Apologies for the slight lateness of the post this morning but once again I am vexed by hard drive issues. My main computer won’t even start up, which is something of a frustration. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that both hard drives (main and back-up) are manufactured by Samsung, the filthy Chelsea twats. I’ll get you for this, John Terry.
Anyway, on to matters Arsenal and there was a fair bit going on yesterday. Firstly, we signed a young Charlton defender called Carl Jenkinson. This should not have been a surprise to anyone seeing as the deal was all but announced officially months ago. When the club did announce it, it coincided almost directly with Man United spending £16m on Blackburn’s Phil Jones.
This led many to wonder where our ambition was and why we were clucking around League One players when the champions were being decisive and spending big on a young man who has obvious potential. There was certainly a a mixed reaction to the announcement which I understand on one hand but in reality I find a bit baffling. Fans want signings then complain when we make a signing?
Ok, if this were the only signing of the summer, and the height of our ambition, blow a gasket, flip the lid, go mental, then let me know where and when and I’ll join you. I might even lose the plot. It is only June 9th. And this is a young guy who will most likely understudy Bacary Sagna which could mean less Eboue which means less penalties given away in the third hour of injury time. To me this is no bad thing.
As well as that – as good as Jones is – I do wonder what the reaction would have been like if we’d signed him. Surely the last thing we need right now is a 19 year old, inexperienced centre-half. Isn’t the point of this summer to move away from that kind of signing to bring in players of greater experience? While many would have been delighted I’m sure others would have bemoaned the manager signing another ‘kid’, which is what he is. Personally, I don’t think he’s the right player for us at this moment in time.
Then the news emerged that we did bid for him, we offered him more than United did, but he chose to go there. Which I understand completely. Location, they’re the champions and he can go there and learn from players like Vidic and Ferdinand which must have played a part in his decision. Still, we can look at it as a positive that Arsene Wenger was prepared to break his own transfer record and hope that this signals a change in his approach this summer. Hints of that came earlier from Liam Brady.
Now, The Mirror this morning claims that Wenger pulled out of the Jones deal as he was unprepared to meet Blackburn’s valuation, and says that we are ‘in talks’ with both Christopher Samba and Bolton’s Gary Cahill. With regard to the first I’d be surprised if Blackburn were willing to sell, having just sold Jones, and as for Cahill, the valuation/deal will be all important.
There’s simply no way the manager will pay £17m for a player in the final year of his contract but the Mirror suggests cash + players might well be on offer. You can take your pick from a number of Arsenal players who could be used as makeweights and we’ll have to wait and see how this develops.
So, it looks like things are happening. It doesn’t make the reaction to the Jenkinson news any less unseemly though. I want signings as much as anyone, I want to see the team improved, the issues we all know we have corrected, but we’re at the very start of the transfer window and I don’t understand how actually signing someone is cause for complaint.
I suppose it’s a measure of the frustration out there but really, what United do, what City do, what Chelsea do, none of it is relevant to us. If we judge every signing we make based on how much money they spend then it’s going be a ridiculously maddening summer. Judge our signings on their merits and, most importantly, how they perform on the pitch. Not on their price tag or who else wanted to sign them.
As an aside, the price tags on young English players are just insane. I know they have sell on value which certainly has an impact, but it is very difficult to justify £20m on Jordan Henderson or even £16m on Jones. As in any transfer there’s a gamble on the potential of player but when you look at how inexperienced both of them are, relatively speaking, it’s hard to get your head around those figures. And it also has an impact on smaller clubs who will feel their English/British players should be sold at prices relative to the big deals. I do wonder if that’s having an impact at all.
Meanwhile, in Spain this morning’s various press stories sum up exactly the disinformation regarding the Cesc situation. El Mundo says Arsene has given Cesc his ok to leave but only to a Spanish club – Real or Barcelona – not another Premier League club. We all know there’s only one destination on the cards. Meanwhile, Sport say Cesc will take a wage cut to go to Barcelona and also say Arsenal have offered him another €2m per year to stay. So Arsene tells Cesc he can go then offers him €2m more per year? Quite.
I’m sure Marca will pop up with a story to say Cesc can go to Barcelona, but only a Tuesday at precisely 12.34 in the afternoon and he must wear a pair of lemon shorts and a t-shirt with a picture of a pig urinating on a beanstalk. At the airport he must meet a man wearing a pink rose in his lapel and utter the password ‘Heisenberg’ and then, and only then, will Arsenal listen to Barcelona’s bid. Transfers really are so complicated.
There’s not much more in terms of possible arrivals. Agent noises from Falcao and the ongoing Gervinho story (one minute he’s staying in France, the next he’s definitely leaving) are about the only ones vaguely relating to us. Again all we can do is sit tight and hope that the manager is as willing to push the boat out in other positions as he seems to be with regard to the defence.
Right, that’ll be that – back tomorrow with more outrage and hysteria!