So news is emerging that the much pilloried Santos is being loaned to Gremio in his native Brazil for the rest of the season. A panic buy just 18 months ago, he is a perfect example of just how badly Wenger has bought in the last few years.
So why haven’t we sold him instead of postponing his inevitable departure? Well, I reckon the conversation with Gremio went something like this:
Wenger: I understand you’re interested in Santos.
Gremio: Yes, what would you be looking for?
Wenger: We payed £6.8m for him but you can have him for half that.
Gremio: Sounds reasonable, you have a deal. What wage is he on?
Wenger: £50k a week.
Gremio: YOU WHAT?! Are you insane?!
Wenger: Of course not. I have a socialist wage structure where every squad member gets paid roughly the same.
Gremio: (covers phone with his hand and sniggers)
Wenger: Hello? Are you there?
Gremio: Um yes, yes. Listen, we can’t pay him anywhere near £50k a week. The deal is off.
Wenger: Ok. How about you take him on loan and pay 10% of his wages. We’ll cover the rest.
Gremio: Fantastic! Put him on the next plane. By the way, I thought you had an economics degree?
Wenger: I do. Why do you ask?
Gremio: Oh, no reason. Very nice doing business with you!
Wenger will have had similar conversations regarding Djourou, Denilson, Chamakh, Bendtner and Park who are also out on loan. We put these mediocre players on long contracts for ridiculously high wages which means we’re unable to find buyers for them once Wenger finally realises they are rubbish, so they are loaned out until their contracts expire. The aforementioned loanees and now Santos are probably each costing the club about £40-£45k a week despite them not being available for selection.
So we are wasting roughly £250k a week on six squad players we no longer need and would like to sell. Three are six month deals and three are season long, which works out at a staggering total of £9.75m we’re paying them to play for other teams! That’s the reason Arsenal don’t have money to pay top players like Nasri and van Persie what they’re worth.
Other clubs don’t handle their wage bill so badly. I remember reading that while Wes Brown was at Man Utd he never earned more than £18k a week. That’s about right — he was only a squad player after all. By paying squad players and youngsters relatively low wages, Ferguson could afford to pay the likes of Rooney and Ronaldo the big bucks. After all, you have to pay your top people the going rate if you want to keep them, that’s true in any business. For 2012 Man United’s wage bill was £162m and ours was £143m, only £19m less — not as big a difference as you might imagine given how Wenger likes to bleat on about how financially disadvantaged he is compared to the big boys.
You stupid boy Santos.
There are some players so bad that we can’t even recoup money by farming them out on loan because no-one will take them. Squillaci is one, Almunia was another. The Spaniard ran his contract down and I don’t blame him for hanging around and picking up his wages. Would you move jobs and take a 50% pay cut? I blame Wenger for running the club so badly.
Think I’m being harsh on him? Consider this — exactly one year ago, Wenger handed fourth choice centre back Djourou a three year contract extension. He is one of the deadwood we should be getting off the wage bill, but Wenger did the complete opposite despite him having no chance of ever being good enough for Arsenal. He’s 26 for goodness sake, not a promising kid like Miquel. Fast forward 11 months and he’s off to Hanover on loan.
So let’s work that out. Since February 2012 we gave him £50k a week for 11 months, then probably £40k a week until the end of the season (let’s assume the Germans are paying 20% of his wages). That’s a total of £3.4m, during which time Djourou will have contributed absolutely nothing to the Arsenal cause. And we’ve got to pay him for a further two years when he returns this summer as well! What a shocking waste of money.
Anyway, rant over. At least we’ve dug out a couple of good wins over the last two weeks and are still hanging in there for fourth, although as I’ve said many times before I just can’t see us overhauling Spurs, despite their poor performance and lucky win over Newcastle.
Regular readers may have noticed I haven’t posted much over the last month, which is mainly due to a busy time at home and at work, but partly down to the apathy I feel about Arsenal this season. I didn’t even watch the match on Saturday as I was at a family function.
I really don’t like feeling indifferent about the club, but my view that we will not progress until Wenger has gone makes it hard for me to get excited about the team anymore as I know in the long run nothing will change, even if we manage to sneak into the top four. This latest ‘he’s rubbish but we can’t sell him’ deal for Santos only reinforces how badly we are being run and deepens my Arsenal depression.
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