Tag Archives: Aaron Ramsey

Why did the “agreed” Aaron Ramsey contract remain UNSIGNED

Aaron Ramsey has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Juventus in the summer in a deal that will earn him over £400,000 a week.

That figure really is astonishing, and one which makes him the highest paid British player.

In June 2017, Arsene Wenger spoke about players running down their contracts.

“In the future, you will see that more and more, players going to the end of a contract,” the Frenchman said “Why? Because transfer [fees] become so high, even for normal players, no one will want to pay the amount of money that is demanded. I’m convinced that in the next 10 years it will become usual.”

The future he saw was one where players sign shorter deals and move more often. That rising transfer fees would mean a collapse of the market, and players would only be bought if teams were desperate, and therefore paying a premium for.

He spoke about the fee-for-loan market increasing. That a club would prefer to pay £10million to secure a player for one-year on loan, then pay £40million to give him a 4-year deal. It has a lot of logic behind it.

Transfer fees in football are odd.

It is pretty much the only sport where you see big money deals. It does not really happen in other sports around the globe.

In American sports, due to less professional teams (there are about 30 professional teams in each major sport in the US. Compare that to hundreds and hundreds of football clubs just in Europe) and little to no external interest in players, transfer fees are pretty much non-existent.

Due to the franchise model, there is a lot more revenue sharing. Teams therefore tend to trade players, draft picks or wait for a player to be out of contract.

In the IPL, cricketers tend to sign 1 year deals. And in the F1, you rarely get longer than the 2 year deal that Lewis Hamilton signed for Mercedes in 2018.

There is simply not a need for transfer fees.

One thing that Wenger did not speak about, however, was that it would also be hugely in a players interest to let their contract run down and move on a Bosman.

We all remember back in 2001 when Arsenal signed Sol Campbell on a free transfer from Tottenham. A report in the Telegraph at the time outlined the deal.

He will not be cheap; conservative estimates suggest that, should he complete his four-year stay and Arsenal enjoy anything near the success they are budgeting for, the central defender will cost more than £20 million. The package is believed to consist of a signing-on fee worth around £2 million a year, £60,000 a week wages, plus bonuses.

18-years on, a £2million signing on fee plus £60,000 a week in wages is low. But back then it was huge news.

Campbell moving from Tottenham to Arsenal did not open the floodgates of free transfers. The only other really big one around the same time (in-fact 2 years prior) was Steve McManaman leaving Liverpool for Real Madrid in 1999.

The size of the Ramsey deal, however, might change things.

In 2018, Juventus signed Emre Can from Liverpool on a free transfer. Reports at the time stated “As a result of the signature of the agreement, Juventus will incur additional costs of 16 million euros (£14m), to be paid over the next two financial years.”

That £14m was basically a signing on fee. Whilst it is not clear who profited from it – likely to be a mixture of agents and the player – it is a huge amount.

The Ramsey deal has much lower “additional costs” – €3.7 million, but that is dwarfed by the huge wages reportedly offered.

Whether a player / his agent receives huge sums in wages or signing on fee it is fairly clear; let your contract run down and get a huge pay day as clubs give what they would have paid in transfer fees to the player.

It is a simple equation really.

Let’s say Arsenal wanted to sign a player under contract. He would cost £50m and wants a £200,000 a week 5-year contract. The total cost to the club would be £91.6m over 4 years.

Now say the same player is available on a free transfer, the club could offer him £400,000 a week and “additional costs” of £3.24million and end up with total costs of just £86.5m.

The buying club saves £5m, and player doubles his wages.

Other players around the globe will look at the Ramsey deal and realise what they can get when they let their contract run down. This will lead them to pushing for shorter term contracts. 4-years instead of 5. 3-years instead of 4.

Clubs will encourage this.

Turned off by huge transfer fees, they will see as a way to cost yearly costs whilst still securing the players they want.

As for the Aaron Ramsey deal, I have seen a few people defend the Welshman by making the claim that “Arsenal withdrew the contract after it had been agreed”. This shows that the PR from Ramsey’s people – trying to make him look the good guy – has worked.

There was a contract on the table that matched Ramsey’s demands, and he and his people were rumoured to have agreed to it. However they did not sign to it.

Whilst Ramsey spoke about his dismay of Arsenal taking a contract off the table that he was happy to sign, the question should be put back on to him, “well why did you not sign it?”

For months Arsenal were in negotiations with Ramsey’s agent – David Baldwin.

Baldwin had recently left Base Soccer to set up his own agency – Avid Sports & Entertainment Group. Ramsey was his biggest client.

Every time Arsenal came close to matching the demands, Baldwin moved the bar higher. He played the game. Constantly pushing the club to offer more and more in wages, knowing that his client would be free to talk to other clubs sooner rather than later.

Eventually Arsenal got fed up of this tactic. After 2 weeks of an “agreed” contract remaining unsigned, it became clear that Baldwin was playing games. He was still talking to other clubs. Arsenal got fed up waiting and pulled the contract.

This apparently upset Ramsey, who did want to sign the contract. For whatever reason he did not sign it – likely to be on the advice of his agent.

The greed of his agent meant the deal got taken off the table, and he had no option but to look around Europe for the best deal possible – pushing Ramsey’s young family to either separate or move abroad together.

Did Arsenal take the contract off the table? Yes
Had the contract been agreed by all parties? Yes
Had the contract been signed by Ramsey and his representatives? No

The fault clearly lies at the Ramsey end of the deal. The delaying tactics by his agent and him not signing the agreed deal led Arsenal to taking it off the table.

This is the future.

As we have seen players and agents can profit more by letting their contracts run down to nothing and leaving on a free.

Eden Hazard has 1-year left on his deal. The same with Christen Erickson. Will there agents now be advising their clients to stick out one last year, and then take a big salary at Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus in 2020?

We move on. We have lost better players than Ramsey in the past.



Mesut Ozil to follow Ramsey out of The Arsenal?

The not so secret  big news broke yesterday that Aaron Ramsey is departing at the end of the season for Juventus.

Ramsey is reportedly getting a bumper wage of anything from £250,000-400,000 a week depending on who you wish to believe and if that’s before or after tax. Either way its a shedoad of money. That not only sets him up royally for life it also sets his kids and grandkids up, so fair play to him for that.

Ramsey’s agents have played a blinder. The final contract from The Arsenal was taken off the table a few months ago after over 18moths of negioations. It was very clear that Ramsey had no intentions of signing the contract, despite having “agreed” it.  I dont really blame him when you look at what Mesut Ozil is getting. The rumoured £200k deal is a lot less than he has ended up getting at Juventus.

For Juventus it’s a no-brainer, they are getting a great player for a max of £20m a season including his wages, its like they signed a £60m player paying him £200k a week, something The Arsenal will have to be looking to do this summer if we want to challenge higher up the table next season. There was no way in the world we could’ve matched the money Juventus are paying out.

Emery clearly has a way of playing in his mind and the type of players he needs. Some thought it would often be a choice of Ramsey or Ozil as the false number 10 this season, but often Emery has dropped both even when fully fit.

It seems the decision to either get Ramsey on a wage that wouldn’t slaughter our already too high wage bill or let him go was taken. I wouldn’t be shocked to see more stories about Ozil leaving to a number of sides in the gutter press and click bait junkies from now until the end of the season.

The sad truth is we need to lower the wage bill to rebuild and Ozil is not worth his huge £350k wages. He has recently crossed a barrier meaning he has missed more games than he has played at The Arsenal.

Right now I wouldn’t give Ozil a monkey a week and all the flat whites he can drink, let alone almost the price of a nice 2 bed flat in Islington per week.

If Emery does not fancy Ozil, we need to get shot and use his wages elsewhere. The £18.2m a year tied up in him could finance a deal for a £50m signing; paying £157k a week. Our outgoings would be the same but emery would be able to recruit someone more suitable to his system.

The rules on increased wages is a burden to us right now. We are miles ahead of the FFP rules and will be further in front come the new commercial deals this summer – which will increase club income by over £40million a year.

We have plenty of cash in the bank and this is before the Champions League places are sorted for next season. But the rule stating that wage costs can only increase by £7m a year will hinder Emery’s plans.

Arsenal are able to get around this rule if they show where additional income came from – and we did in 2017/18 increase the wage bill by £24million. However, the club’s latest financial figures showed the club’s revenue was down more than £40m to £388.2m for the year ending May 31, 2018.

For this season, revenue is likely to remain the same or show another slight drop. It would have been hard for the club to justify a wage increase above £7m this season taking into account the lack of player sales.

With Petr Cech hanging up his hat and Ramsey leaving, Arsenal will also release Danny Welbeck and Stephan Lichsteiner this summer. That will free up around £400,000 in weekly wages – or £20m a year. You add the £7m we can increase under FFP and we are talking about over £500,000 in freed up wages.

That should be more than enough to purchase the central defender, left back, winger and central midfielder (Ramsey replacement) we need.

If we can get all or part of Ozils wages off the books then it really does open things up for Emery to get in more of his players and hopefully a few fit defenders.

As for Ramsey I guess if you call him a legend or not is up to you. A bit like labelling a player “world class” it is subjective. There is no set criteria.

He came back from a very bad leg break, he scored 2 FA Cup winning goals, has been a model pro and father on and off the pitch. Him going over to the Cardiff fans recently shows he’s not forgotten his roots and he is clearly a proud Welshmen.

Will he be missed and still loved as much as when Brady moved to Juventus? Probably not. But fair play to him he is moving abroad and to one of the games greatest ever clubs.

If we play Juventus I would certainly afford him a clap onto and off the pitch, whilst hoping he has a stinker for 90mins.

Hopefully next season when we are in the Champions League, Matteo Guendouzi does to Ramsey what Cesc Fabregas did to Patrick Vieira in 2005.

Ramsey has had 11 years playing for The Arsenal, something we would all sell our Nan’s to do. A lot more have done a lot less for the club and got more credit. I am very sure he will do his best, when picked for the rest of the season. In a game of ego’s and selfish players,  he has kept his head down during his career, not courted limelight or controversy, and is one of life’s gentlemen.

Good luck Ramsey.


Double deal would represent “solid January” for Arsenal

Transfer speculation seems to be intensifying over Arsenal signing Denis Suarez and Medhi Benatia before the end of January.

Whilst neither player would be top of many fans list, and plenty would complain that the club are “recruiting on the cheap” both signings would actually represent a solid transfer window.

On Denis Suarez, I have seen very little of the Spaniard. However he has previously played for Unai Emery at Sevilla, and was signed by Barcelona under Raul Sanllehi. Both men would know a lot more about the player than someone on social media.

I have seen him described as a “Iniesta-lite” which is certainly not mean as an insult considering that Iniesta was one of the greatest midfielders of his generation.

The comparison is more about the style of play. That Suarez likes to keep the ball moving, is comfortable on it, able to create space and create chances for others. Capable of playing in all 3 positions behind the striker, he was once named Manchester City Young Player of the Year.

Barcelona signed him in 2016 with the view of him being Iniesta’s replacement. It has not worked out for him during his second spell at Barcelona.

With Aaron Ramsey set to leave the club, Arsenal need a back up number 10, providing cover for Mesut Ozil. At just £20million, he would represent good value for money.

And good value for money is key.

With Arsenal set not to get a fee for Ramsey, we need to replace him without taken too much out of the pot. We do not want to go and spend big money on an Ozil understudy when we need a first team central defender, left back and winger.

Another thing to take into account is salary.

Suarez is reportedly only on £60,000 a week. That is £50,000 less than the reported £110,000 is on. I imagine Suarez would not be getting a significant pay rise.

Were Suarez to join on a 5 year deal, he would cost Arsenal around £7.12m a year (amortised transfer fee + wages). Ramsey currently costs £5.72m a year (just salary). The financial impact of replacing Ramsey with Suarez is minimal.

The second deal to keep an eye on is Mehdi Benatia.

Arsenal have been linked with the Moroccan  central defender for a number of years – way back in 2013 when he left Udinese for Roma. I doubt a year has gone by when we have not been linked with him.

The rumour doing the rounds is that Arsenal would let Ramsey go to Juventus in January (not cup tied in the Champions League) if they get Benatia in return.

At 31-years-old, many fans would rightly be sceptical about the deal. At face value, it would feel like the Henrikh Mkhitaryan / Alexis Sanchez deal again. That Arsenal are just happy getting anything, anyone, for a player set to leave on a free in the summer.

It would be another defender who is 30+ to go alongside Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis. Another short term option like the Greek and Stephan Lichtsteiner.

I have long had the opinion that Arsenal should not panic buy a central defender in January. That we should save our money for the summer, sell Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers, and invest the £50m we get for the pair into a first choice, first class central defender.

However circumstances change, and Benatia would not be a panic buy.

I saw us going into next season with a new central defender, Sokratis, Rob Holding, Laurent Koscielny and Konstantinos Mavropanos. However, having broken down twice since his return from injury, Koscielny is clearly a busted flush.

It is time for the club to thank him for his service, and allow him the freedom to find a new club in the summer.

That would mean we need two central defenders.

Benatia would not be coming in as a long term option in the middle, but as a mid-term replacement for Koscielny.

As he would not cost a penny, we would still have a full budget available in the summer to buy a long term central defender.

That would leave us with the options next season of new CB, Sokratis, Benatia, Holding, Mavropanos (in no particular order).

We would basically have two experienced defenders, and two younger guys.

In the short term, Benatia makes sense.

Holding is out for the season, Koscielny needs to be written off, and Mustafi has struggled with injuries this season. Mavropanos is also yet to play, and has only 3 senior games to his name in England (one which he got sent off in). Koscielny could have covered in the short term (ie until the end of the season), but it looks like he is no longer capable of doing that.

Losing Ramsey in January, signing Suarez and Benatia, a total spend of £20million. Plenty in the pot to buy another central defender, a left back and a winger in the summer.

Get them both done, our squad is stronger, both are more than a 6-month option, and both are available to play in the Europa League.

Trust Unai. Trust Sven. Trust Raul.