On January Signings, Morality & The Future

Under normal circumstances, a player’s omission from the matchday squad is taken as a clear signal that a transfer is imminent. It may well be the case with Denis Suarez but Ernesto Valverde’s motives were less benevolent. Reports from Spain declare it saved Barcelona £800k in a transfer fee due to Manchester City with an ‘add-on’ left hanging, waiting for one more appearance.

It’s a trivial amount to City, of course, but left me with a slightly euphoric feeling; it was the height of pettiness, nothing else. Arsenal’s interest in the player meant the Rebellion lives on.

Read any of the morning’s transfer gossip and the one thing which is clear is that we don’t have a pot to p*ss in. Arsenal are broke and forced into signing loan deals. Hell, we can’t even afford the £3m West Ham want from Reece Oxford; we’re one not far short of the workhouse.

Got to get those clicks somehow.

By all accounts – or words from the horse’s mouth, more accurately – Suarez is a versatile addition to the squad. According to Unai Emery, he “was playing as a left or right winger for Sevilla when he was with me.” Bang go those central midfield aspirations, eh Den?

Whatever the coach wants, goes. It’s his squad he is shaping, the one by which he will be judged.

Which leaves us with one signing to be made. Emery suggested it would be a central defender of some repute. So, not Reece Oxford then. Some argue we don’t need another central defender but Laurent Koscielny’s injury at the weekend underlines he is to be a bit-part player until a summer departure.

Morality and Football: Acquaintances

Essentially, that leaves us with the unreliable Mustafi and Sokratis before we delve into the ranks of the ‘make do and mend’ brigade. Mavropanos is some way off being ready for the first XI, having missed the first half of the season. After Emery’s recent admission that Koscielny was pushed too hard on his return, hopefully it’s a case of once bitten, twice shy.

The big spending in football traditionally takes place in the summer and Arsenal is a very traditional club. Raul Sanllehi made it clear he doesn’t approve of spending in January. A hint of menace accompanied his words; if the plan is going wrong, someone’s head is going to roll. Not this year though; he’s seen the damage injuries wrought on the squad.

Arsenal as a club has questions to answer internally. We’re sticklers for playing by the rules and complying with FFP. Our rivals and betters are less honourable. Is there a case for a targeted breach of FFP, knowing that a fine is the likeliest punishment?

In other words, should we frig the system?

Peter Hill-Wood made it clear that in his day as chairman, the club never borrowed money to fund transfer fees. Is that still true today? It might be but one thing is certain, Enos won’t dip into his own pockets.

A targeted breach of FFP would, no doubt, require some external funding, breaking that Golden Rule. Enos is, I’m sure, only going to agree to such a course with guaranteed results. Such as those enjoyed by Liverpool.

Trading Places

Fans struggle to work out how they’ve invested so much when their commercials haven’t grown by anywhere near as much as is needed to fund wage rises. The answer is player trading profits.

Imagine what we could do if fees were received for players walking or hobbling away on a free this summer.

While everyone worries about the commercial deals, Liverpool capitalised on the rule which allows transfer profits on a rolling three-year average basis to cover rising costs. In short, selling Philippe Coutinho sets them nicely for three years during which time they can build their commercial revenues to the necessary levels.

But they aren’t bringing in revenues, so do Arsenal breach the rules once and gamble next summer or do we, essentially, play nicely? I’d guess the answer depends on where we end up? The Champions League is the holy grail and finishing in the top four or winning the Europa League solves that problem.

Both are, I think, tall orders and unlikely. Chelsea stand in our way for both, with Napoli and Sevilla ahead of us as favourites in Europe.

Cheats never prosper so the old saying tells us. Football obviously hadn’t been invented at that time. Can Arsenal afford to sit back and watch others bend the rules beyond breaking point or do we fight fire with fire?

’til Tomorrow.

24 thoughts on “On January Signings, Morality & The Future

  1. consolsbob says:

    Well, is that even up for debate, YW?

    My guess is that it isn’t.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    We’ve been unlucky with injuries to Holding and Mav. Holding was exceeding expectations but Mav has played only a few times and has great potential. Koscielny was nearing the end of his career and since his return looks ready for the glue factory.

    This makes the Chambers loan look increasingly foolish. Maybe he ain’t the long term answer but he would surely do a better job than Lichtsteiner at centre back.

    Is Jonny Evans available?

  3. Wailesy says:

    Lichtsteiner has been absolutely woeful. Bellerin must of been on the floor while all and sundry spouted Lichtsteiner as being a good signing to give him some competition. We definitely need a CB in this window and a bloody good one at that.

  4. Jonnygunner says:

    Good afternoon all,thanks YW for another topic for us to debate.

  5. YW says:

    Surely it must be, Bob? Unless we’ve still got an FFP will save us mentality.

  6. C says:

    I know he is one for the future but I really am intrigued by Medley. He is a bjg CB(I think around 6’4″) bur quick, comfortable on the ball and a good defender who is highly thought of.

    As for now, the Kos comeback was, for me, never going to work. He was good because he was quick with plenty of pace….well those things go especially with a bad back and then that Achilles. For as good as Sokaritis has been, he has most certainly played his part with some school boy defending along with Mustafi. Just very inconsistent defensively.

  7. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    I didn’t follow Sevilla very closely when Emery was their manager but I always thought Dennis Suarez was a central midfielder rather then a winger.

  8. C says:


    He played both, for context purposes, similiar to Bernardo Silva under Pep at times or even at Monaco…but different players. He used him on the wing because, especially in the non-PL, tactically you can use a player there who doesn’t have blistering pace but is technically and tactically a good futboler. Might not work in the PL but in the Europa it most certainly could but he can also play that left or right midfield spot.

  9. C says:

    What about the reports of Juve wanting Ramsey and Arsenal asking for Benatia

  10. Bill says:


    He played both, for context purposes, similiar to Bernardo Silva under Pep at times or even at Monaco…but different players. He used him on the wing because, especially in the non-PL, tactically you can use a player there who doesn’t have blistering pace but is technically and tactically a good futboler.Might not work in the PL but in the Europa it most certainly could but he can also play that left or right midfield spot.


    If playing someone like Suarez as winger might not work in the PL then we shouldn’t be buying him because Emery has been saying we need a wide players and it sounds like Emery envisions Suarez more as a wing player.

  11. Bill says:

    I guess Arsene was not the manager who will use square pegs in round holes. Its always been my belief that we over think some of the tactical stuff we discuss.

  12. C says:


    I didn’t say he couldn’t, I said it might not work but we have see plenty of players flourishing on the flanks without having blistering pace. He is a quality futboler who can play on the flanks but also in midfield. For Emery he did play on the flanks but also centrally. He is the sort of versatile player we need, capable of playing tactically on the flanks, especially in this system especially on the right flank allowing Bellerin to bomb forward and he plays a but more narrow. Sorry mate, not all black and white.

    I mean, Pep has used both Silva’s on the flank, Mata played on the flank….sometimes you have futbolers who can play on the flanks and show their quality without the pace that we all here is vital in the PL. Pace is absolutely great as we have discussed, but some futbolers just know how to play and tactically a manager will know which players can and which can’t.

  13. ferkov says:


    Was that a deceision that was made, or was it a philosophy,or a moral high route we started down…. again back to who and when I guess?
    GG? The Shame and The reaction.
    Or was it a far more calculated risk analysis. The wager that the gravy train was bound to fall over the side of the platter. But it just keeps on swelling like the Red Sea.
    SWIM for IT

  14. ferkov says:

    Nope. Too risky. Have the armbands ready just in case aswell.

  15. C says:

    Wolves are 5 mins away from putting Liverpool out of the FA Cup. With Bayern in the CL and them leaving the door open for Citeh in the PL….I wonder what happens if for a 3rd consecutive season they lift no silverware?

  16. YW says:


    The decision is Raul’s to ‘take upstairs’, I think.


    GG was a ‘rogue’ individual and more to do with skimming off the top than any transfer policy per se.

  17. Arsetralian says:

    Agree Chelsea are our main rivals
    I think Napoli and Inter may be next in odds for Europa…
    Sadly Manure are now also top 4 rivals and fa cup draw is a worry given their rise and our fall…
    We need to get that engine running again soon or we are going backwards

  18. ferkov says:


    In Arsenal terms, indeed a Rogue. The reaction of the Club was to hang him out and sling him out, AND maybe sewed the seed for the hardline conservative ( small c) book balancing philosophy we’ve adhered to since. Wenger takes the flak for it, but the board hired him because of his personalities .

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