Arsenal: Contracts Are There…For What Exactly?

So, Liverpool are front and centre. Tomorrow’s opponents also nipped to the head of the queue of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s suitors. A quoted fee of £35m seems good business to me, particularly for a player in the last year of his contract.|

Not that Arsène sees it that way.

“We’ve invested time and money and confidence on players like Ox and they have a responsibility.”

Arsenal made a mess of managing them and Wenger is now trying to play the loyalty card, pressurising players into committing their futures to the club. Desperate times call for desperate measures and we are desperate.

There is a genuine concern for Arsenal Football Club. With two-thirds of the squad coming into the final year or two of their contracts, the preferred method of change – evolution – is out of the window. This is disintegration and symptomatic of the decay around the playing side at the moment.

The end of Arsène’s reign was always going to be a watershed moment for the club but claims he will leave the squad in good shape look increasingly hollow with every passing season.

It could end another way. As unlikely as it is, no-one can rule out the three current rebels extending their stay at the club, enticing the 2019 crew to renew theirs.

That’s the happy ending the fairy tale demands but is unlikely to receive. Pesky things those fairy tales; a bit Grimm all round.

Neymar Long Contracts For Anyone

A few weeks back when he was discussing Alexis, Arsène declared that “…in the future you will see that more and more. Players going to the end of their contracts.” It’s far the utopia he tried to paint a picture of.

I’m not heading in that direction today. Or if I do, that’s not the intention as I type this. A few weeks back when he was discussing Alexis, Arsène declared that “…in the future you will see that more and more. Players going to the end of their contracts.”

It’s far the utopia he tried to paint a picture of.

I could be wrong but it feels like big changes are brewing. The restlessness of clubs and players is building into something bigger and not necessarily good for the game. Barcelona and Paris St Germain are at the heart of it. I’m not surprised by either but it could easily have been Real Madrid and Manchester City.

The Catalans issued a writ against Neymar for breach of contract and repayment of a loyalty bonus. Neymar has responded in kind; a writ against Barcelona for loyalty bonuses to be paid. Barcelona contend that because he didn’t see out his contract, he’s not entitled to them. I see their point, just as I see his that he served notice and bought himself out of the contract per the clause.

Don’t Open The Door – It’s A Place You Don’t Want To Go

Messy – and we may see something similar with Lionel next year – and bringing the timorous gentlemen’s agreement between clubs crashing down around FIFAs ears.

Anything which relied upon clubs acting honourably was always doomed to fail. They said they wouldn’t poach the best players and naively Barcelona assumed that they were impervious to the same agitation they played out on others. It’s gone wrong and heads are going to roll. I can’t feel sympathy for them; indeed, I find some solace in watching tthe whole shambolic affair unravel.

Hell, it seems, has found another with the fury of a woman scorned: football clubs.

Football operates in a dome, separated from the outside world. Now that’s coming to an end; the dome is cracking and no-one is quite sure where this one will end. I guess there will be some settlement between Barcelona and Neymar with token payments made either way.

Every evolution in the way player registrations and earnings has come as a result of a landmark court case. Eastham, Bosman, and now Neymar. I don’t thinks so; there’s a Bosman out there somewhere but he isn’t the Brazilian. PSG has too much to lose (potentially) and will apply pressure to him to settle the cases.

Do We Know Our Arsenals From Our Elbows?

Future years are going to see a lot more ‘big’ players moving between the elite clubs. Arsenal are no different although at the moment, there is an unshakeable belief that it will be players leaving, not arriving.

Wenger doesn’t want to lose any of his trio of contract rebels but he must keep hold of one at least. Talk of £180k per week for Ox is desperation on the part of the club. Desperate to hold onto the player and if that doesn’t work, desperate to make it look like they tried.

It doesn’t hold sway with me; Arsenal may claim they are active in the market but I don’t believe that’s the case. They will, if forced by departures, move for other players but we’re almost certainly going into the season knowing three players are walking on a free come June 2018. Wrong message to send out to those who are renewing in 2019.

The manager’s credibility will be shot to pieces if all three leave in the next week. Fortunately for him, nobody seems interested in Mesut Özil, save for the Turkish clubs used by agents to flush out the interest of others. Ox and Alexis? Big bids totalling more than £100m? We’ll take it and to be honest, we’d be mad not to.

This is an unholy mess and having placed us firmly in it, we’re supposed to trust the same people to get us out of it? Forgive me if I wait to see that happen rather than placing my trust in them.

’til Tomorrow.

77 thoughts on “Arsenal: Contracts Are There…For What Exactly?

  1. Afternoon

    We are in the soft and smelly whichever way the cards fall. Perhaps we need to go over to the fun bus to see how good it is.

  2. Can’t really understand why Ox would move to Chelsea or Liverpool if he wants more playing time or to to be played in midfield. He probably has more chance of the latter at arsenal given the ongoing problem with the centre of our midfield with none of the various partnerships seeming to work.

    I hope he stays. But if he won’t sign a new contract surely the best option is to sell him. Whilst he improved last season he is still some way off the finished article. See have plenty of options on the right and in the centre.

  3. Ox doesn’t even make my starting x1 when everyone is fit and on form.
    Would I pay a bench warmer £200k a week when I can sell him for £35m instead of losing him for free. Of course I would especially when we have the likes of maitland-niles, Nelson, Reine-Adelaide and Da Silva chomping at the bit to replace him in the squad. Even Joel Campbell is on par with Chamberlain at least that’s what the stats say.
    The sales of gibbs ox and perez plus the delisting of macey and iliev will bring the squad down to the 25 man limit and add £55m to the budget. Any further sales of players like Debuchy and Akpom will open up spaces in the squad. Still leaving mustafi, ozil and alexis as part of they 25. But if they don’t want to play move them on and replace them.

  4. BREAKING: @WatfordFC agree fee with @Arsenal for @KieranGibbs but personal terms are yet to be agreed #SSN

  5. Yeah, it is low but this is the position we find ourselves in – beggars cannot be choosers.
    I’m guessing his wage demands are driving down the cost – plus the fact he’s near to end of his contract.

  6. More arse covering from Wenger. Having recommended (to the board) that Sanchez stays, Wenger said the directors led by majority owner Stan Kroenke will decide. “I have always been followed by the board, but the final say belongs to them”.

  7. Well, that’s certainly the hope.
    I have seen the truly crazy rumours about us going after Asensio – even by tabloid standards that’s some steaming doo-doo.

  8. Great post Yogi

    We have been talking about Arsene’s mismanagement of the players wages since the “socialistic wage” scale became part of our lexicon around 2009. He continues to mismanage the wages and whats happening now is worse then the socialistic wage. At the start of the Emirates era Arsene basically took over every aspect of running the football operations of the club. For a while it looked like it might work and all of us were really excited about project youth and attractive attacking football but Arsene was over confident in his own abilities and he bit off way more then he could chew. There is no way any one person can do everything he does and do it all well. How can he possibly be a good field manager when he is spending all of this time with the distractions that come from trying to sell players like Gibbs and Perez who have wages that no smaller team would want and negotiate new contracts with players like Sanchez and Ox etc etc etc? Its just not possible.

  9. Its human nature but once someone has a lot of power and control they usually don’t want to give up what they have worked so hard to get. We talked about this last year during Arsene’s contract holdout but I am confident that the real stumbling block was Arsene not wanting to maintain his control.

  10. Jonny,

    It’s the type of deal he will go after though. Top players who aren’t quite good enough for Madrid or Barcelona. And as we know he is addicted to buying attacking midfielders. Especially we what we need is better defenders! Wenger logic would be the best way to improve the defence is to sell three defenders and buy another slight built attacking midfielder who can play ‘anywhere across the front three’.

  11. Orson Kaert,

    The Mustafi rumours are a little strange. He’s not been stellar but one season for a big signing looks odd.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if something happened behind the scenes. Maybe he doesn’t think everything is fine & dandy.

  12. You say not quite good enough – have you seen him?
    He looks like one of the best youth players I have seen in years – in Spain they are talking about him as a ‘once in a generation’ player – reflected by the fact he already has a £72M release clause and they are already keen to sign him up to a new contract (presumably with a release clause that is beyond stratospheric, if there at all).

  13. Afternoon,

    It looks like Mike Dean has been up to his tricks again. A ridiculously long period of added time in which City finally score the equalizer, then Dean gives Sterling a second yellow for celebrating with the fans when he scores it.

    With all this discussion regarding players with contracts expiring next summer, it seems the club is making no effort to ensure we are not in exactly the same boat next summer. Shouldn’t the club be tying down players who will end up with one year to go after this season now? They must have an idea which players they wish to stay beyond 2019 (even if the fans don’t necessarily agree with them), so why aren’t they sorting contracts out for those players?

  14. I don’t understand why Mustafi is off to Inter unless Arsene is about to sjgn Van Dijk.

    So we can’t get rid of Jenks, Gibbs, Jack, Ospina and some of the rest so we sell Mustafi, Gabriel, Szczesny and loan out Martinez. I am generally an optimist but this is really turning into a shit show.

  15. adam singh,

    Entirely predictable – in fact we were discussing exactly that situation on here yesterday. As I’ve already stated better to take the low fee and get those wages off the books so I can’t complain if that’s the deal. Note though the comment that personal terms are yet to be agreed, it could still very easily fall through and we could get to the stage where we couldn’t give him away.

    As for Mustafi if it’s true that’s beyond strange. There must be more to it than we know. He hasn’t been amazing but he’s done okay for a first season when you factor in he’s had a few injuries. I’ve seen reports that he’s asked to leave, perhaps he doesn’t have the greatest faith in our set up either.

  16. C,

    I just don’t see Wenger breaking the club’s transfer record (again) for a central defender. If Mustafi is off I’m guessing Wenger will make do (again) and Chambers will suddenly be brought back into the fold. So that would mean the choices at CB are Kos, Per, Holding, Chambers, Nacho, Kolasinac and Elneny. It’s interesting that Kolasinac has been saying in the press that he had to fill in at left-sided CB with Schalke, although I think that was when he played for their second team. Wenger is the king of playing his players in make-do positions, so don’t discount Mustafi going and there being no replacement. Our manager likes to dodge discussions about players being completely out of their comfort zone when playing out of position and instead focuses on how he has so many players available to play in the positions. He has already warbled on about Bellerin and Ox both being able to play at left wing back, but neither has looked particularly comfortable there. I can understand why Ox would want to go when his manager is using him as a utility player all over the pitch. He may not get a central midfielder berth, but I’m pretty sure he would get a clear indication of the role he is expected to take up at somewhere like Chelsea. If I were the national coach I would be having a word with Ox at the next international break and my advice certainly wouldn’t be to stay at Arsenal.

  17. C,

    Indeed – really not often you see such a young player so totally unfazed by the big stage and with brass-balls and ability to take on and pull off the kind of audacious goals and skills.

    It will never happen but, even if an MF creative is lower on the list of priorities, I would still be beyond delighted if we somehow nicked him.

  18. Wavey,

    I’ve already seen comments that Mustafi is ‘rubbish’ or ‘just a squad player’. Will these people ever learn? If he’s no good then doesn’t that call Wenger’s judgement into question? He did pay £35m+ for him after all.

    Same old nonsense repeated season in, season out. No wonder Wenger feels secure enough to make these crazy decisions, those idiots would find a reason to justify anything. I just hope that when their messiah finally leaves they cop a strop and clear off with him.

  19. Incidentally I’ve also read that Inter want a loan move with an option for a permanent deal later. If we agree to that then we really have lost the plot, what would be the point of that?

  20. andy1886,

    Amazing how the AKBs back Wenger no matter what and slag off any player rumoured to be going.

    BBC’s Ornstein is saying that Mustafi and Ox will both be left out if the squad tomorrow with Wenger feeling that there is no need to bring replacements if they go.

    Also rumours that Lemar is being chased by Barcelona. What does that say about Wenger if he does move? It may be Barcelona, but surely the deal to Arsenal could have been sewn up weeks ago if Wenger were serious? Embarrassing.

    Celtic 1-0 down at home to St Johnstone at the moment. Whoops!

  21. andy1886,

    Mustafi’s certainly not rubbish & definitely a better player than Chambers, Holding & Per at this very moment…which is why I think there’s more to it than we know.

    Perhaps the penny dropped for him at Stoke, where he ended up practically playing right wing at the death.

    It really wouldn’t surprise me to see Debuchy’s Arsenal career resurrected…in a back three of full backs !

  22. Paulie Walnuts,

    Yup, I don’t know what’s going on, it’s almost as if Arsene has been given free reign to go full on mad dictator this season.

    Trying to make sense of it, so here’s a theory.

    This isn’t about squad size, as far as I can tell it’s not much different to the size of last years’ squad. I think that it’s about freeing up wages (remember there are rules about how much we can increase wages by in the PL) so that we can make stupidly excessive offers to our ‘stars’ to stay. Already we’re hearing about the £180k/wk for the Ox, plus silly numbers for Ozil (£200k-£300k/wk for a player no-one else seems to want) and no doubt there will be a big offer to Alexis. In short by not selling them AW has put his credibility on the line by stating his belief that he can re-sign them and he’ll make whatever silly offer is necessary to save face.

    Of course if they are interested in titles not money it isn’t going to work. But Arsene has backed himself into a corner whereby he could lose £150m+ worth of talent for nothing next summer and on top of that it will show that the best players do not believe in the Wenger project anymore. He’ll do whatever it takes to avoid that and the damage to his reputation and needs to raise money to do so.

  23. He’s not rubbish but he has been a disappointment – given his fee.
    Admittedly that fee no longer looks big, given what’s happened this summer and especially when you look at Man City’s outlay.
    Neither Mustafi or Xhaka look like great signings, TBH.
    It is not hard to imagine we could have done better – in the case of Xhaka, I don’t even really see what his thinking was.

  24. Wavey, Sterling had already been booked, he then headed into the crowd and removed his shirt. However stupid, the rule is clear, a yellow card is mandatory. So you can’t blame Dean in this instance.

  25. Orson Kaert,

    They never mentioned him removing his shirt on Final score. It is a fairly stupid rule, but the players are fully aware of it. It sounded like the extended time was a bit excessive though.

  26. Orson Kaert,

    BBC report doesn’t mention his shirt coming off, just said he was celebrating with fans. The report’s quote from Pep was:

    City boss Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, said he did not understand Sterling’s red card.

    He added: “I am told the card was for celebrating with the fans. We don’t invite the fans? Maybe we play without fans?”

  27. andy1886,

    Good theory.

    Whilst Arsene can normally spin just about anything , his ego just couldn’t take three big names walking away.

    On Sterling , I don’t think he took his shirt off so presumably his booking was for over exuberance with his own fans after scoring a last gasp winner. Surely he could have just shook a couple of hands & got on with it.

  28. Paulie Walnuts,

    De Boer might get a little longer as he is trying to put a new system in place. Bilic was under pressure last season as well, so the owners may decide to cut their losses quickly rather than see another shaky season.

  29. Jonny,

    Completely agree and his performance in the CL Final was class all the way.

    If he did come that would be a major coup and no doubt would add a class only equalled by Ozil, Sanchez. The other thing is how much he talks about Ozil and how he modeled his style and game after him.

  30. Jenks injured his shoulder and the words that keeps being thrown around is that his arm looked completely limp and he was replaced immediately.

  31. Wavey,

    The fact that Arsene is even considering selling his first choice CB only a season after buying him makes little no absolutely no fucking sense. Anybody that says he is rubbish and this and that is a bit crazy to me, he wasn’t nearly the player in the 2nd half of the season after he came back from injury but to be fair to him, like most players they have to adapt to not only the pace of the PL but also not having that winter holiday. The fact that Arsene sold Gabriel and is now even considering Mustafi shows a lack of not only ambition but also care. The only major thing is the fact that Mert is retiring, Kos was not very good for a large part of last season plus you couple that with his back and Achilles, Holding has clearly been demoted and Chambers is well i don’t know where Chambers is.

    I’m trying to stay positive and will remain excited because I think the front 3 of Ozil, Lacazette and Sanchez will be mouth-watering good, but the lack of ambition and Arsene truly losing the plot is making it really difficult for me to even attempt to defend him.

  32. Schmeichel just made an absolutely brilliant save to deny Mata.

    Manure look rampant, for all the talk of Mourinho being a defensive manager and not looking to attack, he has both Mata and Mhiktaryn in the team and has given them absolute freedom of the pitch.

  33. This Leicester side looks like the counter attacking side that won the PL with the way they counter quickly and create chances.

  34. C,

    Maureen gets expansive when he knows his team can dominate. Utd will be there or thereabouts this season.

  35. Paulie Walnuts,

    Looking at their best and solid at the back. Leicester may be counterattacking, but they are not getting clear chances. Jones is looking very strong at the back.

  36. Just seen a brief clip of the end of the City game. It looked like the City fans were over the barriers and the stewards were trying to stop them getting to the pitch. Sterling ran right up to them and was up against the stewards, but to be fair he wasn’t the only one. Ref saw it as inciting the fans. I doubt he would have been carded if the City fans had remained in the stands.

  37. Andy @ 3:33,

    Just flicking thru the comments, and found them really interesting — and then I stopped short, quaking in my very scuffed boots as I saw my ex-head master had joined ACLF, and then I saw it was Andy ins best didactic manner issuing the words I learned to dread as a kid — “Will these people ever learn?”

    [note to self: keep head down – don’t catch his eye – I do not want another detention!]

    Scarey, or what? 😀

  38. C,

    I think you know from experience that it is not worth giving unsourced rumours about Arsenal players. Some may well turn out to be true — but 99% are pure rubbish – including those from Ornstein, who previously had said, over and over again, that Lemar to Arsenal was a done deal.

    Mustafi to join Inter? Sounds like pure bollix to this blogger!

  39. Ian McGarry is reporting that for Sanchez “A bid in excess of £60m would be enough”.

    It would be an absolute disaster if we sold Sanchez this late in the window unless somebody like Aubameyang is coming in I can see the Arsenal players openly questioning what is going on with Arsenal.

  40. Wavey,

    Watching the game, the commentator said Sterling has removed his shirt, however running into the crowd is also a mandatory yellow card, so his has no cause for complaint, other than his own stupidity.

  41. ‘The Giants’, aka Manure have put that Leics game to bed — from an off-side goal from Fellatio.

    Of course if he had been playing for Arsenal ………. clearly the Lino did not have laser eyes for toenail offsides, like the guy who ruled the excellent Lacazette ‘on-side’ goal out.

    Sheesh.

  42. C:
    Ian McGarry is reporting that for Sanchez “A bid in excess of £60m would be enough”.

    It would be an absolute disaster if we sold Sanchez this late in the window unless somebody like Aubameyang is coming in I can see the Arsenal players openly questioning what is going on with Arsenal.

    I see it differently, C. 🙂

    ‘Disaster’ is an emotional word and not easy to quantify in these possible transfer deals — as I previously said — we will not win the PL, or even get into the top four this season or the next, with or without Sanchez – it would be irresponsible of Arsenal to blow £60m that could be better spent on players we need — this season, or the next is immaterial in a way.

  43. Matic looks like the deal of the season so far. Reminds me a bit of Gilberto. No wonder Conte is fuming that Chelsea sold him. Utd look very strong. Typical Jose side. Even Phil Jones looks decent.

  44. Orson is correct – players often know sod all about the Laws of football – just listen to the ex-players talking boorish crap, but Wavey is also correct (by implication) that ‘yellowing carding’ players celebrating an important goal (for themselves and their fans) is really a nonsense!

    So ACLF has it covered – FIFA Laws of Football – and common sense! 😀

  45. Adam Singh,

    It shows what a good coach can do, by getting the best out of the players he is working with. Conte did it last season as well, pretty much having the same set of players who had performed so abysmally the previous season. I’d almost be interested to see how another PL manager would develop Ox just to see if his inconsistent performances are down to him, or the manager. Maybe some of those who think that Wenger can do no wrong may have second thoughts if Ox proves to be the player we hoped he would be elsewhere.

  46. HenryB,

    Actually I agree with Orson that the yellow and therefore the red was spot on, but only because the City fans were already over the barrier and therefore the City players were just firing them up by charging right in to them. To be fair to Sterling, he wasn’t the worst City player in the incident, Mendy was almost in with the players. He did start it all off though by running over there. If the fans had stayed their side of the barrier there would have been no incitement by Sterling running up to the barrier to celebrate. Remember RVP’s goal against Charlton? He ran right up to the away fans to celebrate his blinding volley. He could have been carded and that would have been his second yellow, but common sense prevailed.

  47. Wavey,

    A lot of fans, myself included, have been calling for consistency in refereeing decisions for a long time now. That consistency can only be achieved by referees keeping to the letter of the law. Common sense doesn’t come into it.

    Perhaps the laws can be changed, but in all honesty, allowing players to jump into the stands is a recipe for disaster. However, I suppose indulging the exhibitionist tendencies of the little darlings by allowing them to remove their shirts would not be the end of the World.

  48. Orson Kaert,

    I agree, players shouldn’t jump into the stands and Sterling didn’t. The fans were on the wrong side of the barrier. The letter of the law says he was inciting them and therefore he gets the second yellow, but if the fans had been the right side of the barrier would Sterling have been inciting them by his actions? If he stays the right side of the barrier and so do the fans isn’t he just celebrating in front of them having scored a goal? I can understand why City would think he was harshly treated, but he did run into a group of fans (albeit a group who were where they shouldn’t have been).
    I remember them bringing in the rule about not removing shirts and I think it was down to some of the celebrations getting to be a bit over the top. I agree, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. They would have to control the messages under the shirts nonsense and ensure it didn’t get exploited by advertising. Maybe that’s why they decided it was just easier to ban it in the first place. To be fair, every footballer in the world knows that taking your shirt off is a yellow card offence, so they can’t be surprised when the ref brandishes one.

  49. I wonder if Arsene is still thinking he can make a big splash at the end of the window the way he did with Ozil. My prediction is he wants Julian Draxler and may be we can rebuild his career as our CF.

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