Arsenal transfer soup: one part Mahrez and a dash of Mustafi

This is long and boring and meandering but I needed to write this. If you want to get to the juicy part, skip to the last three paragraphs.

We know that Suarez had a release clause, that Arsenal activated the release clause, that Liverpool didn’t honor the release clause, and that Liverpool then went to work on Suarez through Stevie G and others by promising Suarez a big transfer the next year (to Barcelona) if he just stuck with Liverpool one more season. According to Suarez’ autobiography, it was the back-room dealing that convinced him to stay at Liverpool and Arsenal missed out on a top forward. Liverpool also benefitted mightily as they got £85m for Suarez, rather than the £40m that Arsenal offered.

I don’t dig the Suarez story up in order to rub our noses in it but rather to just make sense of why Arsenal seem to struggle in the transfer market. And specifically, they seem to struggle signing top strikers.

Strikers are the most important part of any team. If you do any type of statistical modeling of football then you know that strikers account for a huge portion of a team’s success. Because they are so important they cost a lot and they are the most difficult players to buy.*

Arsenal have been trying to get a forward in for a number of years. There are a number of reasons why Arsenal can’t seem to get a forward in and I’m just going to list them.

There was never any real interest from the club (made up story by agent or the other club for a number of reasons).
Player doesn’t want to move (Aubameyang).
Player wants to move, team doesn’t want to move (Suarez).
Player wants to move, his agent/friends/wife/manager don’t want him to go to a specific team (Iheanacho).

Let’s first deal with this idea that the player’s people don’t want the player to join Arsenal. Ben Yedder is the latest example of a striker whose team rejected Arsenal. Ben Yedder’s manager said “He could have gone to Arsenal, who are one of the best, but Sevilla are also a big club and I think La Liga is perfect for him, because he is a technical player and very attacking.” In other words, the player didn’t want to join Arsenal, probably because the Premier League is seen as a rough league.

Another example is Kelechi Iheanacho. Arsenal were one of the suitors for his signature in 2014 but his coach says, “Arsenal were interested in Kelechi but I blocked the move, there was a problem with the agent brokering the deal.” He goes on to say that it wasn’t about money but playing time and that Iheanacho would get more playing time at City. We know that’s not true. Wenger plays the players if they are good enough, end of. So this was about the agent. As it turns out Iheanacho has two agents which further confuses the issue and is another possible reason why Arsenal backed out of the deal.

There are clearly some problems with some agents and Arsenal. These aren’t the only examples where the agent rejected a move to Arsenal; we know that Gustavo’s agent convinced the player to go to Wolfsburg and that Schneiderlin’s agents were the same guys who brokered the Gervinho deal to Arsenal and that there were a number of stories suggesting that they blocked that deal.

That said, we clearly can work with agents so, it’s not cut and dried. Arsenal signed four players last season (Cech, Elneny, Rene-Adelaide, and Bennacer) and paid £3m in agents fees. This was fourth most in the League behind Man U (£10m), Liverpool (£6.7m), and Man City (£5.9m). All total, the Premier League spent £46.6m on agents fees last season. This season, I have no doubt, what with the £20m Man U paid just for Pogba, that the agent’s fees will be through the roof. I’d be surprised if Arsenal haven’t already spent £4-5m in agents fees just to buy Xhaka, Asano, and Holding – those three have already cost Arsenal £45m and if we pay just 10% on that it’s over £4.5m in agents fees.

I digress.. But look again at the Pogba deal. There is something seriously wrong when Manchester United pay an agent fee in excess of 20% of the player’s deal. It is also vaguely unethical that the agent and the Man U manager have such a long-standing relationship and have worked out many deals in the past. Mourinho is doing his usual good job of covering up this fact by lashing out at Wenger and Klopp and saying that Arsenal and Liverpool could never get deals like the Pogba one done because they aren’t big enough clubs. But I don’t think it’s the size of the club that is the problem but rather the size of the fee that is being paid to the agent to seal the deal.

George Graham lost his job over a smaller kickback than the one Man U paid to Mineola for the privilege of signing him for millions of pounds a week. Sorry, it’s not a bribe or a kickback, it’s an “agent fee”. Who is the agent working for? Who are they representing? Are they representing the club or the player? How can they get paid by one party to represent another party in a deal between the two parties? This seems ripe for corruption.

And let’s also not pretend that these agent fees are meaningless. Yesterday East Lower retweeted a quote from an article which put the math like this: if Man U instead took the £20m they paid to Mourinho’s friend and gave every fan a price cut on tickets it would drop United’s ticket costs by £20 a match!

Man United aren’t raising ticket prices by £20 so who cares? Right? That’s just the cost of doing business these days. But if clubs are putting that money into an agent’s pocket, they can’t put that money into the team or into schemes that reduce ticket price.

These agents control these player’s lives. As I have shown you above the agents decide where these players will go. And it’s beyond problematic that United paid £20m to one agent for the right to buy one player. This should be setting off alarm bells in the footballing world but no one has seemed to bat an eye.

And… we are back on point.

Another forward who recently very publicly rejected Arsenal is Jamie Vardy. Arsenal activated his release clause, offered him a much bigger salary than he could ever get at Leicester, offered him the bigger exposure of playing for the London club (which means lucrative shoe deals and the like, a lot more money that he would ever get at Leicester), and Vardy chose to renew his contract with the Foxes, taking a substantial pay cut in the process.

Vardy was never coming to Arsenal. He loves Leicester and wanted to use the Arsenal interest to get a better deal. Why we got involved in that, I don’t know. I just remember sitting there and thinking that everything I had heard from the Guardian podcasters indicated that Vardy would never leave Leicester. That if there was any player who wasn’t going to leave this summer it would be him. Kante, they said, would be gone. Mahrez, maybe. Vardy? Absolutely not. They were pretty accurate in that assessment. 100% accurate I would say.

What deals like that Vardy one and the Suarez one do is drive Arsenal supporters nuts and push us into speculation. Some fans see failure at every turn and take every link to Arsenal as truth. So, when we don’t sign a player, it’s because we don’t try hard enough, we aren’t organized, we don’t delegate, or we don’t have a plan.

I’m not an apologist for the team but I don’t think that stuff is entirely true. I think we make mistakes, just like any other team (look at Man U over the last 4 years) and I think we have been used a few times (Suarez and Vardy) and that kinda hurts. But we have signed some players in much needed positions.

Arsenal aren’t blameless in the transfer market. We always get our man but it seems to take years. After Cesc left it took an entire year to get his replacement, Cazorla, in and that was after Chelsea scuppered our plan to take Juan Mata and Cazorla initially rejected us to go to Malaga. Wenger did do a good job of getting players in right away to replace van Persie, though the level of replacement wasn’t as good as what was sold. And Wenger has been trying to buy a player like Xhaka (a tough midfielder with gifted passing skills) for at least three years (the Gustavo deal fell through in 2013). Wenger wanted a Suarez-type all action player but also waited a year to get Alexis in to fill the role. And Wenger has now been trying to buy a striker for a number of years and has had some pretty colossal blunders along the way. I think the biggest fail was going after Suarez instead of taking Higuain. Higuain is not as good as Suarez but it was pretty clear that Suarez wasn’t really excited to join Arsenal and that his reasons for picking the Gunners were lame at best**.

Wenger and the Arsenal transfer team clearly identify players and positions that they want to bring in but then have real trouble getting them in the door. Look at the Lacazette deal: we bid, but not enough, now they want £60m and Arsenal would be smart NOT to pay that. We clearly targeted Xhaka and signed him (yay, team!). We clearly targeted Vardy and that was a mistake. We also, I think, are after Mustafi and Mahrez but those two deals are not going smoothly.

So, I’m going to end this on a hopeful note. My French is terrible so I used Google translate on L’Equipe but according to them Arsenal are going to pay €50m for Mahrez and Mahrez is going to force a move to Arsenal. Now, I say this with caution because just yesterday the Guardian reported that Mahrez has admitted defeat and is staying at Leicester. That same Guardian article also said that Leicester is going to buy Gabigol from Brazil. Gabigol (he hates that nickname, I’ve heard) is a young player who isn’t really ready for the Premier League, that’s according to the expert opinion of Tim Stillman, who has seen this kid play a lot. But why they are targeting Gabigol, who plays on the right for Santos and plays a lot like Mahrez, if they aren’t worried about selling Mahrez? They could either be adding depth and be buying the player to loan him back to Santos OR they could be lining up a replacement for Mahrez. When Ranieri was asked if Mahrez is moving (again today) and he was definitive that no bids have come in and the player will stay at Leicester. I’m currently at 30% confidence that Mahrez will be a Gooner.

The Mustafi deal is also vexing. L’Equipe reported that Mustafi’s agent said that Arsenal were in contact and a deal has been worked out. Arseblog reported that this morning. But just a few hours later, L’Equipe reported that the agent said he was misquoted and the agent has been quoted saying “There is much discussion but no agreement between Arsenal and Mustafi or between the two clubs.” Clearly he’s our target. Not so clearly, we are going to land him. Despite the guff over whether the deal is done or not, I’m giving this one a 90% chance of happening.

I have said it before. If Arsenal sign Xhaka, Mahrez, Mustafi, Holding, and Asano — which would cost the club over £100m in total — I have to think that this is the best transfer season I have seen from Arsenal since the Henry days. It’s not going to be easy. Mustafi is on his way but signing the player of the year from Leicester after their president said publicly that they aren’t going to sell, their manager said that they aren’t going to sell, signing a player who was the reason that Leicester won the League, signing a forward, from a “title rival”, is going to cost Arsenal top dollar AND everything else has to line up just right — the player has to want to go and his agents have to be sufficiently “paid” to allow the deal.

Qq

If you want to read live French updates on transfers, you can check L’Equipe.

*This is why the damn van Persie transfer was so vexing. Damn Wenger and his “values”. I wish he’d have just let that guy rot.
**Remember how much he wanted to escape England because of the press and how he thought he could “hide” at Arsenal because London is such a big city? That’s one of the dumbest lines of logic I’ve ever read.

39 Comments on Arsenal transfer soup: one part Mahrez and a dash of Mustafi

  1. Call me crazy but if it is Xhaka, Mustafi and Mahrez Im not happy at all, unless Wenger put all of them together like below and turn Sanchez into a deadly striker. Sanchez never impressed me as a lone striker. He is better as second striker.

    Sanchez – Giroud
    Ozil-Xhaka-Ramsey-Mahrez

    I think this Mahrez thing is just smokescreen to cover a huge deal which involves Griezmann, Lewandowski and Aguero in a domino effect. I think it’s time for us to get a worldclass striker and we have the money up to 60m to fund for it.

    • I think this Mahrez thing is just smokescreen to cover a huge deal which involves Griezmann, Lewandowski and Aguero in a domino effect. I think it’s time for us to get a worldclass striker and we have the money up to 60m to fund for it.

      Might as well throw in Messi as well. Go big or go home! 🙂

    • Wishful thinking. Not going to happen.

      If we get Mahrez and push Sanchez up front for some games, I would be more than happy with that.

  2. From what I’ve heard, Pogba’s agent fees were paid by Juventus. He also managed to get the selling club to agree to buy Pogba a new house.

    The Eurosport article east lower quotes from where more of an opinion piece than reporting.

    • That’s right, an official document Juve sent to league officials reported the total fee as 105mil but also noted that they would receive 73mil after payment of “other considerations”.

      Hadn’t heard about the new house part but this deal is so insane I’ll believe nearly anything at this point.

      • Irrelevant though. The cost is just passed on to United through a higher price. Without an agent fee, Juve would probably have sold for a similar number. Econ 101.

        • Don’t help Mourinho by trying to gloss over the sums changing hands in this deal.

          It’s all relevant because it reveals United and Mourinho’s utter desperation to avoid getting left behind. At the end of the season we’ll see whose method works best, the builders like Klopp and Wenger, or the spenders like Mourinho and Pep.

  3. Some common contradictory complaints here. Arsenal wait too long to sign replacements; Arsenal signed inadequate replacements the year RVP & Nasri left.

    Yes, everyone wants timely AND adequate replacements/additions, but usually, the way the market works, you only get one or the other.

    I can’t really think of a club for whom this isn’t true, at least to some degree. Even Barca look to have not adequately replaced Alves; Madrid dithered on a declining Casillas; United have spent hundreds of millions over the last 3 years attempting to replace their core, etc.

    • Barca will replace Alves next summer, and Arsenal will be stuck with Jenkinson and Chambers on the right.

      • If they sign Bellerin next year, which you cynically seem to think is a given, they will still have waited a year to sign an adequate replacement.

        Bellerin is actually a positive story — we signed him early as a long-term option to eventually replace sagna, and he defied all expectations. He doesn’t fit the permanently negative outlook of online Arsenal fans, unless he is speculatively linked to leaving.

        • I don’t think it’s a given – I actually hope he’ll stay. When Barca signed that other right back I was relieved, but it seems he’s not all that good. I hope Bellerin stays, and I think there’s a decent chance he will. We haven’t lost a player we wanted to keep for a while now.

    • Barca signed a replacement for Dani Alves at the same time they bought Arda Turan – over a year ago… Aleix Alves.

      I don’t think anyone should be content with Alexis playing at no9 for any period of time. We should be wrapping him in cotton wool, not feeding him to the wolves. From a longer-term tactical viewpoint, Suarez+Neymar gave Messi more room to play in, and that’s the approach I hope Wenger’s trying to emulate for Alexis.

  4. Would Ranieri really let Mahrez leave and join Arsenal, who are one of the title hopefuls? I doubt it would happen.

    And people probably don’t bat an eye at Raiola’s fee because of the absurdity of the market nowadays, and the fact that Mourinho spews so much bullshit that takes up the media’s attention span.

    • Ranieri thinks it is more likely that aliens land in London than them winning the title again. He targets 40 points this season. Realistic, definitely. But it also weakens the case for him holding onto a player like Mahrez, who probably wants to win the title again.

  5. Great article.

    I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying here. Especially regarding Arsene being willing to wait to get the right player. I know some people think that if option 1 isn’t available then Arsene should just go down his list to option 2 or option 3 in order to get a player in. My guess would be that, unless he has absolutely no other choice, Arsene would prefer to wait a year to get a better player rather than being stuck with an average player he doesn’t really want. I know that drives people nuts, but if you’re focusing on the long term, and not just the immediate future, then it makes at least some kind of sense.

    Regarding transfers I agree again. Sure there’s been mistakes, sure we’ve missed out on players who could have made a difference, sure Arsene himself might be a bit too reserved in the market, but this idea that our transfer strategy makes us a joke or an embarrassment or a laughing stock is hard to reconcile with our recent league finishes of 4th, 3rd and most recently 2nd, in an incredibly competitive league. Could it be better? Sure.

    If we do sign the players you’ve mentioned I’d be more than happy.

    • Option 1 “hasn’t been available” for 4 years? Really?

      Look, other people are trading. You don’t have to like Nolito or even think he’s a good buy for City, but clubs are trading in players. Stop making excuses on Arsene’s behalf.

      You say… “Arsene would prefer to wait a year to get a better player rather than being stuck with an average player he doesn’t really want.”

      But of course you have no evidence of that.

      Tim on the other hand points to deals that failed.

      I would point you to one Daniel Welbeck, bought on transfer deadline day a few years ago. Is that the kind of average player you are saying that Wenger would rather pass on?

      • Dude, I’m not making excuses for the manager. All I’m doing is putting forward theories that might explain why he does the things he does and why the club operates the way it operates. Isn’t that what most of us are doing here?

        “Arsene would prefer to wait a year to get a better player rather than being stuck with an average player he doesn’t really want.”

        If you had included the full sentence you would see the first two words are ‘My guess….’ By that I thought I was making it explicitly clear that that is precisely what it was….a guess, a theory, a possibility…not a statement of fact. I just want to contribute to the conversation. Is that okay?

        About Nolito, that’s my point, or my guess if you will, that rather than spend money on a possibly average player like him, Arsene would, I guess, prefer to play Alexis or Theo up front and hope a significantly better option becomes available.

        And on Welbeck, my guess is that Arsene didn’t really want him (wasn’t a loan the original plan?) but because we were so desperate and short of options at the time Arsene bought him.

        Will you be as quick to jump on people who diss Arsenal and Arsene if they don’t provide sufficient evidence? I hope so.

        I honestly don’t get it man. You seem to agree with Tim’s piece, I agree with Tim’s piece, aren’t we basically on the same page then?

    • But you present a false dichotomy: either get the world class, dream player every time, or settle for mediocrity. But surely in all of world football there are more than one or two players in each position each summer who would dramatically improve our squad. And the problem with waiting an extra year to get the player Arsene *really* wants is that (a) it means an otherwise excellent team is held back from properly challenging for the title in the meantime, and (b) the rest of the squad DOESN’T STAND STILL while we wait for Wenger to add the finishing touches to it. This is the risk inherent in Arsene’s extreme caution in the transfer market: while we wait for the squad to be good enough to win the league, the players we have get older, and the most ambitious ones get impatient and want to leave, thus leading to more holes in the squad to fill each year. One example: a few years back the Mertescielny partnership, though not perfect, was very strong, probably strong enough to be the foundation of a title-winning side, but the rest of the side (e.g. goalkeeper, defensive midfielder) needed work; now, just as we’ve sorted those other issues out, Per’s getting older and a position we had covered has to be restocked. So the idea of planning for the future is a myth: at some point the future has to become the present and the time to win the title must become now. That time for this side was last season, and we blew it, because Arsene refused to strengthen at CF and CDM. In spite of other teams’ strengthening, I think we still have a very good chance this year too, but we need to bring in at least one goalscoring attacker. It simply makes no sense to ignore our current weaknesses in the name of planning for the future.

      • Perfectly stated.

        And the “waiting for perfection” merely excuses Wenger’s lack of decisiveness or effectiveness in the market.

  6. It’s crazy that United have paid close to half our biggest transfer fee to a guy who’ll never kick a ball for them.

    • They’ve also paid him for Mkhitaryan and Zlatan.

      He tried to fob off Balotelli on us a few summers ago. Probably one reason Mkhitaryan wouldn’t join us.

      Mourinho, seems to me, maintains relationships this way. After all, it’s not his money.

      All speculation of course.

  7. I think this must be one of your best football articles Tim. It’s wide ranging, with lots of interesting digressions, but manages to be concise nonetheless. I also think it’s very balanced, and I don’t think I disagree with any of it. Except maybe about Higuain. The way I remember the story from the time was that Real kept increasing the price whenever we’d meet their asking price. More importantly, we got Ozil…. as the song goes. So hard for me to get too worked up about that window.

    But you just had to go and mention Ben Yedder. Now that makes me muy triste (RVP doesn’t hurt anymore)

  8. Not to suggest him as a solution to a lack of transfer activity, but ‘Where in the world is Yaya Sanogo?’

    • You know how people on Twitter say, “If we can agree on a fee for X, I’ll drive there myself to pick him up”? Or “If Y club will take Player A from us, I’ll drive them there myself”?

      Yaya Sanogo is the guy Arsenal sent to drive and pick up Mahrez. Or so Twitter tells me.

  9. Hmmm.. where to begin? Good to see you are more upbeat today and a thought provoking article. My thoughts in no particular order but hopefully they make sense:
    – There is a disproportionate amount of speculation about who Arsenal will sign. Some of this is because we have been ‘public’ about our needs and interests. But most of it is because Arsenal are linked with pretty much everyone (Jonny Evans anyone?). Arsenal are a big club with huge cash reserves plus we like to conduct our business in a cloud of secrecy. Its a recipe for always being linked – get used to it.
    – There are varying degrees of integrity or substance which each media outlet apply before publishing a ’story’, but ultimately with transfers its speculative stuff and there are no repercussions if you are wrong. A simple example is yesterday the Times ran a story saying Ozil and Sanchez are not committing to new deals. There is no substance to this claim. Matt Hughes is simply taking a perspective in the absence of any updates from the club. Plus the Times (and all the other newspapers in the UK) know that fear ,uncertainty and doubt drives Arsenal supporters mad, so they play to that narrative. Take everything you read regarding transfer and contracts with a large pinch of salt.
    – I can’t think of many examples where we have bought a player and anyone outside the club has known about it until the deal is pretty much done. Elneny, Sanchez, Ozil. Not one of these deals was in the public domain until the deal had been agreed. You can try but Wenger is a very difficult guy to second guess.
    – You claim that more than several strikers have turned us down but I don’t think that’s a narrative which holds true. I’ve seen plenty of evidence that Barcelona and Liverpool agreed the deal for Suarez on the condition he stay at Liverpool for one more year. This happened in parallel with our pursuit. We were never going to win against a Spanish speaking club with where some of his close family live. All the evidence since indicates we were opportunistic but also played by Suarez’ management and Liverpool. Liverpool then launched a noisy PR campaign to make us look like the bad guys or fools depending upon your interpretation. I wonder whether this has coloured your thinking? Iheanacho and Ben Vedder – I don’t think these were actively pursued by Arsenal. Both were monitored but not real targets for Arsenal first eleven positions. Vardy is happy to be at Leicester and good luck to him. If you don’t ask you don’t get. I think Arsenal were right to try for him and to a man the pundits were surprised he didn’t take the opportunity to join us.
    – I have seen previous comments you made regarding our ability to attract top targets and get deals done. I prefer to take a glass half full view of the Ozil and Sanchez deals. Wenger is right to say that to make a transfer you need the seller, the player and the buyer to all be in agreement. Yes, Real and Barcelona were looking to sell both players but I am convinced that any team in the world would have bought them and kudos to Wenger for getting the deals done.
    – Finally on the striker topic Wenger has been very open and public from the outset as to what he wants. Someone who improves the team. He can’t say it publicly but we know he recognises Giroud’s limitations and would like someone better. Now ask yourself who is out there who improves on Giroud in terms of the goals he contributes every year? Lacazette didn’t make the French squad. Draxler has potential but he is not a current target. Wenger is working on a big one. He has form for keeping it secret and for getting big player signings over the line. It might not happen this transfer window but he’s definitely after one of the handful of ‘world class’ strikers. Just under 21 days to get it done. Glass half full 🙂

    • Trafford???

      Are you a Man Utd fan? If so, why aren’t you raining abuse down on us? All this praise and defense of the club makes me very confused.

      • Trafford is a British surname and the poster says ‘we’ in reference to Arsenal stuff at the start so I think you could maybe take another look at your post. That said, the text was a bit dense and I wasn’t able to read much of it. But i’m a bit tired, so…

    • PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, CAN PEOPLE STOP BRINGING UP THAT LACAZETTE DIDN’T MAKE THE FRENCH SQUAD!!!!!! This tells us next to nothing. Many great players have failed to make international squads for tournaments due to the whims of their international manager. No one can seriously claim that Lacazette is worse than Gignac, and yet Deschamps picked the latter in his squad. Lacazette isn’t one of the top 5 strikers in the world–no one is saying he is–but the idea that he wouldn’t seriously improve our centre forward play is absurd. And that improvement could well be the difference between finishing 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) and winning the title.

  10. This was one of the best article I have read on this site and there are brilliant articles aplenty already…I don’t know whether with age and technology people are getting dumber…yes the club has been at fault for some of the transfers but the majority of decisions have gone with us…you cannot just keep on throwing money around if you have enough..just look at the quality of the squad with each player been cherry picked and every individual has got tremendous potential to fulfill the task…if anything we just need to work on the details from tactical and temperamental point of view and I guess we already have a title winning squad..how would you evaluate experience of been there just not enough in terms of money..we are already a better squad than last year and with the addition of another quality midfield we have only got better

  11. Tim,
    Though I agree with your point that the club would not be going without a plan into the transfer window or that they are not organised etc but I think the skill/efficiency level of the team ( gazidis, dick, wenger etc) responsible for getting deals over the line should come into question.
    Arsenal have always been a “value” seeking club pre-dating the Emirates move..Henry wasn’t really covering himself in glory before his move to Arsenal, same with pires, viera was reserve team player for Milan, cesc etc numerous examples..but now we can’t get even those deals through..vardy, whatever he achieved last season, was still a “value” purchase..mustafi again value purchase but we are still not over the line..
    Wenger is a constant for the last 20 years, then it has to be the others..I think till David dein was there, we were OK..maybe coz he could do the “dirty” work to get things done and basically he had been at the club since donkey years as well as held some position in the FA..he had influence ..
    Now we have an American owner, with a cxo who was not even in Europe for 15yrs or so before joining Arsenal..I really think the current management set up lacks experience or influence or I don’t know what..but the failure to get deals done or on time squarely lies with the management..it’s ok to make mistakes but to wait for one year to make them is sheer stupidity!

  12. Just some striker stats from last year.

    Name..Fee..League Goals..

    Chelsea.
    Pedro) £21m Goals 7
    Falcao) Free Goals 1
    Pato) Free Goals 1
    Costa) £32m Goals 12

    United
    Martial) £50m Goals 11
    Rashford) Free Goals 5
    Rooney) £20m Goals 8

    City
    Bony) £30m Goals 6
    Aguero £40m Goals 24

    I know I’m leaving out players like Kane and Vardy but I just wanted to focus on the teams generally considered to have more financial muscle than us to see what they’ve been able to buy recently. And I included players like Aguero and Rooney just so as not to focus solely on back ups.

  13. I hope this isn’t off topic. Just wanted to contribute some numbers for the ‘striker’ segment.

  14. Regarding agents, I was astounded that agents who supposedly represent a player also negotiate separate fees from clubs. In the US, player agents are payed solely by the players they represent and therefore are aligned with said players interests completely. It seems obvious to point out but when agents are paid both by the buying club and the player it represents a huge conflict of interest. I don’t think an NFL/NBA/MLB player would be very happy if he found out that his agent was also being paid by other clubs in negotiations involving said player’s interests. Still it seems that’s the situation for professional footballers.

  15. Ranieri was pretty vocal early in the window saying if players want to leave, for the betterment of the group they won’t stop them. I think if Mahrez really does kick up a fuss and we offer the right amount of money we can get him. I get the sense though this is another Suarez situation, where the player likes Arsenal but could be convinced to hold out for a bigger move.

    Whatever happens though I do get the impression we are in the market in a big way, a lot can still shake out before the end of August.

  16. i wrote yesterday that the biggest problem with arsenal transfers isn’t that wenger’s waiting for the right player. the problem is that wenger’s always hoping to strike a sweet deal. while there’s nothing wrong with a sweet deal, you’ve got to be able to quickly recognize if one’s available. selling clubs, agents, and players don’t want to wait around for arsene to decide he’s ready to make a legitimate offer/counter-offer for a player. as a result, arsenal have missed out on many top players. clubs selling their best players need time to find and secure adequate replacements. they don’t have time to wait for wenger.

    it’s another reason why you buy early. not only do you get a player moved and settled before the preseason begins but clubs are more willing to sell early on as it gives them time to find replacements. the bpl begins this weekend. most bpl teams have developed strategic approaches to their play based on their best available players. who in their right mind wants to sell their best guy after the season starts? well, arsene sold cesc, rvp, and nasri very late so, for some reason, he doesn’t mind. however, most managers do.

    • Wenger has always paid over the odds for prospects. People complained about how much he paid for chambers and ox. He paid at the top of the market for ozil and sanchez. Yes he likes a good price, just like every manager who faces financial constraints, but this story that every deal has to be a bargain is getting pretty old.

      I’m positive that he sometimes makes mistakes, but all these stories about arsenal missing out on x player because of a couple of million are mostly wide of the mark. All the pundits understand is price, a manager has to understand opportunity cost.

  17. i tink arsene is gettin it wrong dis tym y not snap up lacazette 4 d love of God dis guy is young nd better dan what we have…i dnt understand y wenger always dithers

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