The Curious Case of Johan Djourou’s Wages (And A Signing!)

The transfer window is a laugh for us Arsenal supporters, is it not, my fellow travellers on the road to enlightenment? If there were no ‘window’ and transfers could be conducted all year round, would we be in a constant state of fevered tension awaiting signings? Possibly, but on the plus side the spuds would be in a worse state, never knowing when Real Madrid would ‘swoop’ for Bale. Literally every match could be his last for their, er, ‘great club’.

The Arsenal community could not even agree when the window opened. On July 1, there were many tweets starting ‘Now the window is officially open . . .’ Do what? According to the Premier League website, it’s been open since ‘the day after the last day of the season’. Mind you, according to the Premier League website it’s also been open since June 11, so take your pick. Either way, I don’t see anything official about July 1. Other clubs don’t seem to have had any trouble signing players in the time before July 1.

It is true that player contracts invariably run to the end of June, and it may be true that tightwad clubs think, “Why should we buy someone before we want them to start actually doing anything, just to pay them money for going to Vegas, smoking dodgy substances and getting involved with hookers? Let their French club pay for that.”

Anyway, July came and Arsenal signed a player! On a free! An action that the Evening Standard described as the start of a ‘Spending Spree’. Call me Mr Picky, but doesn’t a spending spree need to involve some actual spending? Still, early days. And at least the signing of Sanogo has given us some new songs to work on, at least if you’re old enough to remember Wham and George Michael before he was famous for living in public toilets, crashing into things and rolling around on motorways.sanogo in djourou out

Can you guess I am not so far enthused with this transfer window? I can’t really get excited about a 20 year old kid from France with a very unfortunate injury record. Maybe, just maybe, he will be the new Thierry Henry, or perhaps slightly more realistically the new Nicolas Anelka. Then I’d be excited. But at the moment it’s all a bit ‘meh’. Someone from France on a free? Potential, you say? Yeah, I know it’s important in its own way, it’s just not stirring the blood.

Meanwhile some news of a player exiting (as opposed to ‘exciting’) that may be more significant. Johan Djourou has reportedly taken a pay cut to go on loan for the season to Hamburg. This is a bit odd. Hamburg are also reported to be paying £850,000 for the loan deal with an option to buy. Are they desperate? So Arsenal are getting £850k for the season for a player they don’t want, and don’t have to pay him while he’s still under contract either? That is some tough negotiating!

The Standard quote Djourou as saying, “In London I could have earned considerably more money.” Whether he went on to say “by sitting on my arse in the stand” I don’t know. If he has taken a pay cut then it’s unusual and refreshing. Others such as Almunia and Arshavin have been happy to sit and do nothing while collecting their full wages until contracts expired, secure in the knowledge that there wasn’t a damn thing Arsenal could do about it.

So why didn’t Djourou do the same thing? The obvious answer is that he wants to play, but even so, he holds nearly all the cards in this negotiation. He can say to Arsenal, “You can pay half my wages and I’ll go on loan, or you can pay all of it and I’ll sit here.” Better for Arsenal to pay half and get him out of the way, surely? The only card Arsenal have is to say, “We know you want to play, and we won’t let you go and play if we have to pay any part of your wages.” In which case that would be Arsenal being extremely tough in a wages negotiation for the first time since George Graham left. And also rather risking cutting off their nose to spite their face. Then add in the supposed fee Hamburg are paying as well – why would they even agree to a fee? Are they that desperate for first option on a purchase next year? There’s something odd going on. Either way I bet any agents involved are still getting richer.

Still, enough of departures. If you look at this page on the Premier League website, there’s a list of all the movements so far in this transfer window (not just since July 1, note). At last there is an entry in the Arsenal ‘In’ column! More to follow? We normally sign a few in the summer, so I’m sure there will be at some point, but I must say I’m not actually holding my breath for a new transfer record.

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9 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Johan Djourou’s Wages (And A Signing!)


    Takes you to when the transfer windows are open for clubs on the continent. Domestic transfers can be registered as soon as the final whistle on a season as there are no other FAs involved. So if, for example, Arsenal want to sign from a Spanish club, they cannot do so officially until 1st July since the Spanish authorities do not have an open transfer window.

    Equally, Sanogo could not sign officially for Arsenal before the expiry of his existing contract, typically footballers are believed to sign to end of June thus his transfer could not be completed until then.

    And that’s the key. Players and clubs can trade prior to a transfer window but the registrations cannot be officially changed until the transfer windows in both countries are open hence the 1st July becoming an unofficial official opening of the transfer window.


  2. The July 1 thing is more to do with two things 1st clubs support staff don’t usually come back until this point and these staff sort medicals etc so no transfer can be ratified. Secondly fa and Uefa bigwigs that deal with player registration etc also holiday in this period and don’t officially start until July so though clubs can sign and get the haggling out of way until fa receive the paperwork nothing is complete. Now onto our transfer dealings we have cleared some deadwood and more look to be going which is good. Thehiguain is not out doing it seems from reading Spanish press releases real keep moving the posts to suit them, will it happen that is a maybe. Will we break our transfer record that will be down to whether the people who sort this stuff out can close out the higuain deal. Whatever happens I can’t wait until season starts and this silly stuff ends

  3. I’m not sure that there’s anything any more curious about Arsenal getting £850,000 loan fee for ‘a player they don’t want’ than there would be about any club accepting a £20m transfer fee for a player they don’t want. For the ‘buying’ club it’s obviously less costly than the normal amortisation for one year of a longer term contract where any transfer fee, in this case, exceeding £3.4m has been paid. It also gives them an opportunity to be a little more sure of the value before taking up any option to buy.

    It does seem more curious that a player should take a pay cut but at 26 a good career move might well pay off over the 5 to 10 years playing time he might have left rather than running down his contract and therefore his value sitting on a bench. Arshavin, who popularly was an exciting signing at the time, but quickly became something less than a ‘meh’, took the opposite view and cost the club probably at least 6 times more than Denilson (who made more appearances and started more games) or Bendtner (who made more appearances and scored more goals) who might well also have been ‘meh’ signings.

    That’s the trouble with all transfer signings whether ‘meh’ or ‘exciting’ they’re like chinese meals and 10 minutes after one you’ll want another.

    • Yes, sure there are advantages in Hamburg loaning rather than buying, but less obvious advantages in paying £850k for the privilege when you wouldn’t have thought they’d need to pay anything! If true obviously. It may be a crock of crap, of course. But he was on loan for nothing last season, so paying for a loan now seems peculiar.

      • I read somewhere about the loan fee only being payable if Hamburg do not activate the purchase clause next summer (A link to a Google translated article from a German paper [that I can’t find again] so could be nonsense of course)

      • Though not in every case I think it’s quite normal to pay the loaning club a fee for arranging the loan. It depends on the individual circumstances of course but in all probability Hannover would also have paid a small fee for the loan last season. Are they doing us a favour taking him or are we doing them a favour loaning them the player? It’s value judgement that can be made either way. Any deal can and would be constructed in many ways but it wouldn’t be any great surprise to find that Hamburg’s £850k might be deducted from any fee agreed for a permanent transfer if they were to take up the option.

    • What’s “curious” about Djourou taking a pay cut to make sure he plays this year? Has no one noticed that it’s a World Cup tournament next summer? In Brazil, no less. Will be an epic one. Yes- it’s a good year to shake out the tree!!

      This is why Bendtner is going to Frankfurt.

      I’d expect that Vermalen will be gone by the end of the transfer window for the same reason.

      Coquelin too, as Wenger clearly did not trust him last season, even when Arteta was knackered and Wilshere crocked. On top of which Arsenal is clearly looking to buy a player of his type in prime years.

  4. Focus on the message and not the messenger. Regardless of whatever your paranoia problems may be, it’s perfectly normal that in this kind of year benchwarming players will be more willing to bite the bullet so they can get to the world cup i.e. a gigantic shop window.

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