Here’s the latest in a series of articles where I’m trying to shine a light on the business interactions of football in order to give Gooners a modicum of understanding of the business world which the Arsenal inhabits. You don’t need me to tell you how painful it is being a Gooner when the transfer window opens. Every Summer & January we seem to have the most long winded, frustrating and downright brain-numbing transfers of any club on the face of the earth. All around us clubs seem to glide through the window making their sales & buys in quick & efficient fashion while ours are almost guaranteed to be long, drawn out and have us all battering the shit out of the F5 keys on our PC’s while simultaneously watching as many news feeds as possible.
Why is it so painful? Why does Arsenal out of ALL clubs in the world seem to be completely inept at transfers that should easily go through, especially considering the stature and wealth of our club? Well I suspect that the opposite is the case, in my opinion Arsenal have some of the best businessmen in the Football world that understand the business and play a very wise and canny game. Allow me to explain. I’m going to use the most recent of the stupid spenders – Man Citeh – as the example in this case to explain WHY I suspect AFC act the way they do.
If you look at Citeh’s recent activity I think we’d all agree that it’s the most shocking display of financial dick swinging we’ve seen in recent times and if the Kaka transfer would have gone through – I think the player market would have taken a step from the surreal into the sheer ludicrous. Even their recent activity is downright laughable – ?14 milion for Bellamy? ?15 million for De Jong when he could have been bought for ?3 million in the summer??? The figure I saw said they’ve blown ?51 million on some unbelieveablely average transfers and they were on the bring of blowing ?20 million on Santa Cruz….really? Santa Cruz is worth more then Henry???
Well you see Citeh screwed themselves from the start, as soon as they let loose with their ?100 million (plus ?75 in wages) grab for Kaka, they were buggered when it came to every other target they had. They showed by that amazing bid that they are prepared to spend WHATEVER it takes to get what they want – and as the saying goes; “A fool and his money are soon parted.” As soon as that move was made public every other club rubbed its hands because they knew that Citeh could be held to ransom.
To give an example of this lets look at the Arshavin deal as an example. As of writing this the deal is done according to every news site I have access too (although my F5 key may be malfunctioning as it’s been worn down to a nub), so take what’s to follow in this light. Arsenal have been playing a most solid game of hard ball over the Arshavin transfer – AFC knew that he was cup tied, only had 18 months left on his contract and was desperate to escape to a bigger club. With this knowledge and backed by the fact that Arsenal do NOT blow ridiculous sums of money on unproven if promising players. Arsenal is world renown for being extremely responsible from a fiscal perspective and will always walk away from a deal they feel is not worth it. Arsenal stuck to their guns, kept a straight poker face and only moved from this position in small increments. They got the ?20 million price tag down to a reasonable ?12 million with performance add ons (if he performs then we pay, if he doesn’t we don’t) and probably the best deal in the last couple of years. This is the sign of people that UNDERSTAND negotiation and it’s implications on the future deals.
If you then take the Arshavin deal and swap the Arse for Citeh what do you think would happen? Immediately the price would have gone straight back up to ?20 million as a baseline and most likely jumped up maybe another ?10 million, because Zenit KNOW Citeh are flush with case and that they’re prepared to part with it. They have NO solid ground for negotiations from now on – every target that they go after will be inflated by 25-50% as it was with Chelski just a few years ago. Arsenal can rightly say in a negotiation that “we don’t do that and will not pay that much” knowing that they have a track record of this, from the very start of the negotiations anyone KNOWS the way Arsenal work – therefore we will get the deals that WE want, that are right for the club – others like Liverpool, Chelski, Citeh, Man Utd will have a gun put to their head for more money.
Here comes the “so what?” part…. This is our money remember, and I for one am glad that we have one of the most tight fisted board and manager in the business. Why? Because in the long term, paying only what we need to for the players we want, allows debts to be paid off faster which allows the club to get into the black and THEN we can fight on the same terms (if not fiscally stronger as we’ll have less/no debt) as other power spenders, but on OUR terms. No billionaire playboys needed trying to push expensive players into the team because they think they know more then their manager (think Rafa’s fight with his board over Keane)….. Arsenal remains the shining example of how to run a club – and we are starting to see more and more clubs, that aren’t owned by a billionaire tosser, looking to Arsenal and wishing to emulate our example.
In my opinion Arsenal could save football from the billionaire idiots by showing it CAN be done sensibly – all around the world we’re seeing business models fall to bits – Chelski’s model only works while the billionaire can chuck money at the club – but when that runs out….well just look at Chelski now, all their top players are over 30 and earn ?100k a week each – plus they’re ?750 million in debt. Look at the Liverpool/Man Utd model – Millions in debt via mortgages attached to the club and in the middle of a banking crisis…. Madridl; had to get bailed out by their local government not too long ago, Milan; having to coax in free players (Flamini) or steal Loaners (Beckham)…. I’m proud of the way Arsenal’s being run – anyone agree?
Let the comments fighting commence…..
Have something to tell us about this article?