Welcome to a wet and windy Thursday. I hope your trip into work was as disgusting as mine.
Right, first up today we might as well talk about stuff that isn't relevant to Arsenal. Jose Mourinho took Madrid to their first league title in a whole usurping Barcelona in his second season at the club. An incredible achievement you have to say. Barcelona were never going to be able to maintain dominance forever, but for Jose to take Madrid to such a massive points total deserves nothing but respect.
Cesc Fabragas may have won 3 trophies already this season, but it is amusing to see him miss out on the two that really matter. Cesc, I hate to say it mate, but it seems like you are the destroyer of great teams. You came into the Arsenal Invincidble side and it all went tits up from there for us... then you join the greatest club side the world has ever seen and you balls up there as well. What are we going to do with you Cesc?
Mourinho has now proved himself in 4 leagues. Now, whilst I can't imagine Arsenal ever calling on such a manager, there are certain things we can take away from what he does with his clubs. Firstly, he hasn't always had super huge budgets. Arsenal fans constantly talk about the miracle of Arsene Wenger and his transfer surplus. Sure, it is a miracle. He out performs nearly all managers on transfer spend if you take out wages. He's done it consistently and on it's own, taking out the fact that football is mainly about trophies, you'd have to applaud him.
However, what Mourinho does at every club is spend any budget he's given. You know, like most people in business do. He correlates spending money with winning trophies. He's pretty good at spending as well. He's brought through great players at every club he's been to, he places great importance on experienced players, getting the most out of them and he's incredibly well prepared. Arsenal might not ever use him as their manager, he's a nightmare and he sours the reputation of most clubs he goes to... but there are certainly lessons to be learned from the way he operates. He is a modern manager using modern techniques that have worked in 4 separate countries.
Next up. Newcastle. Did you see that Cisse goal? DID YOU SEE THAT CISSE GOAL? Jump on it here.
Now, I'm not always one to agree with Geoff when he states our scouts should have picked up on X, Y and Z. We can't have all the best players in the world and we can't snap up every young superstar. However, what the hell were our scouts doing missing out on this guy? He is a Wenger signing of old. Tall, athletic, great technique for a bargain price. How were we not alerted to his availability. I mean, it's not like there wasn't a requirement in January is it? It's the same with Ba. Surely he represented the better option when stacked up next to Park. He was a free as well! Alan Pardew deserves nothing but applause for what he's done with Newcaslte this year. Manager of the year. An incredible turnaround.
If anything shone through last night, it was that Chelsea are not going to beat Bayern Munich. It'll take an absolute masterclass for that team of decimated cloggers to win through. But, they are Chelsea and nicking the 4th place in for next years Champions League finishing 8th is exactly the type of thing you could see happening.
Onto our striking situation.
As far as I'm concerned. We should be shipping off Park Chu-Young to whoever will take them. Free up those squad numbers. If we're having trouble, let them go for nothing. Newcastle did with Joey Barton. We should with those two.
Now, how should our striking options look next season? Well, I don't think Podolski is coming in to play up front. I think he'll come in on the left. That leaves two striking spots open. Wenger has already fluttered his lashes at Giroud. 24 goals, 8 assists and a style of football that looks well suited to Arsenal and well suited the the Prem. So, we nab him for £15million and that is striker place 2 taken care of.
Striking position number 3? Well guys, I'm giving it to Joel Campbell. He's fast, he has a lot of skill, he can play wide if he needs to and he can finish. If we can get a work permit, he's moving into the first team. His goal record this year has been impressive. He's mainly been second choice but out of his 16 starts, he's returned 2 assists and 9 goals. Pretty good if you ask me. He reminds me of Nic Anelka, without the sulking.
Striking position number 4 goes to Mr Afobe. Sagna said he's the most exciting prospect at the club at the moment. If he's saying that, then I'm on board with him being given more of a role next year. He can play in the Carling Cup and go out on loan to a Prem club at Christmas if opportuinty is low. He's tall, strong he offers us a bit of English grit. It'd be great for Arsene to pull through and English striker and from the rumblings, this could be the man.
Amazing that in 15 years we haven't even come close!
Then finally, the first place goes to Robin. Why? Because he's going to stay with us. Rumour has it he'll stay on and do one next year on a free. I don't see why he has to do that. He's already forfeited £4million this year by staying. He should sign a new 4 year deal with us with his signing on fee spread over those years. If he wants to leave next year, we'll have an agreement in place that we'll sell him. He wins with more money. We win with a fee. They call that win win...
By the way, I sorted out the montage I'm going to give Robin tonight. Is it too much? Do you think he'll like it?
I also sorted him out a mixtape... I've been to Amsterdam, I know their tastes in music aren't the best, so bear with me on this one. I know he'll like it. Click the mixtape to open it in Spotify.
Or listen to it right here...
Right, that's it for today. Follow my tweets live from the Football Writers Awards this evening... I'll be instagramming Sam Allardyce smashing through dessert for sure and I'll be rustling around for all the gossip.
Off the record? There's no such thing when you're not a professional...
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Have a great day!