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Arsenal’s interesting negotiating techniques

19 August 2010

Hmm, maybe we can confuse Fulham if I make the offer in French?

If at first you don’t succeed, try the same offer weeks later?

That seems to be Arsenal’s current strategy in its pursuit of agitated Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. The Gunners, desperate to avoid another season of Manuel Almunia derailing their title dreams, offered Fulham 2 million pounds for their Australian No. 1 in July and were politely rebuffed. Today, there are reports that Arsenal came back to Fulham with a second offer — of 2 million pounds.

On the surface, that sounded curious, so we here at The Goalless Draw worked our back-room connections and were able to get a transcript of the Arsenal senior management meeting where this latest strategy was crafted:

Ivan Gazidis: “I can’t believe we got our suckers, er, fans to buy into this fan share initiative. What should we do with the influx of cash? This thing probably will generate a couple million extra pounds for the coffers.

Arsene Wenger: “Well, I still need a starting keeper who fears crosses less than a vampire, and there’s no way City is giving us Shay Given. Can we take another run at Schwarzer?”

IG: “Hmm, good idea. They had that young David Stockdale kid play well at Bolton. I’m sure one match with the first team is enough to convince Fulham that they can ride him for 37 more matches for a pulsating 11th-place finish.”

AW: “We tried 2m last time and they said no.”

IG: “True. What do you say we offer them 2m and see what they say?”

AW: “C’est bon.”

A humble suggestion to Arsenal: Everyone, including your current starting keeper, knows you don’t want him there. Don’t cheap out. Offer the extra million or whatever, get your man and take a legit run at the crown. And, hey, if it somehow opens the door for Fulham to get Given and improve at the position? I’m cool with that.

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