Well, pretty much as expected nothing happened yesterday with regards Santi Cazorla. Well, nothing public anyway.
This morning’s Diario Sur, a local paper for local people, says the transfer is essentially ‘unstoppable’ and it’ll take a ‘miracle’ for Cazorla to play for Malaga again. They seem to think everything is agreed between Arsenal and Malaga and, of course, between Arsenal and Cazorla. It’s simply a matter of the Spanish club agreeing to the sale.
They say that selling him and bringing in some money would ‘bring some peace’ to the situation at the club and clearly the financial and ownership issues are playing a part. Without wishing to put any time frame on it at all it looks as if this will happen sooner rather than later, all going well. The precarious nature of transfers precludes me from being any more optimistic than that, I just hope that the problems that Malaga have don’t impact on this deal and/or delay it unduly.
Today is the first of August, in 17 days from now we’ll be playing our first Premier League game. It doesn’t sound like much when you see it written down, and it’s definitely not much if you need to bring in a new player who has to find a house, settle into life in a new country, learn a new language, find somewhere to buy churros for breakfast and so on.
It’s also not long to sort out the other issues we have, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott are the most pressing and I do feel we need some clarity as soon as possible. Whatever about players like Bendtner, Squillaci and Park whose futures lie elsewhere and wouldn’t really impact on our preparations even if it took till the end of August to find them new clubs, we have to sort out van Persie and Walcott.
It’s hard to imagine that no discussion has taken place since the team and the manager arrived back from the Asia tour. In fact, it’s hard to imagine that Arsene doesn’t know exactly what’s going to happen already. A man as precise and punctilious as he is must be aware of both players desires for the season ahead. I think van Persie has made his intentions clear, Walcott, at least publicly, is playing the game well and keeping his options open. Regardless of that though, for the sake of the team and the season ahead – not to mention the peace of mind of fans who have been through the wringer since van Persie’s clumsy, ill-judged statement – it’d be nice to see some decisive action being taken so we can just concentrate on the important stuff.
I know we’re not the only club who become embroiled in transfer sagas – you just need to look at our neighbours and how this Modric thing has been dragging on – but the thing about being a football fan is that you really don’t give a shit, or pay much attention to, things that happen at other clubs. They may have lots of injuries but our injury record is far worse. They may be struggling to hold on to good players but dammit ALL of our best players want to leave ALL the damn time. Other teams let in goals but our defence is the WORST IN HISTORY. It’s a matter of perception, I guess, but come Saturday 18th it’d be good if we had most of it resolved.
Meanwhile, Arsene has been talking about money in football and how we need to be sensible with what we have, but highlights an issue we have to contend with when petro-dollars are flowing through the game:
We have to be ambitious but also make sure we are not getting in trouble financially. It is difficult for us because the wages in some other clubs are very high. But of course our players quite rightly compare themselves to the players of the other clubs
So, pulling an example out of thin air, Theo Walcott might think, ‘Ok, Adam Johnson is on £X at Man City, and he’s not a regular England international. And I am, so why shouldn’t I get £X too?’. Now, I don’t know if Adam Johnson is on more money than Walcott, chances are he is though. He’s at City where they gave Emmanuel Adebayor around £180,000 a week so it’s not that much of a stretch to think he’s on £100,000+.
Is Walcott right to want that much money? Does he feel inferior or treated badly because Arsenal can’t or won’t pay that much money? Beats me, but agents and advisers and personal managers tell players they’re being undervalued and under-appreciated, so then it becomes an issue. Their happiness becomes dependent on how much they earn and time and time again we’ve seen players move for financial rather than footballing reasons. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t, and that’s a big part of the problem.
Again, using Walcott is simply an example, and the nature of the beast is that in order to keep good players we have to be competitive when it comes to salaries. And look, it’s not as if Arsenal pay badly. In fact we pay very well (too well in some cases), but if a guy wants Man City or Chelsea money from us, and that’s what’s deciding his future, then it’s going to be very difficult for us to deal with. We know it’s difficult to deal because we’ve lost players for that very reason.
It all boils down to better use of resources (I know, I know) and creating a competitive team with a good atmosphere which can challenge for trophies. I have to say I find it ridiculous in the extreme trying to justify any player being upset or disenchanted that they’re earning in a week what it might take you or I years to earn, but football exists in its own little world. Again, Arsene says:
Europe at the moment is like the Titanic but we live in football like nothing matters.
Are we heading for iceberg? Not if we’re sensible and use the money we can afford to spend. It’s a harsh reality for those who want someone, anyone, to pump million and millions of ‘free’ money into the club, but when you see what’s happening at Portsmouth, and even at Malaga where even after a massive Arab investment the club is on its knees financially, I’d rather be prudent than on the verge of extinction.
Finally for today, Martin Keown says Lukas Podolski is the perfect signing in terms of age and experience, and says of Olivier Giroud:
We have seen Giroud in flashes and it looks like he has got great qualities too. If Wenger is taking him you can be sure he is going to be a top player.
Meanwhile, apropos of nothing, Ju Young Park is being linked with a move to Blackburn. *cough*