Magic selling, Djourou and paywalls

There is, despite the Interlull finishing on Tuesday, still nothing much going on.

This is because the players will have returned from their travels yesterday. Dr Nick will say Hi and put them in his patented Medichecker3000 to see if they’ve got any aches and strains, and then report back to Arsene Wenger regarding who will be available for the game against Reading.

I’m hopeful that bar a bit of tiredness, and Theo Walcott’s pelvis, there aren’t any casualties. Certainly there have been no dramatic reports which the papers would most certainly have jumped on. The dearth of anything approaching actual news has prompted a series of transfer stories which, I keep avoiding, simply because nothing’s doing at this stage.

Still, at least the Mail has its finger on the pulse saying “One in, one out: Arsenal also hope to sign Pepe Reina from Liverpool, and to sell Andrey Arshavin.”

That would be a fantastic achievement, selling a player who is out of contract. Those who say Arsene Wenger hasn’t a clue about the transfer market would have to eat their words then, eh? As for Reina, while I think we need a goalkeeper I’m not sure he’s the man. It might have been @Orbinho or one of his Opta minions who posted his save percentage season on season since he joined Liverpool.

I don’t remember the numbers, exactly, but it went something like: Excellent – Damn good – Still pretty good – Has he had a stroke? – Seriously, is he ill? – The one-armed bloke from the Fugitive – A mop

Plus, and I realise this is simply me being petty, but there was that whole putting the shirt on Cesc thing. I know, I know, we should move on and forgive and forget, but unless there’s some occasion this summer where an Arsenal player can throw the shirt of Luis Suarez’s new club on him then I’m afraid this will be a mark in his Sylvester column for me.

But the bottom line is that if we sign a keeper he should be better than the ones we have and based on the way he’s played in recent times, I don’t think Reina is that guy. Still, in a world in which we can sell Arshavin, any old thing can happen so who knows. One for the summer anyway.

Meanwhile, a ‘consultant’ says that Johan Djourou wants to stay at Hannover 96 when his loan deal ends. This is not much of a surprise. This season the Swisser played just twice for Arsenal, he’s made 10 appearances so far for the Bundlesliga team, and like most players he actually wants to play football and not sit on the bench. When you think about the list of players who could well leave this summer, it’s quite something.

Djourou – Bendtner (assuming he accepts the fact he might be only the second greatest striker that ever lived and chooses accordingly) – Denilson – Park – Chamakh – Arshavin – Squillaci – Fabianski, that’s quite the clear-out. And, in my opinion, all of those players should go. Bar Fabianski, and even then I’m being somewhat kindly, they have no future at the club at all.

For some it’ll be easy, Arshavin, Fabianski and Squillaci are out of contact and no work is required. For others, I think it’s absolutely necessary for us to cut our losses to whatever level is required for their departures to become permanent. If that means paying them off, fine. If it means accepting a bid of £100 and a collection of Split Enz 7″ singles, then take it. In fact, it’d worth it just for the Enz stuff, but the underachievers/performers have to go.

There might be a couple who don’t want to go, such is the remuneration they’re on at Arsenal, but this is where we need to get tough. This season, Arshavin and Squillaci have made a grand total of 12 appearances (not starts) between them. While I’m not going to go down the road of wastage, it’s been done to death, that’s around £100,000 per week and it’s hard to suggest we’ve had value for money. Throw in Park and Chamakh on top of that and it’s not healthy. Anyway, these again are matters for the summer, and with no summer tournament to speak of, there ought to be no distractions and the club need to get ruthless.

Finally, away from Arsenal and on more web related business, it’s been announced in recent days that The Sun is going to go behind a paywall from this summer. Not that it will be missed, but it’s following a trend. We know The Times operates behind a similar structure, the Telegraph announced this week it’s doing the same thing (limiting non-paying customers to 20 articles a month), and the Independent did it a little while back.

It’s just interesting that this all seems to happening at the same time. Not that I’m making accusations of cartel like behaviour, you understand, but inevitably there was always going to be a move towards this kind of thing. If paper sales are dwindling for all the reasons we know about it, that shortfall has to be made up elsewhere. And as @AAllenSport pointed out to me the other day, it’ll likely mean that the reach of the various publications is curtailed in a big way.

Now, you can log on to pretty much any of the newspaper websites and get as much info as you like, but once you have to start paying it’ll be like the old days when people got the paper they got each morning and never really looked beyond that. Whereas now you have readers, soon enough they’ll be split into Sun readers, Telegraph readers etc. Will that dilute the debate or polarise it? We shall see.

And for those interested, there’s a good piece in yesterday’s Irish Times, where the man being interviewed makes a  point: “Information shouldn’t be free. It should be affordable.”

The landscape, it is changing. Anyway, let’s hope we have some real football news tomorrow and we can start looking ahead to the game against Reading on Saturday.

Have at it.

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