Transfers: Arsenal vs Fake News

Are you a caffeine addict?

Once upon a very long time ago, the end of the football season was a time to quit cold turkey, to no longer obsess over the next game, to not twitch nervously like an addict waiting for the next hit. As a compulsive coffee drinker, I have been there.

But the end of the football season means no let up to the craziness. Over recent years, the last day of regular professional football is simply the beginning of the race for the transfer trophy. This mythical competition starts long before the window opens on July 1st and apparently ends on August 31st when the media regales us with tales of winners and losers. Think the insanity of Jim White and Sky Sports deadline day shenanigans.

As most well-thinking football fans are aware, i.e. those who combine their experience with critical thinking skills, the transfer season is essentially a creature of the mainstream media. It is entirely “fake news”, a term football fans could have claimed exclusive rights long before it became associated with CNN and the mainstream media in general.

The English tabloids were the first to prove beyond doubt the commercial media could gain readership and advertising revenue propagating bogus transfer stories. The broadsheets and electronic media have followed suit over the years intensifying with the growing importance of the internet and social media. Like political coverage, the sports pages are now a sea of rumors, anonymous sources, sensationalism and fear-mongering.

Central to any bogus transfer narrative is Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. As I documented in my last blog, the ink had barely dried on his new contract before, that notorious rag, the Evening Standard ran the following headline:

Arsene Wenger given £100m to turn Arsenal into title winners with Alexandre Lacazette, Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Lemar among targets

Although totally unsourced this has not stopped the British and international media from running with this basic narrative. Nobody from Arsenal is ever quoted. To give it a cloak of credibility the press simply repeats related rumors culled from the foreign media who themselves are quoting the English mainstream media. What an incestuous self-serving circle.

There is nothing new here. Name any year past and it is fake after fake after fake. Last year’s bogus transfer news was centered around Wenger signing both Vardy and Mahrez. The fact that an unsuccessful offer was made to Vardy only intensified the cacophony around Mahrez. Three years ago there was the 100% “certainty” of Cesc Fabregas returning to Arsenal. Absent any facts, both stories failed the test of logic and reason, yet the mainstream media ran with them all summer.

Apparently, the panic-sowing and fear-mongering works. No wonder the commercial media repeat the same tactic year after year as a wide section of the Arsenal fan-base falls for it hook, line and sinker.  If one reads the recent works of  Bob-the-blogger and Tom-the-tweeter, it seems the most successful ever manager of the football club, who guided Arsenal to runner-up in total number of points accumulated in Premier League (second only to the biggest and richest club in the league, Manchester United) is a dithering, frugral, scrooge who is ignorant of the transfer market. The man who brought Henry, Vieira, Pires and Petit to Arsenal, and from them earned great success, is apparently incapable of  identifying top talent. Not signing comparably talented players in recent years in their eyes has nothing to do with Arsenal being out-priced in the French market by bigger richer clubs in Europe, including the nouveau riches like PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City.

The latest round of stupidity being spouted by Bob and Tom is a variation of Tony Adams’ massive “revelation” that Wenger is not very good at coaching. Apparently he is “lucky”. Last season he was lucky when he panicked and went three at the back in April and had 9 victories in his last 10 games. They conveniently miss Wenger’s disclosure that he and his coaching staff had been pondering the change from the preceding November but were reluctant to impose it prematurely. Similarly he panicked two years earlier when he partnered Carzola with Coquelin and only lost 2 of the last 15 games, winning ten. The year before that, he also hit the panic button, when he made Mikel Arteta a holding midfielder, next to Ramsey, and made a storming start to the League, leading the tables up to January 2015 until the Welshman fell to injury. Being so lucky, who needs a manager with his experience and motivational skills who can empower players to confidently take on new roles and be successful at the highest level of the game.

So how do we inoculate fans from the stupidity of the transfer season and save them from self-harm brought on by panic and fear? As the Department of Public Health emphasized in my childhood the best vaccine against communicable diseases is to practice good hygiene. In this case I urge smart, knowledgeable fans to avoid the dirt and stain of the mainstream media.

  1. Treat transfer stories by the MSM as 95% lies and misinformation. Whether in print or electronic media, almost all transfer stories are unsourced and non-factual. Clubs do not disclose their transfer targets to the media as this is sure to sabotage their efforts. Competing clubs, agents and the selling club can use this information to their advantage and screw over the buying club. If a club discloses any transfer information to the market it is with ulterior motive or the transfer has already been made. The classic example is the transfer disclosures by Arsenal to David Ornstein @bbcsport_david
  2. Understand the specific characteristics of the transfer market. It is not like a retail store with players on the shelf with their prices disclosed for all to see. Unlike what we have been misled into believing by most economics professors, there are very few if any free markets in the world and the transfer market is particularly byzantine and opaque. Who knows if a player is truly up for sale unless he is eligible for a Bosman. Unlike a fish market, for example, there is no advantage in going early for a player because the listed price by the selling club is often higher than the underlying value. It is inherent to this market for the contractual price of a transferee to be subject to prolonged haggling, like a Persian bazaar, except in football this is done in secret. The selling club is incentivized to invite other bidders so as to inflate the price. As Arsenal fans should be familiar, most selling clubs, aided and abetted by the corrupt mainstream media, use Arsene Wenger’s supposed interest in a player as a sure-fire way to stimulate a bidding war. Only a sugar-daddy noveau riche club will rush-in early in the window and pay over the odds for a player or the buying club is Ed Woodward’s Manchester United.
  3. Be knowledgeable about the needs of your club. Despite overwhelming evidence and research by this blog demonstrating that Arsenal has The Lightest Midfield In 6 Years and the injuries over the past two years to Santi Cazorla, that magical deep-lying playmaker, wrecked any chances of Arsenal competing for the title, there is an avalanches of logic-defying stories by the mainstream media, ITKs, Bob-the-blogger and Tom-the tweeter suggesting that Arsenal is in desperate need of strikers.  How many fans faithfully like and retweet posts suggesting  Arsene is in for both Mbappe and Lacazette. It is utter and complete nonsense. Go wash your hands if you engage in such tripe.

In conclusion I will rehash what Arsene said one year ago as it is as relevant today as it was then:

I buy players that I feel can strengthen our team. Today you have to be very strong inside the club when you are responsible, not just to buy [for the sake of buying]. There’s always a wave of opinions. I must say people are better informed today – they know all the players. They tell you always that you should buy but when you ask them who to buy, they become much shorter. If you look at the market in Europe, there’s a lot of money available but not many players who really strengthen the teams. If you look at the teams that spend the most money in Europe, they’re not necessarily the teams that won the championships. The global investment of the clubs around us didn’t stop Leicester winning the championship.


The best way to conclude transfers is not to talk about them, which is very difficult in … press conference! We are on the market but I don’t want to talk specifically about any player because that makes it more difficult for me – and it’s difficult enough.

I recommend the wisdom of Arsene Wenger, any day and seven times on a Sunday, over that of the mainstream media, without exception, not to mention Bob and Tom.

Follow me on twitter @shotta_gooner

PS: I am off on my summer vacation later this week so no more of my contrarian viewpoints for 3 weeks. But I will pop in here and on twitter periodically.


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77 comments on “Transfers: Arsenal vs Fake News

  1. Ive often wondered if anyone will get around to dealing the shirt tugging and hugs that go on at corners.”They” tried to be a bit stricter at the start of last season, but in the end it was still a big grapple each corner.
    How to deal with it? Examine footage post game, and award points for each bit of grabbing until a player reaches a set amount, and then ban them for a game?
    How everyone gets away with it is daft really–(imo).
    Probably it will be Kos penalised in the first game and a few others( players from Everton or WBA) and then it will be forgotten again.
    Good piece as always Shotts.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2017/06/19/arsenal-backroom-shuffle-continues-signing-new-legal-expert/

    but but but the ASB, said that there would be no staff changes at Arsenal, there was fake outrage, blogs, and AFTV videos, twitter rages and everything, now we have news of a second major off field appointment in two days, first a fitness expert, and now a contract expert.


  3. fins the league cup draw was done out there alright, and it even seen them cock it up by somehow managing to draw charlton out twice

    Liked by 2 people

  4. the one change to the rules that needs to be brought in right now is the

    only the captain can talk to the ref rule

    anyone else does it, they get a yellow, do it again and its a second.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. currently losing 1-0


  6. Port Adelaide confirm Darren Burgess is joining Arsenal, and that the two clubs are set to form a partnership.

    Port Adelaide agrees to release high performance manager from contract

    Matthew Agius June 19, 2017 4:39 PM

    PORT ADELAIDE has agreed to release head of high performance Darren Burgess to English Premier League club Arsenal.

    The terms agreed between Port and Arsenal will see Burgess continue to fulfil his duties to Port Adelaide for the remainder of the 2017 AFL season and the start of the 2018 pre-season.

    Burgess, who was handpicked by Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, will commence his new role in July.

    Under the transition terms agreed between Port Adelaide and Arsenal, Burgess will:

    Return to Alberton in late July to continue to supervise the club’s high performance program for the end of the home and away season
    Should Port Adelaide take part in the AFL finals series, return to Alberton for the entire duration of the finals campaign
    Return to Alberton in both October and November to plan and implement Port Adelaide’s 2017/18 pre-season program
    At that time hand over to a successor whose international search and recruitment process will be led by Burgess
    Undertake daily remote consultation with Port Adelaide’s high performance team and football program, including coach Ken Hinkley, for the duration of this transition period
    Remain an integral part in Port Adelaide’s China high performance program

    Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said Burgess went to Arsenal with the club’s blessing, and with integrity around Port’s high performance program remaining.

    “We acknowledge that this is a life changing opportunity for Darren,” said Mr Thomas.

    “But what we’ve been able to do is work with Arsenal to enact a transition process which limits any impact or disruption to our football program for this year, and retain Darren’s expertise for our 2018 planning.

    “We are appreciative of Arsenal’s understanding that the integrity of our football program is the absolute priority for our club.”

    Keith Thomas thanked Burgess for his contribution to Port Adelaide, which has seen it develop an industry and nation-leading high performance program in the years since 2013.

    “When we set out to rebuild our program we committed to being a global best practice sports organisation. To have a club like Arsenal hand pick Darren is testament to the calibre of our personnel, our football program and ultimately our organisation,” Mr Thomas said.

    “It also further underlines the impact and influence Port Adelaide is having on the international sports stage, from our success in China, to being named as one of Sports International’s top 20 sports innovators globally.
    Global partnership beckons

    Further to recent developments in the global partnership space, Port Adelaide will pursue an arrangement with Arsenal – one of the UK’s biggest football clubs – to grow sports science and professional development opportunties between Highbury and Alberton.

    “Arsenal have indicated their desire to be part of a new collaborative partnership with Port Adelaide in a range of areas including sports science, professional development and international growth. That brings some amazing opportunities with it and we look forward to putting that arrangement in place as soon as we can,” said Mr Thomas.

    “It’s part of our ongoing journey and desire to becoming a world class sports organisation”.

    Mr Thomas will meet with Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis in Australia in July to finalise Port Adelaide’s international partnership with Arsenal.

    Burgess thanks Port

    Darren Burgess extended his thanks to Port Adelaide and its supporter base in the club’s Monday media announcement:

    “Reaching this decision has been one of the toughest decisions in my professional career”, said Mr Burgess.

    “My family loves the lifestyle of Adelaide and more importantly we love everything about the Port Adelaide Football Club.

    “When the opportunity came up to return to Port Adelaide I had no hesitation in returning. Port Adelaide is like family and once you’ve worked in this environment with so many outstanding people it is very difficult to leave.

    “It’s especially difficult knowing the club is on the right path for sustained success both on and off the field.

    “However, the opportunity to return to the English Premier League and work at one of the world’s most successful sporting organisations in Arsenal is an opportunity I simply couldn’t refuse.

    “I look forward to continue having a relationship with Port Adelaide from afar and thank the entire club for their support and many great memories over two stints.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Huss Fahmy and Dick Law are listed as Arsenal reps at the Euro U21 championships, a little odd that our transfer negotiators and contract experts are at the Euros, maybe we are looking to sign someone who is playing in it.


  8. Tidy little player Nathan Redmond – no doubt Klopp has him on speed dial


  9. just don’t believe these recruitment stories of behind the scenes staff, we all know Wenger is a complete blocker to any form of change, wants to run everything single handed to preserve his power base and methods he has not changed since 1998…and on top of that, there is nobody in the club with sufficient knowledge to recruit anyone even half decent…..and even if they had such knowledge, why would anyone come to Arsenal….or something….

    Liked by 3 people

  10. good guide, i wish more people were aware of this things
    it is tiring to see even knowledgeable people seriously discussing rumors like the one about Mbappe and/or Lacazette
    i feel the 5% of truth estimate is rather generous, as last season we only signed 5 players and were linked to well over 100 players with multiple ‘spotted in airport’ ‘reportedly agreed terms’ per each


  11. Jack Wilshere‏Verified account @JackWilshere 8h8 hours ago

    The new Mrs Wilshere ❤️ on Saturday I married the women of my dreams! Thank you to everyone who came and made the day so special ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  12. yeah mandy the boys running the club are so clueless they have actually appointed guys from aussie rules and cycling, the board haven’t a clue about football, so what else should we have expected.


  13. Along with Law and Fahmy, Arsenal have sent 3 of our main scouts to the Euro U21 championships, Ty Gooden (France), Francis Cagigao (Spain and Portugal), Tomasz Pasieczny (Poland and eastern Europe). By the way, both Gooden and Cagigao are former Arsenal youth team players.


  14. I was musing on the topic of whether in decades gone by referees were just as routinely abused by first division footballers – it is a bit difficult to know as in those prehistoric times the camera and mikes were so primitive and so far away they could have been exchanging Masonic code for all the crowd knew.

    It may be no coincidence but as players have steadily been stopped in extracting their own revenge on opponents ( by kicking the opposition who kicked them first because rules have tightened up) the rage directed at referees seems to have really sparked into life.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. On the subject of fake news, what can be done about it? I know YT are now talking about taking down all fake news, but its not as if the major outlets dont peddle fake news to carry their political line.
    And many paranoid based writers who have done much to dig up old paranoid narratives and make new ones,would still be pushing their works as many publishers have no problem with such things.
    Its kind of odd as when it comes down to about 95% of our lives we mostly go on hearsay, and it seems so easy to exploit.
    Of course as been pointed out for a while here, just trust Arsenal.com. But no matter how often the transfer window system gets explained for many it still seems like some strange summer time Christmas shopping in their perception.
    I like the way AW the lads and the club didnt bow down to AFTV or to the flying banner brigade, or pundits or newspapers.But then I like the films of Ozu and not the Marvel world CGI.

    OT-sad to see that Brian Cant had died.


  16. Andrew,

    I’ve yet to see a football captain take his team off the field of play because the official is a well known biased bigot who couldn’t officiate in certain parts of the planet because he was a well known biased bigot (he’d have been lynched), who was also a ****!

    Never seen anything as nasty in football.

    But I have seen the opposite.

    A referee indulging the hacking of Emre Can following his abuse of fellow pros. We all loved that video here! Some great hacks (not calibrated to end careers, IBSF) .

    Liked by 2 people

  17. One more time!


  18. Not allowed to use the c word? What about game 50?

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Congratulations Jack Wilshere. Hope he returns to us happy, matured, and injury free….assuming he is returning of course, and have heard nothing to suggest otherwise.
    Ty Gooden……remember him scoring a screamer from about 98 yards out , beating David Seaman in a cup game , when Ty was playing for Gillingham I think.


  20. Yes, I was at that game, notable for Juan playing and the only one Juan chant too.


  21. two weeks today Arsenal start pre-season training


  22. Two weeks, is that all?
    Still, we get them back soon


  23. yeah Mandy, 2 weeks, as they fly to Australia in 3 weeks, first preseason game is 3 weeks this Thursday

    Alexis, Mustafi, Bellerin, Holding and Chambers will all be late back to training, – 4 weeks from last of their International games.

    Our new Head of High Performance, Darren Burgess will join the squad in Australia. Arsenal have made it clear that he will work closely with Shad Forsythe


  24. Arsenal still to announce the new Head of the Academy too.

    I think our home kit will be launched this week, with the away and cup kit due to be revealed in Australia.

    Wenger has said today that Giroud is important to us, as he has qualities that none of our other forwards have, and that he had a great scoring record last season. Also that it was hard for Ollie to play well, maybe score, and still not start the next game


  25. Reports in Spain say that Barcelona contacted Arsenal over possible signing of Hector Bellerin and that Ivan Gazidis told them that Arsenal would not entertain any bids for him this summer.
    Similar reports in Germany in recent days re Bayern and Alexis, “Arsenal will not entertain any bids for him this summer”


  26. Adrian Clarke‏ @adrianjclarke

    Yeah Arsenal rarely reveal anything until it’s done. Like to keep things private.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. New post up


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