“Mikel Arteta lined up by Barcelona”
“Real Madrid to launch fresh transfer bid for Arsenal star Jesus”
“Man City ‘monitoring’ Arsenal star Bukayo Saka”
“Liverpool send Gabriel Martinelli transfer message”
“Paris Saint-Germain ‘keeping an eye on Arsenal’s William Saliba'”
It is a testiment to Arsenal’s return as a force in England that our top players are getting linked to Europe’s elite and rich.
Arsenal are a 2nd tier club when it comes to the transfer food chain. Always have done, always will be.
Top tier are the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United Manchester City and Chelsea. The latter two due to their financial power.
We sit in the 2nd Tier alongside Liverpool,Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid and PSG (who have the money but do not really have the pull).
Below us in Tier 3 is the likes of Napoli, Tottenham, RB Liepzig, Sevilla, Ajax, Newcastle (with their new found riches), Roma, and whoever else is top 4 or 6 in Spain at the time.
Whether you like it or not, we have never really “eaten from the top table”.
Those in the top tier tend to be able to attract players from every tier below them. Tier 2 get the scraps who Tier 1 no longer want (think Gabriel Jesus, Alexis SAnchez, Mesut Ozil), and buy the best from below them.
Tier 3 buy the tier 2 “rejects” and the best from those below, and so on.
Even when Arsenal were invincible, winning league titles for fun and making Champions League semi-finals and finals, our players were still linked with moves away.
Thierry Henry (to Barcelona) and Patrick Vieira (to Real Madrid) were two transfer sagas that occured every summer for 4 or 5 years during the early 00s.
And topping the league did not stop Real Madrid coming in for Nicolas Anelka and Barcelona signing Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit.
As we fell off our perch, players were picked off left right and centre from those above and around us.
Ashley Cole went to Chelsea, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Kolo Toure to Man City. Cesc Fabregas, Alex Hleb and Alex Song went Barcelona whilst Robin van Persie went to Manchester United.
These were players we did not want to sell, but those clubs from the top table manufactured moves to buy.
In exchange, we got William Gallas, Mikel Silvestre, Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech, David Luiz, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Willian.
The top tier buy who they want, when they want, and cast off their rejects to clubs below them.
Yes, we signed Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona and Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, but both of these were deemed surplus to requirements. It is the same for Martin Odergaard, Gabriel Jesus and Alex Zinchenko.
When Barcelona sold us Sanchez, they had just signed Luis Suarez to go with Lionel Messi and Neymar. The Chilean was 2nd string.
And when Manchester United came in for Sanchez, they got their man despite us not wanting to sell. And in exchange we got Henrikh Mkhitaryan, a player they no longer wanted to keep.
Likewise Real Madrid decided Ozil was expandable having signed Isco and Gareth Bale.
Through in Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel di Maria and Luca Modric, Madrid no longer needed Ozil.
But for a while, our players have not been linked with these “big moves” top Europe’s Elite.
In fact, for many of our players, we struggled to find a buyer.
The likes of Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis were paid to leave. Whilst Alexandre Lacazette, Hector Bellerin, Luiz, Willian, Sead Kolasinac, Calum Chambers and Welbeck left for nothing.
And when we did get a fee, it was not really anything to shout about. We were just glad to get the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Davis Ospina, Laurent Koscielny, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Lucas TorreiraCarl Jenkinson, Joel Campbell and Lucas Perez off the books.
Finding someone willing to spend any sort of money was hard enough – let alone big money.
It was only really with Joe Willock, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alex Iwobi and Emiliano Martinez that we were in a strong negotiating position with.
Decent players who were no longer needed by us, but were could enough to command a decent fee.
So I am delighted when I see our players linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juvenus. Or Manchester City and Manchester United again.
And it is not because I want to sell them.
It shows that we have players that would interest other top teams. Whom they would pay big money to secure.
Whilst they are at Arsenal, they are putting in fantastic performances that our rivals take note.
And if (and more likely when) they do leave, we can command top dollar for them to re-invest.
And as the saying goes, a rising lifts all boats.
If your top end players are garnering interest (and big money) from rivals, than those at the next level also see their price naturally rise.
We saw that with Liverpool when they got decent transfer fees for average players just because they were seen at the time as being a successful club.
I do not fear losing the players we have.
We are now in a similar situation as 2007-ish where we have some exciting young talent. It is now important that we continue to build on them so that they can win the trophies they desire whilst in North London.
If we do not win trophies, then it is only natural that they seek success (and huge contracts) elsewhere.
In the late 00s & early 10s, the likes of Clichy, Song, Fabregas, van Persie and more left and became key components to title winning teams. Had they stayed at Arsenal another couple of years they might have led us to glory. But our board (and mangement) at the time were unable to match their ambition.
You match the ambition of Saliba, Saka & Martinelli, they will not join PSG, Man City or Real Madrid. You fail to match their ambition and they will be out the door.
Our players being linked away is just another sign that we are back!
One note, Chelsea is definitely not more powerful in financial terms than us. Smaller stadium, smaller fanbase, smaller merch, KSE is – at least equal and probable – financial stronger than Boehly consortium.
Agree with the general premise of this piece, it`s always a good thing when your players are linked with big money moves away. It`s a little bit unsettling but it shows that you`re doing well where it matters most, out on the pitch.
I think you`ll see us getting decent offers for our squad players soon as well. This is all the result of good coaching, Arteta is not only improving players but he`s found a system of play that highlights strengths and hides weaknesses.
Have to disagree with your list of top tier clubs. I`m not sure Juventus, Chelsea (post Abramhovic) or even Bayern Munich have that much more of a pull than us. I think the nation state clubs, PSG, Man City and pretty soon Newcastle have bought their way to the top table. However, Man Utd, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the only clubs who truly dwarf us in terms of REAL financial potential and even Barcelona are in danger of slipping out of that category.
Back in the 30`s and right through to the early to mid 50`s, The Arsenal were head of the footballing food chain in terms of financial might and global appeal. Sadly for us, there was no European football in those days and the transfer market had yet to go global otherwise we`d easily be sitting alongside Madrid, Barca and Man Utd at the top table.
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