Shared Responsibility & All The Links In The Transfer Chain
The takeover of Arsenal came back into focus with reports of Red & White Holdings being prepared to offer £14k per share. It smacks of a fit of pique by Usmanov, told by KSE to “talk to the hand ‘cos the face ain’t listening“, the Americans would rather he spoke to their lawyers.
The offer to independent shareholders is contradictory to Usmanov’s previous statements. Higher purchase prices than the AST might be able to offer is a strategy designed to eliminate them from the market, at the same time as thwarting Kroenke. Hardly a ringing endorsement of plurality of ownership in the club.
KSE are no better. They have not made any attempt to engage supporters by presenting their vision for the club. They might believe that the time is not right because of the manner of the season’s close on the pitch but silence is not golden in these circumstances. It does nothing to allay suspicions about their intentions.
The time has come for blandishments to cease and genuine plans revealed.
It was light(ish) relief as the summer shenanigans have begun in earnest. New York, London, Paris, Munich, everybody talks about whom Wenger is going to sign. There’s some potential for lyrics there, might need a bit of work though.
Karim Benzema is on his way! No sooner have United spent £18m on a goalkeeper than Arsenal are at it with a £35m striker. There is a touch of the Philippe Mexes about it all, a player constantly linked to Arsenal and frankly summer just isn’t summer without it.
Deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho, nobody has told Florentino Perez the news of Benzema’s departure, or at least nobody employed by Real. Someone did mention it in passing a matter of seconds before receiving the Spanish equivalent of a P45.
There is no reason to believe that a signing is imminent. A strong signing by United is feeding the desire for change at Arsenal, desire that manifested as chanting at Craven Cottage last Sunday. It shows the depths to which belief in Arsenal has sunk in some quarters.
Arsenal is a club in dire need of some good news, a trip to the Far East is not going to leave anyone – bar those in that region – feeling any better.
Such a signing has not been Wenger’s style. Sol Campbell and Marc Overmars qualify as ‘big signings’ in terms of their stature in the game. Pires and Ljungberg had yet to achieve the elevated status they enjoyed during the Arsenal careers.
It is clichéd but Wenger has form in buying cheaper than his rivals. The club’s financial constraints are a path well-trodden but there is more to it than that.
His previous signings for large fees have not been successful, Wenger’s record as chequered as Ferguson’s. Reyes and Jeffers were to varying degrees, failures but they left a legacy. Wenger is wary of spending such big sums in part because of the risk, something his cautious nature will be averse to.
Those risks may be minimised with a player such as Benzema but not eradicated. His spell is Madrid has not set the world alight yet that is not due to a lack of ability. Something as simple as the wrong club at the wrong time explains it.
Will it happen? Media quotes from the manager mean nothing, actions are more important and with the transfer window a matter of days away, cynicism can be applied from here on in.
Karim Benzema is going to garner more sales / hits than a player from the Argentine with a dodgy Italian passport. The flip side is that if it does not arise, another stick is found with which to beat the manager.
If Benzema does not arrive, Falcao is hot favourite to be the one. £25m is a lot of money to pay for an ageing Brazilian midfielder but at 57 and if he remains fit, the former international will bring much-needed experience to the squad. No, wait, the Porto forward? For £25m? I think I prefer the Brazilian.
How is all of this funded? Well by curious coincidence the media seem to think that the sales of Nicklas Bendtner, Denilson, Abou Diaby, Carlos Vela, Emmanuel Eboue and Manuel Almunia will fund it all. Arshavin, Clichy and Sagna will make up any shortfall. You could not make it up.
In fact you don’t have to since most of that has already been done for you. My own guess is that John Cross just does not rate Diaby. Nor does he have a vivid imagination.
And if all else fails, Alex Song to Internazionale. For £10m. Or £15m if Arsenal ask nicely. That’s what we like to see. A bit of imagination with flexibility over the price.