When fans don’t understand transfer talks, who needs enemies?


Okay, so West Ham have rejected our first official bid for Declan Rice. I checked the window. The sky hasn’t fallen. Hell, I’m told, has not frozen over. Pigs are not flying. In other words, this is the way things work. We bid, they decline, we reconsider, we bid again. This isn’t mom’s spaghetti. We get more than one shot. However, going by the reactions, you’d think the club itself has gone to pieces.

Over in the seedier part of London, Chelsea, who are desperate to sell, have rejected Man U’s £40m bid for Mason Mount. The suddenly pennywise club value Mount at £70m even though his contract has just one year left. It would seem though that Man U are simply playing hardball while Arsenal, apparently, just don’t know what they’re doing.

Take the tweet you see above. It makes a salient, entirely valid point: offering 80% of the asking price for a player whose value is 1000% like walking into Tesco and offering 20% of the price for a beef joint because we all know that every price at Tesco is merely a starting point for negotiation. I actually have a confession to make: this is news to me. I’ve spent my life foolishly paying the sticker price without ever thinking “hey, getting my groceries is just like buying a footballer. I’m going to drive these prices down with some low-ball bidding.” Just think of all the money I’ve wasted down the years. I could have invested…let’s be honest. I would have wasted it in some other way.

Time to drop that tiresome little charade. So our opening bid fell short of West Ham’s valuation. That doesn’t prove that their valuation is valid or fixed. It’s being reported that we would like to spread the fee over a longer period than West Ham want, and we’ve included clauses or add-ons that might be difficult to achieve. I suspect that a final fee will be somewhere in the £85m range with maybe £10m in add-ons.

This is of course based on the (hopefully not naive) assumption that Man City stay out of it. They can of course buy pretty much anyone they want at any price they feel, but Rice should consider that City not only have Rodri and Gündoğan (for now) and are in pursuit of Chelsea’s Mateo Kovačić, whom they can probably get at a lower fee. What’s more, looming somewhere in the background is the remote chance of something resembling what some might see as a potential possibility of something resembling sanctions for those 115 alleged financial violations. Therefore, Rice want to think twice. True because it rhymes.

Despite our good friend Joe’s tweet, all outward signs point to Rice joining Arsenal: he wants to stay in London. He wants Champions League football. He’s been seen cavorting and hugging Ramsdale and Saka. He’s agreed personal terms with Arsenal. And so on. Negotiations will continue, and I doubt they’ll conclude before the weekend. Of course, the longer those talks continue, the greater the risk of some other club turning Rice’s head. Still, I feel like we’re pretty much where we should be. Trust the process, right?

Average rating 4.3 / 5. Vote count: 20

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

19 thoughts on “When fans don’t understand transfer talks, who needs enemies?

  1. Kevin Albone

    Well said. No need to panic but we will have our ceiling on the price which is why the stories of us being out of race for Caicedo are probably wide of the mark. If not Rice then we will turn to him I imagine.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      The panic & overreaction make it seem like Man City have already signed Rice, Caicedo, and anyone else we’ve been linked to. To a degree, I understand some nervousness. Sky Sports just called our first bid “embarrassing” but didn’t say anything remotely similar about Man U’s bid for Mount. To be fair, this IS the silly season…

      1. Oli

        Rice wants trophies. Highly unlikely to win Premier League and definitely not going to win the Champions League with Arsenal. Domestic cups maybe.
        Better off with moving to Man City who will win the lot affair next year, or staying at West Ham and try to add another European cup medal, much more likely than Arsenal winning In Europe, let’s face it.

        1. Jon Shay Post author

          That’s fair. Maybe it comes down to the kind of competitor Rice is. Going to Man City, he’s guaranteed silverware but would play a much-reduced role (certainly not captain). Staying at West Ham, he’d keep a captaincy and could become a club legend but would probably have to settle for the occasional League Cup, ECL or maybe UEL title, and an even rarer FA Cup. Coming to Arsenal would put him somewhere in the middle: keep a good-sized role (almost certainly a starting one each week), play in but probably not win UCL, contend for and maybe win the Prem, and pick up an FA Cup here and there. I’d like to think this middle ground is a good compromise, but I’m hardly free from bias.

  2. TH14

    Quite a patronising click baiting headline, suggesting fans dont understand the transfer process. Even more comical that you think £85m+£10 addons will get the deal over the line. West Ham all along said they wanted £100m+, and now with City circling they may well one way or another get the fee they want.

    And with regards to the FFP charges, its expected to take up to four years for the independent commission to report their recommended sanctions. If in that time Rice can see he is guaranteed pretty much trophies, why would he want to do anything but move to City?

    Arsenal never learrn from their transfer mistakes, its happened for years since Kroenke took over the club. David Dein was a commodities trader, he knew how to wheel and deal and secured some stunning transfers. Considering Kroenke dabbles in property, he should know his was around the transfer market no bother, and yet both he and Josh create a layer of bureaucracy in the way we conduct our transfer business that means we miss out on targets time and time again. Edu, Richard Garlick and Arteta are facilitators not decision makers. That is why everything takes so long. We should have submitted a bid to West Ham the day after the Conference League final, and yet it took us a week only to get turned down and made to look like a bunch of amateurs in public. As things stand Arsenal better get their fingers out, agreeing personal terms with Rice means nothing if they won’t meet West Hams demands.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      The transfer window’s been open a day and half. It’s a little early to say this particular transfer is taking too long and making us look like amateurs.

      As for my title being patronising, I have no problem with that, considering the nonce whose tweet prompted the post. It’s indicative of a “now now NOW” approach to transfers that doesn’t reflect reality until you’re Man City, Real Madrid, or PSG.

      The main objection (aside from the amount we’ve bid) is that we apparently want to amortise across 5-6 years (which is not unheard of) but West Ham want just two payments with half up front. That’s somewhat rare – asking a club to pay £40-50m right away is four-times higher than what we’d pay in a more-typical transfer.

      1. TH14

        The window is incidental, Arsenal behind the scenes has been talking to the player his agents and West Ham in an unofficial capacity since January. Liverpool secured the McAllister transfer before the window opened, literally by paying his transfer clause. There is no excuse for Arsenal, no matter what happens to the Rice saga, and even though the window has only been open a day and a half its a saga that’s been going on for months.

        Don’t give Kroenke a pass. Personally I feel sorry for Edu, because he has to take the flack for the amateurish transfer process we follow these days. I have seen that Arsenal wanted to pay the £80m fee they offered over six years, if that is true it just backs up my point.

        1. Jon Shay Post author

          Mac Allister was a different situation – Liverpool paid his release clause. No negotiations needed. Rice doesn’t have a release clause, so we are forced to negotiate. West Ham are asking for two payments, half up front, rather than letting us amortise across the length of the contract (as is pretty customary). That’s an important sticking point, not evidence of amateurishness, and one that might complicate our ability to sign other players (just speculation there, though).

          Kroenke’s other teams have shown an increased willingness to spend and ability to win (the Nuggets, Rams, and Avalanche have each won championships in the last few years). I’m not ready to give him a pass just yet, but he has shown a willingness to back this club rather than just leech off of it.

      2. TH14

        And to address your point about transfer fees. Football revenues are exploding with new TV deals, more prize money in the PL/CL and bigger sponsorship deals. That in turn is leading to inflated transfer fees. We may not like it but that’s the world we live in, those £40/£50m deals are now £100m.

        Kroenke has a net worth of £12bn, he’s just dropped $200 million on a shopping mall in Malibu, he’s also building a state of the art stadium with a hotel and houses attached to it. He has money to burn, he might not be the equivalent of a Sovereign Wealth fund but if he wants we can match West Hams valuation of Rice. It’s all down to whether we want to go the next level and genuinely compete with City.

        I don’t have a Now Now Now attitude, I have put up with this since 2007, he has a lot of catching up to do, before he gets the goodwill of the fans. He could start by realising this is our best opportunity to get the club back to where we were 20 years ago. I said to a mate after the trophy parade of the invincibles in 2004, enjoy this it doesn’t get much better and we don’t know how long it will last. Boy were those words so true!

        Ohh and if you want someone to write about the financial aspects of KSE, including how it affects our club I am sure I could put out some information that would be beneficial for our fanbase, so they understand how laborious our process is. I knew years ago Chelsea were frauds under Abramovich, the same with Mansour and City.

        1. Me

          To be honest the transfer window for us is as painful as watching us blow the premiership race.
          I just don’t understand how people believe it is going to be any different this year.
          You bid seriously – or at least closely to the asking price or you just don’t bother.

          1. Eoin

            Bidding is a process; you shouldn’t just meet a club’s asking price. You haggle and negotiate. So West Ham rejected our opening bid. In a sense we rejected theirs. Both clubs will play poker and bluff and call and so on. Hopefully we win out. If Citeh swoop in, that’s a force of nature. Hand of God. Force majeure.

        2. Jon Shay Post author

          oops, our comments flew past each other just now. As I ended my previous comment by accusing Kroenke of leeching off of this club, you commented again here.

          My “now now NOW” remark isn’t directed at you but at fans like that one and others who have tweeted out insistently and stridently that Edu & Arteta don’t know anything at all about what they’re doing…based on one report about one bid on one player on the second day of the window.

          Getting back to where we were in 2004 is all but impossible. We signed Bergkamp for around 10m, Henry for 15, Vieira for 6m. Each of them would cost 10 times that or more in this market. There wasn’t an Abramovich, Mansour, or Sovereign Wealth Fund spending anything they wanted. We’re flexing some muscle, finally, but too many fans and media outlets expect immediate gratification.

  3. Me

    Arsenal fans don’t need to know how transfer talks work – all they need to know is how Arsenal works in the transfer market.
    Arsenal will low ball on the price, dig their heals in and eventually both West Ham and Rice himself will become tired of it.
    And then United, City, Liverpool or Chelsea will come in with a bid similar to what West Ham are looking for and he will be gone.
    That is exactly what will happen – it is so utterly predictable.
    And by the time Arsenal makes a decision – which will, let us be honest not be done in a rush Caicedo will have signed for Chelsea and we will be left as we are always left scrambling round and ending up with yet another Chelsea/Man City reject.
    People paint Edu as being sassy and clever but let us be honest here the players he has signed – Jesus, Zinchenko, Odegaard, Gabriel, White, Ramsdale etc. nobody except us wanted – Rice is wanted by top teams which is why he is beyond our ability to sign.
    We will just end up with yet more Chelsea/Man City rejects and to be honest I would rather Arsenal not sign anybody rather than have that.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I think you’re being excessively pessimistic about all of this. Based on our history under Wenger, yes, we had a reputation for dithering, waiting until the last minute in hopes of (a) qualifying for a Champions League spot to entice the player and (b) hoping the club would drop its fee.

      Even our sexiests deals under Wenger were late in the window and were knock-ons – Real sold us Ozil after buying Bale, and Barca sold us Alexis after buying Suarez.

      However, Edu & Arteta have shown themselves to be more assertive if not aggressive. The talent recruitment has been strong – it’s an exaggeration to say that no one wanted the players we’ve signed – and there’s no reason to believe that we’ve squandered our only chance here. The player wants to stay in London. We’re the only London club that can offer UCL play. Talks have been going on behind the scenes, and I suspect that we’re a lot closer to signing him than today’s headlines & reactions project.

      Time will tell, though.

      1. Me

        The wanting to stay in London story is nonsense.
        If Man City came in for him with guaranteed Champions League every year and a nigh-on shoe in for the Premiership trophy every season, he is not going to turn his back on that just for the sake of living in London and signing for Arsenal is he?
        He can’t be that stupid.
        Pessimistic maybe, but I am completely realistic.
        If City come in with a bid, we might as well look elsewhere – perhaps Chelsea have got a 34-year-old on his last legs that they want to get rid of.

        1. Jon Shay Post author

          May I ask how Rice’s desire to stay in London is nonsense? Every major publication (BBC, Guardian, Sky…) has mentioned it.

          There are plenty of players who want to contribute meaningfully to a title challenge instead of being just another barnacle or hood ornament to Man City’s chassis. Rice goes to City and wins silverware, yes, but he may not like the feeling that he was along for the ride rather than leading the charge. If he’s the kind of player who wants the ride-along, we don’t want him anyway.

          As for the snide suggestion that we go after a 34 year old from Chelsea, I have to admit that I wouldn’t be too bent out of shape if Rice going to City means we can get 32 year old Gundogan on a cheaper fee- as long as we get Caicedo as well.

          My original point in the post is that certain fans are overreacting, simple as that.

  4. Leon

    I believe that a large part of the decision of our top players to sign new contracts would be based on Arsenal signing top players to strengthen the squad and take the next step. An “embarrassing” or so the media state first bid for Rice and being linked to the worse striker in the Premiership in Havertz is not really the best statement Arsenal can make.
    I just hope that come the start of the new season we have top quality players and not give Saka and Co a reason to doubt their decision to extend 🙂

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Good point – as important as it is to get current player to renew their contracts, it’s important to show them we’re strengthening in key areas. RIce could be vital to that; Havertz may or may not be.


Leave a Reply