Sunday, February 5, 2023

Tour absentees hint at departures as bad-smell Bendtner hangs around

It has been unseasonably hot here in Ireland for the last week. Which is a great thing, don’t get me wrong, but I suspect our new tropical climates means an upsurge in tropical insects and spiders. One of which bit me on the neck last night.

If that spider wasn’t infused with fantastic amount of radioactivity, thus granting me awesome powers, I am going to be seriously pissed off. That said, it is a bit warm for tightly-fitted latex full body suits (I’m guessing), so maybe if the goddam itch just went away I could live with that too.

The Arsenal headed off to Indonesia yesterday on the first part of the Asia Tour, and while the inclusion of some youngsters was a vaguely interesting sideline, the absentees were more noticeable. While Thomas Vermaelen is injured, Cazorla and Monreal are still on holidays after Confederations Crap duty, and new boy Yaya Sanogo is away with France at the U20 World Cup, there was no place on tour for Marouane Chamakh, Gervinho or Andre Santos.

Gervinho’s absence is explained due to ‘sickness’ but if it’s sickness or “sickness” remains to be seen. There was no suggestion he’ll be flying out to hook up with them later. Chamakh is nowhere to be seen despite featuring in training photos since pre-season started, and nobody’s seen Santos since his loan move with Gremio was cut short a few weeks back.

With the Ivorian being like with a move to Roma (having previously been open to a move to Marseille), and Santos attracting interest from Flamengo, you have to think that their absence is more to do with them finding pastures new than anything else. As yet we’ve heard nothing about a realistic possible destination for Chamakh, but I worry that we’ll find it difficult to move him on. Even leaving aside the money issue (something we’ll come back to when discussing our old friend NB52), his stock as a footballer has fallen so low that it’s hard to imagine who’d take a chance on him now.

Perhaps his old club, who still hold him in some affection for what he did there as a player, could be persuaded, but beyond that it’d be a brave man who offered him a contract. I guess it will all come down to him. Does he want to sit out the remainder of his Bosman funded Arsenal contract, or does he want to play football? He’s got a year left on his deal, I’m sure Arsenal would be willing to make some contribution to his departure, because he’s got no future with us. Let’s see.

However, even Arsenal’s willingness to subsidise a player’s wages isn’t enough for some. Last night, Eintracht Frankfurt announced that they had officially put the kibosh on their move for Nicklas Bendtner. They were diplomatic about the whole thing, saying that all three parties had tried hard to make it work but that it wasn’t to be. Ultimately though, it comes down to Bendtner, and the suggestion is that it’s his financial demands which have scuppered the deal.

That in itself is no surprise. He’s a guy whose value of himself is wildly different from his actual worth, but at this point he’s got to take responsibility for the fact his footballing career is going nowhere. Arsenal have some culpability of course, giving him the kind of deal he was never value for, but like Chamakh he has just one year left on his contract. We were willing to pay a substantial amount of money (I’d suggest the shortfall between what Frankfurt offered and his Arsenal salary) for his first year there. That wasn’t enough for him.

So while you can point the finger at Arsenal for creating the monster in the first place, it’s the fact that he’s completely unwilling to compromise after his contract with us has expired that’s causing the problem. Maybe he’s got a better offer from somewhere else, who knows, but he had the chance to join a good club in a great European league, and he’s turned it down because of money. Be as critical as you want of Arsenal, but in the end it’s Bendtner who is the main reason why deal after deal after deal breaks down.

From being somebody I had some sympathy for, simply because I think he’s a better player than he’s given credit for (if not anywhere near as good as he thinks he is), he’s now become a complete irritant and somebody needs to give him and his career the kick in the arse it needs. And once it’s as far away from us as possible I don’t care where he ends up.

Aside from all that nonsense, there’s nothing new about the much more enjoyable prospect of bringing people into the club. There’s talk of an increased offer for Luis Suarez. I still don’t buy it, for all the reasons I explained here, and I’ll go firmly on the record to state I do not want him at Arsenal. I don’t think he’s anywhere near good enough to overlook the baggage and, frankly, reprehensible behaviour that comes as part of the package.

Some people can separate that, which is fine, to each their own, but I can’t. He’s too much trouble for not enough talent, especially when there’s a much better option in Gonzalo Higuain available for not as much money and nowhere near the amount of fuss. Especially if you don’t consider prolonged, tedious transfer sagas much of a fuss. Compared to bitey racism, it’s not even close. I think this is all coming from the Suarez/Liverpool camp anyway, and I seriously hope we spend our money elsewhere.

Till tomorrow.

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