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.