Have you noticed that we almost always have a problem shifting the players we don’t want?: Squillaci, Gibbs, Jenko, Wilshere, Diaby, Elneny, Mustafi, Welbeck and now, Mkhitaryan.
Is it that our player purchases have been more spontaneous than strategic?
Or is it that we’ve been a below-par club buying below-par players that nobody wants?
The question remains.
The fact that we’ve only been able to loan out or allow certain players to leave for free says a lot about our transfer strategy after David Dein and before Raúl Sanllehi. If we couldn’t get money for players who left then, we either had a lousy contract management team or, we’ve had a real shamble of players. I choose to believe both.
Working in the legal department of a publicly-traded company, we had a team of two contract managers. They’d let senior management know when specific clauses crystalised and send notices a year ahead for expiring contracts. It was then the job of senior management and the legal team to either prepare for the expiration of the agreements or start negotiations to renew the contracts.
If after three or so months of trying to renegotiate contracts, we reach a deadlock, we’d start scouting for another vendor/partner asap, so the transition was smooth. You’d think this was what Arsenal was doing but not as efficiently.
Knowing the nature of football, I’d start two years ahead. If in the 6th month of the last two years we cannot reach an agreement, I’d start looking for buyers and replacements. It’s called being proactive.
Sometimes though, it’s easier said than done. Even on football manager, I’ve had issues shifting players with this method. But it’s proven more effective than waiting till the dying minute.
I hope the clubs loaning Elneny and Mkhitaryan exercise their option to buy. It’ll allow us to recoup some funds, free up the wage bill and allow for some January transfer business.