Thursday is upon us lovely people and I hope you are enjoying yourselves. I’m not sure what the weather is like where you are but it’s scorching in the UK right now and for that I couldn’t be happier. I know, I know, global warming, climate change and all that jazz, but gosh darn it, I do enjoy my summer being filled with sun and so I’m going to make hay whilst it doth shine.
It’s also still feeling that little bit brighter after the opening day this weekend and with this Saturday afternoon set to be another very warm day at The Arsenal, I’m hoping the Arsenal players reward us with a performance and three points that set the tone for the coming weeks. The confidence is certainly there and whilst I know it will be a tough game at the weekend, I feel like this team has enough in it to get the win. Of course now I’ve said that I’ve probably cursed us all, but I can only say what I’m feeling right now.
But I don’t really want to talk too much about the game at the weekend just yet, as there’ll be plenty of time for discussion and build up in the coming days. Instead I want to talk about a conversation I had with some people on Twitter yesterday with regards to Hector Bellerin and his conversation. This conversation actually started a couple of days ago but as is the way sometimes with people in different time zones, it kind of spilled across multiple days as we had a bit of a debate. The problem with Twitter these days is that people can often use it as a platform to essentially have a go at each other. There appears to be little room for actual discussion, then a counter that is nice and civil, followed by some admissions from one side, maybe both sides. In those situations I tend to just shut down any conversation and ignore it; I’m not on social media to have arguments at people I’ll probably never know and probably never meet. Life is too short.
Thankfully in this discord it felt to me like a good debate and it was around Hector Bellerin’s situation with him supposedly going to Arsenal to cancel his contract, so he can sign as a free agent for Real Betis, with whom he spent last season on. Apparently, give or take a few hundred thousand pounds, he is contracted to Arsenal until June next season. He’s on around £100k-per-week and that means the rest of his contract is valued at around £5million to next summer. The noises are that he wants to wave any loyalty payments, any salary, he is willing to cancel everything so he can leave and become a free agent at Real Betis. The Spanish club themselves won’t be able to pay him that and, supposedly, he will have to take a big hit on wages that he’s allowed to take.
There had been some rumours about Betis not being able to register players, but they appear to be renewing deals on players already at the club, so clearly they are not in such dire straits that they wouldn’t even be able to afford to pay Bellerin’s salary. The discussion I had was with regards to the whole concept of just ripping up a contract because the player wants to join a specific club. There were a few peeps that joined in the conversation and I have to say I thought it was civil and a good debate; that’s the kind of thing I can abide and that’s why I wanted to talk about it on the blog this morning. But in 280 characters there’s only so much you can say and that’s why I thought I’d state my position on here, because I can explain in a little more detail and give the context too. So here’s where I stand…
I like Hector Bellerin. I think he likes Arsenal and has spent a massive chunk of his career at the club. Even after he has left the club – whenever that may be – he will remain a fan favourite, a guy who I will wish the best for and somebody I have a soft spot for. He has a great personality, he looks like a lovely guy off the pitch too and is involved in a number of great causes. There is nothing about him personally I have an issue with. He has fallen down the pecking order at The Arsenal and it’s clear he’s not part of the plans at the club. So we should all wish him the best and try to get him a good move where he deserves to play football. But from my perspective, that should not be to the detriment of Arsenal football club. He is a player who is contracted to us until the end of next season. He won’t play for us and is on big wages and so we should really look to move him on this summer. But if Real Betis cannot afford to pay for him – even for a nominal fee, why do we owe it to Betis to give them our player for nothing? If the boot was on the other foot, would they do the same for us?
Of course not, because the Premier League is a league awash with money compared to other leagues and so Betis would absolutely hold out for money from us if we wanted a player in a similar situation to Bellerin.
“But what about the player? Doesn’t his loyalty deserve to be rewarded by giving him a move where he is happy?”
Perhaps, but we all know football doesn’t always work like that. When you sign a lucrative deal with a club you are being paid a very handsome sum because you are a player with whom there is a value attached. You are paid handsomely and rewarded by the club. Is that not a form of loyalty from the club? And what about the injuries that poor Hector suffered; did the club not show loyalty and support to him during these times? Does the club therefore not deserve to at least get something from the transaction?
“Ahh, but we’re actually SAVING money if we let him write off his contract. It is in fact more like a £5million saving/investment that the club is getting, for money it owes to Hector”.
Does it owe the money? Is it for services that have already been delivered? Or is it for services that will be delivered in the future and has therefore not actually happened. If I tell you I’m going to paint your house for £1,000, I paint half of the house and you give me £500, but we’ve already agreed a contract for me to finish the house and suddenly I can’t do it because I’ve broken my leg, for example, does that mean that you still owe me the additional £500 for services I haven’t delivered? I know it is a rather crude comparison, but the point I’m trying to make is that until the contract has been fulfilled, Arsenal don’t ‘owe’ Bellerin anything from a financial perspective. So dressing it up as an intangible ‘value add’ just doesn’t stack up for me. It’s not part of the argument that should be factored in. In my opinion of course.
There was also a debate about the fact that a club always pays up the remainder of a contract of a player before they move on, but I’m not so sure that is a thing. I know players have loyalty clauses for if they don’t hand in transfer requests, or if they see out parts of their contracts, but you can’t tell me that every club that sells a player has to then give that player the remainder of a contract. That just doesn’t make sense. Imagine if Player A signs for Club B for £25million, gets a five year deal at £100k-per-week. That’s £5.2million a year, or £26million over the lifetime of the contract. Then imagine that player has a storming season and doubles his value, so much so that Bigger Club C comes in and offers £50million for his services. Are you telling me that Club B sells player for that money and has to give that player £20.8million (£26million – one year salary at £5.2million)? That doesn’t happen – I can’t be having that. And imagine if to get Player A, Club B spread £25million over five years for payment. That would mean that they have received £50million they’ve given the player £20.8million and the original selling club they still need to pay back another £20million, which means they make just under £10million on the deal overall. No club would do that kind of agreement. So I’m not buying this “£5million is an investment for Arsenal” narrative on Bellerin.
My stance is that Arsenal should be asking around Europe for any clubs looking to take any kind of nominal fee. I refuse to believe there isn’t one team out there that wouldn’t take an experienced and good 26-year-old right back for a couple of million quid. Hector might want Betis but he needs to recognise that you can’t always get everything your own way in life. If he wants to play football then find a club who would be the right club for you that can pay what your value is.
Apologies, bit of a longer one today, but I wanted to get my thoughts down on virtual paper on this one, because sometimes a twitter thread just doesn’t allow you to say everything you want to say.
Back tomorrow looking ahead at the Leicester game.
Very good article and well put. I for one am fed up of players trying to make mugs out of the club. Auba now apparently is off to Chelsea and one wonders if he will down tools for them and miss training sessions to get tattoos or a haircut or furry dice for his sportscar etc etc..Lucas Torreira the uglier Lee Evans lookalike moaned constantly and forced a move. He was happy to come to the club and put in a shift at the beginning however. Betis are taking the P over Bellerin and he club should not give in.
You seem to assume Bellerin will agree to any deal Arsenal want him to, all the evidence is the opposite is true. If he wants Bellerin can simply wait out his contract, all the time collecting his wages, and walk away at the end to any club he wants. The power is ultimately with the player, the more you annoy him the more likely he is to just dig in his heels. From Arsenal’s point of view trying to make a player they don’t want do something he doesn’t want to do is likely to prove an expensive mistake.