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Playing transfer games

The transfer widow opens on Friday. Arsene Wenger has said that he is looking with an interested eye at the market, firstly for a striker but he also wants to consider midfield options.

He also says that he doesn`t have any names for us but it isn`t possible to go into the transfer window without having considered what targets are feasible surely. Players whose contracts are to expire at the end of the season aren`t free to discuss their position with other clubs until the 1st of January but it would be naive to think that discussions with their agents and representatives wouldn`t have gone on or be going on sometime before the player himself can participate.

Few players of true quality are allowed to run down their contracts and those that do so hoping to maximise the financial benefits for themselves would be less inclined to move in January when the summer allows them possibly more choice and more money. But changed player contract laws are influencing transfer decisions at the mid season point more than has previously been the case. The fact is that once a player`s 3 year protected period has expired there is little to prevent that player moving on. The Webster ruling effectively gives a player the right to buy out the remainder of his contract after that period. Though it has never been fully tested in the courts until that day comes, if ever, then clubs have little option other than to accept that if a player wants to leave after 3 years (or 2 over the age of 28) there is little to prevent it.

Most contracts will of course run to the seasons end and few clubs want to lose worthwhile players mid season. By the same token only the disaffected and discontented players will want to move at this time. All of which makes the pot from which Wenger would seek to pluck established talent to augment the emerging talent we have quite a small one.

Ideally we would want to identify the players we want prior to the window opening and to conclude the business within the first few days but the market doesn`t often work as obligingly as that. As we found with Arshavin and to a similar extent in the summer with Chamakh clubs will play a game of brinkmanship to ensure they get the best deal possible. You can`t blame them for that but inevitably that means negotiations are protracted and can often extend right up until the window is about to close. Sometimes the deal comes together right at the end and sometimes not.

Wenger will have pencilled in some targets and indirectly will have sounded out those prospects but unless they are little known names, as Adebayor was when signed relatively early in the 2006 window along with Diaby, supporters may find that they will have to be patient and wait until the end of the window as they had to when signing Reyes in 2004 and Arshavin this year.

Of course there is always the prospect that Wenger will decide he can`t find anything better than we already have. That was the tone of comments made to the press by Peter Hill-Wood a few days ago when he said: "We have got a lot of money available to spend - money`s not the restriction.

"I spoke to Arsene about this a few days ago and he said he wasn`t prepared to go out and buy a player who is not better than the ones we have got. You try and find a world-class striker like Robin van Persie, regardless of how much money you have got."

Hill-Wood added: "I am very confident still we have got a very good squad and some of these young boys who have come in have done really well. It could be Arsene will stick with what he has got. If we were to win our game in hand we would be second in the league."

Just laying the groundwork for the brinkmanship to come perhaps? Simply playing the transfer game? It might take a few weeks yet to be sure.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 29 2009

Time: 11:07AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Gamesmanship my arse. Just sign Messi and be done with it!
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 15:49:00

^An example of the kind of annoying bull***** we're going to be hearing for the next month.
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 15:50:00

Just go out there and sign a quality player. There are lots of them in the market. If they're really serious about sustaining our tittle push then not buying shouldn't be an option. There's too much talk about having money but in the end no activity. Would be gutted if they end up not signing anyone.
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 17:31:00

Pure brinksmanship! With Arsene, it is difficult to know what to expect; the club realises that there is a clamour to buy, especially with the positions of players we have lost to injury, so the board tries to shift the pressure upon the Manager, who is ever willing to carry the can by stating that he will buy if he finds anyone better than what he has (he didn't add "but, not at certain prices"). Fact is, so long as we keep up with the front runners in the premiership and sustain our UEFA/cup aspirations, maybe, we will end up buying one or two good 'potentials', just to satisfiy the clamours, because it is difficult getting quality players in the window. It is not often you get players as Arshavin in the winter window, unless the chase started in the summer. My view is that, to win the League, we do need one powerful player, preferrably Striker, to add new spirit to the team and push us to the finish line.
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 18:11:00

3 words Van Deer Vart
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 20:40:00

I have a feeling that Wenger will sign atleast 1 player. Normally he is not so forthcoming about his plans, but this itme, he has talked positively about needing a player or two for the squad. I have no idea who this player will be but I trust the scouting dept to come up with a quality player.
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 21:08:00

Completely off subject; 'Pool pipped Villa today, which has increased the significance of our game against Pompey, tomorrow. We need to win so as to put daylight between we and the Villains (or 4th place aspirants, which would now, include Liverpool), while shooting up confidence in the team.
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 22:01:00

Are we to understand there are no better strikers available out there than Eduardo and Vela?!
Wyn Mills
Report Abuse
29/12/2009 22:56:00

ArsenalRob - I wouldn't complain if we signed Messi ;) Is it just me or are we in desperate need of another fullback?? Senderos will be gone and that leaves Silvestre whilst Djourou is out for so long. I don't feel amazingly confident about neither Gallas or Verm getting injured for the rest of the season. Also i never ended up seeing if Gallas renewed his contract or not? Can anyone shed some light on this??
Report Abuse
30/12/2009 02:17:00

Gallas hasn't renewed as yet. Senderos is still here and if he does go it probably won't be until the end of January when Song is due back. Silvestre and Song will provide back up for Gallas and Vermaelen for the rest of the season. Another experienced midfielder if Wenger can find one that's good enough and available is likely. As for a striker Wenger is looking for one of a type not of a name.
Report Abuse
30/12/2009 10:13:00

gunner 24, an attacking midfielder like VDV is about the last thing we need right now. VDV would be required only if Rosicky leaves the club. A backup to Gallas and Vermaelen is more urgently required as is a skilful and powerful striker.
Report Abuse
31/12/2009 09:58:00

I'd rather we spent nothing than 35m on a Berbatov-shaped white elephant. Cannot resist a dig at perhaps football's most expensive flop... But seriously, after doing extensive research on Youtube, I've given Arsene the go ahead to sign Carlton Cole if we can get him for under 14m.
Report Abuse
02/01/2010 07:38:00


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