Is Nketiah paid too much? by AndersS
Although I have no insight into the salary accounts at Arsenal, I take it for a fact, Nketiah is being paid a weekly salary of around £100,000 a week as reported several times.
To put it mildly it is a very handsome amount of money paid to a young man for “running around and kicking a ball”. In fact, many will say it is an obscene amount of money if you compare it to what nurses, teachers or plumbers are paid. And without a doubt it is an obscene amount of money compared to what most Arsenal fans make.
In that light it is very easy to conclude he is being paid too much.
However, if you use that perspective, it isn’t really Nketiah or Arsenal in particular you can blame. The fact is, no football player in a top league has a salary which can be defended in that comparison. They all make too much, and indeed do many other professional sports athletes, rock stars, movie stars and what have you.
This is not something Arsenal can change on their own, and although you can shout your moral points as loud as you like, it is in my opinion more or less an exercise in futility.
There is no connection between how much a nurse, a plumber or a teacher is being paid, and how much Nketiah is paid.
It is two different worlds, two different markets, and changing that probably requires some wholesale changes to regulation of society, which goes far beyond discussions on JA.
So, I am going to leave that part of it, and look more specifically at, if Nketiah is being paid too much compared to other players.
I have had the fortune to run a couple of small companies with around 25 – 30 employees, and part of that is of course to negotiate employment contracts, including salaries. I have had many one-on-one meetings with employees about salaries. A regular occurrence is an employee asking for a pay rise, based on the amount of extra hours he/she is working. No matter if it is a fair request or not, I always try to put the following across to him/her:
“We don’t pay you for the time you put in, we pay you for the value, you add to the company”. Some look perplexed and may feel unfairly treated, others feel a penny drop, become much more focused and determined and eventually may become very valuable employees with a salary to match.
As I see it, a footballer’s salary is almost solely negotiated with the above in mind. What is that particular player’s value to the club expected to be? To begin with, a top club is in many terms a very big business with a lot of money involved, and any player who can contribute something positive to that club, even a very small percentage of extra value, can be claimed to be adding value worth big amounts of money. Therein lies the basic reason why salaries end up being extremely high to begin with.
How do you then measure Nketiah’s value? Does it match his salary? As a fan, we will of course be very quick to look at his expected main task; scoring goals. We will also understand other contributions in a game, during training etc., and we can generally also understand that by giving him a new contract, we have retained an asset, which may have a resale value, small or big.
It is fair to rate his season so far as rather mediocre, and it is understandable to question his salary with only that in mind. But It is obvious, Nketiah was not given a new contract with the expectation he is now ready to be our main striker. It was always clear, we were going to be looking for a new main striker, and Nketiah would be a back-up, at least for now. Given his age and his record on youth level, I am sure, it is thought by Arteta and the rest of the team, he can develop much more, and maybe even become our main striker one day. Cynics will say that they can already see that is not going to happen. That may be right. Personally, I think the conclusions can’t be drawn already, as we may not have seen the best from him yet.
There is also another angle. Had we let Nketiah go elsewhere, I think we would have been forced to get a new striker from another club, as none of our other youngsters, i.e., Balogun, are quite ready. This means that Nketiah’s value and salary should also be measured against what it would have cost to get an alternative.
As I understand it, Nketiah’s contract is for 5 years, and the reported salary of 100,000 a week is a yearly 5,2 mil each year. Basically, you can say Arsenal has committed up to 26 mil. to Nketiah in these 5 years, unless he at some point is transferred to another club.
In the transfer window there were rumours and debate about whether Arsenal should go for Richarlison. An attacker whose profile with his 25 years of age would probably fit with our strategy, and he was available. As it happens, he joined the spuds also on a 5-year contract and with a reported weekly salary of 90,000. You would have to say, Richarlison is a much more established name in the Premier League, and this would suggest paying Nketiah 100,000 is a really bad decision. But the spuds had to pay around 50 mil. in transfer fee to get Richarlison. This means they have committed a total of around 73 mil. over 5 years to have him, if they don’t sell him before.
Holding these 2 players up against each other, I honestly think there is no way of saying yet, who has done the better deal. I am not saying by any means Nketiah is as good as Richarlison. But so far this season, Richarlison hasn’t done more for the Spuds than Nketiah has done for us, and Nketiah is 23 Richarlison is 25. If Nketiah improves some, he can in those 2 years, become a very valuable asset, which can do a lot for us, or which can be sold for a nice profit, even if you include the 100,000 a week we have had to pay. If he improves a lot, it is actually a fantastic decision to keep him. On the other hand, should he never really get any better than what we are seeing now, it is a bad decision.
All things considered; I think it is way too early to be on Nketiah’s back because of his salary. His 100,000 a week should be seen in the light of what it would have cost us to get an alternative, and as there was no transfer fee involved in getting him, it is only logical his salary would be higher. In total, it can easily end up being a fantastic investment, and I will be backing him. If he succeeds for us, it would be fantastic.
Time will tell how it ends.
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