So Much Tapping Up, Let’s Get A Plumber In
As Britain awakes to another bank holiday to celebrate Liz’s reign, European transfer windows have opened ajar to let in the vaguest hints, nods and winks to be transformed into chases and races for signatures. As the clouds gather over St Paul’s, their epicentre will be over Highbury House as Shinji Kagawa signs for Manchester United (for the geographically challenged, Japan is not part of Europe which is why that deal could be concluded despite Euro2012 starting this week).
Missed opportunities will be lamented, inactivity berated, all ahead of tomorrow’s Q&A session with Ivan Gazidis. Not a happy environment for the meeting to take place in, good news of the sort which would lift the clinging atmosphere likely to be in short supply.
Robin van Persie‘s contract is still not resolved and having agreed not to talk the media about it, he told everyone that next season he will be playing Champions League football, preceded by “Juve? They are a great team, of course“. Sub-editors rubbed their hands with glee at the Dutchman’s teasing play, doors opened in media minds that have long been closed in life. It cannot be all one-way traffic as the press look to see if Arsenal will signal their intent deeply enough for van Persie to stay; Lucas Biglia is fast becoming a hardy perennial in the same way that Sebastian Frey and others have been in years previously. Cigarettes carry health warnings, so should transfer gossip: it’s ‘Azard-ous!
The clamour to cut the wage bill is being met, Oguzhan Ozyakup has gone to Besiktas for £570k plus 25% of any sell-on clause. He can renew his acquaintance with Emmanuel Eboue in the Superliga and may even find himself facing Tomas Rosicky as Eskisehirspor chase his signature. It’s a catastrophy, I tell ya, a catastrophy! Losing two of our top five in the Player of the Season! Bring me the head of Alfredo Gazidis!
Having seen former comrades tapped mercilessly through the media, Laurent Koscielny has decided that he is having some of that and is weaving his magic on Yann M’vila and Olivier Giroud. Well, at least he can say, “Look, I am now a French international having played for L’Orient. If Arsenal can do this for me, what can the club do for you“. Of course, I am sure that he will be more sophisticated than I but frankly if it has the same outcome as the pressure Mertesacker put on Podolski, who cares if Koscielny uses the subtlety of a baseball bat over the head and shipping the duo to Arsenal in a diplomatic pouch. Football is after all a results game, no matter the method.
It does raise uncomfortable questions for Arsenal supporters. So many of our players through the decades have been subject of amorous public advances by other clubs that we are heartily sick of it all. A school of thought believes we are The Arsenal, we should rise above it and continue in The Arsenal Way of doing things properly. We are no different from others, except more discreet. Viv Anderson last year told the comical tale of Don Howe turning up at his house to secure the full-back’s signature. The Don was nothing if not concerned lest he be spotted, wearing a cloth cap to disguise himself. It conjured up the image of Don arriving in a Nottingham suburb Bob Stokoe-stylee (ask your parents, kids). Perhaps Arsène does the same? Lederhosen for Podolski’s signature, a waiter serving moules for Biglia?
Now I know I have battered on about Theo Walcott for the last few days but if anyone wanted proof that there is an agenda against the Arsenal player, consider Exhibit A from this morning’s Sun:
The new England boss spelt out his reservations at the weekend when he said: “The thing about Theo is that he has had quite a few chances in the team. It seems to me that quite often when he has started games people have said you need someone else in there.”
Hodgson did indeed utter those words but there was more after that suggested he does not care what other people thought before, Walcott like everyone else had a clean slate, etc. It was platitudes of course and I am sure that Hodgson has indeed already made up his mind but not at the behest of public opinion. Hype was worn thin in Theo’s case and now you see the downturn, underlining the point I made yesterday about managing expectations. Anyway, I’ll look at that in the Euro2012 previews to come this week.
For today though, that’s yer lot. ’til Tomorrow.