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Are we making the same mistakes?

I apologise in advance if my cynicism may unnerve some people. But I have to be totally honest about how I'm feeling and where we are as a club right now.

In the Summer of 2019, Raul Sanllehi claimed that the days of Arsenal losing players on frees/entering the final 12-months on their contract was over. Gone are the days where we would receive paltry fees (or in some cases nothing at all) for our star/promising players. It is quite remarkable how the likes of Ramsey, Sanchez, Cazorla, Wilshere, Gnabry, Monreal and Reine-Adelaide all left for a combined sum of around £7m.

However, having seen the contract expiration dates for the Summer of 2021, it appears we have not learned our lesson.

Contracts expiring in 2021:

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang
Bukayo Saka
Mesut Ozil
David Luiz
Sokratis
Shkodran Mustafi

This is a very dangerous situation.

I'm not going to talk about Ozil because that's been done to death and I'm sure everyone knows how much his £350k p/w wages have drained us financially.

Who knows what's going to happen with Aubameyang in the Summer. But I am 90% sure he will be gone if a bid comes in for him. Letting our best player run his contract down like this has been a massive mistake - deja vu.

RE the centre-backs: I know all 3 have had their weak-points, however, I would be reluctant to dispose of all 3 of those centre-backs in the Summer. Ideally get rid of Mustafi/Sokratis and keep Luiz.

Bukayo Saka is the one I am worried about which is why his name is in bold. With Aubameyang, I am already resigned to losing him. But I didn't anticipate this. According to The Telegraph, Liverpool, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are all reportedly monitoring his situation at Arsenal, as contract talks have broken down, and we are going to risk him entering his final 12-months on a £3,000 p/w deal. I would be livid if we let him go. He's been one of the very few bright sparks in a catastrophic season, and has been a revelation. Despite the instability on and off the pitch, he has put in a series of superb performances at LW/LWB. This is yet another player whose future should have been clarified before. And if we do sell, we are likely to have our pants pulled down. AGAIN.

Which brings me onto our Head of Football - Raul comes across as a very slippery, duplicitous character. I still am not sure how much credibility his word has. He has the gift of the gab, and knows how to keep the supporters sweet. But whether this is the man who has the foresight, vision and acumen to propel us in the right direction is something I am less assured about.

I was listening to an Arsenal podcast the other day and the people on there (Tim Payton of the AST being one) were saying they're still not sure where the accountability lies. Why our structure is so different to most other clubs; who is actually in charge of the club; why Raul, a super agent as opposed to a proper footballing man, has acquired so much undemocratic power; why neither he or Vinai has a seat on the board.

It's funny because, under the previous regime, we were left baffled by what roles people held in the club and who was meant to be responsible for what.

Despite going through a major restructure almost 2 years ago, there are still just as many questions as before.

Has much really changed at all?

posted on 13/2/20

Telegraph are saying Arsenal are willing to let Saka run his contract down until the final 12 months as they want to negotiate terms in the Summer, rather than right now.
_____________

I hope that's not right, but I would take anything from any paper with a pinch of salt, obviously they want to get clicks and a story like this would do that. Time will tell I guess.

Agree with the transfers, whenever we've spent big lately it hasn't been spent well enough and we've not been finding enough gems. Hopefully we're seeing the future plan with bigger money signings like Saliba and Pepe being balanced out with gems like Martinelli, Guendouzi & some youth players.

posted on 14/2/20

Remember when people blame Wenger for letting run contracts down. Nothing you can't do about it. Sell them in time for good money and move on.

posted on 14/2/20

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang
Bukayo Saka
Mesut Ozil
David Luiz
Sokratis
Shkodran Mustafi

That list is somewhat understandable.

Auba will want huge money but is getting on and we could end up stuck with a declining player taking up massive wages.

Ozil is simply overpaid, nothing can be done now.

Saka has only just broke through, it would be foolish to have signed up youngsters on big money long term contracts until they've actually done something.

The others, well it would be a mistake to tie them up on long contracts because it's doubtful anyone will pay for them and we'll be wanting to improve.

I say all that as a usually harsh critic of the way our club operates but in this circumstance I don't think they've done too much wrong (bar previous errors like Ozil's monster contract and signing subpar defenders).

comment by Samir (U2630)

posted on 14/2/20

comment by Gunnerthru (U6675)
posted 1 hour, 30 minutes ago
Remember when people blame Wenger for letting run contracts down. Nothing you can't do about it. Sell them in time for good money and move on.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

GT, there are things you can do about it. But it requires being proactive and not taking your eye off the ball (proverbially).

As a general rule of thumb (and I appreciate with some cases it isn't that simple especially with youth), you should look to renegotiate terms with a player when they have 2 years left on their contract (to protect their value if nothing else). If they are reluctant to sign, sell them and bring a replacement in.

It doesn't matter how good a player is - if that player isn't committed to the club, then get rid.

comment by Samir (U2630)

posted on 14/2/20

comment by Scruttocks (U19684)
posted 1 hour, 25 minutes ago
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang
Bukayo Saka
Mesut Ozil
David Luiz
Sokratis
Shkodran Mustafi

That list is somewhat understandable.

Auba will want huge money but is getting on and we could end up stuck with a declining player taking up massive wages.

Ozil is simply overpaid, nothing can be done now.

Saka has only just broke through, it would be foolish to have signed up youngsters on big money long term contracts until they've actually done something.

The others, well it would be a mistake to tie them up on long contracts because it's doubtful anyone will pay for them and we'll be wanting to improve.

I say all that as a usually harsh critic of the way our club operates but in this circumstance I don't think they've done too much wrong (bar previous errors like Ozil's monster contract and signing subpar defenders).
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I understand that contract negotiations aren't easy and there are multifaceted issues to take into account. But if that's the case, don't assertively claim that players are going to stop running their contract down if you can't guarantee it. Raul clearly said that to appease the fans.

As stated earlier, we should have tried to sort out Auba's contractual situation last Summer if we knew he only had 2 years left on his deal. Now it's looking like it won't be sorted until the Summer, where he has more control over what to do.

People talk about his age, but he is a natural goalscorer, who rarely gets injured, and hasn't showed any signs of slowing down. There are plenty of strikers in their 30s that can perform at the top level. Age should only be a factor if you can see a decline in performance. There's been no tangible evidence of that.

The only CB I would be interested in keeping is Luiz. He's performed well under Arteta, has a unique distribution range and is a really influential figure on/off the pitch.

With younger players, it's a tricky one to manoeuvre. On one hand, you don't want to give them lucrative wages for a breakthrough season and let them dictate terms from an early age. On the other hand, you have to pay market rate to retain these players if you don't want them flourishing at other clubs.

Most people who have watched Saka have said he's the most talented prospect from all the Hale End youth. And that he is the one who looks most likely to become world class. He's 18 and has 8 assists for us this year, despite not being a regular starter, playing under 3 different managers and having been forced to play out of position.

It's a difficult balance to get. We cannot risk letting a player that good leave though. Unless he and his agent are asking for outrageous money. Baring in mind he's on £3,000 a week.

posted on 14/2/20

Raul changed the way contracts are done for players coming in after he joined. These contracts were from before he joined.

The real problem is not not learning from our past mistakes but the cheapskate owner not investing in the team. He's got billions richer in the time he's owned Arsenal but last year our actual spend on players was £38m if you dont include the £50m owing on Pepe that they said was coming out of future transfer funds. Buy cut price players and they wont all be good. we've done well with the likes of Torreira, Martinelli and Guendouzi.although they still have to prove they are top players (less so Martinelli) and we still have massive unaddressed issues to resolve, most notably quicker transition in midfield.

posted on 15/2/20

comment by Gunnerthru (U6675)
posted 1 day, 8 hours ago
Remember when people blame Wenger for letting run contracts down. Nothing you can't do about it. Sell them in time for good money and move on.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Yep, guess it turns out they were wrong to do so huh. given that he's been gone nearly two years and it's still happening.

posted on 15/2/20

Saka's is the only one of those players I care about keeping. Auba, not bothered, great if he stays, good luck to him if he goes. Sokratis and Mustafi, fine so long as they're replaced with better. Ozil I want gone NOW. His stank ass is the big hurdle for ALL club negotiations at the moment.

Sorry OP you actually can't discuss our contracts situation, leaving out Ozil. He is at the centre of our contract problems at the moment. The financial drain is obvious. But this is about how his contract influences the other players whilst completely undermining the negotiating position of the club. Every single player due to negotiate, can point to how utterly sh!t Ozil has been and be well within their rights to demand not a penny less, than 150k a week for their services. MORE than justifiable, based on what we pay Ozil for his performances.

We will get either hauled over the coals or lose a player for chump change, with EVERY SINGLE reneg deal from now until Ozil is gone. As long as he's here, the club hasn't got a leg to stand on when negotiating with any of the others. None of you would put up with him getting 350k and you only 20 or 30 if you were bloody XHAKA let alone Saka. So dunno why anyone is expecting our players (especially the ones shining) to put up with that sh!t either. I swear, the quicker Ozil's blindass fanboys learn to see and become his booboys to get him out of here, the better. We shoulda sent his ass home last season and told him to feckin stay there! We WOULD be better off for it.

comment by Samir (U2630)

posted on 15/2/20

I didn't go into depth about Ozil because everyone unanimously agrees he shouldn't be at the club and his wages are a huge problem. It's been discussed to death.

What's the point of talking about something where everyone will be a broken record?

posted on 15/2/20

Because you have to when talking about how woeful the current negotiating at the club is. His deal is almost certainly a huge part of why we're struggling to get signatures. People are questioning the regime etc, whilst not factoring in the Ozil elephant. Our new people are hamstrung in negotiations BY his contract, in the way I've mentioned. So it's harsh for anyone really to be critical of the player contracts situation and having a go. And needless for anyone to be asking why we're still losing players.

We are losing them because thanks to Ozil's presence, nobody worth keeping is is willing to accept less than 150-200k a week MINIMUM. And we can't pay them that much. Raul didn't get where he has by being a weak negotiator. The problem is that even he, with his super agent skills, is rendered powerless. The second a player says "You pay Ozil 350 and he's been horrendous." It's indefensible as a position and we are losing and wil lose, the negotiation EVERY time.

That secondary impact of his contract, is the one most fans have been overlooking. Thus they sit blaming negotiators for not being able to negotiate from a stonewall LOSS position. And why so many of those said fans are JUST AS CULPABLE for the mess at the club, as the previous regime. Ozil only got that contract because a large number of fans ignorant to that effect, howling for it. I remember distinctly the fuss about how we couldn't possibly let Ozil leave the club and Wenger had to keep him whatever the cost. Despite fans like myself warning he damn sure wasn't worth it and it would hamstring us when negotiating with others.

So nah, stuff quietly brushing it aside and allowing his fanboys to quietly grumble reluctant admittance he should leave. Ozil is at the centre of our contract problems and each of those fans is responsible for that. Make em know it. They been loud enough about how great he supposedly was over the YEARS of sh!t he's given. They deserve every bit of reminding he is sh!t and because of them demanding h!s sh!t, their club is now FECKED! It sickens me the players that have been booed whilst he's been critique Teflon thanks to those fanboys. They deserve every bit of humble pie regarding the damage he has done and is STILL doing. After helping turn our club into the biggest cautionary tale about dumb contracts, in PL football history! All in that has done us for a good 100 mil.

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