Some exclusive insight into what’s going on | Cheerio Cesc… Cheerio Samir

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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.

[twitter-follow screen_name=’LeGrove’ show_count=’yes’]

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963 Responses to “Some exclusive insight into what’s going on | Cheerio Cesc… Cheerio Samir”

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  1. Colonel Mustard

    “The Frenchman added: “Ideally I want Nasri to stay but, as much as we were in a strong position on the contract side with Cesc, the situation is a bit different, but hopefully we can sort it out. I would like to keep Samir.”’

    look grim for nasri. well he does have man city DNA…..faceplant…

  2. Goonerfied85

    I did not even notice Nasri said congratulations in his tweet what a prick.

    Ramsey & Wilshire said good luck which is far enough but to say contratulations is a stupid thing to say.

  3. Yandi

    “We can still bring one or two players as we are a bit short”

    I can’t believe that. One or two? More like four or five! He really is fucking oblivious to what’s actually wrong with this Arsenal team. Every passing press conference is just evidence of him pulling further away from reality, going senile. My God. Words can’t describe how low I feel as a Gooner right. Its painful honestly. Starting a season knowing your club hasn’t a hope in hell of winning anything. And knowing how preventable all this crap is. Hope springs enternal, but not this time. Not this fucking time. Wenger’s brought the club to it’s knees with his fucking about and inept management. Arsenal won’t win a fucking thing this year, or the next as long as Arsene Wenger is in charge. And you can take that shit to the bank… and cash it.

  4. Maciek

    I really fear Udine will knock us out and all the money from the Fab and Nasri sale will be used to gap the hole created by this fact.

    What a joke of a Club we are now.

  5. nuudles

    Pasman, defensively we should be ok as long as Chezzer, Tommy & Kozzer play (and Clichy does not play, lol). We have much more problems in the midfield and upfront with Nasri & RvP unavailable, Jack out & Rosicky doubtful.

    Add to that our reluctance to use Bendy because we dont want to cup tie him and Chamakh’s poor form and our general inexperience/understanding as a team is really low given the young & new players.

    That leaves us with the following relatively experienced players: Song, Ramsey (limited CL games), Arsh, Theo, Gerv (no CL experience, new in the team so little understanding), Vela (little game time with the others), Chamakh (poor form)

    Inexperienced/young players: Frimpong, Lansbury, AOC, Afobe

    Like I said before I think my preferred lineup would be:
    Song-Ramsey
    Arsh
    Theo-Chamakh/Gerv-Gerv/Vela

    Yes Chamakh is in poor form but we have not used Gerv as a CF and I dont know how well he will be able to link up & hold up the ball just yet.

    Arsh in the hole can give us that spark of creativity but he needs to be focussed and not give the ball away so easily with wayward passes. Because he is tricky it may draw defenders onto him creating space for the front 3. Alternatively we can play Ramsey there but I dont think Frimpong or Lansbury are ready to play alongside Song in such a high pressure game just yet. Would prefer it if they were eased into it in the early cup games or when we are ahead against the likes of Swansea/QPR/etc.

  6. Gunner4Real

    nuudles, you are right, There is certainly a monetary element to his decisions,but you must agree that the lack silver ware or any action by the club to show ambition makes it even tougher to commit to the club.

    Man City seems a good prospect for most players because of the sort of acquisitions they are making and matched with ridiculous wage. Time will tell if it will be successful in the long run.

    I am told he was offered a new deal at the beginning of his last 2 years, so the question to Arsenal is why wait till now? Has the club learnt nothing from experience (Flamini)?

    Like most of us will do, Nasri is just looking out for Nasri.

  7. Yandi

    Pasman

    Are you fucking mental? Resting Sagna and playing Jenkinson in a Champions League qualifier against Udinese? What’s the fucking sense in that?

  8. Arse&Nose©

    Bade- yes I believe we will qualify for the CL, and get to the last 16

    Nuddles -can’t reply to Na$ri on twitter anymore, the coward has deleted his posts! but DarrenArsenal1 got in a great reply to him

    “You are a footnote in #arsenal history. And one that NOBODY will miss. As the saying goes “Money Talks and Bullshit Walks””

  9. Matt

    We were 2 or 3 players away before losing Cesc and Nasri!!

    If Wenger had any idea about fan feeling then he and the rest of the board would be workign around the clock to try and make some signings that would boost the moral of not just the fans but also the team!!

  10. nuudles

    G4R, if he did not hit a patch of mediocrity during the second half of last season we might have had silverware. I agree on the point about lack of action but just like Rooney and many others it is 90%+ based on the money.

    I know he came out about 2 months ago and said we shouldnt listen to the newspapers and the rumours…

  11. Andy T

    Jenkinson??
    I got 1 in the departure lounge already thinking this fixture with Udinese. If Jenkinson starts i will actually shite my pants!

    Is it true RVP is injured?

  12. Yandi

    rob green

    What do you mean? He has to be congratulated. Fabregas has earned his move to a big club. He’s served his purpose at Arsenal. We earned a big fat profit off him, didn’t we? Now he can go to a club that actually has ambitions to win shit and we can add to our already bulging bank balance, and most importantly Wenger can once again be proud of another transfer surplus. All concerned parties are satisfied.

  13. zeus

    How could it be monetary? Dude foregoes his loyalty bonus (millions) and signs a contract for a salary deduction.

  14. nuudles

    A&N, thanks, thats a brilliant reply by Darren. The sad thing about Nasri is he could have been a legend for us, he showed early in the season he has fight and unbelievable skill, unfortunately it seems like he is a mercenary and cannot keep his game at the high level for extended periods.

  15. nuudles

    zues, we are talking about Nasri not Cesc, the Cesc ship has sailed, yes his was not monetary.

    SAGoon, at work, no youtube 🙁 whats the vid on?

  16. Sabeel

    Cesc Fabregas Interview today – seems to be fine

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/aug/15/cesc-fabregas-signs-barcelona-arsenal

    Cesc Fábregas left London with tears in his eyes and urged Arsenal to stick with Arsène Wenger – describing the coach as “the best person I have met in football”. The Catalan also insisted that Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey have the talent to take control of Arsenal’s midfield for the future. Wilshere, he said, will be the England captain within three years and that Ramsey is on course to become Arsenal’s “next star”.

    The saga finally came to an end on Monday when Fábregas was at long last presented as a Barcelona player after a three-year pursuit. He said that he was very happy to fulfil a childhood dream but admitted that there were “mixed emotions.” He admitted that the frustration of not winning anything in the last six years weighed heavily and revealed that he had been unable to articulate his gratitude during his last meeting with Wenger without crying.

    “I spoke to [Wenger] on Friday to say goodbye and got very emotional because he has been like a father figure,” Fábregas said. “I couldn’t even talk when I wanted to say how grateful I was for what he has done to me, so I had to send a message afterwards saying thanks for everything. If it was not for him I would not be here today to live my dream. I will never have enough words to say how grateful I am. I went from being a boy to a man and they gave me absolutely everything in football. I have mixed emotions. Life goes on: Arsenal will always be there, the fans will always be there. Players come and go; the club will always be bigger than them.”

    “At Arsenal, there were finals and semi-finals but we always lacked that little extra push to win something. That was hard to take. It was not that we didn’t win titles it was that we kept going through the same routine, the same things happening to us and us messing up. I gave everything for Arsenal but it didn’t show in the [trophy] cabinet because I only won one FA Cup. That is the biggest regret I will have in my career – not to be able to lift a trophy as Arsenal captain.”

    Fábregas also noted his sadness at the way that he ultimately left the Emirates. “I will have time to talk about [my departure]. I am sure I will do an interview especially for them [the Arsenal fans] at some stage,” he said. “I am sorry I couldn’t say anything for the last two and half months, Arsenal would not allow me to talk, I was disappointed and upset about that but it had to be like that. I still have, personally, a great relationship with them and I am disappointed to have maybe lost [the affection of] some of the fans.

    “I am sorry I couldn’t say anything, I am sorry. I was very, very sad to be leaving. I spent a third of my life there – eight years.”

    Despite those frustrations, Fábregas added: “If Arsenal want to keep being the club they have been, they must always remain under his [Wenger’s] control because he is the best and everyone respects him. He will always be the best person I have met in football.” He also insisted that Arsenal have the squad to continue to compete.

    “But I am sure that they will be a strong team again – they are one of the biggest teams in the world. They will be OK without me as they were without Vieira, without Henry, without Bergkamp,” Fábregas said.

    “There is not even a question [over whether or not Arsenal’s midfield is in good hands]. I have seen them play for years, both Aaron and Jack. Jack will be the England captain in the next two or three years, there is no doubt. You don’t have to be a magician to see that. He has the passing game and he will be an even better player in the future. There is not even a question in my mind about that. As for Aaron: his engine is unbelievable, his final ball will get better and he will be the next big star at Arsenal. They are winners and they will be amazing for the club for sure.”

  17. timao

    I really fear for our Champion’s League campaign. Every time we’ve faced a crucial run of games in the last few years it’s almost always gone horribly wrong. I find it hard to see us picking up more than a point against Liverpool and Man Utd and being dumped out of Champions League as well. I have never felt so pessimistic. Even if we signed three world-class players today it’s hard to see how they could influence this run of games.

    And what the hell is going on with Myachi? He has a special talent license to play but no visa. Who organises these things at Arsenal? No doubt someone with a ‘special’ intelligence.

  18. dare

    i think Nasri can still sign a contrat with our club.He said he is still an Arsenal player and that’s a good thing to hear.I watched Hazard last night against Monpelier and I believe if our manager still thinks he can’t improve our squad he must be as the french themself would say”deliré”. No club can be successful without seriousely investing in the sqaud no matter how strong is your accademy. i think in the World Barça has the best accademy yet they spent more than 50M to improve a squad than won almost everything wethout selling anyone in their first eleven.I think Wenger is really not mad.He is a sane man in his own way.the mad ones are those who still believe HE KNOWS BEST

  19. Martin Hayes Never Missed

    I just don’t get how you can have a weaker squad than the previous year and keep a bank full of cash, without expecting repercussions from the paying punters who’s seasons tickets have gone up!

    Tomorrow night is going to be beautiful! Can’t wait for a Journo to point out to him that the fans booing is for him! Ignorant twat.

  20. Thomas. It's up for grabs now!

    Andy T. RVP is suspended for the 1st Leg as is Nasri… Pity that… as we would pretty well know if he was leaving if he was available but not selected against Udinese. Man City do not want a cup-tied player!

  21. bade the gooner (bernard)

    arse&nose,

    i hope you’r right mate, though i have my doubts mate…….

    i’ll be delighted that i might bother to travel and watch us knocking barca in the second tie in the emirates, while cesc warming the bench he barely met when played in an arsenal shirt……

    SACK ARSENE!

  22. Spanish Dave

    Wenger will not buy a replacement for cesc he thinks Jack is his replacement so he will not buy anyone in case it stops his development. He will also do the opposite to what the fans think as he will not listen to anyone he knows best!!
    After Nasri goes so must our manager but he won’t until the defeats come which will be soon. He is frightened of a big name signing because such a player may not be in tune to the tippy tappy style. I have had a gut full of this man he will drag us down before he goes.

  23. Yandi

    nuudles

    Chamakh’s not in poor form. He’s a horendous player, period. Play Alex Song up front! The fucker already thinks he’s Baggio doesn’t he… What’s the worst that could possibly happen?? We already have no fucking chance of winning the competition.

  24. SAGoon

    Its just the away fans from NUFC singing Nasri’s song, except along the lines of NA NA NA Sami you’re a c**t, you’re a c**nt. SAMI YOU’RE A C**T!! I think it was tweeted to Nasri by @DarrenArsenal1 or @RedArmy49.

  25. nuudles

    Decent interview from Cesc, how much of it is PR spinning we will not know but I think (or like to think) that it is his true feelings.

    Good to hear his views on Jack & Aaron & see him single them out for praise. Cesc has always been close to Wenger so maybe he is also sort of speaking on behalf of Wenger.

    Timao, I believe Miyachi had to go to Japan to finalise the last formalities over his VISA, he has been granted a special talent permit which I believe entitles him to apply for a more permanent work VISA (which he had to go do). I think the process will be expedited and Wenger said we will not have him for the Newcastle or Udinese game, so hopefully he can be with us for the Liverpool game (dont expect him to start though).

  26. goonermart

    Wenger the checky c**t, saying ‘the players need the support of our fans’, We do support them, just not you wenger you mad c**t.

  27. nuudles

    Yandi, Chamakh is not the answer, but he was half decent (still far away from being good enough to be our first choice) for the first half of last season. He played with much more confidence and as a result he scored a handful of goals, yes a lot of them were poacher’s goals but still.

    That Chamakh can add something to our team and be a half decent back-up to RvP as long as we dont have to rely on him for extended periods (dont think he is good enough to score enough goals over an extended period). I agree with you we are better off playing Almunia as our striker than the current Chamakh but if Chamakh manages to have 2-3 decent games and score a goal or 2 then we might see a different player. It also has a lot to do with what the manager can get out of a player, I dont like Fergie but he gets a lot out of some of his average players and I am sure his second choice CF would not be out of form for so long… There are many ways to instil self-confidence in a player, Wenger has not tried hard enough (maybe because we had RvP available and Chamakh was not really needed, but that is still not a valid excuse, we need Chamakh tomorrow and he is terribly out of form)

  28. ardentgooner

    Why is bendtner in the official photos and having a nice time with Wenger….laughing? Could he be staying….i wouldn’t mind him staying if played as striker….

  29. nuudles

    thanks SAGoon, with what wenger said that it was easier to be tough on the Cesc situation because his contract was longer leads me to believe it is highly unlikely that we will keep Nasri unless he extends and if he wanted to extend why would he not have done so earlier unless he is waiting for Wenger to sign Benzema/similar (which is highly unlikely)

  30. WTL Gazidis £1.7m Per Annum - Cause Hes Worth It!

    Nuddles –

    Where are you getting the extended quotes from or did you watch the interview.

    Fuck me Arsene is like crack, even though he drags me into a vortex of darkness I cant resist watching him talk absolute shite.

  31. kwik fit

    Today is a sad sad day for our great club. We have lost one of the greatest players in the clubs history. But all the same good luck Eboue!

  32. choy

    Our world class captain has left 🙁

    It might take him just 2 days to lift a trophy!

    Rosicky played 1 game and he’s already facing a fitness test!

    SOS!

  33. SAGoon

    Nuudles, he wont sign. Id rather bet on the Boks to win the Tri-Nations. Well, i wouldnt sign after id seen what the fans think of me in video format. Strange, the new song has a better ring to it.

  34. James Wood

    I would take Sean Wright Phillips in a flash-he’s been on fire pre season.
    He’s better than WALNUT who continous to DISSAPOINT.?
    Would a swap deal work on the Nasri issue,or are he’s wage demands a problem-he would get you goals,but i think a top centre forward is still VITAL ,i see the same old problems of no one to ban
    in a goal ,so frustrating.

  35. nuudles

    SAGoon, janee die bokke is pateties 🙂

    Reportedly Nasri and Benzema are BFFs so I think if Wenger signs Benzema (which will not happen seeing how Benzema is now Real’s new first choice CF) there is a small possibility that Nasri will extend, but Benzema will not sign (Real will not sell him) and Nasri will not extend.

  36. nuudles

    WTL:

    Colonel Mustard says:
    August 15, 2011 at 14:59
    “The Frenchman added: “Ideally I want Nasri to stay but, as much as we were in a strong position on the contract side with Cesc, the situation is a bit different, but hopefully we can sort it out. I would like to keep Samir.”’

    look grim for nasri. well he does have man city DNA…..faceplant…
    —————————————-

    that is what I was referring to, I didnt watch the interview so I assumed he got it from there.

  37. ZARgooner

    on another note anyone know where i can download that Danny Grafy Arsenal anthem – want to make it my ring tone 🙂

  38. nuudles

    the bok coach and Arsene would get along pretty well, what with him saying how he deserves a medal and all, haha

    ok Im off

  39. WTL Gazidis £1.7m Per Annum - Cause Hes Worth It!

    Nuddles –

    Its just not the same without me seeing him say it with that smile on his face where he thinks he is the smartest man on the planet!

    No just kiddin, cheers.

  40. Arse&Nose©

    It is a sad sad day for Arsenal, hope the staff and team can lift themselves for tomorrow. Procrastinating over transfers is punishing us now.

  41. peman33

    fuck just realised that if we have a bad result on tues putting our champions league campaign in doubt, how is wenger gona sign world class players, 60mil or not???!

  42. goonbubba

    Eboue going.. Thank the Lord. What a prize clown. Never took a game seriously and embarrased the club with his diving. A complete twat.

  43. Thomas

    What the hell happened to this club? We went from being one of the most respected clubs in Europe to a laughing stock. =/

  44. SAGoon

    Haha Nuudles ek se jou boet. Ah well, it looks like a bit of a stalemate for the Nasri/Benzema situation. Where in SA do you stay mate? Cause if youre ever looking for a place to watch we’ve got a great supporters club in Joburg

  45. Nick

    I like naz but what does he expect from the fans he sticks two fingers up and flirts with both mank shit baggs and thinks the fans will cheer him 😐 fuck me they are deluded sign a contract and we will support him dont and his just another player with cesc gone he could be the main man and go down as a great or he could leave and be in a team full of wasted ptential only to be replaced by the next big thing at the drop of a hat weird what makes some people tick

  46. arsenesabemejor

    When veteran sports executives Ivan Gazidis and Tom Fox left for the U.K. two years ago to run the business side of Arsenal, one of the most prominent and profitable franchises in the world, the presumption by many in the U.S. was that their American-style management would immediately boost the business to an even higher level.

    The results so far are mixed.

    Gazidis, the former deputy commissioner of MLS, has won praise as Arsenal’s CEO for helping the club navigate the Great Recession and emerge debt free. But he’s also collected criticism as the team raised ticket prices and struggled to sign new players.

    Fox, the former head of sports marketing at Gatorade, earned recognition as Arsenal’s commercial director for remodeling the club’s suites and building out its commercial department. But he’s also been questioned as

    STUART MACFARLANE / ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB (2)
    Ivan Gazidis (top) and Tom Fox have spent the last two years taking steps to position Arsenal to increase commercial income. the club failed to sign new sponsors and generate new revenue.

    “We knew it would be a great challenge and a real learning experience,” Fox said. “For eight years, the club was focused on transforming itself through concrete and pouring a new stadium. We’re focused on transforming it through people, and none of us thought that would be easy or fast. The changing of a culture takes time. ”

    U.K. sports executives and Arsenal supporters remain undecided about the duo’s performance.

    “The perception is that they’re doing pretty well,” said Rick Parry, the former CEO of Liverpool. “The big issue and the big challenge for Arsenal is to start winning something. That’s what fills your stadium and sells your replica shirt. It’s that perennial challenge of being run wisely and sensibly, which they clearly are, and spending to have a competitive team.”

    Tim Payton, a spokesman for the club’s fan organization, the Arsenal Supporters Trust, said, “There’s definite concern among Arsenal fans about performance of the club both on the field and off the field.”

    Gazidis and Fox, who opened their third season with the club on Saturday, are acutely aware of that. They face perhaps more pressure than any other club to generate enough revenue to support their team.

    Arsenal is the only team in the top seven of Deloitte’s Football Money League, which ranks soccer clubs based on total revenue, to be operating a self-sustaining model that pays for players exclusively from the revenue the team generates annually. It does so even as competitors like Manchester United and Real Madrid fund player acquisitions through debt, and rivals like Chelsea and Manchester City fund acquisitions out of their wealthy owners’ pockets.

    Click here for a roundup of key issues facing each EPL franchise

    “The ability to stand on our own two feet and not depend on anyone for our success gives us the ability to plan for the future with confidence,” Gazidis said. “It can be challenging because we’re in a market not constrained by salary caps, but the reason we believe in it is not just because creating something rather than buying it drives pride, but also because it gives you the capability to say, ‘Arsenal will be competing at the top of world football now, five years from now, 10 years from now.’”

    Gazidis takes pride in leading one of the few clubs that can say that. The key going forward will be making sure he can continue to say that.

    GETTY IMAGES
    Arsenal’s jersey sponsorship is reportedly worth less than half of Manchester United’s deal with insurer Aon. Right now, the club depends on Emirates Stadium, which opened in 2006, for more than a third of its annual revenue, according to Deloitte. The $152.5 million it generates annually from the new venue is the third highest matchday revenue total worldwide. But the club lags far behind its peers on the sponsorship sales front.

    Manchester United and FC Barcelona brought in $133 million and $166 million, respectively, in sponsorship revenue in 2011, while Arsenal brought in just $71 million. Arsenal has just eight sponsors, and its jersey sponsorship reportedly is worth less than half of Manchester United’s deal with the insurer Aon.

    The state of the club’s commercial operations is both Gazidis’ and Fox’s greatest challenge and their greatest opportunity. The duo knows their commercial operations are underdeveloped compared to their peers, and they’ve spent the last two years taking the steps to position Arsenal to sustain its matchday revenue and increase commercial income. They have built a sponsorship sales and servicing division, revamped premium seating, enhanced membership packages and taken the club on an international tour for the first time in 12 years. They expect all of those efforts to begin paying off this season with increased revenue.

    “We’ve created a five-year business plan that we’re ahead of target to achieve,” Fox said. “The real proof will be in the next two or three years as the plan we put in place begins to gel.”

    ■ ■ ■ ■

    Ivan Gazidis had been approached before by Premier League clubs interested in hiring him as CEO, but none of the opportunities interested him until Arsenal came calling in 2008. The club, one of the league’s elite, was steeped in tradition and history. It had won 13 first division titles, 10 English Football Association Cups and held the record for the longest unbeaten streak in the EPL.

    “Opportunities like that come along less than once in a lifetime,” Gazidis said.

    He joined the club at an opportune time. Arsenal was three years into a new stadium, it had a manager in Arsène Wenger with a track record of success, and it had a brand that was recognized worldwide. Those pieces gave him a foundation to build on, and he thought they would give him a cushion as he adjusted to his first job as a top team executive.

    But when Gazidis arrived in London in January 2009, he discovered Arsenal wasn’t in quite as good a shape as it appeared. The team was facing serious financial pressures as a result of the recession.

    Arsenal had taken on $500 million in debt to finance its move from Highbury Park to nearby Emirates, and it had planned to pay off those loans by converting the old stadium into an apartment complex called Highbury Square. When the financial and housing markets tanked, Arsenal simultaneously faced pressure from lenders to repay loans and struggled to sell the apartments to generate the money to cover its debts.

    Gazidis worked with the banks to reschedule the loans, which bought the club a year to get its fiscal house in order. It went on to sell 362 private apartments at Highbury Square and generate $300 million. The money allowed Arsenal to repay half of its debt by the end of 2010. It finished repaying the loans this year, and profits from the remaining nine apartments now go straight to the club’s bottom line.

    “That wasn’t a strategic issue or an issue of setting a new direction for the club, but it was one of the most pressing,” Gazidis said.

    Paying down the debt freed Gazidis to develop a strategy for Arsenal’s growth. He believed that the next phase would be driven by people, and he wanted to overhaul the staff to position it for the future.

    The club that he took over had about 200 employees, but it was so focused on developing its new stadium that it lacked many of the fundamental pieces of an American front office. It didn’t have a general counsel, a director of communications, a human resources department or a head of IT, and Gazidis set about filling all of those positions.

    One of his most important hires was Fox, who joined the club in August 2009 as commercial director. Gazidis had known Fox by reputation in the U.S. but never worked with him. He wound up selecting Fox from a pool of dozens of candidates because Fox shared his belief that the best way to develop Arsenal’s commercial potential was to raise the profile of the brand and then drive revenue through strategic sponsorships with companies that share the club’s values.

    “We think that’s where the value of the brand lies,” Gazidis said. “Not in real estate, not in selling impressions, but in real partnerships.”

    ■ ■ ■ ■

    Fox was given nearly 10 months to make sense of the English Premier League and evaluate Arsenal’s commercial operation. The learning curve was steep.

    Like Gazidis, he had no team experience. The bulk of his career in sports was built on the brand side with marketing stints at Nike, Pepsi and Gatorade. He not only needed to learn the team business, he needed to understand the team business in a different country.

    He quickly was overwhelmed by the differences between the EPL and U.S. sports leagues. For example, the EPL plays 380 games a year, with 138 broadcast live and 142 games not shown at all. He could not wrap his mind around the fact that Arsenal games on Saturdays at 3 p.m. weren’t televised. Similarly, he saw that the team had a season-ticket waiting list of 40,000 fans and thought the club was leaving money on the table by not maximizing demand.

    “You look at those two things as a U.S. sports executive and you think two things: one, you’re not charging enough for tickets, and two, you’re leaving money on the table by not showing games on TV,” Fox said. “I spent a lot of time trying to understand that.”

    It took Fox time to appreciate that Arsenal had one of the highest season-ticket prices in the EPL, practically double what its London rival Chelsea charged, and to understand that the broadcast restraints were designed because, in a small country like the U.K., it was nearly impossible to develop the type of local territory rights that allowed the Boston Red Sox to launch their own TV network.

    Once he developed a sense of the market, Fox began to develop a business plan. He recognized that the commercial department’s most immediate need was new personnel. The club had just one sponsorship-sales executive and one sponsorship-servicing executive. Fox added five people in each department, including a new head of partnership, Vinai Venkatesham, who came from the 2012 London Olympic Organizing Committee.

    The club’s partners immediately began to notice a difference.

    “With the success of Arsenal and the excellent Emirates Stadium which they built, it was always going to be difficult for new joiners, like Ivan and Tom, to make a big difference, but for us, as soon as Ivan was appointed, we noticed a modern marketing mentality that would lead the club to the next level, then later with Tom I can say we enjoyed one of our best relationship we have with any of our football clubs, a model all football organizations and clubs must adapt if they want to move on towards better future,” said Boutros Boutros, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president corporate communications.

    The club also began overhauling its premium seating area. Fox recognized that Arsenal’s club section had a high amount of season-ticket churn. It was clear to him that the relatively barren look and feel of the clubs had become stale and offered fans little more than a warm place to spend time during halftime of a winter game. He looked to remodel the club level so it would appeal to a wider spectrum of fans.

    For the most affluent club member, Arsenal created two high-end restaurants that offer five-course meals before every match at a price of $7,500 a season.

    For the club member interested in a bite and a beer before the match, Arsenal converted a barren club room into a traditional sports bar, featuring portraits of past players commissioned from graphic artist Tavis Coburn and rows row of flat-screen TVs. Per caps are up 16 percent in the area since the remodel.

    “Arsenal, now with Tom there, are probably the best hosts in London,” said Fred Popp, the former CEO of SME and the founder of Teamup, a European sports marketing agency. “The amenities that are available are so much more consumer appropriate for the fan segments they serve.”

    Boutros agreed, adding, “We like what they have done in the new commercial hospitality areas, and the product offering at Emirates Stadium is second to none.”

    The other incremental change Fox made after coming on board was to restructure Arsenal’s multimedia operations. Before his arrival, the media operations were divided into two businesses: a print publication business and a broadband venture. Under his direction, Arsenal created a single content group and signed an agreement with MP & Silva. The international sports media company pays Arsenal an upfront, multimedia rights fee, and they co-produce and distribute digital content. The deal has helped Arsenal expand its content, which Fox and Gazidis believe will drive the type of Web traffic that will keep fans connected to the club and allow them to increase revenue.

    “What you’re seeing us do is … using modern technologies to find ways to engage with our global audience personally,” Gazidis said. “These are ways we can create communities, Arsenal communities, and we’re finding those communities can connect fans with the clubs very personally.”

    This season, Arsenal eliminated the company’s broadband subscription offering, which had 30,000 subscribers paying approximately $70 a year, and added broadband service to the club’s membership service by increasing the price $8 on average to approximately $60. The hope is that the additional content will reduce churn among members, who buy in order to have the opportunity to buy individual match tickets, and expand the 190,000 membership base to include international fans.

    “Suddenly, membership’s become about more than getting access to the stadium,” Fox said. “Now, they have another reason to be a member.”

    ■ ■ ■ ■

    For all of Gazidis’ and Fox’s recent efforts, Arsenal’s soccer business saw its revenue decrease from $364 million to $360 million between 2009 and 2010, and the pressure to improve revenue significantly has increased.

    Fan criticism has soared since last season, when Arsenal won only one league game in March and April. Fans are unhappy with the team’s delay in selling player Cesc Fabregas, who wants to join FC Barcelona, and its struggle to sign new players to fill holes in the defense and midfield. The club’s manager, Arsène Wenger, has come under fire, as well.

    Fans know Gazidis doesn’t control the on-the-field product, which is managed exclusively by Wenger, but he still is held accountable for the team’s performance because the more money the front office generates, the more the club will have to buy players.

    Gazidis has said sponsorship revenue is the most important growth area for Arsenal, but the club has been slow to increase its list of sponsors in the last two years. It signed its first new partner in two years when it closed a multimillion-dollar deal with home appliance manufacturer Indesit last spring.

    The Indesit deal gives Arsenal a total of eight partners. By comparison, Manchester United, which generates the most commercial revenue of any Premier League club, according to Deloitte, has 21 partners, including separate telecom partners in India, South Africa, Malaysia and other markets.

    Arsenal’s opportunity for sponsorship growth is limited by both external and internal restraints. Externally, the club is locked into its two biggest deals with Emirates, its jersey sponsor, and Nike, its uniform supplier, through 2014. Internally, Gazidis and Fox have advocated taking a slow approach in which they have a limited number of blue chip corporate partners.

    “We want to find the companies that fit with us, our values and approach, and there’s the other side of that, which is we believe we’ll do the best jobs for those companies if our values are aligned,” Fox said. “We’re not trying to sell inventory as much as we’re trying to identify what their businesses need to be successful and how we can help get them there.”

    The combination of the long-term agreements and the executives’ business strategy has put Arsenal in a difficult position and made the fan base restless.

    “Liverpool has moved past us (in commercial sales),” Payton said. “(Tottenham Hotspur) have new deals. It will get worse and worse for us until 2014.”

    It’s also led observers to advocate waiting a few more years to evaluate the performance of Gazidis and Fox.

    “I would judge them on what foundation is being created to be successful long term,” said Jeff Plush, the president of the Colorado Rapids and a member of Arsenal’s multimedia board. “There’s no question that’s happening.”

    As they work to grow Arsenal’s commercial revenue, Gazidis and Fox will benefit from the club’s new ownership stability. Stan Kroenke, who owns the St. Louis Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids, this year put an end to a protracted struggle for majority ownership by accumulating a 62 percent stake in the team.

    Kroenke supports the Arsenal executives’ vision for the club as Gazidis and Fox try to catch up with Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United by taking the Arsenal brand into new markets. They convinced Wenger this summer to take the club on its first international tour in 12 years.

    “That’s real progress that they managed to get the team on an Asian tour,” said Bruce Bundrant, Liverpool Football Club’s head of commercial partnerships. “It strengthens your relationship with fans in core markets around the world and helps grow fan base.”

    The tour helped the club collect data from 260,000 fans across Asia. Fox’s department is marketing to those people in hopes of convincing them to become club members. The department also is selling the passion of that Asian fan base to international companies.

    Fox said the trip changed several sponsorship discussions because it underscored the value of the Arsenal brand overseas. He credited the trip with helping them close a deal with two new partners. It last week announced a new deal with Carlsburg, its first global beer partner, and expects to announce another partnership this week. It also closed a renewal, Fox said.

    “It was a very successful overseas tour,” Payton said, but he added, there’s still “huge pressure” on Gazidis and Fox.

    After two years, the two imports from the U.S. are fully aware of the pressure, but it’s not something that they spend time worrying about.

    “We’ve put together a five-year business plan for a reason,” Fox said. “We knew we had to upgrade the infrastructure and change the culture. We think we’re headed in the right direction and at the right pace. We’re incredibly confident we’ll get there and reach our goals.”

  47. Gunner4Real

    Are you watching the game tomorrow? Are you going to support Arsenal? Do you want Arsenal to win?

    I believe the answer to all 3 questions from most fans is YES.

    So, why is it that on the eve of a crucial game, there is only negatives about the team? Why can’t you support these boys and if they fall short after your full support,you can moan.

    I don’t think we were top of the pick for Udinese. Their fans would be just as worried as ours, but we can make it easier for them by getting on the back of our team.

    Let’s stop making Udinese look like a great team. They were 4th in the Italian league. Lost their captain (sound familiar), lost one of their biggest star as well.

    The boys that will play tomorrow can beat this team.

  48. zeus

    The midfielder finally completed his move to the Champions League winners after two-year pursuit, and he revealed his deep respect for his former manager as he was unveiled at Camp Nou.

    “Wenger is a special person,” said Fabregas.

    “For me, he will be like a second father. I will never be able to thank him enough for all he did for me.

    “He is a great person and I will always be thankful. I have a special relationship with him and we have spoken a lot.

    “He did not want me to leave, not for £50 million or £80m. But my will has always been to come back here and my wish was decisive. I know that I might have harmed Arsenal’s plans but I am sure they will fix it.”

    The Spanish international joined Arsenal from Barcelona as a 16-year-old and was keen to express his gratitude to those people who pushed for his homecoming, before declaring that he is ready to fight for a place with the world’s best.

    “I thank all of those who have worked for me to be here today,” added Fabregas.

    “I know that I left, and that it is not easy to trust a player who was gone one day. I also have to thank the head coach, who was the one showing interest in having me.

    “I have suffered a lot not knowing about my future and it has been a few hard days for me. Happiness is maximum for me right now.

    “A few years ago I was not ready to come back, but now I know that it is the right moment to compete with the best players in the world. I am not afraid. I like challenges.”

    Barcelona meet Real Madrid on Wednesday evening in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup and Fabregas says that he is ready to make his debut at Camp Nou if Pep Guardiola selects him.

    He continued: “I am physically fit and I am ready to play. It will be Guardiola’s decision, but he can count on me.”
    *******

    He is fit. So he was on strike.

  49. naija soccer

    The love that most Arsenal fans have for fabregas is so huge that I predict some of them becoming barcelona fans just to watch cesc perform…………….. Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal would still be there number 1 team but barcelona suddenly becomes a new attraction.

    Nostradamus has spoken…

  50. Arse&Nose©

    Say hello to next seasons Saga:

    Robin Van Persie:

    Congratulations to @cesc4official move to Barca. We will miss u here! Enjoyyy it! Respect amigo “

  51. carlos

    Squad down to it’s bare bones tomorrow, but I’ll think we’ll line up like this:

    –Szczesny–

    –Sagna–Vermaelen–Kosielney–Gibbs–

    –Song–
    –Ramsey–Rosicky–

    –Walcott–Gervinho–Arshavin–

  52. cph gooner

    bergy said no thanks to jadson…

    ok have you seen him play, you tube clips don’t count? Or don’t you like his name?

  53. cph gooner

    and do Arsenal fans know the meaning of the 12th man?

    we are supposed to support when the team is playing not booing them..

  54. cygans love child

    Wengers reaction to away fans at Newcastle

    “Sometimes the credit players get is linked with the amount of money you paid for them. It is frustrating sometimes because it looks like players are judged just through the money they cost.”

    No arsene, but generally speaking, you pay top dollar to get the best players, which is something you are very reluctant to do. This man winds me up no end

  55. frenchie

    zeus-

    can you imagine rvp, who is notably the most loyal arsenal player, sitting in the dressing room, looking around and thinking he could see himself leading that group? i cannot. but rvp is loyal.

  56. cph gooner

    confident gooner actually from his comments, I think he’s more determined to keep Nasri now Fab is gone. It means there’s still hope he might stay..
    learn to read minds mate…

  57. zeus

    cph

    The voices of dissent are directed at Wenger.

    How else are these ppl going to get Wenger to listen? I am grateful for what he has accomplished as Arsenal manager, but if he doesn’t give a shit about his legacy why should I?

  58. zeus

    Then we are well and truly fucked then.

    Fabregas is even more special than RVP is, and if Wenger couldn’t keep him, I doubt he can convince MR Arsenal to stay.

    Maybe it will be Madrid this time.

  59. cph gooner

    actually I dont care about Wenger, my immediate concern is Arsenal and Udinese. So do you believe the booing of Wenger won’t effect the team performance?

  60. WTL Gazidis £1.7m Per Annum - Cause Hes Worth It!

    Gazidis, the former deputy commissioner of MLS, has won praise as Arsenal’s CEO for helping the club navigate the Great Recession and emerge debt free.

    The great recession? I must have missed it.

  61. Yandi

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-my-main-concern-is-to-add-quality

    Is Wenger enjoying this? Is that senile twat enjoying all of this? All he does when given a fucking mic these days is wind supporters up with his sick, twisted, scripted rhetoric. “Finding players better than what we have”. That’s not very hard to do with the current team is it? He’s been singing the same fucking song for ages now and all we’ve got are 6 teenagers and fucking Gervinho! Minus Cesc. It’s sickening now. I can’t stand Wenger.

  62. SUGA3

    of course we will support the team, as long as they pull their weight…

    but let’s face the facts, shall we? looking at the squad, you can’t help but laugh, we are CONSIDERABLY weaker than last season:

    in defence, we have lost two experienced players in Cluchy and Ebowie, say what you want, but they are not worse than Gibbs/Traore and Jenkinson, simple as that…

    in midfield, we have lost the best creative midfielder in the world and another player who managed 24 goals and 22 assists between them, now where is that going to come from, Rosicky? Diaby? sure, Jack is the bomb, but…

    striking options, apart from RvP? really?

    I really hate Wenger’s guts, he is mentally ill and the whole bunch of people in position to do something about it do not have the cojones to do so…

    all the AKBs can now fuck off 👿

  63. bennydevito

    Seeing Cesc kiss the cuntalonia badge was sickening. What a fucking arse wipe. You would have thought he’d show a bit of respect to us?

  64. SUGA3

    gambon,

    at the end of last season, I said OGL should have been given until mid July (tops) to do his business and then be evaluated with the possibility of getting the boot if it is not done or at least pretty damn near completion, for another manager to have a chance to doing his thing…

    seriously, I did not imagine that this transfer window will turn out as bad as it has…

  65. bade the gooner (bernard)

    suga3,
    well said mate
    but hey, we still got almunia, squillaci, rosicky, song, diaby, chamakh and vela….. what’s the fus

    they are all super quality. just look how many bids we got for each and every one of them……. loads of bids…….

    wow…… the best ever squad eh?

    wow….. forth is a trophy……

    believe we’re cock for letting this nutty Caligula keep his job, no matter what cost it is due to…….

    SACK ARSENE!

  66. cph gooner

    what I don’t understand is, we were down to 10 men against Newcastle and the fans were booing. They needed support there. Actually singing SPEND SOME FUCKING MONEY means ” we don’t like you Gibbs, Song, Rosicky, Walcott and so on ”

    How would you feel when someone said that about you? That you are not loved by the fans?

  67. Spanish Dave

    Barca have now got Cecs what have we got Mr Wenger???

    Nothing.

    Useless turd of a manager well past his sell by date.

  68. zeus

    cph

    The ends justifies the means at this point.

    If the end of last season shower of shite wasn’t enough to change his mind, 4-4 draw after being 4-0 up, gaining a measly 3 points from the last 13 games, being let down by some average players year after year after year isn’t enough to convince Arsene to relent, please tell Arsenal fans the world over how to get him to admit his failings and fix them? We are all ears.

    His answer to a largely failed youth policy, is youth 2.0 as far as this summer is concerned.

  69. bade the gooner (bernard)

    and don’t be surprised when the quality signing will be peter crouch………………

    SACK ARSENE!

  70. WTL Gazidis £1.7m Per Annum - Cause Hes Worth It!

    Suga – Gambon

    At the start of the window I thought that we would have a net spend of £20m, I revised that after about 2 weeks but my initial estimate was wrong.

    I just thought I needed to get this off my chest!

  71. SUGA3

    bennydevito,

    respect?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlq0fIoOMaQ

    how’s that for respect?

    this is the season where Cesc gave as much as he could have done and we cane woefully short, all thanks to the idiot in charge nursing his cunt freeloading love children, so Cesc figured that he had had it and told Wenger to go fuck himself at the end of the season…

    Wenger decided to keep him regardless and on the balance of things it was a shit decision, because we did not earn a penny more, had a sulking player retaining the armband, etc.

    respect? how about some respect from OGL?

  72. G787

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/article-2025969/Martin-Samuel-Fail-Italian-test-youll-look-foolish-Arsene.html

    “Fail your Italian test and you’ll look even more foolish, Arsene
    There is this smile of incredulity that Arsene Wenger affects when he is asked about the impending departure of Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri. It is as if the foolishness of his inquisitors amuses him.
    Truly, he is the only sane man in the room. And on many occasions, he has been.
    So many times he has pulled this trick off, been personally vindicated when all around were beset by cynicism.
    Not recently, though.
    Of late, he has increasingly proved his doubters right.
    Favoured players were not good enough. The defence did need improvement.
    And, currently, as the evidence piles up against the confidence of that smile, he is beginning to look ever so slightly crackers.
    Fabregas was on his way to the airport while Wenger was insisting nobody would leave Arsenal this summer, and while he hasn’t signed for Barcelona yet, this seemingly inexorable deal is at last in its endgame.
    Nasri is also edging, snail-like, towards the door.
    So if both players leave, as expected, what point was there, beyond plain cussedness, in dragging negotiations out this long?
    The monetary advantages have not been great. It is not as if Barcelona started off bidding £25million and are now paying double.
    What has been achieved?
    An increase of 10 per cent, at most?
    Not to be sniffed at, but hardly worth sabotaging the narrative of Arsenal’s summer, now overrun by speculation that Wenger’s squad is falling apart.
    Better to bring identified targets in early, as Manchester United did, get Fabregas and Nasri out of the door, and move forward.
    Arsenal have a huge match with Udinese on Tuesday, yet enter it full of uncertainty.
    You know Wenger is floundering when he talks as if the media is his enemy because no manager in the history of the English game has been treated with such reverence.
    This is a man who admits he lies about his view of controversial incidents, to protect his players.
    Indeed, he was quite possibly at it again on Saturday, claiming to be unsighted for Alex Song’s stamp on Joey Barton in front of the dug-out.
    Yet still he is indulged.
    ‘Arsene knows’ was not just a mantra from the main stand.
    When The Times named its 50 greatest football managers of the postwar era in 2007, Wenger came in ahead of Sir Alf Ramsey, Jock Stein, Johan Cruyff, Marcello Lippi and Arrigo Sacchi.
    He is as prone to daft, illogical pronouncements as any Premier League contemporary, but remains, for public consumption, The Professor.
    For such a genius, however, he has spent much of the summer acting the fool.
    Wenger is making it too hard for Arsenal, and for himself.
    He demands that victory is achieved not just beautifully but ethically, economically, and with youth at its heart.
    In doing so, he has imposed a set of arbitrary principles on the club that, while noble, make his task almost impossible.
    He talks of adhering to financial fair-play regulations before they have even been implemented, he plans for the future when the present is not secure, he invariably favours creative players in the transfer market, despite obvious flaws in Arsenal’s back line.
    Why doesn’t he make it easy?
    Nobody would mind.
    Most neutrals want Arsenal to win the title anyway.
    Why doesn’t Wenger just, as the fans had it on Saturday, ‘spend some f***ing money’?
    This is going to be a difficult month for Arsenal.
    They should qualify for the Champions League, but Udinese are a threat, have no doubt of that.
    Serie A may be a weak league and Udinese its fourth best team – and Tottenham Hotspur knocked out its champions, AC Milan, last season – but they represent a tougher test than Celtic or FC Twente, the teams most recently vanquished by Arsenal to reach the Champions League group stage.
    Udinese have lost key players this summer, but have retained Antonio Di Natale, top scorer in Serie A for the previous two seasons, with a record of a goal every other game for the club since 2004.
    Arsenal’s defence has looked vulnerable to strikers of considerably inferior pedigree, making this potentially the hardest pre-tournament draw for an English club since Everton were paired with Villarreal in 2005.
    If Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League, Wenger’s final justification for his methods is scotched.
    Is there anyone better to manage Arsenal?
    We would like to think not.
    Yet in previous seasons that answer would contain no element of doubt. It does now.
    At what point might that knowing smile become a rictus grin?
    If Udinese win, perhaps.”

  73. Scorpion

    Arsenal fans…please can you count and check whether you have 11 players in total to play a match or not? :p
    This is a status update of one of my fellows
    guys do you have any answer???

  74. bade the gooner (bernard)

    and about quality, what about the quality of those made signings?

    eboue, squillaci, bendtner, chamakh, rosicky, song, diaby, denilson, vela? all a world class well proven talents

    but arsene wenger 2.0 will never sign those under-qualified blokes…
    de rossi, cahill, schweinsteiger, juan mata, bains, enrique, jagielka, benzema, dzeko, alonso, samba…. shit players that never won a punt eh?

    f*ck!!!!! the nutty still there????

    SACK ARSENE!

  75. goonerDNA

    “And Harvey insists her side will be able to cope with the pressure of such a big occasion.”

    like carling cup finals and the end of seasons

    She said: “We have been in a number of high pressure situations over the past few years and also this season. We have been in these high pressure situations before and very rarely do we not deliver.”

  76. David

    Im not sad because Cesc left.

    Im sad because knowing Wenger its going to take us at least 2 seasons to replace him.

  77. cph gooner

    zeus surely there must be better ways to voice your concerns! So what now? A section of the Emirates singing ONE ARSENE WENGER and another section singing SPEND SOME FUCKING MONEY?
    A club divided is that what we want?

  78. SUGA3

    of course we don’t, we want the fans united, hounding the delusional twat out…

    C*nt Arsene Wenger
    He’s such a c*nt, Arsene Wenger!

  79. WTL Gazidis £1.7m Per Annum - Cause Hes Worth It!

    What a fucking club we have become. Cesc and Nasri will both probably leave and a large number of fans would be happy if we snapped up Scott Dann or Samba.

    For years the ambition of the fans has been chipped away and their acceptance of pure dross is now taken for granted by everyone at the club.

    Fucking hell.

  80. tomb

    *****PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT***

    Please dont post anymore vids of Cescs golden moments and great goals. It deepens the pain more.

  81. cph gooner

    Suga3 ok tell me who you want as a manager instead of Wenger who is available. And tell me why you want that particular man as a manager of our club?

  82. tomb

    Suga- hes gone we all hate it, nothing we can do about it now. Hes gone to win things.

    I dont want to see him again as he is not our player anymore. I dont want to be reminded of the player we lost due to deluded management.

    Just another Henry saga.

  83. zeus

    cph

    Is the ‘one arsene wenger’ chant still Song? Haven’t heard it in a while. Nor have I seen the In Arsene we Trust banner in quite some time.

    I’m still waiting on what the better option is though m8. He got ripped at the AST 3 years ago, he has sent Gazidis there ever since. He’s heard the ‘polite’ dissent at those Q&As and he’s heard the ‘spend some fucking money’ chants from the tail end of last season and no reaction.

    The only thing left is to have a half empty stadium.

  84. SUGA3

    tomb,

    watching Henry in the E.Cup was painful enough, what is he, 34? that cool, measured pass for the NYRB equaliser was like a slap in the face, ask yourself a question, who in the current squad is capable of such calmness?

    the only thing that can save Arsenal is getting the poor sick old man sacked, seriously, something like not allowing your stroke victim grandpa near the car keys, ffs…

  85. Honest Bill

    SUGA3

    No but the board would.

    Arsene has clearly lost it.. Some signings of intent, or he has to go, it’s becoming embarrassing.

  86. cph gooner

    zeus seriously,, one arsene wenger was sung just as recently as the Emirates cup.

    Honestly I don’t know what the better options is, but I don’t agree booing is the answer. Because don’t tell the players are not effected by this..

  87. zeus

    *STILL SUNG*. Damn.

    Suga

    Of course. His motivation is monetary. The same way the commercial dept forced him to scrap the ludicrous Austrian pre season ‘tour’ and go to the middle east, they would pressure him into doing whats right.

  88. zeus

    cph

    I guess we are fooked then? Its not as if its new. There were rports of Gooners in the stands coming to blows last season.

    Sad that its come to that stage, but at the root, the crocks of it all is Wenger. And the fanbase will become even more divided if he continues on his current path.

    Some tough times ahead.

  89. Dial Square

    We should wave white hankies or flags at the Ems if it goes tits up, i’m sure the French will understand about surrender.

  90. Scorpion

    According tos skybet Arsene Wenger is third behind Neil Warnock and Steve Kean to get the axe with the odds of 9/1
    Surely he hs to learn something now????

  91. deano

    brilliant post and im liking the way we can call chezzer a monster now specially after that weekend had a great game…..im only in from work afraid to look at newsnow dont want to see all the stories about cesc maybe ill build up the courage later…………

  92. cph gooner

    would people forgive Nasri if Wenger persuaded him to stay now Fabregas is gone? He might offer him more money now!

  93. Yandi

    “We will try [to buy] but let’s not forget that we have brought players in. I have Carl Jenkinson, we have bought Gervinho in, we have bought Joel Campbell in, we have brought Ryo Miyaichi in and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. You do not know them very well yet but they are all quality players.”

    ——————————————————————————–
    How the fuck are any of those players supposed to make us bridge the gap between us and Man United, Chelsea, Man City… let alone Barca, Madrid, Milan, Inter or Bayern!? It’s absolute madness from that arrogant tosser. We are so behind Europe’s top clubs at the moment that it’s not even funny… Not one player from that list is world-class. NOT ONE!

  94. Yandi

    SUGA3 says:
    August 15, 2011 at 17:42
    tomb,

    watching Henry in the E.Cup was painful enough, what is he, 34? that cool, measured pass for the NYRB equaliser was like a slap in the face, ask yourself a question, who in the current squad is capable of such calmness?
    —————————————————————
    Marouane Chamakh. And he was free!

  95. WTL Gazidis £1.7m Per Annum - Cause Hes Worth It!

    This is a quote from a ACLF.

    The guy who posted it is talking about Arseblog and his take on the Arsene interview where he says no one is leaving then 2 hours later pique is tweeting that Cesc has left:

    Take for example, his report on last Friday’s press conference where he joined the assorted hacks in putting a negative spin to AW’s refusal to make the Cesc transfer the main issue. Like the Telegraph, Guardian and others the meme was the press conference was “surreal” particularly the quote that he expected “no one to leave.”

    In so doing AW was portrayed as a doddering fool who was out of touch with reality. Someone on a Guardian blog said it was a misquote and disinformation. So I finally had time to review to the video (see http://arsenalist.com).
    Note the question was: Do you expect anyone to leave “this weekend (he highlighted this as if to emphasize)”?.
    The answer was: “I expect no one to leave.”
    Up to late late Sunday night this was a completely accurate statement.

    =====================================

    Seriously, this is what you are dealing with. Because Arsene predicted that no players would leave THAT WEEKEND and he NEARLY got it right there is a media driven conspiracy to make Arsene look bad.