The common-or-garden supervisor’s press convention has been one of many central breeding grounds of misdirection in sport and, on Sunday, that of Arsene Wenger featured a line that didn’t a lot stretch credulity, however tear it fully in two.
Discussing the state of affairs during which Arsenal’s two finest gamers, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, have been allowed to enter the ultimate yr of their contracts, Wenger claimed it was “a really perfect state of affairs” for the membership.
That may seem an inversion of logic, but there’s an argument that a participant with one yr remaining on his contract would play at a excessive degree to impress golf equipment. The difficulty is that, when Wenger tried to increase on his preliminary argument, he went in a unique route and what adopted did not actually make any sense.
“While you’re a soccer participant, you carry out till the final day of your contract. Whether or not you’ve gotten two or one yr left, it does not change,” he mentioned.
If that’s the case, then, there isn’t any profit in any respect to winding a contract down.
It was then put to Wenger that, if Ozil and Sanchez left on free transfers, £72.5m of funding would stroll out of the Emirates Stadium door without cost.
“Even when that occurs, it does not matter,” the Arsenal supervisor responded.
Whereas Wenger did make a considerate level concerning the dramatic escalation in switch charges that means extra gamers would run down contracts if events are unwilling to pay full value, it merely is not credible to explain as “excellent” what is occurring with the contracts of Ozil and Sanchez, in addition to these of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere.
In a summer season of giant spending, how can it’s “excellent” that, on account of his contractual standing, charges being mentioned for Sanchez quantity to half of what he could be value, had been his contarct one yr from expiring?
Furthermore, how can it’s “excellent” that, on Jan. 1, Ozil might announce he has agreed to maneuver to Bayern Munich — or anyplace else — on a free switch on the finish of the season?
How in any understanding of the phrase can it presumably be “excellent” that Arsenal might lose their two most respected gamers for nothing in underneath 12 months’ time?
And so the query turns into why Wenger tried to decorate it up in such a means. Maybe it was an try to attract consideration away from the truth that Arsenal have reached such a state of affairs on account of a scarcity of foresight and inept technique relating to senior contracts. (The membership successfully admitted as a lot themselves once they appointed contract specialist Huss Fahmy from Crew Sky earlier this summer season.)
However it’s too little, too late and the practices of Arsenal’s rival golf equipment are instructive in highlighting the hole which they should shut. At Chelsea, barely every week has handed this summer season with out the membership asserting participant has gone out on mortgage solely after signing a brand new contract on the membership. Kurt Zouma, for instance, joined Stoke after penning a six-year deal.
Arsenal, against this, despatched Wojciech Szczesny off to Roma on mortgage final season, then allowed him to enter the final yr of his deal this summer season and allowing Juventus to signal the potential inheritor to Gianluigi Buffon for round £10m.
Chelsea’s coverage is proof of a extra developed technique however, admittedly, it’s not actually related to gamers of Sanchez or Ozil’s calibre. For that, we have to look to Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino’s identikit contract signing pose has change into the stuff of web legend, however it might solely evolve right into a meme as a result of it was so ubiquitous.
Spurs are superb at getting their finest gamers to signal new contracts, typically getting in early sufficient that they’re tied down earlier than they begin asking for prohibitive salaries. Harry Kane, the very best striker in England, is reportedly on a base wage of £90,000 per week; when Dele Alli signed a six-year deal in September, it was his second new deal in 9 months.
It’s true that Ozil and Sanchez arrived at Arsenal as fully-formed, world stars and commanded salaries reflecting that. They’re mentioned to be demanding wages of nearly £300,000 per week.
However whereas apparent comparisons with gamers at different golf equipment are usually not simple, the central level stays Arsenal’s lack of ability to correctly handle this aspect of the soccer enterprise. That may pretty be described as being removed from “a really perfect state of affairs.”
Tom is one among ESPN FC’s Arsenal bloggers. You’ll be able to comply with him on Twitter @tomEurosport