Since Mikel Arteta took over as manager of Arsenal and started his complete rebuilding programme, it seems to have become a recurring theme of Arsenal’s transfer dealings that they end up paying off a lot of players contracts if they can’t find a buyer, especially when other clubs can’t afford the massive wages that Arsenal were giving them.
The Mesut Ozil saga set the precedent, when he dug his heels in and constantly said “I will honour my contract”, so Arteta and Edu finally decided it was better to get him out of the club than pay him to sit at home and play video games. Since Ozil, there have been many many more departures that cost us money to let them go. As Edu explained: “If you imagine, ‘Oh, no problem: this season we’re going to expose the player a little bit more and then we sell them’ — no, be realistic. You don’t want to sell the player,” he said.
“Try to avoid one more year with the problem inside, in the dressing room, expensive, not performing. Clean, take it out. Even, I’m sorry, if you have to pay. To leave is better. Because that guy is sometimes also blocking someone.
“I know it hurts, I know it’s strange when I go to the board and say: ‘Sometimes it’s better to pay a player to leave, than maintain them.’ But I consider it an investment. Sometimes people say: ‘It’s expensive.’ I say: ‘No, it’s investment.’ But someone will pay if you sell? No, guys — if the player is above 26, 27 and not performing, big salary, no chance.”
So now we come to another summer, and we still have players on our books that are ‘surplus to requirements’ and need to leave, no matter what the cost. I discussed the Torreira problem earlier, but we also have Bellerin, Pepe, Leno, Runarsson, Mari, Maitland-Niles, to name a few. All players that are unlikely to play for the Gunners again.
Is it better to just pay them to leave like Edu says?
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Mikel Arteta meets the press after incredible 4-0 destruction of Chelsea
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