Arsenal fans were once again left biting their nails as the transfer window drew to a close. Arsene Wenger had made some promising moves early in the summer, sealing the signature of Grant Xhaka in a £35m deal but then everything went quiet.
Despite an obvious need for both a striker and a centre-back, Wenger failed to make another significant signing for months. Those same fans would have to wait until the penultimate day of the window before Deoprtivo's Lucas Perez and Valencia star Shkodran Mustafi joined for a combined fee of £52m.
But just why Arsenal take so long to make affirmative moves in the transfer market continues to be a talking point amongst fans and pundits alike. Many believe it is down to Wenger's indecision but one top football agent has claimed to know exactly why.
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Jon Smith is one of the best-known football agents in the world and has negotiated with everyone from Sir Alex Ferguson to Daniel Levy during a successful career. He is about to release a book of the more interesting stories behind football's superficially mundane events.
And it seems Arsenal fans should be flocking to buy a copy of 'The Deal: Inside the World of a Super-Agent' as it contains some insight behind the biggest mysteries at the club.
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It all comes down to Arsenal's ownership of a Chicago company called StatDNA, which they bought for approximately £2m four years ago. As the name suggests, it provides intricate statistical data on virtually every player in the world.
The data is, rather curiously, kept safe in a huge warehouse in Cambodia and any transfer deal Wenger is hoping to complete must first go through this tiring number-crunching process.
The Gunners are incredibly secretive about their StatDNA company with Wenger continually batting away questions about it.
He has admitted that players like Gabriel Paulista have been located through their analysis but it appears everyone, including Mustafi, Perez and Xhaka, had their performances scrutinised in mind-bogglingly intricate details before Wenger signed them, explaining why the deals took so long.
“Arsenal are an example of how business and sport cohabit and the fans find that difficult to understand,” Smith told The Times.
“It has a warehouse in Cambodia full of files and stats. Every player on the planet. They crunch every conceivable number relating to a footballer. Examples are Hot Streak Bias versus Confirmation Bias; if the left-back attacks and creates chances, how many chances does he allow the opposition by pushing on?"
And it seems that Wenger would actually work faster if he could as Smith reveals that the Frenchman allows the system to play out even if he is sure he wants a player.
He continued: “I love Arsène but if I’ve got a criticism it’s that he’s corporately standoff-ish. He lets the system play out and I think Arsenal’s system slows him down.”
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