Morning all, how we all doing?
I’m back home from holiday, back refreshed and certainly, I’m back to obsessively refreshing my Twitter feed awaiting impatiently for the next bit of key news to come out about our impending arrivals. The Gabriel Jesus stuff seems to be drawing to a conclusion since I last spoke to you guys, with Ornstein telling us that the fee has been agreed and the next steps are agreeing personal terms with the agent and then the medicals, etc. That stuff should – in theory – be relatively easy because you don’t get this far down the line without a player giving it the green light and as we’re all transfer experts these days, I’ll assume we all know that by now. So within the next week hopefully we’ll get some news.
We should certainly get news from the club on the Matt Turner signing at least, with various people posting pictures of him in London, having already said his goodbyes last week, even talking about becoming an Arsenal player in interviews. It is a little weird that the club haven’t announced it at the time of me writing this on Sunday morning, but I did see that there was some kind of contractual legal thing that meant it couldn’t be announced until 1st July. If that’s the case then it’ll be Friday before that gets confirmed, but I’ll be surprised if that’s the case. And besides, it’s not as if we’ve never had an agreement with a player and team and then announced that somebody would be joining on a specific dates. We announced the arrival of Lukas Podolski from FC Koln in March of 2012 when he was still playing for the soon to be relegated German side and so we have precedent of making announcements when a player is still playing for another club, so it is a little weird that we’re staying schtum on the arrival of the goalkeeper, but it’s the world’s worst kept secret so that’s obviously just a matter of when rather than ‘if’.
I wonder if the club are just juggling the announcement based on the amount of airtime the player will get? After all if Gabriel Jesus is close to joining and an announcement being made, it would poor a bit of cold water over Turner’s moment in the sun if he gets unveiled and then Gabriel Jesus gets announced very shortly afterwards. So I wonder if the club will make the announcement tomorrow, knowing that Jesus will be later on towards the week.
Of course there’s also the supposed Raphinha advanced negotiations supposedly ticking along, so that might also be something that gets announced soon, as well as Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, which sounds like it’ll take a bit of time, but that we are supposedly in pole position to go for too. Normally we don’t get too excited but Ornstein has been dropping bombs left, right and centre over the past few days so that must mean we’re pretty close on a number of these players. That is exciting times indeed. The Raphinha stuff should be easy enough to do if Leeds agree, if his weekly wage is anywhere near this figure right now. Arsenal could add an extra £40k-per-week to that and still be well within our wage range – especially if they manage to offload Pepe.
Then, to add to it, we’ve also got the possibility being muted amongst some people on the internet (not even the crazy ones, mind) that talks are progressing really well with Saliba and his representatives for a new deal. This one, were it to get done, would be an equally as smart move as some of the signings we’ve been making this summer, along with getting Bukayo Saka signed up to a longer term deal. On Saka, supposedly he’s on around £30k-per-week and if that’s true then the club needs to be making big moves to give him a bumper pay rise. If the club can move him to north of £100k-per-week – certainly something he deserves given his status in the first team – he’d get a big pay rise, but we’d get the security of having him tied down. Heck, he’s that important that if the club offered him £200k-per-week I suspect there won’t be many of us Arsenals who would be thinking twice. We’ve just got to get the deal done and get him signed up. And sooner rather than later please.
On Saliba, I must admit to being happy but a little confused on this, because if I look at it from his perspective there is no massive value in signing a new deal now. He has two years left on his contract, he’s not played a minute of competitive football for Arsenal, there are two established centre halves in front of him. Arteta might have told him he’ll be playing 25 – 30 times next season, which will be positive, but until Saliba sees it himself, then I’d be surprised if he agreed to the deal. Of course from the clubs perspective you’d absolutely expect them to be talking to him and wanting to get a few years added to his deal. Marseille don’t have any money but they’re still interested in supposedly coughing up £25million. Of course that’s a joke of a bid given we paid £27million for him and look at how much promise he has just shown. If Marseille were selling him to us after the season he’s just had they’d want north of £40million, so they’re just chancing their arm, which I hope Arsenal don’t even bother responding to. Of course what could tempt him is the financial package. If you’re Saliba you want to play football, but if Marseille are dropping £25million on him, he’s going to want decent wages. I don’t know how accurate some of these websites are, but if the numbers quoted here of his weekly salary are true then Marseille will be needing to increase his weekly wage as well as cough up the cash for him. They have a few players getting close to the €100k-per-week salary and a couple over it here, but if they’re only able to offer Arsenal £25million for a player they desperately want to keep, it would suggest they’re not going to be giving him mega cash.
Perhaps that is Arsenal’s play. Actions speak louder than words in terms of football minutes on the pitch, but they also speak louder in terms of what you’re willing to pay a player. If Arsenal tell Saliba that he is a valued member of the first team and they want to double his wages to £80k-per-week, for example, then the player gets a mega pay day. The club get the security of a few years extra on his contract and Saliba is shown that the club see him as a regular. Supposedly Pablo Mari is on £85k-per-week. Imagine that we can offload him this summer and we bring in somebody like Lisandro Martinez. He’ll want decent cash and probably we can offer him getting close towards Mari’s salary (if you believe what he’s on at Ajax here) If you’re giving that to a new signing and you’re matching that with Saliba’s too, you’re saying to Saliba that he’s absolutely a big part of the plans and he’ll get the same billing as the new player in Martinez.
I know this is all a lot of hypothesis and certainly there is a lot open to interpretation here given I don’t know the credibility of the websites I’ve linked in terms of player wages, but I looked at a few different sites who all gave similar figures to these players, so we know we’re roughly on track with those numbers. And when you look at it like that then you see why the club is moving shrewdly in the market. Let’s see how it plays out first though.
On a final – and most glorious note – Mike Riley will step down as the main man at the PGMOL from next summer. What fantastic news! The old boys network at the PGMOL that I have long lamented might finally be getting dismantled. Hopefully we can have more diversity, better quality, more accountability and an end to the ridiculously poor standard of refereeing we’ve had in the Premier League during his farcical tenure. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say.
Right, that’s enough yammering for one day. Have yourselves a great one and I’ll catch you all tomorrow.