Right then, something to talk about this morning. Danny Fiszman has been talking and a number of things have come to light.
Firstly the club won’t be appointing a new ‘director of football’ and will instead be creating two new directors. Firstly a CEO who will ‘work with the manager, negotiate player purchases, sales and wage contracts’, and a Chief Finance officer.
With Ken Friar currently carrying out the first of those roles it’ll be important to get the right person in place, but Friar is certainly more than capable of carrying out whatever work needs to be done this summer.
Now, the second thing Fiszman spoke about was new players and I can see the headlines generating more headlines, if you know what I mean.
GUNNERS WON’T BREAK THE BANK – will probably get some pulses racing this morning but if you look at what he’s saying it makes sense. He has eschewed the ‘benefactor’ model, whereby someone like Abramovich comes in and starts throwing around cash for a few glory signings. As Fiszman rightly points out these players cost more than just their transfer fee. For example, take Ronaldinho – you could probably buy him for £20m but a four year deal with wages of around £5m a year (and that’s erring on the cheap side) brings the whole deal to £40m over four years.
When you have somebody with the kind of money Abramovich has it’s easy to sign those kinds of players but there are dangers too. If you read about the kind of money that Chelsea and United owe it’s scary to think of us in that kind of position. We’re going about things our own way, making our own money, and not mortgaging the future of the club with short term thinking. When you see our wage bill is comparable to Manchester United you know our players aren’t going short – and when Henry was at the club and by far the best player in the world there wasn’t a better paid player in England.
When it comes to transfers he spells out the club’s policy, saying:
It is not a big name, it is big talents and committed players we are after. We have never said no to Arsène so whoever he wishes to bring in, he will be fully supported.
And I don’t know that any Arsenal fan, no matter what side of the transfer fence they sit on, can really argue with that. I think all Arsenal fans will accept that we need to strengthen the squad this summer. We might have our differences in terms of how we go about expressing that but the bottom line is we all want to see new players come in. But which kinds of players? Would we be happy with three signings of players we don’t know so well but who possess the kind of quality of Sagna or Eduardo? Or is it necessary to make a statement of intent and sign a ‘big name’ to show we mean business?
Personally I think what’s important is the experience and quality of the player, that far outweighs the importance of his fame. Often big name players, despite their quality, come with baggage. Do they still have the hunger for the game? You look at Thierry Henry. Last summer 30,000 Barcelona fans packed into the Camp Nou to watch him do a few keepy-ups and to laud him as the signing that would win them back La Liga from Real Madrid. Now, you could argue that Henry was the straw that broke the camel’s back – he’s been distinctly average for Barcelona this season and at a cost of about £23m (transfer fee + one year’s wages). Can we really take that sort of a gamble on a player?
It might not suit some fans who want that big name signing but I can’t see it happening. And that’s not so much the board or the club’s policy but the manager’s. While he has bought the odd player with a big reputation before it’s generally been when their stock has been quite low. Overmars off the back of a knee injury which many said would finish him, Henry playing as a wingback for Juventus etc. When he has spent big, big money it hasn’t necessarily worked out great as Reyes, Wiltord (to an extent) and Hleb demonstrate.
So, it’ll be interesting to see what the manager does and who he looks to bring in. The message from the club is clear though – they’ll fully back him whoever he wishes to bring in. So that could mean they’ll cough up for a big player if AW decides that’s who he wants, similarly if he finds a couple of Sagnas/Eduardos they’ll do that too. So look beyond the dramatic headlines (but haha at the Mirror for saying we can ‘spend, spend, spend!‘) for the real story – and I think the way Arsenal are going about things at the moment is the right way. Arsenal FC needs to exist not just for the season ahead or the one after but for decades in the future and I like the way we do business, it has a touch of class about it that no other club has.
Update: The full Q&A with Danny Fiszman is here.
Francis Coquelin is an Arsenal player according to reports in France. He’s a 17 year old midfielder and unless he’s Cescesque in his brilliance he’s not one for the first team straight away.
Young Dutchman Nacer Barazite says he wants to play for the Arsenal first team next season but wouldn’t rule out going on loan. He’s an interesting player.
Nothing new happening in Spain from an Arsenal point of view. For those of us that get fed up with the machinations of the Spanish press and the big clubs though the Cristiano Ronaldo story should raise a smile or two. Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has basically said everything is done and now it’s up to Ronaldo to come ouut and say he wants to join (sound familiar?!) while manager Bernd Schuster is already talking about he’ll fit into the team and be accepted in the dressing room. Whatever you might think about United/Ronaldo, Real Madrid really are the most ill-mannered, insufferable cunts when it comes to transfers. It’s still nice to see it happening to someone else though.
Right so, plenty to chew on this morning. Have at it.