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Do we really need to buy anyone in January?

By Tony Attwood

Chuba Akpom is a forward who is seen as one of the new sensational stars at Arsenal, and is being spoken of as having the class and ability level of Jack Wilshere.

So far this season he has played nine games in the under 21 league and scored three, and six in the Next Gen series and scored two.

And all that at the age of 17.  (Last season, aged 15 – he was 16 in October) he played for the under 18s.   This year, he is playing for England’s Under-19s.

According to reports he has it all – physical presence, good runner, cool, on target, intelligent, mature.

I mention him for a simple reason that a lot of people are saying we need more and more players brought in.

A fairly common view is that we need a new striker who will take over the mantle of Robin van Persie, but the problem there is who?  If Man U were reduced to paying such a huge fee / salary for a player aged 29, that suggests that there are not that many really great goalscorers available for transfer.

For Man U obviously it has worked thus far, but they are committed to paying RVP until he is 35 and who is to say how many games he will be getting by that age.  It is more than likely that within 18 months he will be breaking Thierry Henry’s record of being paid £250,000 a game.  (I suspect that Sir F Word knew perfectly well that when the salary of RVP becomes a scandal, he won’t be at the club any more, and he simply wanted to beat Man C to the title this year- so would spend anything on anyone.)

In terms of a strike force we have Theo, Podolski, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and that’s before we contemplate the players like Gervinho who have not been delivering of late.  Do we really need another striker to fill the gap until Chuba Akpom is ready?

If we do then the possibles are:

  • Thierry Henry on loan.
  • Demba Ba
  • David Villa
  • Nani
  • Adrian Lopez
  • Fernando Llorente

But then who drops out?  It is fine to have another top striker, but who is going to be happy on the bench if all stay fit?

There is also talk of us needing a goalkeeper – but there is always talk of needing a goalkeeper.  Personally I think the current incumbent is doing fine and lurking in the wings is Damien Martinez – certainly a player who we don’t want to frustrate by putting more and more experienced keepers in front of him.

Next there is the suggestion that we need another defensive midfielder because Song has not been replaced.  Assuming that Diaby is not going to be able to play again (which is a terrible tragedy) the player we do have who is getting games regularly is Francis Coquelin.  Although we see him play across the defence, defensive midfield is his position.   And we know he can play (where ever he is put – remember the Tottenham game, for example).

He has been with us since 2008 (Untold picked up on him in our very early days, and for once we were right).  He won the FA Youth Cup in 2009, and has the European Under-19 Championship with France.

So really, who do we need?  Theo isn’t going anywhere this transfer window, and although there is always a chance that he will move on in the summer, I doubt it.

I know there is £40m or more available – but the AAA, although calling for more purchases, will scream even louder if we don’t get a player who delivers at once in a better way that we have at the moment.

Last year at this time we brought in the attacking midfielders Thomas Eisfeld and Thierry Henry.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mr Henry again, and another unknown.   If we need another attacking midfielder then we have Rosicky.  He won’t last much longer, but he is available now.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t buy – and I would be very surprised if not buying caused us any problems.

93 comments to Do we really need to buy anyone in January?

  • Tony

    We do need players to bolster our team, it is only a matter of time before injuries start to mount up. We need a DM because Arteta is playing out of position and Diaby is just another injury away of being out for the rest of the Season. Yes Coquelin is capable, but if we want to finish near the top we need a squad capable of mounting a long term challenge not just fall away because we have been “unlucky” with injuries!

  • marcus

    We need quite a few players. We need to get rid of Djourou, Squillaci, santos, arshavin, chamakh and sadly diaby who let’s be honest are all dead weight. That done, we would need a CB, LB a DM (and a proper midfield bully a la tiote)a winger and a striker. Reports are emerging that we have bid 10M for adrian lopez today and a former crystal palace player tweeted zaha wishing him success at AFC so going by that, we need 3 more players.

  • Sam

    Tony you are delusional if you think Chuba Akpom is a solution to our problems.
    Also RVP is on a 4 year deal and not a 6 year one as you are hinting.

  • Brendy

    Of course we need to buy, we need a powerhouse out and out DM, Arteta is a good player who gives 100% although there are better players out there who play in that position. We are starting to score goals but we are conceding more than we should arsenals defence need better cover. Also arsenals weak link in defence is Gibbs, he was at fault for 2 of the goals against newcastle when he fell asleep. We also need a solid keeper as The pole in goal is brilliant but the others are crap. We need walcott to ‘sign d ting’ with him playing as a striker bring the best out of the ox as walcott can draw defenders out of position allowing chambo to run, attack and provide great balls. I honestly think Arsenal should consider going for lewis holtby, he is a talented winger and that means poldi can move into the strikers role if needed. Carzola is versatile so if the ox gets injured he can move out to the right wing and arteta/rosicky can play in his place (AS LONG AS WE SIGN A WORLD CLASS DM). So get rid of ramsey-santos-chamakh-bentnder-flapianski-denilson-arshavin-diaby (great player but too injury prone) and bring in 4 quality signings and Arsenal can be world class + cut the wage bill.

  • are you sick? of course we need 2 make signings, our number 1 priority is a DM such as tiote/capoue etcwe need a back up winger but thats not as important as a DM

  • What utter drivel. Firstly RvP signed a 4yr contract and not 6. We got the thin edge of the wedge out of the deal. You don’t know whether Walcott will be sold in this window or stay till he becomes a free agent. Also As regards Chuba Akpom, 3 goals in 9 appearances at U21 level(according to your stats) is not prolific is it?

    Do we need to strenghten? Probably not if all we need to challenge for is the 4th spot, it will be pretty tight, probably go down to the wire as last season…. Either way not really bothered if we sign anyone or not. It is really getting tiresome this departure (will he he or wont he sign malarchy!) talk. Why always us?

  • Ayo

    Your comment does’nt make sense at all because arsenal need to qualify for chapions league next season as well as them buying players to boost arsenal overall chances of winning cups. With all Djourou,Andre santos, Chamakh, Squallaci & Obviously chamakh being a waste of space which needs tp be filled ASAP.

  • john

    For the last 8years we have been 2 or 3 players short of winning anything

  • gardiancho

    We started to ask are self DO WE NEEEEEED ?
    BRAVO good job

    I suggest not to buy to sell because we have so much young players comming, sell half of the team.

  • marcus

    Get rid of Diaby??

    Are you mad?

    Anyhow, it’s not about what middleweight Arsenal want. It’s about what the Elite Clubs want. Now that Theo has gone from sporadic firer to superstar, 30Million will be on the table, and he’ll be gone with the wind.

    Shame really. As soon as any Arsene project reaches fruition, someone comes and plucks the ripe fruit.

  • soglorious

    Personally, I feel we only need to buy a real-time defensive midfielder to ease d pressure on Arteta and also come in when Diaby gets injured. Also we need a backup for K.Gibbs. Then we are good to go for the last phase of the season.

  • iniez

    I think it would be good to bring in another striker. I’ve seen chuba and I love the kid already, but we don’t need to put too much pressure on him, he’s only just turned 17 or 18, still very young. Giroud can be our main man, and I’m starting to be convinced by theo but he still needs some practice in that role, plus that issue of him needing to sign, but I won’t go into that, lets just talk like he’s staying for now. If need be we can use poldi or gervinho but I’d rather keep gervinho on the wing. If we get someone, and keeping in mind the price of some of the well known quality, I think he’s going to be fairly cheap and only backup to what we have, unless arsene pulls another unknown gem from his magic hat. Depth is always good.

    Also, a DM would be great. Arteta is so important to the fluidity of our team that if something happens to him our whole dynamic will suffer. We need someone to break up play and hand the ball back to our playmakers. Someone to sit back a bit to make sure the oppositions attackers don’t get too confident. Maybe a wanyama or tiote style player, though tiote reminds me of frimmy and I’d rather have his passion for our club (though he needs to buckle down a bit and get his head focussed on the game). Plus I’d love to see diaby make a full return and stay fit, so we don’t need throw him back in too quickly. Unfortunately it’s going to take a bit of a miracle for him to get back but I hold some hope he will

    If we get someone for both of these positions I’d be ecstatic. We have some great up and comers, I’ve loved watching them when I can, and there really are some special ones, but we need some mature and experienced players now so the kids have someone to look up to, and to take the pressure off them both mentally and physically when we do integrate them into the first team

  • Thundertinygooner

    We should not think in terms of 4th place as if it is a remarkable achievement and if we want to aspire beyond this we need reinforcement. We need a better back- up left back,desperately need a strong defensive midfielder and should look at whether we could recruit Zaha or Lopez if they are available for a sensible fee. We DO need a much better plan Re goalkeepers. Martinezneeds a long loan spell as he was awful at Reading and we need a back- up keeper who an assume the reins if Szczesny is injured. None of the three behind him are adequate.
    We also need to prune the waste at the club and ideally this would see the departure of Chamakh,Squillaci,Djourou,Denilson,Bendtner and Santos. That is a lot of deadwood and a huge outflow of funds in wasted salaries. If I had my way Gervinho would be gone as well but he is off to the ACON. Burdening Akpom or Gnabry with unfair expectations is counterproductive. We need more experienced players who can hi the ground running . By the way I am far from an AAA but I ceased to believe Wenger was a genius some time ago.

  • marcus

    marcus, yes get rid of diaby (note i said sadly). Look, there’s no denying what great talent diaby possesses however, he is a player who we can never call upon 90% of the season as he is out injured. The little time he is fit, he lacks match fitness. He is sort of a mirage because we count him as a player to depend upon yet he’s never fit. Now arteta suffers because he holds the mantle on his own. AW should cut his losses and acquire a proper DM who will not only help arteta out, also provide the physicality and steel that would support the creative trio wilshere, cazorla and rosicky without compromising their play.

  • Andy Mack

    Gnarby has some 1st team minutes under his belt.
    Does Akpom (and if not, why not)?

  • T2T

    I believe when we have all our best players available – as we currently do with the exception of Diaby – we have a pretty good team.
    However, think back 10 years or so:
    Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira, Pires, Cole, Campbell, Ljungberg, Gilberto, Lauren, Toure and Lehmann.
    Several of them would be on a list of the world´s best football players. Who among the current team would be on such a list? Well, Cazorla was #73…
    I hope AW looks really hard on what we need, NOW, and get the player(s) we need. We moved to the Emirates to compete with the biggest clubs but so far we have done the exact opposite.

  • Itile emma

    Tony, i don’t know your influence in Arsenal, but if you do have any, then it must be the reason for our backwardness. Why do you talk of (is it) Akpom? You sound disillusioned and if Wenger is in that mindset, let’s know that the season would be a disaster even at the UCL. Buy established players forget about average and babies.

  • bob

    “If Man U were reduced to paying such a huge fee / salary for a player aged 29, that suggests that there are not that many really great goalscorers available for transfer.”
    This comment, Mr. Attwood, is how you are a frequent smoke-blower for the current AFC management-ownership-bean counter regime. ManU “reduced” to this? Via RvP, we gift Don Fergus the Rednose XX, which you can take with evident equanimity; and now it’s they are “reduced” to taking RVP? Their difference maker? Their meal ticket to the championship? And he’ll have no more good to very good years between now and 35 (like Drogba at 34 is it? is he washed up?)

    As for your newest crown prince, at 16 mind you, do we need to go over the recent litany of can’t miss project youth talents in the pipeline like JET, etc. etc. You wave the promise of the future as if it were real, and use it to disarm those who know – as you finally admit – there is money to spend on available and affordable high quality – some like Ba who are EPL proven – and insinuate that such opposition is tainted with your AAA brush. No one likes to sit on the bench, but there are injuries – remember? or is that now “solved” by your heralded state of the art medical facility? Injuries and Arsenal are chronic, and you know it.

    Teams like Manure and Shitty and Chelsea have four top strikers and they – as professionals – can deal with the rotations, like it or not, because it brings flexibility, covers for injuries, and amounts to killer firepower in an overlong season with no winter break and, hopefully, a deep run into the other cup competitions. It is part of the staying power and a championship ingredient, that is if you are not a hard-wired penny pinching bean counter. And here again, methinks, you put on the brakes with, well, whose going to like sitting on the bench? That is nonsense. No one does. But to win, they accept it.

    As with RvP and Song, you continue to prepare UA visitors/loyalists, in advance, for the real possibility of no expenditure. But, imo, this practice is symptom of the very lack of ambition, of not daring to win, of shunning the thrilling run for all the roses at the top, that those who also love Arsenal – but not its current management-ownership regime (and I don’t want Usmanov, and I do love Arsene to stay) – who you would tar with AAA membership insinuations. No, there’s grounds for both love and ambition that are neither AAA nor equating Arsenal with management/board/ownership loyalty (in the name of the badge).

    There is occasion and ability now to spend, and to spend wisely, and even to afford unloading crap (oh excuse me, deadwood). Do you think that midfield, backline and, yes, Ba-like strikerpower are not needed? You might accept that to stay in the good graces, but that is to pull up lame when, even at this moment, an actual run and an attempt to put a stick in Lord Football’s coronation run and to reap the harvest of RVP’s loss and Song’s loss with a smashing finish is that is both possible and affordable.

    The present moment as filled with possibilities that go well beyond the cautionary dampings down of desire and ambition that are suggested here. In this season, my savior in not a 16 year old in the pipeline.

    Joy to this world, and to UA and to the Arsenal! Happy 2013’s.

  • bob

    iniez,
    You are more reasoned and restrained than I, and I do applaud your position on the need for new purchases in those very positions. I fully concur and wish you continued insight and wisdom, as it sorely contributes to a needed path to higher quality and achievement – affordable as well – to AFC’s 2013 prospects.

  • bob

    marcus,
    indeed, the DM hole needs filling. Arteta will not stay fit the whole way through the business end. And it spells what a cock-up it was to not say no to Alex Song (which happened in an instant), in order to achieve zero net transfer balance – the bean counter’s trophy. Well, how much of that will go into their Christmas bonuses? And I do not jest for a moment. These types play a zero sum game, and quality on the pitch has been sacrificed. Perhaps, after the bonuses have been harvested there will be a loosening of the purse strings on behalf of some wise buys that will put us into something truly in reach – something above the thrill of contention for the fourth spot. With a good January window, that is decidedly not beyond reach. It may be beyond certain imaginations; but it is not beyond reach. Dare to spend wisely, dare to win.

  • ubatgoonergooner

    Whether we need an additional attacker will depend on whether Theo will leave. I must say that I agree with soglorius that we need another left fullback to fight for the position as Santos is so unconvincing. Another midfielder can come as well in the mould of a strong box to box midfielder. I remembered we looked a very dominant and fluent team when Diaby played in the earlier matches especially against Liverpool. If we can get a player like him with brute strength and energy to burst forward it will compliment the others like Jack and Santi and give Arteta some break.

  • bob

    john,
    Exactly! We are chronically 2-3 players short of the very top-tier. This time there is no financial excuse to stay 2-3 players short. So, the new 2-3 reasons to stay 2-3 players short are:
    the already anointed as adequate Coquelin, Akpom, and Eisfeld. Hello?! Indeed, these 2-3 are Mr. Atwood’s way to justify not spending the affordable money (which goes BEYOND the 40m he allows for this time). What is that about?

  • asd

    Chuba Akpom and Francis Coquelin?? Tony Cesc left us as captain and went to Barca, and most fans were saying he would not start. Isn’t that a sign of how far we have fallen as a team?
    In the days of the invincibles, 95% percent of the squad would walk into the starting 11 of any other team.
    If we were winning trophies, those young players won’t mind waiting there turn, but since we don’t win any the young players want to get playing time as soon as possible so the can move to a top club. Example Song

  • createstrain

    gotta say poor show. to answer your question, its a simple yes. bob hit on a lot of points like the groundhog jet. to think we don’t is gambling and were flush enough not to.

    the youts get me excited (pause) but that was necessary 5 years or so ago. i’d be quite sad if we go into 2013 defining insanity.

  • bjtgooner

    Creating a winning team at the earliest opportunity has to be the objective. Over the past few years spending restrictions have prevented the manager creating sufficient squad depth – consequently when hit with a disproportionately excessive injury list the team faltered.

    Just now we are advised that the restrictions are reducing, so if the manager can get the right players to give us squad depth then I would prefer to buy now. The young players mentioned above seem excellent – as young players, but battle ready reinforcements are what we need now.

    There are several positions where we could improve; not knowing what is happening with Walcott makes it hard to determine what is needed up front, but in midfield I would like to see an additional DM with height, pace and attitude as well as technical ability – we have a lot of very fast skillful small players – we need to balance the height factor throughout the team.

  • arsenal george

    we beat a few mid table teams and some of you guys think we are still a top flight team….we need at least 3 top flight players….jacks return has lifted us some but common sense will show that you can’t sell your best players every year and expect to be top flight….we need changes to keep our world class players from leaving…i beleive rvp was right…..we are heading in the wrong direction

  • WalterBroeckx

    Some funny things I have read.

    1. People complain about we must buy because we cannot risk the injuries that will come our way. Ok fair point.

    2. Then they go on and say we must get rid off and they start name people and finish with a list of 8 players. The deadwood list.

    3. And then they say after getting rid of those we need to buy 4 players.

    Now I might not have been the best around in maths in my younger days but …wouldn’t that approach leave us short when the injuries hit us???

    I think the club will do all it can to make sure that we end up in a CL position at the end of this season. That is the only ambition we should have after seeing the backbone of our team go away in the last 12-16 months.

    And then we will see what we can do in the summer.

    I do believe that the persons at the club will do what they can this winter but we have to be realistic and forget about the 40M signings and 200.000 a week wages players. Just let us be realistic. But wouldn’t mind another Cazorlay buy of course 🙂

  • nd

    why are people so convinced by theo as a striker…..he played against a poor reading side and a extremely exhausted newcastle team and what fail to point out is that these two team still managed to score 2 and 3 goals against us respectively

  • MIKE

    bjtgooner has it right a DM a Vieira type is badly needed in this squad and frankly has been even before we lost song. he was good but NO Vieira. the loss of the once captain was the start of the end. When we had him Arsenal where the best team in the EPL as soon as he left we where second best. And we have never had what it takes since sure we also lost others as well but I still feel had we still had Vieira in Henry’s last season we would have been CL winners not runners up. AND Henry may never have left for Barca. Letting our captain go was the beginning of a downward trend of getting weaker and weaker each season. It all went wrong the day Vieira left. It was not just the loss of a great player but the tend it started.

  • Adam

    We beat a few mid-table teams. Yes mid-table in the toughest, richest most competitive league in the world whilst the vultures are circling overhead.
    Some big games coming up in January; Man city, Liverpool & Chelsea so we have the possibility to take 9 points off of those around us in the table.
    We need to put Southampton away comfortably tomorrow.
    Turn Swansea over to teach them a lesson and then concentrate on pulling the bigger clubs back within reach.
    January will tell us a lot with regards to this team’s ambition, and maybe influence wether Wenger brings in anyone on his wish-list.

  • bob

    Walter,
    Imo, we can do better than 4th place. We can get Demba Ba, and there are DM candidates out there as well. And
    even a good backliner to replace Santos. Is this neither affordable nor realistic? Your realism is a gamble; the ability to
    fill these holes is doable. To constantly state that we can’t afford 40m, so let’s realistically stand pat is misleading.
    We can mount a challenge if we spend wisely; and, after all,
    we’re supposed to have that unmatched worldwide scouting system, right? And why not compete with Chelsea (if it is so) for Demba Ba. He’d be affordable on our current fiscal state and add immense flexibility and firepower – even with and especially with Theo (hopefully) staying – that we could compete with anyone. Do you really deny this? That kind of purchase would be a massive boost in morale, flexibility, finishing and EPL-readiness. That said, if the club spent and got him, I seriously doubt you would be reminding us about how we should have been “realistic”. That kind of realism is like the lump of coal in the christmas stocking. It might warm the flat but does not fire the imagination. C’mon mate, give it up.
    And, in any case, congratulations for outlasting the mayan calendar and a joyful 2013 for all your great and constant work.

  • rusty

    The eternal question for top-shelf teams is, of course, how do you retain quality squad players — those who are good enough for the team to succeed, but aren’t in the first-choice XI. All top clubs have this problem, if you judge by the players getting floated now in transfer rumors (e.g. David Villa, Nani, a plethora of Man City players), in that a player “good enough to start” elsewhere will, indeed, prefer to start and so will make his way out of the team.

    It looks to me as if, recently, Mr. Wenger has attempted to address this problem by filling out the squad with young players, who understand they may not start all the time for reasons of seniority. I don’t know of alternative approaches that don’t leave dissatisfied-but-capable players leaving for a song in their wake. Perhaps the “sign Ba and Llorente and Villa and…” crowd can explain this part of it.

  • rusty

    And, of course, happy New Year to Tony, Walter, the rest of the contributors to Untold, and the readers of this august blog/institution. Still challenging on three fronts, let’s hope for a Theo renewal and a title in 2013!

  • bob

    rusty,
    from all we’ve gone through, the young ones will have learned that contracts mean nothing, and you can get enough to leave when you and your agent want to. and if Theo leaves, yep, the new signees also have that example to learn from – get good enough at AFC and you can jump to the next level. Get it, rusty? Whether you’re discontented on the bench, or are younger and play more, a contract is a contract is a contract – and these days, a contract is not binding, as you well can see. Nor does AFC ever, to date, say no to a contract rebel. So, whatever are you talking about when you advocate signing the young, over bringing in the quality veteran. It is no insurance policy, and certainly not a panacea to cure all wantaway ills. In fact, a good strong side will be more attractive (a) to stay at and (b) not to wish to leave. So, I hope that I as one of the get Demba, etc., “crowd” (as you so charitably put it), offer that for you to consider next year. Oh, and would you really reject a Ba, Lorente or Villa signing? C’mon, mate – in your heart of hearts?

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, meant (a) to come to and (b) not to wish to leave.

  • Adam

    Bob, you have seen how Ba has been promoted in the media and by his agent. Do you really want that at Arsenal again? Come on dude your brighter than that.
    Good player or not, I don’t want his agent (first eleven) anywhere near our club. This agency has a history of promoting their clients via media gossip, Hazard, Toure, Van der wiel and Matias Suarez.
    All Arsenal players that are represented by this agency are no longer with our club. Frimpong may come back.

  • bob

    adam,
    But look at Ba’s scoring touch and assist capability against us this past match.
    Listen to Arsene’s praise of him post-match.
    Look at his scoring rank in the league, the EPL.
    And is there a non-mercenary agency with a top-flight player?
    I take on board what you say about the agency, as you know I would have to. But on balance, on a case to case basis, I’d splash for Ba – an affordable splashing n’est-ce pas?

  • zdzis

    Yes, we do need new signings, although I’m not sure about the plural.

    a) Striker: we’re going to drop Chamakh, we’ll need to sort Park and Bendtner out, too. Gervinho looks to have failed and might also leave, but this could go even beyond the next summer.
    As it is, we have 3 strikers who are vying for the centre spot: Giroud, Podolski and Walcott. This looks very nice – on paper. Giroud is the only out-and-out striker on this list, and with Podolski a regular on the left, and Walcott playing in every game, sometimes on the right, it does mean we’re short at least one new face. And yet, the most convincing rumours that we hear speak of a winger/striker rather than a striker… Of course, I’m talking about Adrian. The fact is, with Walcott moving down the middle, we appear to be short on wingers, too. Cazorla is much better down the middle, and we don’t want to be stuck with Ramsey and Rosicky being the designated backup wingers.
    So, the current front setup looks like this:
    —Chamberlain/—Walcott/—–Podolski/—
    ——–?———-Giroud———?——–
    Add to that the fact that we have a number of promising young wingers (Gnabry, Miyaichi, Campbell), and what transpires is that we’re in dire need of a quality WINGER, not an out-and-out striker like Ba.

    b) Midfielder: There’s been a lot of talk about replacing Song. I don’t think it’s justified. In fact, I wish no one is going to replicate Song’s performances for us anymore. Why? Because while Song could be very good on the final pass and very tough on the opponent’s playmakers, he was one of the least reliable holding midfielders in the upper section of the PL table.
    What we need is someone who would give us stability and link up well with other midfielders. What we need is another Arteta.
    The current midfield is theoretically stuffed:
    —-Arteta/—Cazorla/—Wilshere/–
    —Coquelin—Rosicky—–Ramsey—-
    But the fact is, there is a distinct drop in quality in our 2nd string. Rosicky is definitely the man to sub for Cazorla, no doubt about that – but is Coquelin big enough to fill Arteta’s boots? Come to think of it, is Arteta the right man for us? I really think we should be looking for another player like him, but better (and probably younger) than him. This is where Diaby could come in, but given his health issues, we should be looking for a “top, top,” “exceptional,” what have you, signing right there.
    And that’s it – because we’re blessed with Eisfeld, who should be able to replace Rosicky in due course, and other guys, like Toral or Ebecilio, all holding much promise and having a lot of time yet to deliver.
    Now, is this midfield signing a priority for January? I think it might be, but again, we need to be cautious – we have a very particular agenda for this signing, and a screw-up at this point might leave us with another Chamakh – funds lost and excessive funding for years to come.

    c) Defence: This is one of the more straightforward questions for us. Our current back 4 looks like this:
    —Sagna/-Mertesacker/-Vermaelen/-Gibbs/–
    -Jenkinson-Koscielny—-Djourou—Santos–
    Rumours abound about Santos’ imminent departure; if they are true, then we need to look for backup options. We obviously need to rule out Squillaci, but there’s more: what about young players who have already broken through to the 1st team? Specifically, I’m talking about Ignasi Miquel and Martin Angha. Both can play at CB as well as LB.
    Now, this sounds like a gamble: yes, we can afford to replace Djourou with Miquel, there won’t be much difference in terms of quality there, but what if Gibbs gets injured? I have to say I’m not sure about that. There’s also the possibility of using Vermaelen – or, for that matter, Coquelin – at LB if we’re short there.
    In other words, while a new signing in defence could have helped a lot, I can easily see Wenger leaving things as they are, simply because the numbers are already there. (Frankly, I do think the quality is, too.)

    d) Keepers: This is a throwback to the stone age of Almunia in goal. Arsenal don’t need a new keeper. What they need is to get rid of a keeper, and I’m talking about Fabianski. The current squad includes 3 keepers, ranging from good through acceptable to untested: Szczesny, Mannone, Martinez (add Shea here, too). If we were to sign a new keeper, we’d have to look for someone who would be as good as Szczesny, but also likely to leave him enough room to develop as our main man for the future. Looking at Friedel, I get the feeling that it’s mighty tough to find someone like that today. Cudicini? Brad Jones? I’m sorry, but it doesn’t make much sense to invest in someone who’s only going to act as a safety net when we’re so stuffed with goalkeepers. If we’re onto a reshuffling in that department, I’d expect someone to move in in the summer, but not in January.

    asd, that’s a testament to Barca’s depth of squad in midfield, where Cesc used to play for us. Ever since he Joined Barca, he’s been moving about, so far so that he’s even began to play as a striker (of all things). I think it clearly shows he’s up for it, but you don’t drop players who work exceptionally well for you to risk bringing in someone who might work just as well, but then might take time to (re)adjust. Besides, I’d take £30m any day for any of our players to warm the bench somewhere else, if he really wants to leave so much. That’s what I relish about Adebayor’s transfer history…

  • bob

    adam,
    And Ba would give us Plan B capability:
    Plan A with one striker (him or Theo or Giroud up front); Plan B with two strikers up front (two of the three). We do not have or play with a viable Plan B. Manure and others do. A quality striker of Ba’s calibre would make our tactical flexibility sizzle. Do you really think not?

  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha sometimes i wonder how the deluded AAA and a few spunks. They talk of beating a few middle table teams okay Newcastle, if it was not for furgus and the oldtoilet syndrome of scaring off the ref what could have happened, Reading to mention but a few.Look at Westbrom Evra’s open hand ball in-front of the ref and the liner in the 16yard box,look at Valencia’s foul on the Newcastle lad and many more and you talk of buying? We might buy a whole team but if those guys in black are not on your side then you are doomed. Did anyone of you AAA watch QPR VS Liverpool ?i wonder what harry did to the refs ,in fact he better gives up now because with all against him QPR is not surviving the relegation.The only thing which perturbs me is that when the Arsenal wins it struggles and when manure struggles to win its experience. As of buying we need to buy if walcott is leaving but if he is staying then why not kick some few butts and we will be there.HAPPY NEW 2013 UNTOLD FANS NOT FANATICS AND IN ARSENE WE TRUST

  • bob

    zdzis,
    I disagree with you on Alex Song. He was brilliant on his day and a still developing, and young enough to continue, in several complementary dimensions. He was not deteriorating, and, if frustrating at times (as most can be), was able to hold position as a hard man, as well as make some devastating offensive moves. His game was not static and, in a sense, it is not fair to compare it to the other more static player’s on the list that you invoke. And we had him for three more years, absent the rush to a zero net transfer balance. Alex Song was the guy – in development – that we need. Not Arteta who does not have Song’s defensive presence which, Song could have also developed further, which you discount entirely.

  • bob

    zdzis,
    Please refresh my memory: just what did Ade’s 30M get us?

  • rusty

    @bob,

    Your point about young players being willing to go “contract rebel” is well-taken. Fortunately, the team has some recourse if they leave before age 21 due to FIFA regs (i.e. Bentley), and while they’re here, younger players are typically less expensive (I’m sure nobody is complaining about the drag exerted Jenkinson’s wages in comparison to Squillaci’s).

    That said, I’m not sure that a successful team is a particularly reliable way to keep senior internationals happy while they warm the bench. As noted, the sports papers all agog over Villa and Nani, whose sides top their respective tables, and if we look over the past few years, there are undoubtedly many other top-flight players who chafed at being told they were subject to squad rotation — consider Ibrahimovic at Barcelona, Aquilani at Liverpool (surely his work with Fiorentina this season acquits him of the “not good enough” charge), and whichever of City’s strikers isn’t starting on a given week.

    The bottom line is that no professional footballer is going to be happy being professionally paid to watch other people play football from the substitutes’ bench. Arsenal can sign Ba, but who gets dropped to accommodate him? If nobody, surely he won’t be happy with the situation (which is presumably why Pardew persists in playing him together with Cisse), but if a current starter is dropped, we face the same problem. Better that we have youngsters hoping for their opportunity to come than locker room troubles forcing the team to loan capable players cheaply to keep them away from the team (again, City loaning Bellamy or Adebayor and paying most of their wages, Madrid loaning Sahin).

  • Matt Clarke

    David Beckham anyone?

  • bob

    rsuty,
    So then it’s a matter of the cost of the wantaway player, the veteran costing more than the youngster. That said, if your mentality is to play for a championship, then perhaps the way to go is to decide if you can afford to pay more or not at that time (the time when you can have a good expectation of competing for the cup)? Would you agree? And, would you see Arsenal as 2-3 players (veteran players) away from a meaningful cup? And, since we risk contract rebels under any scenario, why not then splash for it now, so that we can indeed compete. Most veterans will give a team with a chance that degree of wiggle room before demanding a trade. Mancini held down the demands (by Tevez, for one) long enough to then win with the help of the very disgruntled veterans. Our refusal to say no to the departure of our younger players (Cesc, Song) and vets (RvP) has arguably cost us actual cup chances. Perhaps – because the wantaway factor is so chronic/constant – the game is how to get close enough to winning the roses that you will keep most of your veterans, or emerging world class youth, on board in order to do so. And that’s the game, then perhaps 1-3 top veteran purchases this window is part of the championship team’s juggling act? What do you think?

  • Adam

    Bob, Don’t get me wrong Ba is a very capable forward, Do not know about his injury history, and did Senegal qualify for the ACN? I just think Arsenal should let him pass them by.
    No more than a feeling.
    This player has been promoted all around Europe if he did turn in at Arsenal and proved fruitful, his agent would be all over the place trying to find him a big wage/transfer increase. I’d prefer Akpom be given minutes towards the end of games and the odd start against slower less mobile center backs as he has shown he already has all needed to play through the middle, maybe another winger if Walcott is pushed through the center more?
    This season I think the EPL crown is out of reach so use the rest of the season to qualify for CL and blood some youngsters.

  • Adam

    However Bob if we did sign Ba we could always flog him next season for a profit.

  • FunGunner

    @ Tony
    Happy New Year to you and Walter and all the other contributors.

    I’m not sure we need a striker, except as short-term cover for Gerv. But if the rumours about Arda Turan are true, and he is – as reported – a lock-picker, I would love us to get him. Just what we need against deep-sitting packed defences.

    @ rusty December 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm
    good points

    @ bob
    What Tony means is that Man U had to pay a high fee for a 29-yr-old. They paid it because he could be the player that propels them to the title.

    So that explains why they were prepared to pay that much money, but the reason he is actually there is the same reason that Song is at Barca – he really really did not want to stay with us and he really really wanted to join them. They both wanted to leave so much that they engineered their moves away – RvP especially. (That happens to all clubs, not just us – Sagna threatened to go on strike at Auxerre unless they sold him to us.)

    The written contract is just terms and conditions – what keeps a player at a club is his desire to remain. Every now and again, players say they want to leave. 2011 was notable from that point of view. Often, they can be persuaded to stay. Eg Cesc in 2009 and 2010. But sometimes they can’t be persuaded and that is when they are sold. The PL is a war zone. An uncommitted player is worse than useless. Remember Nasri in the second half of his final season?

    AW generally funds transfers in from transfers out but he can and does get extra money when he needs it – and he certainly isn’t forced into any sales by the Board. He has said both of those things explicitly.

    Incidentally…
    Can you explain what the “bean counters” would gain from Arsene selling players unnecessarily?
    Do you think Arsene was put on a warning for finishing third last year instead of fourth?

  • bob

    FunGunner,
    You continue to take AW’s statements at face value (to bolster your argument), but forget how he had said in every case that he would not allow Cesc, Nasri, RvP, Song, Walcott to leave. Remember? But for you, not one of those statements meant anything about AW’s true feelings and desires. That would mean a rift with the Board on at least one of those departures. But you know for sure that there is no such rift, and that AW makes all the decisions and has the complete power to do so. How do you know that? You cite AW’s statements which you take at face value? Well, what about the ones I just cited for you above? They don’t count? You only take the AW statements at face value that support your claim – your hypothesis really – that AW is totally in charge and that you know the in’s and out’s of the transfers. Well maybe you do, and are Gazidis in disguise with diamonds. In that case, fair play to you. But I don’t know what you claim to know, and don’t claim more than to hypothesize.

    That said, RvP could have been told no (for reasons I’ve repeated even to my ad nausea); and, with some extra affordable – yes affordable (which you don’t want to accept)- new players (like the ones we have) could have been a part of our championship drive this very season. That would be ours, not just Don Fungus’s.) The same no to Alex Song (with 3 years left). Nothing is absolute. Nor is your alarmed, cock-sured conviction that either would have destroyed team chemistry in the changing room and/or on the pitch. Indeed, players (like Tevez) can be made to stay and help massively (as he did) to win a championship. Plus he is still there, a contributor.

    Now, on to your snear about my “bean counters.” Sorry, FunGunner, but The AFC is a for-profit business of which football is one department, one profit-center. Yes, the flagship department, but one nonetheless. The “bean counters” (oh, sorry, does accountants and strategists better suit this discussion?) are there at AFC to maximize return on investment for the entire enterprise. The football department need only to be at least cost-effective and at most as value-added as possible. There must be christmas and performance bonuses as well, as per any business. Finishing fourth fits that bill. And selling the best (for risk-free business gain, but at an acceptable on the pitch football loss), but most assuredly buying back for a zero net transfer balance, all that would enable AFC (because AW can manage to attain CL status), to attain at least fourth place.

    Now, let’s try to be very honest on the topic of the exalted third place finish: let’s start by remembering (however inconvenient) that the 3rd place finish was not exactly done in a triumphal style; but owed at least as much to other sides’ malfunctions as to any of our football prowess. (Even as I then dubbed it, to wide acclaim, “the great turnaround”. Given where we started from, I’m still proud of it: but I’m not eyes-wide-shut about how sterling that attainment really was. Then again, sterling is not my medium of exchange. I leave that to the bean counters and their various apologists. Are you among them?)

  • bob

    p.s. FunGunner,
    And that historic title that Fungus craved, is the (trumpets) Rednose XX; which we – via the RVP, the gift that keeps on giving – have gifted it him. Will you be happy to have that footnote to history, to his ascension to Lord Football because your side — despite all the enmity between Fungus and Arsenel; notwithstanding all the tradition of not giving an inch, let alone all your best, to a sworn enemy; notwithstanding the blatant theft (abetted by Micky R of the Hives of Rile) of the match that ended our victory streak; — made his coronation possible? Yet you say to us/me with equanimity: oh, well RvP wanted away and Fungus was wanting it oh so bad, so that’s it. Don’t you get it Bob? Well, sorry, FunGunner, but dense Bob over here doesn’t get your cool-headed, condescending explanation and characterization of the RvP “transaction”: sorry, but to me and the dense knaves among us, that pseudo-realism of yours gets nowhere near the emotional cost – and continued cost in football terms – paid by this club, and paid by many of its passionate and loving supporters.

  • Arun

    To those who think that we don’t need any additions, can they bother to explain how they expect this side to go through 8 games (in worst case) in January with our opponents including the likes of Swansea (we have lost our last 2 meetings against them with an aggregate score of 2-5), Man C & an away trip to Chelsea???

  • nicky

    Please, please, please don’t give up on Diaby. I believe the medics have at last sorted out the (muscular) cause of his longterm injuries and the future looks bright.
    We’ve missed his presence in midfield which can alter the course of a game in an instant.
    He’s now back in full training which is good news for the New Year.

  • Mandy Dodd

    some very interesting points. A very difficult issue – our 1st 11 picks itself. I am very happy with the keeper -(maybe experienced back up needed) our backs (more needed if Santos goes – Luke Shaw??) our central defenders (If JD goes, promotion for Miquel?). Our first choice MF speaks for itself, despite my constant carping on the lack of a Song replacement, but we do need backup for injuries, and fatigue – but we have the likes of Rambo, Coq and Rosicky…let alone Eisfeld or Ox who can also play there.. Diaby seems to be a very tragic conundrum. Do we need an experienced defensive MF beast bought in for some games…maybe we do.Very happy with the progress of Prinz Poldi, Giroud. Gervinho needs work. Then we have maybe Campbell, Afobe and others mentioned waiting in the wings. Then , there is the elephant in the room, Theo. He needs to be kept until the summer at all costs, whatever the outcome. I cannot see anyone out there who can come straight in and replace him. Lopez, Zaha..or Gnabry…for the future maybe, but in the next few months? I have already posted when things were going badly that Wenger needs the January of his life, but I just do not really see who is out there better that who we have…that we can get. A striker…fine, but that would presumably be the end of Theo– but it could be argued we could end up light there with a couple injuries.
    I do not envy Wenger here. He needs to finish in the top 4, if we do not, I have read there are performance clausees in the new deal, quite apart form all the obvious reasons for top 4. Keeping Theo is an absolute must, as I am sure his agent knows , unless he really has got someone special lined up…very rare in Jan. Just do not buy that Villa stuff.
    Who we buy depends on who leaves. I expect a LB, possibly a GK, and ….Theo….

  • Mandy Dodd

    PS Is Bendtner supposed to be coming back in Jan? If so, a further complication??

  • bob

    Arun,
    Exactly! The penny-pinchers’s arguments are based on the (all evidence to the contrary) assumption of AFC as a no injury zone. Perhaps that’s what the world-class medical facility means to them? Honestly, as you well raise the matter, I fear we are going back in to the same mistake as the January transfer window two seasons back: being in contention on four fronts, already stretched thin (especially in the defense) and making not a single purchase when quality depth was needed. It is affordable now (even IF it weren’t then) and there is no excuse to risk being threadbare, no matter what the excuse against insurance. Then again, if expectations are low (that is, are kept low), then there will be no spending and the low expectations will be fulfilled.

  • bob

    Mandy,
    Demba B has a 7m release clause, as you must know.
    Having him gives enormous tactical flexibility, the option to play with one or two formations with top quality strikers, and, given his place near the top of EPL scorers this season, a killer finisher. We can afford him. The top sides have 4 top finishers. He is already that. With him and one or two other signings, we can make a serious run this season. The two others would be an LB (I agree there) and a DM because Arteta won’t last the rigors through to the business end. I’m also with you on the need for an equal backup to Szez, because the others, right now, are courting disaster. Daft as it may be, I don’t concede the league to that man and feel we should do everything to not further gift him the title by having giving away our best (instead of saying no). At least spend that 24M, or whatever it was to bring like-for-like quality to the pitch. Are you against that?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Like Demba B hugely as a player but a bit wary of injury potential, but guess you could say that of many players. Have also heard that the people around him want a large cut …that has allegedly put Chelsea off, so can only imagine what it would do with us! IF we go for a forward, still think Lopez one of the more likely, free scoring, talented, out of favour…over contract issues? and with a release clause…even if it is twice that of Ba.
    Do not think we should concede the league until the maths tell us to….guess we are most unlikely to win it, but we can still have a huge say. Jan is such a difficult month….think most of the business will be done by those who would avoid relegation, and maybe take some of our surplus players….freeing up squad places.

  • Adam

    @Nicky, with a longterm fit and healthy Diaby in our side I really fancy our chances against the bigger sides we have been beaten by over the last couple of years.
    I rate Diaby very highly.

    @Arun, we already have the capacity to beat the big sides but agree we lack something, belief, concentration.
    There was a study done recently that stated the sides that has the least disruption tended to win their leagues. I.E the teams that used the least players were more stable and together hence their winning ways.
    The only league winners to buck this trend were Manchester city.
    Maybe what we are missing is stability and consistency?

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL UNTOLD READERS.

  • Mandy Dodd

    We have certainly missed stability over recent years Adam, but hopefully that is coming soon.
    Hope 2013 bring great things to those on here…and AFC

  • Adam

    @Arun, Have a look at this link and tell me what you think?

    http://www.insideworldfootball.biz/worldfootball/europe/11238-using-fewer-players-guarantees-clubs-better-results-says-research

    I don’t know how many players we have used already this season but we do need stability, we cannot keep changing our players so regulary and expect to win the league, we do need to find a balance between the quality we have and the amount of players used.

  • Adam

    @Mandy, thats one of the things about being a fan of Arsenal, we have hope, hope of winning something. Where some clubs are never in a position to win anything. We always hve hope on our side.
    I hope 2013 is a magnificent year.

  • zdzis

    bob,
    With all due respect, I said nothing of Song’s presence in the middle of the park as being inadequate. On the contrary, whenever he WAS actually PRESENT, he did very well indeed. My problem was that he tended to switch off far too often. It’s more or less the same problem I had with Clichy – a very capable player and near perfection on his day – but that’s no more then half the time. Both should have done better than that.
    Currently, there are several players who are fully capable of doing what Song did on his day, and seem capable of doing that on a regular basis. Many of them are available for less than we got for Song.

    As for Adebayor, I though we got £25m for him, but anyway, it’s more than he was – and continues to be – worth less than that, despite his evident abilities.

    I agree we would have been stronger with them than without them, but, if possible, I’d much rather have someone else instead. That’s why I’m hoping we will buy 1 or 2 players this time around.

  • bob

    zdzis,
    With Song, I felt that going absent could be worked on – and it would have been worth the commitment (considering what else has been committed to amongst the several faint-performers).

    My question about Ade was what did we actually get for that 25M that is displayed on the pitch?

    And, with you fully, my heart is set on two quality signings and I hope three (striker, DM and LB).

    There is money in the vault and there is quality to be had.

  • bob

    Adam, Nicky,
    My new year’s wish is for that “longterm fit and healthy Diaby in our side”: but as the once and future target of the agro-clubs, it seems more likely that injuries have turned him into a mirage. Someone too good to be true. And he is imperiously good on his day. And, Nicky, only if you are right – that the heralded world class medical facility has now figured out the muscle problem that’s been so precarious and knows how to stabilize in for the long run – only then would an ongoing commitment to Diaby, in lieu of a transfer window purchase, be something more than fool’s gold. Obviously, if there’s been a breakthrough in understanding and treatment, AFC will want to keep him and not reveal this as this all-important (imo) transfer window opens. One lives in hope. Happy new year, mates!

  • bob

    It’s quite wonderful to be in 2012 and get 2013 come up in the date/time stamp. How are we faring in 2013 mates? Any good news in the hopper for those of us in 2012 to look forward to?
    All the best everyone! 🙂

  • iniez

    bob,
    “Gazidis in disguise with diamonds”, ahah sorry if I’m slow but was that a reference to the beatles? That’s pretty funny (no offence intended FunGunner)

    Mandy,
    I think we just need to take the next step. The past seasons have arguably been strictly damage control while we pay off our bills. Now that we’ve shaken most of the debt and renewed some deals it’s time to get back to business. Our midfield is pretty stocked but a beast would be most welcome, I don’t think we can depend on coquelin just yet, he’s quite young to be an enforcer in the toughest league and I think that’s why arsene isn’t rushing him in; but I really admire his tenacity (is it just me or are most of the youth quite fierce, yennaris springs to mind). You point out that we have a lot of players waiting to break in, but I say let them compete for their place a little more. Once arsene feels its right he’ll let them dip their toes in the water. Better than throwing them in the deep end I think. Like you say he has a tough job ahead of him, but he’s got all the resources, it’s his job after all and he does it rather well. Let’s just hope he doesn’t have his hands tied in any way so we can see his vision really come to fruition. I just pray theos contract is sorted out, I worry that history may repeat itself but for some reason this just feels different, I’m not sure why. If he stays I think we can finally move on from rebuilding and actually start doing some building, if that makes sense

    Happy New Year everyone, wishing you all a fantastic year!

  • Edda71

    bob
    U say that AW said that he wanted both Fab, Nasri, RVP and now Walcott to stay? Do you really think he lied ? Do you really think he wanted to sell RVP to Man Utd ? I know that i cannot prove anything, but I really believe that selling RVP was one of the hardest things AW has ever done. I think he really felt betrayed even more than us fans did. But did he have a choice ? In my opinion no, because he is a decent man, he cared about his players, he would never keep a player against his will. Is this a good thing ? I must say at first i thought that we should have kept RVP against his will, and made him play out his contract, but after thinking about it, I think that would made us look even more desperate.

    And about the “Bean counters”, I dont understand those who critisise Arsenal for running a football club as a business, because thats the only way a club should be run. If someone deserved critic is the clubs that doesnt need to think about money, because they treat the club like a toy!

  • Adam

    The difficulty football faces is that its roots are not from a bossiness stock, its always been a social, sporting, leisure, pass-time non-profitable activity.
    Most people pay to play, and this is where the distinction is made between pro and amateur. Professional being deemed as those who profit more than the expenses incurred in playing the game.

    Most teams started as social clubs or athletic clubs. So really they have no history within a business although some started from trade.

    Who is to say that a person cannot pump his/her wealth into a club to see it prosper, why can’t a person spend their wealth as they see fit.

    Well in the English sense of fair play, we should consider fair competition and what is right for football as an entity and not individual clubs. The aim for a football club should be zero profit & zero loses competing within their means (or in my opinion competing within the combined means of English football) as contributed from their fan bases and all other forms of income.

    So the question I give to you Untold readers on the first day of 2013 is this;

    If a person is deemed professional because they earn a profit from football, and amateurs those who make a loss in playing the game, shouldn’t this also apply to clubs?

    Why are some clubs allowed to maintain a professional status. When, if you applied the same conditions as is applied to players they would be deemed amateur.

  • Gooner S

    Bless you Tony (and Happy New Year), always looking on the positive side of things.

    No, things aren’t as bad and stark as some Arsenal fans would have us all believing but……. yes we do need at least another centre forward. Yes Podolski and Walcott can play centre forward and putting Walcott there may turn out to be inspired but you need 4 quality centre forwards (look at City). We currently have one recognised quality centre forward in Giroud. Chamakh and Gerviniho just aren’t good enough.

    If we could get some more competition at Goalkeeper then that would be great but I would like to see a quality mid fielder come in to replace Diaby – who is a good player but we just cannot rely on him. I would also try to improve us defensively as well.

    As to who you would leave out….that’s the point. Wenger should be finding it difficult to decide who to leave out and at the moment that’s just not the case. Our squad in places lacks quality in depth.

    But realistically I think just a centre forward will arrive if the right deal can be struck…if not then we’ll see out the season with what we have.

    Just my view.

    And lastly a New years wish….. can we all cut out the AKB and AAA references. We’re all Arsenal fans.

  • Rupert Cook

    I second that last sentence Gooner S.

    We are currently in a battle for honours in just two competitions, one we are almost certain not to win. It would be a pleasant change for Arsenal to be proactive rather than reactive in the transfer market. A strong DM, left back and a striker are essential I feel if we want to have a good chance of winning anything. If our ambitions are limited to finishing fourth then maybe just a DM will do.

  • bob

    Rupert Cook,
    Well said, until the end. Not that you say it, but you allow for it: Should fans acquiesce in limiting our aspirations to an exalted fourth place finish? Why, when we can afford some quality parts enough to mount a serious challenge? Yes, this season. Stripped of referee protections, ManUre, even with RvP, are good, but not (shall we say) invincible. He – AFC’s gift to an arch enemy – is the difference maker. (Their Messi, so to speak.) But if RvP, for one, gets injured for any length of time, that could be an EPL-wide game changer. So why not be poised and ready for that ahem, tragic moment (for the rest)? There’s money for quality depth – to make a real run for it despite our own inevitable injuries. Excite the fan base. Have Jack and Theo be our twin-face to the world. Get the taste of winning back, refuse to lose. A big purchase or two would be a massive boost to unity, morale, quality. My wishlist for 2013. Happy New Year Gunners!

  • bob

    Edda71,
    Well, first you approve that Arsene is/was too decent to keep wantaway RVP. Then you insist football is a business and should be a business (I assume, by your tone, that you mean in close to an absolute sense.) So, by your own standard, is Arsene’s decency toward RVP a business savvy move? No, it isn’t. And you don’t know if it was his decency or board/ownership’s insistence – nor do I – that preferred to cash in on a no-risk, low-hanging 24M rather than – like Mancini did successfully with Tevez to win it all – to play the relative risk of hardball when we actually had RVP by the short hairs. Why? Because he had to put in a good performance or risk, at 29-30, getting a much lower new contract (if he then decided to leave AFC – which was not a given – next season, especially if we had become big winners in the league this year with him).

  • bob

    Gooner S,
    Have to agree about the AKB/AAA war. Stereotyping people, whoever they are, with these all-or-nothing labels is, imo, a lazy way to avoid dealing with their arguments. Disgusting negativity is one thing and we know it when it’s upon us. But, in my experience, people sling the labels at each other when they cannot stand the give and take of sustained arguments. And better understandings can come out of sustained (and hopefully principled) argument than from label-bashing each other. Then, again, label-bashing gives people the sense of empowerment and release which, when one is in truth powerless, is nearly impossible to resist in this world. That said, I still second your (e)motion and would love to see a lessening hereabouts of this insipid, tribalist labeling game.

  • bob

    Edda71,
    Looking back at my posting, I’d have to amend it: to say that there are good business reasons both to sell RVP and (better) to keep RVP. Let’s forget morality and emotion for a moment, and analyze some of the business that was then in play. One business position is/was to go risk free and grab the 24M rather than risk losing him on a free in the summer. The other is/was to take a risk, but from a position of strength, of losing him with the potential gains of: another assured CL qualification; possibly winning the league (with the affordable quality additions) and reaping those bounties; expanding our advertising partnerships; exciting and greatly expanding a worldwide fanbase with bragging rights as champions; going foreseeably further than right now in the impending CL competition (facing the German best); massively selling his jerseys (rather than making them the de facto world’s top-selling jersey with revenues flooding to Manure; and maintaining the high ground and loyalty to tradition – which both have business value (though I hate to say it, but they do) of refusing to sell your best player to your worst (well, ok, second worst) enemy; and, in the end, possibly (at the age of 29, coming on 30) still being in a competitive enough position to re-sign him.

    These are some business reasons to have said no to him and Lesser Dein and kept RVP; just as it was a (prevailing) business reason to straightaway grab the 24M and win christmas bonues and the AFC Bean Counter’s Cup. Their cup runneth over. But hey, it’s just business. (I do not advocate this position, only take it on to say that there were also business reasons that also converged with emotional/moral/loyalty reasons to have kept RVP.)

  • Arun

    @Bob, I agree with you on RVP. It was a risk worth taking by making him to play out the last year of his contract. We simply couldn’t loose him but we did. I agree with you Bob that he is the Messi for them with 19 goals so far, 16 in the league making him the top scorer & tied for 3rd in the league in assists.
    We may have had an unhappy player but Man U must have been short of his goals & thus unable to lead the league. Had he been scoring this many goals for us, we would have been challenging for the EPL title. But the worst thing about him leaving is that he seemed to produce ‘magic moments’. In our present team, according to me, only Podolski & Cazorla have shown that ability (in terms of goal threat) but Podolski rarely completes 90 minutes in the league & that leaves too much to do for Cazorla.

  • Arun

    @Adam, I agree with the article that a stable team has better chances of winning the title. But if Walcott leaves during the summer, the stability of current squad will be gone & we will be looking toward another poor start.

  • Adam

    @Arun, we have an unchanged side starting against Southampton. Lets see if their defence hold a high line against us?

  • Arun

    There’s your answer. 6 attempts compared to Southampton’s 9. Barely any clear cut chance was created throughout the match.
    The only good thing about this match is that it is only the opening day of transfer market. If we don’t buy in January we can not only forget any good run in the FA cup but also we will be having serious problems in getting the CL spot.

  • Mandy Dodd

    That was a shocking performance, smacked a bit of complacency to me

  • Adam

    Must admit, it was a poor performance. Why though? Arsene looks perplexed, Have to agree with Mandy, I too think our players under-estimated Southampton. I cannot see why a team that could up its tempo to finish off Newcastle the other day doesn’t turn up against Southampton.
    Is it a supposed mentality of being superior?

  • iniez

    I think freshening up the team would’ve been helpful. Would’ve loved to see jenko brought on for sagna, he clearly had a bad day at the office today. Maybe letting rosicky get a run out, starting giroud. Gervinho needs to be brought on for games we’re already winning, he has talent but seems to have lost belief in himself, you could see it in his body language the very minute he went one on one with a defender..just stopped dead. Have to say @Adam used the right word, I’m perplexed. I think we’ll get back on track, but really hoping for a signing or two as we need depth..it’s a long season, and too often our players look drained

  • Mandy Dodd

    think a bit of rotation could certainly help, Arteta and Santi looked a bit jaded. But we do seem to put in these performances against opposition we are supposed to be beating. As for Sagna…strange, he seemed to be limping a bit. But what I really could not understand – why no Rosicky? – this sort of game would really have suited his energy. We have put in some very poor performances this season, but luckily only the Spuds separate us from the top 4, and the Spuds screwing things up ranks amongst death and taxes in terms of certainty.
    We need to become much more consistant,and if reinforcements are required, so be it.

  • iniez

    Mandy what would say about arsha? I think he’s a decent impact sub, though I’m not sure that’s what he’d aspire to be. Maybe even suited to the cazorla role?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree Iniez, strange how he so rarely gets a game. His defensive work is suspect, but so were others today. Can only guess Wenger is protecting him from potential injury so he can offload him, he is on very big wages for a player who so rarely plays

  • bob

    On substitutions:
    Was it the choice of Ramsey or Rosicky?
    What’s to be made of that tactic?

  • bob

    On substitutions:
    Was it the choice of Ramsey or Rosicky?
    What’s to be made of that tactic?

  • iniez

    Mandy
    Ah yes true about the wages, forgot about that. Though the last few games he’s played he really worked his socks off.

    bob
    The only reason I would find is lack of fitness, but then why put him on the subs bench? Unless there was a reason along those lines I would’ve loved to see him today. Lots of energy, experience and creativity

  • FunGunner

    @ bob

    Concerning who has the final say about sales and purhases at the club, my information comes from interviews on arsenal.com (for AW’s and IG’s statements); Jeremy Wilson’s in-depth interview with SK in the Telegraph; Steve Stammers (in a TalkSpport interview); ex-players still connected to the club. AW decides. They have no reason to lie, after all – AW’s financial control is unusual, so no-one would be horrified if it was limited, as it is at most other clubs. AW has more than once acknowledged how lucky he is to be allowed to run the club without interference. This is a fact, not a hypothesis. You find it hard to accept, I assume because you wouldn’t make the same decisions.

    As to taking AW’s statements at face value, the problem is actually that you cannot distinguish between his statements. AW said with regard to Cesc in 2009 and 2010 that he would not be sold, and he wasn’t. What he said about Nasri and Cesc the following summer, and about RvP, is that he would “fight to keep” them. That is not the same statement, and it relates to what I said about persuading *them*. He said all through the 2011/12 season that he would hold RvP to the final
    year of his contract, but then RvP released his deliberately insulting, bridge-burning statement, the point of which was to make it impossible to keep him, probably because he relised that AW was deadly serious about keeping him to his contract. The release of the statement changed the circumstances and therefore, AW’s decision. In common with most Gooners, it causes me pain to see RvP playing for ManUre, in fact I cannot watch, and every goal he scores for them feels like a goal stolen from us. But he’s not there by our choice, but at his. So instead of getting angry with me, AW or the club, get angry with the player. Aw’s hand was forced, but by the player, not the Board. A club can take a stand or get tough only to the extent that the player is on side – this I know from conversations with a PL football agent who is a friend of the family.

    Balotelli was indeed kept on the sidelines at City, but he was not the club’s captain and more importantly, the bust-up was not about him angling for a move. As I recall, it was initially about him refusing to play. Our situation would have been of a club captain (I would hope ex-captain) publicly wishing himself elsewhere and saying he had lost faith in his teammates.

    For these purposes, does it matter whether we limped or strode into third place? Did we get third handed to us because no-one else wanted it? Third place is higher than fourth and guarantees CL participation. therefore it is better than fourth. So if the “bean counters” are frightened of success, as you implied,
    presumably they will have been horrified at us edging a tad closer to the top of the League?

    If ManUre end up top of the league, *Arsenal* won’t have gifted ManUre the title, *RvP* will have. Why do you suppose he is not at Man City, who would have paid more? How did the apparently all-powerful bean counters work that one out?

    Arsenal Holdings is run as a proper business, to make a profit…which goes back into the club. The football side is
    not run in order to make a profit, the aim of the club is to win honours. Arsenal’s money is not all spent on players’ wages and transfer fees – some of it is held in reserve for emergencies (eg bribing players to stay should we ever drop out of CL competition), some is spent on recruiting staff, (eg creating a proper commercial department), some spent on the academy, some on physical infrastructure and some on scientific research, etc etc. All this is investment in the football club. Some people only recognise the spending on transfers and wages as investment.

  • iniez

    Oh, sorry bob misread your question. Yes either them or coquelin

  • FunGunner

    Disappointing today – a bit drab. Two points dropped, momentum slowed. Come on, boys – pick yourselves up and go for it at the weekend.
    I read a comment somewhere that this season it’s like we have two settings – fabulous or dour, and nothing in between. It would be really nice to find “fun” and “perky” in there somewhere.

  • bob

    FunGunner,
    I don’t have enough time at this moment for the kitchen sink proper response, but offer this for starters (and to be continued,):

    First of all, when the RVP circus was in full effect, I was regularly on record here bashing him for his wantaway path and his apparent greed; AND, advocated just as strenuously then, that the club should say NO to him and to Dein the Lesser, the agent-predator of our (if I can say our) best assets. So I don’t take well to your explicit lecture on get mad at the errant bad boy for a change, instead of the principled grownups. I wish nothing good for that boy (to put it politely); and I fervently wish we (AFC and/or AW) had the guts, any guts, to make a gutsy decision from the strength we had – with a potentially riskier, but good business outcomes (see my 5:13 for a few musings) as opposed to grabbing for the low lying, risk-free 24M fruit.

    Further on saying No by way of the ManShitty example:
    I’ve mentioned Tevez several times (not Balotelli, as you do), as the wantaway example from last season. Tevez with his highly insulting and direct aims, repeatedly, at the manager (Mancini) as well. In fact, his crap went far beyond anything that RVP did; and they/the club still kept him there for his productivity and finishing prowess. And lo, he did stay, under pressure yes, and contributed massively to their championship run. And they would not have won it without him. And, sorry but I don’t see that RVP’s poisoned note FORCED a hand that wasn’t prepared to be forced – whatever Arsene finally thought or complied to or forced. (And, if that breach of decorum was so dire as you imply, how is it that RVP and Arsene can make these recent easy public displays of mutual respect.)

    Also, I don’t say for sure that Arsene opposed the board on this. What I did and do say it was possible and far better to keep RVP. And, if AW did let him go and wanted him to go, then I will also say that that it was a bad mistake on his part. And I continue to use Mancini’s ability (or orders from on high) to rise above Tevez and Balotelli’s toxicity to manage that side to a championship, as my example.

    I don’t think for one minute that AW could not have managed the situation with RVP and Alex Song. RVP owed AW big time; and he would have paid that debt back in professionalism, imo. Not with the locker room malfeasance that you are so sure would have happened. AW may well have chosen not to go on with RVP; and perhaps (or obviously) that’s enough. But whoever at AFC made the choice, AW and/or the Board, and whenever it was made – I still think it was the wrong choice for the team on the pitch; and that it continues to be destructive to our chances this season whilst, together, gifting – AFC and RVP – the title to Klan Fergus. I weep for that most cruel of outcomes.

    He could well have stepped down from the captaincy and still contributed as a professional who had better do well for his team: or face being 30 and a potential big loss in money with his next contract next season (if he didn’t stay). You can simplify it all you want, reducing it to he wants out, he gets out, simple as that. But we won’t agree on it and can bash each other to pinatas, but we still won’t agree.

    As I see it, in the end, for any specific given decision – Cesc, Nasri, RvP, Song, Walcott, neither you nor I, nor all your sources, nor all the tea in China, actually know what in fact happened/happens when Silent Stan jets into the private meetings; and whether what Ivan Gazidis says in public is actually the case; or whether what AW says in public is actually the case. You may well glean what you will from reading notoriously skewed media accounts and ex-Arse bashing players who regularly sell their inside poop for a pence, but you don’t really know. And, sir, I do not claim to know; but you do and invoke your impressive PL-agent friend of the family. I also have a lawyer-agent pal to match your PL agent who stresses the necessary difference between public spin and what in fact goes on behind the curtains.

    Unlike you, I accept that I don’t know whether AFC and Arsene are in lock=step on “his” football decisions. I can only argue, just as you, from readings of the tea leaves. Our readings are utterly different and continue to bring is to less than a love fest. Perhaps there is a sliver of common ground in our mutual detestation of RVP for his having jumped ship. But we will never agree that he should have been allowed to go to that crime scene, Old Toilet, which continues to perfume its stench for their hoped-for Coronation Ceremony of Lord Football at the business end of this woeful season.

    I also do not believe that all the revenues are plowed back into the extensive, beyond salary football side, as you describe it. Nor do I believe you have the evidence to prove that. Though I’d wish we had the transparency so that you could. I surely do not. So each to our acts of faith. More to come, but duties call; and I thank you for your lengthy, fun and perky response.

  • Ed

    im a big fan of arsenal and arsene wenger and most of what Untold is trying to get at. but this article misses the point i think.

    the mention of alot of youngsters and possibles/potentials is all that it is. i really like coquelin and gervinho, but i dont think coquelin is at the stage to really take over a game, and gervinho has been pretty frustrating recently. Akpom is even further away, lets say he makes the first team squad this year, it will take a while before he gets up to the level required for a top 4 side – just going away on loan and learning about positioning, movement etc needed at the top level – realistically, this is another 3 to 4 years. enough time to buy in a top quality forward and not have either of them pissed off about playing time.

    i dont think we should be expected to challenge for the title considering what man city and chelsea spend, but we are 5th, when really we should be challenging at least for 3rd. this means that the team we have is probably not good enough expecially after watching a number of disappointing games where the team did not perform.

    We can be good in some games, but we do need to buy so we have a “game changer” in those games where we struggle (like yesterday against southampton, against swansea etc.)

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bob, I don’t hold with the view that fourth should be the limit of our ambitions but it certainly seems to be. Watching RVP score two more goals yesterday made me feel quite pissed off. It’s funny really, here we are a financially sound club selling the one player who could help us win something to a club with a huge debt. Sounds crazy. Not only that but according to Wenger we sold him for footballing reasons. Now let’s be honest if Wenger was managing anyone but Arsenal he’d be the target for much ridicule for that statement and a fair few others he’s uttered in recent years.

    A drab dreary performance against a relegation battler like Southampton is far too common these days. It’s baffling how one day this team can look so scintillating and the next so uninspired.