3 pressing Arsenal summer issues + transfer rumblings…

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Perhaps that new 125 year anniversary logo and motto should have been replaced with a fast forward button and the words, ‘Next year, we will learn.’

Mañana syndrome...

Try as they will, Arsenal just haven’t got the hang of this PR malarkey. We don’t want the usual suspects wheeled out over and over again telling us they’ll work harder and they’ll learn from the bad experiences. We’ve been hearing it all season. It’s becoming a running joke on Arsenal.com and I’ve had enough.

I shouldn’t have to read that a team with a salary bill of £110million is going to come back next year with some desire. It should be there ready and waiting by the bucket load especially for a group so young. It’s not about the money though, is it? I’ve said on countless occasions that you can’t buy desire, fight or hunger… you’re born with it.

Matty Flamini had it, Paddy V had it, Dennis Bergkamp had it. In fact, I’ve never known an Arsenal team to be so devoid of it. Really though, that’s something that should have been picked up through the youth side, or flagged during the countless seasons we’ve seen it exposed.

As I see it, there are a few clear issues that need tying up with immediate effect if we’re to have a clear run at the summer.

Issue #1 Contracts

Ok, so firstly we need to tie down Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy. Now, I don’t have any information from Pam on this apart from she thinks Samir will sign. Word on the street is Samir has been readying his PFA Player of the year speech since November. He also asked his mum to write him a letter for Ivan Gazidis that said something along the lines of…

Dear Ivan,

Now that I am player of the year, that £90k a week you’re offering me is paltry. Please can you up it to £120k, which is more in line with salaries of some of the high achievers I meet at French band camp.

Big Love

Sammy N x

P.S. I would also like discount totalling 15% in the Armoury for my entire family and a seat plaque for my 2 club level tickets at no extra cost.

Well, turns out you can’t win player of the year with your finger wedged up your ass. Turns out you don’t get £120k a week when you choke at the turning point of the season. If Samir hasn’t signed up by the end of June, flog him onto the highest bidder. His attitude is more suspect that Simon Cowell’s sexuality.

Gael Clichy has also had a deal on the table all season that he won’t sign. This either comes down to money or it comes down to the fact he’s been with the club forever, he’s bored and his form is shot to pieces. I’d rather keep him than lose him because I know if he leaves, Gibbs will replace him, which at the moment is one of the biggest fu*king no, no’s I can think of for next year.

Issue #2 Jack Wilshere

For me, this is probably THE most pressing issue of our summer. I don’t know how many people were paying attention to the game on Saturday, most Gooner’s had their head in their palms. I managed to keep an eye on the game and Jack Wilshere was incredibly sloppy for large parts of the game. His play has become fatigued and laboured at times and that is because top class clubs do not depend on 18 year olds to play 45 games for them.

He is absolutely exhausted. When young players are that tired, a major injury is round the corner. Arsene Wenger has run the little man into the ground this year (like he always does) and if we’re not careful, we’re going to have another Theo Walcott or Robin Van Persie on our hands. My suggestion is the coach thinks up a serious injury pretty sharpish because there is no way he should be attending the Under 21 Championships…especially if he’s playing for the seniors.

Jack obviously is not going to come out and turn down his country… everyone saw the press coverage David Bentley received after pulling out a few years ago. This is where the club need to come in and protect him, or play the system a little bit. Simple fact is, Ferguson would not allow it. Wenger shouldn’t either. Let’s get creative guys.

Issue #3 Players

Our summers follow a similar pattern, Wenger recognises we need to strengthen, the fans believe he’s finally going to have a clear out and sign some players, he doesn’t in June, but we all cite July/August for purchases, Wenger is then on pre-season, then the players aren’t available, then the market has been inflated by the Sugar Daddies, then he believes in his squad, then he announces his squad is the greatest he’s ever worked with… and so the cycle continues.

That can’t happen this summer. If Gilles Grimandi has been scouting Eden Hazard for the last 4 years, don’t wait until mid-August when Barca and AC Milan have woken up to his talents to sign him. Nip in there now, lodge a proper bid that has a chance of acceptance and be ruthless. The same for Scott Parker, let’s conclude this deal quickly before we find ourselves in wage war with Liverpool, Spurs and City.

…and please god, don’t let us be in for all these second class Lorient players again. We signed Chamakh after three years of watching him. I could have told you he wasn’t going to be any good just by looking at his goal stats over those seasons. 16, 14, 7… hardly the numbers of a prolific striker eh? He started well, but boy did he fade into averageness…

Ok, so this Kevin Gamiero has scored 37 goals in 2 seasons but I remember Stephan Guivarch who was the French Leagues record scorer tanking for Newcastle. I remember Wiltord looking like the next Ian Wright and bombing so bad we moved him out wide where his signature move was a half way line pirouette. I remember Kaba Diarwara hitting the bar more times than George Best against Leeds off the back of a terrific record.

Let’s leave the dross to teams like Sunderland… if we’re looking for a top striker, let’s make sure he has Champions League pedigree, a good goal scoring record and preferably a CV that involves a top club. If Aston Villa can afford a £24million striker, there is no reason we can’t. Robin Van Persie needs a challenge, not someone who is going to come in and admire him from afar like a smitten teenager.

We need to act quickly this summer and we need to let the dross know they need to find a new club now.

The dross list looks like this:

  • Squillaci
  • Eboue
  • Bendtner
  • Vela
  • Traore
  • Almunia
  • Denilson
  • Chamakh
Ship that lot out, bring in some players who want to fight for us and let’s have a good summer for once.
Who is on your dross list? Who would you like to bring in? Let us know in the comments!

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May Judgement day: I booed the Arsenal players and the manager.

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It’s May, the final game of the season has passed and I’ve had enough of Arsene Wenger.

No longer can I stand by a manager I once regarded as the greatest in the world.

Yesterday kind of summed up our squad, our club and our p*ss poor mentality.

The players had one final chance to prove to the fans they were worthy of wearing the red and white of Arsenal and once again they blew it in unspectacular fashion.

Arsene Wenger opted to field Squillaci, his bargain basement signing from Sevilla… once again, the Frenchman showcased why he’s never attracted the cream of Europe with his defensive skills.

Arsenal were a Darren Bent goal down very early on… the crowd groaned.

Four minutes later we were a 2nd goal down… a slow crescendo of boo’s erupted around the ground…

No response later and the crowd began to sing…

‘6 percent, you’re avin a laugh, 6 percent you’re avin a laugh’

What a fu*king embarrassment. The fans, who’ve stood by Wenger through thick and thin finally snapped and they’d had enough of the utter dross.

The players picked up their game, but it was too little, too late. They should have played with the right attitude from the start.

Half time came, the crowd jeered the team off. It was a horrible atmosphere on a day that usually feels like a carnival.

The second half wasn’t much better. Robin Van Persie had a goal disallowed unfairly then he pulled on back, but overall we didn’t deserve a victory. Probably the most memorable moment was when the dopey MC announced a capacity crowd of 60,240… the crowd jeered and booed. They could see the stadium was probably the emptiest it had been since it had opened (10,000 down at the least). The youth cup kids probably had more of an attendance.

The paying public have had enough.I’ve been going to Arsenal for 20 years, I’ve never booed in my life, but yesterday, I wondered to myself what the point of me not booing was? I’m not happy with the players, I’m not happy with the manager and I’m not happy that once again I’ve made a massive effort to go to Arsenal and I’ve been let down. Why should I sit there in silence and applaud of a group of players who are more interested in their twitter followings than they are in winning games?

Abou Diaby said the crowd are too nice to the players, I hope he was listening yesterday.

We’ve gone from potential quadruple winners, to handing Manchester City our pass into the 2nd phase of the Champions League (possible opponents include Villareal, Bayern, Rubin Kazan, Twente and Udinese). You know what? I’m glad it’s come to this. I’m glad we haven’t progressed because we haven’t deserved to based on what has been served up this season. Sure I always want what’s best for my club, for me, Arsene Wenger finishing second with this shower of dross was not what the club needed this year.

Progression would have been undeserved vindication of a squad that was getting by on sub-standard competition.

Perhaps the embarrassment of qualifying for the Champions League will be the kick up the backside the BOARD need to start holding Wenger accountable for his decisions. Perhaps Ivan Gazidis will man up now he has the backing of the majority shareholder, perhaps he’ll set some targets for Wenger. He’s not going to sack him now, but if Wenger decides he wants to play silly buggers again this summer, maybe there will be actual consequences next season. I’ve no doubt Ivan is aware that a number of supporters protested yesterday. There weren’t the droves predicted, but it was a start. It was a warning and it’ll worry the board.

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The BSM crowd on Blackstock Rd prior to march

The playing side of the club is in a mess, back room and front room. All of the problems stem from one man… the manager.

Do I think he’s going to change his ways this summer? Absolutely no chance…

Wenger has said for the last 3 years there is a problem with the defence, we’re on to concede our worst total under Wenger this Saturday. We’ve conceded 41, the same as Fulham, the same as we did last year. If we lose against an in form Fulham which is highly possible, our points total will be as awful as the total when Spurs nearly pipped us to 4th on the last game of the season at the start of project youth… all this with £35million sitting in a dorment bank account.

Wenger re-signed Pat Rice which suits him down to the ground, he knows he has Cesc tied to the club indefinitly, he knows that the chances of a team willing to offer end of season choker Nasri £120k a week are slim and he knows the rest of his children are fiercely loyal to the man who dishes out the careers and the mega youth contracts.

My guess is that the only players who will leave will be the players who either want to go… ala Nik B, Carlos Vela and Traore… and the players who will be forced out of the club because they won’t sign new deals… ala Gael Clichy.

Wenger might sign a crowd pleaser early on in the summer that will convince us he’s changing… but at the most, that’ll be Scott Parker. Don’t believe the hype that he’s going for an 8 in 8 out… it simply won’t happen. Arsene Wenger is delusional these days, he’s obsessed with doing things his way and the only way we’ll break this cycle is if next season ends in disaster or the press uncover something else about his private life.

Yesterday, many people said to me, ‘be careful what you wish for’… well, in response, I’d say, ‘be careful what you settle for.’

You can spend your whole life worrying about the impact of removing an institution of a manager and you could end up like Nottingham Forrest did when they held onto Brian Clough for a few seasons longer than his sell by date. Or you could make a positive change now based on the evidence that your manager isn’t dynamic anymore and you could reap the rewards.

Remember, our manager is holding onto his job purely based on past glories. In fact, he’s only being indulged in a project everyone can see is failing because the club and the fans feel they owe him an enormous debt.

Inter Milan were Italian Champions but they were struggling to make it out of the last 16 in the Champions League. Did Morratti settle for just domestic honours or did he make a bold move? Well, he sacked Mancini, brought in Mourinho on a 3 year business plan and ended up winning countless trophies culminating in European glory.

How about Barcelona? Frank Rijkaard returned Barcelona to the glory days with La Liga wins, a Champions League victory against Arsenal and the fostering of Ronaldinho as one of the greatest players of a generation. He had one bad year and the rumblings began. Joan Laporta began sniffing round Europe’s finest managers, he spoke with Pep Guardiola about the role and the Spaniard said,

‘Joan, you don’t have the cojones to appoint me’

He was duly appointed and the rest is history.

My fear for Arsenal? This goes the way of Rafa Benitez and Liverpool… A manager who brought back the glory days to Liverpool, found himself caught up in his own stubborness and self belief, a man who took Liverpool out of the Champions League into a world of turmoil.

I think it’s time for a change. Arsenal aren’t a couple of players away from conquering, we’re a complete change of mindset away. In one summer, someone is going to have to alter the way we train to avoid niggly injuries, prepare the squad sufficiently enough so they know what they’re expecting each week, train the defence, flush out the dead wood and instill a bit of Arsenal pride into the squad.

Arsene Wenger is too stubborn and too old to make those changes. He needs to move on and we need a fresh approach. Everyone can see the problem at Arsenal. It’s not a manager slightly lost along the way, it’s a manager trying to flog an outdated method of winning 7 years after the rest of the world learnt how to play against it.

It’s May, Arsene asked us to judge him now… and I’m through with him.

Sacrificing 3rd place from the position of strength we were in has been the final straw… we’re stuck in a perpetual loop of scraping into the Champions League every season. For a club as big as Arsenal, that doesn’t count as a trophy, that doesn’t merit £7million a year and it doesn’t satisfy the fanbase.

Time to align the managers ambitions with the price of the most expensive season ticket in the world.

Time for a change…

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60,240… you’re avin’ a laugh

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Fans stream out of ground straight after game

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Disrespectful Szczesny comments | United and City show the way… choker.

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Ahh well, there you have it.

Manchester City prove that money can’t buy your friends or respect… but it sure as hell can buy you trophies.

Manchester United showed that talent alone is never enough to win the league, you need hunger and drive as well.

Overall a very disappointing end to the season. No one wanted City to prove the point they proved. No one wanted them winning an invitation to Champions League football. However, no one wanted to see a scummy side like Stoke rewarded for being horrible, uninventive and nasty.

Their play was bereft of any sort of creativity and in the end, the slightly more impressive Manchester City won the day when their £200k a week signing (Yaya) rifled home late in the second half.

Will a trophy not regarded as important by Arsenal be the spring-board for 5 years of dominance for Manchester City? Only time will tell…

Though it has to be said… a limitless bank account and Champions League football sure is a good starting point

It’s a shame the work permit office are such a pain in the backside. It could be Yaya in our centre midfield over Song. He really is a superb player and I’m gutted we don’t have him. I really do have a problem with the Home Office. We’re quite happy to support 90% of bums from around the world in their bid to live here and leech of the system, however, when a young footballer with projected earnings of a million plus a year knocks on the country’s door, we turn down all that potential tax.

Good thinking…

I can’t understand why the Premiership clubs aren’t lobbying the Government to relax the laws. Our league has a massive disadvantage over Italy and Spain in respect of non-EU players. We should be allowed to do all the things other non-EU countries can… like drink in the stands, smoke in bars and slaughter bulls for fun in front of packed arena’s.

I hate being English…

Today is the last home game of a particularly horrible season. Most of us will be heading up to London with a Monday hangover in mind. I’m not sure where I’ll be drinking, but the Arsenal Tavern on Blackstock road to begin with… then the Che after sounds like a plan.

Let me know if anyone has any other ideas!

There will be a planned march tomorrow, I won’t be joining, but it’ll be interesting to see how many others do. Losing 3-1 to Stoke in your previous game probably isn’t conducive to a low march count.

We’ll see though, if anyone has any pictures, send them over!

Chezzer…

Our young Pole caused uproar amongst many Arsenal fans after the following comment…

”He built this team from nothing and he’s the best manager in the world, so I don’t understand why anyone would want him to leave.”

Many said he was referring to the current crop, according to Express journo Matt Law, he was referring to the team prior to Arsene Wenger.

Someone needs to remind the keeper of Arsenal’s rich history. Someone needs to remind him that Wenger’s first title was achieved using the spine of a team the last two managers left. Bruce Rioch took us from 12th to 5th inside a season, so we weren’t a team on the slide, he’d signed the greatest player in the clubs history before Wenger arrived. Someone needs to remind him that it’s extremely disrespectful to besmirch pre-1996 Arsenal. I can understand he is young, I understand he is defending his surrogate father, but don’t forget Arsenal made Wenger as much as he has made Arsenal over the past 15 years.

When you read interviews like that, it’s pretty apparent why Wenger would prefer to be king-maker. Would you catch Arshavin coming out with an interview like that? Probably not… I know that Sol Campbell tore into the players on a number of occasions last season after poor results, he didn’t last long did he?

Well, today is the last home game, so let’s enjoy it. We’ve all but qualified ourselves in the top 4, Aston Villa are on their knees with regards to confidence and the players really do need to sign off for summer with a bang. I’m looking forward to seeing Vermaelen at some point tomorrow, his leadership at the back has been missed but I’m still not sure he is a player we should assume will come into the fold next year and cure our woes. We were just as problematic last season. Our defensive issues don’t hinge on individual players, they hinge on preparation and the accountability of the team. Regardless, you know the man from Belgium cares about winning, you know he’ll always give 100% and now he’s the most experienced of our centre backs, he’ll hopefully blossom as a leader.

I’d imagine Wenger will throw a kid into the mixer tomorrow, it’s called selling the future and it usually happens when we’re angered after a season of disappointment. It’ll probably be Connor Henderson. He’s a player I like, but if there is a better player than him on the market and he’s available, I’ll not be interested in hearing arguments of career killing. What’ll happen is he’ll play well, he’ll play in the preseason, we’ll see him as a dead cert squad player, then he’ll be shipped out to Gillingham in late August.

Don’t fall for the hype… he’s a baby-faced excuse not buy players.

Let’s have a massive performance out there today and consign this miserable season of discontent to the history books…

I hope the players aren’t expecting us to hang around after, they can support themselves after 90 minutes, I’ll be supporting my passion for cold beer in the pub…

Beer never lets me down.

It always cheers me up and if it were a footballer, it’d never find itself overtaken on the half way line by a fat middle-aged referee…

Have a great day, enjoy the great British sunshine!

See you tomorrow for the match review…

P.S. Faces of Britain have put together a survey about the nations preferred Great Britain team for the Olympics next year… 4 of our players appear in the squad, 3 in the starting line up. Check out the details behind the story here.

I love you beer... more than her. x

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