Wenger Loosens the French Connection.

February 1, 2018

Another Obituary. Strange Days.

Today we wish Giroud a fond farewell, and give a gentle wave to Debuchy. Two more lockers to be emptied.

Matthieu Debuchy. Signed from Newcastle for, what was then, big money. Started his AFC career in fine form and seemed another good buy, but sadly he got crocked by Arnautivic (off the ball in what should have been a straight red card incident). In his absence Hector grew into the player we see today. Had Debuchy not been injured would Hector have made such an impression? We will never know. What is for sure is that injuries have blighted Debuchy’s AFC career. I like his punk attitude; he has not been satisfied being a squad player and now has the chance to enjoy the last years of his playing time in France. Could have been a good servant, sadly through events beyond his control, wasn’t.


Like so many others I would like to thank Olivier Giroud for his input – a proper Arsenal man who (from media reports) wanted to stay at The Emirates. When OG arrived we were excited, a French International with a good scoring record, good in the air and just the chap to take over from RvP, or so we thought. Unfortunately OG is not and never was at the level of the Dutch Traitor. He is a very good attacker with great vision and a delicate touch but he is not of the first rank. Much admired but everyone knows he is simply not good enough for Arsenal. A great back-up striker and Plan B. For a team which has historically relied upon pace, OG was perhaps not the right fit but he always gave his all and we can ask for no more.


No more will his song be sung, shame as it is one of the few that everyone knows both the tune and words. We will remember a man who loved the club, was extraordinarily handsome and scored spectacular goals.

Thank you Mr. Giroud. We wish you well.

So … we come to the end of a thrilling January transfer window, out of breath and in shock. I predicted we would sign and sell no-one, so did almost all of you. How wrong could we be?

Exciting times ahead.


Can we buy on Ebay?

January 23, 2015

I have bought over 300 items from Ebay  and have a 100% rating, granted throughout those 300 items I have been disappointed with one or two items. Buying things from photo’s and a short description, can leave you exposed to the odd dodgy item but read the description and many times you read in them what you want to read, only when you log back in and read it all over again you can often find something you missed.

I have always bought, but I have just entered an item for sale, a set of alloy wheels, and the amount of questions i have been asked has surprised me.I know we send scouts out to watch certain players, and yes a player may look good on the field. But what about his personality his sexual persuasion or even his record, sickness discipline or even a police record, surely for the amount of money paid out you would expect a 4 page dossier, but we have still signed injured players.

Now I read that we have added 8 year old kids to our academy, even Beckham’s boy has come and played a bit and i have to ask myself what’s the point. Young kids who don’t even know what its all about, being propositioned by scouts agents or even parents, lets face it they are kids who still have a lot of growing up to do before you start nurturing, a talent that may never come to anything.

Now when have we ever found a talent in the lower divisions, there are plenty who play, and when we play some of them in the cups we see guys who look as good as some of our multi million players, but no we spend millions on a 17 year old kid who plays in a foreign league who most of us have never heard of.

Now with all of the holding midfielders and central defenders in the lower leagues who are all used to English football surely some of them are good enough to play in the premier, but how often do we even look. If we search the world for 8 year old maybe’s, and hope they grow to six feet 2 or 3 and will be strong enough to play top flight football who are we trying to kid.

A few seasons back when we were struggling we could have bought Cahill or Samba and we never, we buy Squilachy instead  I don’t think the right questions were asked then, do you. I feel we have to buy players who have a bit of a track record, a player who is six feet 2 or 3 already players who have shown they are resistant to playing in rain sleet and snow, players who have a bit of fight in their bellies, and leave the Chamakhs and Eduardos Gervinhos  to other teams.

We have in our fold Wilshere Walcott Ramsey Diaby Gibbs who seem to spend most time injured, fairly good players who have shown when fit are decent talented footballers, but when these players are injured the team seems to struggle, so what do we do.

Maybe like Ebay we should ask more questions, ask them early in the window so when an answer comes back that casts a doubt we can scroll through the others on the list. Research, and lots of questions before we part with our Wonga.

written by Steve Palmer

It is Your Fault Players Are So Expensive

January 21, 2015

Following on from yesterday’s  topic, it seems an unwritten rule in football that the higher up the pitch you play, the greater the price tag. This is a generalisation of course, but it is an undeniable fact. Strikers command the highest prices and goalkeepers seem ludicrously cheap when you consider they have it every bit as much within their power to win or lose a game for the team.

Why is this?

Well the answer has to be that it is 90% down to commercial considerations. Strikers are the glamour boys of football. They score goals, they put bums on seats, they sell shirts, they recruit new supporters who will spend money with the clubs, they appear in advertising campaigns …. everyone loves a striker. In short, strikers create revenue for the clubs, it’s market forces.

Furthermore, it is easier to gauge a strikers abilities by the simple goals/game ratio, whereas a centreback for instance has no such definitive data on which to judge them. There is even a subtle difference between the relative values of an attacking midfielder in relation to a holding midfielder.

Admittedly there is now a plethora of statistical information available for the geeks and statos among us to analyse the performance of players in all positions (no offence intended GN5 🙂 ), but as we have agreed many times on here, stats can be used to prove anything you want – or sometimes the opposite of what you want! In any case, which is the sexier, a player who smashes the ball into the back of the net or a defender who wins a header?

Some supporters are exceptions, like those who have played the game (even if over the park) who will have an appreciation of the skills of a player who occupies the same position on the pitch as they once did, but most people these days watch football from the comfort of their sofa. We are a generation of fake football managers, experts on everything and nothing …. and yet as a collective, we wield more power than we imagine when it comes to the price tag attached to players.

Obviously specific criteria are important in different positions on the pitch. The most obvious being height in defence, speed on the wings, vision and work rate in the midfield, trickery up front etc etc. Beyond that, there are fundamental considerations for all player purchases that combine to reach a price tag – and then add 20% on top for the agent!

I thought it might be timely in this January window period to examine what these criteria are, and why they affect the player’s value.

This would be my list in order of the effect they have on player value in the current transfer market …..

  1. Position
  2. Ability
  3. Marketability = persona
  4. Age
  5. The wealth and need of the buying club
  6. History of injuries
  7. Nationality

I would argue that points 1,3,5 and 7 are influenced by fan power.

It is you who makes the strikers so expensive … just because you aren’t sophisticated enough in your appreciation of football to value a defensive midfielder. You’re so shallow you have to have pretty boys wearing your shirts. You feel deprived if your club doesn’t spend every penny of its transfer budget on shiny new players every window and what’s more, you want a German in defence, a Spaniard in midfield, a flying Dutchman on the wings and a South American magician up front.

Hopefully I have managed to insult everyone so far 😀

Footballers are overpriced and overpaid because we, the supporters, idolise them. We give them their value and the money men take their lead from us.

So is there anything we can do about it? Yes, we can just stop loving them for their flair, brilliance, athleticism, fabulous goals and crunching tackles, the way they love only our club (not!) ……. OK, maybe we can’t do those things.

You may wish to disagree with my list of criteria, or to rearrange the order of precedence, or just insult me for being ‘an armchair expert’. Feel free to steer the debate in whichever direction you desire – just remember, it’s not the fault of the new young generation – it’s all your fault.


Do we need a Centre Back or a Defensive Midfielder? Vote.

December 31, 2014

To CB or DM, that is the question?

We are rapidly approaching the January transfer window and let’s be honest we are aquiver with excitement (slight exaggeration!) We have a gaping hole in our squad and AW is sure to fill it, but how?

CB: Do we need another centre back? With Monreal, Debuchy and Chambers all able to understudy BFG and Koscielny, is another CB essential? Will we be able to attract a young player to sit on the bench or will the new chap take over BFG’s starting role? There are fears that Kos will leave in summer, I have not heard anything which convinces me he is Barca-bound but who knows? If he is then a big money signing is a must – Hummels or someone of his standing will be the order of the day. BFG has played almost every game this season and he needs a break – is it any wonder his form has suffered, but perhaps his loss of form is permanent as the Big Man becomes even slower.

But if they both stay and we buy someone who will be benched? My gut reaction is neither as we will try to continue with the personnel already at the club.

DM: Flamini’s contract is for 18 more months, Arteta is starting to creak and is prone to muscle injuries – his absences are costly as Flamster, despite his energy and commitment, is simply not good enough. We need to sign someone who can play DM and at a push CB. But they are much in demand and expensive. Carvalho – the flavour of the month – is valued at over €25m and the only time I have seen him the man was anonymous. However, we are in need of a direct replacement for Arteta or are we? Can Ramsey, Wilshere or Ox or even Chambers play the role?

What do you think?

Written by Big Raddy

Dear Mr. Wenger, All I want for January is ……….

November 27, 2012

I know it’s a little early to be talking January Transfer Window, but here goes …………….

I thought that with the recent influx of funds courtesy of our favourite airline, mixed with a lot of discussion about Wenger possibly coming to the end of his tenure, it might be a good chance for people to put forward the transfer targets that they think could bring the trophies back to the Emirates whilst at the same time getting Arsene back in the fans good books.

There have been a lot of different figures banded around the press about how much Wenger actually has at his disposal come January, but i’m thinking that around £30-£40m investment is what is needed to get fans back onside.

Personally, I believe we are only 1 or maybe 2 ‘quality’ players away from having the squad needed to get back in the fight for trophies.

As many of you will probably agree, a striker is priority number one. A few of the names being thrown around are Huntelaar, El Shaarawy and Llorente.

Personally, I think Huntelaar seems the most obvious and most likely option. It doesn’t look like he is going to extend his current contract which runs out soon, and at 29 he is probably looking for one more big move before time runs out on his career. With a small price tag of around £6m it would leave enough funds to cover his possibly high wage demands.

The second position that is being discussed a lot is Left Back. Santos seems to have fallen out of favour since his car ‘incident’ and poor performances have done nothing to improve the situation. Young Dutch International Jetro Willems has been mentioned a lot and would certainly fit the bill as a typical Wenger signing.

The other position we may have to fill in January is the RW with Theo still not agreeing a new contract. Most are now desperate for him to re-sign (a massive turnaround from 12 months ago when he was being slaughtered by fans) but if he decides to walk away then Wenger will definately need a replacement. Zaha at Palace and even the dreadful Downing have been named as possible recruits, but personally i think Theo will actually sign on the dotted line.

Anyway, enough of what i think!

Who do you think Arsene should buy in this window, and what positions do you feel we need to strengthen? We would all love Messi, but try and be realistic and stick to the budget.

Written by SlimGingerGooner

Transfer gossip – Homegrown – We have a problem!! Put Your wish lists away…

January 11, 2012

After Vito Mannone moved to Hull on loan there was some suggestion that he had made available a space for non homegrown players to arrive.

Unfortunately this isn’t the case. For the 2011/12 season we named five homegrown players over the age of 21, and 17 (the maximum allowed) non homegrown players. Players like Szczesny, Ramsey and Wilshere do not need to be named as they are under 21. Mannone due to when he arrived, actually counts as homegrown.

With the late summer arrival of Arteta, Mertesacker, Santos, Gervinho, Benayoun and Park we added six players who clearly don’t count as homegrown. We lost Vela, Traore, Bendtner, Clichy, Denilson and Cesc who all did count and Nasri and Eboue who didn’t. We went from four available spots for non homegrown players in the Premier League Squad in 2010-11 to none in 2011-12.

Current homegrown players over 21 are Walcott, Djourou, Song and Gibbs (and Mannone now not in the squad).

That leaves us in a situation where we cannot name Henry in our premier league squad (post Transfer Window closure) as we will exceed our quota. The same goes for any other foreign player. That is unless we free up some room in the January transfer window or do not name some players in the PL squad after January.

The likely candidates to not be named or released are Almunia, Park and Squillaci, however all have been used whether on the bench or in cup games. And leaves us short of cover going into the fixture laden months of February and March.

There is a further problem, we only have three spots for over 21s left in the squad, they must be homegrown, Wilshere, Szczesny, Ramsey will fill those spots within a year or two so without some major squad overhaul we can expect very little in new arrivals until we have allowed some natural vacancies if we can’t move them on before contract expiry. The use of a squad berth for Henry seems to make no sense given the above. Especially as changes can only be made during the transfer window. If we drop a player from the squad rota at the end of the window to allow Henry to play in the League in February whoever we drop will not be able to return when he goes back to New York. Are we sure we want to risk that?

We may have kept some money back in August but we have a situation that needs addressing and a bit of long term planning is required. I did not question the summer arrivals as they were much needed as are some new additions in January. But now it is clear that without releasing some of the foreign talent we may as well stop hoping. Sorry put your scouting videos away unless they are unheard of English or Welsh talent playing in the lower leagues.

Written by Gooner In Exile

To Win the Title, Wenger Must Not Repeat Last January’s Mistake

January 10, 2011

This time last year we were on a long unbeaten run and were beginning to hint at the possibility of a serious title challenge.

There was one glaring problem – we did not have a lead striker.

Robin van Persie was out on one of his trademark lengthy injury lay-offs and Nicklas Bendtner was filling the berth next to him in the treatment room.

The result – Andrei Arshavin as centre forward.

I still have nightmares about some of those games where we played the Meerkat as our CF: his little legs scurrying around among the ranks of Jurassic defenders, those brave but pointless jumps to try and win headers against six-foot-plus titans. Sometimes his only viable tactic was to try and run through the defenders’ legs. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that Arshavin hasn’t been the same player since.

During the January window it was obvious that we needed to strengthen our injury-depleted attack and it was also clear whom Arsene had in mind for the job: Marouane Chamakh.

But the boss felt Bordeaux were asking too much money for the Moroccan international (who had only a few months left on his contract) and preferred, instead, to wait until summer to bring him in on a free.

The rights and wrongs of the Chamakh non-move last January have been much debated so I don’t want to go into them again here. But I do feel that, even if he thought it wasn’t right to bring in Chamakh at that point, Arsene should have looked for other quick fixes to the striking problem. Perhaps a loan deal, or a relatively low-money move for a veteran forward (like when ManUre snapped up Henrik Larsson in 2007 on their way to winning the title).

And so to this year’s January Transfer Window.

This time our problem is at centre back, not centre forward. Our best defender, Thomas Vermaelen, has been out for most of the season and there are real question marks about whether he’ll be back in the short to medium term.

Fortunately Johan Djourou has really stepped up to the plate and both Squillaci and Koscielny have made better starts to their EPL careers than they are often given credit for.

But what if one of those three got badly injured – particularly if it was big Johan? We would be seriously weakened at the back and you would have to doubt our ability to sustain a title challenge.

Yes, we could push Song back into a CB role, but he offers so much in the middle of the park (and has no obvious replacement for that role in the squad) that it would be equally damaging to move him.

So, as they say, it’s déjà vous all over again, only this time it’s a defender we need, not an attacker.

Chris Samba has been mentioned, as has Gary Cahill. Per Mertesacker is being linked with us (I like him a lot but Big Raddy makes the reasonable point that a mid-season arrival should ideally have EPL experience).

I really hope Arsene goes for one of them. I hope he realises that although his failure to acquire a striker last January can’t be said to be the only reason we failed to sustain our challenge, it at least played a part.

To see the same thing happen again would not only be deeply disappointing, it would also be a major faux pas on our manager’s part.

Come on boss. Make that move!


Wenger Will Buy in January

December 3, 2010

The frothing fury of those who feel personally betrayed by Arsène Wenger’s recent comments on the January transfer window has had me splitting my sides.

You will recall that our leader seemed to categorically rule out taking the AFC wallet out of the club strongroom (where it is permanently protected by Peter Storey and some ‘friends’) to add to our squad this January.

I have seen him referred to as a liar, a fraud, a betrayer, a loser, a geriatric and a Frenchman. Not all of those descriptions are true.

What amuses me is how people continually take at face value the comments of a master tactician whose words are carefully framed to hit the right note for multiple sets of ears (the press, his players, other clubs, agents, his own Board and, lastly, the fans).

If some of these bloggers were writing in Renaissance Italy just imagine the headlines they would come up with:

“Lying Machiavelli Is Such A Fibber.”
“Outrageous! Cesare Borgia Has Gone Back On His Word.”

It has been well publicised that Arsenal have plenty of dosh. The last thing Arsene wants is to tip off the entire weaseldom of European football agents that we are in the market for a centre back or a new defensive midfielder.

When we buy this January – as I believe we will – it will be a bolt from the blue. The press won’t get wind of it until it’s a done deal and neither will we. Remember – Arsene left himself a clear get out if he wants to buy. He said he had no intention of adding to the squad unless he had to cover for injury problems. Well, he already has one serious injury problem (Vermaelen) that demands a solution. And given that if our team was a Mister Man it would be Mister Bump, it’s a racing certainty that we’ll have at least one more serious injury before the end of January. Which will mean he will spend.

Of course that’s no guarantee that we’ll all be thrilled with the purchase. Any new signing is far more likely to be from the Koscielny category of megastardom rather than the Arshavin one. But if we haven’t got at least one new member of the squad by the end of January I will eat my hat*.

*My hat is made of marzipan. It’s crap in the rain.