Overpaid numpties – extended

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Jul 6th, 2011

According to a senior boardroom source at the Emirates, Arsenal could afford the wages of big stars or the demands of their existing ones if some of the crazy salaries given out to the much maligned members of the squad were somewhat less ridiculous.

This boardroom source recently claimed that Arsene could put a big contract offer to Nasri if Diaby only earned £30,000 per week instead of £60,000 per week. £60,000 for Diaby! A week!! When you hear that Luka Modric is on £35,000 a week a short jaunt up the Seven Sisters Road at Spurs it really puts into perspective how badly overpaid some Arsenal players are.

Don’t get me wrong, when fit Diaby has great potential but that is the point. When fit…. potential. £60k is too much for someone with a poor injury record and debatable influence when fit.

Samir Nasir, reportedly on £45,000 per week has been offered a salary of £90,000 per week however has been reported to be holding out for parity with Fabregas who is on £110,000 a week as the clubs top earner.

For a long time now Wenger has offered big wages to lesser known players or up and coming talents in order to tie them down to long term contracts. Sadly whilst this works in getting players to sign 6+ year contracts, guaranteeing that Arsenal either get their best years or a good resell value, it actually creates the disproportionate wage bill that holds Arsenal back as they refuse to breach 50-55% of turnover as their marker for maximum wages.

Currently Arsenal have a weekly wage bill of £2.3m compared to £2.6m at Chelsea and who has had the more recent success? With “world class” stars such as Drogba, Cech, Terry, Lampard, Essien, Torres (of days gone by), Cole, Malouda and Anelka as well as other future talents like David Luiz in their ranks you would expect Chelsea’s wage bill to eclipse Arsenal’s by more than £300k a week!

With ‘stars’ like Denilson, Almunia, Vela, Bendtner and Squillaci reportedly earning over £50,000 a week it is not hard to see where Arsenal are going wrong.

Denilson, Vela and Almunia all earn salaries of £50,000 a week with Diaby, Bendtner and Squiallci earning £55-60,000 a week.

That is £340k a week, the difference between Arsenal’s and Chelsea’s wage bill. That would afford Arsenal their reported targets of Parker, Cahill and Gervinho with increases in their salaries of 50%+ and still leave close to £150,000 a week to bump up the salaries of players such as Nasri, Van Persie and Walcott to get them to sign new contracts and still probably have change for an ice cream.

The players that Wenger should be trying to get rid of in my opinion are:

CS = Current Status.
IC = Interested Clubs
PV = Potential Value
WS = Wages Saved

Clichy – CS: Signed for Man City – IC: N/A – PV: £7m – WS: £70,000
Denilson – CS: Wants to leave – IC: Shaktar – PV: £5m – WS: £50,000
Bendtner – CS: Wants to leave – IC: Bayern & Benfica – PV: £11m – WS: £55,000
Squillaci – CS: Not known – IC: N/A – PV: £0 – WS: £55,000
Almunia – CS: 3rd choice, may leave – IC: Unknown Greek club – PV: £0 – WS: £50,000
Diaby – CS: AW squad member – IC: Reportedly Spurs but I doubt it – PV: £6m – WS: £60,000

Total transfer fee income = £29m
Total wages saved = £340,000 (pw or £17.6m per year)

This should give Arsene a transfer kitty of close to £50-60m . We hear he already has £40m but I usually halve what is reported as that is usually closer to the actual figure.

Players Wenger should sign:

Gervinho – reported to be a done deal at £10.6m and reported wages of £55,000 a week on a 4 year deal
Cahill – speculation says that the fee will be around £17m but with Bolton in debt and keen to cash in on their prized asset I would suspect that the fee would be closer to £13m with add-ons and a youth player and possibly a loan or two. Wages would be around £50,000 a week
Parker – Parker is reported to have an £8m price on his head but I would expect Wenger to cap his offer at £6m, based on age. I think West Ham would accept. Wages of £75,000 a week. Another option in addition to Parker, not instead of, in my opinion, would be Owen Hargreaves. Whilst he has had his injury problems he was without a doubt a world class talent and Wenger has brought players back from the brink of retirement from injury to play some of the best football of their careers, Overmars being being the best example.
Baines – A perfect replacement for Clichy and in my mind a better player. At almost 27 an experienced signing that can help develop young Gibbs whilst still performing at the top. A better defender than Clichy and the stats show that he is more effective in attack with regular assists as well as goals from set pieces. Value of around £9m with wages of £55,000 a week

Wenger is also reported to be on the lookout for another defender as well as Cahill and Samba looks a likely candidate. I think with Vermaelen back, Koscielny looking like a good player with the more games he gets and Djourou a reasonable back up (about as first choice as Senderos) and young performers like Miquel and Bartley as long term options at centre back and the three names being under 27 a signing like Samba might just push a few talents out of the door and in 4 years time Arsenal will be struggling at centre back again. I think a better option, for numbers and experience for Wenger would be to go for one of Upson and Woodgate. Both available on free transfers and bother vastly experienced players albeit injury prone in Woodgates case but potentially a risk worth taking. Upson would probably look for a two year deal on £45-50k a week and Woodgate would be happy with a one year contract with an option to extend on £30-40k a week.

Arsene is also rumoured to be looking for an experienced keeper to push Szczesny for the No.1 spot or potentially just be an experienced and stable pair of hands as a back up. If it is the former then Given is on the market for around £4m with wages of £60k a week or as rumours have it Gordon for £6m and £40k a week wages. I think Arsene would be better served going back in for Schwarzer for £2m on wages of £35k a week to add experience as well as not holding back Szczesny for more than a year or so.

In the most expensive scenario Wenger would be spending £40m and splashing out £320k on wages. Net transfer spend would be £11m and wage spend would be £20k a week less which equates to £10m for the year making the years’ transfer spend a little under £1m which would make Wenger quite happy.

A long term solution for Arsenal would be to offer ‘reasonable’ wages to young players breaking into the first team of around £10-15k a week on long term deals and a net increase of 10% of salary to new purchases on 3-4 year deals with a caveat that performances and contributions to the team will result in an increase that will be backdated such as with Fabregas.

Whilst Wenger has been very astute in the transfer market over the past 15 years he has been extremely foolish and naïve when it comes to wages. I cannot help but feel that this foolishness coincided with the departure of David Dein.

With great power comes great responsibility and it seems that Wenger has had more power than he can actually handle since Dein left.

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

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