We have much to race through this morning. I had a good convo about the club with a few people close to the action yesterday and without getting anything majorly exclusive, I might have some little insights that’ll help ease you into Monday morning with a smile.
Last night saw the departure of rotten egg that’s been stinking out our summer. Cesc leaves (my tribute here) for a fee closer to £40mill than the originally mooted £29mill, in a humorous twist, some of the fee went to Barca as a sell on! Don’t believe the inevitable Barca stories that they picked him up for £16.50 and an pint of orange juice. Samir will hopefully move on this week, it’d be nice to get a part ex deal going, though I doubt that will happen.
So we head into the Udinese game on Tuesday a touch worried. The fans aren’t too interested either with the match going on general sale. The club are as nervous as we are about the game and the team has apparently never been flatter going into a season. Wenger is looking ill for a reason, he’s stressed out of his mind. Losing his two best players was a shock to the system. I think he believed in his waning miracle persuasion powers this summer. The ones that kept Paddy and Henry with us for so long. Sadly, they failed him.
However, this isn’t the time to sulk. Tickets for major September games have gone out to red membership, this was previously unheard of. Box tickets are being broken out into £6000 individual seats because they didn’t sell them all. The club exchange is packed with tickets from fans who are picking and choosing their games.
Ivan will be communicating this to Wenger. In my opinion, if Wenger chooses to roll with this squad without bolstering and it goes down the toilet, he won’t last till Christmas. Chants like the one the away fans have been singing will become contagious, and as Gazidis said, Wenger is accountable to the fans.
(Just a thought, but if he is intent on sticking with project youth against the wishes of everyone, why not stick a performance related break in his contract? If you fall outside the top 6, you can leave next summer without us having to pay out £21mill in fees. See how much faith he has then!)
Arsenal are apparently renegotiating deals with Nike now, I also believe we’re in negotiations about the shirt sponsor as well. You’ll never get a better deal with those two if your team can’t draw a home crowd.
Basically, Wenger needs to show some intent. He’ll bring in the best part of £60mill for Nasri and Cesc, he has £7mill for Clichy, he’ll have £4mill for Eboue and £10mill for Bendtner. Minus the fee for AOC which I was told was 5-6mill with add ons that if triggered would mean we had a player and a half our hands, Jenkinson £1.5mill and £12mill Gervinho… That gives us £100mill (factoring the £40mill we already had) to play with. Substantial even for an Oligarch.
That cash serves no purpose sitting in the bank. Unless of course Arsenal plan on giving dividends (Geoff would be pleased)?
If Arsene shows intent, the fans will get off his back, the players will get an injection of confidence and there will be a bit of buzz about the ground. Kenny hasn’t bought world-class players in, but he’s bought back the belief to Liverpool. That’s after flogging Torres.
We can do the same. If he brings in Jadson and Mata, we’ve bought two players who can sit in the hole behind Robin. Not sure how good the Brazilian is but he’s got a Brazil cap and Eastern Europe isn’t the worst league. Rumour has it we’ll take the Cahill transfer as close to the line as possible while our defence is relatively stable. We could pick up him for £12mill and that would give us a good back 4. The feeling still is that Kozzer is a good player and I’m on that thought train. I’ve also been told Squillaci isn’t the sort to hang around if he’s surplus, he’d rather play football so don’t be surprised to see him slip out the back door to PSG (or someone like that) if we sign a centre back. Almunia should follow suit.
Next in we’ll need a top quality striker in and I’m talking top quality. Benzema is still at Madrid but so was an insistent RvDV last year. If they sign Llorente or someone expensive like that, we could make a move that would get the whole club going!
Gervinho and Chamakh aren’t sharp enough to fill in for Robin at the moment which is a worry for Tuesday. I think Wenger is settling for Alex Song, Frimpong and Diaby in that holding role, bad luck there. The other bit of good news is that Ryo is supposedly impressing everyone in training, when he’s let loose, he’ll cause some damage. That’s real pace we have off the bench and generally speaking, playing wide is one position you can get away with little experience.
So there you have it. Implement those changes, most or which look to be in the pipeline or under consideration and you’d have to say, we’d be contenders. We’re clearing almost 600k off the weekly wage bill and redistributing it to players who will make a difference to the team, the commercials and the managers longevity.
What about another positive? How about key learnings from the weekend? Chelsea looked ok but lacked any punch. United looked awful, Rio is out for 6 weeks with a hammy, at his age that could easily be 8 to 10. Vidic is injured as is Rafael. As for the keeper? Well jeez, I heard he weighed 9.5 stone, and judging how he was bullied by slight players like Shane Long that numbers wouldn’t surprise me. He let a soft goal in and he’s poor at commanding his area. Compare him to our monster and the difference is clear! Liverpool played a lot better than I’ve seen in a while but they still lack overall squad quality and Carragher is an issue they haven’t solved.
The league is there or the taking again, some smart moves and a bit of luck and we could be contending. Inaction and belief in the squad is not an option. Internal recruitment cannot be permitted, if we continue down the path we are it could end in a disastrous way and in my opinion, no vision as pure and naive as Wenger’s deserves that treatment.
End it on a high Arsene, then we’ll sell the script rights to Hollywood and roll out a film called Mental Strength… Though it has to be said, I can’t promise I’ll see it (get the reference? No? Ok… ignore that joke and move on).
Have a great day Grover’s match preview tomorrow!
Oh, and no creeping up Cesc’s back passage on Twitter, or his little sister. Man up and unfollow, he’s dead to us now.
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