Serious Jack Wilshere News – Arsenal are looking to buy – Players back in contention

by & filed under News Review.

Good morning Grover’s, last night was awash with rumour and counter rumour regarding the fitness of Jack Wilshere. Well I can confirm that the stories were right, I’ve been told there were issues on Wednesday and that he’s likely to face a minimum of 3 weeks on the sidelines. No one knows the extent of the problem yet… so it could be more serious.

I mentioned last week that his return was going to be hugely complicated, now that statement has come to fruition, we’re in a spot of bother. The good news is we’re looking to bring in players now. Much like the last window, losses and issues have forced the boss and the club into a corner, so hopefully we’ll see a busy end to the month. You’d have to hope someone creative can be snared and certainly another defender has to be under consideration. Santos is back in the country, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near and return date yet.

This Jack return has all the hallmarks of the Vermaelen return last year, the only stroke of luck is that Jack broke a bone… just pray he didn’t fracture the same bone again because then we’re talking a career threatening problem.

The news isn’t all bad. We should have up to 7 players returning over the next week, I’ve heard that Arteta could be back for Sunday and our full back issue could be mostly under control the week after. Still, a week is a long time in football, so don’t get your hopes up until you see the ink on the team sheet. Sagna returning is the big one for me, we’ve missed his solidity and professionalism down the right. If we can get Gibbs in, at least we’ll have someone mobile in a position that demands it… even if he is positionally weak at times.

Sunday is looking like a massive day for us. An FA Cup would salvage our season to some degree and maybe Arsene’s career. Kenny Dalglish has been receiving lashing of over the top praise from Liverpool loving journo’s in the papers and I’d imagine calls for his head are at a premium, even if his huge outlay only returns a Carling Cup.

We need to take the competition seriously, we need to go at it with the right attitude and we need to get this club back to winning ways. Geoff and I went on a run of FA Cup finals back in the day, some of my best memories are from that competition, from Newcastle in 98, to just about everyone bar the Liverpool debacle after that!

Champions League quarter-final versus an FA Cup win? It’s FA Cup all day for me!

I recorded a podcast with Alex Fynn last night, sadly, it didn’t upload last night, which means I’ll have to sort that out this evening. Hopefully I’ll have that up for you tomorrow morning and with it, a nice offer on his book (Arsenal – Making of  Modern Superclub).

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Right, that’s all I’ve got for you today! Happy Friday!

P.S. Don’t go too crazy on the club before you know what the injury is… the return was complicated, set backs were inevitable, let’s just pray to Herbert Chapman it’s only minor. Before I go,imagine if Arsenal did this to us (Bayern)!

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Time to forget Wenger, his bizarreness and occasional fibbery, time to get the tissues out, it’s fantasy time!

by & filed under News Review.

Ok I have said all I need to say about Arsene Wenger and his inability to understand what the fan base actually want, namely a few decent players and the odd trophy.

And save stating the obvious that we should do a January swap deal with Real madrid for Jose Mourinhio which we clearly won’t, I want to talk today about what could happen should the ‘odd one’ luck out with this team, the returning players, a spud/chav collapse and if he’s involved in a massive smash up with the ‘abitofcommonsensejuggernaut’

So this is the team we could soon have lining up to pick up the points and win trophies.


Sagna Vermaelen Mertesacker/Kozzer Santos

Diaby Arteta Wilshere

Oxo RVP Gervinho

Bench of Theo, Ramsey, Song, Coquelin and Fabianski

Yes I left out Song for Diaby because with Jack and Arteta we would have a midfield that would and could swap around and be where they are needed, not to mention skill over lack of pace and fundamental absence of any footballing knowledge.

Also, it’s time to bench players if they aren’t pulling their weight, either because they aren’t good enough, aren’t good enough yet, or complacent because they have no competition. Either way we are neither a nursery nor an indulgence, time to man up and manage.

The back four pick themselves but Mertesacker, Kozzer and Vermaelen should be vying for the centre back role and not the full back fill in, with Santos and Sagna back we will be in good shape, with Yennaris and Gibbs as back up as I think Jenkinson has crock written all over him.

The forward line needs someone in it that can attack, cross and find the goal. If the manager thinks Oxo will get fatigued he should have saved himself £15mil or left him in the academy all season.

Now if he did something like that, dropped his hapless favourites and sold his sh!te signings Chamakh, Squillaci, Bendtner, Denilson, Djourou, Park, Almunia and Rosicky we would have the money to reduce season ticket prices, as we know that as long as he’s in charge we won’t buy a decent footballer.

For years Pedro and I were telling him to get rid of Eboue, Senderos and Denilson, he wouldn’t, he played them over and over and over again, he even made up stats for them! (most completed passes in the Premiership was a classic for spinning head) Then one day they slipped out of the door quietly and he said nothing, have we missed them? My ring piece we have!

All I’m saying is he will eventually get shot of the crap I mentioned so why not now?

Ok that was a bit of fantasy but as now the whole footballing world has realised our manager tells porkies, shifts the blame to whoever is nearest, doesn’t listen to his coaching or medical staff and has complete control over our board and football club, then I may as well move onto something else, being proved right eventually gets a bit boring, so I am now going to indulge my fantasies!

I would take Mourinhio, I really would, but Ancelotti would do, anyone would to be honest as long as it wasn’t Phil Brown, Sam Allardyce of anyone connected with Tottenham or David Beckham.

Bergkamp with Steve Bould would do it! There I go again, fantasising!

Barca/Madrid was funny last night, it took Cesc all of 4 months to turn into a nasty Spanish card waving at the ref tosser, way to go Cesc, I hope you feel at home. Who taught you that, or was it in your DNA?

Finally I watched Liverpool and Man City last night, not a kid amongst them, so what chance do we stand fielding them, it’s a waste of a cup the way we play it, good luck Cardiff!

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Have a great day Grover’s next up, Villa in the cup!

Are the Arsenal board giving Arsene Wenger the rope to hang himself?

by & filed under News Review.

In a way I feel for Arsene Wenger, I really do. I have a huge amount of respect for what he had to put up with during the stadium move and how he kept us afloat in times of seriously poor cash flow. According to fact, we deferred the signing of Robin Van Persie by 6 months because we couldn’t afford his fee in one lump, which was about £2.75million. Also, back in 2006, we didn’t play Theo for so long because we couldn’t afford his first installment that was triggered by an appearance.

Pre summer 2007 we really were in a hole with money and to keep us alive in the Champions League and to get us to a final in the process was an incredible achievement. As many have pointed out, possibly the greatest achievement under his tenure has been keeping the clubs head above water during the move.

Trouble is, coming so close to greatness in 2006 on a shoe string budget scarred his methodology forever, because ever since, regardless of resource, he’s been chasing the low-budget success high he buzzed off that summer Jens Lehmann smashed over Eto’o and killed our dreams.

Since January 2008 he’s has £18million plus to spend in the transfer market. Small fry compared to City and Chelsea, but when have we ever played ball in those markets? Jan 2008 we could have re-signed Anelka, held on to Diarra and we could have picked up a centre back. Instead, we signed no one, sold Diarra for a pittance in case his value fell below £4million on loan and flogged Gilberto.

Summers have generally repeated themselves. Same old problems with promised redress in May with no delivery by September. The result? Often we’d compete with a small squad until February, then things would fall away when injuries set in and mental fragility reared it’s ugly head.

The same coaching staff, the same average players being flogged and the same outcome. Like many scenarios in life, you can forgive mistakes if they’re not repeated, you can forgive them if you see different approaches and a ruthless streak when things are going wrong… But to just watch the same failings over and over again becomes tiring.

This is what many journo’s don’t understand when assessing crowd reaction at the Emirates. Sure the song wasn’t nice, sure booing mid-game isn’t smart when chasing a game, but there comes a point after watching seasons unravel so frequently when you just lose it. Being rational is the easiest thing in the world when you have no emotion invested in a club. It’s easy to stick up for a manager who has kept you in a job with witty sound bites for years. Not so easy when you’re forking out a massive chunk of cash you’ve scrapped hard to find, knowing what you’re likely to see. Like Geoff said yesterday, the UK’s press are up in arms over the pay of the RBS Chief and he’s earning half of what Arsene is at the moment… £7million a year and he’s not doing his best to give us a competitive team.

Arsene Wenger is the root of these issues. Don’t believe the stories about Dick Law bumbling around messing up Wenger’s deals because they’re simply not true. Wenger’s indecisiveness on players is the problem. As reported at the AGM, he values the players and he decides what to pay them. If he didn’t, he’d be elsewhere… as he’s said on many occasions before.

Trouble we have at the club is a power issue. Wenger controls too much. He was given more power when Dein went because most of the current board had too much trust in him. It largely paid off, the issue is that now he’s not doing so well, it’s hard to wrestle the power back.

So what is going on at board level? Are they giving him the rope to hang himself? It makes sense doesn’t it. Gazidis only has power when it comes to the commercial side of the business, the rest of the board are old, bereft of energy and ideas and their satisfaction of Champions League every year to fatten their eventual pay off has caused a malaise in the club which has filtered into the first team. Do you think the current set up suits Ivan Gazidis and Tom Fox. Do you think the commercial team relishes a squad they’re struggling to market? No way… but they can’t remove a legend unless the fans say so.

Why do you think the board chose Stan to take over? Because he’ll stay in America, come over once and year and keep the status quo. What do you think Usmanov would be doing now? What benefit would he see on £50mill profit bar a tax liability? He’d come in, he’d change the board (the old boys), bring in fresh blood and give Arsene the funds needed to transform his squad.

The only demand? Win something. As someone in the comments pointed out yesterday. Football clubs don’t exist to make money, they exist to succeed.

Changes need to happen at Arsenal. I said after the last collapse that the next dip in form will see a far quicker backlash. It proved true. Wenger should have acted in early Jan, that could have saved him a whole load of grief. Sadly we are where we are now. Our relationship with Arsene is damaged forever, regardless of how many guilty ‘there’s only one Arsene Wenger’ songs we sing at the weekend. Gazidis said to me at the AST Q&A that ultimately, the manager was accountable to the fans. Well, things aren’t looking good are they?

As for Madrid coming in for Arsene. You have got to be kidding me? If Mourinho is getting grief after over taking Barca to the top of La Liga, what would they think to Wenger bringing in super class talent like Silvestre and Park Chu-Young? He’d last half a season anywhere like that and he’d be a giant hypocrite if he went to a financially doped club and started spunking money up the wall like Kenny Dalglish at an English Players supermarket.

Right, that’s you lot. Geoff back on tomorrow… whilst I’ll be recording the first podcast for Le Grove!

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P.S. Chelsea fans are all class eh?

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