If you came here this morning expecting a pat on the head for sitting on your arse for three months, here it is.
Well done you.
Now let’s crash into the MONSTROSITY that is Arsenal FC.
Firstly, the FA released the agent fee data and certain sections of the fanbase seem to be very pleased the number is only £13m. This comment from Terraloon might help you work through your joy and temper it with a little bit of caution.
You can not determine from the list of payments made in that period how much the club have agreed to pay out in respect of transfers in.The schedule only records the money paid out directly to the club by intermediaries over a set period. It doesn’t tell us what those payments were in respect of or indeed when those transactions actually happened.
The second attachment does tell us what transactions happened but again we don’t know over what time period the agents will receive their fees
Agents get paid for all sorts of things such as arranging contract extensions , facilitating loans out , transfers out and yes transfers in.
Often clubs agree to bear the costs of an agent acting on behalf of a player but when they do those sums don’t appear on the list they are paid in effect via payroll and treated as a benefit in kind.
To prove the point look at two clubs. Liverpool and Chelsea . These two clubs in the period 1/2/19-31/1/20 . These two clubs paid out £30.38 million and £26.183 million respectively.
In effect two transfer windows. Liverpool paid out just £8.5 million in respect of a couple of minor transfers in and Chelsea who were unable to sign anyone In the summer 2019 window bar Kovacic whose loan they made permanent and in the January 20 window they didn’t sign anyone.
I think we can move on from that and leave the magical thinkers to their own conclusions.
What I do want to talk about is the bigger picture with Arsenal, because we’re missing it when we’re debating whether Soares has a nice attitude or David Luiz is an agent of death.
Arsenal don’t have a plan.
You can hunt for it, you can retrofit excuses, but the simple fact is there is no coherence in what we’re doing.
Why? Because we’re not honest about our standing in football at the moment.
David Luiz, Cedric Soares and maybe Pablo Mari offer no real long term value to Arsenal. It’s money down the drain unless they drive us to the Champions League. Even then, what was the point? They have no resale value, they are not helping us to win the thing, they have limited ceilings.
We are pissing money up the wall with no credible plan to move the club forward.
Ivan Gazidis threw a lot of money at making the Champions League by bringing in senior players just before Wenger left. It didn’t work. Raul threw massive money at senior players when Emery arrived and it didn’t work. Now we’re 12th in the league and we’re doing the same again. Even if it succeeds, we’re still throwing money down the drain. At best, we’re thinking a year in advance.
‘Maybe Willian can help us’ isn’t a strategy, it’s naive.
Why is this happening? Because we don’t know who we are and there’s no real strategy.
We shouldn’t be debating drossy that had their best years 5 years ago. Arsenal should be honest about their position in the world football and rip the plaster this summer. Move on the senior players that are letting us down. A clean sweep. That’s Auba, Lacazette, Mustafi, Kola, Luiz and the loan players.
If Torreira doesn’t like England, sell him. If Matteo is a head case with a grim attitude and Barcelona have £60m, sell him on.
Then decide on the plan. If it’s Borussia Dortmund 2.0, go for it. There is absolutely no reason, outside a coherent plan, that we can’t replicate what they do.
Build a player profile. 20-24 years old. Fit. Mobile. Fast. A good level of emotional intelligence.
Know where to pick them up from. Look at the Eastern European leagues. Fish from the same ponds where the elite youth end up going, like RB Salzburg. Act quick.
Return to the future. Contacts football is shit and it rarely delivers. Ban Kia from the training ground. Never let Canales in a brainstorm again. Set a process for how you get to the right list of players. Leave no one in any doubt as to why you signed a name.
Stop trying to do things the easy way. ‘Call Kia’ is how great clubs die. Relying on people with a conflict of interest to give you good advice on players is quite frankly, fucking embarrassing.
Our current strategy is shit. Load up with bums, and pray to the footballing gods that one season, it might work out. That is not a winning formula. It hasn’t worked for Manchester United with a real budget, and it won’t work for Arsenal who have spent all their cash and borrowed from future pots.
Arsenal has a great coach. There’s a reason all the leaks to the media have cited everyone bar him for the mess. He’s in a tough spot. He’s probably worried about his future right now, he’s likely struggling with the dynamics of having two bosses with very bad taste, and he’s probably wondering how he’s going to get a turn out of these players.
But so would any coach. Carlo and Jose are hardly flying. OGS didn’t exactly cover himself in glory last season. A select few of the Chelsea fanbase have been calling Frank a fraud all season. Implementing change after picking up a midseason fire is difficult.
Our senior players have been problematic. The contract issues have spilt out into the training ground. The pay cut wasn’t great. He’s had a red card. A bunch of injuries. His season has been derailed by a club that was hoping to deal with these issues this summer, rather than during the season.
But don’t think that has the coach down and out. He has all the ingredients to attain greatness and I am sure given time, a good summer, and the culling of the dross, he’ll find a way to make it work. People giving up after such a short period of time will realise in time that the only magic bullet now is the reshaping of the squad in the vision of the coach.
There will be more bumps. We will lose again. This season isn’t ending in glory.
However, keep the faith. The coach will prove the doubters wrong is Raul and Edu can pull it together this summer. If that doesn’t happen, we’re fucked whoever sits in the hot seat.
Tonight, we play Southampton in a bid to escape 11th position. What a moment. It’s time for a reaction from the squad. A moment for the manager to show that he can rally a nightmare situation and make some magic happen. Maybe… we’ll see a performance.
Also, Sheffield United and Palace are opening up a some space for us to chase… maybe. Sad times that I’m excited by that.
Let’s see what happens!
See you in the comments x