Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Afobe injury, takeover rubbished + Arsecast 270

I woke up this morning to terrible news. My application to do a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama was unsuccessful. Although they admire my work, I didn’t make the very short list. However, should one of the other students drop out, I will be reconsidered.

Then I remembered that I didn’t make any such application and it turns out there’s a bloke with the exact same name as me who has, rather carelessly, used my personal Gmail address as his own. It would also explain why I have been on the receiving end of some weird mail in the last few weeks, such as invitations to Democratic Party fundraisers and missives from the International Thespian Society.

Unless, rather than having a Namelganger, I’ve been living an entirely secret life. So secret I don’t even know anything about it. Transatlantic sleep-walking would explain why I’m so tired in the mornings and what if that University is me trying to get sweet home? It’s all very confusing for a Friday, let me tell you.

In terms of Arsenal stuff it’s pretty quiet, but there’s been bad news for young striker Benik Afobe who will miss the rest of the season, and probably the calendar year, after rupturing his cruciate ligament. He’s on loan at Milwall having come back from a mediocre spell at Bolton. He was supposed to stay the Reebok for the entire season but things didn’t work out for him there, and just a couple of weeks after moving to The Den he’s picked up this injury.

As we’ve said before, football is a cruel game. He was sent out to show his stuff and it hasn’t worked out on the pitch, or off it now. Like others before him he’ll probably find that the injuries have come at the worst possible time, and that his chances of making it with Arsenal now are very slim.

The obvious comparison is Emmanuel Frimpong, he was even closer to first team action than Afobe, but after two cruciate injuries there’s talk he’ll be let go on a free transfer in the summer. Best of luck to him in his recovery, but by the time he’s better, Arsenal’s striking options will (hopefully) be such that his path to the first team is well and truly blocked.

Meanwhile, Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has spoken about this supposed takeover bid that became public knowledge last weekend just before the derby. He said:

I have heard nothing and I don’t think anybody knows anything about it at the club. It all seems a bit of a waste of time.

If there is this consortium, they can’t make any progress unless they attempt to get in touch. So I can’t say if there is anything to it or not.

But even if they did make an approach, my understanding is our two major shareholders do not want to sell.

Both Kroekne and Umsanov have repeatedly said they don’t want to sell their shareholdings, and that’s where we are. Two men who don’t talk and won’t talk, and you don’t have be a genius to work out why stories like the one we saw appear on the eve of big games. Although it pains me to link to the Daily Mail, this piece by Martin Samuel makes a lot of sense:

So what to make of the speculation around Arsenal? A Middle East consortium from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates want to bid £1.5billion for the club, apparently. So why didn’t they just do it? Why involve the national newspapers?

If you had that money and a burning desire to own Arsenal, who would you tell: Stan Kroenke or The Sun?

The buyers want a meeting with Kroenke, we read, once again in newspapers. And right there is the problem. Kroenke has a secretary. She has a telephone number. A very rich man should be able to unearth it, no problem. Why waste time with anyone else?

I’ll leave it up to you to decide why this was played out in the press, but it’s a consequence of the current ownership structure. One man, like it or not (and it’s clear the other man doesn’t), ultimately has control. No matter how many shares Usmanov buys he’ll remain in the outside. Is it healthy, no? But that’s the way it is. What happens then is cages are rattled in increasingly disruptive ways and things happen not with the best interests of the club in mind.

I’m far from an expert in business, but when hundreds of millions of pounds are in play, there’s a power struggle and two men are essentially enemies, I wouldn’t trust a thing that goes on. Arsenal’s position is clear enough, Kroenke is the man in charge and unless he decides to change that, nothing else will. That won’t stop Usmanov trying though, with Arsenal as collateral damage. How lovely.

Right, onto this week’s Arsecast, and I’m joined by former Gunner and presenter of The Breakdown on Arsenal Player, Adrian Clarke. On the agenda the fall-out from Sunday’s game against Sp*rs, a drunken Mick (not me) and the usual bits of waffle.

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 20mb MP3) or you can listen directly below without leaving this very page.


And that’s yer lot for this morning. Have a good Friday, back tomorrow.

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