And now we wait.
According to multiple reliable sources on twitter*, Arsenal wanted to announce Cazorla’s signing this morning (afternoon GMT) but there’s a hold-up over who signs what at Malaga. When it comes to “club in disarray” Malaga clearly take the cake.
Jaime from Young Guns Blog also tweeted that Cazorla is in London, has met his new teammates, passed a physical, and agreed to terms with Arsenal. This deal is a far down the road as it can get before disappearing over the horizon.
Financially the Cazorla deal represents a great piece of business for the club. Cazorla had a massive €40m buyout and if the rumors are true that Arsenal will have secured his services for €16-17m (around £13m) then this could turn out to be another one of those great Arsene signings. Of course, that all depends on what the player does on the pitch.
We can get an inkling of why Arsene is so eager to bring the player in from my Cazorla By the Numbers piece on Arseblog News last week. Here’s the infographic I made:
As you can see, his dribbling numbers are very good and his key passes rate second among all those listed. Not listed above is that he has a highly effective cross rate at 29% and with Giroud and Poldi in the front three there’s going to be ample chances for his assists numbers to climb. He’s also not afraid to shoot and from what I’ve seen of the player take shots from distance. Anyway, go to the article and read all about him.
So, if we count Cazorla then that means Arsenal have spent £35m so far this season without having to wait for (hardly) any money to come back in to the club in the form of player sales. It also means that we should give credit to Gazidis and Wenger for this summer’s tranfers, and I think, last.
As for the amount of money Arsenal have spent, it’s interesting to me the number of people who claimed this summer that Arsenal didn’t have the money to spend when clearly the books showed that they did. The proof that the club has the money is in the fact that they spent that money with no guarantee of any money coming in. Yes, there are strong links that Arshavin, van Persie, Walcott, Bendtner, etc were all on their way out but none of them have moved on and no money has come in to the club that I am aware of outside of some token fees for youth players and a small remittance on Carlos Vela.
As an aside: Carlos Vela is listed on the Arsenal.com page as an Arsenal player and still holding on to the number 11 shirt but that page is a mess. It claims to be the listing of all the players in last season’s team photo but Vela’s not in the photo and Almunia is. It would be cool if they sorted that page out.
In all likelihood, Arsenal eventually remove Carlos Vela (all reports say he’s been sold) and will recover almost all of that money they spent by selling some or all of the big named players listed above (Arshavin, van Persie, and Big Game Bendtner). But the fact that Arsenal spent the money shows that the club has some financial muscle that I’m not so sure they had last summer.
Which is why I think Gazids and Wenger deserve some credit. If the club had the financial clout that they seem to have this summer, last summer, Cazorla would already be an Arsenal player and I suspect that the club wouldn’t have been held over the barrel by Cesc and Nasri. For example, we know now that the club tried to get Cazorla last year and Malaga swooped or whatever and outbid us. This year we have the money and are getting the player. Last summer, Arsenal had to wait until the checks cleared from Cesc and Nasri to bring in a bunch of targets which caused everyone to use the phrase “panic buy” ad nauseum. This summer, the club didn’t wait for van Persie to be sold and instead just went out and bought Giroud and Podolski.
At the very least, even if you don’t buy my argument that perhaps the club didn’t have money last summer and were held hostage by Cesc and Nasri, you have to give credit to Gazidis and Wenger for hitting their targets early this year. If there was a mistake (and I’m not so sure there was) last year, then at the very least you have to give credit for learning from the mistake. If, however, the club was in a poorer position financially last summer than they are this (after announcing record profits mid-term I should think they are) then it actually makes last summer’s “panic buys” a good bit of business.
I’ve been critical of the club for not doing more with what they have and I might, just maybe, have to soften that a bit. Maybe, just maybe, the club did the best they could last summer and are doing even better this. We won’t know until Wenger retires and writes his tell-all book but until then £35m in outlay on three great signings whilst refusing to budge on the valuation of out top goal scorer and golden boot winner does have a tendency to soften that hard old heart of mine. So, credit to Gazidis and Wenger for what looks like a great summer so far.
The season is looking up, folks.