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Clubs treat fans with contempt as they sell the notion of the individual over the team

By Tony Attwood

Why sign a player?   Well, obvious, isn’t it.  Because he helps make the team better, either by being first choice or a good backup, now or in the future.

Look at Santi Cazorla.  Those against Arsenal have written him out of Arsenal’s transfer dealings because he was such a brilliant transfer in his first season that he doesn’t fit the AAA profile.  Look at Monreal – a really good purchase given Gibbs’ problem with injuries.

Look at Theo Walcott.   A winger who scores, meaning that defences are often not quite sure who to be marking.  A winger who can play in the centre.  Bought early, developed over time.

And on and on.  Players are bought in because they can play.   Often there are no major headlines, no wild statements in the press – the arrival of Pires, Henry and the rest of that era got far less coverage than the arrival of Platt for £4.75 million on 10 July 1995 because buying Platt was a statement.  (And in a sense it was, but not of what those who engineered the purchase hoped for).

The simple fact is that there is a fundamental contradiction in football these days.  It is a TEAM game, that surely must be self-evident.  But everyone talks about it as if it is a game of individuals.  “We need a goalkeeper, central defender, central midfielder, centre forward” scream some – ignoring any concept of how the team should fit together.   Maybe we do need another player in a certain position – but that player’s ability is not measured by his cost.  It is measured by his skill and his ability to fit into the rest of the team.

The rise of the individual as being more important than the team probably started with Real Madrid, and it has been followed by other Spanish, French and English teams (although Germany as ever goes its own way).  Even Barcelona who are supposed to be focussed on the team rarely are in their transfers.   Instead for them, as for other bankrupt Spanish teams, and many in the Premier League, the transfer is a sign of intent – an advertisement to say “we are at the top”.

What other reason does Barca have for buying Arsenal player after Arsenal player – players who cost them £300,000 a game or more and who never make that much of an impact.   Some still speak of the team collective at Barca, but try telling that to Song, Hleb and the rest, all bought by the club, and then being left on the sidelines, their careers reduced to nothing.

And what was Barca’s response to the disaster of their Champions League exit last season?  The great flowing football team, crashing out in such a fashion…. they rushed out to spend money on Neymar from Santos.  Do you really think that is going to make a difference?

But even Barcelona pale into insignificance when it comes to the notion of the individual rather than the team; the individual as advertisement.   Man City buy Robinho as an advert of intent.  And they buy Kolo Toure just to show they can.   Then they release him on a free, just because they can.  It is conspicuous consumption.

Monaco, theoretically banned from the French First Division but somehow now in it, buy Falcao.  A very big advert. Paris Saint Germain buy Ibrahimovic and that English bloke who supposedly gave his salary to charity (although last time I tried it was hard to find a charity that said they had received anything).   Advert advert.

And so, those supporters who don’t quite get that it is a team game, and that players need to work together in order to succeed, start measuring the success of their club in terms of transfers.  And not just transfers but transfers they choose to recognise.   So some supposed Arsenal fans are repeatedly saying, “Every season we are promised big transfers and none happen.  Wenger lies,” thus conveniently forgetting Santi Cazorla, Podolksi, Mertersacker, Giroud, Theo Walcott, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain…. because none of them are quite big enough buys to be big adverts.

To make it 100% clear.  Santi Cazorla was not a good enough purchase because he didn’t cost enough.  It has nothing to do with his individual ability and his team ability any more.   It is about the power of the advert.

So these Arsenal transfers are forgotten, because a) they don’t fit the model of Arsenal refusing to buy, and b) because they were not publicity stunts.   And thus if the player costs less than £25m its nothing.  So Santi Cazorla is nothing.   And Jack Wilshere who cost us nothing, is nothing.   Just like Thierry Henry was nothing because most people in England hadn’t heard of him.   And by the way what about the signing of Mikel Arteta.  Was that nothing?  Seems so.

No, everything is now down to the individual and the price of the individual, even though 125 years of league football shows us that a regular number of players can come in for big sums and not be much good at their new club, either because they don’t settle, or because they were never as good as was thought, or because they are not team players.

In a sense this whole approach gives a new meaning to “image rights”.  Image rights meaning the right to boast about a club because of the image created by the huge amount of money paid for a player in transfer fees.   Throw some more money on the fire.

Oh and along the way, let’s make up a new phrase to get the media on side.  Marquee – that’s a good word.   Meaning, we are waving loads of money around.

It is the sort of simplistic no-evidence approach that the Anti-Arsenal people love.  You don’t have to debate anything – you just say, “if you don’t think we desperately need four players you are mistaken” – and that is the very polite version of what is said.  And the evidence?   Well, certainly not the evidence of the end of last season, that’s for sure.

But there is a real danger in this approach which values players by cost, and diminishes thought of the team as a concept.

1.  It will always lead to some purchases which are a disaster, and so will cost the club a fortune.   That might not matter to some clubs at the moment, but once the inevitable legal cases around FFP have come and gone, it could do.

2.  Even the right buys take a year to settle down in the team – but because the team concept has vanished and the cult of the individual is now total, the year of settling down is not allowed.  Bale, if he goes to Real Mad is going to have to perform like no other from day one.

3.  You can never sell enough shirts to get the money back.   Remember Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer being paid for in shirt sales.  Do the maths (actually Untold did the maths at the time).  It doesn’t work.   The mere suggestion that it might shows how crazy this whole approach is, and shows in just how much contempt the clubs and the media hold the supporters.

In the end one team is going to stand out against this con trick.

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58 comments to Clubs treat fans with contempt as they sell the notion of the individual over the team

  • Maverick

    The article forgot the ultimate publicity stunt………Bale to REAL MAD for £85m…….£85 MILLION even more than Ronaldo i mean what in the LIVING **** is going on!! The guy isnt even worth HALF that, he by his own admission scores most of his goals through hit and hope, ball control seriously lacking so is his technical ability and extremely 1 footed, but he can score the odd screamer and run fast so the world record fee is worth it.

    WHAT IN THE **** is the matter with football nowadays, Spain is in turmoil most people cant afford to eat and here is real Madrid plotting to spend 100m euros on a slightly above average footballer ‘to make a statement’ i hope that statement bankrupts the crappy classless clubs and they lose CR7 because of it. Do they HONESTLY think the egomanic that is CR7 will be happy this average footballer take his world record fee and is a bigger buy than him that he has to work with and maybe compete against…….i cant wait to see the fireworks with this one if this comes off.

  • Edda

    Great article! Its a good point that the germans do it their own way, look at the CL final last year, not many “Brand name” players there, no Messi, Ronaldo, Zlatan, Falcao, Cavani or Bale… I Wonder what Arsenal fans would think if we had bought Robben from Chelsea ? He was branded as an over the hill player in England, but because of the playstyle in team spirit in Bayern, he has become one of their most important player. I watched abit of the Bayern – Man City game yesterday, and its a pleasure to watch the movement and understanding those Bayern players have. And I really think that Our Squad is gelling together and hope we can see abit of the same from Arsenal this year.

  • Maverick

    ^^^^
    Well fair play did mention him, but the whole concept of a player like bale going for a world record fee almost makes me feel sick because that now means the market is HYPER inflated. Everyone is gonna be ‘if bale has gone for 85m my mediocre talent (name here) has got to be worth 45m’

    Before we know it 25m will be the going rate for 18 year olds and any type of good talent 40m and world class talent 60-120m These scumbag clubs (especially the spanish ‘giants’) which basically financially dope by making 100’s of millions more than any other club through tv rights etc are destroying literally everything, football is dying right before our eyes and sweet FA (pun intended) is been done about it FFP my ARSE!!

  • SA Gunner

    Must compliment the writer on his prowess as an articulate and capable author… but he should have been a politician… sprouting forth for an hour without saying anything that will improve anything.
    The author is clearly not aware of the value of fans – carrying on about shirt sales etc… Arsenal will be sweet F***all without their fans – and it is a fact of life that no sponsorship worth a dime would be apportioned to Arsenal if the did not have fans… sponsors thrive on public exposure!
    So lets forget all the crap that is in this article and realise that only the kids brought up and sold by Arsenal have kept the transfer budget on an even keel. remove the children turned soccer player sand look at the :players” that were bought as stars and later lent out as mediocre ao has beens and the books will be in the red… we ship them out at a loss because we have money – All we need now is someone with the ability to negotiate and bring in some players that will do for the squad what THE FANS want and we shall have a football club… by the way demote the now senile Wenger to the baby school – he will do well there he is good at making soccer players out of 12 year olds… but as for his ability to understand the current need of the club, both for fans and the clubs image – that is questionable!

  • Alan

    Although there are plenty of people claiming to be fans of Arsenal moaning about a lack of movement in the transfer market, the rest of us real fans are prepared to wait and show the trust and respect for Arsene that he deserves. What the real fans want most is for the club to show ambition and be competitive. To me that doesn’t necessarily mean blowing a large sum of money in a “big name” player. I do expect the club to identify areas where the team can be improved and work towards getting players in that will impact those areas. I am sure this is what the club are doing at the moment. The fact that the club won’t accept being mugged and paying over the odds is a good thing, even if it means missing out on a few players that you’d really like to see in red and white (like Higuian for example).

  • Derrick

    Just what I have been saying all along. No need to buy for the sake of having a ‘big name’ player or as you said…marquee signing(funny)!

  • melt

    cringe-worthy post.everyone would welcome signings like cazorla.its just the signings like sanogo who are definitely not going to improve the team immediately that are ignored.if any of you think this current team is good enough to challenge there is something wrong with you.let wenger spend another 15 or 16 m and sign someone like cazorla.no one will object.the team needs new signings .we don’t even have a complete squad now.
    But the thing i’ve noticed is this site never has an opinion of its own.if we were to spend 50 m and get suarez i doubt any of you would complain about it.

  • Bootoomee

    “In the end one team is going to stand out against this con trick.”

    I am glad that club is Arsenal!

  • Bootoomee

    Tony,

    After reading your piece (I assume), melt wrote:

    “everyone would welcome signings like cazorla.its just the signings like sanogo who are definitely not going to improve the team immediately that are ignored.if any of you think this current team is good enough to challenge there is something wrong with you.”

    It’s like talking to the wall isn’t it?

    And melt, how do you know that Sanogo is “definitely not going to improve the team immediately”? Can you see into the future?

    Please calm down and be patient. We’ll find out soon enough whether you are right or wrong.

  • Jp

    I think it it an insult to the football fans knowledge of the game to say we are looking for headline players only. Personally am looking for established starters from international football powerhouse countries that will improve our team. These players unfortunately cost money but I think the arsenal fan who pays the most to watch their team are deserving of some of these super quality players. Carola is good, but he watched the Confed cup from the bench, Arteta is good but he can’t get a call up for his national team. A couple of special players that can supplement the ones we have, cover injuries, get the fans excited is all we ask for.

  • Bootoomee

    From Arsene’s presser earlier today:

    “We have signed Sanogo. He has not made the headlines. Why? Because he is not £50m to £100million but I am quite confident he will make them soon on the pitch, and that for me is the most important.”

  • Adam

    its just the signings like sanogo who are definitely not going to improve the team immediately.

    How do you know? in fact pick six numbers fella and make us all rich.

    Either that or shut up you mug.

  • Adam

    It’s gone beyond boredom and frustration trying to explain how a team grows together.

    The, I want it now brigade are suckers for being ripped off.

  • Adam

    It is not Arsene’s or Arsenal’s job to excite fans, he/they stand for a brand of football that entertains, but if your looking for excitement, I’d advise a parachute jump.

    If at first you don’t succeed then sky diving isn’t for you.

  • Tom

    I don’t think Arsenal need to spend 50 million pounds on any single player to show ambition , and under normal circumstances most Arsenal fans would agree that spending even 30 million pounds on a single player might be excessive for a club that thrives on self sustainability . These aren’t however normal circumstances in my opinion , as the tensions amongst fans have reached a dangerous levels. Lets say hypothetically that Wenger agreed to buy Higuain for 23 million , and when Napoli entered the scene, Madrid bumped the asking price to 33 million pounds( it might’ve been less but well never know how it went down), and that’s when Wenger being a man of principle , said no thank you, I’m not interested in the bidding war and exited the stage. Wouldn’t it be wise to spend that extra 10 million pounds over the original asking price( which most people thought was a bargain) or even 15 million more to shut up the unhappy fraction of the fan base who want the big name signing ? And before the likes of Bootoomee and Derrick and many others on this site get up in arms telling me that a true fan should support their club unconditionally ( in a perfect world maybe), let me just say that as a former player at a fairly high level, I can’t tell you enough how detrimental to players performance those shouts might be.”You don’t know what you’re doing “, or “spend some f…ing money” will take the wind out of most players sails during games, even if they aren’t directly aimed at them but rather at their manager. Shouldn’t a great manager be trying to give his players every edge possible to achieve success , especially when it’s the players themselves calling for a big name signing as well?

  • Mick

    @Melt
    ‘But the thing i’ve noticed is this site never has an opinion of its own.’
    This is surely the most ridiculous thing I have ever read on Untold.

  • Mandy Dodd

    its all about conditioning. papers,poor quality talk shows find transfers much more exciting than for example a young right back bought in for a relatively small fee with an England cap being developed by the team he and his family support.
    I am as guilty as anyone on fascination with transfers, but really it is mostly a load of nonsense. A solid team full of people who like and understand each other is the best thing you can have, and that is what we are developing. Not saying we could notdo with more numbers though, it will be a long season.

  • Florian

    Tom,

    Yes he should. I just wonder, do you think that’s how it’s really going to happen? The AAAs are the kind of people that don’t take satisfaction even in complete victory. Because they just don’t know what satisfaction is. So please understand if I have my doubts about signing a player at an inflated price will calm down the naysayers. They will just shift their focus to something else and continue moaning.

  • para

    Quote: “Player’s ability is not measured by his cost. It is measured by his skill and his ability to fit into the rest of the team.”
    Well said and this is paramount at Arsenal.
    //
    Our team is bubbling now and ready to start boiling. Have you seen the movement, the versitality that our players have gained? They are not one dimensional anymore and moving as a team now.
    I usually watch our games twice, once for the pure game, twice for the critical analysis of our players, how they shape up as a team, their movements, work rates and interaction on the pitch.
    Although i think we need a few more players in to be ready for the many games we have to play, to replace those who have left and in case of injuries, i am sure we are going to get some players before the end of the TW. Who ever they are, let’s show our team they have the best supporters in the world.
    We are on the way back, mark my words.

  • nicky

    REAL MAD fans….and by that I don’t mean fans of real Madrid.
    I refer to the true fans of all the football clubs in all the world…who are being taken to the cleaners by big business. Those responsible for the governance of the clubs must think we are all mad enough to accept the continuing attack being made on our pockets.
    Obscene escalating wages and transfer costs have meant increased ticket prices, annual shirt changes(home and away) and exorbitant catering charges to a captive customer.
    This “love of money bubble” will one day burst because things simply cannot carry on as they are.

  • Tom

    Florian. It’s a certainty that some small faction of dissatisfied fans will never be happy and trying to appease them is an exercise in futility , but the vast majority of unhappy fans(and there are many) don’t want Wenger out , but rather he become more flexible and open minded . Funny how people who try to justify Wenger’s unwillingness to spend on a big name player and call those who advocate for it reckless and irresponsible, seem to conveniently overlook the fact his own players call for those signings as well. Could it be that his players know they’re not good enough to challenge for titles, or are they being reckless as well?

  • Bootoomee

    Wenger’s 15 minute presser is now on ArsenalPlayer. Whatever your Arsenal persuation, I think it’s worth watching. Plus it’s free!

  • soglorious

    Bootoomee, pls can U do a transcript? I would really appreciate. Have read bit parts though. But wouldn’t mind the whole transcript even if it’s a new article plus focus on the upcoming Emirates cup competition.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think wenger is being a sadist promising us these marquis signings

  • Doofus

    So how does the poster square the fact that Wenger himself has been saying he wants Suarez?

  • Andrei

    How much are players actually worth and why clubs are willing to pay in excess of £50M in the current market for some of them? Let’s take David Platt as example. So Arsenal paid £4.75 for Platt in 1995. How much would a player of Platt caliber and market potential cost in EPL today?

    According to Deloitte the total revenue of EPL clubs in 2012/13 season is expected around £2.5-2.7B. They are also projecting that because of improved broadcasting contract with Sky Sports the next season revenue will grow at least 25% and will exceed £3B. Many EPL clubs are already spending big based on these projections. Now in 1994/95 season the EPL revenue was roughly £300M. This is 9-10 times increase even without factoring in impact of so called ‘sugar daddies’. Therefore given the demand and available funds on the market David Platt transfer would probably cost £45-50M today.

    Now about impact of above mentioned sugar daddies. We are repeatedly told that they are the main reason for player market inflation and Arsenal being priced out. Again lets look at the numbers. Roman Abramovich acquired Chelsea in 2003 with the EPL revenue in 2002/2003 at roughly £1.2B. The cumulative revenue growth between 02/03 and 12/13 seasons is about £11B using simplified formula. This is £11B of extra funds (the total funds are even higher) that have been made available by increased revenues to EPL clubs to spend on transfer fees, player salaries and infrastructure. If we assume total amount of money pumped by Chelsea/City owners into the EPL market at £1.5B (based on Deloitte numbers) this is only 14% compared to cumulative revenue growth over the same period. Still sizable but hardly the main inflation driver.

  • Adam

    Andrei, I think I follow what your getting at, the financial side of football has always been a bit taboo with me. However, it’s OK to look at the combined totals but we are competing at the top of the pile, so whilst your Sunderland’s and Norwich’s of the league can go for players of a certain caliber and price we are competing with Chelsea and Man city, hence the inflation of targeted players, and I do believe that once it’s known Wenger is interested in a player the price goes up.

    I hope that comes across and is not lost in terrible explanation.

    Anyway to be blunt, purchasing a footballer out of his employment contract for millions of pounds, is a criminal use of money in any sense.

  • Stuart

    Maybe so Andrei, but you have to also factor in that this extra money put in by those two teams has raised the price for 18 other teams for all transfers and not just the ones involving Chelsea and City.

  • Pat

    Just want to say another brilliant article, Tony. You hit the nail on the head. Also Bootoomee, your quote from Arsene Wenger’s press conference about Sanogo. Says it all, really. The lucky thing is Arsene Wenger does not play that game. He does not give a tuppenny toss what the press say and he does not respect their views, even though he always treats them with gentlemanly politeness.

  • Andrei

    @Adam I understand that my analysis is somewhat crude and oversimplified. I merely wanted to provide a general idea about staggering amount of money that have been pumped into football markets in the last two decades. This created tremendous inflationary pressures and we’d better get used to these 50M+ player valuations as a new norm.

    @Stuart Nobody is denying impact of City/Chelsea spending. My only point is that by the numbers this impact is relatively small and greatly exaggerated. This is akin to governments always blaming runaway inflation on speculators and market manipulators while in fact inflation is result of financial regulations (read money printing) introduced by those governments.

  • Stroller

    The upshot of all this is that players are now graded by assigned transfer value. Suddenly we have to buy a £30+ million striker (just because we can … now). A £15m or £20m striker would probably be branded as bargain basement, regardless of whether he would be a better fit within the team or a better long term prospect.

    Wenger’s alarm over the Bale valuation is justified. Real’s profligacy is going to force up prices across the board as selling clubs re-benchmark the value of their players. Suddenly the £40m for Suarez sounds like a bargain when previously it seemed like an over-valuation.

  • Doofus

    Stroller – did you say the same when they broke the record for Figo, zidane & ronaldo?

    Did we spend more? Nope, our record fee is still 15m.

    Big clubs have lays spent big. What’s changed?

  • Sav from Australia

    Very well articulated article, Mr Attwood. Cheers.

    But Untold does get some odds ones in the comments section lol, usually names I don’t recognise as regulars mind you.

  • Sid

    Although I can see where Tony is coming from, I think Tom hits the nail on the head. Last season was a nerve shredding roller coaster and we got out of jail, big stylee! Lest we forget, we got knocked out of both domestic cups and played poorly too many times. The long coach journey back from Norwich was a personal low light!

    So, although I do think the team will be stronger, new players are a must and the fact we haven’t signed at least a centre back is bizarre IMO.

    Thanks in no small part to Gazidis I’ll judged PR boasts about us having buckets of filthy lucre, Gooners expectations have been sky high all summer and the feelings of frustrations are understandable.

    Of course the media have jumped on our lack of (big name, marquee, signal of intent, yadda yadda) signings and are twisting the knife as they revel in our impending doom (as they always do!), adding to the misery of weak minded fans, spoon fed the notion that only huge transfers will make us competitive! I don’t think big signings are imperative, but addressing the imbalance and weaknesses in our squad are.

    With the managerial changes at other clubs, we have the best chance in years of winning the leagueFFS! And that for me is why a few signings would make us potential champions.

  • Stuart

    Sid,
    Added to that we see great stability this year too which will benefit in a major way.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This story just brought memories of those who troll here .

    A Microsoft Technician

    One of Microsoft’s technicians was drafted and sent to a boot camp.

    At the rifle range, he was given some instructions, rifle and bullets. He fired several shots at the target, and the report came from the target area that all the attempts had completely missed the target.

    The technician looked at his rifle, and then at the target. He looked at the rifle again, and then at the target again. He put his finger over the end of the rifle barrel and squeezed the trigger with his other hand.

    The end of his finger was blown off, whereupon he yelled towards the target area, “Its leaving here just fine, the trouble must be at your end!”

    Just hope they get the idea and looked straight into the barrel and fire ! With our luck ,they’d probably miss too !

  • Florian

    Tom,

    At this point there are too many unknowns to make a decent assessment. That’s why I usually avoid talking about subjects that involve what happens inside the club. That only Arsene knows for sure.

    I can give you a personal example though. I moved to US some seven years ago from Romania, because of the job. In these years I grew tremendously as a person and professional, beyond anything I ever imagined. It’s been painful at times (numerous times), but it’s been well worth it. My point here is, if there is enough willingness, then many things are achievable. I’m not saying anything, as we are time-constrained, but that doesn’t mean that one cannot go farther than most. I believe player development is similar in some sense, and the ones that make the grade make it because they have the will to improve all the time, physically, mentally and on any other necessary aspects.

    I mentioned we are time-constrained – that’s the drawback of personal development, it can take years to reach the desired level (which is an intermediary stage itself, but I digress). In this context, signing players is just a shortcut, and the club has likely developed a methodology that evaluates the cost/benefit of bringing in a player vs developing one. This perspective is not obvious though, and to the untrained eye it looks that signing players is not essential, it’s the only thing that can propel the club to success – which is defined by winning a trophy, PL being the most important. The reality is that the players that have won a trophy lately, within a short time since arriving at the clubs that threw big money to bring them over, needed to pass through a growing stage themselves, and we only see them now because they gained sudden exposure.

    From this perspective, I think the players realize that signings are a part of the job, they are necessary and the best way forward is to accept them and move on. That they are calling for the Club making signings, to me it’s a sign of awareness, that the media distorts in its well-known way, and nothing more. I wouldn’t get overly excited about such and such comment – maybe it’s good for me that I’m living far from the media buzz so in a way it’s easier to discern the real news from the BS. In the end of the day, Wenger carries an immense responsibility, and one cannot fault him for being cautious. Not a lot of us could deal with that sort of pressure. I one believe Arsenal will make signings, which are driven only by their principles, and nothing else. The question of open-mindness is by now a moot point – they know what kind of players they want and they’re going for them, it just takes a bit of time. Their secrecy is what drives people crazy, but so what? The more talk, the more audience:) Ok, I’ll stop here, hopefully you had the patience to read my whole post. As I said before, enjoy the ride and be patient, there is still time for the results (read signings) to come.

  • Stevie E

    Florian
    Spot on.

  • blacksheep63

    I this article raises (again) the question of whether FFP is going to be applied and policed in the near future. IV at the fans’ forum was unsure but he said our plans were not based on FFP. Buying Suarez (or similar marquees) is sustainable for Arsenal at the moment but is it necessary? Tony (and many of you) are right in suggesting that the squad is in good shape. I would like a couple of additions but I haven’t seen Sanogo yet (later today hopefully). Arsene says they are working hard and I’ve no reason to think that is untrue. So let’s wait and see.
    Ultimately WEnger, Gazidis et al will be judged in May next year – not now

  • Rupert Cook

    And Manu bought RVP and that was hardly a failure. You can make arguments for both sides. You also say shirt sales don’t remunerate the money spent on a top quality player but players of the calibre of RVP also draw new fans to a team and get more bums on seats at the stadium. I doubt it equals the outlay for such a player but it does help raise the profile of the club.

    You doubt Neymar will improve Barca. How do you know he won’t? When people dismiss Sanago plenty jump in and say he may well improve Arsenal so the same can be said of Neymar.

    Of course it is better to grow a team but this is hardly easy in these times because as soon as one or two players show any brilliance they’re poached by City, Chelsea or the Spanish giants, thus ensuring the process begins again.

    I certainly don’t think we should be spending in excess of 40 million on Suarez and I think many agree. It seems like an act of desperation rather than a show of intent. I would think it would have been better to focus on other areas of the team like DM or CB. A striker would have been good and I’d have been really happy if Wenger had gone for Bony, who scored two for Swansea recently and would have cost under 20 million. Bony, my tip for the player to watch this season.

    I’ve never heard of any criticism of Cazorla because he was a cheap purchase. Some have claimed he’s gone missing in big games occasionally but the majority seem to think he’s one of the best buys we’ve made in years.

    Our current team has potential and the squad seems happier and more stable than it’s been for years but I think it needs bolstering because it’s a long season with four competitions to negotiate and injuries are inevitable and some of our back up has been loaned out or sold.

    To paraphrase Bob Paisley, I’d rather have players on the pitch than money in the bank.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Florian, very good thinking.

    BTW I loved Romania when I went there a couple of years ago. My wife and I drove through your country from Bulgaria on the way to Hungary. Loved the city of Sibiu and the countryside in Transylvania is beautiful.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Mandy Dodd @ 9:13pm.- Ouch ! More please , more !Oooo !
    In the meantime sodom and gomorrah ! Ooopps was choking on something ( laughter ?) when writing this ! Think it should have been sod ’em by begorra !My Irish is very poor! And looked what I found !
    Would somebody like to change the words so we can sing this dittie to those AAA who don’t exist ( like Fairies ,imps ,trolls, zombies ,werewolves ,vampires , Leprechauns , bogeymen ) but try to scare the shit out of kids and the weak minded !

    Sod ’em all
    Sod ’em all, sod ’em all,
    The long and the short and the tall,
    Sod all the sergeants and W.O. ones,
    Sod all the corporals and their bastard sons.
    For we’re saying goodbye to them all,
    As back to their billets they crawl,
    You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean,
    So cheer up my lads, sod ’em all.

    Sod ’em all, sod ’em all,
    The skipper, the jimmy and all,
    Sod all the yeomen and C.P.O. tels,
    Sod the chief sloshies and their bleeding smells.
    For we’re saying goodbye to them all,
    As back to their hammocks they crawl,
    You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean,
    So cheer up my lads, sod ’em all.

    Sod ’em all, sod ’em all,
    The jaunty, the crusher and all,
    Sod all the shipwrights and C.P.O. cooks,
    Sod all the paybobs with their bleeding books.
    For we’re saying goodbye to them all,
    As back to their hammocks they crawl,
    You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean,
    So cheer up my lads, sod ’em all.

    Sod ’em all, sod ’em all,
    The admiral, the flag-jack and all,
    Sod all the O.A.s and E.A.s as well,
    Sod the chief stoker and send him to hell.
    For we’re saying goodbye to them all,
    As back to their hammocks they crawl,
    You’ll get no promotion this side of the ocean,
    So cheer up my lads, sod ’em all.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And speaking of the weak minded , just found this report of a brain scan in the medical division of UA and the lamentation of the AAA specimen !
    “OMG ! I have finally discovered what’s wrong with my brain : on the left side , there is nothing right , and on the right side there is nothing left !”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Quotes to ponder –

    I think writing about unhappiness is probably the source of my popularity, if I have any-after all, most people are unhappy, don’t you think?
    Philip Larkin

  • SA Guns

    I see there is another SA Gunner here, so for today, Ill be SA Guns.

    What an embarrassing, one sided piece of drivel Tony, you should be ashamed of this which is nothing short of a nonsense post in my opinion.

    I dont want to take the entire piece apart, but I will focus on the below quote.

    “To make it 100% clear. Santi Cazorla was not a good enough purchase because he didn’t cost enough. It has nothing to do with his individual ability and his team ability any more. It is about the power of the advert.”

    Really? Are you absolutely certain that your so-called “AAA” or “anti-AKB”, AKB the category in which you fall into, rubbished the Cazorla purchase because he didnt cost enough. Clearly you are either very naive or completely trolling us on this one.

    For your information, many of our supporters are very clued up on the quality of players that ply their trade in the game. Let me give you some background.

    Cazorla has been followed since his days at Villareal. Very much a star in the aftermath of Riquelme (you probably know Riquelme because he missed a key penalty against us in our dream CL run), and established himself as a key player both for the team and in La Liga

    Cazorla was approached by Madrid and rejected their advances.

    We were in for Cazorla BEFORE Mata. Malaga snapped him up in the season Malaga acquired their big spending team.

    Cazorla was voted the best player outside the Madrid and Barca teams during his season at Malaga, with comparable and sometimes better statistics than both Messi and Ronaldo.

    So dont make assumptions that we dont know or research our players. You need to give those who give Wenger a difficult time with respect to transfers a chance to air their views first before making such assumptions.

    Such sort of comment, adds more calls to you declaring yourself an Arsene Knows Best and writing an article much like the AAA

    We were once again

  • SA Guns

    Ill go onto further state, that the reason for your beloved AAA looking to big money signings is because that would more likely refer to better quality.

    Yes, I can see you quoting the likes of Torres, Carrol, Berbatov as failures but I urge you to look at the percentage of failed big money signings compared to actual success which the money brings.

    Look at Man City, look at PSG, look at Chelsea.

    Now, Im not saying we need to become them, no. The point is we need to look towards the levels of immense quality to replace key players lost. To replace RVP we need a player of high cost because he is of top top quality. Yes, this is not what Wenger believes in but that doesnt mean it becomes wrong.

    We have the funds, Gazidis boasts about it every year, he mentions we can afford costs like Rooney’s wages for example as well.

    An added bonus is how thorough Wenger is, so a combination of his analysis and decent expenditure can relate to massive strength to our side. This is EXACTLY why the likes of Madrid and PSG want him so desperately.

    Tony, and Walter, take a step back and move away from the stance that what Arsene says is final. He is still the best man for the job in my opinion, but he needs to be advised as well. Adaptability (with responsibility) is what makes the best the best.

  • Bootoomee

    soglorious,

    Sorry to be responding to your request this late. I have been away from Untold for sometime. Strange eh 🙂

    The best way to appreciate that press conference is to watch Arsene respond to the journalists. You can get the transcripts in bits and pieces on Arsenal.com but there is nothing like actually watching and listening to him. His mannerisms tells something different from what the media interprets his answers to be.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Any one else pick up on wengers major dis of spurs transfers this season …he said only city had done much in the transfer market so far! Amused me anyway

  • Stuart

    Yes Mandy Dodd, I thought it was a quite amusing dig at everyone really, media included.

  • Gooner S

    Tony, I’m not sure what the point is here. Is this a comment on football in general or on Arsenal and the views of some fans? It lacks clarity. You seem to be confusing these different elements and at the same time being a tad condescending to others that don’t quite match your view.

    “It’s a team game”. Yes, that’s a statement of the obvious.

    “”We need a goalkeeper, central defender, central midfielder, centre forward” scream some – ignoring any concept of how the team should fit together.”

    “Scream some”! Who’s screaming?

    Please don’t confuse the opinions of some that think the team (note team)and the squad (again take note) need improving with a desire to go out and buy individuals. Furthermore, why assume that because some, including me, are saying that we need to improve the team/squad that we don’t think it’s a team game?

    I happen to believe that we do need players in those positions. That is my view and frankly if you look at our squad and can’t see some or all of that then I have to disagree with you and wonder just what team/squad you are looking at. If we wish to compete for the title the squad does need improving. We should not buy at all costs or spend beyond our means but there is enough quality out there for Arsenal to add to the squad and really compete.

  • Sid

    Thank gawd Higuain wasn’t one of the Napoli scores or the atmos would’ve been even worse!

    That’s the thing now, regardless of the actual reasons, if Arsenal lose a competitive match, the lack of signings will be thrown up as the reason for every loss.

    Patience is wearing thin, unfortunately. We’ll just have to go another season unbeaten then!

  • sperez

    This has been circulating on the internet :
    ‘Rumour has it that Barça have already made the €57M back from Neymar’s transfer fee on shirt sales worldwide,and the young Lad hasn’t even played yet.’
    Of course the numbers may be exaggerated but you cannot underestimate the importance of a player like Neymar can have boosting the coffers of Barcelona.
    Like it or not, star players add value to clubs.
    Clubs treat fans with contempt and Arsenal is one of them. The deliberate spins/lies from Wenger and Gazidis have not been appreciated by many fans.
    Wenger can spout wonderful things about young players but he is not Jürgen Klopp (and he’ll never be). He cannot lead his young players to glory. Besides, his record in developing player is a joke.
    So it makes you question why Wenger has been putting so much emphasis on young/unproven talent.
    He is now talking about Sanogo to the press in a way that’s not good at all for the young French player.
    I wish the best for Sanogo but with Wenger’s methods for developing young players I’ll keep my reservations…

  • Florian

    Thank you Stevie.

    @Rupert,

    Off-topic: I still go there once in a while. Not very often though. I see you can be quite social. I might like you more if you could get your thoughts together, listen less to what quote some people think &quote, and use more numbers to discern the reality from the myriad of hypothesis that are flying around. Not easy, but not impossible either. You said you spend a lot of time at home, it would be a shame not to make better use of it.

  • Jim

    I hate the way the game is now going and the way the media so easily get the foolish Arsenal fans thinking that unless Arsenal spend massive they’re instantly written off. They call what used to be bad good and what used to be good bad.
    Their was even some ridiculous individual at the game today wearing an RVP Manure shirt, which he said was his protesting that Arsenal had failed yet to bring in a stella signing.

  • uk

    all we ask for is quality. if sanogo turns out to be quality wenger will be praised by all and sundry, even the ‘bogeyman’ press. if not, he will take stick, and without mercy too (because if you buy someone who’s already proven his quality, i/the press/akb/aaa will all anticipate quality on the pitch. if the player fails to produce, i cant castigate the manager much cos i know, i too was decieved). however if you sign someone only you rated, you take all the glory or all the blame. its quite simple, no need for press bashing

  • uk

    and please tony dont play smart. of you didnt know cazorla thats your business.. but someone who’s been playing for spain @least since 2008,(9 i remeber him replacing fab in the semi final loss to USA @2009 xonfed cjp) and a n established star in the spanish la liga since then, is very well known by people who know football.

  • uk

    @edda,
    robben over-the-hill @chelsea? lol. im wondering what silvestre would have been over @arsenal then

  • Rupert Cook

    @ Florian, thanks for the kind comments, I think, LOL. You’re ok, I won’t judge people on what they say on blogs because in real life they’re often quite different.

    Good luck in America.