Thursday, April 25, 2024

Where do stories come from? + Arsecast 263

Morning all, it’s a pretty miserable one here in Dublin.

Bits and pieces going on as we prepare for a big, big game on Sunday against Chelsea. Arsene’s press conference took place yesterday and it was interesting, really interesting, to see how stories are created. You might wake up and see us linked with Napoli striker Edinson Cavani but how that’s come about is quite fascinating.

A chap on Twitter who gives information in good faith (and I want to make it perfectly clear this is not to disparage him in any way), mentioned that Arsenal had made a big bid for somebody. He mentioned no name. Some way or another the name of Cavani became attached as the grapevine went mental, and all of a sudden it was the story of the day when Arsene met the press. He was asked if this was a player he ‘might’ be interested in. His reply:

“I like him as a player. He would cost a lot of money, that’s for sure. Nobody would deny that!”

You can see a clip of it here. But saying you like a player is a lot different from saying you’re going to buy him, or even try to do so. I’m sure Arsene Wenger likes him, why wouldn’t he? He’s a brilliant striker, Arsenal could do with one of those. But then I’m sure Arsene Wenger likes Falcao. And Lionel Messi. And Cristiano Ronaldo. And so on.

Being asked a direct question about a player and answering it in fairly non-committal, but polite, way is now enough to spark headlines about how we’re ‘interested’ and ‘ready to swoop’. The reality is quite different, as Wenger points out:

Napoli are playing for the title and the Champions League in Italy. What is Napoli’s interest in selling Cavani? None, unless you say, ‘OK, we will pay twice the price of what the player is worth’.

Are Arsenal a club that pay twice what any player is worth? A player that has recently signed a new contract and who has a buy-out clause of £50m+? Experience tell us this is not the case. As much as I’d like to see it, and it’s something I discuss on today’s Arsecast with Tim from Arse2Mouse, I simply cannot see Arsenal being willing, much less able, to buy Cavani.

The interesting thing though is that new media is driving ‘old’. The question about how there are rumours he’s ready to spend big has come directly from the information posted on Twitter. The name of Cavani has come as consequence of that too. There’s no journalist working an angle, finding a source or using any information they’ve dug up themselves, it’s all from Twitter. And if you think it doesn’t happen, remember this?

At a press conference days afterwards, a journalist asked Carl Jenkinson straight out if it was true that his dad had been a professional singer – see here for the question and Jenkinson’s reaction.

So if it happens for obvious nonsense, you can be sure it’s happening for stuff that will really sell some papers/garner some clicks. Quite what it all means, I don’t know. It’s always been incumbent on us to separate the wheat from the chaff, and even if we desperately want to believe some of the chaff is wheat, we kinda know better. But the lines are being blurred now and it’s very interesting to see.

Sadly, I don’t think we’re likely to see much happening in January, although obviously I’d like to see some arrivals. Arsene giveth in one breath:

We can spend money if it is for a player we think gives us a plus. If we find something, we will do it.

And he taketh away with another:

On top of that, all the players who can strengthen us are cup-tied in the Champions League.

Which is, frankly, a nonsensical thing to say. Arsene says himself the priority now is to finish in the top four. That should be motivation behind any transfer business. It’s very much a case of Que sera, sera in Europe. If we go further, great, but we also need to be in Europe next season and that’s why frustration levels rise at our inaction thus far in the window. Buy players who can help us finish in the top four, don’t worry about them playing in the Champions League this season, make sure they’re part of a team that’s playing in it next.

But hey, this feels like old ground/familiar territory, possibly because we’re going around in circles. All I know is that if we sign somebody it’s likely to be closer to the end of the window than today, and that’s merely based on what Arsene said at his press conference. Even then that’s a bit of straw clutching (and the straw turns out to be chaff most of the time). I’m now officially giving up trying to make any sense of anything anyone says and does in relation to transfers, transfer business, transfer rumours, transfer gossip, Manhattan Transfer, and everything else transfer related.

Which brings me nicely to this week’s Arsecast in which transfers are discussed (hah) along with Jack Wilshere, the Man City game and lots more. Joining me to discuss it all is Tim from Arse2Mouse (background snoring provided by his dog).

You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download this week’s Arsecast directly – click here 24mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.


Fill yer boots, news throughout the day on Arseblog News, more here tomorrow. Until then.

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