With silly season in full swing and the Twitter keyboard warriors in fine voice, there are some key things we need to keep in mind if we’re going to get through this summer without attacking each other: transfers do fail and it’s not always Arsenal’s fault.
Whenever we fail to capture a player we’ve been even loosely connected with in the media, the fans always jump on the club as if they’ve accidentally spent all the transfer money on a night out and have been forced to backtrack. And maybe this does happen? I can imagine Ivan Gazidis loves a night out at Funky Buddha.
But this certainly isn’t the case at least 99% of the time.
Here are just some of the reasons that we know about, which may affect a potential transfer. These are not brand new information; I’m not bestowing infinite wisdom onto you, these are just common sense.
1 – Transfer fee + wages
This is probably the most obvious reason why a player might or might not come to Arsenal. I’ve combined this into one point as, a lot of the time, how much we pay initially can impact how high their wages are.
When our director, Lord Harris, said there was £200m in the bank, this money doesn’t purely go on transfer fees. This includes wages, add-ons and agent fees. Therefore, the money every fan and their father seems to think we have doesn’t actually stretch as far as our pints down the pub want it to.
Take Granit Xhaka, for example. We bought him from Wolfsburg for a reported £25m, but his wages (£120,000/per = £6.24m/year) plus add-ons he may get for scoring, keeping a clean sheet or winning a trophy takes his potential total far higher than that. This all needs to be taken into account before buying a player for the squad and this is why negotiations usually happen in several stages: personal terms, a bid, an agreement, a medical and so on, not necessarily in that order.
Arsenal can fall short because although we have the money to buy the players, our wage structure and desire to remain self-sustaining means we have trouble paying the amount that the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea can. Money is gradually being freed up in order to compete financially but it’s not going to happen overnight. I know we’ve waited 10 years already but we do need to show just a little more patience.
2 – The Euros
Although it seems like a cop-out to most, many players take representing their country at an international level very seriously and therefore genuinely want to get the tournament out the way before making any huge decisions.
How can this affect transfers negatively? Well it doesn’t just give them more time to think – because no matter what they say about ‘not thinking about it’, they very much are – but it gives their peers time to interject. I think in the case of Jamie Vardy, he wanted to come to Arsenal initially but after getting on that plane to France and probably hearing people harp on about not letting Leicester down considering the only Gunner there was Jack Wilshere, it probably got in his head a little.
3 – Agents
Football agents can be wily creatures. As standard, they should earn around 5% commission, which is, according to this Quora article, designed to come 50/50 from the player and club for tax reasons. However, if the agent can put himself in a position where he’s ‘working for the club’ he can get up to 30%.
Generally though, they earn around 10%, like most agents.
When your client is earning millions, this 10% is huge. And that’s why a lot of the time it’s the agents pushing a particular move by name dropping and spreading rumours (*cough* Mino Raiola *cough*).
It’s a dirty business but can be a lucrative one. Although not so lucrative if Arsenal aren’t meeting the wage demands ‘your client’ wants.
What’s more, is that the footballers trust their agents. It’s becoming increasingly common for players to have a family members, often their own father, as their representation and this can get very messy indeed.
4 – Family
Family can be a big factor when it comes to switching club, especially if you’re moving across the world. The footballer is asking their partner to give up their job, friends, family and life in their previous country to move elsewhere so he can play for – hopefully – a better club.
Some partners may happily welcome the move but others, I’m sure, don’t and this will have a hand in the player’s eventual decision.
5 – Personal preference
Last but not least, I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes the player just doesn’t want to come to Arsenal. Whether he wants to play under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United or he doesn’t want to play for a former rival, it’s up to them. They’re human at the end of the day and they’re not always 100% motivated by money.
And if you think about it, how many players have said they haven’t come to Arsenal because they didn’t want to be managed by Arsene Wenger? Now compare that to how many have.