Tag Archives: Real Madrid

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 many Twitter followers does your club have?

In November 2013, I did a little analysis to see who was the most followed football club on twitter. Arsenal came out on top, but what was surprising was that, at the time, Mesut Ozil had more followers than any Premier League football club.

As it is quite at work in my industry with the lead up to Christmas, I have decided to review the blog and update the figures.

To get a proper provisional analysis, the above is a list of teams who were in the Premier League in 2013, and are in it now.

The first interesting analysis is just how much Twitter has grown over the last 4 years. On average, Premier League sides have increased their following by 552%.

Secondly, Manchester United, who in 2013 were the 4th most followed side in the Premier League, are now topping the table.

In 2013, I noted that I was surprised to see Man U in 4th place as they are easily the most supported club in the UK, and one of the most supported in the world. It shows how poor their media team probably were back in 2013.

The growth of Manchester United aside, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have shown a similar growth pattern.

With regards to Liverpool and Arsenal, it shows how strong and historic the clubs are, that they have been able to continue to grow their support without league titles at a quicker rate than the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea who have won league titles. It shows success is not everything.

Saying that, Spurs now languish a long way behind Manchester City. I wonder how many of those fans that follow City had heard of the club when Twitter was first launched back in 2006?

City’s growth over Spurs does highlight that success is very important, especially when it comes to gaining new fans, and foreign fans.

Spurs have not much bigger a following than Everton, an equally unsuccessful side over the last 20 years. It perhaps shows that Spurs fans claim that there has been a power shift, and that they are a massive club, are false.

In terms of Twitter following, Spurs are the 6th most followed in England. They are probably also the 6th biggest club in the country.

It probably also shows the brand of the Premier League that the biggest growers (bar Manchester United) were smaller clubs, lower down the table. I feel a lot of their followers are general fans of the Premier League, rather than fans of the clubs they follow.

The second table is the clubs who were not in the Premier League in 2013, so I have no original data on them. What is interesting is Leicester City.

At 1.1million followers, they would be placed just behind Newcastle. It would have been interesting to see their 2013 data in comparison. I imagine it would have been not too much higher than Southampton. Leicester’s does show just how much success can increase support.

Like success has boasted Leicester, relegation is also clearly damaging.

Those clubs who went down have still grown their twitter following, but at a slower rate than those who stayed in the Premier League.

The 6 teams who are no longer in the Premier League have increased their Twitter following by, on average, 398%. The bottom 6 teams in the Premier League by followers have increased by 557%.

And finally we come on to how the Premier League sides compare to the rest of the world

The first observation is that Real Madrid have overtaken Barcelona since 2013. Although by the time you include alternative languages for both, Barcelona are still ahead.

One interesting thing to note is the Spanish version of Real Madrid’s twitter is followed by more than the English version, but the English version of Barcelona is followed by more than the Spanish version.

Perhaps this indicates that Real Madrid are more popular in Spain, whilst Barcelona are followed more by foreign fans. I know what I would prefer.

Another interesting thing to note is once you remove the English sides, the rest of the world has only grown by 293%. That against the Premier League’s growth of 522%. It shows that in terms of leagues, the Premier League is still the most popular in the world, even if Barcelona and Real Madrid are streaks ahead in terms of individual club.

The last thing to note is how small Celtic are.

With just 551,000 followers, they are not much bigger than Norwich City, and are well behind the likes of Crystal Palace, WBA and Swansea. They might be a big side in Scotland, but it certainly shows they are a big fish in a small pond. And if they ever did join the Premier League, they would be a very small fish in a big pond.

Until next time


Jose Mourinho SOLD XI

In recent years, a lot has been made of Arsene Wenger’s “nearly signings”. I have always defended him by highlighting that anyone who has managed at a top club for the 20+ years he has, would have been near to signing nearly every single top player out there.

If, for example, a manager did not know about a teenage Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar, and not attempt to sign them, then they are clearly not doing their job properly.

Every manager, whether it be Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, or more, would have had many players that they were interested, that they were interested in, talking too, who signed for someone else.

It is a pointless discussion and media outlets printing an XI Arsene Wenger nearly signed are doing so just for the hits, the click bait, the advertising revenue.

What I have found interesting this week, however, is trying to builg and Jose Mourinho Sold XI. Now these players are not the likes of Robin van Persie, Gareth Bale of Cristiano Ronaldo – players who their managers did not want to lose – but players who Mourinho deemed not good enough, or no longer good enough, and actively looked to remove them from the club.

I wonder how this XI would perform:

Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho had a tough decision to make between Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois. Ultimately, neither were going to be happy playing second fiddle, and in the end, Mourinho opted for youth.

Cech is both a Chelsea and a Premier League legend, with more Premier League clean sheets than any other ‘keeper, the 35-year-old won 15 trophies in 11 years at Stamford Bridge. He has won the FA Cup at Arsenal.

Juan Cuadrado

One of a long list of players who Mourinho signed and then did not fancy, the Columbian wing-back joined Chelsea for £23.3 million in February 2015.

6 months later, Cuadrado signed a season-long loan deal with Juventus for €1.5 million – whom he stayed with for 2 years, winning back to back Seria A titles.

Leonardo Bonucci

Widely considered one of the best defenders of his generation in world football, Leonardo Bonucci didn’t make a single appearance under Mourinho at Inter Milan, and was sold to Bari, with Inter receiving just £3.4 million.

A year later, Bonucci joined Juventus for more than £13 million, for whom he made over 300 appearances in 7 years, winning 6 Serie A titles and 6 other major trophies.

After 2 Champions League runners-up medals, the 75 capped Italian joined AC Milan on a five-year contract for €42 million in 2017.

David Luiz

Mourinho allowed David Luiz to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2014 for a £50m fee just a month before a horror show in Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, seemingly justifying the then Chelsea manager’s decision.

Two years later, the Brazilian international rejoined Chelsea.

He  has flourished since returning to the club under different management, though, and is now dubbed an Antonio Conte masterstroke following Chelsea’s Premier League title win in May.

Filipe Luís

A typical Mourinho transfer deal, Luis was signed in July 2014 for a fee of £15.8 million from Atletico Madrid.

Mourinho seemed to not fancy the player almost straight away, giving him just 9 league starts in his first season, before selling him back to Atletico in 2015 for the same as what they signed him for.


Going way back to Mourinho’s debut season at Chelsea, and the serial winner made the decision to sell Tiago to Lyon for a reported €10.1 million. It was a decision that Mourinho later described as a “big mistake”, and more than a decade on, still with Diego Simeone’s expertly drilled Atletico Madrid squad.

The now-36-year-old was key when Atletico won La Liga, as well as reaching 2 Champions League finals.

3 league titles at Lyon and Atletico to go with his one at Chelsea, the defensive midfielder has 6 honours to his name since Mourinho sold him.

Kevin de Bruyne

The Belgian was signed by Chelsea under AVB in January 2012, and played just three league games in two years at Stamford Bridge. Following a highly impressive loan spell at Werder Bremen, Mourinho sold De Bruyne to Wolfsburg in 2014 for £18 million. De Bruyne lit up the Bundesliga, with 16 goals and 20 assists, being named the Bundesliga Player of the Year.

Manchester City snapped him up for £55 million, just 12 months after Jose had let him go, and he has continued his rich vein of form in the Premier League. He scored 16 goals in his first season at the Etihad and topped the Premier League assist charts in his second.

The best player in the Premier League at the moment

Juan Mata

Juan Mata was a fan’s favourite at Stamford Bridge. Brave, skilful, hard-working. He twice won the Chelsea player of the year award, and was regarded by many as key to Chelsea’s hopes of prizing the title away from Manchester.

So, Mourinho decided to go and sell him. To a Manchester club. Mourinho indirectly blamed UEFAs Financial Fair Play rules for the sale, claiming that to bolster his squad with players that he actually wanted, he had to sell some top talent.

Ironic that two years after deciding he was not good enough, Mata would once again become a key play for Mourinho for Manchester United

Mohamed Salah

Chelsea announced that a deal had been agreed with Basel to bring Salah to London for a fee reported to be in the region of £11 million in January 2014.

6 league starts and a year later, Mourinho loaned him out to Fiorentina. The summer of 2015 saw the Egyptian join Roma on loan.

Whilst Salah was in fact sold under Antonio Conte’s stewardship, Roma were able to purchase him due to a clause inserted into his loan deal with a view to a permanent during Jose Mourinho’s managerial reign.

Arjen Robben

Without doubt one of the greatest players to have been sold by Jose Mourinho, Arjen Robben is an exceptional footballer.

Injuries have thwarted some of the impact that he ought to have had on football, but he still has a remarkable goal scoring record for a winger and is simply unstoppable on his day.

Mourinho signed Robben for Chelsea in 2004, but sold him to Real Madrid for £24 million after three years. After two years in the Spanish capital, the Dutchman headed to Bayern Munich, where he has won 13 trophies and remains to this day.

Romelu Lukaku

Like Mata, Romelu Lukaku has found himself playing for Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese manager had decided he was not good enough.

Sold to Everton for £28 million in 2014 after loan spells for the club and WBA. Mourinho decided that a player who was not good enough in 2014 was worth £90m in 2017, as he signed the forward to lead Manchester United’s forward line.

Substitutes: Victor Valdes, Ryan Bertrand, Robert Huth, Rafael van der Vaart, Andre Schurle, Daniel Sturridge, Zlatan Ibrahimovic