The Fulham manager has come out and said that Arsenal’s second offer is same as the first one and we are trying to distract Schwarzer.
I don’t know if Arsenal are trying to disrupt him. There are many things clubs, players and agents do to unsettle players. Mark is aware of the interest of Arsenal. That knowledge is distracting and disruptive.
Hughes (of the same species as Brown and Fat Sam) has brought the issue into the media and is trying to negotiate a better deal that way. I see this as a dirty inverse of the filthy tactics Barca had been using all summer.
In that case Arsenal didn’t want to sell and made an unequivocal statement to that effect. Barca kept manipulating the media to pressurize Arsenal but we didn’t succumb to that nuisance. In that instance Barca wanted to buy and were trying to get a phenomenal player for pittance.
In this case Fulham are willing to sell but want to extract as much value as possible. If they’d said a flat no I’m certain Arsenal would have backed off. They haven’t said that but their manager is trying to have his cake and eat it too,
But the status quo is the same – we wouldn’t encourage an improved bid. It’s not at all inevitable he will leave.
Nice play with words. He doesn’t say ‘we don’t want to sell, end of’ and he doesn’t say we need an improved bid. It seems like a subtle suggestion that he wants an improved bid. The master thug is trying to put the ball in Arsenal’s court and also wants to shift the media focus towards Arsene, who has, in his typical style, refused to be drawn into any speculation.
It is astounding that some people have seen a parallel between what Barcelona did and what Arsenal are doing. Let me just list the differences,
- Arsenal didn’t try to use the media to talk about Schwarzer
- No one from Arsenal went to the Australian’s family
- Arsenal players haven’t taken turns to offer an opinion about the transfer
- Arsenal haven’t tested his DNA
- No one has played a shirt prank on Schwarzer
In fact, the only similarity is that both players expressed a wish to move and one club took the issue public. Since Barca wanted to buy and Fulham don’t mind selling it is not difficult to see why Hughes has used the reverse tactics. Conveniently, Hughes left out the exact response he gave to Arsenal. I’m quite sure it wasn’t, “We don’t want to sell”.
The only criticism of Arsenal that comes close to being valid is that we shouldn’t have made the same bid twice. Interestingly, this is based solely on the words of Mark Hughes. There is no mention of the exact wording of what Arsenal said.
The way I see it, it could be that once the new manager was appointed at Fulham (regime change as Wenger called it), Arsenal simply sent them a fax to remind them that the first offer still stands. It’s easy to see why someone would call this a second bid of the same value but it’s also obvious that it’s not a dirty trick by any stretch.
I think 2.5 Mn for a player of Schwarzer’s age and in the final year of his contract is not a bad sum. For Fulham it’s probably 4-5% of their revenues! Many of the key players in that excellent squad that Roy Hodgson developed cost the club less than the amount Arsenal have offered.
I know some Arsenal fans don’t have a perspective on numbers. They think the more you pay the better a player will perform. Some of them are also gullible enough to believe that Fulham will immediately sell the moment Arsenal up that bid to 4 Mn or so. There isn’t much we can do about these fans but most others will be able to see that Arsenal’s conduct in this matter has been impeccable and people like Hughes will always do their best to make our lives difficult.