Why do Arsenal never make big money sales?

Why Can’t We Sell Players for Big Sums?

Tiemoue Bakayoko, a big-time Chelsea flop, is, according to Talksport, about to go for 30 million pounds. Chelsea picked him out of Monaco in 2018 for the sum of 35 million pounds.

Alvaro “He needs constant encouragement” Morata was sold off to Atletico Madrid for almost the same price as he was bought for.

Arsenal will be hoping to reach just about as much from selling Spanish international and vice-captain, Hector Bellerin and French international Alexandre Lacazette.

Despite having sold many top players in the past, Marc Overmars at 40 million euros to Barcelona is our record sale, with only Iwobi and the OX coming close in recent years. Here are the transfer records for the Top 6.

Liverpool, Phillipe Coutinho, 145 million euros.
Manchester City, Leroy Sane, 45 million euros.
Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo, 94 million euros.
Tottenham, Gareth Bale, 101 million euros.
Chelsea, Eden Hazard, 115 million euros.

It is this dearth of very good transfer deals that informs fans questioning of how we conduct ourselves in the transfer window. What’s wrong with our management?

Let it be said that some of our best dealings in recent history has come under this current management. Iwobi and Chamberlain were sold for over 60-70 million euros between. But why are we struggling to sell assets? Why can’t we make a profit on Torreira? Recoup what we paid for Lacazette? Sell Bellerin for as much as Chilwell to one of the richest football clubs?

This is largely explained by the fact that we don’t sell talents who are in peak performance. Szcesny was sold after a spat with Wenger. He hadn’t realized his potential yet. Ismael Bennacer was sold young and had a buy-back clause we didn’t exercise. So goes for Jeff-Reine Adelaide and Serge Gnabry. Alexis Sanchez was in the last year of his contract. Mkhitaryan was past his best and on huge wages. Koscielny was old and forced his way out of the club. Torreira has been a bit average during his time at Arsenal and is now considered disposable by the club. Hector Bellerin is coming off a lengthy injury. Sead Kolasinac is on huge wages. Mustafi has underwhelmed and is injured. Rob Holding has not had a good run in the team, being interrupted by injuries. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is on the cusp of establishing himself as a first-team regular but isn’t there yet.

Basically, we have been selling players who are too old, too young, on big wages and on the last year of their contracts. Any of these would depress the price of a player whom other teams are not so desperate for. Were someone like Mkhitaryan or Kolasinac on smaller wages, we would likely be getting a nice fee for them both.

But Eden Hazard, you say. Well, Eden Hazard has performed to the extent that enough top teams are desperate for him to play for them. The closest thing we have to that is Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and were he to be sold now, would bring in over 50 million euros.

Generally, too, a team’s collective performance will affect the prices of even their most fringe players. This is why Liverpool or Manchester City will be hoping to get sizable sums for the likes of Xerdan Shaqiri and an injured Leroy Sane on the last year of his contract. Arsenal have been accumulating players on Champions League wages but performing on an Europa League level. Alexandre Lacazette for example is earning more than a hundred and fifty thousand euros a week but hasn’t broken the 15-goal barrier in the league. This makes it quite difficult to sell.

But times are changing. The sales of Chamberlain and Iwobi demonstrate that. The likes of Bellerin and Lucas Torreira are being linked for reasonable amounts. Even Lacazette looks to be going for around 35 million euros. 20 million for Martinez is just about fine, considering he could have gone for a quarter of that in January. The team’s performance is improving and that can only be good news for outgoing sales.

In Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Magalhaes, William Saliba, and maybe Aouar if he signs, Arsenal have quite a few players who fit the profile of a super sale in the coming years. Sometimes, to improve the overall quality of the squad, you’ll need a big and profitable sale. Arsenal have not yet had that. Perhaps that will change under Arteta.

Agboola Israel

25 Comments

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  1. ThirdManJW says:

    We all know the reason why…Wenger and Gazidis! Their policies seemed to simply be:

    1 – Let players run down their contracts on a consistent basis, thus reducing their value massively.

    2 – Consistently paying way over the top on wages, making almost impossible to sell, unless for a reduced transfer fee.

    3 – Not selling at the right time.

    Liverpool got around a quarter of a billion for Suarez, Sterling, and Coutinho, whilst we lost, and are still losing, a ton of money on the likes Ramsey, Sanchez, and Ozil.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      👍

  2. James says:

    Well we had no right to get £40m for iwobi so…

    1. jon fox says:

      I thought the actual figure paid was £30 mill rising with add ons to £35 mill. Not £40 mill! STILL, ADMITTEDLY, A BLINDING RESULT FOR THIS DESPERATELY AVERAGE PLAYER.

  3. AY75 says:

    The players you listed (other than Sane) were (arguably) the best players at their respective clubs as at when they were sold, which raises the question, would you have loved to see Aubameyang or Leno leave after their first 2 seasons with us?. You can argue that the money was smartly reinvested in some of the instances you gave. Yes, the board did make a hash of a lot of player sales and recruitments as well, but overall, they have been making shrewd transfers (in and out) of late, and things are looking up. Besides, selling Iwobi and Chamberlain for £30m+ is superb business in my opinion (Everton and their neighbours got mugged 😀). £20m for Martinez does seem very cheap at this point, but since he wasn’t interested in fighting Leno for the no. 1 spot, he had to be let go. Leno has performed well for much longer, and we couldn’t know for sure if Martinez was only having a purple patch.
    I do agree with your conclusion, but I bet when the time comes, we all wouldn’t want them to leave regardless of the amount on offer.

    1. Sue says:

      “Everton and their neighbours got mugged” – 🤣🤣🤣🤣 love it 👍
      Emi will be glad Grealish is staying, having just signed a new 5 year deal! Speaking of new deals – Auba? Hellooo… we’re still waiting….

  4. Sean Williams says:

    Because the ‘Big Business Men’ who make ‘Big Business Men’ noises are shite at being ‘Big Business Men’. It’s easy for ‘Board Men’ to parade in suits, but that’s all it is…..a ‘Catwalk’. A big ‘I am’ walk. When they actually care or had an investment in Arsenal it would be different. Sadly we have a ‘sole owner’ who doesn’t care himself. Slimy Stan.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Sean, the issue with Stan is that he has selected and/or retained the Board and senior executive, who he pays to make these decisions for him.
      He wouldn’t have enough hours in the day to be involved in all the matters and make all the decisions, you seem to believe he does. It’s called “delegation” .

  5. jon fox says:

    As you point out Agboola, things are finally moving in the proper direction, after a decade of rank bad financial decsions that will continue to cost us in Prem success for a while yet, despite the briliance of MA, ably assisted by Edu. Gazidis has much to answer for. He was our real villain in chief!

    And his immense damage will linger for a while yet. Of course, if our disastrous owner could only have been more present than 3000-6000 miles away he MIGHT, just MIGHT , have noticed and sacked oily Ivan much earlier.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Or jon, if he had one of his assistants peruse justarsenal, he would have had advance notice. 😀

  6. ACE says:

    Other than Auba, and possibly
    Sanchez who exaclty
    on the Arsenal roster over the
    past decade would compare to
    the likes of CR, Eden Hazard, Philip
    Countinho and Gareth Bale? 5
    players who at the time of there
    transfers were considered the
    best in the world at there respected
    positions.

    iMHO the Sanchez non sale to
    City is the only instance where
    Arsenal failed to get proper value
    for one of the worlds best players
    who had no interest in extending
    his stay in NL.

    I agree that the sales of Gnabry,
    Bennacer, WS and JRA were
    disappointing but at the time
    none of these players were
    considered to be future first
    team starters( WS had his run
    as 1st team keeper but was
    either rightly or wrongly
    considered to immature and
    brash by AW) Hindsight is a
    beautiful thing to behold but not
    many Arsenal fans could envision
    all of these players excelling at
    some of the best futbol clubs in the
    world.

    I would also agree that AFC were
    successful in fleecing Everton for
    both Walcott and Iwobi (LMFAO)
    and achieved a rather satisfactory
    return for both AOC and now EM.

    I truly believe MA and Edu are
    building something special in NL
    and hopefully Arsenal fans will be
    able to concern themselves with
    more silverware rather than
    world record transfer sales.

    1. Trudeau says:

      Agree with a lot of your post ACE but the last couple of years, until recently, has been exceptionally dire in managing assets and if I were the owner would make me question putting good money after bad. Ozil’s salary, not selling Sanchez to City, giving Mhykitaryan a new contract, Koscielny walks for free, Gnabry, Malen and Reine-Adelaide leave for peanuts, Ramsey walks on a free, probably paying over the odds for Pepe The list is long. Only sales of Theo and Iwobi show much nouce in outgoings (thank you Everton).

      But as you say, positive signs under Edu and Arteta.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        👍

  7. A J says:

    One word ;

    SALARY !

  8. lcw says:

    Because they didn’t have anybody to sell.
    Oba is currently the best player but his age will not attract big money.

  9. Joe Allysons says:

    PSG and Barca failed to land Bellerin because arsenal wanted 35 million.
    Juventus failed to land Laca because arsenal wanted 50 million.
    Just paraphrasing Fabricio Romano a while ago on a certain YouTube channel.
    I think we are getting our valuations right. It’s not like Bellerin and Auba are bad players. So if they can’t pay for them, we keep them

  10. Grandad says:

    The trick is to buy young and cheap and sell before the player is over the hill.The Pandemic has dampened the market and brought some realism to many Clubs large and small.The likes of Barca are faced with financial problems ,of their own making and with a number of experienced but aging players who they cannot sell.Lots of other Clubs are in the same boat and as a consequence loans become a way out in order to reduce the wage bill.The acquisition of talented youngsters becomes an even more important aspect for future success and to provide “trading” profits when they are sold on.Pepe is a classic example of paying a huge premium for a winger when our priorities lay elsewhere and this type of acquisition must be avoided in future.Our recruitment team have been justifiably criticised during the past decade, but under Arteta and the current Management team I am more confident that we are now in good and efficient hands.

    1. Sean Williams says:

      100%. In 3 years time, post covid, Gabriel, Saliba, and Saka may be worth fortunes. Buy young, sell big.

  11. RSH says:

    We hold onto valuable players too long, they have too high of a salary, and we just aren’t good negotiators. Our rivals when they sell their talents can get record fees. Some clubs just have a reputation for being hard negotiators and others soft sellers. We are soft sellers, and it’s because we buy so many players that aren’t suited for us or aren’t good enough and we usually want these type of players gone ASAP when we realize they dont fit. So i think it comes down to holding onto valuable players too long, and being very eager to get rid of our bad buys which we purchase too many of too frequently.

  12. Reggie says:

    When you pay enormous wages to average players, straight away you have a job doing well in leagues and a job moving average players on on abhorrent wages, who are performing average in the leagues. I despair at fans blowing our average players up, xhaka, Bellerin, kolasinac, mustaffi, ozil and Elnenny, when all they are are average players on exorbitant wages, producing average or below performances. Nobody wants our players because we bought for too much, paid them too much and performed average in the league. Its not rocket science.

    1. Reggie says:

      plus we have been doing it for years.

  13. Tom says:

    In this period of super transfer fees arsenal have been in transition for too long to warrant a big fee.

    I would argue thou that if it wasnt for the fact Sanchez wasnt signing a new deal, he could of been worth alot more then what we got.
    Even with the end result of his time at MN – he was arguably the best player at arsenal and top 3 in the league.

  14. AndersS says:

    Things look to be getting better over the last couple of years.
    An overlooked factor is the failure to recruit the right players and to develop them into even better players, thus increasing their value in a potential sale.
    AW’s last 6-8 years were a disaster in this respect.
    Not that it was his fault alone. I suppose others, especially those involved in scouting and signing players, must take some blame for this failure.

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