Tag Archives: Barcelona

Sven Mislintat promotion gives peak into Arsenal future

Last night it was announced that Arsenal had promoted Sven Mislintat from Head of Recruitment to Technical Director.

By promoting a scout whose vision of the game is about unearthing stars of the the future gives you a peak into Arsenal’s future.

The club will look to recruit young, exciting talent, and develop that talent into global superstars.

A return to Arsene Wenger’s early philosophy of making, not buying superstars

Earlier this week I had a little discussion with someone over the N’Golo Kante deal.

It was reported by Football Leaks that his agents had pocketed £10.6m from the deal, which would go some way to explaining why Arsenal did not follow up their interest.

Under Arsene Wenger, rightly or wrongly, we often pulled out of deals that saw a huge chunk of money going to agents.

Wenger was a ”purist” and detested agents taking money out of the game. He hated the likes of the Anelka’s who would unsettle their own client and move them from club to club, making millions of pounds in the process.

Sadly to compete for the best players, you have to be willing to deal with the likes of Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola. Dealing with these individuals is a huge reason why Raul Sanllehi was bought in.

The conversation went beyond agents fees and also discussed that Arsenal are still a way behind the likes of Manchester United in terms of wages paid.

Recently it was revealed that Barcelona’s wage bill was approximately €487m, with Real Madrid paying out €395. In 3rd place was Manchester United at €337m. The traditional Big 3 of world football were joined by the Billionaire Boys Clubs of PSG (€272m), Manchester City (€296) and Chelsea(€256m). Juventus (€259m) and Bayern Munich (€265m) were also amongst the top 10.

Arsenal were 10th – paying out around €232m.

Whilst that is a huge amount, it is €100m less than United, whilst Barcelona pay out more than twice in wages than Arsenal.

Wages are often the key to success. The rule of thumb is the more you spend in wages, the more higher you finish up the table. This is obviously on average, so there will always be exceptions to the rule such as Leicester.

What is clear is that Arsenal are still not eating from the top table. We are still unable to pay the top wages to attract the best players. We are still a 2nd tier club behind the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United.

But we were told we moved from Highbury to enable us to compete.

And that was the plan.

The gate receipts from the emirates were meant to bring us back level with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona – who at the time were doubling our gate receipt income.

Back in the early 00s, gate receipts were king. They were the main source of income.

But the game moved on. TV money and commercial deals are now more important than what comes through the gate.

Moving to the Emirates means that Arsenal have the 4th highest gate receipts in world football – behind the big 3 of Man U, Barcelona and Real Madrid. There is not that much in it. TV deals are also fairly neutral – although the figures above are prior to Arsenal failing to qualify for the Champions League.

What is clear is how far Arsenal fall behind when it comes to commercial revenue.

4th in gate receipts but just 10th in commercial revenue – and £162m less than Manchester United.

When we moved, we could not have predicted that the world would change to the extent it has, and that commercial profits would be king.

The thing with commercial income is it is slightly beyond our control. Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid are bigger brands than Arsenal, so will naturally command more from Nike, Adidas, Emirates, AON, etc, for deals.

We are over €100m behind Manchester United in salaries paid and €162m a year behind in commercial revenue. We are still at the 2nd tier. Not at the top table.

Well we should not have moved then you cry.


Had we not moved our gate receipts would have dropped by £40m to £60m. Without the big commercial deals that Bayern Munich get, or having a super rich owner like Manchester City (Stan Kronenke is rich, but doesn’t have £2.7bn he can pump into us) less gate receipts would have left us even further behind.

We would have a similar total revenue as Liverpool – who have won just a single trophy in 10 years. We would be even more reliant on selling players to generate income (Liverpool have sold over £400m worth of players in 5 years, Arsenal just £200m).

The move to the Emirates was supposed to close the gap between Arsenal and those on the top table. The explosion of commercial deals (and Billionaire Boys Clubs) have meant that the move has basically allowed us to maintain our place as a second tier club in European club football.

Hopefully with the new Adidas deal, the Rwanada deal, and other new commercial deals, we will see that gap close up, allowing us to be more competitive.

By promoting Mislintat, Arsenal have shown great self awareness.

We do not have an owner who will pump in £2.7bn of his own, and neither should we expect him to do so.

In European football at the moment, it is only PSG and Man City who have owners bankrolling them. Roman has turned the tap off. Every other club is (attempting at least) to run a self sufficient model. You spend what you bring in.

With a great coach like Unai Emery, and the promotion of Mislintat, Arsenal will continue buying the next global superstars. Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi rather than N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.

Some might see this as the wrong route. That we should be spending hundreds of millions a year on transfers, but this not realistic.

We as fans have to understand that as a club we can not afford to pay the wages of Man U, Barcelona or Real Madrid. Kante is about to sign a £290,000 deal. Alexis Sanchez close to £500,000.

Arsenal are not going to suddenly magic up another £100-150m a year to fund the big transfers.

As Dortmund, Monaco, Atlético Madrid, Liverpool & Napoli have shown, you can build a competitive team through sensible recruitment rather than big money signings.

It is about how you buy, not what you spend.

Good recruitment + good coaching = success.

And Mislintat is key to the future of the club.



How can Arsenal afford Osumane Dembele?

I am going to bring up that word again that I obsessed over recently. The word that got Big Dave Ornstein liking my previous blog before using what I wrote in a BBC interview. That word, of course, is amortisation.

Now why am I bringing it up in a blog about Osumane Dembele? Because it is relevant, that’s why.

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that Arsenal should target the Frenchman. Many responses were that we “can not afford him”. Yet we can. Easily.

Dembele joined Barcelona in the summer of 2017 for €105 million. He signed on a 5 year contract.

A year later, after a tough start to his career in Spain, they are reportedly looking to cut their losses and recoup as much of the transfer fee as they can. And a loan deal with an option to buy seems the way forward.

Big money loan deals with options to buy are not regular in England. Yet in Spain, Germany, France and Italy they are becoming big business. It allows a buying club to get a player on loan for a year or two without needing a big lump of cash to do it. If he works out, they can secure him permanently. If he doesn’t, well they just send him back to where they came from. This sort of deal was seen last year when James Rodriguez went to Bayern Munich from Real Madrid.

The advantage for the selling (or loaning) teams is that they get a player off their wage bill for a couple of years, get a chunk of cash before the loan deal, and a potential for another lump after.

So take Dembele. He originally cost Barcelona €105 million. But he has already been there a year, so his book value, or what Barcelona have left to declare in their accounts, is €84 million. Were Barcelona to accept this for him, they would be able to dispose of what they still have left to amortise and break even within their yearly accounts.

Now let’s say Arsenal do a deal with Barcelona to take the Frenchman on loan for 2 years. Say the deal was at €21 million loan fee. That would split the amortisation of his transfer fee in half.

In simple terms, Arsenal would be covering 1 year of his amortised transfer fee, Barcelona the other. The majority of Barcelona’s “portion” would be offset by the wages they save over the two years.

So fast forward to 2020. Dembele has had a brilliant two years at Arsenal, and we plan to make the deal permanent. The deal was in place 2 years previous. What will that deal be for?

Well at this stage, Barcelona only have €42 million on their books left to pay for Dembele. Could this be how low the agreed fee could be?

It would enable Barcelona to dispose of his transfer fee in the 2020 accounts and be free of him, breaking even on the accounts. Ensuring that they do not need to put additional funds not already set aside to offset a loss.

Arsenal would than be able to start the process again. Give Dembele a 5 year deal, amortising the €42 million over that period. €8.4 million a year.

Could Arsenal really sign Dembele on a 2 years deal for €21 million with an option to buy for €42 million? Yes.

“But where does he fit in” you cry.

Well we could return to playing 4231. Mkhitaryan on one side of Ozil, Dembele the other. But I still think we will play 4321 next season.

This will leave Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Dembele and Iwobi competing for the two behind Aubameyang.

We often moan we lack squad depth, I bet if it happened people would moan we can’t fit them all in.

Remember last season Ozil only started 24 league games. In all competitions he started 33 of the 59 games. That is 26 games he did not play.

Mkhitaryan is also a little bit fragile. He certainly will not start every game next year.

If we play ~60 games again next year, it would not be a major surprise to see Ozil start 35, Mkhitaryan start 35 and Dembele to start 35. Iwobi to start the remaining 16.

This is all just pie in the sky, and Barcelona have recently ruled the deal out. But stranger things have happened in football.


Arsenal need to learn Champions League lessons

There is a lot that Arsenal can learn from Tuesday nights Champions League games ahead of tonight’s tie against CSKA Moscow.

The ultimate lesson is do not try and defend the lead.

Barcelona went to Rome with a 4-1 lead from the home league. They were in a similar situation as Arsenal face tonight. A 3 goal lead, but with the opponents having a crucial away goal.

Whilst Barcelona had the majority of the possession, they did little with it. Pass, pass, pass. Sideways, sideways, sideways. 57% of the possession resulting in just 9 shots.

Manchester City did similar with a 4-0 lead over Basel.

They were leading 4-0 from the away leg, but lost the home leg 2-1. Despite having 78% of the possession, and going 1-0 up, they were just not interested in scoring.

Liverpool in the first half against Manchester City on Tuesday was a similar story. They were defending deep, looking to hold on to what they had rather than increase their lead.

It was only in the second half when Liverpool decided to attack that the momentum of the tie changed. What was looking like being an incredible Manchester City come back ended up with Liverpool leaving the Manchester Commonwealth Games Stadium having won both the battle and the war.

Tonight Arsenal need to be aggressive. They need to come out and play their normal game. To attack. To not let CSKA Moscow get back in the game.

As we saw on Tuesday with both Barcelona and Manchester City, the first goal can change the complexion of the tie.

Manchester City scored in the first 3 minutes. This forced Liverpool even deeper. Had City’s second “goal” not been wrongly disallowed, I am sure they would have gone on to win the game.

Roma were similar. They scored in the 6th minute. And when Daniele De Rossi scored the second goal, Barcelona players looked scared.

In 90 minutes, it is the equivalent of being 2-0 up. You’re in control. Should cruise to the end. A few substitutes come on. Starting to relax. Then it is 2-1. It is hard to then get back on the front foot, get the mentality right, and often it ends up 2-2.

This is the same for Arsenal. At 4-1, we should get through, but we need to show the right attitude. We need to get on the front foot and ensure that we are dictating the game and being a threat. Just a single Arsenal goal in Moscow will change the tie, as it takes out the away goals. But to get that goal, Arsenal need to attack.

We saw is against Ostersunds.

A poor attitude led to sloppy defending which led to the Swedish minnows going 2-0 up after 23 minutes. Arsenal started the goal with the wrong attitude, thinking they could just pass their opponents off the pitch, and nearly ended up paying.

Against AC Milan, leading 2-0 from the away leg, Arsenal conceded first at home. Hakan Calhanoglu scoring from 30 yards looked to change the tie. Luckily Arsenal shook themselves down and responded quickly.

If we go 1-0 down tonight, we could be in for a long 90 minutes as the natural response will be to defend deeper.

Arsenal need to learn the lessons from the Champions League and come out attacking.

Be aggressive and we go through.