There has been much comment of late on how the influence of Kia Joorcabchiam, Super-Agent and self-confessed Arsenal fan is growing at Arsenal. Indeed, this belief will have strengthened with the finalising of a contract extension for Luiz and the free transfer of Cedric this past week. The question I guess, we must ask is whether this is a good or bad thing and do the pros of good working relationships in the modern game outweigh the cons. Indeed, we only have to look at what the connection with Jorge Mendes has done for Wolverhampton Wanders, Arsenal’s opponents to tomorrow to see how positive such a partnership can be.
I am certainly no expert on the subject, or football finances, firmly not my thing, but I was interested to read John Cross’s piece last week on how Kia is attempting to orchestrate deals to manoeuvre Willian and Coutinho into our club. I am not entirely against one of these players arriving, as either would be a positive influence for our young stars, BUT ONLY if the deals are right for Arsenal financially and in line with what Arteta wants for his squad. Our coach has spoken plainly this week on how he will have the final say on transfers and who arrives, and he should be working in conjunction with Edu. Both have spoken positively on Cedric, Mari and Luiz, so we have to take them on their word.
If we accept the ‘Super-Agent’ like it or not, has an influential role to pay in modern top-level football, then in my simpleton’s frame of reference it should be about playing the game and using the relationships, rather than being controlled by them. In that context I was interested to see that Cross, referred not only to Joorabchiam’s influence at Arsenal but also that of Arturo Canales (Mari’s agent) and the a fore mentioned Jorge Mendes. This led me to have a look at the client lists of these big 3.
With regard, to Kia, the stories of Coutinho, might make sense to the agent, but is Arteta, sees his line-up as 433 or 343, the Brazilian play-maker will have the same issue his has at Barcelona and that Ozil has with us, of being a very good square peg, with only round holes. William would be a positive addition with a winning mentality, but we have Pepe, Martinelli, Saka and Nelson on long contract. Willian arriving therefore only makes sense if Arteta, want to give Nelson a good season on loan to fine tune is undoubted ability. No one else on Kia’s list appeals and I cannot see Arteta pursuing the Kurzawa deal.
Equally the Canales list holds no standout possibilities as we have concluded the Mari deal now. I see Hagi’s lad is on his list and he undoubtedly is one for the future, so we can watch him under Gerrard at Rangers.
No, it is John Cross’s suggestion that Jorge Mendes will be working more with Arsenal that seems to offer more appropriate opportunities, some of which, might depend on the relative fortunes of The Gunners and Wolves, starting tomorrow. Many of Mendes’ top young talent are plying their trade at Molineux and one can’t help but cast an envious eye now and then. Looking at the first table of his more established clients, Reuben Neves, jumps out but he also has James Rodriguez and at 28 with a year left on his Madrid deal, many Arsenal supporters might see that link more favourably than Kia’s Coutinho one.
Mendes ClientsHowever, it is as one moves done the Mendes client list that the price range and potential might tie in more closely with Arsenal’s current budget and Arteta’s plan to get us back to the top table. If we accept, we operate a self-sustainable model, with purse strings only tightened doe to the pandemic, then we must be looking at buying the un-realised potential, the next big then and the uncut diamonds, to fit a few clichés into one sentence. It is in this frame of operation that a strong link with Jorge Mendes could work in Arsenal’s favour, as it has evidently done for Wolves
In the middle tier of the Mendes list of players, there are name that jump out and others that might bear a closer look. This is where Wolves have succeeded by taking established Mendes clients but also leveraging that arrangement to bring in young talent. Wolves took Diogo Jota at 21 for £12m and two years later, I would guess he is worth three times that and last year they invested in Pablo Neto at only 19, who looks to be on the same upward trajectory as Jota. Of course, Reuben Neves, was costly as a 20-year-old, on the face of it at £16m, three years back, but what an investment.
So, who is on the list now that might be similar for Arsenal, as those investments were for Wolves?
Carlos Vinícius at 25 has traveled a bit since arriving in Europe from Brazil but has found a home this season at Benfica, scoring 17 league goals in 26 appearances, At 1.90 metre he has old style centre forward attributes but also has fabulous feet, intricate link up play and pace in his locker. He began as a centre back and has converted to a striker, takes no prisoners and is nicknamed ‘The Beast’. He has been linked to Man United already despite only a season of success in Portugal.
Andre Silva (24) is another on Mendes’ list. The Portugal International is plying his trade successfully in Frankfurt on a 2-season long loan deal from Milan and is happily scoring at a rate of one every other game with 12 in 25 this campaign. He is a Firminho style striker who works hard for his team, links play well with short passes and whist not being the Brazilian’s technical level he does have a knack for finding space when he arrives in the penalty area.
I am not suggesting Arsenal are in for either player, more that is we are to work with Mendes it is younger players, yet to reach their peak valued at £15/20m that may well be the type of deals the club will seek. Both players could replace Lacazette for example, in the squad, alongside Aubameyang, Nketiah and Martinelli, and still leave us with cash on the deal from selling the Frenchman.
In conclusion, if we accept, whether we like it or not, the role of these powerful agents, then we must embrace it for what it is and be more like Wolves and use it to our advantage.
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.