Man, it’s miserable being an Arsenal fan. What’s odd about the terrible starts to the season, is the aggressive messages you get post-Wenger collapse. Like I haven’t been calling these issues all summer. Like it’s a surprise.
I guess we all deal with football grief differently.
So what do we have today?
The news that Arsenal are now caught in a negotiation battle with Valencia for Mustafi. John Cross reckons they’re asking for £50m for their centre back. Guillaume Ballague doesn’t think the German is actually that good. Now we’re in a very awkward dick swinging situation. Do we go big and just buy him for the same price City paid for John Stones? Or should we just look elsewhere. Maybe to the Premier League. Fonte at Southampton would be a very solid stop gap and look, so would Jonny Evans.
Spunking out £50m for Mustafi would be too far, even for the starving man in a dessert looking for a tasty cracker. But again, all those fans praising Wenger for his late summer raids… look at what happens. We’ve forfeited 5 points already and we’re now firmly on the back foot in terms of negotiations EVERY player. There is really no benefit to taking it down to wire. Sure, you might fluke an Ozil or a James. But my issue doing things like this is the purchase isn’t strategic. When considering the state of our squad, you’d expect all purchases to be strategic. At this point, it’s bandaid big names versus proper upgrades.
More bad news, and this is really bad… Asano… has not been granted a work permit for the season. I know, I know, hopes and dreams… shattered. So sad. But look, we might be able to pick up someone to plug the massive hole his presence has left.
I mean really, what a car crash. Because let’s be honest, he, like Holding have gone from being certain loan outs to integral parts of our squad. So he’s likely going to be a loss.
Even Patrick Vieira has joined the chorus bemoaning our lacklustre set up / performances…
“When I watch Arsenal, yes they play good football. But I just have a feeling they are missing something – the physical presence, the personality.”
Interesting watching what Mourinho has done at United. He’s brought in Ibrahimovic, who love him or hate him, brings presence both personally and physically, he has Pogba who has that wirey frame much like Patrick Vieira had and he has Baily who is a bloody monster at the back. Even Slaven Billic at West Ham totally understands how power and pace can impact a teams chances of success.
Then Patrick gets to the point of why he’s talking… he’s looking out for the boys.
“I’m disappointed not to have ex-Arsenal players working at Arsenal.
“It is good for the young players who could see a Thierry Henry, a Freddie Ljungberg, a Sol Campbell or a Martin Keown who have been at the club a good few years working in the academy, or working somewhere. I think they can do it a bit more.
“Players want to do it but do not have the opportunity. I don’t understand it. The perfect example is Ajax. You see all the old players working for the club, on the field, in the office – the door is always open for them – but Arsenal don’t do it and I don’t know why.”
We’ve had them all at it recently (jobs for the boys commentary). The Thierry issue obviously caused big reverberations around the club. Now you have the others chiming in. They’re chiming in because what they can see is a shit show unfolding they feel they could help out with.
News for you guys, the reason there aren’t explayers flocking around the club is because our explayers have major personalities. Dennis Bergkamp was apparently a pain in the arse to work with back in the day, an aggressive argumentative perfectionist who wouldn’t tolerate substandard. Partick Vieira, a man monster of a character always ready to hold people accountable. Freddie Ljungberg, Bobby Pires, Sol Campbell… Jens ‘I’d eat your children for a win’ Lehmann. All mega personalities that would challenge Wenger and his ways.
The manager can’t have that. He purposefully builds obedience into his set up. He controls the tint on the lightbulbs, the fabric on the team bus seats… everything. He also buys in players who don’t challenge. Where are our major personalities? Who is challenging the manager? Apparently Robin Van Persie back in the day used to tap up his pals about playing for Arsenal and suggest names for Wenger.
Wenger doesn’t have the old guard in because they’d tell him what’s what and that’d be scary for the manager. He’ll have seen the Moyes coup in Manchester (explayers ganging up to pressure the board into axing). Wenger would also know that he’d not be able to control his 2004 team as managers because they’re all super rich. The threat of being fired isn’t as real as it is for his current crew who likely have mortgages to pay.
It’s sinister at the top when you are the all encompassing power god. When Wenger goes, hopefully Ivan will ensure no manager is ever allowed to build a power structure like the suffocating on in place right now. We need a Barcelona model in place. Transfer committees, infrastructure owned by the CEO, a manager who is a cog, not the god.
I get so excited about the next phase of the club, because it’s going to be so good. I just worry it’ll take so damn long. We have so many great people at Arsenal. Can’t wait to see how they perform unshackled in a healthy setup.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Let’s see what happens today as we build towards the end of the month and the absolute horror of the deadline day scramble.
BIG LOVE. x
P.S. If you want a bit of Le Grove in your mobile inbox, this app is really cool 11versus11. Like Tinder for football news. Not that I use Tinder.