Let’s start with some genuine, actual transfer news, and the decks have been cleared further with the departure of Vito Mannone to Sunderland.
The Italian joined the club some eight years ago, as a teenager from Atalanta, and while he never looked good enough to become the first choice here, he did have his moments. Last season he filled in well enough for Wojciech Szczesny at the start of the campaign as the Pole suffered an ankle injury, but the highlight of his time at Arsenal was a fine display away at Fulham a few seasons back.
I think it was a 1-0 win (can’t remember who scored, doesn’t matter, don’t need to be reminded), and he pulled off a string of saves which led Arsene Wenger to say afterwards:
I believe we will give him 10 out of 10 because everything he did was right. For a goalkeeper that is most important. He stopped everything he had to stop, didn’t make any wrong decisions and overall he has shown he has the potential to be a very good goalkeeper.
He spent some time on loan at Hull, and got a taste for first team football which he was never going to get at Arsenal. Fair play to him for accepting that and moving on in order to play more regularly. The fee is suggested to be between £1.5m and £2m and he becomes the fifth player to go this summer after Arshavin, Squillaci, Denilson and Djourou.
He could be followed out the door by Francis Coquelin who is being linked with a move to German side Freiburg. His departure is not a surprise really. It had been whispered back in May, and although he featured in the squad more regularly last season, he made just 4 appearances in 2013, for a little over half an hour of Premier League playing time.
With Arsenal linked strongly to players like Lars Bender, a signing like that would push him even further down the pecking order. It’s a bit of a shame, I quite like him as a player. He’s tidy, versatile, and willing, but he does seem have dodgy elastic in his hamstrings – and it’s not unfair to say that hampered him somewhat over the last 12 months. ‘They’ say it’ll probably be a loan deal, which is sensible enough.
If he makes considerable progress playing week in, week out, then we’ve got the option to hold onto him, but more than likely this will be a precursor a permanent move away from the club. Good luck to him.
Less promising news from Germania, is that Eintracht Frankfurt have signed Spanish striker Joselu from David HasselHoffenheim, meaning a move for Nicklas Bendtner is, according to Danish media, ‘dead‘. Arsenal’s willingness to let Bendtner go, anywhere, is not in question here, so you have to imagine the reason it’s been consistently difficult for Bendtner to find a new club is, well, Bendtner.
I’ve seen people suggest that Arsenal should do a Denilson – pay him off and let him go, but I necessarily don’t agree. He might be a Force 1 eejit, but he has value as a footballer and the club should be able to cash in on that. As I mentioned yesterday, this is a world in which Jon Jo Shelvey can attract a transfer fee of £6m, so there’s no reason why Arsenal shouldn’t make a few quid on TGSTEL.
His goalscoring record isn’t bad, by any means, but it’s the attitude that’s the issue. Even the most difficult players, ones with far more baggage than Bendtner (whose problems are mostly down to ego and stupidity rather than anything malicious), can find themselves somewhere to play. While I think Arsenal might have to accept less than he’s worth in strictly footballing terms, I still think we should get some money for him. After everything it’s the least we deserve.
Quite what happens now with him remains to be seen. Maybe Frankfurt will think again, there were suggestions they wanted two strikers this summer, and Bendtner himself said he’d got 5 teams to choose from. Looks like he’ll have to go a bit further down the list.
Meanwhile, the drip drip drip torture of the Higuain stuff continues with his father saying they have been given permission by Real Madrid to negotiate directly with Arsenal. In reality this makes little difference, adding only formality to the situation. At this point the Higuain clan know exactly what’s on offer from us, what our plans are, and everything else, the key issue now is the fee and an agreement between the two clubs.
Even that seems to be inching closer to completion but there’s nothing new in any of the media reports. The circa £22m fee that has been thrown around all summer appears to be conventional wisdom now, so I guess all we can do is continue to wait. And wait a bit more. And some more.
Finally for today, a word on ‘betting suspended’ stories which have become standard this summer. Twitter will become abuzz with the news that a bookie has suspended betting on a certain player joining a certain club, which leads rise to speculation that a deal is on the brink of completion.
The website associated with said bookie, be it their own portal, or a large sports website which may or may not have its own TV channel, then publishes a story saying betting has been suspended, adding another layer of ‘credibility’ to things. If that organisation does have a TV channel, it becomes a story on there too, with the bookie highlighted as the main source, but the issue is people think the story is about the player and transfer.
It’s not. It’s about the betting. These stories are cheap, and sadly effective, viral marketing. Nothing more. Nothing less. They prey on people’s desire, their need, to believe things they want to believe. I saw someone ask on Twitter last night, why would a bookie lie to us?
Why indeed. Save your money.