The transfer market is a medium that is full of hidden agendas, misleading information and everyone involved is only interested in taking advantage of as many people as possible.
Whether it’s clubs trying to sell someone for more than they’re worth, or buy someone for less than they’re worth, or a player trying to move away from a club for more money, or an agent trying to get a player to move for more money, it’s almost impossible to sort the facts from fiction, as there are so many sources trying to put information into the public domain that suits their own cause.
Ideally, you want others to know as little as possible about your transfer plans, as it allows you maximum scope in which to work with. If nobody knows who you are targeting as a purchase, and how much you are willing to spend on said target, then you are far more likely to get who you want at a price you want.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, their transfer plans couldn’t be more well known unless Drake wrote about them in a song.
‘Last name Laca,
First name Alex,
Arsenal need a striker and they’ll send the cash by FedEx.’
That song I just butchered is titled ‘Forever’, which is ironic because Arsenal’s transfer needs have been known for just as long. To make things worse, EVERYONE knows. We are the epitome of a poker player who just walked up to the high-rollers table, and everyone else knows all our tells.
That’s why the current inactivity in the transfer market is so baffling to me. Arsenal have never been as cash rich as they are right now, but are still being as cautious as possible in regards to overpaying for a player that they like. Why is this still happening? Why, when everyone knows that we’re sitting on a pot of gold, are we pretending we’re not?
Just look at Manchester United’s recent transfer activity as a comparison. Just like Arsenal, the world knows that they’re loaded. Do they care? No. They just walk up to a club, ask how much the player is valued at, and pay up. £35m for a player with one year left on his contract? No problem. £100m for a player we let go for free four years ago? No problem.
Arsenal may never be able to afford paying those figures in situations like United find themselves in, but the figures are irrelevant. This summer is the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, that Manchester United are using their financial power to its capacity, and they are paying whatever it takes to get who they want, because they can.
Arsenal, only to a slightly lesser degree, can do the same. If Arsenal want Gonzalo Higuain, they could have him in the morning. The same applies to Alexandre Lacazette, Edinson Cavani, Carlos Bacca, Mauro Icardi, etc etc. Would they have to overpay? Of course, but they can afford to do it.
For years, we’ve had the phrases ‘value for money’ and ‘net spend’ stuffed down our throats, but how much longer can we keep up the pretense that we’re operating under a tight budget when we’ve spent over £40m on two centre midfielders in six months whilst we had Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla at the club?
You only need to look at how many other clubs are using us a way to flush out interest in players that they are willing to sell, to see just how obvious it is to everyone that we need to spend money. Napoli are praying to every deity imaginable that they can think of, to try and convince Juventus to give them a large chunk of the incoming Pogba money. AC Milan are virtually broke and Bacca is the only saleable asset.
All clubs know that they’ll never be in a better position to get as much money out of Arsenal as they are right now, so why don’t Arsenal just accept the position they find themselves in and pay up? Are we so accustomed to saving pennies wherever possible that we’re now gun-shy when it comes to spending extra to get who we want?
If we are, it would be bizarre, considering that we once paid £16m for Calum Chambers, for crying out loud. But it’s far easier to justify over-paying for a young player, when you can factor in future growth as a reason for the initial outlay? But for a 28-29 year old? That rationale is unavailable, and if that’s the only reason we over-pay, then we’re in bother now. Big bother.
If the plan is to wait for a bargain, then it’s a bad one, as someone else will swoop in and out-bid us, turning a bargain into an over-pay. If the plan is to hope that someone tries to force their way out of a club so that they can join us, it’s a bad one because the list of strikers that we would buy in the first place is already small, waiting for someone we like to make a fuss is pointless when we could just buy them anyway.
Transfers can be very complicated at times, but Arsenal’s needs are simple: a world class player. Ergo, our plans should be just as simple. Identify the player you want and find out if he would join us if possible. If so, pay up. If not, find another and repeat. The galling thing about this is that it could be done before the window starts, not at the end of July.
Granit Xhaka was good business but it was only the start of what was needed, and everybody knows it. Fans know, the media knows, and other clubs know too. We’re all just waiting for Arsenal to show their hand, yet Arsenal are waiting for us to look away so that they can do things quietly and without anything pushing up the price of any deals, without the need to do so.
At least there’s a game on against Lens on Friday, though. Woot.