Greetings All Positives,
There is something about a transfer window that makes most grown men and women who support Arsenal Football Club get absolutely mental and irrational. Most of my readers are familiar with my thesis that it is our psychological susceptibility to fear vs greed that drives us to such irrational behavior.
How else can one explain the following mental lurch among the same group of fans? On one hand, the absolute euphoria that Arsenal was able to sell Sanchez to United, a player with less than six months on his contract, in exchange for a quality international midfielder in the form of Henrik Mikhitaryan. Yet a week or so later, there is galactic fear that somehow the same Arsenal management is mishandling, literally “dithering” over the potential transfer of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to the football club.
Thus on Twitter, that fount of reasoned debate and analysis, there were fans (echoing and echoed by the mainstream media) spouting the following nonsense:
- Arsenal to show ambition by paying whatever BVB-Dortmund wants.
- General manager, Ivan Gazidis and Chief scout, Seven Misinlat only visited Dortmund one week ago as a PR stunt.
- The club is in the grips of the dictator Arsene Wenger, who for selfish egotistic reasons doesn’t want the transfer to go through as Ivan will get all the credit. There are several variants of the same theme.
As I was at pains to explain to my small following on Twitter, the minimal facts available surrounding the Auba transfer belie the stupidity and fear mongering:
- The player is unhappy at Dortmund and wants out. (He was dropped for games and the latest attempt to prove his commitment to the club by playing him last Saturday was an unmitigated disaster given his tame performance and his booing by the fans.)
- Arsenal has made substantial offer of reportedly £50 million.
- There is no other club from the top leagues or even China who have made anything like a seriously competitive bid.
Last Thursday I tweeted the following:
Arsenal has BVB by the short and curly. Soon and very soon they will have to shit or get off the pot. Stay calm gooners.
In my opinion, as time has unfolded, it is almost certain Aubameyang will be a gooner before this window is closed. While past history is no guarantee of the future, this smacks of the Arshavin transfer saga. As Wikipedia reminds us:
During the January 2009 transfer window, Arshavin was persistently pursued by English Premier League club Arsenal. On 2 February, transfer deadline day, Arshavin was staying in a Hertfordshire hotel, just a few miles from the Arsenal training ground. At around 10 am, he left the hotel and was rumoured to be heading back to Russia, but with less than an hour of the transfer window left, a bid from Arsenal was finally accepted by Zenit. By this point, he had agreed personal terms and passed a medical, but a compensation payment by Arshavin himself to Zenit was supposedly holding up the deal. The deal was further complicated by a snowstorm in England that had delayed the Premier League’s registration process, eventually forcing the league to extend the deadline beyond 5 pm. The deal was not confirmed until the following day (3 February), nearly 24 hours after the formal transfer deadline had passed, with Arsenal announcing “a long-term deal” for an undisclosed fee.
Let’s hope it doesn’t become as dramatic. I have no idea whether snow is in the forecast for London on January 31st, but, after the post-Arshavin uproar by many PL clubs when the FA and the PL kept the registration window open, I doubt there will be a reprise. But if I was Aubameyang’s advisers, my recommendation would be a trip to London by no later than Monday, January 29th. It would certainly kick the last stool standing from under Dortmund and get matters moving in time to meet the deadline.
In support of my Aubameyang predictions, I have researched the stubborn, irrefutable facts demonstrating that Arsenal under Wenger is not afraid to spend money on transfers. However, unlike many in the PL and definitely its top-6 rivals, the club will only spend the money it has self-generated. Moreover Arsenal under Wenger will spend on world class players if they are available at the right price. This is clearly illustrated in following graphic of the net-transfer spending of the top-6 clubs over the past five summer transfer windows.
It is self evident that Man City tops the charts with an astounding net-spend of $535 million. Clearly access to the sovereign wealth of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi poses a competitive advantage in the transfer market. Yet we have Pep Guardiola, to the amazement of many, admitting that despite the club’s willingness to do the Alexis transfer, he had to decline because the club has a wage budget. If Sanchez demanded salary of £450K per week, this represented £23.4 million per year. In contrast, amortizing his £40 million transfer cost over 5 years would be a mere £8 million per year expense on the club’s books.
What is equally astonishing however is Manchester United’s attempt to “keep up with the Jones” relying primarily on cash flows from operations. It is well known the Glazer family, as owners, instead of putting money in the club is extracting dividends and other payments. One wonders, despite its unmatched ability among PL clubs to generate revenues from its commercial affiliations, if United can afford a continuing arms race with City.
Third on the list of spenders is Chelsea, which, like City, pursues the sugar-daddy model of funding. But unlike the sheiks, who are the sovereigns of their State, Roman is one of several Russian oligarchs. It is evident he is not in the same spending league as City and United with Chelsea’s net spend over the period more than 50% less than the two.
Arsenal is fourth in the spending stakes at £134 million, which is a considerable turnaround from the prior five-year period when the club had to be content with negative spending as it was forced to live within the financial shackles required to pay for the new stadium. Thus the last five years has witnessed the transfer-in of quality players like Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette. Compare that to the prior five years with having to sell the likes of Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie.
Despite the five-year evidence of increased spending, it doesn’t prevent so-called Arsenal bloggers-podcasters-tweeters from using one transfer window of negative spending to falsely insinuate the club is hoarding its cash and refuses to improve the squad. Apparently Wenger and Arsenal’s history of outwitting their wealthier competitors, by patiently and opportunistically waiting for the right player at the right price is beyond their narrow, shallow intellectual capacity.
Lying in Arsenal’s wake in the spending tables is Liverpool and Tottenham. Despite much ado in the mainstream press about their ambition, especially their willingness to chop and change managers, Spurs in particular has shown a distinct reluctance to acquire major talent in the transfer market with a five year negative spend of £41 million. They had better thank their lucky stars Harry Kane has emerged as a decent striker and in Mauricio Pochettino they finally found a decent coach.
Compare and contrast for yourself the equivalent chart of the prior five years net transfer summer spending (2008-2013) of the same top-6 clubs:
It never ceases to amazes me how normal, intelligent people succumb to transfer-window stupidity. Surely we have learnt that the mainstream media and most of the click-baiting blogs and web-sites will literally say or do anything to gain eyeballs which they can then monetize via web advertising for example. Surely an experienced adult should be able to see such fakery and immunize themselves against media manipulation. Is that too much to expect?
“Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so” (Galileo)