According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal pay Southampton £10,000 every time Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plays more than 20 minutes for the Gunners.
It’s in his contract, an apparent remnant of frantic negotiations between the two clubs ahead of the midfielder’s move to the Emirates back in 2011.
It’s this apparent financial burden which is the reason Arsene Wenger waits for the 70-minute mark to pass before utilising the England international.
Well so argues Neil Ashton, the Mail’s Football News correspondent, who cites ten examples of the Ox taking to the field late in the day:
“Incredibly a trend emerged, with Wenger bringing him off the bench after 72 minutes (v Stoke), 73 minutes (Liverpool), 72 minutes (Coventry), 65 minutes (Norwich), 76 minutes (Fulham), 86 minutes (Tottenham), 67 minutes (Swansea), 73 minutes (West Ham), 71 minutes (Swansea), and 75 minutes (Reading).”
We don’t want to insult your intelligence dear reader so we’ll assume you know you can set your watch by a Wenger substitution. We’ll also gloss over the fact that Chamberlain until last week, when he turned 20, was a teenager competing with fellow internationals for a place in the starting line-up at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
So let’s dissect this weird little conspiracy theory…
Since moving to North London, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has made 60 appearances for Arsenal including 33 starts and 27 as a subtitute.
Ignoring the fact some of those appearances might have been less than 20 minutes, that’s a maximum figure of £600,000 that Arsenal would owe Southampton. It’s hardly a massive sum over the course of two years in an era of big-money contract add-ons is it?
What’s more, to put it in perspective if Chamberlain played 50 games a season for the five years of his initial contract the maximum Arsenal would have to pay is £2.5 million.
The deal to bring Chamberlain to the Emirates was reported by the BBC as being for £12 million plus £3 million in add-ons.
Presumably the remaining £500,000 is for landmark achievements such as international appearances (tick) and (super lolz) Arsenal winning trophies. It’s fair to assume these payments do not continue ad infinitum…indeed the terms of Chamberlain’s new deal, signed alongside the other Brits last term, probably drew a line under the payments.
So basically the crux of the story by Neil Ashton is, shock horror, Arsenal pay for a player adhering to the terms and conditions of the contract set out when he moved.
Ashton doesn’t deny that Arsenal made the payments, he even says so in the article, although he does amusingly infer that Southampton invoice the Gunners accountants on a per-match basis like a work experience kid trying to claim travel expenses…
I suspect it doesn’t work like that Neil.
Ashton’s article also talks about Arsenal’s failed pursuit of Wilfried Zaha claiming Wenger’s dithering saw us lose out to Manchester United. Perhaps, but weirdly it chooses not to make a similar suggestion about United when they lost out to us over Chamberlain. Maybe those add-ons made the difference?
It’s football. You win some, you lose some…the transfer market isn’t as simple as working for the Daily Mail.
There’s also some criticism of our use of Harvard-based analysts who Neil seems to think dictate everything Arsenal do in the transfer market. Presumably they’re on holiday at the moment? And the usual training ground tittle-tattle of personalities clashing up and down the training hierarchy. All a bit ‘meh’.
At a time when Arsenal and Arsene Wenger are getting a battering from all quarters, for perfectly acceptable reasons, this really is a bizarre and pathetically shallow attempt to stick the knife in.29,904 views