So, we heard from Arsene for the first time this summer and it has set some cats amongst some pigeons.
Speaking to Arsenal Player ahead of the Asian tour, it all started quite well. He spoke about how he would fight to keep Nasri and Cesc, which is good. Obviously we know the subtle differences between the two situations and I saw a report yesterday saying we’re now offering Nasri £110,000 per week. I don’t buy that at all but it’s down to the man paid millions per year by the football club to sort things out to the benefit of the football club.
He then said he was working super hard to bring in new players:
We are working very hard on it. For me, the best thing is not to talk too much about it. The more you speak about things, the less chance you have to achieve them. The only thing that I can promise you is that we will work very hard and we have had some long nights to achieve what we want to achieve.
Yes, no problems. Then he said he understood the impatience of fans and then:
Let’s hope we can bring in one or two more additions of top quality.
Monsieur Cat, please meet Señor Pigeon. One or two? ONE OR TWO?! There was some reaction to that particular statement and I understand it. I have to say I was a little dismayed at it myself based on what he’s said and done in summers past. It also flies in the face of him saying he’d be ‘very active’, at the end of the season.
On the other hand though, and without trying to make any excuses for him, he can’t play his hand that publicly. Think about the players you might want to leave the club this summer. They all have to be moved on before we can realistically make more than a couple of signings. At this very moment there isn’t room in the squad for the four or five or more players people feel we need. And I’ll happily go on record to say I think we need that level of inward movement too.
He’s a bit hamstrung by the Cesc/Nasri situations also and much depends on them. It means that a resolution to those, one way or the other, is needed and needed fast. It also means that expected fees for players who want to go, like Denilson and Bendnter, will have to be lowered. And remember this: every club in Europe will be looking for value this summer. They know that the longer they wait, the better chance they have of getting a bargain from us. For example: if Denilson has found no suitor by August 30th the knock on effect is that Arsenal have one less place in the squad than they wanted and a player who they’ll accept tuppence ha’apenny for if the offer eventually comes in.
So I do think the potential departures are muddying the waters here a bit. We can’t force other teams to buy our players, especially ones we obviously don’t want. So, my thinking on this is that I will judge Arsene by what he does and not by what he says. I’ve said before that the erudite, witty man I used to enjoy listening to previously has gone, for the most part, and in his place there’s a man whose robotic platitudes and assertions I find increasingly hard to take. However, actions speak louder than annoying words so let’s see what he does.
All the same, he really doesn’t help himself though with some of the stuff. This for example:
We are at the top level and therefore need exceptional quality to strengthen our side. I can understand that people say ‘you have money, just go out and buy’. But it’s not only that, we want to find the quality we need.
That’s getting very, very old now. As is talking about how we were ‘so, so close’ to winning something last season. We were close to winning the Carling Cup but got beaten by a pack of relegated Hans Moleman managed shitkickers. In the end we finished 12 points from the top of the league, in fourth, and overtaken by City and Chelsea as our end of season collapse kicked in. I would dispute the fact that we need ‘exceptional quality’ to improve us, just some better players.
And then, talking about Thomas Vermaelen he said, with a smile, when talking about new players:
We have already added Thomas Vermaelen who has not played last year
Seriously? Has nobody told him this Like A New Signing thing is rage inducing bollockery of the highest order? It’s just so frustrating. We haven’t added Thomas Vermaelen. Thomas Vermaelen is available again. This idea of passing off the return of a seriously injured player as an addition to the squad drives me mad. I mean, I know where’s he’s coming from, we all do, but still.
There were some other interesting little snippets though. It does seem as if Kieran Gibbs is going to be given a chance at left back. Asked about why he sold Clichy he said:
The reasoning is that Kieran Gibbs at some stage has to get a chance to play. And Gael had only one year go to. He is now at an age where he has to play. And that’s the main reason behind that, to give Gibbs a chance
Quite a gamble, I’d say, but then he’s taken it before and it’s worked out for him. Cole replacing Silvinho, Clichy replacing Cole. and now Gibbs to replace Clichy. Does it make us stronger? I’m not sure that it does but then you could have had those same worries about Cole and Clichy when they got the nod.
If Gibbs is given the chance then he deserves our support. He’s not the one making the decision. Sometimes it’s only when you throw a player in at the deep end that you discover what they’re made of. If it doesn’t work it’s not the player’s fault, it’s the manager, and that ought not to be lost on people as they react to this.
The team leaves for the far east on Sunday, without Cesc, whose ‘muscular problem’ will lead to more speculation about his future, but with young Japanese wonderkid Ryo Miyachi. Nasri will go on tour, at this moment in time anyway, while Eboue is a doubt because of a calf problem. There’s also a suggestion that Almunia and Bendtner may not travel and a full squad annoucement is expected today.
So the lull is over, things are happening again, and there’ll be some football soon. I think this is good, although I’m not 100% sure.
Right, have a good Saturday. I might have “one or two” beers later.