Arsenal and Aubameyang: Transfer Myths vs Reality


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)

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57 comments on “Arsenal and Aubameyang: Transfer Myths vs Reality

  1. Thanks George. As you are well aware, my thinking on the Auba transfer was already posted on Twitter between last Wednesday-Thursday. I simply added the meat as I researched the data and completed the post on Sunday.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Shotta – and for once I could understand your graphs!

    The Aubameyang transfer (if it goes through) also highlights another interesting area – namely that of saving face. For all sorts of reasons, it was time for BVB to cash in on a player who has been terrific for them but who was looking for a lucrative move towards the end of his career. But unless someone came in with stupid money they were only going to get a realistic fee for him, so the problem they faced was how to sell it to their fans. They couldn’t take the first bid, as they had to be seen to playing hardball – and they also needed to spin the idea that the player could no longer be relied upon to fight body and soul for the club. I suspect his going through the motions performance this weekend was all part and parcel of that. It’s not called the transfer circus for nothing.

    But goodness me, think back to the so-called shambles back in August (and to be honest it wasn’t great to be a gooner just then) and now skip forward five months. The playing squad suddenly looks very different, and there are such encouraging signs coming from the Academy too that it’s increasingly hard to paint the club as lacking ambition.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice one Shotta.

    YES, rationality is too much to ask of football fans. Football like religion is just another opiate for the masses. We can’t get enough of it. At least not at this moment in time.

    I expect PEA to be a gunner before february but hope we don’t sell OG. A loan-out works better for me but hey, I’m not responsible for paying player wages. Our “new” team’s wage bill will not be light so OG might just be gone (fingers crossed).

    On another note, I think Monaco’s Fabinho fits the bill better than most. He ticks 3 boxes, DM/RB/CB, is 24yrs old, 6ft 2″, CL-experienced, been in Europe for 6 years, strong, dynamic, agile, intelligent, has great stamina and even scores goals. At 40m he’d be perfect for our “new” team. Brazilian too…(Gilberto 2.0). I’m do it.
    What say ye Positivistas?


  4. On the DM front, I think Monaco’s Fabinho fits the bill better than most


  5. Good morning Shotta – as ever the laser guided bomb of your analysis has cracked the fantasy bunker of punditry nonsense and the Scarfist babble

    Slightly off topic I know but I WANT a winger, a real, no mucking about, dashes up e line with the ball at his feet, twinkle toes, used to getting a good kicking winger.

    Theo has gone, and he was the nearest we had to a winger, and TheOx went, ad he could wing a bit too. Sanchez was a positionally a ‘winger’ but one who only once every 83 times tried to take a defender on the outside, so does not count.

    Now I don’t expect the club to spend a lot of money, but I cannot see the harm in a little dabble for a winger.

    And who do I have in mind?

    Who remembers Adama Traore, a Boro winger who was a right nuisance when we played them and is now languishing on Pulis’ chain gang on Teesside. Did anyone watch the Brighton FA Cup match ? He was MOTM although on the losing side. He is far, far to good for the Smoggies.

    Go and save the boy Arsene, for football’s sake.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. less than 60 hours of the window left,

    have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet. have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet, have we signed him yet

    when is black Friday

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s not just a lack of understanding shotta, True though that is for some (many?) It is a lack of spine. It takes courage to stand apart from the crowd. Much safer to follow the trend. The reason Arsenal get such bad press, apart from malice, is that anyone not following a trend is an easy target. Even easier when they refuse to get drawn into a shouting match by firing back, at least directly.

    Of course it is incumbent on Arsenal to constantly re-evaluate their position in comparison to ‘industry standards’, which of course they are doing through upgrades to the academy, medical depts, and backroom personnel. That it doesn’t happen on an accelerated timescale is another reason they are chastised. Maybe it’s the Easterner in me, but I don’t think speed is always the best way to go. As far as I’m concerned, Arsenal get most things more right than wrong (Right and wrong depends on what factors you consider and is usually a sliding scale anyway)

    I would love Aubameyang at Arsenal. I think it would help us get into the top 4, and maybe more importantly, make us even more fun to watch. But I really don’t get the way people try to pull down the Arsenal reps for ‘dithering’ or ‘being cheap’, as if they can accurately judge something they know so little about. Also, the manufactured feud between Wenger and the other staff at Arsenal just makes me roll my eyes. I think people enjoy these ‘games’ more than football. Football made into a soap opera.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. Arsenal Fixture News
    ‏ @AFCFixtureNews
    15h15 hours ago

    Following Saturday’s 3-2 Away to Everton in the #U16PLCup; Chelsea , Liverpool and Manchester City will be joining Arsenal in the Semi-Finals.

    Tottenham, Everton and Chelsea join Arsenal in the the last four of the #U18PLCup, following our penalty shoot-out win against Norwich City.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ooh. I’ve long though Adama Traore would be great for us. But do boro have him on their books permanently, or is he still Barca’s boy?

    On the Auba front, I am afraid Giroud will be sold to Chelsea. Giroud will want to play more and likely not uproot his family mid-season. Also, not only would a reported 35m make good business sense, Chelsea could also help get the Auba deal over the line by sanctioning Batshuayi on loan to Dortmund.

    I can understand the reasons for it to happen, if it does, but I would really hate to see him Giroud in a Chelsea shirt. Also, he’ll likely secure Chelsea a top 4 spot.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. so we are actually looking at a transfer merry go round of strikers

    Dortmund’s Aubameyang to Arsenal

    Arsenal’s Giroud to Chlesea

    Chelsea’s Batshuayi to Dortmund


  11. Shard: You made some very good points at 11:36 am. Wish I had the time to explore but “following the trend” is very much part of the Fear vs Greed model of human behavior. It is easy to be greedy when everybody is raving for the same thing and equally to be just as fearful as the rest of the crowd. So City spending half a billion quid on shiny new players over the past 5 years (add to nearly 400 million the prior five) is enough to have the MSM, and our bloggers fearing Arsenal is being left behind and should join the madness. Any rational businessman or professional would conclude it is the absolute worst strategy to follow. As the easterner in you will tell, it takes time and much patience to overcome a much stronger enemy, i.e for all the stars to align. I daresay some of that is happening at Arsenal this xfer window.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Julio Pleguezuelo has joined Segunda side, Gimnàstic de Tarragona, on loan until the end of the season

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Where wingers are concerned there’s being kicked and then there’s being kicked off the park (or pushed into a pit – you all saw it best not to forget) with the sanction of a biased official practising “game management/theatre” (please don’t shoot the messenger these are their words not ours) as witnessed since 2004.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nelson is very much a raw AFC winger type?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. < More likely to see Nelson given a chance then Traore signed.

    Traore had a good half against AFC in the league if my memory is correct?
    It's just idle speculation but if AFC were serious about the former Barca player/graduate they'd have gone in for him before now?


  16. < yes. It's true. the highest paid most expensive and therefore according to some people's logic the best footballer in the league was pushed into a pit, injured, tried to play on like the once likeable idiot/normal athelete we know he his, and consequently missing for a large chunk and then rebuilding fitness on return – hard to forget such things when they have quite an impact on the season for a club.

    And not even a foul was called.


    Liked by 2 people

  17. Barca flogged him to Villa who flogged him to Boro as I understand it Shard so he is under contract to Boro and therefore, in theory, available.


  18. Great year for youth teams so far. Contention in both leagues, still in 3 cups, loads of exciting talents developing well.

    Seems a pity ,almost, that with a few loans out both under 23’s and u18’s (moving up to replace loaned players) could be weakened at crunch time of season, but even if that happens there are obviously good reasons for it.

    Really doubt there’ve been many periods, if any, when there are so many good prospects at the club. Almost an overload of promising forwards.

    Could be a small factor in our buying a couple of 28/29 year olds, or more likely just a happy coincidence. Ages of forward options are near ideal to leave enough opportunity and encouragement for Nketiah, Nelson and the numerous exciting talents beneath them.

    I’ll feel tremendously hopeful and excited for remainder of season if Aubameyang joins. A great surge in our attacking potential, then we see where we stand come the Summer, and can consider any areas which need addressing- such as a young winger- from a position of real strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Please no Giroud to Chelsea!!!

    For me there is a question mark over Aubamayang. Why isn’t there much competition for his signature or is there? Ultimately if Arsenal rate him then what do I know heh? From what I have seen…..eh hum….on youtube…eh hum…he is good…eh hum…not..eh hum…great….

    Liked by 3 people

  20. eh hum…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Excellent, Shotta, as always.

    Super review, PG. and the comments – well, thanks.

    I’ve just been told about the tackle on Sane and have now read some of peps reaction.
    I don’t remember any fuss about Diaby’s shin being bent by sage Barton, but, you know…

    Thanks all.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Fins

    It mightn’t have been called as a foul but at least mossy patted him

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Arsenal U23s will play Dinamo Zagreb in the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup.


  24. Adama Traore
    Gets the ball
    Gets you all excited
    Then runs out of pitch…..

    Liked by 2 people

  25. What we see in the transfer market and in much of the season is typical of the capitalist market. When the Twin Towers were brought down, and fear and anger/hate George Bush implored his country to go out and shop! From weather reports to Cold War the strategy has always been fear and hate/anger were the perfect way to set the tills spinning. This constant manipulation has, sadly, become the norm. This background helps me understand the stupidity, lack of logic, and sheer non-sense spewing from journos, fans, trolls, talking-heads, and other savants. We are focused on the details of spending on players and the culture disgusts us. Think also of how that ‘fear’ and ‘anger’ leads to other ordinary purchases in individual lives to appease such emotions. Somewhere in this is a design. Football has become far more menacing than the proverbial “opium of the masses”. Arsenal and Wenger’s resistance to this mode, I believe answers for much of the grief we receive at the hands of pgmol, pundits, establishment journalists, and the army of trolls. And, yes, “click-bait” is an opportunity offered by the created environment. I have long been a visitor to this site for its sanity. This is my first supportive write-in. Thank you all for keeping it real with a feel for what is essentially human.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. Meant to say consider how the anger and fear generated in football serves to churn spending at individual levels.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Rants
    TBF to the former Arsenal player he showed admirable restraint there following the cowardly and malicious push in his back into a pit.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. If Nelson got the nod for his PL debut ahead of Eddie in this period where they had the opportunity before any new signings bed in then I guess that the coaches are keen on him?

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Sell Olivier ?

    Liked by 1 person

  30. GM reporting Auba deal done for 53 plus add ons depending on trophy’s and champs league group stage , he also said we weren’t finished this window.


  31. Good, evidence based commentary, as I’ve come to expect. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. not many can afford him G-P. and most of the big clubs that can afford auba already have better of similar players. for instance arsenal wouldnt have paid such amount if we still have sanchez. the guy has proved it over and over in the past few seasons even more than some players whose transfer were being celebrated in he media. auba is a coup at and ithink wenger has been a fan for long but the january african cup of nations has always been the reason he wouldnt pay a huge amount for him. but that is out of the way now.
    p.s i hope i my comment doesnt jinx this transfer. i have decided not to make any comment until i see it on arsenal.com

    Liked by 2 people

  33. FC Barcelona B are interested in signing Arsenal U23 midfielder Marcus McGuane.

    Chuba Akpom in talks with a Dutch team


  34. The scamp;

    Liked by 4 people

  35. seemingly Wilshere missed training today


  36. Arsenal winger Aaron Eyoma gont to QPR on trial

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Georgaki

    Does seem slightly odd if no competition for Aubameyang.

    No doubt ,however, that fee means there are only about ten clubs who could feasibly consider a move for him.

    Bayern, Barca, Real, A Madrid, Juventus, PSG, then the top six here.

    Plenty of those can be ruled out by their existing options, so perhaps the only surprising ones are Chelsea, Liverpool and, maybe…maybe not, Spurs.

    Then there’s the Sven connection, London, a liking for us and ,quite likely, Wenger himself.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Arsenal are close to completing the sale of striker Chuba Akpom to Belgian side Sint-Truidense Voetbalvereniging.


  39. It was odd that AFC managed to snag Ozil and Sanchez without serious competition, the two best footballers in the league bar some competition from one or two employees of the United Petrogarchy from the Persian Gulf.

    I’m not going to complain if it happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Giroud turned down gazcorp when he signed.
    It may not fit the Narrative, it may not appeal to the Fear, but i guess it does happen?



  41. rumors that AFC want sideshow bob from CFC in the deal that would see Giroud join them


  42. No surprise Henry Winter leading way in hypocrisy stakes over the Sane foul/Pep’s comments.

    Forget all the rest. The truest measure of the lot of them is how they ignored or downplayed our serious injuries and the obvious truth that they were a direct consequence of the thuggery against us, which PGMOL allowed, though only with the media’s help, to flourish.

    The same guys now taking up Pep’s call truly underlines what utter shitbags they are.

    For the record, Martin Samuels was the only one I’m aware of who offered strong condemnation of Shawcross one, though I don’t believe he made any mention of it being a particular problem for us,etc.

    Interesting to see if Ollie Holt has yet entered the fray, as his comments in calling us ‘physically squeamish’ ,post Invincibles and during the horror injuries period, was the most grotesque one I saw. Fairly sure his argument ran that we’re not singled out or anything, but if we are more at threat than others it’s because we invite it upon ourselves, through that ‘physical squeamishness’

    For a man who looks like he couldn’t take Jose in a fight it was particularly despicable.

    Liked by 3 people

  43. Rich

    Patrick Barclay was the one I remember who stood up for us after the Shawcross ‘tackle’ on Ramsey. He called it a scythe instead of a tackle and said he thinks Arsenal are the team with the MOST mental strength in the league.

    Liked by 2 people

  44. If we want David Luiz then I think we’re going to play with 3 at the back. That’s the only way he can be effective. Or maybe he’s going to be a DM? Which is effectively the same thing as we saw with Elneny in the semi final.


  45. reports that AFC have agreed to sell Giroud to Chelsea for £15M + some bonus clauses and that along with Aubameyang, Arsenal are working on 2 more signings.


  46. I wonder if we sign Aubameyang will he be able to cover for the possible loss of Giroud, who has started 1 BPL game for us this season, I ask cos it seems a whole host of Gooners are in a panic over the possible sale of Giroud

    Liked by 1 person

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