Monday, December 11, 2023

Jagielka and Cesc bids not the same thing

Morning, welcome to Friday, the rain has stopped and my weather widget thing says it may get above ‘very chilly indeed’ today.

We’ll start with the news that Arsenal had a £10m bid for Everton’s Phil Jagielka rejected yesterday. And not surprisingly too. £10m is low for a player who is an experienced, established international, and for whom we had a £12m bid turned down last summer. It led some people ask what the difference is between our bid for Jagielka and Barcelona’s behaviour regarding Cesc Fabregas.

At first I thought people were joking, because the two situations are hardly the same at all, but it seems not. The only thing they have in common is that both Barcelona and Arsenal have made bids for players on other teams that are low in relation to the value of the player. And Everton and Arsenal have, rightly, turned down those bids. Now, you can correct me if I’m wrong but that’s as far as the similarities go. Note:

  • Barcelona have spoken non-stop about signing Cesc. Arsenal haven’t said a word about Phil Jagielka. If the news of the rejected bid came from anywhere, it came from Everton.
  • Barcelona players have been in the press talking about how much they want to sign Cesc. Not one single Arsenal player has mentioned Phil Jagielka.
  • Barcelona’s manager has spoken publicly, and often, about wanting to sign Cesc. Arsene Wenger has not spoken about his desire to sign Phil Jagielka.
  • Barcelona have tried silly tactics to drive the Cesc price down. Arsenal have not said ‘Well, we sold you Anders Limpar in 1994, therefore we should get a discount on Phil Jagielka’.
  • Barcelona have claimed to have limited funds yet have spent €26m on Alexis Sanchez, meaning their behaviour is likely to get worse if they continue their pursuit of Cesc. Arsenal say they have money to spend and have made an effort to spend some of it.
  • One of of Barcelona’s most senior players has embroiled himself in a row with Arsene Wenger, calling the manager ‘absurd’ after quite correctly being called out on his comments which are disrespectful to Arsenal Football Club. No Arsenal player is currently involved in a war of words with David Moyes.
  • Barcelona know what it’ll take to sign Cesc yet absolutely refuse to do it. Arsenal have made what I assume is an opening bid.

And for me that’s the key. Yes, I think £10m is too low for Jagielka but does anyone, in any form of business, go in to any negotiations with their highest offer first?

If we want to sign Jagielka we’ll have to pay more than that. If we’re willing to pay that much. Maybe our attentions will turn elsewhere. However, while I’m far from gruntled with our summer business thus far, and I really think the manager ought to get things moving now as the season edges ever closer, using the fact that we’ve made a bid for a defender as some kind of stick to beat him with is kind of ludicrous.

Don’t make a bid, beat. Make a bid, beat. Can’t win. Unless he goes out and actually signs someone. Which he appears to be trying to do. Beat beat beat. Personally, I think Jagielka would be a decent signing (yes, and good back up for the keeper position too, har har), he’s the right age, has plenty of Premier League experience and would add organisational and physical qualities to the team.

I can understand Everton’s reluctance to let him go but such is their financial position I think, if we really wanted him, we could get him. I don’t think he’s quite worth Everton’s suggested £20m but somewhere in the middle of that and our bid seems about right. I guess it means the manager will be weighing up that price for a 28 year old against the higher price of Cahill, who is in the last year of his contract but also three years younger. Anyway, let’s hope he sorts out it soon and the spending Gazidis spoke about earlier in the week starts to happen.

Elsewhere, some interesting comments from Patrick Vieira about Arsenal’s current problems. While saying this current side play better football – not something I’m 100% sure I agree with really, the Invincibles in their pomp were as complete a Premier League team as I’ve ever seen – he suggested Arsenal lack too much on the physical side of things:

Our team was more physical and responded better to the English game. Maybe now Arsenal lack the physical aspect. You need a balance to win trophies. If you look at United, Chelsea and City, the physical aspect of the game is there. The season is really long and hard and players get tired and perhaps need to work harder.

That last line is interesting to me despite the fact Vieira is looking at things from the outside. We know the talent is there but is the work ethic? We’ve seen them raise their game to beat Chelsea (a real illustration of the pressing game many of us would like to see Arsenal play), Barcelona, United etc, but fall short and revert to old habits when the opposition is not as glamorous. To me that speaks to the attitude of the players, and possibly how they’re being prepared and motivated. If you can work hard against Chelsea why not against West Brom?

And I really do think he’s got a point when it comes to the size and physicality of the team. Harking back to the Invincibles again, they could play, for sure, but they were imposing and refused point blank to be bullied by anyone. They had the size and strength to back that up. As that team was dismantled I think we went too far the other way. Smaller, faster, more technical players, but too few who are able to withstand the demands of the Premier League.

We’ve heard too often in recent that Arsenal can be bullied. I don’t think it’s as clear cut as that but it never used to be the case. Wenger nearly always found players who married technical ability with physical prowess and perhaps his move away from that is telling in light of the last few seasons. It will be interesting to see if that’s addressed. Assuming we ever make any more signings!

Right, that’s yer Friday lot. Just a whole day of work then it’ll be beer time.

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