Edu’s first signing from IKIA + Arsenal investigate the Nicolas Pepe fee

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Well, here he is. Willian. The man, the myth, the explosive ball carrying winger from Brazil.

I think I can safely say that 99% of Arsenal fans are very excited about him. He’s not leaving Chelsea on a downward curve and he has arrived at Arsenal a wanted man. I think most of us are excited because you can clearly see what Mikel is going to do with him. He’ll be our creative outlet, one that we’ve lacked, and he’ll play centrally. It makes so much sense. The age thing is a bother, but really, as a #10, he could easily play there for 2-3 good years.

The murkier part of this deal is there appears to be some smoke and mirrors with regards to what we’re paying him. The actual cost of his weekly wages went from £150k a week and was slowly leaked down to £100k, which sounded great. Sami Mokbel gave us a fuller picture, suggesting that after loyalty bonuses, signing on fees, and whatever other sweeties they put in the deal… it looks more like £220k a week. Then there’s Kia. He’ll be getting his own chunk of the deal, no doubt.

This signing though, feels like one that we really did need. Yes, I’d have preferred Arsenal go out and find the next Julian Brandt, but it is what it is, and Willian has the exact sort of experience that could be very beneficial next season. We’re hoping mainly on the curve of age doesn’t apply to him, but for next season, he’ll be great.

This story dropped nicely over the other bombshell news. Arsenal (I hear Tim Lewis), are investigating the Nicolas Pepe deal from last summer. If you’ve been following Le Grove for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve been talking about how we do business as a concern. I wrote this piece on Lille back in January. I think we can all agree that Pepe is an exciting prospect, but it was absolutely clear at the time we’d overpaid by quite a lot of money. He’s 24 years old and not the finished article, he might still come good in a big way, but I’m not sure many were out here saying we landed value for money.

From what I understand, Arsenal is investigating all costs at the club at the moment. Tim Lewis is here to ensure that the club is operating efficiently for the new now and he’s actively auditing everything from marketing budgets, sponsorships, to… player deals (worth remembering, Arsenal were auditing electricity costs last year before the pandemic). I have no doubt most clubs are doing the same. It’s just good stewardship from Stan and Josh.

ESPN is reporting that the club is going deep on the Nicolas Pepe fee 1) how we landed on the scouting decision 2) How we negotiated the deal.

As a reminder, the guy that runs Lille originally wanted to set up a super-agent agency to rival Mendes because he saw the most profitable part of football being in how the deals were cut (fees). FIFA killed that idea when they banned 3rd Party Ownership. He took over a club instead, opting for a French club because it was cheap, and the talent in the league is very good. From what I can gather, he’s using the club to harvest players to make profit. He has Luis Campos running his scouting, and let’s be frank, the guy is a god.

The interesting thing about Lille is they’ve borrowed a lot of money. They had owed Elliot Management a chunk of money (still do I think), the clear worry that if they don’t pay it back, Lopez would see a similar fate to that of Milan’s ex-ownership. The FT gives a brilliant overview of how they operate. It is also interesting that an ex-colleague of Raul’s happens to work at Lille. Marc Ingla. He was suspended from football for some mishaps that caught the eye in France.

So in short, you probably don’t need to have attended NYU Stern to piece together why the Pepe transfer fee is of interest to KSE.

It’s also ominous that the story has been leaked to the press. Those things don’t happen by accident. I suspect there are people at the club that hate how we’re run at the moment, this is just another crank up of pressure on the new approach to business. I’ve been told Arsenal initially refused to comment on the story, ESPN getting their sources from multiple places. Again, not a good look.

I don’t imagine that’s where the club will stop probing.

What did the scouting data say about Unai Emery who told media he landed the job after Caneles recommended him? Could he build defences? No. Could he speak English? No. Did he have a reputation in Europe for commanding respect of dressing rooms? No. Why did it take so long to fire him? How was he paid out? How did we land on Denis Suarez? What was the true cost of David Luiz and why was he the solution despite having 3 months head start on Koscielny leaving? How did we arrive at the conclusion of Cedric Soares in January?

Whatever way you look at those deals, you have to admit, they lack coherence. When you are running one of the biggest clubs in the world, deals should make sense, and the reasoning should be very clear. It doesn’t look like data-centric methodology was at the heart of the thinking. If the rationale behind these deals really is heavily weighted towards super-agent opinions… is that the way to a brighter Arsenal future? Who knows, but it’s clear we finished 8th for a reason that wasn’t Arsene Wenger.

KSE should be looking at RB Leipzig in the Champions League semi-final after selling their best striker to Chelsea. They’ve been in existence for 11 years. They consistently sell top, top players, and consistently replace them at the same level. They are data-centric, they know what sort of players they should buy, and they never move from their philosophy. I’d imagine Stan might think that a more sustainable way to run a football club in a pandemic.

Then you have Arsenal… shelling out £220k a week on a 32-year-old, again. Maybe this one will work out, and I truly hope it does, but the optics are not good, regardless of how much you like the player. The same ingredients over and over again. Let’s hope Arteta has more of hand over how to make this one work for the squad. Let’s also hope this investigation leads to a more effective Arsenal.

Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments. x

507 Responses to “Edu’s first signing from IKIA + Arsenal investigate the Nicolas Pepe fee”

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  1. Valentin


    Those are the same people who have been found guilty in different court of law of lying and obfuscating things, but I should trust them at face value.

    Kia was found guilty twice of lying and committing fraud regarding his presentation of the Carlos Tevez third party ownership. This is one of the reason why officially he can’t be n agent. He would not pass the fit and proper test due to his convictions. This is one thing that annoys me is that we are paying somebody to act as an agent when he is not licensed to be one.

    Regarding Raul, under his stewardhip Barcelona pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion. The Barcelona management team avoided jail sentence by the club president taking everything in him and resigning as company director.

    So again there are precedent. This is in the public domain, but you prefer bury your head in the sands rather than see the signs.

  2. Marko

    Lyon have swiftly rejected an approach from Arsenal to sign Houssem Aouar, which was a cash + Mattéo Guendouzi proposal – OL want money & don’t feel they need an additional midfielder, even if Aouar departs

  3. TheBayingMob

    Barca. Lollage. Not he biggest Bayern fan but my, how lovely is it seeing that feckless bunch of cunts turned over like that? Lovely to watch …

  4. Luteo Guenreira


    Please don’t address me anymore after this, you genuinely give me a headache.

    I started off talking about the likelihood Arsenal would be the only organization paying fees that no other club would have to pay., then you spin off into some diatribe about Raul and Kia’s rap sheet as if it has any relevance at all to what I said (spoiler: it didn’t).

  5. salparadisenyc

    Epic takedown from Bayern, feels like end of era.
    I’m not sad.

    Meanwhile that murky waters continue to flow in the river Emirates.

  6. BacaryisGod

    Enough with the moaning. Friday, August 14th, 2020 will go down in our annals as a great day for the club. Nothing to do with Willian or Kia of course, but we are now no longer in possession of the most famous 8-2 defeat in the history of football!!!!! It should have been a day of celebration not of angst.

    This was a far more humiliating defeat for Barca.

    1. Barca possess probably the greatest player in history

    2. It was a neutral ground

    3. Arsenal were 3-1 down until about the 65th minute when Arsene decided to chase the game bringing off Coquelin for Oxlade-Chamberlain basically opening up the floodgates and then Jenks gets his red card at 6-2 ( Jenks was only playing because of an injury to Bacary, as was the regular disaster artist Djourou due to an injury to Vermaelem).

    4. Arsenal missed a penalty early on from RVP and Arshavin squandered a good chance in the 2nd half. with the score at 3-1

    5. Look at the Arsenal drubbing again and United’s finishing was absolutely brilliant that day, in particular Rooney (two brilliant free-kicks) and Ashley Young (two brilliant curling finishes). Bayern basically just walked the ball through the Barca defence.

    Long live Arsene! Thank you Barca!

  7. Goobergooner

    CG, you are one miserable know nothing prick. Just getting that off my chest from reading your shit every day.

  8. alex cutter

    “we are now no longer in possession of the most famous 8-2 defeat in the history of football!!!!! ”

    Aim high.

  9. Goobergooner

    Surely this investigation is into how shit Raul is. He’s been here a few seasons and already his decisions are being scrutinised. That can only be a good thing surely.

  10. Bojangles

    “We should aim to be like them when we are building the squad.”

    We’ve already seen here that we need to follow Liverpool and Leipzig, now Munchen is being thrown into the mix. How about we create our own model for others to follow.

  11. Nelson

    The financial report doesn’t lie. Last year (before COVID 19), Arsenal is the only club among the world’s richest football clubs, which has a negative balance sheet. KSE won’t sanction an internal audit if the board is doing a good job.

  12. BacaryisGod

    By the way, I think Arteta made an immature tactical mistake with Guendouzi.

    By totally freezing him out he’s absolutely tanked his value on the market. Other teams are desperate to offload him. Mikel should have kissed Guendouzi on the cheek like Michael to Fredo and then cooly killed him off at the end of the season for a maximum transfer fee.

  13. Aussie Gooner

    Man Utd are hoping to tempt Saul Niguez into a switch to Old Trafford by offering him a contract worth £150,000 per week.

    So this is a 25 year old 70m midfielder and Utd are tempting him with 150,000 per week. Why no interest from us in this “most promising midfielder in Europe”?

    “The Atletico Madrid star is one of the most promising midfielders in Europe but is disillusioned at his current club.

    Niguez is valued at around £70million and The Daily Star report Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now wants the 25-year-old to partner Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in United’s midfield.”

  14. Freddie Ljungberg


    Probably because we don’t have a straight 70m lying around.

    Willians cost will be spread over 3 years and cost very little up front,even if we apply the daily mails formula that’s all inclusive on that 220k, agent fees, bonuses,VAT, Validated parking, Mcdonalds happy meal discounts etc so then the fee is 0.

    4 year contract at 150k a week, 30m, agent fees and VAT 25m bonuses 10m = 135m

    If we’re counting some signings fees like spastics we need to apply that to everyone.

  15. Tom

    Playing such a high line when the opposition has pace on both side and two good passers of the ball in the middle of the park was suicidal tactic.

    Barca’s pace on the wings was nullified easily by Bayern’s fullbacks.
    The only way to press a team into turning the ball over as often as Barca’ back line did today is to bring everyone up the pitch, defenders included.
    Otherwise you just leave gaps in the middle of the park for Barca’s mid to run into and beat the press.
    Bayern tactics were spot on, they were quicker, fitter and more physical.
    On evidence of this performance they will be hard to beat.

  16. Samesong


    Not to get too much into that on a football blog but it’s common knowledge that is Boko haram territory. Nothing new under the sun.

    Let’s stick to football. Too early for politics.

  17. Samesong

    Looks like Ceballos won’t be coming back then
    As I said 12 months ago, this was a total waste of time and money. He’s fine back anyway and we finished

    I will not miss Ceballos one bit.

  18. Kesses gunner

    Even if Barca sack setien it won’t matter they need revamping the whole squad.vidal will have to eat his words now

  19. Sid

    Signing Willian instead of Buendia is equivalent to signing Papasok instead of Soyuncu, lichsteiner instead of max aarons

  20. Gonsterous

    Kia is a leech. We keep getting run by non arsenal people. Raul and co, don’t care if we go bust in the future, they are only keen on keeping us afloat for the next few years, while they collect their annual income.

    We are not in good hands, I don’t think we are going to become a sustainable business, we May end up being the next Newcastle, hoping a billionaire buys the club and relieves us off our debts.

  21. Habesha Gooner

    I am hoping we can still sign Buendia and sell Lacazette. Hearing he is available for 20 mil. It’s a bit complicated now though because we don’t know if we will have Ceballos on loan.

  22. Kesses gunner

    Coutinho would have offered better value than William age wise and productivity,but then again Raul knows better.

  23. Captain Tierney

    Val’s informant has provided him with new info on Saliba. Now its about the transfer fee.

    I’m kinda shocked to see muppets working so hard to push forward their boss’s (Pedro’s) agenda.

    Also if you add all bonuses and bla bla bla and assume that all of those will be activated then divide it back to per week basis , all of our players will be earning 40-50k a week more than their basic wages. This usually doesn’t happen

    And if Willian does activate all the clauses and earn 220k p.w then it means Arsenal would have won many titles ( coz usually title wins are claused with huge sum bonuses). And i wouldn’t care how much he earned because the club won titles which earned us more money which led to players’s clause being activated.

    So stop being accountant muppets and support the football club. Not one here has said Willian wont improve us but crying about how much we paying them.
    Under Wenger the same lot were crying that we don’t sign top players because of the money involved.
    Hypocrite muppets

  24. CG

    Great to hear lawyer Lewis (probably Arsenals best signing in years) is looking into the outrageous Pepe deal.

    £72 million for a player who had one good season in France and who is so one footed its heaps shame on the term professional footballer.
    (Why was Mendez is involved???)

    The Beginning of The End for tubby.

    Emery = Gone
    Raul= Going.

    Emery and Raul
    Raul and Emery.

    Soon to be footnotes in Arsenals history.

    Ps It’s a shame Lewis has not had time to look into the William deal as well.

    Because that one stinks as well.
    Let’s get the Spivs out of Arsenal.

  25. Tony

    “How many coaches turn barca down?”

    Apparently Wenger recently turned Barca down if this report is to be believed:

    “Reports in France claim ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has turned down an offer to take charge of Barcelona, with Spanish giants keen to replace under-fire Quique Setien
    Barcelona are running out of patience with current manager Quique Setien
    The Catalans approached Arsene Wenger about his availability for next season
    The Frenchman turned down the opportunity to manage Barcelona, say reports
    The 70-year-old has not managed a side since leaving Arsenal back in 2018”

    Still waiting for a bigger more prestigious club then?

  26. Captain Tierney

    Poch and current Barca perfect fit imo.
    But Idk if Poch is one to track back on his words.
    If they nab someone like Nagelsmann that would be a coup.

  27. Useroz

    Agree with the mentality, Cap T. With lack of transparency, we just couldn’t do like for like comparison. At best, what ifs….

    Therefore as you say if Willian manages to max out his financials he’d have met all KPIs. Just hope that the competent foul who signed off hasn’t agreed to using on time attendance to daily training as a measure!

    If Guendouzi stayed, we have a trio of frizzy hairdo. A deadly weapon when attacking corners in the opposition box. I used to play with a couple and hate it Their hairdo always brushed my face when getting close or twisting and turning.

    Didn’t the media having a frenzy saying Coutinho and his agent visited our training ground last week? Not saying Edu would or could sign him but if visited they wouldn’t have come for the coffee in the canteen !

  28. Emiratesstroller


    As a matter of interest is there anything positive that you have to say about Arsenal?

    It seems to me that you are consistent in one respect and that is your criticism
    and negativity about the club.

    You are the RT part 2.

  29. Valentin


    My comment about tactic was about the fact Barcelona tactic were clearly playing into the hand of Bayern.

    Like you said Bayern were fitter but also were were better in 1v1 situation on the wide. Times and times again their wide players skinned their opposite fullback and then made a dangerous cut back.

    Down 4-1 at half time and they continue with the same tactic. Result another 4-1 in the second half. That was ridiculous.

    It is the end of an era. Barcelona looked like a shadow of their former self. The mind and the will to win was still there, but the legs could not cope with an hungrier, faster Bayern.

  30. Chris


    CG’s Arsenal world ended on 20th April 2018.

    Now all he has to offer is incessant whinging, nasty cynical comments and terrible predictions.

    All the loves.

  31. Valentin

    Wenger, Xabi may have turned down Barcelona for different reasons.
    Wenger has finally realised that he enjoys life more away from the training pitch.
    Xabi does not think that he is ready yet to take over and be successful.
    Pochetino may reject them because of his past association with Espanyol.

    However Barcelona may be in worse trouble than most think.
    Rebuilding the squad is a massive job, but financially they are in disarray. So the usual method of buying success may not be available. They will need to be smart and rely on their academy and spotting gems.

    I am not sure that they are organised to work that way anymore. For all its reputation, the academy has not produced a exciting first team player for ages. I am discounting players bought at 16 years old.

    Spotting gem may not be their forte either. They had Martinelli on trial a few months before Arsenal and rejected him.

    Their road back to European dominance may be made even more arduous if Messi and Suarez were to leave.

  32. CG


    “”””Now all he has to offer is incessant whinging, nasty cynical comments and terrible predictions.”””””

    Very much like the Wenger obsessives then.

    (Hypocrisy is the word)

  33. Valentin


    Clearly you struggle with the concept of reserve price and bidding war.
    The reserve price is the minimum price a seller will accept to sell. However when a bidding war take place often the end price ends up way beyond the reserve price.

    ASSE chairman, Romeyer went public and stated that Saliba price was €20 millions and a non negotiable stipulation of a 1 year loan. That stipulation scared a lot of clubs.

    Arsenal made an opening bid of €20 millions with no loan. That was rejected.
    Arsenal made then incremental bid of up to €25 millions with no loan. Those were also rejected. Negotiation paused because of the deadlock.
    Spurs made a bid of €27 millions with no loan.
    Arsenal matched the Spurs bid: €27 millions no loan. Both were rejected.
    In the end Arsenal offered €30 millions with no loan. The negation ended up at €30 millions paid over the years with some rebate under the form of a loan fee. Part of that loan fee was itself subject to a rebate if Saliba played a certain number of games.

    So yes Arsenal paid above the reserve price, simply because they naively believed that throwing more money will do away with the stipulation. History of Romeyer’s dealing should have told them it would not. Chelsea had experienced exactly the same issue when dealing about Kurt Zouma. He did not budge.

  34. crimson

    He really is an Inferior human being. Just on here constantly just crying out for attention and nothing else in his life just pure negative emotions. Feel sorry for his family that never speaks to him.

  35. Emiratesstroller

    I read this morning an entirely different perspective about Willian’s contract
    with Arsenal.

    The Telegraph suggest that Willian has in fact secured a “lower basic salary” of
    £100K pw than he earned at Chelsea.

    However, his contract has built in bonuses for performance, which could increase his earnings if certain targets are achieved.

    If that is the case then I don’t think that we should be too critical of the contract agreed.

    This would be certainly a better basis than a carte blanche basic salary such
    has been negotiated with Ozil.

    Personally I would have no problem with such a contract if the outcome is that
    Arsenal finish next season in top 4 and qualify for Champions League and the
    club’s revenues are considerably improved as a consequence.

  36. Emiratesstroller

    I think that there are two consequences of yesterday’s CL game between Bayern and Barcelona.

    1. It is unlikely that Aubameyang would consider moving to Barcelona in the
    current state of the club.

    2. Barcelona would be mad in selling or loaning Coutinho considering how bad
    their team played and how well Coutinho performed against them.

  37. CG


    “”””I read this morning an entirely different perspective about Willian’s contract
    with Arsenal.”””

    You read what you wanted to read.
    Lets be honest its, a horrendous contract for an ageing sub standard player.

    Serious clubs do not sign 32 years and then offer them £35 million packages.

    Clubs in China or Qatar do that.

    Arsenal FC the Vilage Idiots of world soccer.

  38. crimson

    We could all reply with a daily mail article or any Inferior journalists article to put forward an agenda that appeals.

    Covid is prevented by Marijuana

    Blimey, this blog comment section is short sited and the vast majority is brutally sad.
    Its highball aftv in disguise.

    14 days till we venture out on the Wembley pitch again. Obviously we need to buy and sell. Most of the us know what we we need to do in the misdt of time and transfer market. Its obviously fun and interesting to debate about signing benedict cumber-batch for 45 million or selling Miley Cirus for a free to a hungarian greengrocers.

    Support the team I love and adore. Otherwise fuck off.

    Ohh and support your local team if you. 💜

  39. Graham62


    Re: Your 00:37 post.

    Agreed, totally different circumstances.

    The thing is, it was still an 8-2 drubbing.

    Humiliation in anyone’s eyes.

    Whereas a serious club would have hung their head in shame and acted, we persevered and tolerated further regular capitulations.

    The rest is history.