CLASSLESS VILLA PROPAGANDA MASKING DEEP FEAR + BIG TRANSFER ROUND-UP

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I’m going to start the blog with a philosophical theory.

Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor) is a principle from philosophy. Suppose an event has two possible explanations. The explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation.

Aston Villa triggered me yesterday. The threat of them taking away Emile Smith Rowe felt painful. I reacted.

… but I was wrong.

Why? Occam’s razor.

The fewest assumptions, in relation to Smith Rowe, would have him staying at Arsenal and signing a new deal.

Reasons to go to Aston Villa: Zero

Would he get more minutes? No

Can they pay more money? No

Does he have a bond with the club or the area? No

Is there anything about Aston Villa that is more appealing than Arsenal? No

Next up, do Aston Villa have a reason to pursue Emile Smith Rowe? Yes

They are about the lose Jack Grealish to a major club this summer for big money. This is humiliating. It could basically make them relegation fodder.

So what is a good counter-punch? Trying to unseat Emile Smith Rowe. Villa fans are in the comments under my Youtube video crowing. They genuinely believe this is a real story. I pity them. They have fallen for it.

It’s low-level propaganda people. That is the simplest assumption and most likely the closest to the truth.

The final question we need to ask. Does Mikel Arteta have a history of losing his best players?

Not really.

Emi Martinez is the closest you’ll get on this one. But look, he’d been at Arsenal for a decade, he’d played 12 good games for Arsenal, and we stuck it out with a keeper who’d been a big performer for us. Do I regret that move? Absolutely, I preferred Emi, but let’s not pretend that this is the same thing.

We kept Auba when everyone thought he was leaving last season.

We signed Martinelli to a 5 year deal.

We signed Sir Bukayo Saka to a 5 year deal.

We even managed to tie down Flo Balogun to a 5 year deal, which absolutely no one thought was possible.

Actually, one more area to ponder.

Would Arsenal sell Smith Rowe to fund a bigger purchase?

Edu is in the last chance saloon this summer, he understands the fans, he knows what young players mean to us.

Vinai will absolutely know the power of young players, he’s seen the attachment we formed with players of the past, there’s simply no way our Chief Exec would not see this as a pivotal signing.

Finally, Arteta has made many mistakes, but I simply refuse to believe he doesn’t understand what Smith Rowe did for his career and what he means for the fans. You cannot talk about the values of Arsenal FC and not clearly understand that Smith Rowe is one of our top 3 players going into this season. He was the reasons we went on the post-Xmas run. He is the catalyst for energy in our starting 11. He is Star Boy #2. Arteta had to constantly tell journalists you can’t field 11 kids. He knows what Smith Rowe means to Arsenal fans.

If Occam’s razor could predict, it would probably say the most likely outcome here is that Emile Smith Rowe signs a new deal.

If this doesn’t happen, I am quitting the blog world. I will give the podcast to Johnny and Matt. I will never show my face on the internet again. I absolutely refuse to believe the club I love could do something as stupid as selling a 20 years old sensation like Smith Rowe. If they do, I think it was severely damage my relationship with the club and I think a lot of us feel that way.

So let’s see what Edu has got. If he does the deal here, you have to say, he’s moved us forward with regards to contracts. We’re stemming the flow of Serge Gnabry’s leaving the club. That’s a huge step forward.

In other news, it seems like we’re close to getting Tavares, Ben White, and Lokonga into the club. 3 players sub 24 years old. High levels of technical ability, all with there relevant athletic profile, all feels like they’ve been well scouted.

Ben White will probably take a while. The England player will have to have 4 weeks break and I very much doubt Arsenal are going to want to pick up wages for a player that isn’t at the training ground. There’s money to spend this summer, but remember, this is still the club that was rationing people’s microwave minutes last year to save money.

There will certainly be movement on the attacking midfielder front as well. James Maddison feels like a pipe dream, but who knows. I think Housem Auour at £30m could be the steal of the summer. I also think you have to allow Edu to get his kicks with Brazilians. Barcelona is in deep shit financially and I just can’t imagine Coutinho isn’t on a list somewhere. Say what you will about him, he’s played in the Premier League, he’s hugely experienced, he’s won things, and he’s better than anything we have at the moment. The job of that attacking role is to add goals and final balls. He offers both. I’d prefer it if we aged down, but as Edu deals go, this wouldn’t be the worst if you’re trying to bring Smith Rowe through with someone to learn from.

I also expect a right back to happen. Hector isn’t cutting it, Inter Milan is interested, if we move him on, we need to upgrade and find someone that can do the bits we need. I’d love it to be Ainsley, but I’m not sure he’s going to cut it after a duff loan move and all the other bits of nonsense that go on.

The big question I have is around Lokonga. Are we really going to role with him as a started next season? Seems a touch risky. The Belgian League isn’t strong and he’ll need time to adapt. Who is going to replace Granit Xhaka? The Italian press won’t leave the Premier League rumor alone. There’s talk that he is under a bid from England and it’s a big deal. Juventus hasn’t engaged yet and are obviously skint. He’s a very, very good player… but I just can’t see an Italian moving? They travel worse than English players. BUT… what a signings. AND… he’s a Kia player. Is the Brazilian Transfer Mafia going to do something nice for us this summer? Let’s see…

Ok, lots I’ve just rattled through today. Stay strong on Smith Rowe and believe that our club might have turned the corner on masochistic behavior.

RIGHT. I recorded a new podcast with Johnny… we dropped it on Twitch, people actually showed up… so here’s the video.

If you want the podcast in the normal place, find it here.


EXITING SMITH ROWE WOULD BE A CRIME AGAINST THE FANS

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We’re going to start the blog off today with some tempered mood.

I am angry that Emi Martinez is winning penalty shootouts as Argentina’s #1.

‘It wasn’t that simple’

Sure, I understand and understood at the time why we sold him. Bernd Leno had more of a sample size blah blah blah… but at the same time, isn’t this a prime example of why we don’t always listen to the computer? If a sat-nav tells you to drive off a cliff, do you do it? Arsenal did, that’s for sure.

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DATA BLOG: WHERE IT WENT WRONG (LONG READ)

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Arsenal’s had an abysmal end to 2020 saw them drop to eighth, sneaking into the Europa League via a stunning FA Cup win over Chelsea. After, I couldn’t help but think: Thank God that’s over; it can’t get any worse than that.

Well. Here we are.

There were positives to take from another struggle-filled 2020-2021 season, including improved form after Emile Smith Rowe’s introduction as a starter, Bukayo Saka’s continued rise into the stratosphere, and even some semblance of defensive consistency for the first time in what had felt like forever for AFC.

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MANY GAPS TO FILL, WHY SO SLOW?

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Soooo I think preseason starts this week and once again I find myself asking: where are the players?

The fast and hard start we were hoping for hasn’t happened. In fairness, it’s been a bit slow everywhere. But that can be no excuse for a cumbersome summer. We have a fantastic opportunity to get it right this year, but that won’t happen if we’re dropping players into the squad late.

Mikel Arteta is on the record saying the project is attracting interest from the players they’ve been tapping up, so again, I don’t want to hear ‘European football is a problem’ for Arsenal because it wasn’t a few months ago.

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SUNDAY ROUND-UP

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No… don’t… don’t make me dive back into more Willy Saliba stories!

French media is back at it again with the hysterical behaviour. They appear to have dropped a false story, stating that Arsenal agreed to a 10m purchase clause in the Marseille loan deal. I mean, on any level, why would Arsenal agree to take a fee 64% lower than what they paid when the player has 3 years on his deal. I don’t know why anyone would put that into the ether. Then GFFN corrected the story stating that it should include the clause. Then TF1 have come out and corrected for everyone saying that no such clause will be included and it’s a ‘dry loan.’

Honestly, the French media has been absolutely atrocious on Saliba. They spent most of last season whining about his treatment and didn’t even know it was one of their own clubs that stiffed the player.

There’s an even more amusing story today that has Southampton and Newcastle still in the mixer trying to pry him away from the south of France. Let’s be honest, bumming around in a slow league for another season is less than ideal if he’s serious about development. He should stay in the Premier League, learn the language, and be a bit brave about next season.

One player who looks almost certain to go back to France is Matteo G, why? Because he doesn’t have any other choices. The deal looks like a loan to a perm deal. It’s pretty embarrassing for a player that was widely viewed as a superstar in the making. Again, people can whine that this is an Arsenal issue… but look at the facts, no major club looks at his behaviour as ‘passion for the shirt’, they see him as an immature child that can’t be trusted.

Moving him out of the club is a good thing. It’ll be interesting to see how he deals with Sampaoli, hardly the most balanced of characters, and has certainly put a player through a wall once or twice in his career.

It is quite interesting how much flack the club gets for every single decision. Someone was critiquing the way we handled the Auba thing last season, suggesting Dortmund would handle lateness in a different way. I did some digging in that and it seemed that Dortmund actually went way harder at a similar situation with Auba when he missed a team meeting.

CEO COMMENT: “Yesterday, after the team training, the team had a joint meal and afterwards an important team briefing that did not only concern today’s match but also more general aspects, like our common goals and a code of conduct — and he failed to appear.”

“We held very intense talks with him today and ultimately suspended him. Obviously, also monetary sanctions will ensue. Tomorrow, the coach will welcome him back in training.”

COACH COMMENT (STOGER): “It was an important meeting. If he does not want to be part of that, another player will be get his chance. He briefly said that he forgot it, but we all know that’s not the case.”

KEEPER COMMENT: “The rules apply to every player regardless of how many goals he scores or prevents. The rules have to be followed and I think he knows that. [His suspension] was a logical decision.”

I highlight this because it does seem that whatever the club does that the moment, fans go absolutely mental, even if it’s standard practice. Saliba going on loan shouldn’t be a trending topic. Matteo G being moved on because he’s an awful character shouldn’t meet with such a visceral reaction. But here we are.

You know what will quell some of the bad vibes? Some player movement into the club and a few choice exits.

Sign Ben White and hear what Edu and Arteta have to say about him and we’ll start feeling better. Get Tavares holding the new home shirt outside Highbury House and we’ll ease up in mood. Send Xhaka packing to Rome and we’ll know this summer is serious.

The Euros will be done on Sunday, most players are back at home now with their agents, I think this week will see an uptick in movement.

Martin Odegaard seems to have signaled that he is not coming back to Arsenal next season. That means we’re back in for an attacking midfielder. The Buendia stories were true, so hopefully that means we’re going to target a player with energy and speed in that role.

Mat Ryan is heading to Spain, so that would signal that we’re going to need to sign at least one goalkeeper, two if Bernd Leno can’t be convinced to sign a new deal.

Aston Villa is keeping up their amusing pursuit of Emile Smith Rowe, seemingly believing that £32.5m for one of our best prospects is acceptable… knowing full well we’re asking for that number from Newcastle for Joe Willock. Again, just remind yourself that they have next to nothing they can offer that we can’t. Minutes? We have him 1700 in half a season. Prestige? Sorry, Birmingham and Villa ain’t it. Money? How much more could they possibly offer a 20-year-old? The only angle this story works is that his agent is playing games to whip Arsenal into upping the terms of his deal.

There’s a lot of movement about to happen, hopefully, the mood will lift when we can see what the future state of the squad is going to look like.

Should be a fun few weeks.

See you in the comments.

P.S. GOOD LUCK PATRICK VIEIRA. He just took his first Premier League job with Palace and I am very happy about that. It’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the table there. What will the style be? Will their fans sing old Arsenal Vieira songs to him? Will we love him if he beats us 2-0 at home? Many questions to be answerred.


BREAKING DOWN THE SALIBA MOVE (LONG READ)

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Let’s have a little history lesson to start with because it’s important to understand why Arsenal fans are reacting so badly to William Saliba moving to Marseille for a season (Via Ornstein).

  1. We have a new manager at the club that is very young and his decision making has been less than assured
  2. We have a Technical Director that seems like a beta at the whims of said young manager and his super-agent
  3. Arsenal, prior to the arrival of Arteta, has shown total ineptitude when it comes to young players. Donyell Malen, Jeff Rene Adelaide, and Serge Gnabry are three players that should have stayed with Arsenal, instead, they left and made their fortune and fame elsewhere

The most compelling argument against Arteta’s drive for experience over youth was Nicolas Pepe. Now, let’s be clear here, I don’t think this was experience vs youth, it was experience over a player that was failing. Last summer, we dropped a £36m contract on Willian, that with foresight, was a terrible idea. We gifted development time to a player who didn’t care, when we should have given them to Pepe or a young player.

The issue corrected itself hard at the end of the season but the moment stung. Again, it’s important to note that Pepe massively improved his game, he acknowledged as much, so the coaching is there… but the decision was shocking and still stings.

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WILL NOT LOOK AT THE RAMOS RUMOURS

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Well good morning to you ALL!

Another day goes by without a signing and I am sad. Tavares? Grealish? Maddison? Nothing. Just silence.

Preseason starts next week and as it stands, our summer looks like a classic one.

‘THE CLUB WILL MOVE FAST’

Followed by the empty vastness of misery.

But this is the summer of positivity, so we have to look towards the light.

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