As we all know, BBC Sport's own David Orstein gave an interview with Arsecast and discussed everything that went on this summer. I summed up Ornstein's most recent claims that he gave on Transfer Deadline Day, here. So without any further adieu, here is what David Ornstein had to say on Arsenal's Transfer dealings and the plan moving forward!
Off to a good start
Arsenal did well by breaking their transfer record early on in the summer, with the signing of Alexandre Lacazette from Olympique Lyonnais for £46,500,000 - and was a summer that even the ardent cynics were going difficult to argue with. Kolašinac was a signing that was made towards the end of last season.
Lacazette and Kolašinac were examples of how to get transfer done correctly. Shrewd money spent on Lacazette and they did very well in that transfer.
Arsenal made a lot of signing off the field as well, which included the former Liverpool fitness man, Darren Burgess and Huss Fahmy, who will deal with any of the contract situations at the club, although Ornstein how much influence he's had and he has worked with Dick Law very closely, although he didn't seem to have much of an influence on the team's transfer business, which is understandable, as he is new to the role.
The optimism was there for a really positive summer, however, Ornstein understands that from various **** around the club, that once they signed Lacazette and despite reports saying AS Monaco's Thomas Lemar's arrival was imminent, the interest in Lemar was interest and although they had hoped to sign him, the transfer was not close. Lemar had indicated that he wanted to join, and had indicated as much to Arsenal at that point too.
Ornstein could not confirm or deny rumours that Lemar had visited Arsenal's London Colney training ground. He said although he hadn't heard that that was true, he said that he just wasn't aware of it and was not told that information, he may have, he may not.
Lemar told Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger personally, that he would be willing to join Arsenal. However, AS Monaco's fire sale (For the want of a better word) meant that Arsenal had essentially bid for the one player at Monaco that was not available for purchase as Monaco were reluctant to part ways with him.
As for whether or not Arsenal could have perhaps pushed the boat out a little bit more and persuade Monaco to sell Lemar, Arsenal did not have the funds available at that time to do that. However, Arsenal would have had the money available after the combined sales of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool and the potential sale of Alexis Sánchez to Manchester City. Arsenal then had an offer of £92,000,000 accepted as we know. Ornstein said that whether or not Arsenal did actually have the funds is open to interpretation when the club releases their accounts.
General Transfer Window Dealings
Ornstein said that while Wenger may be open to criticism for his part in Arsenal's transfer dealings, he did say that he is not sure how much money Wenger actually had to spend on players.
An annoying habit of Arsenal's, is to sell players and then sign new ones, which is perhaps not the best strategy.
Ornstein listed Chelsea as an example of teams who have had good transfer dealings in the past, mainly down to their ruthlessness.
It was fairly obvious who Arsenal were prepared to do business with this summer, regarding agents. Agents were made aware of players who were made surplus to requirements such as Wojciech Szczęsny. Arsenal essentially showed their hand too early and made club's wonder why they would need to bid large money for players that they already knew Arsenal wanted to sell.
Olivier Giroud was a different case as his mind was not totally made up as to whether he would leave and Kieran Gibbs, no one offered the money that Arsenal demanded.
Calum Chambers, was subject to some very decent offers, two bids were lodged in the £20,000,000 region for him on Transfer Deadline Day Eve from Leciester City and Crystal Palace had also lodged earlier bids too, and were quoted £27,000,000 by Arsenal.
It looks like Arsenal seemed to price several of their players out of potential moves.
Lucas Pérez was a classic example of being priced out of a move by Arsenal. Pérez was extremely offended by Arsenal's decision to give the number 9 shirt to new signing Alexandre Lacazette. Pérez was desperate to leave in a permanent deal.
Pérez was (In Ornstein's words) absolutely fuming that Arsenal had given his shirt number away to Lacazette and so were the team around him. Pérez was informed of the decision by his mother, or another member of his family of the club's decision to give away his shirt number. Pérez woke up to a number of phone calls, beliving he had been sold or something along those lines, he called his family up and they told him to look on the Arsenal website and saw that the number was now Lacazette's. Pérez tried to contact the relevant people at Arsenal, unfortuantley they were on the flight to Australia, so unable to answer the phone call. When they landed, Pérez was informed that the decision had been made in mid-air, perhaps when flying over India. Arsène Wenger has since apologised to Lucas Pérez over the incident however.
Other players have wanted shirt numbers of players who have been out on loan. Those players were told by the commercial bosses and by Arsène Wenger, that this is simply not possible. Wenger still regards players out on loan as Arsenal players and will therefore not sanction the removal of their shirt numbers while the players are out on loan. This makes the Pérez situation all the more baffling. Pérez was not consulted. Pérez had also moved into temporary accommodation at this point too, believed to be a hotel, clearly as he wanted to move.
Ornstein feels that Arsenal were perhaps justified in asking for big money for Lucas Pérez, as they had paid £17,100,000 for Pérez last summer from Deportivo de La Coruña.
Wenger had indicated to Pérez that he wanted him to stay at the club, when it looked like Giroud would be leaving and Sánchez' future was still unclear at that point.
As soon as it was known that Giroud would be staying, Arsenal gave Pérez permission to leave the club, although this turned out only to be on loan.
Pérez had made no secret of wanting to go home, but perhaps the shirt number was the straw that broke the camel's back and deeply upset Pérez.
Kieran Gibbs failed to agree personal terms with Turkish side Galatasaray S.K., although he was perhaps not too keen on this move, which is when Watford and West Bromwich Albion battled it out for him.
Ornstein feels that Arsenal should not take a lot of flack for the situation regarding Kieran Gibbs, as Gibbs procrastinated for much of the summer and was happy to see out the final year of his contract as he was entitled to do. Arsenal were keen to get the deal done as they needed a squad place, however, another situation that turned into a sage that didn't need to. Arsenal have a small team of negotiators and this is affecting Arsenal's, which couldn't be made incoming until players left the club.
Regarding Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ornstein revealed that at the beginning of the summer, Arsenal offered Oxlade-Chamberlain a fairly small contract offer which was only a small pay increase on his previous contract and looked small in comparisson to other footballer wages. It is reported that Arsenal offered around £80,000-a-week, which was a £20,000 bump up from his usual £60,000-a-week salary, which got things off on the wrong note. It seems to be from Oxlade-Chamberlain's camp that they were dissatisfied with this and weren't looking to move forward necessarily. It is unknown what Oxlade-Chamberlain himself, personally felt about this.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is a very indecisive person and as the transfer window came to a close, he decided that he needed to sort his future out and had many talks with Arsène Wenger, but nothing ever really came to a head.
Oxlade-Chamberlain made it clear that he did not want to stay at the club based on the money that was offered to him. He made his decision based on footballing grounds and those alone.
Oxlade-Chamberlain came into training one day and was told to report to Wenger's office where they had a meeting. In that meeting, Oxlade-Chamberlain finally plucked up the courage to tell Wenger that he would not be signing a new contract with Arsenal and wanted to move on to a new club. Wenger did not take this news well at all, and it seems that in an uncharacteristic move for Wenger, he let Oxlade-Chamberlain know exactly what he felt of that decision.
Ornstein says that Wenger is a hugely intelligent man, and has dealt with fair worse sagas than Oxlade-Chamberlain's, and he told him that he would accept Oxlade-Chamberlain's decision. However, Wenger was adamant that Oxlade-Chamberlain's departure from the club would be on Arsenal's terms and no one else's.
It is implied that Wenger's comments in the summer in pre-season that Oxlade-Chamberlain would sign a new deal with the club was perhaps done as a tactic to convince Oxlade-Chamberlain to sign a new deal and show just how much faith he had in Oxlade-Chamberlain and perhaps build the team around him.
The view inside Arsenal for a long time is that Oxlade-Chamberlain does not offer enough end-product, it is unknown if Wenger agrees with those sentiments.
It was quite clear that Wenger wanted Oxlade-Chamberlain to stay at Arsenal, but that the club wanted to move him on. Wenger told Oxlade-Chamberlain this, but it seemed to have no impact there.
Playing Oxlade-Chamberlain at Liverpool was perhaps a tactic to either drive his price up or convince him that Wenger still wanted to keep Oxlade-Chamberlain and still believed in him.
Arsenal got very good money for Oxlade-Chamberlain, very good indeed, considering the situation of Oxlade-Chamberlain not reaching his potential and also being in the last seaon of his contract.
On Alexis Sánchez, Ornstein felt that the whole situation regarding Sánchez was a complete mess.
Ornstein believed that Arsenal were steadfast in their decision not to sell Sánchez was perhaps that Lucas Pérez didn't know what was happening with Sánchez and Giroud. As a result this seemed that Sánchez was always available to sell, although publicly the club said that they had no appetite to sell Sánchez.
Arsenal would not sell Sánchez without a replacement.
Arsenal had to maintain that Sánchez was not for sale, their stance was justified and they had to say what they said otherwise they would have induced mass-panic. It would have damaged Arsenal's reputation and because it would have stopped Arsenal earning good money.
Bayern Munich had agreed personal terms with Sánchez, however, that broke down.
PSG's pursuit of FC Barcelona's Neymar, prevented them signing Sánchez too.
The one thing that Arsenal have hanging in their favour regarding Alexis Sánchez, is that Sánchez absolutely loves the city of London! The lure of Manchester City was their manager Pep Guardiola.
Ornstein believes that should Sánchez sort himself out and play professionally, it is a huge achievement that Arsenal have managed to retain Alexis Sánchez.
Arsenal were perhaps always ready to sell as shown in the last few hours of the Transfer Window, but they didn't sell, which is a slight positive.
On Shkodran Mustafi, Ornstein said that Arsenal's £35,000,000 signing from last season, Mustafi was very good when he first started at the club up until his injury. When he came back at Bournemouth away, Mustafi had a terrible game and failed to recover his form. Arsenal were not impressed with Mustafi's performances overall and were terribly disappointed.
Mustafi had a number of off-field issues, mainly focused around the fact that he recently became a father, and Mustafi and his partner came to the conclusion that they needed to perhaps be closer to their respective families after welcoming a new Mustafi to the family and they were happy to move to Italy, given Mustafi's experience there and his preference for the league.
Mustafi had clashed with a number of players at the club, which is not uncommon, he has squared up to a number of players and is not happy with a number of players. But the personal issues seem the most likely for him to move.
Arsenal's first choice of a CB was Jonny Evans to replace Mustafi if he left. Arsenal were very outside candidates to sign Evans as Manchester City were looking to sell Mangala, which obviously set them further ahead. Nothing Arsenal could do about that.
At one point in negotiations Arsenal offered West Brom Mustafi as a replacement for Evans, but this didn't help Mustafi, so that deal was even less likely.
Arsène Wenger, the board and Stan Kroenke
On Arsenal's Centre-Midfield issues, Wenger identified the issue towards the end of the window that needed to be addressed. Wenger clearly does not have the support around him that he used to have in the "glory-days" where people such as David Dein would support Wenger and encourage him, whereas the new board don't seem to want to do that.
Wenger changes his mind a lot and it can sometimes, not all the time though, lead to issues in the transfer operations.
Arsenal needed to address their CM issues, and they didn't do so. Xhaka and Ramsey's positioning had made Wenger's mind up. The club made their decisions too late.
Wenger strikes something of a lonely figure at the moment, with having little support from the board, while the failings in the window may be other's mishaps, the CM issue ulitmatley comes down to Wenger for perhaps not working quickly enough to address the issue(s).
Arsenal are not incompetent however. They are far from it. However, their dealings off the field can be laughable at times. Arsenal's scouting operation(s) are not thought of very highly, anywhere in the world, their negotiation tactics are not highly regarded and their late decisions and dilly-dallying mean that signing people late was almost certainly impossible.
On Wenger himself, Ornstein says that basically Gazidis and Wenger's relationship is not perfect, but it is also nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be, they get on very well and even meet during Friday lunchtimes.
Wenger and Gazidis did not discuss Wenger's contract. It's still not known what happened there.
Wenger basically does not have the support that he needs from around the club. He doesn't have the structures and support in place to get him or the club to where either of them want to be, Wenger is essentially on his own.
The hysteria surrounding results can worry people and there's no reason that Arsenal can't still do well this season.
Wenger is incredibly hurt when Arsenal lose and as an Arsenal supporter, he was worried that his contract last season was the main reason for fan devision and is incredibly worried about the Arsenal fans this season too.
Stan Kroenke is incredibly interested in winning trophies at Arsenal and is very hungry to bring success to the club, however, he will not inject any of his own personal wealth into the club, which is also a club decision made at board level.
The board may reconsider not allowing Kroenke not to invest his own personal wealth into the club. Arsenal are very ethical in the way that they operate. In fact, they have pulled out of transfers such as the signing of N'Golo Kanté, as his agent was demanded a higher fee and Arsenal felt that this could leave the transfer open to investigation, so they pulled out. Arsenal do things by the book, perhaps too by the book.
Arsenal don't seem to show any signs of wanting to change from this business model, which is a worry for them. As their revenues are very low compared to their other club counterpoints. Arsenal have fallen very far behind other big clubs in terms of commercial revenue or their kit deals.
Wenger was hesitant about signing a new deal until meeting with Kroenke.
The day-to-day running of the club is left to Ivan Gazidis. Josh Kroenke is present far more than his father, unfortunately Josh Kroenke is worried that he may step on his father's toes as Josh Kroenke is not the owner, it is not currently known if the club will be passed down to him at a later date. But Josh Kroenke is enthusiastic and is offering all his support to the board if they need it and is always available via comm links and the like.
Ivan Gazidis is a very good operator, but he is more of an Operations Manager than an actual CEO.
The board was split on Wenger's future.
Arsenal are looking at clubs like Atlético Madrid and Leicester City as great examples of how to run a football club and still achieve. Wenger personally does not like the comparisons between the two clubs, however, he does see how the clubs have done well. The board are far more fixated on the other clubs.
Arsenal are making star signings, but their decisions do not seem to reflect this. Arsenal and their board have the best of intentions, but they don't carry it out very well and their thinking sometimes discredits the earlier ideals that they held.
Arsenal absolutely want to succeed, they are desperate to win and it seems that for all it's worth so is Stan Kroenke, but Arsène Wenger is absolutely desperate for winning things!
Arsenal have laid out the vision for the club to future players and to former players like Robin van Persie, but Arsenal have perhaps focused more on improving their academy facilities etc, rather than the squad itself.
Arsenal have still been very successful with three FA Cups in four years, which many clubs would love to have, but Arsenal's expectations are a lot higher than that.