Forget anything you ever knew about transfer market values. Nothing from the past bears any resemblance to the now while the future is a genetic mutation tuning its’ banjo. Whatever the price is we’re going to pay it.
The price. What is the price? There’s little economic sense in it which makes the proclamations of intellectual genius futile if you don’t grasp the basics of how the footballing world has changed. Low-ball offers don’t work unless there is genuine desperation on the part of the selling club.
It’s why City pulled out of the Alexis deal; the wages didn’t frighten them but paying a fee on top of it did. For them, in pole position and as sole bidder, the price was zero. Then United came along with their player swap scenario, recognising our weakness and doing just enough to tempt us into a deal.
We, on the other hand, are now desperate buyers when Dortmund should be desperate sellers. Arsène, reportedly, wants Malcom while other senior executives want Aubameyang. We have been on this deal for ten days and have four to seal it; ‘Plan B’ doesn’t exist. It’s Aubameyang or bust so instead of capitalising on a club being stuck with a troublesome player, we’re in a weaker position than the selling club on paper.
Reports tell us that Arsenal believe Aubameyang wants out of Dortmund. Well, duh! Suarez wanted out of Liverpool and that didn’t get us very far, did it? We can believe all we want but until the pen is put to paper confirming the player is now registered to Arsenal Football Club, belief means nothing. That harsh lesson seems too readily forgotten if reports are to be believed…
I understand Arsenal want to negotiate the fee downwards but there are other factors to consider. Ten days ago, a deal had us a striker ready for his debut against Swansea. It’s unlikely PEA will debut against Everton unless we get a deal done by Tuesday. Two games missed out on when rivals for the top four – yes, we’re still in that chase – face tough fixture lists.
Tottenham face Manchester United and Liverpool with Newport doing us a favour of throwing an FA Cup replay into the mix before the North London Derby. If we don’t capitalise on dropped points in these matches, does the financial saving make sense? When the gap is less than the prize money for qualifying out of the group stage in the Champions League, no.
You’d hope the executives weighed up these factors before low-balling Dortmund. Maybe we didn’t low-ball them? Maybe Dortmund are squeezing a couple of million from us in the up-front part of the fee? We don’t know; like you, I haven’t seen the offer faxed over to Germany.
The only thing which is certain about this deal is that yet again, Arsenal are suffering from poor PR. Dortmund are playing to their fanbase far better than we are, getting their ‘interpretation’ of events across in the media more effectively. It’s something which we’ve got to improve on.
For all we know, Arsenal could be playing a blinder but they’ve lost the PR war. Zorc used the media to greater effect, playing Jonathan while we lie prone on the circuit having twelve bells of crap knocked out of us. The reality is that we’re Jonathan and Zorc is Mr Bartholomew, defeated by a determination to do right and a will to win which he can’t cope with.
We’ll never know.
Flip, Flop, Fly
And therein is Arsenal’s problem, seemingly unsolvable. While other clubs happily use the media, we get Ed Miliband lookalike David Ornstein, a former transfer oracle now the club’s unpaid PR stooge. No-one believes him after last summer’s flip-flopping on the transfer war chest, do they? Oh, you do? Okayyyy…
It’s a strange attempt to win back popularity by Ivan & co. At a time when their stock is at arguably its lowest point, we keep to the transfer omerta in the hope that ‘doing things the right way, the Arsenal way’ will get us brownie points and a couple of million off the price. I’d be interested to see if that actually works or if it damages the club’s reputation in negotiations?
Maybe that something Señor Raul will put right on Thursday when he joins; a more media-savvy approach, probably to the relief of the Arsenal PR team.
Scouring the media for good news today is an exercise in futility so I will just add my twopenneth-worth on last night’s VAR controversy. I wasn’t watching the match but flicked onto the BBC sport site to see the score. Headlines said to watch the game so I did; thank god for BT Sport’s ‘enhanced’ player where you can rewind the action.
How bad a referee is Craig Pawson? There’s nothing wrong with referring to the VAR but I suspect the inquest will start with why it took three minutes to get to the right decision. There’s no need for Pawson to go and watch a feed of the incident. Once it’s referred ‘upstairs’, the decision is out of the referee’s hands. Let the VAR decide. Forget obvious mistakes, referees make them all the time; just refer the decision.
Trust in Me…
Pawson copped out last night eight times. Or Kopped out, if you like. This is the inherent risk of VAR; referees fear making a mistake and become incapable of making all but the simplest of decisions. If it takes this to root out weak referees, so be it.
Dean, in the penalty scenario, would be theatrical in every aspect although I suspect he is looking forward to being the first official to over-rule the VAR after watching a replay of the incident. Mike Riley’s head with then loop into the stadium and tell Dean to change his mind. He can do that because Dean is the only man with a 500-mile long neck.
And on vague ridiculous and utterly disturbing note, I’ll call it day.