Hello everyone and welcome to Friday. It’s Good Friday, one of the only days in Ireland where you can’t buy alcohol and the pubs are shut.
One of my favourite games is to wander into town to watch the groups of lads who have come from the UK for a stag weekend stare forlornly into the window of pub after pub that is closed. The one lad who organised it all – and thought he was doing great work because the flights were a tenner and the Travelodge booked with a discount – is both perplexed and shitting himself in equal measure. Fun times. And sober times for those fellas who will make up for it tomorrow night, assuming they didn’t just come for one night. Ooops.
Anyway, let’s get on with what little football there is, and the main story from yesterday is a reported willingness on the part of Arsenal to pay Alexis Sanchez £300,000 a week to tempt him to stay at the club. That would be pretty tempting in fairness but, as with anything that emerges from the club, or around the club, it’s hard not to be cynical.
Is it a genuine offer, a last-ditch desperate attempt to keep a player who has contributed more than any other this season? Or is it information that has been made public so the club can’t be accused of not moving heaven and earth to keep him, and if he goes it’s his fault for not wanting £300,000 a week from us?
I just don’t know. I’m sure Arsene Wenger will be asked about it at his press conference today, and will say ‘We don’t like to talk about those things in public’ and we’ll be none the wiser afterwards.
And I’m expecting another round of Arsene Wenger Future Bingo, with phrases like ‘I would not like to come out on that now’, ‘I have already talked about this’, ‘Nothing has changed’, ‘You will know soon’, and more. I can’t see him giving away very much despite the fact that the more time passes, the larger this cloud that hangs over the club is, the more damaging it is for him, for the team, for the fans, and the club in general.
I don’t need to say again how ludicrous it is that we’re in this position and that nobody will tell us anything, because you all know. It’s mad.
Anyway, back to Alexis, I have no idea what’s going on there. If we’re willing to pay him £300,000 then the knock-on effects of that are obvious. Other members of the squad who may well accept the so-called ‘best player’ earning a bit more than them will find it a little more difficult to accept the fact he’s earning twice or three times as much, and that will be an issue for the manager to deal with.
It also shows players who we might be trying to bring in that we’re now on board with paying those kind of wages and top talent will be saying ‘Well, if you’re happy to pay Sanchez that …’
I just don’t think that information like that is leaked for any other reason that to change the perception of a story, because it goes from ‘Arsenal unwilling to pay top players what they want’ to ‘Greedy player won’t even sign for £300,000 a week’.
If this was, at this moment in a time, a club that appeared to be well run, together and harmonious, you’d be less cynical but considering the mess we’re in, it’s hard to be anything other than that.
For some extra reading this morning, Tim Stillman’s column is called ‘Mob justice’. It touches on the events at Crystal Palace Monday night, and how the silence and inaction from the club affects fans.
Right, time now for this week’s Arsecast and I’m joined by lots of people who called in yesterday to chat about Arsenal and other things besides. We had fans from all the world get through and we discuss Jack Wilshere, Arsene Wenger, the board, Alexis Sanchez, writing letters to David O’Leary and lots more. There’s also a bit of the usual waffle and some poetry from Tony Adams.
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Right, we’ll have all the press conference news over on Arseblog News this morning and throughout the day. The Gent will be here with what I am assuming will be a laudunum fueled weekly review – for what other way is there to relive it? – so for now enjoy the podcast.