Tag Archives: deal

Loan Deals – Future Is Out Of Their Hands…

Youth players have a plethora of pitfalls to navigate around in order to remain on the path to success.

Established clubs do all they can to prepare them for the obstacles they will face, but it is a necessary rite of passage in order to see who has the minerals to really prove their top-flight credentials.

There are some things that these starlets cannot compensate or prepare for though. Some circumstances are completely out of their hands and their future, or at least a large portion of it, is in the hands of someone else.

They are on the verge of a breakthrough, but with established players ahead of them making it difficult to earn the gametime they need to progress, these kids will be faced with the prospect of joining another club, often one of lower stature, for a season.

This opportunity is the last hurdle before they become fully fledged, ensconced within the club they were schooled in. It is also the highest of hurdles, and it all hinges on the manager at the time.

They choose the club that the youth prospect will be farmed out to. They are responsible for setting the parameters of immediate success or failure. You see, if the club is the wrong fit, then their progress can be set back, or even worse, they could be sold.

Opinion will be based on how they fare. We have had countless players who have been given their big opportunity to show everyone, and the people at Arsenal, what they’re made of. Instead, through a mixture of injuries, an untenable situation with the regime at their loan club, or plain bad luck, have seen them sent back early with their fragile confidence broken, or they stay for the duration of their loan and warm the bench, making sporadic performances they could make at Arsenal.

A prime example of a potential career breaker was the loan move of Serge Gnabry to West Brom. The manager at the time was Tony Pulis, not exactly renowned for being the finest exponent of swift, technical football, we all scratched our heads at the destination for our promising German winger.


Gnabry had made his debut and seemed to be ready to make the final leap from prodigy to first eleven candidate. Wenger opted instead to send him to the Hawthorns, Perhaps Wenger thought he would test the mettle of Gnabry, to see if he could mix it as well as bewitch opponents? Whatever the musings were behind the decision, it backfired spectacularly, with Gnabry learning pretty much nothing from his move – other than Tony Pulis doesn’t get a rough deal – he really DOES only know one style of play.

You see, managers really do have the future of these kids in the balance. Does the destination club play the right way? Does the kid have something specific he needs to learn? Is the managerial situation stable? Does the manager have a forward thinking style? What is the positional competition like for the youngster?

Also, will our appointment of a Loan Overseer of sorts, help with future loanees?

Emi Martinez last season earned practically no experience in his loan move in La Liga, and it wasted an entire year of the keeper’s career.

The recent loan move for Reiss Nelson in particular, there is a focus here that isn’t usually on a loan deal – with  the huge promise that Nelson possesses. A lot hinges on this season, and Nelson is so far delivering on it – but the season is long.

The destination club – Hoffenheim – is a progressive club, playing a blend of football that adapts to the given opponent. It means Nelson will be schooled as well as get the game time he needs, and our club needs in order to goague his progress and capacity. Julian Nagelsmann is a revered coach and will use him wisely, but there could be tougher times ahead, times that mean the bench or worse, the physio’s table, beckons.

We have the likes of Calum Chambers and Krystian Bielik on loan too, with both players Arsenal future’s very much in the balance, off-set by the potential success or failure of their respective moves to Fulham and Charlton respectively.

These fledgling players can fight tooth and nail, bleed for every minute on the pitch, but if the loan club isn’t the right match, then it won’t matter a jot. Their future is not just in their hands.

Just imagine that. Having the fate of a kid in your hands. Rather them than me.

Sponsor Or Soul?

Originally published in the Gooner Fanzine.

The decision to incorporate sleeve sponsors came in last season, and it was a decision that had every club licking their lips.


Yet another opportunity to rake in the readies, this small logo on each sleeve of a jersey would not affect the design of a kit, but it would affect the bank balance.


The ramifications of this separate sponsor really came into tangible form though, thanks to Everton.


Last season, they sported a rather conspicuous brand on their sleeves, and while it may have swelled the coffers, ‘Angry Birds’ took some of the gleam off of the shining money for the Toffees. While it isn’t nefarious, it is quite an embarrassing brand to have on your kit.


Now Arsenal have joined in and have their sleeves adorned for the first time – but it has caused somewhat of a stir.

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We now have ‘Visit Rwanda’ on our kit, and while it may sound like a harmless push to bring some much needed tourism and funds to a country that could do with a boost, connections with the country are not exactly wholesome.


Rwanda is synonymous with corruption and tyrannical regimes, coups and human rights atrocities in the past. The African country may be far removed from this these days, there are still things to raise an eyebrow to when it comes to our association with such a country.


Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, is thought to have used intimidation tactics in the last election, and placed restrictions on freedom of speech to suppress opposition movements. He has now been in power for 18 years.


There is also the small matter of the Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi people by the majority Hutu government in 1994.


The country is on the road to recovery now, and is ranked amongst the least corrupt countries in Africa.


So, shouldn’t this sponsorship be a shot in the arm for a country aiming to do things the right way, to establish a proper income via tourism, rather than rely on the coffers of others?


At what point does the club have a responsibility to choose the right sponsor?

Just imagine if we were to appropriate another one on the different sleeve, but this one was for The Daily Mail?


Does the club have a role of advocacy in things? Could Arsenal have chosen differently? Or was it simply the sleeve goes to the highest bidder?


We hardly need the money, we could have quite easily have promoted a charity, perhaps our own in The Arsenal Foundation, or another one close to home, the Willow Foundation?


It wouldn’t benefit us fiscally, but it would be a fantastic PR exercise.


We could be sponsored by Toilet Duck. We could have the logo for Cillit Bang and a massive picture of Barry Scott salivating on the chest of our shirt. There comes a moment that no amount of money covers the utter shame you would have on pulling on the shirt.


It is a worrying development though. There will come a crossroads though, when sense is asked to take a back seat by a big wad of cash. The fallout from that would be kit sales – would that equate to another juicy sponsorship, or would it hit the pockets of the club harder?


What next? While this is a nice little money spinner right now, we could have collar sponsors, sock sponsors, shirt sponsors, boot sponsors. There is a wealth of blank canvas for companies looking to spill their cash all over a club.


Just look at a snooker player’s waistcoat, or an F1 car.


It’s clear that money talks, and it is a vulgar language when written on fabric.