Legends Bite Back, Future Planning and Living Wage

That backfired quicker than I thought it would. Ian Wright was the legend who responded quickest to Mesut Özil’s Garbo moment. And the legend put the pressure right back on the German: why hasn’t a contract been agreed yet?

Wright, who famously required Ken Friar to make him read his Arsenal deal when he joined, hammered home the point by calling out Özil for hiding behind Alexis’ situation. Which is a fair point. This is a player who on the Australian tour led everyone to believe that when everyone was back in London, it would all be sorted out. Plenty of time has passed since then and no comment from either party. Nor any leaks to the press, either.

Asking a PR firm to manage your image is all well and good but when the move backfires, you’re left looking like Wayne Rooney on a night out while his wife is away.

Is Özil backed into a corner or just into silence on the matter? Largely, that depends on the reaction of supporters to Wright’s comments. It’s sure to be a theme others warm to but everything about the German’s handling of his deal points toward a quiet exit in the summer, contract unsigned.

Whether that can happen in football is another matter. I suspect he will try to keep a lid on his plans for as long as possible, knowing it will leak at some point. The departure will be stage-managed so that there is no damage to the wholesome image his sponsors bought into.

Apathy is his best friend right now, in the hope that he can float along as long as possible without having to account for the decision about his future.

End of another fresh start

Arsène’s view of football is more cynical than before. He still believes in Financial Fair Play but wants the process revoked on the basis that it isn’t enforced. This as UEFA opens an ‘Investigatory Chamber’ on PSG signings this summer.

There’s nothing to argue with on that point. Both City and PSG received dubious sponsorship deals but their well-heeled lawyers found ways of making that revenue palatable for the regulations. Quite why Arsène believed that any regulator would enforce rules is as baffling. As is the naviety behind the view that FFP would level the playing fields. It soon became obvious that cutting squads and fines was a price worth paying.

Of course, no club breaching FFP will give two hoots about what UEFA think. Uli Hoeness, rehabilitated tax evader, observed recently, “Football has reached a point where we must be damn careful. There comes a point where fans will have had enough.”

Personally, I think a great many have had enough. Look at the money Oxlade-Chamberlain was being offered, Alexis and Özil too. Yet Arsenal won’t come out and impose the living wage on contractors. So far, just two Premier League clubs have signed up to it: Everton and Chelsea.

Not Arsenal; the club says it pays all directly-employed staff the living wage. Well, that’s not good enough; this is an obscenely rich football club and it has a moral duty to ensure all staff employed directly and indirectly, are covered off. Ivan earns £2m a year, Wenger more. So do the players yet they have personnel working for them who aren’t out of the poverty gap. This is unacceptable.

Not that I expect much from a club whose owner is part of the Walmart family.

Put your hopes and dreams away

Arsène’s interviews whilst away on commentating duties – not at the Elite Coaches Forum or don’t you get invited if you’re not in the Champions League? – always elicit more information than anything he says to the British press. The hesitancy over his contract renewal, for example, was discussed and another of the ‘loyalty after speaking to other clubs’ situations emerges. PSG – again – discussed the coaching role with the manager.

So why does Arsène stay? Masochism is the easiest answer. It’s plausible given the grief he gets on an almost daily basis but he rises above that most of the time, I’m sure. Certainly his admission that he will continue managing for the foreseeable future indicates a workaholic with few outside interests, something he freely admits to.

What a change from the man who, when Bobby Robson brought Newcastle to Arsenal when he was in his 70s, said he would never be in that situation.

He renewed for two years. Unless he gets some indication this coming season that the contract won’t be extended by the club, I expect him to stay for two years. Quite how that pans out is interesting. Wenger admits that his contract situation adversely affected the club so this time both he and the board carry an obligation to resolve the situation quickly.

Particularly with the current problems over player contracts. It’s not unreasonable for players whose deals expire in 2019 to want to know what is going on. More importantly, who will replace Wenger. A board with a track record of balls-up’s is under pressure to have a plan in place for next summer. And not one devised by the manager.

’til Tomorrow.

46 thoughts on “Legends Bite Back, Future Planning and Living Wage

  1. Boom 🙂

    Thank you for yet another interesting post. I like Ian Wright, there are no elephants in the room where he presides.

  2. Coming second is always more fulfilling.

    Yes, Ozil is likely to regret taking on the legends.

    BAD PR, & apathy is the word that should be inserted between his names.

    Rumour is that the board couldn’t have got rid of Arsene this summer…the choice of extending was entirely his , so if this current contract has the same ending inserted he could continue well into his 70’s.

  3. Good morning to all,

    Daft of Ozil to call out Wrighty really. He is a passionate Gooner who wants the club to succeed.

  4. It never ceases to amaze me how the club believe it’s okay for Arsene to shuffle off and do commentary while he’s contracted to Arsenal. Especially on the day the TW closes. Even if he doesn’t have to be actively involved in any deals (and given his hands on approach that’s debatable) it still sends out a terrible message about priorities. It’s not as if he needs the cash after all. Many companies have a clause in contracts for employees that forbids them from taking on any additional employment, for £8m a year you’d expect a manager’s total attention.

    The fact that Chelsea insist contractors pay the living wage is proof that it can be done in London, so no excuses for AFC not to follow suit. Something that needs to be raised yet again at the AGM (assuming they permit any non-pre-screened questions at all). After all, having made a decent TW profit they can certainly any increased cost.

  5. FFS – Ivan and Arsene would not have to take much of a hit in their own wages to see these contracted employees done right.
    Nevermind if you spread the cost against the rest of the multi millionaires at the club.
    It’s shoddy and obscene the hallmark of our modern day crony capitalism.

  6. From arseblog news:

    Arsenal spent more than £100m in the summer of 2016 and I was told by several sources that even greater finance would be available for the transfer window just gone.

    The club say a significant chunk of the budget went on Alexandre Lacazette’s transfer fee – in excess of £50m – and the salaries of Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac.

    To make further major signings – Thomas Lemar was the key target – and fulfil Arsene Wenger’s pledge of keeping Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal would have to bolster their transfer kitty and create space on a wage bill in need of careful management to avoid breaching the Premier League’s salary control rules. As such, clubs and agents were made aware that offers would be entertained for the likes of Wojciech Szczesny, Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere, Mohamed Elneny, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Carl Jenkinson, Chuba Akpom and others.

    Clearly this process did not go smoothly, for example: Giroud and Wilshere decided to stay; Wenger changed his mind on Chambers; Lucas Perez asked to leave, was told to stay as it seemed Giroud was leaving, only for Giroud to stay so Perez could leave, but he was priced out of a permanent move so ended up on loan; the departure of Gibbs took longer than expected; Gabriel was suddenly sold and Shkodran Mustafi asked to leave, which suited Arsenal because it gave them the chance to replace a player they were disappointed with last season, except they failed to land a replacement

    Meanwhile, Arsenal encountered problems with some of those they did not want to lose, for example: Hector Bellerin returned from the U21 Euros to tell Wenger he wanted to leave amid interest from Barcelona; Oxlade-Chamberlain rejected a new deal and eventually told Wenger he wanted out; no contract talks took place with Ozil and have not since March; and Sanchez also made clear his desire to exit the Emirates.

    Given Ozil generated little interest, Sanchez could only go if Arsenal got huge money plus a top-quality replacement, and it was inconceivable to lose three key players on free transfers next summer, Oxlade-Chamberlain was always the most realistic sale. Nonetheless, Wenger genuinely wanted and tried to keep the trio. He was stunned and bitterly disappointed when Oxlade-Chamberlain rejected the club’s final contract offer (an enormous pay rise that would have earned him close to £180,000 per week if Arsenal made it back into the Champions League) and I’m told Wenger did not hold back when Oxlade-Chamberlain told him face-to-face that he wanted to move on.

    Oxlade-Chamberlain’s price was an initial £35m, while money also came in for Szczesny, Gabriel and Gibbs. On the face of it that left Arsenal in profit for the window, although it is unclear if or how much of Oxlade Chamberlain’s fee was owed to his former club Southampton via a sell-on clause.

    Towards the end of the window, Arsenal made it clear that there was no money remaining for any more major signings. This was relayed to clubs and agents offering higher-end players to Arsenal and even journalists making regular enquiries. The explanation followed that while some money was obviously available, it was not at the level required to make top-class signings and cover their salaries.

    Bidding £92m for Lemar when £55/60m was set to come in for Sanchez suggests they had at least £30m, excluding wages, to play with. Apparently the leftover funds will be used to safeguard Arsenal going forward – in other words, boost the budget for the next two windows.

    Arsenal’s stated aim this season is to win the Premier League and, publicly at least, they are adamant they can defy expectations to do so. They know they cannot compete financially with the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, but point to Leicester as an example of success being achieved without exorbitant spending. Having filled the positions Wenger identified as a priority, retained Sanchez and Ozil, and shifted plenty of players out, Arsenal feel they are stronger than a year ago.

    There is certainly internal concern that central midfield went unaddressed – and I understand that in the days leading up to the deadline Wenger did look at rectifying this, though it was too late – but generally the hierarchy claim they were happy with the window and optimistic for the campaign.

    The noises from the top are that owner Stan Kroenke is desperate and hungrier than even to win trophies, but there is no hiding the fact that he will not be injecting a penny of his own wealth to assist the quest. Kroenke and the club are said to believe Arsenal can punch above their weight to triumph using their existing model.

    Bearing in mind that model has shown little sign of leading Arsenal to the level of glory they profess to crave, and that some of their rivals are accelerating away on and off the pitch, it remains to be seen if the commitment to self-sustainability will be reconsidered in the future.

  7. We seem to have a complete breakdown of Trust in the club, in the Manager, the board, the players, scouted replacements, sales and last and definitely least, the owner.

    In that context Ozil’s effort should be commended if his purpose was to try and galvanise support. Anything surely? It is a shit fest out here and I would honestly like to know if it was out of desperation for a club in perceivable decline or whether he is just upset about personal professional criticism. I can see why he is in for criticism if it is the latter. He has no right to invoke team unity to protect his name, none, he has to do that on the field, but if it is the former, it tells us how bad things are, from the inside.

    From here they look about as bad as you can get, without actually being damned to the finances of mid table team which they are now aspiring to be.

  8. If Ozil wants some PR advice here is some for free.

    Stop adding to the warfare in the ArsenOsphere and ADD something positive to it and here is a prepared statement that he can put out…..on the fashionable Twitter if he likes…..which adds to the rather good post today.

    “I will not sign with any club that has not committed to a living wage for all employees, sub-contractors, suppliers who are working in the club. The purpose of which is to ensure that all player salaries paid by clubs take account of the thousands that are employed by the football industries highest Leagues.”

    Is it a bird, is it a plane…..no its Super flying Pig. Oink, oink and away.

  9. lari03,

    Thanks for sharing but what a complete pile of bullcrap.

    So it’s the fault of the salary limit imposed by the PL is it?

    If so, how come every single other club bar Swansea out spend us without being similarly impacted?

    How can the likes of Watford, Leicester and West Brom spend a net £30m – £40m on a fraction of our budget and not exceed the salary limit?

    Why if we were struggling to meet the salary cap did we offer the Ox a huge pay rise of around £100k/wk when he was not even a first team regular? How would players of a similar level feel about that?

    And the cherry on top of this particular piece of nonsense “The noises from the top are that owner Stan Kroenke is desperate and hungrier than even to win trophies”. The very same Stan Kroenke that said “If you want to win championships then you would never get involved”.

    They really must think that we’re stupid.

  10. Clearly, something ought to be done here.
    The Spanish football league wants Uefa to investigate whether Manchester City have broken financial fair play rules.

    European football’s governing body is already investigating if Paris St-Germain have broken rules designed to stop clubs from ‘financial doping’.


  11. I also see that it’s being spun that Arsene could have left the club for PSG this summer, like he was doing us some kind of favour by signing on for another two years. As if PSG would look at his record and say “This is the man to take us to that elusive Champions League title that we are so desperate for!!”.

  12. andy1886,

    Well, David Ornstein had to explain his version of Arsenal not having money to sign any major players. Anyway you like at it, there’s an awful load of rubbish management at the club right now.

  13. Great post Yogi

    Myself I don’t really care much about Ozil. Unless something changes he is no longer an impact player on the pitch. There is no way the club was or will get a big money offer for him and it would be financial suicide to offer a big money long term contract to a 29 year old who spends his time on the pitch being mostly invisible. From a PR standpoint Arsene has to pretend to want to keep him but hopefully Mesut leaves on the free next summer.

  14. The article that lari03 copied and pasted says it all about just how poorly the club is being managed. There is no long term plan and everything is a shambolic mess. I have been saying this since 2008 and I am sure that everyone is tired of hearing it but its impossible for any single person to do everything Arsene is trying to do and do it all well. How can he be a good field manager when he has so many different balls that he has to juggle at the same time. What is really frustrating is his stubborn refusal to relinquish any of his control and allow the club to hire a director of football. He is probably not even willing to admit to himself what a complete mess he has made of the managing the clubs wage structure and long term plan. To make it worse if given the choice he will happily stay as the clubs manager for another until 2025.

  15. All building up nicely for a toxic atmosphere on Saturday. I think I’m going to bring a white hanky and spin it round like the Spanish to indicate their displeasure at the manager / board.

    We need to concentrate on getting rid of the manager first, then focussing efforts at the owner. One thing at a time.

  16. The dear lady sold her shares thus making a pile of money, which she is spending on suing the people who advised her to make that pile of money. I’m sure there is some logic in there somewhere.

  17. Orson Kaert,

    To be fair she is the only former shareholder that has openly stated her regret in selling to Kroenke and seems to genuinely retained an interest in the club and it’s progress and under the new owner.

    I’m sure that neither she or many other Arsenal fan would shed many tears if Stan suffered a poorly timed breakdown while driving through the less salubrious parts of downtown St Louis.

  18. If you take Wenger’s comments at face value ,he was well aware that his prolonged contract extension situation was effecting the club in a negative way, yet he was still willing to possibly damage the season in his power struggle against the board, which he won in the end.

    This to me suggest Wenger has no intention of stepping down any time soon and why would he.
    The abuse he gets from the home fans is just one notch above what he has been getting from around all PL grounds all his Arsenal tenure, and as a foreigner visiting the PL venues, I myself still have hard time believing what passes as normal raining down on players and managers from some of the terraces.

    If Wenger gets Arsenal back into the top four this season or the next , he will most likely extend again.

  19. 10 years from now……Wenger will say: I was about to sign Mbappe for Arsenal 🙂

    This fucker was as far as signing Mbappe as we are from playing a Football game on the Moon.

    Liar Liar…..Your ass is on fire.

  20. Tom,

    I’m not sure I believe the ‘power struggle’ narrative , especially as everyone is still in situ.

    A good bit of spin perhaps ?

  21. Paulie Walnuts
    Perhaps, but why would Wenger willfully admit to mismanaging the squad , which would appear he did by the virtue of stating ” at the moment the squad is unmanageable”( due to its size), if he wasn’t implying some of the players on current roster might’ve been brought in against his wishes.

    His comments on the director of football position might also indicate there was perhaps talk at the board level of bringing someone in to curtail Wenger’s powers.

  22. Tom,

    I really don’t go with anything Arsene says as he’ll either contradict something he’s said previously or just make something up.

    I’m not sure it’s intended bullshit or just a stream of consciousness but either way he’s talked complete bollocks for years.

  23. If you look at the amount of money we spent in 2016 and the value we got for that expenditure it shows just how far the human infrastructure of the club has deteriorated. We used to be know for our ability to get value for our money but in 2016 we spent $100M and got Mustafi who we are apparantly not real happy with along Xhaka, Elneny and Perez. We need a world class scouting apparatus and the evidence clearly suggests that we no longer able to identify good targets. Arsene is the only football person in our whole upper management so he has to be the one who puts together and manages the scouting apparatus. We need a director of football whose job it is to manager our Human Resources.

  24. I suspect one of the reason we started to make a lot more use of the computer player evaluation system is because Arsene did not have the time to do much more then watch some U-tube clips of all of the potential targets so he needed to use the computer system as a crutch.

  25. Jonny:
    FFS – Ivan and Arsene would not have to take much of a hit in their own wages to see these contracted employees done right.

    Not to mention that we actually get something form the labours of the contract workers…what have Ivan and Arsene achieved for us lately?

  26. Jonny
    For all the talent , at least on paper, England should be blowing the likes of Slovakia away especially at home.

    Incidentally , 1966 World Cup final sees first major goal line controversy, in modern game anyway. Fast forward 51 years and goal line controversy alive and well . Levandowski scored from a free kick for Poland but the linesman failed to see the ball cross the line by a foot or so.

    How embarrassingly incompetent are footballing governing bodies?

  27. Jonny:
    Cheering stuff…


    I’ve droned endlessly on about this for years. Stan reads the business pages, not the sports pages. He cares about the financial reports, not the scorelines. His wife is an heiress to the filthy rich WalMart family. Stan is set for the next 100 lifetimes – but the soulless creature buys yet more sports franchises to earn MORE money – all at the expense of the franchises’ supporters. I pray for his lump of coal heart to fail!!
    He buys a franchise, uses the local gov’t to give him loans or preferential tax treatment so the local taxpayers subsidize his stadium. He sits back and reaps the rewards of the leagues shared TV rights scheme. Doesn’t take any financial risk in improving his team knowing his share of the TV revenues will be enough.

  28. Dele Alli gives the ref the finger during the match. Got away with it on the night, but maybe retrospective action.

    Plenty of running, but not much quality from Ox. Will be interesting to see whether Klopp can actually develop him as a player because doesn’t offer much in the way of an end result at the moment.

    Welbeck came on late and didn’t do very much.

  29. Wavey,

    The Ox showed the full range of his incompetence, losing possession, shooting when he should have passed and missing badly when he did shoot. It will take more than Klopp to turn him into a World class player.

  30. Orson Kaert,

    I am fairly sure that the Ox will be seen as our best business of the summer. Certainly until AW allows our 2 signings onto the pitch anyway.

  31. Quality stuff mate and evening mates!

    Back after a great weekend music festival and I come back and Arsene and Arsenal still can’t help themselves.

    On a bright note, I see Ozil again shined for Germany over the two matches with 2 assists and a brilliant goal after calling out legends of Arsenal. Funny how that works huh, hopefully he comea back and Arsene givea him the choice of passing to Sanchez on the left and Lacazette on the right.

    I see England also looked shit with Ox well being Ox. I also see Gibbs has taken a shot at Arsene saying Pulis can help him develop in areas he wasn’t developing in, my hunch is he’s talking defensively.

  32. Orson Kaert,

    Probably right, but I bet Klopp makes Ox a more effective player than Wenger has. Some players can be very effective team players rather than a stars in their own right. Milner is a prime example, although that isn’t specifically Klopp’s influence.

  33. Wavey,

    Before Oxlade-Chamberlain can progress he needs to find his best position. Wenger couldn’t, various past England managers couldn’t, the current one, Southgate has played him in two different positions in two games in four days.

    At his age and with his International, Premiership and European experience he should be at the peak of his career, but the constant chopping and changing of his starting positions means his career is likely to peter out in mediocrity.

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