Chamakh The Pony. So Why Pay Him So Much?

Chamakh is more of a donkey, but I couldn’t make a pun out of that, not even a crap one. But he’s pony as in ‘pony and trap’, good old Cockney rhyming slang that we Gooners indulge in, in our squalid city hovels. Or is that just me? Anyway, yesterday’s blog (was it only yesterday? Seems like ages. This off-season lasts forever) was about how there may not be any more money for Wenger to spend this summer – or at least definitely none that has to be spent under the terms of the Transfer Proceeds Account. There may be a few million kicking around elsewhere.

Then ‘Dave The Gooner’ commented that Wenger hasn’t got money left because he’s squandered it on sub-standard players like Squillaci, Chamakh, Santos and Gervinho. I would argue that Santos isn’t sub-standard, and Gervinho might come good, though I doubt it, but I fully accept Dave’s principle. In most cases, as Dave so rightly points out, it’s not the transfer fee that is the problem, it’s the fat contract they get. In Chamakh’s case we got him on a free and we were still done – that must be a first.

I really don’t understand Wenger’s wages philosophy. As we haven’t won anything for ages and can’t hold on to any of our big stars, you would think that perhaps he’d have begun to wonder if trying to achieve a socialist paradise in Islington and paying everyone roughly the same is still a good idea. Well he can take it from me, it’s not.

I know there has to be a balance between paying too much on one hand and paying too little to keep them to contracts and stop other clubs poaching them on the cheap, but it’s blindingly obvious to everyone that in a large number of cases Arsenal – ie Wenger – are getting it wrong.  And if the likes of Chamakh had not been given such big contracts as soon as they signed, we’d have far less of a problem. He could have been moved on already. According to the president of Fiorentina – at least allegedly, I haven’t seen the original quote – Chamakh is on €3m a year. By my rough calculation that makes a nice round £50k a week. Why on earth was he given a contract that big to start with?

Players should be made to prove themselves. If – ha ha – we ever buy someone from a club as big as Arsenal in a league as big as the PL, then by all means pay them top wages to start with. They’ve earned it by proving themselves at that level. However, if someone is signed from the French league then they’ve hardly proven themselves at top level yet. Chamakh could have been given a contract that paid him a few grand more than he was on at wherever the hell he came from, and if after two years he had performed well enough (judged by appearances, goals and – wait for it – trophies) then bingo, the big money kicks in. This seems to me like a pretty simple system to implement. I know agents are all a moneygrabbing bunch of Terrys, but if you’re giving their client more than they’re getting at their small time club with the promise of much more to come in a year or two they’re still likely to sign. Go on Arsène, give it a go.

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46 thoughts on “Chamakh The Pony. So Why Pay Him So Much?

  1. Chamakh was brought to Arsenal via Free Transfer and usually, players are given their transfer value over a period of their contract just like how it happened with Sol Campbell when Arsenal bought him from Tottenham. He had his transfer value at that time included over his 5 year contract.

  2. Chamakh had a couple of decent seasons in France prior to us signing him – We tried to buy him and decided rather than pay the £13 million we would wait for him to run down his contract and take him on a free. By doing this we save stacks of money on the transfer but it also puts the player in a strong position when it comes to wage demands. In much the same way as we could afford to make Sol Campbell the highest paid player in the land we also had to give Chamakh a little bit more than usual to offset the saving made on the transfer fee. We have spent big money plus wages on donkeys before so at least this will only be wages!!

    • I disagree that Arsenal ‘had to give Chamakh a little bit more than usual’ – there’s no HAD about it. Bad planning and bad negotiation for someone who had not proven themselves in a top league. But at least, as you say, we didn’t pay £13m for him as well.

  3. Usual anti Wenger drival, did Nasri cost £13mill but sold for £25mill ? was Fabregas bought for £500,000 then sold on for £40mill?? any profit made on Clichy, Toure or Adebayor ??, the dont count to the blinkered inadequates, who can see little beyond there own predjudices.

    • I’m not criticising Wenger for selling players for more than he bought them for! How is that an excuse for a stupid wage policy?
      And for the record Fabregas was sold for £34m, Nasri £22m and we only got that much so Man City could avoid a tapping up charge, and ‘drival’ is spelt ‘drivel’.

    • When it comes to blinkered inadequates I should start closer to home mate.
      Wenger sold 4 of those players to a main rival-because he wouldn’t pay them what they could get elsewhere-and has turned us into a selling club-yet he pays a whole host of mediocre players who can’t cut it like Chamakh, Denilson,Bendtner, Squilacci,Vela so much that we can’t get rid of them.
      The club’s salary arrangements are simply not working-and to support those is perverse.

  4. Good article but I see a flaw. Any players we seem to make a move for, they are sought after by one or more of Liverpool, Spuds and ManCity by default. I distinctly remember Chamakh being strongly linked to the scousers before he made his decision to come to us. It was a competitive market and Arsene did all he could, monetarily, to persuade Chamakh to join. I find nothing wrong with that. It’s actually the scouts that must be taken to task for not recognizing his potential inability to adjust to the premier league despite watching him for about two years or perhaps more. Why, Olivier Giroud has signed for a reported 45mil a week. I don’t see anyone complaining now but God forbid, he flops…everyone is going to be up in arms against Arsene. I don’t think he would have signed for anything less that what he’s signed for and I’m OK with that. For a striker of his quality, there’s a certain amount that you have to pay to persuade. Yann M’Vila is not proven in the english league, do you think he’d sign for low wages on the promise that once he shows his worth, he’ll be rewarded. You’re deluded if you think so.

      • while they pay Macheda 35k
        great work giving him that big pay rise off the back of a single goal

      • That’s rubbish, after Macheda scored that goal he asked for a pay rise and Fergie sent him back to the reserves for a year! Which is what Wenger should do with some players, but never does.

      • Please phil hernandez earning 15k when he signed for man utd is equivalent to j campbell earning 15k now. Hernandez was a nobody while chamakh top scored for his team in a championship winning season. Got it?

  5. 3 M a year for 5 years is 15 M, Getting him for free vs 13 M fee = 2 M for a 5 year contract. Yeah, that’s terrible business, lol.

      • He’s only crap because we don’t play a system that supports him, Wenger should not have bought him if he was going to play a system that doesn’t fit the player.
        He was bought in with a fair contract but never given the opportunity to prove his worth. he needs to play with another striker not alone up front, if we tried that then maybe we would have done a bit better and Chamakh would have been more successful but we will never know because he never has and never will get to play that way for arsenal. that’s where the bad business comes in not the money side of the deal after all it’s wenger who brings in players and who decides the formation therefore he should marry the two considerations up before buying any player but in this case he failed miserably at doing so.

  6. Man utd paid wes brown and Jon oshea 80k a week for years and more fringe players that and more 45/50 k is not that much £ in football

  7. Football is in recession it just doesn’t know it yet thanks to Man City and the oligarch brigade distorting the real picture; Chamakh is what I would describe as a mid-range player, the ‘money teams’ are only interested in top level players who still command massive wages/fees, the problem with the likes of Chamakh is that only mid level (not ‘money teams’) would be interested in him or his like, they are generally also looking to cut their wage bills so don’t want to pay a player like Chamakh a top level wage, this is why we are stuck with Chamakh/Denilson/Bendtner/Vela/Squillaci/Djourou etc, I don’t think we’ll see any more signings until, or if we get rid of some of them, this is a worrying scenario, Wenger must take the blame on this as he is the dictator at Arsene, sorry Arsenal FC.

  8. Mate, just admit it: you’re jealous that Chamakh is living the life, doing shisha every week and flying off to Vegas during the summer for orgies with over 20 women.

  9. Using the 3 Million euros and putting it in to pounds and then dividing in to 52 for number of weeks in a year, I got Chamakh’s on 45 K a week. I might be wrong.

    For a back up striker in any top four side in the PL, the striker will be on around 40-50K. When Chamakh was signed he had a good record in France, many top teams wanted him.

    I know he’s been in poor form but at the time he signed for us he wasn’t, which is why he is on 45K a week. He doesn’t deserve when you look at his performances now but that’s because his form has decreased.

      • Come on mate, give it a rest. Liverpool wanted him, but you’d just say that they’re not a top team, and that’s fair enough, but he was indeed a fairly decent signing for the first few months and seemed to be worth his wages. That his shooting boots disappeared soon after is another story but you have to concede that you’d probably think Arsene and his scouts know what they’re doing when they’ve been watching a guy for two years and they set weekly pay according to the market.

        Hernandez signed for ManUtd as a young striker from some club in Mexico! For some young lad in the mexican football league, signing for Utd is a probably godsend, why would he worry much about wages. Fergie probably spoke to him personally, so no wonder. I’m sure we don’t intend to pay much for any talent that we might sign from a nation where football is the least of their worries.

  10. Arsenal-Perspective @10.03

    Chamakh came on a Bosman ie his contract had expired and he chose to leave his former club. His transfer value therefore is zero as no club would have required to pay a fee. As for a notional value being paid to him in wages, your thinking doesn’t stack up. Suppose Messi decided to take a 1 year sabbatical from Barcelona, then return to Camp Nou having agreed only to sign a 1 year contract at say Plymouth Argyle, by your theory P.A. would have to pay him £100 million for that year.

  11. I know Ivan Gazidis stated that Arsenal were going to address our wage inefficiency when it came to future deals. A test of this statement would be Giroud. What kind of deal did he get? Is their appearance/performance tie ins? If the deal is similar to chamakh I suppose it’s going to be more of the same going forward.

      • No, me neither but it was widely reported in most sporting press that as well as the Scousers, Zola was in for him at West Ham and Juve and Inter were sniffing – so even if only half of it is true there was interest and a market. Also when he arrived he claimed to have turned down Sp*rs and a bigger Russian offer to sign for us. Doesn’t look that bad and a £5m fee would probably recoup most of our outlay.

      • Here’s his actual quote that I’ve just found:

        “There was Liverpool, Tottenham and unbelievable offers which came from Russia, enough to drive you crazy, a lot bigger than those from England.

        “But I was focused on the Premier League. Bordeaux offered me an extension almost impossible to turn down financially. The numbers were very close to those of Arsenal.”

  12. assuming you’d remembered we paid nothing for him…….

    so players should be made to prove themselves?

    He’d played and scored in the champions league…..why would he join us on a promise of honey later when someone would have paid him the going rate for a top striker on a bosman?

    • Well any ‘someone’, if there was such a person or club, who paid him a lot of money would have ended up being very disappointed. And yes, players should prove they are worth the money before being given it, just like in any other profession.

      • Champions league not enough proof for you? think that lawyer leaving a top firm to go to another wouldn’t expect more money?

        just admit you forgot he came on a free and in fact his salary isn’t that much in light of that.

  13. What About the MONEY from the sale of the Queensland Road Project (property) was this something like 30 to 42 million? Where has that gone?

  14. Its easy to say a player is “pony” or wages are too much in hindsight. Unfortunately, a club cannot be run or managed on hindsight, you only use the information you have at the time of signing someone to judge how much they deserve on contract.

    You seem to treat the French League and its Champions as some nobody team from a worthless league, well they went as far in the CL that season as we did in 2009/10 (so much for “wherever the hell he came from”). Chamakh actually helped his team to consecutive league titles in France. At the time of signing, he was actually proven in the CL and now holds a record for scoring in the most consecutive CL games (including goals against Juve and Bayern). We tried signing him the previous summer and winter for about £6-7mil but he wanted to represent Bordeaux in the CL (just like Hazard did last summer for Lille). What people don’t remember (or choose not to) is how Chamakh turned down offers from Liverpool, Spurs, Sunderland and Russia to join us (some even offering more than what we did). If he was so “pony” when signed then why were any of these teams offering him contracts in the first place?

    Plus, people conveniently forget that he had a hot start for us by contributing over 15 goals in his first 4-5 months here and since then, has barely had the chance to play because of RVP’s other worldly form and our luck with RVPs fitness. If it weren’t for that start, considering our utterly dismal end to the 2010/11 season, we would NOT have reached the top 4 that year. This year, with RVP as captain and continuing his immense form, his chances to play have been even harder to come by with under 200mins in the PL season, how much can you expect a striker to score in that much time?

    Also your suggestion to offer contracts is incredibly unrealistic and will NEVER work. Giroud was earning 15-20k a week in France, and now we’ve signed him and have offered him 45-50k per week. Chelsea in comparison are rumoured to have offered him 90k a week, so if we followed the policy you’re suggesting, then you can rest assured that we’d lose out him and on even more targets to rivals because we don’t pay up. Whether you like it or not, fact is that a squad player earns anywhere from 40-60k a week. If you compare with other teams in the league, the average squad player at Spurs earns about 5-10k a week less than ours do while United and City pay much much more. If you don’t pay them even as much as we do, you won’t have much of a squad left.

  15. I don’t really disagree with your piece but I just wanted to remind you that Chamakh had the highest goal scoring record in the CL for a long run when he was still at Bordeaux. AW was not the only top manager looking at him. No, he wasn’t considered in the same class as Rooney or Drogba but he was considered a good prospect as a support striker, a useful forward with good heading skills and a great work attitude. He’d built himself a good reputation under Blanc at Bordeaux and at the time I could understand why AW was interested in him–but also why he was willing to wait for him so as to pay no transfer fee for him.

  16. i think chamakh has suffered with arsenal style of play the short passing, keep ball. pass, pass, pass. Chamakh strength is heading and link up play, give him a proper run in the team and u would see the difference.
    once RVP got well Chamahk lost his place and therefore lost what form he had. This has happen to arshavin, Bentdner, jb, kos, and coq, although i think coq will make a great wingback.
    so lets stop blaming these players and adjust the system, and stop buying players to play out of their more suited position. Not all players have the capacity to play in different positions giving the same 100%

  17. Given the many other fine reposts to ur blog, I wd just add that he may have single handledly saved our CL spot as the strike force till rvp recovered in his 1st yr. worth 40+m (ask liverpool) to club and saved a river of tears. and no signing fee?! Could be worse.

  18. Seems a sensible approach, couple of problems though. 1 when we got chamakh on a free from Bordeaux (I think that’s how you spell it) he was the UCL top scorer from the group stage, so could argue he was proven at a pretty decent level. 2 £50k/w is in this Market pretty cheap after all if RVP does see out his contract and goes free next season his weekly wage will probably be about £500,000,000,000,000. Ok slight exaggeration but I trust you get my point. Those things said squillaci should never have been signed, but if we are honest he was never supposed to play more than a couple of matches a season, just bad luck with injuries put him in the first team

  19. Surely the point about Chamakh is not one about the wage policy per se, but rather the over-valuation of what he’d be worth, based on the scouting done by the club and AW pre-signing. I think it’s fair to say that Chamakh has been a bad signing and he’s proved to be worth less than what we offered him in wages. But, in AW’s defence, we can all be wise after the event. Let’s not forget that Chamakh had a good start at the club and that there were other clubs in the market for him at the time. Every transfer is a gamble to some extent, it’s just about how high the stakes are.

    Vela and Denilson are slightly different in that they were signed when the transfer policy was to buy the best young players around and available. The flaw of this policy was always that, as AW says himself, most players make or break between 18 and 21. It was therefore always likely that some of those youngsters brought in at 16-18 would not have the mental qualities to succeed and so it proved. The issue for Arsenal was that too few of the players developed to the level required to bring silverware.

    In my opinion, the issue is now simply that Wenger is a victim of his own success. In his peak years he had superior scouting networks and the ability to match the wages of all but Man Utd in England. Other teams have caught on now so that hidden gems are few and far between and we’re competing against clubs who can stockpile talent and pay them ridiculous sums. The example of Eden Hazard is a good one – 10 years ago he’d have been at Arsenal by now, but he’s gone to a club willing to immediately pay megabucks for a relatively unproven Ligue 1 talent. We can’t shop in that market, so we’re shopping a level down and hoping for improvement: hence you get Chamakhs.

  20. I’m not sure we can have our cake and eat it too. If we say “sign him on a lower wage and only give him a high wage once he’s proved himself”, then ok, fine… but then if a player has a breakout season and ends up having lots of other clubs interested in him, then we are at greater risk of losing him in a Nasri-type situation.

    The wage Chamakh is getting is about right, based on what we could reasonably think we were getting when we signed him.

    To be honest I knew he wasn’t quite up to standard before we signed him, based on watching him several times in the CL. I was surprised when he scored as much as he did in his first few months with us, but by the same token I never thought he would turn out to be as bad as he was after that.

    To look at it in a glass-half-full kind of way, his signing might not have been a waste of money at all. Had we not signed him and got a sterling half-season out of him before RVP returned, we may well have been out of the CL and lost the money and other benefits that brings. That loss might have been worse than the money we “wasted” on him. (Yes, we could have signed someone else better but there’s no guarantee they would hit the ground running in the way Chamakh did.) It’s similar to the case of Arshavin; regarded by many as a bad buy, his arrival also helped keep us in the top 4, in a season when we looked really uninspired.

    Oh, and Gervinho will come good. He’ll probably be closer to Wiltord than Pires, and will still frustrate fans here and there, but I still think he’ll be able to contribute about 10 goals and 8 assists per season. He will always be able to create chances, and playing alongside guys like Poldi and Giroud who are good in the box should bring out the best in him.

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