How clubs spend crazy money on players that don’t get games

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100 Years in the First Division: the absolute complete story of Arsenal’s promotion in 1919.


On 25 July 2019 the Daily Mail ran the headline that “Arsenal have spent huge £15MILLION on one-year loan for Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos… and deal doesn’t include an option to buy’.”  The figure included a loan fee, the player’s salary and an agents fee, and the story originated in the Sun.

There was of course no evidence provided for the story, which was fortunate since had there been any evidence the deal would have been illegal, in that it seemed to involve paying the players’ agent a fee of around 60% instead of the normal 5% of the sums involved – which is not allowed under the regulations which try and prevent agents encouraging players to move clubs every season.

But of course it was a story aimed entirely at knocking Arsenal, and it went from paper to paper, blog to blog, always without evidence, always with those running the story (if they did bother to report a source) reporting another newspaper or blog as that source.

However on this day we are reminded of some curious events from Arsenal’s past including…

28 July 2000, when Overmars signed for Barcelona – a transfer that cost them around £4,000,000 for each game he played.

28 July 2002, – a reversal of that situation when Arsenal signed Gilberto Silva for just £4.5m. 

28 July 2009: Kolo Toure sold to Man City for £14m thus making Arsenal a profit of £13,850,000.  He played 82 games for City before being transferred on to Liverpool on a free – thus costing Man City £170,731 per game excluding wages.

Curiously, the newspapers don’t run those stories because, well, they make Arsenal look clever and it is only stories that make Arsenal look silly that interest the papers.

Here are the anniversaries.

28 July 1750: JS Bach, one of the three greatest classical composers of all time (alongside Mozart and Beethoven) died.

28 July 1901: Bill Seddon born in Clapton.  After playing junior football he moved to Gillingham, and had an unsuccessful trial with Villa before coming to Arsenal in December 1924.

28 July 1920: The first ever women to serve on a jury in the Quarter Sessionsin the UK  (the Crown Court) were sworn in.

28 July 1937: There was an assassination attempt on King George VI in Belfast by the IRA.

28 July 1951: Ray Kennedy born. He was initially rejected  as an apprentice by Stanley Matthews, when he was manager at Port Vale, being told at the age of 16 that he was “too slow to be a footballer”. 

28 July 1962: 74 years after the Football League was formed the German FA agrees to create a national league to replace regional leagues which had existed until this time.  Bayern Munich did not make it into the new league, they protested, but their protests were turned away.

28 July 1970: A pre-season friendly away to Gothenburg Alliance started the season that no one who was there could ever forget.  Arsenal won 4-2 with goals from George (2), McNab and Graham.

28 July 1972: David Price signed professional forms having joined Arsenal in 1970, and made his first team début aged 17 in the end-of-season game against Leeds on  9 May 1973. 

28 July 1975: Arsenal had a 2-1 win over Notts County, Hornsby and Kidd getting the goals.  Then, in a further sign of cutting back, and the decline in Arsenal’s standing in football, rather than go to Europe, the club did a three match tour of Scotland.

28 July 1978: First game for goalkeeper Paul Barron (friendly v B. Dortmund) which Arsenal won 1-0.  Barron came on as a sub for  Pat Jennings.

28 July 1979: First game for John Hollins (friendly v Munich 1860).  Hollins came on as a substitute for David Price in a 1-1 draw.  It was noted that Macdonald was not playing, and indeed the following day he retired from football.

28 July 1989: Sigurður Jónsson known as Siggi signed from Sheffield Wednesday for £475,000 but his time with Arsenal was plagued with injury and he only made 8 appearances. He was subsequently voted one of the 10 top Icelandic players.

28 July 2000: Overmars and Petit signed for Barcelona.  At €40.6 million Overmars was the most expensive Dutch player of all time but injuries inhibited his style and he rarely showed the quality that he had delivered at Arsenal.  Including wages he cost Barcelona around £4,000,000 a game.

28 July 2002: Arsenal signed Gilberto Silva for just £4.5m.  The low fee came because Atlético Mineiro had not paid their players, were banned from transfer deals, and there were problems getting the work permit despite the fact he went on to captain Brazil.

28 July 2008: In a knock about pre-season friendly against Burgenland XI, Bendtner scored four in the first half and Vela three in the second as Arsenal won 10-2

28 July 2009: Kolo Toure sold to Man City for £14m thus making Arsenal a profit of £13,850,000.  He played 82 games for City before being transferred on to Liverpool on a free – thus costing Man City £170,731 per game excluding wages.

28 July 2014: Alex Forbes died.  After finishing as a player he had worked with the coaching team at Arsenal training the reserves and A team, before emigrating to South Africa where he coached school children.  He was the last survivor of the 1950 FA Cup team.

28 July 2014: Calum Chambers signed from Southampton for £16m.  He came as a full back, but there was soon talk that he could also play central defender or defensive midfield.  He played 23 times for Arsenal in his first season – more than in his entire Southampton career before this.

28 July 2019: The Emirates Cup returned after a one year break caused by building work extending club level,  but Arsenal failed to win the Cup for the first time since 2014.

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