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October 2016
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Theo, Mikel and Tomas will stay.

By Tony Attwood

Over the years of building Stadium Wenger, we’ve got used to players deciding to move on.

Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Bac Sagnay, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Alek Hleb, Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Alex Song…

Some have done well, some have quite simply taken the money and run, some have taken the money and fallen over, Cesc found his DNA didn’t match the Barcelona master race after all, and of course some have been edged out of the door.

We know the reasons why.  Some have just wanted money, some didn’t fit, some wanted to experience something else, some were misled by the promises of other places – promises which did not always deliver.

What does become clear looking at the list, is that some of the purchases made suggest that the clubs looking at our players have just seen what they have become under Arsène Wenger – which quite often means playing at a very high level because of the tactical arrangements Arsenal have made.  What they haven’t seen is the system that the players have played in – a system often changed by Arsenal to suit the players available.

We can see this quite clearly in this regard with a player who is still very much with us: Francis Coquelin.  He didn’t turn from being a not-that-wonderful player with Freiburg into our regular man of the match this year through personal development alone, but through the way he is managed, the training he gets and the positioning he is given.

Likewise Thierry Henry didn’t move from being a flop with Juventus (one goal every 6.3 games) to being Arsenal’s greatest scorer through personal development alone, but through the coaching and understanding of ArsèneWenger.

So, slowly, the word has got around among the playing fraternity, it’s not all about the individual player.  It is about the player and the manager and the system.   Otherwise how do you explain Alex Song going from Arsenal to Barcelona to… WHU in the space of a couple of years?

Which is why it isn’t too much of a surprise that Arsène Wenger is saying that he is sure Theo Walcott will sign a new deal with the Premier League club, despite some northern team showing an interest.  His actual words were “I am confident because I believe Theo has a great future.

“He is just coming back from a very, very difficult injury. Every week he is getting better.

“Theo is very young and I believe he will have a great goalscoring record in the future because of the quality and intelligence of his game, and therefore I would like him to stay with our club.”

And Theo will probably say yes, because he knows he is unlikely to get the sort of attention and support that he gets at Arsenal, in other clubs.

Mr Wenger also said that Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are likely to agree contract extensions at the end of May.

Meanwhile on the issue of Jack Wilshere Arsène Wenger said in his interview, “He has improved physically and I think he is available for selection now to be in the squad.”

Arteta, as we’ve assumed, won’t be ready yet because of match fitness, not because of an injury.   Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is two weeks away from full fitness, but as we’ve already listed here Wojciech Szczesny will be in goal for the Reading match.

Mr Wenger said about the semi-final,

“I think this is my 10th semi-final on Saturday so that means we know how to prepare.  We know as well that it’s always tricky – we learnt that from Wigan last year. It’s a special occasion for us to share with our fans. We want to go home happy but we know in a semi-final it’s tricky.”

Here’s the list of semi-finals under Mr Wenger

  1. 1998: Arsenal 1 Wolverhampton 0
  2. 1999: Manchester Utd 2 Arsenal 1, after 0-0 draw
  3. 2001: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1
  4. 2002 Arsenal 1 Middlesbrough 0
  5. 2003 Arsenal 1 Sheffield Utd 0
  6. 2004 Manchester U 1 Arsenal 0
  7. 2005 Arsenal 3 Blackburn 0
  8. 2009 Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1
  9. 2014 Arsenal 1 Wigan 1 (won on penalties)

So that is six wins out of nine, not too bad a record.  And the list above is a good reminder of how things can work when Arsenal’s finances are not restricted.  The first seven in the above list came in the space of eight years.  Then the long pause while the stadium was built, and now we are looking at a similar sort of run again – at least I hope we are.

Mr Wenger also had a few words to say about the match being on TV at the same time as Chelsea against Man U: “I’m surprised a game of the same stature is being played at the same time. There’s a bit of conflict there and it’s difficult to understand. It shouldn’t happen. You would like it to be a unique competition, especially the semi-final.”

But with our match on the BBC, which means free-to-view, it will of course get a much bigger audience than the Sky match, so there are no real worries.


Two early anniversaries on this day from our troubled times…

16 April 1910:   Tottenham 1 Arsenal 1 in front of 39,000.  The first ever Tottenham v Arsenal league match at Tottenham.  Despite five games unbeaten Arsenal’s financial and footballing problems continued. This was the 16th consecutive match in which neither side scored more than one goal.

16 April 1912: One of the club’s pivotal days.  George Leavey wrote to the Kentish Independent explaining that he could no longer spend the time nor provide adequate support for the club, wished Norris and Hall success in the venture, and resigned.

Untold Arsenal



21 comments to Theo, Mikel and Tomas will stay.

  • @Swales1968

    I want everyone to stay, for now. Arsenal fans especially the more negative ones have been moaning for years about how our squad isn’t good enough. But what do we get as soon as the final weeks of the season are upon us “we need to sell Jack, Diaby, Flamini, Arteta” etc why?

    Why do Arsenal not keep hold of everybody, buy in where needed and then at the end of all that work out a PL & CL squad then a FA cup & League cup squad and see who is left over. The club can then look at who to send out on loan and then and only then sell players. Arsenal are in a better position than they were a few season ago and so not needed to sell to buy or even to sell to reduce the wage bill.

    Peoples agendas on social media and in the media in general against players should be roundly ignored. Actual playing style and the job they can do for the squad is often over looked for “he’s always injured” or “I do not like him as a player”. On Facebook the other day I was told I was in a minority about wanting Wilshere to stay at the club. I do not get why Arsenal fans are so quick to want players to leave the club?

  • Goonermikey


    You’re not in a minority but the minority want you to think you are to make themselves look stronger…………….if you want a good example of that check out any one of Cameron, Miliband, Farage, Clegg etc. It’s how the aaa work too (except they are a miniscule percentage of the Arsenal electorate).

  • kingbasil

    There is a need to sell two or three in order to free up space for quality gems in the squad. I’m thinking flamini would definitely go but of three mentioned above I think not. Wenger is aware of this as he already stated that the influence of these elderstatesmen in the club is essentiel for the successful unlocking of the potentials in the squad presently…

  • TailGunner

    It’s good if they do stay although I don’t know what sot of contracts Mikel, Tomas and even Abou are likely to be offered, but if it’s true that Theo is looking for a considerable pay increase then I wouldn’t be surprised to see some very hard negotiating with the club holding all the cards this time.

  • Nonny


    Welcome to the world of the aaa where everything about the club and its players are trash. If U ask why sell JW, U will get the response that he is injury prone and has not lived up to potential. JW is still only 23 and will definitely improve.

    However, I see Arsenal selling Podolski and Campbell and buying a replacement (ala Sanchez kind of guy) for the right wing attack. Maybe a CM/DM to replace Flamini whose contract is running out.

  • goonersince72

    I agree they’ll stay. It’ll be nice going into a window just needing cover. I honestly feel this squad will compete for the title next season. Of all the names being bandied about the only one I’d consider is Cech. That’s not to knock Ospina who’s been brilliant. But a world class, proven goalkeeper is not available very often. And that just might put us over the line.

  • john

    I would not favour Cech above our existing keepers. Nor would I wish to see Sterling, Cleverley, Milner (or any of the current subjects of press rumour) being signed by Arsenal.

  • esxste

    Ospina has the best win ratio of any player to have played more than 10 games in the premiership… and people want to replace him?

    I fail to understand the logic.

  • nicky

    What, in my view, speaks volumes about our great Club and Arsene Wenger, is that many players who leave do not prosper, some regret ever leaving and ALL recall their time with Arsene with much affection and respect.

  • For me each transfer window is a shock – right up to the last minute I really never do guess who Wenger is going to buy.

    The 25 player list for this year actually only had 23 players on it including Campbell and Podolski but excluding Gabriel.

    Not sure how many of the under 21 list will a) graduate and b) be over 21 but leaving that aside we currently only have 22 on the 25 list.

  • bjtgooner

    Lets hope Arteta and Rosicky stay – we still have a relatively young squad and retaining a few very experienced players would be invaluable to the younger players.

    When the “Invincibles” team was broken up we lost not just some very talented players but a lot of experience as well.

    As for Theo, he has immense ability, not yet fulfilled. If he would tackle back a bit more his value to the team would be considerably increased. Also if he could stay fit and start regularly surely he would be our top or close to top goal scorer each season. Lets hope he stays.

  • para

    Theo needs to perform more to get over £100,000. True, he has been injured this season else he would have done that, but he must know that he’s not going to get a big raise just like that. He now has to perform. Maybe some sort of performance based raise mid season 2015/16. Anyway that’s my thoughts on that.

    The fact that Theo has not learned to defend with the team in all the time he is at Arsenal worries me, and will also worry the coaches too.

    My observation is that Theo has grown apart a little from the rest of the team, but this could be a result of the long injury layoff and not training with them.

    a Smile link:

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hope you are right and they do stay. There will be injuries, rotation and games for all these players. Read somewhere, possibly arseblog that Arteta sometimes sites on the bench with the manager and coaches. Wonder if he will do his badges as he continues to be a very important player in this team? I am sure that’s ultimately where his future lies, such an intelligent player.

  • @Swales1968

    Jacks not good enough, Jack Wheelchair, he keeps the ball to long, he runs in to brick walls, he’s not the player he thinks he is and his wages are too high are just a few of the reasons we should apparently get rid of Jack Wilshere.

    And don’t worry I never let them get the better of me on their, it’s the same with refs and stats they moan when I use stats to prove a point but they are quick to use them against Wilshere etc.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Tony – ” It is about the player and the manager and the system.” True .
    And most importantly the undivided and unwavering support of the board to the above .
    Here , read the fall of Borussia Dortmund .

  • Horsham Gooner

    I’m very happy with the current squad, including Diaby. But if I can just fantasise for a moment, I would love to see Neuer in the Arsenal goal.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Good things come to those who believe ,
    better things come to those who are patient , and ,
    the best things come to those DON’T give up .

  • ARSENAL 13

    @brickfields….ironic isn’t it. Their sympathetic approach to the issue that Klopp has …..

    Yet they turn a blind eye when its the same (multipled by 3 and add 2 more) that ARSENAL have faced.

    But why isn’t Dortmund commercially competent, with Bayern. OK its not easy matching their numbers. But if they haven’t thought about the commercial side of the game when they were successful. Wonder when they will….

  • Pat

    Klopp’s resignation, and his failure to maintain Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga prove once more how remarkable Arsene Wenger’s achievements have been, particularly in the past ten years or so. They put in perspective all the ridiculous negative comments that were made belittling his achievement in keeping us in the Champions League for all those years. Not to mention that Arsene Wenger has also always seen his contracts out which puts him on the moral high ground as well.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ ARSENAL 13 – I suppose when you are attacking at close quarters , you are indeed really and truly short sighted . To win is the main thing and to be ‘right’ is the only aim. Only after the deed is done or the victim is done , dusted ,dead and buried ,does the feelings of remorse, guilt and / or of wrong doing set in.
    Very often too late . And you have to live with your conscience and face the man in the mirror everyday .

    Live, love, laugh, give while you have. Do so in such a manner that you fall in love with the person you see in the mirror, in a way so there is no burden on your conscience when you put your head down on the pillow. ~ Om Swamiji.

    And from the mouth of babes…