Morning folks. I’m not going to bother to delve into some of the latest Willian stuff about his wages and the total package, as well as the fact it hasn’t happened and is expected to happen over the weekend, because frankly I’m already bored of it all. So when he arrives I’ll be pleased, glad we’re up and running with our summer business, say a few words about the player and that’s it.
What I am more interested in talking about this morning is the fortunes of Atalanta and RB Leipzig respectively, who have got to the latter stages of the Champions League this season and will also be plying their trade in the competition next season as well. The story of Atalanta is a lovely one when you think about the size of the city flanked either side by Brescia and Milan and a population of just 122,000 people. To put that in to context it’s like having Cheltenham have themselves a top notch team competing in the Champions League. It’s great stuff.
Then you have RB Leipzig who have just knocked out boring boring Atletico Madrid to reach the Semi Finals and their rise under Nagelsmann is impressive. So many people watched the game yesterday and given we were linked with Upamencano last summer and previously, could only probably dream about having a beast of a central defender at the club now. But his price will be through the roof now he’s done it on the big stage like last night and his new contract he recently signed ensures that RB will get closer to £90million next summer for him I’ll bet. Hey, if United pay £85million for Maguire….
And so as usual I’m minded to think of our situation when I look at the fortunes of these clubs and those words of Raul Sanllehi where we need to “Outsmart the market”. Both of those clubs have done that. They have got managers with the right philosophy, they have found players that have flown under the radar, they have built them up and sold on for the right price at the right time when needed. Last summer RB Leipzig spent £67million according to TransferMarkt, whilst recouping £45million. They spent £11.7million on Nkunku, who we were linked with, but decided to opt for a broken Denis Suarez on loan. The season before they spent £59million, whilst recouping £65million, Keita for £54million being the vast bulk of the sales.
That is ‘outsmarting the market’. That is being clever and acting at the right time to get players before they skyrocket in value.
I saw someone on Twitter yesterday question whether the scouting of Premier League clubs is just ‘lazy’. I think it’s a little harsh to label the scouts as ‘lazy’, as all they do is recommend, but certainly in Arsenal’s case you have to look at those making the decisions, pulling the trigger on deals, as the ones who don’t appear to be outsmarting the market at all. We may get the odd Martinelli-shaped gem once in a while, but there are clubs in mainland Europe who seem to be regularly doing it and all the while it feels like what we’re getting is given the runaround by super agents like Kia Joorabchian.
A Kia Joorabchian who yesterday went on TalkSport to defend his influence at Arsenal by saying “the other guy, Sven Mislintat, made a few cock ups”.
Woah, woah woah there tiger. Firstly, Sven was an EMPLOYEE of Arsenal and so he was working for the clubs gain as much as his own. You have no official role at Arsenal and yet when you talk like that about current or former staff, it really does hit home just how embedded in the club you think you are. And that is very worrying. Because you are lining your own pockets with every deal. No scout or employee of the club does that – and to the volume of money you get too – and so before you start talking like that I think you should check yourself.
But Arsenal should check him too, because this guy is talking like Raul is his kid brother. He’s certainly acting that way. He’s been in the directors box this season, he’s photographed alongside Cedric as he signs, etc. How many times have you seen an agent in the official club photo? Not that many. So why does Joorabchian think that it is appropriate for him to be pictured in shots like that Cedric pic in January?
I tell you – this is all getting far too cosy and my spider sense isn’t just tingling, it’s air-raid shelter sirening off right now.
Arsenal need to sort themselves out and they need to “outsmart the market” but they need to do it without looking in the direction of one super agent. They need to use a combination of scouts, agents and data and they need to be making Upamencano deals before he turns into a megastar, they need to be picking up Nkunku’s for £11million and selling three years later for £75million.
Real Madrid and Barcelona used to bang down our doors for our players. They aren’t even sniffing around London Colney any more because of the average players on big wages. There needs to be change. And that needs to happen soon.
I think it will though. Maybe not this summer, but next summer at the latest we’ll get a lot of renewal and refresh. That’s because Luiz, Sokratis, Mustafi, Ozil, will all be out of contracts and that will be a lot of wages with which the club will be able to save. Perhaps this summer is just our ‘holding’ summer in which we just make a few additions, try to get by, then get ourselves back up the table with a manager who can work with a lot of the existing players. Then next summer we start to move a little more. But right now it feels like we’re having to wait a little bit longer.
What do you think?