Tag Archives: Wilfried Zaha

Arsenal right to negotiate in crazy transfer market

Why do Arsenal always negotiate? Why do they not pay the asking price?

That is what Arsenal fans have cried in recent weeks as we negotiate deals for Kieran Tierney and Wilfried Zaha.

It shows the media bias against Arsenal that they make such a big deal out of Arsenal negotiating the price. They make it appear that we are the only club to do so.

This week we have seen Juventus make an initial offer of £58.3million for Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt. Juventus’ proposed offer includes £49.3m paid up front, with £9m in add-ons.

We then have Manchester United reportedly offering £70million for Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. Leicester want £90million.

Finally a deal that actually went through. Tottenham signed Tanguy Ndombele for an initial £56.5m but fee could still rise to £65m. Lyon were reportedly holding out for £72million paid upfront.

Negotiating is part of business. Part of every day life. Whether it is a transfer fee, players wages, a hour, car or building materials. Everyone negotiates. And if you go and buy a car or a house without negotiating, well more full you.

Yet it is only Arsenal that get criticised for negotiated.

Some might say that Arsenal’s problem is they always go in too low, and “incense” the selling club. But the reality is Arsenal will value a player at a certain price, and will begin negotiations at a lower price.

Take the Wilfried Zaha deal.

Arsenal’s 1st offer is £40million. Crystal Palace are reportedly demanding £100million. The clubs are a long way apart. What would be a “fair” price for Zaha?

Last season Manchester City signed Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.

How does Mahrez’s stats for the 2 Premier League seasons prior to him joining Manchester City in 2018 compare to Zaha’s last 2 seasons?

Mahrez obviously had a very good 2015/16 season that is not included in the above. Man City also have history of over paying for players to secure them. They can afford to do that with their bottomless pit of money.

On the assists, it has to be remembered that Mahrez was a set piece taker. He also took penalties. Zaha does neither.

I think it is safe to say that £60million is probably a reasonable price for Zaha based on what Manchester City paid for Mahrez.

Some will now argue “If Zaha is valued at £60million, why do we not just pay £60million”. That is because Palace want £100m.

Starting at £60million leaves you with no where to go.

Picture the scenario. You are buying a house that is on the market for £500,000. You think you can get it for £480,000. £480,000 is not your first offer. You would probably go in at £450,000. 10% less. This gives you negotiating room.

If you go straight in at £580,000, it means when you negotiate, you can only negotiate above what you believe to be what you value them out.

Back to Arsenal. By offering £40million, it then gives them the space to do a deal up towards £60million. If Arsenal started at £60million, Palace would still demand £100million and Arsenal would have to negotiate up from there.

When you look at the prices being quoted, especially by mid-table clubs, you understand why teams are negotiating hard.

Leicester City reportedly want £90million for Harry Maguire
In turn they have reportedly been quoted £40million for Burnley’s James Tarkowski
They also reportedly have a cheaper option of going for Lewis Dunk for £30million

Now imagine a scenario where you have bought both Tarkowski and Dunk at their clubs “asking price”. £70million spent on a mid-table defence.

And that is why teams negotiate.


How “frustrating” home grown rules impacting Arsenal’s transfer business

A lot is made about buying home grown players, and the struggle teams face to recruit enough quality of “English” talent to fulfil the Premier League home grown criteria.

People often get the criteria the wrong way round, talking about how each club must register “8 home grown players”. This is not true. They could for all intents and purposes register none.

The rule is about how many “non home grown” players a team can register:

Each club is able to list up to 17 senior players that are not English or Welsh and did not spend a significant period in an English or Welsh academy.

Currently, to be classified as home grown one must be on an English (or Welsh) team for at least three years before the age of twenty-one. It does not matter if the player was born overseas, or what country they play for.

For this reason, the likes of Alex Iwobi (born in Nigeria, plays for Nigeria) and Wilfried Zaha (born in Ivory Coast, plays for Ivory Coast) are considered home grown. And rightly so.

Both came to England at 4 years old, and are very much British citizens as much as they are Nigerian or Ivorian. Both have representing England as youngsters before deciding to play for the country of their both at senior level. Regardless of what people say, I will always class both as British (interestingly when I do this on Twitter, it riles up mainly Nigerian fans who seem to not realise he can be both Nigerian and British).

You then have players such as Hector Bellerin and Cesc Fabregas.

Both signed for Arsenal from Barcelona as teenagers. Both spent 3 years in England before they were 21-years-old.

Both born in Spain, both capped by Spain, yet both are considered as home grown.

The home grown rule was bought in by Greg Dyke in an attempt to improve the English national team. In theory, to force sides to have more “English” players in the squad. But you could essentially have Zaha, Iwobi, Bellerin and Fabregas in the squad, all home grown, non of whom play for England.

You also have the Welsh criteria.

As Swansea, Cardiff and Wrexham play in England, the Premier League count you as home grown even if you were in a Welsh academy.

This means someone like Ben Davies of Tottenham is home grown, despite being born in Wales and playing for Wales.

This does not extend to Scotland, however.

Bournemouth have to register Ryan Fraser (born in Scotland, plays for Scotland) as non home grown. This has probably impacted some top teams signing him this summer.

Arsenal target Kieran Tiernay is the same.

Tiernay was born on the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea. He moved to Scotland at a young age and came up through Celtic’s academy. Like Fraser, were he to move to England he will not be considered as home grown.

I am sure these rules impact English teams signing Scottish players. Why go for a player from North of the border  when their are better French / German / Spanish players available?

The oddest rule of them all can be seen with Eric Dier.

Dier was born in Cheltenham, England. He plays for the English national team. At the age of 7, he moved with his family to Portugal as his mother got a job with UEFA working on Euro 2004. He is not considered as home grown.

So we have Zaha, Iwobi, Fabregas, Bellerin and Dier. 1 born in England, 4 born abroad. 1 plays for England, 4 play for foreign nations. Yet it is the English born, England international who is not considered as home grown. It all feels a little backwards.

When teams play in Europe, UEFA confuse matters further.

The “Welsh Rule” which means the Premier League considers players who have come up through an academy in Wales does not apply for UEFA competitions.

So back to the aforementioned Ban Davies.

Davies spent all his time in the Swansea academy (bar a brief spell in Denmark as a pre-teen).

Since 12 years old, he has played within the English football pyramid, working his way through the Swansea junior teams before becoming a 1st team regular. The issue is that whilst Swansea play in England, they still come under the Football Association of Wales rather than the English FA. UEFA do not consider him as home grown.

This led Tottenham having to leave him out of their European squad a few years back, something which baffled Mauricio Pochettino.

The fact the UEFA do not consider players to have come through the Welsh system is confusing, as every top Welsh player would have likely have come through the Swansea or Cardiff youth system (unless they moved to England at a very young age).

It also works the other way round. If Swansea or Cardiff were to play in European competition, any English players would be considered as non home grown.

This could create a situation where Swansea are Champions of England, with a squad containing 25 English-born players, but in Europe could only register 17 of them.

Like with Scotland, I wonder how much this impacts English clubs from buying Welsh players? And how many parents would consider moving their child from Wales to an English academy at 15 to ensure that they are eligible for both countries as home grown?

In summary, it is all a bit of a mess.

When an English born, English international is not considered home grown, whilst a Nigerian born, Nigerian international is home grown, something is broken.

Would Arsenal have signed Ryan Fraser if he was home grown? And is that a key reason we are targeting Zaha?


Zaha a no-go for Arsenal

Wilfried Zaha is reportedly Arsenal’s number one attacking target this summer. That worries me.

The Ivory Coast international is one of the most overrated players in the Premier League. One of those players who makes Soccer Am’s highlights reel week in, week out, but actually has very poor output.

Zaha turns 27 next season, and last year was the first time he had ever scored 10 league goals in a single campaign. Crystal Palace’s reported £70million asking price for is too much for a player with his ability and age.

Were Zaha 22 or 23, you would be entitled to think “fantastic young talent” but he is not. In November he turns 27. That means he is not going to get much better. He is at his peak. And any transfer fee spent on him is unlikely to be recouped.

Last season he had a decent season. But it was not an exceptional one.

Yes, he scored 10 goals, but he averaged nearly 300 minutes per goal. The much maligned Theo Walcott Only averaged as high as this twice in his Arsenal career, the last being when he was 22.

In Walcott’s last full season with Arsenal, he scored 19 goals. He was deemed by many as dead wood. Not good enough.

Comparing Walcott to Zaha is one of those ones where Zaha looks a lot better, he beats a man more often, has more tricks. Yet Walcott gets more goals and more assists. Throughout his Arsenal career, Walcott was ugly yet efficient. Zaha is the opposite.

Zaha’s 10 goals this season have come at a very high minutes per goal ratio. Out of all the wingers to score 10 Premier League goals, he had by far the worst ratio.

I understand that on the list, he played for the worst club. But this also means he got the most game time.

Whilst Sterling had to share the limelight with Sane, Silva x2, De Bruyne, everything that Palace did went through Zaha.

Zaha is a good mid-table player. Inconsistent but can win you games. He is the type of player that will put in 5 match winning performances a season, and those 5 performances will be enough to take a team from a relegation battle to mid-table safety.

He would do a job as an impact substitute at a top club, but certainly not at the price Palace are demanding.

There is an argument that he is “better than what Arsenal already have” which whilst true, does not mean we should buy him. Being better than what we have does not necessarily make him the best option.

Even if he was on the market at £40million, I would still feel that as overpriced. There are younger, cheaper, more exciting players in world football.