Gallas: Revisionist Or Visionary & Transfer Gossip
I’m just a soul whose intentions are good,
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
Horace Ott’s tale of human nature was not conceived with William Gallas in mind, had it not preceded his rise to the top of English football by thirty years. The Frenchman’s interview in L’Equipe was largely gracious in his view of Arsenal. Or certainly the bits that the media picked off the newspapers website.
Not having seen the whole of the interview it is hard to ascertain if Gallas maintained that standpoint throughout. Unable to accept the terms offered by Arsenal under a new contract, the Frenchman opted for White Hart Lane rather than Qatar. Fair enough, it was a strong statement of belief in his own abilities. Did Arsenal make a mistake in letting him go?
That is a tougher question to answer. Viewed purely in statistical terms, the answer is that defence was a little worse but not demonstrably. The only time that the Goals Against column came close to title-winning numbers was 2007-08, 31 conceded. The rest of Gallas’ time at the club showed mid-thirties through to 41 in 2009-10, just 2 better than the much criticised back four of last season.
It is not hard to view the dressing room as more settled than when Gallas was at the club. He and Samir Nasri do exchange Christmas and Birthday Cards nor are they likely to in the near future. There is a chip on Gallas’ shoulder, a newer one than was evident during his time at Arsenal,
It is too easy to say all the Arsenal problems came from William Gallas.
Indeed. Nobody ever said that he was the root cause of the problems. The criticism of Gallas then still stands now. He was too fractious a character to lead the team. He made mistakes, we all do. His book was one from which he could not recover. The fiasco at St Andrews, his reaction, merely made him being stripped of the captaincy a case of when not if.
Gallas’ experience that he brought from a title-winning side, is where the player should be missed. Yet by his own admission, he failed to pass that on to the rest of the squad,
When I was captain I wanted to give a message, but they didn’t get it. I may have been clumsy, but the substance was right. I came from Chelsea where I won titles, and I wanted to share my experience, because I thought we missed commitment in our work.
My message has not been understood and I am also responsible for that. But unfortunately the last season showed that team still misses something.
This suggests two things. Firstly, the squad do not listen. There is no way of knowing this but other experienced players do not seem to have complained of the same thing. Quite the opposite in fact. Martin Keown had tangible results – although there is an incident where Senderos did not listen – but none of Silvestre, Campbell or Lehmann has ever made this complaint, publicly at least.
Which brings the second thought to mind. Gallas is simply not a good communicator. He acknowledged that but the problem is that a message delivered badly is of no use, no matter how good the substance. It suggests that making him captain was a mistake as the dressing room did not have confidence in him. Perhaps his spat with Nasri was more damaging in that respect than thought?
Either way the message should surely be coordinated, the manager building on the experience that Gallas was trying to impart. Is Gallas being revisionist? He is right, William Gallas was not the problem at Arsenal. But he was not the solution either.
On the transfer front, Perry Groves proved to be a better cheerleader than Samir Nasri’s Mr20%, touting for business possibly by calling Nasri “more important to the club than Cesc Fabregas“. It rather detracted from the valid point Groves made about the questions Nasri should be asking of Arsène. Meanwhile, Johan Cruyff believes that Fábregas must be signed to make the Barcelona squad stronger whilst Sport advises that Cesc is on holiday in Barcelona later this week so they will be increasing their bullsh*t quota accordingly.
Gervinho‘s habit of talking in the third person is so preposterous that his value has almost halved overnight, now £8m which is right up Arsène’s street. He’ll have to avoid the sleeping Mancini’s in the Rue though as City are reportedly really keen to spend their pocket-money on the Ivorian.
This morning’s monster centre back signing is not Ryan Shawcross as Groves intimated on the radio yesterday but good old Phil Jones once more. Raphael Honigstein links Arsenal with Papiss Demba Cisse. My suspicion is that this is the journalist in question taking the pap…which is all I have to say on transfers this morning.