Arsenal are at last acting like a big club regarding new contracts

Arsenal have been boosted by the news that Smith Rowe has signed a contract extension.

I would say it ends Aston Villa’s hopes of buying him, but I never once believed that someone at our club since the age of 9 was going to trade that in to go to Villa Park!

In the last 12 months Saka, Balogun and Martinelli have also agreed new deals. It shows that the Gunners are finally learning, protecting the value of key talent.

Many gooners will want the four I just named to be the foundation of the squad for the next decade.

Yet if the worse were to happen and say if one felt they could win more trophies elsewhere, we now can demand a silly asking price.

One of the big reasons we have been left behind by the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool is they sold when the time was right, compared to us naively allowing contracts to run down.

The year Arsene Wenger first finished outside the top 4, the gap between us and Liverpool was just a point.

The following December, Liverpool were able to bring in VVD due to getting over 120 million for Coutinho. They used the rest of the cash to buy Alisson the next summer.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 09: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their sides first goal during the FA Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on January 09, 2021. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

This was the same period where we had to accept a player swap for Sanchez, and felt obliged to pay over the odds to maintain the services of Ozil. Both happened because we had let respective contracts run down to a few months left.

We had done the same regarding Van Persie, Sagna and Nasri and others.

It’s crazy how two clubs on an even level could go in such opposite directions simply by one being more efficient at renewing contracts.

If a Sanchez had 3 years on his contract, we too could have demanded Coutinho money.

Mr Wenger claimed that players running down contracts would become the normality.

Once he left though, we were promised that after Ramsey’s free transfer (Wilshire, Welbeck and Cazorla would also become free agents) that Arsenal would become stricter.

They would implement that anyone with 24 months left on a deal either signs or gets sold.

Those in power either lied and thought fans would just forget, or realised how difficult that can be.

Aubameyang had a year left on his deal meaning he could demand a silly sum and as things stand both Lacazette, Kolasinac and Reiss Nelson will be entitled to chat with clubs abroad from January.

So in terms of sticking to their own principles it’s not perfect, but it’s an area we have improved in. If you include Holding and Tierney, we finally have assets worth something.

In an ideal world everyone stays and has lots of success together.

But if the worse were to happen and we had to sell, we now have the power to ask for decent compensation. We don’t have to be forced to sell or else a player leaves for free. Clubs can no longer get our best talent for a reduced fee.

We have safeguarded our future.

To be a big club you act like a big club. This is what big clubs do.


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  1. I’m glad we’re keeping our brightest talents and buying U-25 players

    Summer player sales is also a challenge for Arsenal as a big club. Good businessmen at the club must be able to do sell our assets quickly and at good prices, if they have excellent connections and network with other clubs

    Xhaka to Roma seems to be a done deal. Whereas Nketiah’s price tag has been enquired by several German and English clubs, according to a recent report

    1. @Gai Keeping our young talented player makes sense.👍. We now awaits a marque or at least skillful Midfielders. At White deal is almost a wrap. Leno also need a backup shot stopper I don’t subscribe to him leaving he did well at the tail end of last season.

        1. Especially when we already have Runarsson. And that we have under contract, fortunately, 3 more years. This guy can only progress lol.

        2. Gai
          I hope so too. And what’s so special about Ramsdale? Just another English overhyped Keeper. 30M too much for him. It’s OK if they can him for less. Leno was no name untill he got to Arsenal. Arteta should look for talents outside Englad

  2. Good article Dan, buy you glossed over the most important issue surrounding players, their contracts and the club… that of sticking to promises made to the fans.

    AW was correct when saying players could/would rum their contracts down and the club identified two areas to combat this.
    One you have explained above, which they have NEVER implemented and the other, though not seen in the same way, was the offering of one year contracts to any player over the age of 30.

    Both fell by the wayside once gazidis took over this area and we have those players you highlighted, in complete control of the situation.

    The answer is to brimg back both situations and include them in any new contracts given out… for example, give Aubameyang his reported £300,000 a week and William his reported £200,000 a week, but on a rolling contract.

    That way, the club has the necessary control and players WILL be playing to earn another year.

    1. Top post KEN and had we offered Willian only a one year contract , he would never have come at all and so we’d have been spared that disaster.

      So many new fans simply have no idea of the major and long lasting catastrophic damage that Gazidis caused. In his present cancer fight I do not want to say more, BUT….!

      It really seems like at long, long, LONG last we MAY, just may , be finally learning our lesson.

      I think Richard Garlick has made a major mark in this new learning and hope he becomes the new DD , as far fetched as that definitely seems!

      1. I hope so Jon and tying down our young talent AND buying younger players is a great step forward.
        As I have always maintained, no manager/coach has ever been perfect and I am hoping that MA has realised that Willian and Aubemeyang’s contracts should never happen again.

        1. This “acting” like a big club can last for just this one season. If we don’t become a “real” big club by qualifying for the UCL at the end of this season, we risk watching our young talents being poached away by those “actual” big clubs and we may end up becoming just another mid-table feeder club.

    2. Ken and jon, as well as the problem of players running down their contracts, Arsenal also has an imbalanced pay structure. Compared to other clubs Arsenal (without Champions League football) has a high proportion of players on wages of £100,000 per week or more. Too many players being paid far more than they are worth and thus difficult to move on, because prospective buyers will not match Arsenal wages.

      1. Problem was, AG, the club, AW and the fans were so used to CL football, all three thought it would never end and it was an entitlement that didn’t need to be earnt.
        Hell, some even thought winning the fa cup was more important than qualifying for the CL!!!!

  3. Xhaka to Roma; 4 year contract, 130kpw, €20m

    There are contracts on the table for Reiss Nelson, Willock and Eddie Nketiah. The plan is for them to sign and allow them to go on loan.

    Man United have jumped in front of Arsenal for Ruben Neves. They are more willing to pay closer to the asking price, around £35m Wolves can accept.

    The reason why you haven’t seen much of Aouar news recently is because there needs to be some outgoings before. Everything will be clearer once some outgoings are confirmed.

    1. Man United have got Pogba, McTominay, Van de Beek, Matic and Fred, so why do they need another DM

        1. Like seriously, lets let this rest. Its not worth it. Time changes and we won’t be on this place forever

        2. I’d forgotten about him. Along with Coutinho and all the others we are perenially supposed to be after, I shall be looking out for his name.

      1. I never said it was official but it will be and those are the details. Thankfully I don’t have to wait for the media who are just late and give out stories for clicks such as Smith-Rowe to Villa and the like

    2. Oh pray that Utd DO get the extremely moderate Neves. Simply cannot understand this interest in him at all.

      1. Agree Jon.
        Replacing a slow deep lying midfielder good at passing with another slow deep lying midfielder good at passing.

        A B2B midfielder is needed or at least someone with more versatility than Neves.

  4. Great article Dan. Its good that AFC has learnt from its past mistakes and that we are promoting youth which will not only improve our position business wise but also be encouraging to our Academy graduates dreaming of playing for the first team one day.

  5. On point article. It gives me heart to see academy players become good enough to earn their contracts and places in the team. To see a young player like ESR earn the contract he deserves compared to Willian sitting doing nothing for two hundred grand a week is the absolute contrast of a player who is giving his all and lazy Willian strolling around for £200,000 a week. We really must give our other young lads some time too.

    1. We could add to that list Aubameyang, arriving late at times before games, who is on a juicy contract, lead nothing now as a captain (compared for example to xhaka or Lacazette) and netted just 10 times last year. For me neither Willian neither auba should stay longer at the club. We have now a time line and a new project around Saka, esr and white (good signing as he fits this timeline). We might need some experience around but Pablo Mari, Leno or partey bring that. And we could keep laca too for that as he is only 30 and can still have 3 very good years if he is willing to extend as he seems to like the club and lead by example (some youngers quote him as very helpful to the youngsters). Last year auba was hesitating to go chase titles elsewhere. He should do that and help us getting some good fee while we can so we could invest in the project timeline on a stronger RB or midfielder.

  6. At first most fans were not seeing Arteta’s plans but for a firm building you must have a strong foundation and that is exactly what Arteta is doing.

  7. better with the youngsters, some academy players weve got re-signed as well too. Need improvement when it comes to negotiating with players around the 30+ mark. too many are running down contracts and going away for free. some are deals left over from Emery & Wenger negotiations, truthfully. But I still think we can be wiser. The Willian debacle mainly.

    1. I am, this is in baseball terms, spring training’ its a time where everyone is going to win the world series. But it also fun to dream.

  8. This is perhaps the best article since the league ended about a month ago. Well done and hope this also mean that the future is secured and trophies can start roling in.

  9. The sky is becoming clear, am waiting the sun to shine. Anyway this is how to do it as a big club, keep the spirit.

  10. Great to see us investing in youth. We have successfully renewed young players’ contracts and added good young talent too. Lokonga is very highly rated in Belgium and the lad from Benfica, Tavares, looked impressive against Rangers. Arteta, clearly building for the future, finally.

  11. I cant believe we’re not after Christian Romero. Best defender in Serie A in the past 3 seasons (and very good before that). And we are letting Spurs get him, just like that?

    And he will even cost less than White. This is unforgivable and terrible piece of scouting. White isn’t fit to lace Romeros boots and we’re being taken to the cleaners by BHA.

  12. If a player wants to leave to win trophies, no matter the remaining duration of his contract, the selling club is in a weaker position.

    Luckily, by signing new contracts the young gunners have shown a desire to stay. This might change if we don’t move up the table.

  13. The problem is, you can only negotiate with those players who are prepared to talk to you. Remember, Sancho was at Man City, and they couldn’t keep hold of him. Arsenal tried to talk to Van Persie for two seasons, and all he would say was that he was committed to the club and the team, and he was in no rush. At Arsenal, young players like Balogun and Kido-Hart see Saka and Smith-Rowe become first team regulars, and are prepared to back their talent in the belief they will be given a chance to prove their worth.

  14. What is big about trying to lure Sergio Ramos on a £30 mil contract for two years. We haven’t learnt and we are not acting like a big club. Who next Higuain?

  15. By signing second choice LB, a CM from Belgium league and an inexperienced CB from Brighton. Wow, we are really acting like a big club. Let’s see where this big club of ours finish this time around.

  16. The table does not lie. The success of the transfer window and the impact of the coaching staff will be seen at the end of the season.

    1. 👍…I am afraid the way things are going and what we saw in two pre season friendly does not inspire confidence at all. It’s same old same old Arsenal. I don’t think we will have to wait for end of season, the picture will clear in first two months of the season to show which direction we are heading in.

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