Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Big Gabi out of Brazil squad + Forest’s points deduction


Not a lot of news but the main Arsenal story is the fact that Gabriel Magalhaes has withdrawn from Brazil’s upcoming games because of an injury. Some reports said it was a foot problem, others than he’s got an Achilles issue, but either way, he’s out of their Interlull clashes with England and Spain. It has been described as ‘precautionary’, which is some comfort, but let’s remember that Arsenal are not a club that provides substantive information about injuries if they can avoid it.

It means that all three of our Gabis are missing for Brazil this time around. Gabriel Jesus wasn’t named the squad, although you could possibly make the argument that some playing time for him might have been useful, while Gabriel Martinelli’s injured foot has him sidelined. Hopefully he’ll be ready for Man City.

This is an international break that I suspect most managers absolutely hate, especially those with plenty to play for, whether that’s at the top or bottom of the table, or in Europe. An injury to a key player could be the difference between success and not, and we saw last season how badly we were impacted by a couple of injuries sustained around this time of the year – albeit not during internationals.

So, keep your fingers, toes, and everything else crossed that we come through this one with a clean bill of health. When you look at the schedule and how hectic it is once this Interlull is over, we need as many hands on deck as possible, and as many of our key players fighting fit, because ultimately they’re the ones most likely to make the difference. Hopefully someone else, and hopefully more than one player, can step up and contribute too, but we are where we are right now because of the main men, and their presence will be vital if we are to achieve what we all dream of this season.

Meanwhile, the Premier League announced yesterday that Nottingham Forest would be deducted 4 points for breaching Profit and Sustainability Rules, dropping them into the bottom three. They have responded with a strong statement on their official website, but in a very interesting piece in The Athletic (£), Daniel Taylor reports:

People at the top of the club ignored the advice of their own finance director, Thomas Bonser, once it became clear they were playing a game of high risk.

Bonser had put together a report on PSR in September 2022 and he warned the club’s hierarchy that Forest were heading towards a “significant breach”. Bonser had initially forecast a breach of £6.9million. It ended up being around five times that amount. 

The Premier League’s legal team had initially sought an 8 point deduction, but Forest’s ‘exceptional communication’ and clarity of information saw that reduced to 4. They spent the summer trying to sell Brennan Johnson to offset the breach, but didn’t do so until deadline day, ruining his life by accepting an offer from Sp*rs. The Athletic piece says:

Why, for one, is the PSR deadline set as June 30 when everyone in football knows the best time to do business is later in the summer?

Which is a fair point, perhaps one for the Premier League to take note of, as clubs generally tend buy and sell players as the window is coming to a close. The market often dictates when business is done, and while the June 30th marker aligns with things like player contracts, it doesn’t really make much sense for PSR targets. It’s not to say Forest couldn’t have done better, but you can understand why they might feel a bit aggrieved.

So, this season Everton have been deducted 10 points (reduced to to 6), and now Forest with 4. There’s talk that another charge and further points could be taken off Everton, and if there are appeals, who knows how it might impact the end of the season at the bottom end of the table. It’s all well and good implementing these rules, but by 5pm on May 19th, there cannot be question marks about final positions. I guess we’ll see what happens.

And at the top? 115 charges is more complicated, everyone understands that, and ultimately Man City’s success is so tied into their finances that it makes their situation far more serious than a bit of overspending by a couple of nominally mid-table clubs. Yet it remains the gigantic elephant in the Premier League room, even if it’s rarely mentioned in any coverage of what they do or how they have done it.

Right, let’s leave it there for now. There’s a brand new Arsecast Extra available if you haven’t had a chance to listen yet, and a new episode of The 30 over on Patreon, recapping the Premier League (and some of the FA Cup) games of the weekend.

Till tomorrow.

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