Sunday, April 21, 2024

Confusing transfer fees : Mike Dean doesn’t understand violence

Morning, a quick Friday round-up.

Mikel Arteta will meet the press this morning ahead of our trip to Bournemouth tomorrow, and maybe we’ll get some team news. I say maybe because it’s clear that the manager does not like giving out any kind of information which might be even vaguely useful for the opposition.

Quite whether Scott Parker’s game plan will hinge too much on the fitness of Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe is a question only he can answer, but I tend to doubt it. The only injury worry we know of is Ben White who had to come off against Leicester on Saturday, but he was in the training video this week so we can assume it’s not too serious.

Beyond that, not a lot happening in terms of Arsenal. There’s a transfer story linking Hector Bellerin to Udinese, but at this point we’re almost into Lucas Torreira territory with this one. So many clubs, so little happening. As the window heads towards its conclusion things may well start moving there, and the market – let’s be honest – is a bit weird. Or maybe just some clubs are going hard.

This raised an eyebrow yesterday:

When the deal is broken down, it’s a little less eye-catching, but only a little. It’s £25m up front, with the rest in add-ons, but it’s still a very substantial fee for a player who spent last season in the Championship – even if he did have a good spell at Sheffield United.

Obviously each deal is unique, and in many ways a player’s value is fluid. If a club has no interest in him, it’s zero; rising to whatever valuation a club that is interested will put on him. The nominal ‘transfermarkt‘ transfer value figures are a nice touch for the website, but don’t necessarily reflect reality.

Once again though, I’m put in mind of someone like Ainsley Maitland-Niles, for whom Wolves themselves offered something in the region of £20m (reportedly) back in 2020. Now he trains at Arsenal, he doesn’t play, his career is going nowhere, and as far as we’re aware there haven’t been any offers for him this summer. At least none that have been reported publicly.

Still, if Morgan Gibbs-White is being sold in a deal that could possibly be worth as much as we paid Man City for Gabriel Jesus, how is it possible we can’t raise 20% of that for a player who made the England squad not too long ago? It should be a relatively easy sell at that kind of price, even if Maitland-Niles stock has fallen of late. We need to get in Old Gil as Head of Sales or something.

Elsewhere, I found this extraordinary from Mike Dean who admitted he made a mistake when he reviewed the incident between Cristian Romero and Marc Cucurella during the Chelsea v Sp*rs game last weekend. If, somehow, you didn’t see it, here it is. Romero grabs the former Brighton man by the hair and yanks him to the ground.

Dean had time to review it from his VAR throne, but chose not to take any action and from the corner that was then in-play, a late equaliser was scored. His explanation?

“In the few seconds I had to study Romero pulling Cucurella’s hair, I didn’t deem it a violent act.”

I mean, this is astonishing. Pulling someone’s hair is inherently a violent act. Maybe, MAYBE, you could possibly categorise light contact as a ‘playful tug’, but when one man grabs another man by the hair and pulls him to the ground, it cannot be anything other than violent conduct. It should have been a free kick to Chelsea, at the very least, and in my opinion that kind of ‘foul’ should be a straight red card. Maybe not worthy of a three game ban, but certainly one. If you did it on the street, it would basically be an assault.

And look, I get that referees are human, that they all make mistakes and so on, but Dean has a bit of previous here. You’ll remember that last season away at Everton, Ben Godfrey literally stamped on the face of Takehiro Tomiyasu – the kind of incident a referee might not see clearly in real time, but which VAR can adjudicate perfectly. Guess who was on VAR that night? You got it, Mike Dean.

I don’t think it’s flippant to ask if he understands what is and isn’t violent conduct. A man stamping on another man’s face is certainly endangering his opponent, and hair pulling – while it might be seen as playground level stuff – is as clear and obvious a foul as you can get. There isn’t even the grey area where a tackle looks bad but comes from a legitimate attempt to win the ball.

I’m all for refs holding their hands up and even explaining their decisions afterwards, but when the explanation is almost as baffling as the bad decision itself, what is the point? And when are the PGMOL going to do something … anything … that might raise the standards of their officials? Your guess is as good as mine.

For some extra reading this morning, Tim’s latest column takes a close look at Granit Xhaka’s role this season – well worth your time, and don’t forget we’ll have our Premier League preview podcast on Patreon later this after, as well as press conference coverage on Arseblog News.

Right, that’s it for this morning. I’ll leave you with a brand new Arsecast, basking with Philippe Auclair about our start to the season, William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and much more. All the links you need are below, enjoy.


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