Have Wenger and Arsenal finally learnt from George Graham?

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It’s all a bit reminiscent isn’t it? When George Graham, the original financial dope got caught for lining his own pocket he had one last lunge in the transfer market, we as fans (for those that can remember life before Wenger) were getting pretty irritated that we were signing no players, were amazed when suddenly George decided to garner fan support before he got tin-tacked.

Sorry for the three were’s, there was no other way of saying that!

Only those he signed were odd to say the least, we got John Hartson (not bad) Chris Kiwomya (rubbish) and Glen Helder (even worse) we were all amazed and wondered what they were like, well we soon found out and then George lost his job.

So what’s the parallel? Well both had/have been at the club too long and both made last minute panic buys in the transfer market, it remains to be seen if Arsene’s panic buys do better than George’s.

I decided to break the habit of a lifetime and read a few other blogs and see their take on it, well to be honest most out there spotted the cynicism of the last few days, project youth for 7 years until the poster boys leave, an 8-2 thrashing, the manager going to France instead of losing his job, the inevitable panic buys, but incredibly a few of them thought it was a Wenger masterstroke so I read on with interest.

They believe that because of the big rich clubs, no one stands a chance as no one can match the wages, a bit like Barca/Madrid, Milan/Inter, Chelsea/City and Rangers/Celtic. So a few clubs cannot be matched saved by brilliance or a Wenger.

No mention of course that the incumbent EPL holders don’t have a sugar daddy, just a manager that buys what he needs and when he needs it, (Gooner) Ashley Young, say no more.

Some even think we almost pulled it off with the Carling Cup, What? Almost? Are you kidding, we didn’t get beaten by ManCity and their millions, we got beaten by relegated Birmingham, the Old mother Hubbards of the EPL, bad tactics and crap defending, that not only cost us that game, it cost us the other trophies as a result.

We could compete with the big clubs if we paid the big players the big salaries, but not us, we pay reserves such big salaries, we can’t get rid of them, look at the list, Bendtner, Almunia, Denilson and even Lansbury put 2 EPL teams off because they couldn’t afford his wages, that’s what we need to address.

Bendtner by the way has vowed never to come back to Arsenal, I bet he turns out to be a decent signing for Sunderland, especially if they play him up front and not as a full back or whatever we played him as!

We have an obscene amount of highly paid youngsters that will never make it, never, look at Sunu, we were all told he was the future, same as JET but they slipped out without a word. Get rid of them and release millions. Some would call that basic economics, over to you boss!

Anyway back to the new players, Wenger said that to bring as many as three players in would be counter productive, what about letting three go then? What was that all about?

And before I’m accused of being negative, don’t forget 2 years ago I was calling for Mertesacker, we got Squillaci and Koscielny, stable and door spring to mind.

We should have signed Cahill as well, now then we would have a decent defence, we’ll probably get him on a free next season but that’s not good business because we need him now and no one is ever free, I bet Chamakh’s wages took care of a lack of a transfer fee.

We better do better this season than last or we’ll see Theo, Robin and Jack away next year.

I like Arteta and Yossi is a decent player when fit, but Park, hmmm, Jenkinson is one for the future, Gervinho is a good signing and we needed a Mertesacker for sure, but I would have preferred a Hazard and a Mata considering who we lost.

To sell your best two players in August and to sign two in the last hour of the transfer window was not only naive, it was bad management and no-one but a fool can defend that.

Time will tell, I expect a big score against Swansea, but I would have expected that anyway, still at least we have a couple of weeks to integrate the new boys and I for one will be intriged to see his starting line up, especially as Arteta allegedly was a Gazidas signing!

Have a great day Grovers, plenty to ponder on!

P.S. Check out The Footy Show Podcast for a bit of Le Grove in your ears and also take a read of Le Grove’s deadline day thoughts on Dan Roan’s BBC blog .

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Arsenal Sign Benny and Arteta / Hear how the night unfolded + Reaction to moves

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A banging landing page on Arsenal.com this morning!

A funny old day yesterday… Great satisfaction with some blindingly obvious squad holes being patched up. We signed Premiership quality, we covered fitness issues by purchasing two 30 game a season crocks and if you’re honest,we made hay while it rained.

Downside is this.

We replaced the best centre midfielder in the world and the 3rd best player in the Premiership last season with two players have never hit the heights. We ended the summer with £50million in the bank and a squad that is incapable of competing for the Premiership or the Champions League. We also showed that when careers are on the line, surprisingly, players become available and doing business is as easy as buying a loaf of bread.

4th this year would be a major achievement. Injuries are not an option. Transition period is not an excuse, time to gel is not an afforded luxury. These boys have to club together and make it happen.

Yossi was a deal I said Arsenal were interested in on Monday night. It was one thought to be off as of yesterday with Liverpool as his favoured destination. Bellamy was the spanner in the works. Once he found himself earning a medical, the move was on for Arsenal. We heard at about 0630 he was a real target… That news was filtering from people close to him and the Chav hierachy. It was all true… He tweeted he was part of the set up and we cheered. Then we set fire to a Harry Redknapp effigy just for the hell of it. Two north London looters told me…’bruv, that signing is sick’… I literally agreed and was totally down with their two step ghetto shizzel.

I didn’t dare tell either about my iPad…

The Arteta story was interesting as well… I’d hassled my contact all day for some goss… Nothing. Then at 0510 I received a message saying ‘Arteta’. He was the last of our purchases apparently. The night went on, then the deal was rumoured to have fallen through on price. We heard that it was going well from a person close to the club, then I got a text saying it was wage demands that were killing the deal (£90k). Then the person at the club said it was dead (I was sitting with Dan Roan from the BBC and Tim Payton, these ‘we’ve heard’ were mostly ‘they’ve heard’).

Little did we know, the deal was resurrected! Hooray we cheered! This was almost as important as that time the Christians accidentally declared Jesus as dead. Arteta budged on wages. The fee was sorted. We landed our man.

Superb.

We’d secured two players. Technically two medicals. Le Grove win.

We also managed to ship out Henri Lansbury and Nik Bendtner. Albeit both on loan. Still, if Nik has a good year, maybe someone will take him for £52k a week next year. We had a good summer of shipping the dross out. Eboue, Denilson, Bendtner, Traore, Nasri and Cesc. We still couldn’t ship out Squillaci, Almunia, Chamakh.

We’ve signed Gervinho, Park Chu-young, Santos, Arteta, Mertesacker and Yossi Benayoun.

That’s our lot. That might satisfy many fans immediate lust for bodies, will it satisfy their hunger for trophies this year? It’ll be tough. At least we’ve got some winners in the team now.

  • Santos – Turkish Champion / Super Cup Winner
  • Mertesacker – Budasliga winner
  • Gervinho – Ligue 1 winner / Cup Winner
  • Yossi – 2x Israeli League Winner
  • Park Chu-Young – Soduku Champion
  • Arteta – Intertoto Cup Winner / SPL Winner

I have hope. A good year and we might surprise. Trouble is, we’re always talking about tomorrow. My pal Terry never got to see what tomorrow brought. This summer has been farcical. No manager worth his salt would have undertook a rebuild like we just did. We might have finished the summer with a cash surplus but who f*c!ing cares? We’ve dropped 8 of our first 9 points and we’ve conceded 10 goals

Shameful management at all levels.

Still, I bought a £1000 season ticket and I’ll be god damned if I won’t enjoy every moment of it. Expectation is rock bottom, maybe that’s a good thing? Me and my chums will have a laugh regardless. If anything this summer has united Arsenal fans like no other. There aren’t factions anymore, we all know the score, no one is under Wenger’s ‘jam tomorrow’ spell.

I hope he pulls off a great season. I’m feeling really positive about the business we’ve done, I’m just worried about the supporting structure around the new players. Just look at our reserve right back, our back up keeper… Squillaci still in there!

Click the pic for his funktastic website

I think Mertesacker is a brilliant signing we should have made years ago. His presence will make an immediate difference. I haven’t seen Santos, but he has pedigree like Sylvinho did way back when. Yossi and Arteta on their day are top, top signings. Their importance doesn’t just come on the pitch, it comes in the dressing room and on the training ground. Just check out Jack’s excitement at the arrival of the Spaniard.

Young doesn’t really excite me, but he’s the South Korea Captain. When you’re the leader of country renowned for hard work, chances are, you won’t be the sort shirking the dirty work. Hard work is contagious, it sets the bar, it inspires. A bit of talent chucked in their and you’ve got a good chance.

All the new players will lift the club, the fans and hopefully the players performance. I hope we’ll see a new system and I hope we don’t hit the ground running, I hope we glide above it like Bobby P in his prime…

I’m under no illusions we’re going to win the league, but I’m confident we can compete with Liverpool and Spurs (How’s your big signing Harry? Kaka? Cahill? Or the SIX you let go!).

Roll on Swansea, I’m excited again, it feels like us against the world! Let’s see how this pans out!

P.S. We had a record month for visits, a record day in the comments yesterday and we smashed our record day at the weekend… thanks for being a part of that, you’re all literally the best.

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2 Arsenal medicals penned in for today | Honda, Arteta, Cahill, Dempsey, Ribery, on the radar?

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Yeah… that’s me… a happy Gooner rolling in transfers. What a bloody day eh?! The best day since time began? Or maybe just the best summer in 5 years? Either way, all the right things began to happen yesterday!

Now, there was obviously disappointment yesterday morning when everyone thought I was telling lies about Yann M’Vila, but then later that day, the backpage of the Evening Standard ran the story pretty much word for word and The Times are reporting the same this morning. Now, they’ve either got someone telling them the same things, or they’ve got a penchant for a daily dose of Le Grove. Either outcome is pleasing. Like I said yesterday, watch this space. We could easily spend £60million today and not bat an eye lid.

Simple fact is, Alex Song not the one and he’ll be off next summer. Frimpong is a very good prospect, but he needs guidance. Whichever way you look at it, we need a defensive midfielder today. We’re desperately short in the middle.

Defence…

We landed Per Mertesacker yesterday after he completed a medical. Andre Santos was also doing the same. There were a few articles floating about online that stated he’d changed his mind and flown back to Turkey to sign a 4 year deal. I’d be very surprised if that were the case!

Per Mertesacker was a massive curve ball yesterday, but ultimately a fantastic one. He’s a player we’ve been calling for on Le Grove since before June 2008. We reported that he was a Gooner way back then here, 3 years on, whaddya know, he’s going to be turning out at the home of football!

He’s 6ft6, he’s built powerfully, he has 70+ caps for a very solid German team, he’s won trophies, he has Champions League experience and he knows how to defend. Rumour has it we’ve picked him up for £9million. What a price!

This is the sort of player we should always be in for. He has pedigree, he has presence and he’ll slot in perfectly next to Thomas Vermaelen. We have a genuine little and large combination. We have a defender who has played the highline for club and country and we’ve done something crazy… signed a tall player to deal with our fear of high flying balls!

Sacrebleu! <- Does that mean what I think it does?

I’m very pleased.

Park Chu-Young signed for us officially yesterday. The South Korean captain joins us under a cloud of ‘who the f**k’, but the key point here is versatility and hard word. Mainly hard work though. Arshavin and Rosicky showed at the weekend that they’re not cut out for Arsenal when crunch time comes. We need someone who is going to work for their salary, this guy will. Does he have the required quality? I’m not sure… but if he can bag 12 goals for a relegated Monaco, I’d hope for something similar or better for a team capable of teeing him up with far more chances.

Oh, and he takes the number 9 shirt. You knew that already though, right?

Clint Dempsey…

There are big rumours we’re looking to add the American to our attacking line up. Whilst he’s not world-class, he’s a very good player with a superb eye for goal. He has that aggravation factor and a terrific work rate. You don’t need all your players to be La Masia schooled. Sometimes you just need a player who is direct, in your face and not afraid to ruffle a few feathers. He scored 14 goals for Fulham last year and he was very impressive. I’d welcome him into our squad and word on the South American street is that we’ve tabled a $16.8million bid for him.

Gary Cahill…

Have Bolton burned their bridges in negotiations for a player they’ll lose on a free if they don’t get rid of him today? We’ve signed a centre back already. That puts the pressure on Gartside’s hugely indebted club to do a deal today. I think we’re still in for him. Johann Djourrou has been so bad over the past 6 months, you wonder for his future. Cahill is still a top defender and regardless of how many people tell you he’s rubbish, he’s not, he’d make a great addition to the squad.

I still remember how many people told me Ashley Young wasn’t Arsenal quality… some statement eh?

Chris Samba…

There were a lot of rumblings about the shower bully from Blackburn. I have my doubts. The rumours feel more like stories designed to get him a move away from Steve Kean. He’d be a useful addition, but we’ve already filled the role of ‘massive beast’, if we get another centre back, they’ll be good on the ground and stylish… Like a break dancer.

The creative hole?

There’s a massive hole in our side, that’s the one left by Cesc Fabregas. If there’s going to be a monster signing today, I’d love it to come there. Yossi looks like he’s off to Spurs, so good luck to him, quality player, poor injury record. That leaves us with the prospect of Gotze or Hazard. There will probably be another curve ball thrown there, but I’m struggling to see where it’s coming from. The German might be pulled away from his club for £35million and a massive salary, I’m not sure though, it would be a bad move for Dortmund but I guess it depends on how much they want the cash. They’re not flush!

My money is on Arteta. Like Yossi, top quality, just not so much on the fitness side of things. I’d also be interested in Frank Ribery. He was once a £60million player, then his mates bought him a 17 year old hooker, now he’s not quite as popular. He’d be amazing in the Premiership. He’d replace Nasri perfectly. Could we move for him? I’d love it… who knows! Sky are reporting that Honda is in London for a medical… it’s all too much!

Medical…

I was told that two medicals were booked yesterday, two more for today. Make of that what you will!

Conclusion

It’s a shame it took an absolute spanking to push the board and Arsene Wenger into some serious action. Nearly all of this business could have been conducted in June. I don’t believe all these players have been targets all summer, we’ve just shown intent and made things happen because careers are on the line.

Still, that’s a story for another day.

We’re developing a strong core to the team now. We could make top 4 if we make 2-3 signings of intent again today. Amazing how quickly things can change eh? The squad will be revitalised and fans will be excited for the Swansea game. A morale booster for everyone!

My worry though, is that we’re once again in a transition year. This sort of frenzied 48 hours should never have happened and if we’d made purchases like this 2 years ago, who knows who’d still be here fighting it out in the first team.

Anyway, it’s the last day of transfer rumours. There won’t be a live blog, the comments section will going mental all day, tune in, you can get far more info than 140 characters into a comment and all the stories will come direct to you all day from the Grovers! Life is very exciting!

P.S. For some further reading and listening, check out Tim Payton in the Independent talking business models(I’m not talking topless Staples Girls) and the Footy Shows Podcast starring king of AKB’s, Bob Wilson!

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Transfer Updates

  • Keisuke Honda in for a medical according to Sky Reports