Shambolic, I thought, regarding our summer transfer activity. How could we possibly want to rely on the performance of an unhappy Alexis Sanchez? Why would Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain take a pay cut to leave us for Liverpool? Why is there so much ominous silence on Mesut Ozil’s contract situation? Why didn’t we reinforce our central midfield appropriately nor the central defense? How couldn’t we have known beforehand that Thomas Lemar would snub our last minute bid for him? Why is Wenger announcing that we would be losing £70M when Sanchez’ contract runs out at the end of this season as if he was expecting a pat on the back? All these and more on the back of two consecutive losses after only three games. The joy from the Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette signings has all but been eclipsed by the rest of our summer horror show. That was how I was seeing it all.
The more I looked at the shambles the more I was convinced that Stan Kroenke, the Board of Directors, Arsene Wenger and all others involved in the planning and execution of our transfers were grossly incompetent. Yet I kept having that feeling that they just couldn’t be that incompetent. Surely they can’t possibly be a bunch of fools. That feeling proved to be well founded. The Ozil/Sanchez wage demands put Kronke and Co. in a fix with regards to the Premier League Financial Fair Play rules on wage bill ceilings for clubs.
The rule stipulates that clubs whose wage bills are in excess of £67M per annum (Arsenal’s is over £200M) can increase their wage bill for the following season by a maximum of £7M if funded from the Premier League TV rights money. Any wages in excess of the £7M can, however, come from other sources like increased commercial earnings, increased match-day incomes and player transfers.
It is rumoured that Ozil and Sanchez’ new wage demands alone would amount to an increase of about £15M per season. Add to it the reported high wages of Kolasinac and Lacazette and it becomes apparent that some juggling had to be done not to run afoul of the FFP rules. Players had to be shipped out, not only to reduce the net wage bill but also to leave the net transfer outlay in positive territory offsetting the wage bill in excess of the £7M cap. Wenger and Co. were wriggling in a very tight space in this transfer window. There was no room for more purchases without further sales of players. It is believed that the club wanted to sell many more players (Olivier Giroud, Lucas Perez, Jack Wilshire, Mohamed Elneny, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers as well as Carl Jenkinson, Joel Campbell and Chuba Akpom) but were unable to for different reasons. There are plans for more sales during the January window to allow for fresh signings.
As such, the club’s current calculation is based on meeting the contract demands of Ozil and Sanchez. Failure to do so would mean that over £100M in assets will go down the drain at the end of this season. That would be a major stumble in the fierce Premier League race for room at the top that we might never recover from–the true shambles. Hopefully the curtain will soon be drawn on these two nerve racking contract sagas–the sooner, the better.
Do I believe they will sign on the dotted lines? Yes I do. Wenger always gives hints, which somehow are always disregarded because he never makes them sound convincing. He told us at the beginning of the transfer window that he would sign a maximum of two or three players. We disregarded it and kept expecting him to sign five or six. He signed two. After the two signings he told us that more signings would be possible only with more sales. There weren’t enough sales and so there was no other signing. He said that Sanchez would only be allowed to go if there was a good replacement. The Lemar bid fell through, and Sanchez was not allowed to go. Now he is saying that he is 100% certain of Sanchez’ commitment. That’s a hint of what is in the offing.
Sanchez and Ozil are going to sign their mega-bucks deal. That would make them nigh untouchable as every club is wary of the FFP rules on wage cap. Mark that by the beginning of next season they will be heading towards their 30th birthdays and to compete in the transfer market with them if they walk away free would be a new crop of Kylian Mbappes, Moussa Dembeles, Naby Keitas, Jean-Michael Seris, Phillipe Coutinhos and Reiss Nelsons as well as the Lacazettes, Lukakus, Moratas, Asensios, et al. with smaller wage demands. Sanchez and Ozil are smart fellows. They know when to quit the casino.
by Pony Eye