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Song and Modric top flops in Spain

By Walter Broeckx

As we have entered another transfer period it might be interesting to have a look at the last transfer window.

And maybe we could start with looking at a list that was made up in Spain. A list of the biggest flops from last summer. And the worst buy according to the journalists was Modric who went from Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid.

I must say I thought he was a decent player but never thought he would be good enough for Madrid. Now that does sound pretentious in a way but his return in goals and assists were not really that impressive.

To give you something to compare: in his last season Modric had 5 goals and 6 assists in 40 games. In the 25 games he played for us so far Cazorla has 7 goals and 6 assists. I think Real Madrid has bought the wrong guy. Or we bought the right one. Or maybe the media made too much of Modric and Madrid and Mourinho bought it?

The player named in second place is even better known… Alex Song. Maybe the ones who said all along that Song was not good enough are proven right? The ones that said that Wenger was an idiot for playing him were right? Well I would disagree on this. I just think that this is a typical example of a player who was working rather well in our system but when played in another system he doesn’t make it any more.

Or is he another player that was made better by Wenger and when he goes away he is seeing his career end in ruins? Another Hleb? Another Flamini?

Somehow Wenger has angered a few fans these days by giving his opinion on the transfer market and how things could develop in the transfer window. He made it rather clear that some of the so called “deadwood” would be going out and already Chamakh has left to go to WHU on loan.   That was greeted with a big round of applause. But when he spoke about big name signings it suddenly turned a bit sour.

Wenger hinting at “unknown” players has angered the ones that want big star names. Of course we all would like to see big stars coming to Arsenal. I don’t think we have anything against that. But in the real world out there we know (and if you don’t know this it is time you start realizing it) that the big money teams like Man City, Chelsea, PSG and others like Barcelona and Real Madrid will throw away big money to buy players. And most of all to give them wages that are not possible at Arsenal.

We don’t have a rich owner who will cover the losses. We are not owned by a state. We are not owned by a region. So we always have to take a look at the simple fact we all have to look at each day of our life: can we afford it. And if we can’t afford it, we don’t do it. That is how I try to run my daily life a bit and I think most good fathers would do it that way. Well most responsible fathers I think.

But the prospect of Wenger buying more relatively unknown players is too much for some. But let me give you a comparison on what Wenger can do. Or even what he has done in the last summer. And compare this to Chelsea who had again spent around 75M this summer, compared to Arsenal spending around half that money.

Let us compare the Chelsea new boys with the Arsenal new boys in the attacking department.

From Chelsea let us take Hazard (also known as the Belgian Messi or Ronaldo), Oscar (aka the new Kaka) and Marco Marin (aka the German Messi).

Let us compare them with Cazorla (aka the Spanish dwarf), Giroud (aka the another unknown Frenchman) and Podolski (aka the Bayern failure). Don’t get angry about the Arsenal or the Chelsea “aka’s” but they are just names I have seen on the internet written by Arsenal fans when we bought those players.

I don’t agree with those fans and their nicknames at all. I think when you compare the numbers of those player they look rather foolish. So here we go based on PL games:

Chelsea :
Hazard : 4 goals + 6 assists
Oscar : 1 goal + 4 assists
Marin : 0 goals + 0 assists

Total : 5 goals + 10 assists

Arsenal
Cazorla : 7 goals + 5 assists
Giroud : 6 goals + 2 assists
Podolski : 6 goals + 2 assists

Total : 19 goals + 9 assists

And yet at the start of the season people were saying that Chelsea made some great buys and that Wenger has been doing his cheap buys again. Cheap in a way of speaking as it was a while ago Arsenal last spent that much money in a transfer window.

But if we look now halfway the season it seems that the person who was smarter when it comes to buying was Wenger once again.

If we compare the new boys it is clear to see that the impact of the new players for Arsenal have been much better than the return for Chelsea.

So I just suggest that you just relax a bit. Let Wenger do what he wants to do in this transfer window. If he brings a real star: fine. If he brings a more unknown player: also fine. Because after all he is the one that can make most players better. He is the one that can improve players. He has proven that on many occasions. So maybe by bringing in an unknown player he will make him the next Cesc, RVP, …or Song?

We can only hope that they do have an Arsenal DNA then…

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88 comments to Song and Modric top flops in Spain

  • DEZ

    As an arsenal fan I love carzola, but if I had an option on which three I would want to be on my team and for the future of my club, I would choose the Chelsea players regardless of the current stats. Yes giroud has scored goals but he is still an average player. I also can’t see podolski playing any better than what he is at the moment. I can see a heaps more potential in the Chelsea players but I guess time will tell.

  • americangooner

    barcelona has always unsettled arsenal by buying players they don’t need. its not just this past summer transfers but every transfers. Hleb, cesc, song, overmars, bronkorst (?) and to some extent henry. it seems as if they are in some kind of mission to dismantle arsenal.
    song and modric suffered from the same mentality that the two Spanish giants are the pinnacle of any given footballer’s career, and by playing for them you reach the top of everest. however, players like lampard, gerrard and bergkamp prove the oppositte. while its generally accepted that cesc has what it takes to be a regular starter in any given club, song and modric don’t. maybe these two guys just couldn’t grasp the concept of ‘positioning’ one’s career.
    I am expecting that AW is gonna add some stimulant into the team this january. I think we need a ‘PEP’- Performance Enhancing Player’. someone like arshavin circa 2009.

  • rohit

    for all i know wenger might promote chuks aneke and eisfeld to the first team,but at the same time i hope he signs an able replacement for rosicky i guess this is his last season on his contract?. i’m not sure he’d be intrested in buying,well, not atleast in this window, all in all a striker sigining is expected of him this window.

  • jayjay

    You Arsenal fans focus too much on stats, there is many phases of play, look at someone like Dembele he is a deep lying midfielder and goes past players in the centre of midfield, as he does this the whole team shape of the opposition has to alter therefore making spaces….unfortunately you dont get an assist for this, Jack Wilshere is exactly the same.

    Cazorla is more of what Madrid need than Modric but they are different players.

    This goes back to the whole Bale and Walcott debate, Walcott is annonymous the whole game then squares it to RVP who scores and you guys rave about his STATS….Bale is a much better footballer I dont think anyone outside of Arsenal would think otherwise, yet Arsenal fans think Walcott is better. (theres a reason one will be sold for 50 million and the other could go on a free) even Arsenal dont rate him enough which is why they wont sort him a new contract or havent given him one in the past

    Bale is better at crossing, dribbling, beating a man, aerially, tackling, work rate and stamina.

    They are both good finishers

    Back to the article though and yes both made the wrong decision to move out of North London

  • Eugene Danso

    This is not our fucking problem, tell Wenger 2 get us the quality players b4 we start shooting him n his shit management.

  • Shard

    Eugene Danso

    Fuck you!! Threatening to shoot someone.. Not cool.. Now fuck off.

  • Ben

    Jayjay mate, anyone who thinks Walcott is better than Bale is quite simply incorrect. Bale is a far better player, unfortunately. To say Walcott is better is like saying Nasri is better than Mata.

  • Shard

    Marin should never have moved to Chelsea. I was genuinely surprised that he did. It seems like Chelsea are going to do to him what they did to Shaun Wright-Phillips a few years ago. Hazard has been a good purchase, but he better be for that money and those wages. It’s not just we who were rejected by him of course. ManU were too. ManU were also rejected by Lucas Moura to sign for PSG. Even the mighty red mancs strugle to deal with oil rich clubs. As do AC Milan, and if unchecked, in time, even the subsidised Spanish clubs will struggle (Spain’s economy is no great sheikhs 🙂 ) Which is the only reason FFP might come in and work. These traditional powerhouse clubs have only two options. Either stop the oilers (to an extent) or join them (sell out).

  • Dave

    I agree with you but just imagine that RVP had stayed with all these stats of the new players we would have been at the top of the league…yes…he makes good buys and yet makes the worst sales..

  • Shard

    DEZ

    Chelsea were an aging side and needed ‘potential’. We have missed some experienced players and hence we didn’t need ‘potential’. Indeed, for some Arsenal fans, words like ‘potential’, ‘future’, ‘long-term’, are dirty words.

  • TheHotHead

    More tripe from the apologists. There is so much wrong with this articke that i could double its length with ease arguing my points. I will spare you the embarrassment of dissecting your article but I will say, Modric ran yhe Spurs midfield in his last season so your stats are stupid, they tell a false picture. Song is shit and the only reason he was so vital for us was because we had no options that were decent- says a lot about our squad.

    We have over £100m in thw bank so we can buy whoever we want. We do have a rich owner who would love to spend his money on making us great agai , but the other muppet shareholders prefer to increase their share price than to invest in the squad.

  • Lobster

    The Song to barcelona transfer never made much sense to anyone. Everyone knew he was bought as back up incase of these arsenalesque injury crises that barca seem to be having these days. When all their centre backs got injured, Song was put in there as a fill in, now how is Song aka “arsenals deep lying maradona”, ever going to be fairly judged as a flop when he is CLEARLY being played out of position is beyond me

  • Gooner S

    Nice post walter. I agree. Lets wait and see who comes in and who goes out. There’s not long to wait, only a few weeks.

    If we look at what Arsene tried to do in the last window, he tried to sign another midfield player and a centre forward. Surely he will try to do the same again.

    @Dez Giroud is a good player better than average. For his first season Giroud is doing a good job. That said, I would like us to sign sign a top quality centre forward and create some competition for places up front.

  • I do take the point made above by jayjay that stats aren’t everything; that we can concentrate too much on goals and assists when it comes to assessing a player; the example he gives, of Dembele pulling opposition players out of position, is an excellent one. Someone might start a move in the midfield, that sets in motion a few flowing moves; the subsequent assist and goal ultimately stem from that move. I used to think this a few years back when Hleb was criticised by some for not contributing too much in the way of goals or assists. Hleb was an integral part of a team that had the best movement I have seen. When RVP was repeatedly lauded as a miracle worker last season, he would point out that he was dependant on the team.

    I was sorry to see Song go, and I thought at the time that he was, like Hleb, making the wrong choice. Both Song and Modric are examples of someone who is an integral part of a team but who doesn’t flourish so well outside that team. It’s regrettable to see the wasted opportunity, in terms of the potential team performance had they stayed.

  • byron

    I would say we are in the top 4 for income in the premier league.

    I would think we are in the top 4 most supported.

    Wenger has achieved nothing if we don’t finish top 4 and most managers could achieve a decent finish with our resources.

    He can decide to do what ever he wants I don’t care but its soon to be 8 years and his star and the club are slowly becoming a mid table nothing club.

    If tottenham has signed holtby for free while wenger says nothing will happen then the prof must be very confused as to what can be done.

  • byron

    This talk of ffp is begining to sound like the calls for the salary cap- ask yourself is this the noise a top club makes or is it a desperate dream of the average

  • Philly

    My friend with all due respect I don’t think you are right the teams that buy big players win trophies all the time Chelsea for instance have won a trophy every season since they started buying and it will be 8 years I think for us come end of season because of signings like giroud . However you are right about arsenal not being able to pay the wages.

  • Mandy Dodd

    can see Song ending up down there in N17, where other Arsenal players who leave and never again live up to their Arsenal billing sometimes end up……….

  • GoonerDave

    Jayjay-
    Where are the Arsenal fans who think Walcotts better than Bale?
    They dont exist, much like your point.

  • GoonerDave

    Hot head-
    You are entitled to your opinion, but your point is untrue.
    Firstly, Modric was never productive enough for Real Madrid. Running the Spurs midfield does not qualify you to play for Real Madrid.
    But your point about a rich owner who wants to spend money? Are you mad? He has spent nothing! And easily could if he wanted to.
    As for the 100M in the bank – its closer to 70, and is not for transfers alone.
    Make your point by all means by try to keep reality at the core of your argument.

  • EPL REFEREE HATERS

    @ lOBSTER I SUPPORT YOU .SONG IS PLAYED OUT OF POSITION AND THEY STILL CALL HIM FLOP. SONG CAN FILL IN TO THEIR STYLE OF PLAY ,HE CAN PASS VERY WELL AS AN EX ARSENAL PLAYER .HE CAN MARK ,HE CAN DEFEND WELL AND HE IS VERSATILE TO SOME EXTENT.

  • @Jayjay true bale is a better dribbler than Theo but about work-rate and stamina i beg to disagree which brings the question can bale thrive as an out and out striker these two players are quiet different and comparing them in simplicity lines would be unfair. The other point is about the price of the two and it is common sense that Bale is under long contract at Spurs so if he were to be offloaded now or next season he would cost money Theo is out of contract at the end of the season if he were to go at that time it would be for nothing so would be Messi if he was on his final year.

  • Gooneraside

    Jayjay – absolutely correct. You only need to watch Theo against Newcastle (or earlier against Chelsea) to realise that Bale is the much better diver. 😉

  • John

    I would hate to think of Bale in an Arsenal shirt. However good some people think he is, his behaviour alone should disqualify him.

  • Tasos

    Alex Song has performed well enough when called upon, in fact Barcelona are currently enjoying there best ever start to a Primera League season. Which ponders the thought, how good Pep Guardiola really was?

    Luca Moderic has made little impact so far at Real Madrid, who are currently 3rd in a two horse race, a massive 16 points behind Barcalona. Which ponders another thought, has Mourinho lost it?

    As for Chelsea’s new signings, I haven’t seen much of Marin. Hazard looked very good early on this season but he’s faded into normality lately. The one player I take exception with Walter is Oscar, who looks an exceptional talent to Me.

  • FunGunner

    Walter, we are of one mind on this. I comfort myself with the knowledge that AW and the board are strong-minded enough to ignore the noise and do their own thing. Everything crossed that we can get our targets.
    The comparison stats between Caz/Pod/Gir and Oscar/Marin/Hazard seem to speak volumes – but it would be better to make a table of goals/assists per minutes played, I think.

    I just think that this is a typical example of a player who was working rather well in our system but when played in another system he doesn’t make it any more.

    Or is he another player that was made better by Wenger

    I make you right on both counts, Walter. Song will apply himself and may adapt in time, of course. And if he’s happy over there, good luck to him.

    @ americangooner
    ha ha, yes – it’s weird how Barca seem to be obssessed with luring away our star players. And it has redounded on them a few times.

    I am expecting that AW is gonna add some stimulant into the team this january. I think we need a ‘PEP’- Performance Enhancing Player’. someone like arshavin circa 2009.
    I said on Walter’s previous blog that I think we need a lockpicker, but I also agree with you that basically we need a matchwinner. On that note, I am trying not to get too excited about the Villa rumours in case they’re unfounded.

  • bob

    Walter, Mandy Dodd,
    As I respect your thinking, I’m struck by how (in this posting and comment) the winds have blown and your normally acute analyses with it. That said, please consider you might well be rationalizing our loss by Song’s departure, by now gloating over his seeming flop, just like the rest of them wannaways. You see, the curse still works.
    Well, to me, the inescapable fact is that AFC did not say NO to Alex Song’s departure (with 3 years left) when AFC could have and imo should have. And, lo, the expected and wished-for post-Song midfield has not risen to the same quality (at least not yet) since he was allowed to leave. Whether he has been a flop in Barca or is chronically being played out of position (like some of our lads have chronically been) does not erase or compensate for the fact that Alex Song, in Arsenal’s system, did flourish, was improving, there was no reason to deny he could/would continue to have continued to improve himself and the side’s prospect this season as well.

    But Song was allowed to leave thisfast because of a fantasy: (a) Diaby was the returning magic maker (b) Jack was back and would hit the ground running (c) Arteta at 30 could hold down the DM duties as much as we’d need him to (d) everyone in our midfield is/was so versatile and interchangeable that we could afford to get rid of the excess-Song, the too-narrow, leaden “specialist” and (e) he doesn’t want to be here so let him go and flop, as most of ’em do. Mandy, you have been saying that you’d like to get to the bottom of the Song story? Has all of that been done and gone away with your final N17 curse upon his prospects? And Walter, do you really not accept that AFC ownership/management exercised a de facto get to a zero net transfer balance in getting rid of the affordable (and needed) Song within days of his announced liking of Barfa (even as he hedged by saying he also has loved Arsenal/Arsene, as if both were not compatible thoughts)? Players are always accused of disloyalty, and some indeed are. Many, in fact. But the disloyalty to services-rendered on the fans’ part appears to be just as one-sided. And you are dismissing Song, imo, as a way to salve the fact of a wounded midfield that has not as yet compensated for the loss of what, more often than not, he brought to it.

    To me, the only silver lining was to rid us of the stone in our shoe named Darren the Lesser Deing, Song’s agent; provided that we would be able to truly compensate for allowing/facilitating his departure (and RVP) by achieving a quality for quality, like for like transfer window. That time is now and we shall see. Hopes spring eternal.

  • oz gunner

    It’s shard!!!!

    Great read Walter, cheers!

  • bob

    p.s. And Walter, surely let us not forget that part of Mr. Attwood’s version of the curse: AFC have been loading all our deadwood-to-be (the curse) on to so fiscally-wobbly Barfa, in order to bring them down. We would facilitate their bankruptcy by satiating their unrequited lust for our star players. Do you recall that posting? Well, we sure put them over the fiscal cliff didn’t we? So next time Barfa starts the tapping-up dance, let’s give ’em whoever Iniesta, and Pujol, and the others start yearning for, let’s abandon our sense of self-worth, and continue to help push Barfa into fiscal oblivion. Yep, that’s surely been a winning strategy.

  • walter

    bob,
    I don’t think I was really gloating on Song being called a flop? I have been a defender of Song his ability since the first time I really saw him play (a Carling cup game away from home, Denilson being sent off and Song playing for 3 players in that game where Eduardo scored 2 goals – memory????)

    I just reported the fact that according to the media in Spain he is a flop. I could have let him out and just mention Modric of course but well I thought to mention him.

    And believe me I am convinced that if we would have had RVP and Song now we would be where MU would be. And they would be in our position.

    No I’m not happy about them leaving but that is live and that is how it went for whatever reasons we don’t know.

    I think my article was more about the good purchases that have been made in my opinion. Purchases that would have been even better if we would have kept those two.

    We can look back and say: this was wrong. But well that doesn’t help us in this season. The players are where they are and I think that in the given circumstances our new boys have done a good job. Not consistent enough but that can only come when the team gels better over time.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not gloating Bob, for the record, I would take Song back tomorrow if he could continue where he left off. I thought he was a very important player for us….in the same way I think of Theo. It may yet work out for him at Barca, it is early days, but all I am saying, even if it is starting to appear and it does not work out, cannot see us taking him back – Wenger rarely does that (with a notable exception)…maybe even for a good reason we do not know about…and if we do not have em back – know where some of them end up!
    But for the record, I rate Song, and wish we had not sold him, unless there were things going on we do not know about. But maybe speaking superficially and as a fan, I did not and do not understand that transfer. I think Song to Barca was ultimately a bad move for him, a bad move for us teamwise, if maybe not finance wise. But you never know…maybe we can invest some of his money in a Barca player or two…. one day…. – hear they still have to pay quite a lot of the Song and Cesc money, and their ecomomy is not great.

  • Charlie

    Shard is absolutely right, Chelsea have bought players for the future who will come good and this Arsenal side aren’t as good as last years’ team. Chelsea are still performing better than Arsenal. You’ll say “if we buy youngsters you say they’re not proven and if we buy experienced players they don’t have enough potential” but the key point is that Chelsea are performing better than Arsenal this season.

  • bob

    Walter, Mandy,
    I greatly appreciate your replies and clarifications, and feel we’re on the same page literally and football-wise on the Song saga. Cheers 🙂

  • Shard

    bob,
    I think you might be taking Tony’s statement about Barca going bankrupt because of us, more seriously than it was intended. As regards the Song sale, it’s hard to know what went on, but clearly, whatever the popular verdict might be in Spain, Song was an important player for us, and showed a capacity to improve and add something to his game every year.

    Anyway. We’re both looking to Arsenal to take some positive steps in the transfer window (though I won’t expect any major transfers till next summer) I do think the cycle of zero net spend is coming to an end. The signs have been there for a few years with the players we have bought not really having much resale value. Let’s see. Two players in will be a good window I think. A midfielder(who can also play CB), and a striker(who can also play wide) will be ideal. But let’s see.

    Mandy Dodd,
    I think there were TWO notable exceptions. Don’t forget our Heart and Sol 🙂

    oz gunner,
    Indeed it is. Thanks for the welcome 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    very true Shard, somehow overlooked Sol!

  • John

    Also Jens for the game away at Blackpool!

  • BPAix

    hazard over podolski anytime.
    marin has no play time
    oscar has little playtime.
    plus the fact that podolski giroud are attackers while marin oscar are midfielders,
    plus they are all under 22 while ours 27.
    Don;t write articles if you say half facts.

  • dan

    forget the stats, Chelsea’s players are younger, Carzola is class but he does have much more experience.

    Barca becoming bankrupt is not good for us financially, I feel this winter our transfer will be sensible, one or two younger additions will improve us.

  • bjtgooner

    There is something still unanswered about Song’s departure, statements from Song and from AFC did not match and as bob pointed out there was the additional factor of the malevolent influence from Dien the Lesser.

    Having said all that I was disappointed when he left, even though he was not quite ideal as a DM – if he was caught out of position he did not have the pace to recover quickly. Diaby, when fit, has that pace and has height as well, however, Diaby is more of a box to box player than a DM. Arteta has filled in very well, but he also is short on pace. So, hopefully AW will look at a permanent replacement for Song.

    Regarding the earlier comparison between Bale and Walcott, I do have to admit that Bale is the more experienced diver!

  • JohnW

    JayJay,
    I will take Theo any time if presented to me together with Bale. If Bale is a better crosser, then so be it, but to what end? This season and last season, you people drummed up how Bale is better that Walcott, but better in what? If you want a a goal, whom do you bring on? Someone who excites or someone who has end product? Statistics sometimes do not lie and in this case they dont.
    Someone floated Dembele, that he passes players in midfield, and then what? Of the two, Carzola and Dembele, whom would you take? Of the two, who can influence a game?
    In this window, I’m only waiting for one player, a strong holding midfielder to play alongside Jack and Arteta, and then expect Arsene to promote Eisfeld, if possible bring back Watt too, then I will be happy.

  • Doublegooner

    bjt:

    Re: Song

    I hinted earlier last year there was a player who had questioned Wenger’s tactics & I think later on suggested this player was being disruptive.

    I couldn’t name the player due to the source who is a friend, yet I was mocked.

    Bottom line is Wenger decided he was history.

    If you believe the last line, then that that should be good enough for you.

  • Sav from Australia

    A lovely article Walter and I thank you.

  • bjtgooner

    @Doublegooner

    You should know by now that unsubstantiated rumours, esp from dubious sources are not taken at face value.

  • sperez

    Now, there’s no way to deny Wenger is responsible for the biggest problem at the club. Wenger finally admits the pathetic wage structure that prevents Arsenal from being competitive is his idea. He decides how much each player earns. He adopted a socialist approach that rewards players with similar wages. Hence, top players don’t get enough while average ones are paid exorbitant wages. The top players go and the overpaid dross stays draining resources. Recipe for failure.
    Well, I bet monsieur Wenger decided how much his services were worth. He demands to be the top earner at the club. Collecting twice as much as most of his players and yet he can’t pay better wages for top players. Hmmmm!
    If Manu has an average wage at £64,000 a week while Arsenal has a £61,000 a week, what does this tell you?
    Contrary to the things trotted out by many, Arsenal are a badly run club. A club that allows a manager to dictates the wage structure is something abysmal. Especially a wage structure so out of touch with reality. Does Wenger really have an economics degree?
    Bayern is a very well run club and since they’ll be at The Emirates, how about to ask Uli Hoeneß if Bayern does allow Jupp Heynckes to decide how much each player earns?
    Wenger is too powerful and he is completely out of control. This is damaging the club and it’ll take a long time to clean this mess.
    The board and Kroenke are guilty by association. They should have stopped this aberration but instead they’re just happy with the money in the bank. Unfortunately, the fans are very low on their priority list.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sperez, rest assured, if you are correct in your assumption, Wenger will be held to account, the new.. highly rewarding… Emirates deal and others that will follow will have performance clauses put in them, so if Wenger is as bad for the club as you say he is, then we will not qualify for the CL, we will pay a financial penalty and Stans investment will lose value, let alone his clear aim to increase global marketing the club. And even for all Wengers reported power and control, he will be no match if he is costing an owner, and not just an owner, but an American businessman.. money. Somebody completely out of control and damaging the club would not have taken us to third place last season, into the CL what…16-17 years running, consistantly bettered only by those with far more resources, and keeping the club in profit through the worst recession for 70 years while paying off a new stadium. If however something Wenger is, or is not doing starts to damage the club, rest assured he will be held accountable…probably to himself above anyone else, but so far, there is no evidence he is doing any such thing. American moneymen are not known for their sentimentality…and Stan will be no different.

  • sperez

    There’s no accountability at Arsenal as long as the money keeps pouring in. You should know. That’s why Wenger keeps making the same lame excuses season after season. Arsenal makes profit by selling their best players. Kroenke is not interest in how Arsenal is making profit, hence the asset-stripping policy that Wenger is totally complicit.
    Wenger himself classified his wage structure as a socialist one. That’s right, don’t care about the real world. Let’s just reward the players with similar wages and forget about merits.
    The club has been losing its best players and the squad is getting weaker. You can spin all the excuses you want but this does not change the fact that Wenger has lost the plot.
    Do you really think that average players (that barely plays) getting exorbitant wages is financially prudent? Hell, this is making the club less competitive.
    Arsenal could keep their best players if Wenger hasn’t been pissing money up the wall with the likes of Squillaci, Djourou, Chamakh, Diaby, Bendtner, Vela,Denilson,Fabianski,Gervinho…
    A well run club is able to make profits without selling his top players. By the way, Wenger is really an overpaid manager. 145k a week?

  • Adam

    Sperez, you describe a self destuctive model as; We sell our best players, replace with shite so in the future no one will want our best players as they will be shite.

    So don’t worry sweetheart soon we will be able to keep all our players who you think are crap. Hope you will follow a team with players to your liking soon.

    No manager should earn less than the players he oversees.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thats my whole point Sperez, if Wenger is as bad as you say, it will hinder revenue flows. Asset stripping – just built a new stadium, sounds more like asset aquisition. Yes, we were put in aposition whereby we had to sell our bestplayer from last year…but this year, we have actually scored more goals without him. And lets see if the likes of the Spuds /Liverool or anyone else without a sugardaddy or soveriegn wealth fund behind them can stay in the top 4 when they start on a new stadium….think we all know the answer to that.
    If Wenger is as good as you say at bringing money in for the board – surely his wage is a bargain?

  • Pat

    Great article, Walter.

    I especially enjoyed the comparative figures of the performance of our summer signings and the others. Very revealing! This is the sort of thing the media never says, so thank goodness Untold does.

  • Mike T

    The stats you use to try to prove your point are too selective to have meaning. Why not use all games goals as oppossed to just EPL games? Why mention a player who has not been available through injury?
    I would suggest that the value of these players will be better measured in perhaps a season or two.Not after just a dozen or two games.

  • Doublegooner

    BJT:

    You are an idiot.

  • bjtgooner

    @Doublegooner

    My xenophobic double talking Doublegooner, what a well reasoned comment, and what a lovely person you would be if you were not consumed by hate.

  • sperez

    A manager’s wage should be based on success on the pitch. And I’m not talking about 4th place trophy. Unfortunately, American businessmen are just blood sucking parasites. They don’t see trophies as success, only profits appease them. Kroenke is not different. His American sports franchises are languishing in mid-table mediocrity.
    A football club needs success on the pitch or it will be left behind. AFC is more a business nowadays. Wenger runs the club as an accountant and not like a football manager.
    One of the biggest problems about Wenger is the lack of adaptability. He didn’t adapt very well. His ways are outdated. We are not in the late 90’s anymore. Wenger becomes too predictable and complacent. He doesn’t have the knowledge to make Arsenal progress. 4th place is his comfort zone. Anything above this is treated like a bonus.
    Ferguson was challenged by Wenger and adapted. The same thing happened when Mourinho was running the show. Then, the sheiks appeared and Ferguson didn’t give up.
    Just think. Arsenal had a wage bill 50m higher than spurs and finished only 1 point ahead. ManU had a wage bill 20m higher than Arsenal and finished equal on points with City, the champions. You see clearly that Ferguson doesn’t use money as an excuse for not challenging for major honours. Arsenal supporters should do the same.
    A new stadium ? To ripp off the fans.
    No, no manager should earn more than his star players. Wenger opted for a socialist wage bill to pay his players. However, there isn’t anything remotely ‘socialist’ about his wages. Hmmmmmmm !!! It’s easier to call RVP and Nasri money grabbers, isn’t it?

  • Al

    Shut up suarez, sorry, sperez

  • Al

    @Sperez
    Apologies, didn’t mean to be disrespectful, not in my nature but looked at your name and read your posts & couldn’t resist. If you listen to what Wenger says you’d know he’s always said the way some clubs are being run now is not sustainable. He’s right, banks have been in trouble for reckless spending, and I can’t see why football teams should be any different. Spending money that isn’t there spells trouble. We’ve already seen a few clubs in trouble in the past 5-10years than perhaps in the last 40years. And it looks like it’ll get worse. Most of these billionaires investing in football are doing it for money, and as soon as they realise there isn’t that much money to be made they’ll pull out. They didn’t become billionaires by throwing away money. In 5years time you could be singing praises for Le Prof to no end, just wait and see.

  • Adam

    Sperez, First I’d like to tackle your opinion on wages; If you have one,Do you earn more than your boss?

    Secondly, Had Abramovich not taken over any football club you would have found that some of the players that have ended up on his pay-roll would have actually have landed at Arsenal’s or Manchester’s books.

    Thirdly Manchester city’s wage bill is higher than United’s and they finished level with them, so this is where your argument failed.

    Can you show me/us any evidence that any American is taking money out of Arsenal? Please I would like to see this.

    Also you shouldn’t generalise about nationalities it shows you up to be judgmental on a national scale. Where are you from and what has happened to you to be so anal about American business persons?

  • Damien Luu

    Well, I have nothing against GOOD players coming to us, big names or not. But I will never, ever welcome a “big name” player just because of his name. Those so called big name or star players usually have HUGE egos and may bring only troubles to the club. I mean, Messi? Maybe yes, because he seems to be a nice person. But THAT Ronaldo (who dives as good as anybody and has endlessly proved that in the last World Cup)? Just give me a break! And don’t make me puke with the names of Bale, etc.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    God , I love this site , so many smart people ,so many financial wizards and so many of whom seemed to be so astute
    and probably rich, succesful and ‘made’ for life .
    I would love to learn from you .Are you all major shareholders or CEOs or investers in Fortune 500 companies ?
    I must admit that I run a small practice with only two staff and show a modest profit every year .I don’t have any loans to pay nor do I owe anyone .But then that’s me .
    Do teach us O Gurus ,for as I ( and most of the Untold Universe ) see it , whatever you preach is not pratical and will not end well for Arsenal .
    I thank god that we have sane people running this club .

  • mark

    Good comment! I think Wenger is a master of buying players that improve and a master at bringing out the best in players.

    If there is any weakness to his managing I think it could be in the area of mid-game adjustments. He does not seem able to change the plan, when the plan is not working or the players are not able to execute it and coming up with a new approach that works to win the game. What do you think?

  • Mike T

    Had Spurs not imploded and had Chelsea had perhaps their poorest season since RA turned up there could have been a different top 4 to previous seasons
    Whilst there is a still a long old way to go it 5 or 6 into 4 wont go so its probable that one of Spurs, Chelsea or Arsenal wont qualify for CL.Based on current league positions that will quite possibly be Arsenal.
    Looking at Arsenals squad there dosent seem to be any player that will generate the sort of fees that you have received over the last 5 or so years
    I am well aware that Arsenal have huge financial reserves so could easily fund top quality signings but there are problems in terms of year on year FFP implications if you were to do that. just as there will be if you dont generate a surplus in player trading
    My point is that AW has been a master in getting in low price players and turning them into stars but with all due respect the players brought in over the last few windows are ok ish but with little potential for profit or indeed dare I say for improvement in their performance.
    I would guess only a did hard Arsenal supporter would argue that, having lost RVP and Song, that you are a better team this season and despite what your selective stats show Chelsea are a better team this season and the evidence seems to suggest that Spurs are a more rounded team.So surely the pressure really is on with CL qualification a must or am I mis reading the dilema at Arsenal?

  • Mandy Dodd

    There is huge pressure Mike T, and despite what some would have you believe, huge pressure on the manager as well. He has a real dilemma, stick to what he has and hope for Diaby back and a lack of injuries, and hope consistancy improves, or bring in others, a risk in itself as shown by some recent buys… which may upset some already in the team and kill off prospect of those on the fringes. IF he does nothing, and Diaby does not come back, and we do not finish in the top 4 Wenger will face accusations that he had the resources but blew it, and these accusations, again contrary to popular belief could also come from upstairs. The new Emirates deal reportedly has performance clauses built in, and presumably penalties for failing to qualify for the CL.
    Wenger as we all know is a developmental type of manager, who is cautious, some say to a fault in the transfer market, but he is now in a bit of a corner. Not refreshing this squad, for whatever reason, especially now there are some departures could be his biggest gamble to date. The stakes are high so I expect new faces. This squad needs more time together to get consistancy, we have some truely excellent players but there are question marks over Theo staying, and we really..really need either Diaby or a Diaby replacement. I hear what Wenger is allegedly paid, but I do not envy him at the moment

  • bra bra bra,people some times talk with their butts and not with their brains so its okay because that’s their opinions. Wenger is the best coach arsenal have got i don’t know in 100 of years but when you hear a butt talking garbage then you just wonder. As of song i would welcome him back anytime but the Prof knows better. Wenger is a man of his word if he says he will buy he will,who!He knows better ,is there anybody betting that we wont finish in the top 4 to bet his money right now? Or shut the fuck up.Man$ity is next lets just gun them down to show the twats that we can.

  • sperez

    ‘Had Abramovich not taken over Chelsea…’ Precisely. The fact is he has taken over Chelsea. Please live in reality and do not use ‘ifs’ to justify things.
    That’s what I am talking. Ferguson has adapted to the sugar daddy clubs. Wenger hasn’t. It’s simple as that.
    If Kroenke does not intend to take money out of Arsenal, then why he didn’t answer a simple question at the last AGM? Why wasn’t he able to explain his real intentions instead of regretting he ‘didn’t get involved sooner’? Why does he need Gazides to shield him all the time when questions are asked?
    Conclusion: Kroenke didn’t give any commitment that he wouldn’t take dividends out of the club.
    If he can, he will take money out of the club. He was the one praising the Glaziers.
    Maybe Usmanov is the only person preventing Kroenke from doing a Glazer.
    FFP ??? Seriously, this is more an excuse made by Wenger and the board to continue with the project “Profit Trophy”. Do you really think UEFA will create problems for rich clubs that don’t respect the rules ?
    About Diaby… Please stop expecting a miracle. Diaby is a perpetual crock and a drain in the club’s resources. I think Wenger didn’t gamble on Diaby’s fitness. He used Diaby as an excuse to not buy a proper replacement for Song.
    Since the early days in France at Aubervilliers and Red Star Paris he is an injury prone footballer. Someone said that his problems were always in his left leg and Auxerre warned Wenger about Diaby’s injury record. So you know for sure that Wenger has knowledge about the problems involving Diaby’s fitness. Wenger knows he is a lost case.
    Please, don’t compare Diaby’s situation with RVP’s. First, I always saw RVP as a very good footballer. The same I cannot say about Diaby. Second, the Dutch spent less time on the treatment room than Diaby. Third, RVP got a personal trainer to work on his fitness and since then, his problems were left behind. Fourth, Diaby broke his ankle but he had a very poor injury record before that.
    I don’t know why Wenger insist on keeping Diaby but it’s not for footballing reasons. As I said Wenger knows very well Diaby’s problems. He even admitted that Diaby does not have the muscle strength to be a first team player. So why didn’t Wenger buy a proper player ?
    You know, Diaby is probably the most expensive player in the world per minutes played.

  • Mandy Dodd

    yes, but fergie has resources to call on almost on a par with the petrodollar clubs….ie far more than we do, especially with tha chivvy deal they have just signed. fergie can invest £85 million fee plus wages on an injury prone 29 year old, who he will be lucky to get a couple full seasons out of, we cannot.
    as for the Stan taking money out of the club, a few issues there. firstly, the club is controlled on a day to day basis by the board, it is up to them if he tales money out….or in legal terms anyway. so …it it possible that he could not state his claims for legal reasons? None of us know Stans intentions, but all we do know is that he has yet to take out money from the club as a dividend, he has not leveraged the club, nor has he ever done such things with his other sports clubs. Also, if he took a huge dividend, i guess Usmanov would get the money as well, cannot imagine that sitting easy with stan. stan is an unknown, but even if you do not like the way the club is run, he has done nothing wrong yet.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Above meant to say Chevvy deal

  • Adam

    Sperez, you have your opinion I have mine.

    You use words such as intend, which is used to describe a future event for which you know Kroenke’s intentions, yet you tell me to live in reality.

    You presume too much for me to debate with you.

    You then use IF yourself to justify your position, yet condemn me for IFs usage.

    So straight away you tilt the playing field and try to put restrictions on my own use of the English language. Why?

    I get the point, you don’t rate Diaby. Well I don’t rate your arguments or opinions. Too much presumption and not enough evidence.

    I have already asked you to prove your point, which you so far, have not addressed.

  • A. Stewart

    Walter,

    That Song hasn’t made an impact YET at Barcelona has nothing to do with how good he was and could have been for US, in a environment (club, league, language etc) that he was comfortable in and consistently improving as a player in.

    Moreover, not instantly or even ever making the grade at this current Barcelona is no big shame, as many many players wouldn’t be able to, including highly rated players in other leagues/teams. Additionally, you (this blog and pretty much all sensible football people) preach patience with new signings adjusting especially to a new league, language, culture etc. I’m sure you afford that patience to our new signings, but seem to be hastily ready to contemplate if Song’s career is already destined “to end in ruins (many have done well since leaving Wenger’s AFC by the way).

    So again, it’s irrelevant how good he is there or can/cannot be at Barcelona, the point is he was good for us, good in this league, and constantly improving.

    And that Wenger in his own words “gambled” on Diaby’s fitness (and thus let Song go I presume to achieve that perceived net transfer balance goal) is the real issue. So trying to give him a pass (which is what I suspect the point of this is) on that because some newspapers and readers called Song the worst flop with only half of his first season into his Barca career elapsed, in which he played sparingly in a couple positions, is silly.

    All while our midfield, despite all those technical little wizards midgets that modern AFC fans and Wenger seem to love above all else, looks impotent, physically weak, easy to run through, lacks creativity and industry, and has little by the way of incisive passing (especially through balls like Song could deliver) that not even the highly rated Wilshere has been able to deliver in comparison.

  • A. Stewart

    @ Walter re:

    “bob,
    I don’t think I was really gloating on Song being called a flop? I have been a defender of Song his ability since the first time I really saw him play (a Carling cup game away from home, Denilson being sent off and Song playing for 3 players in that game where Eduardo scored 2 goals – memory????)

    I just reported the fact that according to the media in Spain he is a flop. I could have let him out and just mention Modric of course but well I thought to mention him.

    And believe me I am convinced that if we would have had RVP and Song now we would be where MU would be. And they would be in our position.

    No I’m not happy about them leaving but that is live and that is how it went for whatever reasons we don’t know.”

    It’s hard to buy this tbh, the conclusion of all the points meshed together in your post, was basically for fans to calm down and trust that Wenger has made and will make the correct decisions (obviously including Song otherwise there is no point referencing it in this post).

    Moreover, you are saying you are reporting the “facts” of what is opinion generated content, yet adding your outward “wondering” of if Song’s career is already destined for “ruins”, so it’s not just a factual report here tbh.

    Also, regarding RvP (and Song) and being convinced that we’d be in United’s position with them etc. I’m sorry but after the RvP sale, this blog’s general tone was that it was a great piece of business by Wenger to sell an injury-prone 29 year old for 24 million and almost chuffed that we suckered Ferguson. Apologies if that was Tony specifically but there is little denying that that was the general tone and spin by Untold after the sale, even though other fans pointed out it’s never good to sell the player of the year and league’s top scorer to a rival. And Ferguson paid 24 million and in return he’s got and is getting production from the league’s top scorer and good bet for player of the year, who is selling shirts in spades for United and can easily redeem his cost on the field and also commercially.

    I’m with Bob here, I believe (my personal belief) that Song was sold because he was one of the few sellable assets left that could achieve our much touted and regular transfer window profit (or at least no loss). Was never buying the spin (intentionally filtered out I believe to give the club’s management some cover) that Song was this so vile disruptive influence that the ONLY recourse was to get rid of him (a manager is paid to manage problems when they arise and if every manager instantly got rid of a player with some issues, we would be playing 4 a side).

    Same Song who had no big issues or never made the news for the wrong reasons for all of his AFC seasons until conveniently near his sale, and was regularly reported to be a locker room favourite. No players our STAFF ever mentioned such issues, before, during or predictably after the sale. Song made all the right noises and compliments to the club and its management, and could have easily left with taking a swipe at the club, but never in his career has indicated that he is that type of person.

    Also the nonsense spin about he had time left on his contract so there was no need to negotiate is just that nonsense, as the club is re-upping the contracts of several (less influential) players some with more time than Song had left and not near his production or influence. And the money he was reportedly seeking (around 70) was hardly in the brackets of “mercenaries” and easily fitting with his value to the club, especially when some non-contributors like Chamakh are reportedly in that bracket, and is allegedly the same or similar money that he signed at for Barcelona, so he wasn’t leaving for the money.

    The Club in my opinion, with the clock winding down, wanted to sell to protect its continued transfer window profitability, (and quite alarmingly gambled on Diaby and Wilshere to cover) and there were not many more highly rated sellable assets remaining (Wilshere too young and coming off injury, Vermaelen with his own injury worries the season before etc). So Song had to go.

    Gooners often tout this club’s “sustainable” model as good business practice, but the profits are heavily influenced by two things, selling off its best assets (without which there would be some accounting losses at times), and disproportionately high fanbase contribution.

    None of which are actually sustainable.

    At some point you run out of top rate assets to sell and we’re getting near there, and fans paying top dollar for diminishing returns and product is anything but sustainable.

    It’s actually not a bad business practice to invest in one’s core product for mid-long term gains commercially and on the field (which results in commercial gains too) even if there are some upfront heavy cost. Our model is not sustainable imo.

  • Mike T

    A Stewart

    Very interesting viewpoint and sort of fits with what I been suggesting on both this and indeed other articles where your fellow Arsenal supporters have been banging the drum about Arsenals perect financial model.

    I actualy think there is a 3rd income stream that will become under threat and that is CL monies and whilst there are , it seems, significant cash reserves a loss of CL monies for just two years coupled with a deficit in transfer trading over the same period could mean real trouble.

  • sperez

    Since the second half of the 2010/2011 season, RVP didn’t suffer any injury setback. He has been fit for more than 50 games.I think it’s fair to say his injury problems were left behind. I know it’s more convenient to label RVP as an injury prone player now. Many fans won’t dare to say that Wenger gave the league title to ManU by selling the Dutch player.
    So here we go again using money as an excuse. If money was the only factor in football, I’d certainly join the ones who say ‘we cannot compete’.
    If Klopp had given up because Dortmund cannot match Bayern financially, you might have a point.
    Then, ManU has more resources than Arsenal but Chelsea and City are richer. This doesn’t stop Ferguson. I didn’t see him saying the 3rd spot was his aim.
    Last season, for example, ManU’s wage bill was not much higher than Arsenal but the gap in quality between these teams was quite impressive (or unlike Ferguson, Wenger cannot motivate his own players?).
    And if money is really everything, how can’t Arsenal beat teams like Swansea or Bradford? Just imagine if Spuds overtake Arsenal this season ? And if The Gunners finish behind Everton?
    Arsenal is not the richest club in the world but it doesn’t have to be the richest in order to compete for trophies. I believe there are sufficient resources at the club to challenge for major honours. But, Wenger lives in his comfort zone and he doesn’t even want to try. With a quite big wage bill, it’s simply not acceptable that Arsenal were already out of the title race by November.
    About the dividends. Yes, I know Kroenke would have to give dividends to Usmanov. That’s why I said Usmanov was the only obstacle preventing Kroenke from doing a Glazer. Better pray that Usmanov does not sell his shares to the American leech, then. After all, the money generated by Arsenal is just small change for Usmanov.

  • sperez

    Yes, Adam. Kroenke only bought Arsenal because of his immense love for ‘soccer’. He is not interest in money at all. That’s why he couldn’t say he would not take money out of the club. After all, American businessmen are not attached to money.

  • sperez

    correction: ‘He is not interested in money…’

  • bjtgooner

    Lets not forget that it was Usmanov who proposed taking a dividend and that Kroenke was the one who refused.

  • Al

    So, does Stan own Arsenal now?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Nobody knows enough about usmanov….and certainly his business partner to know how good he may be for Arsenal….he may be the best ever….or he may be something quite the opposite, is it a gamble worth taking at the moment? Wengers critics say he won’t spend anyway, many of wengers critics want usmanov in , but a flaw, usmanov would not change him, and usmanov is quoted directly as saying he wants wenger as manager. So usmanov wants the same manager who refuses to spend.
    As for Rvp to Utd, he wanted to leave, that statement was not just a vehicle to get out, if you read it carefully, it was a threat to damage the club , team and manager further if he did not get his way. The bit where he said he could go further in his criticism but would not do so out of respect for the fans…..make no mistake, that was a below the belt mafia style threat. Fergie himself said we were desperate to offload him elsewhere. Wenger did not want to sell him to utd. despite last season, Rvp is nothing to this club and never again will be, things are far from perfect but let’s focus on who we have, we have more goals now than we did at this stage last season. You mention Klopp fair enough, but he is up against one, we are up against three. Fergie may not aim for third place, but he has the resources to keep his team together, even if it means caving into the likes of Rooney for what is now nearly 300kpw, we cannot do that. There is now little difference in overall resources between Utd city and Chelsea, they can all have pretty much who they want, in the past to our cost. Ivan says this is changing, he must be held to this.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Another thing…does this much quoted wage bill take into account just playing staff….or all the club employees?

  • bjtgooner

    @Mandy

    Agree with your posts. You rightly point out that Usmanov has stated that he would want to keep Wenger should he become a majority shareholder, however, I don’t believe Usmanov – he will want to appoint his own lackey.

    Also, the Usmanov history does not make pleasant reading, some of the AAA types who all too gladly latch onto him as a club saviour would be better served to study the man’s history.

  • bob

    A. Stewart @9:27
    I applaud your clarity and passion (on RVP and Song) and how it is all meant to improve our prospects going forward. Anyone accusing you/the posting of negativity or tarring it with the AAA brush is just being lazy and mad about being out-thought. It’s an analysis that people who disagree need to wrestle with and answer, point by point. But agree or disagree, anyone would learn a lot just having to honestly deal with the points. As you know, I agree, and I’ve learned more from your presentation, so good on you. Cheers 🙂

  • bob

    Mike T, A. Stewart,
    Piggy-backing on your analyses, I wanted to toss out some further not-so-(a)musings about the “business start” of the season, and how (right now, before any transfer window action) it appears to be impacting the “business end” of the season:
    I think it’s now clearer to many fans that AFC enabled/expedited Song’s this-fast transfer out of town. Imo, a very short-term bean counter’s decision prevailed at AFC: to go for an immediate zero net transfer balance (and perhaps some then limited profitability); but that in doing so, the business side has gambled recklessly with (a) this season’s ability to complete for EPL honors and, perhaps worse (because more likely) with (b) our CL qualification for next season. The gamble was (is still) rationalized with this combination of red-herrings: (a) that there’s a just-in-case insurance fund on hand should we not qualify (Gazidis) this season so don’t worry about Song’s departure; (b)that a chronically-crocked (albeit brilliant on his rare days) player (Diaby) plus a returning-from-injury 30 year old offensive talent with pitch-wide nous (Arteta), would somehow combine to effectively fill the midfield trench left by Song’s departure and supersede his contribution; and (c) that two injured former talents (Wilshere and Rosicky) were going to be “back soon” (date undefined), and in form enough, that AFC, by the time they’d rounded into top form, would not have dropped too many points to be outside hailing distance of the table toppers.

    Now I wonder whether these optimal scenario elements were truly expected, or just there to justify the bean counters intended risk-free grab for whatever low-hanging multimillion pound fruit could be had. A bean counter’s dream if I ever did see. Visions of xmas bonuses abounding. And lo, Song’s absence (the gamble gone awry) has taken its toll on the pitch.

    Another toll exacted on the pitch: I see the summer Asia trip as part of a quid pro quo that (as I wrote here back in August) took away precious gelling time from the newly-purchased forward department and the slowly-returning midfield department. The trip, imo, was a precondition of the new AFC/Emirates deal-to-come (and which, if Mandy’s savvy hunch is right, may well be conditioned on our qualifying for next season’s CL (putting AW under that extra layer of intensive of board/ownership pressure to perform). While fine and dandy in the business sense, it was not in the best interests of the newly-forming team that actually plays the games.

    Imo, to the extent that this is right, I think the business side has likely run amok; and, as you well state it, adopted an unsustainable business model. Lately in fuller view, it seems to have allowed/invited/depended on asset-stripping away our best; and, it seems, disproportionately squeezing the game-attending fan base with pricey seats and comestibles.

    My dream is that a new balance be struck in this transfer window that helps restore the needed quality to our destabilized midfield. We will be having 5 games in 13 days or so, and quality reinforcement swill be needed to sustain ourselves against the rigors to come with quality rotation.

  • Arun

    @Bob & Stewart,
    I completely agree with you regarding the sales of RVP & Song. If we don’t buy in January, then we are heading into trouble. If we have a bad January, we might not only be knocked out of the FA Cup but also be left with too much ground to cover in the race for the final CL spot.
    Taking a look at the fixtures, we meet Man C on Sunday. Then we meet Swansea on Wednesday. We might have to play 120 minutes in this match. To win these 2 games, we must do it with our full strength squad. If we manage to win these 2 games, I don’t see us putting a good performance at Chelsea on the following Sunday. It also needs to be mentioned that Man C & Chelsea have the best defense in the league. Then we play against West Ham. If we don’t use our full strength, it might be 2 dropped points at home.
    Then if we manage to get past Swansea, we visit Brighton & Hove which won’t be an easy game considering the game at Bradford. Then we play Liverpool & Stoke at home. Liverpool have improved significantly since we last played them in the beginning of the season & Stoke have the 3rd best defense in the league.
    Then, in the begining of February we might get a free midweek if only we beat Brighton or loose to them. Then we visit Sunderland where we were knocked out in the FA Cup last year & we, generally, struggle to win matches there. Here, we can get another free midweek. (The replay dates for FA cup 4th round haven’t been announced on the official site. So, we will get at least one free midweek in this week or the previous one). Then there is the fifth round of the FA Cup before we meet Bayern in the CL. Bayern have conceded only 7 goals in the Bundesliga in 17 matches so far. With our fire power in attack, we will struggle to score against them. This is the type of matches we are going to miss a player like RVP the most. If we don’t get a result in the first leg, it might be very difficult for us to beat Bayern at their home ground.
    So, in the worst case, we will only get one free weekend till the last week of February. Considering the quality of our bench, now without Chamakh as well, I strongly feel that if we don’t strengthen the squad in January, we might be looking at a very very bad start of the new year.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I do not think Wenger has any option but to strenthen. Either through buying players, or having the likes of Coq, Rosicky and Eisfeld play more of a part…but he has to do something, the word jaded is used time and time again on the current state of some of these players. We have burnt out players before, lets not do the same with…especially our first choice MFs.
    Wenger is many things, but in no small part a survivor. A failure to in some way strengthen now when we will be needing it , and he will be thrown to the wolves should things go wrong. These wolves will include the usual suspects, but also possibly sponsors, and even those charged with protecting Stans investment. Times have changed, Wenger has less leeway in developing youngsters, there is increasing pressure, he now serves many more masters. The Theo thing has gone quiet again, are the club dragging their heels, is Theo just running things down, are negotiations taking place? I want Theo to stay, but this situation must not be used as an excuse to destablise the club, or avoid squad strengthening…we cannot repeat the mistakes from the summer of Cesc and always expect to stay at least in the top 4. I am convinced Wenger will do whatever needs to be done to bring this team on, and that we will finish in the top 4, but such things must not be left to chance.

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    A top 4 finish must not be left to chance, indeed.
    And not left until the last desperate second, like the summer of Cesc, so there is some time to gel. And above all, not a repeat of that terrible INACTIVE January transfer window just before the summer of Cesc, when we were still alive in 4 races, were already (going into January) stretched in the midfield by their being overplayed, and had a murderous number of games to play in thismuch time, and flamed out with barely a flicker. There are parallels this January in terms of over-use already and with 5 games in 13 days, including multiple cup competitions, in the offing. If history repeats itself a second time, it will not be farce, but compounded tragedy with massive fallout. Those who value Arsene (as I do) know that he needs to act decisively and ruthlessly to be a survivor. Where we part on this crossroads is that I don’t rate bringing in more of Coq and Eisfeld is the uptick in experienced quality that is needed to rescue our top 4 prospect from going down the tubes. I would love to see Rosicky – and the gauntlet of games would seem to dictate his being used a lot. But, pray, what is the mystery of his not being used to this point whilst Cazorla (rightfully) has made sounds about the desperate need for a winter break (as in most leagues), a sure sign of massive trouble ahead as soon as this very month.

  • Mandy Dodd

    none of really know what is going on, but I suspect he is waiting for news on theo and diaby. If theo will not sign, we need a top forward / winger. If he does, maybe we can get by in that dept? Then , the beast in MF. Will he gamble on any seemingly good news on Diaby? or effectively halt his career and bring in an international class DM – or make do with what he has, and risk butn out for Arteta or a potential baptism of fire for the likes of Coq or Frimpong. This is an area where I really think he has to buy. Then, defence, we are a suspension and an injury away from problems in this area. Yes we have Miquel, but he lacks experience. Squillacci must now be used in the past tense. Jenks…fine by me. Santos skillful, exciting- a great auxilliary forward but never a defender Again, it could be said he must strengthen here. Yes, the Jan you mention, bad memories, but there is more pressure now, then, Wenger could have cited lack of funds, this time, Ivan has openly stated there are substantial funds available for January. This firmly puts the ball in Wengers court…is Ivan helping him, cajoling him, or warning him? I admire Wenger hugely, when he arrived, and without money, he has been amazing. Would love to know what he really thinks of dealing with our new found spending power…and the pressure that brings? Guess we will soon find out. The winter you refer to, he could cite lack of money, the summer of Cesc, he could even, if you push the boat a long way out, cite the unforseen, this winter, if he chooses not to strengthen, he cannot cite these reasons, he can only say the right players were not available, or the squad he has is good enough, and be judged …as ever…in May accordingly. As I have posted many times recently, I do not envy Wenger in these circumstances, but I am convinced he will come good for the club.

  • Arun

    After that defeat against Bradford, we can’t afford to have a bad run in the FA Cup. But without strengthening our squad, for whatever reasons, Wenger might have to sacrifice the cup for the fourth spot which will anger a lot of fans.
    @Mandy, we can’t leave not only the fourth spot to chance but also the FA cup. The drought has been going on for too long & winning the cup will end that hoodoo & silence some critics as well. I have optimism for this window due to some recent comments by Wenger (“trophies build an aura around them”) & Wilshere (“Cup success can give the team a platform to push for the league title next season.”).
    To make sure that we are able to achieve both these goals, I think that strengthening from inside the club won’t be sufficient.
    Fingers crossed for now. Let’s see what happens. Hoping for the best. COYG!

  • sperez

    Well, I don’t know Usmanov’s real intentions and I don’t know if he will be a saviour. I just don’t think he’ll be like Abramovich.
    However, I know Kroenke is all about mediocrity and profit. His American sport franchises don’t lie. In fact, many teams were winning trophies before Kroenke appear on the horizon. After he bought these teams, they are unable to achieve anything worth mentioning.

  • bjtgooner

    @sperez

    Kindly provide details to support your accusations about Kroenke.

  • Pat

    @Mandy Dodd at 2.38 p.m.

    Well summarised.

  • Dylan

    Guys remember RVP said he wanted out, i think a lot of people forgot that,and truthfully most people knew that RVP was as good as gone even before the Euros. Song left because according to him he is left with three years but wants to push for another contract, fair enough he had a stellar term, and wanted to cash in on it, but just because you closed a good deal for your Boss doesnt mean you can command a bigger office, and his reason… He wants to commit himself. BS

    Yes we are not bringing in the big names but have you taken the time to see the potential that lies on the youth system, I know a lot of people were impressed by Gnabry, Akpom, and most of the Next Gen players, and that is where the Club is going.

    Give the Epl six years then Manunaaitit will be so deep in debt it will be doing a cut off on wages, same as Sh*tty