Yesterday Arsenal used BBC reporter David Ornstein to announce that they had a great desire to buy Mustafi, but they didn’t want to pay the price asked by Valencia because they want to have money left over in case a striker falls from heaven and begs Arsenal for shelter. Arsenal also used Ornstein to suggest that Arsenal have other options if the Mustafi deal doesn’t get done.
Valencia countered this morning with two stories: one which suggests Liverpool are willing to pay for Mustafi and another with direct quotes from Valencia director of sport Garcia Pitarch. The former story is being widely dismissed but the latter story, the interview with Pitarch is being used in England to suggest that Valencia need to sell Mustafi in order to stay compliant with Financial Fair Play laws.
I found the source article in Superdeporte, it is in Spanish and I am going to reproduce the relevant quote here in Spanish. As some of you know, I have been studying Spanish for a year now and I am proficient enough to translate the article.
¿El Valencia necesita todavía hacer algún traspaso más importante, como el de Mustafi por ejemplo?
“Estamos por encima del control financiero, esa es la realidad, a día de hoy los cuatro jugadores fichados no pueden ser inscritos y necesitamos reducir el control en un importe significativo para poder inscribir a los jugadores y poder firmar un central que es un objetivo prioritario en el caso de que salga alguno de los central que tenemos. Obviamente si no salen no podrmeof irmar (this is a typo in the original text, they meant “poder firmar” which means “to sign”) no solo por el limite sino porque no seria lógico tener 5 o 6 centrales. Tenemos que seguir reduciendo si hay alguna salida de algún central hay que firmar algún central. La capacidad es muy limitada. Hemos firmado un jugador libre, otro cedido con opción de compra, nani en unas condiciones muy buenas y Medrán también porque el Madrid así lo ha permitido y porque el jugador así lo ha decidido”.
In the quote Pitarch admits that Valencia are over the amount allowed by Financial Fair Play. Because of that they have four players they have signed but cannot register. So, they either have to reduce costs or sell, even without selling Mustafi. But they are also in trouble because if they sell Mustafi, for example, they will need to buy another center back and still reduce costs. The rest of the interview is Pitarch talking about if they don’t sell Mustafi, they won’t buy another CB and that they have already made some quality moves for example, he really likes the deal they got for Nani, which cost them £7.2m and is probably the reason they are over FFP.
Valencia it seems has a huge problem. They need to sell Mustafi to generate money to get back into compliance with FFP, but they have to sell him for enough to cover FFP and bring in another center back. This explains why they are holding out on Arsenal. Their FFP situation also explains why Arsenal are not interested in paying over the odds to bring Mustafi in. It will be interesting to see who blinks first.
Valencia was in a similar situation with Oatamendi last year and both Oatamendi and Mustafi had or have a €50m release clause. Man City paid £34m for Oatamendi (part of that was debt relief for Valencia because they owed City money from the transfer of Negredo) and that transfer is probably the reason why Valencia is trying to get at least £30m again for their man.
It’s interesting that in recent weeks the Arsenal have been making it public that they don’t do transfers in the same way that Man City and clubs like that do them. Gazidis’ statements about how Arsenal can’t do transfers like other clubs might not have been intended for Arsenal supporters but instead as messages to the Valencia hierarchy.
“We’re making progress in what is a fiercely competitive world, against competitors that have the capability to spend far more money than we do. We’re doing it by being very, very disciplined; spending money where we believe it makes a difference, but also giving young players a chance and believing in ourselves and our values.”
Arsenal are also leaking stories that they are interested in other center backs. Specifically, Atletico Madrid center back Giminez. Though that story isn’t gaining much traction because Atletico are asking for £40m and Arsenal have made it clear that they will not spend that amount on a center back this window.