I am still in Canada and been to see Niagara Falls, which was such a great experience. Unfortunately for you the reader perhaps, this post may be littered with spelling mistakes as this is yet another written entirely on my iPhone. Anyway, back to the matter at hand…
As it becomes abundantly clear that Arsenal won’t buy any players (but not without “trying really hard” of course) the way they have failed to strengthen the squad this summer is quite spectacular. After just about finishing 4th in the Premier League on the final day of the season, it was clear that Arsenal needed to bring in some real quality if they were to compete for the major honours next season.
But this has been the same old story for the last 8 seasons. 8 years without a trophy and 8 summers where we’ve sold out best players to rival clubs.
But then, Gary Neville (who I think is a top pundit by the way) gave us Arsenal fans a thing which all football supporters love and dread in equal measure – hope.
He, quite rightly, talked about Arsenal’s barren run for the last decade and pointed out at some point, Arsenal will have the stadium paid off and use the money they have to really compete at the top. He said if Arsene won something big next season then it would be a masterstroke. He said he believed our time was now (well, next season).
Then, Ivan Gazidis jumped on the bandwagon. He publicly announced that Arsenal had a massive war chest (reportedly at around £70 million) to spend “if” Arsene wanted to spent it. He also said that we could not just compete with the top teams in the league in terms of transfer fees, but also wages, stating that Arsenal could pay players £250,000 per week if necessary.
This of course, put the media (and fans) into a frenzy. We were linked with Stevan Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain, Wayne Rooney, Marouane Fellaini, Gareth Barry, Lars Bender, Luis Suarez, Benteke and Julio Cesar. Most of whom would have improved our squad. And while most of those “links” were made up by the media, we were genuinely interested in at least 3 of those players.
But of course, Gazidis publicly coming out and saying we had loads of money to spend has to be one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever seen. Why, even if we had £70 million to blow on new signings would you come out and say it? It instantly weakens your position in the transfer market, tells other clubs that we will pay the top prices (like the inflated fees Manchester City pay for instance) and gives the media a free hand in making up transfer rumours meaning they will link you with any player who is looking to engineer a move away from their club.
But maybe, Ivan Gazidis isn’t stupid and has this planned all along. Maybe, this was the greatest PR spin in football. It doesn’t matter one bit if you come out publicly and tell the world you have massive money to spend on players if you don’t intend on spending a penny.
You can safely bid £18 million for Lars Bender and know that the selling club will turn it down and ask for more. It’s the nature of the transfer game – you never accept the first offer, especially if you know for a fact the bidding club have a war chest at their disposal. It doesn’t make financial sense to accept the first bid without trying to increase the price.
And you can safely bid £30 million for Luis Suarez and know it will be turned down. And you can bid £40 million and £1 and know the same will happen again. It doesn’t matter that the offers are being turned down, we’ve put the bids in so it “looks like” we tried to bring in players. The fact is though, Arsenal fans know better and see through the whole charade.
I guarantee that when the transfer window closes, Arsenal fans will be upset we haven’t strengthened in the summer but Arsene can come out and say that we tried to bring in world class players, bid huge amounts that were well beyond what we’ve ever spent in the past and that it was the selling clubs that didn’t want to part with their players.
I might be completely wrong and this time next month we’ll have a world class striker, midfielder and defender all signed up. But don’t count on it.
Arsenal will not sign Luis Suarez. I can say that categorically. The whole idea when it first emerged was preposterous and it’s still ridiculous even now.
Unless Arsene Wenger has had a stroke then be cannot seriously consider buying Luis Suarez for anything near the £50 million Liverpool are asking. In fact, buying him for the £40 million is still ridiculous. Mark my words, if in some crazy universe we do agree a few with Liverpool, the deal will fall through when we fail to agree on personal terms.
There are a multitude of reasons why the signing won’t happen. In no particular order, they are:
1. The fee is way beyond what we’ve spent in our history. That fact cannot be ignored. Arsene is notoriously prudent in the transfer market and would never take a massive gamble, which spending £50 million on a single player would be. He doesn’t care if there’s £70 million available to him, he won’t put the clubs future at risk for one player. You have to consider what that £50 million will get us, and a guaranteed Premier League title is isn’t. Suarez may have a great season for us and score 40 goals, but that’s not enough. A more prudent approach would be to spend £50 million on 3/4 quality additions in various positions on the pitch.
2. Luis Suarez’s well-reported problems. I’ve had countless agreements about whether he is a racist but the fact is he was banned for racist behaviour. He was also banned for biting players not once but twice. He’s been banned for long periods and is banned for the first month of the season. Who in their right mind would pay £50 million for someone who can’t play the first 6 games of the season and could be banned again later on in the season? His attitude and behaviour is not one of an Arsene Wenger type player.
3. Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski. So do we just confine both of these players to the bench? Arsene has a record of bring extremely loyal to his players and he is unlikely to give up on Giroud in particular just after one season, particularly when he did well and has something to build on next season. If there were rumours of Giroud leaving Arsenal this summer it would make sense bringing in another striker but there’s been nothing of the sort.
4. Why would Arsene sign another player who wants to jump ship at the first opportunity? Arsenal are notorious for selling top players who want to move on without much fuss. Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy all wanted moves away and got them with consummate ease. And on top of that, if we were soft enough on players who wanted to leave, we also sell some on for less than they are worth. When you compare them to the fees Andy Carroll, Fernando Torres, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson all went for, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie went for way below market value. Van Persie only had one year left on his contract you say. Well who’s fault was that?!
So lets picture next summer shall we. Suarez scores loads of goals and has a phenomenal season, or has an awful campaign and gets banned for kicking a ball boy in the face. Either way, he wants to move. With Arsenal’s track record, do you honestly believe that we could get £50 million for him? Could we hell, we’d get £30 million backs for him if we were lucky.
5. Luis Suarez wants to join Real Madrid. Is moving from Liverpool to Arsenal that much of a step up really? Sure, if we had already signed 2/3 top quality players and shown our intent for next season, then fair enough but we haven’t and as it stands we are we we’ve always been, a side fighting for the Top Four. The only real difference is we play in the Champions League. Do players really care about that? I’m sure that what footballers really care about is getting a big pay rise and Real Madrid could offer him more than we could afford, and they have a better chance of “winning things” if he cares about that too.
So that’s five major reasons why this transfer will never happen in a million years.