The next Neymar and Mbappe will cash in

Game of Thrones is a soap opera with swords and dragons and I’m over it. I’m over its broad, sweeping, world shaking story-lines. I’m over the continent-jumping war for the throne. I’m over the gratuitous sex and violence. I’m over all of the ugly characters and silly gods. And most of all I’m over the hours and hours and hours of court drama. If I never see a man in armor talking to a woman in a castle about some plan to stab someone else in the back ever again it will be too soon. Speaking of which, for the locals, Shakespeare in the Park is coming up this Friday and they are doing Much Ado about Nothing. Hope to see you there. Anyway, I needed one of those pop-culture intros that all these opinion piece articles start out with and there you have it.

You know what I would like to see on television? I would like to see a show where aliens come to planet earth and hunt billionaires. Stan Kroenke just launched his hunting channel in the UK where they show grown men killing elephants and lions on a farm and that got me to thinking. What if there was a channel dedicated to aliens hunting down and killing billionaires?

Humans are the king predators on this planet and billionaires are the very top of the predatory pile. Not only are they often sociopaths and outright predators but they have vast resources at their disposal to protect themselves. So, if hunting a lion on a farm is an exciting television show because of the supposed danger the hunter faces, then I’m sure that Ernt Hmingy’s Big Game Billionaire – where an alien from Seti-Alpha 5 hunts billionaires on their vast farms – will be a blockbuster. Ernt won’t be brutal or anything. Maybe he’ll harvest their “horn” for his collection and then release them back to the wild where they will re-join the herd, slightly more docile.

Of course this would lead to a rapid decline in the global population of billionaires. But Ernt and his buddies will simply round them all up and put them on a game reserve. There, on the Green Hills of Africa, the billionaires will live in luxury, breed, and reproduce more billionaires for the hunt.

Speaking of greed. Man I’m good at transitions. After the Emirates Cup match against Sevilla, Arsene Wenger spoke to the press about player’s contracts and Platonic ideals. The sound bite most argued over already is the one where Mr. Wenger said that players in the last year of their contract is an ideal situation.

It’s most assuredly NOT the ideal situation. Wenger’s own contract situation, where he ran his deal down to the wire, caused huge problems in the team last year. A fact, he admitted. Now, take that same disruption and multiply it by Alexis, Ozil, and Ox – two of the most important players on the team and the core of Arsenal’s attack – and you have the makings of the most disruptive season ever. I can’t wait for Alexis to sign some pre-deal with Man City while the season is still ongoing and then to play the rest of the season half-heartedly, saving himself up for the World Cup. And imagine Özil playing half-hearted, would you even notice?

Add to that “ideal” situation the fact that Arsenal have a handful of players like Gibbs and Debuchy who want to leave this year but can’t because they are paid too much money and you have the makings of a hell of a Premier League title run. Or the makings of a toxic dressing room and a 10th place finish. WELCOME TO ARSENAL, LACAZETTE!

Where this is ideal is for the players: Alexis, Ox, and Özil all get to sign big deals next summer and cash in on their new team not paying a dime in transfer fees! Alexis could literally say to City, “hey, instead of that £50m you were going to give to Arsenal to buy me out, I come play for you next year and you give ME a £25m signing bonus and another £25m in salary.” Or whatever fraction thereof he can argue for. This is not only plausible, it’s what he’s going to do unless Arsenal sell him now, cash in, and move on.

But Arsenal are refusing to sell and that’s their choice. But lost amid Wenger’s “ideal” quote was this one:

“Because their transfers become so high, even for normal players, that you will see more players going to the end of their contract because no one wants to pay the amount of money that is demanded. I’m convinced that in the next 10 years it will become usual.”

Unlike the “ideal”, I agree with Wenger on this. More and more players, young players, young top-quality players, will sign shorter deals, run those deals down, and/or have cheaper release clauses built into their deals. It’s just the natural evolution of player power in football.

It used to be that players had no power. They were under contract to their clubs for life. Even after their contracts ran out, the club was able to decide where that player played and demand a transfer fee to go to another club. The “Bosman” ruling changed all that, allowing players out of contract to move freely.

But what we have now in football is a strange situation. Football is currently enjoying an unprecedented transfer bubble. Teams are able to demand £80m to release a player who just a few years ago would have gone for £15 or 20m. This has reached its zenith with Monaco demanding £150m for Kylian Mbappe to move to Real Madrid and PSG agreeing to pay Barcelona for Neymar’s buyout clause of £200m.

Few clubs are able and fewer still willing to pay those types of fees for even the very best players, so I think Wenger is right: no one wants to pay the amount demanded. But I also think Wenger left off an important bit. Mbappe has to look at the transfer fee Monaco are getting and ask “hey, what about me?”

Now, I know that Mbappe will get a cut of the transfer fee. His father is his agent and as a result, the family will get paid. There are also other bonuses a player can negotiate. But these players have to be looking at these transfer fees and wondering why they are only getting a percentage? Why aren’t these players getting the bulk of the transfer fee and the club which trained them getting the small percentage? Or, as Wenger points out, why not just run the contract down to the final year and then pick up a huge signing-on bonus? Or negotiate a huge pay packet?

I actually suspect that’s coming and that, as usual, Arsenal are leading the way here. Özil, Alexis, and Ox are all on the last year of their deals with Arsenal and are either going to successfully convince Arsenal to pay them a huge bonus, or go somewhere else that will. I suspect that football is in for a huge change in the way transfers work and we are going to see a lot less of these absurd transfer records and a lot more player contract records. After all, the fans are there to see the players, not the agents/transfer lawyers.

Qq

54 Comments on The next Neymar and Mbappe will cash in

  1. Yes, what Wenger said is true, but it’s bloody stupid to say it in the current situation. He’s all but guaranteed that Ozil and Ox are not going to sign their contract extensions (Alexis never was). And that other players coming to the end of their contracts next year will do the same.

    Arsene is a smart guy who sometimes utters some imprudent truths (like his damning assessment of Xhaka’s tackling). Which is weird, because most of the time he’s the ultimate politician when it comes to his utterances.

    On other big teams, neither Ox nor Ozil would have been on the plane to China and Australia with their contracts unresolved. Their team would have acted tougher with them.

  2. I’m all for it if it means contracts start to mean something. If at the same time, FFP or its new improved avatar could come in and put some form of wage control on clubs, we might even see a greater distribution of players. Imagine that. Clubs planning around trades and free agency.

  3. On the last paragraph, I seem to remember Gazidis saying something about how players in the final years of their contracts also allows the club to treat them (financially) like a new signing.

    I thought the implication was much the same. That Arsenal are prepared to treat their own free agents the way that Flamini wanted to be treated. As long as the player wants to stay, (which is a requirement for signing a contract anyway) it could be a win-win.

  4. Wenger has become a parody of a politician. He lies, he tells half-truths, he prevaricates, he avoids answering questions, he diverts attention away from real matters, he’s obtuse and anything but open and transparent.

    It will take two to tango with the younger players signing shorter contracts with weaker release clauses; the clubs might insist on the reverse actually or those players don’t get on the field. Otherwise the academy system for those clubs that rely on sales for players will be dead. And if you’re a youth player going to sign for Chelsea or City, your salary offer will be a quarter what it might be otherwise.

  5. It’s August and preseason is over, so I’m back. To nobody’s surprise I’m sure, I am going to talk about the bright side of recent developments. Also on a personal note, I’m hereby pledging to stop criticizing other posters’ comments and views. As much as I may vehemently disagree with many of you on any number of things, this is not a platform that is conducive to conflict resolution, even on a small scale, and such comments inevitably lead to conflict. I’ll leave it at that.

    It’s worth thinking about Arsenal’s strategy this summer as giving it one last go, maximizing chances for silverware as we near the end of a championship window. We are in the point of our championship cycle where the most experienced players are still able to contribute meaningfully (Cech, Mertesacker), young players coming through are already playing valuable roles without taking up much of the budget (Holding, Iwobi), and the majority of the squad are at an age where they have played enough football to know what it takes to win and know they don’t have many seasons left to accomplish it. Add to that the inevitable coming to end of the Wenger era and it all sets us up for a big hurrah to push for a title this year. I believe that’s what the brass has in mind. That’s why we are standing firm on Ozil, Ox and Sanchez and refusing to sell disgruntled but important pieces like Giroud and Ospina. That’s why we blew the top off the club transfer spend record for Lacazette and wanted to do so again for Lemar. That’s why Lehmann was brought on board. Arsenal are GOING FOR IT, ladies and gentleman. And isn’t that what we all want them to do? The time has finally come when they pushed all their chips to the middle on a season instead of hedging bets and finding partial solutions while balancing the budget. And that’s very exciting.

    And look, I’m well aware of the downsides of letting contracts run down but it’s worth thinking about the flip side too: keeping the players could work out. Provided the key players in the squad stay consistently fit, this is a very good group and winning together could be a catalyst for their future. No CL is a problem on multiple levels, but it’s also helpful in a way because we are likely to go far and win a lot of games in Europa. Winning is good. Winning breeds confidence, camaraderie, good mood and smooths over a lot of cracks. It’s not a perfect squad but nobody has a perfect squad. It is a better squad than we had last year, and that’s because of key players staying. If this group can win together, they may want to stay together. Even more crucially, because of where we are in our championship cycle, this squad needs to win now and keeping its best players is the only way it’s going to do that.

    • I want to see Arsenal win and I even had a moment where I thought we might win the Europa League. But the cynic in me wants to bet you a rootbeer that Ozil and Alexis get injured in December.

    • In reading your reply I’ve come to realize, to my embarrassment, that there’s a big part of me that actually doesn’t want Arsenal to win this year. I have anger issues with the club and manager. This is my problem to resolve (maybe with therapeutic use of cannabis and alcohol). I applaud your optimism.

      • I stopped visiting 7amkickoff at Christmas because this desire to see Arsenal lose or “get what they deserve” seemed (and still seems now that I’ve poked my head in again) to me to be the prevalent attitude on this site. Whether others (including Tim) are prepared to admit as such, I don’t know but look deep inside yourselves and you’ll know it’s true.

        As someone who started supporting Arsenal in the mid 1970s, I grew up with hope and disappointment as the normal trajectory of a season. Winning the FA Cup in 1979 was great but of course that was one trophy out of 4 finals in 3 years, a pretty poor return. The 1980s were tragic until George Graham so suddenly winning championships with him and AW was pretty unbelieveable.
        Now of course most of the people visiting this site clambered onto the back of this success and so the past few years of reasonable success I guess seem like failure. I would ask you all to remember that being a football supporter is essentially about two things:
        1. Learning about the futility of hope … most of the time
        2. Understanding that being a fan is not something that you can control. Lots of things are out of your control, you just don’t care about them very much. Football teaches you how to deal with this part of life … except of course, you guys can’t accept it!

        Sorry to be mean but sheesh, you’re sounding like spoilt, entitled, selfish children. Just like Liverpool fans have for all the years since they last won the league.
        The team is not perfect, the manager needs to retire gracefully, we all know this. But we have won 3 FA Cups in 4 years, something very few teams have managed – we have beaten every other top team during those cup runs.
        If you can’t be happy with that, then I suggest you look for something else to do because Arsenal clearly don’t need people like you and you’d have much happier lives investing your considerable intelligence in something more productive

    • “It’s August and preseason is over, so I’m back. To nobody’s surprise I’m sure, I am going to talk about the bright side of recent developments. Also on a personal note, I’m hereby pledging to stop criticizing other posters’ comments and views. As much as I may vehemently disagree with many of you on any number of things, this is not a platform that is conducive to conflict resolution, even on a small scale, and such comments inevitably lead to conflict. I’ll leave it at that.”

      Welcome back Doc and I hope you don’t stick to your promise.
      I don’t mind having my views criticized on here or anywhere else for that matter, and not all criticism must inevitably lead to conflict. And even if it does, sometimes a bit of a conflict can be a good thing for a football blog, especially an Arsenal football blog.

  6. I wonder how players like Sczcesny fit into Wenger’s prediction. Why sell him for so cheap?

    • I wondered that too and arrived at the conclusion that Szczesny must have burned too many bridges in London to be welcomed back. His farewell letter and speech were steeped in regret.

  7. The thing about Bosman situations is that they should be rare occurrences. The ideal for Arsenal is that we are holding one hugely consequential to his contract, in effect making a huge financial writeoff. We have THREE players from our First XI moving towards Bosmans. That is, taking out the wage increase for this year, a £125m asset writeoff. That’s not ideal. It’s crazy. Kroenke should make someone catch holy hell for that.

    That said, we’ve lost a lot of leverage not being in the CL. We can’t really use the threat of offloading an Ozil for example and bringing in similar quality to pressure him into signing. The players have considerable power as it stands.

  8. Sorry for the abrupt comment but I have more questions than answers.

    1. How much are players hurt by “dogging it” in the last year of their contract? Do American football players (NFL) and hockey players (NHL) play at half-speed on their walk year?

    2. If Tim’s scenario comes true, will there be increased player movement via trade?

    3. Contradicting my own Q2 (heh), what happens to the likes of Debuchy and Gibbs who are too expensive to move? Does Arsenal accept the loss of a transfer fee just to get their salaries off the books?

    • 1. I don’t know. It’s pretty rare for a player to ask to be traded and then not get traded. With Alexis and Ozil, both could take half the season off and then have a great World Cup and all would be forgotten. Also, people are going to remember how great these players are despite having a few bad months.

      2. Probably not. Trades are more prolific in US sports because the contracts are held by monopolies. It’s much harder to break the contract in the NBA than it is in Europe.

      3. Maybe even have to buy them out of their last year.

    • Debuchy might be a free because of his age, but it seems crazy to me that some other mid table club wouldn’t be willing to pay, say, 8-10m for Gibbs AND still have the cash to match his current wages, and that he’d be completely unwilling to go, knowing he has no future at Arsenal. Now, if Gibbs were on a longer contract (and had played a bit more in recent years), you’d expect a player of his age, nationality, and pedigree to fetch more than 8-10m in this market, but it’s still not nothing.

      It’s frustrating that we’re looking at getting less for several of our fringe players than similar players are going for from other clubs (maybe we’ll learn a lesson). But it’s still preferable to sell and sell quickly for reduced fees, getting them off our wage bill and freeing up space in the squad, than to wait till the very end of the window hoping for a higher fee. The longer we wait, the less leverage we have (we have very little as is).

      Gibbs: 7-8m
      Ospina: 5-6m
      One of Wilshere/Elneny: 8-12m
      Lucas: 8-12m
      Campbell: 5-8m
      Akpom: 2-3m
      Debuchy: 0-2m
      Jenks: 2-3m
      More controversial:
      Chambers (I’d keep him, but if we’re looking to sell…): 16-20m, with a buy-back clause
      One of Theo/Giroud/Welbz: 20-30m

      These numbers are depressingly low, but even at the low end of the estimates, that’s 37m in our pocket for a bunch of players we obviously don’t want, or a minimum of 73m if we add in Chambers and one of Theo/Giroud/Welbz. Plus, we’d have all of their (not inconsiderable wages) off our wage bill. I know “this isn’t championship manager mate,” but surely those prices are more than reasonable (most of them have already been quoted in the press for those players). Can we really not be getting rid of these guys a little faster???

        • Indeed. And maybe we should write off that 12m and give him one more year to prove himself with us. it’s obviously low percentage but the potential gains could outweigh the risks. but this makes sense only if Wenger’s interested in giving him serious game time. If he’s, in all likelihood, going to be behind Ramsey, Xhaka, Coq, Elneny, a fit Cazorla, and potentially even the Ox or AMN, then we should get the 12m or whatever now (and this is coming from one of the few Wilshere fans left among the Arsenal fanbase). Too often in recent years we’ve kept players on the books, or out on loan, that everyone–the player, Wenger, the fans–know have ZERO future in the Arsenal first team.

          • Oh, and throw in Jon Toral, who I wish we’d given a proper chance to but Wenger clearly doesn’t rate, for, say, 1-3m.

      • brother, you’ve low-balled all of these proposed transfer fees.

        west brom just had a £10 million bid for gibbs rejected.
        leicester city just had a £10 million bid for elneny rejected.
        arsenal just paid £17 million for lucas less than a year ago. do you really expect them to sell him for only £8 million this summer?
        ospina is the #2; he’s not getting sold anywhere right now.
        campbell just tore his acl; he’s not getting sold anywhere right now.

        personally, i’d rather keep debuchy than sell him for only £2 million. he’s way too good for that. i certainly rate him less than i did sagna but he’s better than chambers. in fact, i would seriously consider bringing debuchy into the side. before his shoulder injury, he was playing very well for arsenal.

        lastly, the idea of selling giroud or welbeck is nuts. lacazette hasn’t proven he can lead the line in the bpl and there’s no guarantee that he ever will. there’s a huge gap between what arsenal’s attack looks like with giroud and welbz leading the line compared to what it looks like with lacazette up there.

        • I think Arsenal are gambling on there being a last minute surge in transfer activity that is going to boost the transfer fees for all of our Discardables.

        • I can’t decide whether you’re being tongue in cheek, so I’ll just be my usual humourless self…

          Lucas is a depreciated asset, by virtue of extended bench-warming and the purchase of Lacazette. He is NOT worth the £17m we paid for him. The market doesn’t operate on sentiment. He wants to go, Deportivo bid just over half the fee for him. That valuation is about right. We’ll be able, at most, to eke out another mil to take it 9 or 10. We should take it.

          Similarly, we should be realistic about what we can get for players given their circumstances. Clubs know that we want to offload Gibbs. They can tailor an opening bid accordingly; accordingly being not what we ideally hope to get. Yes, we can engage in long, drawn-out haggling, but it does not serve our interests to hang onto players we don’t want, and who we need to leave to make room for new signings or internal promotions. So we push Gibbs to the pre-season periphery, and he’s still here when the window shuts — but at least we console ourselves with the fact that we didn’t sell him for £4m less? That makes no sense.

          PFo’s valuations are conservative, yes, but they’re realistic. We’re going to take a hit on certain players, whether we like it or not. Agree on Wilshsere, but he needs to accept the reality of his poition in the pecking order. He’ll get game, because we’ll get injuries.

          BTW, Debuchy is being allowed to leave on a free.

        • Josh,
          1. What do you mean by “low balled”? If you mean “price them at less than their actual value” then I agree, and acknowledged as much. But the point is that we are unlikely to get what they’re worth relative to other players being sold in the current market, given that these players (a) are in the final year of their contracts, and/or (b) are clearly surplus to requirements at Arsenal (it’s less clear that Chambers and the three strikers are, which is why I separated them out).
          On the other hand, if by “low balled” you mean “price them at less than clubs have actually already offered for them,” then if you’re right, that only strengthens my point, which is that we should really take the money on offer sooner rather than later. I haven’t kept up with all the transfer news concerning what clubs have offered for our players, but I deliberately chose conservative numbers for these players to make the point that EVEN IF that’s all we can get for them, we should probably accept those offers, as it would free up roster/wage space and add up to a significant chunk of change to go towards our transfer budget.

          2. In light of the above, I *think* your post slightly misses my point, which is NOT about what I think these players are worth, or even that I think we should sell any of them (if I were in charge), but rather is that GIVEN that Arsene Wenger clearly has little or no plans to play most of these players, we should sell rather than letting them hang around or sending them back out on loan. And we should sell now, rather than hope for the mythical boost in transfer fees at the end of the window that Jack mentions (even if a slight boost materializes, is it worth waiting for if that means slowing down our transfer plans with respect to incoming players?).
          So, for instance, Debuchy: I have no idea if Debuchy is any good anymore or not, as he’s barely played for us since Hector took his spot (and almost literally not at all since he went out on loan). But I agree that he was a quality player before, and he’s not THAT old for a defender. But Arsene Wenger clearly does not want him at the club (and presumably the feeling is mutual). He had injury issues last season but even so, it’s clear that he’s only going to play in a serious emergency. In that case, let’s get him off the wage bill and the roster–a bit of money for him is almost a bonus. Likewise for Jenks, Gibbs, Lucas, etc. If we were smarter, we wouldn’t be in the position of having to clear so much deadwood with so little leverage in negotiations, but now that we’ve made our bed, we have to lie in it and hopefully learn our lesson. So let’s move on quickly!

          3. On some of your other points:
          –Yes, Ospina is staying, but should he be? In my opinion, he is a very average keeper, and given that he was on the verge of moving to Turkey earlier in the window, the club were clearly fine with him leaving. Even if the supposed sum on offer–I think it was as low as 2 or 3m–was derisory, surely we could have haggled them up to 5 or 6?
          –I forgot Campbell was injured
          –My impression was that Elneny, rather than Arsenal, rejected the Leicester bid (if in fact that wasn’t all made up), but in any event, if we’re serious about bringing in a top quality CM this summer (and ok with keeping Wilshere around as well), then I think 10m for Elneny represents decent business, and I bet if the club made it crystal clear to him that we really wanted to sell him, he might have gone. Again, it’s not that I don’t think he’s worth more, it’s that I don’t think we’ll likely get more, and if he’s (rightly or wrongly) going to be fourth or fifth choice in there, we should cash in and look to upgrade.
          –I’m not an advocate of selling Giroud or Welbeck (unless we bring in another forward, har har). I’d love for us to sell Walcott because I think this is the last big chance to cash in on a very limited player and if we could get around 25m that would genuinely be a great deal for us (especially if, e.g., we turned around and replaced him with Mahrez for around 40m). But I included those forwards on the list more because of all the suggestions in the media–about OG in particular–that Lacazette’s arrival meant that one would have to go out (assuming Alexis stays).

    • No, American football players in particular tend to play very hard in “contract years” so they can get paid in free agency. I think this is a bigger phenomenon in American sports than in football.

  9. I don’t really see a problem with players fulfilling their entire contracts much more often, the NFL has had that for the last decade or more. It does mean that players are more likely to switch teams which might suck for the fans, but generally the very best players will be extended before they can reach free agency. And their salaries will make sense rather than the bloated transfer fees absorbing the bulk of the money. It’s really absurd that the best players in the most popular sport in the world have historically been on modest salaries compared to the NFL or NBA.

  10. I just realised that although Bosman changed the game, the Webster ruling has never been used. Do you think that might change? That might lead to shorter contracts anyway.

    • For instance, Alexis could walk away from the last year of his contract for the salary he is owed, so around 6.5m pounds, join City for the 16m per year they are supposedly offering him and demand half the 50m they might have paid to Arsenal as a signing on bonus. No one has done it yet (apart from Webster of course) but if the potential financial rewards are big enough, then surely it will happen one day.

    • The Webster ruling is much more complicated than it’s made out to be. Some time ago I read an article about it, it’s effectively a boogeyman the (english) presses uses but in practice is as effective as so called “transfer requests”.

      • I know nothing about this webster business, but didn’t Pablo Fornals just do something like this by buying out the rest of his contract at Malaga?

  11. Also, I don’t think Alexis can sign a pre-contract with another PL team. It has to be a team in a different league IIRC.

    • Players and clubs reach agreements all the time. Regardless of contract status aor how binding the agreements might be.

  12. Read the GoT books, Tim? They’re much better. Or read the Kingkiller Chronicles series (book 2 is too long). Or the Fifth Season by Jemison. All good stuff.

    Also check out Tim Urban’s WaitButWhy series on Elon Musk. Fantasy, but real life.

    Also, Ozil to Barca if they can’t get Coutinho – a good move for all involved?

      • They are, but not unfollowable. They’re still violent and sexually explicit, but not gratuitously so. It works so much better.

      • The books are terrific, mostly, except for a bit of a slog in the s come half of storm of swords and into the first half of feast for crows. It’s a masterpiece of the genre. The HBO movie development is shallow by contrast and I really didn’t like it.

    • I watched the first episode of GOT and I stopped watching. That episode told me that TV will never be able to replicate what George R Martin is able to achieve with his writing.

    • i’m no fan of fantasy books so i had no idea what game of thrones was when it first began. i watched the first season until the last episode when that hot blonde survived being burned to death and came out with baby dragons. that’s when i yelled “what the f*&k” at the tv. it was good until that point but after that, i was done. my wife says she’s going to stop watching but she’s addicted.

  13. A situation like this was always likely to happen at Arsenal given our lack of nous in the transfer market and poor handling of contracts.

    Had our scouting been better we could have had internal replacements for Alexis and Ozil by getting two or three out of Lemar/Mbappe/the Dembeles/Pulisic etc two/three seasons ago. This would have enabled us to just put them on the transfer list by 1st July if they didnt want to sign.

    The reason Juve/Bayern/Real etc dont have these situations is because they are agressive in their player recruitment. No way a Benzema does what Alexis is doing because they already have Asensio ready to take his place.

  14. thank you bro Timothy
    from this write up wenger seems to be super predator hunting fans down with his deception

    it’s been lies upon lies

    he’s just telling people what calms them and continue with his plan of diminishing arsenal FC year by year and himself becoming unstoppable

    By the time the preys come to reality the loss might be irreparable

  15. Its not going to be that straight forward what Wenger suggests about players seeing their contracts out, there are a couple of stumbling blocks
    1)First of all, what about the agents? If players cash in and run down their contracts, agents will lose out on a big chunk of their revenues. I am sure there must be other ways they must be making money off the players, but the commission on transfer fees would be hard to let go.
    2) Going on a Bosman would be a huge risk for most of the players who are not in the elite bracket. A Zlatan will still get a good contract at a “big” club despite his ACL injury and he can afford to miss a few months without any contract, but that is not the case with “not zlatan” players. I mean look at Valdez, he didnt sign a deal with barca, tore his acl in the last year of his contract, and ended up at Middlesborough after two years, this is a champions league winning goalie. I think most players would prefer security rather than gamble.
    so we might see elite players running down their contracts, but not the rest.
    ” a bird in hand….” 🙂

  16. Where the clubs will need to improve is creating an environment where players don’t want to leave. This is about winning, but also about more.

    Reference the Golden State Warriors. The MVP taking far less than maximum money, and other all stars on the team doing the same, so that the squad can stay together and good players added to round out the squad… so that they can keep playing together, keep winning, and play on a team with an ownership/management that respects them and treats them and their families well. By contrast, Cleveland Caveliers… top player(s) want to leave despite championships and winning, because of the environment created by ownership and selfish star(s). I believe that teams can create the environment out ahead of the winning part… and help retain and recruit and RETAIN top players because of it.

    • I think this is exactly the model that Wenger was going for but he has been undermined time and time again

      • If van persie didnt get sent off against Barcelona that might have happened who knows. Too bad what happened happened and the ref even became fifa head of refs

  17. I’m waiting for the first lawsuit for tortuous interference in reaponse to another club “tapping up” a player under contract.

    Should be a slam dunk and the damages could be astronomical.

    As far as players running down their contracts. It makes so much sense economically that it’s only a matter of time until it becomes the norm. Otherwise too much of a player’s ‘value’ is being captured by a third party.

    Then the game will be based on finding young players early and tempting them with money and promises of playing time. Once a player is on the cusp of catching the imagination whether they are 18 or 23, they will want short contracts. Once they hit 28 they will look for that final big payday wheree they get signed to long highly paid contract that will carry them well past their prime.

    Top managers who can identify and succeed with youth projects, like Jardim, will be worth their weight in gold.

    The reason why we aren’t going ti get top dollar for our rejects is that no one really wants them, so no one is willing to overpay. There are a ton of good to middling players so no single one of them is a must have. Plus everyone knows we need to sell. If we could make a credible threat to sell outside the prem then we might squeeze more out of the West Hams. If Kroenke were smart he would buy a French or Portuguese club and turn it into a feeder club.

  18. I agree that players running down contracts to become free agents ought to become the norm. However, there’s a very powerful group of people who don’t want that to happen and it’s agents. They have become extremely influential power brokers and they will not want to give up the cash cow that mid-contract transfers have become. If teams and players were smart, they’d realize that agents and transfer fees do nothing but suck money right out of their pockets. Agents are nothing but parasites and the sooner teams and players are rid of them the better.

    • I’m not completely convinced that’s the case…they provide a service players seem happy to use, just like real estate agents and other middle-men in business? For the sport itself, it does seem silly that instead of money being pumped into grassroots it’s spent on a player putting on a different shirt,but that’s what you get when people support football clubs instead of football

      • Ostensibly, agents represent players and their interests. But when agents collect fees from both the buying and selling club as well as from the players cut of the transfer fee, as Rioala did from Pogba’s transfer, I see conflicts of interest. Add that to reports from sources as reliable as the Guardian that agreed deals between clubs and player have been cancelled because the agent wanted more money and I get the very real sense that the tail is wagging the dog.

  19. I think the reason why Wenger is making this bravado about “ideal” and all is because I think deep down, City and PSG are struggling to meet FFP regulations for that additional cherry.

    City is like a hyper Arsenal. Their deadwood is more like dead forest.

    What City is after are the wing backs. And they paid buckets of cash for them.

    Sanchez is merely the cherry on the cake. If City were really serious about Sanchez, they would pay the equivalent ransom they paid for Walker (50m is madness for a fullback).

    So until City is able to offload some of their timber, they will not be signing Sanchez.

    Unless Sanchez is willing to go all “Hey guys”.

    On another point, I hope Perez gets his move to Ferbanache and become their number one striker and make a certain someone more miserable. Really cheap of me.

    • My personal heresy at the moment is that I think Lucas is at least as good as Lacazette. I’m disappointed on his behalf.

    • agreed, concerning lucas perez. wenger always wanted lacazette and should never have wasted lucas’ time. good on lucas for recognizing it for what it is and calling wenger out. i’ve continually griped about wenger wasting player’s talent in pursuit of nonsense. personally, i’d like to see perez go back to spain.

      • Agree (not that Perez is better than Lacazette, but that he’s a very good player that we’ve treated very poorly).

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