Well good morning to you all! Last game of the season day. Aston Villa at home. A team we lost to a couple of years ago at the start of the season, to the cries of ‘Wenger out’, are now a team we finish to with grumbles of ‘is this Brie sandwich soggy’ / ‘it’d be bloody nice if Wenger would leave maybe, at some point, if it feels right to everyone’…
Not sure how the atmosphere will be today. I have a feeling most Arsenal fans have lost the will to live. So dependent on weather, it’ll be a flatulent end to the season caked in depression beers and hopes for a better summer.
Good news is that Phil Wall over at the AngryOfIslington blog totally destroyed the embarrassingly incorrect summer spending fees put forward by amateur hour finance firm CSS (tacky finance lead generation farm). They’d claimed we only had £4m spare this summer. I mean, how powerfully student like and wrong can a bunch of finance specialists be? About £90m wrong. What makes it worse is someone at the Mirror published that sh*t without checking… or worse, checking and knowing that story would muddy the waters with the less informed Arsenal fans.
In more positive news, Granit Xhaka was subbed off early so he could take a standing ovation from the home fans, give a major hug to the coach and drop a big obese hint in the press conference he was off. Looks like he’ll be moving over to us shortly as we try and negotiate down that £34m fee and spread it across 27 years. A solid early start to our summer, which will no doubt lose all its steam in about 3 weeks.
Interesting to see Higuain break Serie A records yesterday with a smashing 36 goals. Think what you want of the man (I think he’s slow), but that’s outrageous. Arsenal bottled his fee a few summers ago when Perez raised the price £10m. Settling for Giroud, which wasn’t smart. We also chose to chase down Luis Suarez instead, and botched that. There’s still a lot of contention around that by fans who seem to think we handled that transfer well.
Thoughts on improving that:
1. Don’t harp on about transfers not being like buying a loaf from Tesco, then put in a £40m + £1 bid in like you’re buying a very expensive Twix from a vending machine. It doesn’t set the tone well for a player clearly worth far more than his buyout.
2. If you’re dealing with an issue where a club is deeply offended by the opening bid, regardless of the clause, work out a position they’d be happy with that would 1) interest them 2) make it not seem like they’d been bullied into a bad deal 3) might make you look the weaker party, but who cares, you’d have the best striker in the world
3. Don’t chain yourself to a moral high ground over a world class striker when there are so few in the world. It doesn’t matter how unethical it is not the abide by a break clause. The key story here is they had something we badly wanted. Something that would have won us two titles by now. And we bottled it / offended Liverpool so badly they wouldn’t play ball.
Saying they had no intention of selling a Premier League team is beyond nonsense, they’d sell to anyone who stumped up the right value. Which was, a season later, £70m! That for me was one of the prime examples of us not having the guts to go big instead accepting whatever was said, missing out under the guise of class.
UPDATE: Also worth reading this. John Henry actually played the game legally. We totally misinterpreted the clause.
Back onto transfers. Wenger already causing unrest with me as he starts to shirk around the realities of the summer. The Standard reckons he’s only in for three players with no radical overhaul.
‘We want to keep the squad stable over the summer while strengthening where possible, you want the group to be stimulated and to believe that we have improved the quality.’
You know what stimulates great players? Great players. You know what flatlines them? Lining up with the same munch bunch that bombed the year before. Players don’t care for stable if it’s stale. They read the papers and get excited about seeing new people in the office as much as you and I. They will look at three players and say…
‘Are you kidding me?’
Arsenal are way more than three players away from competing. We’ve just lost three in Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini. We should be losing players from Chambo, Theo and Gibbs. We should be thinking about our ageing backline that’s guaranteed to pick up more tweaks and strains. We should probably ask questions of Chambers and Gabriel? Are they sure to hit it off next year? We need to understand that Welbeck is dead for the season. We need to be honest about Jack Wilshere’s ability to stay fit and not play the hope card. We need to be honest about Santi Cazorla and his age and accept we do not have an internal replacement for him.
We shouldn’t be looking at the children coming into the squad as anywhere near ready for our first 11. Bar maybe Iwobi who is a back up at best. We need to be sending them out on loan, exactly where Chambers should have been this season cutting his teeth.
This cannot melt into a summer of tweaks. Because the foundations cracked in a season we should have destroyed the league based on our so called stability.
Unless Wenger is leaving next summer. And that’s a weird story. Stan letting him have his final year with severe restrictions. Which would be incredibly short sighted and potentially hampering for the best manager.
Anyway, enjoy the game today! Season is nearly done. 🍺🍺🍺