On the Opening Weekend & Squad Economics

The first round of Premier League games is over and the hyperbole is in full flow. Manchester United and City’s unstoppable charge to the title began with comfortable wins while Chelsea imploded in a disciplinary mess. Resilient though, we’re informed, as they almost clawed back a three-goal deficit. Tottenham were ruthless while Liverpool and Arsenal’s defences, breached three times, are too soft-centred to sustain a charge for glory.

All that from one set of fixtures; quite where Huddersfield’s relegation fits into this has yet to be explained but I’m sure the first defeat when it happens is the first sign of the ‘rot’ setting in, as we see cliche drop in to make a combustible mix on the back pages.

For decades, the media resisted the temptation to publish tables after the first game of the season but no longer. The Football League, when they ran the top flight of football did so as well. Mind you, they only issue league tables once the season was over; everything in the back pages to that point was the property of whichever paper printed it.

The weekend threw up the usual mix of unexpected results and hammerings we’ve become accustomed to. Indeed, I can’t recall an opening weekend where the results didn’t reflect either outcome. You genuinely can’t read much into any result at the moment. Next weekend might tell us a bit more, particularly in the Spurs vs Chelsea and City vs Everton fixtures; our trip to Stoke as well but nothing can be read too deeply into anything at the moment.

In October, we’ll have a better idea of where title challenges lie and who we’re fighting for the final Champions League place. My guess at present, it’s Tottenham with Liverpool severely weakened by Philippe Coutinho’s exit to Barcelona.

Cash-Strapped or Bargaining Stance?

Away from the weekend’s action on the pitch came the subtle switch in focus from buying to strengthen to selling to strengthen. We know the players who are on the ‘hit list’ and it’s no surprise the club are finding them hard to move on. While the elite are paying eye-watering sums without a second thought. In doing so, they believe the market as a whole has moved to ridiculous sums.

Maybe it has but it doesn’t feel like much has changed below the top seven when they are signing from abroad. At home, it’s a different story. There was talk recently of Newcastle baulking at paying £20m for Lucas Perez; why anyone would value him so highly is beyond me. Maybe Arsenal didn’t and cash-strapped Mike Ashley put the story out to cover for the Barcodes lack of funds. It could be a double-bluff since they apparently want Jack Wilshere and Lucas now. You say toe-may-toe…

Arsenal face a dilemma over the sale of squad players. They want value for money but in ‘over-pricing’ them, it ends up costing more in continuing to pay their wages until the end of their lucrative contracts. Kieran Gibbs, it’s reported, is once again off Watford’s wanted list with his wage demands putting the kibosh on the deal.

Winston Bogarde isn’t a one-off, the exception which proves the rule; now quite a few players are content to train and not play while taking substantial coin for their efforts. But the party ends next summer and reality bites. Is that year – in some cases, longer – worthwhile when the top flight has moved on and the players are yesterday’s men, forced to take an option which means a definitive step down.

Is It Worth The Money?

There is a suggestion that Lucas could be loaned elsewhere but that isn’t the case with Jack; he, with one year on his deal, is leaving on a permanent basis for a fee of £20m. Which is a hell of a risk for a buying club. Such is his misfortune with injury that his loan spell with Bournemouth ended prematurely with him crocked at White Hart Lane.

With that kind of fee, you’d expect a proposal which was a low down-payment, say £5m, with £5m paid every time he passed 25 appearances. Would that be palatable to Arsenal? Better than nothing next summer? While the ruthlessness of holding on to Alexis makes sense with a return to the Champions League worth almost as much as we’d recoup in a transfer this summer. With a squad player, the same economics don’t apply or do they?

We’re not blessed with a great depth in midfield, particularly with no definite return date for Santi Cazorla. Jack may yet play a part this season if injuries and suspensions form a combustible mix. If’s, but’s and maybe’s; no-one said the manager’s job was easy but this is the balance he has to strike.

While failing to land Thomas Lemar is disappointing, the partnership of Ramsey and Xhaka has little competition for places. Elneny proved adept against Chelsea but some perspective was added by their capitulation against Burnley. At once, not strengthening is going to be a surprise but par for the course. We enter most seasons with a squad which might rather than one which you feel, will.

Aaah, welcome back football. I missed you.

Finally, keep an eye on the comments section and right sidebar for a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox later today.

’til Tomorrow.

55 thoughts on “On the Opening Weekend & Squad Economics

  1. Good summing up of our squad dilemma , YW.

    We may have to either drop our prices or meet some of the ongoing salaries to ship out some of our over paid deadwood.

    Obviously Gibbs , Jenks, Debuchy & JW need to be moved on somehow. Maybe Chambers too.

    It would be nice to think that any proceeds would then be used towards a high quality midfielder but I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Morning Peeps.

    I am not sure what all the concern over players that were slated to leave refusing to do so because they want to keep their current salaries.

    In the first place who could blame them? And who would not accept or demand the maximum salary package they could get? Those who say Arsenal should not pay such large salaries, are probably the same ones who used to say Arsenal’s salary bill was one of the smallest in the Premiership, and are now demanding the club should pay Sanchez what he wants.

    Anyway, back to the current challenge – getting reluctant players to leave – the solution seems simples to me. Tell them they will not be on the squad roster, if they ever were, and will not be loaned out, and training will only ever be with the junior gunners – so if they stay they had better set up a poker school for surplus players and fill their wasted days that way.

    A bit draconian? Well I am always in favour of ’employees’ in any walk of life getting paid a fair and hopefully lucrative wage, but as an Arsenal fan wondering why there is this player release/transfer pinch point, I think my solution would work.

    We’ll see, I guess.

    [Nice Post, Yogi] 😀

  3. Anyone else think that Jim White might actually burst a blood vessel this summer? As the window is going to go batshit crazy in these last three weeks with everyone holding more money than players and all trying to get set before the music stops?

  4. Morning all,

    Yep, the trouble we seem to be having shifting players is a dilemma. People bang on about Wenger the economist. Has he ever worked in a financial role for an organisation? I could pass the bar yet never win a case. Of the players that I’d like to see go ( JW, Debuchy.Jenks and Gibb’s) I think Jack may end up being useful if fit and if Wenger doesn’t strengthen midfield. I’d be happy to keep Perez and think we should keep Chambers. It would mean having 6 CB’s in the squad but with Europe and the domestic cups there is plenty of minutes to go around. CB’s

  5. Damon,

    Yep, I can picture him now ….breaking news at Grimsby etc …then a shot of ‘Arry leaving his training ground & stopping for a chat through the car window.

  6. HenryB,

    Morning! I don’t think that our wage bill has ever been out of the top five in the premier league since it’s inception. The complaint was that we pay mediocre players too much and will not go the extra mile and pay ‘stars’ what they want. So in that case the complaints were valid and we’re stuck with Gibbs et al in the same way we were stuck with NB52 and Squiddy back in the day.

    Most fans would give their left nut (or breast) to play in the PL so the idea that players want to max their wages in preference to playing is one we struggle to understand. After all when you have millions in the bank and extra million here or there isn’t going to make the difference between a comfortable life or one on the streets. And plenty of people go on to have second careers in their thirties and forties so why not footballers who have the time and funds to learn a new skill?

    But as a last resort I would pay them off and let them go if I had to. No point in them wasting a squad place and being a potential negative influence on the players that we do want to keep.

  7. We were talking about square pegs in round holes recently. Here is a piece about Brian Clough’s view on having players in their correct positions (which I pinched from F365):

    There is a tale about Brian Clough’s management at Nottingham Forest, when he was questioned about asking players to fill in in unfamiliar positions. His typically forthright response was that if the first choice in a particular position wasn’t available, he would pick the second choice. If the second choice wasn’t available, he would pick the youth team specialist. If none of them were good enough for the role, they shouldn’t be at the club in the first place.

    Have to say that I agree with that 100%.

  8. Hi Andy,

    I have no doubt you heard the complaint was as you said – high wages for low players – which of course is the current complaint.

    However, I would be disappointed if you did not accept my comment that I have heard many a-time that the club used to pursue a ‘socialist’ type of pay scale where every player – good or not – got paid the same and hence the salary scale was among the lowest in the Premiership and we missed out on star players because of this pay scale.

    The factual accuracy of these types of complaints matter not – if that is what some fans believe – to them it is true, and trying to convince them otherwise is pointless – and I have never attempted to do so.

  9. Hi ya, Wailesy,

    Did I understand you correctly that you are or were a barrister? Good heavens if that is the case (no pun intended – well maybe a little bit) we are blogging among deity.

    If you were just surmising – then I am afraid I will have to remove your pedestal. 😀

  10. HenryB,

    I think that we’re saying the same thing, the socialist wage structure was a daft idea, average players earned too much which meant that we couldn’t afford to pay real top players the wages they demanded. Overall our wage bill has never been far off that of United, City and Chelsea and has been consistently higher than Spurs for example. That last season Gibbs and Harry Kane earned similar wages just shows how daft that is.

  11. Afternoon,

    I’m wondering at what point Wenger decides to announce that Alexis is out of the Liverpool game as well due to his abdominal strain? Not expecting to him him in an Arsenal shirt again. It’s going to be a sale late in the window with little time to bring in a new player. At least we’ll get a nice pile of cash though, eh?

  12. HenryB,

    Afternoon Henry,

    not sure I ever really understood how the pay structure works at Arsenal. It does seem strange that we pay Jenks and Gibbs wages that potential suitors are not willing to match. Jenks is a Gooner who we picked up from Charlton where he only made 8 appearances. Surely he would have been biting Wenger’s hand off as soon as the contract was offered, no matter what the wage? Ricardo was a home grown player who was cover for Clichy and stepped into his position when he left. He wasn’t good enough to make the position his and was demoted when we signed Nacho. Why on earth is a covering player on silly wages?

  13. Andy,

    That’s a relief! 🙂

    I am not sure, of course, that my idea for unblocking the transfer bottle neck of outgoing players by making it uncomfortable for them to simply hang on and having a life of Riley would work.

    But however much I empathise with them for wanting to hang on their salaries (we would all want to do that to be fair) it cannot from the club’s point of view be allowed to carry on infinitum, and neither is it fair to us fans who one way or another carry the costs of this situation.

    When Bill comes –on he will resolve the situation! 🙂

  14. Afternoon, Wavey,

    It is difficult to understand how some things evolve at Arsenal, but at base a player who was seen as someone we wanted to keep because he had bright future, turned out not to be good enough and the salary to be inappropriate.

    Whatever happens to the player it certainly speaks to someone making an incorrect evaluation of their worth. On the other hand, players like Jack clearly were the bees knees if he could stay fit – but he couldn’t and no one wants to pay his salary as things stand.

    As far as Gibbs — he actually made it to England status, but like Jack he just could not keep fit. It isn’t only Arsenal who have problems like that — but it is the case that we have more than our fair share.

    I am a generous man — if we win the Premiership this year, I will forgive the club everything! 😀

  15. Great post Yogi.

    I doubt that any of us would be willing to accept a significant wage cut if we had a choice. Football careers are very short and there is a good chance you will never get another contact which pays you that much and you will probably never get the money back. It makes more sense to keep your current wages and play out your contract. Its probably easier to negotiate a new contract yourself with whichever teams you want and get a higher wage when the next team can get you for free and not have to pay a transfer fee in addition to wages

  16. Its especially important for someone like Perez to keep his wages as high as possible. His current Arsenal contract is certainly his last chance at a big pay day. He might retire after this contract ends. If he takes a pay cut now he will have several million dollars less in his bank account when he retires. Having as much money as possible to maintain lifestyle and take care of his family after he retires has to be the #1 priority. No?

  17. Wonderful post Yogi.

    I agree fully…AFC need to accept lower transfer fees for the players they need to offload. They would be offloaded to clubs that have smaller wage structures than ours.
    We have too large of a squad and several players can walk away on a free next year. If they won’t play a role this year then sell them off. Keeping them around is a perversely expensive form of insurance as they’d only prove useful if we had an injury crisis.
    At the practice pitch every day we have unmotivated unwanted teammates who are there because nobody else will pay them the same inflated Arsenal wages. This a team sport – we don’t need them around demotivating the easily demotivated (eh Giroud, j’accuse).
    Football is more than just getting 20 talented players together. Team spirit and ethos matters as well. Having a huge cadre of players on the last year of their contract looking to move away next year AND another huge group of players too expensive to move yet not good enough to play is not conducive to team building.
    There is a rot at the esprit de corps that, if left unattended, could once again spread.
    Talented as this bunch may be, I just don’t think Wenger knows how to keep the whole lot focused, committed for 90+ mins/game for a whole year. They’ll be a joy to watch though.

  18. Good stuff Yogi!

    Well that was quite an opening weekend to the PL season, I mean outside the Manure v West Ham (though to be fair to West Ham they were without 3 key players including Lanzini and Kouyate who are their first choice ACM and CM/DM).

    Moving players out is interesting because we all seem to know the list, each of those players has actually been close to leaving but in the end something happens to where they don’t. Just on the basic of knowledge that I have on contracts, the one option that I have found that Arsene and Arsenal have done is simply buy them out similar to the way that Manure did Rooney. For instance, why not buy out the last year of Jack’s contract now and look to bring in a CM, I mean he is by all accounts looking likely to leave next summer on a free, so why not quicken the process?

    Or say for Perez, why not drop the asking price 1-3m to sell him like he wants while also saving millions in his contract as its clear both he wants to leave and Arsene doesn’t want him.

  19. Bill,

    I don’t think Perez will retire nor will this be his last contract, maybe in the PL, but La Liga is a completely different league, I would recommend you taking a look at it just a little other than Madrid, Barca and Athletico. Players actually play quite a bit longer in leagues like La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga because they are tactical leagues, less on based on the power and pace and more on the tactics and technique of futbol; less helter skelter and more positioning and exploiting a team’s weakness. Perez could and probably will go back to La Liga and play until he is 35-36 if he can stay fit (which he showed for the most part in his career,I think he had a major knee injury at one point))

  20. If reports from France and Spain are true, Mark Hughes could pull off quite a coup in bringing in Jese on a season long loan.

  21. C

    Perhaps you are right about La Liga however Perez has been a career long journeyman who spent a significant portion of his career kicking around in Russia. The idea that someone in Spain would be willing to offer a reasonably high wage packet for a player like that when he is age 32 is certainly not a slam dunk Perez would be absolutly daft to give up a significant portion of his current Arsenal wage at this point in his career.

  22. Bill,

    La Liga is different because as a striker at present he can score goals in La Liga and there are plenty of clubs in La Liga that would be willing to offer him a contract. Its not about high wages because of that was the case then he wouldn’t be trying so very hard to get out, he wants to play. The other thing is, how many players actually make as much money as Arsenal are willing to pay. With that, he would be willing to go back to La Liga and say he signs for Deportiva, he would play until he retired and then because he is a ‘god-like’ figure in Deportiva, they will offer him compensation and move him into the club’s upper management where he will be set for life. I think you under-estimate how other leagues work because in general you only follow the PL.

  23. Why isn’t Deportivo jumping on the chance to get him back? We probably still owe them about $12M in the installment payments for transfer from last season so even if Arsene is holding out for a $17M transfer fee it would only cost Deportivo about $5-6M to get him back. If he really was a Deportivo deity that does not seem like a huge stretch for them. Logic would argue that the bigger problem is probably the wage package they would have to pay over a 4 contract for a player who is in his late 20’s and has a very underwhelming career record. No? .

  24. C

    Do you still think Dembele is going to be Barca’s first choice to replace Neymar? No matter how talented there is a significant risk involved with a 20 year old player and Barca needs to win now and they can’t afford to replace Neymar with a player who might be the next Draxler or Goetze. Besides if he does really come good in the next couple years they can always buy him later and not have to suffer thru the youthful inconsistency that is likely to be part of his development.

  25. My guess is we will see a few last minute loan deals where we have to subsidize wages similar to what we heard about Wojo and probably Joel Campbell.

  26. Bill,

    If his agent is correct and Deportiva have bid about 11m for him and it was rejected by Arsenal and Arsene than that is a stretch my friend. Not all clubs are flooded with money and a small club like Deportiva simply don’t have the means as say a small club in the PL due to the TV rights deals in La Liga centered, what seems like and virtually is, around the 3 clubs I mentioned earlier. I don’t think its the wages because if that was the case than I would assume that Perez wouldn’t even be in discussion with them and would be banging on about say a Newcastle or staying in the PL but he isn’t. Think about this, how come so many of the clubs in La Liga routinely have to sell even when they make CL or Europa, because they aren’t flushed with cashed like the PL, its why players in EVERY single country not named England don’t go for absurd amounts of cash unless they are some of the world’s best. When your thinking of clubs outside of the PL AND not the likes of Juve, Bayern, Madrid, Barca, Athletico, PSG, and say Leverkusen; most clubs don’t have the cash that is required to consistently buy players at 13m-15m because unlike the PL, those countries TV deals run through the big clubs and leave the pennies which most times are barely scraps for the rest especially clubs that are mid table or lower. I mean Sevilla is a club that in the last 4 years has routinely won Europa yet time and again they are forced to sell their best players for financial reasons.

    So for Deportiva to have to pay 17m, it would probably mean they would have to sell players or cut wages just for the transfer fee to balance their books. When it comes to logic my friend, you can’t include what you see going on in the PL and the likes of Barca, Madrid, Athletico, PSG and to a lesser extent Bayern and Juve because the rest of futbol doesn’t work like that.

  27. Bill,

    Do I think Dembele is the option for Barca, I think ultimately he will be the player that goes to Barca. You think there isn’t risk with signing Coutinho? There will always be risk but and I think this is the bigger issue, you look at age more than you look at talent and you view the PL as the pen-ultimate for talent evaluation. Talent is talent no matter the age and everybody is inconsistent including Coutinho who went through spells of not only injury but inconsistency for Liverpool last season. Barca want to win now as they always have been judging a player based on age is a terrible way to go about it, its talent plain and simple and for somebody that always talks about upside, you are wide of the mark on this one; Dembele is 20 years old and has the potential to be a top 5 winger in Europe but will produce now as well.

    By the way, you do realize that part of Gotze’s problem at Bayern was down to injury right?

  28. C

    Wages and transfer fees are all part of the cost of a player. Before 15/16 the best season Perez ever had was 9 goals for PAOK which I think is an unknown Russian club. I have no idea what sort of wage Deportivo would pay for someone with that sort of career but I guess he was probably on less then $10K per week and its just speculation but Arsene probably gave him at least 4-5x that amount per month. If I was Perez there is no way I would to take a significant pay cut at this point in my career. The wage difference for a 3-4 contract like that for a late 20’s player with a very underwhelming career record who may never replicate his best season would end up costing Deportivo a lot more then the transfer fee. I suspect its all related.

  29. Bill,

    PAOK are a Greek side, not unknown as I recall that they knocked us out of the UEFA Cup in the 1997/8 season (0-1 away in Greece and 1-1 at home).

  30. Perez’s agent has come out and said the following:

    “The offer of Deportivo of €12m very much fits with the current market,.

    “Arsenal can’t forget that of the €20m they paid, Deportivo had to give 30% to PAOK, so that only left €14m. And, previously, they had paid the Greek club €1.5m for 70%.

    “By this I mean that with this proposal of €12m they’re giving everything they charged for Lucas.

    “In a few days I’ll go there again to see if we can unlock this. I say the usual. Arsenal won’t concede, but today it’s the 13th. There is still time.

    “Arsenal were the first to show they don’t count on the player, because they removed the shirt without consulting him.

    “As the market is, and considering that they are the first to have devalued him, I think that €12m is a very good offer.”

  31. Its hard for me to feel very sorry for a guy like Perez or Joel Campbell who probably got an extra $2M/year in wages for coming to Arsenal.

  32. Bill,

    I doubt he was on less than 10k/wk, they aren’t that ‘poor’ FFS. Here is the thing, Perez wants out, Arsene isn’t going to use him and Arsenal have rejected BIDS, not the player agreeing terms but the actual BID for the player between the clubs and Perez has been talking about wanting out since JANUARY because Arsene won’t give him a chance. The other thing is, Perez wants to play, some players are actually willing to leave money on the table for first team futbol as hard as it is for you to believe, it happens especially for players like Perez who scored goals in his last season (against EVERYBODY including Barca, Madrid and Athletico) for Deportiva so he wants to play and play regularly and he isn’t getting that chance at Arsenal and again, your focusing on the wages when in all actuality, Arsenal aren’t accepting the bids. You think Perez is talking about going back to Deportiva without the knowledge of how much his wage is going to be reduced, remember that its his boyhood club, he left PAOK to join Deportiva; he knows exactly how much he is going to lose out on wage wise but there not even at that point because ARSENAL REJECTED THE BIDS.

    Logically, why would he bang on about going back to Deportiva having left there and just signed for Arsenal last summer unless he has a desire to play regular futbol even knowing that he would have to take a pay cut to make it all work? Sorry mate, your logic doesn’t make any sense because again, nobody is talking wages, we are talking Arsenal telling them to fuck off they want more money for him NOT Perez saying he doesn’t want to leave or understanding the situation that he just left last summer.

  33. Bill,

    Maybe its just me, but I feel for a player that so desperately wants to leave, was stripped of his shirt and number without his knowledge until after it happened and was clearly told he would get a chance to fight for match time, performed when given said match time and then was told publicly on numerous occasions by the manager, “you did good, made things happen, scored goals but your not going to have a real chance of playing because we have a terrible inconsistent striker who I fancy and we have a often injured striker who hasn’t really shown a eye for goal ahead of you.”, now that he wants to leave and its clear that the manager doesn’t care , want or have a desire to even give him a chance the club said, “nope we value you at 17m so unless it comes in your not leaving”.

    Actually, even from a business standpoint the current Perez situation makes ABSOLUTELY no sense at all. Instead of losing say 1-3m and getting his wages off the books to free up money, you keep him and pay him but will never use him even though you have stripped him of his shirt.

  34. andy1886,

    Exactly right! It is the idea that you should have relative parity in your squad’s wages that has been criticized. Now we are dealing with the consequences.

    Similarly, I think this could be solved much easier if the club did not try to recover much of a fee but prioritized wage clearing and above all the footballing value of eliminating unmotivated players. Take a lower fee, subsidize wages for loans if no buyers, and pay off contracts. We got 10m for WS and have spend only 40m total this summer. Why would any club pay big money for JW, Gibbs, Debuchy, Jenks, Perez, Campbell? 10 for Perez and 5 each for Jack and Gibbs would be fine so that other clubs could afford their wage demands. Buy out Debuchy, Jenks. Loan out Chambers.

    I also see absolutely no reason why we have to sell to strengthen. The club should be able to do both at the same time if it was organized properly. This just smacks of rationalizing delay or possibly failure to bring in a much needed CM. These could be parallel processes if competitiveness was the prime value.

  35. C,

    Always liked Jese. That would continue the surprising signings Hughes has managed for Stoke the last few years.

  36. It doesn’t matter whether we are buying or selling players, we dither and have done for a decade now. Arsene doesn’t want to spend £X million in transfer fees, pay £Y per week etc etc. Now we cannot sell a few broken high mileage bangers, because they are gas-guzzlers and new owners either want lower purchase costs and/or lower running costs.

    Dither
    (verb)

    be indecisive.
    “I can’t bear people who dither”
    synonyms: hesitate, falter, waver, teeter, vacillate, oscillate, fluctuate, change one’s mind, be in two minds, be ambivalent, be indecisive, be unsure, be undecided; procrastinate, hang back, delay, stall, temporize, drag one’s feet, dawdle, dally; hum and haw, haver; swither; shilly-shally, dilly-dally, blow hot and cold, pussyfoot around, sit on the fence

    Yep, we pussyfoot around.

  37. Limestonegunner,

    I always liked him to and think that he just hasn’t had the chance to play. At Madrid when he burst onto the scene he was played as a winger and showed good but then went to PSG but was never going to play with Cavani seemingly scoring every match plus, like Suarez he never tires and is always fit. I think he would be a really good piece of business for Hughes and would certainly be an upgrade of Berahino

  38. Limestonegunner,

    It certainly is LSG. The Ox to Chelsea story that C mentions is another prime example. Arsene either needs to decide that the Ox makes the grade and is wanted to fill whatever position, or he cuts him lose. Ideally we don’t sell to a rival, but if he really isnt good enough we should be bold enough to take the £££s and invest in a better player that will deliver for us. But no, it appears the manager doesn’t know his Arsene from his elbow.

    I cannot abide Mourinho, didn’t like but respected SAF and, well, Brian Clough was Brian Clough, but can you imagine any of them dithering? I can’t. You can hear Cloughy saying “Right lad, I’m going tell you this straight. You’re good, but you’re not great and you’re not as good as you think you are and I’m not going to pick you. So find yourself another club. Now close the door on the way out.”

  39. Stu,

    We could use the Ox sale to fund the CM we really need. But the delays have meant that Monaco sold enough to keep Lemar or boost the price ever higher and now Seri is attracting interest of several clubs in the CL. Wouldn’t we now have Lemar most likely if we had offered 50-60 a month to 5 weeks ago? Would Seri have agreed a deal if we were willing to pay the reasonable buyout a few weeks ago? I don’t know but In either case, decisiveness early on might have savedus money overall and enhanced the team’s strength in a key area. I understand we don’t have unlimited funds but is the clear priority the competitiveness of the team? If it was, could we not be more proactive somehow?

  40. C,

    Word is it’s £35m for the Ox, add that to the £10m for Szczesny and we’d break even on transfers when City and United are spending circa £200m and Chelsea £150m. Sell a few more squad players and we’ll likely make a profit. So much for competing on and off the field with Bayern.

  41. The silly season must be coming to the busy end when you see stories about Inter wanting to do cash + Brozovic for Ramsey. Brozovic is much more of the CM type that some want and is disciplined and for Inter has played in a multiple of roles because of his versatility and discipline.

  42. andy1886,

    Yup that’s what I was thinking, problem is, we don’t seem to be buying or at least for now. Funny thing is, Bayern are still able to spend but also get players on loan for a year or 2 and then sign them. Still think the biggest miss of the summer for us has been Tolisso who ended up at Bayern for 35-40m which is a bargain for a player that IMHO was the best CM that was rumored to move all summer long.

    Don’t mind even being quoted on this, but the fact that Bayern got Tolisso to pair with Vidal might make it nothing short of incredibly difficult for teams to boss that midfield. Actually, I would venture to say that Bayern have had the best summer when you think that they not only signed Koman (who was on loan), then grabbed Tolisso to replace Xabi, James who is an upgrade on Douglas Costa and then grabbed Sebastian Rudy on a free from Hoffenheim (he was brilliant during the Confederation Cup and Hoffenheim’s best player arguably), then sign 6’5″, Süle from Hoffenheim who many in Germany think will be top class (he is only 21 years old) for only 35m to pair with Boateng and Hummels in a back 3 (consider Stones went for 50m+ and he isn’t close to the player that Sule is).

  43. C,

    Yup, you have to hand it to them. Of all the clubs Ivan could have compared us to Bayern was probably the worst given how effective they are in the transfer market.

  44. Reiss Nelson is busy tearing things up – scored twice to pull Arsenal’s under-23s back level, having been 2-0 down against Derby.

  45. Jonny,

    I think we can have RN be Bellerin back up in first team while playing Europa. I’m ok with selling Ox. He doesn’t want to sign with us to play RWB anyway.

  46. C,

    And Andy, AFC just seem to lack ideas, creativity and the street smarts of clubs like Bayern and Juve.

  47. C,

    All well said. I suspect that Wenger doesn’t like Perez (he’s not one of the Wenger sheep) and has been trying to beat him into line. But he’s gone too far and Perez wants to go. So now Wenger is in a dilemma. He’s forced Perez out but isn’t totally sure that’s what he wants. In the back of his mind he’s thinking: I might need this guy. So he’s making ridiculous transfer demands and messing Perez about. What a dick!
    If I was Perez I would stay at Arsenal and head for the beach (or whatever the equivalent is in England) but I suspect he’s not that kind of guy.

  48. Bill,

    I find that a little harsh Bill. I’m sure both Perez and Campbell were persuaded to join for the opportunity to compete in the CL (at the time) and for the league as well as the wages offered. The fact that both want out to get more game time says, for them at least that it’s not so much about the money. I just don’t believe Wenger gave Perez enough of a chance to make his mark on the squad. (I know a lot of numbers and stats re Perez have been thrown around this site) I’d like to see Gibb’s and Jenks show the same motivation. Especially with a WC approaching and Gibb’s on the periphery of the England squad.

    I suppose the other side of the coin re contracts is that Wenger demands the likes of Sanchez and Ozil to respect the terms of their current contracts so Wenger has to respect the contract terms for players he wants out.

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