Top 50 Gunners – Poll Results

July 31, 2013

Following on from our Greatest Squad yesterday we can now reveal the 50 Greatest according to ArsenalArsenal bloggers and the votes cast throughout the summer.

GN5 the stats man has also added their total appearances, goals and their placing on the Top 50 (if they featured at all). One of the aims of this exercise (as well as filling the void of the footballing desert of summer) was to bring to life some of those players from yesteryear that we had heard of but not necessarily know much more about than era and that they played for us.

Thanks to GN5’s efforts some detail has been added to so many of the names of the past, my thanks again to GN5 for making this summer of articles so much more than I envisaged when first floating the idea.

No. Player Votes Position Joined Left Games Goals A.Com
1 Thierry Henry 408 Striker 1999 2012 337 228 1
2 Patrick Vieira 250 Midfielder 1996 2005 406 33 5
3 Tony Adams 231 Defender 1983 2002 669 48 3
4 Denis Bergkamp 229 Striker 1995 2006 423 120 2
5 David Seaman 184 Goalkeeper 1990 2003 298 0 7
6 Cesc Fabregas 180 Midfielder 2003 2011 303 57
7 Robert Pires 133 Midfielder 2000 2006 284 84 6
8 Ian Wright 132 Striker 1991 1998 279 185 4
9 Liam Brady 93 Midfielder 1971 1980 307 59 8
10 Cliff Bastin 72 Striker 1929 1946 396 178 18
11 Ted Drake 66 Striker 1934 1945 184 139 31
12 Martin Keown 65 Defender 1981 2004 449 8 20
13 George Graham 61 Midfielder 1966 1972 308 77 42
14 Frank McLintock 60 Midfielder 1964 1973 403 32 30
15 Alex James 46 Striker 1929 1937 261 27 46
15 Peter Storey 46 Defender 1961 1977 501 17 50
17 Bob Wilson 45 Goalkeeper 1963 1974 308 0 39
18 Lee Dixon 44 Defender 1988 2002 619 28 21
19 Pat Jennings 43 Goalkeeper 1977 1985 327 0 10
20 Jens Lehmann 42 Goalkeeper 2003 2011 199 0
21 David O’Leary 40 Defender 1973 1993 722 14 14
22 Eddie Hapgood 37 Defender 1927 1945 440 2
23 Joe Mercer 33 Midfielder 1946 1954 275 2
24 George Eastham 31 Midfielder 1960 1966 223 41 41
24 Jack Kelsey 31 Goalkeeper 1949 1962 352 0
26 Kenny Sansom 30 Defender 1980 1988 394 6 36
27 Steve Bould 26 Defender 1988 1999 372 8
27 Pat Rice 26 Defender 1964 1980 528 13 17
29 Bob MacNab 24 Defender 1966 1975 365 6
29 Ray Parlour 24 Midfielder 1988 2004 466 32 19
31 Freddie Ljungberg 23 Midfielder 1998 2007 328 72 11
32 Gilberto Silva 21 Midfielder 2002 2008 244 24
32 Robin van-Persie 21 Striker 2004 2012 278 132
34 David Rocastle 20 Midfielder 1982 1992 277 34 16
34 Peter Simpson 20 Defender 1960 1978 477 15
36 Nigel Winterburn 16 Defender 1987 2000 584 12 32
37 David Jack 15 Striker 1928 1934 208 124 49
38 Herbie Roberts 13 Defender 1926 1937 335 5
38 Jon Sammels 13 Midfielder 1961 1971 270 52
40 Walley Barnes 12 Defender 1943 1955 294 12
41 Alex Forbes 11 Midfielder 1948 1956 240 20
41 John Radford 11 Striker 1962 1976 481 149 24
41 Joe Shaw 11 Defender 1907 1923 326 0
44 Doug Lishman 10 Striker 1948 1956 244 137
44 George Male 10 Defender 1929 1948 318 0
44 Alan Smith 10 Striker 1987 1995 347 115 27
47 Alf Baker 9 Midfielder 1919 1931 351 26
47 Jack Butler 9 Defender 1914 1930 296 8
47 Jack Lambert 9 Striker 1926 1933 161 109
50 Bob John 8 Defender 1922 1937 470 13

So there you have it our 50 Greatest Players according to the AA Readers, thanks again for joining us on this trip down memory lane.

GunnerN5 and Gooner in Exile


Our Greatest Ever Team – The Results

July 30, 2013

Finally, after nearly 3 months of reviewing and voting we can now reveal the Greatest All time Arsenal Squad as selected exclusively by Arsenal Arsenal bloggers.

We received close to 3,500 votes broken down between 6 Managers, 12 Goalkeepers, 20 Defensemen, 20 Mid-fielders and 20 Strikers. Those with the most votes within the 5 categories have been selected to form our Greatest all time Squad. Remember the 25 man squad is based on those receiving the most votes in the 4 general player categories and not by their specific position.

The squad is broken out as follows –

I First team Manager, I Director of Football, and 1 Coach.

3 Goalkeepers.

8 Defenders

8 Midfielders

6 Forwards

The Greatest All time Arsenal Squad:

The management team is probably unsurprising, Arsene received the most votes, followed by Herbert and the George, we thought this worked quite well in the modern setups so this is the roles we have given them:

Manager – Arsene Wenger

Director of Football – Herbert Chapman

Coach – George Graham

We doubt we would get many complaints from current fanbase to see Herbert helping out on acquiring players and George helping out on the tactics.

Then we have have the squad, the first eleven decided by those who acquired the most votes in their category.

David Seaman

Lee Dixon              Tony Adams           Martin Keown             Peter Storey

Robert Pires           Patrick Vieira     Cesc Fabregas                Liam Brady

Dennis Bergkamp

Thierry Henry


Bob Wilson, David O’Leary, Eddie Hapgood, George Graham, Frank McLintock, Ian Wright, Cliff Bastin


Pat Jennings, Kenny Sansom, Steve Bould, Pat Rice, Joe Mercer, George Eastham, Ted Drake, Alex James

Oh dear, we managed to break the FA rules as we have a 26 man squad, the fact is that Steve Bould and Pat Rice were tied on votes and we could not see a way to leave either player off of our team.

Thank you for your participation in the Summer voting, if you disagree with any of the above…….well you should have voted!

Come back tomorrow and we will review the top 50 all time greatest as voted by the ArsenalArsenal regulars.

GunnerN5 and Gooner in Exile

Could This Arsenal XI Beat The Top Three Premier League Teams?

July 29, 2013

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Arsenal supporters will chuck their toys out of the pram.

Indeed reports from the Islington Gazette suggest unprecedented numbers of passers-by suffering teddy bear related injuries in recent days – and a spate of car windshields shattered by flying rattles.

The reason? Arsène Wenger telling journalists that we’re not close to signing anyone yet.

Despite the fact that the squad has been touring the Far East for the last few weeks; and despite the fact that the Premier League does not begin for over three weeks; and that the transfer window does not close for almost five weeks… it seems that Arsène’s comments have tipped some fans into near despair.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand it. The perception that we have handled the last two summer transfer windows with all the finesse of Ryan Shawcross doing flower arranging (“bad dahlia – me punch you”) is pretty widespread.

It happens to be wrong. We did partly screw up the summer before last, but still managed to acquire Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (two great players and one great player-to-be). Last year we landed Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud (one smash hit and two qualified successes).

And now supporters think this is going to be another summer without a “big name” signing.

I happen to think there are still some surprises to come this summer and that we will be among the teams making a big move in the market: not necessarily for the players with whom the press are linking us, but top players nonetheless.

In the meantime I would suggest that fans be more aware of how the media are playing them like a prize fiddle.

But let’s play what many would consider to be the “worst case scenario” game and consider how we would shape up against our major rivals if we DON’T buy any top players before the window closes.

In those circumstances I suggest our first choice first eleven might look like this:






Is this team good enough to beat a full strength Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea?

My feeling is that it’s a team that could beat any of those three on its day – but I have a couple of reservations.

Starting from the back, I think there are still question marks about both Szczesny and Fabianski. However, it’s possible that the younger Pole’s spell on the bench last season has cut out any complacency issues and this may be the season where he starts to fulfill his potential.

I’m not worried about the rest of the defence, which showed in the latter part of last season how focused and stingy it can be. In the BFG and Kozzer I believe we have the best centre back pairing in the EPL.

But reservation number one comes in when we move forward to the holding midfield position(s). It was clear last year that we had not quite worked out how to use Jack Wilshere. But use him we must – he is going to be one of the greatest English players for decades.

I can see him starting alongside the ever-reliable Arteta as part of a double-pivot, both of them tasked with snuffing out opposition attacks, but also with allowing each other to get forward when opportunity arises.

Ahead of them, Cazorla has already shown what he can do in the attacking midfield position, so there are no worries there.

Then we come to the front three: if Theo Walcott has as good a season as he did last year we will have no room for complaint. If he does even better, then we can truly celebrate his coming of age.

On the left hand side, Lukas Podolski had a bit of an in-out season and did not convince everyone that he’s a wide player. However, he is a fantastic finisher and was carrying a long-term injury which (he says) is now fixed. Again, we expect him to step up in his second season in England.

Finally we come to the spearhead of our attack (and the subject of yesterday’s impassioned Post from Mickydidit), Olivier Giroud.

The hunky Frenchman has been on fire in our pre-season tour and should also be ready to move up a notch in the new campaign. However, is he going to turn out to be the prolific goal grabber that most title-winning teams have in their ranks?  Can he do for us what Brave Sir Robin did for ManUre? Or what Aguero did for Man City? Or Drogba for the Chavs? I would love to believe it, but this may be the one area where we a little bit short in the 2013/14 season.

And before you shout, I have not forgotten about squad depth. Even if you think this first eleven can be a match for anyone, we all know that injuries and suspensions will take a toll and that we will have to rely on other players frequently.

We have some very strong players in our wider squad: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Monreal to name but six. But we could certainly do with some back-up on the striking front and, possibly in defence too.

My conclusion is that we are not strong enough to seriously compete for the title without at least one key addition in attack and a couple of other squad players. I don’t care whether the new striker is the most famous player in the world or is someone of whom we have never heard (remember the young Nicolas Anelka?) provided he does the business in front of goal.

What do you think?

Can we compete without top class additions?

If our current squad stays mostly fit, can we do it?

Over to you.


Arsène: “Don’t drop Ollie G!”

July 28, 2013

Dear Arsène,

Not sure I can help you much more than I already have this week. Engineered some brilliant stats for you, and previously did all that tactics bollocks stuff to help you out with formations and whatnot.

Thing is this, Arsène, I keep reading how you are sniffing around all these expensive strikers, and I have concerns.

You see ,Arsène , while I believe all these stories, I’m not sure you’ve thought this through, and the main concern I have revolves around Ollie G. I mean, how can he not be better in his second season? Don’t you remember some of his sublime finishing, and that is to say nothing of his contribution to the overall team effort. My biggest fear is that you will buy said expensive striker, and either plonk Ollie on the bench, or worse, be tempted to do some crazy person thing, and to accommodate said striker in his preferred central role, put Ollie wide like you did with Cham and Bendy.

olivier giroud 1

So, what’s the plan?

I’ll tell you. Don’t spend all the loot on a similar player like Higuain. Waste of time as you’ll have blown the lion’s share of the transfer kitty on a type of player who offers no real alternatives.

So Arsène, this brings me on to Suarez. Two options here, give him one of those free roaming GiE type of starting slots, but that’ll mean dropping Gerv/Pod from the left. Could work if you get Theo to keep the width, and the pair of them can do the switch over manoeuvre from time to time. I keep reading how you’re about to flog Gerv, and naturally I believe what I read here also, so with a little rotation, and allowing for injuries, this will allow you to select three from Ollie, Theo, Pod and a Suarez type.

giroud 2

Couple of things to avoid then.

One, Santi stays in the middle, so don’t start all that deep lying No10, in the hole, false whatever nonsense to try and accommodate the new boy just behind Ollie.

Two. Ollie starts every game.


Best wishes for the new campaign. Get the right couple of signings and we’re away.

Arsène, you have my mobile number, so as always, feel free to call whenever you like.

I remain, you’re humble servant,


Another book about the summer…….

July 27, 2013

Arsene Wenger’s comments on suggest that we may be heading for another one of those Transfer Window that Arsene could write a book about.

It is very unedifying to see us linked with so many players but not to have actually managed to sign one.

Gazidis was quoted at the end of last season that we would be looking to spend money, that the wage structure had to change, and that the club was ambitious to win trophies. He also went on to say that Arsene could effectively stay as long as he liked.

I have a problem with the quotes because I believe that if the club were that keen to spend money and change wage structure they would not allow Arsene to stay if it is him that is blocking the spending. This seems to be the general story when looking at blogs and the redtops.

I think Arsene is perhaps too loyal to his employers, if Mourinho was treated as Arsene has been treated by the board he would be negotiating his settlement within hours, Arsene has been covering the Boards backs for a number of years now and still they do not help him.

Early signs in the summer were good, a number of players were being released and sold on, this we believed to be about freeing wage bill for a big signing or two, however I fear it was more to do with freeing squad spaces due to EPL rules on homegrown/non homegrown etc.

Now Arsene comes out and is quoted as saying the following:

We are ready to do quick deals but all the transfers do not depend only on us, but we are prepared to wait. It looks unlikely before the Emirates Cup.

We still have a strong squad but we are there on the market to try to strengthen our team. With or without additions we can be title challengers next season.

When asked about Rodgers comments on Suarez he said the following

He must explain that, I don’t know. We are not close to signing Suarez or anybody else so there’s no reason why I should talk about it.

There is nothing to say. I have been away now for two or the weeks and it’s hard to see how things are advanced because everyone is on tour at the moment and it’s very difficult to get in touch with people.

I believe that everybody competes on a very high level. What has changed recently is that in Europe, countries like France have bought some very talented players who would two or three years ago all have come to England. That makes the chase for talent very difficult.

What we want is not a name but a good player. The name is less important. What is important is the quality of the player. We want as many top players as we can but we have to focus on the players and develop them as well.

In midfield you have plenty of candidates – there’s a big fight in midfield. Sagna has settled in well as a centre back. We have a strong squad. We are there on the market trying to strengthen our team.

It would appear from the above that Arsene is already starting to be a disbeliever when it comes to the Board helping him sign his targets. Maybe it also indicates that the whole Suarez thing is balderdash of the highest order, but with Liverpool being so open about the offers it is hard to ignore.

Whether Suarez is the right man for Arsenal or not is irrelevant at this point, what is relevant is that yet again Arsene in my view appears to have more content for his Transfer Window Opus, apparently it will be entitled, Arsene loves our club and the job too much to walk away, but sometimes for his own reputation’s sake I wish he would.

Written by Gooner in Exile

Should Arsenal Take Football More Seriously

July 26, 2013

We’ve all seen the pictures from the Far East of our players radiant with smiles and patently enjoying every moment of their tour. We know Szczesny, The Ox and Podolski are the jokers in the pack and delight in ribbing some of the more serious.

The tour has been a great success and can only be good for bonding the players – winning by 6 or 7 goals can’t be bad for the confidence either. But should footballers take their craft more seriously, after all, it’s a job like any other and driven by results?

I’ve always liked players who play the game with a smile on their face. TH14 was just such a player and only became more dour in the last season or two when it was apparent he wanted to move on. Fabregas was the same, his last 2 seasons were spent staring at the ground when play broke down instead of communicating with his team mates.

There are those players who just have a serious nature. Denis Bergkamp wasn’t noted for his radiant smile and rakish humour. In fact on the one occasion I met him and asked for an autograph he was far from charming.

So it all comes down to the individual, but when those of a happy fun nature begin to lose that joy in playing, then their game suffers and the feeling of unhappiness can pervade the squad.

So I say, great, the Far East tour is just what our players need. It has gelled them as a squad, given them a welcome break from media speculation at home and hopefully will set them up for a successful campaign in the coming season.

I want to see our players with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. Whatever the make up of the first team in August, a happy squad is a winning squad.

Written hastily to fill a gap by Rasp

Arsenal Transfers Great Expectations

July 25, 2013

This is a covert operation to unearth your deepest desires, and no shame can be attributed as it’s secret. Well, you know how it is in practice, Obama and Peaches may be spying, but hey!

Now this is only going to work if you are sensible, and it is the “minimum” requirement to make you happy.

So, I need to make an assumption, and that is that unless you are smoking some seriously strong stuff, or you are Mr Henry at Liverpool and think Andy Carrolline is worth £35m (long hair and pony tail), then we’ll assume you get what you pay for.


1.      £0. We will be fine and everything is going to be Hunky Dory.

2.      £10M. This will buy you one reasonable squad level player.

3.      £20M. Two of the above, or one Ist XI’er.

4.      £40M. One Superstar, or two 1st XI’ers.

5.      £70M. The full amount that apparently is available.

6.      £200M at least, although it makes no difference as not only am I a Black Scarfer, but I also wear a black bin liner over my head which is possible as I live at the bottom of a pond, and being a simple life form, have no need of oxygen.

Written by MickyDidIt

When does firewood become deadwood (and vice versa)?

July 24, 2013

I have never been a massive fan of the word so many fans have taken to using as a way of describing players they think are surplus to requirements or wasting wages.

We have had many players labelled as dead wood by Arsenal fans, some may be correct, but there are also instances where players deemed to be deadwood have actually come back to prove their doubters wrong.

After the League Cup Final Koscielny was in that category, after many injury hit seasons Rosicky was in it too, Aaron Ramsey had the temerity not to play like Messi on his return from a horrendous injury and then there was Diaby, Arshavin, Squillacci, Fabianski, Gibbs and even new signings like Gervinho who have all been tarred with the same brush.

Arshavin started off life as a fan favourite and then ended up in the deadwood pile, could Vermaelen be going the same way? Last seasons performances certainly put him at risk of being mentioned in the same breath as Squillacci. But is it fair to do so? He is a player not on form, but surely that doesn’t mean we want to bin him and forget all he has achieved before.

Before we go sticking more names in the recycle bin can we just look back at the deadwood players from the last two seasons:

Koscielny – so important during the run in, became undroppable

Fabianski – came in when Szczesny was having a blip and kept clean sheets and was a calm presence in between the sticks

Ramsey – perhaps the most criticised player on blogs, twitter and anywhere else you care to look for the last two years, well the two years before the last two months of the season when his detractors could not keep up their set in stone view on the lad any longer

Rosicky – another big part to play in the run in and generally seen to give us an added dimension.

What’s the point of this post? To make you think before you start labelling players, criticise someone for their play by all means, criticise work rate but please stop using a cheap throwaway label for an out of favour/form player. You never know when they will spark back into life again.

Perish the thought if Jack doesn’t start well or Ox or Ryo, or Cazorla looks tired after his summer excursions.

Football is about squads and not everyone in your squad can be a world class player, but you need cover and you need options when someone is out of form, everyone in the squad may have a role to play, and when they do their inclusion in a matchday squad should not be met by groans because some one on a blog has decided this player is deadwood and that opinion has circulated around the wonderweb.

By Gooner in Exile

Transfers and The Arsenal Attack.

July 23, 2013

On this occasion, I have a huge advantage over all of you bright eyed and clever Arsenal Statty Sorts, and that is because I know what I have written below, and DidIt logic is pretty much Greek to anyone else (which obviously leaves Transplant in the know!).

Thing is, as far as I’m concerned, Rules are things that apply to others, and Stats are for my very own personal interpretation. Obtuse thinking to others, but clarity personified to me. Or so I thought.

Next season, we aim for top spot, and on the evidence of last season, these are the kind of stats we will be Gunning for:

Utd GF 86 GA 43 GD 43, while we ended with this lot:

AFC GF 72 GA 37 GD 35

First obvious thing that you will notice is that the defence doesn’t matter, as we actually conceded too few. So that’s that area dealt with. Right, up to the other end we go, and formulate a transfer strategy that will secure another 14 goals.

Let’s look at the evidence, and this is where I become DidItly elastic with the facts.

Olly scoring

The Attack is a collective unit. A successful attack is measured in goals scored, and the principal protagonists are the front three and the Advanced Midfielder (or Santi, as he’s called). Okedoke, so this is where things get a little complicated, because here I begin to use some of my own formulas and rationality. One or two assumptions need to be made. One, Ollie is the first choice CF. Theo Right, and Gerv/Pod make up the left so I’ll treat those two as one component, or position as some call it (I’m ignoring the fact that both Pod and Gerv started centrally on occasion).

Last season goals were spread thus, and I’m only talking about the league:

Giroud 11, Theo 14, Pod 11/Gerv 5, Santi 12

Pod scoring

That’s 53 goals out of our total league haul of 72 (19 to the rest)

Now, throwing in total league starts of:

Giroud 24, Theo 24, Pod 25 and Gerv 12 (av 18), Santi 36.

I then calculate the average goals (factored up or something) were these boys to start every game:

Giroud 17, Theo 22, Pod/Gerv 24, and Santi 13, giving a total of 68. Add in the 19 and we have 87. Champion Stats.

Theo scoring

So, there we have it. Same gang start every game and we are home and dry.

Oh ok, so things aren’t quite that simple, as we have to be slightly grown up about this and realize they won’t ever all start every game, so it’s a case of looking at the weak areas, despite the skew wiffiness of my logic.

What surprises me most is that Ollie, Pod, Gerv and Theo all have fairly similar goals to starts ratios. To my even more enormous surprise, it is the fragility of Theo that poses the biggest problem as we simply don’t have the goalscoring back up over on the right. I began this rather strange exercise fully expecting to justify what I have been banging on about, namely, the need for a Left Winger. The facts, however, say something completely different, which is that a Theoless Right leaves us in big trouble.

Santi scores

Given that I believe Ollie does have productive back up in the shape of Podolski, who himself doubles up to provide a two man team with Gerv on the left, that leaves the biggest question of all: the Theo fitness and can the Ox take the next step up this season and provide the goal per two games to keep the overall attack numbers on course (Last season, he had 1 goal from 11 starts!).

In short, as proved by Utd last season, and City the season before, the lack of critical injuries plays a pivotal role. City overcame this through quality cover, Utd were very lucky with Persie. Utd achieved their impressive goal tally largely through the fitness of Persie, who started 35 of their league games, but featured in all 38, to produce his 26 goals. If, as Podolski himself says, we will see the real version this season as he has overcome his injury problems, and he becomes first choice central cover for Ollie, perhaps what we need most is more firepower from the Wings.

Bernard does that. Yesterday I said I was cross that Arsene denied The Brazilian was a target. Now I’m really angry, but given that I’ve just read on the reliable Newsnow that Gerv could be off to Roma, I’m convinced a goalscoring Wide Boy will arrive, and one who can operate down either flank.

Written by MickyDidIt89

How Much Is Cesc Worth?

July 22, 2013

I’m not asking what Cesc’s value is in the transfer market.

Rather, what is Cesc worth to Arsenal right now – and how much would we be prepared to pay for him?

We all know the fee we got for him from Barcelona (£25m) was ludicrously low. Cesc had openly stated that Catalonia was the only destination he would contemplate, so there was no chance of getting a bidding war going.

But with Manchester United apparently confirming that they want to sign our erstwhile hero this summer, some uncomfortable questions have been raised.

Not least, could any of us bear the sight of Cesc linking up with Brave Sir Robin for one of our rivals in the Premier League next season?

One of the much-reported aspects of the deal we made in selling Cesc to Barca was that we would have “first refusal” to buy him back should Barca want to sell him.

Arsene Wenger more or less confirmed this the other day during our Far East tour, telling reporters: “Fabregas has decided to stay one more year at Barcelona. Unless he has changed his mind. I don’t know. But that’s what I have been told. We have the clause in his contract so we would be on alert but at the moment that’s not something we are after.”

Although he didn’t give any more detail on “the clause in his contract” it seemed to be a tacit admission that we do have “first refusal.”

But what does that actually mean?

Does it mean that we have the right to buy back Cesc at a pre-agreed fee?

Or that we have the right to match any other club’s bid for him?

Or that we have the right to be informed of another club’s bid and start our own negotiations with the club and player if we want to compete?

The more you think about it, the less useful our “first refusal” seems. If it simply gives us the option to match another club’s bid then we probably have little chance of bringing back Cesc if the likes of ManUre, the Northern or Southern Oilers or even PSG are in the race.

But let’s suppose Manchester United offer a transfer amount with which we CAN compete (for example,  £25m-£30m), but also offer the player personal terms which are way beyond anything we pay any of our players.

One report I read yesterday said the Mancs were offering to double Cesc’s wages if he moved to Old Toilet.

Cesc talks very fondly of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. But when it comes to believing in player loyalty our fingers have been burnt more often than a blind baker’s and we would be rash to assume he could not be lured to one of our rivals by piles of filthy lucre.

For us to hijack the move, we would presumably need to match whatever personal terms United are offering.

Which brings me to my original question: IF Cesc does leave Barcelona this summer (and let’s remember that he has so far said he does not want to leave)  how much should/would Arsenal be prepared to pay to bring him back to The Home Of Football?

Would we match a transfer fee of £40m? Would we match wages of £200k per week? £250k per week?

If we did, do we risk having a queue of other players at the manager’s door demanding pay rises? Does it create disharmony in the dressing room?

On the other hand, maybe it’s worth paying £200k per week to make sure Manchester United do NOT have Cesc linking up with the Dutchman.

Maybe we don’t need  Cesc at all.

I am conflicted about all of this. I would like Cesc back in our squad; I would hate to see him in a Manc shirt; but if we’re going to spend  £30-odd million on a player this year I would rather we got a world class striker.

What do you think?

How much is Cesc worth to us?