Don’t get Bernd on the Leno transfer fee

Don’t get Bernd on the Leno transfer fee

Morning, I had one of those very rare things called ‘a lie in’. I had forgotten they existed.

There isn’t a lot going on this morning, a few transfer rumours and the name of Serge Gnabry going around and around, and that’s about it. I have to say I’d be very, very surprised if we were interested and willing to pay what it would take to bring him back. It’s not that I wouldn’t like it, I just don’t think it’s particularly plausible.

Then again, I didn’t think it was realistic for us to spend £20m on a goalkeeper last summer when we had Bernd Leno so what the hell do I know? Speaking of the German, we know – as much as it’s possible to know stuff – that he’s going to leave the club this summer, and I think this is one is a good test of Edu’s selling power as Techincal Director.

Yes, he only has one year left on his contract and that plays a part in how much you can ask for, but our main forward target this summer is a player in the exact same contractual situation and Man City are, according to reports anyway, asking for a very substantial fee for Gabriel Jesus. We’ve also made it pretty clear that Leno is going to go by agreeing a deal for American keeper Matt Turner.

However, he is only 30 years old with bags of experience in the Bundesliga, the Premier League and Germany. That’s still relatively young for a goalkeeper, and while his circumstances might provide a decent opportunity for a club looking for a player of his profile, it shouldn’t be an absolute bargain.

I suppose the main issue is that more and more the Premier League is becoming it’s own private island when it comes to transfer fees and wages. There is money on the continent but nowhere near the same level, and certainly not since the deleterious impact of the pandemic on club finances across Europe. So, to get the best fee possible, we’d probably be looking to sell him to another English club, but perhaps after four years away, Leno might fancy a return home. To be fair, he might also fancy another few years of Premier League wages, but having lost his place at Arsenal and then in the Germany squad, I suspect first and foremost he’d be looking for regular football and to be the number 1 again wherever he went.

Writing all that down quickly on a Saturday morning makes you realise there are so many angles to transfer deals, and that’s not even taking into account other internal and external factors like family commitments, school for kids and so on. What the club want can be different from what the player wants, what a potential suitor is willing to offer in terms of fee and personal terms can scupper a deal before it’s even got beyond the initial ‘hello’.

Still, this is part and parcel of what a Technical Director has to deal with at an club, and for quite a while now, our selling hasn’t been great. The occasional windfall from the likes of Alex Iwobi and Joe Willock hasn’t gone far enough to offset the money we haven’t got for players who should have commanded fees but whose deals we let run down, or who were simply paid large lumps of money to go away. I know there are some legalities with those kind of deals which make them a bit more complicated than I’m making out, but I’m pretty certain ‘Here’s a bag of cash, now fuck off’ is a negotiation most of us are capable of making.

There are young English players too who should bring in good money if we decide to sell, again with the one year left on their deals caveat, but as we look to see if this is an area in which we can improve on to provide funds to further boost a team which we all know requires it this summer, I have a close eye on the Leno departure to see what that might tell us.

Right, that’s it for this morning. Champions League final tonight of course, which should be fun. Given the way things have gone in this tournament this year you can’t rule anything out tonight, so hopefully it’s a good one for the neutral as they say.

For now, take it easy, have a great Saturday.

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