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

by & filed under News Review.

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.


You can’t coach character. Huge wake-up call for Arteta and the technical team

by & filed under News Review.


My hope is that a desperately poor performance like yesterday’s works out better for Arsenal in the long-term. Two shocking games without mitigating circumstances might save us a season of misery.

How so?

The worrying narrative that Arteta had been spinning prior to the last two games was that the players were focused, fighting, and turning a corner. ‘They might not be the best, but they always give 100%’ has been the gist. For a moment, I was convinced. When we’ve suffered bad results of late, there’s usually been a valid excuse. Red cards, injuries, bad luck… just a shit day at the office.

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