Should The Ox Get A New Contract?

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Jun 7th, 2012

The rumours of The Ox getting a new contract aren’t exactly new, in fact they have been circulating for a while and I’ve opined over it with friends and tweeps quite a bit and now there are rumours of Arteta potentially getting a new contract I decided I’d finally get around to blogging my thoughts on the issue.

First things first, Arteta deserves a new contract. His contribution and importance to the team this season I believe warrants an improved deal if rumours are to be believed. If he took a pay cut to join us I see no reason why we cannot improve his deal now he has proven himself to be an Arsenal player.

A player who actually deserves an improved contract

Moving on to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, I do not believe he should get a new contract.

I’ve had many discussions on this matter and I have had every reasoned argument for giving him a new contract thrust at me however none of them have even remotely changed my mind.

My opinion is that we should make football about football for our younger players before we make it about money. AOC is reportedly on £20k a week and is rumoured to have been offered an increase to £50k a week. £20k a week pretty much buys an 18 year old anything they want, £50k is excessive in the extreme for a number of reasons.

Alex has not had what I would call a breakthrough season. He has made 12 starts and 12 sub appearances, not exactly a regular. If we just consider his premier league campaign then you see that he only started 6 games and came on as a sub 10 times never completing more than 74 minutes when starting and an average of just 35 minutes per appearance. That to me suggests that he is considered an impact sub not as a first team regular.

It was argued that he should play more games and I sort of agree. I don’t think he should be playing too many games like Jack did because we’re putting him at risk of injury. It was argued by many people that Alex is built like a man and is a lot more physically developed than Jack and whilst I agree I don’t think that is an argument for throwing him in at the deep end. Regardless of his build now he is still just 18 years old and his body has not yet finished developing. His muscles are still developing and his bones are still hardening and knitting together and the intensity of the premier league puts him at high risk of injury at his age not just because he hasn’t finished developing but also because his body has not acclimatised to the league. It is for that reason I believe he should be given more games but at the same time eased into the first team.

I also said that I did not believe his contribution had been significant enough to warrant an increase in salary. He has scored 4 goals and has made 2 assists which is a goal or assist every 93 minutes which in Alex’s terms is approximately 3 appearances. Theo Walcott on the other hand has an average of 78 minutes per appearance and a goal/assist every 172 minutes which is 2.2 appearances per goal/assist yet I see so much negativity about Theo getting a new contract, made worse by Stewart Robson who in my opinion should be sacked by Arsenal FC for his excessive attack on Theo on TalkSHITE.

Give him more games not more money

This is not to say that I think Alex is a poor or average player. I don’t. I think he is an exceptional talent but I think we’re making far too much of him far too early. He is an entertaining player and when he is on the ball he excites the crowd which is fantastic but he is far from the finished article and far from being as influential as many people have mistakenly assumed he is. That said I hope he gets more game time and that leads me on to my main point.

He should not be given a new and improved contract to the tune of £50k a week. Instead he should be rewarded with more starts.

What has happened to the game to take us to the point where we pay kids vast sums of money for making a few cameo appearances? Danny Welbeck’s form at United and improved contract offer was used as a example of why we should give AOC more money but Welbeck had his cameo appearances and then went on to complete two excellent years in the premier league for Sunderland and Manchester United so he deserves a new contract, plus he only has two years left on his current deal as I understand it. AOC has 5 years left on his current deal and an increase now would possibly only add one extra year to his contract.

We’re making football about money far too soon. It’s a romantic notion but I truly believe that most young players play for the love of the game and I believe that they don’t really consider money until they’ve had 3-4 years worth of first team football. Alex has less than a year and we’re reportedly already making it about money.

Theo Walcott for example is reportedly requesting £90k a week to extend his contract which only has a year left on it. Should he get it? I say yes. Not because I think he is a superstar or anything like that but because I think he is a quality member of the squad and I think Arsenal have created this problem themselves by paying him far too much far too soon. I believe he should be offered a new 4 year contract worth £90k a week but on the understanding that he will not get any increases in those 4 years and future rises will be dependent on him hitting targets such as 15-20 competitive goals per season across those 4 years.

I’ve touched on wages a lot (check out most of May’s early archives – I recommend reading them all if you have 15 minutes. I’ve been told they’re pretty good ;-)) and it is my belief that it is wages and not purchasing power that holds us back.

I’m a big believer in target driven contracts and if we are to offer AOC a new contract it should be an extension not just an improvement and should be a modest increase to £25k with targets of starts, goals and assists and if he hits them he’ll automatically trigger an increase to £30k.

I’ve touched on the Marxist element of our wage policy before and it seems that the club recognises this and is trying to change (I’ve paraphrased):

We’ve been based around a flatter salary structure with a relatively big squad with relatively few superstars. We have to make adjustments for the top talent as they are earning a lot of money and we have to adjust our model but that won’t happen instantly. It takes time – three to four years – but we are conscious of that.”

Ivan Gazidis on 6th June 2012 at Supporters Q&A

This is positive as it shows the club is trying to change but worrying at the same time as they believe it will take a number of years. I’ve always known it would take a number of years as I’ve blogged about it many times unless we make drastic changes such as putting players up for free transfers or paying to release players. What is worrying is that reading between the lines it seems as though we are going to change it at entry level with younger players (which is positive for my point on AOC) not getting paid silly money after 5 good games but also that we are going to let players run their contracts down which is a bad thing as it makes it difficult, in my opinion, to attract players on sensible wages and perpetuates the situation of paying unproven players unwarranted wages.

For example, Olivier Giroud is on a reported €15k a week at Montpellier which after tax is about €9100. If we were to buy him and pay him the same real term wages when you consider the change in tax and the higher living costs of London compared to Montpellier we’d need to pay him €21200 to give him the same post tax income but as living expenses are around 58% higher we’d need to pay him €33500 to give him the same purchasing power which would be £27200 per week. Could we justify that to him and his advisor’s when players who are perpetually crocked, out on loan or not getting a sniff at the first team are on £50-60k? I’m not so sure. Even if we gave him a real terms 50% increase he’d only be on £40k. An amount I’m sure most would agree is a fair salary for a player in his first year at the club and unproven in the league. Would that get past his advisor’s? I don’t think so either.

The likelihood would be that we offer him £50-60k which puts him in the same bracket as players who don’t even get a game and one of two things will happen. Either he will be a great success and we’ll have to pay him more than we can really afford or he’ll flop and he’ll be another player we cannot get off our books because of wages. It should also be noted that Giroud is no more guaranteed to be effective in the league than Chamakh was. I think he is more talented but he has only had 2 years in Ligue 1 having spent most of his career in Ligue 2 and 3 so is far from guaranteed to bang in the goals despite his excellent form in France which for me makes him, at this moment in time, at most a £40k a week player. That said, I think he’ll be a great success and will prove his worth very quickly.

This is an extreme scenario but not unrealistic. I’m hoping that new players that come in will be on modest wages with target driven increases built into the contracts and players like Giroud and Dempsey have enough talent to play for the club and are reasonably priced so I can only hope that Gazidis is wrong and that we don’t take 3-4 years to make a significant play to reverse our Marxist wage policy and replace it with a meritocratic one.

I believe that should start with players like Alex who are yet to be first team regulars who should be rewarded with more game time and when we run out of game time to give him then and only then should we significantly increase his wages.

Thanks for reading! Please comment on this post, subscribe by email, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan).

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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.

13 Responses to “Should The Ox Get A New Contract?”

  1. G says:

    Well done.Chaimberlain looks a good prospect, but as you say at the moment not worth 50k a week, but if we dont pay him that then I am sure his agents will be touting other clubs !

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Possibly but he has 5 years left on his contract so we could modestly improve it and reward him with more game time. Why increase his wages 2.5x for just 4 goals and 2 assists?

    • jbasko says:

      agree. still long contract, reward him with more games next season. I want believe that he still want to play football for love. Money can ask after reaching RVP position 🙂

  2. Madge says:

    I agree, I don’t think Ox should get a huge hike in wages.
    If he has 5 years left, it should rise according to the season he has had. That way he has incentive. We really do need to change our structure of payments to squad players. Too many earning too much, for doing too little. Thanks, Daniel

  3. cescsational says:

    I so agree with you, AOC alongside the likes of jenkinson, frimpong, ryo should get at most 25k and with clause of a improved contract in accordance with their performance

  4. Marcelles says:

    Arsenal should start by putting in a release clause of bout £50m in a new contract to stop other teams from throwing money @ the Ox! They should consider putting it in all their young stars’ contracts.

  5. Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

    ¨AOC is reportedly on £20k a week and is rumoured to have been offered an increase to £50k a week.¨ Where did you get these figures from Daniel…Maybe LeGrove or worse still, Caughtoffside premature speculation masters? These figures were reported by whom, certainly not or the Club?
    Nobody knows who gets what as this is closely guarded by AFC in order to avoid BS like yours being spread as ¨facts¨. Look at the posts on this blog….not one questions your ¨facts¨, yet you state that they are rumours at best and that noone is certain that he or Arteta have been offered any increase. The only one we can be ¨certain¨ about being offered an increase is RVP and noone knows how much or for how long.
    I do agree that our wage structure is archaic and as Gazidis said, in need of revisions but to assume, based on totally spurious and invented ¨facts¨, which are no more than rumours and idle speculation, that such and such earns a specific amount and that he will be offered a higher amount is just bad journalism.
    The question isn’t just should the Ox or anyone else get a new contract but rather, as Gazidis said, what is the best wage structure to entice top players to come in and our best to stay or renew their contracts as well as provide a fair compensation package for everyone based on merits rather than, as you call it Marxist ideology. In actual fact AFC’s wage structure MAY not be entirely socialist but rather skewed to overpay youth and inexperience while underpaying true performance and merit. We will likely never know for sure..unless Aw and AFC go public and that won’t happen anytime soon.

    • Matt says:

      I’m sure Daniel will come back with a much more reasoned comment on this but…

      Who in their right mind would create a wage structure as you suggested – skewed towards overpaying youth and inexperience? At least a socialist/Marcist structure has a reason and purpose behind it. It’s also well documented from within AFC that this has been their approach.

      As for exact wages you’re right – AFC don’t release details but agents do when negotiating new deals or moves. Now you could argue that they’re simply driving up the price for their clients but there’s too much reported for these figures not to be, at the very least, well educated guesses. Plus there’s the fact that we know exactly what the club’s wage bill is each year as that is published in the annual accounts that are public.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      That’s why they are RUMOURS Dom! I am offering my opinion on a RUMOUR, an epistemic notion if you will. You are being far too verificationist. In this particular blog I am being perspectivist in order to form and express an opinion. You can disagree with my opinion but don’t tell me or my readers that I am presenting bullshit as fact because I am not and you have no more proof that what I am opining on is bullshit than I do that it is true (which I don’t know if it is or not, I’m just opining on a “report”.) I’ve stated that they are rumours and reports, where those reports come from doesn’t really matter as on report on stuff after the event so essentially any opinions aired on statements made on would be irrelevant as the event would have passed. I’m presenting an opinion on a possible situation but regardless of the actual figures I don’t believe AOC should get a new contract as I don’t think he has warranted it.

      Also the people commenting on this blog haven’t accepted anything as fact. At most they have agreed that £50k would be too excessive. That is not an admission of belief in speculation it is, once again, an opinion. However if people want to accept my opinion as fact then that is their choice and something I cannot be held accountable for.

      I am also extremely offended that you compare me to Le Grove or CaughtOffside. You might as well come to my house and spit in my face as I’d find that less offensive.

      DomhuailleIn actual fact AFC’s wage structure MAY not be entirely socialist but rather skewed to overpay youth and inexperience while underpaying true performance and merit.

      That is the whole point of Marxism. Paying people based on what the state (Arsenal FC) judge they need rather than on what they are worth. Gazidis has also commented on our wage structure and has confirmed that we have a flat structure which is essentially Marxism.

      I just want to make one final thing clear to you as it may have escaped you. This is a blog. Check out the about page, you’ll see that I do not claim to be a news site or claim to report breaking news and facts on Arsenal. I also do not claim to have access to information that others do not and I never present anything as fact unless I have something concrete to back it up with and I always quote my sources when I present something as fact.

      I hope this clears things up for you Dom because your last two comments to my blogs were so far off the mark I actually wonder if you read them at all.

    • tracy says:

      Its your opinion and every one does have one but may be at times before we react we all need to re-consider what we say or write before despising some one else’s efforts. DANIEL didn’t say anything like a fact,he specifically addressed them as mere rumours/speculations. perhaps u need to re-read this article. He also doesn’t personally know every one to influence us in favour of his articles. And besides, if u feel he’s a mislead,then why not search some where else,there are plenty of blogs out there that u can trust.

  6. Matt says:

    Spot on Daniel!

    There is no way AOC deserves a new contract.

    1 year in with a total of 12 starts and an increase to £50k p/w? That has to be a joke!

    I agree that a target driven contract is the best way to go – games played, goal and assist bonuses, possibly even international caps.

    If others were on similar contracts it would also mean that we’d only be paying a crock like Diaby a basic salary as we wouldn’t be paying him appearance bonuses.

  7. tracy says:

    First things first,Arteta should get anew contract-he’s proven his worth and made me wonder,why did it take us so long to land him? am glad Wenger finally got him on board and Theo does deserve a pay rise because he’s done his best and its visible to those who want to see it. As of Oxlade,he needs time to mature and if these speculations in the pay rise are any thing to go by,let wenger reconsider this. we all know the problems that come with such large amounts of money which in the end may distract him from the right path.( its not that he doesn’t deserve it,he does but needs to earn it the right way through perhaps becoming more of a regular than a sub which will also require time).

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