In recent times, there has been a furore regarding contracts and pay-rise at the Emirates. Many important first team players have left Arsenal or are looking to leave the club. Contract negotiations with Samir Nasri has stalled. Gael Clichy has already left for Manchester City which also means that he has nearly doubled his wages at his new club.
Nasri has voiced his concerns about winning silverware like many other players in the team, but he also wants a pay-rise which would make him the highest earner at the club, even more than the Captain . On the other hand, Wenger is clearly unwilling or ‘unable’ to give in to into Nasri’s demand due to the strict wage structure at the club. Reportedly, Nasri has demanded wages of around £110,000 a week. Monsieur Wenger is willing to offer him wages of £90,000 a week, a 50% increase from his previous salary. Before jumping into any conclusion and calling him greedy, let’s look at the wages of some of the stars in other major teams in the league!
Star Player Wages in the League
- Wayne Rooney – £250,000 a week
- Fernando Torres – £200,000 a week*
- Yaya Toure – £185,000 a week
- John Terry – £ 150,000 per week
- Carlos Tevez – £150,000 a week
- Frank Lampard – £140,000 per week
- David Silva – £140,000 a week
- Steven Gerrard – £ 120,000 per week
Nasri’s Demands Justified?
From the above figures, we need to question the concerned authorities if Nasri is really demanding something he doesn’t deserve? Hate it if you like, but in today’s world, footballers do get paid like this, more so, if you are one of the stars in a team with title ambitions. I think we agree to the point that Nasri is a very important cog in the Arsenal team and chances of us ending our trophy drought next season would certainly increase if he stays. Arsene Wenger might be a cheapskate when it comes to buying players, but he certainly doesn’t act like that when it comes to contracts. In fact, one of the first things Wenger did when he took over at the club is improving player’s contract and wages.
Arsenal is one of the top payers in the league as of 2011. Last year, they had the 3rd highest wage bill in the league, behind Chelsea and Manchester City. In 2010, Chelsea spent £172 million in wages, followed by Manchester City who spent £133 million and Arsenal came third with a wage bill of £110 million. So why is it that players are still complaining about the wages?
The Difference between Fringe and Star Players
It makes you think that there is something wrong with the wage structure in place at Arsenal. The problem at the Emirates is the contracts that have been handed out to players, who hardly make it to the first team or at times even seems to be a liability to the team. Look at the contracts of Almunia, Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner, Rosicky and you would know why. These players are mostly substitutes and fringe players in the squad. There is hardly any difference in the wages of the fringe players and the players who are regular starters for the club.
Almunia is paid £50,000 a week; Denilson and Diaby are paid £60,000 a week. Samir Nasri before the end of this season used to earn the same amount as these two. This results in two things – firstly the wage bills escalates and secondly the first team players are not paid the wages they deserve. Recently a source in the boardroom was quoted saying –
“If we paid [Abou] Diaby £30,000-a-week rather than £60,000-a-week, then we might be able to give Nasri what he feels he deserves.”
The fans at Arsenal have increasingly grown agitated about Wenger’s transfer policy. The first question they ask is “Why Arsenal doesn’t sign any Marquee name when they have a big enough transfer budget available?” The answer to this is simple, really! It is not that Arsenal cannot afford the transfer fee that comes with big names, it’s just that Arsenal can’t pay them the wages they demand. Arsenal is unwilling to break its rigid pay-structure. Only once did they break it for Henry, in his last season for the Gunners. Unless Wenger stops handing out such generous contracts to the likes of Alumina and Diaby, they can never afford big names. Such high wages also means it becomes very difficult to sell these players.
Then and Now
Now coming back to Nasri’s demand – Hate him if you want for all his antics this transfer window, but why would a world class player play for a team which neither pays him big money nor wins trophies? Sadly, gone are the days when players played for the love of their club and hardly bothered about money. Whether footballers deserve such high wages is quite debatable and let’s keep that away for the moment. The fact is, football has changed over the last 5 years. The amount of money that has been injected into the game is unbelievable. Earlier, Wenger, during his ‘Invincible’ years, could easily convince his players to stay at Arsenal, reject big money from other clubs and win silverware playing the game in the most beautiful way possible. Players bought into that system, stayed, had a nice time along with winning silverware. Now times have changed, after another year of trophy drought, players have grown restless and so have the fans.
Robin Van Persie was once quoted saying –
“They should make sure that these players stay. Arsenal have a policy in which they will not go over a specific amount of money when agreeing to the salary of a player. They won’t pay enormous amounts of money. I think that they should go to a higher level of salary. If you want to keep the group together, you have to keep them happy. If you are 27 or 28, I can understand that you would make the decision to go elsewhere if you can earn three or four times as much. If that sort of money was also paid here, I’m sure that person would stay.”
Peter Hill-Wood and Arsene Wenger needs to re-think there salary structure and stop handing out such ludicrous wages to fringe players. This would then allow Arsenal to offer the kind of wages, which will attract big names as well as keep them at the club.
* – Exact Figure Debatable.
The Article has been written by Guest Author – Amlan Majumdar.
Follow him on Twitter @Amlan_Majumdar.