Listening Is As Vital As Talking

Ivan Gazidis hosts a Q&A session with a wide range of supporters groups today, an opportunity to ask questions about the club and its operations. Expectations are being raised that the club will be open and forthcoming in their views.

A quick glance down the list of topics from the AST and you can already pick those which will elicit a deflective response (He has certainly headed off a number in his interview). Knowing that the media will soon be in possession of comments made, any controversy will be avoided with diplomacy being the order of the day. That should not stop him being candid, just not as candid as many would want. The problem is that personal agendas come into play with occasions such as this and all involved are aware that any answer will twist in whichever way the prevalent wind is blowing.

I do not, for example, expect much depth to questions about the club’s ambitions. The limit is not fourth place, it’s facile to believe otherwise. The ambition has to be to win trophies, to be the best. It is an almost insulting question to ask. Similarly questions about transfers, RvP and wages are likely to be given short shrift although being the consummate politico, Ivan will be far more diplomatic than might be expected from you or I.

The scope for expansive comments will be more forthcoming in the areas of youth development rules and Financial Fair Play (FFP). The relaxation of the former will assist in promoting more English talent but the latter, I fear the club have overestimated the impact it will have on football. The owners of City, Chelsea and their ilk will have already employed a small army of professional advisors on how to structure deals to ensure compliance. The most startling example of this is the derided Etihad deal that was constructed with Uefa’s input.

Arsenal have long held these rules as the playing fields being levelled but in truth, it is not; they are Uefa’s PR battle to counter negative headlines that promote misunderstanding about football’s finances. The regulations were aimed at the wrong clubs, those at the top table are feasting gluttonously on sponsors money, barely pausing to cast pennies to those less fortunate. Fortunately the Football League recognised this and implemented their own version of the rules. Hopefully this will be more effective in policing the clubs genuinely at risk financially.

The problem is that there is a natural limit to what Ivan can say, for commercial and footballing reasons. Whilst we may be interested in the commercial department and its activities (and I believe there are questions about their operation), specifics cannot necessarily be divulged. It is a scenario that lends itself to open interpretation of what was not said, what was being hinted at.

One area where no comment of any substance will be made is Red and White Holdings.

Informed opinion suggests that Usmanov has been purchasing shares recently but is not quite at the 30% threshold. That might be closer than widely thought with purchases believed to have been made outside of the R&W vehicle. Engaging PR agencies suggests that movement is expected soon. The threshold is a little misleading in terms of what it bestows. It does not for example, garner him a place on the board nor does it mean he has to make an offer for all other shares, the Takeover Panel absolved him of that responsibility upon KSE’s majority acquisition.

Premier League rules give him access to company confidential information but the extent to which is debatable and untested by lawyers, which it would surely be. Either way, he is not going to release information into the public domain that damages the value of his investment. He might follow the example of Cubic Expression and ask 99 questions with the intention of winning a board place via that medium. But what then? He confers on himself no greater power than he has already since the board will already be loaded with KSE acolytes.

The question then becomes what purpose is served by Usmanov being on the board; what footballing experience will he bring to benefit the club? He is a successful businessman but so is Kroenke. The false presumption is that Usmanov coming onto the board will automatically bring an injection of funds. FFP regulations prevent the usual football route of loaning money to clubs to cover player purchases, that investment now has to be equity-based. In that scenario, KSE must invest more or else this will dilute their shareholding which does not seem likely given the reticence to become involved in a rights issue. Angry of Islington covered the workings and possible impacts in his excellent blog.

From the supporters point of view that is the ideal outcome in the current scenario; money invested into the club which clears debt on the stadium. Investment in the squad comes from beyond this, funds released from contractual control of banks and financiers can be used for salaries and purchases. It might be the best of a bad lot – as the two billionaire non-investing owners must be considered – and the Arsenal ownership battleground might feasibly become sullied in the forthcoming PR war.

And I have deliberately not clouded the issue with comment on his past, it is an issue for another day.

If today’s meeting is to be considered successful, there has to be a willingness on the part of the club to impart information in a meaningful dialogue. More importantly, supporters have to be willing to listen, to participate in constructive dialogue whilst accepting that decisions are taken as part of a cohesive policy to benefit the squad and not just sulk in the corner when the club does not bow to their every whim. If either party can’t fulfil their part of the bargain, there is little point to the whole event.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on June 6, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 278 Comments.

  1. “They are going very well and we are seeing renewal of major partnerships like Citroën. We are seeing new partners come in like Indesit or Betsson and most recently we have just announced Malta Guinness in Africa. So there are tremendous developments on the commercial front ”

    This is a nonsense. In the period that we signed those deals Utd have signed twice as many.

    And these are just the ones I could find:

    August 2011- Concha y Toro official Wine sponsor
    August 2011- Beeline Mobile content in Vietnam
    August 2011 – DHL Training kit £10m per season (probably more then we earn with all our second tier sponsors put together)
    Oct 2011 – Telco du – mobile content in the in the UAE
    Oct 2011 – Zong- Mobile content in Pakistan
    Oct 2011 – Malaysian snack Mister Potato
    Oct 2011- Turk Telekom- mobile content in Turkey
    Feb 2012- GLOBUL- mobile content in Bulgaria
    Feb 2012- Epson- official office equipment supplier
    May 2012- Chevrolet – official automotive partner

    http://www.arsenal.com/the-club/sponsors-partners

    http://www.manutd.com/General-Footer-Section/Privacy-Policy.aspx?filter=partners

    Arsenal are not having “tremendous developments” in this area that is just standard PR guff that holds up to no scrutiny. Utd earn more then £30m more then us in the big deals (Shirt sponsor and kit deal-that can’t be helped until 2014) but they also outstrip massively in the second tier deals an area that our expensive commercial team should be looking to make up the short fall but which we fall further and further behind in.

    Sorry for the rant
    All the other comments are fairly standard and what you would expect. A smooth talker is Mister Gazidis.

  2. I certainly agree with you that there is little point to the whole event as the club rep will be able to say little of substance and the wannabe managers will be dissatisfied with anything that does not fit their agenda.

  3. Great post, YW. Personally I found that agenda nauseating.

    And deep down, I feel that the final clause of the final sentence of the post rings truest.

  4. I am curious how mcuh money is guarented. How much is front loaded in the contract and how much is back loaded. Can the club get out of the contract after X number of years. In the NFL players sign for seven years. X amount is given up front. After three or four years the clubs always get out of contracts.

  5. Excellent perspective Yogi.

    I find myself agreeing with OOU.

    The running of the club is another lightning rod for endless opinion.

  6. Effing A Yogi. You’re early.

  7. I will need to read the article again regarding the rights issue. Let me ask perhaps a silly question. Is the entire reason of raising the rights issue to increase the operating budget of the club? That would generate new money on top of money gained from operating revenue. Do I have a small handle on the matter?

  8. YW – Amazing post!! you really do your research very well but I do have a big question. Kroenke (owning 67%) surely can put a stop to any rights issue of shares whenever he wants? As the controlling shareholder that is his right, so therefore the whole question becomes moot. I may be wrong (it did happen once back in 1998 but I refuse to go into details!!) but if that is the case then surely we should just throw our support behind him, as he has AW? Also, as a rights option such as is suggested tends to dilute the share value and (at times) cause havoc with an established board, why would anyone countenance such a move? Your link to Angry of Islington made it plain that he (not you per se) would like to see any profit used to pay off the clubs debt, completely ignoring the fact that controlled and affordable debt is NOT a bad thing in and of itself. Rather, it is in fact quite the opposite. FFP may turn out to be a laughing stock but on the off-chance that it actually does what it claims it will, a club that can show a history of debt payments, made on time and within budget, has a healthier financial future than the likes of Manure, Citeh, the Chavs, ‘Pool and these days the Spuds.

    On another note if anyone sees an Arsenal fan at the Montreal Grand Prix, it will be yours truly 🙂

  9. Cannons of Rhetoric

    Great post YW. Unfortunately I think some people are beyond listening at this point. Hopefully they don’t let that LeGrove clown attend this year…

  10. YW – By the way, which elephant – Topsy or Fanny?

  11. Early and well written post. Liked it.

    Will you be posting this early from now? 🙂

  12. Nice post and well thought out follow-up comments. I tend to think and believe our ties must be cut from red & white holdings. The sooner the better. I also concur with IRISH GRAY in that as majority share holder ,and having most of the board on his side, STAN has as a matter of fact checkmated the UZBEK. ALISHIRE will not start a PR WAR at this point in time. Nothing to be gained and he will only degrade the shares he is holding at the present.
    Hopefully the crowd at the meeting will be more mature as compared to last year and there won’t be any verbal RPG s flying around.
    UP THE GUNS!!

  13. Two Owls

    Rights issue should be used to cleat debt as that frees the money from the banks grasps, a better long term benefit than a signing or two.

  14. MG

    It’s always my intention to post this early…

  15. Correct me if am wrong but aren’t we the only club with two billionaire shareholders that don’t actually spend ‘oil money’, ha you couldn’t make it up.

    I agree with the school of thought that this ast meeting will lead to nothing.
    What is will be said that hasn’t been said before?, there will be questions like ‘why aren’t we spending money on quality signings, don’t we have any ambition? Then trust gazidis to swat it off with ‘we have ambition, last summer we spent about £65M, there is always money available for wenger’ – lies, damned lies.
    Why don’t they come clean and tell everyone we are working on a budget and can’t spend this and this amount on one player, instead of adding more fuel to the fire.
    Le grave must be sharpening his knife in anticipation.

  16. khalifha

    It isn’t an AST meeting. All supporters groups are recognised and invited.

    Like I said in the post, everyone has to listen. The answers are always given if you listen.

  17. For me the the club is run with pride and dignity and runs at a profit allowing us to hold our heads high on the upper legions of moral ground on the other hand you can get 4 Stella’s for a £1.99 at sainsburys

  18. Upper Street Gooner

    Yogi

    I was under the impression that Uefa is under significant pressure from the European Club Association which took over the G14 to sort out ffp.

    Its these clubs who look on in disdain at the Malaga, PSG, Anzhi, Chels and city of this world. People may say that City actually pump money into the game but in reality if they spend 25m on Milner that one off payment does little to appease your wage bill if that soars by 25m over the next 2 years due to player wage inflation.

    It must be understood that its the Bayern, Utd and Real of this world who hate these billionaires more than anyone and it is these clubs who are the most powerful in europe.

    The appreciation of player wages cannot continue in its current format and 99% of owner of european clubs know it.

  19. no need to beat around the bush.

    question- Mr. Ivan, since you say our ambition is to win trophies.
    If arsene fails to win a trophy for the 8th straight season, would he be allowed to continue.

  20. USG

    Erm, ECA includes Chelsea, City, Barcelona, Madrid, PSG, Malaga. Do you think the turkeys are voting for Christmas? They want rules that they know they can adhere to hence the vagueness and get-out clauses. Uefa ban any big club and that’s it, independent European Super League here we come.

    And Boozy, you’re brave…

  21. Sport is about equal opportunity the billionaires have taken that away how we hated utd for being richer than us but with hindsight at least they earned it from football related income

  22. haha nice one..;-)

  23. People who do not understand the worth of arsen wenger are surely supporting the wrong team

  24. Upper Street Gooner

    Yogi

    but out of 201 clubs there are 5-6 who live completely outside of there means.

    Bayern, Real and Utd are the biggest critics of this financial doping as it is they whose hard work, history and business acumen gets eroded by instant petro dollars.

    Obvioulsy getting slightly ahead of ones self here but a european super league will happen sooner rather than later, if the majority of the clubs are against this insane spending this could work in our advantage.

    That being said if the front office and coaching teams have much better summers than they’ve had in years gone by i think we will be right up there.

  25. Yogi, pardon me, i had ‘ast’ on my mind.

    But do you see my point, boozy is just a typical example of somebody that will never learn, he is too ignorant to grasp little things and now le grave will be representing them, it will be like a monkey talking on behalf of apes.

    Boozy.
    Dalglish won a trophy and got sacked for not qualifying for the champions league, what is your point.

  26. Real don’t criticise since they are the epitome of it. United only do so because they are threatened by it but are no different to them due to their heavy debt. Bayern can take the moral high ground.

    And there are a damn sight more than 5 or 6 who live beyond their means. Most of the EPL make losses which is living beyond your means. The same is true of Spain and Italy. Only Germany and France have got to grips with this and have stringent rules over the finances. Of the 201, there are probably about 11 who are actually solvent.

  27. Yogi I reckon you are correct in saying the club has overestimated any impact FFP will have. UEFA dont have the balls to disqualify any of the big clubs from playing in their flagship competition of the champions league. Any we musnt kid ourselves and think said big clubs haven’t got together to protect themselves if one of their numbers were sanctioned, lest all get sanctioned also. UEFA will threathen then back down with an ‘agreement’ being made that ‘satisfies’ one of the loopholes/get out clauses.

    Ivans comments on RVPs contract still has left me in the dark as to whats happening. Is the contract signed? If so then why not announce it? Is it agreed to in principle and just waiting on some further things to happen (like new players being bought) before being signed (hence the media bad?). Has it been rejected by RVP out of hand and he will see out the final year? Has it been brushed aside because RVP wants to move and has had his head turned already?

  28. DeiseGooner

    I think that was the point of Gazidis’s comments whatever happens in the future the comments can be made to fit. He missed his calling as a political spin doctor.

  29. Rvp was interviewed recently but he said him and arsenal have made an agreement not to discuss the contract situation, he was asked of juventus (rubbish), this is the interesting part, he said was excited about the Euro championship and he is hungry for trophies, the champions league! – I don’t know if this is good news, he must have been watching too much re-runs of chelsea’s victory.

  30. Lew – wouldnt it be nice to be told some actual info on whats going on by the club and not more spin. Is that what we can expect from the Q&A today? I get the need for some confidentiality and what not but i do get sick of the spin.

    It seems to me we have a player calling the shots and not the CEO/Manager. Just like Cesc and Nasri last summer! I hope im completely wrong.

  31. DeiseGooner

    Spin is all that should be expected from this Q+A. Gazidis has the tremendous ability to talk and make it seem like he is telling you stuff, then when you actually think back he has nothing of note or interest.

  32. YW @921
    SPOT ON. Spot on and again spot on.
    Stop putting manure and Real on a pedestal.
    These two are the original whores…

  33. YW – If you wrote this post with the hope of a reasonable response from the likes of Lew1234 then I am sorry to disclose that you’ve failed. Good try though.

  34. Upper Street Gooner

    Goonerkam

    There have been instances throughout history of clubs using sugar daddies to gain an advantage over others. Arsenal most succesful period was based on finanacial dopping of the highest degree

    Are enemies arent the clubs who have built up incredible revenue through onfield success supplemented with oustanding marketing and branding. If we hate on these clubs we should hate what we want to become becuase make no mistake about it Man Utd and Real are exactly the type of brands that Glazidis wants us to be and i see no shame in it.

    The clubs we shold hate are the ones who are trying to skip out every painful level of development that well run clubs have to do. the clubs who wages to turnover % makes them look like an embarrsment to all. Utd % is significantly lower than ours as is Real. Any new rules should look at these figures first and foremost. City, Chels and PSG are the drug addicts who cant stop feeding off someone else. There is nothign about their clubs which is remotely solvent.

  35. shotta

    “The likes of me” the likes that don’t lap up Gazidis’s spin like it was ambrosia?

  36. Frankly, I see this thing as a high stack poker game with millions of dollars involved. Everyone of these clubs on the top five or six are playing. With their cards very close to their chest. Strategic moves are being planned out in the board rooms and being implemented in ways to keep the clubs competitive and without tipping off your rivals. And here we are as fans trying to figure things out with out much to go on. Getting frustrated and restless all around. Well, think about it this way. The information we crave as fans regarding the club might be rightly kept secret until the play has been seen through. Letting this information out could be DETRIMENTAL to the clubs success in pulling a deal off here and there. Seems a bit selfish on the part of some fans to know the ins and out in minutest detail. I don’t think we will hear anything but general talk out of IVAN today. And rightly so.
    With all the disadvantages ARSENAL have to deal with in the EPL and the transfer market, why would I ,as a fan.,want to add to their difficulties navigating these treacherous business waters by revealing their hand in public.

  37. Upper Street Gooner

    Shotta

    To be fair buddy if you look at what Glazidis has said the last 2 summers and then seen whats happened in those summers you would be asking some pretty blunt questions to the man.

    His point about trying to sign players as early as possible is the most startling observation of the lot. Its quite clearly not the case. We quite clearly only embark on spending spree’s after cl qualification is guaranteed which is something he has never admitted.

  38. and u know this because you’re right there working side by side with Ivan, USG?

    well said goonerkam:
    “The information we crave as fans regarding the club might be rightly kept secret until the play has been seen through. Letting this information out could be DETRIMENTAL to the clubs success in pulling a deal off here and there. Seems a bit selfish on the part of some fans to know the ins and out in minutest detail”

    too many “fans” over-estimate their significance in the front end scheme of things.
    ps: “at this stage in the game, you do not matter..live with it!”

  39. Upper Street Gooner

    Goonerkam

    I completely agree that the club shouldnt divulge crucial info. The issue comes when the club ends up doing little. over the last 2 summers the club has had a dam right awful time of things and still hasent gotten back to the level of the 2009-10 season. This is despite declarations that there is significant money avaialble and that the coaching staff are well aware of the weakneses in the playing staff.

    The aim should be to compete in 4 competetions so why on earth Ivan opnly talks of cl and pl i have no idea. To here an excuse from Arsene regarding the squad being knackered in fe or march due to domestic cup will upset many.

    Like i’ve said before i think the manager learnt more last summer than he has done over the previous 10. Learning from last sumemr means that Theo and RVP had better have made up their minds pre august as to their future and we had better of identified their replacements

  40. USG
    you are correct as far as level of corruptions. Of the playing fields. Maybe Reals AND MANURES and Milan’s of this world are spending the money they earn on the field of play. I highly doubt it. By spending these massive amounts on player transfers and salaries, they have warped the game we all love in other ways. And I highly doubt man united is solvent. One or two more years such as the one manure just had we will see them on the brink of administration.
    I don’t claim to know the clubs history fully for all it 126 year existence and maybe we did have some political and financial benefactors in the past. But having followed them since mid seventies I’ll take them over all our closest rivals as far as running this club cleanly and selfsufficintly and for the betterment of the game.
    And their final product ( the way they play) isn’t too shabby either.

  41. Upper Street Gooner

    Aman

    I would prefer to believe that we have financial necessities that mean we have to spend later rather than a rubbish front office and manager who cant sell the club properly. It is these acts which so hampered our season last year.

    How else can you explain the farcical summer we just had which has led some to believe that a 2 point improvement on the managers worst ever year but with earlier cup exits as a remarkable season.

    The squad was in serious need of improvements without Nasri or Cesc leaving we bought our german cb on the last day of the transfer window when he had been available all summer…….did we not need defensive help???

  42. I don’t think for minute that is easy going up.against these sugerdaddied clubs that will buy anything that moves for triple the price. ARSENAL. are doing their very best in trying times and against many odds not just to survive in this climate but actually be in the running some of these years. For what it’s worth I think we will keep some of our best players and we are going to have a fantastic season coming up.
    And the only thing I think AW really learned last summer was not to overestimate the moral fiber some of his recruited have had. Not everyone is as loyal as he is and not all of his players are firm believers in this project. He must spend more time really sizing up the players he brings in or else it will be two steps forward one back as opposed to consistently stepping forwards.

  43. The Real Stew Black

    USG – look up ‘remarkable’ in a dictionary. Then get behind the team. Lame half assed pretence at support.
    Yogi – excellent post. beautifully crafted with not a word out of place.

  44. USG
    Not again man.

    Has it occured to you that the team that finished 2nd in the 2010/2011 season finished with 71 points?

    We ended up with 70 points last season and finished 3rd despite losing 4 first team players (clichy, cesc,nasri, wilshere) and suffered so many long term injuries (sagna,mert,verm,santos,gibbs,jenk).

    Blooding new players into our system – santos,arterta,gervinho,metersacker.

    Jeez!, the competition is getting tougher, newcastle,tottenham,man city have also been added to the fray. Last season was a massive improvement and if you can’t understand that then i feel sorry for you.

  45. Upper Street Gooner

    Goonerkam

    You see there are examples across a number of different sports past and present where teams not only compete with richer clubs but exceed them.

    The disparity in wages between us and city is significantly less than that of Bayern and Dortmund or Montpellier or PSG. Look at the Rays or Cardinals in baseball and compare them to the Yankees, Red Sox or Rangers.

    The club is doing a good job in competing in this unfair world but like in anything there is huge room for improvement. We settle far to easily for 3rd or 4th and the ceo says all the right things about it not being good enough but lets actually see some actions.

    There is significant money at our disposal and more to come with fees and wage space created by sales. The club is in a position to make the 2-3 signings necessary to put us in an unbelievably strong position come the first game of the season (notice i didn’t say transfer deadline).

    No longer should we hear the manager constantly coming out and complaining fixture congestion and the squad being tired. Its his job to rotate the squad so that they are playing at the peak of their fitness consistently.

    The players must start adapting to the system employed by the manager on a much more consistent basis. pressure high up the pitch is utterly crucial for our system to work. The squad needs to be rotated in a way that you can see from the 1st 15 min of every game that the opposition will be given no time on the ball today no matter where they have it. By doign this 10-15% better we will score more and concede less and it really is as simple as that. The manager ethos is clear on the matter, now the players need to buy into it.

    By doing these things that much better i see no reason why we cant do better in 5-7 extra games next year which is what we need to do to compete

  46. USG
    “How else can you explain the farcical summer we just had which has led some to believe that a 2 point improvement on the managers worst ever year but with earlier cup exits as a remarkable season.”

    Your bringing up another point(s) for endless discussion & possible speculation.

    I was watching a rerun of the Milan match at the Emirates recently. Afterwards I looked at our run in for league play ……..the last 5 matches. I don’t have to remind any Arsenal fan, but we had a string of frustrating draws and barely held on to capture the 3rd spot. Ok, so we won at WBA……at least on paper.

    Because we had been eliminated from FA and CL, Arsenal had no mid-week fixtures, allowing our squad a full week’s rest between every match.

    With involvement in the other cups (travel and physical demands) might we have lost some other key players to some type of injury and consequently finished below 3rd?

    This also brings up the issue about whether Arsenal are a big club and everyone’s definition.

  47. By the way, even for a 2 point and one spot improvement, I feel this squad is in a much stronger position to start next season……regardless of upcoming contract negotiation results.

  48. Upper Street Gooner

    Arsesession

    I would agree that the squad is in stronger overall position than last year in defence and midfield.

    Without RVP and Theo last year we would have been in a horrible state of affairs. wellover 50% of our goals came from those 2.

    History suggets that we will sell both and not replace them directly.

    Khalifa

    70 points usually gets you 4th quite simply. it was our choice to sign players so late. depsite many peioples observations that its quite obviously better to sign players earlier. The clubs you mention now competing with us have a wage bill combined that looks like ours??

  49. USG
    “Without RVP and Theo last year we would have been in a horrible state of affairs. wellover 50% of our goals came from those 2.”

    Don’t disagree with this statement.

    I believe our manager is normally a thorough planner. With the events of last summer I am confident the wheels have been set in motion (earlier) to avoid last August’s scenario.

    The world is filled with much footballing talent.

    Having 50% of our goals derived from 2 players is not an attacking model that I want duplicated.

    Maybe if Arsenal had better attacking wing play, goal production would have increased as well as a more reliable source of supply for others.

    RvP produced some sensational goals this past season, but at the same time he missed as many that were far easier.

  50. Stew

    And you managed first…

  51. Having already qualified for the Champions League group stages will hopefully allow us to budget earlier and do any transfer business earlier than last year. Along with the drawn-out departures of Fabregas and Nasri, I believe the need to win through a qualifier stopped us shelling out on players to some extent until the very end of the transfer window.

    If Walcott and Van Persie can be re-signed with the minimum of fuss then it puts the manager in a great position, he can go out and look for real quality in whatever positions he needs it rather than worrying about players leaving and having to fill holes. Whether that’s in the shape of long-touted targets such as M’Vila or Biglia or someone a little under that radar (Arsene’s speciality after all) would be the really interesting question.

  52. I don’t know what are big clubs and not big clubs. Everyone has an opinion. It seems EPL has 7 bigger clubs: 2 Mans, Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea, L’pool and now Newcastle. It seems on some impossibly fluid criteria that Arsenal are literally in or around third spot (behind the Mans, above the rest), on par with their EPL 2011/12 standing. Overall, in Wenger’s period, we are # 2 as all the facts bear out.

    Big clubs have ambitions I suppose. Ours are to gain ground, and catch the top two clubs, as well as bettering ourselves relative to others below us, in other words “to compete right at the top”. When Wenger said, 2-3 seasons back “we are close” I’m certain he meant it literally this way. That period was derailed – factually one would say “the squad didn’t pan out as intended” and we began a renewed re-building on quite a grand scale, Ox, Gerv, Jenks, Santos, Per, Arteta and now Podolski being the “notables”. 7 new players in under a year, 4 of them regular internationals, relieving ourselves of a similar number!

    This is ambitious. I would also submit that the quality of the current team, without any further additions or losses shows high ambitions. We haven’t reached the end of the transfer window yet and we shall see.

    I honestly wonder what more is expected. Big media-darling signings do not guarantee big results, although the equation changes a bit when you buy 20+ players like ManC. A long term strategy usually does and it seems we have one. Overall, Wenger never abandoned his “develop emerging players” strategy although he seems to have increased the quality of the more mature players without ridiculous spending.

    Once again, we are close.

  53. One senses a notable signing around the corner.

  54. I am one with ZimPaul @ 1:17

  55. Upper Street Gooner

    Zimpaul

    I completely agree that we are close. If we can keep RVP and Theo plus add a couple of other experienced starting quality players we will be in an outstanding position on paper.

    If we can then get the same improvement in our inconsistent at times no existent pressing game as what we did in our set pieces there is not reason why we cant be looking at the mid 80s points wise.

    The club has got to stop caring about what other clubs are doing and start setting its own lofty standards. We should be going into next season with our strongest ever squad with depth in every position there is no reason other than another poors summer work by the fornt offcie and manager which should change this. RVP and theo replacements should have been already scouted.

  56. Really disappointed with some of todays comments.

    USG states that without Theo and RVP’s goals we would have been “in a horrible state of affairs”. Amazingly Barca with Messi and Real with Ronaldo are raved about, yet remove either player and his respective club would have finished midtable (at best) and trophyless. A stupid statement if ever there was one! Why the hell else does a team have a world-class striker and a winger with the potential to be? So they can score goals FFS!!!

    Arsesession States : “This also brings up the issue about whether Arsenal are a big club and everyone’s definition.” Well for starters, my definition is obviously different than yours. Answer me this then, do you think Chelsea and Liverpool are big clubs? Because if you do I think you must admit it is a hell of an achievement finishing above both in one season is it not?

  57. I see, I see, I see the Rain Man is in the house with the reperepeprepereptitionionionionion.

    Gawd help you poor brave fools for trying to get any valid logical point across.

  58. Irishgray

    Dont even bother man, the jibber was going on and on and on about the same tired shit last week and will contiunue to do so as long as people respond.

    The fact that you could say that about any team’s forwards is neither here nor there of course. Barca would be mid table, etc. Or what if Gibbs hadn’t made that last minute block? Dumm dumm darrr….

  59. Great post Yogi:

    Interesting stuff. I agree with your thought regard FFP.

    I tend to agree with the posters who feel that the club does a poor job informing the fans of whats going on. Clearly you have to keep some of your cards close to the vest but our club seems to be the more neurotic about its secrecy then other clubs. As you have pointed out time and time again the club has become a PR nightmare. It seems like Ivan is nothing but a mouth piece. We really need some more football people involved in upper management. Arsene is a brilliant man but very few companies of any type work well over the long term when they have one person in complete control with no counterbalance no matter how brilliant or talented that one person is. We hear again and again that Arsene has all the money he needs and if he needs a player (even an expensive one) he has the money, yet he makes big transfer profits almost every window. Clearly we can’t keep up with Man City spending wise but leaving money on the table then makes it even harder for ourselves. None of that makes no sense given our table position the last 7 years. Last summer was the worst bit of team management that could have been imagined. I realize that we were at some disadvantages but even then we did a very poor job of preparing for last season.

    Enough of a rant. Just hope that things go better this summer then last. Podolski is a good start but there is still a lot to be done.

  60. Zim

    I agree with your analysis, especially that Arsene has not given up developing young talent.

    But a friend, who follows City, had a different view of ‘big club’. One that can compete in multiple cups at same time and finish strong in league play. Maybe that is too much expectation?

    For the past 6-7 seasons injuries to key starters have impacted our performances down the stretch.

    Our back line is improving in this aspect, but I still see shortcomings from depth in mid-field and the front line.

  61. USG – “The club has got to stop caring about what other clubs are doing and start setting its own lofty standards. We should be going into next season with our strongest ever squad with depth in every position there is no reason other than another poors summer work by the fornt offcie and manager which should change this. RVP and theo replacements should have been already scouted.”

    I really think you are the one who should stop caring what other clubs are doing as it seems to be confusing you. You honestly think that getting players such as Arteta, Santos, Gervinho, Mertesekker and Podolski is poor work? Na$ri is a bitch and Cesc demanded he could leave. Clichy gave his all for years and earned the right to move on. And how do you know Arsenal have not scouted RVP’s and Theo’s replacement. Arsenal’s scouts are spotted all over England and Europe on a regular basis, doing exactly what they are paid to do, scout future players for Arsenal.

  62. Yogi

    That was a fine post today man, makes a change! 🙂

    I really don’t see what Usmanov’s game is tbh. Maybe he thinks Stan will be up for seeling his shares sooner than anyone on the board thinks, or perhaps he is just bored? He talks like the opposition party, just like the tories when Labour were in and like the Labour party now. Hot air.

    I do think that the only way FFP will come into play is only when the likes of Real, Bayern, United Juve etc get totally pissed off with the sugar daddy models and demand action from UEFA.

  63. Dex – I know mate but sometimes I just can’t help but respond. Not that it ever makes any difference mind you.

  64. I see the blog’s had a good going over with the Dyson Joy-a-way today. Been sucked right out of it and no mistaking.

  65. Sorry about the double negatives in the post. I try to type in a hurry on the Ipad touch screen and then skim through proofreading quickly and end up missing some pretty silly stuff. Oh well.

  66. Bill

    I am not sure what ‘fans’ want the club to tell them man? I know they are always slow when it comes to new signings (what farking new signings???) and stuff, but what do you want to know? What is it that they should be telling us?

    Ivan gazidis IS a mouthpiece for the club, well done you for realising that! 🙂 He is a politician in so much as he is a good orator and today’s session won’t prove any different there. I am not sure what he brings to the club and I would like a kind of sporting director, or someone with a footballing pedigree to be on the board, I think that could be a good thing TBH.

    Ultimately, we need to win something, that is the bottom line, then we will see if the club gets more positive PR and a distinct reduction in negative media coverage.

  67. By the way, has anyone told George that Denis is one of the favourites to land the Swansea job? I think he ought to know!

  68. And this gem from our old friend Alan Hansen: “It is the usual suspects in the final for me. Spain won it last time and they won the World Cup in 2010. They have got the best players and are the favorites to win it and rightly so, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will win it, and it will be close. As well as the Germans and the Dutch, Portugal are in the mix too. Christiano Ronaldo has been unfortunate until now to play in Portugese sides at major finals that have been really negative, so he has not shown in tournaments how good he is.”

    There is only one massive flaw in this quote and that is that Germany, Portugal and Holland are all in the same group and thefefore only 2 of them can progress. Typical idiot hansen is so dam lazy he can’t even get that right!! What an asshole!! $40,000 and episode at MOTD and this is what he comes up with? And why is he stating Portugal have always played negatively in major tournaments? Spain stifled the life out of almost every game they played in the WC and ended up winning it. Didn’t Portugal have the highest scoring win in the last WC? Does not sound very negative to me. What a maroon!!

  69. IrishG

    Haha! I saw that man. They should present the MotD show wearing pyjamas and night caps and have done with it. They could all be in a big bed under a duvet too.

  70. I think you have mis-read what he said.

    What’s a maroon?

  71. Upper Street Gooner

    IrishGray

    The issue was that we were completely reliant on them as the backups just were so far short of their quality it was embarrassing.

    Messi and Ronaldo production is impossible to replicate but both sides had numerous other key contributors in attacking positions which makes any reasonable person imagine they could pick up the slack.

    Take Ronaldo for instance if we were to have gone down with a serious injury its reasonable to assume that Higuain and Kaka would have played more. Both of these guys despite un major roles scored 32 and 24 assists between them.

    Maybe a smarter example from you would have been Man Utd with Rooney. He was after all at the club that finished directly above us he also scored a very similar amount of goals to RVP and for Theo what about Valencia.

    So would would have Utd had to replace Rooney….Berbatov, Welbeck, Hernandez . Berb has scored 30 in 60 over the last 2 years, hernandez scored 20 in his first year and welbeck is the next big thing apparently

    Lets say Valencia got injured for them they would have had which ever of Nani or Young who wasnt picked on the other side. both of whom production mirros theo

    Now lest look at what we had to replace rvp 37 15 and theo 11 13.

    Chamack who has averaged 8 goals a season his entire career who was completely out of form and increasingly looks like an atrocious signing from a character perspective.

    Park…………………………..

    I’m afraid to say that doesn’t cover RVp production

    Theo production on the right was backed up by chamberlain who showed everything which we expected from a hugely talented 18 year old some great things closely followed by some average things.

  72. USG

    You are comparing the squads of 2-3 of the biggest clubs in world football with us, not sure why or what you are trying to achieve.

    We’re not that level of club despite what people may think when wearing their rose tinted spectacles.

    Doesn’t mean we cannot compete and be succesfu.

  73. Round and round you go…

    Steve; a maroon?

    Isnt it a biscuit?

  74. Upper Street Gooner

    Steve

    No im comparing the squads that Irish gave to me and a team that finshed 1 place above us who spend 13m more than us on wages in total.

    they were 19 points clear of us we can aim to either try and make up that difference or cry about them being richer than us. We have significantly more money to spend than they do this summer and that is a certainty.

  75. That Dyson Suck-a-way has really worked a treat.

    This place is like a fucking dentist’s waiting room today.

  76. Upper Street Gooner

    Dex

    I’m not so sure what is wrong with stating we were to reliant on rvp and theo goals. Is it not extremly important to you to keep the above to for those precise reasons. Or are you with Irish and that we had decent depth and couldnt improve it

    Lest hope you dont have a repeat of your performance last summer when you completly lost the plot after we sold cesc and walcott.

  77. Oh dear jibber

    Saying shite like, ‘oh if it wasnt for RvP we’d be midtable’ is a retarded asanine argument. What if we had Pele and Maradona in their prime? Same pointless stuff every day. You have one good point yet you consistently spoil it with all the other boring nonsense you spout. Are the manu blogs even more boring?

    I really dont get what you hope to achieve? You go on and on about the same old shite time and again. Nothing changes and the stuff you want to discuss is completely pointless. Its like discussing why the sun has to disapear every evening. I dont get why you, a Man U fan, lest we forget, would want to keep posting autisitc shit on an Arsenal blog day in day out, unless you hope to bore people to tears? Job done man.

    And if I am supposed to be somehow pained by you saying i lost it last summer? Pffft. You really aint very good at this. But you prbably dont get to socialise much, so fair enough. I am happy to oblige.

    Why the change of name by the way? Why pretend to be someone else? Very odd behaviour.

  78. good piece yogi we await the outcome.

  79. I recall the Australian cricket team stating bitterly and without irony that we only won the Ashes in 2005 because of Flintoff. An idiotic comment showing no self-awareness and even less grace in defeat (well this is Australia after all).

    The other point – which may have already been made – is that we were pronounced dead in the water when other key players have left and yet other players stepped up to the plate and shouldered the burden more effectively.

    RVP scores so many goals in part because we look on him to do so.

    To borrow American Football parlance he’s our ‘go to guy’ – why wouldn’t he score an outrageous percentage of chances.

    Obviously we want to share that burden better around the team but I think Podolski’s signing was partly made with exactly this in mind.

  80. Irish

    In fairness to Hansen, the question wasn’t who is going to be a semi-finalist but who is going to challenge for the trophy. So his thoughts aren’t that bad.

    Doesn’t stop him being a twat generally though.

  81. In other leagues it’s common that few players share the majority of the goals. Roughly half of Bayern’s league goals came through Gomez/Ribery, in spain it’s even more extreme with Messi/Sanchez and obviously Real Mad, where three players were responsibile for 75% of the goals.

  82. Another fine post YW

    Shame about the other crap.

  83. Irish…

    I do feel it was an amazing achievement to finish above Chelsea…..but not Pool. I would say Pool is historically a bigger club but certainly not anymore.

    I don’t see Chelsea as a big club, only one whose late successes were purchased with outrageous sums of money.

  84. billturner90

    This guy does have a bit of Jibber Jabbs in his dialect.

    USG-“I’m not so sure what is wrong with stating we were to reliant on rvp and theo goals.”

    There is nothing wrong with that dude. They were our first choice striker and inside forward/winger whatever the eff it’s called. If we played another striker and winger, i would wager that they would score goals and create assists too. No need to keep stating the obvious man.

  85. But Jonny

    Podolski is for NEXT season, so when he scores 30 goals with 20+ assists we can all say what if he had been injured etc etc? We have to go over and over and over and over and over the what ifs of last season till August man. Gawd! Don’t you get it???

  86. Will;

    It IS jibber the fibber man.

  87. YW – Aw come on, splittin hairs mate. How can a pundit honestly sit there and tell us that 3 teams from the same group are going to challenge for the trophy?

    USG/Jibber – “Or are you with Irish and that we had decent depth and couldnt improve it” Now let’s make this as easy as possible, shall we? I have just quoted you now return the favor and quote me saying that? Truth is I never did. Park remains an enigma. Chamak though does have quality but his confidence was shot to hell. We loaned out Bendtner and Vela and Arshavin midseason. Strength in depth? Not so much. I just think, like Dxter pointed out, that you are a WUM to be perfectly honest and should bugger off back to whereever it was you were hiding until recently.

  88. Good piece Yogi you really do make sure every stoned in looked under!

    I don’t get the Q&A session but I’ll listen and see if the answer are there as you say that they are. The FFP thing for me is turning out to be quite the joke and I honestly feel that once it is finally pushed and clubs like Manshiteh, Manure, Madrid, Barca, Milan, PSG, etc.. are getting pushed out of major tournaments, as I have stated before whats to stop them from banning together with all their money an resources and creating a super league. Not only would most futbol fans follow the league and get it on TV but the rest of Europe would suffer. You think that a league where Newcastle, Real Sociedad, Montepillar, Wolves, and teams like that across Europe would get any coverage or be able to stand up to a league or tournment with the likes of Manure, Milan, Madrid, PSG, Manshiteh, Chavs, Bayern, Arsenal, Barca and some others; not in a million years. This FFP thing is a great concept and fundamentally its very sound but logically and financially I just dont see it happening. Not to mention if you were being billed as a young world class player or a world class player, in modern futbol which league would you expect players to join. It would be the end of many clubs.

  89. Irish

    Because he feels that whichever two teams do qualify from the group are potential winners. It’s not that fucking difficult to understand.

    You’re all over it because it is Hansen. If Wenger said it you would accept it as his opinion.

  90. Arsesession- In as much as I detest the chavs and all that they stand for, to say they are not a big club is a bit silly. They have a very good squad of players and are CL champions (though it galls me to say it) and have just signed Hazard, with Hulk maybe following. Yes Terry is a c**t but if you want to win anything in England, be it the EPL, FA Cup or the Capital One (LMFAO!!) Cup you have to beat them at some point. That to me is what makes a club one of the ‘Big’clubs, in order for you to win you have to beat them. There are other factors of course but I think you will agree that was one of them. Man City won the EPL on goal difference because they hammered Utd 6-1, that’s as simple as it gets. If Utd had just drawn that game they would be champions.

  91. @Irishgray

    I know it might sound like I’m siding with Yogi on this 1 but it does make sense. He was asked who could challenge which means that any number of teams from any number of groups could challenge. Yes he did chose 3 teams from the same group which means that its a really strong group that has the potential to have 3 teams challenge for Euro’s. Now naturally 1 fo those teams will get knocked out but that doesn’t mean that all 3 can’t be a challenger for the crown. Think about it, I don’t know if you follow American football but all the teams are put into a 4 team division, now within those divisions there might be 3 teams that have the possibility to win the Superbowl but that doesn’t mean anything other than the talent is there but which talent will prevail will then tell you who has teh stronger chance.

  92. ” USG – look up ‘remarkable’ in a dictionary. Then get behind the team. Lame half assed pretence at support.”

    Thanks for your input USG. I appreciate reading your cogent posts. I really have little respect for people who personally attack someone just because they don’t wear the rose coloured Arsenal blinkered fan glasses. This reminds me of the American ‘Support the Troops’ rhetoric. Any criticism of the governemnt is unpatriotic.

  93. Steve – It is pretty difficult to understand when you know the question he was trying to answer. He was asked what teams he saw reaching the semi-finals and then the final and he replied with 3 teams from the same group!! The man claims to be a professional pundit/critic whatever and cannot even get the basics right. And just for the record, if AW had said it I would be getting my balls busted left and right by Spud fans, Chav fans, you name it. Sorry if I hurt your feelings mate, never knew you were such a big fan of Hansen.

  94. Of course Chelsea are a big club. If there is a superleague I suspect they’ll be part of it. Is someone suggesting Mata blew Arsenal off for a small club like Chesea? Why must one think only Arsenal are a big club on this bpoard?

  95. philmar; Still smarting I see. 🙂 I would leave well alone if I was you. You have no idea what you are chatting about.

    Steve; Jeez man, that was a bit harsh on IrishG there. I read it as his top 4 too. 🙂

  96. philmar;

    You think Arsenal are a big club? They have never been a BIG club, a big club yes, but a BIG club? Never.

    And who was it that said Arsenal are the only big club on this blog?

  97. Irishg

    Sorry dude, I should have told you Steve has a life size cardboard cut out of ol Cap’n Scarlett in his bedroom man. My bad.

  98. I did not mean to be harsh at all on IrishG but perhaps you and him both read the original piece with Hansen and saw the actual question he was asked. There was no fucking mention on semi-finals in the bit that was copied.

    As for Hansen himself I am not a fan, I don’t actually listen to any of the MOTD pundits as none of them add anything to the programme.

    Cracking footballer all the same.

  99. Irish @ 2:33
    Agree……at some point, you have to win over your main challengers. After the early successes of Arsene, this is a hard pill for Arsenal fans to swallow.

    Philmar
    see your point.

    I don’t believe anyone knows the real reason Mata signed over Arsenal, but the fact is he did. Personally believe more money was thrown at him than Arsenal would match.

  100. Upper Street Gooner

    Dexter

    Yup thats right i’m a Utd fan. I think i was called a Utd fan for stating that they were quite clearly stronger than us going into the season . 19 points would suggest they were. Dont forget the 10-3 agg scoreline either.

    You see dex the difference between me and you are is that we both love our club but one of us is blind to it the other isnt. Now i might be to far the other way but on a blog spectrum i’m neither to harsh nor to soft. You just hate anyone who feels differently to you it spoke volumes of who you are both on the internet and in real life the way you addressed Bill the other day. Maybe you should just learn to tolerate other peoples opinions

  101. steve

    TBH, I am disapointed they all plumped for ore or less the same teams, with no one sticking their necks out. Croatia, or someone like that could do well for all they care.

  102. But Dex, Arsenal ARE the only big (BIG!) team on this blog – it doesn’t matter who said it. 😉

  103. Who gives a monkeys what Hansen thinks?

    I’d rather consult my own balls.

  104. Upper Street Gooner

    Irish

    I’m just surprised you think that hansen knows nothing about football. I know there is a worldwide arsenal conspiracy in the media but do you think one of the greatest defenders in european history in knockout and league football might be able to lend an opinion or 2 as to the european championships.

    I think he quite clearly meant the 2 teams who come out of that group will be very strong contenders.

  105. USG – but being intolerant is Dex’s best quality! 🙂

  106. USG

    Never mind all that garbage. Why the change of name? Why try and sneak back in and pretend to be someone different? Now that is some weird as fuck behaviour.

    I pity you tbh, you obviously dont get what supporting is all about. There’s clearly no fun or enjoyment in it for you. I really dont see why you bother? Not sure you have any idea what love is either. Certainly not from any of your posts. And I LOVE the way you try and take some kind of moral high ground on an anonymous football blog.

    Speaks volumes about you man.

  107. jonny

    And you can shut the fuck up n all! 🙂

  108. Attaboy. 🙂

  109. People still do not seem to understand that being a supporter of a football team naturally makes you biased. If you are not biased then you do not support your team enough.

  110. dupsff;

    Oh now you’ve given the game away mate!

  111. This summer needs to hurry up and end!!!!!!!

  112. Meanwhile, According to twitter, its all kicked off at the Arsenal fans group meeting where some big fat northerner in an ill fitting AA23 shirt has just roundhoused Tim Payton for daring to criticise Arsene Wenger.

  113. “There is significant money at our disposal and more to come with fees and wage space created by sales. The club is in a position to make the 2-3 signings necessary to put us in an unbelievably strong position come the first game of the season (notice i didn’t say transfer deadline).”
    USG – I feel the club has been in this position for a while but the board is happier to finish 4th and use the profits to pay off the near 100 million pound debt. They have Arsene as manager, someone who secures at least 4th place and Champion’s League money every year in a league of 2 financial dopers and megabrand team – and he does this despite selling off a few of his best players every year.
    But the middle of the pack is getting closer to us.

  114. C;

    Well, if you were in the UK, that wouldnt be an issue as we dont do summer over here man. 🙂

  115. Sorry Dex, it’s all Jibber’s fault.

  116. How you know you’re a true British football fan [male] – you actively wish away the one part of the year that’s filled with hot weather and scantily clad women.

    What have we become?

    *shakes head*

  117. USG – Are you Jabaa? Are you Jabba? Are you Jabba iiiiiiin disguise?

    “But how did you know?”

    The stench. Always the fuckawful-godforsaken stench.

  118. But dupsff thats how we should be; just like jibber; not too hard, not too soft, kinda squidgy with a bit of yield, but still firmish, a bit like plasticine. Yeah thats it, jibber is a plasticine fan. Nice one jibber.

  119. Upper Street Gooner

    Dexter

    Yogi was perfectly aware of it and in the weeks i’ve been back ive been pulled up on about 4 of my comments. The rest seem’s to be decent debatable stuff but you choose to jump on any comment that doesnt flick your bean.

    You never seek to debate just cuss on people.

    Its very easy to derive from such things that you actually know fuck all about your club hence the complete silence or utter contempt that comes from you when there is a debate.

    And no lets not just gloss over why i was called a cunt for saying that utd were stronger than us at the begnining of last year as it seems quite often you guys get off very very lightly for alwasy getting your predictions wrong. Rather than call people cunts for having a differing opinion to you maybe someone with your track record should prob start taking notes.

    Or you could just have the complete mental breakdown which you did after we sold nasri and cesc…..remember that one???

  120. sticking my head out here and saying that

    holland are going home early.

    england won’t lose to france in their game

    poland will reach the semis

  121. ” philmar; Still smarting I see. I would leave well alone if I was you. You have no idea what you are chatting about.”

    I’m not smarting. I’m just stating that I have little tolerance or time for infantile people who are incapable of making cogent arguments. If I want to spend time with people whose only argument is a ad hominum attack then i’d go to the local schoolground and jibberjabber with 7 year olds. I come here to discuss things Arsenal – not have listen to bitter angry issue-ridden adults slagging people off because they have a different opionion about football….about football for cripes sake.
    ‘Nuff said.

  122. It was nice here B.J.

  123. @Dexter

    Here in the US summer is the shittest sports time of the year for me. No futbol just transfer rumors and dealing with the crap in teh British media. O well it atleast I get a good laugh and a great read from Yogi everyday.

  124. Wow, I’ve really touched a nerve with old jibber havent I. You can almost feel his pain.

    Hahaha! Laters jibber.

  125. @Jonny

    Interestingly enough I’m married so my days of chasing scandily clad women are over HAHAHAHAHA, just have my wife!

  126. dupsffokcuf

    A person can be biased without being blinkered, there is a distinction.

    Bias should come to the fore when supporters are discussing their club with supporters of other clubs, the need or natural reaction being to defend your club no matter what. When talking Arsenal with other Arsenal supporters either here or in the pub or wherever there should be no issue in acknowledging where faults exist. And they do exist as they do at other clubs.

    You only have to have a look on here some days when the team is being discussed. If you were to take at face value the ‘biased’ comments of some people then you would never understand why we don’t win every game 12 or 13 nil.

  127. Upper Street Gooner

    Dups

    Problem is that if you beomce to biased you look like a fool when tryign to have a reasoned debate.

    Who knows what a real fan should be termed as. All i know is that a fan from Somalia called Hunter can hate everything about the club and its history and where its located and still be called more of a fan than ones who have lived in the area for generations who attend nearly every game or other foreign fans who have taken time to understand our history our ethos and have learnt to love it rather than be repulsed by it.

  128. “USG states that without Theo and RVP’s goals we would have been “in a horrible state of affairs”. Amazingly Barca with Messi and Real with Ronaldo are raved about, yet remove either player and his respective club would have finished midtable (at best) and trophyless.”

    If Messi or Ronaldo goes down they have a few other strikers or midfielders that can pick up SOME of the slack. If Ronaldo goes down then Higuan, di Maria, Ozil, Kaka or Benzema play more. If Messi dies suddenly then Cesc. Villa, Pedro and Sanchez play more.
    If Robin went down we could throw on Park or Chamakh and we could call Bendtner back from loan.

    Uh you can’t see a difference?

  129. korihikage

    I would love for Holland to go home early. That would mean RVP would play less matches thus having less chance to get injured and a resolution would come of all this.

    I think England will lose to France and I think that it might be like 3-1 to be honest. I just dont see how England will score and France if they do decide to take this tournament seriously could challenge.

  130. Jibber it is impossible to have a reasoned debate with you. People have tried many times. You just come back repeating the same tired crap.

  131. If this is just something to spend your day laughing at for the pure stupidity of it then I dont know what is: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/349218/20120606/euro-2012-shirts-jerseys-toxic-chemicals-poland.htm

  132. Upper Street Gooner

    dexter

    I look forward to the day you’ve learnt enough about your club so that you can join in a debate. You might actually enjoy it a little more, that is talking about relevant issues amongst one the biggest passions of your life.

    As it is at the moment and the last few years actually you jump on board call a few people a few names get a couple of predictions spectacularly wrong and then come back the next day for a little more name calling.

  133. C

    i think alot depends on whether koscielny starts. but it is the first game, so i suspect blanc won’t start him, but will then realise his mistake.

    my gut feeling tells me england will nick it 1-0. theo getting the winner.

  134. billturner90

    God he really is back! man it is so boring to read your posts dude. If you are looking for logical debates maybe you should take it up with a group of nerdy intellectual types who are into that sort of thing. I prefer to call out the idgits when i see them.

    The kinds of people who highlight the obvious shit and then say “FIX IT WENGER” on an internet blog.

  135. @Korihikage

    You say Blanc wont start Kos but lest not forget that Hodgson probably wont play Theo. I’m thinking 3-1 with Ribery, Benzema and Jeremy Menz(1 of my breakout stars of the tournament and would be a great choice for AM for Arsenal) and with maybe Defoe or Gerrard.

  136. billturner90

    oops. I meant to say… Welcome back Jabbas. well done predicting the great season by MANURE and the mediocrity of ARSENAL….what are you going to do to fix the plethora of problems we have?

  137. billturner90

    C- I’ve seen that MENZ fellow play a few times. He looks quick and feisty. He could provide some bite to our side. RVP won’t have to be the only one getting pissed off out on the pitch.

  138. @USG
    Weren’t you the guy who was claiming that Rosicky is sh*t back in January? Are you enjoying your humble pie? Want a second serving? But you better beware, or else you might start to resemble Uzmanov sooner or later if you continue like that.

  139. billturner90

    EVIL- Jabba was the one who spent most of last summer talking about MANURE. On an ARSENAL blog….goonerkam I am going to steal your emPHASIS on capITALS too get my point across. thanks dude.

  140. @billturner90

    Yea I like him as a player and I like his attitude. Real poulcher type of player from the AM role with very good pace and touch. It would be good to have RVP pissed off then see Menz come and argue alongside his Captain.

  141. I mean I can still remember Jabba. But I ended up ignoring most of his posts in the end. But I can remember having a heated debate with someone in January about Rosicky and I am wondering if that was Jabba.

  142. billturner90

    C, just FYI i am only basing his attitude on his haircut. He had one of those shaved heads with a mohawk down the middle. Every player i’ve seen with that haircut is a punk.

  143. Upper Street Gooner

    Turner

    actually those ”obvious” issues are quite hard for some to see. Like the amount of time trying to explain to some on here that arsenal didn’t actually have the best defense in the league last year when taking away set piece goals. My god was that annoying for all but even more so for the ones who were completely and utterly right with what they had to say.

    Failing this though Bill why don’t you choose to ignore the posts in the same way i do the picture of you and your ever so sweet girlfriend. is that to much to ask?

    There are plenty of reasonable people on here who would like to discuss their club and seeing as this blog is far more intellectually stimulating than other blogs why dont you choose to visit another one more to your style pr we can just do point 2.

  144. billturner90

    WTF are you talking about m8. SAGNA/KOS/VERM/SANTOS. Clearly the best back 4 in the league.

  145. ” Bias should come to the fore when supporters are discussing their club with supporters of other clubs, the need or natural reaction being to defend your club no matter what. When talking Arsenal with other Arsenal supporters either here or in the pub or wherever there should be no issue in acknowledging where faults exist. And they do exist as they do at other clubs.”

    Well put Steve. Arsenal fans slagging other supporters for having the temerity to state an opinion is childish.

  146. Bill

    I wouldn’t even have Vermealen in my first choice back 4.

    See how people can have differing opinions.

  147. Upper Street Gooner

    Evil | June 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Yer i though Rosicky was a waste of a squad space in January as he never played or did anything same as Diaby.

    He then had a good 15 games to end the season but if you would believe the tone of your writing apparently little mozart won us a championship or got us incredibly close to a cup.

    O right did he actually just score 2 goals and get 6 assists from the AMC position in a side which were 1 point better that spurs and 4 better than the toon.

    I loved Rosicky proveing me wrong in a contract year, what took him so long? How did he do last year when we needed him.

    Did you ask any questions as to why a 31 year old woudl only start performing in the final few months in what might have been his last major contract. I knwo if he was a city, utd, spurs, liverpool or chels player many on hear would say mony grabber.

  148. @billturner90

    No from what I have seen from him, he is quite the firey competitor. He would had easily ran and joined RVP or even scoulded the GK himself when Krull was time wasting.

  149. Upper Street Gooner

    Steve

    great points.

    Bill

    yup 100% best in the league wow your good

  150. billturner90

    Yeah Steve I actually agree. I think we were a bit more defensively stable with the Koscielny and Murdersacker.

    Jabba- I think that Rosicky came good when he was able to play 10 games in a row and not worry about injury.

  151. @Steve

    I completely agree with you that Mert and Kos are our best pairing.

    @Jabba

    Mozart has been injured for the past couple fo season lest we not forget and before that him alongside Hleb, Cesc and Flamini were billed as the best midfield in the PL. You could make the same claim against RVP but against lest not forget that injuries play a vital role in many players lives.

  152. @Jabba
    Major contract? You do know that he had offers from China and Russia? You know, those kind of offers, where you earn very good money for playing in a very shit league, so in general we are talking about an easy live. He could’ve left in January, he didn’t. He stayed. he got rewarded for his performances with a new contract and what did he do then? He continued playing well! If he was the person you describe him to be, he would’ve either left us for big foreign bucks or stopped performing after signing the contract. He didn’t.

  153. As for Rosicky’s past seasons with us. Well, I guess coming back from an injury to took away 2 years of your playing career is a piece of cake. It’s obvious that you will struggle with your form at times and when you have someone like Fabregas playing in the same position you’ll hardly be offered opportunities to get a run of game to rediscover your form. But with Fabregas gone Rosicky got his chance gradually and finally paid the manager back for keeping the faith. With Rosicky at the top of our midfield three next season, I am very confident about our attacking prowess. He has something about him, it’s not just his passing or his incredible slide tackling, but how he will often turn defenders and opposing midfielders, use short bursts of acceleration just to get past them, that really impresses me and shows that now after he has rediscovered his form he will be very, very important next year in our title challenge.

  154. I have a sense of deja moooo with the offerings of Upper Street Gooner. Is this Jibber Jabber back under another guise? How sour, dour and pathetic can one be unless they are a wind-up merchant….

  155. Question if you had to pick the 5 top scorers at the Euros who would you go with?

    Does Soldado start often for Spain..? I think he might be worth a punt. RVP. Gomez?

  156. @jonny
    Klose will be in the running, I am sure of it. Despite his age, he still has the necessary ability. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if we see Gomez relegated to the bench and Germany starting with Klose.

  157. YW – didn’t we ban this prick originally for a reason?

    FUCKING TEDIOUS.

  158. USG
    About a week ago i didn’t notice you were jabber or jibber? Whatever your name was, you are going on a downward spiral again.
    Why don’t to retire for today and take a nap, for OUR own good.

  159. Interesting Evil.

    These are the best odds (at present) from the bookies…

    Mario Gomez 10.00
    Robin Van Persie 11.00
    Cristiano Ronaldo 15.00
    Fernando Llorente 17.00
    Karim Benzema 17.00
    Miroslav Klose 17.00
    Fernando Torres 19.00
    Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 19.00
    Robert Lewandowski 21.00
    Lukas Podolski 26.00
    Mario Balotelli 26.00
    Thomas Muller 26.00

  160. USG is probably sitting there with a smile on his face enjoying a sense of control…..

  161. Johnny.
    Looks like someone has been smoking dah weed, soldado is not even in the spain’s 23 man squad.

  162. USG do you think that Diaby doesn’t give a sh*t. That he is content to just draw a salary?

  163. Interesting odds on Ronaldo, Jonny …

  164. @Jonny

    I do fancy Muller to have a tournament. He always seems to get up for these things and always seems to be in a spot to score a goal, just ask the Chavs. Torres, that’s mighty interesting, I was watching the Euro Championship when they played and damn he was good, I mean every time he touched the ball he looked like he was going to score my o my how the mighty have fallen hard. Interestingly enough though, their was a towering defender who was calm on the ball commenading the back 4 and constantly being in position to bother Torres after he beat his original defender. O wait that was BFG better known to most as Per Mertsacker! There was this blonde kid on the left flank causing all types of problems for the Spanish when the ball was played to him, strong pacey fellow that was constantly sending mouthwatering crosses (if it wasn’t for Puyol, Klose could have easily scored 4-5 that night) and then tracking back to disrupt the Spanish passing game, O wait that was Podolski. Can’t wait until Mert puts back on the red & white and Podolski puts it on for the 1st time, walks onto the Emirates carpet and becomes greats!

  165. Evil
    It was not highly publicized but didn’t Tomas experience a personal tragedy last fall?

    Fiance lost a child during pregnancy?

  166. What do you brillant minds think of what Gazidis has said:

    “What we agreed at that meeting was that we would keep all the discussions we had over the summer to ourselves and make announcements when it is the right time.

    “Robin is clearly focused on the Euros at the moment and we wish him well, and at the right time we will make the right announcements. But at the moment we are not saying anything.”

  167. Worst case scenario we lose rvp.

    – – – – Szescney – – – – –

    Sagna Kos V/Mert Santos/Gibb

    —– M’villa Song —–

    Walcott Wilshere A.chamerlain

    – – – – Podolski – – – – –

  168. C – you’d only normally wish someone well if they were leaving you.

    Another way of saying ‘we wish you well’ is … ‘farewell’.

    It’s nothing conclusive but RvP’s not exactly busting a gut to re-sign, is he?

    For what it’s worth I think he may be on his way but has agreed to keep quiet until we sign his replacements; everyone knows how his departure will be greeted in North London (and beyond).

  169. C. All i can say is gazidis chose his words carefully, you can’t even read between the lines, there is not a drop of hint weather rvp will stay or go.
    Rvp has gone on record recently stating that he is hungry for trophies and wants to the euro championship and’ wait for it …… Champions league! – I doubt this is good news.

  170. No hint – apart from ‘wishing him well’ …

  171. Arsenal andrew.
    Gazidis said ‘we wish him well’ in regards to the Euro championship so don’t jump to conclusions.
    The part that has me a lil worried is ‘we will make right annoncements at the right time’ – if he has signed yet an annoncement would have been made a while ago. Shit, i think i just read between the lines. Damn you Rvp!

  172. Khalifha – I was wondering if he was in. Amazed they left him out – not so long since he scored a hatrick against Venezuela.

  173. @Khalifha

    I would assume Mozart or Ox would replace Jack and Gervinho would start on the left flank with a back 4 of Sagna, Mert, Kos, Santos but everything else is perfect.

    @arsenalandrew

    I was thinking along those lines but the context of “we wish him well” was in reference to the Euro’s and wishing he does well.

    The thing that is probably the most puzzling is the when he says “at the right time we will make the right announcements. But at the moment we are not saying anything.”, To me that is saying that either he has already signed or like you said, we have already agreed to something but then I’m not sure about us agreeing to something because the other team that we have sold him to I truly doubt knowing how the cunts of many other clubs are would have already said something.

    FFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!! I just want to know if my Captain and leader alongside Arsene of my beloved Arsenal is staying.

    Dear Holland,
    Can you please do all of the Arsenal fans in the world ecspecailly those at ACLF a favor and get knocked out early so that we can resolve this and know what is going on with the best Captain that we have had since Viera. Please allow for RVP to excel and I do wish you all the best but to help not only my nerves but my liver out can you please do me this 1 favor! You can then go ahead and win the World Cup(even though I want Brazil(my youth – U19 coach loved and we played and watched 2 teams and taught me to love them, Arsenal and Brazil) to win). Please!

    Sincerely,
    C from ACLF

  174. Upper Street Gooner = AIC?

  175. Well the ‘right time/right announcement’ line most likely suggests a conclusion has been reached, one way or the other.

    If it’s not in our favour then holding back the announcement makes sense in order to give AW time to conclude other arrangements (ie, transfers in) AND allow RvP time and space to negotiate with other clubs.

    If it IS in our favour and he has re-signed, not announcing it makes little sense.

    With a very cold business eye it would seem sensible to make RvP an offer that fits in with our prudent business plan which he either accepts or rejects. Assuming a rejection, RvP is then free to negotiate with the highest bidder, or the club most likely to win the CL and AFC get to make the maximum return on his transfer.

    I DON’T see AFC allowing a £20 million+ asset dwindle to nothing over the course of 12 months (I know AW said he would but I don’t buy it, it’s simply a negotiating position, to me) and I’m not confident they’d break the bank (or their own operating parameters) on someone of his age and with his previous injury record.

    I’d personally wish RvP well, too although I’d prefer to see him stay, obviously.

    But if he has to go then the club will carry on and £20 million+ in AW’s hands is worth at least £40 million+ in the hands of anybody else.

  176. Paulie Walnuts

    If & it`s a huge billboard size IF RVP is on his way, I would like to think the delay in making it public is to allow us to do some deals with clubs who won`t consider us desperate to spend the fee.

    A departure announcement now would stick £5-10M on any replacement IMO.

  177. Paulie Walnuts

    Bloody hell ArsenalAndrew !

  178. Paulie, interesting point…

  179. There you go, Paulie!!

  180. Great post Andrew – a convincingly logical analysis.

  181. @arsenalandrew

    Great post I must say. The only issue that I appear to be having is that most clubs are waiting until after the Euro’s to do transfers thus making the strikers that we want go up anyways the 5-10Million you are speaking of. The only objection to my point would be those players who aren’t participating in the Euro’s but truly who would be available to us outside of a striker like Higuin?

    I also talking to a friend of mine here at work about it who I trust in everything business(if you met the guy you would too trust me!) says that while your point is extremely good points that what if Arsenal has agreed to some sort of contract to were its a situation that gives us a window like say next 2 seasons to win silverware and that if in that time we don’t then Arsene and Arsenal will then pull the trigger on a transfer allowing RVP to leave. That way it is a situation that pleases both side. It allows us to resign him and keep him thus improving our chances to win silverware and RVP to stay at the club and continue becoming a legend but also a fall back for RVP that allows him to chase silverwareif we dont so that everybody gets to save face.

    I don’t know how the contracts exactly work in futbol or even if this is possible but here in the states they are signed actually quite often and announced that way. To where the player goes and if he wins and wants to stay fine but if the club doesn’t, the club will then seek out a transfer to a club of the players liking but doesn’t leave the club out to dry.

  182. Andrew and Paulie – agree with observations. An early decision for RvP to stay would have been used to Arsenal’s advantage to influence Theo and Song and sign other targeted players.

    I do believe Arsenal gave RvP the best offer the club could make (and probable more). Tap….tap….tap.

  183. billturner90

    Arsesession i like this line “I do believe Arsenal gave RvP the best offer the club could make (and probable more). ”

    You imply that we are not going to spend 200k per week on a player. Which is something that the club should be proud of not doing. I think AFC is much more likely to donate money to charity then pay those crazy high wages.

  184. Interesting point C – what makes it unlikely is that I have never once heard of such a deal in football.

  185. Well put Andrew (you too Paulie), it should also be noted that if RVP has a great Euros then his price would also increase. Whereas if he has only a so-so Euros it would not decrease by any significant margin as he is a seasoned player. Unlike the likes of M’Villa who, if they were to have a horrid Euros, could see their selling price dropping drastically. RVP is a WC Finalist, if he became a Euros Finalist also, then surely his price would be more than the $25million being touted? I mean I just read somewhere that Leighton Baines has been valued at $20 million FFS.

  186. Andrew @ 6:39

    Hard to argue with that logic.

  187. C – I think that is what happened with Cesc in some ways. He signed a new contract but then left after only playing one year of it. In fairness he did give it one more year but after the highlight of finally beating Barca at The Emirates, and the dismal run that followed that game, he pushed thru for his move.

  188. billturner90

    Irish- I agree about RVP’s selling price. This guy has been consistently been put in the top 5 players in the world…the only thing that should drag his price down is the injury record. I think 30-35m is a good range. Also I have no idea how to evaluate players so, yeah.

  189. @Jonny

    Yea thats why I wasn’t sure if it is done in futbol but since I have seen it in other sports my coworker peaked my interest with it.

    I keep hearing people say that we wont go outside our pay structure to pay RVP and while they are a different age, didn’t we do it to keep the man that shall not be named. The only other difference outside of age that I see is that we all knew the man that shall not be named wanted to leave, he said it his agent said it everybody in the world said it but RVP seems to generally want to stay, everybody around him wants him to stay.

    I can honestly see both sides, Arsenal not announcing it because he is leaving(say it aint so) and that they have signed him. Another thought could be that they are maybe going to announce RVP, Theo and Song’s at the same time thus the hold up. If he does leave I wont feel betrayed but will fill honored to have watched and cheered for him because you could tell that every match he was giving everything in him and more. If he stays then the PL and Europe is in trouble because they will no longer be able to key on RVP’s movement alone and try and rotate toward Theo because Podolski will absolutely terrorize them and score just as freely. I mean outside of Messi I must admit that RVP and Podolski easily have the best left feet that I have seen in all of Europe and arguably the world.

  190. C – I have as much idea as you (or your friend at work) as to what is happening, it’s pure speculation, of course.

    But I would say, in response to your colleague, that what he’s suggesting is a somewhat complex arrangement which I think would (or could) be undone at least on account of RvP’s age; I’m not sure he’d necessarily walk into a CL-capable side with the ease he’s likely to be able to this summer once he gets beyond 30.

    And from his point of view, signing what would in effect be a two year contract would represent the worst of all possible worlds in that if he got injured during this period he’d be in shit creek.

    I didn’t mention £5-£10 million, btw – I just put a notional (minimum) value of £20m +.

    Again, I think the negotiating positions taken up by the club and RvP would have been established very quietly some months ago as it’s hard to believe they could sensibly have expected to start – and conclude – negotiations during a single day in Totteridge once the season had ended.

    The fact they expected to be able to confirm matters one way or the other in one day is extremely telling, to me.

    My suspicion is that this meeting merely confirmed that RvP wanted £x,000’s salary, £x,000’s signing on (perhaps) and a contract of a certain length. Any one of these could have been negotiated away but if the club and he were far enough apart on all three, and an agreement was not possible, then it would have taken considerably less than a day to conclude a gentleman’s agreement of silence to buy both sides time in which to make their next moves.

    The one thing I think most people will accept is that AW is probably the last person to sanction anything approaching what happened to him – and the club – last summer.

  191. If Rvp refuses to sign that contract then he will be no better than ashley cole/nasri.

    Why is he even taking this amount of time to sign a piece of paper? He has put the contract negotiations off since August of 2011, how long does it take someone to sign a 130,000k contract per week?, this is just bullshit. Next you will hear ‘am so grateful for the chance arsenal have given me and i hope arsenal are able to achieve success without me’. I hope he shoves the player of the year trophy that arsenal helped him win up his arse, if he leaves. But if he stays, i will build a small rvp statue and ‘henry who?’ will be written on it.

    Seriously now, all this talk of wenger buying players to convince rvp to stay is starting to sound like bullshit. Will wenger actually spend silly money to persuade one player to stay at the club? Will wenger allow one player to tell him how to run the club?

    Negotiation chatter

    Rvp: boss you got to buy a list players to persuade me to stay and thats final.

    Wenger: why don’t you give me the money

    Rvp: you know how much i love this club, i don’t want to go, but do we have money to spend ..

    Gazidis: there is always money available for wenger to spend if he so desires.

    *Rvp walks out and leaves for the Euros.

    Wenger: you shithead!

    Gazidis: what did i say? Don’t worry i got this covered boss.

  192. Please can we stop talking about life after rvp. Why are we even discussing possible transfer fees?, o God this so painfull.

  193. @Irishgray

    He wanted to leave before he signed the contract lest we not forget. He was already being drapped and dragged with Barca shit and Arsenal and Arsene were already being dragged through the mudd for not letting him go. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised to see RVP stay and we win something. Now the question becomes say we win the FA cup and finish 2nd in the PL and get to the semi’s of the CL and lose by a goal, and still have injuries; would that be enough to show him that we have what it takes to challenge for CL title? People keep forgetting or are acting like we didn’t make it further than Manshiteh and Manure even though our injury list was quite substantial during the run. I remember at 1 point didn’t Miquel have to play LB or Le Coq for a couple of those group matches.

    I mean by no means am I being blinded by loving Arsenal but reality is that this squad as in place now is very strong and add say an M’villa type and you have the makings of not only a juggernaut offensively but defensively as well with Song/Arteta linking play between the 2 at such a high level.

  194. Has anybody done the math if you make van persi see out his contract take away signing fee take away wage increase calculate I year of world class talent add a small transfer for pre contract deal there is absolutely no value in selling van persi for £20 million and you would send out the wrong message to every contracted player at arsenal

  195. Exactly Font.

    Look here guys, when we lost Viera we had Henry, when we lost Henry we had cesc, when we lost cesc, we now ‘have’ Rvp, hmmm.

    Can we see there is a pattern forming, there was always a world class player that had been a medium to long term arsenal player already on the cusp of greatness or just great(henry).
    I doubt there are many players in rvp’s level that we can afford or any player in our team on his level that can take over his mantle.
    Again everyone should think this through,
    *Viera out – henry carried the team
    *Henry out – cesc in
    *Cesc out – rvp had just scored 18 goals in 22 matches in the 2nd half of the season
    *Rvp out – ?
    One player does not make a team but one player can improve our immediate future.
    You say lets not lose €25M in transfer fees, i say lets not lose €50M in champions league qualification money – that is what we will be putting at risk.

  196. Upper Street Gooner

    ”how long does it take someone to sign a 130,000k contract per week?, this is just bullshit.”

    isn’t that the issue though, that 130k per week is a hugely uncompetitive for his band of player. He is one of the best strikers in the world on anyone’s list. At a guess including players who probably get more after there countries income tax deduction Torres, Rooney, Aguerro, Dezko, Adebayor, Balotelli, Drogba, Anelka, Gomez, Gyan, Etoo, Ibra, Forlan, Messi, Sanchez, Ronaldo, Benzema

    Would you be prepared to be paid considerably less than this many people just in your position when your considered in the top 5-10 players in the world in any position?

    Succesful sides in the majority of sports are made so by a handful of star players and a number of role players who are inspired around a playing style that fits and compliments them and the stars.

    Remembering that RVP is not a life long gooner and will have grown up dreaming of winning european cups probably with other sides would you really blame him for looking at the elite with admiring glances.

    If we lose RVP we must look into our pay structure as we must find a way to keep our key players without mortgaging the house. The club cant continue to rebuild every summer by having to replace talisman its not a away to challenge. We must adapt our ways if we lose rvp and theo

  197. @arsenalandrew

    My apologies 1st mate about teh 5-10 million that was Paulie but it went with what I was saying just wrong person said it. I do agree with you but I wasn’t saying a 2-3 year contract but more of a 4-5 year contract but a 2-3 year window to achieve success. Age is apart of the equation yes but from what I have seen he does take very good care of his body not to mention that unlike most strikers who have 1 physical trait that makes them great but they will eventually lose like the pace of Henry or the emposing stature and strength of Van Basten, his is his movement and his technique.

    I do agree with you about the negotiations but I also think that RVP took into consideration his actual family moving because that is a major part of his decision as well. Yes winning the champions league is every futboler’s dream so I can understand that but we must not also forget about the family aspect which is just as massive.

    Like you said its pure speculation and only 4 people know the truth and what is really going on and 3 of them are keeping silent and the 1 that decided to throw us a shitty bone left us only with more questions.

  198. Andrew:

    The one other possibility is that nothing is done either way and RVP is looking at all of his options. Clearly he would like to stay with us and if we had given him an offer that he felt was adequate he would have signed by now, so the indications are not in our favor. However, my hope is still that his agent is scouting around. My hope is that Arsenal told him they are willing to be in the ballpark of whatever offers he might get up to a certain point. However, no one knows what those offers would be without RVP doing the leg work first. That scenario offers some hope. The bad part is that it will mean the whole thing drags on and on.

    I don’t believe for a second any scenario that he is holding out waiting for significant signings by the club or that he will sign a contract now and then move agree to move on if the club does not look like it will win anything. That makes no sense for either side and would mean an even more drawn out affair. We all know the vagaries of the transfer market. IMO any hold up is about money.

  199. C – I am in full agreement with you. I really think we are close to having an excellent side. the question remains though. Which position needs filling most? DM or AM? Another CD? An out-and-out goalscorer?

    AA says he would like to come back to Arsenal but I personally see Podolski as his direct replacement in the long term, although I think we might see AA come back in January to give cover for Gervinho going to the ANC.

    As for the defensive midfield position, Frimpong was lost for almost te entire season but will be returning after injury, so that should be cover enough for Song in the likes of the league cup and ‘lesser’ games.

    As to attacking midfield, I think this is where it gets really tricky and may indeed be where RVP has an issue. JW will be coming back and I think will very quickly regain his place in the squad, probably see Ramsey dropping out. The big question is Diaby. As frustrated as I have gotten at times with his injury crisis, I must admit to a sense of huge admiration at seeing him trying again and again to come back. But admiration does not win you titles and with a limited squad, every place counts. I think if he cannot regain fitness during the summer he should be released (if possible) only so we can sign someone of the calibre of M’Villa. And before anyone jumps all over me for Diaby bashing, let me go on record and state that i think he is our best midfielder when fit.

  200. On the issue of CB’s I think we are decently covered. Unless Djourou leaves in the summer which he might do, then it would mean we might have to either buy a new CB or bring back Kyle Bartley from Rangers.

  201. IrishG

    The clamour for M’Villa is a bit weird as most Gooners don’t have a clue about him. However, if he is as good as the hype, then he would be a welcome signing. But for me, we still haven’t replaced Cesc/Nasri from last season. We got benayoun on loan and he did really well, but he isn’t coming back and tbh, I think that is the right decision. As long as we do sign a top class AM. But I am repeating myself now like jibber 🙂

    Is anyone following the Gazidis Q&A?

  202. Bartley’s back at the club man. Will be interested to see how he does in pre-season. I don’t think we need necessarly to sign a new CB, but a keeper is essential imo.

  203. The font;

    You posted some top shit today man, props to yo!

  204. @Irishgray

    You make a very interestign point. I personally am not sure of Frimpong as I do imagine that he woudl be loaned out thus leavig Le Coq and thus needing to sign a player like M’villa. I also think that Song will be ok and in lesser matches Le Coq gets the nod who we all consider to be ready for more match time in teh middle of the park.

    I also think that should Diaby be fit there is no doubt in my mind that he is not only our most talented midfielder but the most talented in the PL. The issue is when is he fit. I also think Jack will be back but will be brought along slowly or with some sort of ok 3 matches then sit for 1 type of thing. Now what about the possiblity of RVP dropping into that AM role thus moving Podolski as the out and out striker or having a fluidity between the 2 with Gervinho out on the left. Many times we have all read that Arsene and for that matter everybody views RVP more as a Bergkamp with more goals. I would still think that between Mozart, Jack, Arteta and eventually Ramsey that we have playmakers in that position. The biggest issue for me at this point is DM because if Song does go down(again futbol Gods I will hunt you down you have fucked with Arsenal enough with injuries) we have literally no cover for him that has proven defensive medal there outside of Djourou and that is for the Swiss national team.

    Either way no matter what happens I WON’T hold and crucify RVP unless he draws it completely out into the season thus leaving us fucked.

  205. However it happened, Arsene – and AFC – were effectively wrong-footed last summer.

    The culmination of events left him without the player around whom he built an entire team.

    AW is one of the smartest guys on the planet and smart people don’t let the worst of history revisit them over and over. As it turned out, RvP completed a wonderful season and if there has to be a down side to that, aside from the absence of trophies, it was the accusation frequently and repeatedly leveled at the club that we were too dependent upon one player.

    It’s for this reason I don’t believe AW is bending over backwards to keep Robin. He knows, more than anyone, that he has an immensely powerful squad which is possibly just two or three signings short of pushing on to the next trophy and title winning level.

    Arsene, I’m certain, has not spent the last six months keeping his fingers crossed that Robin re-signs. I’m certain he HOPES he does, of course.

    But the extraordinarily early signing of Podolski is consistent with a guy hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

    AFC will not jettison their business model for one player.

    They won’t break the bank on a 29 year old; he never has done in the past and he’s not about to start now. And he almost certainly won’t buy headline acts as some kind of token of his affection to the great Dutchman in a somewhat short term (given RvP’s age) gesture which makes little sense in the overall scheme of things.

    Arsene WILL have been preparing for all of this and whether Robin stays or goes, he’ll have a plan A and a plan B for dealing with it. If Song and Theo leave he will have Plan C. Maybe not last summer, but definitely this time.

    The Doomers won’t like it one bit because when push comes to shove, the chances of Arsene making crowd-pleasing signings is remote. Most likely two or maybe three players that most of us will not have heard of will be acquired, media eye-brows will be raised and predictions of an almost certain finish outside the top four will be made.

    I hope Robin stays but if he goes, we will have more than enough fire-power to cope; quite simply, the goals will come from a range of players rather than mostly just one.

    I hope he stays because I’d prefer to see the club build on its strengths rather than simply replace them.

    But there will be life after RvP whether its this season he leaves or next season or the two after that.

    Many of us wondered how we’d cope after Ian Wright, after we lost THAT defence, Viera, Dennis, Tel, Bob Pires, little Cesc.

    But we always did.

    And we always will.

    And certainly while we still have as Manager one of the smartest guys on the planet.

  206. All this chat about what will happen if RvP stays or goes is pointless right now. At least wait till he gets injured playing for Holland at the Euros.

  207. C;

    As much as I rate Coquelin as a midfielder, I have really high hopes for him as our DM. I think, for the time being at least, he will be our RB. That might change once Sagna returns, but him playing there and basically being 1st choice, may impact on the position he eventually ends up in.

  208. Dexter – Don’t even joke about that mate!! How can we possibly sell him and make a profit if he gets injured?

  209. What we need to do, is sell him to city, make De Jong part of the tranfer and then instruct Nigle de Thuug to ‘do’ RvP in training at the Euros. Sorted.

  210. ashburton_grove:
    Question about our best players running down their contracts. #GazidisQA [via Twitter]

  211. C – I agree that Frimpong is somewhat untested but he does have great potential. I really like Le Coq also but do not think of him as an enforcer the way Song has to be when dealing with the likes of Stoke or any Sam Allardyce teams. In saying that there is some talk of us appraoching Lucas Biglia, Anderlechts DM. At half the price of M’Villa and with a lot more experience he sounds a good fit.

  212. ashburton_grove:
    Gazidis says that he doesn’t want to sign up players who don’t contribute. #GazidisQA [via Twitter]
    ———–
    Well, that’s Jack and Diaby out the door then.

  213. Irishg

    Frimpong has basically missed a season and a half of his development now man, due to injury. He will definitely need a loan I think. Coquelin has the potential to be excellent, but his last game, in his preferred midfield berth was hardly impressive(yeah, I know, its hardly proof he aint ready! Just saying)

  214. @arsenalandrew

    That was absolutely brillant post there mate to be honest with you. Are you secretly Arsene in disguise??!?!?!?!

    I do agree with you but the 1 thing that we differ on is the fact that signings for me isn’t just for RVP but for actualy squad strengthening. Regardless of RVP staying or going we will need this squad to be strengthened whether it is a backup GK or a steel powered DM they are needed no doubts about that.

    The 1 thing that does and has bothered me about just Arsenal fans in general is they say that we relied on 1 man this season, when in fact if you watch EVERY single match you will know that there were a couple things included in that 1 man reliance:

    1. we did rely on RVP for goals.
    2. We were so overrealiant on the right side or Theo’s side that Theo for me is just as massive as RVP.

    Will there be life whenever RVP decides not to wear the red &white anymore and shoot the cannons, ofcourse all great players leave but the thing for me is that I am and always will believe in loyalty and I think that is the 1 variable that is the actual X-factor in this who thing.

    Do I think Arsene has somebody in place in the signing of Podolski, ofcourse but I also think that Arsene is smart enough to realize that RVP did score a massive amount of our goals and best to start by bringing in somebody who can take that burden off his shoulders.

    At this point I truly believe that an agreement has been made or that they are close enough to an agreement that there maybe some kinks and cracks to smooth over. Like I said Theo and Song are just as massive if not more. If we do lose Song we have NO COVER AT ALL for him.

  215. Arsenalandrew
    Did you see my post at 8:05, yes we have always recovered after losing an influential player but this time is different.
    The competition is so fierce – man city,man utd, chelsea, spuds, newcastle, liverpool. We just cannot afford to lose our talisman and am sure wenger knows this.
    I said earlier that we always had a player on the cusp of greatness to replace a departing star player, can’t we forget money for ones and keep Rvp till his contract ends because ‘realistically’ losing him will just take us back again.
    Arsenal can sell whoever they want to recoup the 20million loss in transfer fees – arshavin,vela,chamakh,bendther, but rvp stays.

  216. Unless the dude from Ash grove is really lazy or fell asleep, there wasnt much to report from the Q&A tonight.

  217. The clamour for M’Vila makes perfect sense as Wenger identified him as a target last summer. Since then I’ve taken time out to look at him on the grounds that Wenger rated him. He looks worthy of Wenger’s attention (no surprise there) but even better he looks like a very decent fit.

    I do however admit that most of the clamour is probably based on less rigorous appraisal but then fans love a name to bandy about pretending they know more than they do and the media is the best place to get them!

    This rumour has proper legs though – we have bid and we are interested we are just baulking at the price.

  218. C and Bill (both at 8.07) – yes, take all your points there.

    C – Again, I’m not confident AW would offer RvP a four or five year contract given his injury record. At, say, 31, is he still likely to attract stellar salary offers? Having said that, as you rightly say, his game is not based on pace but technique and balance – how old was Dennis when he finally retired? (Not sure I see RvP dropping back to AM to accommodate Podolski, btw, but now you ARE at the limits of my understanding of the players!)

    Bill – Yes, it could be that nothing has been agreed. But why the media blackout? Why not just say ‘negotiations are ongoing’? No shame in that, surely?

    The main ‘strength’ of my original post (at 6.39) and Paulie’s identical points (and no, we weren’t conferring!) is it’s relative simplicity. All the other possibilities just seem either, unlikely, from a practical point of view or simply too complex.

    Either way, I think we are in for the most ‘interesting’ summer for many a year …

  219. arsenal andrew

    I think if the club had put out a statment like you suggest, then the media would still be houndong both the club and player about his future. This way, its a clear, ‘fuck off’ till after the euros.

    Not ideal for us, but that’s what we’ve got.

  220. @Dexter

    I think Le Coq has great potential to be a fantastic DM. I also rate him as a CM, he has that great of potential and calm to his game. Very vesatile and must be kept. Probably will start the season as our RB while Sagna continues recovery.

    @Irishgray

    LE Coq for me is similar to a Xabi Alonso or Lucas Lieva of Liverpool, to were they are not the biggest most bruiser type of DM but more elegant, always a strong purposfull tackle, that has the ability to not only break up play but start the attack and most importantly fear nothing. I havent really seen Lucas Biglia outside of Argetina national team and he did excellent their this past weekend ecspecially with covering groud to shut down Antonio Valencia. I’m leaning more towards M’villa because from what I have seen he will be the best DM in the world within the next couple of years(wish we would have signed Pogba). You know how much Arsene loves his French enforcers.

  221. Limestonegunner

    RvP has been admired Arsenal since he was a 11 or 12 at least. Obviously he idolized Bergkamp. Everyone has seen the picture of him at that age in his room wearing an Arsenal shirt. So I think he would incline to staying if he gets a worthy deal money-wise and feels the team can progress to challenge again. But the discount is only going to be so much, I imagine.

    On the other hand, he’s had a real injury-ridden career that might scare off some bidders at the very highest wage levels. After 18 months of great fitness plus an intense summer tournament, I imagine he will have some drop off in form and production next season no matter where he plays. Hopefully it is with us and Holland don’t get out of the group because they play Huntelaar over RvP who remains fresh and injury free! Not likely. That’s why I am glad we have Podolski, though I wish he had been willing to come in January to acclimate to Arsenal and the PL, but clearly he worried over his Euro spot on a team with Gomez, Klose, Reus, Ozil, Muller in the attack.

  222. It’s interesting that the sages who tell us that RvP is due a bigger pay rise fail to explain how it is paid for. No, wait, I get it, we sell the “deadwood” and pay them off. Life’s so simple, why do we bother with Gazidis? He’s clueless, sack the useless bugger.

  223. Limestone;

    yeah, its well known to us Gooners RvP has been an Arsenal fan for years and he does seem to have a real affinity with the club. Its something to hold onto I guess! As are those comments from his mum and mrs. His mum basically saying he would be a very naughty boy if he left Arsenal after they kept faith in him for so long.

    Time will tell.

  224. C – Good point regards Le Coq. He really is a diamond in the rough right now, very easy to see his potential. But personally I would rather see him in a more advanced position alongside Song or whatever DM we end up playing.

    I caught the Argentina game also, was very impressed with Biglia. He has a great pass, his vision and speed of thought reming me of Hleb but as you said he is also willing to track back and defend. In fact, it is what he does best. He is also a very vocal player, always talking to his teammates and directing them as to where they should be/who they should be marking. I hate to admit it is a very rare thing seeing Song do that in an Arsenal shirt.

    Great points from C and Andrew and a few others today. A tip of the hat to you all! And no I am not including USG in that, he gets a big wag of the finger. Which finger it is I shall let you decide 🙂

    Now off to grab some beers with a few buddies, shoot some pool and plan my weekend trip to Montreal for the Grand Prix 🙂

  225. @arsenalandrew

    you make a really interesting point about RVP not dropping back to a AM like position for Podolski. I was thinking of it from this standpoint:
    1. It would be less of a toll on his actual body.
    2. He would then be able to unlock a defense and show his full talent.
    3. Most of his runs and goals from what I remember were late runs into the box or beautifully placed strikes from just outside or just inside the box, perfect for this role.
    4. We are currently watching a couple of 28,29 year old playmakers in their prime i.e. Xavi(32), Ibra(30), Robinho(28), Inesta(28) that are excelling.
    5. We played extremely well in the small sample of matches when he played this role in the 2nd halves of matches.
    6. this would allow us to put out our most lethal attacking front 4 of:
    RVP
    Theo——-Gervinho
    Podolski

    there really wouldn’t be a draw back because at any point you can just take out Gervinho move Podolski left RVP foward and replace them with say a Jack or Mozart or Ox or Arshavin(truly doubt he returns)

  226. jonny

    If McVities is as good as the reports, then he would be a top signing. And as you say, the fact we were in for him gives the rumpurs legs and quite lovely they are too.

  227. YW – Keep it up and we will have to put you in moderation!!

  228. C (@ 8.40) – You make another really good point about Theo; Robin himself has all but said Walcott was a key component of our attack and I personally feel that he is one of the most under-rated, under-valued, under-appreciated and most misunderstood players in the league.

    Even amongst Arsenal fans, to their unending shame.

    I hope I’m not being too complacent here but in Theo’s case I’m hoping it’s ‘just’ a question of salary and they will come to an agreement. I can’t see Theo doing a Cashley, or Arsene allowing that to happen.

    I’m more concerned about Alex Song; his body language after the end of the last game at the Emirates a few weeks ago was puzzling bordering on alarming as he was last back out onto the pitch for the farewell lap of honour and just did not seem connected to what was going on. It was especially noticeable as Robin had his kids with him (and wifey?) and was thoroughly enjoying the moment, as he was entitled to. That was just my pitch side impression, mind.

    Well, we’ll find out soon enough, I guess.

  229. Limestonegunner

    I think I’d rather go for an attacking midfielder. I feel that Jack, Ramsey, and Arteta can play in a deeper two, while Song has backup in Coquelin and maybe Frimpong. But as the creative hub really only Rosicky has proven his ability and that for a half season because of fitness and form. He is also playing in the Euros and while the Czech Republic might not get out of the group, he’s one of our oldest players now with uneven fitness. That’s a big risk. Unless we change formation or habit by playing Arshavin/Podolski/RvP “in the hole” in a 4231 with either flank of the three having to play very solid defensively (Gervinho and Theo, presumably), I see the squad as genuinely short at that attacking, creative midfield position.

    I think Kagawa would have been a decent purchase, perhaps. But he’s going to ManU on a fairly reasonable fee for a two time Bundesliga winning player with a good goals and assists tally.

    The alternative is to get M’Villa and rotate the midfield more frequently, allowing two midfielders to range forward, whether Song, Arteta, Jack, Ramsey, Rosicky–sort of 4123.

    But we would be “killing” Coquelin, would we not?

  230. Regarding RVP’s desire to win trophies. I dredged up this this interview he gave after the most recent world cup in 2010.

    van Persie said: “People criticised us for our playing style. It was not as pretty as it used to be with Holland.
    “But my question is: Getting results and reaching the final or playing the beautiful game and getting knocked out in the first round — which would you choose?
    “Just before France had to pack their bags, Patrick Vieira said to me that you don’t have to play well in the group stages of a World Cup, not even in the second round.
    “Only later do you have to grow as a team and you will reach a high level. That will get you to the final. That is exactly the way we did it. Against Brazil in the second half, we were brilliant.
    “I know how difficult it can be to play wonderful football and not get the result you want.
    “I see it at Arsenal more than I want to. When we play the likes of Bolton and Blackburn we dominate the game, we play attacking football and they score from a lousy throw-in or an odd corner-kick. Then we end up chasing them again.
    “The criticism Holland got in the World Cup I recognise from what we get at Arsenal. It was a final. You don’t give up without a fight, do you?”

    I am sure he is too much of a team player to say it when he is still wearing his Arsenal captains shirt but he is probably just as frustrated as some of us when he looks at our goals conceded column in the table for the last several years.

  231. I don’t know about le coq in midfield, i like seeing him in that rightback position.

    The best fullbacks always have good speed, skill, good crossing ability and tenacity – Alves, Cole, Sagna, Walker, Flamini, Coquelain? (sorry for soiling the blog with some of these names).

    Coq cv @RB – Anyone remember, aston villa fa cup(agbonlahor in pocket), blackburn 7-1 (hoilett in pocket), norwich (paul lambert in pocket), i see a quality full back in the making, if he can manage those hamstrings while playing there.

  232. @Irishgray

    Enjoy the Grand Prix mate!

    Lucas Biglia you maek excellent points. Wouldn’t hear me shed not 1 tear if we get him but woudl prefer M’villa.

    @Yogi

    Anything good from the Q&A as I am not able to hear it and since I’m at work for the government can’t really get to any sports websites(outside of wordpress).

  233. Clerkenwell Gooner

    Transfer tedium will be relieved by Euros starting shortly, and not a minute too soon.

    Specifically, I am looking forward to seeing whether or not defensive paring Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos will actually work, or if they’ll end up trying to clock each other as usual.

    See around 1:40 in this clip, wherein Ramos actively asking Piqué to “step outside”:

    (Side note: Messi’s shins, if not properly atomic, appear to be at least made of titanium. There is no other explanation of how he is able to put up with tackles such as this. Tough little sod.)

    Interesting news too from UEFA regarding its instructions to referees on how to deal with racial abuse of players:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jun/06/euro-2012-referees-racist-abuse

    About fucking time. I really hope SuperMario manages not to lose his shit while he is over there, in the face of what could be extreme provocation.

    Various teams also taking time to visit Auschwitz-Birkenhau, including the Italians, in the company of a number of Italian survivors of the camps:

    Balotelli and his Italy team-mates made solemn visits to the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps on Wednesday, accompanied by Holocaust survivors.

    Italy’s players, their coach Cesare Prandelli and his staff toured the site escorted by three Italian survivors: 81-year-old Samuel Modiano, 84-year-old Hanna Weiss and Piero Terracina. …

    Modiano, who was 13 when he was deported from the island of Rhodes, said: “I hope this serves a purpose for them, and that they’ll return home with a bit more baggage, and that they’ll understand there’s no difference between one person and another. We’re all equal. There are no different races.

  234. @arsenalandrew

    I 100% agree with you about Theo. I love his game and his fight and he is (outside of RVP and Song) my favorite player in the PL and in all of Europe bar none! Earlier this season I was bashed on here for defending Theo after a bad game but was eventually vindicated with his performance time and time again throughout the season. I hope it is just a matter of a contract in place a couple couple cracks and that come the end of Euro’s he will sign.

    I also agree with you about Song but I’m worried about him last on the pitch but also am personally not putting as much stock in at as he was probably exhausted from the amount of matches and level that he had to play at this season. I’m more concerned that he seems to want to stay but what does he want. Does he deserve a pay raise, ABSOLUTELY. Does he deserve a better contract, ABSOLUTELY. Is he waiting to see what Theo and RVP do, nobody knows and that is the great mystery. I hope with all 3 of them it is just small cracks and kinks that are getting worked out!

  235. billturner90

    “there’s no difference between one person and another. We’re all equal. There are no different races.”

    Balotelli? understanding an idea of that magnitude? LOL that won’t happen. The punk said he was going to murder someone…

  236. C (9.02) – thanks for explaining the point.

    It’s a very seductive point (well, 6 numbered points!).

    Again, I’m not really profoundly disagreeing with what you say (and I can ‘see’ the scenario you describe) – EXCEPT that Arsene has a long medical history of allergic reaction to giving big contracts to players once they get beyond 30. And I fear this is the big sticking point in the current stand-off/impasse with Robin.

    Would LOVE to be 100% wrong in all of this; if Theo is one of the most maligned players then Robin is without doubt one of the most thrillingly exciting players I’ve ever seen – and without meaning to name drop (cue the name-dropping) I was lucky enough to see Ian Wright, Dennis and Tel many times gracing stadiums all over the country whilst in their prime.

    To lose Robin would be a HUGE disappointment …

  237. Limestonegunner

    Since the Emirates move, we recovered after losing Henry in 2007-08 and challenged for the league until a late season collapse. We’ve recovered after losing Hleb/Silva/Flamini and Rosicky/Eduardo to injury in 2008-09. We recovered after losing Adebayor/Toure and then RvP for most of the season to the ankle injury in 2009-10. We managed to challenge 2010-11 until collapsing in February/March, perhaps because we didn’t lose any important players that summer. We recovered after losing Fabregas/Nasri/Clichy in 2011-12.

    But we haven’t progressed to being challengers in the league during seasons right after losing important players. Nor have we defeated a major team since 2007-08 in the knockout stages of the CL. The only time we did challenge after losing a big player was 2007-08 after Henry left, but you’d have to say that Henry wasn’t at his best the season before, while Adebayor and RvP were coming into their own.

    It’s alright to lose players if there is a younger, very talented player(s) right behind them who already has/have shown at the top level the ability to produce consistently. That hasn’t been the case recently when we have lost players who departed and we always seem blighted by injuries, so we do need to think of having a deep squad rather than a first 11 and two or three players who push for places.

    If our objective is to progress and build on last season’s heroic recovery, I think keeping RvP is fairly crucial. The competition is stiffer with ManCity joining Chelsea in pouring insane money into their squads; Liverpool trying hard to regain CL football; ManU staying at the top under Ferguson; and teams like Newcastle and Spuds have managed to outperform their wage levels. That’s seven teams really competing for four spots–and as usual I think we can manage to stay in the top four with AW at the helm. However, challenging for the title meaningfully is another matter; it is requires more than recovering–it requires development and strengthening of the team.

  238. @Bill

    You know what I find interesting about those comments is that if you watch some of our matches this year, we have won and lost in both ways. Take for instance the Manshiteh match we won 1-0 on Arteta’s strike, it was an ugly win that was full of hard work and desire but then you look at our loss to Fulham over the winter break were we dominated possession playing beatiful 1-2 touch futbol but lost. I think this squad with the help of Theo, Song and RVP are becoming able to win both beautifully and through desire. A big part of that was Mert, Arteta, and Santos playing that way at other clubs. We are now becoming a club I personally think that can play beautiful futbol or if is needed physical futbol. Another match, the Newcastle Krull time wasting match, yea we played sombe beautiful futbol but most of that match (the parts were Krull wasn’t time holding the ball like it was his life) was filled with tough tackles, desire and pure heart.

  239. Limestonegunner

    Everyone is obsessed with the RvP unfolding saga. But I am wondering why Song and Theo didn’t re-sign earlier either and especially hope that we can have some good news on Song in the next few weeks. He isn’t at the Euros and certainly his agent can be hammering something out with the club now. I believe he only has a year left on his deal too. He will command a big pay rise, I imagine with his assist numbers this season. Perhaps the M’Villa talk is there to cover for this situation, though I’d prefer to add a player rather than lose Song’s quality. He is entering the prime of his career after developing in our first team since he was 19/20 yrs. old.

  240. Irishgray | June 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm – top post

    Re RVP – it’s perfectly possible that the club have made him an offer, which he would be happy to accept, if he decides to stay. But since it would be his last big contract, he has asked for time to consider whether he should just sign up with the club he loves or after 8 years try something new?

  241. @arsenalandrew

    I completely agree with you and your points. The one exception to Arsene’s contract over 30 just happens to be the last Dutchman and who RVP is compare to in our own Bergkamp. He was 36 or 37 when he retired in 2006. I got to watch Bergkamp play and I see so much of RVP in him its crazy.

    I hope you are wrong my friend and RVP stays and we build and win trophies next season when he is 29 and then the following season when he is 30 and the 1 after that when he is 31.

    You said it best though: To lose Robin would be a HUGE disappointment

  242. pedantic george

    @Khalifha.
    It pains me to say this but………………..good posts today.

    Yogi,the boring bastard has sneaked in the back door!
    You know it ,I know it .Jeez ,even a dimwit like Dexter has worked it out,I am with Jonny.He was binned for good reason.Oh yeah,and he is a horrible boring cunt.

  243. Limestonegunner | June 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I believe Song’s deal is not up until 2014 and there was talk in the papers towards the end of last season that talks had begun on an improved deal. Obviously there is no way of knowing how much truth there is in that, but I certainly hope so.

  244. C:

    I don’t want to start another go round about defense today, but we have intermittant games like that every season but in the end our goals conceded number has gone up year after year. Must be very frustrating for someone like RVP to work his butt off up front only to see us concede 20 more then the title winners and our goals conceded differential between us and the top teams slowly increasing year after year. I know I am a glass half empty sort but we did finish a fading 19 points out of this season. I believe we will be closer next season but it will take everything going exactly as we hope with injuries and all the dominos somehow falling into place exactly in alignment for us and some pretty heavy bad luck or bad karma hitting the Manc clubs for us to mount a real challenge with the current squad. Not to mention where Chelsea will be next season with their additions. We love our players but the squad needs some upgrades, more then just bringing back Jack.

  245. C – I hope I’m wrong, too! (Luckily I often am).

    I think Dennis ended his career following several one year extensions; I’m not sure at what age he signed his last big contract (for several years in length) with us. Doesn’t especially negate what you say and I can remember Arsene saying Robin would one day be a player like DB.

    Obviously, stretching the bounds of credibility with THAT one, Arsene!

    ***

    Am just watching Nick Hornby’s classic Fever Pitch – at my girlfriend’s request, no less! A pure joy, from start to finish (the film, I mean).

    I’m sure everyone reading this will have seen it many times, but just in case … gives a fantastic and timeless insight on what it means to be a supporter of the world’s greatest football club.

    Night all.

  246. If he expects a ref to stop a big match because of racist chants he is dumber than I thought.

  247. pedantic george

    What Robin wants beyond his wages and length of contract should not be of any consequence to the board.
    I would but the best offer to him and say “sign here our find a club abroad to buy you” Shut the door on your way out.

  248. @Bill

    I think you missed my point. It was just simply that before in games were it was about heart and desire more often than not we would lose as to where this season many more times we were winning those matches. I mean we had a run of matches after the 8-2 Manure match that we were winning 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 to were our defense was extremely solid but were played ugly and still got the win.
    I completely agree with you, as I have mentioned I hope we buy a DM as that is what is needed not to mention Mert coming back strong if not stronger than he was before as him and Kos were brillant together. But I dont agree with you that we can’t challenge the Manc’s for the title unless everything falls into place as we showed that we can play with anybody even with our massive injury list. The thing is that we have to add players without the subtractions.

  249. “Arsene has a long medical history of allergic reaction to giving big contracts to players once they get beyond 30.”

    I think that is being a little harsh on Arsene. Henry got a big contract in his late 20’s that would have taken him into his 30’s. The over 30’s policy was also instituted at a time when we were having to cut our cloth because of the stadium move. Cashing in on a well paid 30 year old in favour of an up and comer made perfect sense then. Now things are different – Arteta and Rosicky prove that point. RVP probably has many years in him as he has played sparingly due to injuries. He also has the technical ability to move back into the Bergkamp role as the years roll on.

  250. man…we got an americanized version of fever pitch featuring the boston red sox and jimmy fallon. I will have to watch the real version ASAP

  251. @PG

    I’m sure they will do the same with Arshavin. “Play better or find a club that will buy you” and shut the door on the way out.

  252. George

    They must at least put a time limit on it. “If you don’t sign by pre-season, bye. bye”

  253. “I’m more concerned about Alex Song; his body language after the end of the last game at the Emirates a few weeks ago was puzzling bordering on alarming as he was last back out onto the pitch for the farewell lap of honour and just did not seem connected to what was going on.”

    The reason for this was so obvious, I’m really surprised you didn’t see it. He was really p*ssed off with himself for giving away the ball for the Norwich equalizer so soon after making the pass for RVP’s second goal. I noticed it immediately after they equalized and I would not be surprised if some harsh words were exchanged just before the players came out for the lap of appreciation. I would have been more concerned if he came out happy and smiling after that.

  254. No, no, it should go like this PG ‘If you think walking out on us make you ambitious then paying your salary while being constantly injured makes us what?, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, break a leg’.

  255. “Life’s so simple, why do we bother with Gazidis? He’s clueless, sack the useless bugger.”

    I would laugh if only it were not true in the eyes of many Yogi!

  256. @Khalifha

    You say that but you dont really mean it. I’m not sure what will happen but damnit he better sign with us.

  257. Aarrggh, who am i kidding, i hate the fact Rvp is making us go through this shit but i still want him to stay regardless, i got mad love for him. Anyone remember that goal against charlton or blackburn in his first season.

  258. C:

    I guess I did miss the point of your post and I completely agree with your last sentence. When we play well we can compete with any team and that has been true for 7 years. Try as we might we have never mastered consistency especially on the defensive side of the pitch. We have showed flashes every season this one included but the reality is over the course of the season we were further behind the Manc clubs then any season in the last 7. A big part of that difference was we started poorly and they both started the season on fire. However, despite the fact that both Manc clubs had tepid stretches during the season we still lost ground even if you completely ignore the point difference after the bad start. Unfortunately thats the reality of the money difference between the clubs I think. Luck could finally fall our way next season but the best thing for us to do is make ourselves as strong as possible so we can take advantage if those clubs slip up. We really need to keep the players we have and add to that.

  259. @Bill

    I agree with you on competing and I truly do believe that with RVP leading this group with the addition of Podolski and a DM like M’villa or Biglia with the returning health of Mert(who oddly enough is 1st choice for Germany after missing half the season), Jack, Arteta and hopfully Diaby we can win trophies next season.

  260. C:

    Love your optimism and damn well hope you are right.

  261. @Bill

    Yea so do I, FFS so do I!

  262. Bill.
    It would be nice if you left ‘in the last 7 years’ out of your post. That comment makes me cringe.

  263. The media and fans of other clubs already do a good job of reminding us of ‘the last 7 years’ … In every fuckin article.

  264. Khalifha:

    OK

    The point of all of that is we have a big mountain to climb. All I want to see is for us to do everything we possibly can to keep the players we have and to spend every possible shilling we have to upgrade the squad. Its certainly a matter of constant debate if that has been happening or not, especially in the last few years. If that means we break our wage ladder to keep RVP then so be it. Avoiding making a change just because it offends our principles is a mistake IMO. If we can’t afford to pay 1 – 2 superstar players close to market rate then we stuck forever in the same pattern we have seen.

  265. pedantic george

    For the record I want RVP to stay.
    It just irks me ,all this “Arsenal needs to match his ambitions” shit.
    People are always saying that Players are employees not fans.Well after 8 years he fucking well should be a fan.

  266. Lastmin goals coming from behind to win 10 times mind the gap almost a miracle Milan theo second half against the spuds hanging on at anfield 5-2 at the bridge arteta man city the arsenal fans old Trafford the ox we might not have won anything but what an exciting season

  267. pedantic george

    Bill .
    You sound like Jibber” All I want to see is for us to do everything we possibly can to keep the players we have and to spend every possible shilling we have to upgrade the squad”
    And you know what I think of him.

  268. pedantic george

    The font | June 6, 2012 at 11:01 pm
    we might not have won anything but what an exciting season

    Now that is what a fan should be like.Well said that man.

  269. The Arse in the Gamb

    Footballers are in danger of choking on what they cannot possibly devour, like dogs they eat until they are sick and don’t know when to finish at the bowl.

    UEFA are nothing but vultures, they only feed on the efforts of other’s.

    How can you not make a profit from owning a football club? It has become like expensive jewelry, to hang around your neck when you have too much.

  270. Limestonegunner

    Passenal, that’s good news about Song if it is the case. I had read somewhere that he had a year left, but hopefully it is 2014. Thanks!

  271. Clerkenwell Gooner

    What would you advise then, Mr Turner, if SuperMario is targeted by racists? Turn the other cheek?

  272. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2155604/Ivan-Gazidis-proceed-plan-restructure-Arsenal-wage-help-Arsene-Wenger-transfer-market.html

    Well, as interesting as this article is, it really was inevitable. However, in saying that, could this so-called restructure be the reason RVP, Theo and Song are holding off on signing new contracts? Considering the paucity of actual info we are getting from the club, it seems the only reason that actually makes sense. Although I agree that the club should not conduct its business in the public eye, it is very frustrating not knowing.

    Apparently Arteta is renegotiating his own contract but I think that was always going to happen, as he did take a pay cut to join us and I am convinced he had some kind of performance-related clause to begin with. And to be honest, his performance does deserve to at least have him earning what he was prior to joining The Arsenal, probably more.

    Also interesting to hear Ivan’s take on the matter of the board and the Uzbeki who just won’t take no for an answer. I think it is obvious he is referring to Dein’s departure when he talks about the board now being unified and not wanting to create any further conflict. I tend to agree with him on that but as to what that unity will deliver is anyone’s guess. Hopefully a trophy or three 🙂

  273. Just taking this one quote from Ivan Gazidis: “‘But we have looked at this carefully and we have to make adjustments for top talent. They are earning a lot of money and I don’t think that will slow down. We have to adjust our model.”

    Couple that with the club’s announcement about having a meeting with RVP : “‘Robin sat down with us at the end of the season and we had a good discussion,’ Gazidis told Arsenal’s website. ‘What we agreed at that meeting was that we would keep all the discussions we had over the summer to ourselves and make announcements when it is the right time. We have to respect the fact we have agreed to keep that among ourselves. Robin is clearly focused on the Euros at the moment and we wish him well, and at the right time we will make the right announcements.’

    I know I am reading between the lines (or grasping at straws) but it does put a different spin on what is exactly going on behind the scenes at The Arsenal. Maybe. Kinda. I’m going to bed!!!!!

  274. Good morning

  275. Reading between lines (my speciality, courtesy of a certain one horned goat, long story), and taking cue from someone’s clever post, RvP and Arsenal have discussed terms for a one-year extension, and have some wage matters to iron out as the Arsenal’s wage structure is under pressure and there is some budget work. A gentleman’s agreement has been reached in which RvP may leave or stay on fairly relaxed terms next summer, but not this, and the one year extension takes care of purchase fees as he is contracted. There you are. Now relax everyone.

  276. Birdkamp has spoken for today’s post. Guaranteed to be a laugh fest judging by the opening comment. Usual place.

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