Category Archives: Transfer Gossip

Desperation, Hope And Preying On Your Fears: The Usual Transfer Merry-Go-Round

Awesome! That’s the only way to describe my feelings that Steven N’Zonzi has handed in a transfer request at Blackburn Rovers. Hmmm. Sarcasm doesn’t always shine through in the first instance. There was much to admire in Steve Kean’s stoicism in the face of the hellfire and damnation which crossed his path last season; plenty not to admire about his managerial skills though.

He did cut through the b*lls*t that surrounds footballers when he noted that N’Zonzi “might see our signings and withdraw his request“, which is supporter-speak rather than the words you want to hear from a manager. The bullishness of leaving a player at home whilst the rest go on tour is undermined by the desperate hope of the silent, “PLEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSE” that is missing from Kean’s statement.

There is a resonance in that scenario with Robin van Persie’s situation. Not the desperation of the manager but in the tour party aspect. I am surprised that he was not one of those flagged up as going to Nigeria as Ambassadors of Arsenal Football Club; surely that is part of the captain’s duties? Is it a signal that the club has given up hope of retaining his services or are they put off by Emirates policy of charging them £250 for changing the name of the ticket? This needs a statement from Ivan.

By the same token, I am not surprised. About the Nigeria bit although I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if that was Emirates policy; airlines are not known for their generous nature. Actually, there’s a point. Where is the Arsenal decalled ‘plane? If the nouveau riche of Shepherd’s Bush have one, why don’t Arsenal? Yes, I know its tacky but, oh…

Back to van Persie. He might not be at the club in a week’s time is a good reason for him not going. Apparently the squad for the Far East junket was being finalised last night. No sign of an announcement on the official site; is the club stopping the transfer juggernaut in its tracks by not making it public knowledge last night, preventing the dailies from running away with a story? Or is it simply that he is going to Asia, a non-story?

It will apparently be Arsène’s decision if van Persie travels to the Far East this weekend so the Dutchman had better be packing his suitcases; the manager has form in taking the disaffected on the pre-season travels. He will be hoping to work his magic on Theo Walcott as well as having five minutes with his captain without the hypnotic slitherings of Kees Vos in the player’s ear. “Trust in me, you will seeeeeeeee…

Fresh from scaring the living bejesus out of Nelson Mandela – “Is that nose alive on its own?” – Sir Alex Ferguson has apparently made comments about signing the Dutchman this summer. Possibly although there is a chance that these are a complete fabrication to annoy Mancini whilst also a PR stunt to appease his own critics as United have resolve the deficiencies in their own squad. It is similar to the type of comment he made about Patrick Vieira and we all remember his long and illustrious career at Old Trafford.

The Italians – who are apparently the source of all this gossip – are highly excited and confused over the whole van Persie affair. The Roman-based press does not want to see Juventus strengthened and nor do their Milanese counterparts whilst the Turin reporters are wondering if The Old Lady hitched her skirt too soon, trying to save the club’s face with a heady mix of contrary stances. Jovetic was yesterday, a better fit financially for Arsenal. This morning he is still heading to Turin. Who can keep up with it all? Confused, you will be.

’til Tomorrow.

Adios, RvP Talks & Love For The Club Never Dies

This is the BBC from London. A great Arsenal career has ended, the king is dead. Long live the king.

So Carlos Vela has left Arsenal. Did he ever really arrive? The flicks, shuffles and shimmies that offered a glimpse of a bright future have faded as he became something of a forgotten man – aside from when the party invites were handed out – and found a life more suited in Spain. Real Sociedad have announced his signature, Arsenal that he is in final talks. So long and thanks for the chips. His replacement might be M’baye Niang for whom Arsenal have agreed a fee with Caen. It largely depends on whether the lad’s head is turned by money on offer from Manchester City or the relatively real prospect of appearing in first team action at Arsenal.

It is a morning of interesting contrasts, nu skool and old school footballing love. The media is obsessing on whether Robin van Persie is going to have a meeting at Arsenal over the next few days or not; on whether Arsenal has booked a seat for him on the flight to Asia at the weekend or not – have they even applied for a visa; on how Arsène will deal with the topic when he faces the press for the first time and the subject comes up. My money would go on, “He is an Arsenal player, captain of the club and I know nothing else other than what I don’t read in the newspapers“. All this from a player who loves Arsenal Football Club. That’s the love of today, the sort that gets under your skin but never into your heart.

Although a reported £130k per week will obviously make the situation more attractive but is it enough? Do you know, I don’t care. Whatever the outcome, Arsenal have to look after their own interests and support the manager’s view. He probably still believes that he can change the Dutchman’s mind if he wants to leave. The club should support that and forgo the financial losses (or opportunity cost). If Arsène believes that van Persie can provide a season of 40 goals once more, let the manager keep him as that player and try his damnedest to coax an even better season out of him than last.

It is an easy observation to make from the sidelines but in this time of money, there is a danger that the sporting aspect gets overlooked in any decision-making process. What is best for the football club? Whether you like it or not, that decision has to rest in its final sense witth the manager. He is the one who has to manage the squad, the inter-relationships within that group; he will know if the Dutchman is a destabilising force.

And yes, turning down £15m or whatever the club might have received is a difficult decision. It is not easy but a line has to be drawn with the money men. They cannot be allowed to consume every single policy at the club. I am sure that some of the hierarchy feel betrayed, are dismayed by the statement on his hastily reconstructed revisionist website. Those same people bemoan the old school love of the player who came from the terraces.

If they want to know where that love has gone, look no further than the Reserve Team Manager, Terry Burton,

It was difficult to leave Sheffield Wednesday because we had a very successful end to last season. We got promotion, winning 10 and drawing two of the 12 games we were involved in and it is a big club in terms of where it could go.

That’s what he gave up. Why?

But the fact it was Arsenal was the pull. I supported Arsenal as an 11-year-old, and stood on the North Bank and occasionally went to the Clock End. I came to the Club as a 12-year-old, when Billy Wright was manager, so there is an association there that goes back a long way…It remains a fantastic club and I have always felt that. It is great to be back.

There you go. A bit Jumpers for Goalposts but that is what is sometimes missing from today’s football. Wearing a replica shirt is easy, anyone can do that. Having a club get into your heart is an altogether different matter. Yes, today’s players tell us of their love for a club – any club – and it seems that now it is as easily transferrable as themselves. A lack of sincerity.

Burton‘s advice to youngsters and reminscing of the Billy Wright era dovetails nicely with Vela at the beginning of today’s post and also of the post at Arsenal On This Day. Talent opens the doors, hard work is the wedge that keeps them ajar, application of both propels you through.

’til Tomorrow.

Contract Management – Time For Arsenal To Take Control

As Arsenal do battle with everyone over M’Baye Niang and Foday Nabay, they will apparently face a return to the Good Old Days over Theo Walcott. With Newcastle intent on re-signing Andy Carroll at roughly half of what they sold him for, Liverpool are looking to trade on Walcott’s love for the club as a child by offering a massive £15m for the player’s services. If newspaper speak was ever to be believed, Arsenal’s two most productive attacking players would be leaving the club for a combined total of the true worth of one of them. Sack the Board.

Except life is never that simple and whilst I do not disagree with the notion of fresher minds in the boardroom, the situation is not entirely of their making. Robin van Persie’s contract discussions – or lack of them – is the cud which has been chewed time and again in the Arsenal meadow. Theo Walcott’s advisors broke off negotiations last autumn with the club, deciding that they wanted to reconvene at the end of the season. No progress on either has been announced and this is something that surely must be addressed this week. Has anyone found a Theo Walcott Official Website which has sprung up in the last few weeks?

Did I say ‘not entirely’? Indeed but they were significant contributors to the ludicrous situation where complacency  allowed contracts to get to this stage. Were no lessons learned last summer? Why were negotiations with Walcott’s representatives delayed until late on? Surely with Nasri and Cesc’s departures known about some time before they happened – or the possibilities of those eventualities – someone had to take responsibility for the players whose deals were entering what is the contract ‘red zone’; the dangerous time when the last two years of a deal commence.

Before anyone starts, I don’t want David Dein back. But I do want someone to take responsibility for contract negotiations, to take a good look at the squad and say, “Yes, well done Laurent, here’s a new deal”, as well as picking up the phone to players such as Alex Song who are entering the final two years of their contracts. I don’t care whether or not it is Bob Hoskins but someone at the club needs to realise that it’s good to talk.

The world is not black and white though. This morning’s story in The Sun has the hands of agents all over it; the convenience of a lifelong Liverpool fan being subject of a bid from that club is too convenient in its timing. And whilst the club is culpable in letting the contract get this far down the road to a certain extent, they cannot dictate to the player (or his representatives) about negotiations if said individual(s) do not want to talk. A one-sided contract negotiation never works in the modern game.

So what of Walcott. For what it’s worth, my own view is that this is tactical. They know that the club cannot afford to lose two of its star players in one summer again; that is tantamount to be open season. Not so much the much-loved (by me) Bugs and Daffy routine of “Duck season, rabbit season” as “Who cares, just shoot” at the board. For Walcott, it is a prime opportunity for him to negotiate a deal that reflects more in his pay packet than his talent is ordinarily going to attain at this stage of his career. A chance to add an extra £5k – £10k per week into a deal. Team Walcott know the awkwardness of the club’s position with van Persie and it would be remiss of them not to capitalise on that for their client.

It is a double-edged sword. Handled badly, even staying can be a difficult time. Walcott has enough misplaced criticism as it is so any under-performance, real or perceived, could lead to that negativity increasing. However, this is a prime opportunity for Walcott to take his career to a higher level. He has been productive in the past two seasons, a healthy mix of assists and goals.

If he maintains the former and adds consistency to his finishing, I would expect him to be considered more for the central striking role that he has always coveted publicly. He has the pace, a calmer nerve allied to more accuracy in front of goal and it would be hard to see how he cannot achieve his aim.

The other issue is whether Walcott wants to stay. Aside from the boyhood draw, it is hard to see any reason other than financial for him to go to Anfield. Liverpool have consistently finished below Arsenal since 1991 and there is little reason to believe that will change this season. Arsenal cannot be complacent and in fairness to the manager, his signings this summer strengthen the squad. Another midfielder and I think the squad is good to go.

The problem is this just another thing for Arsenal to contend with, another negative scenario. A brick bat with which to beat them. Someone, somewhere must surely be taking notice of these things and trying to manage the agendas. Surely?

’til Tomorrow.


Arsenal Bear Their Teeth & Transfer Gossip

Arsenal didn’t need their absent captain to win a trophy, the Fox’s Glacier Mint Cup is soon to be nestling in the trophy cabinet. As for Robin van Persie, he was allegedly seen house-hunting in Hale although curiously enough there were no photos taken of said house-hunt and I understand he was also seen at The Bamboo House in Crouch End, collecting his Egg Foo Yung before he jetted off on holiday. Quite why either story has taken so long to surface is beyond me.

Reports from the Markus Liebherr Memorial Trophy are a time for the football writers to get back to their high standards, training for them also. Rik Sharma’s rustiness was underlined in this morning’s Heil on Sunday by claiming that, “Slack defensive play saw De Sutter in early to convert what he believed to be his second goal of the day, but he was offside.” So it wasn’t slack defensive play but an offside trap? Steve Bould has much to answer for already, confusing journalists with this new-fangled defence thingy.

Highlight of the day was not the contrived penalty shootout after the 1-1 draw with Southampton but the equaliser from Gervinho, not quite a Kanu Believe It moment but a great goal nonetheless.

That was after Henri Lansbury had marked his return to the club with the winner over Anderlecht

Match reports for Anderlecht and Southampton can be found here and here on the official site.

Elsewhere, all of the first team squad report for training on Monday morning, those who were at Euro2012 have had their holidays and now begin to integrate new signings into the fold ahead of the departure for Asia next weekend. That will be the first that we get to see Podolski and Giroud in action for the club; it is perhaps too much to hope that a new player will be on board by the time the plane leaves.

It’s a time of back-to-back meetings for Arsène, with van Persie reportedly meeting the club this weekend, fending off a £15m bid from Manchester City, Theo Walcott’s contract to be sorted and negotiating the sales of those no longer wanted whilst persuading Ganso to come to The Emirates as well as Yann M’vila and Ibrahim Affellay. Just what the club needs, another wide player. And Matt Law’s move to the Mirror has already led to complacency, erasing the creditable point gained at St James Park last summer from memory with Liverpool now the first home game of 2011-12 season.

No doubt the club will be itching to use the £2.50 received from Manchester City from the sale of Emmanuel Adebayor. City we are frequently told needed to get Adebayor off the books in order to be FFP compliant; they didn’t. All players whose contracts were signed in June 2010 or before, are excluded from the calculations of profitability at the this moment in time. There was a genuine financial reason in terms of saving money but for FFP? No, siree. Another loophole being exploited.

Football Governance is under scrutiny as never before but with loopholes through which a coach and horses can be driven, there is a genuine doubt about whether anything more than lip-service is being paid to such matters. The latest rumour is of Adebayor’s wages being paid by City in part; I think that unlikely, more an interpretation of the extraordinarily low transfer fee being paid. Any residual contract payment has to be made in accordance with the terms agreed by the player; continuance of the salary differential likely to be part of the pay-off to appease the player not subsidise Tottenham.

As it is, Adebayor (and Bendtner for that matter) exemplified the problems with the loan system for differing but similar reasons. City have stockpiled talent in pursuit of glory; loaning players a way of recouping costs. Arsenal had promising talent that never developed at a particular point in time; loaning players a way of recouping costs. Neither player could participate in a match against their parent club. Both players had their wages paid in part by that parent club.

Where to begin?!! For starters, the clubs who loan the players cannot be allowed to pay part of the wages; all or nothing, I am afraid. Spurs qualified for Europe next season in part because of City’s subsidy. That is not right; clubs who want to borrow players have to be able to afford them. Players if they want to play, have to take a pay cut. Equally, the rule of not playing against a parent club is ludicrous. It challenges the integrity of the individual; it challenges the integrity of both clubs. Condemned before there is even a chance to prove their worth. Most loan players are on the transfer list nowadays; long gone is the lower division training ground for youth. Now the loan is a shop window and I suspect that a player is going to try harder rather than take it easy against his parent club; the manager has deemed him surplus to requirements and points need to be proven. Ego is a powerful motivator.

’til Tomorrow.

Football Returns & Ticketing: Grounds For Hope Or Smoke And Mirrors?

Whisper it quietly, football is back. Days of pontificating are coming to a close, even if it is a hotchpotch Arsenal squad that will be on show at St Mary’s. Southampton and Anderlecht provide the opposition for 45 minutes each. Rangers have bigger problems to worry about than having to drop out of a pre-season tournament.

The folly of Rangers is another example of how football clubs fail as businesses, when millionaires turn out to be peddling Fool’s Gold. Obviously it is more complex than that and an outstanding read can be found here: Rangers Tax Case. If you have time, start from the beginning; the actions of Rangers (and by that I mean the business management) are stupefying yet given it is the shark-infested waters of football, not at all surprising.

Arsenal have announced the restructuring of ticket prices for the forthcoming season. Introducing Category C for ticket pricing is a welcome improvement for the coming campaign, making the cheapest ticket prices at The Emirates £25.50, a 27% reduction on last season from £35. What is given with one hand is also taken back, with Category A matches on average 23% higher, a similar increase in real terms to the reduction given with Category C. The remaining games – Category B – will be around 2% dearer.

Those are headline figures and whether there is any true benefit depends on the games you choose to attend / how often. The likelihood is that it will mean little difference as I suspect the club will probably manage to find as many Cat C games as their A equivalents. Thus far, the club has only announced the categorisation of matches until the end of 2012; are they waiting to see demand in those matches or more cynically, how matters fare on the pitch?

However, in the current economic climate, the restructuring should be welcomed as a positive step by the club to ensure that the ticketing structure is inclusive. The real headline figures from the media are the price of the top seats for Cat A matches; hardly surprising and underlining just how much negative news dominates life. It is unrealistic at this moment to expect price cuts; is that on the agenda when the new commercial promised land is reached? I doubt it.

The AISA / AST joint statement noted,

Lower prices for many Premier League home games is something that AISA and AST have been calling for. Today’s announcement is an important step forward in enabling many supporters who have previously been unable to afford tickets to attend matches at The Emirates Stadium. We welcome this development and urge the club to continue to improve and develop its ticketing arrangements, building further on ideas that supporters have submitted.

It is on issues such as this that the purpose of supporters organisations come to the fore; AISA / AST lobbying was fundamental in the club conducting a ticketing review. It is a small step along that path but to expect all suggestions / issues to be resolved immediately is unrealistic. The AISA campaign on this subject would like the club to go further and there is much work still to be done.

Fundamentally, football ticket prices are expensive in the Premier League. When you look at the price inflation since the 1980s, it has outstripped RPI as if propelled by nitro. The complaint about the expense in attending matches is nothing new; people bemoaned paying £3 for tickets decades ago. It seems such a trivial amount now.

Improved commercial deals in coming years ought to allow the club some leeway in making price reductions but there is little chance of this. It is a vicious circle of football’s making; top players are able to command grossly exaggerated salaries and clubs still charge each other ludicrous transfer fees. To improve the situation is difficult; salary caps for players are unenforceable whilst transfer fees are the lifeline for many clubs.

Regulation would not make much difference since there are too many vested interests in constructing the rules, as Uefa’s FFP proves. And such changes cannot be made unilaterally by clubs or domestic leagues; football is a global sport and when it comes to competition, Arsenal’s rivals are as much based in the Premier League as they are in continental Europe, in time beyond those borders. Competition means that unless there is a groundswell of change, the iniquitous advantage gained through financial chicanery will remain.

All that we can hope for is a collective outbreak of sanity where owners realise the moral bankruptcy of the sport. I am not holding my breath for an end to the decaying commercialisation of the beautiful game – in the worst economic climate that most of the planet can remember, football is making more money than ever. The social conscience of the game has not so much hoisted the white flag as hammered in the nails to its own coffin. Dying, no? Too ashamed to show its face.

Elsewhere, Arsenal are hoping RvP is doing a Rooney – the impact of the Dutch failure at Euro2012 presumably taking its toll on his hairline – whilst Benik Afobe is lining up a loan spell at Birmingham City.

’til Tomorrow.

Grimandi On Transfer Policy Rethink & Away Kit Launch

The twenty-five man squad rules are being stretched to the limit at the moment. We may have to face facts and admit defeat in keeping Robin van Persie since the club will have to sell him if the current crop of transfer rumours are true. A topic which is covered in this month’s FourFourTwo with the thoughts of those involved – anonymity assured – but it makes interesting reading about the machinations if you get a chance to peek at it.

On which subject, Gilles Grimandi underlined that the lessons of last summer’s end-of-window haste have been learned. Whilst the headlines talk of the club’s attempts to persuade Robin van Persie to stay, Grimandi noted that Olivier Giroud was part of the end game,

Was the recruitment of Olivier Giroud made to compensate for his departure? Yes, we work to avoid being cornered.

No pressure on Giroud then if van Persie leaves.

It came as a notoriously unreliable hack suggested that van Persie would move to Manchester City for £22m in a deal to be completed in the next six days, whilst Arsenal were heavily linked with an unused member of the victorious Spanish Euro2012 squad. The rumour mill is picking up speed. Which is not surprising given that at the time of writing there is only something like 50 days and 14 hours to go, according to the European Professional Football Leagues official clocks.

Last summer fed a residual complaint that has to some extent unravelled but holds true; everything came together too late. A bad start  had been made and admirable as the recovery was, I look back on last season as something of a lost opportunity given how it unfurled. Enough points were gained to finish third and without the atrocious August and January, who knows if it could have been higher.

Whilst the club will always want to finish their business early to allow players time to settle, it is not always possible. Deals take time to complete – seemingly longer now than thirty years ago despite the significant technological advances – and it is inevitable I think, that one deal, possibly two, would be completed relatively late in the day. However, significant squad investment needs to happen quickly otherwise the bedding in process can take longer to complete with players distracted by settling themselves (and families) off the pitch.

The signings of Giroud and Podolski are encouraging, lessons are learned, heeded and implemented. Too often criticism of the manager is tagged with something that underlines a stubborn nature that is unwilling to react to previous mistakes. If any additional players can be signed before the end of this month, it would stop or significantly impede, further complaints of inactivity for this summer at least whilst giving the manager and coaching staff time to integrate the new players.

There was an article recently (which I wish I could find) that discussed at lengths the utterly abysmal player liasion that Premier League clubs have. It focussed on Chelsea but essentially said that the club left players to it in order to settle; find a house yourself, etc.  The contrast with Spanish and Italian clubs such as Barcelona and Milan was astonishing, with their devoted personnel for this task. Does it explain why players are unable to replicate their form which saw them drawn to the buying club’s attention in the first place in a number of cases? Partly, I would imagine. It is hard enough settling into a different style of play and building new understandings without the worry of whether spouses / partners and children are settled.

Onto other things and the new away kit has been released. It does not look as bad as the initial leaked photos; sometimes a shirt hanging on a rail looks awful and turns out this way. That said, it could have been a lot better. Those making the decisions have strayed away from tradition, almost repositioning the club away from what I consider to its greatest strength off the pitch; traditionalism that moves with the time.

Complaints about the white and blue away kits of previous campaigns miss out that these were the staple change strips of decades ago; the yellow incarnation being worn on a regular basis is relatively new by comparison. As new as the late 1960s can be. I am sure that Nike will point to a vaguely similar colour being worn at the end of the 19th century for inspiration but that’s simply rubbish. Football kits now are heading back into the early 1990s when they were just abysmal. Who can forget the 1991-93 away kit that looked like a pigeon had broken lose in a paint factory before stomping all over the yellow shirt.

A back to basics approach in the season after next when the kit supplier enters into a new contract. Umbro designed the iconic simple red and white sleeved tops; perhaps they could take it back and give us something that doesn’t have untoward flashes (stripes to you or I) or hoops on kits? I think I am turning into my dad.

On which note, I’ll finish. Bah, humbug.

’til Tomorrow.

PR Lessons From Time Travelling Pasties & Other Transfer Gossip

No sooner had Sky Sports We Make Up The News As We Go Along put the story out about RvP adopting a Rooney posture than the Daily Heil reckons that Stefan Jovetic and Robert Lewandowski considered most likely as his replacements. Wow, two names whom nobody else had thought of! It’s a hard life being a football scout, travelling the world, expenses paid hotels, watching football matches and then picking up the paper to see who we’re being linked with. All in order to submit a report that says, “Quite good, scores a few goals, good passer, treats the ball like a friend. You won’t be interested but he can head the ball as well“.

At Arsenal, the first pictures of pre-season training emerged somewhat tardily given the link that Big Al provided yesterday; has football ever been away? The beautiful couiffoured locks of Mikel Arteta barely straying from their place, even when running. Pre-season is a time of optimism, when the quirks of fate that the coming thirty eight weeks bring are not yet manifesting.

As if to underline that, Abou Diaby joined in training. Of course, he could just have been posing for pictures to make it feel like he is part of the squad again. Pre-season is his danger time, many a campaign of expectation has been wrecked in the six weeks leading up to the ‘big kick-off’ for the Frenchman. Let’s hope this time it is an altogether more enjoyable time for him.

Interestingly, Sebastian Squillaci was at the club. Reports from France linking him with Bastia have been quashed. The Corsican club’s president noted that they could not afford him. He will no doubt be disappointed that having hidden from successive US governments, Geronimo has had to break cover to tell us that next summer’s transfer crisis will no doubt revolve around Squillaci,

Sebastien Squillaci is an extraordinary player who plays for Arsenal where he has [a] one year contract.

I expect the Frenchman will let us know his plans as the season progresses. I am thinking of using it as a scare tactic with the kids: “If you don’t behave, Squillaci will be Arsenal’s first choice centre back next season“. The thought of that scares the living bejesus out of me, so it must do the same for them. Surely?

He is not the only maligned centre back at the club of course. Except I don’t think Johan Djourou deserves the abuse he receives. Last season’s performance levels dipped, a point the Swiss international freely admitted to recently but in his defence, even he struggles as an emergency right back. As a fourth choice centre back, I feel that he is a decent squad member. Even in the defensive midfield role, he is a useful player with his international experience gained largely in that position.

Versatility is often cited as a curse for players and to some extent that is true, particularly in this instance where he plays an entirely different role for club and country. It is strange when you read comments from people demanding that the next tier of players in the squad should be internationals, denigrating Djourou in that context without realising that he is exactly the type of player that they demand we sign.

Of course he needs to take his performances to a consistently higher level if he wants to usurp any of the first choice defenders. He knows that and naturally strives for it. Yet that comes through playing on a regular basis so is a little of a chicken and egg situation. However, the flip side of that is that the consistency is required straightaway, to promote a seamless transition when the team change is made. The eternal quandry of football.

One thing I did like in the interview was his rubbishing of agent’s claims but also his discretion when questioned about the conversation between himself and the manager:

Blick: You’ve extended your contract with Arsenal until Juni 2015. Wouldn’t it have been better to start anew at a new club?

JD: No. Arsenal have chosen to extend my contract because they’re counting on me. I did have a bad spell. However, I’m convinced that I will get another another chance and that I will grab that chance.

Blick: Why are you so sure about that?

JD: I held talks with my manager.

Blick: What did Mister Wenger tell you?

JD: That’s between the two of us.

An object lesson in PR. I know Djourou’s future is not as an emotive topic as that of Robin van Persie’s but in terms of managing a situation, there is much for him and his representatives to take note of. Perhaps they can ask Cbob if they can borrow his time-travelling flying pasty to go back and restart this process from the beginning.

’til Tomorrow.

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