Good morning sports fans! Just acclimatising to being back in a very sunny England this morning! I hope everyone who is going to the Notting Hill Carnival has a great time. Don’t break anything though, that’s not cool. Unless it’s hearts with some seriously eye catching dance moves…
So, I’ll kick right into this morning with an interview that Jake Humphrey gives to Arsene Wenger. Absolutely top notch because he’s not precious about pleasing Arsene Wenger like some of the sycophants from other media platforms. The interview gears up like a typical ‘eerrrrr, I’ve not done what I said I was going to do, so I’ll preach’…
It tees up perfectly…
‘Somebody says something that is wrong and people want to believe it. Nobody checks if the story was completely right’
‘The supporters are influenced by the negativity, and you feel this affects the players’
‘OUR FANS CAN BE PROUD OF OUR VALUES’
He’s such a politician isn’t he? Values is such an intangible here. United have values and they’re the biggest club in the land. What does having values mean in the modern game? Wenger and our fanbase chuck the word ‘values’ around willy nilly without quantifying it. For me it’s a nice way of getting around the truth… we’re not competitive. It reminds me of when you meet someones child and the child is rude… and their parents say, ‘oh, he’s just shy’… err, no he’s not, he’s lazy and cant’ be bothered to speak to anyone.
It’s political double speak…
However, Jake Humphrey has none of it…
‘People think you’re scared of big players and spending the money, paying the big wages’
‘… because we couldn’t afford it’ <- First lie… (We’re the club who paid Thierry £200k pw in 06, we pay the manager £135k pw and we’ve had a visible cash surplus for 4 years)
‘But now you can. Are you happy to pay a player?’
‘All that is done at this club is generate from the transfer market’ <– Hmmm… what about Champions League and TV revenue? Anyway, fair-ish point. But there’s still a surplus we don’t spend.
‘Why would Higuain choose another club?’
‘You don’t know if he has chosen another club. That is the story that has been sold’ (no it wasn’t the story that was sold)
‘It’s not the truth. The truth is he wasn’t a special target’ (the truth is he was, but the price went up £10m)
‘Explain the truth to the fans’
‘The targets didn’t come off’
‘But why, great club, great name, you’ve got money’
‘I cannot clarify that as it would give out some secrets that I would like to not give out. Let’s not forget how good our players are.’
You can watch the rest of the interview here. Even reading the script, you need to see just how well the interviewer does.
See, on the one hand Arsene says the press get it wrong, then on the other, he’s talking about secrets. Where’s the transparency? If you’ve got an issue with misinformation, why not settle it in public? I know you can’t preach incompetence… but come on… most things get out into the media anyway. For me, it’s more political speak. He leaves quotes like that open to interpretation.
Is it Ivan? Is it Dick Law? Is it Stan withholding funds?
It’s outrageous that he does it time and time again. Jose is open with what’s going on.
‘We’re trying for Rooney. United should let him go. We’ll try at third time, what’s there to lose, the time sending an e-mail?’
Wenger went into that interview to preach his message and it back fired.
Anyway, a few days to go until the window closes and we’ve signed no one. Stories are bubbling though.
It seems like we’re going hard for Cabaye who is ours for £20m. I think he’d be a solid move, though there are rightly questions over his contribution last season, which was dotted with injuries (and it must be hard playing for Pardew in his second season. He’s probably disgraced himself in the dressing room already and players don’t like him.). He’s a talented box to box player who plays a faster game than Arteta. He can also take a decent freekick which would be nice considering our only option is Podolski, who unbelievably doesn’t get a look in over Theo these days…
The other moves that are being pushed are for Krul and Begovic. It seems we’re more interested in Krul who is an improvement, but come on… it has to be Begovic. Someone said yesterday that David Platt claimed City were going to replace Joe Hart with Begovic this summer… Mancini knows a defence. I think he’s so far out ahead of any other Premiership keeper. I don’t know why we always have to mess around and make the ‘clever move’ which is rarely about talent… it’s about price.
Gareth Bale has apparently agreed to move to Madrid for an eye watering fee of £93m. Quite staggering really. He’s Spurs version of Anelka. That’s one helluva down payment on a new stadium. Or it’s mega investment in the squad… which they’ve already done. I hate to marvel at a Spurs manager, but he’s done all his work early, spent a load of cash and shipped out a load of dross. They’re in very good shape this year if he can make them gel… and foreign players can adapt. Well, he’ll have a good year.
… anyway, point of that was if Bale goes to Madrid, they’ll need cash. Di Maria is being mooted. He’d be a superb addition to the squad. Sparkling skill, a good frame and very young. His skill on the ball in quite incredible. He can play equally well with both feet and he’d slip into the squad being able to play either right or left of the striker. Get him in Arsene…
Flamini will sign for us, I’ve no doubt about that… but if we bring in Cabaye as well, he could be a shrewd move. We’d have some real depth then… bar possibly a creative midfielder. Which, if we’re talking back up to Cazorla, could possibly be Zelalem. Lamela is available… but at £30m, you’d have to say, our priorities probably lie with Di Maria, Cabaye and as striker…
… ahhh, a striker. Who knows what’s going on there? No noise. No links really. We looked doomed on that front.
No talk of a defender doing the rounds. We really need a right back and a centre back. It’s worrying there are no names and no kids coming through who could deputise. Problem with sticking with three centre backs is when it comes to the crunch… they’ll fatigue… and you know what fatigue brings? THE RED ZONE.
All the talk above feels a little more around our level. My biggest worry is a season of Giroud. He’s getting better, but really, at the highest level, does he cut it? Even if he does… does he cut it as one person? Because Sanogo and Akpom are not suitable candidates to support him this year.
I mean, read that post… we’re a week away from the start of the year and we’re at the very least, 6 players off having a competitive squad.
I’ve been reading through a few really interesting books that I’ll talk about at a later date… one quote I found was quite pertinent. It’s for both Stan Kroenke and Arsene Wenger. It’s from Billy Beane… you know, your hero Stan…
‘You have to always be upgrading. Otherwise you’re fu*ked’
… and here is one from Clough.
‘Son, the first time we can replace you with a better player, we’ll do it without blinking an eyelid. That’s what we’re paid to do – to produce the best side and win as many trophies as possible. If we see a better player and don’t sign him, then we’re frauds. But we’re not frauds’
Brian Clough, not only defied the footballing world by snapping up bargains, he also defied the premise that the teams who pay the most in wages do the best. So his words are wise as are those of Billy Beane (incidentally he is good friends with John Henry and Commolli)…
Right, have that people. See you in the comments.