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How Arsenal used the critics of Wenger to make the purchase of the summer

By Tony Attwood

This is the story of how Arsenal, a club derided by “fans” who had long before turned on Messers Wenger and Gazidis, ceaselessly criticised by the Arsenal Supporters Trust and the Black Scarf Movement,  and endlessly found wanting by virtually every journalist paid for a comment, managed to pull off the transfer of the summer: the purchase of Mesut Özil.

It is an amazing tale in which Arsenal, rather than fighting against all its critics, used them to help arrange a purchase that few, if any could have seen.

In this first article which tells the tale of how Özil became an Arsenal player against all the odds, I take a look at the role of the Anti-Wengerian blogs – by considering one typical article from one typical blog.  Following this I’ll show how the media was also used to develop a story that none of them knew they were really reporting, and still, days after the event, leaves them completely unsure what the hell was going on.

But let me begin with a complete confession, admission and some suitable contrition.

It took me a long time to see what was really going on – a period in which I believed that Higuain was actually going to be an Arsenal player.  Indeed I even ran a wretched piece saying that the deal with Higuain was done and the Argentine was on his way.

Now it is commonplace for blogs to make all sorts of statements and then, when they are wrong, to shut up.  Some even delete their predictions.  (Some even change their articles, and/or comments from critical readers to make it look like the readers are the idiots, not the blog writers, but we’ve done that story before, so I won’t expose that bunch of twirzles again).

Anyway, as Walter said in my absence in the utterly wonderful Channel Island of Guernsey, Untold is different, so here I am doing my penance sitting in a bucket of cold water, covered in sackcloth and ashes, and allowing everyone to laugh.

But it is worth accepting the agony, for not only does it allow us to unravel what really happened, but also to remember some of the stuff that was said in the run up to Arsenal’s record signing.

To set the scene I want to look again at just one piece that appeared on Just Arsenal News under the headline Arsenal fans are becoming the biggest mugs – AGAIN! 

I’m not running the whole piece, (you can read it all via the link above).  But I am quoting it, to remind us all of the vitriol that has become commonplace  against Arsenal’s owner and managers, combined with the AAA’s utter certainty that it is always right.

And because it was this type of writing that gave Arsenal the ability to sign Özil.

Thus the story begins:

Well I’m definitely not a rocket scientist but am also pretty sure I don’t have to be to work out that we have released 10 players plus and some of them on big salaries now gone from our wage bill and we have only signed 1 player on a free transfer. This is totally unacceptable and disgraceful and I’ve got to the point now where my mind and heart have finally come to terms that AW, Ivan and Stan have to leave our club ASAP or we will face the same problems we have over the last few years and that is in simple terms “not winning anything”, by always making the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results. We are definitely becoming the biggest mugs as fans of Arsenal FC.

Now that is a fairly clear statement.  You will notice that the situation on 10 August was seen as such that AW, Ivan and Stan have to leave our club ASAP .  No waiting for the end of the transfer window.  All the evidence needed to make a cool and rational judgement was available.

Shall we digest just a few pointers on the joke we had become?  Yes, lets.

The writer tells us…

AW has stated that we are working really hard in the background trying to bring in real quality players to our club. Oh really Mr Wenger so please explain in detail exactly how you have been doing this?!. Because from what I understand the transfer window has been open since June and we are now approaching the middle of August, For your information Mr Wenger and Mr Ivan, Sunderland have signed over 10 players so far and AFC Roma have just brought in and signed their 13th new player since the window opened so how have we been working hard trying to bring players in??..

This use of sarcasm and cynicism is the heartbeat of such writing, and we will all, naturally be looking at Sunderland (currently 19th) and Roma (3rd after two games), since the writer brought them up.

But there is another point – because the date of transfers isn’t really that much of a guide to their value.  (As a helpful guide for those who lack any historical context there is the Anniversary section of the Arsenal History Society web site which records quite a few transfer dates.)

Indeed just recently the last moments of the transfer window have of late brought us Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta, on the final day.  On the other hand Łukasz Józef Podolski joined us officially on 1 July 2012, but in effect it was signed before then.  No dates don’t seem to mean much.

Now the writer goes on

The only things that I’ve noticed is that we let Higuain go to Napoli because apparently we really want Suarez which is going to be the most stupid dragged out saga of the summer and he will end up at Real Madrid for 30 million pounds or something, then its almost certain we have lost out on signing Rooney because he will end up at Chelsea. What the hell happened to Jovetic? Oh of course he went to Man City because we were messing around scouting some 15 year old in Austria or something ridiculous like this, surely if we can bid 40 million pound for Suarez then we could have joined the race for Cavani or Falcao, so why do our club put us through this torture? Jesus Christ we are officially the 4th richest club in the world and only signed 1 player on a free transfer, this is sickening in every department and there can’t be any more excuses. I hate to say it but look at the way Spurs have done business so far and they still have Bale at their club so their fans must be over the moon with what’s going on at the Emirates right now.

Now in suggesting that Arsenal actually used this kind of rant as a play for getting Özil to the club means I am venturing into the area of the conspiracy theory – always a dangerous ground.

I’ve written about them before and it is worth expounding here the notion that  there are only three explanations for history:

a) the religious view that everything is God’s will

b) the Marxist view that everything happens because there is an economic inevitability that drives history in one way and one way only.

c) the cock-up theory in which people conspire constantly to make change, and it ultimately screws up (most of the time).   I explored this a little bit in an earlier article which cites Guy Fawkes, and which also looks at the real meaning of “conspiracy”.

So if it was a conspiracy going on with Arsenal using the likes of the above article, what was happening?

Mr Wenger came as close as he could to giving us a clue as to what was going on when he pointed out on 21 August 2013 that “the transfer window starts now”.  He meant, quite clearly, “I ain’t done nothing yet”, which is interesting when you think of all the talk that had already taken place re Suarez.   But more of that anon.

The beauty of the anti-Arsenal movement is that those who expound it, like the writer quoted above, never have doubts and can use all sorts of self-belief to justify any comments.  For example, the above rant also includes the notion that “history having a habit with normally repeating itself I don’t think we will be smiling come September 3rd”.

But you see, history doesn’t repeat itself – but the AAA, the Arsenal Supporters Trust, the Black Scarf people, and journalists in general, they all do repeat themselves and each other.  You can rely on them.  And that is how they came to be used in this saga.

Anyway, that’s the start of this analysis.  I got my prediction of the Higuain transfer  horribly wrong, as did this writer over whether we would buy anyone at all.  The only difference between us is the level of vitriol, and that very funny phrase “our whole empire of Arsenal Football Club”.  Being something of a historian (well, I am the chair of Arsenal History Society, which is a start) I know that the club has not been owned by the supporters since the supporters refused to buy the shares in the club in 1910 when Henry Norris offered the club at £1 a share to the local community.  It is not our club.  It is the club owned by the shareholders and run by the executives chosen by the leading shareholders.

Which is rather fortunate really, because that is how we came to have Özil.  I’ll explain how it went via Suarez and Higuain, in the next piece.

And yes, it was a conspiracy.  Although not everyone knew it.

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The books…

61 comments to How Arsenal used the critics of Wenger to make the purchase of the summer

  • Digvijay

    When you say Arsenal used this, you mean, they planted the people to write these articles?

  • colario

    Here is evidence of the all knowing ‘Arsene DOESN’T know what he is doing brigade AST division’ at a brain storming session.
    http://www.onlinegooner.com/podcast/0120_goonerpodcast.mp3

  • Disco Stu

    I read this explanation of our summer on another blog and it makes great sense. Not sure how informed the blogger was but there seemed to be quite a lot of detail

    Higuain was our initial target from the Bale clear out sale at Madrid. We had agreed a fee and personal terms (confirmed by Higuain Sr. if you recall) then Napoli gazumped us, and Madrid went back on their word, told us to match or beat Napoli’s offer. Either Wenger thought he wasn’t worth £35m or he got annoyed (probably both) and walked away.

    Around this time Suarez agents made it clear he would consider coming to us and that if we wanted him he had a buy out clause of anything over £40m. After making the bid it became clear there was no such clause and Liverpool wouldn’t sell to us for anything except ridiculous money.

    With Sp*rs stalling on the Bale deal to ensure we couldn’t buy any Madrid players before the NLD (worked out well for them 🙂 we had to bide our time. We were interested in Benzema Di Maria and Özil, Ancelotti had been told he had to sell one of those players, he decided Di Maria was the one he’d part with. And so we lined up a deal to sign Di Maria once the Bale deal finally went through. As the season progressed and it became clear to both Di Maria and Özil that they’d have to play in different positions to accommodate Isco and Bale they had very different reactions. Di Maria said he was happy to fulfill any role for the team and would play anywhere. Özil on the other hand refused, feeling, and with justification he was the best No. 10 in the world and he didn’t deserve to be on the bench or shifted to the wing.

    That left Madrid with a problem, they went back to Arsenal and dropped the bombshell that they can no longer sell us Di Maria, but they offered us a solution, would we take Özil. After messing us around twice once the price was set they promised that Özil would be ours notated who else came in a bid last minute regardless of if the bid was higher.

    That seemed like a very accurate insight into how transfers are planned then fall apart and then change. I believe this account is as close to the truth as we’ll ever get

  • Brickfields Gunners

    When will they learn that the club is being well run and in good hands ? Why do the even try to rationalise what they cannot fathom .They just don’t see that they are out of their depth in these matters .

    As soon as they understand that this not about them personally ,but for the good of the club , the better . Move on , enjoy the journey and the show .This is fun .
    Up the Gunners !

  • The font

    I want to be a millionaire . and I have a plan I am going to sell anti depressant to the AAA

  • this is the best blog l come across in the arsenal news world, l be in le grove, goonerplay and many of them. Thankgod l seen positive blog to read about my belove arsenal not that negativity blogs.

  • blacksheep63

    it might not work The Font, they might like being depressed!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ The Font – You may need nurse Ratched to keep all those cuckoos in the nest !

    http://www.demotivationalposters.org/facebookview.php?id=63375

  • graham clarke

    Black scarf ? This kind of thing makes me think of ten year olds making up something after reading the black hand gang what a joke any grown ups out there?

  • elkieno

    Who cares what AAA, AST and BSM say, we got Ozil for a big price cos AW enabled us to be able to. You can’t teach a kid that school and study are very important, he feels he is right and having fun is better regardless of what you say., but years later the kid realises he was wrong, it’s too late by that time.
    Unfortunately we don’t have the power to create a parralel universe where we could send them to play and control Arsenal so we can watch, laugh and say told you so when they get relegated.
    Ahhh if only!!!!

  • blacksheep63

    i will take the cock-up theory of history over the conspiracy one every time but prefer the notion of cause and effect. The transfer window is like a property chain (well, since players are in effect property, that’s exactly what it is sadly). I think AW wanted to improve the squad and he and IG have been quite consistent in saying so. The AAA and the press just choose or unable to believe them.

    Those of us that trust the management of Arsenal Football club have been saying Keep Calm and Trust Arsene all summer. The key was Bale. Once he went all the cogs began to turn. However, Liverpool and MUFC managed to keep their stars because Rooney and Suarez didn’t want to leave if a) it meant going somewhere they didn’t want to go and b)they had to give up their loyalty bonus by making a transfer request.

    I suspect WR wanted to go to Chelsea (unlike Elvis Costello) and LS wanted Madrid. Neither wanted us because we maybe didn’t suggest enough ambition in our actions, or they though we wouldn’t offer enough money. I suspect that in signing Ozil we have demonstrated to both of them (and to other world class players) that indeed we have both. So January and next summer will be exciting times at Arsenal Football club.

  • Andy L

    At one stage in the transfer window one blog reported that we had been linked with 209 players , forgive me I can’t remember the site , but ironically we signed none . We signed 4 from elsewhere , 3 at no transfer fee , which would make me wonder whether Arsenal read any opinion from any source other than what the great man decides . He has a vision of how he wants his sides to play and fits the pieces together , his only disappointment is that some players in the recent past have not had the patience and foresight to have gone with him.

  • Va Cong

    It’s also great not sure if anyone notice ozil didnt say its my dream to play for arsenal straight up he likes our attacking football and under arsene he will get better.

  • The font

    I need you lot to come up with a name maybe
    Musutmakeraspudasbeen

  • The font

    Colario
    Your 9:01 these guys should be made to apologise for there ignorance

  • The font

    Brickfields
    Spot on with 9:34 s-f-b

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ The Font – PROZIL – ” A dose of Turkish delight ” ?

  • para

    Va Cong: “It’s also great not sure if anyone notice Özil didnt say its my dream to play for arsenal straight up he likes our attacking football and under arsene he will get better.”
    At least he is honest about it. He just took the best deal for himself when it was clear he had to leave RM. Maybe after 1 season the love will grow for Arsenal who knows? Maybe he finds a permanent home here.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    OZILEPAM – ” Works to keep you serene and calm ” ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    MESU’OZIL – ” The ultimate chill pill for untold ails ” ?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    OZILISIT – ” The ready answer to all your whatsits ” ?

    OZILBALM – ” Fast attacking ,always in control ,relieves congestion ,soothes tension and maintains calm ?

  • Digvijay

    No I don’t mean Arsenal planted people to write. I mean that they used the cover provided by the blog writers and their fellow travellers in the media and associations, as a cover so that they could do a deal with Real Madrid to secure a player that no one at Real Mad wanted to leave. More will become clear in subsequent articles.

  • trugun

    The faction that got to me most during the window, were those, (and there were quite a few) that stated with great certainty, messrs Wenger, Gazides,and Kronke were “deliberately” putting in low bids for players so they could say they were trying without having to spend anything, we had put in £40mill + one at that time for Suarez. A conspiracy theory that’s away with the fairies, or, a disturbing look into the mind/void of some supporters of Arsenal FC.

  • elkieno

    I just think it was coincidence using media and grumpy fans Tony, it sounds too much like they have their hand in our pulse, which I don’t believe.

  • Va Cong

    Yeah para that’s what I liked transparency new arsenal legend 😉

  • The font

    Brickfields
    Thanks for names But I am afraid. All of your solutions will give the AAA a pain in the arse

  • I’m glad Wenger has proved his critics wrong by making a marquee signing. Viva Arsenal and Viva Wenger.

  • AL

    Wenger is the master at pulling off signings noone would’ve seen coming, be it an ‘unknown’ future world class star, or an already made world class star. This guy is a genius. But predictably, the AAA and the media will never give Wenger the credit he deserves.

  • bjtgooner

    The anti Wenger clamour really reached a crescendo this summer – and the vitriol defied normal logic.

    In addition to the AAA and media playing on the comparison of Arsenal apparently not spending and the Spuds buying all round them (you would almost think ‘Arry and Rosie were still in charge there) the rants included the propaganda phrases “Wenger has lost it”, “he is out of date”, “we need a younger manager with new ideas”, “not a bad manager in the past”, “no good at finalizing transfers” – and more.

    This looked like the AAA etc trying to play on the fears of all weak minded fans to terminally undermine Wenger.

    At the same time, it appeared as if there was great reluctance by some clubs to sell to us – almost a secret agreement? In addition we had some clubs trying to run Arsenal down – “what are they smoking down there?” from Liverpool and we had the Newcastle manager deliberately lying about the timing of our bid for Cabaye. So what prompted this disgraceful behaviour from other EPL clubs?

    Since our signing of Ozil we have had shock and dismay from MU, Spuds, Real Madrid fans; we have had Dalglish reportedly claiming it was a bad signing, we are told it is not the signing we should have made and now we have Ozil’s character under attack in the gutter press.

    Why the total never ending fascination in running down the Arsenal?

    The only explanation I can have is that someone (with resources) is desperate to change the ownership of the club to suit the ambitions of someone not fully identified.

    Anyway, good article Tony, I look forward to the next episode!

  • Tony,

    I am glad to see you admitting the errors of ‘breaking’ the news of the Higuain deal. You came ‘close’ on Gustavo too. Let’s hope that you’ve learned your lesson for the future and leave the speculation crap to the likes of the omniscient blogger from JustArsenal 🙂

    It is easy for me to not be involved in the speculation of transfer deals because I NEVER really liked the idea of buying and selling players. I am rather idealistic in this respect: keep and nurture your own players and leave those of other teams alone. You need new players? Groom them! Of course, this is not realistic in our current world (was it ever?) but I still refuse to salivate over the prospects of bringing in players from other clubs. I don’t mind them coming but I am not going to be sad or angry if our only additions are free transfers and promoted youth team members. That’s just me.

    The more important point (and one that many Gooners never seem to get to my utter amazement) is the fact that Arsenal and Arsene Wenger never advertise their prospective signings. NEVER! As I’ve always said (including in my articles), I believed Arsene Wenger when he said that players would be added to the team. I never second guessed him because he has always added players. Some may not like or agree with his choice of additions but to deny this fact will be to show acute Wenger Derangement Syndrome (WDS).

    Talking about the AAA and the moronic know-it-alls in the media, none of them is talking about the role of Arsene Wenger’s personality in the signing of Ozil. Recall that they wanted the man gone to be replaced by an Ancelotti type manager (some actually suggested the Italian). Well, it turns out a world class player would prefer to work with the “clueless idiot”! Ozil emphasised the importance of Arsene Wenger in his decision to join us while snubbing PSG who offered more money! Amazing, isn’t it?

    Fuck the AAA and the fucking media.

    If you are offended by the term AAA, you are most definitely AAA yourself. So fuck you too! Get off your asses and support the team. But if that is too difficult for you, then get the hell out of the way of the faith keepers. Our club would only be taken seriously by the media when us supporters have unflinching faith in the team. Whiny Arsenal supporters want to do the job of the manager, the CEO, the board and even the players but fail miserably at their only role in the relationship. They fail woefully at supporting the team.

    Our players are going to do well this season, it’s about time we the fans start playing our roles of supporting them well!

  • To early to start gloating one swallow does’t make a summer in my book. Hopefully the club have kept something back for the new year but i am not feeling optimistic.

  • colario

    Calm down Bootoomee, calm down! We know you love Arsenal but don’t them AAA and the rest get to you! 🙂

  • GoingGoingGooner

    @bjtgooner

    “The only explanation I can have is that someone (with resources) is desperate to change the ownership of the club to suit the ambitions of someone not fully identified.”

    An interesting take on this. He certainly has the motivation to do this…millions tied up in the Arsenal and no control except the ability to sell the shares (probably at a loss given what he paid for them)…And, billions and billions to manipulate the situation to his liking.

  • Wooby

    @bjtgooner and @GoingGoingGooner … I have often wondered if much of the poison in the media is spread by David Dein as a means to force SK to sell to AU.

    I agree with those who have commented that the first domino to fall would be Bale. AW must have calculated that RM would need to sell at least one player to fund the purchase of Bale…and the Spuds would not want any of those players to come to us. So the tactic is to throw a bunch of smokescreens out there to confuse the hell out of everyone. The bid for Suarez, if nothing else, proved to would be sellers that we actually have the funds should they wish to sell. The other thing is, to pick up Tony’s point about AW’s quote on Aug 21, we needed to qualify for the CL group stage in order to have meaningful discussions with transfer targets.

    Tony, can’t wait to read the rest of the articles.

  • tea for three

    @ bootoomee, were I wearing a cap, it would be taken off in your honour, Gooner.

  • colario,

    I always wonder why people ask me to calm down. I am always calm. Telling the media, their AAA enablers and all AAA apologists to fuck off was done quite calmly. You see, I didn’t use all caps 🙂

    My point remains though. Supporting Arsenal (or any club for that matter) is not by force. Anyone who feels unable to support the club, for any reason whatsoever, should be free to suspend their support and/or refuse to renew their membership/season tickets. But they should not continue to undermine the club by booing in the stadium or posting anti-Arsenal drivels on the Internet.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I agree with you all, but I do not think that AW is interested in Benzema after seeing him become a mental case. Benzema has lost the plot. This is really bad considering how great he was with Lyon and as recently as the 2011-2012 season of the Liga that was won by Real Madrid at the detriment of Barcelona and the then departing Guardiola.

  • para

    I’ve started to get the feeling recently that Arsene Wenger seems to always get his man. Now before you reply, read on. I think he looks at players early on in their career and if he fails in getting them then, he never forgets and keeps monitoring them, over years if necessary, until the right moment in their career comes, then AW makes his play. He seems to have a complete list of players who he would sign. I think it is the way they play football mainly, but beyond that, if they fit in at AFC and his philosophy of playing football. Of course some may never get to Arsenal, due to circumstances or wrong timing, but i’m sure that he already knows who he would like to add to the team in January, that is if deemed necessary, for he also likes to give his current players chances to prove themselves, sometimes a little too much longer than we fans do, agreed?

  • colario

    @Bootoome. Yes I know exactly how you feel for I feel the same. 🙂 🙂

    I had not been to online gooner site until today. I listened to the whole of the podcast no.120. Members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust. It was bad enough listening to these people mouthing off the club they claim to support but their ignorance on matters Arsenal was amazing.

    If you live in England then you will know the programme ‘The Weakest Link’ In one programme the presenter Anne Robinson in a chat with a contestant who had said he worked for the RAC, asked him what the letters ‘RAC’ stood for. To our surprise he said that he didn’t know.

    A few minutes later she tried again and he replied ‘The Royal Automobile Company.’ Surprised at this but not silenced Anne replied with what I still think is a great line and it applies to the AST ‘Is there any where, where your knowledge begins?

    For anyone not in the UK the correct answer is ‘The Royal Automobile Club’.

  • Stuart

    I actually liken the BSM to the EDL – not in their values but in their operation. An unruly mob each with individual agendas using a common concern to cause chaos.

  • Tjekem

    It is great to be amongst fellow Gunners who love our club!

    Up The Arsenal!

  • Travis

    Where are the AAA these days? We got MESUT ÖZIL and they dissapeared. Wierd, huh?

  • Jerry

    This is why Arsenal has class! They let the media run with whatever made up stories they want, but do the real hard work in the background with no one knowing!

    The Ozil signing was great, I’m loving everything about it, and what he (the player) has said after. There’s apparently articles where he said that after talking to Arsene, he trusted him so much he would have signed for free!

  • Tjekem

    @Jerry,
    And Wenger talked to him in German, not English or French!

  • Micheal Ram

    Hey everyone. Havnt wrote something for a long time now. Reading most of the time though. As usual the best Arsenal blog (thks tony n ur belgian fren) with the best article and the best comments. Hope everyone here keep supporting arsenal and mr wenger for a long time to come. Well done again.

    Straight to the point now. The last five years was the most miserable of my life as a person and a football fan. The constant beating of the club and mr wenger was literally a thorn at my back. Painful and there’s nothing to do about it. Truly remarkable that he stood strong all these years in despite of what nonsense the fans and media put him through everyday. I really feel for that man and subsequently the effect it had on players and club. Will never forget and forgive the eboue booing incident. Star players leaving arsenal, star players rejecting arsenal, pundits including ex-players trashing arsenal, and worst by self claimed arsenal loyalists. It was very draining.

  • colario,

    Great anecdote! How could any intelligent person not know what the acronym of their organisation mean? Anne Robinson is often criticised for ridiculing stupid people but that is precisely why I like her. Society, in the name of political correctness, has tolerated dumbassery so much that dumbasses now equate their stupid opinions to that of actual experts in every field.

    I am still waiting for one of them to take up Tony’s offer on behalf of Corby Town. What an opportunity for these geniuses to show us what they’ve got!

  • Micheal Ram

    Continued…

    The mesut ozil signing changed everything. It changed how people look at the club, how the fans look at the club, the media and heck even fans from other clubs. It changed me as a person too. I always believe in great things happens when we are patience. True enough mr wenger is about to change the football world. Everyone, dnt care or take account of what the AAA (or everybody in that disgrace tag), the media or other clubs say. I believe there is a conspiracy against mr wenger from all corners of the world. Someone or some groups do not want him to be an arsenal legend as he deserves. People are jumping into the new world order wagon to their own benefits thus ignoring anchient virtues in life. Its always easy to reep rewards at the expense of others but its forever noble and divine to sacrifice self to the reward of others. Mr wenger, I believe in you and forever will. I dnt know about others but I hope you know there are many who will follow you blindly upon the trust we have in you.

  • Pete

    Wooby @ 4.25.

    While I still haven’t forgiven DD for selling out to Usmanov I strongly doubt he is trying to destabilise the club – in fact I think he may be helping more behind the scenes than you are aware. Remember that Usmanov removed him as front man quite quickly – and then his nemesis – Danny Fizsmann passed away. Remember also that he was, and is, very good friends of Wenger. Finally he is a loyal supporter of the club! Surely not an AAA?

    However, something seems to have gone awry with his son – but then again, he did bring Flamini back (although doubt his views were influential one way or the other!).

  • Adam

    Brickfields,

    Ozstyle attack, all guns blazing, the cannon just got a little lighter.

    To all,
    In all seriousness, I think Arsenal had to wait until the oilers were out of the market. Could you imagine the clamour for Ozil if he came onto the market before Jovetic moved clubs. In some ways Arsenal had to wait until the bottomless pockets had finished shopping.

    Who would you prefer to pay and watch Jovetic, Eriksen, Fellaini or Ozil?

    I still cannot believe we have signed him.

  • Adam

    @Tony Attwood, off topic but maybe interesting information for you.

    http://www.uefa.com/uefa/disciplinary/news/newsid=1991062.html

  • gouresh

    Looks like the knives are out on our very own wizard of oz. DM slagging him off as a woman chaser.

  • Va Cong

    @bootoomee like I said with new world class fans, and the swearing is just used for dramatics I know. Can’t wait for the internationals to be over its such a drag… We will get another big signing and more smoke screens I can feel it!

  • AL

    Micheal Ram
    “I believe there is a conspiracy against mr wenger from all corners of the world.”

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Wenger has ‘made’ many enemies by his style of management, from other managers, agents, gamblers, footballing bodies, etc, because his style doesn’t involve spending vast amounts of money. Lets just put it this way, suppose you work for an organization with lax security and that has every employee helping themselves to the organization’s resources, all except one person. Do you think that that one person would be popular with other members of staff. I don’t think so; everyone would want that one person to be gone so they can loot the resources without fear of being exposed. With the ridiculous amounts of money flowing in football Wenger’s methods stand in the way of and pose a threat to those raking millions in the corrupt world of football.

  • Adam, very grateful to you for that. I’ll write it up along with the decisions on the clubs allowed into the Champs League qualifiers while under investigation.

    Uefa ain’t perfect, but that is a step in the right direction over racism.

  • Micheal Ram

    AL, u r absolutely spot on. But I hope michel platini will keep his word and enforce the financial play regulations properly and not chicken out when he needs to stand firm. All these nonsense has to meet its end. By the way, many years ago wenger was stopped and warned of conduct when he had a belgian club as an informal partnership for his youth grooming. Now the spurs has a partnership with real madrid? And I heard a few other partnership as well between english clubs and lower foreign club. Man utd and sporting lisbon? Whats going now? Any views on this? I need some truth here.

  • A. Stewart

    I honestly still don’t get the chest thumping by the so-called AKB over this signing, in that it is apparently being used as a stick to beat the so-called AAA with.

    The point is:

    a) Which faction (it’s sad that factions exist) has been in recent years far more aligned with 1) pushing for established top quality and 2) acknowledging (not through recklessness by reality) that it takes (barring a Cazorla esque rare and unique situation) top dollar to sign top quality?

    And

    b)

    Which faction often in direct response has been far more aligned with a) opposing big name/big money signings and/or pushing internal youth development as bigger priority and b) regularly castigate those pushing for Ozil-esque signings as glory hunters, reckless etc etc.?

    I think everyone can be very HONEST in saying that in recent years the faction that was far more pushing for an Ozil-esque signings and the faction that was far more hesitant about such a type of signing were the so-called AAA and AKB respectively.

    I’m still curious as to why this insistence (such as in the article) on trying to beat down the so-called AAAs for getting the very thing they have been promoting. It’s very bewildering.

    And further (imo at least) it wasn’t (as mentioned) rocket science, it was opportunity and PAYING the going rate for such quality. Some 43 million.

    Kudos to Wenger, Gazidis and whoever else was involved in getting the deal done, not sure why anyone would think those that oppose Wenger’s recent direction would be unhappy about this development or shouldn’t be allowed to celebrate in the very thing they have long been asking for.
    As you said Tony a lot will be revealed in coming months about this deal, but you’re apparent haste to pin the success of the deal based on the writings of bloggers, seems a little misplaced and feverishly opportunistic , agenda-driven and as you admit, dangerously going down the road of conspiracy theory.

    The far more practical and realistic stories that surround the deal suggest:

    a) Isco and Bale (more so) were bought for huge money and statements of intent, as is Perez’ known m.o. especially in response to when Barcelona does something big/wins as they did with Neymar/last season.

    b) Madrid hierarchy interferes with first team playing matters arguably more than any other big club. I think everyone can accept this. Thus Isco and Bale will have to feature and feature heavily. They don’t often do things conventionally or as some may argue, sensibly, in this manner. So therefore (just like before with Sneijder and Robben who both went on to win the CL which Madrid still hasn’t won since) very good and/or potentially great players and talents have to make way for big marquee signings. In this case the names floating around were Benzema, Ozil and DiMaria.
    —Quick digression, as mentioned with Robben and Sneijder, and another example amongst more is Makalele. Madrid (especially under Perez) getting rid of very very good players to pursue more “Galactico” names is really not unprecidented. And has left many outside observers, many Madrid players and others connected with the club confused and in disagreement with such moves. And like Inter, Bayern and Chelsea benefitted to win big trophies (including the CL) with key contributions from Sneijder, Robben and Makalele respectively, so too will we hopefully benefit from Madrid’s and Perez’ once again bewildering moves, with our purchase of Ozil. Again this is not some unprecedented rare stroke of genius (especially at the price we paid) but rather a club once again benefitting (or in our case stemming to benefit) from Perez’ “Galactico” policy, thankfully we convinced the player and as importantly had the cash to pay (good work Arsenal). But hey, blame the blogosphere.

    c) Ozil and DiMaria were the most likely to be affected by Isco and Bale due to their winger/attacking mf roles. Not so much Benzema who is closer to a traditional striker, and especially with Higuain departing.

    d) DiMaria reportedly was more willing to accommodate the new signings in playing position and playing time that was Ozil.

    And with the timing of the Bale deal everything happened extremely quickly (AS CONFIMED BY OZIL who thought at that very weekend he would still be a Madrid player), so I really doubt that this had been some super strategic plan of exploiting the writings of bloggers over the summer in a coordinated effort by Madrid and Arsenal to get the deal done.

    Rather it seems that at opportunity came up as detailed above and we took advantage and did it.

    Big respect to Wenger and the team for convincing him to come as it’s reported there were other interested parties.
    It also helped that Arsenal were flush with cash and simply paid the going rate (finally) for top quality. I also think the decision between PSG (the reported main competitor) and us was far more attractive to Ozil in our favour specifically for the same reasons he left Madrid. At Arsenal there is far less competition in terms of overall numbers and established quality players in attacking roles than at PSG (note I am not saying they are a better team), and there is also in recent years more a trend of interference in football affairs by the club’s higher ups.

    So feel free to ignore all this for the conspiratorial stuff that bloggers with different opinions from you made this deal go through, especially when those very bloggers have long been more championing this type of deal that this blog.

    Weird.

    Also, as attempted with this article (I think).. the rantings of any one blogger (pro or anti-Wenger’s direction) shouldn’t (imo) be used to broad-brush a sect of fans of endorsing EXACTLY and COMPLETELY what said blogger writes just because they may largely or broadly be either pro or anti-Wenger’s current policies.

  • Arvind

    @A.Stewart: I do like many of your postings although I dont agree with all of them. And that’s fine.

    I’ll try and explain (as an AKB) on where many of them are “possibly” coming from.

    For an AKB the problem is not about spending money. It isn’t about disagreement with their points either. Nor is it about ‘Lord Wenger’ and anyone who opposes him must be shot down. I certainly do not feel that way and I’m reasonably sure a large section do not feel that way either, although..that’s just a guess on my part.

    The problem has always been the tone of conversation and the utter lack of respect being given to the people in question AW, Gazidis etc etc..primarily AW I’d guess. There’s a difference between saying a thing respectfully, disagreeing well and discussing it…AND shouting it out aloud, calling people despicable names and throwing all of the person’s work into the drain because trophies hadn’t been won and they couldn’t boast in a pub in front of their “Spurs mates”.

    No, I don’t have a list, nor will I make the effort to collect a list of blogs that are “negative”, I’ve read enough over atleast the last 6 years to confidently say that these factions, sadly, do exist.

    Ideally there should be none of this AKB – AAA nonsense. Fans should debate, disagree and move on. But it never works that way. People get drunk, resort to tribal abuse on blogs, chest thump at the wrong times, behave like WUMs all the time and there’s a bunch of trolls as well from other teams..none of which help reasonable debate.

    Personally, over time, I’ve learnt to tell the genuine posters from the fake ones..and I do believe you are genuine from your posts..which is why I am happy to respond and engage in debate, despite not agreeing with you. How many are like you…sadly…not that many. And that’s where the problem starts…

    As for Oezil costing 42 million and the AKB chest thumping…it’s probably over done a little bit, I agree. For me it’s great satisfaction because our policy of hoarding money and keeping it in reserve to blow at the right moment appears to have paid off, unless Ozil is a gigantic flop (which I somehow doubt) or is crippled by the thugs of a Stoke City type team. It’s also satisfying because it makes me trust Arsenal more. They’ve always said the money’s there to spend on the right player and they’ve gone and done that. It might yet flop…but they (to me) lived up to their word.

    The last point about the AAA calling for money spending and it’s THEM who have been proved right…I’m not sure I agree with that. The reason being they’ve said that for years and if Arsenal really were bowing down to their wishes they’d have done it long ago. The fact that they did it only when a truly world class player was available says they’ve stood true to their policy.

    Note..all this is just my opinion and none of it is fact. What do you think? I hope that clarifies an AKB’s, albeit a single AKB’s position 🙂

  • A. Stewart

    At Arvind…Ditto I respect your posts also regardless of agreement. Allow me to address two points you raised:

    1) “The problem has always been the tone of conversation and the utter lack of respect being given to the people in question AW, Gazidis etc etc..primarily AW I’d guess.”

    I’m not sure I can agree with that wholly in principle Arvind. I’m sure many a gooner can attest (be in on locations in the blogosphere, in person, in stadia whatever) that by simply having the opinion that disagrees with Wenger and his policies, by thinking it’s time for change, by wanting to prioritize winning, and by expressing those opinions succinctly and respectfully, they are still the target of those who attack and label based on the content of their opinions regardless of their expression. I’m sure you are genuine in your appraisal that you think that it’s all about tone, but I can tell you there are many who are on the receiving end of vitriol because of what they say not how they say it. There are simply some people who cannot/do not accept any criticism of Wenger, and some people who consider questioning a club as not true support. Clearly I don’t think you are one of them, but I strongly believe they do exist amongst those you would call AKBs.

    “As for Oezil costing 42 million and the AKB chest thumping…it’s probably over done a little bit, I agree. For me it’s great satisfaction because our policy of hoarding money and keeping it in reserve to blow at the right moment appears to have paid off, unless Ozil is a gigantic flop (which I somehow doubt) or is crippled by the thugs of a Stoke City type team. It’s also satisfying because it makes me trust Arsenal more. They’ve always said the money’s there to spend on the right player and they’ve gone and done that. It might yet flop…but they (to me) lived up to their word.”

    I think this statement contradicts itself a bit, in that it raises the very legitimate question about whether this type of signing could have been done before, or even now could have been done by adding more. Over the recent years as you mention the club’s OWN WORDS including the manager’s, its published financial and reputable third party analysis can lead to one arguing a strong case that this could have been done before.

    And also even without spending this money others argue that existing resources could have been used more efficiently in not supporting and overpaying a way too large number of average and young players who have flopped (have drained resources over time) and have been balanced by underpaying our better players who could have likely been more easily retained if they were paid closer to their market worth.

    A flop is a flop…does it really make a big difference if Ozil flops versus spending arguably far far more money collectively (fees/wages) over the years on dozens on dozens of young players and average squad players who contributed little or nothing, and in most cases have brought in negligible resale value? Is a big name player more a “mercenary” for following the money at City or Chelsea, and an average player making far more than he could get elsewhere, but is satisfied to not play for us and wind down a contract?

    There’s a risk with any singing, Ozil could flop or he could have his leg snapped at Stoke.. But there is a far greater chance of a) a player like Ozil contributing quality on the field than a Bischoff (insert any dozens of names), and giving us a better chance of winning and the financial windfalls it brings and that buy just having a big name player brings. And if we could invest in say 2-3 Ozil type players for the same or less money that we spent on wages and/or fees of (anyone can draw up at least a dozen or more names in the last 2-3 seasons) for average players who have contributed nothing and in many cases are now gone..then does that not make sense?

    You see it was never about AAAs asking to spend money like Chelsea or Madrid but rather to:

    1) Utilize the resources that we did have more efficiently with regards to wages/numbers & status of players etc. (which the club has acknowledge publicly is a problem that needs to be addressed soon)

    And

    2) To utilize the resources WITHIN OUR POWER responsibly to acquire a top quality player(s)(not rash wholesale changes willy nilly) that we as the club have said for years, and you acknowledge they have said, that we can afford.

    That’s all really.

  • Arvind

    Thanks A.Stewart. That was a well thought out reply. I’ll address your points.

    a) While I’m sure I cant speak for all of the blogosphere, I’m perfectly fine if someone tells me very clearly, the reason they disagree or say, want AW out. I might not agree..and that might just be for a variety of reasons that are valid to me but not you. For example: I would be happy just competing if we continue to spend money bringing kids through, try to grow a complete team inside while being successful ethical businessmen outside, spend a lot of time and money in coaching at the grass roots…I could go on. I’m sure you get my gist. For me trophies are nice…really nice..but that’s about it. If the club continues to behave well to everyone and remain competitive while playing reasonably well, I’m good.

    BUT..I do understand that’s just me. I don’t expect you or anyone to have that opinion. I’m fine with disagreement and debate. What I don’t like is people suddenly out of the middle of nowhere..start things like.. ‘Gervinho is shit’ , ‘Park should be shot in North Korea’ or multiple similar statements which make very little sense. Or even if they do…they put me off by their very tone and make me feel that the person is forcing his/her views on me. THAT is my biggest problem.

    If you want AW out, fine, so be it. Lets discuss that and if we don’t agree in the end..lets move on. It’s not a big deal. It’s an internet forum.

    b) Ozil and the big money…Well I think it comes down to a very subjective question on what real quality is. And all of us have different opinions on who is world class or not. For example: When Arteta and Benayoun signed for us a couple of years ago on deadline day.. I was very very very happy… not because we’d “added bodies” but because they were 2 players who I had long admired. For many fans.. that was cost cutting or barrel scraping or whatever.

    Did we have money all these years? Probably. Why did we keep it in reserve? Probably waiting for the Puma and other deals to kick in and protect against us dropping out of the top 4. That’s not fact, that’s just an opinion again.

    For me it’s all about ‘acceptable risk’… like I guess you mentioned as well. But acceptable according to whom? The Arsenal board. The banks. Whoever really who has a hand in the money. It comes down to that.

    Ozil is very clearly clearly world class so the club has thought..okay acceptable.. he’ll almost certainly succeed. Other players … maybe they weren’t as confident.

    Spreading money over multiple players? I’m guessing its the same as investing in multiple stocks instead of blowing everything on 2 quality ones. You get hurt less. You may not make that much…but you won’t go bust. I’ll end the finance lesson there as I’m quite poor in that subject :).

    Either way..I hope you understand my point… and if it means anything I’ll be super super happy if Ozil catapults us to a title thus proving the callers for more investment right…if it’ll mean more peace and a united fan base. Coz after all… it’s about the Arsenal in the end. Not you or me.

    Peace 🙂