Oh dear, B to the O to the I to the motherfucking LK. Jesus. Ouch. I have the the pain.
Where to begin. Flamini? Ok then. The manager has given him a couple more days to make his mind up. The boss is all like ‘Ok dude, you can like stay here and play some football and get some money or you can like go elsewhere and play some football and get a million billion money and then a bonus and then some extra money and then a bit more cash and then you’ll get your wages and stuff’.
Frankly with the money on offer elsewhere Flamini would be as mad as a rabid badger in a box filled with Phil Collins music if he stayed with us. The wage structure would be shattered if we were to even try and match what he’s been offered by other clubs and the manager says:
Despite what people say, we have Â£360 million debt. So we have to respect the wages structure or we will go bust. Therefore it is not that you cannot respect the wages structure, we cannot afford not to do it.
To put it in Lehmann’s terms, if we were to match what Flamini was being offered we’d have to pay him in the region of Â£6m a year, AFTER TAX. At that point you have Cesc, Gallas, Clichy, Sagna, Toure, Adebayor and possibly van Persie (if he was feeling cheeky) looking for the same. Then other players, while not expecting the same kind of money, will still want a good increase on their salaries and all of a sudden you’re faced with a wage bill which is larger than Gazza’s bar tab. The simple fact is that even going out and buying a player, spending the money on a transfer fee and his wages over the course of his contract is the most cost efficient option.
You’ll have read elsewhere that Flamini has made all kinds of demands to stay at Arsenal but don’t mix those up with the offers he’s been made from the likes of AC Milan and Bayern Munich. If he comes to Arsenal and says ‘This club has offered me this’ it’s not the same as saying ‘I want this or else’. It’s easy to say that if Flamini is focussed on football then he’d stay with Arsenal. How many of us would turn down incredible money if it was on the table in front of us? Not many, I’d wager.
So while Flamini is likely to the leave the boss says he’s the only one who can go and rejects the suggestion that there’ll be a massive clear-out at the end of the season. Reading around you’d think we were going to sell the whole lot of them which would obviously be quite mad. Doubts remain though over the futures of Gilberto, who may want to go elsewhere and play more football, and Alexander Hleb. Arsene says he’s going to report Inter to FIFA over Hleb, saying:
I will of course do it, with Inter Milan especially. I now know more about what happened over there. I will keep the information for those who need to know it. I donâ€™t want to speak much more on that but it is unfair what happened.
And I’m sure he’s well within his rights to do it but he also needs to look inwards a bit. Whatever happened, and I’m sure it was more than Hleb getting a flake in his 99, the player himself was a large part of it. He was the one who went to meet them, so we can gauge his commitment to Arsenal on that. My view is that if a significant offer comes in then we should take it without question. Hleb only has two years left on his contract and can do a Webster if he so desires, perhaps the man who doesn’t have the balls to shoot will surprise us with his bravery when it comes to buying out his contract.
Arsene also called the departure of Keith Edelman a ‘surprise‘ and says that the new man doesn’t necessarily have to be a football man. I think it’s clear the club are looking at somebody who is more football savvy though. The contracts and player purchase side of things should not be damaged at all with Ken Friar in charge. He’s a man of vast experience and a canny negotiator. There should be no worries in that regard.
The father of Portsmouth’s Nico Krancjar has confirmed that Arsene is interested in him, saying:
Wenger likes players with a sense of the game. Arsenal plays creative football and Wenger recognises this in Niko and he would be a logical replacement for Hleb.
I like Kranjcar, I have to say. I think he’s the kind of player who could bloom at Arsenal but it’s obviously all speculative at the moment.
Manchester United kick off against West Ham shortly and a win for them would end our very outside, slim, unrealistic chance of the title. I don’t know whether to watch or not. I might. But then given the way my very head in pounding it might be a bad idea. Come on West Ham, you cunts. Do it. And then Newcastle on Monday night. Come on. What a final day it would be.
Right, I have sausages, bacon, eggs, white and black pudding, fried tomato, toast and orange juice calling me. Who am I to resist?
Update: If you fancy a pint and the Everton game tomorrow in Dublin, upstairs in O’Neills in Suffolk Street is where some of us will be.