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




  • Fascinating Stuff PE! 👍😀 Great observations. I didn’t think our TW was shambolic as the papers have it. But mine was more an emotional reaction. Yours makes sense and might be exactly what the mgmt might have been thinking. Here’s hoping that the two do sign and help disprove the critics on and off the field.

  • How dare you go against the herd and suggest all may not be as the embittered ones profer, My personal take is Wenger knows hes on the last two years, I expect the new guy to be making some recruitment desicions from 2018, consious of this, hes letting the squad be in a more flexible position for the next summer window, I know this would all take a plan and as we are constantly told, Arsenal (The Shambles),dont do plans but could the discontents be wrong!!

  • Cheers PE, it is a clever argument you are making and it illustrates, at least, how complex the business of selling and signing is in a constantly changing transfer market. The idea that Wenger and Kroenke don’t know what they are doing is ludicrous. Well argued, PE.

  • “Arsene knows” will be the saying by majority of arsenal fans, its fine hating on him after previous performances and results bt believe me you, i can see a more dynamic and competitive Arsenal again firing on all cylinders just put the trust on AW and support the Team. YaGoonersYa Get behind the team as Mr Wenger said, fun support-through thick/thin,might just be that added boost to spark the fire and fight from our players.
    Here’s to a promising campaign ahead, PE can second this rightly so.

  • PE, Iam tempted to be elated by your theory (i don’t KNOW what else it is since it’s not backed by any facts). However I can’t be because it does not explain the last minute 92 MIllion pound bid for Lemar. If the deal went through, there would be no transfer profit to talk about because Sanchez would not have fetched more than 60 million, And Ozil would still need to be satisfied while Lemar would command a sizeable wage.
    Can you offer some explanation because I desperately want to believe your facinating expose.

  • Great analysis, I did wonder why City were willing to pay 70m for Sanchez when they could get him on a free come January. FFP kicking in for them next year I guess would explain that. However, The sceptical me is not willing to accept the obvious conclusion till Arsenal confirm Alexis and Mesut have put pen to paper and signed.
    If FFP is to be enforced from next summer I wonder if There won’t be a flooded market in the summer as over subsidized clubs like City and PSG may be forced into fire sales.
    Wishful thinking given the curroption of uefa

  • PE, good to see you eventually articulated that your “Eureka” moment, a few days ago, on print. To add to the possible Wenger hints, he’s come down on FFP recently, repeating his feeling it should be scrapped to remove restrictions on club spending. Will he be saying so unless this has been the key limitation the club and Kroenke have had spending out of internally generated resources?


  • I wish for it to be true, Pony.
    That’s why they call it wishful thinking. We will know by January maybe. Next summer for sure.

    But, on the very bright side, if we find out something before Christmas, it will be good news. I would personally be happy if they renewed with decent buyout clauses, so that we dont lose them for free. It also may also get them to perform with more joy and caring for our club. Not just the higher salary, but also secure that they can leave if they really want.

    One thing is certain, all hope of anything positive happening begins with a good run of wins starting this Saturday. Events on the pitch will rule what happens on the business side. That’s as it should be.

  • St Henry ……… you must be one of the few greats that don’t get sucked into the vortex of mass hysteria.👍👍👍

  • Philbert ……. how dare you have such an amazing long term perspective of things. It there is one thing our club has, it is the long term plan! 👍👍👍

  • Emerson …….. you must be a yogin. You don’t waste things, not even words.👍👍👍

  • TA, ……. thanks for rubbing off the noises with a classy edit. You hit the nail on the head. Transfers are a lot more complex than we outsiders can ever imagine. 👍👍👍

  • OGBAN …… every belief exists as an opinion “theory”. Shambolic is an opinion. But there are opinions that are logically deducted. They could still miss the mark, but they are firmer to stand on. In Lemar’s case, the big question to me, is why did it fail. Think outside of football. £92M deal? What meets the eye of the public, when big money gets into motion, is never all the story. Maybe, just maybe the deal was programmed to fail. Again an opinion.👍👍👍

  • Eris, …… your facts are so well sorted in your memory bank. 👍 There are certain rules that restrict only the good guys. Teams like PSG, the Oilers would funnel illegal money into their clubs through say commercial deals and the restrictions of the rules then affect only the properly run clubs like Arsenal. What’s its use if it has all sorts of loopholes.👍👍👍

  • Jnyc, …….. it has a lot more substance than wishful thinking. Sherlock Holms would call it “deductive reasoning”. Detectives use it in solving mystery cases. “Shambolic” is a mystery case. 👍👍👍

  • HT …. looks like the noises were rubbed off by you. You make it purr like a Rolls Royce engine. Thanks..

  • Really interesting read PE. David Ornstein of the BBC reported a very similar story as to why financially Arsenal were not able to recruit more players in the recent transfer window. Like you mentioned, the club basically couldn’t sell a number of their existing players for a number of reasons (e.g. the players could get comparable wages elsewhere so decided to sit tight (which is understandable), other clubs new Arsenal were very keen to sell and reinvest which drove down the transfer fees Arsenal were able to command (and in some case made proposed sales virtually impossible financially for the club to sanction)).

    I don’t think anyone can legitimately argue that Arsenal’s current predicament was the consequence of this was anything other than past mismanagement in term of recruitment and retention coming back to bite the club. That said, aside from selecting a team from their existing squad and employing complimentary and realistic offensive and defensive tactics to accentuate the strengths of those players whilst mitigating their weaknesses, there is not much the club can do in terms of recruitment and retention until a number of the players which are unwanted by Wenger leave the club (either by selling them for a nominal fee or their contracts expiring).

    As for whether Ozil and Sanchez are staying, I’m predicting Ozil will stay if Arsenal can stump up the cash. The German has often said he enjoys the on field freedom Wenger affords him (though he has made similar comments that he enjoyed playing under Mourinho’s structure play at Real Madrid). While he has been cagey in the media about his future at the club, he certainly hasnt displayed any outward behaviour that would indicate that he is frustrated at the club. I personally think the club has promised him a sizeable pay rise but need to first free up the cash by moving players on. So it’s just a waiting game, to see if Arsenal can do that in the next transfer window. If they can I think Ozil will stay.

    As for Sanchez, he wants out Arsenal. For me, that’s clear from his repeated on field frustration at his team mates and evidently Wenger (which culminated in his benching versus Liverpool last season). Unlike Ozil, Sanchez has flat out refused to comment publically on whether he is happy at the club. I don’t think it’s a money issues either as he will be paid well if he stays at Arsenal or goes elsewhere. I think it is simply that he wants to win championships and European titles and he doesn’t believe he can do that with Arsenal (which to be honest is understandable given Arsenal haven’t been close to winning either while he has been at the club). That said, I don’t think Sanchez’s on field performances will diminish while he waits to leave (largely because of his personal drive). Sanchez is just an elite player who in my opinion is too good for where Arsenal are currently at. That being the case, it is understandable why Wenger is willing to let him run his contract down. That said, the shambled attempt by Arsenal to sell him in the dying hours of the transfer window was pretty embarrassing for the club.

  • PE, in the end, the editing wasn’t much of a problem as the piece was on the shorter side… I had a little difficulty getting going on it because the sentiments–and the conclusion–are quite different from my own views… Differences of opinion (I try to tell myself…) are what make the world go around, however, and I also appreciate that you take your (obvious and unbridled) desire to be optimistic about Arsenal to the next level by actually researching things like the FFP rules…

    Unfortunately, I’m with our manager who believes they’re a farce…

    In my view, any owner who wants to burn up their money just to keep warm can do as they please. My understanding of the absurd PSG business (Neymar AND M’bappe…) is that they have three years to cook, er, balance, the books. So, over that period I’d expect some investment in a youth development complex (as ManCity did a couple of years back–what a joke, youth promoted into their team, when they only get players in by buying them–and/or other offsets for their spending. Bribing UEFA officials might be another way to go (it’s worked in the past…), and, when FFP is finally ended, they can all point to Wenger’s statements in the linked article, saying he preferred it thus.

    Personally, I wish we could have sold Alexis to City (early in the window) and gotten somebody in his place. (Whom, I don’t know, but the early M’bappe rumors excited me…) Like I said the other day, watching (left-footed) Lemar, I’m concerned that he’s more of an Ozil replacement. If I had to bet on who is gonna re-sign with us, I’d say Alexis, not in a million years, and Ozil, probably not, though I maintain the tiniest of hopes. Their recent social media statements indicate that they’re both prepared to use lack of fan/pundit appreciation as a further excuse for leaving our club.

    So, like I also said, the ONLY real solution is results (50+ undefeated should do the trick…) which MIGHT get the fans supporting the players–notably Ozil; the fans seem pleased enough with Alexis showing his “passsion” by chasing down the ball after he loses it. Despite, him (Alexis) being this sort of “fan favorite,” (he also can score goals, of course…) IMO his head has been well-turned by Pep’s promise of a prominent role in the City team as soon as he arrives.

    So, in the end, I’m already picturing Alexis in ManCity blue with Ozil (all too likely) pulling the strings at Barca or Bayern… Sorry…

    For me, it’s still not a shambles, just the reality of the situation at a club whose owner is most focused on the bottom line. After all, even WITH Alexis (and Ozil and the Ox) we finished below our natural (financial) level (4th), so, is it (are they…) really that big a loss?…

  • HT …. I don’t care about the FFP rules. Am only just using it to show how it constrained our transfer activity this summer.

    Also am not averse to Lemar for Sanchez or Asensio for Ozil. My motto is ” Sell well and buy well”. What would amount to “shambolic” for me is to allow over £100M to walk away. That would hinder us from buying well. I strongly believe Wenger and Co wouldn’t allow that to happen even if it’s for the sake ot “the bottom line” you referred to. Great editing once again.👍👍👍

  • Everyone’s posts are just their personal opinion TA. In terms of the last sentence from my above comment, it was embarrassing for the club as Wenger had spent the priorthree months publicly declaring that Sanchez would be staying at the club for the last year of his contract and the club would not be selling the player. Then in the dying hours of the transfer window Wenger and the club diametrically changed their mind on an issue that, at least Wenger, was previously so adamant on and decided that the club we’re comfortable to sell the player to Man City. While it ultimately failed to come to fruition, Wenger’s last minute change of mind, brought into question his, and by virtue of Wenger’s role at the club, Arsenal’s honesty, integrity and competence, in that it presented as though either Wenger was lying to the public for three months as to what Arsenal’s true intentions with Sanchez were or that Arsenal had no discernible plan as to how to manage the potential departure of their ‘best’ performing player. For a professional football club with Arsenal’s public standing that’s embarrassing either way it’s dissected. Wenger and the club would have been better served making no public comment on the future of Sanchez. That way, if the club were privately intending to sell the player, his transfer value wouldn’t have been affected and Wenger and the club’s integrity and competence wouldn’t have been brought into question as much as it has. To be honest it’s been a fascinating case study to follow from a public relations perspective.

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