Saturday, September 23, 2023

Bernd Leno leaves, Fulham get a very good deal


The squad is lighter by one this morning after Bernd Leno’s move to Fulham was made official last night. As previously mentioned, this is a move that makes a lot of sense for the player – he gets to stay in London, and with an outside chance of making his way back into the Germany squad for the World Cup, he’ll get regular football at Craven Cottage.

Details of the fee emerged yesterday too, and while £8m seemed just about reasonable in the current market, the structure of it makes it clear Fulham got an exceptionally good deal for themselves.

Via David Ornstein, they’re paying £3m + £1m based on appearances. If Fulham avoid relegation this season, we get another £2m. If they stay up the season after that, it’s another £2m. So, given their tendency to go up and down in recent seasons, it’s entirely possible that we could only get £4m for Leno, which seems very low for a 30 year old international calibre goalkeeper with 500+ games under his belt.

On the one hand, I understand it’s a difficult market and it’s not as if there were a load of clubs battling it out for Leno’s signature. We also had to move him on, and we’ve done that, but the perception of Arsenal as a selling club is something we’ve needed to change a bit this summer and a deal like this won’t help too much in that regard.

It just seems a bit odd to me that the reported fee for Matt Turner was in the region of £7m, but we can only get £3m + add-ons for Leno? Maybe what we paid for American is being over-reported, I hope so because I don’t quite get the disparity, but it doesn’t look great in a side by side comparison. Of course every deal is different, and I get there are other circumstances at play, but still.

In the end we paid £23m for Leno in 2018 and he’s going for a fraction of that. Reports that Lucas Torreira might go to Galatasaray for £5m + £2.5m in add-ons make that look a tremendous deal, but again when you consider the £28m we paid for him, it’s another one that doesn’t look so good. In fact, when you consider the signings we made around that time, the only one we made any profit on was Matteo Guendouzi, and that was just a couple of million after he went to Marseille. Dinos Mavraponos went for more or less what we paid for him.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, £55m – we paid him to go.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, nominally a ‘£30m‘ swap for Alexis – Roma paid us £1m after we rejected £10m the previous window.

Sokratis, £16m – we paid him go.

And now the big losses on Leno and Torreira, even taking into account the way player valuations dwindle from an accounting perspective based on the period of their contract. As I said, I get that it’s a difficult market to sell players who are very obviously not wanted, but that still doesn’t mean we’re not bad at selling.

Recently, we have recruited much better, much more smartly, and the optimism as we head into the new season is in no small part down to that. However, there is a direct correlation between spending and what we generate. I don’t know exactly how the incoming deals are being funded, but I can almost certainly guarantee that it’s not Stan throwing his personal wealth at it. More than likely this is money Arsenal have borrowed, quite possibly at very reasonable rates, but loans have to be repaid at some point.

Being better at selling helps in that regard. If you bring in more money, you can also spend more money, and right now that aspect of our business isn’t up to scratch. When you look at the outgoing ‘successes’ in recent seasons, they’ve pretty much all been Academy players we’ve cut loose for various reasons.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain £35m.

Alex Iwobi £30m.

Joe Willock £27m.

Emi Martinez £20m.

With Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson basically surplus to requirements this summer, and both with one year left on their deals (which will impact how much we can get), perhaps they are now the markers on how well we can sell. I don’t think we’ll get anything close to the fees mentioned above, but we ought to be able to get more than £3m for a couple of talented English players who could definitely do a job in the Premier League for more than a handful of clubs.

Let’s see what happens. I’ll just prepare the ‘Maitland-Niles joins [X] for £8 + unlimited sprinkles at Mr Whippy’s Ice-Cream Parlour + a chair’ post on Arseblog News.

Right, just to let you know what’s going on this week in terms of pre-season stuff. Coming up, we’ve got:

  • Pre-season Arsecast – released on Thursday as the game is Friday.
  • Pre-season Premier League podcast chat with Ken Early of Second Captains.
  • Arsenal Women Arsecast – recording today, should be out later on.
  • The Premier League preview podcast is back – only on Patreon (released Thursday evening). We do a pod for every game, and with Europe this season, there will be more of them than last season.
  • The traditional Arseblog season preview post (out tomorrow), looking ahead to the new campaign and analysing the squad as it stands.

So, plenty to get your eyes and ears into over the coming days. We’ll also be doing an All or Nothing podcast series on Patreon as well, with the documentary hitting your screens tomorrow.

And just a reminder that tomorrow (Thursday) at midday is the deadline to join our Patreon Fantasy Football league. Details of the prizes are below, and if you want to sign up, you can do so here for instant access to FF and all the extra content on Patreon throughout the season.

Right, that’s your lot for this morning. Take it easy!

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