Filling the blanks and shifting the Arsh somewhere else.

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Morning Grovers!

The topic of today is Andre Arshavin.

Since arriving on the scene he has entertained us with his dazzling skills and his endless quotable newspaper talk. Half comediene, half footballing genius… half misogynist… yes, I did the math and it all works out.

The tough question facing Arsene Wenger this summer is what to do with him. The Russian likes to play centrally, it’s where he plays the best and where he is used to playing. Being the centre of attention is how he likes it to be and he’s made that vocally clear. This isn’t a Hleb or Rosicky situation here, this is a truly world class performer requesting he is moved into the middle. So what does this mean for the team?

Well, the way I see it… it means that we are going to be seeing a lot more 4-5-1 next season. I know, I know… it pains us all. However, for me, I don’t see it as a bad thing. A 4-5-1 with the players we have going forward could be a fantastic set up… if we addressed defensive frailties this summer.

If you look at our squad, we seem to be top heavy with creative midfielders. We have Nasri, Vela, Wilshere, Rambo, Cesc, Arshavin, Rosicky, Walcott, Lansbury, Diaby… there is no way we can accommodate all of them unless we play with a 4-5-1… Arsene has been using it most of this season and watching Barca the other night made me think we could be operating in a similar fashion.We have lots of small technically gifted footballer who keep the ball really well… we’ve now added a goal threat into the mix and we have Rosicky coming back into the fold slowly but surely. We’ve lacked a striker with enough nous to play in that system, but I see no reason why Eduardo couldn’t play in the Eto’o role next season?

Robin Van Persie can play outwide or in the hole… Nik B can play in the tougher more physical games… and we have at least 3 other players who can move up top if they have to.

This is how I see us lining up regularly next year… obviously personnel can be interchanged…


Sagna Blank Gallas Clichy


Walcott   Cesc   Nasri



The only issue I see there is defence. There are two possible blanks in the first team next year.

Firstly, there is no question that we need a great centre back to partner Gallas. Kolo is a bit like that old family pet dog everyone loves… he’s stinking the place out… but we love him… so there is no chance we’re going to black-bag-river-thames him… but we’d be happy to keep him outside, letting him in occasionally to make a gust appearance.

The second more contentious issue is the holding role. I think the long term plan for Song is central defence. He’s done better in the second half of the season, but he’s not top class and he doesn’t really have the pace required to make that position his own… which leaves Denilson.

Denilson has great stats, the 16th best player in the league this year… the 5th best midfielder. If actim are to be believed, he must be doing something right… however, according to the same stats, Berbatov has performed better than Torres by 50 odd places… Ryan Shawcross is a more polished performer than Rio Ferdinand (Maybe he can take Kolo’s place?)… and Dirk Kuyt has done more for his team than Ronaldo. Basically, take the stats with a pinch of salt or a smattering of grey…

Denilson is compact, a good tackler, an ok reader of the game and he’s got a good work engine. Does he live to shield the defence? Probably not… Does he have the physical presence to deal with ‘in your face teams’… not at the moment. Could he become great in the next 3 months? The jury is out…

The fact is, Arsenal need a great centre mid to win the league. Someone who can dominate with technical ability and power. Someone who can compete in the air. Someone the opposition fear… someone on the verge of greatness NOW.

You see, great players don’t need statistics to prove their value. Their skills are there for all to see… if you rely on statistics to justify your existence, chances are you’re probably not that great. Can Denilson make the jump to superstar in 3 months? If not, can Wenger sign a defensive midfielder in the same quality bracket as Arshavin because the fact is, one of those two situations has to occur for us to stand a chance of doing any damage in the title race next year.

Wenger can’t afford to make mistakes this transfer window… players wont hang around forever, their careers are too short to constantly live for next year. Thierry winning the European Cup was probably a bad thing… it proved that their can be life after Arsenal and if we continue to play for plaudits instead of silverwarwe I fear we could see others head in that direction.

I had two e-mails and a few messages from people saying that RvP told numerous people at the end of season dinner he was going to wait until he saw Arsenal’s moves in the transfer window before signing up this year. No one is asking for £40mill signings… we’re just after signings that signal our intent… I’m sure Robin feels the same.

Oh, and that singer I was talking about in my post the other day was Pixie Lott if you were interested!

So, tough decisions lie ahead for Wenger this summer… he’s going to have to kill someone’s career temporarily…  but if he makes the right choice, next season could be a very exciting!

Keep em’ crossed Grovers and make sure you e-mail in if you’re interested in season tickets!

653 Responses to “Filling the blanks and shifting the Arsh somewhere else.”

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  1. sarge

    Rob – I know mate. A sad state of affairs but that’s the big corporates for you. Unlike most other service and leisure sectors football ain’t quite feeling the full force of the credit crunch yet so can afford to treat your average punter like a prat. However, it will bite them on the arse at some stage.

  2. gazzap

    inesc, I would take Barry in a heartbeat. He is 28 so he needs no improving – he is at his peak. Neither does he need any settling time whatsoever. 15 August he would hit the ground running. He is a seasoned PL pro. he is a good defender as well and can do basic things like head balls away at corners. He can sit in front of defence but can clearly get forward and around the pitch. I think he is better than Carrick – who Man U rely on these days.
    He is rarely injured. He is English and available for around £10m. OK so he has no re-sale value but we dont need any more 20-24 year olds. We have those coming out of our ears. we have plenty of talent for 4 years time. what we need are players for 2009.

    Wenger do the deal. Then sell Ade and with the proceeds buy a proper centre back. Then watch the silverware pile up.

  3. Frank

    Apologies for that that was some scum messing. But what I wanted to say is that I have been on this site for some time and I would like to say that Bendtner is a legend and will make David and all ye nay sayers eat their words! JISM!

  4. Big Dave

    Rob the trouble is you cant have it both ways, they want your money to spend on the improving the team, cause without our dosh we dont get to sign players, its a catch 22

  5. sarge

    Big Dave – there’s little evidence to support our cash being invested in the team at the moment (apart from supporting the wage increases). 40K season tickets x GBP 1500 (ave) = well…you do the sums. The money is banked and dispersed around the company / club but not a lot seems to go towards acquiring the players we need.

  6. Rob Green

    Big Dave – I would agree with you if they did buy players and improve the team but we have gone backwards this year and they didn’t improve the team they weakened it

    We have the most expensive tickets and yes we have a great stadium but I don’t think we are getting our money worth with the players on the pitch

  7. irishgunner

    Hopefully the on field situation will be better next season.

    I’m off, have a good weekend all and hopefully Everton can win tomorrow.

  8. patthegooner

    It is not just the club that prices me out of football, it is the travelling.

    I would love to take up one of the Season Ticket Loans in Le Exchange, but my self inflicted problem is I now live near Swansea so a day out at the Arsenal is a fucking expensive one. As is stands my day will cost in excess of £130 when you take into account Match Ticket, Parking local, Train to London, Underground, few beers and some food. so even if you took out the Match Ticket with a Season Ticket, it would still be a lot of money and I would probably only get to a 1/4 of the games.

    So thank fuck for Le-Exchange. What a great idea and given that my working forecast for the next year means I will be in the UK more, I plan on quite a few trips to the S & B Next Season.

  9. sarge

    Pat – Oh the days when you could wake up on a Saturday morning and just turn up for the game. Now for most non-season ticket holders it’s like planning a military operation and applying for a mortgage at the same time

  10. patthegooner

    I know Sarge and some would say that it is in relation to what you have earnt through the years but I think that is bollox myself.

    The way I do it now is to meet the lads up in London and make a night out of it.

  11. patthegooner

    and with corporate rates, it is actually cheaper for me to rent a car and fuel it than it is to get a Train to London.

    WTF is all that about!!!

  12. patthegooner

    Fuck I forgot it was the FA Cup Final tomorrow. I thought the season was over.

    Fucked if I am going to watch it. I cant think of a more boring fixture than Everton v Chavski.

    I will sit in the sun and watch the Lions instead.

  13. sarge

    Pat I agree mate. A pound note definitely went further back then. I guess the appeal for most non-season ticket holders is when they do get a chance to go it’s an opportunity to rip the arse out of it. I’ve got plenty of mates who have dropped by the wayside over the years but when they do come it’s worth it all round. Not sure the mrs agrees though.

  14. sarge

    Pat – when was it cheaper to fly around the country than travel by train. Now that’s some fucked up shit.

  15. Mayank

    question..on what basis should salaries be worked out on…performance or return on investment..
    blogs awful quiet..

  16. Mayank

    shirt sales, marketability etc..e.g even if hleb plays better than walcott, walcott is the more marketable player..basically how much arsenal makes out of the player..
    JS park signed a 60k contract..must be because of shirt sales in korea etc..

  17. Mayank

    also i heard adebayor has a clause in his contract that makes his wage related to his goal return..must be a rumour but could be true considering his fluctuating wage- is it 80k 115k who knows..?

  18. goonerpress

    I dunno about Gareth Barry. If he does come I reckon we will get him for about £8m. Cheap for an experienced, England internation. But does he fit our play?

  19. patthegooner

    how about a salary cap of 50k a week and then players make additional money on appearances, goals, clean sheets, wins etc and then a individual % of marketing that the player makes for the clubs (Shirt Printing, T-shirts, mugs, posters etc).

    Gives the players the incentive to work hard every week and not to piss the fans off like Ade did.

  20. patthegooner

    I think Barry would be an excellent signing GP.

    And I reckon he will complement Cesc. he works hard, is left footed and has leadership ability. He also reads the game well and at 8m could very well be the reason that Wenger did not buy a CM in Jan.

  21. Mayank

    barry is a very tidy player maybe too tidy since we need a havoc maker…
    PatTG- good concept but arsenal would be a dreaded club to attract top top players then..if they get injured they make 50k..not too inviting..and we’d have to pay arshavin 150k..

  22. patthegooner


    This is something I think should be across the board. A Fifa legislation. You could of course have an injury bonus built in. Not sure it should be called a bonus though but a figure to cover the lack of matchday bonus.

    At least we would have to pay Arshavin 150k because he deserves it,

    Poor Ade would be working in LIDL to make up for his loss of earnings.

  23. goonerpress

    Haha PTG. Very true mate. But I think that salary caps will be coming up soon. Platini and FIFA have been thinking about it for a long time, to make it fairer on other leagues and to make the English leagues a little less weaker. Well in the UK the £50,000 will work out to be £25,000 because of the tax. But oh well, at least the money paid to footballers will be a little bit more down-to-earth.

  24. patthegooner

    I am not sure about Veloso.

    I think he has a You Tube and Championship Manager reputation and it worries me that no one seems to be going in for him apart from Bolton. There must be a reason for that, and surely that must mean he is either a complete tosser or Shit or both.

  25. goonerpress

    Faceman. Atlast someone agrees with me. Veloso and Fabregas would rip the fucking league apart. Veloso’s tackling, vision, free kicks are all sublime. He is a player we need. He will be a little cheaper than £10m too because of all his rows and his rep having gone down.

    Denilson out for £6m
    Diaby out for £5m

    Total £11m

    Veloso in for £10m
    Barry in for £8m

    Total £18m

    Total spent = £7m

    Fancy that?

  26. nishanth

    Just noticed 1 thing.We have not lost a match in which arshavin has started.12 league games 8 wins and 4 draws 28 points.Also FA CUP where he started 2 matches.

  27. patthegooner

    That is my worry GP, you mention his rows.

    Do we really need someone else that is going to be a pain in the arse in 6 months time?

  28. Mayank

    i think the fact that a cap is not in place is ludicrous..i know its a bit socialist but this is the only way good playing style, management and moreover heart and guts could win a the current scenario can you imagine anyone outside the top4 winning it for the foreseeable future..not until they sell their souls…a wage cap also doesn’t put the big clubs at a disadvantage since if the salary everywhere is equal the players would decide on the basis of tradition style loyalty etc… also for big clubs to win they’d have to play good football as a prerequisite so no more chelseas..hurray!

  29. nishanth

    I don’t mind defensive football upto an extent.The problem is that chelsea take it into an ugly level with their cheating,nasty tackling,diving etc.After all our team use to play a defensive style for some time.

  30. Mayank

    there is nothing wrong with defensive football if when you attack you do so with quality..even west brom’s goals are better than chelseas..defensive or attacking is just a mindset..but the technique and style needs to be there..

  31. Faceman

    trust me pat, forget that bullshit about bolton bidding for veloso… its similar to maradons nearly joining spuds in the 80s.. complete crap.

  32. Mayank

    Ronaldo said: “Ferguson did not tell me anything. Nothing.

    “I didn’t realise I was to play as a striker. Against Arsenal in the semi second leg I played and played well but that is all.”

    Haha the master tactician forgot to tell their most important player where to play..
    just goes to show how much difference a win or loss can make..even to man utd

  33. nishanth

    But there is one thing which i thought after watching united getting battered by barcelona.All of us slammed chelsea for playing extremely negative football.If they had played open game they would have surely got thrashed.Even if they had played slightly negative football they would have surely got beaten.The only way for them to beat barca was they played that night.From barcelona’s point its obviously bad for them.But chelsea decided to play in the only possible manner which could have got them past barcelona.I don’t know where i am going with this

  34. nishanth

    fergie play giggs in that match is up there with wenger playing diaby wide left and bendtner in the wings.

  35. nishanth

    If i ever meet wenger i really wanna ask him on what basis does he pick diaby ahead of vela on that left wing

  36. Mayank

    yeah true..but i reckon a good attacking side who plays possession football could do barca..they’ve been done by villareal i think..arseanl + 2 defenders could produce a very good game though not guarantee winning it..but neither could barca..

  37. nishanth

    I think a lineup of


    Sagna Gallas New CB Clichy

    Arshavin Cesc DM Rosicky

    Bendtner/Theo eduardo

    Have a good chance of beating barcelona.

  38. Mayank

    vela when he’s started PL has not impressed much either..i think diaby is picked ahead of him just for his size..fab nasri vela den would be too lightweight..

  39. nishanth

    I really wanna see how RVP and Eduardo play together.I have never seen them play together.I think they started a match or 2 together last season but edu played wide left i think

  40. Mayank

    the way man u lined up for barca was too dependent on man u scoring first..after conceding they didn’t know what to do..

  41. nishanth

    Diaby cannot hold onto the ball.Time and time again the opponent manages to nick the ball away from him.He doesn’t have the pace to get past his opponent.He can’t tackle.He has no discipline whatsoever.I hope he is sold.I don’t really hate him or anything but i worry that wenger might play him just for the sake of giving him some game time and thus quality players like ramsey and vela will struggle

  42. patthegooner

    If anyone is at a loose end tonight, Ramsey is playing for Wales against the might of Estonia.

    It is live on Sky Sports 2. You can always Sky+ Poverty Street and Wealthyenders.

  43. DonArse

    If RvP really says he will wait to see what players Wenger bring in, then I think Wenger should let him go. No player can be that conceited, and impose conditions upon the immaculate manager and team. Besides, though RvP is one of two best strikers Arsenal now have, the other being AA, he is not yet of TH14’s class. How dare he think like that? Did Zidane, or Ronaldinho at their prime say something like that when RM and Barca disappoints their fans? I hope blogs stop voicing such rumours, because it does not shine a good light upon the team, nor the manager. No manager, no matter how good or bad he is, should suffer such threats. There is now too much Player Power–enough to unsettle a team, like Viera in his last year at the Arsenal, like Ronaldo, like Adebayor last summer–we fans should not encourage such utterances.

  44. LAzer

    Hello all. So I really don’t know anything about Veloso except he was the talk of the town last off season but nothing came of it. I haven’t really seen any matches but Sporting was the poorest most outclassed team in the CL this year no doubt. And I think he rarely makes it off the bench as an international for Portugal. I would think he might have come on a bit more by now, so what’s all the constant hype about then?

    If the guy is good, I have heard he his fairly versatile, why don’t we get him on the cheap while all the big spenders fight it out over the usual names this summer.

  45. Faceman

    he is simply a more skillful version of flamini.

    all energy, crunching tackles, but he can pass long and short and has a mean shot from about 20-30 out

  46. Pat

    I hope Wenger doesn’t just sign Barry and our new CB will be Song.

    Not sure on Barry though. I think we should go for Cana(who said he’s moving), the St. Etienne CDM(Blaise Matuidi), or maybe Alonso.

    Barry would give us drive, yes, but is he good enough?

  47. LAzer

    That sounds ideal Faceman. Have you seen his performances? I always doubted the flamsters passing but he made up for it with the fight and energy. Seems like there is no staying for him at Sporting anymore from the comments in the media. Besides which twit would choose the Reebok over us so perhaps now is the time to swoop. I just recall him coming on as a sub in Portugal game they didn’t need to win at the Euro’s and he didn’t seem much to me.

    I have read he can play CB as well so perhaps that could kill 2 birds as a back up CB.

  48. Faceman

    i have seen maybe 4 or 5 full sporting games and each time he has impressed me.

    he would never ever sign for a shit team like bolton..just a joke.

  49. LAzer

    I would rate Barry higher simply for having Prem and England experience but he is older and slower as well. Also am not sure of Barry’s engine and tackling, he seems more of a box to box type to me. Veloso is younger and quicker but no prem and maybe Denilson at this moment would be around equal to him in quality with a better upside on Veloso.

  50. A

    faceman he very nearly did….!!

    I do wonder what there must be behind the scenes that means that the top teams aren’t interested in someone as naturally talented as Veloso and he was close to signing for someone like bolton, same as with gio dos santos when he went to spuds.

    Both top top talents that obviously have some issues off the pitch

  51. LAzer

    I like that he could perhaps fill in at the back if needed. So Denilson/Veloso would be DM, Song/Toure Gallas/JD at the back then.

  52. LAzer

    Its the spuds man. I don’t think that youngsters shine through no matter where they go. They have to be played and fit in a certain way and the stupid spuds have no idea how to put a team together.

  53. A

    I dunno face – whether or not bolton were gonna get him, the more significant thing is that no big teams were interested despite his being publicly available.

    Has he been injured alot this season or was it falling out with coaching staff? He’s only made 15 starts, 6 sub appearances in the league

  54. LAzer

    Also I don’t think we can rate a player by whether or not the big spenders are after him. They normally just spend blindly and hit upon a gem sooner or later. It’s easy to find an Essien or Carrick, at the time they were purchased they was absolutely no doubts they were quality. Anyone forget Mancs dropping 14 large on a waste of space like Nani? haha. I do. Now flip that to Eduardo and Sagna and everyone had doubts yet they fit in with us supremely.

  55. leon

    i keep reading that veloso should dm player,i have sean him play and why has no one for him i know price tag is around 15 mill but if he was realy that good i am sure someone would gone for him plus and just as important how mush experience does have and does have the ability to cammond midfield with his phsical presence becuase thats type of player we need, is he any better than song

  56. A

    Lazer it’s different when players are very very high profile, all the clubs follow them from an early age because they’re undoubtedly incredibly talented, but then something happens which scares them off the player.

    Though it wouldn’t rule him out for us, would be similar to Van Persie.

    I would think Veloso is very unlikely though, if we sign a DM it’ll be someone a fair bit older than that, Wenger would never kill the careers of Denilson, Song, Ramsey, Coquelin etc by getting in a 23 year old

  57. LAzer

    Its obvious Kaka, Ribery etc.. have quality at this point. But the two best players in the world right now were brought up the right and way not plugged in with a 60 mill move. We cannot rate a player based on what big spenders see. I think if anything Arsene/Ferguson have earned the right to proved that wrong at this point.

  58. Faceman

    he is a bit of a party animal, and as you mentioned has plenty of “extra curricular” activities to keep him occupied off the field.

    maybe le boss could make him buck up his ideas and focus on creating a partnership with cesc…. dream central mid pairing, they would complement each other so well.

  59. A

    Lazer finding hidden gems is one thing, a played who was massively hyped since he was a kid, and has massive talent that anyone can see, but despite being made very available for transfer noone even half decent being interested would generally indicate there are some serious problems behind the scenes.

  60. LAzer

    Coquelin has a long long way to go imo. Denilson is a very good squad player and would not be “killed” by having another DM in the team. I feel thats a bit exaggerated. Wenger made the claim to relieve the pressure of the youngsters during the season imo.

  61. A

    Yeah faceman – VP was someone with a questionable attitude etc who wenger was happy to take on board.

    I do doubt wenger considering signing a 23 year old in that area though, i’d be shocked if he did.

  62. Faceman

    flamini came alive at 23

    there is hope that either song or denilson could do the same next season… but i am not sure their natural games are of the required standing in order to partner cesc effectively enough.

    cesc needs a hustle and bustle type DM alongside him.

  63. LAzer

    Either way you look at it we need 2 DMs for the season. If Song is not moving back then I could see Wenger going with them two again and purchase a CB. If Song is going to be played back then we need a DM. Veloso seems a hustle and bustle type so why not?

  64. A

    I agree face – i mean there is no chance of wenger signing a 23 year old because that would kill the other players, because he would be around for years, not because he’d be too young to play if he was good enough.

    Yeah Lazer, he’s been hyped for years, it was big news in portugal when he moved from benfica to sporting as a 14 year old!

  65. LAzer

    Yeah people forget it took years for Flamini to grow into the role and the prick had one good year and bailed on us for money.

  66. LAzer

    I disagree with killing anyone. We need to add quality in the DM and defense, simple as. I don’t think Wenger will be insisting about not killing the kids again.

  67. A

    Of course he will lazer, especially now, more so than before, after song especially improved so much towards the end of the season.

    I can see wenger bringing someone in in his prime as a DM, an experienced, seasoned pro, who would also help the kids develop. Not a 23 year old though

  68. Faceman

    i think wengers rhetoric is changing, the man may be stubborn….

    but do not ever underestimate the mans genuine intelligence and humillity.

    he is on record as saying they will assess what we got and what needs to be added to challenge for the title.

    to me that means… i tried out what i thought was good enough for this season, it was short…i will now rectify matters this summer.

  69. Faceman

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    Fabregas: Arsene will strengthen us this summer

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    Published Date: 29 May 2009
    Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas says boss Arsene Wenger will strengthen his squad this summer.
    Fulham centre-half Brede Hangeland and Ajax’s £7.5m-rated Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen are both reported defensive targets, while Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso and England international Gareth Barry, of Aston Villa, have been linked with a summer move to Emirates.

    Should Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor be cashed in on – with reports of a £20m offers from AC Milan, Manchester City and Chelsea all in the pipeline – then Wenger could turn to Blackburn forward Roque Santa Cruz, who will almost certainly leave Ewood Park.

    Fabregas said: “It is very important for this club to start winning trophies again, to be back at our best, so we are annoyed we could not do it this season.

    “We definitely need to improve in some areas and do better as a squad. I believe that, next season, we will be stronger.

    “We will see what happens in the summer, but the boss knows what is missing and I am sure he will do something about it.”

  70. Faceman

    Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas says boss Arsene Wenger will strengthen his squad this summer.
    Fulham centre-half Brede Hangeland and Ajax’s £7.5m-rated Belgium international Thomas Vermaelen are both reported defensive targets, while Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso and England international Gareth Barry, of Aston Villa, have been linked with a summer move to Emirates.

    Should Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor be cashed in on – with reports of a £20m offers from AC Milan, Manchester City and Chelsea all in the pipeline – then Wenger could turn to Blackburn forward Roque Santa Cruz, who will almost certainly leave Ewood Park.

    Fabregas said: “It is very important for this club to start winning trophies again, to be back at our best, so we are annoyed we could not do it this season.

    “We definitely need to improve in some areas and do better as a squad. I believe that, next season, we will be stronger.

    “We will see what happens in the summer, but the boss knows what is missing and I am sure he will do something about it.”

  71. A

    Yeah I agree, but he still hasn’t lost faith with the kids face. If he brings in a DM, it’ll be someone undoubtedly top quality, and someone who’s proved themselves year after year, who would add experience there. Veloso isn’t someone who could do that, and he’d be a pretty big risk, and a risk that I really don’t see wenger being willing to take.

    If there was the best DM in the world who was 23 and available then I’m sure he’d consider it, but not a risk

  72. leon

    the fact when it comes to spotting good players wenger does get wroung very often,i mean only last season vince kompany and richards was touted to come the club,niether of which in tens out are world class plyers,i feel wenger will for someone around 26-27.evon diaby and ade are both talented players but there attitude suxx,knwo onw had heard of edwardo or sagna,aa another exeptional player,yes buying silvestor was a big mistake but 9/10 times he gets it right.i just feel with limited funds he has h e wont buy anyone from the prem and i dont think it will anyone we have heard about before

  73. A

    I love the fact they mix up quotes with pure speculation to make it sound like there’s something in ridiculous talk like santa cruz

  74. A

    leon i agree, though i dunno if it’ll be a player we’ve never heard of, not many of those exist anymore with the rumour mill going like it is, almost every player in the world is linked with us at one point or another!

  75. Paulinho

    Hold the back Page on Sky Sports. I remember that being on in the mid to late 90’s. Wonder if that’s replacing Sunday Supplement.

  76. A

    He had a few moments that were absolute class paulinho, but he didn’t warrant being talked of as if he was messi by parry!

    Still wales’ best player by a fair distance

  77. leon


    alot players would love to play for this team the question is are they good enough,i feel at 21 song has realy proven himself to at laest an extremly solid cover player in both cd and dm and evon plast season he looked very solid at the back, which means it very likely senderos and silvestor will go,the probel is if wenger buys top class cb either gallas/toure will have to leave because i cant see either 1 of them happy on the bench

  78. A

    I agree leon – i still don’t think there’s much of a chance of gallas staying, unless his injury scares other teams off signing him. Agree as well about song, he’s very good cover both at DM and centre back imo.

    Senderos will prob go to milan, though i’d love him to stay. Silvestre could go back to france, depending on how much he wants to play. If he doesn’t demand a transfer so he can play first team football I could see him staying but rarely playing

  79. leon


    i personly prefer if gallas to stay than toure simply becaiuse gallas is alot better than toure,wenger might also deside to put off buying top class player and use song cover and try keep toure/gallas,the reason why i say that is gallas will never get the kind of money another at his age and toure has been at club 7-8 years,because for a long time the team was defending well it was only when gallas got injued that when the shit it fan, so wenger might just use song instead of silvestor get dmplayer but gets top class cd toure/gallas are gone

  80. A

    as a player certainly gallas is far superior to toure leon. Gallas’ problems behind the scenes and not getting on with the rest of the squad etc is what will lead to him departing in the summer though I think.

    Kolo will have gotten assurances in January about his position in the team and being first choice etc, which is why he retracted his transfer request, so I see him staying, and Gallas probably leaving.

  81. Faceman

    alongside a proper aerial present defender, toure step up to the mark…. he only looks shit when played alongside another short ass CB.

    djorou looked shaky at times this season, but then at times looked exceptional.

    tricky job getting the correct balance

  82. leon


    i dont gallas cears to mush about making feiends just winning so i dont see that being as issue dont t all,plus he is 85k a week and he is going give that up just certain playerd dont like him i dont think the fact is toure/gallas hate each other but do well on pitch and gallas already stated he will see out his contract. i dont think it has anthing do with personalilities at all its about first team chances and both players are to good tobe on the bench and if wenger goes for top cd ifeel toure will be off

  83. Ja_Gunner

    I would like to make a comment based on some comments I saw earlier saying that the PL is more glamourous than the CL.

    I think this not true at all.

    Also the PL can be boring sometimes when teams decide to park the bus against bigger teams. atleast in LaLiga there are planty of goals and open attacking play.

    I think even though the primiere league has become stronger in recent times… I think La Liga is more competetive because Manure put out a reserve team that beat Hull comfortably…where as Barca did the same and lost 2 matches in a row.

  84. Ja_Gunner

    For the summer I woud take Barry and that Roland Juhasz fellow(if he impresses at a trials)

    I dont think Liverpool would egt rid of Alonso now.
    And Barry is hungry to win something before his career is over, he is 29 and experienced he could add some heart and desire to the midfield.

    And then we can get rid of him in 3 years ..hopefuly by then Song/Denilson would be ready..If not get someone else.

  85. A

    leon wenger cares about making friends. Team spirit and squad unity is very important, especially for a young squad, and gallas harms that. Gallas does also want to leave, and he hasn’t been secretive about that until he was forced into his media blackout after the pre-man city culmination of his talking. I’d be surprised if he was still at the club next season, but think the injury could make a move difficult.

    Wenger will have made promises to toure in january which is why he stayed, so i don’t think there’s any chance of him being off regardless of what happens.

    I agree about toure face – he hasn’t become a bad defender, but he just doesn’t have the personality nor attributes to be the main man. He has to play as the second fiddle, with the main man being the primary organiser, as well as powerful in the air etc.

    JD i don’t rate though

    Barry isn’t good enough by some distance imo Ja, and I’d be absolutely shocked if there was any truth in it at all, it’s just a ridiculous made up media story in my eyes!

  86. leon


    you may be right but dj is only 21 long long long way to for him,findingthe right partnership will be crucial for next season,i feel its same in midfield i dont think its so mush they need dm player its more a leader a commander, a vocal leader and leads by example and there lots players like that in europe

  87. Ja_Gunner






    Second team





    But Vela gets left out…….he will be the FA Cup/CC cup man again…..unless ppl get injured or Ade leaves…but it doesnt seem like he is leaving.

    I would also sell Diaby as he doesnt fit in either.
    Only in the the Cesc or Rosicky position but we are full to the brim..he wont get much games..unless there injuries

  88. A

    I agree leon, though I think it’s more important to have a vocal commanding centre back. As a DM all we need is someone with real experience and tactical awareness there, though if that someone has alot of energy and power it would also be nice.

  89. A

    Ade in your first team ja?! I assume you’re being sarcastic there?!

    The one forward in our squad who’s completely incapable of playing the barca style formation we want to bring in is ade!

    Even if he doesn’t leave he’ll be our plan B, he certainly wouldn’t be in the first choice line up

  90. leon


    just look at manu they dont seam to have dm layer but they usualy so very well organised the usualy play 433 and they manage somehow

  91. A

    because all their players are strong defensively leon, and are “proper” cms. Most games this season fletcher and carrick started, or anderson. We don’t have proper centre mids, all the rest of our midfield are attacking, therefore we need a proper DM who has exceptional defensive abilities, to make up for the lack of defensive capability of our other midfielders

  92. Coadsi

    A, i do think that if Ade stays Le boss will start him. cant see him paying him that much and he is on the bench.
    while not the best choice out there i can see wenger buying Barry
    relatively cheap
    Multifunctional (MF or CB)
    plus if wenger believes in project youth he would want someone who could give him 2 good years in that position so as not to stifle song and coquelin coming thru

  93. leon


    i feel its help when you have experienced players in youre team too have players like giggs and scholes helps but evon carrik he is not dm player but he has alot of experience were as delinson and songand fab both only 21 and plus missing risisky very experienced has not helped

  94. A

    Barry wouldn’t be relatively cheap though coadsi, and he can’t play CB?! Villa said even though his contract is out in a year, they’re happy to lose him for nothing in a year, so we’d have to pay a decent price to get him, and we wouldn’t.

    Ade can’t play in the system wenger wants to play, so there’s no way that he’ll start next season, it really is as simple as that in my eyes! The only way he’ll stay is if noone wants him, or he refuses to leave, and I can’t see him refusing to leave after wenger has a chat with him. The only reason he started whenever fit this season was because of injuries and before arshavin had arrived.

  95. A

    Leon i agree that Carrick isn’t a DM – he doesn’t have the mobility to play as a DM, which is why anderson or fletcher always play alongside him, so with two deep lying disciplined midfielders they can cope without a proper dm in most situations, although the reason barca scored their first on weds night was not having a proper dm, carrick’s immobility, and anderson’s lack of tactical awareness was shown up by iniesta just walzing through the middle

  96. A

    Yep face i agree, i just want all the wheeling and dealing to be over, ade gone, yaya and lucio in, silvestre swapped with sakho, sorted!

  97. patthegooner

    I dunno A,

    The words coming out of Villa are exactly the words you would expect them to come out with. they are hardly going to say yeah we will let Barry go. They are trying to maximise the money they do get for him. I reckon he had a gentlemans agreement with O’Neill to give him one more season and then to go to a big 4 club if no CL Football.

    If he was going for 16 to 18m last summer, then it has to be less than that given the year left on his contract and unless it gets into a bidding war (At which point we should pull out) I think we could get him for around 10m which I think is a good price for a man with his ability.

    I think a lot will depend on what Gareth Barry wants to do.

  98. Coadsi

    Ok A i hear ya, i guess we will have to agree to disagree on some points.
    Yes i know Villa say they are willing to lose him for nothing but thats easier said than done. i think its just talk to indicate to the player how much he is valued.
    and although he dont play defence often barry can play there and is competent.
    I do agree Ade would not fit in that system but i cant see him staying and Bendy starting b4 him…………..but thats just me.
    No yaya for me, not that i dont think he is a great player just ACN will be a drag mid season

  99. A

    I disagree though pat – 10 mil is too much for a man of barry’s ability imo. 6 mil would be a fair price, 8 mil is possibly what we’d be willing to pay. He’s bring some experience and discipline, but is far from world class.

    He’s the sort of player we’d have around if he’d come through the ranks, or was on a free, like a parlour or fletcher, but noone would ever pay big money for that sort of player, because he wouldn’t make enough of a difference to warrant it.

  100. A

    I can see bendy starting ahead of him coadsi, i think he would have when ade returned from injury, but bendy got injured at just the wrong time, so ade had to start, and as he scored twice he couldn’t be dropped.

  101. Faceman

    not sure i agree, a

    i rate barry, he is tough tackling, has a great short and long passing game… and likes to pop though shot off at the 20 yard mark… he is a good player and has proved to be a very effective DM for capello and england.

    just not overall sure wether he is what is needed to play alongside a deep lying ball spreader like cesc.

  102. Coadsi

    i agree with u pat. the good thing about an experience player such as Barry, his attributes / attitude like taking a shot outside the box will not change. take samir for example he use to do that b4 he came to us, after the manu u game that was it.
    only thing tho pat not a penny over 10 mil, less but not more

  103. patthegooner

    I guess he could be a Marmite player then A.

    I just think that in the right team he could really shine. The big for me though is that you know what you are getting, and by that I mean the 110% effort, the tough tackling and maybe most importantly vast PL experience and Leadership.

    A year ago i would have agreed with you on the valuation but the Transfer Market has gone in the opposite direction to the credit crunch since then and I think 10 would be a good price and I am not sure what else you could get for that price that would be better than Barry.

    Maybe not World Class but then we rarely deal in World Class we just get them there…….sometimes.

  104. A

    I disagree there faceman, barry has decent short and long passing, but far from great. Nothing about him is great, he’s just decent/good all round and experienced. He doesn’t have a great shot from 20 yards, he’s only scored 1 goals from open play in the league all season, and it was a tap in!

    He’s a decent grafter, and left footed, so gives england good balance. No way he’s worth paying decent money for though, we could get someone much better for the same money from elsewhere in europe

  105. Faceman

    but would somebody from europe neccesarily fit into the pace of the premiership?

    we know barry would for a fact.

    for 10M he would be a steal.

  106. A

    We do know Barry would for a fact faceman, but he would never warrant a ten million transfer fee! Wenger would never pay that sort of money for someone who isn’t and will never be top top quality. If he was on a free or available for very little, then he’d be a good signing and a possibility, but I really can’t see wenger ever spending decent money on him, not to mention there would be no way to recoup that money. He’d suit a silvestre or suker signing, not a proper signing though, imo.

  107. patthegooner

    Who would you go for A.

    I just think we need a banker signing for DM and not someone who might make it but might not.

    Wenger did admit interest in Barry last summer and Pat Rice did phone O’neill to check his availability so there must be something in it.

  108. Coadsi

    i think he would pay that for him A if he can convince him to take low enough wages.
    again not that at his age with 1 year left on his contract is he necessarily worth that. but as stated b4 the credit crunch

  109. Faceman

    but he is the same age as arshavin, and we forked out 15 odd for him…i doubt there will be any way to recoup that in 4 years time.