Having a net spend of £45m available this summer is somewhat restricting. Yes, we’re back to net spend. We dallied with amortisation-driven spend but that never really took hold. Too bookish, too accounting for the masses. And frankly, £45m isn’t a transfer budget, it’s a week’s pocket money for the serious players. Not that the serious players have any money to spend this summer; they are all banned for one reason or another.
Or not all of them, just one at the moment. But let’s not forget, four other Premier League clubs are being investigated for the same offences as Chelsea. Things are going from bad to worse for Manchester City. AC Milan lost a similar appeal to the CAS over being referred to UEFA’s adjudaction chamber. Oil money isn’t going to change that, the received wisdom has it.
City talk the talk but walking it is proving tricky. Threats of legal action outside the CAS process are now ‘outlawed’ by an agreement between the ECA and UEFA. City, it seems, stymied themselves. Mind you, the ECA is supposed to monitor member clubs and make sure they adhere to FFP. That’s a bit like giving a convicted fraudster access to your bank accounts and expecting nothing to go wrong.
The upshot is that Unai Emery’s second season in charge may yet see us play Champions League football. Knowing Arsenal’s luck, City will be found guilty and be banned for 2020/21. We’ll finish sixth in 2019/20…
It’s My Sixth Sense
Such cynicism should be no surprise. Our £45m budget means not only are we struggling to buy ‘world-class’ players, but we also can’t even buy an “Aston Villa flop”. The headlines tell you we can but if you read the article, we can’t. And I read the article so you don’t have to.
It seems even Jordan Veretout wants “Champions League football”. That’s “Champions League football” not “Champions League football but only on the off-chance of another club’s corruption being found out”.
Jordan, it seems, prefers Napoli or Atalanta. Or Arsenal, if you believe the French press. Someone ought to tell them Arsène isn’t in charge. We’re not doing all our shopping in Ligue Un. Or Deux, for that matter. Not that we’re doing much shopping. It’s Poundland for us while we look enviously into Waitrose on the way home.
Or the seconds shop which is where Yannick Carrasco finds himself. He was unaffordable in January but now finds himself priced juuuusst right. If the Belgium international signs, it’s a clear signal that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is on his way out. That process received a helping hand when Mino Raiola mysteriously found his ban suspended. Miraculously, that meant he could chivvy Real Madrid and Chelsea along to complete Eden Hazard’s transfer. Raiola collects £30m for his part in the deal; nice work if you can get it.
Elsewhere, Mesut Özil’s questionable friendship with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to fuel arguments. It is a friendship as well; a best man isn’t an acquaintance you run into at a charity do. Each to his own.
I’m sure I’ve got friends. No, wait, that’s not right; I’m sure I’ve got friends Mesut wouldn’t approve of.
To the Left, to the Right
Plenty of footballers espouse dubious politics; it all depends on which side of the divide you find yourself. Some find Brian Clough’s socialism – he was a founding signatory on the Anti-Nazi League’s charter – reprehensible while as many disagree with Fat Frank’s conservatism. The nearest to Mesut’s situation I can think of is Pavlyuchenko standing for Putin’s party at an, ahem, election. I can’t remember if he won.
Few are as overt as Di Canio though. Roman salute my arsenal.
Finally, condolences to the family of Justin Edinburgh, the Leyton Orient manager who died yesterday, aged 49.