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The left back situation: maybe Arsène doesn’t need to buy

By Walter Broeckx

Lots of the fans are unhappy because we haven’t signed anyone yet.  Mostly the “we want it now” brigade. The ones that only look at now and this hour. But running a team and bringing a squad together is more than now. It is looking forward for some time and weighing up the options and the what ifs.

For years a part of the fans have been yelling that we should get rid of Clichy. They have their wish and still they are unhappy. I kinda liked him for his attitude. He had his moments of madness, as most players have, but he always gave it all when on the field. He now wants to go away and I wonder if the lack of support he felt from a part of the fans had anything to do with is. The usual platitudes of wanting to win things could also be a way in avoiding having to say that he didn’t feel the support of a part of the fans.

But now that Clichy is gone I wish him all the best of the world in his personal life. For his football career I wish it continues like he did the last 6 seasons at Arsenal.

Now Wenger must buy someone sito presto (according to the section of the fans that wanted Clichy out). And if possible a big name.  I just leave it to the wisdom of the ones at Arsenal to do what need to be done.

Let us have a look at what we have at left back. We have Gibbs. I think he could be a great left back. If only he could get over his injuries. The way he has had bad luck in the last seasons is almost unbelievable. Always when coming in the side when Clichy was out with an injury he got a new injury. Sometimes because of muscle injuries but also on a few occasions because he received some rough treatment from opponents.  With 1.80m he is a bit bigger than Clichy, he is fast but he is a midfielder from his origins and sometimes it still shows in his game.  But if properly coached he could be a good left back.

Armand Traore is also still out there somewhere. He played at Juventus this season. He got a serious injury early on but he still managed to play some 10 games in total.  But he never really made it at Juventus who struggled this season in the Italian league. I’m not saying Traore had anything to do with them struggling. Just the fact that he came in a team with a lot of problems. Traore is 1,85m high.

Or will we have the rabbit that comes out of Arsène’s hat?  And I mean a Brazilian rabbit. Because if my information is correct Pedro Botelho has been playing 3 years in Spain now and this should be enough to get him a EU passport. And so he could be joining Arsenal this summer. Botelho is a left back and he is the biggest of the 3 we have now for the moment His height is 1.88m.  People might have forgotten about him but  he has been bought in 2007 by Arsenal as an 17 year old. But he couldn’t get a work permit and so had to go on loan. For more information about him you can find it on the Young guns blog on the internet.

But I have found a few interesting statistics about him. Because in those seasons out on loan he managed to play rather a lot of games. In each team he has had long spells. And in his last loan spell I found out that he started 39 games in the last season.  For a young boy of just 20 years old at the start of that season I think this is not a bad number. In fact I think that when he was not injured or suspended he always started.    Not bad at all. And he also scored a few goals in his last season. Four in total and I think this is a rather high number for a left back. In fact he was their 4th best scorer.  He also is 21 years old like the other 2. So I think we could have some strong competition on the left back place at the start of this season.

So maybe the fact that we will not buy a left back before we go on the Asian tour could mean that Wenger first want to see how they will perform if played in the first team. Because why should be buy one if we have the answer already in our squad?

I don’t know what the best solution is but I sure would give those young guns a chance before we go out and spend lots of money. Because let’s face it when Cole was sold to Chelsea who would have thought then that Clichy would be our left back for such a long time? Wasn’t he a complete unknown to all of us when Wenger brought him in ? So are we going to see the same again with Botelho this time? Time and Wenger will tell.

Oh and if it fails we still have a good left back in our squad but more on him in another article.

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71 comments to The left back situation: maybe Arsène doesn’t need to buy

  • IvoryGoonz

    Botelho already obtained the passport. Just check your sources.
    But the plan was to loan him again.
    I’d be to keep Botelho and send Gibbs on loan this season. But in any case, none of them will be good enough to play our main LB position yet. We need to strengthen and by that it means to buy better than we have lost with Clichy.

  • Paul Gooner

    Great article.

    Gibbs played for England!… people seem to forget this. If it wasn’t for his injuries hed be in the team ahead of Glichy.

    I’m getting more and more fustrated by stupid bloggers who think the only option for Arsenal is to sign 5 new players for £100 mil. One new centre back and a couple of new wingers (IF Nasri leaves), thats all we need. We’ve got plenty of ‘like new’ players to choose from who have come back from loan or injury… i.e. JET, Lansbury, Frimpong, VERMAELEN, Ramsey, Botelho, Ryo, Vela etc etc

  • WalterBroeckx

    Plans can change. I would give Botelho his chance in preseason. But then again who am I…

  • Davi

    Gibbs was poor this year. IMO traore is the player from within the squad who is most likely to take over and do well.

  • mick

    Good stuff Walter. You are so right with the ‘I want it now’ comment. The modern day culture, particularly amongst the younger element, is for instant everything. From immediate access to information via phone, tablet and internet to instant microwave meals to must have it this season Premier League titles, so many people do not have the patience to wait. I am 68 now and appreciate that most things worth having are worth the wait. Let us trust our great manager to do the correct thing. I find the prospect of young players coming through the youth system so much more exciting and satisfying than buying an ‘off the shelf’ replacement so I am all for giving youth their chance, but I guess I am in the minority. Keep up the good work.

  • Travis

    The reason why I love this blog so much is the way you guys analysis things with half-full-glass attitude. With so many Arsenal fans out there,it seems to be impossible.

    I believe the departure of Clichy would strengthen our defense. Not because he’s suck, but because it forces Arsene to make change by even bringing new talent or promoting a new face from youth team which is all good for me. Arsene may seek and get us a left-foot version of Sagna with his genius at finding talent, or turn young Gibbs/Traore/Botelho into a great part of the team the way he did with Wilshere. How sweet is that?

  • sukma

    no, just put kos or TV5 in LB. and buy another center back. in some occasion, Kos is very good covering clichy in wide

  • Rich_Fryer

    Sad to see Clichy go, especially as there was a lot of talk about him perhaps being a future capt. However, I’m sure Arsene can bring someone through, he always has in the past. People thinking throwing money at a problem is the only answer causes many of the current problems, both in the game and in the wider world.

  • nicky

    What about Miquel being given a chance. I know he’s supposed to be a c/b but he played l/b against Orient and impressed.
    Clichy has gone down hill of late and I fear he will regret the move in the end. The grass isn’t greener as Adebayor found out.

  • walter

    The comment that they are not ready could also be countered with the question: was Clichy ready when Cole left? according to some part of the fans he even now wasn’t good enough.

  • dw

    Botelho is a very good left back
    He is 6ft 2 and he plays just like alvez
    The barca right bk. With his hight he can
    Help out on set play.
    I looking foward to seeing jet,lansbury,jack,
    And ramsey playing a big part this season.
    This is just like when beckham,giggs,scholes,
    Nevills and butt came threw at utd at same time.

  • Ian Trevett

    I will miss Clichy but he never really grew into the player we thought he would.
    At 19, 20 years old he looked like an amazing prospect. better than Cashley at the same stage.
    But at 25, about the age when Cole (and now Clichy) left, few would claim that Gael was the better of the two.
    The reason why Clichy didn’t develop as much as we expected can be explained in two words – Tony Adams.
    Cole always had Adams (or Bould or Keown) at his side and also Vieira just in front.
    Adams was always coaching and leading on the pitch and Cole benefitted.
    Clichy has played with too many centre backs and none had the influence of Adams.
    Maybe Vermaelen can take on that Adams role to some degree.
    But it does come back to the fact that we need a leader at the back. Not just to head the ball away and put in a tackle, but also to help the younger, less experienced players in the team.
    This summer is certainly going to be lively.
    The players that leave saying that want to win trophies seem to have no sense of responsibility in that they were on the pitch when we won no trophies.
    Let them go and get players in that will have some passion for the shirt.

  • chris

    Of course we need to buy another left back FFS. He needs to be able to defend better than Clichy too !!

  • Aussie Jack

    This pre season trip to Asia will certainly show Wenger what is and what isn`t necessary. It really is as a result of his talks with Fabregas and Nasri plus the outcome of this tour that he will make his move in the market place. Let`s hope they`re still available.

  • Dan AKA The Truth

    I must say, Walter, that I am pleasantly surprised by this article. I thought that you would be a proponent of the ludricrous idea of moving Vermaelen to the left back position after reading your headline.

    I think we should kept Clichy even if he were to leave once his contract expired. By selling Gaël, Wenger ‘the Genius’ has given himself another problem to address this summer. We could have bled Gibbs and Traoré, the latter of whom has Premier League experience (which most seem to forget), and next season have a ready-made replacement.

  • Ian, I think your comment

    The players that leave saying that want to win trophies seem to have no sense of responsibility in that they were on the pitch when we won no trophies.

    is spot on. It is interesting that few players have done particularly well since leaving Arsenal – and rarely as well as the buying team expected. There’s a little piece on the Arsenal History today that I put together on players after they have left – Hleb and Flamini both failed to live up to their potential, Vieira got it horribly wrong by signing for a club deeply involved in match fixing, and even Thierry only really had one very good year.

    The assumption everywhere is that Nasri and Cesc will leave and be brilliant, with us being all the poorer. But…

    it could be that both will be less wonderful having left us and/or that we have someone lurking who can really step up.

    I have gone back through the records and I couldn’t find anyone saying that Flamini was going to be excellent next to Cesc in that final season of his – and clearly Wenger thought it was a one-off – which more or less proved to be the case.

    I would not be surprised if either or both Cesc and Nasri follow Clichy out. I would also not be surprised if all three of them quickly fail to live up to their potential, or have injury problems.

    And I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two admit (as Hleb has done with much honesty) that leaving Arsenal was the biggest mistake of their lives.

    Of course, it doesn’t always happen – Cole (or all people) has done quite well – but generally life after Arsenal isn’t that good.

  • gulp

    Ivory you mean like we replaced Cole with someone better?:P
    Gibbs has been widley accepted as Coles heired at the ENgland team. Not Baines. Gibbs has more potential. Gibbs will be big. Baines is ok but everyone expects Gibbs to overtake him. Why would we then sign Baines?
    Our LB will be the best in the country by the end of next season. That will mean that Arsenal has an incredible 3 England players all young and upcoming in Walcott, Gibbs and Wishlere. All produced at Arsenal(walcott came as 16). Ones Bartely becomes as good as we know he can we may even have 4 quality England players and the Welsh Captain playing with us.

    People saying that our prorgession is going the wrong way must be blind.

    I really hope we give Gibbs the chance. He is ready and giving our best youngsters a chance is what makes us uniqe as a club and one of the things that makes us most exciting imo.

  • Hadley

    Don’t forget TV, he played left back for long periods at Ajax, I believe. Could possibly use him in the tough away games at Stoke etc and use Gibbs in easier home games where we need more attacking prescence, though that would depend on bringing in one or two CBs

  • Shard

    I am not sure that any of Gibbs, Traore, and Botelho are ready to be first choice LB for us. Botelho apparently played many of his games as an attacking winger rather than a left back anyway. I think he should get a chance in pre season to see if he fits anywhere in the squad. In any case, I would prefer that a first choice LB be brought in (and please no shifting Vermaeln or Koscielny out there), and Gibbs, Traore (if he stays) and Botelho (if he’s in the squad) to fight for a backup spot. Jenkinson should not be forgotten either. But, I worry that with so many youngsters fighting for the spot, this position will remain a low priority for Wenger and no purchase will be made.

  • I doubt that it is a low priority Shard, but it will be a case of “Can I buy anyone who will be better than what I have got?”

    The answer might be no. Or it might be that the price or wage demands of players is inflated by the Man City, Chelsea, PSG situation so much that it is pointless to buy them.

  • walter

    I will be in trouble with my next article on the left back situation. 🙂

  • DSCH

    Since Ashley Cole left none of his replacements have ever been quite as good. (Did I really say that?) And although I’m going to miss Clichy moving forward his crossing was never consistent enough and his throwing-in of a ball was always bewildering, infuriating, and ineffective*.

    But you’re right, Gibbs would be a step back – not just because of his penchant for injuries, Traore still isn’t good enough, and Bothelo is one heck of a gamble (as JFK would say).

    The fact that he’s gone so tamely/quietly/unfussily makes me think that AW has this under control. Either that or it makes me think AW has lost his mind. Given a choice I’d rather go with the former.

    Also, there’s been a lot of chatter about how well Vermaelen might do as a left back. It’s an option I can only really envisage if we buy in two off-the-shelf PL centrebacks.

    In any case I’m not the least bit worried unless we get no one in … just pocket the £7M and stick with what we’ve got. Then either our regular first team left back proves to be palpably better than Clichy (Mk 2010-11) from day one or I’m going to write a letter of disgust and outrage to someone really important at Highbury House citing falling standards and madness.

    And we’ve less than a month and a half before we find out.

    *I’ve never seen a player consistently (a) take so interminably long to throw a ball in, nor (b) throw a ball in and get us to lose possession immediately. It’s a bonus that I can now watch him do this for Man City.

  • Shard

    @Tony

    I agree. I’m not going to start throwing my toys out if a LB doesn’t come in. What I meant by a low priority is that with the wage and transfer budgets being limited, and with the young players fighting for that spot, the money will be spent in other positions. I can live with that. Ideally though, I would like a first choice LB to be brought in mainly because I don’t think Gibbs is ready to be a regular just yet.

  • Stevie E

    It’s interesting that Botelho has been playing as a left winger, could he and Gibbs be the answer done our left flank, Botelho in for the much maligned Arshavin? As much as I like Arshavin, I do feel he lacks the work ethic that is required for us to compete at the very highest level. That said, I’ve not seen Botelho play so he could be a slacker too!:)

  • Shard

    @Walter

    Yes, I think the last sentence was a hint at vermaelen wasn’t it? 🙂

  • WalterBroeckx

    You caught me Shard 😉 But not just about Vermaelen because it would need other players moving also.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Botelho is still in every ones book as a left back. But I agree he covered the whole left flank at Cartagena last season. I think he has a good engine and can work hard. So hey maybe we got the complete solution for the whole left flank

  • Dark Prince

    We do need to buy one experienced left back. Thats for sure. Or else we’ll have to bring Vermaelen to the left back position and buy 2 central defenders. Either ways, none of Botellho, Gibbs or Traore can be our 1st choice left back. Maybe Gibbs needs a season long loan and Botellho can be used as sub.

  • Stevie E

    I don’t recal seeing Gibbs have a bad game for us. Is the reluctance to use him because of his injury record?

  • Marius

    Oh, Tony.. Come on.. Gibbs will never be at the top class form. Maybe he got some abilities in attack, but his defence skills are so poor. We need a solid LB, who could defend well and also be useful in attack.. What you think about Leighton Baines ???

  • Praaam

    In the last few seasons I have read many comments in the blogs saying that gibbs should be played ahead of clichy..now these same people are saying that gibbs isn’t ready and we must splash the cash…I think we have 3 good prospects at left back and 2 of them have played in the EPL..one of which has even played in a CL semi-final..i think the pre-season would be used to assess all three players and only after that would Arsene consider buying..

  • Richard B

    I did comment the other day about changing the formation to three at the back – as Barceloana play most of the time, Alves spending most of his time playing as a wing-back on the right.
    I think it would suit Sagna to play on the right of a back three (sharing the position with Koscielny) Song and Djourou would share the central role with TV5 playing on the left (think Abidal). We wuld need someone as cover for him but, in time, Miquel would be that man.
    Eboue (on the right), Gibbs/Traore on the left would all be more comfortable as wing backs and it would potentially allow us to playing without a specialist defensive midfield – at least at home where having an extra creative midfielder could be very useful against packed defences.
    That line up also allows for two strikers to play off each other (RVP/Chamakh/Walcott) and it also mitigates against the loss of Nasri and, in the not too distant future Arshavin, playing wide left.
    Without Fabregas and Nasri we would be light in the middle of the pitch so I would expect the need to bring one new player in to make it work.
    But it’s an option that seems to have been tried with some success by ‘the best team in the world’ and it occasionally worked in the EPL last season – eg Liverpool at Chelsea.

  • Cape Gooner

    I do not believe we will sign a LB for the reasons given above. I do not believe we will sign a CB for similar reasons. I do not believe we will sign a winger unless two leave. If Nasri leaves, we still have Theo, AA, Rosicky and Vela, as well as Lansbury. We may sign a CF if Bendtner leaves, but after watching more of Messi, couldn’t AA fill that role as third choice? I really like the idea of playing a 460 (or as Richard B kind of suggests, a 370!)

    In the unlikely event that Cesc leaves, we will probably try to find a replacement. The best chance for someone new is another surprise similar to Sagna.

    I read Arseblogger. I don’t think he is AAA. Yet today he calls for signing Leighton Baines! As gulp argues above – wtf!

  • mark

    bad loss…gibbs not ready…maybe he can break out by the time the season starts but i doubt it…not only is clichy our only mature left back, but hes one of our few mature players at the club…good riddance though, if he doesnt want to be there…but need to find someone to replace in the transfer market

  • Arick

    As far as I know Bothelo was part of a front 3 last season and hence his 4 goals and couple of assists.
    But before that he did used to play leftback.

  • gulp

    @richardB, i alongside with probably a lot of Arsenal fans were so wrapped up in whos going whos leaving and the names of our “stars” that it never even occurd to me that its possible to play different and still succede.

    But what you write makes sense. And it would be typical wenger to adapt. For all the things he is, Wenger is a surviver and a Winner. Wenger never never sees problems only challenges, development and solutions. that is what makes our manager uniqe.
    He works with what he is given and he does it damn well.

    The tabloids would ofc go mental over such “survival of the fittest” approach. No wonder they hate Wenger, he reinvents and reinvents and succeds with it.
    Yet again he will have made fools out of the pundits. Yet again he will have reinvented Arsenal and yet again we will be able to compete in all competitions. And to make matters worse, hes French, hes well articulated and well educated and he thinks he knows that hes outsmarting the pundits every time. How can one like such an arrogant bastard? 🙂

  • I don’t know about this “Gibbs not ready” stuff. He is the first choice England full back, and England are the fourth best team in the world (Fifa stats), so surely that says something.

    I am interested in the argument that he is not ready, but just saying “not ready” doesn’t really get us far.

    And although it doesn’t affect the full back position per se, I suspect we might go over to 4-4-2 next season. I also believe that is why Cesc and Nasri are now expendable. But that’s for another article.

  • TinTin

    I don’t know if ye noticed lads but rome is burning!! and ye’re talking about replacing Clichy with Gibbs who injuries apart look woefully out of his depth this year in his limited apperences, Botelho who has spent the last three years in spains second divsion mostly playing on the left wing and traore who struggled to get into a juve team who finished outside the top 4 and was moved to left wing for portsmouth because he couldn’t defend!! if those are our options then we’re in serious trouble, and as for the so called “want it now” brigade, all i’ve ever heard any arsenal fan ask for is at least one major signing a year and for a net spend of 10 to 15 million a year but since its 5 to 6 years since wengers done that we’re left in the situation of having to spend 60 to 70 million this summer. we are the arsenal we’re a huge club and its unacceptable that we having won the league in 7 years!! and you can’t blame the likes of cesc and nasri for wanting out when the club shows no ambition!!

  • Stevie E

    Tony
    While I don’t agree that Gibbs isn’t ready (I think this will be his breakthrough season), are you sure he’s 1st choice for England? Doesn’t Cashly get the nod ahead of him?

  • Naren

    Walter,
    Moving our best centre-back to cover that position will do no good to the team as we need Vermaelen in the heart of the defence. I have heard a lot about Jose Enrique, of Newcastle, being linked. He is currently on the last year of his contract. Even Pardew has admitted that the Clichy sale might have a knock-on effect.
    As an aside, Walter, you have to see this, if you have not already.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c-5ebHnlsE&feature=player_embedded
    The referee has a clear, unobstructed view. Just incredible.

  • Stevie E

    TinTin
    since 2000, AW has spent £266.1m on transfers which is an average of £26.6m every season. You ask for a net spend of £10-£15m a season, lets have a look at the last 5 years –

    2005-06 £53.5m
    2006-07 £19.7m
    2007-08 £25.2m
    2008-09 £41.2m
    2009-10 £21.8m

    It would seem that the money is being spent but obviously because the press say he doesn’t spend, it must be true. Figures don’t lie, so somebody must be.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I had heard about it but not seen it, Naren. Incredible that is the only word that comes to my mind… Just incredible.
    One thing is for sure: she didn’t “handle” the situation well… 8)

  • Adam

    All this “we want it now” stuff might make good copy but it misses the point. If said brigade did have any influence it isn’t working. We’ve been waiting for “it now” for the best part of seven years.

  • TinTin

    Stevie E
    thats net spend i’m talking about not gross, since 2003 we’ve spent 143,050,000 and taken in 148,170,000 and thats a net spend of -640,000 per season only Blackburn have a lower net spend. When you sell your top players you need to replace them with quality or you go from the invincibles to struggling for the top 4

  • Stevie E

    TinTin
    Why can’t you look at the positive and say we’re in the top 4 with only Blackburn spending less? Also, how much do you think the invincible team cost to put together? Also, haven’t we moved into a new stadium? Finally, in case you’ve forgotten, we were challenging for the pl this season until the last few games. Doom & gloom ain’t my thing I’m afraid.

  • TinTin

    Stevie E,
    Had we spent that 10-15 million i was talking about and bought a Keeper, a big centre half, a CM and a striker we could have a couple of more titles in the bag as we’ve been close a number of times only to fall short.
    as for how much the invicilibles cost is ilrelevent as we’re in different times but we always had a positive net spend each year.
    and the stadium argument is something to hide behind we could easily have afforded to spend 10-15 million a year on players(i’m not talking crazy money here) We chose to speed up repayments of the stadium which looks great on a balance sheet but was of no benefit footballing wise and we are a football club not a business

  • Stevie E

    TinTin
    We would POSSIBLY have a few more titles. You can’t look back and say we should have bought him or him, because in the real world, it deosn’t work like that. Hind sight is a thing reserved for pundits or commentors, the people who are doing it for real don’t have that luxury. And, I’ll think you’ll find that football is a business, just as Leeds or Pompy fans what they think of the Arsenal business model.

  • TinTin

    Stevie E,
    Its not hindsight when you were saying it at the time, which i was along with alot of arsenal fans and so were the pundits.For the last 3 seasons everyone was saying arsenal needed another CB, CM and a Keeper. I’ll ask you a question would Alex Ferguson still be in a job if he won nothing for 6 years?? Would anyone else at a top club still be in a job??
    As for Pomey and Leeds fans i think you’ll find all i’m asking is for the profits to be reinvested in the team (we still have the ade and toure money sitting unspent) and also those 2 clubs weren’t backed by 2 billionaires and one of the biggest clubs in Europe. i don’t see Man utd worrying about ending up like Leeds

  • Arsefactor

    I reckon he’ll buy the Celtic left back Izaguirre.
    He’s impressed for Celtic and would give Gibbs time to improve.
    I don’t think he’d be too expensive and perhaps a swap deal might be possible.

  • Praaam

    @TinTin..Alex Ferguson’s case is very different from Arsene Wenger’s..he has been given all the freedom to splash the cash..our manager did not have such a freedom..we had to sell the established players to cash in..they did not have to do that..all this because we moved to a new stadium and they did not..u can argue whether Alex Ferguson would have gone 6 years without a trophy despite all the above mentioned poits but I don’t think he would have been able to do that…

  • Charlie

    Just wanted to say what a relief it is to get away from those moaners on the other blogs. Please write more Walter, this is one of the few Arsenal blogs worth reading. Good point about Botelho, i’d forgotten about him completely and know nothing about his progress. I’ve grown wary of gambles after a few of them didn’t work out at Arsenal lately but Arsene has undoubtedly got someone watching Botelho in every match. I personally think that “other LB in the squad” could be an inspired choice and would solve our weakness at set-pieces. Many think it’d be a terrible idea though so we’ll see what Le Boss decides.

  • Naren

    Tony,
    Ashley Cole is the first-choice English left-back with Leighton Baines as his understudy. Gibbs might come in at third choice.
    As for the FIFA rankings, I am surprised you, the editor of Untold Arsenal with FICK FUFA pages even pays heed to those stats! England at fourth spot? Further evidence that FIFA is disconnected with reality.

  • TinTin

    Praaam,
    the stadium is always been used as an excuse as to why we haven’t spent, but Wenger himself has always maintained that he had funds to spend but just couldn’t find the “right” player. We’ve made a profit every season since 2005 without player sales so we’ve never been in a position where we had to sell established player that was ethier the mangers decision or the players desire to leave ethier way not replacing them is down to the manager and the buck stops with him. His paid 7 million a year for gods sake and yet doesn’t want to take responability for whats going on. 2 of our most important players want out now because of the lack of ambition being shown. I just don’t think Wenger is the man to turn things around anymore, i hope i’m proved wrong, I’m an arsenal fan after all, and would gladly eat humble pie all day long!!

  • Edda

    I am really beginning to get worried about the media/blogger’s influence in football. The newspapers are really twisting everything to be bad for Arsenal! How on earth can it be a dissaster that Clichy leaves ??? Actually i am happy that Man City bought Clichy instead of a real superstar like Dani Alves or Maicon, then i would be really worried about City next season. I have stopped reading news about Nasri and Fabregas, the whole summer newspapers have written that if we cannot keep those players we will not even be top 6 ??? And 2 season ago the same newspapers said that Nasri was a lightweight and we would never win the league with players like him! I say we should cash in for both of them then we would have something like 90m pounds to spend on 4-5 good players. I am sure AW will buy, but i dont want him to buy in places were we already are good, next year i want to see more from Sagna, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott and Van Persie, add 4-5 really good experienced players to those and we will be fine!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    So no-one has heard the Messi to Arsenal rumours then?
    Apparently he’s worried that if Guardiola quits he’ll be forced to play like he does for Argentina and Arsenal would be his escape route in that case.

    There is as much substance to the above as the crap in the papers.

  • bob

    NEWS FLASH: What is not crap in the papers is the Guardian’s report that Seep Bladder has just met with Robert Mugabe with 1M in hand to fend off the corruption contagion in Africa. Isn’t it rich, so to speak. Now, what does this have to do with left back? Well, we will be left back if miscreants like these two are the foxes that guard our collective hen house. With a cop like this on the beat – one who denounces video technology whilst putting a cool million to stem African corruption – we will all sleep better in the knowledge that our style and model of football will be allowed to flourish amongst the weeds in the english garden. Have a look: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jul/05/sepp-blatter-robert-mugabe-fifa

  • Relax you all, Clichy is gone and I for one am happy. He might claim that he wants to win things but I think He went for the pay increase(£90k/week) is double what he was on at Arsenal and as such I am happy that Manchester mugs gave him that until you know what.

    I was always hoping to have another LB coz it was our weak link but Wenger might utilise Vernaelen there if Cahill and Samba are brought in. However, that may also offer rotation as Gibbs, Traore, Botelho and whats his name from Charlton can slot in there whenever they come into team to relieve the big guys or as substitutes.

    Nassri has to be replaced with a quality like Walliam who is sharp shooter beside being a good playmaker. Upfront we also need a sharp shooter to help VP. I heard Kevin Doyle being mooted and that would be a decent choice.

  • bob

    Woolwich Peripatetic,
    My three responses to you and the previous UA blog have gone unattended. It’s your right, of course, to go silent, but you raised a serious point which got a serious response. Are you interested in a thoughtful reply to it, there, or just a drive-by?

  • bob

    sorry, I meant “on” the previous blog (over there –> )

  • IvoryGoonz

    @gulp: Gibbs will need to be played as much as Clichy was when Clichy came in the team to be our main left back at 18. He already had pace, and played 5 great seasons, despite what people reproach him on the defensive side. Gibbs has even less defensive qualities than Clichy, and is slower.
    He doesn’t have Clichy’s stamina either, and will get injured quick, especially playing pretty football against stronger teams.
    To me it sounds like Wenger wants to build a squad who plays pretty football but doesn’t take into account the requirements regarding injuries/fitness. You need a 30 man squad if you actually go for youngsters. Otherwise you’ll always be short compared to other teams. Traore is more of an attack midfielder than a full back.
    Botelho+Gibbs, yes, you can, but you WILL have to use Vermaelen at left back at one point or another and weaken your central defnce in the meantime.. £7m for Clichy? – undisclosed it says officially. That’s still at least £7m more to get a first team player.
    We could have gone for Taye Taiwo. Anyway. You don’t just get rid of your old shoes when you buy a new pair.
    You wait at least to wait til the new one proved it’s worth:
    Now what? Botelho/Gibbs/Traore? You got to be kidding.
    Griezmann/Hazard. Best you gonna get G for 7m. Offer 20m for Hazard, and you get a player that has much more potential, played in French ligue and won it, while Griezmann hasn’t won anything and plays for real sociedad.
    Don’t you think on the long term the difference in price is justified?

  • Ugandan Goon

    just in case anyone wants proof that walter is on the money just take a look at on of the group photos on the official web site and sure enough just to the left of gibbs is your very own pedro botelho!

  • RobL

    I know what you mean – many complained about Gael and also that we played to intricate football, yet we potentially lose a couple of flair players and it’s all over, boohoo.

    We can still field:

    Chezney
    Sagna, Djourou, Kos, Veramalen
    Bartley
    Wilshere Song
    Walcott VP Arsharvin

    With a bucket load of reserves.
    Dunno what all the fuss is over, sky’s not fallen in has it?

  • Utkarsh

    Hi, just a word about Bothelo, he got 4 goals but he got more assists im sure and he played at left midfield most of the games, if not all..

  • Mandy dodd

    Would love to see our own take the lb slot. Creating lbs is something wenger seems to excel at. Would like to see our kids given roles in other positions as well, herein lies wengers dilemma, does he play to the gallery or maybe bring in another jack from our ranks next season? Remember how the aaa were desperate for us to bring in Joe cole last summer? If we do lose cesc and nasri, experience will be required but it would be a shame to come so far on the youth policy but drop it all because the sun says so.
    If we do bring in kids into defensive position, does anyone think our coaching set up could be a bit tightened up? At times the defence seemed disorganised yet we know we already have good defenders who we need to keep. Would a bit more coaching on defending as a team where required help here?

  • Mandy dodd

    Must admit, at times I have wondered if having David dein back would help anything but as we know, his son seems to be at least involved in unsettled players. And the cliché transfer
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/8619206/Agent-Darren-Dein-linked-to-Arsenal-transfer-deals-including-Cesc-Fabregas-Barcelona-move.html

    Yes he is an agent, yes maybe he has got us some good deals, some even believe wenger wanted clichy out. And yes, you cannot blame his father for his current role.
    But for anyone, like myself at times in the past who see dein as a potential White knight who can rekindle wengers ambition and hold his hand to help him spend, worth remembering how much the dein family have earned and are still earning out of arsenal.
    Mr dein, if you care about the club as much as you make out, please, I would politely and respectfully urge you to have a word with your son! You lot must have enough cash by now!

  • RedGooner

    Clychy, 8yrs and 246 games with 2 goals. Thanks for the effort but looking at the fact he was still getting caught out position so many times I think if we buy a replacement we will be better off.
    Gibbs someday will be great and perhaps Bothello also but right now are way to inexperienced and injury prone to be first choice.

    This idea we are building for the future needs to stop and right now. The papers are saying Nasri is a done deal 150k a week to city for 20mill and Cesc wont ever be extending his contract.
    If we cant hold onto our better players then we need to start lowering our expectations, you simply cant rebuild year in year out and expect to win trophies when we dont have either the funds to buy top class players or cash to equal other top clubs wages.
    Its becomming nonsensical a merry go round we are stuck on.
    We used to be a big club in a small stadium attracting some top class players now we look like a small club in a big stadium who cant hold onto what we have.
    I think this will be the clubs most challenging season so far.

  • Jas777

    I see the football club v business mentioned here. For the fan it is a football club, for the sharholders/owner it is a business. What with London being the biggest European base for Arab/Middle Eastern vistors/expats I wouldn’t at all be suprised to see Arsenal sold in a year or 2 for a nice wee earner to Middle Eastern interests.

    Just think they can combine a shopping trip to Harolds with a day at the football in a nice new stadium with high quality food and entertainment.

    Also Arsenal biggest problem this year is going to be that their players (employees) are going to feel like they are in a compnay that is going downhill and all the resulting issues especially if have a bad start to the season. And for those of you who have every worked in a company that is going downhill you will know what I mean.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Is there anyway we can offload some of our ‘supporters’ onto Spurs? It wouldn’t be any harder for them to get to home games and they play reasonably good football under their Arsenal-supporting manager.
    Plus they can bitch all they want about Arsenal and be accepted into a welcoming community.
    My view is that the under-10s generally do not attend matches nor buy official club merchandise, therefore their value to the club is zero. The average season ticket holder probably wants to see investment in the team but acknowledges that better players may not be available and does not want to see the club run into the ground trying to compete with the bottomless pits of europe. They may also back Wenger in the absence of a better alternative.

  • Mandy dodd

    The under 10s are a youth policy we can do without. Things are good for them and their lazy gripes at the moment but things change

  • GoonerForLife

    Alvarez to Inter, Clichy to City, no word about Cahill or Samba, Nasri and Fabregas want out. I feel like crying. Goddddddd Pleeaaaassssseeeeeee help us. I know iam frustrated. Sorry, Didn’t know how to vent it out. Still have faith in Arsene. He knows what to do. Really tired of going online every now and then to check something good has happened. I wont check my SRS feeds or any football related websites for next few days and really hope that there will be some good news when i check back. Right time for me to watch Invisibles DVD.

  • bob

    Gooner for Life,
    Calm down, off the ledge now, it’ll be fine.
    Otherwise you’ll be Goner for Life.