So big news the web over yesterday, mostly to do with Italians! First up, Milan players left the pitch during a friendly because of racial abuse from the fans. I can’t believe that we’re still dealing with this nonsense in modern times. Herd mentality is a nasty thing. I just find it amazing that in Italy, one of the most developed European countries, we’re still having problems that would make the eighties look normal.
The second story that didn’t have much to do with race was the big bust up Mancini had with Mario. I’m no sure how the pictures were sourced, but there’s something to be said about having an open training ground. From what I gather, Mancini lost the plot after a bad Mario tackle. For me, it’s terrible management to lose your temper in that way. It shows you’re slightly unstable. That type of behaviour will please Alex Ferguson for sure. As for the Italian striker, well, how many more chances can you give him? He’s on a huge contract, he’s been given chance after chance, but he’s just far too dim to ever learn what’s best for him. Such a shame as well, he’s seriously talented and it’s all going to go down the pan for him.
I’d take his talent at Arsenal, not his dopey attitude…
Just before I get of non-Arsenal issues, I can’t believe that the young boy who ‘blacked up’ to look like his Leeds hero has been lambasted in the press for racism. That’s a ten year old boy the newspapers have pilloried for wanting to dress up like his footballing hero. Unbelievable. Shame on all the pathetic commentators on the Internet who thought it necessary to send a quote into the Daily Mail and The Sun over that one. If any point about that story is worth investigating further, it’s how his dad allowed Diouf to become a role model for his son.
Anyway… enough about other stuff, onto The Arsenal.
What have with this morning then?
Well, Chamakh to West Ham on loan was talk of the web late last night. Sam Allardyce has seen height, he’s seen heading ability and he’s seen a sh*t tonne of wet look gel that he reckons could be the key to unlocking his potential.
You know… take the gel away and free his head? It must weigh a lot… like, hindering his ability and stuff?
That’s the only reason I can think he’d be interested him. Anyway, the move isn’t permanent, and I’m sure West Ham’s contribution will equal about 5% of his salary, but at least he’ll be away from the training ground and he won’t darken out bench. It’ll also mean there’s a higher chance of Wenger bidding on a striker.
Talking of Arsene Wenger he’s already starting to back track on what he’s planning to do this transfer window.
Now, before I get into this, remember, there’s no such thing as a coded Wenger message these days. People always say, ‘don’t listen to what he says, he’s just gaming the media’… well, the media are there for your benefit. For the record, generally what he says he does…
‘First of all we have to make sure the players who are here stay here, then we look outside’
Well Arsene, no offence, but you’ve had the best part of 18 months to make sure Theo stays, if you don’t have all your paper work in order by now, what have you been doing. Surely, as far as the manager is concerned, he just signs off the salary and leaves it to Ivan and Dick? Those two can’t have a permanent January meeting securing the futures of Sagna and Theo.
So what’s the deal? Well, here’s the deal and here’s the real insight…
‘The most important players are those that are here. Those available on the transfer market will not help us win games’
There you have it. In one comment, Wenger’s thoughts on bolstering his squad. Any hope of him making a serious charge this window seem to have dissipated. I mean, I could see maybe one player coming in. However, the idea that he was looking to strengthen everywhere seems a little far fetched. He does this every year, gets through to January, lies to the fans about his plans, then reneges mid-month. Same old Wenger, still dreaming he can turn the fortunes of the club around with average players.
Still, it is what it is. If I can take any solace from those comments, it’s that I’m pretty certain we’ll continue to perform badly for the rest of the season and that by the end of it, if it’s gone horribly wrong, he’ll either leave or he’ll be forced into making some serious changes. Any manager who can look at our set up and say additional players won’t help the cause really has run his course in the modern game. We have a near enough full squad to choose from and we can barely muster a shot against Southampton.
That said, I’ve pointed out on many occasions that I think a different manager could squeeze more out of this current squad with bit more planning and structure.
I thought these comments from Arsene were interesting on Holtby.
“We have looked at [Holtby], yes,”
“People want to see the next Lionel Messi – they don’t want to see a promising guy. The name of the player gives people hope, but when they haven’t heard of them people are already sceptical.
“It’s much more difficult for us now. The competition is higher. We are trying to diversify a bit more because we are limited in England. A new market that is very interesting is Japan – it’s very competitive.
Firstly, I don’t think football fans dislike seeing a promising player. What they don’t like seeing is an average young player thrown in at the deepend and left to drown for 5 season until they become an effective piece in the jigsaw. Alex Song is a prime example of this. Useless for years, has one good season, we all praise the lord, then he’s flogged to Barcelona as a bench warmer for £15million. Where was the value in that? The past 7 years have been littered with examples where players have clearly failed to live up to their ‘superstar child’ tag within the first couple of seasons, but their potential talents have been persisted with for years after. Senderos, JD, Vela, Bendtner, Aliadiere… the list is vast.
When it comes to promise, give me a Cesc or Jack Wilshere any day of the week. I’m happy to watch talent flourish next to experienced players. Trouble with Arsene is he gets it so wildly wrong with the mix.
As for his comments on scouting. Well, shouldn’t we have diversified where we look for players? Or perhaps moved for the good players earlier? I mean, there’s not doubt France are producing less great footballers, but plenty have still slipped under our radar over the past few years. Ribery, Benzema, Hazard and Cabaye to name but a few…
I think the biggest issue is the efficiency of our scouting network. It’s not exactly churning out the superstars considering the expense associated with their employment. Everton and Newcastle have taken the lead in picking up the gems. Who’s asking questions about why that is? Who is asking questions as to how we can be pinching the lesser clubs best youth talent but failing to really convert them into top, top players?
Wenger complains about competition, but generally in business, the biggest advantage is being first to market. His complaints ring the stagnation bell in my head. How did we not capitalise on the early advantage? How did we fail to keep pace with clubs with smaller budgets and less expertise?
Final piece of transfer gossipery is the timely announcement that forgotten man Yann M’Vila is on the market.
“I am at Rennes at the moment so let’s see what happens,”
“If the club receive a good offer and I like the destination then I will go, there is no doubt about that. Until that happens, nothing can be said.”
Well I’ll be damned. If a good offer comes in, something might happen. Insightful stuff!
Swansea are up tomorrow in the FA Cup. It’s an away game and I’m quite excited about it even though I know the chances of a cock up are possibly quite high. I think Wenger has his whole squad to pick from and they should be relatively fresh. I’m looking forward to laying the home game demons to rest and I’m hoping our British players really show the away support that the FA Cup is actually an important trophy and they do desperately want to win it.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few changes in the squad. Maybe this is the game to rest Sagna and bring in Jenkinson. Maybe this is a game where we bring Giroud back into the fold. We know how they’re going to play. They’ll press out midfield and full backs and they won’t tire. We need to be bold and incisive and we need to make sure we’re direct. Movement from the front three is imperative, it was quite poor against Southampton. The game will be fairly open, Swansea will play football, so really there’s no excuse for us not to excel tomorrow. We need to be careful of their widemen and we need to be aware that Michu can finish from out the box, from in the box and he can get in behind our defenders.
Let’s keep them crossed for a big result.