Bartering season is HUGE opp – don’t blow it on super-agents

by .

Well good morning to yah! Feels maybe a little too early to dive into FA Cup stuff, we’re still dealing with the dusty remnants of the Premier League season.

I think universally, there is a deep worry that Raul and Edu are going to do exactly what they did in January and dial-up their best pals Kia and Canales and let them handle the summer.

What is happening right now in the press is a reflection of that… or, it’s posturing from said agents to try and get their clients a move or a new deal.

We were linked to Kurzawa in January. I’ve suspect Kia used his faux ‘I’m actually on the board at Arsenal’ business card to secure a new deal for his full-back. That’s part of the grey world he’s creating for himself, his not so subtle powerplay that he can use speculation around Arsenal because it’s clear it ‘could’ be true.

Yesterday, the morning started off by saying Willian was going to sign for Chelsea. By the evening Fabrizio and Steinberg had said he was leaning on Arsenal because we’d give him a 3-year deal. Smoke? I had been told this deal was as good as done before the covid outbreak. So I would say there is a high probability Raul is once again plotting to pull Arsenal back into the top 4 by dishing out a longterm deal to someone that will have no resale value after 3 years, and someone that’ll likely want a huge pay rise to join. These sorts of deals are bad for Arsenal football club and they keep us on the same track that has given us little resale value in our squad and drained the coffers of wages.

£180k a week, which is what I’d imagine he’ll command at a minimum, could be spent on 4 top youngsters from Europe, one of which might bring us in Matteo like revenue. Why oh why would you invest in Kia again, when the business sense is in rectifying the huge problem we’ve got with bloated wage bills and players who don’t want to leave. If we had an actual CEO, they’d scrutinise this deal, the value, and our historical track record of getting shafted everytime we make these signings (Cech, Gallas, Silvestre, Yossi), and veto it. Raul should be told to come back with something a little more creative and he should be told that it is looking very odd that he keeps going back to the Technical Directors agent for deals.

Here is why Willian would be bad business:

Mustafi didn’t want to leave last summer, now he won’t this window because he has an injury, but last season, it was rumoured he liked his deal.

David Luiz was brought in on a front weighted deal that worked out to about £200k a week.

Sokratis has leaked to the press he doesn’t want to leave he wants to stay and fight for his place in the first team. He knows there’s no chance of that, but he likes his huge contract that no one else will give him.

We rinse and repeat these horrible deals then blame Stan Kroenke for not spending enough money. Here’s the thing, Chelsea are a very clever club, if they don’t have a 3 year deal on the table, you have to ask yourself, why?

Expense > Deprectiating talent > Better value in youth

Don’t even get me started on a £27m loan deal for Coutinho who commands £250k a week. Sure, he’s an exciting player, but how are we in a position to chop everyone’s salary by 10%, but then take on a player with a hugely inflated deal who has tanked at Barcelona? He is literally called out as one of the worst deals in history in Spain and they’ve made quite a few shocking errors of late.

The only person that should be getting the big money this summer is Auba and even there it is a risk if you wanted to be truly forward-facing.

Thomas Partey is rumoured to be on the table still, we’re apparently trying to swap a player with them, some saying LT. Brilliant move. A player we can all agree on, for starters, he’s actually on the up. We need a 6. He’s athletic, he’s technical, he’s played in a Simeone press so he’ll be driven and outrageously tuned for discipline. That would be a monumental move for Arsenal.

… but it doesn’t matter if you then go out and bring in a whole crop of souring older players in his backdraft.

A proper club would address the issues and reset a transfer strategy that has us in 8th. We know the core problems at Arsenal are centred around creativity and athleticism. Our scouts and analysts should be compiling lists of players that fit the criteria. We have sharp scouts and elite analysts, they are good, they just need to be activated. You’ll have the obvious names at the higher end of our budget, but the data crunchers should be identifying different tiers of risk. Players that have the attributes, but need a bit of coaching. Players crushing it in lower leagues that might need longer to adapt. Players that have outrageous talent but are bench-warming under a new manager that doesn’t like that (PV04 > Milan).

We don’t need to spend this summer forking out for expensive loans. We should be exiting players we know we don’t want, drastically lowering our wage bill so we are a leaner business, and we should be starting the process of bringing in young talent of varying experience we can coach and kickstart our selling process. The culture reset needs to be harsh because the rot is so deep. The talent reset needs to look different to the last 5 summers.

Mikel Arteta has to be a strong voice in these conversations. Raul likely railroads Edu, because I can’t believe the Brazilian arrived here with the same taste in players as Canales, Kia and that other hanger-on. If he doesn’t speak up, he’ll become Emery MKII, bemoaning a Pepe signing because he didn’t have the gravitas to force a move for Zaha. We missed out on 3rd this year by 10 points. I am sure if Mikel had been in at the start of the season, we’d have been more competitive. Those were an easy 10 points to make up. However, it won’t be like that next season. We will need mid-70s to compete. That means we have to make up 20 points in the league.

Spurs will invest in an already good squad.

Chelsea have added 3 absolutely top class players already.

United don’t have a great manager, but they throw huge piles of cash at him, there’s simply no way Jadon doesn’t progress that side up the table

City are about to drop £300m

Liverpool might not spend wildly, but adding Alcantara makes them better, and they are the smartest team in world football. They won’t miss.

Leicester will build. Everton will build. Wolves will build.

Blowing our money on more loans, more average free transfers, and names that don’t come from the on-staff talent reccos will see us swim around in average. I don’t want to battle for 5th again. That is not Arsenal level.

We have options this summer.

  • Torreira – 30m
  • Guen – 40m
  • Lacazette – 40m
  • Hector – 30m
  • AMN – 30m
  • Auba – 50m (if his dad is to be believed)
  • Holding 15m
  • Sokratis 5m
  • Kola 10m
  • Xhaka 30m
  • Reiss 20m

I’m not saying all those players should go, or that the values are bang on, but I am saying they are bartering chips in a market that is looking for security (players will leave to get a longer deal, because who know what happens with covid in round two). Someone raised the point that a lot of the players won’t want to leave the UK. We have more money and it’s easier to stay put in a world of pandemic. So there could be a lot of swapping locally. I think if the Arthur deal showed anything, clubs are willing to put cash on the books to help their balance sheets, so we know a big name like Lacazette is going to be appealing.

However you cut it, there are ways to bring in players… the swap mechanic is going to make this a once in a lifetime chance to get players off the book, and take players from financially stressed clubs, of which there are a lot.

So let’s not blow it with another year of Barca-lite bollocks that we know won’t move us forward.

Interestingly, stories are popping out about Arteta bringing in new coaches this summer. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but I think there will be a big shake-up in Arsenal’s backroom. I think you’ll see a lot of staff leave as the club continues to trim and reshape for a much, much leaner year where we’ll likely be 10% down on stadium revenue.

That’s why it is inconceivable that on the one hand we can ask players and staff to take a hit financially, but on the other, gift out huge fees to agents that offer us absolutely fuck all value.

Right, see you in the comments.

325 Responses to “Bartering season is HUGE opp – don’t blow it on super-agents”

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  1. Pierre

    “I disagree on Pepe being predictable. He is lightning quick in his dribbling skills. But we have given him to much to do. He is always starting from our own half to create something. He ends up trying to take on two three players every time. Get him in an advanced position one on one and I would trust him to skin a player.”


  2. Valentin


    The issue is not whether he can dribble past defenders, because he can.
    But can he dribble and then make a contribution: a key pass, an assist or a goal.

    Arjen Robben is predictable, but still make an extraordinary contribution to Bayern attack force.

    Maybe instead of trying to dribble 3 players, he should only dribble 1 or 2 and then make the forward pass instead of regularly lose possession on the third player.

    Effectiveness is what is important and right now he is not effective. Part is due to the team and it was and still is setup. However a big part is also due to his style of play and him not releasing quickly enough the ball.

  3. Pierre

    We should use Pepe the way liverpool use Salah.

    Salah plays in the opposition half and rarely picks the ball up in his own half.

    Give him the ball in the final third and he will do damage to the opposition.

    Give him the ball out wide, on the half way line with 2 players on him and the opposition will do damage to him.

  4. Habesha Gooner

    His end product may not be polished but I still think it isn’t as bad as you are making out to be.
    I think a Flat 433 might help him a lot. get him high up the pitch and a bit less defensive responsibilities. He has ability. Those Brighton and westham away goals tell me if he was playing a bit higher in a settled team, He would be a genuine threat to fear.

  5. Ashwin Gunner


    Werent you the one who was questioning Wenger when he didn;t want to deal with Super Agents back in the day. I know these are different times. But am sure your stance should had been the same. Atleast on paper.

    The list of players which you have showed are all Arsenal have (atleast the decent ones who get to play every week). Are we going to recruit a whole new team now ?

  6. Ashwin Gunner

    People who think Pepe is not good are wrong. He is a threat down the flanks. His end product has to be refined but he is a constant threat. We have tolerated Walcott for 10 years in that position. This kid is much better upgrade than him. He can Dribble, has pace and a very good left foot.

  7. Terraloon

    Comparing Pepe to two players who first featured at Arsenal 20+ years ago is easy to do but is it relevant when looking at players and indeed how football is played in the here and now? Back then there weren’t six or more clubs of quality it was two maybe three at most

    For every player that comes good in the PL you can trump their number ten fold by players that have bombed.

    As for ignoring the price that’s fair comment but as someone pointed out other clubs won’t for one second care because if a player doesn’t deliver they are shipped out and in one that’s the problem at Arsenal because the club can’t afford to write off after one or maybe even two years they will keep going and as we are witnessing other clubs are decisive when assessing a player , they evolve , get stronger and Arsenal slowly but surely are slipping back in the pecking order.

    I personally haven’t yet seen anything in Pepes performances to suggest that he should be a regular starter or that he is ever going to be good enough to deliver in English Football the same sort of numbers that he delivered at Lille over one arguably two seasons.

    There wasn’t a long queue of clubs that looked at him and were prepared to push the boat out. That is for a reason . Doubt.

    As I say he has a fair turn of speed but based on what we have seen to date he is a long way from being in Robbens class for me he is much akin to De Maria.

    Will we be having the same conversation in 12 months but then pulling some other names out the hat that didn’t perform during their first two seasons but did better in their third ?

  8. andy1886

    “It should make no difference to football fans how much a player costs or is paid.”

    Tell that to Leeds supporters. There’s a reason why ‘doing a Leeds’ became a warning back in the day.

    Fans should rightly hold clubs to account over how well they spend on players. After all, their income derives from fans either directly or indirectly doesn’t it?

    And for a club that used to celebrate financial results just as much as results on the pitch, in particular successes in player trading, to do a 180 on the subject would be a bit hypocritical wouldn’t it?

  9. Tom

    “Arjen Robben is predictable, but still make an extraordinary contribution to Bayern attack force.“

    You just compared one of the most potent attacking clubs in Europe to a struggling , mid table club searching for identity.

  10. CG


    “””””””.Pedro is basically calling for wenger style management again but with smarter tactics analysis and transfer market dealings.
    Full 180 on the great man. He won’t admit it. But that’s where he’s at” “””””””‘.

    A refined form of Wengerism with PedRo ‘s beloved data.

    Extraordinary how mediocre ,how unamabitious , how immoral, how useless and how quickly we have sunk since the great man left.

    Only 2 seasons ago.

    ps. Pepe- a sackable offence to pay £72 million for him, but he is here now.

    If our Wenger was in charge.
    PEPE would be flourishing. No doubt about it.
    Unarguable fact.

  11. andy1886

    The point is if a fan thinks money is being spent badly on the wrong players, or in the wrong positions, why shouldn’t they say so? They could be wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they should blindly go along with whatever the club decides to do on recruitment.

    Thing is, if you spend a lot of money on one player you can’t spend it elsewhere on other areas where the team may be weak. So I’m afraid that how much a player costs, and how well a club utilises it’s resources, is always going to be relevant. I don’t think anyone is blaming the player, it’s the club and the player trading team that are being criticised.

  12. andy1886

    “Freddie wasn’t a creator
    He was a finisher and a work horse. ”

    Absolutely. A Ray Parlour with more goals if you will.

    Over the last several decades AFC have been successful when they had one more traditional wide player/winger with goals and on the other side a more robust wide midfielder who could tuck in and aid the central MF guys when required.

    That’s not Pepe’s game so to free him up we would need that extra physicality on the other side of the pitch (obviously not Auba) if we wanted to replicate the Pires/Henry/Ljungberg dynamic.

  13. andy1886

    @CG – Another unarguable fact is that if your Wenger was still in charge we would have conceded another dozen or more goals this season.

  14. Victorious

    Tbf Pepe would certainly have been a better player under big Weng,no doubt, he’s the sort of player the man likes working with,he would have provided him a platform and given him the freedom the lad needs to totally beast defenders

  15. Valentin


    Caen is the latest French club being bought by a US Investment fund. So we now have nearly half the club in Ligue 1 owned by investment fund or billionaire.
    Not all of them expect to reach the Champion’s League to make money. They relies on the selling and buying of players for income. The football has taken second place.

    PSG – billionaire/country – marketing strategy for Qatar
    Monaco – billionaire – personal interest also visa benefit in case of Russian purge
    Rennes – billionaire – personal interest
    Marseilles – billionaire – resale?
    Nice – billionnaire – ?
    Toulouse – Hedge Fund – agent
    Lille – Hedge Fund – agent
    Caen – Hedge Fund – agent
    Bordeaux – Hedge Fund – agent/resale
    Lorient – Hedge Fund – agent
    Lens – Hedge Fund – agent
    The behind the scene of Lens has been murky to say the least. Years ago Gervais Martel the former Lens strong man did not have the cash, so made deal with less than reputable individuals or some unreliable ones. He brought in the at the time owner of Athletico Hafiz Mammadov. He owned 99.99% of the club but has only 60% of the voting right and nearly no influence on the sport decision. Out of spite for being left out of key decision, Mammadov refused to settle any debt the club had, forcing a relegation. Despite bringing him into the club, Martel resorted to borrow money to buy Mammadov out, but in the end he himself went bust and a bank was left owning the club. Strangely enough that bank sold to the same people who also bought Athletico from Mammadov. So both Mammadov and Martel spend a fortune on clubs which got bought by the same people…

  16. Valentin


    You confuse causality and correlation.
    The reason why Bayern are so potent in attack is because of their players.
    Robben in any team bring goals and assists. You put Robben in Arsenal and I am sure that you would get more than 3 league goals from open play in a season. Robben is greedy, selfish, forceful but he is also very efficient and quick on thought on the pitch.
    I don’t see that forcefulness, not quickness of thought in Pepe. I see a meek player who tries hard, but whose feet work faster than his mind.

  17. Terraloon


    20 years ago 442 was the option of choice for the vast majority of English clubs.

    The majority now favour a far more fluid formation. The day of the wide player pushed forward just waiting for a pass are long gone.

    None of the players you mention cost a fortune they were calculated gambles.

    Mahrez cost £750k , Kante £5.6 million. Berkamp cost £7.5 million in the same season that Middlesbrough paid £8.8 million for Ravenelli and £6 million for Merson , Everton paid around £7.2 million for Barnby and Newcastle £18.2 million for Shearer. In other words not top of the market but somewhere in the middle price wise
    Pepe fee wasn’t an affordable gamble. In 2019 in English Football only Maguire cost more than Pepe.Maguire certainly wasn’t worth the money but as I said earlier if he didn’t work out he simply would be moved on . To Man U his relative cost wasn’t even close to what Arsenal paid for Pepe.
    It’s easy to roll out the names of players where the gamble has paid off but for every Kante there is a Slamini. For every Mahrez there is an André Kramaric.

    But the point here is that Pepes fee wasn’t an affordable gamble whose cost can easily be written off Pepe cost an arm and a leg and at his cost has to perform.

  18. Pierre

    “@CG – Another unarguable fact is that if your Wenger was still in charge we would have conceded another dozen or more goals this season.”

    Oh dear Andy , you’ve allowed yourself to believe the media bullshit about Wenger’s defensive record.

    During his 20 years in charge , 18 of those years Arsenal conceded less than this season in the premier league.

    So I would think it is pretty fair to say that this season we would also have conceded less under Wenger and not “a dozen or more”.

  19. Pierre

    Maybe our coaching staff need to take a look at the barca documentary ” take the ball, pass the ball” ..

    Let the ball do the work.

    It started with cruyff who changed the way the game was played and Pep took it another step further with the pressing and splitting the centre backs to play out from the keeper.

    Under Emery it was ” take the ball and lose the ball ” and Arteta is fighting to return to the Arsenal/Arsene way of playing the game.

    Because of Wenger , Arsenal are known world wide for the quality of their football and the enjoyment they bring to the game, though you wouldnt believe it when you read the miserable bastards on Le Grove.

    Arteta understands how important it is that Arsenal return to our values of how the game should be played , though it’s fair to say that he’s struggling with that side of it.

    To me, Arteta looks like a man who wants to succeed and win trophies and the FA cup will be a great place to start..

  20. Bojangles

    “They could be wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they should blindly go along with whatever the club decides to do on recruitment.”

    Perhaps hold a referendum among Arsenal ST holders before any player is signed?

  21. Emiratesstroller

    It is beginning to look like Arsenal have dug a deep hole in their handling of
    Guendouzi. His misconduct and our decision not to play him make him look
    like a pariah.

    The question is will any major club want to touch such a problematic player and how much will the current situation devalued his potential transfer fee if there are any takers?

    Arsenal in contrast to many of our competitors seem incapable of selling any
    players on our books. The best we seem to manage is loans where we land up
    meeting part of wage bill.

    The club needs some proper leadership and good decision making.

  22. Bishwajit Chatterjee

    The rates given are ridiculous in this current market. For those rates I would sell everyone except Auba!! How about you trying to sell them at those rates !! I am sure Arsenal board will make you a life member.

  23. Dissenter

    ‘It’s beginning to look like..l’

    I believe you meant to write that… it was crystal clear from the beginning that Arsenal didn’t handle Guendouzi right.