Bolton are furious that after months of speculation, Arsenal’s long-anticipated opening offer for Gary Cahill is so low that “derisory doesn’t even cover it” according to manager Owen Coyle. Wenger claimed the figure was not as low as the £6m that has been widely reported and even seemed to offer Bolton chairman Phil Gartside ‘outside':
“You can believe Gartside or you can believe me. It’s not right. It’s not the truth. If Gartside can say I am lying I am ready to confront him.”
Personally, I don’t care who is lying and that’s not the point anyway. The point is that the offer was low enough to anger the owners of a player we desperately need, which is not a good idea.
Now I understand that an opening offer is always low, the seller turns it down and eventually a compromise is reached somewhere between the two figures. That’s how negotiations work in all walks of life. But what you absolutely must not do is come in with such a low offer that you insult the seller. All that will achieve is getting their back up and increase the chance of them turning round and saying “How dare you. Do you know what? Screw you, we’re not selling.”
Wenger's antics could cost us any chance of signing Cahill
This is exactly what happened 12 months ago with Wenger’s tedious pursuit of Mark Schwarzer. We desperately needed him at the time, but because Wenger was trying to be clever and save a couple of million quid he refused to pay anywhere near the asking price and annoyed Fulham so much with his dithering that manager Mark Hughes got fed up and refused to allow Schwarzer to leave.
The upshot is that Wenger’s arrogant offers and penny-pinching haggling cost him his number one target last season and if he continues to annoy Bolton the same thing will happen again.
It seems he’s learned nothing from Schwarzer-gate and his negotiating skills evidently leave a lot to be desired. Bolton aren’t stupid, they know we’ve got £70m from player sales this summer and that Cahill is a young England international with a good re-sale value – why insult them? Sit around a table with them and do business properly, the way Liverpool and Manchester United do.
My big worry is that instead, he’ll take this all the way to deadline day, miss out at the last minute and end up empty-handed. And we simply cannot afford that if we’re to finish in the top four.
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