, after all, he’s in the media praising the deals?
Well, you have to put yourself in his shoes. It’s his first job out of coaching University, it’s a huge one, and his boss is in the front seat of the Raul bus of average.
What would you do? Slay your bosses publicly?
I can’t have it.
Martyrdom is for idiots. Very few are remembered or effective. Arteta needs Arsenal to work out for his career to move forward. More than that, he genuinely wants Arsenal to work for him because he loves the club. You cannot affect change if you get yourself marginalised or fired. Complaining in the media doesn’t help him this season and it’d make him look petulant. It’ll also depress an already fragile squad and further fuel uncertainty and stress. He doesn’t have enough reputational capital in the bank to be demanding so soon. Sadly, he has to play the game.
I feel for him. Worse, it now seems apparent that part of his appeal to Raul and Edu is that when you are a maker of Kings, they are in your service. Emery was going to Sociedad before Raul leant a hand. The exPSG coach wanted Zaha, but that didn’t work for Raul who wanted to deal with Lille, so Emery needed to stfu and deal with that. Arteta was a target of Newcastle and Everton before our interest. This is the best first job in Europe he had a chance with. He’s not squandering it, he’s too smart for that. Look how long it took Poch to pipe up about his unhappiness at the way Daniel Levy would run summers. No wonder Raul didn’t want Jose Mourinho at the club, he’d pipe up and get in the way of his special friends.
Not that I think Edu’s decision was a bad one. I am convinced Arteta will earn the right to speak up eventually. It really wouldn’t take much for him to earn more cache at the club that his overlords boast. We know that Josh and Stan love an exciting manager, so let’s hope that despite weak football leadership at the top, he can still achieve something… because my word, we need him to come good, the alternative is bleak.
It’s also up to the people who work at Arsenal to speak out against a Football Director that has taken over and rooted out any possible dissenters or wielders of oversight. Maybe Josh Kroenke should show a bit of interest in the people that have left Arsenal. Sven, Sir Chips, Lord Harris, the data guy to who left for Wenger to name but a few… do they have some insight into the inner workings at the club? Do they have opinions on why we’re landing on deals like this despite all our scouting and technical prowess? Highly likely. I just don’t understand why Arsenal’s owners don’t seem to want to inquire. It baffles me that you can have so little curiosity about what’s going on at something you have a vested interest in.
Still, don’t despair, things always work themselves out in the end. Arsenal is a huge club. We have a curious media. There are a lot of people that are angry about how we’re being run. I don’t think Raul will get away with this sort of performance forever, the question is how low do we have to go before someone at KSE pays attention and makes the necessary changes to push Arsenal back to the top?
A question for the ages, fingers crossed it’s answered soon. x