Arsène Wenger has a code of conduct at Arsenal involving fines of up to £1,000, and Per Mertesacker is his debt collector.
John Kingston, director of Rugby at Harlequins (the rugby union team), spoke to Wenger about disciplining his side when he took charge of them last year. According to the Standard, Arsène told him that it was important to make sure that punishments were “for the good of the group” and not just “because you feel better in an instinctive moment”.
The report also details some of the punishments Wenger has in place at Arsenal. Reportedly there is a £1,000 fine for failing to attend a home game you’re not involved in without the manager’s permission, and a £100 fine for having a newspaper, laptop or phone in the medical room. Mertesacker collects the payments and the fines are doubled if not paid within seven days.
These punishments seem more than fair. Players have plenty of time for themselves throughout the week, so wasting Arsenal staff members’ time in the medical room by not paying attention is unnecessary. Being at home games helps create a sense of togetherness with the team even when you aren’t being selected, so again, that seems like a good rule.
I can’t imagine it’s very easy to dodge Per as a debt collector either. Overall Wenger has probably been in place long enough now to know what works and what doesn’t, so if he thinks these fines are the right way to motivate people, I’m not going to question it.