Wenger is not very clever…….. – written by Rasp

……. No, he’s much better than that – the man’s a bloody genius!

I don’t know the figures, but I would guess that there would have been in excess of 50 players transferred to Premiership clubs last summer, yet I believe we have made the three best signings of all.

Obviously there is a team involved in securing transfers, but since Arsène shoulders all the blame from some quarters, I’m choosing to give him most of the credit. The scouts and Gazidis’ department will have played their part, but a manager who apparently scrutinised the minutiae of every detail in the building of the Emirates is sure to be the driving force behind such important matters as recruiting playing staff.

We have signed 3 players of real quality, in key positions and without competition for their signatures from any other top clubs. That is some feat. I wonder how many other managers would have been suitors had they seen the way these players have performed for Arsenal so far this season – I’m guessing plenty.

Taking the players in the order in which they were signed:

Marouane Chamakh

We’d been after Chamakh for more than a year and Arsène would no doubt have dearly loved to sign him last January, but he stuck to his principles and refused to pay the overinflated price Bordeaux slapped on the player. We secured his services on a free transfer in May this year.

Arsenal got the better deal. Clubs with lesser managers may see a limitless bank balance as the only route to success, but our boss likes to make the books balance. Chamakh played his part in the process by always saying he wanted to sign for us as I’m certain other clubs would have been interested if his agent had touted him on the open market.

Chamakh has all the attributes a manager could wish for in a front man. He works tirelessly, he can hold the ball up, his first touch is assured, he brings others into play, he is a good header of the ball and he can finish.  We’ve been lacking a ‘Chamakh’ for the last 3 seasons, and now we’ve signed the real thing.

Laurent Koscielny

This guy was the most controversial and criticized of our summer signings. A reported price tag of just under £8.5m was seen by many as too high a price for a virtual unknown from the second division of French football – I wonder how many who witnessed his performance against our London rivals would say that now.

My hope was that in time, he would turn into a player of Vermaelen’s calibre. I’m not normally the most patient of supporters; for once I haven’t needed to be. He gets better every game. He has made a couple of expensive gaffs but his reading of the game, timing of tackles and bravery has far outweighed the mistakes which I expect to disappear as he gains experience. His body language is completely different to when he took to the pitch against Barnet. He is as Arsène described, ‘a warrior’

Sébastien Squillaci

In some ways, this was my favourite signing of all. In stark contrast to my greeting of the news of the last minute deal for Mikaël Silvestre, this time, I was ecstatic. I hadn’t expected us to sign a player of Squillaci’s quality. Here we had a fully fledged 6’1” tall French international centre back plucked from Sevilla for the very reasonable sum of 4m euros. We all new we needed quality reinforcements in defence and here was our answer.

Squillaci has shown just what we have been lacking in recent years. He’s an experienced player who is a strong solid, no nonsense defender. More importantly, he’s a player who can rotate seamlessly with TV and Koscielny. He has hardly put a foot wrong on the pitch since joining us and already has an excellent understanding with the rest of the defence.

I’m tempted to suggest that the performances of Koscielny and Squillaci have contributed to Almunia’s confidence and his improved form so far this season. If that is the case and he maintains his current level, the fact that we didn’t sign a keeper over the summer will not be viewed as a major error.

No apologies

The headline to this article might be viewed by some as a cheap way of getting bloggers ‘clicking’. Well in this instance, I make no apology.

If you agree with the piece you won’t mind and if you disagree, at least I’ve made you consider how brilliantly well we’ve done – three top class players for a total of less than £12m. All are players in the Arsenal mould. They have enriched the squad to the point where we can withstand injuries to key players and still compete at the highest level.

125 Responses to Wenger is not very clever…….. – written by Rasp

  1. kelsey says:

    Morning all.

    A surprising positive post from you Rasp, well done,however I see a few flaws in what you have written..It is very early days and we have a really tough programme ahead,and though I agree that defensively we look stronger,and the fact that Almunia has had a reasonable start, if we really are going to win any silverware we need a first class keeper.I can live with the various injuries as we seem to have cover in most positions but I am confused yet again by Wenger’s blind spot, which is finding a keeper who is in keeping with a side chasing honours.

    Fabianski is just plain useless, as the commentary said on Tuesday night, he has jelly hands, yet we have a younger pole who is out of contract next June and is free to talk to other clubs this coming january.He is clearly unhappy at being demoted behind his fellow countryman,and the only explanation is that we will be in for another keeper in January, hopefully not Schwarzer.
    Gallas leaving was a blessing in disguise, he was certainly a trouble maker, and has a track record to prove it, and that in itself with the two new good acquisitions has given our defence more of a compact feel, and the real test will begin at Chelsea.

  2. Rasp says:

    Hi kesey – a surprisingly negative response from you 😉

    The main point (made in the first paragraph) is that I believe we have made the best signings of any club in the prem and we’ve done it on a modest budget by identifying talent that no other club had considered, and even better – the players we signed really wanted to play for Arsenal and didn’t come out with ‘of course it’s my dream to play for Barcelona but ….’

  3. Rasp says:

    ….. added to that, these guys aren’t the popular Arsenal stereotype of showboating French pansies, they are good honest, hard working tough as nails proper footballers and add steel to our game.

  4. kelsey says:

    I will keep with the negativity then ;).it is far too early to judge, though in principle I agree with a lot that you say.I was just looking at the broader picture.
    We have made possibly the best signings, but I get excited how players like Nasri and Wilshere and to an extent Song have progrssed .

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Fine post Rasp.

    What surprised me was the signing of another 3 French players when AW is a man who dislikes cliques in the dressing room. Perhaps his answer is to have a complete French speaking first team – Which is getting close to the truth !

    I am sure Almunia speaks French, Song, JD and Vermaelen certainly do as would RvP (the Dutch are so brilliant at language).

    Which leaves CF,AA, JW,TW, TR & NB – who are probably having French Lessons (no sniggering at the back) right now…

  6. SharkeySure says:

    Rasp….I agree, I posed lat night about Arsene’s last 3 signings being absolute gems. Thrown in Wilshires emergence and overall thats a great leap forward in quality for the squad.

    Radders, I think cliques are about more than just a common language, ie I cannot believe that Nasri would auto-clique(!!) with Gallas.

    Fabs best pals were Hleb and Big Phil…and funniest of all, Evra, Park Ji Sung and Tevez were suposedly inseparable at Utd !!

  7. Evo in Oz says:

    gday all, great article!

  8. futbal says:

    Rasp i cant agree more.kocielny has been the best defender in the league so far imo.no one reads the game better than him.TV5 is good but he lacks discipline sometimes ie against barca.compared to this time last season we look much comfortable at the back.teams will now have to find a plan b against us instead of their usual long ball strategy.

  9. 26may1989 says:

    Good post Rasp, the only thing I would add to it is to point to the footballing intelligence of each of our signings, they read the game extremely well.

    Very funny, Raddy! But I doubt Almunia or RvP do speak French, and Belgians’ attitude to their two main languages (French and Flemish) is surprising, many of them speak very little of the other. So I wouldn’t assume Vermaelen’s French is that great either.

    Kelsey, I think we all know that GK is the weak spot in the squad, something Fabianski usefully underlined for us against Spurs. Personally, once the club embarked on the process of recruiting a new keeper, I was upset that we didn’t make sure we got someone new in, becasue it felt like the worst of all worlds – no new keeper but undermine Almunia. I’m pleased Almunia has started well but would still like us to get someone new in. I just don’t want it to be Given or Schwarzer, they are not sufficiently better than Almunia. Stekelenburg, Reina or Akinfeev would be my preferences, and there must be others I don’t know well enough to make a call on.

    But one thing is clear: whatever Arsene may say for public consumption in order to support his players, Fabianski has to go.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Futbal. I am with Kelsey on this. To say Kos has made no mistakes would be an exaggeration. He was left for dead by Diouf and has been out of position more than once. But I do believe he will be a terrific signing.

    Of the two new boys I prefer Squid who is so efficient. He looks calm and composed and it is hard to believe he has only been with us for a month or two. I back him to be TV’s partner in the big games.

    SS. May I respectfully point out that the clique point was made in jest. However communication is invaluable and commonality in language highly important. If the vast majority are native French speakers it makes sense to educate the minority….. But we all know that Le Boss insists the players speak English

  11. Brendan says:

    Again – that is an excellent post and honestly one in the eye for some of the stuff spouted on Arsenal News Review over the last year. I really am getting sick of the bull shit.

    You really get the fact that Wenger picked up these guys for a song. Early days but quite frankly they all look top class players to me. When City or Real Madrid try to recruit similar quality players – they spend £120 million and then up selling them again in six months when they realise they got it wrong.. again.!! That is the stark reality. There is not a manager in the world who picks up the qulity Wenger does for the money. His eye for a player is simply staggering and defies reality. If Wenger had taken over at West Ham 14 years ago where would they be now. Honestly i would say more than likely bigger than Arsenal with better players and a new stadium.

    Moreover I couldn’t agree more. Wilshire got the paludits against Spurs and rightly so he was world class but Koscielny was on another planet. Honestly did the guy put a foot wrong.? He was like a better ball playing Carvalho at his very best. Simply outstanding. Redkanpp must have been looking at that Arsenal team and game thinking “how does he do it. What is his bloody secret. We are miles away from this kind of quality”.
    I was proud so very bloody proud.

  12. SharkeySure says:

    “whatever Arsene may say for public consumption ”

    So so true 26M. I just don’t get why so many bloggers don’t understand the basic psychology/kidology when Arsene speaks about his own players.

  13. London says:

    Still gloating

  14. London says:


    Wilshere looks like he is really going to struggle with that directive.

  15. London says:

    Superb post Rasp, an extremely enjoyable read and what’s more I agree whole heartedly……..

  16. London says:

    Brenden the thing you have to bear in mind about ANR is the writer is not an Arsenal supporter……..don’t bother going anywhere near it……by the way I enjoyed reading your comment.

  17. London says:

    It really was a stupid move by Bordeaux to try and ask for a ridiculous fee which they must have because I find it difficult to imagine that Arsenal didn’t offer six mil. He may have been worth more but by asking twice as much (I am obviously going on what I have readin the papers) was never going to happen.
    The result as we know is that we got him free.

  18. London says:


    The other thing I think you could have said about Chamakh is that he is a great role model for Vela and very importantly Bendtner. I mean Chamakh has seriously raised the bar as to the amount of work that will be required from our forwards.

  19. SharkeySure says:

    Radders….point taken, respectfully !

    My pick at CB would be Squid and Koz, its early days, but those two seem so hell bent on defending.

    Not wishinmg to slight The Verminator, but he does like a wander upfield…sometimes to our cost.

    Overall its a wonderful dilemna to have especially when you know most fans could happily pick any two of the three names out of a hat.

    The speed at which all three signings have settled in is truly amazing.

  20. London says:

    I feel like Gunnern5 here…posting comment after comment without reply.

    I still don’t understand why he got upset and disappeared.

    Hey Gunnern5 come back if you are reading, just move on, it’s only a blog after all.

  21. London says:

    Watching Koscielny on Tuesday I had a Vermaelen style conversion, the man was immaculate absolutely immaculate.

    I understand why some people have reservations….all will be revealed against Chelsea…..but I am expecting him to come out of that one with flying colours.

  22. Gadget says:

    Brilliant post!

    No need to apologies about the headline neither. I thing any one who visits this site no matter how infrequent would know there was something mischeivious about it.

  23. 26may1989 says:

    London, if you’re going to post 7 comments in about 10 minutes, what do you expect??! We can’t keep up….

  24. Carlito11 says:

    Morning all, Great positive post and one I find it hard to disagree with. London- you’re damn right! Hopefully all the understudies for Chamakh will see what’s needed in terms of workrate and movement- he could be our most important signing for years in terms of inspiration and leadership.

  25. SharkeySure says:

    Brendan…..great post, especially this bit – “What is his bloody secret. We are miles away from this kind of quality”

    London. I did the same thing last night, I had a lot to get off mi chest

  26. 26may1989 says:

    I hate ANR, have it blocked now, just full of self-important, patronising bullshit – “Today, why Myles knows best Part XIII; tomorrow, what I tought Arsene Wenger”.

    Sharkey, I think Vermaelen’s style of play, pressing opponents very high, works well, though it does depend on there being cover behind him. Koscielny appears to do something pretty similar.

    On signing Chamakh from Bourdeaux, allow me to take a slightly different line: had we paid a fee last season, we would have had Chamakh a year earlier, and given Eduardo’s failure to get going, with the benefit of hindsight we can see that not paying for Chamakh did contribute to where we finished. Not that I said so at the time, I thought Eduardo would do the business when van Persie got injured (as he was bound to).

    And London, I completely agree, Chelsea is going to be the big test for our new players, especially the defenders. Let’s see how they cope with Drogba, Malouda and Anelka. Chelsea are (it pains me to say) a great team, and the head says we’ll find it very, very hard to get anything from the match, but I’ve not felt as optimistic about facing the Chavs for a number of seasons.

  27. 26may1989 says:

    ****taught – what a dumbo I am….

  28. charybdis1966 says:

    London, just to help your “gloat mode” persist I was speaking to a spud who went to the game on Tuesday – he was next to our boys and he is now heartily sick of the Na-na-na-na-Nasri chant. He, like all, was blown away by Wilshire and he labelled Palacios as “fat & useless”, oh yeah, these are the good times.
    I know we shouldn’t laugh at other peoples discomfort, but due to the extra time and the closing of roads in N17 he had to take a night bus back home and he got in past midnight.

  29. 26may1989 says:

    Only eight weeks till we play Spurs again……

  30. Morning all

    Great post Rasp and not uncharacteristicly positive at all 😀 – when its good its good we all know that. It is amazing that our three new signings appear as if they’ve been playing with us for ever rather than just a few weeks.

  31. SharkeySure says:

    26M…I’m ok with him pressing the ball high, I just felt that occasionally he was too willing to leave his station in open play. There was a very good article on Zonal Marking about it.

    But you’re deffo right that its also about how well his team mates cover for him. I think thats where the Squid will prove invaluable.

    So I’m back to havng no clue who my preferred CB pairing is…thanks a bunch !!

  32. I loved the way Vermaelen often carried the play to the opposition last season – sometimes he was the only one doing it!!!!!!!!! I’m sure better organisation and communication at the back are the key here – speaking french is definitely the way forward 😆

  33. I’m still gloating – I listened sympathetically as a friend told me how he was also sitting right next to our supporters – “there were so many of them, how did they get so many tickets” – and left as the 2nd penalty was awarded.

    Also – had to listen how it wasn’t fair that we played almost our first team !!!!!!

    London – I’m sorry I missed your gloat-in yesterday, I was here in spirit.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    London. You have yet to tell us which site you referred to yesterday.

    Stilled thrilled by our victory. There is an excellent post on ACLF about it and the development of our squad.

  35. kelsey says:

    Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Oh ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    OK peaches.

    I am sure london was talking about ACLF. yes or no 😉

  36. Hi Raddy – you must miss being in London after a scum defeat

  37. kelsey says:

    Not one comment today about Djorou. For me the jury on Djorou is out.

    I also read that Vermaelen could be our next holding midfielder.

  38. London says:

    An ex professional writer, the site that Flint frequents more than others……

  39. Much better kelsey – we have to laugh about this for ages. This result goes into a separate box in my head.

  40. London says:

    It’s right that the jury is still out on Djourou and as far as I can see there is no need for it to come back before Christmas.

  41. Untold Arsenal? I can mention it, I’m a girl 😳

  42. 🙂 London

    The problem with leaving Djourou sitting in the wings is that we won’t know how good or bad he really is and may have to find out when there’s a serious problem.

    I think its worth bringing him on when we’re 4 up against teams like west brom at home with 20 minutes to go.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    You tease London !!

    You bet Peaches. Email is good but nothing beats a face to face piss take.

    Re. JD. Give the lad a break. It was his first full appearance since T Rex last appeared on Top of the Pops !

    He did OK and fine as our 4th choice CB.

  44. kelsey says:

    only 4-0 up with 20 minutes to go. You aren’t exactly a gambler are you peaches 😉

  45. SharkeySure says:

    “and left as the 2nd penalty was awarded”

    Peaches, a spud I know said the same thing. He was livid that they didn”t even wait long enough to see the kick taken!

  46. How rubbish are their supporters???????????

    Another friend’s son got caught up in the problems on the A10 and got into the ground late and also left as the pen was awarded.

  47. SharkeySure says:

    Agreed Radders, yeah he showed rustiness the other night, but he’ll do for fourth choice in my eyes

  48. Brendan says:

    I though Djourou was poor to be honest and well short tecnically and in timing just about everything. Unfortuntley the only downside to the entire evening for me. No doubting his commitement at all but he looked nervous, short of confidence and to be fair stood out like a sore thum in that Arsenal 11.

    I felt if it wasn’t for Djourou Arsenal would have been giving the spuds the Barcelona style lesson that we got last year. He was always the one that let them peek back into it albeit only a nose. If it had been Vermalen instead of Djouro that whole spurs team should have just stayed in the pub for the evening- they were that outclassed.

    Not sure what the future holds for Djourou particularily if the Vertongen rumors are true.

    ps – i think with this squad – and i dont think this is just blind optomisim – Barcelona would be in a serious football match. I for one would love to see Wilshire and Fabregas take on Xavi and Iniesta. Wouldn’t Wilshire just relish that one. 😉

  49. They were moaning about spending £50 on a ticket – I just don’t understand, they got to watch a masterclass in footballing skills and an extra 30 minutes at that – some people are never satisfied 🙄

  50. kelsey says:

    It is Untold Arsenal, and I will let you into a secret that last year I also wrote an article for them about finances of Real Madrid.

  51. I agree with you Brendan that Djourou was the weak link. Its strange about the lack of confidence because he came on at the Ems last game of the season and seemed really assured.

  52. Brendan says:

    Sorry i know that Barca comment should probbably be on another thread – but i still have nightmares from last season.

  53. Mr lee says:

    Xcellent post mate…

  54. Alminia kept us in that game in the first half, I’ll never forget his heroics. The way we got back into that game in the 2nd half was awe inspriring. Having sat throught the mawling by the mancs the season before I wasn’t too optimistic.

    The Barca game will go into Emirates history

  55. London says:

    I must admit I have never been to Untold Arsenal….is it good?

  56. London says:


    Don’t worry about different threads say what you want, you write some interesting comments.

  57. Brendan says:

    Peaches totally take your point – Almunia was a revelation and the come back was awesome. If only he was like that every week. A good keeper i’m sure just inconsistent. Interesting post earlier about how a solid defense in fron of him could sure up the confidence. Wenger however has always done well with the experinced mature keepers – Seaman, Lehman ect. I think he’ll buy in January no doubt about that.

    My point about Barca was the way we were picked apart in the first half. I’ve never seen it done to a Wenger team the way they did it. Honestly I’ve never been so deflated about Arsenal since we lost the Milk Cup to Luton when i was 10. (I can deal with the defeats a bit better now i’m older.!) Anyway – It hurt like hell. I really want to stuff Barcelona and their bloody arogance particularliy after the shenanigans this summer. The way i feel about that club at the momement i would get more pleasure at seeing Fabregas and Wilshire run the midfield against those Catalans than beating the mancs 6 nil in the FA Cup final. It would drive them demented. Did you see the way Guardiola brushed off Pique’s shirt stunt in a press conference. Outlandish arrogance.

  58. tommystout says:

    Wonderful post rasp and one that i didnt think you would be met with any criticism over.
    I’m over the moon with our signings and very optimistic about this season.
    Whilst you are talking about the spuds and their impression of tuesday nights thumping, i read about 1 spud who left at 1.1, he didnt realise there was extra time. He had a sickening dissapointment when he got home for sure. 🙂
    I hope i didnt read it on here as i thought it was a tweet, so apologies if i’m parroting somebody elses tale.

  59. 26may1989 says:

    That was Djourou’s first start for well over a year, so it’d be unfair to draw too many conclusions based on the one game.

    But personally, I long ago came to the conclusion that he just isn’t wired to be a defender – his positional sense and reading of the game are often poor. He was ok at WHL, but the other three CBs are comfortably ahead of him in the queue. If the need arises, I’d even quite like to see Nordtveit preferred to Djourou, who is probably a better back-up defensive midfielder.

  60. London – I don’t know why but your ‘Arise Sir Diaby’ article has been linked this post and has had lots of views.

  61. tommystout says:

    i think djorou looked out of sorts because kozzer looked so damned good.
    last year djourou was being compared to the likes of gallas and sylvester and sol, it was more of an even field then as they were all susceptible to slip ups!

  62. Carlito11 says:

    I viewed the arise Sir Diaby cos it was a great headline and slightly out of sync with my current impression of the man. Just have to say that I’ve only been checking blogs for the last 6 months but this is my favourite because the the commentary is fair even when it’s being provocative- far better than the whingers! Hats off to all contributors!

  63. Thankyou Carlito11 for your nice comment. We aim to please, if you ever wanted to write something for us we’d be happy to include you 🙂

    London wrote that piece and its interesting how our opinions can change so much on one player, Diaby became infuriating again soon after – have to blame London for that one 😉

  64. Big Raddy says:

    Peaches. Diaby has looked very good this season and it should be remembered he is but a callow youth. I agree with Brendan, I would love to see us take on Barca with a full first team including Diaby and a fit Cesc

  65. 26may1989 says:

    When you consider what we’ve had to put up with in terms of centre backs in recent years, Toure, Gallas, Silvestre, Senderos, Campbell Part II and Djourou, all of whom had their qualities but none of whom ever looked completely convincing, the three that have been signed since summer 2009 (none of whom we knew well beforehand) do make me feel we have a sudden embarrassment of riches. I’m not sure our opponents yet fully appreciate that there is much more steel in our defensive line than there was previously.

  66. SharkeySure says:

    Peaches 12.20 Lol…that’s gratitude for ya….

    Tommy 12.51 – Poor spud thinking they were gonna get another masterclass the following week.

    In all honesty he was probably relived that he had no more suffering to ‘look forward’ to

  67. rockylives says:

    A word in defence of Djourou. As others have pointed out, he missed a whol year through injury and has hardly played any proper games since. It’s bound to take him a while to get into the groove. Let’s not start writing him off too early (the way some did with Song and the way many were and are doing with Theo and Diaby).

  68. rockylives says:

    Rasp – I’m totally in tune with your optimism about our new signings. We haven’t seen enough of the Squid to really know, but his start has been very assured. Kozzer just looks like an out-and-out classy player. He’s made a couple of mistakes which both led to goals, but I think that was part of his baptism of fire in the PL and I have no doubt he’ll iron out the slip-ups. There was a mention earlier of the Verm being a defensive midfielder. I could see Kozzer being amazing in that role. His tackling is impeccable, his bravery unquestionable and he can play a bit…

  69. Rasp says:

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the generous comments, sorry I couldn’t respond earlier. There really is nothing that has been said that I could disagree with. I agree that kozzer could end up being one of the best defenders ever to wear the shirt.

    If I had to put together an identikit defender to join TV and kozzer, he’d look uncannily like Squillaci. To find a player of his quality who is still at his peak at 29 and mature enough to play in rotation system in the defence is top drawer.

    As for Chamakh, you all know I have predicted he will be our top scorer this season. I only expect him to average about a goal every 2 games because the rest of his play is so unselfish. I expect him to be pushed close by Cesc and AA though.

  70. London says:

    “I’m not sure our opponents yet fully appreciate that there is much more steel in our defensive line than there was previously.”

    Very true, especially when we consider that we ourselves are only just realising it as today’s post and comments testify to.

  71. They’re going to be in for a suprise, chavs first I hope 😛

  72. 26may1989 says:

    Fair point London – and as Peaches points out, perhaps The Bridge, and an epic confrontation with Anelka and Drogba, will see a TV-LK-SS axis start to gain recognition.

  73. rockylives says:

    Let’s not forget Alex Song. He had a dodgy game against Sunderland, but he is turning into an excellent DM (which he’ll need to be to keep Essien and co quiet).

  74. Rasp says:

    If we had squidy and kozzer at the back, and TV and Song as joint DM’s, we’d be more than equipped to deal with the chav attack.

  75. Brendan says:

    One final point for the day and i think it’s worth noting because he definitely deserves some credit. Has anyone noticed how good Clichy has been since the start of the season. breathtaking. He gets the ball on the left and you actually feel something might happen now when he gets over a cross. This opposed to a nothing cross or a ball played back across the opposing back 4. He’s creating all sorts of options compared to the lack lustre stuff of the last two years. He must love having Chamakh in the middle. Never doubted Clichy’s quality but awesome to have Gibbs giving him a good kick from behind as well.

    I’m really bullish about this season for the first time in years. Bring on the chavs.

  76. SharkeySure says:

    The Squid:
    “I am a proper defender, tough on my opponent, good in the air. With the ball, I always try to play simple, good passing. I have scored a few headers on set-pieces, so I can help there too

  77. kelsey says:

    As no one has mentioned the accounts that came out today, what do you think of this, especially Gazidis,s comments.

    Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has revealed the club will still resist major investment in the transfer market in January, despite the club announcing pre-tax profits of £56million.

    Despite the majority of Gunners fans hoping to see big-name arrivals over the course of the next 12 months – especially if the team are challenging for a first trophy in six years – Gazidis says he still will not sanction major player purchases.

    ‘Most of [the profit] goes back into the playing side, whether into player contracts or transfer fees but that doesn’t mean we can compete at the level of the Manchester Citys of this world in the transfer market,’ he said.

    ‘Those types of fees and those types of salaries are not sustainable for any football business.

    ‘But it still means, I believe, that we can compete with them on the pitch [because] we have a policy of building and not buying.

    ‘That’s a difficult path to tread sometimes, but as a result of that policy we’re seeing a tremendous number of good young players progressing and developing into the finished article and I think our performance against Spurs on Tuesday night illustrated this.’

    Arsenal’s 4-1 victory at their local rivals in the Carling Cup featured several young players – although the squad was more notable for the number of senior first-teamers included.

    It has been argued this is a change of tack from manager Arsene Wenger, who has been without silverware of any kind since 2005.

    However, the club’s financial health is clearly booming, and Gazidis said the club had made ‘good progress in the last year’.

    ‘I am excited by the opportunities we have in front of us,’ he said, while also revealing overall spending on player wages had increased.

    ‘We continue to see upward pressure on player wages. A part of that is because we’ve invested fairly aggressively in our young player pool, and we have secured their long-term future with the club.

    ‘This has been a very successful period of investment but it costs money.

    ‘A part of it is also driven by the external environment in which we operate where player costs continue to go up.’

    In their financial statement, the Gunners revealed the £130m debt incurred by redeveloping the site of their old Highbury stadium into residential flats had been completely paid off – contributing to a £10.5m rise in overall profits, year-on-year, to May 2010.

    The results showed Arsenal’s group turnover increased to £379.9m, from £313.3m in 2009, boosted by the income generated from property sales although football profits fell, in part due to the five fewer home matches played last season.

    In comparison, Manchester United reported pre-tax profits of £48.2m in January while league champions Chelsea announced a £44.4m loss in December. (Metro)

    Arsenal are one of the few Premier League clubs that are actually making a profit, and yet will leave their fans frustrated yet again this January by keeping the money locked away, and not making any major signings.

    Arsenal are a fantastic side and play some wonderful football. With a few more first-class signings, and under the guidance of Arsene Wenger, they would have the potential to be one of the best teams in Europe.

    Then from caught offside:

    Fans have been crying out for a new goalkeeper for well over a year now, and it must surely be a priority for the team in the next transfer window? It will be interesting to see whether the comments made by Gazidis are just a smokescreen, or if the club will resist spending once again.

  78. Rasp says:

    Hi kelsey,

    I’m sure as a financial expert you could produce a post analysing the impact of all that 😛

    The word that surprises me in the piece (but not given as part of Ivan’s quote) is to ‘resist’ major investment – as if there is some mystical force that impels clubs to spend recklessly. A goalkeeper would be the only player I would consider going for and then only if he were a world class keeper.

  79. Red Arse says:


    If you are still there, I am sorry to be at odds with you, but I feel you are wrong about Clichy, as a full back.

    It is true that he gets forward well and has played marginally better this season in support of our attacking play. But his defensive nous and in particular his understanding of a full back’s strategic positioning is woeful.

    In addition, he always seems one kick away from giving our opponents a panicky advantage by losing his cool. For example, he threw away two points at Sunderland by frantically and aimlessly kicking the ball away, only to hit Kosser with it and allowing Bent a free shot for their equaliser.

    In this respect he has not improved over the past two or three years. Sorry. 😦

  80. Red Arse says:


    I am sure you know that the financial figures can be v. misleading when taken out of context, or when presented somewhat artfully by AFC.

    Granted a healthy profit is preferable to a loss, but financial analysts look more to key critical ratios as a better indicator of a company’s financial well being. That is not to say I doubt Arsenal’s impressive financial performance in the last two years, but I question whether a too parsimonious attitude to investment is the right approach.

    The old victorian adage “you need to speculate to accumulate” still holds true, even if expressed in more modern English. 🙂

    Incidentally, I am not inferring you have said anything to the contrary, this is just an observation! 🙂

  81. 26may1989 says:


    The Metro write-up of Gazidis’s comments is rubbish. Gazidis doesn’t say Arsenal won’t make major signings, he says we cannot compete with Manchester City and won’t try. With two summers of the dickeahds at Eastlands blowing +£100m and with contracts of +£200k a week, that sounds on the button.

    None of wants to see money spent for the sake of it, we just want the squad to be as good as possible. And the only area we really need to strengthen is in goal, and I’m sure money isn’t the reason we didn’t make a signing this summer and wouldn’t be the reason in the future. We’re just not going to compete with City if they start making £50m bids for Torres or Pato. An interesting question would be whether Gazidis would agree to pay £15m or similar for a keeper like Reina.

  82. Red Arse says:

    Hi 26,

    I haven’t read anything yet about the Arsenal financial figures other than what you and Kelsey have written.

    But your comment about the Metro’s misquoting Gazidis confirms my prejudice, that Arsenal often release press statements that are couched in such a way as to be all things to all men.

    BTW, nice to be back to read stuff by you and Kelsey. 🙂

  83. rockylives says:

    As far as I can see Gazidis said nothing that rules out potentially signing reinforcements in January – but it’s being written up as a story saying we definitely won’t buy in Jan.

  84. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wow, what a bright and cheery blog you have. Could not agree more about Cham, Squil and Kos. The measure of Chamakh’s impact is how little most Gooners are cursing the usual injury to RVP.
    Oh and hi to BigRaddy, Charybdis and Sharkey.

  85. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And a massive hello to someone called 26may1989

  86. Red Arse says:

    What about me Micky? 🙂 They all go to bed early! 🙂

    You are right this is a brilliant upbeat blog, although debate and discussion is also v. welcome.

    Cham, Squilli, Koss, what a great trio! Good old Arsene, I say. 🙂

  87. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Red Arse,
    Bonjour. Sounds like Cesc back for Bridge. That game is where we see the real impact of our CB’s.

  88. Red Arse says:

    Do you know Micky, I cannot wait! I think we will put the Chavs to the sword.

    Drogba is a serious challenge for any CB but I know Kosser and the Squid will give everything to stop that diver. 🙂

  89. Rasp says:

    Welcome Mickey,

    Thanks for your comment. Some people think its a bit early to be be praising the new recruits, but the way I see it is that they can only get better – and they’re already pretty amazing.

    I fear a lot of the bloggers you mention are in the middle of the friday commute but will no doubt respond when they’re able.

  90. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi. You suggest TV and Song as joint DM’s. Get where you are coming from, but how about JW and TV. Just a thought, although being practical, not the game to experiment in.

  91. Rasp says:


    Yes, we have an embarassment of riches in midfield I must admit. All the current midfielders like to get forward (including Song), TV has played DM for Ajax, so I just see him as a defensive midfield option against the stronger teams now we have kozzer and Squillaci to keep the back 4 solid.

  92. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, had not seen your post. So its your site? Good job. Yeah, the new boys have not been properly tested yet, but I have a very good feeling. Either one looks very capable of filling in for Silvestre (!) as well as Gallas, who I always saw as a great individual, but a lousy team man.

  93. Red Arse says:


    I should have said that 26 May is a really knowledgeable Gooner and an incisive analyst, in my experience (except when he disagrees with me, obviously). 🙂

  94. Carlito11 says:

    Cheers peachesgooner- would be an honour! May take me a while but will have a think at the Emirates tomorrow! The kidology of arsenal press statements- whether from Le Prof or otherwise seems to hold true on the latest press release. It’s important that the current squad feel valued and as you’ve all been saying, there’s no need to even talk about replacements right now. Let’s celebrate a renewed backline!
    Ps Hope Chelsea concede some tomorrow before our game kicks off- then we’ll really be in the mood!

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Strangely, I have been advocating TV as a DM on another blog for about a year. Never saw him play there for Ajax, but he has a great shot on him! (not what we are after from a DM, but hey).

  96. Rasp says:

    That’s funny, I’ve been doing the same thing on here – honest 😉 As you say, he has a great left peg and in common with all the newbies, he’s a good footballer (as opposed to a hoofer)

  97. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Red Arse,
    Was May26 at Anfield? That is the question. If the answer is yes, then I shall never speak to him. Ever. Biggest regret of my life missing that one. Went to every home game that season, then, well…..

  98. Red Arse says:


    I have seen you expressing that view on “another” blog and again I agree with you.

    He played mainly DM or left back for Ajax and I think he could be a brilliant surprise if Denilson or Diaby are not available, (or in my opinion, even if they are available). 🙂

    I’m starving, so g’night guys, a chinese calls to me! 🙂

  99. Red Arse says:


    As to 26 May and Anfield, I don’t know, but I had the same feeling at first. He is a good guy though! 🙂


  100. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Catch you another time Red Arse. Have a good ‘un. You speak Chinese?

  101. kelsey says:

    I like to change the subject during the course of the day and whilst Rasp’s post generated some really good comments, I thought I would throw Djorou into the hat to get further views.

    Again the financial report came out today,so again I thought it may interest some if not all of us.

    I want to look at it carefully, but first impressions is that the “estate agents tag” seems to have resulted in profit,perhaps a little later than expected due to the recession, a healthy hunk has been paid back and Highbury Square is now debt free and can only from now add to profits, but our net profit through the turnstyles and transfers in and out is down, but we played 5 fewer home games.
    There is no question that we are becoming more self sufficent with a manageable stadium mortgage.

    These accounts are up to may of this year,and I would wager that our players wages may have gone down, it is not a fair comparison to compare us with United or chelsea as they include all employess in their wage structure,playing staff and others.

  102. 26may1989 says:

    And hello to you too, MickyDidIt89, top handle you’ve got there. We are peas in a pod re Anfield 89 – I wasn’t there, could have been (was at university not far away and could have got a ticket, but (a) thinking we would definitely lose and (b) being under the thumb of my then girlfriend, who finished exams that day), but I passed up the opportunity. As you say, life’s greatest regret. But then there were some good things about that girlfriend…..

    And Red Arse, where have you been hiding, not like you to be shy?

  103. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wow, some girlfriend!
    The Micky Did It comes from a cap that Micky Thomas was wearing on the saturday after the game with those words printed on.

  104. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t agree about TV. To me he is a fine CB and that is what we need him to be. Toure was a DM turned CB and remained so and I expect TV to do the same.

    Why use him as a DM when we have such a wonderful midfield? Our DM’s require a level of spacial awareness and an ability to attack that we have yet to see from TV – perhaps he can play there but why bother when we have Song, Ramsey, Denilson and Wilshere. Plus Eastmond and Coquelin all of whom are trained to play that role.

    I cannot imagine AW ever playing two big DM’s – we are not Man City who use 3 🙂

  105. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Post is in drafts

  106. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Big Raddy,
    How are you?
    City used FOUR the other week!!
    My whole TV as a DM started before the emergence of JW and during the injury to Rambo. Also Song was away at ACN. The thought has never really gone away though.

  107. kelsey says:

    MickyDidIt89, maybe you don’t remember me, I am BR’s younger brother 😉

  108. Big Raddy says:

    Good thanks Micky. Nice to see you on here. It’s a great blog and one I hope you continue to frequent.

    I cannot see AW ever playing him there. He tends to go for very dynamic DM’s. One only has to see how much ground Song covers to see that. As Flam, PV etc did before him

  109. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey 😀

    Julius Caesar is only a couple of years older than you ….

  110. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Also, we happen to have so many players that when fit are absolute MUST STARTERS. Sag, Ebo, Kos, Squil, Verm, Gibbs, Rambo, JW, Song, Den, Cesc, Nas, Ros, Theo, Cham, AA and RVP!
    See my problem?

  111. kelsey says:

    Does he play for Brazil :)Oh yes, good player.

  112. kelsey says:

    The saddest loss at the moment is the much aligned Theo, who was literally on fire at the start of the season.

  113. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I can barely remember the names of my wife and children. So no offence. Hope you are keeping well.

  114. Big Raddy says:

    Cooking a fine dinner tonight. See you in the morn


  115. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Big Raddy,
    It was a fine fish the last time we spoke!

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Very good to catch up with you all.
    Nice to visit Rasp.

  117. barumgooner says:

    Hello all, I dont know if you’re still about Rasp but what an excellent (and positive) post. I couldn’t agree more. The signings do indeed seem inspired coupled together with one or two players appearing to come-of-age and the future looks very bright.

  118. barumgooner says:

    I was lucky enough to see the Bolton game and a friend of mine asked what the new signings looked like. I told him that Chamakh was great, more of a smith than an henry but a smith with a bit more flair. Koscielny is another TV in the making and that Squiddy reminds me of Grimandi, does his job so well that you hardy seem to notice him (if you know what i mean)

  119. SharkeySure says:

    MDI89…hey mate, nice to see ya…

    I see why a few people shout for The Verm at DM, but I do feel that its a bigger change than people realise.

    I think the change in focus from 180degreees (everything in front of you) to 360 is not as easy as it looks. You have to be brave enough to keep wanting the ball and good enough to keep and protect it.

    Its not the worst shout in the world though, and he could deffo have a decent stab at it

    Evening all…but not really stopping.


  120. […] Wenger is not very clever…….. ……. No, he’s much better than that – the man’s a bloody genius! […]

  121. Morning all

    There’s a NEW POST ………

  122. Even better than his signings are his sales. Who else could ahve got £49m for overmars and petit, and £25m adebeyor can not even get in their team. He is a genius.

  123. Tony Attwood says:

    The question was raised about Untold Arsenal, “Is it any good?”

    Of course I can’t answer that since I edit the thing, but it is, sort of, well, different. That’s where the name came from: the desire to cover Arsenal from an angle that no one else does. we don’t always succeed, but we do get a lot of posts saying, “That was the best article I’ve ever read,” and “That’s the biggest waste of time ever – how can you write such crap?” so I suppose on that basis, we are getting it right.

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