There’s Neymar news (pun)

Brief post today, just trying to get back into the swing of things posting every day but there is literally nothing going on with the Arsenal today. The only football-related news story is that Alexis Sanchez returned to London and trained on his own. As for the rest of the world, well, that’s still gone crazy. If you started a game of SIMS and it elected Donald Trump, you’d probably just go ahead and start over. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are in the dumbest version of SIMS imaginable and I’m just waiting for the reset.

Proof that we are in the dumbest simulation ever arrived this morning when the Guardian revealed that PSG are going to pay Neymar something like £35m a year, after tax. Don’t worry, though, that story is full of last year’s news. I’m pretty sure his pay packet will be higher than that.

Let’s not forget that Neymar scored 13 goals and provided 11 assists last season. Sounds like good value. No but seriously, Neymar led Barcelona in a bunch of stats: Key Passes, dribbles, being fouled, that sort of stuff. He still has a huge step up to make it worth the money that PSG are reportedly plunking down on him. — £150m for the transfer and at least £200m for salary and other considerations. That’s the official money for his release, for his salary, and to pay off his family. Who knows how much money UEFA will demand as a bribe (sorry, I mean as a “fine”) to let them get away with what is clearly a violation of FFP rules.

Rather than getting bogged down in all that I suggest you check out the uplifting story of newly promoted Brighton Hove and Albion. The Guardian has a 10 minute video about how Brighton were nearly ruined by their previous owner, who sold their stadium to pay off his debts, and how a dedicated group of fans helped to save the club and build a new ground.

That video shows what it takes to oust an owner and I have to say that I’m not hopeful of Arsenal getting rid of Stan Kroenke any time soon. He’d have to drive the club into the ground before we could realistically force him out.

Anyway, I went and had a look at Brighton’s stats, you know, to figure out what type of team they are, and two things stood out: they won more penalties than any other team in the Championship last season (10), they were 5th in long-ball key passes (101) and were tops in counter attack goals (6). They were also 4th in shots blocked (180) and had the fewest goals allowed (40). So, there you have it, a Leicester.* It will be interesting to see if they can continue that playing style, improve on it, and maintain fitness in the Premier League.

That’s it for today, unless Arsenal swoop for Neymar, which Stan Kroenke pays for with the wealth he earned by starting his animal killing channel.


*I’m not judging them harshly for their playing style, I personally don’t care how you play football, whatever works for the players you have is the best system to play.


  1. Barcelona have to be secretly laughing. That’s a lot of cash for arguably the most prestige club in the world to wave at players.

    Could we see them go get Coutinho now? Liverpool turns around and uses that money to buy Keita and Ox to strengthen their midfield?

    Will PSG need to sell a player or two that we can scoop? They’ll only be allowed to have 21 players on their CL roster. I’d take Rabiot, Draxler or even Krychowiak… I doubt if any of the South Americans they have are on sale.

    1. “Barcelona have to be secretly laughing. That’s a lot of cash for arguably the most prestige club in the world to wave at players”

      Not necessarily Jack.

      Barca fans won’t care one bit about the amount of money Neymar’s transfer brings in unless another top player or two are immediately brought in. If Klopp means what he says about Coutinho staying and Wenger about Ozil, then it might be harder for the Barca brass to placate their fans than you think.

      It always makes me smile when some pro Wenger supporters complain about certain factions of Arsenal fandom being fickle or too demanding beyond what’s acceptable. They should spend some time amongst the Spanish Barca fans to see what fickle and demanding really means.

      1. Meh. Different circumstances and club culture. If Arsenal were one of the top 3 clubs in the world and were realistically in a two way race to the title every year, that would be different. But the contention is that Arsenal, by virtue of their high ‘rich’ ranking are only prevented from defeating the likes of ManCity, ManU and Chelsea (and Real, Barca, Bayern and PSG) because of poor management. Any success is taken for granted, and complaints range from the valid to bizarre to downright mendacious.

        Ultimately we all want Arsenal to win, or failing that, be the best it can be. I just fail to see how constantly pulling the club down is supposed to help with that.

    2. They are not laughing. They and the League are very salty over this. Is it better for them to sell Neymar and get the money? Maybe, but Barcelona build their castles on the perception as the big bads of the football world rather than the ones being bullied. They aren’t going to like it one bit, and seeing as it’s their own fault for putting in an ‘attainable’ release clause in Neymar’s contract, some of them will be squirming.

      Now, provided the league does follow their responsibilities and does the needful paperwork Barcelona will have to decide how to spend that money. Liverpool seem like they’re going to hold firm over Coutinho (or make Barca pay a big chunk of that 198m) Maybe they can get Mbappe. They’ll need to make a statement, and hope to all heaven PSG don’t beat them in the CL this season. When’s their next election?

      1. Mbappe is apparently a life-long Real fan and loves Zidane. Hence why Real is the odds-on favourite to land him. Going to Barcelona won’t happen.

        If Barcelona were smart they’d use that money to run around and scoop up three or four of the top young prospects; Lemar, Pulisic, Dembele, Laporte et al

  2. . He’d have to drive the club into the ground before we could realistically force him out

    the solution is here but what about Mr wenger

  3. I don’t like it when barcelona get money, hopefully something crooked is going on and both clubs get slapped with a crippling penalty

  4. I wonder if Barca will start chasing Mbappe now. He is young enough that he will be in his prime when Messi finally calls it quits.

    With Mbappe for Euro 150mm then Neymar for 200mm looks like a deal*. Although it sort of makes sense for PSG, i.e., they are looking to buy legitimacy. The only thing that will truly legitimize them will be winning the champion’s league.

    Or the football equivalent of the shoe shine boy giving stock picks.

  5. It seems that Emi Martinez is going out on loan and it looks like we’re keeping another deeply average player that we can’t get rid of on our books! Awesome! But yeah, we clearly do not need a DoF or someone to help with transfers. *eyeroll*

      1. And then there’s the news that we’re leaving the Seri deal late because we have to offload players. It’s beyond depressing how we walked into this *again* with open eyes.

      1. Ospina. Martinez I don’t know. But the club decided that he is the future, so they should act like it.Just keeping players like Ospina or Gibbs around because you can’t get rid of them and they’re too comfortable to leave sends a terrible message. I totally agree with your (longer) comment on Arseblog News.

          1. I don’t think it was the club who were happy to sell Ospina as much as he wanted to leave. Evidently he doesn’t want to leave anymore, and the club are happy to keep him. Also, sending Martinez out on loan ensures he gets to play and experiences growing pains on someone else’s time. I don’t think it’s a loan to get rid, rather to get him ready.

        1. We have Colombia’s well-regarded international goalkeeper as our number 2, and we moan about it. Seriously, people. We need to get a grip. I’ve never understood the propensity for gooners to s*** on their own players (e.g. “Walcott is a loser”). And sometimes I think that we lack a sense of realism and proportion. I’m not saying that these players are world beaters… they are excellent SQUAD players. We are not real Madrid, and are not going to have world beaters who can’t make the bench or even matchday squads.

          Cech left Chelsea for Arsenal because he’s too good to be any club’s Number 2. Ospina, as our backup goalkeeper, is arguably of far better calibre than any other equivalent in the league. It’s nonsense to say he is “average.” And he’s significantly better than Martinez, who (at least for now) is at the level of a Vito Mannone. Interestingly, Szczesny is a Juventus player because he may be at a stage where he’s too good to be Cech’s Number 2, and having taken Champions League games away from Cech, we can’t put him back in the position that caused him to leave Chelsea.

          1. 1. Why is Szczesny too good to be Cech’s number two (getting to play all the European and FA Cup games to boot!) but not too good to be Buffon’s number two?
            2. How can you possibly know that Martinez is currently only on Mannone’s level? He’s barely played for us!
            3. I’m sorry, but Ospina is average. He just is (doesn’t mean he’s a “loser” or that I dislike the guy; on the contrary, he seems eminently likable). Being a starting international keeper says nothing in itself, since it obviously depends on who else in that position a country has to choose from.
            4. I’d feel less annoyed about having Ospina as a “squad” player if (a) Cech wasn’t coming to the end of his career, (b) we hadn’t sold a better number two, one with the potential to actually be our number 1, for peanuts this summer, (c) Wenger didn’t insist on playing his keeper backups in all the European and cup games, (d) we hadn’t been led to believe that Szczesny’s departue was at least in part due to the faith they had in Martinez, (e) we didn’t know that the club were only too happy to sell Ospina earlier in the summer.

            In other words, what’s annoying is not that Ospina is a terrible backup, because he isn’t, but that he isn’t part of any longterm solution for who succeeds Cech, and that keeping him while pushing Martinez out on yet another loan is further evidence of the frustrating stagnation in our squad, where players we really don’t fancy for the present or future are stuck at the club and on our wage bill.

          2. I think the idea is that Emi gets 1st team experience, which will inform his suitability to a future #1 role. He’s not going to develop into that keeper by sitting on his gloves. If the plan is to groom him into a #1 then he has to play.

            Moreover, every club needs guys like Ospina, and most don’t have a backup keeper who is as accomplished. He’s not convincing in the air but he does put his body on the line when he needs to, and his shot stopping and reflexes outstanding. He could stand to improve the accuracy of his kicking and distribution as well, but it slips under the radar that he actually makes good decisions with the ball and is good at starting counters. He’s not there to provide a long term plan but a safe and effective alternate, and that’s valuable in and of itself.

            The Szczesny situation was clearly very personal because otherwise his transfer makes little sense, as a lot of people have pointed out.

          3. 1. That’s not our problem — it’s Juventus’. Besides, Buffon is much closer to end the of his career (it’s said to be his last season), so Szczesny has every chance of playing regularly.

            2. This is an opinion forum. Youve had plenty to say yourself on Walcott and… Ospina! How could you possibly know! 😉 My opinion is that Martinez is a promising young keeper, nothing more. If he wasn’t, he won’t be going to Getafe on loan (he’d be going to an EPL or bigger profile club), and would have had better loan spells at clubs like Wolves. Heck, he would be picking up back passes. Ospina is significantly better and more saesoned.

            3. You torpedo your own “how could you possibly know” point. Let’s agree to disagree.

            4. Not sure about the point being made there. In any case, we have competing opinions about Martinez’ readiness (I cited the Wolves loan… what haver you got?). Ospina went to Australia and China, which runs contrary to your assertion that the club wnated to ditch him. The players they want to sell were left behind.

            Lastly, Ospina does not have to be the long term successor to Cech, to be an effective Number 2. What’s the sense in that? Cech has roughly 3 more years, being a goalkeeper. Jeez, Ospina is our number two goalkeeper, better than Martinez, a seasoned international. He does have a disadvantage. He’s short in stature

            Your arguments are puzzling, Pfo.

          4. Don’t forget there are successful loan spells as well. Chelsea had to get Courtois into their team once, he played superbly well. It’ll do well for Martinez to get the experience.

          5. Claude,
            My wife is currently (as in currently) having a baby, so I don’t have time to walk through and reply to all of your replies, but on the “you torpedo your own point” comment: I’ve seen a heck of a lot more of Ospina than I have of Martinez, and Ospina is also considerably older and more experienced. Also, I think Cech as a genuinely top class keeper probably has about as much time left as Buffon.

          6. Ok, nothing’s happening here, so I’ll respond some more.
            Mostly we just disagree on a number of factual points that neither of us can prove either way:
            1. You think Cech has 3 more years left at the top. I disagree, or at least worry that he won’t be good enough for us beyond this coming year (he’ll be ok, but his standards will slip beyond the point where it will make sense for him to be our undisputed number one).
            2. You think Ospina is good; I think he’s deeply, deeply average. I think this based on all the (in my opinion) mistakes and limitations he’s shown in his time playing for us. He can’t even consistently kick beyond the halfway line, for crying out loud!
            3. You think Martinez isn’t ready and in any event isn’t that great a prospect. I honestly don’t know how good he is or will be, but I’ve been impressed every time I’ve seen him play for us, and I’m pretty convinced that Arsene and Arsenal see him as our likely future, based on the comments Arsene has consistently made about him, and the fact that earlier this summer Arsenal were (in my opinion, based on piecing together a plausible story from the available evidence) prepared to make him our new number 2 by letting Ospina and Chesney go.
            4. On Ospina and our keeper plans this summer: there were pretty strong reports, from decent sources, that Ospina was on the verge of going to Turkey at the beginning of the summer, only for us to pull the plug at the last minute because their offer was too low. So based on this we were willing, maybe even looking, to sell him. This happened well before the preseason tour.
            5. Lastly, while failed loan spells are SOME, weak evidence of a player’s quality/readiness, I think as a whole they probably say more about the dangers and limitations of loans than they do about the player (so many things can go wrong in terms of the new team/manager, especially with a keeper, who only has to find himself behind one other player to not play at all). This is one reason why I’d prefer Martinez to stay with us and play the cups than go out on loan, that is if we think there’s a good chance he’s our future number 1.

          7. Doc,
            Last year Wenger gave Ospina, as our number 2, all our CL and FA Cup games. So if Martinez was the number 2 this year, he’d hardly be sitting on his gloves!! Given that fact, it’d arguably be better for him to be playing in our team, under our close scrutiny, training with Cech and our other players, at the level of pressure and intensity that big clubs like Arsenal are accustomed to, than go to Getafe and (possibly) be their number 1.

          8. Best to you and your wife, mate. A mere birth is no reason to stop arguing important, consequential, life and death matters like football 😉

            Look, the gist of what I’m saying is that Ospina is our Number 2. We disagree on whether he’s “average”, although I myself have criticised his kicking.

            Agree that we were open to selling him if the right offer came along, but he wasn’t in the clearout bin by any means, as his involvement in the far East showed. At the point at which we were open to doing so we had Cech, Szczesny, Ospina, Martinez and Macey on our books. My reading of his potential sale, for what it’s worth, is that it wasn’t because he was a bad keeper… it was because of the notion that no way that a keeper who’s a fixture in a Top 10 side (ranked ahead of England, by the way) would want to stay number 2. The fact that we turned down a bid we considered too low speaks volumes, although in truth, I worry about whether he and some others (Walcott included) are not in too much of a financial comfort zone. Also, to further argue against myself (but to remain consistent in my prior arguments), I do think that we have to be prepared to take financial hits on saleable players.

            Because of his stature and his kicking ability, and despite the solidity of other parts of his game, including reading and shot-stopping — I would not have been too thrilled to have Ospina as our Number 1. But I’m perfectly happy for him to be our number 2. You’d have to look hard to find a better backup in the league. Much as Martinez is promising, I don’t think he rises to that description at all.

    1. Arsenal’s Richard Law was referred to as a (de facto) DoF by the agent John Smith (If that’s his real name) and we just hired a contracts ‘closer’ as well to help out. If you just want someone else other than Wenger to make transfer decisions, that’s one thing, but having a DoF will likely still lead to decisions you disagree with.

      I really don’t know why this surprises anyone. I had said from before we went on tour that any further signings will likely be after we sell some of our players. If Seri really is our preferred target and is attainable right now, then provided we have the funds we shouldn’t wait. But as I said before, having an additional 40-50m and 500k in wages would potentially allow us to move for another target(s) and to me, it is just good sense to know how much you have to spend (Knowing full well that waiting has its own risks)

      1. I can live with some DoF making decisions that I’m not necessarily happy with. My problem is the apparent lack of strategy, planning and strength to follow through in all of our dealings. It’s just reactive on spontaneous whims on so many levels and this summer the chicken have truly come to roost.
        It’s not really surprising, we’ve been here for at least 5 years, but as always it’s the hope that kills you, the hope that the shock of last season might have changed something.

        1. “apparent lack of strategy, planning and strength to follow through in all of our dealings. It’s just reactive on spontaneous whims on so many levels and this summer the chicken have truly come to roost.”

          Could you elaborate please?

          1. But just in short, the number of players on our books that have no future at the club, the number of players we cannot shift, the contract situations. All these things create hamper our ability to act on the market e.g. how you yourself just explained. Ospina e.g. has been trying to find a club for several years now, the Debuchy situation, how is Kieran Gibbs still with us, I don’t know.

          2. Debuchy is a special case (His injury and his attitude have made this situation), and I don’t know what happened with Ospina (I don’t get why it’s such a bad move for him to be backup and Martinez to get game time out on loan)

            But what is this about Gibbs? He was our second choice LB last season. Sure, now we have Kolasinac (and Bramall next in line) he’s surplus, but he was a decent backup LB for us. He wasn’t this ‘deadwood’ that people call him.

            Are we unique in having players we don’t want at the club? Of the traditional CL clubs (they need to pay the most wages), I think only Chelsea do well with a few players they offload (and send the rest on loan) and most people assume there’s something shady going on. ManCIty were playing Nasri and Mangala in pre season and I just learned they still have Bony on their books.

            Basically, I don’t see the pattern of shambles that Arsenal’s transfer dealings are supposed to be. Doesn’t mean we can’t do better, but I thought we did well last summer (despite the uproar) and we’ve started well now. I get the desire to get done early but as long as we get the midfielder we need and get most of the unwanted salary off our books, I think we’ll have done well again.

      2. About the internal structure, I don’t really care if there’s one ir two lawyers more in there to close off deals. As far as I can tell the dysfunction lies in the autonomy and the decision making powers in terms of overall strategy.
        Ultimately I don’t care how the work is organized, be it Dick Law, a figurehead DoF or the new lawyer or whoever. The de facto DoF at Bayern Munich Michael Reschke e.g. is largely invisible, while Matthias Sammer or the newly appointed Hasan Salihamidzic are the faces of the operation. What I do see is dysfunction and unpreparedness when dealing with transfers.
        But, as it seems, everything goes through Wenger and he seems to be responsible for these decisions. You can have the best team in the word if the cororate structures don’t allow for any autnomous agency, it’s all for nought then.

  6. There could be a major military standoff between two hostile nations. On the one side you have a narcissistic megalomaniac bully with bad hair who wants to run his country as a kleptocracy. On the other side you have Kim Jong Un.

    Birds of feather you say? Well not quite. At least Trump has tortured and starved his country into submission or you know, blown up a relative with artillery. Though give time on that last one, he’s only 7 months into a 4 year term.

    So…222 million euros for a footballer who also has bad hair? No biggie.

  7. Read this on the Guardian today:

    Mundo Deportivo has reported that Neymar may have already agreed to become an ambassador for Qatar’s World Cup and that the fee for this might be around £200m. In that case Neymar would be able to turn up at the offices of La Liga and buy out his own release clause.


    1. That’s genius. They can skirt the FFP rules at least as far as the transfer fee impact would go. Nobody is safe then. It’s all a joke. We need a hard salary/transfer cap for clubs.

  8. I used to be convinced that Qatar was no better with respect to foreign relations and human rights than their larger neighbors to the East, albeit with a friendlier and more polished appearance. This recent spat has given me pause though. While their treatment of foreign workers can’t be defended, I have to give credit to any nation determined to go against the Saudi-dictated Sunni-Shia alignment. And to not allow themselves to be bullied by the Saudis.

      1. Likely just that we will have to wait now until the next qualifying round is done before any potential move is agreed If the delay is because Seri wishes to help Nice qualify. If he is the player we want and the release clause is as reported we would be just being a little too nice not to get the transfer completed immediately.

  9. Pleased to see that you’re still flying the flag for The Guardian despite the snivelling Attwood’s (Untold Arsenal) continued sneering attacks on their excellent journalism; and particularly the ones aimed (for some unknown reason) at Amy Lawrence.
    What a sick fuck he is!
    Keep it up Tim, & well done.

    1. WHAT??? Who attacks Amy Lawrence? She’s awesome. If you have time, can you find links to articles attacking Amy? 7amkickoff at gmail is my email address. Thanks in advance.

  10. Pleased to see that you’re still flying the flag for The Guardian despite the regular sneering attacks on their excellent journalists (particularly Amy Lawrence) by the snivelling Attwood (Untold Arsenal).
    Well done Tim & keep it up

  11. Is there any truth to the rumour that Jordan sancho is trying to force a move to arsenal .. seen that three times ..

    1. Yeah, unclear. I also don’t know if he’s any good or anywhere near ready. Thoughts?

  12. “Once a country controls a club, anything is possible”
    – Arsene Wenger

    He drives me crazy sometimes but he has the uncanny ability to hit the nail on the head with his observations.

  13. The growing global audience’s appetite for top football has enabled the craziest transfer yet. The bubble will eventually burst but as long as humans continue to gain access to screens, the viewership will continue to climb, with it the profits for TV companies and with that the revenue stream for clubs, and that’s just for clubs who aren’t also run from the money of an entire nation or corporation. This is free market capitalism at its best/worst. Monaco beat what is an essentially rigged (“financially doped”) league in France, which wasn’t supposed to happen, and the dethroned erstwhile champs respond with this while Monaco responded by selling Neymar’s value in talent to other clubs. Nobody cares about parity, which is a shame; maybe if profits drop, but as I said above, that’s not happening. At least in Spain you have two clubs who are taking turns. Germany and France have, for the most part, become one team leagues. And I give the Germans far more credit for that achievement.

    Is Neymar worth it? Yes, of course he is. He’s probably the best player in the world after Messi and Ronaldo but only now coming into his prime as those two near an inevitable decline. PSG only had to give up money for him, no player assets, so why wouldn’t they do it? Maybe someone can explain to me how this transfer fits in with the concept of financial fair play and its laws. For me, seeing this kind of thing makes football less fun, not more.

  14. Madrid is allegedly shopping Gareth Bale for 90mm. I would sign him to play 442 w Laca or up top 351 w Laca on left. Finance by selling Sanchez for 60 and Welbz for 30.

    1. I would be shocked if Bale even wants to come to Arsenal. I think if he comes back to the premier league, it will be United.

      1. United are done spending. Word is Mourinho is having trouble getting the Glazers to pony up for a left back. But Bale would be perfect for a Mourinho counter-attacking team.

        City is the only place Bale can go. If they’re not going to get Sanchez or Mbappe, then why not grab Gareth Bale. I have no idea how he’d fit… but.

  15. @PFo seen him play Just about two times..good with the ball, nice ball control and he knows how to handle tight situations + he’s a good friend of Nelson.. I dare say, there’s nothing as good as having friends on same team.. ala Henry-bergkamp.. I see the second coming of dele alli in one of both if not better.. since Sanchez is seeing off his contract, he needs someone to mentor just before he leaves.. save the defensive issues, I’m optimistic for the new season.. I think welbz has an important role to play @Dr Duh.. he may not be as clinical as we need him to be but he combines pace and power in equal proportion.. these two attributes are needed to form a successful counterattacking team..welbz is the only player in the squad with such attributes.. sorry about the late post.. just getting used to 7am..

    1. I would switch Welbz for Bale in a heart beat regardless of what style of football we play but it’s not gonna happen.

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