If something is going to happen, it’s going to happen with Madrid. Arsenal are looking at their financial situation and they smell blood. Madrid are like the millionaires drunk wife who has a shopping addiction… she’s just gone out and smashed £130k on shoes in all the best shops… the only way she’s escaping a call from the bank manager (Platini) is if she shifts some of her old clobber on eBay.
… posh eBay. Which is like Portobello Market online or something.
Thankfully, Arsenal are cash strong this summer. No need for installments, just a straight up injection of reddies. We really have hovered around Madrid like a bad smell for the last three months. Originally we asked them to name their price on Ramos, then we farted around with Higuain who in the end, wasn’t a special target (the male dating equivalent of ‘I never liked her anyway’), now we’re looking at Casilas, Ozil, Di Maria and Benzema. The Dick Law of averages tells you we’ll land one of them… or, it’s just a load of fluff and we’ll land no one.
All the papers have been briefed that we’ll be spending big this week… so lets see it happen. If we do bring in Ozil, Di Maria, Begovic, Cabaye and a defender… we’ll contend trophies dependent on how quickly the team gels. That would constitute a mega summer, just a badly organised one… that is still dependent on a variable (Bale to Madrid).
… still, I don’t care how we get there now, I just care that we get there. Sure we didn’t arrive in a Learjet, more like hitch hiking with a horny chicken farmer… but who cares. We can wipe our face and be thankful it wasn’t all in vain. We’ll be there… sitting pretty, with a beautiful thing called a squad.
Interesting reading up on how other clubs around Europe make the most out of the transfer market. Aulas of Lyon has a pretty incredible story. Taking Lyon on as second rate nobodies to one of the elite clubs of Europe. His vision was simple. Buy undervalued players, make them work, then sell them, buying more expensive undervalued players. He also worked to the basic notion of ‘the more you win, the better the players you can buy’… arguably, over the last ten years he has one of the best records for buying players.
What I found interesting was his take on managers. He believes them merely to be temporary guardians of the club in it for the short term. Something that can’t be said of Arsene Wenger. However, this is where Arsenal and many other clubs are flawed… Aulas doesn’t believe in one divine decision maker at the club. The manager is the middle man. So for transfers, he believes in the power of the crowd. He brings in 6 people to discuss targets. They all have their say, once the decision is final, they all publicly back it.
What a simple, but novel idea. It’s how almost all businesses work. One decision maker is the path to destruction. Because you don’t have a winning streak forever. Power can’t rest with one man. It also means continuity can happen once that one man has gone, because you have an infrastructure on place. Infrastructure is what stops the fear… the fear of change.
The more I think about the director of football role, the more I like it. Spurs bring in Baldini, bang, the most successful summer they’ve ever had. It works for all the major European clubs… bar in England (Where people like Joe Kinnear find a way into power). Why doesn’t it work here? Same reason a lot of things have taken 10 years longer than Europe to put in place…
‘Because it ain’t the way we do fings over here’
Arsenal have had the same back room structure for 16 years, yet football is almost unrecognisable from what it was back then. In normal business you’re lucky if a structure lasts 9 months. You adapt to your market or the requirements of your business. Sure, you can survive without changing, but it’ll only get you so far… then you’ll find yourself overtaken with a massive job on your hands to get back to the top. Look at Microsoft. They let the world pass them by… they’re still a powerhouse… but companies like Google and Apple are way out in front. Their arrogant approach to real innovation stifled them but didn’t kill them.
I fear that’s the way Arsenal are going, even if you take out the player issues we have. Luckily for us, football is slightly easier to recover from in terms of lost ground… providing you have the physical infrastructure and the cash to do it. That’s why, in the words of a Spanish footballer being chased by a great club ‘I am calm about the situation’.
Tonight, I am also calm. Wenger says he won’t rest any players. I’d suspect that might be the case for the opening 45minutes, but if it’s still 3-0 at half time, you’d have to suspect he’ll take off Cazorla, Ramsey and possibly Rosicky. We need fresh legs for this Sunday’s show down with Spurs, which is a far more interesting topic of conversation than the one we could have about tonight.
Three most important things that can come out of tonight.
1. A clean sheet. Why. I’ll tell you why right now. If we don’t concede, they can’t win.
What’s that? Did Alan Shearer just hack the Le Grove account? Looks like he did…
2. We don’t want any injuries. Not that you ever go into a game asking for them, but I feel if I put it down on paper, they’re less likely to happen.
3. A two goal brace from Giroud and one from Theo would be nice. Just as a confidence boost.
I feel like we need a good win to get the home fans back on track. The last game was nasty. Really not the sort of game you want to be a part of. I know many fans have put that game down as an anomaly, but don’t kid yourselves, if we don’t bolster that squad this week, that won’t be an anomaly. We were ok against Fulham, but as is natural for fans, we tend to take things in the short term instead of remembering what the same squad did to us last year. Hopefully Wenger will look at his stats deck and see we need to make moves and saying things like ‘we only move for the right players’ isn’t going to get him out of jail if the last 7 days bomb worse than Ben Affleck will at Batman.
Right, that’s your lot… a thousand words, you lucky things.
P.S. Notice I haven’t gone after Wenger on the ‘brainwashed’ quote. I’m saving that for another day…