Spend Some Bloody Money: A Short History Of Arsene’s Signings Part 2: 2005 – 2009


The Next Vieira?

The second of The Beck’s three-parter summarizing the current manager’s signings before asking in his third and final post: has Arsene still ‘got it’ when it comes to signing players good enough for Arsenal?

In 2005, as well as the January transfer window of 2006, we signed Diaby, Adebayor, Walcott, Vela, Song, Mannone, Hleb and Mart Poom and Fabrice Muamba, Bendtner, J-E-T, Gilbert, Simpson and Stokes graduated from the youth set up.

That summer saw us lose the talisman of the team, the captain Patrick Vieira, who had been reportedly if inexplicably longing for a move to Madrid for quite a while before his eventual departure to Juventus.

Many saw Diaby as Vieira’s replacement but when Diaby started playing on the left side of midfield and cutting inside, many believed he’d have a more attacking role. Diaby’s career has been all but ruined by injuries and only the boss will know when his time is up. In his time with us, he’s shown considerable quality and power. I consider him an asset, a great squad player and it seems other managers think he’s the first player on the French National team when fit.

Adebayor and Walcott were seen as eventual successors to Henry.  Adebayor left for Man City for an unbelievable sum after one great season and another one, average in hindsight (she can also not be a bitch).  Walcott is of course still with us, doing well and getting better.  Flamini performed admirably as a makeshift left back before being switched back to the midfield department, his partnership with Cesc successfully covering all bases but he never forgot that money is the most important thing in the world when leaving on a free to Milan (which I can imagine not many blame him for; there are numerous theories out there that make him look both favourable and unfavourable).

Hleb was quite the skilful player, his low centre of gravity helped him to produce wonders, but his low percentage in finishing disappointed. One that should also have stayed, but opted to play for Barcelona and wrote countless poems at night to Arsene, admitting that he’d made the biggest mistake of his life.

Song essentially did the same to us as Hleb and will probably regret it too. Vela has had an up and down start to his career due to loans but finally seems settled at Sociedad, though we’re all still in love with his dinky goals; maybe too in love.

Bendtner got more of a chance than Aliadiere to prove his worth after loan spells, but was destined to be the Danish bad boy and despite showing promise, is now only promising to annoy Arsenal fans more by running down his contract until he gets a better offer or a signing bonus with a new club.

The other youths from that year, as well as Poom, never really proved themselves at the club, even as we were competing for both the title and the top four spots.

In the summer of 2006, Arsene purchased Tomas Rosicky, as well as William Gallas in a swap deal with Ashley Cole and cash (in hindsight they got the better part of the deal; like I said, bitch). He also signed a young Denilson and loaned out Reyes to Madrid and in return got a man with a rib cage the size of an elephant – Julio Baptista.

Rosicky’s been hampered by injuries but he’s stuck around and the club stuck around him and in the latter years has been a great and experienced squad player, filled with quality, but possibly not the player he could have been.

Denilson had great qualities but was always mocked for being too simple in his play and his backwards/sideways passes.  He never had the imposing figure of Gilberto or Vieira (which counts a lot to fans, but perhaps not the manager).  He made a few personal errors and was never forgiven for them by the fans, nor, ultimately in this instance, the manager, it seems.

Gallas endured a solid spell at centre back but never seemed to get along with Toure and it all fell apart for him two years later at St Andrews.  I always thought him to be a good captain and a great player, but at the wrong club.  His winning mentality did not seem to mix well with the young players who still had some mistakes left in their system.

Baptista enjoyed a few days in the sun during the Carling Cup Campaign which led us to the final, but he never seemed agile enough to compete at the highest level and Arsene decided not to keep him after the season-long loan.

In 2007, we signed Diarra, Sagna, Eduardo, Fabianski and the world famous Pedro Botelho.

Diarra wanted first team action and with Flamini and Gilberto hogging the limelight, he became very impatient and left after feeling he was denied his ‘guaranteed’ starts.  After a solid spell at Portsmouth he transferred to Real Madrid and had a good few seasons there before almost retiring at Anzhi Makhachkala.

Sagna has been the most consistent right back we’ve had and has performed admirably throughout his time at the club. We may even be seeing a transition into centre ‘Bac’ (geddit?!), in order to lengthen his time at the club.

Eduardo was brilliant until his leg break, which I witnessed at St Andrews, in person.  It was horrible, just the worst thing. We Arsenal fans doubtless all retain the firm belief that the title was ours that year had it not been for that leg-break and, surprise, surprise, a few van Persie injuries.

Fabianski has shown classy qualities but also, in the past, seemed a tad error-prone.  At the age of 28, he should be reaching his prime for the club assuming a summer move away doesn’t tempt him ahead of a World Cup year.

Pedro Botelho is a myth.

In the 2008/09 season, we suffered a slow start and signed Arshavin in the 2009 January Transfer Window, he was our record signing and at the time of writing, still is.

We signed Silvestre who turned out to be a man ready with errors confusingly mixed with some solid displays.

Ramsey rejected United for us.  He suffered a nasty leg break at Stoke and after widespread abuse – largely from some of our own fans – has since turned it all around and now looks to be a Welsh Schweinsteiger.  Or just his own Aaron Ramsey.

Samir Nasri was a player that initially never looked like he wasn’t going to produce from his silky ball control but who eventually did before getting his head turned by City three years later after one good season. Samir is now looking for part-time work as a toilet salesman because it’s got to be better than sitting on that bench.

Bischoff doesn’t exist. He just doesn’t.

In 2008, Merida, Wilshere, Szczesny , Watt and Barazite were invited to have a look at the first team, but only Wilshere and Szczesny have made it and look to be consistent and great enough to hold a place in the Arsenal team.  It could be argued that Ramsey’s development has eclipsed Wilshere, but I’m sure Jack will catch up after a good pre-season under his belt. Szczesny seems to need good competition and will only grow to become a better keeper with experience and competition.

In 2009 we saw Vermaelen being the only major recruit. With Sulzeer coming back as a blast from the past and many young players being given the chance to shine. Vermaelen came out action-packed that season and offered so much promise, but after being made captain, has made many personal errors and despite his obvious quality, is yet to make it back into the starting line-up due to other players simply being better and more consistent.

The Beck can be located on Twitter @The_Beck_

About ArsenalAndrew

Annoying, former optimist and lifelong supporter of the finest football club the world has ever seen.

44 comments on “Spend Some Bloody Money: A Short History Of Arsene’s Signings Part 2: 2005 – 2009

  1. It is clear from the first two parts Arsene has never really changed his transfer philosophy and this years clear out of U21 and u18s and the amount of replacements coming in proves this. Quality wise ( and I know you can never be sure) they do look a step up.


  2. arse_or_brain – do you mean replacements coming into the U18s and U21s? Or last year’s U18/21s stepping up to this year’s first team?


  3. Another great post Becks, thanks. Post such as this are great reminders of our recent history and should help other fans formulate their opinions on the basis of evidence. The latter is something that I demand and will not compromise. I cannot stand unsubstantiated opinion, even if it is ‘only football’.

    Here’s an example of an opinion which need not be supported by evidence, it’s just an opinion from a man with an ego to match Piers Morgan’s. It’s in response to a comment sent in to his blog with regard to Gary Neville’s recent interview published in the Gaurdian:

    “”Arsenal are doing it brilliantly. The noise around Arsène Wenger these last three years has been immense. But Arsenal stay strong. They’re saying: ‘No, we’re supporting our manager. We believe in him’. From that, I gain confidence there is still some sanity in football.”

    As one who has contributed to that noise, do you see any sense in what he says?

    Take care and keep writing,

    Myles says:

    Of course Gary wants Arsenal to be weak. To not challenge Manchester.

    Do you think he enjoyed it when Overmars scored that goal at Old Trafford? Or Wiltord?”

    Forgive me for referring to Palmer every now and again by I have my suspicions about what motivates him and I need a fucking outlet….


  4. “Mortar fire is to be preferred, of course, to British sports fans. Has anyone checked the passenger list on the ‘The Spirit of Free Enterprise?’ Were there any Liverpool United supporters on board? That channel ferry may have been tipped over for fun. (Fortunately the Brits have to be back at their place of unemployment on Monday so they never get further than Spain.)”

    Holidays in Hell, P. J. O’Rourke 1988

    I’m sure he was referring to Liverpool FC supporters. Oh well some things never change….


  5. Have you tried switching it off and back on again George?


  6. Who is Sulzeer?


  7. Sol Campbell, Georgaki (sulzeer shortened to Sol)


  8. Also Georgaki, never fear you don’t have an Ally in the ‘Myles P is a Git’ cornet. I am a permanent fixture, the chap is a Turdbucket of the highest order.


  9. Oh dear, I fear we have lost PG …

    Only so much Twitter meltdown one man’s laptop can cope with.


  10. I am on the wife’s Andrew,but I cant hardly drive it


  11. If not Suarez then who?

    If not Gustavo then who?

    Because I’m not up to speed with available ‘marquee’ signings. Of course, this is not LeGroan where they know of every top, top, super top class player that would easily have been bought by now had Pedro been in charge…..


  12. Oh no PG. If your battle n’strife is anything like mine you are in serious trouble. I would not touch her laptop or desktop with a barge pole. Anything slightly unfamiliar in her internet browser and thats it for the next six months!


  13. Things I have learnt so far from Beck’s series about AW’s transfers:
    1) No year has passed without xfers in the summer window.
    2) Has rarely signed established stars even in the glory years.
    3) Not afraid to spend on quality but definitely opposed to overpaying.
    4) A minority of xfers really strike it big. (Everybody these days have forgotten the 80:20 rule.) The majority have been moved on.

    There is certainly much more which many of you will add. The main thing however is despite the detractors especially bloggers who resort to hyperbole such as “end of an era” and “criminally negligent”, compared to to all other top managers, this has been a monumentally successful transfer strategy. Serves me well when I read nonsense on Twitter and blogs about AW’s supposed failures this window long before it is closed. 18 days to go.

    Like I said before many of us need to grow some balls.


  14. It’s a fascinating series of posts and in many ways a real triumph by Beck. It’s one of those sequence of articles we can all take different things from which is always a good sign, in my opinion.

    Aside from Shotta’s remarks, one of the things that have struck me has been how long ago certain signings were made when yet they still seem so recent. Another oddity is how briefly some stayed whilst remaining long in the memory.

    But it is a sobering truth that the vast bulk of our – of Arsene’s – best buys were unknown, or relatively unknown to the overwhelming majority of the club’s supporters at the time of purchase. I think I’d almost feel disappointed if we lost that now and started signing only the biggest names; we would certainly lose a certain dimension of what it means to support the club, a dimension which is largely unique to Arsenal.

    The squad has been pared down so it would seem we are in for new acquisitions; Beck’s posts are highlighting the likelihood that at least some if not most or all of such signings over the next couple of weeks, will be largely unknown to us today.

    It is certainly those signings I’m looking forward to.


  15. Andrew: Having moved on so many as well as having some money for a change makes the nea hysteria on twitter and blogs that Arsene won’t strengthen so ludicrous.


  16. I don’t think the hysteria is about transfers per se; it’s just the latest excuse to batter the club.

    There is clearly an agenda for some to simply hammer the club – and specifically AW – on every occasion that appears to present itself. These are the morons that actively prefer to see the side lose games in order to advance their twisted aims. I’m certain they are a minority but like all extremists, they are dragging a few who should know better, along with them.

    Twitter is the classic empty vessel …


  17. Not everyone who worries about our transfer inactivity wishes to batter the club Andrew, or the manager. No hyperbole from my corner either, just bewilderment at how this has played out. So far.

    Ivan promised a brave new dawn. Quite explicitly. Arsene’s own words have backed up that claim. So supporters will only naturally scratch their heads as we enter the new season, with nothing but false dawns. If he doesn’t strengthen, and I don’t mean promising players that will reach fruition in two or three seasons, I mean a player(s) who will slot right in and give the team a boost in the here and now. So we can perhaps fulfill the obvious promise of this side, which Arsene has built, against the odds, and the slings and arrows of last season, and props, as ever, to him for that. What then?

    If he doesn’t, and we are scrapping for 4th again next season, then people will be clamouring for him to fall on his sword like never before. I won’t, but folks like me don’t count. All you’ll hear are those who make the most noise. And they will.

    Having said that, I genuinely hope you are all correct.


  18. Harry – I didn’t say everyone who worries about transfers wants to batter the club.

    I DID say that some who wish to batter the club ARE using the transfer window as a way of stoking up discontent. I’m referring specifically to twitter btw. These lunatics actively want the club to lose games in order to further their agenda; they are in the minority but seek to sway the more rational majority towards their corner.

    Once the transfer window closes they’ll move on to the next bad news story.


  19. Ah well, to be fair, I’m not on there Andrew, too much extraneous noise for my tired old mind to filter.

    I think there are genuine worries though, which even the most mild mannered of us find it hard to remain oblivious too.

    We’ll see it how it all pans out soon enough.

    Saturday can’t come soon enough.



  20. I just see the window as an opportunity Harry rather than a reason to get unduly anxious. Do you not find it odd how, having screeched for the removal of the so-called ‘dead wood’, some are now just screeching for something else? Round and round they go?

    That we now appear better able to fund our transfer opportunities should be a cause of some celebration but no, for some it’s just another excuse to complain about the club sitting on cash.

    If you want to see the risks of rushing out and buying a set of flavour-of-the-month type players just take a look at the situation Liverpool have got themselves into and the losses they have subsequently made when they have had to sell off those hurridly assembled ‘stars’ at a crippling loss.


  21. Georgaki
    turdbucket > Mr. MP.

    PG – If you misses sees a post from Hunter, she’ll be weirding you out. hehe.


  22. See, I understand what you are saying there Andrew, and I am in broad agreement, but I don’t think spending the available money on strengthening the squad you have (so we can perhaps even mount a title challenge, which I think is a real probability, with the right additions) automatically means following in the ignoble footsteps of Looneypool.

    Also, we’ve had all summer, quite a few months now since Ivans’ initial fanfare, so “rushing” hardly comes into. However I can certainly envisage a scramble for players come deadline, especially if we, god forbid, pick up an early injury to a key player.

    Anyway. We’ll see.


  23. Harry
    I’m counting 20 new dawn’s before the window closes.hang onto your hat.

    PS – got any good recipes for it?

    AA – I heard a good one on Arseblog – “Deadwood in!”.
    stupid, but simple things make me laugh.


  24. I did reply Andrew, but it seems to have gone “missing”.

    No great loss to the discourse (insert smiley etc).


  25. Just had a look Harry but nothing being held at the back of the shop …

    I’m not really taking issue with you but just wanted to clarify I’m not having a go at those with genuine concerns; it’s the stirrers I struggle with.


  26. Weird. Happened a few times before, unless I’m pressing something to vanish it (entirely plausible scenario).

    I know the type Andrew, I think they wear us all down. I might join a black scarf protest just to strangle a few of ’em with one (NOTE: I’M ONLY JOKING THERE, INTERNET POLICE). I just don’t want Arsene to give them legitimate grievances.



  27. It was in the trash Andrew.A bit harsh I felt


  28. In terms of strikers, aside from Suarez whom we have openly bid for, and arguably (only just) Rooney, never mind their strange ways, who are these mythical great and glorious players that would have so improved the current line-up we should be signing? Higuain was potentially close; but one has to guess not considered the most enticing prospect, surplus at Real anyway, otherwise we would undoubtedly have moved more resolutely. Wenger genuinely seemed more excited by Sanogo. Now it is Dzeko? Michu? Maybe and maybe, for depth; although the former, whom I like for his explosive finish, is not considered all that consistent, the latter an exciting prospect it seems but at what level and consistency? Then who? And available? And able to fit in to the Arsenal system? I am decidedly not an AKB (hate the term) but I would seriously trust Wenger’s judgment.


  29. Gooners, could not read the earlier posts in time. Someone seemed to have a go at Hunter in one of the posts, I’m a massive massive Hunter fan here. I actually made an inquiry about the availability of Hunter in twitter via Andrew and George. His comments are terrific and rekindles the eternal love for Arsenal glowing inside me.

    I kind of draw an intense pleasure from always being positive when it comes to supporting Arsenal. I recently entered an Arsenal forum was outright bashing of Arsene and the board. I had a go at them and asked why not to wait until end of the window. The reply was like ” Do you think you are a better Arsenal fan than me only because you remain positive always”.

    I myself consider as a part of Arsenal. I sail along with team, week in week out enjoying the highs and holding firm in the lows. Being a part of this club, I dont think I have any right to criticise the clubs actions. In fact if i did so, I will be criticising my intellect, my choice and myself.

    No one told me to be an Arsenal fan, none either guaranteed me trophies or shiny new players every season to boast about. I supported only because I fell for Arsenal and deep down I have a feeling of being bounded to Arsenal by destiny in one way or another. Remaining a few steps apart and viewing with some perspective I feel myself a better Arsenal fan than those eternal moaners. Because a person who creates disharmony in a family is no way better than the one who only wishes good health and pray for it.

    Bearing this concept of being totally attached to the club gives me an invincible feel. Because both in the victory and defeat, the club is in me and i’m in the club. I’m here to continue this spectacular ride which has got a whole new meaning to my life.


  30. ZimPaul

    Well, Falcao and Cavani were bought up early in the market, and we all thought that 50m (euros, wasn’t it?) was insane money to bid and only oil-flush nouveau types would be in that bidding zone. Now everyone who’s opinion is self-important enough to brag about seems to think 50m(pounds now!) is the new market rate for the top toppity top qualitee, except of course Real and Spuds who are having a circlejerk over Cornelius.

    We have already put in an insanely high 50m (works in euros sort of) bid for Suarez. It’s not as if Arsenal are afraid to bid mad prices, if they want the man.

    Didn’t we start the summer bidding for £25m for someone called ‘bintner’ or something like that? We are getting royally screwed around by other club’s this summer, we seem to be a bit unsure of ourselves at this new market level – it’s a bit new to the club.

    And remember any of those average midfielders (so many) that were just using an alleged link to Arsenal just to get a better deal at their own club?

    We will know tomorrow (apparently) where we stand about palters who want to come in. Gustavo has made all the right noises, a-ha! but would he commit to joining us when we are still 180 minutes away from the Champions League group stages? If he would it would be a massive vote of confidence for the Club and Manager.


  31. Bugger tomorrow.
    This is from the German equivalent of the telegraph:


    Gott-in-Himmel! Nein, nein, nein!

    I hope this is a very sophisticated troll, or that German ‘humour’ we hear so much about.


  32. Adam’s article on agents and his comments on how AFC operate tell us more about how and with who Arsenal Football Club conduct transfers (so, not Bernard then!) then most. The club, not the manager, are consistent and i feel a few who expand a lot of energy on the topic ( not me then ) are trying too hard to ignore why the club operate as they do. The bleeb carried a story after the trolly dash where they reported that AFC were a ‘nightmare for most agents’. I bet they were. What was interesting was the sound of the broadcaster siding with agents instead of clubs. Very revealing.

    Harry when people start to post critiques of the managers emails as evidence of the ‘problem’, the ‘decline’ (they have) whilst some of us have been giggling at such silly stuff for years, since they started, then i dont think it matters what AW says or does. In this example, he doesn’t even write the emails!

    Three young Arsenal players to start for England tonight? Walcott might be out so maybe just two.
    The F Word F’d off and Chamberlain was signed, and for my sins I am still enjoying this story. Be nice if little Jack got some protection next year. That is more important to me as much as any transfer rumour. Regardless of transfer activity surely a genuine highlight this summer was The Ox’s goal against Brazil. If Limey is reading, don’t worry, the other rumour Gustavo didn’t play in that game.

    It was the new Tottenham player left spinning by Chamberlain. Heh.


  33. Chamberlain on the bench : (


  34. Wally starts : )


  35. Wenger’s overwhelming emphasis, made pretty clear, is to prepare the team in the right way for a decent string of early results, and take matters step by step. This seems to have been well achieved, mainly because it’s in our own total control, and no players of any note have left, and no further alarming injuries have arisen. The second is to solve the problem of a thin squad, not mutually exclusive of course, but out of our control in as much as it takes three to tango: two clubs and the player and Mr. 20% concerned. Wenger’s comments have been quite persuasive in my opinion, re strikers and other positions, that he sees a few high-priced players (30-40m+), prices stretched by a tight player market and competition, then nothing much, then potential somewhere nearer the 5-15m area. Gustavo seems to be an exception and would be a great find, but will hardly walk into this team, not yet. He must weigh the latter (potential) carefully with his third priority, to assess academy and young players he already has against available players identified and negotiations. I find his comments very interesting. It is clear that Ryo is tentatively in his plans, and he finds him “looking sharp” and making progress (to the level needed), even while still not 100% in Asia; and that he will assess depending on potential transfers. Meaning: he has a potentially left sided player on the radar, but it’s not certain (I wondered if it might refer to Suarez). Serge and maybe Akpom are of interest, but only to see how they progress on the fringes. Then, some bold comments about Sanogo. In addition, it is certain that Ox’s role is understood, essentially, as a forward, able to perform right or left at this stage, and that might mean a central role later. Theo has not been ruled out in the centre in due course, only that he is more effective now from the right, and Podolski is not a complete duff in the centre either.

    Why isn’t Wenger panicking? (Or maybe he is, but doubtful). He has Plan A, B and C (January window as a fallback). Plan A concerns three incoming players, including Gustavo one assumes, a second striker of high quality (Suarez, Michu, Dzeko all speculative), and maybe a right back, which would allow a flexible array of possible roles and positions. Plan B is what we have now plus 1-2 new players, effectively two players per position, multiple roles available (eg Lukas central), bit part roles for one or two academy players (Serge, Nico, Eisfeld), but not enough for 55+ games. Plan C is fallback time. He has until early September, about 2 weeks, to finalize matters.

    It is most likely Plan A remains on course, although somewhat compromised in one or two cases by some dodgy player prices/issues and a bruising market. Patience.


  36. I can’t help but feel that some of the panic over lack of activity is brought about by all the ‘ITK’ speculations on Twitter and linking of players by the media. Because Arsenal do not do their business in public speculation gets out of control and unrealistic expectations are raised. Despite public pronouncements to the contrary, I suspect that the type of quality we want this transfer window will not be joining until we are guaranteed CL group stage. Also, from the club point of view, there is a significant financial risk to buying players who will expect big salaries if some of the money we are banking on to pay them does not materialise.


  37. Feoo!
    Jack not injured!
    No new injuries reported in yet.

    Reading about Wolfsburg, the Volkswagen team have not exactly ever set the world in fire. Brian McBride is listed as one of their most famous former players. Says it all.


  38. hallo everyone hey jedi harry whats up man? all good? dont worry we will get players…just after the champions league qualifiers i suspect ..last year we got 3rd so auto-qualification hence we moved quicker. as for loomer he threw a comment to that pillar of modesty something like “do you complain to your mom as much as you do about arsene” ..i had to run to the kitchen for water as i was chocking laughing and crying at the same time. epic

    Zimpaul true about gustavo, i cant see wenger spending 17 million for an expereinced international and not play him in first team. this guy is a dm and our dm is arteta. if gustavo takes the arteta role then either jack or aaron are out of the picture. no to that. will gustavo play the “arsenal dm” position as well as arteta ? could do. will arteta move more central and join cazorla a/o rosicky?

    our team has had a great preseason, our team was probably the best in the country in the second round of last season. our players have created a chemistry that seems to be working for them mentally to get past obstacles..it is not a case of one player trying his best and then sulking because the others couldnt follow him…a proper team humble and willing to work and run and win…for themselves and for their manager… pellegrini = lol ….
    mourinho vs hazard plus roman, ever the legend, wants to bring shevchenko to the club as technical director..
    moyes …phil neville coach? what is going on there?


  39. finsbury August 14, 2013 at 6:28 pm



  40. Hunter,
    The DM position at arsenal is a myth, same with wingers, Wenger expects his players to play football, wherever they are. This is even more so nowadays with tikka-takka style or German fastball (hmm wonder where they picked THAT idea up from?).

    Hi Nidsenal, good to see you on again. Don’t be a stranger. I missed some posts earlier while watching the international football.


  41. You are sheep, all of you….so writes one of Palmer’s obsequious sycophants

    “The board love him, as does the owner, because he makes profit.

    The 60,000 fans who turn up each home game are sheep, being fleeced by this shepherd.

    Just what is your letter about Adrian? In your own words, Asrsene doesn’t know best,

    and if he doesn’t, get a manager who does.

    That put your argument to bed.

    The majority are not always right.

    But Myles is. Nowhere on THIS planet would a football manager re-sign himself to a new contract.

    That is the major stumbling block at Arsenal.


    A manager, telling the owner and the board, he might sign a new contract.



  42. Today’s post is up.


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