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Arsene Fiddles While Arsenal Burns

A few years ago I happened across a Coroner’s Report in one of the more respectable UK broadsheets. The subject of the inquest was the untimely death of a middle-age man who’d passed away whilst availing himself of the intimate attentions of an honest lady of the night. Called upon to give evidence, she had this to say (and it was brilliantly quoted verbatim in the paper). “He gave a great sigh, your Honour, and I thought that he’d come, but he’d gorn.” I always imagine Barbara Windsor delivering the line – she’d do it perfectly. I suppose one way or another it all boils down to beginnings and endings, comings and goings, and if that is true of life then it is certainly so of the summer transfer window.

Unfortunately right now there seems precious little to cheer about, but plenty of gloom to keep the doom brigade paradoxically cheerful.

Sagna’s departure was long expected, and although anticipated it still came as a wrench to see him go, especially as he was playing as well as ever.

Although few will have mourned the passing of Bendtner or Chamakh, many are now braced for the imminent departure of Vermaalen, and this will be a sadness. It’s a hard situation for him and the club: he wouldn’t want to sign an extension to play second fiddle to Per and Kos, and much as the club would like him to stay, it seems almost foolish to pass up the chance of a decent transfer fee to keep him as a potentially disaffected bench warmer. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

Although this doesn’t really count, the decision not to sign Fabregas felt like another death, and was certainly mourned as such. Actually, I am wrong there: given that it is never nice to see your own playing for another it was more like a betrayal than a death. Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and predictably enough many turned on the club for seemingly having stood impotently by while a Portuguese lothario exercised his seductive charms.

Given all of that, the rumour recently circulated that Cazorla is on his way found plenty of fertile soil within which to breed and spawn discontent.  So in the space of a month, nay not so long, a little month, The Arsenal had gone from “Trophy winning side ready to embrace bright new future” to “Jaded Arsenal, happy to play second-fiddle Arsenal, congenitally unambitious Arsenal”.

Except, of course, that perception is a long way from the truth. Nothing has actually happened that any reasonably intelligent supporter couldn’t have foreseen. The club has the same players on its books, minus the eleven that have just been released, and it would be hypocrisy of the highest order for some to claim the decision to let Bendtner and Kalstrom go indicated any kind of weakness. We don’t know whether Arteta will ply his trade elsewhere (today’s latest rumour) just as we can’t know the status of any possible transfers, however much they have been touted in the press.

We can put two and two together and surmise that it is likely that we sign a right-back, but we are only guessing if we say with any certainty that we know who it will be. For sometime now it has seemed that Serge Aurier would be Bacary’s replacement, and conveniently he looked similar enough to satisfy all those who don’t really like change, but that rumour has now gone a bit lukewarm, and this, combined with the news that another reported target, Seamus Coleman, has penned a new contract with Everton, has started to cause panic in some of the supporting ranks.

Now throw in a few big money signings by the Manchesters and a home-bred exotic to Liverpool, mix with pictures of AW besporting himself on a Brazilian beach surrounded by bikini-clad babes and you have the makings of a perfect twitter storm. And all this still a few days before the transfer window actually opens, and two weeks before the world’s best players, some of whom you might hope to be genuinely Emirates bound, have done with the compelling side-show that is the World Cup.

In so far as I can know anything, I know that Arsene is keen to strengthen his starting XI and his squad.  I also know that although The Arsenal has a lot of money available it does not have unlimited funds and this will have a bearing on how the club goes about its business.  I think I know that a lot of scouting and a lot of negotiating will already have taken place, and if it has then I suspect at least one deal has already been done, but has yet to be made public. If it is the tradition to announce a new signing with a picture of him proudly holding his new shirt, then it makes sense to wait until he can do so with the blessing of the brand new sponsor, and this, as much as anything, could be the reason why Coleman has pledged himself to Merseyside.

In short, because I believe that the club is ambitious, and because I read between the lines, I remain as confident as ever that the club remains on an upward trajectory and is firmly committed to long term success. However, while it is all very well me thinking all of this it doesn’t do the club much good if a sizeable number feel the opposite, especially if some of those who do so are either influential bloggers or journalists.

In fact, far from it not doing much good, it can do active harm if The Arsenal brand becomes associated with a sense of tentative and parsimonious under-achievement. That is not what sponsors want to buy into, and very much not what the best players in the world want to sign up for. When will there be good news is a legitimate question to ask right now, and given that nature is all too ready to fill a vacuum, I would question how carefully the Public Relations Dept have been taking their responsibilities over the last three weeks.

There was a brief moment after the first round of World Cup group matches when everything seemed possible: Balotelli, fresh from damaging England, was surely ours, Campbell was like a shiny new toy and Aurrier was the newest assist-king on the block. All this, and we hadn’t even begun to decide between Bender or Khedira, Pogba or Vidal. Leaving aside for one moment the actual worth of these players, it was quite clear that Arsene did indeed know, and that once again North London was the sexiest place in the footballing world. It felt good to be a Gooner.

Ten days later, and that impression has faded ever so slightly and that is a pity, if only because I now find myself wasting time reassuring the faint of heart that everything is indeed all right, and feeling slightly irritated that the club doesn’t do more to reach out positively to its supporters. At times, in fact, it is as if it goes out of its way to disappoint and alarm, such is its seemingly blithe lack of concern as to how it is perceived.

I am certainly not suggesting that we should be privy to the intimate details of all our transfer dealings, for that would be absurd, but I do think that now we have heard all about the goings some reassurance that there will be the odd coming to look forward to would be nice. And if it could be Barbara Windsor who could whisper that everything was going to be alright and to just lie back and enjoy the ride, then so much the better.

 

 

Today’s post was by @foreverheady.

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93 comments on “Arsene Fiddles While Arsenal Burns

  1. Twenny mill I fink.

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  2. Fark me! How old is Jo? He looks like Antonio Fargas (the original Huggy bear!)

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  3. Great play from Hulk. So glad we have signed him.

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  4. Hulk is essentially a fat Podolski who doesn’t score as many goals?

    Unlucky with the handball maybe? He’ll probably score the winner.

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  5. This is the best I have seen him play TBH. Tracking back as well as very good forward play. His stats in mother Russia are very good tho (17 goals in 23 games. I knew this as I have an encyclopeadic knowledge of football related stats, not because I just googled him, honest guv).

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  6. Twenty Million! Blimey.
    That’s like thirty five odd or more on today’s market.

    Speaking of which I saw a comment can’t remember where saying Luke Shaw was sold for more then it cost to build St. Mary’s! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mary's_Stadium

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  7. Striker light! A forward three of Plodders, Oli Gee and Hulk would be a right old handful though!

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  8. Shaw thing? Desperate more like!

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  9. Shearer TWICE along with a snazzy BBC graphic, asking how could Webb see the Hulk handball, when in real time, those of us mug punters not paid to chat utter shite about football, knew it was the lino who gave the decision, Not Webb!

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  10. I keep telling Arsene to sign Webb (sigh)

    Ditherer

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  11. Here’s one of my tweets:

    I’m questioning my self. Is there really no player I’ve watched so far in the World Cup that would really strengthen the Arsenal?

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  12. Webb definitely knows the rules. No doubt about it. Makes great calls such as that tackle by the BFG against Liverpool. Makes errors like everyone does when he let off the Ox, it was Suarez so you can understand his thinking.
    Which makes calls like that handball against Clichy at OT, where else, stand out. But then no one was ever surprised by such calls in Slurgies back yard. The worst kept secret and an’ all that.

    Be interesting to see what mood he is on next season.

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  13. The thing with Webb for me, is his willingness to let things go; heavy, over physical challenges are allowed to occur and flourish under Webb’s officiating.

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  14. Great ending to the game. Penalties!

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  15. Why would Barca sell Sanchez and Juve Vidal unless it was for mega bucks? Am I missing something?

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  16. brazil may be about to pay the price of bringing strikers like fred and jo to the world cup

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  17. Shotta,
    One or two billion in loose change?

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  18. Loose change, exactly Fins. We know they are lying around in the sands of the Middle East or in the snow of Siberia.

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  19. Brazil has an easy route to the semi-final. Better lucky than rich they say.

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  20. Layksite wont be happy, word is we have signed a useless 21 yo RB from the Ivory Coast.

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  21. What a talent that James Rodriguez is! I bet Arsene wishes he had 45 million to spend on him before monaco got in there! Or perhaps one day we’ll hear that he could have got him for tuppence ha’penny, but passed up the opportunity as he was dithering about whether he was worth it!

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  22. I told you! Brazil will struggle to get past this Colombia team.

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  23. Everyone tells Wenger who to buy. If it isn’t Adrian Durham it’s the loser doing the commenting on my feed. Apparently, this dork told Wenger to keep an eye on Colombia’s James , as if Wenger hasn’t been following him since his youth team days.

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  24. Luck? Luck has nuffink to do with it!

    Poor old Plodders: apparently it says here that he picked up a niggle in the USA game which would’ve been one reason why he had to come off and wasn’t at his very best.

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  25. Knockout round almost done. So where are all the super youtube scouts telling Wenger which strikers to buy these past two years?
    Balotelli – Bust
    Cavanni – Bust
    Jackson Martinez – Bust
    Any more candidates?

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  26. Don’t forget Hulk, Shotta. If a player is shit and Brazilian, chances are the doomers will fancy him.

    Pass, James is indeed good, but we have Wilshere and Ozil who are much better.

    What an embarrassment Brazil are. Phil has them playing like Chelsea.

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  27. Not sure Jack is in that class Gainsy.

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  28. If we get Muller or Alexis Sanchez this summer, I’ll be very, very happy.

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  29. Just one or in addition to the Arteta relief, a RB and a GK? G69?

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  30. I think Jack is better than him, Georgie. And I’m not saying this because he plays at Arsenal. I’m saying it because I think he’s that good. For me, Jack is in the same class as Isco, Goetze and Thiago Alcantara. For me, James is still a notch below. You’ll see what I’m saying when Colombia play Brazil or you see him in the CL next season.

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  31. My Santa Claus list consists of Alexis Sanchez or Muller, Serge Aurier, Morgan Schneiderlin and Keylor Navas. Oh and for Theo to be back healthy and fast as ever.

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  32. Well if I was buying Gains, you’d be happy.

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  33. Oh, and if we’re to get a CB, Mexico’s Hector Moreno looks a really good player.

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  34. My new post is up my GunnersoreArse http://wp.me/p4FeF9-2

    Morning George.

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  35. Twitter is down. I am going out to shout a random strangers and tell them how wrong they are about everything.

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  36. Northbank has done an excellent job with that blog, we should toddle over and have a chat in his comments section. Give the blog a leg up.

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  37. I like the lack of hype surrounding Schneiderlin and the quiet way he has gone about his business in both Championship and Premiership. Apart from coping with the extra exposure of playing for The Arsenal he looks nailed on to acclimatise quickly, and at his age would be a real acquisition. If we could get him for anything less than the fee Southampton demanded for Luke Shaw I’d say he was a real bargain. He sounds as if he comes from Wenger’s part of the world too, so that might help. I can see him developing into a real superstar and the rest of the world being surprised that he has done so – a bit like Koscielny has done.

    I watched Sanchez yesterday and can see why people would be excited about him. He looks very strong on the ball and seems to have astonishing energy. My wife tells me he has to leave Barcelona because he doesn’t get on with Messi and because they want Suarez. Well I can’t see Messi getting on with Suarez either for that matter, but if that’s what they think then fair enough. Sanchez looks the player I think Oxlade Chamberlain might become, but with the added bonus of already having proved it and being at the prime of his career. We would have to take it on trust that he would cope with the Premier League and settle in to London and The Arsenal nicely – and that is not a given, but I guess he would be the big name people hope for.

    It is hard to judge a player in these World Cup games, as they are like old-fashioned school house matches. One or two greats on each team surrounded by a lot of average to dross players making up for lack of talent with prodigious effort. Due to this, the games are open and most teams I have seen lack any coherent shape or strategy. Its all a bit of a lottery, and so far removed from the days when it was the World Cup that provided the talent and vision that was so lacking in the English club game. How things change, and thank goodness they do. So I think it is perhaps harsh to judge Aurier on his Ivory matches, as I am sure he is quite capable of playing in a proper system and he has energy and skill to burn. I hope he comes to us. And the old warhorse Cesar did brilliantly against the Chileans, and mega wage packet aside, I would have thought he would be the perfect second keeper for us.

    But one player we don’t have to sign is Joel Campbell, and we get to see him again this evening. I do not think it is too ridiculous to be as excited about him as most are about James Rodriguez, especially when you remember that Arsene Wenger probably had breakfast with his parents several years ago!

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  38. Northbank,I’ve just noticed a “reblog” function. Do you want me to try it and see what happens?

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  39. Why not George…. it’ll probabbly get me arrested but wtf, go for it

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  40. Posting here as I’m bored gr*tless by Suarez’s obvious problems, FUFA’s obvious delight at the opportunity of hosting a pantomime show trial, couldn’t think of a more suitable body to put a troubled individual upon trial, or one that had such a need at this moment in time, they deserve each other….Zzzzzzzz…
    …no offence!

    Joel Campbell:
    Probably one of the hardest draws he could have had against Greece: he’s up against three teammates from this past season so they’ll understand his current form better then probably anyone else.

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  41. Just on my way home from the pub following a couple of birthday libations, and can I say what a dirty, diving cheat the aptly named robben is. I hope karma is paying attention and has suitable payback waiting for him and his orange mates.

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  42. I agree completely with Passenal. Mexico deserved more than that. I hold Herrera to account as well though–taking off Dos Santos in the 60th minute and Peralta a bit later nullified any attacking threat and ceded too much of the initiative in the match. They had to keep defending and set pieces showed them vulnerable–why put on Chicharoto who doesn’t help defend in the box and isn’t a possession player?!? But still, Robben is ridiculous.

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