Saka contract shows Arsenal are acting like a ‘Big Club’ again…

We have a tendency in this country to get carried away the second any British talent makes it to our first team. So I’m going to need to see more then 0 goals and 4 assists in 22 League games before I start comparing Saka to the next Sterling.

Yet yesterday’s news that the teenager extended his contract could represent a turning point for Arsenal.
Whether it’s how we negotiate, not getting maximum value when selling a player, or overpaying average talent, we have always been a bit out-dated when it comes to how we do business. The new regime of Raul Sanllehi and Edu have said the right things, but actions speak louder then words.

For example, there’s no good promising us that no player will again be allowed to run down their contract, then Aubameyang goes and does exactly the same as Sanchez and Ramsey.

That’s why Saka signing a new deal could represent such a massive change, the first step of us being run how we need to to be competitive again.

It’s not even a case of what the player will or won’t do. He could be England’s next big thing, or the pressure could get to him, or the praise could go to his head, etc. What’s important is the length of the contract. It would be a PR disaster for an academy graduate to leave for free (or for a small fee) at the same time as our top scorer.

What our club would have done in the past is given in to any demands of the agent, if it meant the situation going away for a couple of years. The equivalent of burying your problems under the carpet or putting a bill in the freezer.

That’s how Ozil got his salary. His employers were scared of the backlash and (gooners won’t admit it now) there would have been, if he and Sanchez were both allowed to leave for nothing.

By agreeing to 5 years, that’s at least 3 years of not having the headache of worrying about the winger’s future. Clubs can offer what they want, he can even ask to leave, but we will finally have some power in the situation.

Suddenly the worst-case scenario is if we lose a World class player, we can demand silly money for him .
Sancho for example is being valued at over 100 million and while he’s decent, a lot of that will be based on marketability. If he doesn’t become the star we envisage, the market still shows that average players are still rated at 30-50 million. Look how much we got for the Ox or an Iwobi.

Why do you think Crystal Palace can price Zaha out of a move? A long term contract…

I have always said ‘to be a big club, you have to act like a big club and think like a big club.’ This is the first sign of that. Take sentiment away and protect your assets.

If Saka ever wants to go, we don’t have to beg, don’t have to make him captain. We sell him and use that money to rebuild.

Leicester did that regarding Mahrez and Maguire. They were able to sell only if the terms were right for them.

That literally has been the difference been Arsenal and Liverpool. Liverpool were like us, wondering how they were going to compete with the riches of Manchester and Chelsea. Most of that time we were finishing above Liverpool. It wasn’t just the man-management of Klopp that ended their 30 year wait for a title, it was the work of those in charge of contracts.

Only by tieing Coutinho down to a long deal were they able to force Barcelona to pay over the odds. Only then could they have the funds to buy VVD and Alisson.

So this idea that we would have won the Prem with Klopp is a myth. He would have walked in and it would be too late, the contracts were already being run down. That’s not to take away from a brilliant manager, but it’s scary how one lot of mismanagement can have such an impact.

We are not unique in our best players wanting to leave….

Hazard asked to leave Chelsea
Coutinho – Liverpool
Sane – Bayern Munich
Bale – Spurs
Greizmann – Barca

The only reason a Sanchez hurts us more and not those other clubs is because we are not left with a cheque for 90 million. We could have been looking at over 100 million for Sanchez and Ramsey alone? That’s why yesterday was big news.

Not just keeping Saka the player but protecting an asset and our future…

Dan Smith


  1. An insightful and well composed article which rightly blames, even if only by implication, the unmentioned Gazidis, who was the real villain at Arsenal over the last decade, though prior to the blessed and thankful day he left us, when the cure could begin for all the huge damage he did to our club.

    Of course the absent and uninterested owner is also much responsible, because any proper and responsible owner is ALWAYS the one who appoints those who do day today running and must carry the can for their incompetance. What a deadly pair of villains they are whose damaging work is slowly being repaired by the talented and professional(in ALL senses of that much misused word) Arteta, though in near impossible circumstances ,as the Kroenke villain still remains at present.

    I have much faith in Edu too but the jury remains out on Sanllehi, as he has also made a number of costly errors thus far but with some successes too, Sakas new deal being a prime one.

    I am personally quite hopeful that the FULL financial fall out from Covid (which has hardly yet begun to even be fully taken onboard by many) will force Kroenke to sell up. Hopefully to a proper and fully human being this time!

  2. Long contract for saka is good news for the fanbase.A black talented player regularly playing for this great club is also a spite in the face of any racist in England.

    1. why does race even come into it mate ?
      That’s not why Arsenal have given him a new contract
      if I said its great that a white talented player signed a contract would that be okay ?
      we had players of various race and religion for years and it doesn’t stop racism

  3. Dan definitely right to point out it’s the transfer business which has got us where we are today.

    We didn’t sell our best assets for the best price and left us in the wake of Liverpool and somewhat spurs.

    Hopefully building around young talent like Saka and finding a few other gems that don’t break the bank aka Dortmund mould we can climb back up again.

    One big step towards that is tying players down and if they want to leave getting a fair return for them to “reinvest” in the team.

  4. Brilliant article, Dan, I rate the new regime 6/10, and so far they have performed above average, what they do with AUBA contract is yet to be known but I hope he doesn’t become another liability in the nearest future if he is given huge contracts, I feel we should be ruthless and be serious about this rebuilding, selling him off wouldn’t be bad but if he wishes to stay with reasonable wage, congratulations

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