A Big Name Signing – More Important to the Fans or Players?

After watching highlights of our recent performance in Finland and having seen the displays put in during our fundraising/goodwill tour of Asia I was left perplexed at the team that took the pitch during the Emirates Cup at home.

GunnerN5 has recently opined that the players are fearful of playing at home and that it translates into performances on the pitch. Ramsey’s display in Finland compared to his slightly misfiring performance at the Emirates, Walcott’s ease of finish, compared to lifting a very similar chance wide. Precise and purposeful forward play in Finland against turgid pass pass pass at the Emirates Cup.

Admittedly the squad is looking thin, so some signings are absolutely necessary before the season commences. And having seen the capability of our first choice players in Finland there is an argument to say that the team doesn’t need one big name, it just needs some padding to replace those recently departed, and maybe some different options in certain positions.

However it seems the signing of a “Superstar” is more important to the fans than the squad itself, the media and fans have made such an issue of the need for Arsenal to spend big that five squad players will not sate their appetite. They want a star, and if they don’t get one I think the mood in the Emirates will not change dramatically despite Saturday’s performance.

What do you think?

Gooner in Exile


67 Responses to A Big Name Signing – More Important to the Fans or Players?

  1. Simon says:

    I don’t think fans want a ‘superstar’, just a player who has proven they have the quality and experience that will improve the team now, not 2-3 seasons time.

    For example, and no disrespect to Santi, but whilst he has improved the team, I wouldn’t call him a superstar

  2. Orlando Powers says:

    You are absolutely correct. I really feel that we need to give Arsene Wenger a free hand to bring in the kind of players he feels will do the job. I believe the young Colombian midfielder on trial is a great prospect and would do very well this season despite being relatively unknown. Please lets give the man a free hand.

  3. Chopper says:

    In Arsene we rust. Either way, I’m sick and tired of being a club perennially ridiculed by others, and lied to by the board – having just renewed the most expensive season ticket in Europe. Once again, we hear “Β£70m to spend..”, then “We’ll buy big..” followed by “We’re a young squad..”, followed by “we don’t need anyone”. A threadbare squad that’ll be out the league contest by Christmas and then the scramble for 4th. A second string that’ll be out the League Cup in the quarters, an injured makeshift 1st team that’ll be defeated in the 5th round of the FA Cup. As for the CL! Really!?!

  4. Rasp says:

    Thanks GiE, I think the ‘superstar’ issue comes down to perception as much as anything.

    Name me one top club that doesn’t have a player or two who would fall into the superstar category. I am happy with the path we are taking and to an extent I think Arsenal itself is confused about what message it wants to send out. There have certainly been confusing statements but they mean nothing, in the end you are judged by your actions and achievements.

    As regards the contrast between the performance in Finland and the E.C. – I was at the Galatasary game and can only comment on that. We started with a weaker team than in Finland and brought on a couple of less experienced players in the second half and so I would mainly put it down to the fact that the team in Finland was pretty close to our strongest available.

    The crowd play a significant part in affecting the way we play. Its all about pressure, and the pressure was off in Finland. I commented after the victory over City – I hope we can play with such freedom when playing under the pressure of the Premier League.

  5. Rusty_Lee says:

    Most of the the transfer noise is just media hype and gossip spewing from the rumour mill. Its understandable that we would all love New players and some superstar signings but is it essential we go out spend 50 million on one player? I dont think so. Superstars were nobodys at some stage and Wenger is the master of turning nobodys into superstars!

  6. umuntu says:

    Wenger should go we are tired of silly excuses bring in someone who s hungry to win. wenger out micheal laudrap in

  7. Red Arse says:

    Hi GIE, πŸ™‚

    A super star or two would not go amiss if we could get them – altho’ I suspect opinions would be divided over who is and who is not classified as such, as fans do not seem to have a consensus of opinion about anything these days.

    Frankly, from the conversations I have had recently (non-blog) the principal feeling seems to be one of disillusionment with the way the TW has gone, so far, and the mixed feelings many have regarding Suarez, who has been the sole target of AW for some weeks, and the fact he is seen as being a wonderful footballer and a sh**ty personality.

    There are still a couple of weeks to go in this TW, and I will be grateful if we get in anyone who can improve the team – super star or not.

    I can never rival Rasp for analytical straight talking, of course, but I can reiterate a point I made in a conversation we had some months ago, when I said that as an admirer of AW, I hoped he could move Arsenal forward next season, but that if he did not, I believe that he would call time on his Arsenal career.

    That is not to say the BoD would want that, but as a man of integrity and high standards AW would know that with the funds now coming on stream, standing still in terms of the team progress, or heaven forfend if it went backwards, that would not be acceptable.

    So get spending, Arsene, and bolster the squad – dithering is not an option.

  8. 26may1989 says:

    It’s not often I don’t fully agree with Exile, but on this post (thanks, by the way!) I would say bringing in a top-of-the-market, proven attacker is just as important for the players as it is the fans. We can see that the doubters are wrong, the team and squad we have are excellent, but it is just as clear that they need something to take them to the next level. And the most important thing is that top-notch forward.

    Sign him and not only will we be boosted in terms of pure ability on the pitch, confidence will also surge through the side and through the fan base. I’m not a fan of spending for the sake of it but this year, finally, we have the resources and the foundation for a great side.

  9. Rasp says:

    Morning Redders and 26may. Its certainly true that if we don’t succeed in signing Suarez or any other player deemed top quality, we will be reinforcing the media witch hunt – so for that reason alone I hope we succeed.

    Some have suggested that Suarez could disrupt a happy and harmonious squad, but it is also possible that the friendly fun spirit in our players could help bring the best out in Suarez.


    Thanks GIE

    Something like Suarez, Gustavo and Ashley Williams would be great.

    On the other hand, if we buy no body because we couldnt get the players we wanted then i can live with that.

    Much more important than buying is keeping what we have. In the last 12 months Ramsey, Theo, and to some extent Gibbs have all gone up gears. Now imagine this season Jack and Ox join them.

    Arsenal have a plan and its a good one..Create from within and add when nessecary.

    With internal improvements and the odd signing we will soon be able to match our rivals quality. Our advantage will come however from an in built desire similar to George Grahams early teams or Fergusons fledglings.

    With this “spirit” on our side, we will soon be giving every one a good thrashing.

  11. Rasp says:

    GiE, I’m sorry, I didn’t get to respond to your point about the make up of the Board the other day.

    When I wrote ‘I don’t know what the Board do’, I wasn’t being sarcastic, I meant it literally πŸ˜•

    I’m happy for the likes of Sir Chips and Lord Harris to be on the Board (as if anyone would care what I think πŸ˜† ) if they bring financial expertise and a high business profile, but what I would like to see is one or two who have genuine football pedigree.

    Bob Wilson is also in is 70s but I think would add a lot to the Board and would be someone who the supporters could relate to. He may well have been approached and declined for all I know. The likes of Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer certainly raise the profile of their club’s boards.

  12. goonerjake says:

    One 30 goal a season striker and we will be real contenders. Why do I say that? I think schesny is a good goalkeeper. Sagna and Gibbs are excellent fullbacks, Mozzetta and per started to look really strong at end of last season, now when you look at our midfield, I struggle to pick it because you can leave out two great players, eg. Santi/Jack/Ramsey/Arteta/Ox/Rosicky. Who do you leave out of your first eleven. I can’t leave Santi or jack out and then put Arteta as the holder, so what about Ramsey and Rosicky? Ok maybe you can play one further forward but then you have to drop theo/giro/poldi to the bench. So a addition of the one player and we not only have a strong team we have a strong squad.

  13. goonerjake says:

    Kozza not Mozzetta . Damn this predictive text

  14. evonne says:

    I think you are right GiE. Unless Wenger signs a big name, he will be ridiculed by his own fans. Every time the new striker (if any) misses the target AW will be reminded that he should have signed Higuain or Suarez. The fact that he tried to sign Highuain and Suarez, but for one reason or another did not succeed will not be remembered.

    BTW, why did we not sign Higuain?

  15. Red Arse says:

    Hi 26, πŸ™‚

    Well, to parody your opening line to GIE — It’s not often I don’t fully agree with 26, but to say, “We can see that the doubters are wrong, the team and squad we have are excellent” is something I cannot agree with.

    It is not my wish to be contentious, but I am in good company when I take the view that the squad is very thin, and needs bolstering.
    AW, himself, has said much the same recently, and said they (Arsenal) are working very hard to bring other players in.

    That is not to say the team performance against Citeh was not good – it was – but one swallow does not a summer make, and injuries would soon decimate our resources, and as I type, Theo has been declared doubtful for Saturday by some pundits.

    You know Arsene and I are right, 26!! πŸ™‚

  16. Red Arse says:


    I do not think you are asking the right people as to why we did not sign Higuain. None of us really knows the facts or details.

    That said, it has been claimed by some self proclaimed ‘informed’ sources, that we had agreed personal terms with the player and had also agreed a deal in principle with RM over the Β£22.1m transfer fee.

    Rather than close the deal, Arsenal, allegedly, then put all their resources into landing Suarez [as an alternative or in addition to Higuain, who knows], this allowed Napoli, who by then had sold their top player and had buckets of cash, to pop in and made a bid of Β£32m for Higuain.

    Understandably, RM, if this is true, could not turn down an extra Β£10m, and we refused to match it, on principle. C’est la vie.

    This story has now lent wings to the rumour that AW dithers when buying players, and that Arsenal are tight wads.

    As with all these things there may be some truth in the story, but anyone who tells you that it is the complete truth is being very naive! πŸ™‚

  17. Red Arse says:

    A hat-trick! Ta- ra. πŸ™‚

  18. evonne says:

    RA – yes, that’s more or less what I have heard. It could all go tits up if we don’t get the Uruguayan. Does anybody else find it difficult to call him Luiz? I do, not sure why

  19. Jamie says:

    Great post GiE
    It would be as important to us fans as it would be to the players. We hear the players constantly talk about how they would like new signings and more importantly for the squad depth. 18 players can never be adequate to go a whole season of 38 matches and some lg cup matches and the fa cup and ucl. Our youth players could also play a part but I wouldn’t put the burden of a team on shoulders of 19 year olds.

    A striker would not be quite enough. A DM would also be a big priority as Arteta is ageing and I couldn’t possibly trust Jack and Rambo to be disciplined enough in front of the defence as evidenced by the first half performance against Napoli

  20. Jamie says:

    Has anybody seen Big Al???

  21. DS1886 says:

    The Board won’t sack Wenger it would mean sacking themselves.

    I can see why Wenger would so readily go along with the Boards stringent Self-Sustainability Plan, it would deflect scrutinizing Wenger as a coach and in turn give fuel to those who believe him to be doing a fantastic job under extreme financial circumstances.

  22. ralfy says:

    Jamie The last thing we need is a DM, we already have more than our fair share of world class midfielders, we need a keeper and a striker, simple as that.

    Julio Cesar, Luis Suarez and if we still have change leftover, sign up Ashley Williams then we would definitely have the strength and depth to push for some silverware this year.

  23. Thanks Gooner In Exile, a good post that will no doubt divide opinion across Goonerdom.
    Do we need a big name signing?
    No we don’t.
    People obsess with money and what we should do with all the alleged cash Arsenal have/don’t have, what’s more important than any of that is our style of football, and the intensity with which it is played.
    The 1970-71 ‘Double’ winning side didn’t have any so-called big names, they were a force of nature whose collective resolve and belief were enough to see off whoever was put in front of them (mostly).
    As I said the other day, Arsenal are still coming to terms with moving stadium against a backdrop of many fans who would have preferred to stay at Highbury. Most understand the reason needed to move and have accepted it, if not fully embracing of it, but this puts added pressure on the club, because they have to justify it.
    It doesn’t matter who made what promises in 2006, the point is, if you move from a capacity of 38,500 all-seated stadium to one of 60,000+, you’re making a statement that you’re a big club, and many fans expect to see this replicated with the performances on the park.
    With that statement comes expectation, so what we need is players of character, like those we had in ’70-71, who drive the team on rather than pass pass pass just for the sake of keeping the ball, and we just don’t have enough of them, if any.
    Intelligence is the key to everything, it’s not about the amount spent, more the quality it has bought.

  24. 26may1989 says:

    Ah RA, you’re so right and yet so wrong! πŸ™‚

    There is so much about the gooner blogosphere that mystifies me, but one of the main points this summer that seems completely out of whack with reality (and I know this isn’t your line) is the suggestion that our squad is weaker than last season. How? Because Coquelin (11 league appearances last year) has gone out on loan? Please. Who else has gone that actually mattered?

    Yes, other than the fabled striker, we do need to bring in cover at DM and CB, but a player like Gustavo could answer both needs in one go, with Sagna being a fifth choice CB. You know my views on keepers, I would be delighted to get in an established pro like Cesar or someone of similar quality, but that looks unlikely right now, the signs are we won’t be getting a new keeper in at all. And we do actually have the requisite three keepers, two of whom may be flawed but who are internationals with experience, so I wouldn’t say we have a gap there, just not enough quality, in my opinion, which counts for virtually nothing, given that Wenger and his coaching staff know infinitely more about football and players than I do.

    So beyond the Rolls Royce forward (Suarez, Rooney or Torres (hope not the latter)), our “thin” squad could have its gaps filled with one signing. And I would be perfectly happy with that – my view tallies with goonerjake’s in many respects.

  25. Shard says:

    HI GIE,

    I’m still confident we will make signings. We will sign the players that we can from among those that Wenger wants. A superstar may or may not be among them. I don’t think it’ll make too much difference to the mood either way because it appears that many people have internalised the myths and complaints about Arsenal and the manager, and that won’t go away. Not with signings, not with early results, and not even with a trophy. The negative emotions have been created and nurtured for far too long to just go away like that, and the media will find new, creative ways to criticise. Lack of a 30goal superstar, or a one man team. Lack of spine, or dirty cheats. A genuine superstar, bitey racist. No trophies, only an FACup/wasted 8 years etc etc. The list is endless, and the issue of “the highest ticket prices in the world” will also crop up now and then, including from the mouths of assistant referees.

    But I think the players want a star player too. Wenger himself has said on many occasions that a star player gives players more confidence that they can win. Of course the implication is that this isn’t necessarily true. But the belief might help, especially in light of the inevitable negativity that is going to follow Arsenal’s efforts.

    I’ve been away for the past 4-5 days, and mostly cut off from all news. It’s helped me get over the transfer bug. It’s made me more excited about the football.

  26. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi GIE;

    Nice post and one that is bound to arouse active dialogue.

    This week we have Mertesacker, Podolski, Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Giroud, Wilshere, Chamberlain, Walcott and Cazorla all away on International duty. Today we get the news that Walcott picked up an ankle knock in training – all we need is a few bad “knocks” and we will be knackered.

    In a recent post I asked “Do we have enough quality and depth in the Arsenal squad” – the question is even more pertinent today with only 3 days between now and the start of the season.

    My response to my own question would be No and No, we do not have the all round quality required at our level and we are desperately short in terms of depth and coverage.

    We have 5 games in the first 16 days including the two CL games against Fernerbahce, a few “knocks” to any of our 1st team squad could relate to a disastrous start to our season.

    I am not one to jump on the black covered bandwagon of doom – but I am seriously worried.

    Yet another transfer period is coming to an end and it looks like we will, once again, be leaving the window open until midnight on the last day “wishing and hoping” for a few strays to jump through.

  27. LB says:

    Hi GIE, thanks for the read.

    It seems to me that the question can be answered quite easily, I know, you know and everyone who makes up the “Home Crowd” know that we need a different type of striker.

    If we don’t sign Suarez it will only add fuel to the fire of those baying for Wenger’s blood. I doubt very much that many will bother to analyse the reasons; which, as things stand, are that Liverpool do not want to sell rather than Arsenal do not want to buy.

  28. DS1886 says:

    Arsenal couldn’t even win with players such as Clichy, Song, Rosicky, Nasri, Fabregas, Van Persie and Eduardo in the side and this was all before Man City came riding in to town.

  29. Red Arse says:


    Thing is, I was going to explain why you may have mistaken what I was saying, but when you aced my ‘killer punch’ by repeating Arsene’s own pronouncement that the squad was a ‘leetle beet thin’ by referring me to goonerjake — I knew all was lost. πŸ˜€

    Perhaps I should have gone on to state what I was taking as a given.
    The Arsenal squad has been intolerably weakened not by the demise of Coquelin, but the sad departure of our wing wizard, the Gerv!

    No, I jest. πŸ™‚

    To reference to our ‘thin’ squad was not to look back and say it is as good as, or no different from last year, is to wilfully overlook the material improvements being made to our immediate rivals squads.

    Goonerjake mentions the profligacy we have in midfield, and I agree with him, except they are very similar in style and physique, and we need a younger more athletic, defense minded player to complement an ageing Arteta and a hard working but vulnerable Rambo.

    What I am referring to regarding the ‘thinness’ of the squad is the paucity of players able to come in at CF, CB, wing, LB, RB in the vent of injury, loss of form or exhaustion.

    Citeh have spent approx Β£100m on excellent players. Chelsea have also improved their squad and I hate to say even the Spuds have been ominously bringing in some impressive players (at least an improvement on last season) altho’, as I type, the fate of Bale is unclear, and I do not think Manure have got any worse than last year with the addition of Zaha.

    No one, no club, stays still, so a leetle improvement in the squad, year on year is essential.

    Anyway, I have already texted Arsene and told him you said he and I were talking bollix according to you, (I had to big it up to catch his attention πŸ™‚ ) and if he has any arguments he should have a word with you and goonerjake!! πŸ˜€

  30. Arsenal’s problems are easy to identify. They have more of the ball than their opposition, but they hardly ever make the best use of it.
    That surely comes from the training ground, not spending millions in the transfer-market.
    Yes it was a great result against MC in Helsinki, but it’s nothing new.
    When the pressure’s off, Arsenal can play wonderful flowing football, but how many times do we see that when it really counts?
    When was the last time we ‘bossed’ a season-defining game?

  31. Shard says:


    Actually I just watched the City game today. I didn’t think of it as a great performance. I think the result was a little flattering towards us. We need some more work. Both on the training ground, and the transfer market.

    As regards your point of making best use of the ball, surely having better players has something to do with it other than work on the training ground? Better players cost more money to buy and to keep. Hence money is important. Attitude and mentality are necessary conditions to win. But they aren’t sufficient. Sometimes, mentality being such a hard thing to quantify, it is unfairly judged solely on the basis of the result.

    We’ve bossed plenty of games only to lose them due to one or two incidents. Which in turn affects how we play the game. I’d rather we win playing poorly than boss the game and lose. Though obviously I’d rather we bossed the game and won.

  32. GunnerN5 says:

    Here’s our 1st team as of today – as shown on Arsenal.com.

    A lot of room for concern, we are relying on pure luck to avoid injuries before the season starts.

    1 Laurent Koscielny Center Back – International Duty
    2 Per Mertesacker Center Back – International Duty
    3 Thomas Vermaelen Center – Back Injured
    4 Kieran Gibbs Defender
    5 Carl Jenkinson Defender
    6 Nacho Monreal Defender
    7 Bacary Sagna Defender – International Duty
    8 Lukasz Fabianski Goal Keeper
    9 Wojciech Szczesny Goal Keeper – International Duty
    10 Mikel Arteta Midfielder
    11 Santiago Cazorla Midfielder – International Duty
    12 Abou Diaby Midfielder – Injured
    13 Emmanuel Frimpong Midfielder
    14 Aaron Ramsey Midfielder
    15 Tomas Rosicky Midfielder
    16 Jack Wilshere Midfielder – International Duty
    17 Nicklas Bendtner Striker – In Limbo
    18 Olivier Giroud Striker – Intertational Duty
    19 Ryo Miyaichi Striker – Untried
    20 Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain Striker – International Duty
    21 Ju-Young Park Striker – In Limbo
    22 Lukas Podolski Striker – International Duty
    23 Yaya Sango Striker – Untried/Injured
    24 Theo Walcott Striker – Intertational Duty/Injured

  33. kelsey says:

    Interesting post GIE and you have already had diverse reactions.

    I agree with GN5 about something amiss often when we play at Home, as was seen last season by dropping to many points compared to te top three. I can’#t pinpoint what it is,but I certainly don’t think it is the fans not encouraging the players.

    Herb I don’t agree abouut the 71 double team, but though short lived Charlie George was idolised by everyone especially those on the terraces.

    I think we all agree that the first team squad is wafer thin and I agree with 26thMay that the first teamers that have now left were barely bit part players but can we really afford to buy one player at 40 to 50 million pounds and another couple of players to supplement the squad with the money available. I doubt it.

    Now we have these friendly internationals and as I write,Walcott,Ramsey,Kos, Rosicky and of course Vermaelen all have varying degrees of injury and hopefully the the first named three will be fit for Saturday and Cazorla has to travel back from Equador.

  34. Gooner In Exile says:

    Afternoon all, sorry not been around to discuss my own post.

    I’m not sure I got across properly what I was getting at.

    So I needed to add an example, here it is:

    Gustavo looks like an almost done deal (ok that means nothing), but the general consensus has been …… meh …….

    For me he is ideal, he kept the Spaniards at bay in the recent Confeds Cup and has been part (even a small one) of Munichs high tempo high pressing game. But he lacks a big name, so the fans going to the Ems next week would be uninspired.

    What if in Sanogo Wenger has found another Anelka (hopefully one with fewer greedy brothers), again the crowd are turning up uninspired.

    These two could be what the team needs but it seems that a large portion of the moaners will make light of them and continue their attitude at home, a big name would give them something to cling to and get behind.

  35. Red Arse says:


    I am pleased you agree with my earlier comment to 26 that the squad is thin – and also puzzled why you are agreeing with him when he has made it clear that he does not agree with that view.

    His point was that Coquelin leaving did not make the squad thinner.
    [I mentioned Gerv too, to help 26, somewhat felicitously].

    If you agree with Arsene and I that the squad is thin, perhaps you can explain why you also agree with 26 that it is not thin? πŸ™‚

  36. Red Arse says:

    It shows what an impact Gedion Zelalem has had at Arsenal because he has been included in our CL qualifying list ‘A’.


  37. evonne says:

    GiE – you cannot make the miserable fans/people happy, it is an inside job. Big name or not they will remain unhappy about something.

    Having said that, I would loooooooooooooooooove Suarez at the Ems. And would never complain again.

  38. atid says:

    Well we started 23 players last season for the 38 league matches and for 7 of the CL matchs(not including the dead rubber v olympiacos) of that 23 santos effectively left at xmas and was replaced by monreal. Mannone didn’t play again once szczesney and fabianski came back, he was 3rd choice and has been replaced by martinez. Coquelin started a handful of matches and gervinho slightly more. In come sanogo frimpong and ryo.

    Is that weaker well I don’t think so especially when you consider that wilshire rosicky ramsey and chamberlain are likely to start more games this season. I know everyone is clamouring for another centre back but only 3 started last season and it seems sagna is more than capable of standing in. Likewise if we sign gustavo he can stand in too and at left back. There is a lot to be said for a smaller settled squad. The most successful teams usually only hand at around 20 title winning medals anyway.

    Now I am not saying we can win the title with that team and I certainly want gustavo and suarez. But to be fair the right players are more important than the most expensive ones, hopefully they are and hopefully there will be 2 or 3 more. However if we can put this18 out for 80% of the matches we won’t be too far off the pace.

    Sagna mertesacker koscielny gibbs
    Arteta ramsey
    Walcott wilshire cazorla

    Fabianski monreal vermaelen rosicky diaby chamberlain podolski

    Backed up by 14 youngsters
    Martinez jenkinson bellerin hayden yennaris frimpong eisfeld olsson zelalem ryo gnabry sanogo akpom afobe

    I realise already that 4 of that bench are injured so either youngsters will step up or signings will be made. But there is a lot to be said about consistency let’s hope we can continue where we left off in May.

  39. evonne says:

    atid – great comment

  40. kelsey says:

    what i meant was that the players who have left had little or no impact on the field and at the same time we should strengthen the squad with at least two signings as opposed to blowing our entire kitty on one man, as accounting for a number of players in the first team squad are prone to injury the squad is weak in numbers.

  41. Red Arse says:

    Totally, agree, Kelsey, and I knew full well what you meant — just joshing you as usual!! πŸ˜€

  42. Red Arse says:


    Everyone ignores you and I, so I thought I would answer you — no one else will notice!! πŸ™‚

  43. kelsey says:

    so it seems RA πŸ™‚

  44. LB says:

    Samuel Eto’o?

  45. Red Arse says:

    Looks like Sebastian Perez has been sent back to Columbia. He failed to get a work permit.

    Eto’o, too? Nope, he wants to join his bestest mate Maureen at Chelsea.

  46. Shard says:

    Apparently Arsene Wenger had a chance to sign Eto’o and declined it some years ago. I can’t see it happening at his age and his wages. However, I also think that we won’t get Suarez now unless no one else comes in for him. And maybe not even then. Liverpool have made it tough for themselves to sell him to us. But who knows what’ll happen.

    This thing with the work permits stinks. The reason. The clubs don’t apply directly to the Home Office. The applications go through only after being endorsed by the FA (routine if the player meets the criteria) and the appeals/special dispensations panel generally consists of representatives from the FA, League, and the Players Union. Expect no favours for Arsenal from that lot.

  47. Hi Shard, when I said ‘boss’ the game, I meant to make our possession more purposeful. We can pass teams off the park, but we’re not direct enough, and the end product leaves us all disappointed. I say it comes down to intelligence of movement, which maybe does correlate with what Arsenal spend, but given that AW is often referred to as ‘Le Professeur’, you’d think he’d have all bases covered.
    Hi Kelsey, you’re a little older than me, so I’m sure you remember better than I do. As I recall, Charlie George was a 19 year old rising star who missed a lot of the season through injury, but played a big part in the run-in when he returned in March, topped off with the iconic goal celebration that completed the ‘Double’ at Wembley. I thought it was that which had catapulted him into the national spotlight.

  48. Shard says:

    Hi WATA.

    No disagreement there. Just to mention that Arsenal has, due to a lack of funds, been a constant work in progress. In transition if you will. Considering that, I think we do alright. But yes, we certainly need to be more direct at times, although I think that complaint will go away this year. We’ve moved from the likes of Hleb and even Fabregas to Cazorla (who’s quite direct and not afraid to shoot) and Walcott and Ox who run at the defense. They’ve had time to settle and play together, so should be more effective this season. Although I would like one more creative outlet in the squad, but maybe Rosicky will be enough.

  49. Gooner In Exile says:

    The reports I have read on the City game seem to state that we didnt have much of the ball but made good use of it when we had it, especially the first half. If you watch the first goal you will not see a more direct pass by, the second involved very good movement by Ramsey and the third a hopeful pass by Theo.

    Which brings us back to today’s post, would Rambo have the confidence to play that first pass at home? Or would he suffer the Denilson problem of going sideways to avoid a groan and giving away possession, my guess is only 1 of 5 passes like that will come off, but the player has to keep trying, if the crowd applaud the intent then he is more likely to try again. If they groan then the player is more likely to go sideways to retain possession and avoid the groans. I have repeated many times that Dixon said the key to Arsene’s early success was enabling the players to play without fear, it’s why you don’t see him jump around the sideline conducting play, he wants them to do it themselves and use their own intelligence.

    However it is much easier to play without fear when like his early players Adams, Bould etc they had earned the respect of the crowd, the youngsters like Rambo do not have that luxury.

  50. Shard says:


    Absolutely agree. I still remember giving up the second goal to Swansea because Jenkinson was afraid of the groans from the crowd if he took what he knew was the right decision and passed the ball back to the keeper.

  51. Gooner In Exile says:

    This is what pisses me off more about modern footballers holding clubs to ransom over money….they get free shit all the time.

  52. Hi Gooner In Exile, we’re almost agreeing, I think.
    When you say players like Adams and Bould earned the respect of the crowd, you’re right, but both won major silver-ware early in their Arsenal careers, so they established a rapport with the Highbury faithful.
    But the Highbury crowd is very different from that which now frequents The Emirates.
    38,500 is still 3,000 more than WHL, yet look at the business Tottenham have done this summer. A bigger stadium raises the bar somewhat, both for the club, and in terms of fans expectations. Everybody loved what they saw at Highbury, but by moving to a bigger platform/stage, they’re promising even better. The club are saying they’ve out-grown Highbury, and that from this time on (the Emirates move),everything will be bigger and better. What they didn’t say refers to the point Shard made, about Arsenal being constantly in a state of transition..
    The club weren’t totally honest with supporters, because they led them to believe that they could compete at the very top level right from the off. Had they been forthright and honest with the supporters about how the Emirates move would impact on our chances of success, most right-minded fans would applaud the club and the support would have been stronger and a lot more united than the disjointed vitriolic divisions we have now.
    As has been said many many times, no-one is entitled to instant success, it has to be earned, but the very fact that we’ve lost star players without adequately replacing them shows Arsenal weren’t ready to compete at the top table, and they’re still not there yet.
    Supporters appreciate honesty, had they been given that, they would give players like Aaron Ramsey all the time and patience in the world to develop.

  53. Shard says:


    That passes up the responsibility for the fans’ behaviour onto an external factor, and there is no way of knowing whether it is true that it would have worked out better if they were told ‘the truth’. It depends on what you think the truth is.

    The truth, as I see it, is that the situation changed while Arsenal were in the middle of their greatest transition as a club. With Chelsea’s rise and the growth of the league in terms of sponsorship value, Arsenal were left behind in terms of income streams. The ability to compete with the very best was hence compromised. Even then, we probably would still have won if we’d had referees who were fair, and if some of the players we had stayed with us (or stayed injury free)

    If the club had said in 2007 or 2008 that we won’t be playing for the title for a few years, do you honestly believe the fans would have been understanding? I don’t. It would have been perceived as lying about the stadium plan even then (because the facts had changed after the initial announcement) It would have led to calls of how the club has given up even before the fight started.It might also have led to certain players leaving sooner than they did, or refusing to join us when they did.

    We do not deserve to know all the facts because there is no method in which only us fans can be privately informed of them. It affects Arsenal in ways which are harmful if they are totally honest. It is up to the supporters to recognise that fact as well, and be reasonable in their criticism.

    We aren’t at the top table yet. But we are a lot closer than we were 8 years ago, despite the lack of trophies. But if the fans give up on the club just when they are about to reach the point of the payoff, that would be the ultimate irony. We’re so so close. Forget the ‘lies’ or ‘broken promises’. Things changed, and PR is always going to play a part. Let’s not throw away all we’ve worked and suffered for right at the end. (and yes, the club has responsibility in that regard as well)


    Very nice comment Shard

    Now i must go on a rant.

    For the first time in eight years Arsenal are now in a position were we can compete financialy with our rivals. If our wage/turnover ratio is carried on with the inclusion of the new commercial deals our wage bill will be on a par with Chelsea and Utd and with Citys strategy of controlling wages, then in a couple of years them to.

    This is massive, much more important than wether we manage to buy a big name player this summer.

    We have turned the corner “financialy”. This is not pie in the sky, its fact, and has been part of a long term strategy going back to 2004.

    I agree that actions speak louder than words, and as yet we have not seen much action (bit like my private life hahaha) on the transfer front.

    But we have seen the re signing of our young core, kept the likes of Santi and Koz, and its public knowledge we have bid hugh money for Suarez.

    Paiitence during the last eight years has been vital, but it is even more pertinent now. The aim to use the money wisley in building a great team, but at the same time not damaging the ethos of “constructing” a team within is a fine balancing act, but if done properly will give us the advantage of not just competing, we will be the best.

    “The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring”

  55. Rob Lucci says:

    Hi everybody, and nice article GIE..

    As with most fans, I want big name signing too to complemented a very good squad that we already have to change ourselves from just ‘competing’ to a ‘winning squad’.

    But what I saw during this transfer window is that Arsene focused more on building the side, their chemistry, improving team dynamic, etc because maybe that’s more important to him than focuses all his time and effort to buy a ‘back up’ player, because that is what we actually need right?

    I mean all we need is a ‘back up’ striker, DM, CB and goalkeeper to complemented the one that we actually have, though I will not describe a ‘Suarez’ type striker as a backup because we need something different upfront.

    I’m not exactly good at forecasting a transfer, but maybe we will do the famous ‘panic buy’ transfer style once again.

    We want Parker, nope, I buy Arteta instead. We want Cahill, nope, I buy Mertesacker instead. We want a third striker and backup LB, well, JY park and that dude that replace Roberto Carlos at Fenerbache sound alright.. πŸ™‚

    I just want to remind you all that all Wenger’s successful side consist of two things, a stable squad and a QUALITY addition. I mean, without Gilberto and Lehman, we will never gone Invincible.

    Maybe, just maybe, Arsene want to get it absolutely right this time around.

  56. jnyc says:

    Great post GIE. Its not only fans who want signings, its the players too. Look at the comments. They want to see intent and help by the club.
    i dont care about the price tag, i just want two quality additions, with which i think we could compete, added to our base of talent.
    if we dont succeed, players like koz, cazorla. Jack will want to go elsewhere to clubs with ambition.

  57. Red Arse says:

    Good Morning, Earwigs, πŸ™‚

    So Sneaky Suarez has decided to stay at ‘Pool, it is being widely reported.

    This will humiliate Arsenal, and we should have smelt the coffee and walked away weeks ago — erm, sorry, I seem to have been saying that for some weeks now.

    Onwards! Arsenal are bigger than any player — thre will be others — hopefully not panic buys either.

  58. 26may1989 says:

    I agree within of what you say, jnyc, except the suggestion that the club aren’t ambitious. They are on the record as having bid Β£40m for one player – that in itself is astonishingly ambitious, and the fact it’s in an effort to acquire the best player in England outside the four CL clubs (and I do mean to include Bale) just underlines how ambitious the attempt is.

    Shard’s comments at 1.39pm yesterday is an excellent description of some of the dynamics in our fambase on these issues. It’s that aspect, not what signings we make or don’t make in the next 19 days, that worries me the most in terms of this side maximising what it can get out of itself. We, the fans (fed for years on myth, misunderstandings and nonsense about what can be achieved without a transfer kitty) are the biggest problem facing Arsenal. That’s very sad.

  59. LB says:


    The thing I fear most in the nightmare scenario of losing out on Suarez and Gustavo is the Arsenal fans. It used to be the embarrassment of bumping into my Tottenham buddies but nowadays the tirade of abuse we know we will have to read makes me feel very uncomfortable.

  60. evonne says:

    so you are beginning to panic too LB!
    I am petrified, not joking
    Please no Dzeko, he is just another Podolski

  61. LB says:

    Dzeko is sub Giroud; in fact, I would say that he is sub Bendtner so that would be a big no for me.

    But as for panic? No, I still think they will sell him, the main reason being that they have already spent most of the money.

  62. LB says:

    Everybody knows that Suarez’ preferred destination would be Real Madrid so it is logically follows that until the Bale deal is done, and spuds have already spent 50mil so that is still on if you ask me, anyway until the Madrid door has been firmly shut Suarez will not make a decision.

  63. evonne says:

    i wish I could believe you LB. but you let me down so many times before that I can no longer trust you πŸ™‚

  64. LB says:


    Very wise Evonne, I write with my heart not my head.

  65. Rasp says:

    Morning all, we are starting the season with 4 first team players injured …. not good! Even if we do buy, the new players will not have time to integrate into the team so I am at a loss to see why there is so much optimism?

  66. Morning all

    We have a New Post ……………………

  67. 26may1989 says:

    Rasp, who are the four injured players? The only ones I’m aware of are Vermaelen and Abou “Who is he?” Diaby. The rumour about Theo being injured have been dismissed by Hodgson already.

    Hardly an injury crisis.

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