Sometimes you wake up, look at the news and punch yourself in the face. Really hard. Just to numb the pain of seeing your favourite club being linked to Gareth Barry.
Why so much self inflicted aggression? Because that’s exactly the sort of move Arsene makes after pissing around all summer, knickers in a twist over the horrible big fees he’s willing to accept but not pay, seeing a cheap option of super quality. You know what that story reminds me of? The ‘surprise’ signing of Silvestre all those years ago. I have no inside track on this being real, but if it is, you’d have to scratch your head. Then punch yourself in the groin.
We pulled out of the Sahin deal last season at the 11th hour because Wenger believed the then 23 year old lacked pace. So for Arsene to go out and snap up a player who had no pace 10 years ago really would be an odd move. I’m all for experience and a British core of players, but not for the sake of it.
Hopefully it’s a newspaper plant to spike interest from Liverpool (Someone needs to tell Gareth’s agent Kenny D left a while ago).
There’s not a lot else in the news this morning. Which is starting to get a little worrying. I know the window has been open all but a couple of days, but Ivan spoke of getting things done early and once again, all we’ve got to show for our summer is a bunch of kids. We did a better job last season. I hope it’s because signing more expensive players requires deeper negotiations. Our summer needs to end with a decent sized squad. We can’t pin next year on Sanogo and Higuain.
Still, I’m keeping the hope. After the Argentine pens his deal, snapping up Fellani is simpler than purchasing a loaf of bread because of that release clause (how quickly did Bayern sign Gotze?). Signing Cesar will be easy as well, £1.5m with a lot of desire to move. Then you’ve just got to land a defender and sort out Cesc Fabregas.
Geoff and I watched the second half of the France Turkey U20 game last night. We watched highly rated Thauvin blast a terribly struck penalty over the bar… then we caught Sanogo latching onto a bouncing through ball that he did well to angle round the keeper. A cool finish. He’s a powerful looking boy and early signs indicate he’s the pacey upgrade on Nik B and Chamakh. We’ll see though… looking good for the kids isn’t tough. Remember Franny J back in the day?
Our nasty neighbours Spurs have rattled in their marquee signing of the summer, landing Brazilian attacking midfielder Paulinho. A very sound signing and a statement of intent from a team who don’t boast top 4 revenues. Spurs and Arsenal were missing a striker last season. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with that move. If they bolster out their squad this summer, they’ll be more competitive next year, it just depends how smart AVB can be with his money.
Some more good news, last night I brokered a deal for Geoff to return to the blog writing fold. He’ll be popping in this week with some forthright opinions to blow your mind at 9am sharp. A shame this deal wasn’t brokered before I went on holiday but whatever… the yin and yang of Le Grove blog writing partner up again. Which I am very excited about!
Arsenal are ramping up their backroom team with more fitness staff from rugby. Why? Because they’re different level specialists to football. It’s a massive positive for the club. Manchester United have an unbelievable fitness team and Arsenal are fully aware they have a way to go to catch up. It’s a move in the right direction from Arsene Wenger who has maybe realised we’re behind other clubs on fitness where we used to be trailblazers. Here’s more info on the moves here.
One final thought, that is a touch off the beaten track. I’ve complained about the general standard of football punditry for a while. I take no joy in watching most professionals talk about the game. Hold your hand out… how many players on TV can talk about Arsenal with any sort of authority or insight? Hardly any. Which leads me onto a snippet that appeared on Sky about Abramovich. Cascarino, Jim Kelly, Kirstie G and Mathew Syed all sat on the panel. Cascarino weighed in with a load of inarticulate nonsense about the Chelsea owner being good for the game before Syed destroyed that notion calmly, with accurate insightful information. Watching the ensuing ‘ummm, errrrr’ type responses come back was nothing short of embarrassing… topped off with Kirstie G stating Abramovich ‘put British football on the map’…
Now my point here is that I loved that clip. Give me intelligent structured debate over tired lazy cliches all day. That’s what punditry should be about. Just like management is no longer a preserve of explayers, nor should the art of talking about the game. Someone made a great point yesterday… British punditry is like the clogger football our national team plays. For me, kids hearing MoTD saying ‘Arsenal don’t like it up them’ is a huge negative. Shouldn’t we, as an audience, be educated by our on screen ex-heroes? If not, shouldn’t we bring in expert journalists, tactical bloggers or coaches who can tell us what’s really going on?
I speak to people around football who would blow your mind with their knowledge. So intelligent and scientific about the game. I just think it’s a travesty the closest people have to that is Gary Neville. He’s a great pundit because he’s a student of the game. We need to have that as a surpassable benchmark. Not marvel like it’s some sort of incredible achievement that Sky have managed to find a player who can talk football to a half decent level.
… and just as you think Sky have learnt their lesson, they bring Jamie Carragher to the party. Someone who allegedly according to a Sky source needs accent calming lessons to be suitable for TV.
Punch me in the face… again.
Here is the video for all it’s cringeworthy joy. Have a great day.