Sanity Or Lunacy. Arsenal Are On The Cusp Of Both
Just when you thought that the lunatics had escaped from the asylum and camped en masse at The Emirates, up pop Manchester City to remind us that perhaps the madness at Arsenal is indeed sanity. OK, perhaps not but the dispute with Carlos Tevez is utterly bewildering.
His absence from the first team has apparently cost him £9.3m in lost wages, bonuses and fines. What are they paying him to induce this, enough money that he can afford to lose such staggering sums. Crucially, their posturing is likely to lead to the first team case of ‘sporting reasons’ for breach of contract. Telling him that he will rot in the reserves unless a deal suits the club is no bad thing until a lawyer gets involved.
One thing that this underlines is the gap between Arsenal and Manchester City financially. Not that this will be Arsène’s problem, he is receiving covetous glances from the Spanish capital. Jose Mourinho’s tenure at Real is seemingly in its death throes and the Arsenal manager is the one that Florentino Perez wants to replace him. Or Señor A.N. Other.
Perez has long had a soft spot for Wenger, approaching him when times are not at their best. He has history in this and has long made clear his admiration for the Frenchman. As with his last offer to Arsène, the clouds are gathering, planting seeds in the manager’s mind as he faces abuse. The last time a Madrid offer emerged came immediately after an AGM a few years back, when the jibe about Silvestre being a ‘granddad’ ruffled feathers.
Whether there is any truth in this, no-one knows. The timing is purely coincidental, I’m sure, it could not possibly be as a result of Sunday? Some have offered the view that the departure of the Frenchman would be no bad thing. Arsenal would, so the logic goes, be free of the financial chains he places on them. Except the chains would still remain. A new manager might well spend the residue of the TPA at the bank but what then?
There seems to be a misguided theory that more money will be injected into the club by KSE. That seems at odds with their other strategies in the sporting empire and counterintuitive; Arsenal’s selling point was always self-sufficiency. Usmanov is no different, attracted to Arsenal by the great profit potential in the share values and dividends. Self-sufficiency comes at a price.
This is before you address the issue of whether or where the squad strengthening should take place.
One who is determined to contribute to rendering the strengthening part irrelevant is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. You suspect it will be a while before the club allow him to talk to the mainstream media with the fallout from that substitution fresh in everyone’s minds. Alarm bells might also be ringing over the endorsement of sorts from Fabio Capello,
I have been impressed with him. He is a good player, who has a lot of quality and is playing at a really high level.
He will be a really interesting player for the next friendly games before the Euros.
It sounds worringly as if the paucity of English talent may manifest itself in the form of a place at the doomed Euro2012 campaign. A strong sense of deja vu with Theo Walcott’s ill-fated trip to Germany six years ago. The weight of expectation at Arsenal on Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shoulders is growing in direct proportion with desperation for change.
The youngster has definite promise and cannot be faulted for his application. The output though is inconsistent, the test is not how well he performed against United but how well he plays in coming matches. My concern with, for want of a better word, the hype is that once performance levels drop he will be subjected to the same derision heaped upon Theo Walcott.
Fundamentally, a swathe of the support is not going to give him time. Only their heroes get that, the rest suffer the slings and arrows of disrespect depending upon which way the wind is blowing. That is just wrong.
By all means be critical of a performance after the match but abusing players or managers? I do not understand it, particularly during a match when surely the word support is an absolute must. The world has changed if that is not the case and not necessarily for the better.