Arsenal - Arsenal's Battle To Dispense and Retain
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Arsenal's Battle To Dispense and Retain

Aside from shenanigans over wantaway captains and the expected intake of summer recruits, one of the club`s biggest jobs this summer will be to shift some of the unwanted squad players. Andrey Arshavin`s typically laconic (and probably quite reasonable) statement to Russia fans following their ignominious exit from Euro 2012 has made him a pariah in his own country and killed the chance of striking a permanent deal with Zenit St. Petersburg. (Their president didn`t mince his words, telling the press Arshavin "should be deported" for his comments).

But Arsenal are struggling to shift other players too. Even though he still has a year to run on his deal, the club seem willing to grant Sebastien Squillaci a free transfer to help move him on. His £50,000 a week wages are a stumbling block nobody has seen fit to hurdle. A deal looked to be close with Bastia, but even the prospect of a free hasn`t been able to bridge that gap.

Their president Pierre-Marie Geronimi told French radio station RMC, "Sebastien Squillaci is an extraordinary player who plays for Arsenal where he has one year contract. I can not even give you his salary. He is one of the players who are out of reach for us and for many clubs in France.
"Times are tough for everyone," he added. "It will be increasingly difficult for the French players playing abroad to return to France. There is too much difference today between a wage in France and the English salaries, and the tax incentives in France will not be made for the benefit of these type of players."

Some (rather ropey looking, it has to be said) quotes appeared in the press yesterday, purportedly from Arsene Wenger, suggesting Italian outfit Fiorentina had made an offer for surplus striker Marouane Chamakh. But the Serie A club have today refuted the suggestion, with Viola President Daniele Pradi telling SportItalia, "'Have we made an offer for Chamakh? We have not made one because he earns three million euros (per season).' The fact that Pradi appears au fait with Chamakh`s salary suggests there might have been some interest, reading between the lines.

Meanwhile, French paper L`Equipe is reporting that Arsenal have offered improved terms to Laurent Koscielny, whose deal runs out in 2014. The Gunners are reportedly looking to sign the French international defender until 2017. Koscielny, like Alex Song, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs, has two years to run on his current deal, which makes this a very busy summer for the staff at Arsenal indeed. Keep a spare blackberry charger Ivan. LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 10 2012

Time: 12:23PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
The collapse in the Euro has inflated the salaries of those outside the Eurozone by up to 15% since last summer. What might have seemed reasonable a year ago seems less so now especially with all European economies in the doldrums.
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10/07/2012 12:52:00

Extending Koscielny's contract successfuly will stabilise our CB pairing for the medium term - a top priority item for the club management. Extending Alex Song's contract is another thing better done this summer than the next when he has only 1 year left on his contract. Not sure if he will extend his deal though. If there are no plans to buy a specialist right back and instead the plan was to groom Jenkinson or Coquelin in the role for the future then its important to extend Bacary Sagna's contract as well - he will be a transfer target for big clubs next summer otherwise. Lots of work lined up for the commercial team. Chamakh seems unwilling to suffer any cut in pay even if he is a regular at another club so we have no option but to cut our transfer fee to a million or two and move him on.
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10/07/2012 12:55:00

Some of our talent retention methods over the last few years have been a monumental **** up, all stemming from a major **** up in not tying down Cole properly. Having Chamackh, Squillaci et al on our books next season is a complete and utter shambles.
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10/07/2012 13:06:00

Can't keep the ones we want to, can't get rid of the ones we want to. Being as we can't sell them for love and especially not money can we not just have a charity day where we give them all away free, any costs incurred from breaking the contracts we can surely claw back most of from saved wages?
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10/07/2012 13:13:00

Gunning for the Europa LoL
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10/07/2012 13:38:00

You guys are the most "advanced" academy in the world.
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10/07/2012 13:39:00

My heart sinks when I read that Song, Sagna, Kosc & Gibbs have 2 years to run on their contracts. Unless the club act now (or had acted more aggressively earlier), we will be in the same position next summer with one or more of these players. I know we opened negotiations with Song earlier this year, but that's clearly not been enough. I don't know what the solution is, but neither does the club, by the looks of things.
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10/07/2012 13:47:00

I think the only solution is patience, Prits. The club can't strongarm anyone to sign a contract, all they can do is estimate their worth, offer them a fair reflection, and hope they'll act decently. A lot to hope, I know!
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10/07/2012 14:03:00

With contracts usually 4 years at a time unless they renew after the first year all contracts are going to be left with only a year or two to run at some point. Under Fifa contract law (just cause) effectively contracts are only firm for 3 years (or 2 years after the age of 28) so it's a problem all clubs face really.
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10/07/2012 14:04:00

RvP signed up to a new deal in 2009 (a risk at the time given his injury record), realistically, we couldn't justify offering him another rise until 2011 and he didn't want to talk about it then. Interestsingly, I read a letter from a United fan who was annoyed that the likes of Pogba, Morrison and Fryes had all left United on frees over the last 6 months because United weren't offering them good enough terms early enough. We appear to have the exact opposite problem, which emphasises what a tightrope this is for every club.
Little Dutch
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10/07/2012 14:44:00

The Bastia President told it rather bluntly, didn't he. It brings to the fore the need for the club to review the wage structure to become a more merit-driven one. How can it be explained that squad players are finding it hard moving on because Arsenal pays them so well, they can't accept lower wages elsewhere?

As for the timely contract renewals, the club is no different from other clubs in facing this problem for the reasons mentioned by Amos above; it would seem Arsenal's private matters get more press time because fans have gotten used to and are beginning to believe the stereotype being created of the management (or Wenger) as a group of bungling men. I had thought Song was also a year to go; I am glad to know he still has 2 years. We have to get him an extension unless there is a concern with his future form. Arsenal needs to retain experienced players with club good knowledge of the team ethos.
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10/07/2012 15:17:00

Negotiations were opened with Song some time ago. The crux of the issue is, if a player drags his heels or refuses to sign, there isn't a great deal you can do about it.
Little Dutch
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10/07/2012 15:21:00

let's just hope all the players on that shortlist do re-sign. Quality players. (Except Gibbs maybe?)
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10/07/2012 17:34:00

what is so striking is that nowadays if a player has 2 yrs left on his contract clubs have to get working already to negotiate an extension. How long till it become 3 yrs? Player power has become ridiculous. The work of negotiating contracts never seems to have a break even when you've just signed a player for 4 or 5 yrs.
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10/07/2012 17:55:00

only misers complain about player power
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11/07/2012 09:57:00

How miserly were you when Drogba (Anelka & Kalou before him) chose to wind down his contract and leave, even when the entire Chelsea ensemble/orchestra pleaded for him to extend? Now, it is Lampard to the MLS, right?
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11/07/2012 10:19:00

MQ lacks IQ. His club management does too. They have let four experienced first team players including their best striker go on a free and are spunking 60 million quid and counting on kids to replace them. If player power is for misers why did Drogba walk away?
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11/07/2012 14:42:00

If you haven't read this article, I would highly recommend it, Gooners -
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11/07/2012 17:33:00

Great pick Vin. Well worth a read - and then applying your own knowledge of the history of the club and what they were spending money on in the period reviewed. It academically supports what rational analysis should have told you anyway.
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11/07/2012 22:30:00

Of course its a problem that all clubs will face. Perhaps, we cannot afford it as much as City / Chelsea can bcoz they can simply go out and sign another player by splashing the cash. Which we cannot do. So, its a problem that we have to cope with better than other clubs, just to keep pace with them. LD - if every (or almost every) player who is offered an extension drags his heels, then there is a bigger problem. Of course you have the likes of Vermaelen for whom the process went smoothly (hopefully Kosc too, have I missed anyone else?), but now you've had Nasri, RvP, Theo & Song who have not. So that pattern should concern the club.
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13/07/2012 09:21:00


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