How to fix Arsenal’s summer transfer marketing debacle

Arsene’s transfer antics have always been shrouded in a mystery novel of his own creation. But after five years the lack of a trophy has turned the author into an increasingly polarizing figure. Should he stay or should he go? This is becoming a publicity and marketing issue. The answer, however, rests in communication, not purchases. If Arsene respects the fans a little bit more, he might not even have to make a big purchase. 

Those who support Arsene and those calling for his head have begun to engage in a bit of trench warfare. On the one hand, we have the Arsene Knows Best folks. AKBs look to Arsene’s great success to be trusted at all costs; with some willing to ride Arsene’s credibility until actual disaster strikes; disaster being lower than fourth place. But on the other side, Arsene critics span a spectrum from the astute and articulate to the obviously unlearned about the finances of the modern game or the challenges Arsenal has faced these last 5 years.

I tend to fall in the AKB category, at least generally. Nonetheless, rational critics of Arsene have hit upon one very true and accurate problem with Arsene’s approach to transfers: he relies too much on the “just trust me” reframe too much.

Yes, too much talking can drive up prices and threaten to become a tapping up club. But the “just trust me” approach also asks too much of fans. As fans it is easier to support Arsene’s hidden gems, low ball offers, and scouts in Namibia, if we felt treated with a certain respect.

Arsene’s actions this summer in particular destabilized both the players and the fans. The goal keepers resemble the walking undead, unsure of their role, let alone their continued presence on the team. Fan pressure, most notably from the unlearned, is increasing by the day for want of, well, anything. And, with a £30m kitty this transfer season, expensive tickets and gear, the fans deserve to be told, clearly, of the Club’s efforts. It doesn’t harm Arsene to say, without a tap dance, that we have made a specific approach for players and have been turned down. To say “we are looking” is just not good enough.

Another way to engage the fans is to educate them. Arsene took a step in this direction the other day when he tried to explain the complexities of transfers. Don’t just say we have a wage framework, explain how the wage framework limits purchases. Unfortunately, in Europe, the transfer process is shrouded in complete mystery. Arsene can help the Game if he would create some transparency generally.

And lets be honest, EVERYONE knows we are looking for a keeper; even our keepers know this. So some communication would not hurt the cause.

It’s no surprise that the confirmation earlier this summer that an approach for Schwarzer was turned down led to…great relief. AKBs and rational critics were at least satisfied that an approach had been made early in the summer. Those fans whining about the proper price and negotiations were, properly, ignored. Nonetheless, given fan fears and promises of new purchases this summer, fan concerns should be acknowledged.

Besides Schwarzer, this summer has seen Arsenal linked to just about every goal keeper on the planet. The recent confirmation by Calgiari that Arsenal at least made an approach for Marchetti should be well received. But again, the information came from Italy, not London. This is incredibly annoying.

Sure, some will complain that Arsene is too cheap. But who cares. Those with any sense will be comforted to know that steps were taken earlier in the summer; the negotiations just didn’t pan out for whatever reason.

Given the complexities of these deals and the amount of money involved, I’m sure we have multiple negotiations going on at the same time. But again, just let us know.

Finally, such an approach might also just benefit our keepers. Right now they wander about thinking they might be the number 1 or might be shipped out tomorrow. Lets clear the air.



  1. Wotcher C (I sat next to you on the w-end)… nice site.

    The problem with transparency is the Citeh conundrum. As soon as a big club is publicly linked with a player the price goes up – or in Citeh’s case; gets stupid because they know there’s cash to burn. Once you go down that path it’ll forever screw you up as you’ll be blackmailed at every turn. While a club has a rich benefactor it’s all fine, but when the money goes cold (as it is at Chel$ki) the hard times start.

    The problem with Educating fans is I don’t believe anyone will believe how complex it is, because we’ve all played championship manager and it’s easy innit?

    The modern interwebbed world is to blame for all this bollocks in any case. Back in the ’80’s you never got this fevered speculation… it’s up to us fans to put our sensible trousers on and not read the nonsense.

    Nuff said – see you on Sat.

    • fair enough. the interweb strikes again. but i guess i still hold out hope a bit. in the states, fans are pretty well versed in the NBA/NFL/MLB contract structures. of course that means a possible salary cap (MLB doesn’t have one i don’t think) or at least more regulation by UEFA/FIFA.

      but if we’re asking for michel platini, sepp blatter or even the FA to save us….we have some serious problems in the game.

      • True… Blatter’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot and Platini is more irritating then itchy balls.

        The whole Footballing contract situation in Europe is full of inconsistencies – for instance FIFA’s tapping up rule (article 18 clause 3) states:

        “A club intending to conclude a contract with a professional must inform the player’s current club in writing before entering into negotiations with him. A professional shall only be free to conclude a contract with another club if his contract with his present club has expired or is due to expire within six months. Any breach of this provision shall be subject to appropriate sanctions.”

        It quotes CLUB (covers managers and club staff not players) and not MEMBER OF CLUB – which is why Barca rolled out every flippin’ player with the Cesc DNA shit all summer.

        If this happened in the NBA/NFL the players and club would get the crap kicked out of them.

        Wenger is vague on transfers because the system is vague…if it was straight like the US leagues (or at least MORE straight about transfers) then I’m sure AW would be more forthcoming… blame the game, not the player.


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