Something rumbling at Arsenal HQ (long read)

by .

Buckle-up people, I think something is going down at Arsenal HQ. Smoke is in the hallways and it looks like there’s a good chance it’s fire. I’ve heard from multiple sources that there is movement at the club.

The rumblings on the internet are centered around there being an abrupt leadership change at Arsenal. Factor that in with the searing story from ESPN yesterday about the internal investigations into the way Arsenal deal with transfers, particularly the outrageous fee we paid for Pepe, and it’s not hard to see where this could be heading.

That particular story is interesting, I understand that the source wasn’t an official leak as such. ESPN had the news from corroborating sources elsewhere and they ran it with no comment from Arsenal despite asking.

What is absolutely clear is this: Tim Lewis is putting our dealings under the microscope. Do not be surprised if he doesn’t like what he sees.

That shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve been reading Le Grove for the last year. Under the leadership of Raul, we’ve gone from a club that wouldn’t know how to contact a super-agent if they wanted to… to a club that probably has an office with Kia’s name on the door.

The optics have been really poor. Raul isn’t even subtle about how he does business. He’s Donald Trump shooting someone on 5th Avenue. To be clear, I’m not accusing anyone of doing illegal things, my focus is on the dreadful waste at Arsenal football club when money is tight.

The long and short of it: We do a lot of business with close pals of Raul, that business isn’t good, subsequently we are not succeeding on the football pitch. Those three working in tandem would raise red flags at any organisation, and let me tell you, it has not gone unnoticed among Arsenal staffers.

Decisions at a football club should always be transparent in nature. Fans should be able to look at a deal and know that the best intentions were always at the heart of the rationale. Under Arsene, love or hate him, you always knew he was doing things because he thought them right by the fans. Under Sven, love or hate him, you knew he was bringing in players because he thought the data supported the move. Under Raul, it’s hard to discern any sort of coherence in his dealings, outside him really, really enjoying working with a small collection of people and clubs. That is a recipe for wastage, average decisions, and conflicts of interest.

Let’s talk through some of the deals I’d be asking about if I were Tim Lewis:

Unai Emery:

Arsenal had a list of candidates to replace Wenger, it looked like we were going to appoint Mikel Arteta, then out of nowhere Unai Emery dropped into contention. This is Unai talking to the Spanish press.

“As Ivan Gazidis explained on the day of the presentation, I was on a list of eight candidates they were going to interview,”

“Thanks in part to Arturo Canales (his now agent), they insisted I was the best candidate of all.”

I simply refuse to believe that the Arsenal analysts pulling info on managers looked at Emery’s record and said he was a top drawer manager that was perfect for the job. I’m not even an expert and 3 hours of Google told me all I needed to know about him.

  • He couldn’t speak English.
  • Every foreign job he’d taken he’d been maligned for his poor grasp of language.
  • Big players didn’t respect him.
  • He couldn’t organize a defence.
  • Players thought he was negative in his approach.
  • He had no sauce and wore gilets seriously.

… but then a super-agent pal of Raul makes a big recommendation and we sign him up. Canales lands a new client. Did he get a fee?

After year one, it was clear things were going south. Underlying stats were atrocious, he hadn’t fixed the defence, and there was no clear identity. So what did Raul suggest? Let Emery tell you.

“We were now looking to how we could develop together, even to the point where they were looking to offer a renewed contract.”

Why? On any level, how could that be a justified suggestion knowing what we knew?

The following season predictably went off the rails and Raul delayed and delayed the decision to pull the trigger on his man, saying he wouldn’t listen to the ‘noise’ from the fans. The delay for me was the difference between top 6 and 8th. Why delay?

Well, I think we can all see that it’d be advantageous to have a weak manager in control of your club…

Nicolas Pepe:

‘I met Zaha and he wanted to come. The club decided Pepe was one for the future. I said: ‘Yes, but we need to win now and this lad wins games.’ He beat us on his own.’ Big Un, wearing a gilet in a studio

Emery was a soft touch, he knew he was lucky to be in the job, he did what he was told. Raul shifted attention to Lille’s wide man. Clearly an exciting player, but no one in world football expected Arsenal to pull budget from the next season’s transfer pot to land a prospect for £72m! It was a mad bet and it’s now the focus of an investigation according to ESPN. Did Arsenal’s analysts recommend Pepe? Which agents were involved in the deal? How did we land on the valuation? The connect? Marc Ingla, exBarca.

Edu:

Raul scoured the world for a Technical Director. He landed on Edu. Handsome, an invincible, with some work under his belt in Brazil. His agent? Kia. So far, we’ve signed Luiz, Soares, Mari (Canales), and Willian. Does signing your own agent’s players seem like a normal thing you would do if you were trying to come across as a data and analytics type of person? I’m not so sure. It seems super dim to me and a bad way to show your new boss you are creative in your approach.

Denis Suarez:

The squad needed bolstering last January. We lacked wide players with power and pace. Who did we bring in? Denis Suarez. A meek player accused of lacking character, power, and the ability to impose himself on games. £5m loan deal for barely a full 90 minutes.

David Luiz:

The club knew Laurent Koscielny was leaving Arsenal 3 months before the end of the season. We eventually cave after he goes on strike, Arsenal immediately go out and sign the Brazilian. A 32-year-old in decline, a rep for being disruptive in the dressing room, and, very error-prone. His agent? Kia. The Athletic ran a piece that suggested that deal, all-in, was worth £24m. I was told that he was on about £200k a week in December. Why would a club with money issues do that to themselves?

Cedric Soares:

Southampton thought he was going to leave on a free transfer at the end of his contract in June and go to a lower league club. Arsenal picked him up for a loan fee + wages deal worth £5m. The jury is still out, but again, who was the agent? Kia.

Kia:

Let’s talk about this guy because he’s basically on the staff. A few weeks ago, he went on Talksport to lament the deal issues with David Luiz, he assured everyone that structural changes were coming to Arsenal. 3 weeks later, all the scouts were laid off, and we made 55 redundancies. On any level, it is pretty horrendous that an outside supplier has the inside track on our HR reworks. The fact he goes on national radio to tell everyone he knows is so painfully amateur. It’s also unprofessional. This sort of thing would never have happened under any regime prior, it’s shambolic.

Two days ago, he goes on Talksport AGAIN, this time to take aim at Sven Mislintat’s record and to set the record straight that he doesn’t influence Arsenal. It is absolutely outrageous that he has the swagger to take aim at Arsenal like that. Raul should have banished him after the last appearance, and at the very least told him not to do that… but, he has no control over his friend.

A day later, we do a deal for…

Willian:

Now, there’s been a lot of debate on how you frame costs for players, so let me be clear, when you bring in a free transfer, it’s quite fine to lay out what the total deal is. Sami Mokbel, the closest person to Ornstein levels of insight at Arsenal, thinks the whole deal could be worth £220k a week. It is not unfair to describe a deal like this, because if that’s what ends up in Willian’s pocket, that is what he’s paid. Bonuses are easily attainable, otherwise, players wouldn’t agree to them… according to the article, there’s a loyalty bonus. Imagine needing to put that into the deal of 32-year-old player?!

Forget about the player for a moment, we’ve taken another older player from a rival and basically paid them double to join. The player didn’t want to go to Miami. He didn’t want to go to Spain. He wanted to stay in London, he stated that publicly. We had all the leverage and it looks like we’ve been rolled hard here.

Last week Arsenal were pleading poverty saying we needed to pull the trigger on 55 people, this week we’re topping up Kia’s fee pot, and giving a player £35m. It looks awful

BUT BUT BUT… what about Martinelli? Tierney? Saliba?

Yes, good players… but the litmus test for non-wasteful leadership isn’t whether there’s at least one player in there that cuts the mustard. Look at the body of work and the outlay, it’s not good.

I have no idea what is going to happen at Arsenal over the next few weeks, but I struggle to see how anyone delves into the above deals and walks away saying, ‘damn, these guys are fucking sharp.’ Tim Lewis is a Clifford Chance partner, I assume he loves Arsenal, let’s hope he sees what we all see.

The bigger question for me is why this sort of ‘maybe’ movement taken so long? KSE waste so much time with average hacks. It is really painful.

Let’s see how the next few days pan out… see you in the comments.

UPDATE: Raul is gone.

308 Responses to “Something rumbling at Arsenal HQ (long read)”

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  1. Marc

    Tom

    No but all the information they would’ve work on was out there 3 months ago.

    It’s like sacking the manager the morning of the first match of the PL – if you’re going to do it do it before hand.

  2. Champagne Charlie

    “Egg on face for Marc and Charlie?“

    Not sure how you arrive there, literally everything unfancied has been thrown at Raul to paint a picture and that’s what I’ve commented on.

    You think Willian, a deal closed 5 days ago, was a reason for his dismissal ffs? All 670k per week as gotten from Mokbel, but not really from Mokbel?

    I’ve maintained for the longest time that Raul was a smelly character, but I would refrain from criticising until there was clear evidence for it. Now there’s been an internal investigation and he’s off. Good riddance, big smile on my face because two football people (Edu, Arteta) eat up more decision-making.

    On the subject, Edu is appearing the white knight in all this, arrived 12 months ago and he’s overseen academy redevelopment, he’s restructuring our scout network, and he’s leading the chase for talent (yes, Willian included). Kia is in his pocket, so all the tenuous links to Raul need some revision, because looks very much like Kia is part of the rebuild.

    Unless I’m missing more details here, anyone want to provide them?

  3. Mr Serge

    Divine no that’s not how it happens in any big business if they remove the head of the department they will reshuffle have a plan and stick to it for a defined period.

    They would have had this plan before they went public with Raul
    If there is a further casualty it will be the negotiator who had a hand in the deal
    If the deal was bad it’s his and Rails fault

    Reckon he will be gone too

  4. Marko

    Edu too must be under Tim’s radar now. He’s got to be careful. Stan won’t tolerate anyone pissing his money away. I prefer manager calling all the shots, so kind of happy that Arteta will have more say in transfer dealings.

    I mean it’s his first summer window but sure. And again the days of a manager calling the shots are over thankfully.

  5. englandsbest

    Pedro, ten out of ten

    You have been hitting on the nail all along. Hopefully the nail will be in the coffin for super-agents.

  6. Jamie

    Can’t say that Stan is a bad owner, really. Only tolerates genuine shite for 2.5 years max. Everyone gets a fair shake to prove themselves.

    He gave Wenger a wide berth while the money was rolling in. 2 seasons out of the CL and he was gone.

    He gave Emery plenty of cash, who failed in getting back into the CL then tanked our league position and was dismissed in 18 months.

    He let Raul run the club until [I assume] it was deemed he was wasting the club’s resources. Sacked after 2.5 years.

    It seems to me like KSE is paying attention rather than being this utterly disinterested owner.

    Hey, at least we bagged an FA Cup under the Raul regime. Could’ve ended far worse for us.

  7. Words on a Blog

    Well, well, well.

    What with Barca’s drubbing last night and Raul’s sudden sacking it really does feel like the Barcelona era, and Arsenal’s Barca-lite era, have come to an end.

  8. Pedro

    On Edu, I don’t think there’s a question of moral bankruptcy like there was with Raul.. I think the concern is he’s just not very good at his job.

    I also suspect that maybe people thought he did what he was told by Raul, versus also being controlled by his agent.

    We’ll see, if he continues where Raul left off, he’ll be gone.

  9. Elmo

    One question that now arises: when Kia talked to the press a few weeks ago about some issues within the internal structure at Arsenal that needed to be resolved, was he talking about Sanllehi, and why would some super-agent be briefed on high-level business like that?

  10. Gonsterous

    Please don’t get Wenger the ditherer. Guy must be stuck at his front gate every morning for hours deciding whether to take a left or a right.

  11. Words on a Blog

    Jamie,

    You’re right: lots of people (myself included) made the charge that the Kroenkes were disinterested absentee landlord-owners.

    That claim no longer holds water.

  12. Gonsterous

    But I’m all for getting in people who belong to arsenal. Ex players who love the club, and will do what is right for the future of the club.

  13. Northbanker

    Great – he’s gone and we can move back to a respectable and sustainable way of building the club. Of course Lewis may still be investigating and this may only be the beginning.

    However what i think is interesting were the stories emerging last week of Edu wanting to adopt a data approach. At the time it was questioned how this would work while Raul was using his buddies to tuck up deals.

    Now it makes more sense. I’ve no doubt that Edu has been told in no uncertain terms he needs to take this moment and begin to shine. He just seemed to be a puppet up till now but now he needs to be a leader.

  14. Marko

    because looks very much like Kia is part of the rebuild.

    I’m not sure it’s true a bit more coincidental. We just happen to be interested in Willian and Coutinho because they’re fortuitous deals for us. No connection with Kia and reported targets Gabriel, Partey, Upamecano etc etc. Like I really think that people are reading too much into the Kia stuff I really do.

  15. Bergkamp63

    This shit has been going on for years at RM & Barca, look at the state of those clubs now.

    These super agents and their pals have been getting fat at the expense of the Sky subscribing public for longer than I can remember.

    They should have been kicked out of the game long long ago.

  16. Paulo

    You’re treating it like a serious football club but it’s a badly run business. Just needs to tick over as an asset for the owner, keep the customers coming through the doors.

  17. Victorious

    Pedro for director of football of Arsenal FC

    Seriously guy gets so plenty right at the club he probably deserves medal

    Nailed on about Raul from day one, unbelievable foresight.

  18. Mr Serge

    They should have a couple ex players on the board like Keown to explain what it means to be Arsenal Dixon, seaman etc

  19. andy1886

    @Words – Huss looks okay, he got a positive mention in the official statement as I pointed out earlier:

    “The academy is in very safe hands with Per, and Huss Fahmy is a talented and highly-capable leader of our football operations.”

  20. Captain Tierney

    Pedro was right all along. Great call Pedro. Looks like the club found hard evidence against Raul which us fand couldn’t. Tho you did pushed that agenda so kudos to that.
    If Edu is the one who kickstarted that investigation then maybe he is not the meek yes man , some people think he is.
    Also if Vinnai is the top man now then we are moving towards a Manu type structure with a finance guy at the top but with the addition of a technical director.
    This move showed Arteta certainly isnt a meek yes man and defo has a lot of power in the transfer window. Good for the club.
    Tim Lewis to the rescue.

    side note – A random itk on twitter , posted yesterday that Raul was off . He also said the timing of his departure will be announced around another positive announcement to make the Raul news fade away.
    Does that mean we expect Auba announcement soon?

  21. Elmo

    Mr Serge

    None of those ex-players have experience running clubs. O’Leary was proposed as football consultant to rein in Raul, by board members Keswick and Harris in the second half of last year, but Raul managed to block that move.

    Clearly his wheeler-dealer, play fast and loose with the rules approach has disgusted a lot of the establishment at the club, and he’s now been shut down by enough of them bending the Kroenkes’ ears and convincing them that Raul’s slimey way wasn’t the Arsenal way.

  22. Jamie

    For sure this is Pedro’s biggest win. He called Raul a bad actor from day 1. I’m still not sure if the shit he was up to was nefarious or just incompetent. Either way, glad he’s gone after the shortest internal investigation in history.

  23. The Ghost of Sanllehi

    i just hope we can now have a successful transfer window. We might be back to square one in terms of transfer targets unless there is a plan b already in place?

  24. CG

    Huss Fahmey

    Another one that needs to go.
    If he signed off on that Willian £35 million deal, his position is untenable.

    No one can sign off on that nonsense.

    Edu has to go
    Fahmy has to go.
    Vinny has to go.

    What an opportunity for Tim Lewis to appoint a new proven, hard nosed,independently minded but competent executive team.

  25. Marko

    First window for sure but Tim will have a close eye on how deals are structured I reckon.

    Can’t be too happy with the 240,000 a week for Willian. Unless of course it was a lie and he’s on much less

  26. Champagne Charlie

    Marko

    That’s my point, he’s seemingly there as a net positive aka how those types are supposed to be used versus this poisonous character playing puppet master as has been the script.

  27. Marc

    Wasi

    “Finally we can stop talking about Kia and shoddy agent deals.”

    You really think that’s going to happen? Edu will be next on the list – I wonder what Pedro will say when the nutjobs are calling for Arteta to go as well?

  28. Rich

    A lot of damage has been done though, that’ll take a while to clean up.

    Soares 4 year deal

    Mari 4 year deal

    Willian 3 year deal

    Luiz 1 year deal, but looks to be in steep decline, and we have 7 other senior centre half’s on our books.

    Moving players on this summer is going to be difficult, particularly with the wages we pay, and everyone knowing how keen we are to sell.

    We’ve got a first team squad of 32, Mavropanos out on loan, but Mkhitaryan still on our books, we need to lose at least 7 players before we even think about bringing any in.

    You don’t solve this level of disorganisation, and lpyears of poor squad planning in a few weeks.

    Our squads a real mess.

  29. salparadisenyc

    “Cheers Sal. Way to put your neck out even a little.”

    Please, I recall going on a limb saying the way AFC was operating was sketchy under Raul with a litany of info building in snowball effect, some time ago and had you berating me with “boogyman’ bullshit the entire road.

    Do I think the Willian contract is too much, yes, but perhaps the manager has made that decisions based on what he needs, getting him on a bossman etc.
    Happy to have a manager willing to push the boat out if thats what in fact happened.

    You drawing an invisible line from Tim Lewis to the Willian signing doesn’t change that.

    If this all equates to Wenger coming back as a D of F with Vinai being his man in Havana we’ll all of been done. Lets hope as CC just said Edu is Arteta’s Dean and the path ends there.

  30. Marc

    Rich

    That was my point – if this needed to be done and if it did any transgressions happened over 6 months ago then why do it a couple of weeks into one of the most critical transfer windows I can remember?

    If a “new” structure is already in place it’s either been pre planned so could’ve been done earlier or a stop gap. Either way not a good way to be approaching such a critical time.

  31. Graham62

    This is what tends to happen when you have owners who haven’t got their ears to the ground.

    Just a pity these actions are being made now when in fact questions should have been asked long ago.

    When I mean long ago, I mean when the likes of Gazidis and that other guy, who’s name fails me, were making so many dumb-ass decisions..

    PS:
    Congratulations to CG though.👏

  32. Victorious

    Marc
    Big Weng wouldn’t do worse than Raul honestly

    The guy has really got us into some deplorable shits that we’ll take years to sort out from

    PapaSok for 16M
    Soares 4 year deal
    Mari 4 year deal
    Willian 3 year deal
    Luiz for 8M

    Not in a million years will Wenger sign off on those jokes for big money, almost like the guy was an inside agent on order to pull the club down

  33. Trask

    Really don’t trust Edu to be honest . It’s all well and good to say if he Fs up then he’ll be gone but think about how his mess up would set the club back again.

    I mean just look at the mess Mislintat made. Most of the players he brought in will be gone this summer and they were brought in just 2 yrs ago. Wasste of time and money Crazy

    Edu has brought in Mari Soares and Willian so far . The former, money wasted. Real poor players. One is slower than Per was and the other couldn’t even get a game at soton

    Willian, wait to see but then a 3 yr deal at 32. Worrying

    Got a feeling Edu doesnt deliver hell be fired latest next summer tbh

  34. Marko

    Charlie my question is why does Pedro take such a myopic view on super agents considering the rampant criticism of Wenger and transfers and opportunities missed for many many years on here. Like it’s really dumb honestly. Now all of a sudden we hear about values and the Arsenal way but we used to shit talk those things when our rivals and major European clubs were bringing in the sort of talent that we turned our noses up at. Like I personally couldn’t give the slightest of fucks that Willian and Coutinho have Kia for an agent because they’re two affordable deals on players that would improve us. I also wouldn’t give a shit that Jorge Mendes is the agent of Neves or Ruben Dias and it shouldn’t stop us from looking at signing such players because they are fantastic. But unfortunately we are now in a situation where I guess we should avoid certain players because of super agents. The problem with that is that some of the very best talent in Europe are handled by super agents. It’s just the way it is

  35. NJ Gooner

    Pedro,

    I perfectly understand. But it is rare that you publish a prediction at night and wake up in the morning to discover that it’s come true.

    And having read every word you ever wrote about Raul, I don’t believe that you ever came close to crossing the line.

    The Gooner cite reporting that Famhy may be the next to go.

  36. Marko

    Odds drastically reduced on Wenger returning is some official capacity.What a day!

    Painfully pathetic but I’d love to see it just to see the reaction of it on here.

  37. Trask

    Vic

    Mari
    Soares
    Willian

    Edu and Artetas work

    Sok Mislintats work

    Luiz Rauls work

    There’s no need to resort to lies

  38. Captain Tierney

    Marc

    Yeah maybe it will still go on.
    Still Pedro hasnt taken a very aggressive stance against Edu yet and he deserves time before he is being judged.
    If its true he started the inside investigation then thats a bold statement on his part.
    This summer will give us a glimpse or maybe a full fledged view of the question i.e Is Edu good enough or not.
    At least we move away from the dreaded dual leadership structure.

  39. Freddie Ljungberg

    Vic

    Welcome out of your coma, the year is now 2020

    Xhaka 35m 100k a week
    Mustafi 35m 100k a week
    Ozil 4 year 350k a week
    Kim Källström broken back
    Kolasinac 140k a week ( probably a lot more if the Willian model of calculating fees are applied)
    etc etc etc
    Oh, and Sven signed PapaSok btw

  40. Captain Tierney

    Wow

    ‘PapaSok for 16M’

    Looks like peopye have sold their brains.
    As shoddy as Raul was this was a Sven signing through and through.
    And the right figure is 18 mil + 92k a week basic wages + bonuses. Total cost of the deal if you want to consider all the bonuses and clauses like in the deal should exceed 50 mil.

  41. Marc

    Victorious

    I think you’re being selective with which signings you attribute to Sanllehi.

    This has been the whole crux of the argument.

    Marko

    I agree with your comment – I actually think Pedro’s locked into a fantasy of a Mislintat type signing all these amazing kids and unknowns so we can rule the world.

    It just ain’t gonna happen and if Edu can’t get things done this summer then it’s going to be Arteta who’s necks on the line as well.

  42. Captain Tierney

    Freddie

    You forgot to add all the bonuses , signing on fees , third party fees , Vat and Pensions to the basic wages.

  43. Victorious

    Edu is also a big suspect in all of this btw

    How can you be piling up average oldies at the club and at the same time still have the guts to be talking about a ‘rebuild’? WTF

    Just a pity its taken so long for the club to realize we were being run to the ground by these incompetent jokes

    Would be surprised if this doesn’t ruin some deals on the pipeline too,horrible timing also, fvck.

  44. Bergkamp63

    Talk about rinse and repeat FFS, just when it looked as though things were going to turn and players on bloated contracts were starting to run down, we go and top up these type of deals and prolong the agony for another few years.

    You couldn’t make this shit up !

  45. Champagne Charlie

    Pedro

    How can you say the following:

    “On Edu, I don’t think there’s a question of moral bankruptcy like there was with Raul.. I think the concern is he’s just not very good at his job.“

    And tweet the following:

    “Arsenal in 10 months:
    Ditched a terrible football lead
    Binned Emery and brought in an elite young coach
    Restructured scouting to be data-focused
    Won an FA Cup
    United the fanbase”

    Surely Edu has had a major influence over the standout elements of the past 10 months by your reckoning? Consider the academy restructure too and I’m not sure who is deserving of credit with anything at Arsenal of Raul was a wank and Edu is a duffer.

    Like seriously, who the fuck is to credit for the reorganisation, the new manager, the academy, the scouting?

    Cant be daggers for all.

  46. Marc

    Wasi

    “If its true he started the inside investigation then thats a bold statement on his part.”

    If Edu has taken Sanllehi out he’s certainly ruthless – make’s David Dein look like a kitten!

    At the moment there’s too much interference on who’s done what and when. Edu’s investigation? Was that looking at our scouting and who / how we identify players or the actual structure of deals?

    Not sure we’ll know.

  47. CG

    Graham

    “”””””Congratulations to CG though.👏””””””

    A great day all around . ( thanks)

    a spiv , a cockroach, a chancer, a charlatan and a gutless coward……out of the club.(take your pick)

    Who cant be happy?

  48. Marko

    Not in a million years will Wenger sign off on those jokes for big money

    Oh fuck me some people are just that stupid or have short memories. That old cunt literally pissed away hundreds of millions had us declining to the point where we were desperate for anyone to replace him and was shocking in the transfer market. Keep him away from this club

  49. Dissenter

    Apologies are owed to Pedro
    He was right along all the while
    That Soares deal was as strange as hell.
    Why spend even one penny on loan fees in January to get a player that was available for a fee transfer. More so when AMN could play that role.

    It’s Mea culpa day

  50. Captain Tierney

    The old and experienced signing of Willian makes a lot of sense. We have a very young squad and Edu talked about rebalancing. If I remember right we have the second or third youngest squad in the league. That means a clear lack of experience. Someone like Willian brings experience , winning mentality and starting quality.

  51. Marko

    I don’t think there’s anything shady in Willian deal. 100k/wages and 5M signing bonus is a good deal.

    I know TR7 I’m taking the piss out of certain types trying to claim that we’re paying a bullshit amount to Willian while at the same time claiming that now that Tim Lewis is here bad deals are over and scrutinizing transfers is the norm.

  52. Habesha Gooner

    Everyone doing a lap of honour about Raul leaving. As far as I can see any bones left that we have in the team came here during his tenure. There have been no evidences and I stand by that. If he was doing such a crappy job why did we not make him leave earlier? He didn’t give Ozil 350k, Be didn’t sign Mustafi, Kolasinac and Miki. His only fault so far has been signing David Luiz and May be a bit Overpaying for pepe due to our lack of resources to be paid in Installments.

    One thing though, Pedro is the Grim reaper of Jobs. His enemy in the next posts will also lose their Jobs.

  53. Dissenter

    * Why spend even one penny on loan fees in January to get a player that was available for a fee transfer in the summer. More so when AMN could play that role.

    Pedro
    Waiting for that big post now
    It’s like Douglas MacArthur returning back to the Philippines ; ‘ “People of the Le-grove , I have returned!”

  54. Freddie Ljungberg

    Captain T

    I didn’t want to make the post too long, Vic struggles too much then. Not the sharpest tool that one.

    Agree on Willian, aside from Auba none of our players over 25 should be in the team, debatable if any of them should even be in the squad based on their output so getting someone in that is both experienced and actually good can’t hurt.

    Gonsterus

    Sven was wank, get over it.

  55. Graham62

    It is laughable to think that there are still some fans out there who think everything was hunky dory for all those years.

    Were all these folk also in a prolonged state of deep unconsciousness?

  56. Dissenter

    Pedro said there was rumbling and he was shooed away.
    He said there was a lot of strange dealings going on, everything is so freaking short term. It’s like a porno-club.
    We are living in the moment for the moment, nothing else.

    Thanks Peds.
    You’ve redeemed yourself.

    It’s Mea Culpa day.

  57. Gonsterous

    Which other club is as shambolic as ours?
    Now this summer is fked and we will be mid table next season.

    Let the gloom descend on it all.

  58. TR7

    Habesha

    ‘His only fault so far has been signing David Luiz and May be a bit Overpaying for pepe due to our lack of resources to be paid in Installments.’

    I don’t think it’s about whether signings of Pepe and Luiz were value for money. Most likely in Raul’s case it is about financial and moral propreity rather than getting good value for the money spent.

  59. Bergkamp63

    It’s hard to justify any of the recent deals that have been handed out, the club has placed itself in an utterly embarrassing position publicly by fact that they have had to take away the livelihood of 55 staff members in order to finance this fiasco.

    Ask any of those 55 if any of the recent contracts handed out make any sense !

  60. Marko

    I will say this though I am a big fan of ruthless decision making I really am especially at this football club where it was severely lacking for well over a decade. I have to since I’ve been calling for such approaches to the squad for years.

  61. Biggles

    Didn’t see it coming at all last week. That there has been that fast a departure suggests to me that there definitely was something worse going on than we realised, potentially even criminal.

    Hopefully Soares and Mari can at least contribute something over the next couple of years without going full Squillaci on us. Willian has been one of Chelsea’s best players over the last few years, if he can deliver that kind of form for a couple of seasons then maybe not all is lost.

    At the very least, we might finally be in a place to start over. I’m sure we could find some kind of deal to shift Ozil – not even being on the bench is ruining his appeal to sponsors.

    Might be that Lewis is our best signing of the last decade, not Auba.

  62. Marc

    You don’t start an investigation of a senior member of staff unless you have an outcome already in mind – even if they come through as innocent the trust between employer and employee is done.

    With that in mind I can’t see how Sanllehi’s been involved with any transfer plans for this summer and certainly wouldn’t have had a hand in Willian’s signing.

    So the big question is when do we sack Edu for overpaying Willian and his agent?

  63. Freddie Ljungberg

    Ashwin

    Yesterday the investigation was leaked, it’s not the same thing.

    Do you seriously think it’s a 1 day job to go through our transfer dealings.

    It’s also said to be a part of Edus restructuring of the club so doesn’t necessarily mean something shady was going on.

    Apparently we had more than twice the staff of Man City, not very effective and a massive drain on our resources.

  64. Batistuta

    Hopefully all of the noise is over and we can concentrate on building the playing side of the club, the actual thing that makes money for it.

    Seasons already upon us and we’re back in action in a few weeks, deal with your backroom stuff quickly and go about rebuilding your very average squad.

  65. Dissenter

    Why is this about Sven.
    I was one of the first to call out the bias for Sven but Raul won the boardroom battle and got him out.
    This has been Raul’s show for the the better part of 18 months now. He owns whatever mistakes were being investigated.

    Why pay a penny for loan fees to get a CROCKED reserve full back for 6 months when there was already coverage in that position already?
    That was one fishy deal, strange one.

  66. Gonsterous

    Freddie

    Say what you want about sven but he helped us make a profit from purchasing guen. Torr would have been an asset but unfortunately he wasn’t suited to the league. Will still make a profit.
    Better signing than mari and soares by a mile.

  67. Marc

    Marko

    I’m with you on the ruthless position – my worry is what if the club have decided we don’t need a Sanllehi type role ie more staff cutbacks – if we do need someone in that position we’ll replace.

    We could be in a position where all the talk of signing the likes of Gabriel and Partey are bullshit, the talk of the offer to Madrid for Ceballos (can’t have been Sanllehi) just means we’re flat broke.

  68. Dissenter

    Marc
    I don’t think this was about Willian.
    He’s not a Chelsea reject, they were still trying to desperately keep him till the last minute. This is not the Willian deal.

    It has to be something else we may never know about fully because of exit confidentiality agreements.

  69. Captain Tierney

    Dissenter

    Read somewhere Raul pocketed 10m from the Pepe deal. Dont know how true that is , but Pepe deal was a big one and it is possibly Raul did some shoddy work there with all the agents involved to pocket a quick million or 10 millions.

  70. Victorious

    Xhaka 35m 100k a week
    Mustafi 35m 100k a week
    Ozil 4 year 350k a week
    Kim Källström broken back
    Kolasinac 140k a week ( probably a lot more if the Willian model of calculating fees are applied)
    etc etc etc
    Oh, and Sven signed PapaSok btw

    Spouting complete balderdash now aren’t you?

    The Ozil’s ridiculous contract was all Gazidis, I mean its all over the tabloids ffs, how could you openly disregard that?

    There is a reason why we had a CEO and and contracts specialists who was in charge of players salaries and what not but it doesn’t serve the agenda of Wenger been the worst thing to ever happen to the club so by all means go for it

    I mean I was given two options, the fraud Raul or Wenger

    I simply chose a man who has beyond actions and words done nothing but exercised his love for the club time and again.

  71. Freddie Ljungberg

    Gonsterous

    Compare Guen with Martinelli, who do you think will turn out to be the better signing for us?

    Torreira we’ll hopefully break even on

    PapaSok we might get 5m

    Leno good signing

    Mikhi is wank and a drain on our wage bill for years.

    Auba great signing but you don’t really have to be a super scout to find him.

    Hardly the record of a master of his craft that.

    Last summer was far better.

    Sven so overhyped on here it’s unbelievable

  72. Marc

    Dissenter

    But that’s the issue – the mud thrown at Sanllehi has involved so much bullshit you can’t tell the wood from the trees. How many comments have we had criticising Sanllehi for the Willian deal and all of a sudden he has nothing to do with it.

    We’re going to be able to judge the entire future of Arsenal by this transfer window and I’m not confident we’re going to see what we’d like.

  73. Marc

    “The Ozil’s ridiculous contract was all Gazidis, I mean its all over the tabloids ffs, how could you openly disregard that?”

    Funny how Sanllehi was being blamed for it not so long ago.

  74. Valentin

    Marc, backpass,

    How does humble pie taste?
    It was clear that something nasty was going on behind the scene. When the foul smell of cronyism finally reached the US shore, it was obvious that Raul’s days were numbered.

    To avoid any public relations blowback, it will be swept under the carpet and nothing public will be said. However club don’t get suddenly get rid of director of football operations in the middle of the transfer window without legitimate reason.

  75. Marc

    Wasi

    “Read somewhere Raul pocketed 10m from the Pepe deal. Dont know how true that is , but Pepe deal was a big one and it is possibly Raul did some shoddy work there with all the agents involved to pocket a quick million or 10 millions.”

    If that was true the Kroenke’s would’ve called in the Fraud Squad – you think they’re going to let someone steal £10 million from one of their businesses that’s already losing £20 million plus a year? And that was prior to COVID.

  76. Gonsterous

    Marc

    Guen was bought for 10m. Surely we are not selling him for less than 25-30. Profit there.

    Also now that raul is gone, is ozil back in the fold? How many life lines will that guy get?

  77. Champagne Charlie

    Josh Kroenke is obviously a bit of a fucking retard after his stint over here all summer left him convinced by Raul.

    That’s reassuring…

    Who exactly blew the whistle on matters?

  78. Holmes

    Absolutely top work on this article Pedro.

    You’ve been opening many people’s eyes to the shambles going on at the club with Raul/Kia. Glad to see the club have the balls to do something about it and kicked him out. Let’s bring back Sven, get smarter with our acquisitions and build this club properly.

  79. DigitalBob

    Wow, no more Don Raul, so does that mean he’s had absolutely no hand in our most recent deal Willian? If that all Edu, he’s really in the hot seat.

    I guess this is also part of the restructuring Kia was talking about in his Talksport interviews. Edu really needs to look beyond his agents other clients as potential transfer targets, there are other attainable players out there that could be great fits.

  80. Gonsterous

    Freddie

    Martinelli being the exception, which other player has been cheap and value for money? Sven was bought in to bring in players that will go on to generate a good profit. Pepe definitely not in that mould, as if you sell him now, you’ll be lucky to get 50m

    Auba was bought by Wenger, wasn’t he?
    Sanchez and mhiki swap was on Wenger too.

  81. Valentin

    Marc,

    Back to your usual Gaslighting trying to masquerading that as banter.
    You really know how to attach yourself on a losing horse. Still sore from supporting Emery and now Raul being shown the door.
    I need to dig and frame your defense of Raul when I commented yesterday that in my view Raul’s days were numbered.

  82. Freddie Ljungberg

    Vic

    So you think Wenger wasn’t in complete control of every aspect of the club at that time?
    Alrighty then.

    He was responsible for not selling Sanchez in the previous window costing us 50-60m and he was also responsible for letting both him and Ozil run down their contracts, even called it ideal.

    Any comments on the other players I listed that Wenger absolutely didn’t throw away any money on? There’s plenty more where they came from btw. He pissed away an unreal amount of cash on subpar players in his last decade at the club so to hold him up as someone who would have handled our transfers better now is mindblowingly stupid, that’s your M.O though so keep on trucking on coma boy.

  83. Marc

    Bob

    What if our next signing’s agent is Kia – will that suddenly be acceptable? Will the comments about Arteta now being more involved be suddenly forgotten?

    If Le Grove has any effect in the real world if I was Edu I get out of Arsenal now because he’ll be next.

  84. Chika

    So Ozil outlasted Emery and Raul just as his camp predicted.

    Whatever though, I hope there’s no major distraction from the job at hand. We need to get moving with shaping up the squad.

  85. Gonsterous

    Marc

    Why are you splitting hair on that. He’s been put on the market and will be sold soon. If he goes on loan, we will get more for him next season, especially if he plays like he did for us.

  86. Marc

    Valentin

    You can’t be taken seriously because you make up lies to prove a point.

    The fact that people take the piss out of you for constantly lying is not my fault.

    As for support of Emery – yeah I’m a terrible fan for giving a manager a chance. If the Arsenal fan base was made up of “fans” like you the club wouldn’t exist.

  87. Dissenter

    Marc
    Yes Pedro didn’t like Raul from the get go. Yes he did show some writer’s bias towards him.
    The problem is that some of you couldn’t look past initial bias even when there was a lot of smoke. Pedro was bang on target when he started writing about Kia’s undue influence at the club. Kia was talking about the internal dealings that he had no buns knowing about.

    I’ll always present the Soares deal as a case example of numb-f*cking stupidity.
    The player was going to be available on a free transfer in the summer. He was also crocked limiting whatever short term coverage he was due to provide. To make matters worse, we had an acceptable coverage for that position [at least till this summer when Soares could have come in]

    Why spend 1 million [or 2.5 million]? We can forget the red herring of 5 million, cos that arithmetic doesn’t add up.

    Kroenke obviously doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The people on the board have been whispering to him. He now has his man on the board and I suspect Tim Lewis is being groomed to be CEO.

  88. Valentin

    Özil played his game masterfully. He lasted longer than all those who were trying to get rid of him.
    Now if Arteta does not bring him back into the fold, it will be for football reason and not business reason or management personal vendetta.

    I don’t think that he will still be here next season, but he may have a very productive final season at Arsenal launching us back into the Champion’s League places.

  89. Emiratesstroller

    The Kroenke statement does not suggest that Raul has been sacked for misconduct as many assume.

    There may be other reasons for the decision. I attempted to post earlier this
    morning before the announcement was made that there have been structural
    problems with Board and Management since the Fiszman era.

    1. Arsenal lacked proper leadership when Fiszman died with two major shareholders Kroenke and Uszmanov attempting to own the club. One of
    whom was persona no grata with Board.

    2. Kroenke managed only to become owner in September 2018. Until then
    Arsenal have been in downward spiral with ageing Board and lacking leadership.

    3. Arsenal needs a properly constituted Board with at least 3 UK Directors including CEO and a Director who represents the interests of the Kroenke
    family. Lewis appointment was clearly designed to meet the latter.

    4. Leaving aside the rumours circulating which may or may not be true I never
    understood why Arsenal appointed such a complex Football Management.
    Arsenal needed a much more simple chain of command.

    5. What exactly were the different roles of Football and Technical Directors
    neither of whom sit on the Board?

    6. My personal view is that the departure of Raul is as likely to be, because there have been disagreements about recruitment and the type of players
    Arsenal wanted to bring in. Josh Kroenke suggested when his father took over
    that the club wanted to develop its own players and if we buy players they should be top quality.

    7. Maybe there has been a difference of opinion about the direction of recruitment. We know that Arteta wanted to keep Maitland-Niles but was
    overruled.

    8. It will be very interesting to see what if any changes are made in our recruitment and departures this summer.

  90. Marc

    Gonsterous

    Because I’m in sales and the first thing you learn is it’s not a sale till it’s paid for. In this instance it’s not a sale until a club buys him – from what I’ve heard about Guendozi’s attitude he might make himself difficult to move on – hopefully not and I’d be thrilled if someone was stupid enough to pay £80 million for him but I’ll count the money when we’ve got it.

  91. Dissenter

    Jamie
    I was against Mislintat before it was fanciful on this site.
    When are you going to drop that VAT card. It shouldn’t take long now..

  92. Freddie Ljungberg

    Gons

    Sven was in Germany with Gazidis when Auba was signed.

    Mikhi was a Wenger + Sven combo. Think his powers in transfers were being reigned in slightly at that time after the summer of Sanchez and Ozil not being addressed.

    We also signed Saliba last summer, he wasn’t cheap but he’s seen as a top top talent so probably a lot cheaper than if we had waited.

    Tierney and Pepe are also relatively young.

    Sven signed 1 young player, the rest oldies and 3 of them from his old club. Whatever the future is for us it isn’t Sven.

  93. Marc

    Emirates

    As always a very sound take on matters. What you left off is in the current financial climate do we have money to spend this summer? Do you need a highly paid DOF when you also have a Tech Dir but aren’t going to spend any serious money?

  94. Trask

    Everyone assuming Raul was sacked for shady dealings and misappropriation of funds

    The truth however is that nobody knows why the fuck he was fired

    All rumors and conjecture at this point

  95. Dissenter

    At the very least, humble pie should be served out.
    Any time Pedro wrote about this issue< there was some type of guerilla style resistance
    It turns out that he was proven right by what’s just happened. I won’t be surprised when Edu is eased out too.
    For a sporting director, it’s all short-term missions for him.

    I expect Arteta to be 100% short term in strategy, however the sporting director shouldn’t be operating on that mode.

  96. Captain Tierney

    ‘If that was true the Kroenke’s would’ve called in the Fraud Squad – you think they’re going to let someone steal £10 million from one of their businesses that’s already losing £20 million plus a year? And that was prior to COVID.’

    Marc , Idk. I’m sure the Kroenkes are smart enough to not let anyone steal from under their noses. But there’s a reason Raul has been sacked.
    And the Pepe deal is the one being brought on the forefront.
    Idk I could be seeing things here but maybe after involving extra agents into that deal + Ingla at Lille he made Arsenal pay more than the market rate and then the little circle distributed the extra money in and among themselves. Or there are hundreds of thousands of other possibilities but what we can say for sure is Raul has done something/things which the club dont approve or cant make sense of and thats why he bas been given the kick out the club

  97. Valentin

    Marc,

    The three people who keep accusing me of lying are the same village idiots who keep not understanding basic point.

    Flat earthing, latching to false point, deliberatedly miscontruing points made by others, gaslighting and accusing somebody of lying is your typical modus operandi when facts don’t conform to your perception of reality.

    Ultimately you then usually resort to insult and casual xenophobia that you try to hide as banter.

    I hope that you enjoy your opinion of Emery and Raul, because today I am being proven right and I have not changed about them since day 1.

  98. Marc

    “Kroenke obviously doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The people on the board have been whispering to him. He now has his man on the board and I suspect Tim Lewis is being groomed to be CEO.”

    The above wouldn’t surprise me.

    I just hope we aren’t on the brink of a vicious circle.

  99. Dissenter

    Also Raul’s position is very dubious and vague.
    What in the world is a director of footballing operations?
    The club can just say a they fired him because his position was redundant, same as all the 55 staff that were fired.

    Go back to the tested model of CEO and sporting director model, reporting to a board of directors filled with knowledgeable questioning voices
    That co-sharing leadership- model of Vinai and Raul was just trouble waiting to happen.

  100. Captain Tierney

    The truth is nobody knows why Raul was sacked.
    Dont believe the rosy rosy statement given by the club as they did the same with Wenger

    ,

  101. Victorious

    So you think Wenger wasn’t in complete control of every aspect of the club at that time?
    Alrighty then”

    You’re either over estimating the importance and involvement of big Weng to the club in all aspect or just completely disregarding the fact we used to have a CEO and specialists in charge of looking into players contracts and salaries, either way you’re still crediting the man you loathe so much

    Why will he allow the only world class player he has left in the club to leave on the last day of the window without a replacement? So he could fail badly the next season and you still get to laugh out your fat ass right? Jokes on you boy

    Funny how easily you’re rattled when Wenger is mentioned eh , now register this, he’s by far the best thing to have ever happened to the club, now go in back your hole and cry some more.

  102. Dissenter

    Track
    ‘ The truth however is that nobody knows why the fuck he was firedAll rumors and conjecture at this point’

    True
    However he left after ‘multiple sources’ in the club leaked information that the club was concerned about us over-paying for certain players.
    We can connect the dots.

  103. TR7

    Marc

    See the likes of Pedro, CG and Val got it right on Raul. Raul wouldn’t have been sacked in the middle of a transfer window if there was no wrongdoing. 72M was a lot of money for Pepe, very likely many agents/intermediaries made a lot of money. Appointment of Tom Lewis was not just a random appointment.

  104. Valentin

    Marc,

    Well played.
    I forgot another of your preferred technique to deal with inconvenient facts, the whataboutery diversion question.

    You really have no argument to present in defense of Raul. The emperor has no clothes.

  105. Champagne Charlie

    Such a weird vibe on here today, who the fuck claimed Raul was a salt of the earth type exactly?

    A lot of conflating bullshit here to score points, it’s dumb af.

  106. Emiratesstroller

    Marc

    You know my view from previous posts.

    I do think that Arsenal will have a transfer budget, but in view of current economic climate probably less than some will expect.

    Arteta won the FA Cup and qualified for Europe despite all the negative statements. I am fairly sure that he will be properly supported by Kroenke
    who has already pumped in £200 million to cover shortfall in revenue.

    No-one believes seriously that we can qualify for top 4 and Champions League
    this season without investment specifically along spine and factoring in also
    that we could be without three central midfielders in Guendouzi, Ceballos and
    Ozil at the start of next season.

    Despite some of the negative comments I think that Willian is a good choice
    particularly if Ozil is offloaded. However, we need still to find replacements
    for other two and that is going to cost money.

    Some money will come from sales, but not all of it.

  107. Dissenter

    Valentin
    Ozil is entitled to defend himself but he’s not going to get back in the squad because his performances sucked.
    For all the talk of creativity, he could not have done a fraction of the graft that Ceballos did after the restart.
    Ceballos had the highest number of tackles and was winning the team free kicks all over the field.
    The reason why Ozil didn’t come back is because of Ceballos, nothing to do with refusing wage cuts. Had Ceballos messed up, Arteta would have had no choice but to bring Ozil back in.

  108. Freddie Ljungberg

    Vic

    Hmm, maybe he could have done something before the last day of the window instead of doing nothing as usual because he hated the transfer window.

    Yeah, Wenger wasn’t involved at all in our wage policy, that’s why it was so great and we’re still suffering the effects of it 2 years later. Good one.

    “Funny how easily you’re rattled when Wenger is mentioned eh , now register this, he’s by far the best thing to have ever happened to the club, now go in back your hole and cry some more.”

    No tears from me, I’m glad he’s gone so we have a chance to move forward, was never going to happen if he stayed and you have to truly hate the club to want him back. Like wanting the team to lose and actively cheering for our opponents every game, ring any bells coma boy?

  109. CG

    Victorious

    “”””””Funny how easily you’re rattled when Wenger is mentioned eh , now register this, he’s by far the best thing to have ever happened to the club, now go in back your hole and cry some more.””””””

    (Well said)

    They can’ t handle the Truth

    And the Truth is : Arsene Wenger was the greatest asset Arsenal had.

    And they jettisoned him.
    And they replaced him with a Clown and Crook.

    A Clown and a Crook.

    Well done Arsenal FC

  110. Pedro

    CC, not sure there’s a weird vibe, but you have to agree, I’ve been gas-lit by people like Marc for a year on something I knew I was right about. Even yesterday I was being called a lunatic.

    Today, he still can’t face up to the reality.

  111. Graham62

    Victorious

    You are so naive.

    “Funny how easily you’re rattled when Wenger is mentioned”.

    Wenger may have been “the best thing that ever happened to the club”

    Problem is, he also became a major reason for us becoming an absolute farcical mess.

    All the same 🍺🍺.

  112. Valentin

    Dissenter,

    I never said that Özil will automatically come back into the team. I said that now his exclusion will be based on football reason rather financial extraneous baggage.

    I don’t think that we will ever see the free flowing Özil of a few years back, but I also believe that before Arteta stumbled onto that 3-4-3 formation, Özil was not asked to play as a CAM.

    He was tasked to be a ball recycler and security blanket for the midfield, keeping possession over penetration. The fact he had a game where he completed 100% of his passes indicates to me that he was extremely conservative in his passing. I doubt that he made that decision by himself.

  113. Jamie

    “I was against Mislintat before it was fanciful on this site.”

    So internet point scoring is only childish when finally one of the many handfuls of shit you throw at the wall finally sticks?

    Got it.