I don’t often write about current events at The Arsenal, as Highbury Heroes takes up most of my time. But I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the contract situations of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
I’ve read the Daily Mirror’s recent stories about China offering £400k a week to Alexis and Chelsea waiting in the wings to swoop for him. I’ve also read that Ozil wants silly money to stay as well.
Players of their calibre will always be highly sought after, especially as there are relatively few of them about, compared to the number of clubs coveting them. I think newspapers today are trying to come up with more and more sensational rumours in order to try and prop up their dwindling sales, which have been decimated by football fans getting their news through the internet these days.
I don’t think journalists know much more these days than you and I now. Players no longer drink with the journalists like they used to. They don’t have any inside stories anymore. How many times do you read a story on social media, then a day after you read the exact same story in a newspaper claiming an exclusive!
But I am concerned about the contract situation of both players. I wonder how much of it is the players agents playing hardball, rather than Sanchez and Ozil. The fact is agents have far too much power in today’s game. While I think it was wrong that in the past a player like Tom Finney, whose name alone on a team sheet would fill a stadium, yet his club would pay him just £20 a week. The pendulum has swung way too much in the other direction for my liking. Sadly the days of Ian Wright signing a new contract without even reading it are long gone.
UEFA tried to bring some sanity to the game by bringing in FFP, but powerful people behind clubs like Manchester City and PSG threatened legal action and UEFA backed down immediately. Now agents will move players on to whatever club suits them whenever they want, regardless of whether it’s in the players best interests to go there and there isn’t a thing the clubs can do about it.
The days of players spending their whole career at one club and having a testimonial at the end of it are gone forever. All we can hope is that Arsenal come up with a package, be it a lump sum signing on fee, image rights, a loyalty bonus, or a combination of all three to satisfy the avarice of their agents. Because the alternative is it will cost many more millions trying to replace them, if that is even possible with the dearth of talent available.
It also sends out a message if they do leave that we are not prepared to mix it financially with the other big clubs. Because believe you me there will be clubs which are prepared to pay what their agents want. We were told we can compete if we build the Emirates and moved there. I hope that really is the case, or we’ve sacrificed our beloved Highbury for nothing. Have Arsenal and Silent Stan got the ambition to keep our top players.
As always thanks for reading
Started going to Highbury in ’66. Season ticket holder since ’76. Love The Arsenal. Need I say more?