No worry about no transfer business for Arsenal

Arsenal fans are starting to get frustrated about the lack of signings. They need to calm the f**k down.

It is early June. Players are on their holiday, or still on international duty. The majority of football is on a well earned break after a long season.

Whenever I hear people moaning that Arsenal have not don’t much business, I take a look at the Premier League website and peruse what business other sides have done. The answer in early June is usually “not much”.

The majority of deals completed so far are either free transfers, youth signings or loan deals turning permanent.

Very little business happens in early June in England.

It was today last season that we made our first non-free transfer signing of the season with Bernd Leno joining the club.

When the biggest deals this summer are Manchester United and Bournemouth signing lower league players, you realise we have not missed out on much.

One of the problems is 24 news and social media. We are inundated with speculation and it feels like not much is happening. They are just trying to fill column inches, raise advertising revenue.

People worry to much about things out of their control.

Maybe worry about things you can influence. Life is easier that way



Why Arsenal signing William Saliba and sending him on loan makes PERFECT sense

Rumours circulated yesterday that Arsenal had agreed terms with 18-year-old French central defender William Saliba. All is to remain is to agree a fee with St Etienne.

Part of the expected deal is that Saliba remains at St Etienne on loan for next season. It is a term that makes complete sense.

Whilst most will question why we are buying a much needed central defender for £20million, only to loan him out, it makes a lot of sense once you work through everything logically.

Saliba will not be Arsenal’s only central defensive signing this summer.

With Shkodran Mustafi likely to be sold, it would leave Arsenal with just 3 senior centre backs. Laurent Koscielny, Sokratis and Rob Holding. Holding is injured and Koscielny is in nearly ready for the knackers’ yard.

It would be a very naive decision if Arsenal let Mustafi leave and do not buy a senior replacement. That senior replacement would not be Saliba.

So let’s imagine Arsenal sold Mustafi and signed a senior central defender – someone aged around 25-years-old and Saliba. It would leave us with:

New CB
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
William Saliba
Calum Chambers
Kostadinos Mavropanos

With 7 central defenders, something would have to give.

For a start, I imagine Calum chambers would be sold. His fee would basically pay for Saliba; getting rid of any budget concerns. That would leave us with 6.

You do not need 6 central defenders in the squad. 5 maximum. That means you can afford to loan someone out. Remember Chambers spent last season out on loan.

So you buy a starting XI replacement for Mustafi. You then buy a replacement for Chambers; who spends a year on loan akin to Chambers spending. The status quo of squad numbers remains the same. 5 central defenders with 1 on loan:

New CB
Rob Holding
Laurent Koscielny
Kostadinos Mavropanos

Loaned: William Saliba
Sold: Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers

It is important that young players play. Over the years so many talented teenagers have failed to progress to senior professionals due to lack of game time.

Saliba is just 18-years-old and has just half a season of 1st team football under his belt. A full season on loan at St Etienne, playing week in week out will return a much better player.

In 2020 Arsenal would then be getting a 19-year-old defender with over 60 senior games to his name. He would then be much closer to challenging for the 1st team.

So let’s fast forward to 2020. Laurent Koscielny leaves. Saliba joins up with the first team:

New CB
Rob Holding
William Saliba
Kostadinos Mavropanos

Sokratis will then  be 32-years-old and have 1 year left on his contract. With the new central defender established having played a full year of Premier League football, it will then be a choice of who plays next to him. Either Sokratis, Holding or Saliba.

Saliba would still be just 19-years-old at this point, so we would not have to rush his development. He could comfortably spend a season as 3rd choice centre back for the 2020/21 season before kicking on to be 1st choice a season later.

Buying a senior centre back to replace Mustafi and then Saliba to replace Chambers and spend a year on loan makes perfect sense. It would show brilliant foresight and succession planning.

And once we shift Chambers, Saliba will have next to zero net impact on our transfer budget.


Should Arsenal follow Dortmund’s lead?

Borussia Dortmund have reportedly cancelled the season tickets of around 500 fans who did not attend a minimum of 7 of their 17 league games.

This last season Arsenal have suffered from empty seats at the Emirates. This is not unsold seats, but unused purchased tickets – many of which are season tickets.

There are many stories floating about of fans who have an empty seat next to them for every game except for the big ones.

Whether these are “fans” who have enough money to miss the majority of games and do not really care; or touts who can make up to £500 a ticket for the big games not being bothered to sell the lesser games for £30. Either way it an issue which Dortmund have shown can be dealt with.

It would not be too hard to create a fair and reasonable criteria that is inserted into the terms & conditions of buying a ticket. This could include:

  • A season ticket must be used at least 10 times during a season (26 home games / 38%)
  • A season ticket is considered “used” if it is posted on he Ticket Exchange – regardless of whether it has been sold
  • The club will issue a warning if a season ticket is used less than 10 times over a season. If it occurs for 2 consecutive season; the owner relinquishes their right to be able to renew
  • In the unlikely event that a fan is long term sick and unable to make 10 games for 2 consecutive season and unable to post tickets for sale on the ticket exchange, they must inform the club. The club reserves the right to request medical records as proof

If the club introduced this criteria, it would ensure those “fans” who have season tickets with no intention of going to the majority of games would no longer keep their season ticket.

It would encourage fans to sell tickets on the ticket exchange if they are unable to attend – ensuring that there seat is filled by someone else.

It also created the caveat allowing for long term illness. Although true fans who are ill for 2 years and unable to attend would likely end up renting out the season ticket elsewhere.

Arsenal should seriously consider implementing this criteria to ensure the stadium remains full when sold out, and more tickets filter down to fans who want to go.

It is our understanding that the club if further investing in the ticket exchange, allowing it to remain open closer to the game. They should also make the Arsenal app easier to buy tickets on.

Alongside the ticket exchange, the club should create a “donate tickets” where fans can donate their unsold ticket to to local children or charities.

Whilst we understand that this would put pressure on Guardians, coaches or teachers to be supervising children outside of normal, we are sure that a free ticket to The Arsenal would outweigh this.

You could have a “donate tickets” option on the ticket exchange which is available regardless of whether or not a game has sold out; with the option closing 2 weeks before the game to enable the school or charity the time to request tickets and organise who is going.

As with anything Arsenal related, you will have fans complaining. You can not please all the people all the time. But the clubs priority should be to have the stadium as full as possible; even if that means removing season tickets off fans who are missing 60% of games.