Speculating on why Tielemans hasn’t moved yet
Welcome to Wednesday people. How we all getting on? In the UK we’ve got the August bank holiday looming on the horizon this weekend and that is something to be very happy about, but so is the end of the transfer window, if I’m completely honest, because that’ll happen next week and we’ll know exactly how all teams are shaping up for the new season.
From an Arsenal perspective it would be lovely if they just cut it now. I know what you’re thinking; “yeah, but we still need a winger and a central midfielder!” and yes, I agree that would be preferable. But we feel like we are in a much better position than so many other sides in and around us that it would absolutely be an advantage if they suddenly decided that the window had to close and close right this second.
It’s kind of a moot point; that is never going to happen and so even hoping for it to happen would be folly, but I guess I’m just highlighting it this morning to show the benefits of having a plan, executing a plan, then just focusing on the football and shape of the team and getting on with it. That’s what we’ve done so far this season and the results are there for all to see.
Unless of course you’re part of the ‘yeah but…’ caveat brigade. Those people will have looked at our first three fixtures and said we should have won those games. Maybe they are right. But there is winning and then there is winning with style and we’ve certainly done that so far. And whilst winning and winning with style have the same ultimate end point, nobody should underestimate the value of doing the business in a way that builds confidence and momentum. That’s what it feels like this Arsenal team has at the moment and that – I hope – is something we can perpetuate in to the next couple of games, because if we do, then we’ll officially be ‘on a roll’ in my book. Three wins out of three is a decent patch of form. Five out of five is when you are on a roll and that is what I have my fingers crossed for in terms of Fulham and Villa at home in the next two games.
Will we be seeing some different players after that Villa game, having made a few signings, spent a few quid? Maybe. But probably not Tielemans if the rumours of Leicester wanting £50million for him are true. Sorry guys, he may be that valuation of a player with a few years on his contract and playing the form of his life when you ready him for sale, but neither of those are true right now. I have seen people say that he’s been playing poorly this season and a few question whether we really want or need him now, but I always think that these types of things like form at a period of the season like this when there is uncertainty, can all play a part and shouldn’t really be taken with too much consternation. We spend so much of our time talking about how elite football is about ‘marginal gains’, about getting that extra percent to give you an advantage, so if you’re going to talk about those small things that can make a big difference in elite-level football, you can’t discount things like players being unsettled or wanting to move as a minor factor that shouldn’t impact their form.
The reality is that it probably isn’t his form that is the problem, it’ll be Leicester’s valuation. Strikers are more expensive than midfielders, who are more expensive than defenders, who are more expensive than ‘keepers. That’s not a universal ‘rule of thumb’, but it’s pretty close. So if you’re going to loosely apply that logic , you can’t look at the fact that we pay £45million for Gabriel Jesus to play as our main man striker, then look at Leicester supposedly asking for £50million for one of their midfielders, as something that feels about right for the player. If it is true then it goes a long way to explain why Arsenal haven’t made a bid; why even bother going official if you’ve had a chat with Leicester’s representatives and they’ve quoted you a price that is way over what you value. I had an incidence in my working life once; one of my team had another offer on the table from another employer. The employee was fantastic, I loved working with her and would have loved to have counter offered them to keep her. I think that is what she wanted too, to be honest, but the money that was on the table from the other company was just so much that I knew my company could not even get near. I knew I could convince the owners to increase her salary somewhat as she was a valued member of the team, but I couldn’t go to the levels that this company were matching. The result was that we didn’t even make a counter offer because we knew we couldn’t compete.
This scenario feels similar – in a way – to Tielemans. IF Leicester were asking for £50million maybe Arsenal just said “ok, that’s way more than we thought so we’ll ‘cool’ our interest and not even bother offering you £30million, because it’s nowhere near your valuation. Thanks and bye”. Even If Leicester were thinking they’d take £30million, if they really are going in that high, it might explain why Arsenal haven’t had a nibble at the deal. It might also explain why we haven’t heard other clubs sniffing around for the player. If the clubs are all being briefed on £50million for a player with one year left on his deal, there are probably a fair few who have been put off by that.
Of course I’m dealing a bit in the ‘grey’ here and this is all speculation, but given we don’t get access to the inner workings of these types of deals, as fans we are left to ourselves to try to put two and two together. And in this instance that feels to me like a plausible reason as to why there has been no movement on the player.
There was talk about Tielemans being open to signing a one year extension but if the above is true about Leicester’s high valuation of the player, I don’t know why he would do that. Let’s make the assumption he wants to move, hence why he hasn’t signed a new deal at Leicester yet; it doesn’t have to be Arsenal we’re speculating about but any unnamed club. So I want to move and my club is putting a value on my services so high that nobody has bothered to bid for me all summer. Clubs know I have a year left and they are happy to just wait and see. Why on earth would I want to sign a one year extension so that the same can happen next summer? Wouldn’t I just be better off just sitting on my contract and waiting until next summer? Then I can probably have my pick on a number of clubs from across Europe, I’d get a nice big fat signing on fee and bigger wages. Again, I’m trying not to make this about Tielemans, Leicester or Arsenal, but just thinking about any scenario. I just don’t know why a player would do that.
So if that is the case, will we see a dramatic change of heart from the selling club at the end of the window? Maybe. Or maybe they want to just gamble and risk losing for nothing next summer? I guess it is all about that ‘opportunity cost’ that Leicester are gambling on. Are they gambling that somebody gets desperate at the end of the window? Are they asking whether low ball offers like £15 – £20million are so low you might as well keep him for the value he brings to your team. Could Youri Tielemans be the difference between an extra five points at Leicester and therefore give them an extra £20million in terms of prize money when they finish a few higher places up the table than if they didn’t have him?
Who knows. What we do know, however, is that by this time next week (roughly), we’ll start to find out the answers on where all parties are at.
Catch you all tomorrow.