Arsenal Pounded out of the Top Four

Some transfer rumours are pure fabrication, some are speculation and a very few have genuine substance – having said that, it is unwise to dismiss all the current stories surrounding Arsenal players when they stall over signing new contracts and are a year away from leaving on a free.

Make no mistake, Cesc wants to go to Barca and Clichy and Nasri are looking elsewhere for big money (and possibly the notion that they may be more likely to win trophies). I believe there is truth that manu have shown interest in Nasri, city are looking to buy Clichy and are prepaed to offer Nasri silly money, and pool are also interested in Clichy.

It is likely that all of those clubs can and will offer a better deal to our players than Arsenal will table. The top four is now a case of perm any 4 out of the top five as Liverpool have shown their intent by spending big and spending early. Three out of our four rivals are looking to cherry pick players from our squad with only the canny new manager at chelski biding his time.

We are becoming a feeder club for the other top clubs and that may mean that the miracle of CL qualification that we have achieved on a minimal budget over past years is coming to an end.

Why? Well I think there are three main reasons.

1. We are being outpriced.

2. Some players have run out of patience, they are entering the peak years of their playing careers and want to taste success

3. The aura of Arsène Wenger’s managerial brilliance borne from the days of the Invincibles is wearing thin.

Where does that leave Arsenal and Arsène Wenger? If we sign Gary Cahill, some of my faith will be restored as there are plenty of cheaper options out there and we will have chosen to pay the extra for proven PL quality.

Gervinho looks like a good player, but is he any better as a striker than Bendtner? His price tag and past goals per game record would suggest not. We can only consider ourselves as moving forward if the players we bring in are better than those leaving (and not potentially in 3 years time) and in the case if Cesc and Nasri, that would be a very tall order.

Losing the Carling Cup was a humiliation. To restore belief (not just talk about it) we have to make our mark in the transfer market especially if we let big players go.

Our manager’s reputation has changed in the perception of many from a visionary genius to an over-cautious spendthrift stuck in his ways and if that perception has entered the minds of our players then we are in trouble.

Arsenal may now be being viewed by potential new signees as the most effective way of showcasing themselves to one of the ‘big’ clubs – “one good season at Arsenal and Barca will come in for me”

I know I’m going to be branded as negative, ungrateful, delusional and just plain wrong, but please don’t bother listing all of AW’s achievements, I am well aware and profoundly grateful for all he has done, but now he has to show that he can compete in this new era of football.

Like it or not, our position has changed in relation to those around us and we need to rethink and regroup, or we have to accept the inevitable that the Holy Grail of CL qualification will fall from our grasp.

Written by Rasp

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196 Responses to Arsenal Pounded out of the Top Four

  1. Jesse says:

    Hit the nail on the head mate, well done!

  2. Good points, well made Rasp.

    Two years ago Clichy declared that he’d told his agent that he wasn’t interested in talking to any other clubs, he just wanted to play for Arsenal. So what has changed his mind?

    We were 2nd in the the league for most of the season, beat the manks and barca – yes we collapsed but he was a part of that team that collapsed.

    Has Arsene told him to look elsewhere, told him that he’s looking to buy a better left-back? It really makes very little sense.

  3. alex says:

    Can’t argue with that, nicely put

  4. Rasp says:

    Morning all,

    I apologise to those of you who are uncomfortable with the tone of the article but it is an honest representation of how I feel.

    I would urge any of those whose knee jerk reaction is to go on the defensive to read the transcript of AW’s open letter to a worried supporter that was published a few days ago (someone find a link for me if they can)

    You don’t even need to read between the lines, the message is that we shall continue as we have in previous years. I know that both Cesc and Nasri have asked for Arsenal to sign quality players before they decided they wanted to leave and I believe that our failure to do just that has played a part in their decision to look elsewhere..

  5. kelsey says:

    Sorry Rasp (this is not personal) but what has really changed in the last few years ince our move.You are being negative like many others with a knee jerk reaction over alleged players leaving us.
    Only one team can win the league and as supporters we should support.it is clear what the board are doing and want us to be financially stable first and foremost.A feeder club, many have said that for years.
    Do you want the Russian to takeover and probably sack Wenger or he will leave of his own accord .
    No player is bigger than the club and for the time being I would rather wait until next May. (I did say hello peaches.)

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp,
    I brand you as a man who lives in the present not the past. Great stuff and spot on. This is a very important window, and we need to get it right.
    Slipping out of the top four, and we would be playing in front of many empty seats.

  7. London says:

    Wow, it must be so painful supporting Arsenal the way you do. Good for the blog though, the defeatists will be out in there droves today cheering this one.

  8. Rasp says:

    I want none of the things you list kelsey, I want us to spend all of the money we may/will receive for those that are leaving plus any budget we have set aside for this summer on quality players and offload players that are not cutting it even if we have to accept a low price.

  9. Rasp says:

    London,

    You’vre read Feverpitch, it graphically describes the bitter sweet nature of supporting Arsenal (or any football club). Yes, I am finding it painful at the moment and I am in the majority I assure you.

  10. Double98 says:

    Before a ball is kicked, before a pre season run is ran, before a first team player is bought or sold – we are out of the top 4.

    Why bother watching football?

    Say Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy all go – so what – you support Arsenal and they have always been a conservative club with sustainability running through the marble halls.

    Those 3 players specifically could have pulled their finger out in the last three months and we could be celebrating a title.

    Fabregas played against Barcalona like an awestruck take that fan at a robbie williams striptease. Nasri may have taken February to may off for all the effort he put in. and clichy hasn’t been the same since his trip against spurs in the 4 all.

    Maybe the last 5 years have highlighted that you can’t win a premiership with a team built around fabregas. Maybe now Wenger will build the team from the back and hopefully a few signings like samba and cahill will serve notice of that intent.

    It is always darkest before the dawn and its better to break up than stay together in a fruitless marraige.

    So long and thanks for all the Cesc.

  11. angelicbeardy says:

    As an Arsenal fan of 30+ years i am very worried about the situation at Arsenal. Two of our best players are looking to leave not Clincy who i think will be replacable. After 5 years of buying cheaply we have a squad of mediocre players with a sprinkling of talented players also the youngsters apart from Wilshere don’t seem to be stepping up, well Wenger is not giving them a run in the team.
    Personally i think things will get worse before they get better.Nxt season, if the summer spending is the same as the last 5 will be Wengers last and one of the Billionaires will have to step up and inject some cash into the club after all i doubt the will want a club which is not marketable. What i don’t understand is we have two billionaires WTF.

  12. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sore Butt London, morning.
    In answer to your London says:
    “If you were Mancini with all City’s resourses at your finger tips, would you buy Clichy?”, the answer is no, however City do like a left back or four, so I would not count it out.

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, a very honest post – written straight from a bleeding Gooner heart: you let it all out and I hope you feel better for it :) Your frustration is shared by many, many Gooners so I am sure we will get a lot of hits today.

    For me the transfer window has still got 60 days to go, and I will not come to any conclusions before that period is over. However, these are testing times and I can understand your frustration. Better to let it out than keep it in mate.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Rasp, Peaches, did you receive my draft article (by email)?

  15. Rasp says:

    Double 98, we do not have a crystal ball, but learning the lessons from our own past history should be viewed as the constructive use of hindsight.

    The saying ‘bad things happen when good people do nothing’ is relevant. We’ve seen a pattern develop in our performances over recent years and it is only logical to make positive strides to rectify obvious weaknesses.

  16. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Just read the post again, and I simply can’t see the negativity. Of course we cannot compete with the Cashsters, and no-one is suggesting we do. We absolutely need to keep moving forwards and that should be possible even within our very sensible sustainable business model.

  17. Double98 says:

    Rasp

    But maybe we have all been labouring under the illusion that Fabregas is the dogs bollox. Maybe the entire philosophy of cesc plus 10 is fantastic in august but painful in february.
    Maybe project youth has not failed – maybe project cesc has.
    If wenger has a myopia it is building teams around one player – henry and fabregas was never a patch on and access built on henry / bergkamp / pires /vieira.

    Maybe its time to walk away from the failure that cesc has been.

    Don’t get me wrong – i love him and i hope he stays but he hasn’t delivered a pot for us to piss in.
    Wenger has given us loads.

  18. kelsey says:

    No problem Rasp, it’s a debate. But say all these players leave how do we replace them, quality players that are available can’t be plucked out of tres and if City can offer Nasri an alleged 180K a week and pay 20 million for a guy who could leave next year for free what chance have we got to get not one but threeexperienced players at a bargain basement price.

    Wenger has known for some time the situation with Cesc and Samir and he may be stubborn but he isn’t stupid and will have tried to make alternative plans.
    The deadwood on high wages is an entirely different matter and we seemed to be stuck with that one.

    I keep reading one name ho wouldn’t have let this get out of hand so to speak.David Dein though I am undecided myself.

  19. Rasp says:

    Thanks Double98,

    I agree that Cesc’s performance last season was below par by his standards and would partly attribute that to his disappointment that he didn’t join Barca the summer before.

    We agree that it is down to AW to make the necessary changes and I understand those who are saying let’s wait until August before we pass judgement, but I have done that for several years now and I want to see some concrete evidence of positive intent from the club.

  20. evonne says:

    Double98 – no football player on this earth can deliver trophies singlehanded, not even Cesc. He has been tremendous power in our team and without his input we would not be in top 4 last season, or the season before.

    I strongly, strongly disagree with you placing any blame on Cesc. Please do not get offended, we all have our opinions :)

  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Kelsey,
    I think the key lies in your “he isn’t stupid and will have tried to make alternative plans”. Of course life goes on with or without Cesc, Nasri or anyone else, and I think the biggest fear for me is that these “alternative plans” are the right ones and are acted on immediately following any departures.

  22. London says:

    All common sense points to the fact that Mancini with all the City millions available to him would not buy the error prone, erratic crosser that is currently our left back and yet for some reason certain people ignore this glaringly obvious fact and believe the drival pumped out on NN, why?

    Arsenal have never let a contract run down allowing a player to leave on a free (Flamini doesn’t count) so why would anyone think that the club would allow this to happen with Nasri?

    If anyone of us were a footballer and we had one year left on our contracts we would all explore the possibites available to us before commiting one way or another, that being the case why do some people call this sensible course of action greed?

  23. evonne says:

    Rasp – great article, I expect riot today :)

  24. Rasp says:

    kelsey,

    “quality players that are available can’t be plucked out of trees” – correct.

    But if with the sale of payers and any available budget we have a kitty of say £60m, I’d rather we bought three £20m players and let underachievers go, than sign 5 or 6 for £10-12m with ‘potential’ – or are you saying that we aren’t as attractive enough prospect to our targets for even that?

  25. Rasp says:

    Morning evonne,

    I really hope not. I wrote the piece in a way that I thought would prevent the abusive one liners and so far we’ve been lucky. It is significant that although many have argued with what they see as my standpoint, no-one has refuted the main points of the article.

    Sadly I’m out for the rest of the day. I’m sure the positve balance of the site will be restored tomorrow by one of our regulars.

  26. London says:

    I thought Fabregas was magnificent in the games running up to and including Barça at home after that he was injured much of the time which affected his performance. There is no doubt in my mind that had he been fit for the CC final we would have won it.

  27. tere says:

    yes….indeed

  28. London says:

    Peaches

    To answer your question, have I been on by bike since coming back from the Alps……….I would rather see the devil in front of me before getting back on it, no wait, I would rather see my wife holding divorce papers before I got back on it. lol

  29. Andy says:

    I really want to keep believing but if these players go then I really can’t see the likes of Gervihno being a suitable ‘replacement.’ I’m sure he could be good – or even great – if he was added to our current team. If only players were as loyal as fans :(

  30. Andy says:

    Nice article btw

  31. Double98 says:

    Rasp – if Cesc goes bear with Wenger til christmas – he is facing a complete shift in philosophy. I don’t think he will expect ramsay to slot into the quarterback role he created for fab so he will have to fundamentally shift the dynamic of the team… maybe (hopefully) shifting back to a 4-4-2 (433 has peaked with barca and he only chose it to save Fabregas his water carrying duties.)
    If that is on the cards then Nasri and Clcihy are no loss because clichy can’t cross (same as Cole and just like cole he may take 3 seasons to get consiustancy in that) and Nasri hasn’t the pace over 5 yards to be a wide man in a 4 man midfield or the passing range to be a central midfielder.

    I can’t wait to see how our team lines out.. will RVP have a partner? Is it Gervinho? will vermaelan be our left back? will a cesc free team be the rebirth of theo walcott?

    Exciting times and even the worst case scenario is that we get a new coach.

  32. evonne says:

    Rasp – I am sure Peaches will keep an eye on the blog for you today, once she deals with builders, council, dogs, children…. :)

    I love that bit ‘please don’t bother listing all of AW’s achievements, I am well aware and profoundly grateful’, that is soooooo out of heart.

    I’m still thinking though – we have not sold anyone so far, so what’s the fuss? No smoke without fire, maybe. But what I will do now, is start a Gossip spreadsheet for the next year, so that we can all look and see which of the rumours have actually materialised.

  33. Double98 says:

    Evonne – i don’t blame cesc (we tend to personalise faults) – i blame the philiosophy that wenger has built around him. I think Xavi is a lesser player but iniesta and busquets are as much the startegy for barca that he is. Arsene never built a three man midfield he built a cesc +2.
    Sorry if i offended but i would love it if fabregas would stay and be blended into a better midfield. Song is not a 3 man midfiel player and neither is arshavin, nasri or denilson.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Double98, great to see you on AA :) There is very little I can disagree with what you are saying, and it is good to see somebody else being able to see positivity in even the worst case scenario of Cesc and Nasri leaving. Your points on 4-4-2 are very valid too.

  35. evonne says:

    Double98 – thanks for taking time to explain, yes, you might have a point there, ie Cesc + 2. AW has been heavily relying on Fabregas and it did pay off, most of the time. But there were many games that the team had actually played better without Cesc

  36. Hearnaldinho says:

    We need Alisher Usmanov to save our club!! You can’t blame the likes of Fabregas, Nasri and Gael wanting to leave as they enter the peak of their careers. Arsenal have become a feeder club, its an absolute disgrace!!!!

  37. evonne says:

    Total – no, the worst case scenario by Double98 is a new coach!! Gosh, that is scarey, but I would not rule it out if there are no trophies this season.

    The Club has been nagging me to buy the season ticket, not a good sign, is it?

  38. evonne says:

    Hearnaldinho – what is a disgrace?? Whom have we sold so far??

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Evonne, you are right, it is not D98’s worst case scenario, but it is the core of the doom scenario that is being discussed at the moment. I made a similar point to D98’s a few days ago: even if Cesc and Nasri both leave this season, we still have Jack, Rambo, Song, Arshavin, Diaby (Frimmpong, Lansbury) to compete for the two central midfield roles in a 4-4-2. On top of that we can buy an experienced, older midfielder who can help us make the last push towards trophies and guide our talents to the very summit of their potential. Add a fourth CB and another quality winger and we ‘will let them sniff a poopy again’.

  40. evonne says:

    Fed up talking to myself, see you later

  41. Moses Watasa says:

    The “beaks” of those “wolves” on the Board of Arsenal FC must be flooding with saliva right now – in anticipation of feasting on proceeds from the auctioning of Fabregas, Clichy, Nasri etc. By 31st August 2011, Mr. Arsene “the- profit-maker” Wenger will have more than enough for them to “eat”. He is typically recruiting more kids – Carl Jenkinson, Oxylade Chamberlain etc to groom and sell (again) when they peak in 2014. What a “brilliant” manager and “ambitious” Board! Mean time, the likes of Nasri, Fabregas and Clichy will have improved trophy prospects at their respective new clubs. What is Robin Van Persie (running out of time for trophies) waiting for?

  42. I simply ask you, where is the faith??? I sense a lot of panic and i am glad that you ( and most gunner fans) aren’t involved in any important decision making at the club.

    Negativity is contagious, viral & poisonous!

    When faced with a potentially critical situation, a cool head is needed. Arsenal is not like any other PL club, we’re unique. We do things our own way. Do things the right way and everything else will fall in place. We have to run our own race, kinda like horse racing, the horses have blinders so they don’t see what they competition is doing. That means they don’t panic.

    In Arsene We Trust.

  43. Arseniel says:

    Great article, not in my view at all negative but a good mix of objective and subjective views. The title is spot on. We will be £ed out of the top 4 at least until financial fair play rules take effect at which point Wenger’s foresight will deliver our strategic advantage. Billionares will not have the same impact.

    On the whole Wenger’s management over the past 6 years should be applauded not questioned (hard to sell this in view particularly of this year’s utter collapse). He has kept us there or there about even though he hasn’t had a pot to piss in for transfers. I think those with the capacity to do so can see that project Emarites Stadium is part of a long term strategy to secure Arsenal’s place at the top table of EPL, European and world football. This strategy is working unbelieveably well albeit extremely painful for the fans. But then that’s our job and the extent of our pain may be influenced by how realistic our expectations are.

  44. Rasp says:

    tfib,

    The tone of the post is not of panic but measured analysis.

    I, like many others have adopted the attitude you suggest in recent years, I am simply saying how I feel and that is that I want us to re-assert ourselves as a top club in terms of the players we employ and attract. Ask the club how they feel about the increasing number of supporters who have not renewed their season tickets this year – there are an unprecedented number available.

    I completely refute this ludicrous idea that it is the supporters fault because they are negative or ungrateful etc etc.

    Arsenal is a business, the players are the staff, the supporters are the customers (plus a lot more than that). Name me any other business that blames its customers for its failures.

  45. Double98 says:

    Hearnaldinho – Usmanov would do what exactly? Would he splash the cash and turn us into a chelsea / MCFC clone?
    Maybe…
    Is that what we want? i am no purist but i can’t desire what i have spent that last 8 years ridiculing. buying a league is not the Arsenal way.
    George Graham and Arsene Wenger didn’t do it neither did any manager back to herbert chapman (who arguably did)

    Would you actually get up and cheer a league won by buying 15 players all at the pinnacle of their careers? Is there any point?

    Again i am no purist and i do want to win – just not at all costs.
    I supported Arsenal from 1979 and for 8 years we won nothing and competed for nothing despite having arguably a kick ass team. George came in and built on the youth with some bargain bin buys from stoke and wimbledon and the rest is history…
    My best mate is a MU fan and he has stopped watching football because he hates the idea or barca, real, Man u and chelsea of just going out and buying the best players in the world. Thats not sport its
    marketing. And when the sugar daddies disappear and the numbers crunch those clubs will all be like greece.

    But even if those clubs are sustainable – i don’t want to support a club that just buys my fanatisism (through purchased silver) – cause that makes me a whore.

  46. Rasp says:

    Just for the record, I don’t want Usamov to throw money at the club, I believe we can be more ambitious in the transfer market without changing our basic financial principles.

  47. angelicbeardy says:

    Double98 well said mate i agree. Lets just support the team whoever comes or goes. I remember many years prior to George Graham were we didn’t really compete for a few years. We seemed much more vocal then than we do now maybe it’s the all seater stadium which i hate, i would prefer standing all day. Unfortunately it’s hard to compete against teams who spend millions on players and do not develop their own talent. It has spoilt football as in my eyes it is cheating and one of the reasons why England is underacheiving as a national team. Why is this not stopped, well where there is money there is curroption so it will carry on until even after the Uefa fair whatits comes into place.

  48. Rasp says:

    No-one’s suggesting anyone stops supporting the club. I, with others, spend hours every day looking after this blog. There is nil revenue involved, just time, effort and love for Arsenal.

  49. Wonderman says:

    I dont get why everyone is getting themselves into a tizz on little more than media sh*t stirring. As London has said the players and their agents are merely doing what’s best for them in attempting to secure the best deal….quite normal. Watching Sky News yesterday the reports were all full of
    ‘We understand’….’are about to’ …’are preparing’ all a bowl of laxative !!!

    We are led to believe Barca had a £35m offer turned down as not enough last season, Cesc is 24/25 with 4 years left on his contract, do you really believe we would accept less this season. Bear in mind that all the noises have come from Spain.
    Having watched Kolo and Adebayor slump at Citeh, some of you really think Clichy is even thinking about them.

    Understand the game, Arsenal are very cute in how they go about their contract negotiations with all sorts of small print,payment plans etc, this takes time. Also you are more likely to get favourable terms later in the transfer window as time becomes critical. Most fans appear to be upset because we have’nt bought yet and have swallowed the media spin hook line and sinker. Worst case scenario if we sold Clichy, Cesc and Nasri ( which I dont think we will) do we not have Gibbs/Traore, Wilshere/Ramsey and Arshavin as ready replacements? we are then looking at adding competent players

    cheer up it is not as bad as it seems

  50. Gooner In Exile says:

    Double98 : “Fabregas played against Barcalona like an awestruck take that fan at a robbie williams striptease”

    That may be the best metaphor I have ever seen on AA

    As for your article Rasp I understand your concerns but for me it is not a concern.

    We bought Nasri when no one else was prepared to take a punt on him, he along with similar signings kept us up their with a fighting chance. Point is why do we worry if we go and buy a few more players with potential, Wenger has a track record of acquiring players that have kept us in a top 4 slot for little money.

    It is hard to keep positive amongst the constant stream of negativity from press and from within our ranks. As DanDan pointed out recently fans asked for a clear out…they’re getting one….fans criticised the team of having no heart….well there are three players leaving who were part of that team……

    What really pisses me off is the perception that they are leaving because the club is not bringing in better players…..sorry who the f**k are the to judge how good the players are around them? Maybe some of them should hold their hands up and say:

    “I as one of the best players in this team failed to help my lesser teammates succeed this season, I should have stepped up when all else was failing”

    It is widely acknowledged that Man Utd won the league last season with its worst squad ever….why did they win it, because the best players stood up for 90 minutes in every game they played in the final half of the season, Rooney, Ferdinand, Vidic, Giggs, Scholes etc.

    Well out of our best players only RvP stood up to be counted for the second half of the season.

    Anyone remember that miss by Nasri at Bolton, easier to score…..well there was a chance that Rooney would have taken.

    As ever players come and go, the club and fans remain, as does our unsupported manager……loyalty…its the measure of a man, shame not many players show as much loyalty as Wenger and the majority of us fans.

    In 20 years time if we haven’t won a pot maybe then i’ll consider myself long suffering, but the only thing that is pissing me off right now is the disloyalty of certain players and the thought that they are better than those around them…….prima donnas. Thank god we have Wilshere who will hopefully be the next generations Tony Adams, Paul Merson, Ray Parlour….steeped in a love for the club. Bring on more of the youth team please.

  51. Rasp says:

    Hi Wonderman, good to have your company.

    “it’s not as bad as it seems” – an admission at least that it doesn’t look great at the moment.

    I refer you to the first part of my comment @ 11:17

    Right I really have to go now, thanks to all for your input and I look forward to seeing where the debate has gone when I return in a few hours time

  52. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, was going but just read your excellent points.

    We didn’t exactly take a punt on Nasri – we paid good money for him and had to wait some time for his services. I give AW great credit for unearthing a gem, but even he must ask himself why again, just when the investment seems to be paying off, the player wants to leave. (I know e’ll make a decent profit if the deal goes through)

  53. Red Arse says:

    Morning Rasper, :-)

    Well written, well thought out and a very fair appraisal of the current situation. :-)

    We all know someone else can write a Post highlighting a different viewpoint, as some of the comments above have shown.

    That’s OK, that is the whole point of debate.

    It does not hold that you are a bad fan or supporter for expressing a certain point of view, and that someone holding an opposite position is a good fan or supporter, or vice versa.
    These are opinions honestly given and are equally valid.

    It would be nice if those in opposite camps would get off their hobby horses and stop trying to claim the moral high ground.

    Your Post has given everyone something to debate so good on you Rasp and long may you continue to do so! :-)

  54. Double98 says:

    Red Arse – i think that all the sides of the debate spring from a common love for the club.

    They all have truth and misconception. Its a good thing to pose the question and see what the debate may bring.

    on a lighter note if our three amigos do go we have some fascinating duels to look forward to next season.. Who do you fancy?

    Walcott vs Clichy?
    Nasri vs Sagna?

    and when we inevitably play Barca in the CL Semi Final

    Fabregas Vs Wilshire

  55. Wonderman says:

    Hi Rasp,

    My comment was a general one because I took your post to be how you feel at the current moment, which to me is not up for debate it how you feel and I respect that. What I question is the basis upon which bloggers are assuming that so and so is definitely leaving.

    I have never personally heard Nasri, Cesc or Clichy say in an interview they want to leave to win things, so I see that as media spin. I am not happy about the deafening silence of our media centre or the fact that they ‘announce things’ centuries after everyone else, but if there are no facts to state, why waste valuable time denying speculation. This time last year we were told Cesc was definietly leaving….did’nt happen. If he leaves so what, Vieira, Berkhamp, Henry, Pires, Brady, Wright all left and the club did not fall apart. Next week will be of more value as we will see who has returned tp pre season training

  56. Rasp.

    As a business we simply can’t compete. Our rivals believe they’re running some fantasy business, it will soon catch up to them. We need to be realistic (which is not what fans usually do) we can’t compete against M*nure, Chelski, Citeh & even L’pool at this moment. We aren’t careless when it comes to finances, if we were we’d be the same as our rivals,
    in debt.

    I totaly agree with you that we have to restore our image as a top club to attract top players. But surely we can’t do it by spending big it’s silly. We want players to be attracted to Arsenal for the football not the money.

    Newspapers suggest we buy this player & that player. What do they know??? They don’t have Arsenals best interests at heart. Arsene knows what he’s doing, I trust that.

    Fans can’t be blamed but who’s blaming the fans? The fans themselves, i don’t recall AW ever saying it was the fans fault. Do you?

    I respect your opinion (and many others on AA) as you guys have been Arsenal fans far longer than I.

  57. goonerbegood says:

    same arsenal,same thing every season,
    wenger will never change,it will be the same arsenal for next season
    same old empty promises from the board and wenger.

    wenger don’t win any trophy nxt season,then it is time he made way for another manager.

  58. Red Arse says:

    I was listening on the car radio to Talksport with that appalling “(Liverpool will win everything next season)” Quin plonker.
    He makes me grind my teeth with his imbecilic attacks on Arsenal and continuous crowing about what the ‘Pool are going to do.

    What made it worse was the equally stupid Arsenal fans who suck up to him with their “Great show, Qinny” and “You are right – Wenger has got to go”. Yeuk and double yeuk!!

    Look, I am sure Kelsey is right in saying there is a lot going on, in the background, that we know nothing about, and will know nothing about until a deal is done.

    AW cannot make another club sell a player to us if they do not wish to do so.
    They know that any good player in their club will attract the likes of Inter Milan, Barcelona, Madrid, Bayern, Chelsea, Manure and Man Citeh, all of whom can and will outspend us, or offer much higher salaries to the players.

    AW has simply got to spot a player (like Gervinho) and transform him into an excellent player. That’s the reality.

    Why do I say that? Well let’s take a look at that mythical £60m treasure chest and marry that up with a big marquee signing so many seem to be calling for.

    Say AW wanted to buy a player for (say) £30m, he would have to pay a salary of about £6m per annum (minimum) for a 5 year contract. Prudence will dictate he has to budget for both the cost of the transfer and the salary out of the original £60m ‘treasure chest’.

    Budget = £60m – transfer fee (£30m) = £30m – Salary (£30m) = 0.

    So the whole budget could be wiped out on just 1 “marquee” signing.

    The moral of the story is that balancing the needs of the team (players + improved contracts), with the available financial resources is no easy task, when the choice is;
    (a) one super dooper player at £30m (ten a penny nowadays) or
    (b) 3 or 4 less well known players (labelled as only unproven with potential by the Glums).

    AW is on a hiding to nothing, on an uneven financial playing field, where the billionaires (Abramovich, Qataris, Glazers, Spanish local government etc) throw huge money at their football club playthings.

    Nothing is as straightforward and easy in the transfer market as the naive ramblings of some fans would have us believe.

    Oh, by the way —– just an opinion!! :-)

  59. dandan says:

    Morning all ,it did not take many sentences of this excellent post for me to realise it was written by Rasp. whose frustrations appear to have overflowed

    Peaches re your dressing room concerns and your three muted leavers Cesc has been on the cards for two years, the other two are up for taking the money that Arab City Gooners throw around in there desperation to catch the Red Mancs.
    The transfer window is barely open yet the histrionics have started among Arsenal fans hung up on finances and spending.

    Congrats to Double 98, TFIB and Arseniel and the more positive of the regulars for holding fort in the face of this media inspired negativism.
    Personally I believe all three will leave but see that as natural rebuilding among a squad that lost its way late last year. n

    Rasp and Peaches season ticket holders both, have frequently complained that Cesc, drops his head to easily, Nasri has a reputation as a disruptive spirit for his last two clubs and country. All regular watchers would have seen Clichey struggle in tight and important games,

    So why the breast beating that they might be leaving until you see who comes in.
    Has the man who bought Henry,Viera and Pires and many others for less than huge money lost it, certainly they were within the parameters that Rasp denounces as not good enough in his comment above. Maybe just maybe by Christmas all the despondents may be cheering new Icons who AW has replaced our want away malcontents with.
    Anything is possible and getting down in the dumps now is like Criticising a new car before you have seen or driven it

    Afternoon red arse did it not occur to you that if hobby horses were banned this article would not have been published :-)

  60. Gooner In Exile says:

    I was in converstaion with a Man City fan yesterday…this was the comment that made me realise how lucky I was to be an Arsenal fan when saying I didn’t like Usmanov and would seriously consider FC Arsenal if he took over……

    “Nothing would stop me being a City fan, although I suppose a really bad owner might stop me being a City supporter. These days it’s easy to follow your team without giving them any money, and a lot of people probably do that anyway. Of course it sucks not being able to go to games without feeling like you are giving them money, but no-owners stay in place that long anyway.
    :D How the other half live

  61. Double98 says:

    Red Arse – That is it exactly. Talent spotting, development and nurture, that was the whole premise of football up until the billionaires arrived.

    Vieira was a rough diamond when we picked him up, Bergkamp was a failure at inter, thierry was mediocre at Juventus, Ljunberg was a clever player at a small club, overmars was a wreck.

    However the game has changed as now we have to pick out the diamonds as they are being hoovered up by the financial dope fiends. Its a harder task so wenger has to start younger and hope to hoover up the cheaper diamonds and get 5-6 years out of them before they leave.. problem is that the 15 year old diamond often stalls while the 15 year old coal can often start to shine when the final growth spurt kicks in.

    But i love the pursuit and i applaud wenger… obviously he needs to land a diamond or two as well as discover a few raw ones. i get excited at the prospects of bellerin, frimpong, eastmond, miyachi, wellington, lansbury, JET etc
    I know we have for every Wilshire we unearth we have 5 Velas and maybe 10 Pennants and 20 randalls but isn’t it a lot better than buying Arshavin and hoping hes worth the money?

  62. Red Arse says:

    Hi Dandan, :-)

    Technically, I did not suggest banning hobby horses, my request was that, where it applies, those on their hobbies horses get off them. That should apply to both the Glums and the Smilers! :-)

    I take your point, although the art of debating and ‘hobby horsing’ are not necessarily mutually exclusive, I suppose.

    Earlier I commended the Rasper for writing a Post that encouraged debate and he has certainly succeeded.

    Let’s face it, most (all?) of us are lured into having views, sometimes strong views, about the current transfer activity, or lack of it, based on limited knowledge of the actual facts, but that doesn’t stop us, does it? :-)

    Being aware of this simple fact, I admit my own views are more influenced by logic and accepted good practice rather than futile surmise and self-perpetuating rumour. I’m therefore a bit boring as a result! :-)

  63. Red Arse says:

    Hi D98, :-)

    We appear to be substantially in agreement, and like you I applaud AW for having the ability and mental toughness, under sometimes extremely provocative criticism, to see this is the only way forward for us, as a properly run club, and seeing it through.

    “Substantially” in agreement only because you mentioned Eastmond in your young diamonds list. He is a’ bete noir’ for me, as regular AA’ers will know, because I watched the youth and reserve teams for a number of years, and he was someone I always expected to get the chop each year, but somehow survived. Much to my total amazement. My view has never changed! :-(

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”
    — Eckhart Tolle

  65. Sid says:

    ‘Wenger has to compete in this new era of football’… you mean this era which stemmed from his influence since arriving in England. Please! And do you really believe that players think that the manager is a spendthrift? That’s only fans who don’t have the full facts. All this nonsense about missing out of the top 4. We hear this year after year and still we finish… in the top 4. I agree we need to push on, but come on Rasp. You’re starting to believe all the neg you read everyday. I would expect better from this site.

  66. Double98 says:

    Red Arse
    I actually like the guy who always does just enough to make the cut – good chance he’s either extremely talented but lazy (Paul McGrath) or an hardworking plodder (Beckham).
    or maybe he is sleeping with the boss (Jenas, Dyer, Gomez etc)

    Either way he knows where the line is and how to keep ahead of it. I’ll bow to your first hand views of Eastmond but if he makes the cut again we’ll have a look at him in the pre season.. If he doesn’t start making the bench this year he may as well give up the arsenal.

  67. Red Arse says:

    D98,

    Fair enough. :-)

  68. goonermichael says:

    Great post Rasp. If there is a top four in terms of transfers we are mid table.

  69. goonermichael says:

    Going back to RA’s earlier point. Why when other teams have transfer budgets do they not include wages? If you buy a player the wages are spread over the next 5 years so why should that come out of this years budget?

  70. Gooner In Exile says:

    Arsenal.com reoprting that Sunderland have signed Roarie Deacon on 1 year deal after we released him….(another one for the leavers list)

  71. Gooner In Exile says:

    And Dennis has the Asst Managers job at Ajax

  72. goonermichael says:

    I hope murray gets humiliated topday and haye gets knocked senseless on Saturday.

  73. dandan says:

    A wish for those who feel frustrated or down in the dumps.

    I wish I was a glow worm,
    A glow worm’s never glum.
    ‘Cos how can you be grumpy
    When the sun shines out your bum!

  74. goonermichael says:

    Wenger is gay! Great name. How old are you?

  75. Gooner in Exile says:

    I assume he means in the happy outlook sense :)

  76. goonermichael says:

    In a teddy bears picnic way GiE

  77. Rasp says:

    Hi all,

    I don’t know if poeple are deliberately misinterpretting the post or if they haven’t read and understood it fully. I am not asking for us to spend beyond our means – show me where I have said that?

    I am asking for us adjust our policy and instead of collecting players in the £10-12m bracket, sell those players we don’t need, reduce the wage bill and buy what we can afford at the next level = the finished article and proven circa £20m who are of first team quality. Our wage bill is disproportional to the amount we spend on players in comparison with other top clubs, we need to redress that balance.

  78. goonermichael says:

    I totally agreed with your post Rasp

  79. Rasp says:

    Sid,

    I’m sorry f you feel disappointed with the site, I am one of 39 authors, most of whom I’m sure would write a post closer to your taste – or better still, why don’t you add your name to the list and write an article telling me why I’m wrong.

    What I am not, is a fly-by-night who is influenced by anything I read on other blogs or the internet. I go to games, speak to fellow supporters and have contacts with one or two people very close to the club.

  80. Rasp says:

    Hi gm,

    Thanks, I am not trying to start a riot or convert anyone and I certainly don’t want to offer a platform to bloggers who just want to slate the players or the manager.

    We have some very promising youngsters coming through and most of the first team (when fit) are already good enough, but if we lose 3 first team regulars, we need to pay the money for the best quality replacements we can afford and fund this by letting others go even if we don’t get a huge price (why are we keeping Rosicky?) at least we’ll reduce the wage bill.

  81. Arseniel says:

    Come on guys. Let’s keep it mature and intelligent. I have thoroughly enjoyed this debate today. All opinions are really important. This wouldn’t be half as interesting as it has been today without everybody’s input. We’re not setting rules out for the world but just expressing our thoughts….right?!

  82. Rasp says:

    Hi Arsenial,

    Thanks for your contribution today and also to Double98 who I also thought wrote very intelligently. I hope you choose to come on regularly and please be aware that you also would be most welcome to write an article for the site if you have anything you want to get off your chest – or just to express your love for the Arsenal etc.

  83. goonermichael says:

    Rasp
    We fell short last season so we need to strengthen. To me that means adding to what we’ve got. If we lose players too we need to replace them and still add.

    We don’t know for sure if Cesc and Nasri will definitely go but if they do we need to replace them as they are both important players for us

  84. Rasp says:

    I agree gm, it may be that Cesc and Nasri both stay, I’d be delighted if they did as long as they were committed to Arsenal. All I am saying is that we need to look at players a level above the usual targets if we are gong to strengthen the squad and therefore improve as a team.

  85. goonermichael says:

    I’m quite excited about Gervinho though Rasp. He looks strong and doesn’t mind shooting

  86. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rasp and GM,
    You both talk alot of sense.
    I like a bit of old romance, but without doubt there is some coffee to be smelt!

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, I agree with previous bloggers your post has led to some healthy debate today. I think yesterday you said something like “I am sick to the stomach with the prospect of losing our key players to our competitors”. Whether we will become a feeder club to other Top teams, and then not replace those with quality/proven players – leading to us being pounded out of the top 4 – remains to be seen.

    But it is a posibility, and you clearly feel this might happen if a) the likes of Cesc, Nasri and Clichy leave and b) we replace them with £10-12m new players. This scenario is shared by many Gooners, and you were right to put it in a post today :)

  88. London says:

    Hi Rasp

    I think you may have hit on one of the corner stones that divide the views of so many supporters: you write above that you would like us to move from the 10-12mil pond we have been fishing in for so long to the finished article of around 20mil.

    I reckon a lot of people think this and understandably believe it to be a reasonable request but from my view point it is flawed.

    There is no such thing a 20mil finished article pond that dried up long ago and the only fish that are left would not be better than we already have.

    There are only two ponds worth fishing in and that is the 10-12mil or the 50mil.

    And there my friend in a nut shell is the whole basis of why I support the way the board and Wenger do business.

  89. Rasp says:

    Thanks TA,

    I think the site should not fear discussing any topic or any well presented expression of opinion, I spend a fair bit of time defending bloggers with whom I disagree – it’s that old chestnut “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (Voltaire?)

    Micky,
    I’ve been missing your rapier pythonesque wit lately – is everything OK?

  90. Rasp says:

    Hi London,

    You may be right, but it is reasonable to assume that a £20m player should be closer to the finished article than a £12m player don’t you think? Would you rather have Samba for £12m or Cahill for £18m?

  91. Red Arse says:

    London,

    Fascinating turns of phrase in your 5:34. :-)

    Let me say from the outset that I agree with your sentiment as expressed in the final sentence, regarding the way AW and the Board do business!

    What made your comment outstanding was the artful mixture of synonyms. You started with ‘corner stones’, moved on to ‘fish’ and ‘ponds’ for a while and then launched the coup de grace with your ‘nut shell’ clincher. And you made it make perfect sense! :-)

  92. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    I will let you into a secret: None of the players we are linked with flip my top; ring my bell; or toot my flute! (London has got me going! :-) )

    We all seem happy to accept the Samba, Cahill or Alvarez.

    Not me, I am afraid. Sorry. :-(

  93. kelsey says:

    Some of us on here are a lot older than other though not necessarilly wiser but we have a different perspective on all things Arsenal say to those who started supporting the club since Wenger arrived and to a degree they have been very lucky but are usually the first to critisize when we hit a wobbly patch.
    I have changed my views a lot since I first started blogging.

    in life I worry about anything or everything and if I don’t have anything to worry about I worry about that :)

    I try and be positive yet there is absolutely no harm in being critical sometimes about a certain player or game but that will never ever interfere with my love and support for Arsenal.

    It is very easy to slate players and managers behind the comfort of a PC and then literally run away.The internet is a very powerful tool and idle gossip about players from a “source” can spread like wild fly until eventually many beleve what has ben said or misquoted.
    Sorry my spelling is shite.

  94. Rasp says:

    Hi kelsey,

    I’m confused as to who was your last comment directed at – or was it just rhetorical?

  95. Rasp says:

    Hi RA,

    No worries, I understand your point. If London is right and there is nothing worth buying between 12 and 50m then we’re in trouble. I think Benzema would be around 25m and the Brazillian who chelsea bought was about 23m so I’m hopeful there are players avaialble at the upper limit of our pocket.

    Out of interest, who would you like to see brought in?

  96. Red Arse says:

    Hi Kelsey, :-)

    I suspect you were making a general comment which I agree with.

    I often change my mind too, in the light of new information or clarification being given.

    The web definitely allows us all to communicate very easily and it also allows us to make comments that might not be wise on a ‘face to face’ basis.

  97. kelsey says:

    It was a general comment Rasp

  98. Red Arse says:

    Rasp,

    You have already hit the nail on the head. I would have started with Benzema (he has already said he wants to stay at Madrid, of course).

    Then if we are going to buy a GK, as some rumours insist, I would go for Stekhlenberg.

    Midfield I would go for Shweinsteiger, and finally at CB I would go for Kjaer.

    All too expensive, so it won’t happen! :-)

  99. gunnerN5 says:

    For the life of me I simply cannot understand why any of you consider this to be “intelligent” conversation.

    Most of what I’m reading is here is speculation based on the “what ifs” from news media (and blogs) who want to create readership by wild headlines and contrived “facts”

    There are no facts to deal with – the only true fact is we know nothing now and we will not know anything until Arsenal make their moves.

  100. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    As I have been on the blog today, your comment “For the life of me I simply cannot understand why any of you consider this to be “intelligent” conversation” must include me.

    My comment at 12:58 covers the point you are making,
    ” Earlier I commended the Rasper for writing a Post that encouraged debate and he has certainly succeeded.

    Let’s face it, most (all?) of us are lured into having views, sometimes strong views, about the current transfer activity, or lack of it, based on limited knowledge of the actual facts, but that doesn’t stop us, does it?

    Being aware of this simple fact, I admit my own views are more influenced by logic and accepted good practice rather than futile surmise and self-perpetuating rumour. I’m therefore a bit boring as a result!”

    So, not necessarily ‘intelligent’, but already covers the ‘lack of facts’ point, but admits that fans love to talk and speculate about anything Arsenal.

    What’s wrong with that. And why does that make me unintelligent?

  101. dandan says:

    Rasp. Many of our great players as I said earlier were bought below the radar and I see no reason why AW with his contacts should not continue so to do.

    So I therefor agree with London,

    However I find the hugely negative vibes emanating from some fans extremely revealing, given these are in many cases the same fans who having accused our squad of lacking fight, now appear to have capitulated on next season already. Not because they have concrete knowledge of the final shape of this years squad, but because they choose to believe the mindless drivel that dominates the media.Whilst at the same time swearing total loyalty to the club they profess to love

  102. gunnerN5 says:

    RA:

    You should note that I said “most of what I”m reading” not all of what I’m reading.

    I happen to agree with vast majority of your views.

    What gnaws at me is when people make speculative comments based on unsubstantiated news and then an all round debate ensues creating varying opinions based on nothing………….

  103. dandan says:

    RA and GN it would seem we are in accord. :-)

  104. TotalArsenal says:

    Time for a bit of evening poetry.

    Lost In The Forest (Pablo Neruda)

    Lost in the forest, I broke off a dark twig
    and lifted its whisper to my thirsty lips:
    maybe it was the voice of the rain crying,
    a cracked bell, or a torn heart.

    Something from far off it seemed
    deep and secret to me, hidden by the earth,
    a shout muffled by huge autumns,
    by the moist half-open darkness of the leaves.

    Wakening from the dreaming forest there, the hazel-sprig
    sang under my tongue, its drifting fragrance
    climbed up through my conscious mind

    as if suddenly the roots I had left behind
    cried out to me, the land I had lost with my childhood–
    and I stopped, wounded by the wandering scent.

  105. goonermichael says:

    gunnerN5
    We are actually talking about our recent past record in the transfer market compared to the other “big or top 4″ teams. That’s really the gist of it.

  106. goonermichael says:

    I’m so glad murray is being battered

  107. Red Arse says:

    Hi GN5, :-)

    Sorry if I came over a bit strong. I was trying to point out that I agree with you, and had earlier broached the topic of some fans discussing the gamut of rumours as if they were true.

    I have no problem with idle speculation, as long as the parties involved realise that’s all it is. :-)

    Dandan, we are as one! (or 3, in this case) :-)

    Hi TA, :-)

    Love the poem, not that I had seen it previously. I suspect it is a translation from the author’s native language as the English though apposite seems a little tortuous! Maybe I am wrong! :-)

  108. gunnerN5 says:

    I asked my gym instructor if he could teach me to do the splits.
    He asked how flexible I was
    I said I can’t make Tuesday’s

  109. goonermichael says:

    That’s good gunnerN5

  110. gunnerN5 says:

    I started to play the piano when an elephant burst into tears.
    I asked if he recognized the tune
    He said no – the ivory.

  111. dandan says:

    LOL GN 5 Love it :-)

  112. Red Arse says:

    GN5,

    Your quips are always excellent! :-)

  113. gunnerN5 says:

    I saw a guy chatting up a cheetah.
    I thought he’s trying to pull a fast one………

  114. gunnerN5 says:

    You know what really makes me laugh – is when I try to pack myself into a small suitcase.
    I can hardly contain myself………

  115. SharkeySure says:

    Fair do’s Rasp, thats a very good read, but you just can’t ignore the fact that many players are only out to line their pockets*. One of the best examples was Lucas Neill turning down CL football with Liverpool to sign for West Ham.

    The amount of money being thrown around at the moment is making a mockery of the game we all love. How can it be right that a club can have up to £100m worth of subs on the bench..?? ‘Talent’ like that should be starting games at another club.

    Berbatov at £32m watched the CL Final from the stands. Adebayor at £25m is unwanted by his ow clubm, his loan club, and most probably many other clubs due to his £130k pw salary. 5 yrs ago he would have been on £5k pw tops back in France!

    *Having said that I do believe that Cesc is a special case.

  116. evonne says:

    GN5 – the suitcase gag is great :)

    GM – why?? What have you got against the lad? It’s not his Scottish heritage, is it?

    We still haven’t sold anyone :) The Arsenal exodus my ar*e

    Sharkey xx

  117. Rasp says:

    Sharkey,

    Point No.1 of my 3 was …. we are being outpriced, so I agree you that with Nasri and probably Clichy too, it is mostly about the money, I wouldn’t be so sure with Cesc though

    GN5,…. “For the life of me I simply cannot understand why any of you consider this to be “intelligent” conversation” – that’s just plain rude.

  118. Gooner in Exile says:

    The problem is GN5 that we can’t put allegedly amongst all our comments well we could but I guess most of us assume it.

    I am rarely moved to discuss these rumours but it’s a valid debate based on noises heard.

    We can’t pick and choose the speculation to believe. We either say none of it’s true or all of it is.

    If we believe Cesc is off and we’re getting Gervinho and Cahill or Samba on the basis of media rumour we have to believe Clichy and Nasri are off to. If they’re not going what makes people sure Gervinho is coming

  119. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, yes the sonnet is a translation from Spanish, and it is one of the 100 love sonnets written by Neruda. I am sure it is even more beautiful in Spanish, a language I do not speak at all, but hope to learn one day (am jealous of London :) )

    This is from Wikipedia:

    Cien Sonetos de Amor (100 Love Sonnets) is a collection of sonnets written by the Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda between 1955-1957 that were originally published by Editorial Losada, S.A., Buenos Aires in 1960. Neruda dedicated the sonnets to his beloved wife Matilde Urrutia who died in January 1985. The collection of sonnets are divided into the four stages of the day: morning, afternoon, evening and night.

  120. evonne says:

    I’ve started a spreadsheet with all the ‘certain’ moves. Anybody that I missed from June speculations?
    In Out
    June Cahill Cesc
    Samba Nasri
    Gervinho Clichy
    Alvarez NicB
    PV4
    Joey Bartley

  121. evonne says:

    Damn, that format looks awful, sorry, looked better in draft :(

  122. You need to put some dashes between the words to create columns like this

    In———– Out

    If you do it again I’ll delete your first one

  123. SharkeySure says:

    Love you too ETL

  124. SharkeySure says:

    Rasp, I already noted Cesc as the exception

  125. Rasp says:

    Yes I know sharkey, I was agreeing with you :)

  126. Why is it that some bloggers feel the need to be the ‘right ones’ when others just want to state their point of view and they don’t agree?

    No-one is right, no-one knows what is going to happen, it’s just a discussion. Some of us feel that the writing is on the wall and our recent history of transfers is an indication of how this one will go too and others of you are hoping that this transfer window will be different.

    In truth, we just have to wait and see but here we have a platform to air our views and it’s entirely wrong of anyone to question the right of another blogger to have an opinion.

  127. Hi Rasp – hard day? :)

  128. Rasp says:

    Hi peaches, yes, it seems that my passion for allowing others to express their views irrespective of whether I agree is not reciprocated by some.

    It would indeed be a wonderful world if we could produce a blog that fulfilled everyone’s personal requirements. I am more than happy with responses such as those from London that offer a well argued contrary view, I am less happy with those who are critical of what they perceive as the way I think.

  129. SharkeySure says:

    No worries Rasp,

    Vermaelen to LB…?? I hope so.

    I’d hate to see Kozzer mostly getting spllinters next season cos shiny new signings, who are no better then him, take his place. Bollox to that.

    Is Cahill actually any good..?? I’ve not seen a lot of him, but I just don’t see how a Bolton CB with a year left on his contract is supposed to be worth £17m..??

    He is Englands 5th or 6th choice CB, even after Carragher’s retirement and Woodgate’s ‘demise’ !!

  130. Does anyone want to write a post for tomorrow offering an alternate view to Rasp’s post today? It doesn’t have to be very long, just something to start the discussion – we have a post in waiting but I just thought I’d offer it out there ……….

  131. Hi Sharkey

    We need another centre-back …………. I agree with you that Kosser should not be demoted to the bench and that if Cahill was any good the manks would have snitched him by now surely. So, what do we do? I’m convinced that we should have taken Samba in January but if we take him now does he walk straight into the team?

  132. Rasp says:

    Thanks Sharkey,

    I don’t have a strong feeling about Cahill either way, but it would appear that we are interested in him. Most of the analysts I have read prefer him to Samba as he is considered a better footballer, but like you, I admire Samba’s physical presence and battling spirit so perhaps a comparison between those two is not a good example. I think either would improve our defence – at least against set pieces.

  133. …….. but only because they already know how to defend!!!!!!!!!!!

  134. SharkeySure says:

    Samba and Kosser, with Tommy at LB.. would do for me.

    At RB Sagna has decent energy up and down the flank without being spectacular, but first and foremost he is known for his resolute defending. We need the same mentality at LB.

    With a back four like that you have to believe that defensively we would have to improve. I guess its still a question of how much do we lose offensively as a consequence…??

    I think there’s plenty of scope for a trade that brings areal net benefit. I’d happily trade our 4-2 wins for 2-0′ wins, and our 2-2 draws for 1-0 wins.

    Thats not withstanding playing more offensive FBs at home against teams who park the bus. Lets start adjusting our first 11 on any given day to better suit the opposition we face.

  135. SharkeySure says:

    Hey PeachySue. Hope things are settling down on the madhouse front.

    Mailed you about something. Its nowt too important or urgent

    Nite all

  136. Thanks SS, I’ve dealt with it already ;) Nite

  137. Rasp says:

    G’nite Sharkey

  138. Jamie says:

    Watch the “crying” episode of fools and horses. It doesn’t matter how bad the transfer window gets. You will still laugh your head off.

  139. We definitely should be looking towards being tighter at the back.

  140. Rasp says:

    I wonder if Vermaelen would be happy to play left back? I think he would make a good DM – actually he has already proved he can play that role when with Ajax. We know he has an excellent shot, but I’m not sure what his crossing is like if he’s a LB.

  141. So, why would we let Clichy go? You’re right Rasp, I don’t think Vermaelen is the answer at left-back ……………

    What do you think about Baines?

  142. Rasp says:

    Peaches, we have to let Clichy go now or risk losing him for nothing in a year’s time – same with Nasri.

    I’d be happy to have TV at eft back if he was comfortable in the position and has all the qualities necessary, but I agree that a proper LB may be the better option. I quite like Jose Enrique from Newcastle, he’s very quick – but who knows whether he’s available?

  143. gunnerN5 says:

    Rasp:

    What is really rude and bloody annoying is you trying desperately to protect your unspecified ethos on this site.

    You constantly berate, and delete posts from newbies for crossing your precious ethos line yet by the same token you ignore it when your inside group make BLACK CUNT comments and use the word FUCKING in headline posts.

    EXPLAIN THAT TO US NEWBIES………..

    Frankly I don’t give a damn about your ethos – all I care about is fair and equal play for everybody and that does not exist here…………

    By the way my motto is to love thy neighbour.
    Mine happens to be an eighteen year old hooker…………….

  144. Gooner in Exile says:

    GN5 I think that’s a little strong. But you are of course entitled to your opinion.

    I would really like to see our back four concentrate on their defensive duties first I’d be happy with two full backs who didn’t have to commit forward to support the attack all the time.

    As a suggestion for an extra CB assuming TV and Kosser are our first choice why are Djourou and Bartley not good enough? Bartley offers height and physicality and has a season in the Championship/SP under his belt. That’s 4 centre backs plus Song/Sag/Squilli as extra cover if desperate not forgetting young Miquel.

    I think what we missed more than anything in the second half of the season was a player to unlock the two banks of four. Those 0-0 draws will live long in the memory, without Cesc we were devoid of that key ingredient to our forward play. Nasri or Wilshere have the potential for that role, Ramsay for me is more direct and a old fashioned box to box midfielder. So we could do with another option in that area in my opinion.

    East Lower made a very good point on Twitter this morning, choose two all time Arsenal XIs now look at them if neither contain Clichy or Nasri what are we really worried about.

  145. gunnerN5 says:

    Rasp:

    Kindly explain to me what intelligence is required to debate rumour and hyperbole as though they were real facts.

    I am all for a meaningful discussion but I refuse to get involved in debating red top rumours.

    Your headline today was pure red top – designed to get hits – and nothing else. You also designed your article to get hits – the article it`s self was nothing more than you creating an argument and then responding to it yourself.

    Why not stay true your ethos and keep away from dramatics and stick with facts.

    That would create ethos……………………….

  146. gunnerN5 says:

    Cheers GIE — all I want to see is the same rules (ethos) applied to all posters – and that does not exist here…………

  147. Jamie says:

    I’m a newby and a fan of gunnern5. Never found anything offensive about you.

    On the other hand i have never found rasp to be anything other than encouraging. He let’s me put terrible titles on my articles and doesn’t care if we don’t get any hits! That shows some spine. They are very bad titles !

    They removed the dodgy post you are on about last weekend and the person responsible requested it . I don’t think it was meant or fully understood.

    I like the sound of your neighbour!

  148. gunnerN5 says:

    Jamie:

    As long as you agree with the incumbents you are acceptable.

    However when you are a disagreeable curmudgeon like myself you become unacceptable and very soon become ostracized…………

    So the ethos is to keep your opinions tro yourself.

  149. gunnerN5 says:

    Jamie:

    However the good thing about this site is that that allow me to be disagreeable.

    Rasp being the exception to the rule.

  150. Jamie says:

    I like it here, stick around dude!

  151. Gary says:

    @Rasp What a load of crap. I cannot believe you lot – claiming to be Arsenal fans. You say in one of your comments: I know that both Cesc and Nasri have asked for Arsenal to sign quality players before they decided they wanted to leave and I believe that our failure to do just that has played a part in their decision to look elsewhere.. How the hell do you know that? Because you have read it in the sun or daily fail? I challenge you – produce one bit of evidence to prove that you really know that that statement is the truth. Perhaps Nasri’s agent has said something like this – but you don’t even know that that is really Nasri’s attitude and that he is not simply using that to make him looking better for being a “whore”, if that is what he is doing. I am not English, so perhaps that explains why I cannot understand so many Arsenal fans freaking out over rumours and gossip, most of it a bunch of lies – is it something in your dna?

  152. dandan says:

    From todays Times.

    Arsenal have instructed Cesc Fàbregas to report for pre-season training on Tuesday despite continuing to negotiate with Barcelona over the sale of their captain.

    The players are due to return in a staggered manner over three days next week depending on their personal fitness programmes, with Fàbregas in the first group expected back as a result of missing the end of last season with a thigh injury.

    Fàbregas has spent the past few days on holiday in Catalonia and is hoping a quick agreement can be reached to prevent him having to return to London, but Arsenal will not weaken their position by making life easy.

    The 24-year-old is equally reluctant to rock the boat by speaking out publicly and is prepared to play the “long game”, if necessary, by returning to training without complaint.

    Arsène Wenger will make one last attempt to persuade Fàbregas to stay — particularly if he can secure some big-name signings in the next few days — but the club’s stance has altered significantly since last summer, when they issued a statement insisting they would not even enter into negotiations.

    On this occasion, however, Arsenal’s prime concern is obtaining the best price for a player whom they value at the £40 million that they rejected last summer. Barcelona’s opening offer was £27 million.

    Wenger warned yesterday that an imminent agreement is unlikely, although by revealing that Arsenal will need to strengthen at the end of the month, the suggestion is that Fàbregas’s departure is inevitable.

    “We are in a waiting period,” Wenger said. “Everybody has their cards in their hands, hoping for the big transfer. There is nothing moving yet.”

    Gaël Clichy will not be returning to Arsenal next week after the club accepted a £7 million bid from Manchester City yesterday. The defender will have a medical at City on Monday before becoming Roberto Mancini’s first signing of the summer.

    Arsenal are adamant they have not received an offer for Samir Nasri from either City or Manchester United, who have both expressed an interest in the France midfield player.

    Chelsea are also believed to be monitoring the 24-year-old’s situation should they fail in their attempts to lure Luka Modric, the Crotia midfield player, from Tottenham Hotspur.

    Nasri is due to return to Arsenal on Wednesday and the club remain hopeful that he can be persuaded to sign a new contract, which could be facilitated by offloading Fàbregas’s wages.

    Nasri also wants confirmation that Arsenal are still able to compete to sign the world’s best players, although it is unclear whether he sees Gervinho in that category. The Ivory Coast striker is expected to become Arsenal’s second signing of the summer when he completes an £11 million move from Lille.

    Gervinho is not short of confidence and expressed the belief yesterday that he will break into Arsenal’s first team and end their six-year wait for a trophy. The 24-year-old has agreed a four-year deal with £60,000-a-week wages, and is likely to sign on Monday.

    “There are only a few loose ends to tie up and they should not take long,” he said. “I’m going to London. At Arsenal the team is young and I will be able to integrate easily. I will be able to flourish over there.

    “Marouane Chamakh is not a worry for me, so why compare? I am going to the Gunners to play. I will be in the game. I am going to play to the maximum and not to be on the bench.

    “Arsenal love to play, and I love teams that love to play. The best risk to take is to look to score goals. In football you have to take risks if you want to win. I’m going to Arsenal to win.”

  153. London says:

    Rasp.

    After quite a few seasons of blogging with you now I know that what you write comes from the heart and not for the hits. I couldn’t come up with anything to write so I salute you for having the courage to do so yourself. Yesterday was one of the best day’s debates we have had on the site in a while and, although, as you know, I don’t agree with everything you write I feel that it is important to acknowledge that was a bloody good post, so respect from a fellow gooner.

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    G5,
    I used to be a regular blogger on LeGrove. Then I came around to disagreeing with the way the site was run for a number of reasons, but I’ll tell you what, I would never attack Geoff or Pedro for a number of reasons. One, it is their site. Two, they put a lot of time and effort into it. Three, whatever else, they are 100% Gooners. Four, if you don’t like it, clear off.
    The real danger is that ultimately someone like Rasp will think “to hell with it” and shut down. Criticism is something most adults can take, but your attack was personal, unwarranted and plain rude.
    I know what I would do if I were you.

  155. London says:

    Dandan

    That is an interesting article but it smacks of rumour (Clichy having medical on Monday) being given credibility by facts (Arsenal return to training on Wednesday). If Clichy has a medical I will eat my red and white scarf, I find it so hard to believe that City would actually want him; but, if he does go he will be going in the same way as Toure and Adebayor went and it is my firm belief that they both went with Wenger’s blessing.

  156. Gooner in Exile says:

    After reading that DanDan I headed off to BBC website and looked at the rumour mill.

    Now what struck me is everyone we have allegedly had an interest in is now the target of someone else. So I begun thinking are we just throwing up smoke screens to avoid our true targets becoming known?

    How long did we know about TV5 before he arrived?

    Another thought struck me was how our perceived lack of funds leads to us getting good prices for our targets rather than being held to ransom in a public auction like City and Chelsea are.

  157. London says:

    Morning GIE

    I think that is one of the reasons manu seem to able to act quickly in the transfers market, that’s to say there is no point in them pleading poverty in an attempt to reduce the price. We on the other hand can do that, deals might take a bit longer but we get better value. This idea may annoy some supporters but it is exactly the way Barcelona do business, if there is truth in the Fabregas leaving rumour just look how they have been pleading poverty in an attempt to reduce the price.

  158. evonne says:

    Good morning Rasp
    I hope that you will not be put off by that singular attack on your integrity yesterday. Your blog is by far the best and the fact that both you and Peaches go out of your way to entertain us every day with a new post is formidable. My gratitude is immense.

    Keep up the good work mate
    Thank you

  159. dandan says:

    Morning GIE Your post underlines exactly why I keep saying we know nothing at present and will not know enough before the league season starts to really make any coherent comment. Personally I believe we will lose those three main players, but who is incoming and how that will interact with the squad is at the moment in the lap of the gods.

    Evonne. If any of my comments yesterday were taken as an attack on Rasp then let me make it clear they were not, he and Peaches work damn hard to keep the site running. that being said yesterdays article did polarize the posters and produced probably a more violent response than I guess Rasp expected. That will happen with perceived contentious subjects but should not cause Authors not to publish, for as in yesterday’s case there is normally as much support as there is disagreement.

  160. Rasp says:

    Morning all thanks for your messages of support.

    GN5, your comment @ 12:53

    I quote………”What is really rude and bloody annoying is you trying desperately to protect your unspecified ethos on this site.”

    The ethos of the site is clearly and concisely explained in a ‘About AA’ at the top of the page. It is apparent that you either haven’t read it or chose to ignore it as you have contravened most of the stipulations in the last 24 hours

    Next you say…..”You constantly berate, and delete posts from newbies for crossing your precious ethos line yet by the same token you ignore it when your inside group make B**CK C**T comments and use the word F**KING in headline posts.”

    Incorrect on all counts. Those words may have appeared on the site for as long as it took for dandan to delete them – they were not endorsed or condoned. I rarely delete comments and when I do it is after a polite warning (not beration) or because someone is being abusive towards other bloggers or the club and /or players.

    ………”EXPLAIN THAT TO US NEWBIES………..”
    I do, and have and hopefully they will understand it better than you

    ……”Frankly I don’t give a damn about your ethos – all I care about is fair and equal play for everybody and that does not exist here…………”

    Of all the points you make this takes the biscuit. It is a laughable misrepresentation of what we do. You are the one who has sought to stifle and censor yesterday’s debate with unpleasant and unnecessary comments – isn’t it better just to keep quiet if there is something you don’t like?

    You clearly have a persecution complex and revel in the role of the outsider. I have put a lot of work into the posts you have submitted and welcomed you to the site unreservedly. You on the other hand snipe and complain when something is produced that does not conform to your very narrow requirements. We can see that you ‘don’t give a damn’ and frankly it is getting very boring.

  161. Rasp says:

    Morning dandan,

    Nothing you wrote yesterday offended me or was contrary to our ‘relaxed’ rules. You are a gentleman and a friend and we were just expressing our well doucumented views in our individual styles in the form of healthy debate and banter – don’t give it a second thought.

  162. Morning all

    If anyone has any doubts about the ethos of the site they should re-read the ‘About AA’ button at the top of the page.

    GunnerN5 has already fallen out with the site on several occasions and this may have been the final nail in his coffin. He doesn’t have to blog here.

  163. dandan says:

    Actually Rasp that did appear, but I acted on my own judgement and deleted the post, It was however published as part of a joke and not as an explicit comment

  164. Darn it, he got there before me ;)

    Morning Rasp :P

  165. MickyDidIt89 says:

    There may well be much, much bigger fish to fry today. Well, shellfish to be precise. Yesterday my new lobster pots went into battle for the first time. Low tide today, we are off to retrieve. It is possible that there is going to be some serious bragging later.

  166. Rasp says:

    Thanks dandan, I was unaware, but the fact that you deleted it means that we were true to our ethos.

    By letting comments come straight on without first going into moderation (as happens on most of the other stes) we run the risk of unpleasant stuff being on view for a while before it is removed, but that is a risk worth taking and since we are very open and are lucky to have many responsible administrators, I hope it can remain that way.

    The poiint is that those words that GN5 allegted were ‘allowed’ were categorically not acceptable and you took the appropriate action.

  167. Oh Micky, I want to come and retrieve lobsters

  168. Rasp says:

    BTW, morning peaches, Micky, London, Evonne, dandan, GiE and apologies to anyone I’ve missed :P

    I’m just out to mow the lawn, will check in regularly.

  169. Thanks dandan, I wondered who had deleted it, I got a tip off but it was gone once I’d got to the pc.

  170. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Peaches,
    You are welcome any time.
    Our old fashioned style Bell Tent goes up today, along with rugs and cushions. “Glamping” as my wife calls it! Boogey on down!

  171. Jamie says:

    It’s all got a bit heated. I was quite surprised at my balance view in the early hours. Especially consindering the consumption of a shed load of beer and vodka.

    Just goes to prove that your actions when drunk are not always daft. Though my current indigestion tells me that there may have been more than one take away on the way home.

  172. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Okedoke, away. Happy day one and all.

  173. Rasp says:

    Morning Jamie, hopefully the ‘heat’ is subsiding in the cold light of day :)

  174. dandan says:

    Peaches I do think a Lady of your experience should be more careful, whose lobster you offer to retrieve you could well end up grabbing more than you bargained for. :-)

    Not to suggest of course that our Mickey 89 would abuse you so :-)

  175. Jamie – you sound like you live life to the full and you get up early too ;)

    Seems Real Madrid are putting in a bid for our Cesc too – £45m will be on the table. Now that is just plain silly, why on earth would Real think that Cesc would want to go there? It’s like the scum bidding for Thierry Henry

  176. Well said dandan – I shall be more careful in future :lol:

  177. Jamie says:

    Indeed not much heat about this morning and neither should there be. The only heat going involves my indigestion. I suspect it involved fried chicken and kebab.

  178. harry says:

    Morning Fellow AAers’ how are you all? So busy with Work at the moment, wish I had more time to converse with you fine people on here, most notably Rasp, whom I had much respect for, in the way he communicates his passion for our beloved Arsenal……..

    I could feel the heart strings pulling in that article Rasp, unfortunately some cannot see that and go off at tangents…..

    Realistically none of us truly know whats been said and truly whats happening, we survive off scraps from SSN, Talksport and other media outlets……

    Life in general is about reading between the lines in so many ways, I agree with some that Knee Jerk reactions to tabloid tittle tattle doesnt help, unfortunately Wengers silence which he has used to great affect over the years, alllows poetic lience to embelish and fluff the edges of rumours……

    With the now added social networks like twitter, FB and the fans blogs, rumours and counter rumours spread faster than STD’s in the Giggs Family………..

    But that all said, the connotations intertwined within your article are more than fair and reasonable to suggest…..

    Its people like Adrian Durham who go to far for me when there is still 4 or 5 weeks left, citing a mass crisis and statements like “Wenger is a modern day clough who has lost touch with the football game of the modern era and he will end up taking Arsenal down.”

    ( I know I shouldnt listen to Talksport, but when I am on the road driving, its my only outlet)

    For now I will hold my faith and get behind wenger (and Rasp), see what happens in the transfer window, see what our first line up will be and then see how they perform………Lets see where we are in Late october into November, then I will Judge wenger…………..

    I feel for him, he does seem out of luck with having been so close, he is now having to hold it altogether, without it totally unravelling…….

  179. evonne says:

    Harry – I listened to that chat too. They described Wenger as a tall man with short arms, too short to reach deep into the pockets. The cheek of them

    I watched a little bit of the ladies footy yesterday – English girls are doing better than the boys :) Personally, I don’t like female footy, but I must admit they are getting better at it. Is there future for mix teams? I doubt it

  180. harry says:

    Morning Evonne, yeah I was seething whilst listening to it, so much tripe, but to my surprise Darren Gough actually stood up for wenger and arsenal and felt this could be a shot in the arm that we need to spark back into contention…….

    Mixed football? never……….although there is a russian team of ladies playing in their bikinis to get the fans to come in, now that I could watch, shallow in I know, but i am male……..

  181. harry says:

    Having now read most of the comments from yesterday that had some football content…….

    I do not want to see TV5 at LB, just feel we wouldnt get the best out of him…

    I really would just pay everton what they want for Baines……….Gibbs isnt ready yet for “WiWo”……..

  182. harry says:

    The benefit of Real Madrid coming in with a better bid, may just aid us keeping cesc with us, long shot, but just maybe………..Under a long term contract with 3 years to push why should we accept 10million less…….?

  183. kelsey says:

    I would like to have my say openly on here but as I wear my heart on my sleeve I may offend yet another regular.

  184. Jamie says:

    Peaches – I am getting too old for living life to the full, that’s the problem.

    I need to get myself feeling better though because I’m going on a speed boat down the Thames later and I wouldn’t want to upset American tourists again.

  185. dandan says:

    LOL Wow Kelsey you are a naughty boy.. :-)

  186. Rasp says:

    kelsey,

    By all means speak/write from the heart, I’m sure you can get your point across without being offensive. We’re all intrigued as to what you want to say – so spill the beans!

  187. harry says:

    Quality Kelsey, how are thing with you?

    We all have the right to openly speak on here, the way i see it since I have been using this site, is dont get personal and dont insult, the only caveat in here is that if you want to slate wenger, justify it, which i think is the right way…….

  188. kelsey says:

    what happened to my joke :)

  189. Red Arse says:

    Morning all you lovely peeps! :-)

    Rasp, I admit that I love pulling your leg, but when it comes down to it;

    I VOTE THE RASPER FOR PRESIDENT!!!

  190. Red Arse says:

    I think GN5 writes very good articles, and his humour is very much my cup of tea. I just don’t understand why he has got a bee in his bonnet.

    Come on GN5 — say sorry to Rasp (who is a really decent and caring guy) —- and we can all blog happily together, with all our varied views!!

  191. Rasp says:

    Morning RA,

    Sorry, I’m too busy for President :lol:

  192. Red Arse says:

    Morning Kelsey, :-)

    I saw your joke before it was put to the sword! I loved it! And Dandan was right — you are a naughty boy! :-)

  193. kelsey says:

    In a recent survey, people who are Liverpol supporters have proved to be the most likely to have had sex in the shower!

    In the survey, carried out for leading toiletries firm ‘Brut’, a huge 86% of Liverpool supporters said that they have enjoyed sex in the shower.

    The other 14% said they hadn’t been to prison.

  194. aremess says:

    Well spoken Rasp,

    You have put into words the very thoughts that have been troubling me. I hate to say this, but I think we will be hard pressed to achieve anything this season, even CL.

    It is galling to watch the top teams making headway in the transfers market and we have yet to sign anyone of note. Another bad year in the offing, I fear.

    Aremess

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