So it’s transfer deadline day. Any deals must be completed by midnight and then we can put this torture behind us until January.
The main news this morning is that it seems likely that JosÃ© Antonio Reyes will go to Real Madrid with Arsenal receiving â‚¬3m plus Julio Baptista. Personally I can live with that. Baptista is big and strong and can score goals, JosÃ© is a homesick special needs kid who has burnt his bridges at the club. A proper shame but you didn’t have to be a genius to predict the kinds of problems he’s had in England. I think it’s safe to say the highlight of his Arsenal career was his first goal against Chelsea and a brief spell of sensational form at the start of the 2004-5 season apart he’s never really lived up to expectations. I wish he’d been a success but there you go.
So, Reyes out, Baptista in and we’re back to square one. Maybe we’re a little stronger due to Baptista’s versatility but I sincerely hope that’s not the end of the wheeling and dealing.
Ashley Cole could still move to Chelsea and his publishers will be hoping that happens so they can send his book to the presses so he can slag off Arsenal some more for not liking it when he and his agent went to meet Chelsea then lied about it then appeared on the front of the News of the World with a headline saying “I wouldn’t stay if they offered me Â£200,000 a week” and generally acting like Cuntley Cunts.
The Sun reports that Corinthians are trying to negotiate loan deals for Tevez and Mascherano. I’m really not sure that we need Tevez at all, especially when you can add Baptista to the list of players who can play up front, but I will be very disappointed if Mascherano goes elsewhere, especially when Wenger was very close to signing him in the summer of 2004 when it looked like Vieira was off to Madrid and then changed his mind at the last minute meaning we missed both the Argentine and a cheap Michael Carrick.
I think it’s just a shame we’ve gotten this far into the transfer window without doing any business. I said before that while there was tremendous potential in this squad, and I sincerely believe that, the gap between experience and youth is still off. We lack a midfield battler, at the very least. We’ve had all summer to try and find the right player. Maybe we have been trying. Maybe nobody, not one single club in the world, wants to sell to us.
Not sure I buy that though. We could go through today and lose Cole as well without the chance to buy a replacement or anyone else to bolster the squad and to me that would smack of mismanagement.
I think Arsene Wenger, if he doesn’t buy anyone (Baptista aside if that happens) is taking a massive gamble. I know he’s dedicated to his pursuit of youth and it’s admirable and I understand that it was borne out of the possible financial restrictions of the new stadium but we’ve had a long, speculative summer in which to add players to help the youngsters achieve their potential, not get in the way of them. Being brutally honest there are a couple of youngsters who have demonstrated that they actually need someone to get in the way of them because they’re just not good enough.
When Thierry Henry said some weeks ago that he hoped more players would arrive by the end of August that was, to me, an admission from the captain and one of the longest serving players at the club who has won titles with great teams, that this team is not capable of making a really challenge this season. If he feels we need new players to improve the squad then it’s a tacit admission of our weakness. We’re not good enough to win the league with the players we have.
Maybe I’m just caught up in transfer window bollocks but it seems like Arsene is determined to do it his way, that his kids will be capable of taking on squads who have strengthened considerably when we have lost Campbell, Pires, Bergkamp, Reyes and possibly Cole. We’re not stronger. We’re weaker. Some important players have left, some important players are out injured. We know he’s a stubborn man (witness the hapless Hoyte at left back ahead of Flamini who was so good there last year) and I would like nothing more than next May to write here that I was completely wrong and that AW is a true genius but I think unless we bring players in we could struggle more than we’d like this season. If we do struggle then I don’t think it will unfair to ask some questions of the manager.
A couple of late signings would obviously help lift the mood but I’m really not holding my breath. We’ve had months to do it now and any action today must surely be desperation rather than any long term planning.
I’m sorry for being so negative this morning but I’m genuinely worried about the season ahead.
Update: According to Tevez’s official site both he and Mascherano will be playing for West Ham. Fucking hell, I am lost for words.