Nasri on the verge of a start… Is Wenger playing with boardroom fire?|

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Let’s get the minor moan out the way… Arsene Wenger / 2 match touchline ban.

Now, I’m not pretending I know how to manage a football team, I’m not pretending I understand the true merits of a false 9, but, if I’d been told I couldn’t communicate with the dug out, the last think I’d have is Pat Rice flapping hand signals at me like a retarded seagull caught in a fisherman’s net… I mean honestly, what were those two thinking?


Now, I’m not sure how Colin Lewin communicates with the bench. But I’ve seen him talking into his jacket. So I’m assuming he’s either insane, or using a radio. Why the hell couldn’t Wenger sit with a radio hooked into his jacket, then when he needed to speak to the bench, walk inside and contact Colin, who could relay to Wenger, or speak to someone else on the bench that wouldn’t be too obvious. I mean honestly… am I being too harsh here? Surely in the pre-match meet up that wasn’t the best solution an Arsenal brainstorm session could offer?

Anyway, he could be on the bench for Wednesday as we’re appealing it. God knows how that appeal is going to look!

Leaked UEFA Appeal

Commercial Deals

Manchester United tied up a deal worth £40million a season for 4 years with Logistics powerhouse DHL. Now, I used to work in the logistics game, DHL have a similar reputation to United. They’re one of the biggest, but pretty vulgar at the same time. I don’t want to go into detail because I’d get sued, but I could tell you a few stories about why United and DHL are a perfect brand fit. So United make £24milllion year from their shirt deal, Arsenal sit 7th, one place behind Villa, one above Fulham on £5.5million. Marvo… still, at least we struck our 8th commercial deal with Bettson last week. Only 15 more and we’ll match United’s 23 commercial deals.

Just for your reference, the opportunity cost of our weak commercials according to the AST was £35mill way back when. Now United clear £39mill more than us a season! That’s one Kun Aguerro!

Samir Nasri…

The deal for out piggy little Frenchman should be concluded before Wednesday, apparently it hinges on Samir’s Dad wanting to take £3million for his part in the 3 week deal. It’s a struggle to see where Sammy gets his lust for the mercenary lifestyle eh? Arsenal are posturing over the final part of the deal, but good riddance I say. I’m sure we can find someone else who can give us more than 3 months value in 3 years. I struggle to see how he fits into their system, but who cares eh? As long as someone like Eden Hazard replaces him, I’m not fussed.

The Times are reporting Wenger might field Sammy against Udinese in defiance of the board… they’re also reporting City and Chelsea are in for Parker.

United vs Spurs

Spurs were pretty much dealt a spanking last night. Without Modric, they’ll struggle this year. Defoe was terrible. I do worry how they’d look with Diarra and Ade in their set up though. Two squad changing players regardless of their reputations.

United didn’t dazzle, yet still had 24 attempts on goal, they’ve got a young and powerful team there who have a very good attitude to the game. Their youth team players have come through slowly and they’ve been blended perfectly with experience. They’re a stronger outfit than last year, which isn’t what I wanted to see.

In 98′ Wenger was the benchmark for Fergie, same in 02 and 04. Trouble with Arsene is that he didn’t kick his philosophy on past 98′. What he needed to do this summer was shake up the set up, hand over control of first team coaching to someone else and work on what he does best, bringing in talent.

We needed a shake up of personnel in the back room. Pat Rice is still running warm ups the same as he was in 98′. He’s an old boy now. We’re expecting miracles at the club when the main back room power brokers/decision makers are the same.

Why do you think Wenger strong armed Pat into staying on? Because the thought of someone coming in and telling him how it is was too much of a worry. If the mind-set of a manager is he knows best about everything, progress becomes harder and harder the further away from reality they find themselves.

This is why Wenger’s eventual replacement becomes interesting. The club can go one of two ways.

Senior Manager

We appoint a Louis Van Gaal or a Guus Hiddink and allow them to bring in a full squad of backroom staff. Journeymen managers like that have expensive teams they take with them and big clubs allow them to recruut for themselves because they are proven quality and success usually follows them.

Trouble with this is you face a huge bill should you remove the manager. England have this issue now. Fabio’s backroom staff are all legible for a bus pass, all on monster deals and they’d cost a bomb to sack. Club owners lose an element of control when they recruit like this.

Young Hot Shot

Now this is the more modern method. You approach a manager like Owen Coyle or David Moyes and offer him maybe two members of staff. The club directly employ the medical team, the GPS staff and the specialist coaches as well as the Youth Team coaches.

Now this means that if your young upstart bombs after 5 months all the infrastructure remains. It also gives the CEO and the owners more say over how the team is run. Some say that is a managers nightmare scenario, others would say that this stops a manager taking control of a club.

That Article…

Arsenal responded to the site who published that story yesterday to say that it was nonsense. Incredible how many people chose to believe an article that even if true, had absolutely no bearing on the outcome of a summer that hasn’t seen us target any player who earns £150k a week. We don’t offer mega money as a basic, but that’s not to say we don’t top up salaries with bonuses if we need to. Regardless, we can vastly improve our team with players who earn far less than £100k a week.

It’s also amazing how many people criticised Katie in the press office for responding. She’s e-mailed me plenty of times to correct my inaccuracies. She’s so helpful, she even proof reads my posts.

Blogger outreach has to be part of any clubs strategy. Combined we probably generate more traffic per article than most of the news agencies Arsenal stories. That’s a powerful reach. Like we’ve said many times before, the club read the blogs… they’d be stupid not to.


Players are sneaking back to fitness. By my reckoning we’ll have JD, Djourrou, Song, Gervinho, Frimmers and Jack all in contention. This my friends is both a gift and a curse. Rushing players back for important Champions League games has stifled us in the past. Remember away in Portugal last year with Cesc? Or Barcelona away with Cesc? Bloody Cesc…

Anyway, there’s no choice really. Unless we can control the game with possession, we could find ourselves in trouble. All we need is one goal really. Then they’d need 3. That shouldn’t be a major ask, however, with a team on the floor like ours, it might be.


Apparently Mata went to Chelsea as they had a better footballing offer. A bit gutting. But good to know it wasn’t because we weren’t in for him or that he wanted £6000million a year to come to us. Simple solution there, make the team more appealing to imports Arsene.

Marketing Mag

If you’re in marketing, Charlie Allen and Mark Gonnella gave me some quotes for a football and social media piece I wrote for The Drum. Arsenal do pretty well out of it, well worth a read if you find that type of nonsense interesting.

See you in the comments!

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Boardroom issues? Here’s why I’m sceptical… | Hazard, Jags and M’Villa on the way?

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Quite a bit to race through today, so first up, we’ll tackle the news story from the Arsenal Times about wage structure. Basically, the jist of the article is that the board are willing to stump up big transfer fees but they’re not willing to go to the next level with wages for players. Now some of the article makes a lot of sense. The idea that salaries should be restructured this summer is something that I alluded to last week. Firstly, I don’t for one minute believe that the strategy for doing that was Arsene Wenger’s idea. He believes in paying everyone similar wages. The idea for changing the way we pay players would have come from Gazidis.

Now, looking at what we’ve done so far this summer, you can see that happening. We’ve been trying our hardest to ship out the middle earning dross. Eboue, Denilson, Almunia, Squllaci and Nik Bendtner have hall been put on the list of players to go thus freeing up a fair whack of salary. From what I understand, Ryo, Alex OC and Joel Campbell have all come in on aspirational wage levels. They’ll have to play well for the big money. This leads us onto the big boy wages that apparently Wenger can’t sanction. Well, I’m a bit confused here. Firstly, it’s apparent to me that the reason Nasri and Cesc are leaving go beyond just money. Nasri has gone on the record saying he wants to win trophies, Cesc took a pay cut because he was stagnating.

So the idea that Wenger has been thwarted because of a pay ceiling feels like another nonsesne excuse to get him off the hook. The idea that we’ve been scouting Cahill, Jagielka and Samba for the best part of two years, even up until a week ago, and we don’t think they’re good enough is also a nonsense. Simple fact is, the squad is falling apart because of Wenger’s lack of ambition in the transfer market. Vieira, Thierry, Hleb, Adebayor to Nasri and Cesc all leaving for the same reasons.

He could have signed Parker, Cahill and Enrique for £25million. Our squad would have been vastly improved with those additions. Parker is a great player to have round the squad, he was the player of the year last year, he’d be a perfect replacement for Denilson. Enrique is a big powerful left back who has Premier League experience. He’s good on the ball and he has far superior distribution to Gibbs. He is a vast improvement on a left back that can’t see out more than 3 games in a row. Cahill is fast on the ground, he can play the ball out of defence, he’s the right age and John Terry reportedly told Chelsea that he’s good enough to play for them. He’s a horrible person, but lets not pretend he doesn’t know about defending. Also, not better than JD and Squillaci? Do me a favour…

None of the above players would have broken our pay ceiling, all of the above would have joined.

Talking of this supposed pay ceiling, is this the same ceiling that pays Wenger £140k a week? The same ceiling that paid Thierry Henry £10million in his final season? The ceiling that reportedly paid Cesc a £3million loyalty bonus last summer and was planning on giving him a £4million bonus this summer? We might have a basic pay ceiling, but there’s no evidence to suggest we don’t do workarounds.

I’ve heard two things, number 1 was that Mata didn’t come to us because of salary. Now would that be because we didn’t want to match his demands, or two, that if we gave a Spanish 21 year old that money, we’d have to give Jack and Ramsey similar money very soon? The second thing I heard and reported on this Saturday was that we’d look to bring in Eden Hazard before the window closed. Rumours from his agent say he’ll be advising him to stay. If I was Hazard, I’d be thinking… I’m young enough to make a name at Arsenal, if the worst happened, I’d develop as a player and I could move again. It’s a no brainer to come to us.

Anyway, simple fact of the Mata is that I don’t believe it’s wages stopping Wenger. I have no idea what the issue has been, but it’s something we’ve watched time and time again. The team is on its knees and it doesn’t need to be. Everyone at the club is flat and the only man responsible for this is Arsene Wenger. He needs to pull his finger our and fulfill in the biggest 9 days of his career.

He can still turn it around. The biggest worry is this Wednesday. We’ve got the good news that Jack is back in contention, Rosicky should be around and Alex Song, Gervinho and Frimpong can all make the trip. I’m still very worried about the game though. The Italians walked through us on numerous occasions the other night. They’ll take great joy in watching Liverpool take us apart at the weekend. We weren’t great against the Scousers. We created virtually zero. Ramsey is our chief creator and that’s not really his natural position. It’ll be interesting to see if Nasri is on the plane over there.

One thing I refuse to believe is that Champions league dictates our policy. If we don’t make it, Nasri is our Champions league revenue for the year, that still leaves us £50mill to spend.

If Wenger is going on this rumoured massive spree (Mirror) it shows the money was there from the start. If he signs Hazard, M’Villa and Jagielka, those are 3 players that were there before the season started and three players that earn well below a £100k a week. Why weren’t they purchased in June?

Wenger has 9 days to make a difference… If he doesn’t, two things will happen, one, I doubt he’ll last the season. Gazidis said Wenger is ultimately accountable to the fans, if this goes wrong, expect a massive showing of dissent at the Swansea game, especially if the United and Udinese results aren’t favourable. Problem two will be that our other players, Theo, Song and Robin won’t re-sign and we’ll have to sell them next summer. Now, I’m not fussed about two of those 3, but their transfers would be symbolic. Two players we’ve suffered with for years leaving to give their prime to someone else… again.

It’s up to Wenger. He controls the future by making sure the present is well equipped.

Armed with cash and intent, he’s one of the best.

Come on Wenger… prove us all wrong.

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Comical Ali speaks at the Arsenal!

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Remember him? He was the bloke who was saying that Saddam was spanking the allies as an allied tank was trundling along in the background behind him. Another bloke was called Nero, and he was strumming a tune as Rome was burning!

Yesterday our manager said this after we got whipped by Liverpool at home.

‘The result is very harsh on us. The decider was the sending off and the offside goal’ He must have been watching another game, the offside goal came with minutes to go and we never looked like equalising.

Years ago he was asked what he looked for as the most important quality in a player, he instantly said intelligence.

Well two games in and we’ve had 2 players sent off for stupidity and one banned for 3 games for stamping, thinking he would get away with it. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm 1.

So we start the season without the best midfielder in the world whom we let go cheap even though he had a 4 year contract, he missed the whole pre-season and then left us, went straight into the Barca side that beat Madrid and won his first medal in 6 years. So we were lied to yet again by our manager, who said he was injured. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm 2.

We needed to address our defence during the summer, yesterday Koscielny went off and was replaced by 18 year old Miquel, some addressing the defence that was, Cahill and about 6 others have been available since May and still are, yet we put on an 18 year old, we haven’t even got Bartley to use as we loaned him out, how can that happen? Loan Bartley out and keep a younger not as good player who comes on yesterday. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm 3.

We put Samir Nasri on yesterday because we had no choice, what? No choice? Doesn’t he play for us then? He showed all the spirit that this team of babies lack, he was our best player yesterday and to have a situation where he wants out because our manager lacks ambition is nothing short of scandalous and who can blame him, I don’t. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm 4.

I’m not even going to comment on the match, the warning signs were all there last week, I expect we’ll go out of Europe next week and if that is the price we have to pay to get a manager in that will do his job, then so be it. I will never say I want us to lose a game, but his inaction will see a lot more of that this season.

Vermaelen had another great game, Ramsey will be a great player but for now we need a ready made. Jenkinson tries hard but look no further than Enrique to see what we need at the back, the stupid thing was, he wanted to come, yet again we miss out.

I think our manager has something wrong with him, it’s not the constant lying, it’s the inability to see what needs doing, he lives off past glories and even said his record of 15 years of transfer dealing cannot be questioned, what, why? He is a manger, he is massively well paid and his job is to be questioned, by us the fans, how arrogant to say he cannot be questioned.

This club is going downhill, it upsets me to watch it, it still hurts and will no doubt ruin my week, thing is, what have we got to look forward to? Udinese and ManU away, and with a manager that thinks we were unlucky against Liverpool, yes Frimpong was terriific, but when he got booked Wenger should have had a word with him from the touchline, he said nothing and we all knew what was coming didn’t we? Pedro even called it in his post yesterday.

I cannot see anything happening until we spend some money, the crowd had a spend some money banner yesterday but he won’t look at them, the stadium had holes all over it but he only listens to the announcer saying 60,000, people say he’s being stubborn, he’s not, he just can’t see what wrong, and that to me is what’s worrying.

Perhaps his salary should be performance related, he wouldn’t do that though would he? We shouldn’t be buying Cahill because Kozzer is injured, we should be buying him because our defence is crap, add a left back to that list as well. Oh and get a DM with a brain.

I though Chezzer was immense again, at 21 we have a keeper that will see me out, let’s just hope he stays uninjured and keeps flappy on the bench.

Finally, if you want a match report, ask Pedro, I don’t do them.

Have a great day Grovers, unless he acts very quickly, this season is already over, by next Sunday we’ll know for sure.

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