Everyone needs to chill. Arsene is shopping; he just needs to price the market.

Right now, Arsenal is being linked with all kinds of strikers.  Not the least because he said we’d be shopping for one.  How much of these links are in fact true?  Most if not all of them.  The truth is, Arsene (or his reps) is out there and actively gauging the market.  This doesn’t mean Arsene will or even is interested in a player, but before he can negotiate for who he wants, before he can actually buy, he has to price the market.  This means figuring out the right price and asking around.  This takes some time.

Arsene is known as a spendthrift.  And he’s been pretty clear over the years that he won’t spend  “£10m for a £5m player.”  Some of this is blowing smoke, a negotiating tool.  The better his reputation for hard-nosed negotiation, the less work he has to do when actually negotiating.  Traditionally, however, Arsene has shown that one key factor plays a huge role for him: the relative price of a player.  In the end, Arsene does actually pay and especially for what he wants, he just makes sure he pays the right Bang for the Buck.  In fact, he’s been really good at it for the last few years: Arshavin (£15m), Ramsey (£5m), Nasri (£12.5), Sagna (around £10m), Vermaelen (£10m), Eduardo (around £7.5m), just to name a few.

The key to remember, is that the relative price of a player is how much Arsene needs to spend to get a player of similar (not necessarily exact) quality.  Before Arsene can make any purchase he has a two step process.  First, he needs to figure out a range of players of the same general quality, e.g. Chamakh, Gignac, Balotelli, Dzeko, Fabian, Cole and so forth.  Second, he needs to figure out the asking price for each.  Whether it’s £7m or £30m+Fab.  This doesn’t mean Arsene will pay that price, it just means he can create a market price from which to make decisions.

Now, many clubs do this, not English clubs mind you (hence all the debt issues), but this is common in France and Germany.  What makes Arsene different is that the big clubs don’t operate this way.  They pick players they want -it becomes a point of pride for them -and then throw money at the selling club forcing a sale.  That’s the model for Chelsea, ManU, now Mancity, Madrid, Barca, Juve, AC, Inter and even Atletico Madrid to some extent.  Arsene on the other hand, finds the talent, prioritizes the talent and prices accordingly.

For example, Arsene knows he can get Dzeko for £25m (assuming Dzeko agrees to come), but can get Chamakh for £6m.  Yes, Dzeko might be better, but is he so much better?  No.  Clearly not.  At least not with the added risk he brings.

This is why the Arsenal has been linked with so many players and will continue to be until a purchase.  Not because Arsene plans on buying the players in the news, but Arsene needs to know their selling price.  For instance, although the following players are just rumors, they give us a good idea of what’s going on.  Each player has been linked to Arsenal inquiries:  Higuain for £31m; Zarate for £36m; Hulk for £21m; Gignac for £12m; Balotelli for £30m.

From here, it looks like the going price for a young (19-22) top of the line striker in Serie A and La Liga is £30m; then halves for a player in Ligue 1.  So what’s Chamakh’s real value?  He’ll be free on a Bosman in three months and will be 26.  The £7m asking or the £3m offered?

Of course other factors come into play, such as wages (Balotelli is apparently only £1m a year) or whether the player wants to come to Arsenal (Dzeko clearly wants to go to AC).  Age also plays a big factor, not to mention what the Club can afford.  And, with such a young team, Arsene must always be aware of the potential impact on blocking the development of our youth.  But still, Arsene won’t protect youth if he can get a diamond for the value of the diamond; he’s fiscally responsible, not a fool.  So just chill until the end of the month and lets see what Arsene decides.

– the student

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