If you ever get the chance, I implore you to watch one of Arsene Wenger’s press conferences. The way he answers questions intelligently
Arsene Wenger was asked questions on a variety of subjects during his press conference yesterday ranging from his opinion on vile and abusive chanting, Jack Wilshere and even the Ryder Cup. One thing that really struck a note with me though, is what he had to say about player power and the shift of power back towards the clubs.
On the increased production of quality players coming out of the academy system these days and the effect of the increased number in the player pool, the Arsenal boss had to say:
The number of good players with no jobs today is massive, and it’s probably going to get worse.
Whilst the focus has been on the struggles of teams to support wage systems that cripple their profit margins due to the high revenue/wages ratio, I thought it quite poignant that Wenger would choose to highlight the player market at this moment in time. Managers have more players to choose from than ever, from even more parts of the world and indeed inside our own country. This means that, inevitably, the cream will rise to the top with regards to players but the added choice for managers means that those in the game are not in so much of a strong position as they used to be. Arsene remarked:
Only the few top top top 10 players will be in a powerful situation
This was with regards to their bargaining position when discussing contracts, and you can see that the manager feels as strong as he has felt in a long time when it comes to contract negotiations. This seems to be the case more than ever with regards to one Theodore Walcott.
Arsene feels that he has made Walcott an offer that is attractive and reflecting what Theo’s achieved so far at the club and what he has the potential to achieve in the future. Theo and his advisors see it as insufficient and across the board this morning there seems to be a wave of articles citing a massive impasse over wages.
Wenger obviously feels he has the upper hand on Theo during these negotiations as not only is Walcott not a guaranteed starter anymore in the team he represents, but for the money Wenger could offer someone else to get as good a return it makes commercial sense not to bow to pressure from Walcott and his agent. Has Theo Walcott over estimated himself? Or is Wenger undervaluing a player he signed for a then record for a 16 year old all those years ago?
Either way, it is a sign of Wenger’s strength in current depth of his squad, but also confidence of being able to add to it with quality in the future with ‘finished articles’, that leads him to believe he has the stronger hand in this ever increasingly nervy stand off.
For Theo, although the manager has tried to state otherwise, he will have to settle for a place on the bench until injury or serious drop in form for his chance for a regular run in the team. This has not got to be what he expected to come out of this whole debacle but Wenger has already shown with Van Persie and Song that he is not prepared to budge over the amount we see fit to spend in wages.
Although rotting is quite a horrible word to use, Theo Walcott will be definitely be stewing with disapointment on the bench.
I love Arsenal,
and I love you too.
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