Mbappe’s hyper-inflation will seem normal in years to come

I have read that Arsenal will need to bid €140,000,000 to land Kyllian Mbappe. There are a lot of ways to decide whether he is “worth it” and all of them are silly. There is no way for us to predict with certainty what this player is going to do in his career. He is an exceptional talent, that is certain. But even the best talent can be derailed by his own inner demons or through no fault of his own — one unlucky tackle can end anyone’s career. But typically speaking, when we get to the level of record-breaking transfer fees the player is a known quantity and almost always worth every penny spent.

For a club like Arsenal, a huge signing like Mbappe is important because it announces to the world (and their own players) that they are a serious club in the midst of an overhaul. Signing Mbappe makes it easier to convince Alexis and Özil to re-sign. And signing Mbappe means that Arsenal can stop looking for a center forward for a long time.

He’s just 18 years old – even if Arsenal only convince him to stay for five years, that’s 5 years without looking for another center forward. And if he’s got the work ethic needed to improve himself, the work ethic that most top signings have, he will only get better and stronger. If he works hard he could go from 15 to 20 to 25 to 30 goals a season. That means that in three or four years he will be worth even more than he is now.

“Worth even more than he is now” is a crazy thing to say. The last record transfer was Paul Pogba for €105m, if Arsenal pay €140m for Mbappe, that would be a 33% increase in record prices over just one year.  Visually, this looks like this:

If you adjust Zidane’s transfer of €74m for inflation, he was actually just in line with the other records. 75 million Euros in 2001 is worth 105 million Euros today. So, while the chart shows a steady increase in price for top players, it’s mostly following inflation. What would be out of normal, however, is Mbappe for €140m. As you can see from the chart and the discussion above, his rumored asking price would be 33% inflation over one year and well above the norm.

But I think it’s not actually an insane amount of money, even though it’s actually an insane amount of money.  The reason it’s both insane and not-insane is that the Premier League’s £10.4bn television contract hyper-inflates the Premier League’s spending power. We are just now seeing that bumper contract get paid and so it’s not a surprise that a club like Arsenal, who have lost Champions League football and need to make a statement that they are turning the club around, are ready to light a pile of their “dry powder.”

If Mbappe can stay healthy both mentally and physically he should be a top striker for years to come and over the next few years his outrageous price-tag will start to look normal.

Qq

81 comments

  1. Arsenal Revenue for year to May 31, 2016 = 354m pounds
    Bid we reportedly put in for Mbappe = 100m euros = about 86m pounds

    The fee would be about 24% of last year’s turnover

    Arsenal revenue for 1993/94 season = 21m pounds (acc to some website)
    Fee for Bergkamp = 7.5m pounds

    Which was about 30% of the prior year’s turnover.

    When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem so crazy, does it?

  2. The peaks seem to coincide with presidential elections at Real Madrid and/or with Perez at the helm..buying a shiny new galactico to fulfil an electoral promise or maybe just to massage his ego..there is another one this month..mbappe to Madrid anyone 🙂

  3. I think it’s an absurd price to pay for a kid who has basically done the job in only one season. Pogba was at least a proven performer for Juventus and France. Bale for Spurs and Wales. Ronaldo. Suarez. The list goes on. Kylian Mbappe seems like a good kid, a great talent, but man – what an f’n gamble for that amount of money.

    I say no. Personally, I’d rather use that money to buy 4 – 30 million players than one 120 million player. I’m sorry, that much money on a single player leaves that many more holes elsewhere. Mbappe ain’t playing RB when Bellerin goes down.

    1. The only other striker available wbo isnt even in the top bracket is lacazette and he’ll cost 50 million. 30 million is going to buy you who now? Arsenal dont need 4 30 million £ players. We need one or two special talents to transform the sqiad from solid to title challenging.

      1. Question – if we’re trying to resign Sanchez, why do we need another “top” striker? To replace Perez? Then go get another Perez i.e. a 30 million player.

        Our problems are managerial, not personnel.

        1. Jack, surely even you can’t believe your last sentence:
          1. Our problems can be managerial without that in the least bit undermining the fact that our problems are also personnel, specifically that in order to have a realistic shot at challenging for the title we need to improve our center forward options, and probably several other areas, while not losing any key players.
          2. Sanchez isn’t really a CF. He played there, well, for a third of a season, but it’s pretty clear that both the player and the manager prefer him playing deeper, and even when he did play up top he was constantly dropping deep which necessitated other players making forward runs to compensate. It worked well for a time, and I don’t think we should have abandoned it so soon, but it was never the perfect solution and in any event Wenger has decided to not make it Plan A. So we need a new, top quality CF, as we have pretty much every year since RVP left.
          3. Rectum (if I may be so informal as to use his given name) is clearly right that 30m doesn’t buy you much these days, especially at CF. While we have several squad weaknesses to address, we also have a bloated squad with too many good-but-not-quite-elite players and not enough world class or almost world class players, so going for quantity over quality again this summer really doesn’t make much sense.
          4. And there’s nothing to say that 100-120m pounds is all of our transfer budget, particularly if we offload some players, which by my conservative estimation could give us around 50m back, if we’re smart about it (Ospina, Gibbs, Debuchy, Jenkinson, Walcott, probably Wilshere (or else Elneny), Campbell, Perez, maybe one or two others e.g. one of Chambers or Gabriel). So you present a false dichotomy: we could spend a huge amount on one striker, and still have, say, 50m to bring in a couple more. Personally, I think if we’re smart/stubborn about keeping all the right people (of the folks rumored to maybe be moving: Alexis, Ozil, Ox, Bellerin, Giroud, Sir Chesney), we really only need a top quality central midfielder in addition to Kolasinac and a striker. I’d also consider going in for Mahrez if he wants to join us and we can get him for less than 50m.

          1. I’m obviously in a different place than you.

            I actually think our personnel was good enough to win the league last year. We had a deep and talented roster. I think our roster was better than Chelsea and better than Spurs. City arguably had a better roster but underperformed.

            That said, the ship has sailed. We are not winning the league next year, or the year after. The big boys have returned to their senses, we’re out of Champions League and have a retrograde manager that doesn’t excite any young superstar talent like Guardiola, Conte or Klopp might.

            I would like to see us become super-Ajax or super-Dortmund; stock the academy, bring in young talent, grow the team organically.

            I would sell all those you list, plus Ozil and Sanchez. Keep the good pros like Mertesacker, Koscielny, Cech and Giroud to guide younger players. Build a new team around Xhaka, Sczesny, Bellerin and Holding.

            Forget this arms race bidding for 100m £ players – we cannot win that contest.

            We are Arsenal after all. We’d get Mbappe in and then watch him be injured for half the season.

            Like I say, I’m in a different place than most fans. I think blowing our brains out in the market pursuing superstars is a footballing version of virtue signaling, it won’t accomplish much long term.

          2. So I’m not totally in disagreement with much of what you say, and I’m certainly not going to argue about it all here now. I agree I don’t want us becoming like post Fergie United and trying to build a team by blowing large wads of cash on overrated “super stars” (I just don’t think being willing to spend big on the one or two “right” players makes us like that).

            But I have one question: do you really think we don’t need, and haven’t needed, a significant upgrade at CF to be competitive at the top of the league??

          3. No. We had enough fire power in my humble opinion to win the league, especially two years ago.

          4. Haha, ok, well, you got me there: I agree two years ago we had enough firepower, given that Leicester ended up winning the league (then again, you could think of it this way: given that we failed to finish above them, and a lack of goals was an issue throughout that campaign, and given that it’s not crazy to think (or so say I) that a player like Higuain could have made the difference between us finishing ten points behind Leicester and us winning the league, we demonstrably DID NOT have enough firepower; but I’m not going to push that line).

            So the question becomes: do you really think we don’t *now* need an upgrade at CF (to challenge for the league, or failing that–since you don’t believe that’s possible–to at least make top 4 likely)?

    2. I agree it’s an absurd price to pay for an 18 year old, though I don’t think we should buy 4 £30MM players. You don’t get world class players at that price anymore.

      A statement of intent is all well and good but we should be able to get more established strikers at the £70MM range that will just be as much of a statement. It’s one thing to pay £80-£90MM for Bale, Ronaldo, Zidane (inflation adjusted), but paying £100 MM+ for Mbappe seems risky for us. Admittedly, I don’t know who is available and what price but are we sure we can’t get a more established striker? I don’t doubt Mbappe’s talent at all but his age is a worry. He is 18. Is he going to be able to cope with the demand of the premier league for a whole season? With our injury history, I’m not very confident.

      I also think we need to invest heavily on a world class midfielder to partner Xhakha. That is going to cost us about £50MM at least.

      Just seems too risky to put all our eggs in the Mbappe basket.

      1. I agree we need that new midfielder (putting all our eggs in the Ramsey/Ox basket is too risky, when we’ve seen time and again what happens to our league campaign if our midfield isn’t functioning well.).

        But there’s are a lot of very good central midfielders out there. You might disagree, but I don’t think in order to make a significant difference in there, we need Veratti/Kroos levels of established class. We need someone who’s a good match for Xhaka, who’s versatile (contributing both attacking and defensive wise, since Xhaka isn’t purely either), who’s ideally not small (or if he is, he’s physically outstanding in other ways, e.g. Kante), who’s got the majority of his career ahead of him, and who’s got a high degree of quality and assurance on the ball. I know that sounds like a long list, but I honestly don’t think finding such a player is anywhere near as difficult as finding a truly top class center forward; those guys are like gold dust right now.

        Finding the *right* midfielder will be difficult, as it’s a subtle thing to find the perfect fit, and you don’t want to blow 20-40m on a bad fit, but I don’t think the number of players who could work is all that tiny, and I don’t think we should necessarily have to pay 50m for them (if, e.g., Keita wants to come and would cost 50m, I’m not saying that would be a bad investment).

        1. We did this for strikers, so why not for midfielders? 🙂

          My suggestions would be something like

          1. Naby Keita
          2. Jean Seri
          3. Pablo Fornals
          4. Manu Trigueros (I’m the only one beating this drum)
          5. Corentin Tolisso
          6. Danilo Perreira

          Wenger’s also suggested that Maitland-Niles might get a more prominent role, which I think is a good thing. He might be the challenger/successor to Coquelin, and having played as a winger (and RB) he can also cover at RWB.

          1. yeah, I’ve been thinking of him as midfield cover, but this week, as the Bellerin rumors started swirling around (for the record, I think it would be crazy for us to sell him), it occurred to me that AMN might make an excellent backup right wingback. Would have to see more of him there, but he’s clearly quick and clever on the ball, and his small stature means the wings might suit him better than the center.

            As for your list, I’ll admit to knowing very little about any of them beyond Keita, and to not even having heard of numbers 4 and 6 (youtube time!). Seri doesn’t look robust enough defensively to me, but that’s just going off clips.

            Personally, (as I know I’ve mentioned here several times lately) I’d have Schalke’s Goretkza near the top of the list: very versatile, tall and physical but also an excellent dribbler, I think he’d be a good foil for Xhaka. Schalke say they’re not selling, but he only has one year left on his contract, so we all know what that means…Keita would be excellent, but if he goes at all, there’ll be a long list of suitors for him. If we’re going to spend huge to land a new CF, I can’t see us going over about 30m for a new midfielder (I fear Wenger might think Ramsey’s form means we don’t need a new one at all, which would be a big mistake in my opinion).

          2. Wow Shard you really put out the who’s who list of mid-fielders.

            Yes we did it for the strikers and look how far we’ve come.

            Joking aside, I don’t know anyone in that name other than Keita. There is no way he is moving to Arsenal for anything less than £40-50 mill. PFo said we don’t need a Veratti. I think a player of that caliber is exactly what we need in mid-field. Especially if we are planning long term and want to do better in the CL assuming we can get back in it. But look – if you guys are saying that this season we buy a mid-fielder that’s good enough to win the league and don’t want to think about CL until we actually get there, then I get it. But wouldn’t you rather get the world class player in mid-field now and have him develop an understanding with Xhaka? I think we also need a versatile fwd, capable of playing on the right – basically a better, ball playing version of Theo to give us more depth in attack. This is, of course, on top of the mythical center forward, we are supposedly getting. But buying a world class mid solves that to some extent too because we have player like Ramsey and Ox who can play the wide forward role. So yeah, I think we need to be careful about risking it all on an 18 year old. But hey – if the club thinks they can buy Mbappe and address all the other issues as well then you won’t hear me complain.

            Btw, Agree AMN should get more playing time next season. He is 5’10” – so not as small as PFo thinks he is. I think he can play center as well. Actually that’s where I see his future, as he seems strong and composed on the ball rather than a guy who runs up and down the channels. He may be fine as a back-up for Bellerin but I would like to see some transfer activity there as well. I do see AMN being loaned out for at least half the season. Hard to assess where academy players will end up regardless of the promise they show. Just look at Wilshere.

          3. “PFo said we don’t need a Veratti. I think a player of that caliber is exactly what we need in mid-field.”
            Let me clarify:
            1. Saying we don’t “need” is not the same as saying it wouldn’t be really bloody useful. Just trying to be realistic, what with the chase for a CF as well, etc.
            2. I think we probably do need a player of that, or close to that, “calibre”, just not necessarily someone who’s already got the reputation/pedigree. I think there are midfield gems out there to be unearthed. I don’t mean like the midfield equivalent of a Sanogo, or even of a Kante pre-Leicester–the person can be well known by the Euro experts, but they don’t have to be on the Verratti/Kroos level of stardom (which is a good thing, since I don’t think we’re getting that type of player).

          4. Ok, so it turns out I’ve heard of Danilo after all, I’d just forgotten. Question for Shard or anyone else: how does he compare to William Carvalho (and whatever happened to the latter anyway)?

          5. apparently (says some paper that could be wrong), Pablo Fornals has an 11m pound buyout clause. if so, that could be Holding-level good business.

  4. The accounting for football clubs’ purchase of players is rather much like the purchase of an asset to be amortized over the book life of the asset, so matching the value of such purchases with the turnover of the preceding year will not provide the right idea of the implications of such a decision by a club.

    What’s to note is the future looks good with sponsorships due for renewal in a couple of years; tv money is on the rise; no need to assume that with top players, we cannot go on to win everything in sight, which will, in turn, increase revenues. So, it is a win-win, when you think about it, IF the player stays physically and mentally, fit .

    1. Yeah I know it’s amortized, but I think it’s still helpful just as a quick and dirty way to look at how much we’re spending compared to how much we’re taking in.

  5. Add the other ‘if’ here, which is, “if an 18-year old is ready for the incredible weight of expectation that comes with the price tag.” Many think Pogba suffered this past season because of that, even though I think that was over-emphasized. It matters, for instance, that he’s in a new team with new tactics and a new league (all things Mbappe would also have to adjust to as well).

    I’m really of two minds on this Mbappe thing. The idea of signing him fills me with wonder and excitement! On the other hand, I feel a lot of the same things that jack mentioned above (18, only one season of doing the business, gamble?).

    I’d like to hear from the folks who feel more assured that this ISN’T a huge gamble. In other words, what convinces you that we’re not being foolish with Mbappe? Genuine question. Also, Tim, you sound pretty confident that we’ll sign him. I feel that way, too, but I can’t really explain why. Probably wishful thinking.

  6. I also wonder whether our intent to push through a deal for Mbappe means that the club plans to cash in on Alexis this summer.

    1. yeah, exactly, and that worries me. feels like it’s one step forward, one step back, unless we ALSO sign someone else (Mahrez?) who’d be a direct replacement for Alexis, and even then it’s a risk that the new guy can fill his (large) shoes.

      1. They have to make a splash, whether it’s to convince Alexis to stay or to soften the blow of his departure. It’s coming.

  7. If you’ve seen how this kid handled himself in the CL, there is little doubt he is headed for great things in the future. That’s at least, 15 more years. If he can grow, as perceived he can, he will be worth every penny. That boy’s feet just caress a ball and he has quick feet, speed and relative strength.
    If we get him, I doubt there will be any regrets.

  8. The problem is what assumptions underpin this decision. Assumptions that Mbappe will progress, won’t get injured. That the economics of sport and the prem in particular will continue.

    NFL rights seemed like a guaranteed investment. ESPN is finding out not so much. There is a decent chance we are at peak footie. Certainly, a boy setting a transfer record based on potential suggests the market is frothy.

  9. I will just comment that Wenger thought Mbappe was worth bidding for last year when he was a relative unknown and now he is very well known and Wenger got his original assessment right. Now Wenger needs to continue to pursue Mbappe and not have this player become another ‘I almost signed him’ story for his memoir.

  10. If Arsenal, and Wenger, are really prepared to pay that much for this kid, I’m all for it. I disagree that this will be normal in years to come, but once we sign a player I don’t really care what he cost. Then it’s about performance.

    So can Mbappe perform? I think all signs point to the fact that he can. Of course it’s a risk, and unlike other transfer records, this one is not for an established star. But we’re not Real Madrid or such like. We will not be able to sign an established star. It’s doubtful we will be able to sign him now (we almost did a year ago)

    But if we’ve bid, and bid that high for him, we must believe in him, and also at least have gotten some encouragement from Mbappe and his agent. Of course they could just be looking to use us to get another deal done, but whatever.

    Sign Mbappe, or sign Lacazette or Morata or someone of that ilk (Why is Dzeko never mentioned after the season he’s had?) and sign a midfielder and I think we’re looking good, provided we keep Alexis, Ozil and Ox.

    1. agree with all of that, except the Dzeko bit. surely the answer is: we’ve seen his ability at close quarters for several years in the prem, and he’s pretty 1-dimensional/not good enough to be the main man for an elite team. and he’s not getting any younger/better.

      1. Sorry. I know. I was just poking a bit of fun at the rumour mill. He has had a good season though.

      2. There’s nothing wrong with Dzeko except that he played for a team that had multiple strikers who were better than him and that his style is more suited to a more methodical league than the PL. The British want “pace and power” from their CF and despite his size, Dzeko had neither. Still a very good player though, as he’s shown. Italy is the league for striker longevity. Just look at Di Natale, Del Piero, Totti, etc. That’s where Giroud should finish his career if he’s smart.

  11. Personally I dont see a €100m plus player when I watched Mbappe vs Man City, Dortmund and Juve. The kid is talented but he is a long way off being a complete player and would only be ready at the end of his contract (age 24). Only if he stayed 8 years (by extending his contract) would he represent great value. This would allow us to sell him on to recoup some of the outlay.

    If Wenger convinces him to come at that price I wouldnt be too fussed but I would prefer we buy three 1st teamers instead.

  12. It’s a huge gamble. He’s not Dennis Bergkamp: Iceman was in his mid-20’s and had scored bags of goals for Ajax, Milan and the Dutch NT before we signed him. Paying a world record fee for an 18 year old on the back of one successful campaign would be unprecedented and in my opinion, stupid. These days, 40-50 million is almost ho hum but that’s honestly where I think his value should be, a little north of the (already insane) fee United paid for his similarly unproven compatriot, Martial. There is no way he is worth more than Pogba or Ronaldo were.

    A much better way to make a statement would be to sign someone who’s been doing it for years: Isco, Bale, Turan even would all give us more production right up front. Easier said than had, but if you’re gonna splurge, you should splurge on a sure thing.

    1. As usual were looking at or own transfer history to make sense of this market, when it’s clear we’ve been totally out of step with it for 10 years atleast.

      The benchmark is a transfer like Martial – 60 million pounds for one season in which he scored 15 odd goals. This guy is a year younger, has scored 24, including a pretty good record in the CL. Its a risk, but we can very much afford the price and even one more at the same price. I’m not advocating more, but the amount of money floating around these clubs is criminal and I’d rather have it spent on the pitch than inflating Stan’s share value.

    2. In that sort of scenario, where we buy a known established quantity, we’re a little restricted on the choice of player. I mean it’s all well and good to be willing to pay 100m for Bale or Isco, but do they want to leave Real Madrid, do Real want to sell them, and if they do are they going to pick us? They are already likely on massive wages, and we don’t even have CL for now. They’ll have other options with more clubs willing to spend on a ‘sure thing’.

      Not saying it’s impossible. Ozil and Alexis prove otherwise. (Though we signed them when we had CL, and when we just needed to upgrade wherever we could. Now we need to be more selective I reckon) I think it would mean having to wait for the transfer circus to begin in earnest. It being a world cup year might complicate things further.

      If we believe Mbappe is the guy to propel us forward, and we have the money to put up, I don’t see any reason to not buy him. Bale would be better, but like I said, we’re not really going to be able to buy an established star unless they really want us.

      Real Madrid have just paid 40m euros for a 16 year old Brazilian striker who had only played some 2 first team games. Mbappe is two years older, and doing it for the league champions of one of the top 5 European leagues. I agree that even then Mbappe’s fee would be excessive, but that’s likely to be the only reason we can get him ahead of other clubs who will use their money to get the more established stars.

  13. I hope the premier league clubs dont waste the tv money by buying sub par players at inflated prices (stones, sterling, sissoko etc) or la liga rejects like negredo, nolito and perez. The money should rather be used to get the best players from france, germany and italy to compete with la liga’s superstars or la liga will land themselves their own tv mega deal soon and dominate Europe for another 5 years

  14. Our top 3 scorers (Sanchez, Giroud and Walcott) contributed 46 goals in the league. Sp*rs top 3 (Kane, Son, Alli) scored 61 goals and that is with Kane out for a period of time. City just had Aguero at 20 and Chelsea were at 36 (Costa and Hazard). Pool came is at 27 (Firmino, Sane and Coutinho). Costa looks to out at Chelsea and maybe replaced by Lukaku (25), Jesus (7) at City looks to be their future and who knows if Morata (15) ends up at Man U what he will do as a regular starter for a full season.
    We need to hold on to Sanchez (24) and bring in a Mbappe (15) (the future)or Lacazette (28) (win now) to maintain and hopefully advance in the goals race.

    The good thing about Mbappe is that he doesn’t have Barcelona DNA and the potential adjustment problem is a the jump from living at home with your family to living in London on your own.

  15. Here’s the prediction –

    We’re not getting any of these “big” names.

    No Mbappe. No Griezmann. No Lacazette. No Mahrez. No Rodriguez.

    I cannot for the life of me understand how we Arsenal fans can get sucked in every summer.

    1. I will confidently predict the club will make a big investment this summer. They’d be complete fools not to on so many levels.

      1. I gave up midway, but earlier this week I was trying to figure out (back of envelope) how the club is going to make it work with adding a big signing, in terms of the wage. We’re currently at 55% of turnover for wages based on our latest figures. I don’t think we’d be inclined to increase this beyond the 60% mark. Which is about 300k up from our current weekly wages.

        Ok so we’ll trim some of it off with whoever we sell. Let’s say around 300k more? 400k? (Players on loan are probably being paid by their loan clubs. Not by us, so not counting them.)

        So let’s say we have 700k more. We’ve added Kolasinac at around 140k? We’re going to sign a big name forward at around what? 200k? Let’s say 250k? That leaves us needing a midfielder and upping the contracts of Alexis, Ozil and the Ox, all in around 300k.

        I hope I’m wrong, and the turnover may be going up next year anyway giving us more room, but it seems likely that we might sell Alexis or Ozil instead of paying an additional 150-200k to both of them.

        Of course we could just use some of our transfer budget(s) and allocate it to wages, but I’m assuming we have a 60% of turnover self imposed ceiling, mainly because we and others have stressed that as good financial practice.

        1. Good points, well argued. I don’t know exactly how merchandising figures into the equation but I suspect the club would make a killing on that front if a “name” were to be signed and that would offset some of the cost.

        2. Great point. Another reason to worry that we’re only getting a “big name” in if one of our two “big names” departs…

          1. It is also possible that we keep Alexis if we aren’t able to renew his contract, and gamble that loss against making next year’s CL (and who knows, the title?)

            But I think it more likely that we’ll buy a big name, sell Alexis and then replace him with another ‘name’ player who will not demand wages as high as 300k. Which is where links like Mahrez and James Rodriguez may be coming from.

          2. I don’t think there’s any legs on the James thing, though he’s undoubtedly a very gifted player who probably made the wrong decision, career wise, in leaving Monaco for Madrid when he did (Mbappe beware!). We were linked last year with him too, but only by papers with zero cred. I think Wenger clearly likes Mahrez (people forget Wenger almost bought him at the end of the summer of 2015, when we were all desperate for a striker and everyone was saying “wtf Wenger, why are we looking at this no-name Leicester player!!”), but I also think the links to him right now are entirely based on that beinsport interview that Wenger gave where they asked him about Mahrez and he said he might bid for him, or words to that effect. I also think Mahrez will have other suitors in England, and all those clubs have the CL and several of them will be willing/able to pay more for him. If, e.g., the rumors about Chelsea being interested are legit, then it’s probably game over for us (as has happened a depressing number of times over the years–remember when we almost signed Mata to replace Nasri/Cesc??).
            But I agree that any links to number 10/wide attacker types (as opposed to links to strikers) are likely to be with an eye to having to replace Sanchez/Ozil, rather than augmenting what we have (remember the depressing summer when we bought Podolski and Giroud early, and Wenger swore he bought them to play with RVP, but any idiot could see that they were intended as (very poor) replacements?). And that’s a depressing thought.

        3. 700k – 150k (Kolasinac, I think) – 225k (maybe I’m being optimistic, but I don’t think we should need to pay a new striker more than this, which is already way more than almost every player on the planet makes) – 45k (I read we’re offering just 100k to Ox and that’s got him wanting to sign for us, but I think that’s optimistic and I think he’s worth more, so I’m estimating that upping his current 65k (I think?) contract will come to like 45k more) – 135×2 (depending on what you read, the Sanchez and Ozil offers are anywhere from 250 to 300, so let’s say 275 a piece, which is 135 over their old salaries)
          = 10k left, before we even consider signing a new midfielder. So that’s bad.

          Maybe, e.g., Lacazette would move for 175-200k a week, given that that already must be a very large pay increase to what he’s making at Lyon (I have no idea how much that is but I’d be surprised if it’s more than 125k a week). But even so, it doesn’t look like our hypothetical new midfielder is getting a big contract, unless we extend ourselves beyond what Shard thinks is prudent to pay. But maybe we’ve got a bit more than he’s estimated, or maybe we’re going to sell a few more players…

  16. Let me say first of all, well done Arsene and Ivan, for getting Kolasinac in early and economically. I like the look of him, though I hope he’s not being misrepresented as Xhaka was this time last year.

    On Mbappe. Paying £120m + for the young Frenchman is nuts. Excellent, potentially great player, but it’s still nuts, even in today’s market.

    Arsene likes to boast about treating the club’s money as his own. Unless we are making a bid safe in the knowledge that it won’t be accepted (Real bid higher), this is a big departure from that, and I struggle to see the value for money proposition. We have balked on buying Higuain and Lacazette at just over £30m. And we’re willing to throw £120m plus at Mbappe? Makes no sense to me.

    All that said, I wouldn’t want to be the making transfer fee decisions in this market.

    I do agree with the club to hold Ozil and Sanchez to their contracts, and kiss off £70m. Will a second successive failure to qualify for the CL be worth the money we save? I don’t think so. Our return top the Top 4 is more likely with those two in our team, far less likely with them out of it. Good to see Arsene realising that it’s not his money.

    1. Do you think they will hold them to their contracts, though? There are rumors of serious interest in Sanchez from Munich and City, and we have history with selling players in their final year if a bigger club comes in for them (no rumors about Ozil, though, which is both strange and understandable).

      Also, the Champions League money…I don’t think it’s very much. I’ve read figures of £12m or so for group stage qualification, and a bit more for progressing. It’s probably more, but I don’t think astronomically so. But you must mean simply that losing out on the CL will mean less incentive for players to join, which will cost us.

    2. I believe Arsene Wenger may be going for Jean Seri. He seems to be a Busquets like player. Good on the ball, high passing percentage, disciplined mid fielder with a good fitness over last season.

      All this talk about Mbappe is proving to be a distraction IMO. We have problems in mid field & up front. Santi Cazorla will not return till mid season by the looks of it. Xhaka has established himself well but, we need some one alongside him to compliment him in terms of pace, interceptions and passing. Ramsey is the obvious choice in Santi’s absence but, we definitely need another name there. Coquelin and Elneny are able squad players but, you need more than that to win the premiership.

  17. I think it highly unlikely that the Old Man would ever shell out the kind of money to land MBappe.

    It’s just too much $ too soon in his career for a gamble like that.

    Also, the footie bubble we’re in won’t last forever. Brexit, get-political instability, desperate, brainwashed kids who’ll commit atrocities and destabilize open, free societies…I hope it never happens of course but it may just be a matter of time before something terrible happens at a sporting event.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that spending cash in these days and times should take into consideration variables beyond the player and beyond the pitch.

    There is no manager who is more cognizant of the bigger picture than Wenger and that is a huge plus over the next couple of years.

  18. On a serious note, Diego Costa is free. I’m very serious.

    We tried for Suarez a few years ago. They inhabit the same pod. and Costa is an outrageously skilful and effective centre forward. We should inquire. He won’t costa bucketful.

  19. Is Wenger’s willingness to spend £35-40 million on Mustafi an acknowledgement that the transfer market has changed? Or did he overrate Mustafi? I do not know how to scale my expectation.

  20. Signing Mbappe for the reported fee is ridiculous and not valuable financially and performance wise. This kid is not even the top scorer of Ligue 1, like Henry was. He does performs in big games, but there are more striker with a better goal scoring record as him which could benefit us more. If we look at it financially, it’s more lucrative to buy proven striker that can deliver you titles for two or three years, than by waiting for Mbappe to be the 30 goal scorer, which we’re going to sell to Real Madrid. Performance wise is the same. I don’t see anyone have a convincing argument that he will be our ace to deliver us titles. I do see a lot of convincing argument that he might be that guy in the future, which when he is, we’re already thinking of selling him.

    So, no. Buying him with that kind of money is stupid. Why don’t we just compete with City for Jesus then, the chance is the same as us competing with Madrid.

  21. I just read about Costa being available. I think that would be an awesome discounted buy at 30-40mm and would transform our team. He and Alexis could have weiner measuring contests before matches to see who wants to win more. Plus all the ‘Arsenal are soft’ bs would melt and every time Costa lays a dirty bamboozle on some defender we could say, “those Stokies, they can dish it out, but when it’s their turn they don’t like it up ’em.”

    Then go spend big money on a young no compromises holding midfielder, one that can destroy and create.

    1. I just don’t see Chelsea selling us Costa. Guardian suggests interest from Milan.

      1. zero chance they would sell him to us. you could say it’s possible if we put in a truly huge bid, but then they’ll already have huge bids from China.

    2. Even putting huge behavioral red flags aside (he makes Sanchez look tame), I doubt the player’s heart would be in it. This is a case where the personality and off field baggage of the player absolutely figures into things. If Costa would be willing to come and give us his all then that would be a steal. I would feel like I have to take a shower after each time I cheer one of his goals, but it would be a steal. But, overall, I think it’s a very poor fit from a “matchmaking” point of view. He doesn’t like us and we don’t like him. All that history is not going to just go away. The player is very unlikely to want to play for Arsenal, even if Chelsea do consider selling to a rival.

      1. I also can’t believe he’d be allowed to get away with even half his antics once he’s in an Arsenal shirt.

      2. Actually Doc, Wenger always rated Costa highly and even inquired about him from Athletico but was told that player is already going to Chelsea. Would be really great if we can get him to join us. He is everything we hoped Giroud would be able to become but didn’t.

  22. Wenger once again knows…one day he will tell us all about it. Maybe in two and a half years time.

  23. Hi Tim,

    I think the world is going through a round of deflation.

    I think the cable TV money for EPL will go down in the next round.

    1. I don’t disagree, but if TV money starts going down, I can guarantee the league and the clubs will react. They will incentivize TV stations further, probably by making more demands on players. Whether through features and interviews, access to training or locker rooms, or through adding a playoff round for the final relegation and European places. They might also start prioritizing the online market.

    2. More and more people are “cutting the cord”. Sports is the #1 thing that keeps (mostly) men from finally switching to streaming services and outright piracy (Kodi et al). But that can’t last, the subscription fees are absurd. Look at the hit ESPN is taking in the US on a monthly basis.

      The TV rights may rise in the next iteration but I can’t see them increasing beyond that. There’s just no way to fight the technology and much like Napster spawned iTunes, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Netflix of sports pops up in 5-6 years time which will probably cut the TV revenues dramatically.

    1. Last summer’s crush.

      One down.

      Ibra’s available on a free. He’d be back around same time Welbeck was this year.

  24. Apparently Morata to Man U for 70m/4 yrs. We’ll get to see up close what might have been for us.

  25. England, overrated and overpaid go down to 2 FKs.
    In fairness though, Scott Brown should have received a 2nd yellow.

  26. mbappe? the only way i see it is if arsenal sell alexis. then, i would love the signing as he could play the position alexis plays. the idea of playing him at center forward at 18 years old is nuts! he’s not a center forward. that position requires guile and experience that mbappe simply doesn’t have. maybe in the future but certainly not now. doing that could ruin the player. what’s clear is that wenger really wants this kid. when was the last time you saw wenger willing to fight to sign a player? i think he’ll fight for mbappe.

    arsenal’s biggest need remains at center forward. right before this thread was posted, i mentioned how much smarter morata would be for arsenal than lacazette. arsenal were never going to compete with real madrid for his signature last summer but this summer is different. if morata signs for manchester united, arsenal not getting involved will prove to be a huge mistake. unlike mbappe, morata is a center forward. unlike lacazette, morata is a COMPLETE center forward with two good feet and a very good header of the ball who’s on the cusp of joining the elite center forwards in world football. morata doesn’t even start for real but is a spain international, such is his quality. however lacazette is the clear super star for lyon and can’t get into the france team. that tells you everything you need to know about how deschamps rates him. he just seems like a slightly improved version of loic remy. i’d rather stick with giroud. who think arsenal should replace france’s starting center forward, giroud, with a guy that can’t get a game, lacazette? really? that’s nuts! even that kid who plays in the mexican league gets a game for france ahead of lacazette. the hype around this kid is so dumb. it reminds me of the hype arsenal fans had about yann m’vila, felipe melo, and etienne capoue. lacazette is right where he needs to be, in france.

    1. ok, I don’t mean to be rude joshuad (we’re online buds, right?), but your line of thought is so common, and, to me, so dumb (to use your own word), that I can’t let it go. since I’ve addressed this numerous times in the past, I’m just going to cut and paste a comment I posted elsewhere:

      Can we all agree to permanently retire the “Giroud starts ahead of Lacazette for France” point in “arguments” regarding their respective quality? On it’s own, IT IS IRRELEVANT. Maybe Deschamps is an average manager and a bit of a fool. Maybe he just really wants to use a traditional target man, based on his other personnel and the style he wants his team to play. The annals of football history are full of examples of very high quality players being kept on the bench by managers who just didn’t fancy them for whatever reason, and in many of those cases, the player that started instead could not be said to be clearly better than the benched player.

      Here, let me show you: “Last season Mourinho (everyone knows he’s like the bestest coach in the whole wide world, right?) frequently started Fellaini ahead of the likes of Schneiderlin and Mata.” So…what follows from that exactly?!?? He must be better than them? Obviously not. So…THAT’S RIGHT, NOTHING RELEVANT ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE PLAYERS OR THEIR SUITABILITY TO ARSENAL FC FOLLOWS FROM THE POINT THAT SOME OTHER COACH ON SOME OTHER TEAM STARTS ONE PLAYER AHEAD OF ANOTHER. Please, lord, make it stop.

      1. You know what might actually be relevant to the question at hand? Expressing some opinions/arguments about the strengths and weaknesses of the players being discussed. Obviously it’s just our subjective assessments of a player, and either of us could end up being wrong: Lacazette could come to England and be brilliant, or he could come and be a complete flop. But at least let’s make that prediction based on the merits of the player.

        Here, I’ll go first. I’m not going to argue that Lacazette is better than Giroud (though I think he is). I’m just going to make some observations about him that I think are pretty hard to dispute, and which, if true, make the idea that one might prefer him to Giroud at least not crazy:

        1. He scores more goals than Giroud. Yes, it’s in a weaker league, but France is hardly the Dutch League. There are a lot of quality players there. And he’s scored big for three years in a row.

        2. He’s fast, quick (i.e. fast in tight spaces, as opposed to in a flat-out sprint), and mobile (there’s an oft-overlooked difference between mobility and pace, and both are important: Ramsey and Elneny are very mobile, but not speedsters). Giroud is none of these things. In fact, compared to other elite footballers, Giroud’s going to come out very, very weak on all three. There are some top players that are worse in these respects (e.g. Per), but not many.

        3. He’s skillful, both on the dribble and in combinations with teammates in tight spaces. Giroud has his famous left-footed flicks–which are effective and look pretty when they come off–but are fairly low-percentage. And Giroud can’t dribble to save his life, and he’s poor at looking up while dribbling and playing an accurate pass to onrushing teammates (there are some memorable exceptions that prove the rule).

        4. Lacazette’s not the biggest, but he has a great low centre of gravity that makes him surprisingly tough to knock off the ball (think Romario or Aguero), and he’s good at rolling his defender and creating shots for himself or teammates. He’s also shown an ability to slide a well-weighted through ball into a teammate’s path.

        Is he as tall as Giroud? No. Is he as strong? No. Is he as good at heading the ball? Obviously not. (All reasons to keep the big man as a squad member.) Is Lacazette as good at holding the ball up? Common sense would say probably not, but this one’s not clear-cut, I think, due to Lacazette’s being tough to knock off the ball, and his superior dribbling and passing skills in tight spaces.

        Is Lacazette as good, or as well-rounded, as Morata? No on the second question, probably not on the first. But a player who’s pacy, mobile, skillful, and a lethal finisher (Welbeck is all of those but the last one) is always going to look like an attractive alternative to Giroud, even if he’s not the ideal prototypical center forward, and even if Didier freakin Deschamps doesn’t rate him.

        1. Here’s another consideration, if we’re going to adopt the “football as a popularity contest” means of assessing a player and continually bring up Deschamps and the French team when discussing Lacazette. Before their transfer ban was upheld Athletico Madrid were going to pay a lot of money to sign him. Athletico have had a decade of one brilliant striker after another, so apparently someone over there knows what they’re doing in assessing players in this position:

          Torres (twice)
          Forlan
          Aguero
          Falcao
          David Villa (late in his career)
          Costa
          Griezmann

          That’s an astoundingly good list, especially considering they lack the money and prestige of Real or Barca (Mandzukic was also there, and he’s pretty decent). And they wanted Lacazette. Just saying…

  27. Mbappe requires no long talk. No 18 year old is worth that size of risk.

    On Lacazette. They say ‘a faint heart never won a fair lady’. He is a reasonable gamble.

  28. Lordy, Man U want to also bring in Belotti on top of Morata.
    How’s our striker hunt working out ?
    Mbappe would be a daring move we’ve not seen from Wenger in like forever.
    Lacazette would be a pragmatic move we’ve come to expect.
    I could live with either.

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