Red & White are back in the news again after apparently acquiring enough shares to break the 30% barrier (Tim Payton believes between 25 and 125 shares have changed hands for £16k which if Stan sold at, he’d make £150m profit!). There’s a league ruling that says if you hit that mark, you’re entitled to investigate the company books. But we’re not so sure that right will be exercised. This topic has come up before at AST meetings. The rule has never been tested before and apparently, the interpretation is open to debate. My feeling is it’s just business as usual for Usmanov and Moshiri. They want a place on the board, if they start rooting about revealing the commercial teams stripper outlay this Christmas, they’re hardly going to endear themselves to Stan Kroenke which would be totally counter productive.
Red & White are owned by the people who own Blue Sky Technologies. Some of the best business minds in the world run that company. They’re not about to start causing themselves problems for no reason. We were speaking to Red&White before Christmas. Things were going well until the Evening Standard printed an article that made them look like aggressors… they went dead after that. The fact they don’t want to be seen in a negative light tells you all you need to know about how they’ll deal with the presumed ‘power’ they might gain (for more detail on R&W, check out this blog).
I personally think it can only be a good thing having a dissenting voice on the board. Shareholders who aren’t fans will have one thing on their mind… protecting their investment. If you’ve got proven businessmen on your board pulling in that direction, challenging the status quo, that can only be a good thing. However, it seems to me that protecting the old guard and allowing people like Hill-Wood to have a nice pension and a seat in the exec box are more important at the moment than having a real driving force behind the club. I think it’ll be a long time before we see Usmanov get on the board. Unless of course Stan sees more value in a baseball team a bit nearer to home.
The Daily Express have Arsenal interested in Stephane Sessegnon. The attacking midfielder from Benin is rumoured to be a target for a total of £20million minus the fee of Nik Bendtner. I have to say, every time I’ve seen him he’s looked very good and he’s certainly caused us our fair share of problems. He’s strong, good on the ball and he has a facial hair arrangement.
Another attacking player we’ve been constantly linked to is Podolski… he had this to say.
“But of the people with whom I discussed this concept, very few are still at the club. There is no continuity.
“If I were to move, then the way things stand at the moment, I would move abroad. I speak German, Polish, English and Cologne dialect – I think you can get anywhere with that combination.
“I am always receiving inquiries and if they had been really attractive, I wouldn’t be here now. But seriously, I will make up my mind no sooner than the summer.”
I think he’d work very well in our system and he’d give us that much needed direct play we’re currently lacking. My worry is that he’ll have a blinder at the tournament and go somewhere else if we don’t make an early move. My other worry is that he’s coming into his prime. If we’re not in the Champions League, we’ll be a far less appealing proposition. My instinct tells me if we’re going for any wideman this summer, it’ll be Hoillet.
Thomas Vermaelen has made an outspoken comment about playing left back for us for a large part of the season.
“I am fed up playing at left-back,” Vermaelen told the People. “I don’t think I am good there – I want to achieve my highest level and I can’t do that on the left.
“I play there to help the team but it gives me no satisfaction as I can’t reach my best standard.
“I do my job but seldom feel content after matches. If the team wins I am happy, but it remains frustrating.”
I can understand his issue. He’s a victim of his own versatility and a manager who would rather plug a round hole with a square peg over going out and buying in a round one. William Gallas moved to Arsenal because of the exact same problem when he was at Cheslea. Luckily for Thomas, Kieran Gibbs will be back for 16 minutes next week, so he’ll be able to play in his favoured position for a little bit. I guess he’s also a little miffed the Belgian manager took the national captaincy away from him and gave it to Kompany.
Thierry Henry is all over the news like a love sick puppy. He clearly loved every minute of being back at the club of his career… and jeez, we’ve loved having him back as well! We didn’t become dependent on him but his experience and quality certainly helped out in a big way. He’s hinted he might be up for returning again… I’m not so sure though. Isn’t it about time we faced up to our squad issues and invested in some players who are for the now?
I mean, if we kept Robin, bought a nearly world class back up and had Thierry as our 3rd or 4th choice that could work… but I don’t think it’s healthy to keep bringing back the past. It just shows how poor our judgement has been in the transfer market.
The Milan game is up this Wednesday. It should be a match we’re more than capable of winning but not if we play like we did against Sunderland. Wenger says we’re going to attack which is encouraging… We just need to make sure we’re tight in defence. A centre back pairing of Vermaelen and Koscielny looks good on paper. Two technical centre backs with pace on their side. It hasn’t been tested that many times though. A Champions league last 16 final isn’t an ideal place to experiment! More on that game later in the week.
Ryo made his debut for Bolton, he looked a touch rusty but overall his contribution was pretty good. He’s very fast and he has lovely tight control… and say it quietly, he looks like he can cross! What a novelty eh? Like I said before Christmas, the coaching staff have high hopes for him. He has pace to burn and if he works hard, he’ll be a quality addition. I just hope playing for a very poor Bolton side doesn’t have a negative effect on his development.