Friday, August 17, 2012

Is Arsenal FC a selling club?

Well if it walks like a duck, quack like duck then it must be duck, the behavior of Arsenal over the past couple years will suggest that we are very much a selling club, the club is behaving like a stock broker, buy low sell high and players are the commodity. For the past several years Arsenal have been buying cheap, young unknown talented players then invest very heavily into their development turning them into world class play makers  in demand football stars then selling them to the highest bidder. Because of this Arsenal is in a state of perpetual rebuilding simply since we continue to sell players that make up the core of the squad, players we should build the squad around. The problem is, "if a player wants to leave, there is very little the club can do to stop that player" and in this world of crazy money players are going to come up with rubbish every reason under the sun to justify them leaving instead of admitting they are leaving for more money. Arsenal’s financial guidelines makes perfect business sense but in today’s footballing world does not make much footballing sense.

Most of the players who left Arsenal leave because of money, with maybe the exception of Cesc Fabregas who I truly believe just wanted to return to his beloved Barcelona and if I am not mistaken took a pay cut to do so, however Barcelona only wanted him after Arsenal made him the player he is today, we gave him that chance to shine and Cesc Fabregas used Arsenal as a stepping stone back to Barcelona, I believe it was always his intention to leave since day one. It is now being reported that Alex Song might be leaving Arsenal for Barcelona and by the time you read this, it may already have been a done deal but here is a player who came to Arsenal when he was 17 for only £2.75m. He is now world renowned in demand Master Midfielder and once again Arsenal might be losing another one of their best players and its back to the drawing board, building and rebuilding like Fraggles in Fraggle Rock.

If I am reading this correctly Wenger is saying the Song can leave because we have adequate cover in midfield but having adequate is not the issue, the real issue here is having the best cover and the best man for the job is Song. Most of the players he listed only play if Song is injured or having a bad day... They are good but not as good a play maker like Alexandre Dimitri Song Billong .

Our Rivals are winning trophies simply because we keep selling our best players to them, last season I looked at Manchester City celebrate winning the title and all I saw was former Arsenal players lifting the trophy.

Summer Clearance Sale:
It seems almost every summer the big rich clubs (Barcelona, Chelsea, Manu and Man City, Real, Inter) line up at Arsenal’s gate waiting to buy our players like buyers at Billingsgate fish market. To them Arsenal is like a summer garage sale with quality merchandise to sell. During the transfer window Arsenal is targeted, I see no other club being targeted as much as Arsenal FC. These big rich clubs are happy when Arsenal buy cheap, young underdeveloped players because they know in a couple years’ time these players will be well trained, fully developed, become master of their craft and cheap.

A question was asked of me as to "why Arsenal is targeted more than any of the other club". The simple answer is because of Arsenal’s financial guidelines, we are cheaper than the big rich clubs and we produce top quality players which makes us the center of market activities. It is not hard to lure our players away, it is very easy. Players who are at Arsenal now are at Arsenal because the Big Rich Clubs have not yet come a calling. The days of club loyalty by players is over and young players come to Arsenal because Arsenal have a reputation of turning young unknown players into in demand football masters, it is the best place to develop. Arsenal FC is being used by young players as a stepping stone and by big rich clubs as a source of cheap developed talent and all because of our Financial Guidelines which by the way is Good for the Club business wise.

Cesc Fàbregas joined Arsenal at Age 16 in 2003 because he believed he would have limited opportunities if he stayed at Barcelona, became Arsenal Captain in 2008, left Arsenal went back to Barcelona in 2011 for an initial fee of £35m, he was making £110,000 a week at Arsenal.

Robin Van Persie joined Arsenal in 2004 for £2.75 million, he became Arsenal Captain in 2011 and leave Arsenal for Manchester United for £24million after that club agreed to pay him a weekly wages of £250,000, £12.2m-a-year, Arsenal had offered him £130,000-a-week but that was not good enough. What really bothers me is not that we sold RVP but that we sold RVP to a top 4 rival like Manchester United or to any club in in the Premiere League. If Wayne Rooney wanted away from Manu, would Alex Ferguson sell him to Arsenal...? I think not!!!! RVP should been sold to another country, in another league... The fact that he is still playing in the Premiere League and at Man United is just disgusting and an insult to all Arsenal supporters.

Samir Nasri Joined Arsenal in 2008 for a fee of £12 million, reason for joining “Arsène Wenger gives great opportunities to young players”. In 2011 he transferred to Manchester City for a fee of £25 million cursing Manager, club and supporters on his way out and doubling his weekly wages to £175,000.

Gail Clichy Joined Arsenal in 2003 at the age of 16, in 2011 Clichy joined Manchester City for a fee of £7 million, Clichy’s salary increased from £58,000, excluding bonuses, to over £90,000 a week.

Kolo Toure Joined Arsenal in 2002, for a fee of £150,000, in 2009 he joined Manchester City for a fee of £16 million and then helped them secure the services of his Brother Yaya from Barcelona. In 2010 Kolo Toure was the world’s third highest paid defender with £470,000 per month, totaling £5.5 million per annum.

Ashley Cole was created by Arsenal, emerging from the youth system to become one of the best defenders. Cole has a nose for smelling cash and quickly picked up the scent from Stamford Bridge. At least he was somewhat honest enough to admit that he left for the money after demanding £60,000 a week Arsenal only offered him £55,000 a week. Later he signed for Chelsea for £90,000 a week and to add insult to injury they threw in that whining Bitch William Gallas and the dressing room was never the same again.

Mathieu Flamini Joined Arsenal on a free Transfer and left Arsenal on a Free Transfer even after the club offered him £50,000 a week to sign an extension contract. He joined AC Milan who offered him double the amount, he never realized his full potential after leaving Arsenal.

Alexander Hleb Joined Arsenal in 2005, played some good football in 2007-2008 then jumped shipped for the great Barcelona for £11.9 million he then fell off the face of the footballing world.

Emmanuel Adebayor Joined Arsenal in 2006 for £3 million, in 2009 Adebayor transferred to Manchester City for a fee of £25million and a weekly wage of £170,000.

Alex Song completed his £15m move to Barcelona from Arsenal. Song, who had two years left on his contract, joined Arsenal as a 17-year-old from French side Bastia in 2005.He initially arrived on a one-year loan deal, with a £2.75m fee agreed to make the move permanent. However Song has found first-team opportunities at Barcelona hard to come by and now wants to leave.

Theo Walcott will get a special mention here even though he is still with the club for now. Rumor has it they he refuses to sign a new contract, yes Theo!! Here is a player who use to trip over his own legs, it got to the point where most Arsenal supporters wanted him gone, he was not making an impact like Fàbregas and would totally melt in front of goal but the Club and the Manager did what they do best, invest in the development of the player and now that the player is making an impact he wants more money or else he is away? Walcott is demanding a wage hike, from his current weekly salary of £60,000 to £100,000 however it is reported that Arsenal is offering an increase of £80,000-a-week and i expect him to laugh in their faces and walk, if not this season then next.

Is Arsenal FC A club without Ambition?
The idea that Arsenal Football Club is a club without Ambition is total rubbish, unless you measure ambition by the amount of crazy money you are willing to throw around and how much debt the club can acquire. Above is just a small sample of the quality players Arsenal and Wenger brought to the club, they are good, quality world class players and the club invested in their development but they all left questioning the clubs ambition to sign quality players, they were the quality players and was entrusted to win us titles. They complain that they want trophies, they who are entrusted to score goals and win matches.

As Agent86 said to me …. “I also feel that the players who leave have no spine. What bigger challenge (or way to pay back the faith the manager had in you) than to stick around and win trophies? Taking the easy way out and jumping ship makes you a weaker character to me than chasing more money, even if it is your right to do so“…. And I totally agree with him.

The Real Sugar Mac Daddies of the English Premiere League

At the root of the problem is financing and it all started when British owners decided to cash in and cash in big. This started what is now known as the Sugar Daddy Syndrome as clubs that had problems mastering traditional squad building techniques decided to just throw in the towel and throw money at the problem. All previous attempts at squad building failed so they decided to sell the club to the richest Sugar Daddy they could find who would then proceed to throw crazy money at players as if they were precious metals, (classless new money types are the preferred choice) . The price of players began to sky rocket like the price of Gold and Oil.

Difference between Real Investors and Playboy Owners:
Real financial investors invest in a business, they invest to make a profit and the actual business though important is not their primary goal, the club they purchase is a means to a financial end. They make decisions to maximize their profit margin and those decisions may or may not be in the best interest of the club and they will never put the clubs interest above their own. The owners of Manchester United and Liverpool fall into this category.

To a mega rich playboy there is no difference between purchasing a club, a mega yacht or a fleet of Lamborghinis, they all hold equal value and provide equal source of enjoyment, they are just play things to enjoy until they no longer add any enjoyment to their lives. They do not buy these entities to make money, money is not their problem the fact is, they have so much money coming in and not enough time to spend it or things to spend it on. To them buying a club is just another way to throw around excess cash on weekend hobby, turning cash into capital assets. The owners of Manchester City and Chelsea fall into this category.

Not all of the Sugar Daddy ventures worked out, some clubs and fans were tricked into believing that they were getting a Sugar Daddy to beat all Sugar Daddies who would start throwing crazy money around but instead ended up with owners who just drag their clubs deeper and deeper into debt.

The first real Sugar Mac Daddy was Roman “Macadocious “ Abramovich who bankrolled Chelsea Football Club, the 68th richest person in the world, with an estimated fortune of US$12.1 billion and he was not afraid to transfer large amount of his funds from his personal Bank account into the clubs Bank account.

Players all over the world began to pick up the scent of money and the market became a feeding frenzy, loyalty to club, fans and country was now a thing of the past as players began to shout that now famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire …..”Show Me the Money!!!” to their Managers.

Some clubs, fans and players saw what Chelsea FC had achieved and declared that they wanted some of that but Sugar Mac Daddies like Abramovich are hard to come by. Clubs were sold to people and groups they perceived as Free Spending Macs only to end up with owners who are not idiots but money grubbing business men acting in their own self interest.

Manchester United owners the Glazer families are not interested in throwing vulgar crazy money into a club and in fact spend more time taking money out of the club. The club is in debt up to their eyeballs, to the amount of $530 million and it is getting worst every day, plus floating the clubs shares on the New York Stock Exchange is going the same direction as Facebook, down, down, down. The Glazer family does not exist to serve Manchester United but Manchester United exists to serve the Glazer family.

Liverpool FC also thought they got themselves two Free Spending Mac Daddies in owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. But Hicks and Gillett loaded the club with debt causing unmanageable debt management problems. In 2011 British MPs was warned by one of UEFA’s most senior officials, that Liverpool FC’s debt (the club is £350m in debt) problems brought them within hours of administration.

Only one other club achieved the Chelsea like Sugar Mac Daddy status and that is Manchester City Football Club. City was acquired by the Abu Dhabi United Group a United Arab Emirates (UAE) private equity company owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family and Minister of Presidential Affairs for the UAE (cha ching!!!), they also manage oil reserves worth an estimated $1trillion (£555billion).

Manchester City has reported an annual loss of £194.9m for 2010-11, the biggest in English football history but since owners are allowed to spend their vast fortunes on their clubs this means nothing when that owner is the Abu Dhabi United Group, I suspect Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan spends that amount in a week on cars.

And Again!!! … Players all over the world began to pick up the scent of money but instead of Stamford Bridge their hound dog like noses are pointing towards the North of England to Manchester City and again to justify them jumping ship, bailing on their fans and club they then turned around and accused their club of not having any ambition. It is very clear how they define ambition, if you cannot pay me what Manchester City, Barcelona or Chelsea is offering then clearly you have no ambition, you are a bum!

The current financial system is not sustainable for the vast majority of clubs, they do not have unlimited amount of funds to enter this crazy market, they cannot rack up debt year after year. This is a bubble like the housing bubble, this is a footballing bubble and it will burst if something is not done to normalize the market. European governing body Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations mean all clubs must restrict their losses between 2013 and 2015 to just £38m and Clubs which fail to comply with Uefa's new financial fair play rules could face player bans and points deductions.

Breaching the regulations could be forced to cut their squads if they continue to buy players while recording such losses, adding that Uefa might exclude teams from European competition altogether if infringements are particularly severe.”

Only time will tell how this will end, I fear something drastic must happen to force clubs to think and act sensibly. It is only when a top four club goes into administration will the clubs wake up and burst the bubble bringing these players back down to earth.

  • Chelsea - £191m (up from £174m in 2009-10)
  • Manchester City - £174m (£133m)
  • Manchester United - £153m (£132m)
  • Liverpool - £135m (£121m)
  • Arsenal - £124m (£111m)

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