Everyone loves a new signing, right? That’s what this summer, and every summer, is all about. Waiting, watching, speculating and hoping, until that magic moment arrives when the announcement is made on the official site:
Arsenal are delighted to announce the signing of Rupert P Winkletosser on a long term contract for an undisclosed fee …
And everyone cheers and claps and there’s a party in all corners of the kingdom and there’s dancing and merriment and the like. But what about those signings that you don’t like? Where the announcement is not a cause for joy but instead brings despair and anguish and the party, if there even is one, isn’t at all sexy. I’m reminded of this as I perused the feeds and the social media witterings this morning and I saw much talk of Salomon Kalou.
This is a player we have been linked with before and even back in January there were strong rumours we might take him from Chelsea as our need for a signing, any old signing, drove people, me included, to distraction. This is a signing I would not like. In fact, when we were first linked with him back in 2009, I wrote three things I would do with him rather than sign him. Number 1 was:
I would make him play the hind quarters of a pantomime donkey in a post-apocalyptic rom-com featuring Jennifer Aniston as the woman who fell for the front part of the donkey until the front part of the donkey died from radiation poisoning but in the end she realises that true love can be found with the other part and they live happily ever after … until Kalou grows an enormous beak which devours her as they sleep.
It’s still a good concept yet none of the film studios will touch it. These people who allow Adam Sandler to continue to make films cast judgement on me? How dare they. Anyway, the point is that Kalou’s head is an impossibly tiny triangle and I do not want Arsenal to sign a player whose head is an impossibly tiny triangle. And that’s not even taking into consideration his football ‘skillz’.
See, we hear all the time that for footballers it’s just a job. Which it is. And it’s why Ashely Cole, brought up a Gooner, can quite happily bugger off to Chelsea because they offered him some more money. It’s why Arsene Wenger can, for reasons still best known to himself, decide to spend actual real money on Sylvester, snatching him from under the noses of august clubs like Sunderland and Man City (shows how their standards have slipped in recent times, eh?).
But for us it’s different. As fans we spend a lot of energy hating the opposition. To be fair, some Arsenal fans seem to be equal opportunities haters and hate most of our team the same way. We must be the fairest fans in the world. The point is though that we can’t turn it off. We can’t easily castigate a guy week in, week out for being a El Crapo Grande for a team we can’t stand, then openly accept him as one of ours because he’s wearing our shirt. Well, we can easily castigate, it’s the acceptance that’s difficult.
It can happen – you need only look at Sol Campbell as an example, but that was a bit different. That was nicking their best player in his prime, for free, and then seeing him play out of his skin and win titles and doubles and that. However, it’s kinda rare. You look at the guys who came in from Premier League clubs last summer and both Arteta and Benayoun worked out well.
There was some initial resistance to Arteta simply because he was NOT CESC but he was never a figure of real opprobrium when at Everton, despite having the odd run-in with the former skipper. Benayoun took longer to convince folks but his flitting between clubs meant he was never associated with one club alone and generally seemed like a nice, if rather sickly looking, bloke. And he scored that goal for West Ham on lasagne day which cost Sp*rs their Champions League place.
But signing complete bastards is harder to take. Sylvester was the prime example. I could not bear him when he played for United. I never understood why he couldn’t close his mouth, his head was overtly large and he once loafed Freddie Ljungberg whilst playing for our biggest rivals. How are we supposed to forget that? The only way we can forget is for the player himself to be awesome and with all due respect to Sylvester, even at his peak he was about as good as finding a bump on the top of your willy then looking on in horror as some kind of evil beetle wormed its way to the surface.
The same applies to Kalou. If Chelsea, a team that finished 6th, want rid of him and are happy to let him go on a free, then I think he’s best avoided. He doesn’t have the quality and the ability to perform to a level that would ever make us forget he’s a triangly-headed former Chelsea player. That’s what he would always be. Perhaps it’s harsh, perhaps I should be the bigger man and accept players on face value, judge them on what they do on the pitch for us and not what they’ve done on it for other people and sometimes against us, but that all sounds far too reasonable for my liking.
Signing players like this are like Christmas morning when you want a new bike and you go downstairs and there’s a bike shaped gift beneath the tree wrapped in beautiful paper and you rip off the paper and find it’s a year’s worth of dog poo moulded into the shape of a Raleigh Chopper. You just might as well not bother.
I know you can’t please all of the people all of the time but sometimes you can displease all of them by doing something they want you to do. So, let’s hope that Arsene and Ivan bring us actual Raleigh Choppers this summer, and not the hideous alternative. In this warm weather they’d get all melty too.