Joel Campbell: Is that a signing Cesc and Nasri will see as ambitious?

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So a bit of a mad day I had the pleasure of not really being involved in went off yesterday.

We were in for Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell, Sky Sports News said we’d tied up a deal, then, apparently another club had come in with a better offer. It’s a better financial offer, so one would assume Kenny Dalglish has been thrown by the English name or Spurs are looking to disrupt our dealings. Anyway, the deal no longer looked certain and Arsenal fans were spitting feathers.

We hadn’t tied up a deal for a player Arsenal scouts had only been aware of for about 3 days. We hadn’t secured the signature of a player so random, even Wikipedia can’t tell you which club he plays for or his goal scoring record of the last 2 years and Arsenal fans were cursing. I can imagine why as well, our striker plans for 2012 are totally up the spout now…

Did anyone get my sarcasm?

We’re in for a player we haven’t been tracking at all, based on 2 games because he’s available for £900k. Sure, that might represent a bargain in 2 or 3 years time, but right now, is that the area club resource is best spent when we’ve got a first team squad that is in desperate need of attention? Why are we sending execs half way round the world to tie up deals for unproven talent that probably won’t be able to gain a work permit?

More to the point, why are we chasing ANOTHER under 20 player in a position that is apparently well stocked? If Joel Campbell comes in, he’s just killed the career of Afobe, Freeman, Sunu, Watt and JET. Weren’t these the players we were getting excited about last season? Where are they going to play?

What is up with out obsession with players that are under 20. I find it almost perverse. Below is the list of players we’ve purchased (Or nearly purchased) in 2011 kindly put together by Gambon in the comments section.

Player table

– Wellington (Age 18)
– Miyaichi (Age 18)
– Siemann (Age 15)
– Gnarby (Age 15)
– Bellerin (Age 16)
– Toral Harper (Age 16)
– Jenkinson (Age 19)
– Olsson (Age 16)
– Gervinho (Age 24)
– Campbell (Age 19)

10 players

Avg Age – 17.5

What does this say about us as a club at the moment?

Firstly it tells me our obsession with youth is absolutely out of control. It tells me that the manager hasn’t changed his policy to focus more on first team players and it tells me that our youth academy must be pretty bang average. Why?

Well, what the hell is Steve Rowley doing buying up that many players around the age of 16 if Liam Brady is doing a good job? How does Liam feel knowing that all the work he does bringing players through to the age of 16 is ruined when the club go out and stick a foreign kid on a contract 10 times what the English 16 year olds are getting and then sees his boys sent out on loan forever.

The homegrown lads at Arsenal seem to get a bum deal if you ask me. Denilson was never worthy of 160+ games, yet he got them, bombed and now he’s back in Brazil. Will players like Aneke, Freeman and Afobe ever get a crack at first team for us? Will they ever be given 50 games to prove themselves? Well, on the face of who we’ve just signed this summer probably not.

People will say that’s because they’re not good enough, well, like Geoff has pointed out before, maybe if they’re given the chance to grow like the foreign players are they might be. Remember, Ashley Cole was a dodgy passport away from being booted out all those years ago.

Final Salary table for last season courtesy of @TimPayton

1. MCFC = £167m

2.CFC = £160m

3.MUFC = £140m

4.AFC = £122m

5.LFC = £115m

6. THFC = £75m


Wenger has spoken of his desire to keep Cesc, but only if he’s 100% in it… like he was last season.

Samir Nasri? He’s staying. Whether he likes it or not. This is where the outrageous contradiction is. Why is Nasri 100% in, despite all his bleatings in the press, but Cesc might not perform if he’s asked to stay? Surely they both want out and they’d both play the same if told to stay. If you’re going to keep one sulker, doesn’t it make business sense to keep the one you can sell next year?

Wenger said that we shouldn’t complain about throwing £20million down the toilet by keeping Samir for another year because that’s him spending £20million and people complain he doesn’t spend money.

Can I get a FFS?

Have we ever heard a crazier line from Arsene? If it’s not players coming back from injury being new signings, or Silvestre being our summer surprise, now spending money is keeping a £20million player and letting him go for free in a years time.

This is why I think it might be his last year in charge at the club. Letting Nasri go for free is kamikaze management, especially when you consider what we have to do as a club to get £20million back. He doesn’t look like he’s too interested in signing any proper players, so he’s risking the long term fitness of Jack and Aaron. He won’t replace our left back and we’re out there stocking up on kids like they’re going to be extinct after August 31st.

With the PSG role looking ever more appealing, Cesc, Nasri and Arshavin both leaving within a year, Robin and Theo into the last year of their contracts next summer, Pat Rice certain to leave, I wonder if Wenger has half an eye on handing up the spectacles next year?

We’ll see. I’m just staggered that a man supposedly under pressure to achieve some success at the club can be behaving like this during one of the most important windows of his career.

As for Mancini’s comments, how about these from Arsene on Eden Hazard?

‘It’s a very good question. We follow him. And personally I think he’s a real talent, and he’s good enough to play for Arsenal, yes.’

It’s his dream to join Arsenal Mr Wenger…

‘It’s important for your dreams to come true’

Pot. Kettle. Black.

I don’t like what Mancini said, his comments have all the class of Barcelona and Chelsea… but we should get our own house in order before we start bleating about other people’s comments.

Nik B

Rumour has it Everton are in for the Dane of world class reputation. Apparently we tried to land Jagielka as part of the deal but he’s turned us down. I find that hard to believe if I’m honest. Anyway, we could let him go out on loan there for a year, then we’ll see how things are looking then. A fine idea if you ask me. He’s a good player who doesn’t get games in his rightful position. He’ll do well for Everton and hopefully, if he goes there on loan, we’ll get a nice fat fee after he bags 18 goals next season.

Good luck to him… wrong type of striker in the wrong system for us at this time.

Carl Jenkinson

As it seems to be all doom and gloom for Arsenal at the moment, I’m going to leave the post with a positive note everyday.

We’ve seen Carl play in two games so far, it’s difficult to say anything too categoric about his game thus far but if we can sign a player based on two games, I can judge one after two. I like his height, I like his athleticism and I like the fact that he seems to be more of a defender opposed to an attacker we’ve converted. His pace is impressive and he’s not afraid to put a boot in. As far as I’m concerned, he looks like he could be the perfect foil to Sagna. Great thing about his Arsenal career? He’ll learn his trade from one of the best in the business, so when it’s time for Sagna to leave for pastures new, he’ll be ready.

That’s kind of the shame we have with Kieran Gibbs. He’s been injured most of the last 3 years and even if he was fit, taking lessons in leftbackery from Clichy would be a bit like taking best practice journalism lessons from Rebekah Brookes. It’s going to be a massively steep learning curve for Gibbs this year and I think it’s a real shame he’s been put in a sink or swim situation. Good luck to him… he has all the raw ingredients to make it, can he mix them in time is what we’ll all find out pretty quickly.

@SabeelMK sent me this video of Asian fans going all Jihad on a Barca shirt… very funny. If we could get some of that passion back at the Emirates, there would be plenty of arrests!

On that note I’ll leave you… good day to you!

See you in the comments…

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Arsenal exposed by a pub team. What’s changed Arsene?

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Sure there is not point in getting too deflated about a bad result in a preseason game. But for Arsenal, this was more than just a preseason. This team has been together for many years now, we’ve made no additions to the squad that failed last season, we conceded from a set piece as usual, so it begs the question… what has changed at Arsenal?


What can you expect to change though? You can’t keep on flogging the same group of players and suddenly expect them to come good on set plays. You can’t keep using the same back room staff and expect them to see the light after 5 years. Football doesn’t work like that. We were nothing short of terrible in the first half yesterday.

JD looked awful. Mind you, Tony Adams would have struggled playing with the wholly inadequate Squillaci. The Frenchman is a walking disaster. What is going to click for him next year? What is the point in people saying he’s only 4th choice? 4th choice ALWAYS gets plenty of games during the season, usually the crucial ones at the back-end.

We conceded our first goal after a set piece was glanced on, Mannone parried it and we weren’t first to the rebound. A typical goal conceded in typical Arsenal fashion. The first twenty minutes of defending were atrocious, we were lucky not to be down by more.

Gael Clichy said he left Arsenal because he wanted to win trophies. He said he was sick of playing for a great side that wasn’t a great squad. When the good plays breakdown because they’re over used, we don’t have the resource to step in and take baton. From what was on show yesterday, we’re still in the same situation.

We did equalise when Arshavin looped a ball over to Robin, he shot, the keeper parried and Vela bundled the ball in. What of Carlos Vela eh? He did  well in preseason two seasons ago and was never seen again. He’s like this player we wheel out to prove we have squad depth who never gets a go again.

Attitude is the biggest problem we had last year. Our players haven’t been finished since the end of May, they went on holiday in April. Yesterday it still looked like they were on holiday. That lack of urgency they showed last season seems to have picked up where it left off. Screw it being a preseason, these boys have something to prove to the world of football. They should be taking teams of that calibre apart right now. Winning at all costs should be visible to every fan watching because you know what? 70% of those players have a point to prove.

People will call a post like this knee jerk, failing to notice that Le Grove have been putting up posts like this for the best part of 4 years. I’m posting this because I can see what is going to happen again. Team culture doesn’t change over night. We weren’t close last season, that was a deluded thing to say. We’re not going to be any stronger squad wise if we’re shifting on our only left back and potentially losing two of the best players in the league. United are the target. They won the league, landed a spot in the Champions League Final and they’ve spend £50million+ on players already.

Where are our signings? Why are we waiting? It’s not good throwing bodies into the squad at the end of August is it? New players need time to bed in, get used to their team mates and understand how the club works. We should be out there snapping up a Cahill right now. We should be bringing in a striker. I like the sounds of Lukaku, a player of youth that has a fantastic goal scoring record behind him. Perfect as a 3rd choice striker. We desperately need a centre midfielder with a bit of get up and go to add some experience to the middle.

Scott Parker is available on loan for a season, snap him up right now, he’d jump at the chance to prove himself at the highest level. I think a proper leader in the dressing room could have an infectious effect on the players. One thing I learnt last year is that it only takes one bad egg to poison a company. One miserable attitude in a position of power can ruin the vibe. That vibe can take hold quickly. The same can work the other way. Some people encourage you to be the best because they lead by example and inspire you to raise your game.

We need some squad changers. We need someone to raise morale and inject some proper belief back into the squad. Sorry… but Gervinho isn’t that man. Lukaku and Mata won’t be those players. We need to make a splash on a big character who is a proven leader. We need someone who can come in quickly. Where will that players come from? I have no idea. I’m not a paid scout. But guess what? AVB will find players. Ferguson has already found his players. Mancini is spending away. Kenny Dalglish is doing his best, bless him.

We’re not in a position to be snobby about the transfer market. Wenger needs to get real and start doing his job. He’s responsible for the team on the pitch. not the spreadsheet off it.

Other news…

According the the NoTW… oh wait, that shut down. haha!

According the ever reliable People, we’ve offered Cesc a 2 years extension worth £7million a year. If that is true, it’s an absolute disgrace. Bribing players to stay on has failed in the past and it’d send out the wrong message to everyone in the squad.

Eboue has been offered and escape route to Galatasaray. I wouldn’t fancy it I’ve gotta say. Still, best of luck to him. They love all that slap stick comedy out there!

Right, see you in the comments!

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New Arsenal striker on the way… or is he? | Can we get a Cesc deadline please?

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There are a few things to be cracking on with this morning. Firstly, sad news reached Spanish shores yesterday that Cesc Fabregas had been captured on the milk run by 6 Arsenal stewards, bundled in a Bentley Continental and is currently being held hostage in a luxury mansion where he is free to go wherever he wants outside of working hours. Rumours have it he’s been plied with £110,000 a week just to make his stay a lot worse.

Our hearts go out to Cesc’s family during this worrying time.

For me, this whole Cesc saga is incredibly boring. Does it really need to take this long? Can’t we issue some sort of public deadline on the deal? Can’t Arsenal release the news to the public as to why it’s taking so long to secure the move either way? The fact Cesc has gone silent is a good thing. It means he thinks there is a chance he’ll be here next season. This is exactly the same scenario as last year. I’d prefer him keep quiet rather than do a Modric and shame himself in the press. The irritating thing is that Wenger was banging on about Cesc and his long contract only 4 weeks ago. What changed Arsene? What is the point in that massive, long, secure contract if it only helps him? As far as I can see, it has not protected Arsenal. We’re not getting £60million for him?

Nik B seems to be doing a very bad job finding himself a new club. I guess that £52k isn’t representative of what he’s worth in the grand scheme of European pay packages. Good news is we’re looking at someone with an English name to replace him. Joel Campbell, if rumours are to be believed is top of the wanted list with Dick Laws out in Costa Rica negotiating his release. Now, he’s untested at the highest level and I’ve spent almost 6 minutes trying to find out about his background with little luck. All I know is he set up a goal against Bolivia and scored one. Oh, and that he’ll be cheap..

Seems an odd signing and an unimportant one as I don’t think we’ll be able to land him a work permit. So another player we can’t have for 2 years. Surely there are more pressing issues Dick Laws should be attending to? Maybe there is? Maybe he’s out there on other business…

Theo Walcott has been speaking to the press about his desire to become a striker. He sees himself down the middle and after 3 years of begging the coach in a cryptic way, I think he’s finally going to get a go there. It’s amazing what having two years left on your deal can get you! I’ve been dead against him moving centrally for a while. Previously I haven’t thought much of him with his back to goal, or in front of goal with a defender there to be honest. However, last season, the tricks started to drop for Theo, his movement improved vastly and he began to add clinical finishing into his arsenal.

Perhaps he would be good as a striker? Perhaps if Wenger does have to sell Cesc, Theo could form part of a formation that would allow him to feed off Robin Van Persie? Who knows… but if Cesc goes, there is no doubt in my mind the system will have to change because like it or not, Cesc is irreplaceable with our wage structure and transfer budget. There is a reason the best team in the world want him and him alone to replace Xavi.

Enrique of Newcastle has had his head turned by the gossip columns insisting Arsenal are interested. Someone should point him in the direction of… no left backs here my friend! We have our two in place already.

One thing that has been getting on my wick is Arsene Wenger and his insistence that all his players can play everywhere. Sorry Arsene, but Vermaelen is not a left back, he’s a centre back. Alex Song is not your 5th centre back. You won’t end up playing Gervinho across 5 positions and nor should you. Having versatile players is great, but that should never be at the expense of buying in someone who can do the job properly. We never did this in the past did we? We only have a finite amount of squad player, when half of them get injured, shuffling them about because we can leads us into situations where we have to play Arshavin as a central striker or Eboue as an attacking midfielder.

Anyway… that’s just my opinion. Today we’re playing Hangzhou Greentown. If I’ve spelt that wrong, tough, Chinese English is difficult. The game kicks off at 12:30, hopefully the Arse Player works!

See you tomorrow for the match report!

Update: Denilson is going back home! Confirmed by himself on twitter! Wooo hooo!

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