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March 15, 2012


Luis Enrique

interesting! I'd have thought
"pressure to perform" also stems from transfer fees, although probably highly correlated with wages so maybe not important.

so ... should Arsene pay through the (handsome) nose to retain RVP next season? All this theorising is all very well - I want some real world policy advice.


Emotionally speaking, I want RVP to stay - ideally without jeopardizing the wage structure to much.
WHat I can guarantee though is that if RVP gets a big pay rise, at Arsenal or elsewhere, the monent he hits a run of average form, the newspapers will say the money/pressure/acclaim has gone to his head and will ignore the simple fact that form has an element of randomness.

Account Deleted

Bear in mind that reported player wages are often "on target earnings" - i.e. they assume you hit all your bonus thresholds.

Traditionally, first team appearances have been the main bonus driver, with final league position and cup victories ahead of goals and assists (i.e. team over individual). This means that squad players usually do have an incentive to play well enough to get picked, rather than settling for life in the stiffs and a fat cheque.

The "egalitarian" wage structure at AFC predates Wenger, though it seems to chime with his own views. As he is an economics graduate, I suspect he has given the matter of incentives some thought.

What is also worth bearing in mind is that he has turned a £31m profit on a transfer turnover of £202m over the last 5 seasons. Some fans are unhappy about this, seeing it as evidence we could be spending more, but what it actually shows is that the policy of paying young squad players well not only pays for itself but provides funds to further raise the structure - i.e. an excellent ROI.

I don't think Wenger should break the wage structure (it would be the board's decision anyway), as that will create unsustainable inflation and piss off the rest of the squad. RvP comes across as having a strong team ethic, rather than being wholly mercenary, so I suspect he appreciates this. I may be clutching at straws, but I hope this means he is minded to stay.

james higham

You've certainly got your priorities right there. Give him the rise.

Witchsmeller Pursuivant

In a little over a year's time Van Persie will become a free agent as his contract will have expired. The cost of replacing him will be astronomical and quite beyond Arsenal's reach.

We should persuade him to extend his contract to three years by offering him an wage increase from £80k to £100k and paying him a signing-on fee of £15 million (worth about £100k a week over the length of the contract).

He receives the £200k a week reportedly on offer elsewhere, and remains at a club with a fine and noble tradition , where he is feted and adored. We retain one of the finest strikers in the world for less than half a Carrol and under a third of a Torres.

Having said that, I don't think money is Van Persie's primary motivator.

Steve Williams

From the OP:

". . .as measured by newspapers’ (highly subjective) ratings."

I refer you to Louise Taylor in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2012/mar/01/football-pet-hates):

"When scouts are sent to matches they are asked to assess one, at most two, players, so asking journalists, who also have to compile match reports, to judge 22 professionals – plus substitutes – on a one to 10 basis is ludicrous. The upshot is loads of meaningless sixes, not to mention the occasional tap on the shoulder from the disgruntled recipient of a five."

This rings true to me, and if the research uses these figures as a meaningful proxy for performance, that seems flawed. If it doesn't need these figures, and I've misunderstood, then as you were!

Tom Addison

"This adverse effect comes because pay dispersion worsens individuals’ performance, as measured by newspapers’ (highly subjective) ratings."

As measured by newspapers' ratings? Hmmm, they are indeed incredibly subjective, and biased as well. It's amazing how one goal can lift a players rating up from a 6 to a 7, even if he played no part in creating that goal.

Tom Addison

By which I half of the players on a team may be on a 6 out of 10 going into the 90th minute, but if they get a last minute equaliser then suddenly all those 6's become 7's.

I doubt it significantly affects the results of the study much though, 20 pp is a big drop.


Surely this can simply be tested by comparing the success of teams with differing wage structures?

The glaring problem is Arsenal have not won a trophy in six years...

Leigh Caldwell

"The glaring problem is Arsenal have not won a trophy in six years..."

This of course is a complaint often levelled at Arsenal. But who _has_ won a trophy in the last six years?

Since Arsenal's last win in 2005 only seven English teams have won a tournament, either domestically or in Europe:
Manchester United
Manchester City
Birmingham City

It's like speculating about US presidential elections - there are so few data points that any inference is highly unreliable. You can draw your own conclusions about how much individual trophies mean from the subsequent performances of Portsmouth and Birmingham.

Of course when Arsenal does get round to winning something again, I will ask Chris to delete this comment so I can crow about it accordingly. #sourgrapes


Alexross, it's correct that Arsenal haven't won a trophy in six years, but that goes for quite a few clubs. They've been in a couple of Carling Cup finals without really trying, and one European Cup Final.

I think you can only really look at league position, as there's luck involved than a knock-out (not that that necessarily makes Arsenal look better).

As Chris managed to incorporate "Arsene knows" into his post, I have been trying to think of how to incorporate "he scores when he wants" into a relevant comment without forcing it in. I have failed.


"The glaring problem is Arsenal have not won a trophy in six years..."

Is six years a reasonable time-span though? Even if you stick to the Sky view that 'In the beginning, there was the Premier League' Arsenal's performance over that time-scale is much better than, say, Manchester City's (and even more so when you factor in Champions' League places as well).

PS: So what does all this say about Tevez?

Leigh Caldwell

Alex Ross provoking, I imagine, exactly the response from us that he intended. He scores when he wants...


Leigh Caldwell - damn, so obvious. But at least I fed you, Walcott like..

Account Deleted

I think that should be: Alex Ross - he scorns when he wants.


Let's be realistic, he is nearing the end of his career. As any individual, he may be inclined to make the most out of the present.

If he leaves for someone who pays more than 40% than what Arsenal can offer, i will have no complaints. Period.

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