If you’ve been reading Le Grove for a while, you’ll know I don’t really raise my hand on transfer rumours, because it’s a risky game. There are very few that truly know what they are doing in this space, David Ornstein is obviously the best in the business, BBC on the resume, an actual journalist, can cut through the bullshit, has real contacts, very rarely misses. There are others that get good information, but it’s peddled via agents, the deal with the devil there is part of your messaging is good faith, but the other part is shifting nonsense, being the authentic face of bullshit designed to whip up interest.
If a big name Twitter account says X player is moving to BIG club, it might not be true, but that Twitter account creates 1000 stories that make it feel true. Football is a game of emotion and execs all have the same biases and ticks you do. So this tactic can be fruitful because a front-of-mind name for you can be a front-of-mind name in an insecure scouting office.
So, first up on the nonsense chart.
The Daily Mail reckon Cedric Soares has been denied a move to Atletico by the move of Ainsley. This is a big fat NONSENSE. Remember, Cedric was a player so average Southampton assumed that when his deal ran out, he’d go to a lower league club. The idea that Diego Simeone is going to swoop in for a £90k a week right back that; as someone neatly put it the other day, is still our 4th best right back after shipping a few, is utter dross. This is a story of Kia’s imagination designed to fool other clubs into thinking there might be a player there. If Arsenal could shake his £90k a week salary, they’d stick Bernd Leno at right-back for the rest of the season. Cedric might land a move, but let’s be real, Soares can’t do anything Trippier can do, and if he’s not an Arteta or a Hassenhutl player, he’s not a Simeone player.
The second mega noise is around Dusan Vlahovic’s camp and club. Fiorentina folk are telling anyone that wants to listen that Arsenal needs to do something, like, so bloody crazy if they want the bring the striker over this January.
This story has flaws.
Firstly, the £58m price tag. Who are they kidding? The player has 18 months left on his deal, 12 in the summer, it would be nuts if they managed to squeeze £50m for the player in this market. Fiorentina desperately needs a club like Arsenal to come for their player now, because in the summer, the price drops again.
Then you have the summer. The pickings are slim when it comes to clubs with the money and the prestige to be a draw.
- PSG – Haaland / Lukaku / Ronaldo
- City – Kane / Haaland
- Barca – skint (dreaming of Haaland)
- Chelsea – Lukaku (Haaland)
- United – Too many strikers
- Liverpool – No room
- Spurs – Broke
- Juve – Would want a 6 year loan
It’s hard to ask for something crazy in a market of one.
Then let’s talk about the wages. The Mail again saying we’d need crazy money. He’s reportedly asking for £300k a week. Come on people. Are we losing our damn minds? Arsenal isn’t going to him with that money when we have Saka, Martinelli, and Smith Rowe on our book earning around £120k a week at best. We’re not going to fuck our wage structure on a 21-year-old that doesn’t have many options outside us / hasn’t proved himself outside a tier 4 league. You think Juve are going to give him that? No chance. They’ll ask Fiorentina to pay his wages on the loan move they’ll want.
The more noise I read about Vlahovic, the more I think the move is unlikely. This chatter is all driven by agents via Italian Football Twitter, but where there’s smoke… there’s usually a really annoying player that’ll come and want to leave after year one unless they land a new deal.
Again, think about the currency of the internet: Information. Look at how much info out of accounts linked to agents. This is part of a negotiation or it’s part of a noisy ‘PLEASE SOMEONE DRIVE UP THE PRICE’ campaign.
I’m going to say it again, I think Jack Wilshere might be an option this month, remember, it only takes a second to sign a deal.
Arsenal aren’t loaded this January, pulling money from the summer for a striker makes sense, but I don’t think we’ll be finding £60m for a midfielder. I suspect the pattern you see with the striker is what you’re going to see with the midfielder.
- Age Profile: 21-24
- Appearances: 2 seasons of consistent first-team action in a major league
- Contract: 6-18months left on deal so the fee can be lower
Who knows what the specificity is going to be, but I suspect we’ll be looking at an understudy for Granit Xhaka after nearly losing him in the summer and someone that can add a bit of bite and edge heading into the end of the year.
The key for the window is to manage the emotion of it. The easiest thing to do would be to waste money on someone (Gini). The temptation will be to break the strategy with someone older that could block the path of a young player that simply needs a 6-month loan to put themselves in contention.
We don’t need to do anything wild. Arsenal has a wild couple of weeks coming up. The job is clear. We need to beat Liverpool for cheating their COVID testing, then we have to go to Spurs this weekend and take a point or more. After that, beat Burnley and we are game on for the Top 4 race for the rest of the season.
All we need to do is ride four games, then we enter into Phase 6 of the season with a 17 day break. Last season, I think Arteta took the team to Dubai. Get into that break without too much damage and the players will get some sun, they’ll have a mini-preseason with the new players, then we’ll jump back into Phase 6 of the season fresh, with no Europe, no more cups, just pure focus and a clear objective to chase.
Back to Liverpool. The press now seems pretty clear that, yes, conspiracies do happen in football, but only because Jurgen Klopp was dim enough to reveal it in the press. Liverpool opened their training ground a day after our postponed game, then admitted they had 10 false-negative tests. You’ve a better chance of winning the lottery than getting than many bad test results. Is there any other way of framing this outside cheating? There’s not.
At the core, this is a huge compliment. Jurgen Klopp has fucked Liverpool’s season by January again, which is a huge, huge failure on his part. He needs an insurance trophy, that is now the League Cup. He wants a good news story. Last Thursday, he knew Arsenal were in outstanding form, he didn’t have all the players he needed, so they gamed the system and had the event moved by Rick Parry (exLiverpool exec). False positives are rare. A load of them, at a professional football club, is impossible. This needs to be punished by more than a cursory fine.
Still, the ACTUAL positive here is Arsenal didn’t have Xhaka, who was really sick, and now they do. Arteta needs a performance, the boys need to get some good news into those tired legs, now they have a chip on their collective shoulders, so let’s see what we can do there.
I will say again… media that play the: ‘Hmmmffhhhopppphhh, fans are so dumb when they call out cheating in the game’ really embarrassed themselves with the lack of probing around what Liverpool did. Call it out, Klopp is a disgrace. Be a little curious on other things like referees and the drab data associated with how they behave around certain clubs.
Final piece related to Cup nightmares and the internet. Nottingham Forest are trying to get a promotion this season, they are in the mixer for the Play-offs. Did anyone think it was nuts that Steve Cooper went out of his way to shit-house Arsenal and put Djed Spence, their excellent full-back, in the shop window like that? Boro’ now has a proper coach in Chris Wilder, who must be wondering why a player that can go toe-to-toe with Martinelli is out on loan to a rival, and now the rest of the Premier League is looking at the same player and wondering if they need a new right-back. Mad put your best silver on show in a trophy you can’t win, but here we are, that’s football for ya.
Ok, have fun in the comments and WATCH THE DAMN SHOW (subscribe too) or LISTEN (subscribe) to it. Johnny seems to have won MoTP for his showing. Thank you for watching and tuning in, we love you. x