This forthcoming transfer window should be the most significant in Arsenal’s recent history, possibly in their entire history, because they are now in such a strong position to challenge for – and win – the Premier League title. It is a window of opportunity. The question is: will they take it?
And then it all goes off the rails with
Now is not the time for Arsenal to make bids of £40million and £1 to try and chance their arm on a release clause to acquire Luis Suarez that was not as water-tight as they thought.
The poor old “Senior Football Writer” makes a blunder right at the start probably because he reads… the Telegraph, just about the only paper not to carry the story that John W Henry admitted, while speaking at a major sports conference in the US that he lied consistently about the £40m release clause. The story was in the Guardian, the Mail, the Mirror, the Independent… but not in … well you know.
Tell you what Mr Burt, next time you run the headline “Arsenal’s transfer policy has been too weak for too long – they need to get ruthless this summer” and talk about Liverpool by way of how to do it, maybe have a look beyond your own paper’s coverage – which as Senior Football Writer you influence.
Just because you ignore a story, it does not mean it did not happen. To say, “Suarez did all he could to make the deal happen,” is nonsense – because Suarez and his agent knew that the £40m buy out clause was there (because they had signed it) and thus they knew that Henry was lying, lying and lying again. Yet Suarez did and said nothing at all. All he had to do is say, “Henry is lying, here is the contract”. He didn’t because, as Untold has shown, Arsenal were playing vapour transfers – a concept we revealed three years ago. It was all staged for the benefit of, well, you.
So then we move on to the fact that Liverpool “might be willing to sell Sterling if the terms are right. Arsenal should make up their minds for them.” And here again ignorance is bliss. On 30 January 2008 The Court of Arbitration in Sport laid down the Webster ruling that all players can leave their club after three years, irrespective of what the contract says. The ball is totally in Sterling’s court. Arsenal merely have to say that they want him – if they do. I’m not sure they do.
But there again the CAS ruling of 2008 was never covered in the Telegraph. Most papers did. The Guardian etc etc, but not the Telegraph. Hey ho.
After that the head of footballing whatnot in the Telegraph goes a bit off the rails by quoting a totally speculative article in their own paper that Arsenal are waiting for Cech to force a move to Arsenal, and that this won’t happen, so Arsenal should offer £15m to force Chelsea’s hand. “Financial Fair Play is the buzz phrase at Chelsea and if Arsenal really want Cech then be decisive and be quick. Make it easy for him and easier for Chelsea.”
This is an interesting allusion, since a search of the Telegraph’s web site using its own search engine reveals only one article on FFP in relation to Chelsea since a 2011 piece about Chelsea being involved in asking for it. A funny omission if it is the case that FFP is the buzz around Chelsea. But sadly, the Telegraph has not followed up on the analysis that Untold and several other investigative sites have carried into how Chelsea is using two loop hole in the regs (over loan players and renegotiated contracts) to virtually by-pass FFP.
After that the writing seems to lose touch with reality somewhat, talking about Chelsea selling Mata to Man U for £37m because Man U offered the price straight off. “Arsenal need to do the same” is the phrase used – which again ignores Real Mad’s £42m for Ozil and the £35m to Barce for Alexis. What’s more Arsenal had to cope with Tottenham’s attempt to undo the Ozil deal by saying they would not sell Bale to Real Mad without an agreement that Ozil would not go to Arsenal. Arsenal undid that hurdle as well.
The fact is that the Ozil deal was not done quickly – Mr Wenger has revealed that he was speaking to the player a couple of years before the transfer – this whole notion of get in, offer, buy – is one way of playing the market, but is often fraught with problems. Not least in that you can end up with the wrong man. Just look at Liverpool’s recent transfer dealings which have been based around this notion.
Perhaps knowing he has gone off the rails a bit Mr Wilson then loses the plot totally, saying
There are other areas of the team that require immediate improvement – central defence and another defensive midfielder
That may be his opinion, but saying it is pointless because Mr Wenger has already said he is not going to buy a central defender because he thinks he has enough. Now one can argue with his views about the growth in ability of Gabriel, the progression of Chambers and so on, but just saying ignoring what the boss of the club has said doesn’t make very good journalism.
Nearing the end of the piece we do get a recognition of the transfer of Ozil and Alexis, but still there is no recognition of the “free” arrival of Coquelin and Bellerin. How much could these young players be worth now? (Actually the writer does acknowledge these two a bit when later in the piece he says, “Arsenal, who still think firstly to acquire potential and need to alter that mind-set.” And we might ask, “with players the quality of Coquelin and Bellerin coming in for zero, why should we?”)
And then we have the last resort of all football commentators, amateur and professional. When even the most clouded and unworkable of assertions has been used they tell us what we are thinking.
“The fear from supporters will be”
Oh, actually not what we are thinking, but what we WILL be thinking. Are you ready for this? The Daily Telegraph man knows what you will be thinking! For fuck’s sake, I don’t know what I will be thinking in five hours time, let along when the transfer window opens. But this man in the Telegraph does. Spooky eh?
Anyway, just in case you want to know what to think, you will be thinking “that a strong end to the campaign might convince Arsene Wenger that less change is needed and that he has, with a couple of additions, enough in his squad already. He has already suggested as such, which should set the alarm bells ringing among supporters.”
Ah, so even if you fall by the Telegraph-inspired route to proper thought, you will hear bells ringing in your head. Oh those bells those bells.
You can tell that by this stage it is all getting a bit desperate, with the editor screaming for copy and the piece not finished because then unbelievably the writer, the senior writer, says
Ray Wilkins, the former Chelsea assistant manager, sums it up: whereas others buy potential; Mourinho buys proven. Wenger needs to do the same.
Wilkins, you might remember, is the man who went to court charged with being so over the alcohol limit while driving that when asked to step out of his car he could hardly stand up, and claimed in front of the magistrates that he had never ever been over the limit in his life – forgetting that he actually had been banned from driving because of his previous drink-driving offence. He had to do a 12 month community service order for this second offence.
Does this level of drinking and memory loss affect one’s ability to give insight and analysis into how Arsenal should run its business? You may disagree, but I think yes. Does it reduce Wilkins credibility as a commentator on Arsenal’s transfer policy. Actually, yes it does.
Does the fact that the senior football man at the Telegraph uses such a reprobate (whose actions in driving while utterly pissed out of his head – he was found slumped over the wheel of his car unconscious on one occasion – could have resulted in the maiming or death of other road users) as one of his sources for his anti-Wengerian rant reduce the validity of his argument? Certainly.
Let me throw in one other snippet.
Carl Jenkinson has been on loan all season at West Ham United, who want to sign him permanently. But Wenger seems resistant to a deal. Why? He does not need Jenkinson when he already has Hector Bellerin and Calum Chambers.
Ah, Bellerin. Nice of you to remember. Brilliant player, we got him for nothing.
So why do we need Jenkinson, if indeed we do?
Well, here’s a reason. Because at the very start of this season we were crippled by injury, and the reason we had what one semi-skimmed correspondent on Untold called “the worst start for 30 years” was because our team was shred to bits by choppers given free reign by referees of dubious heritage.
We need a BIG squad, but you can’t have a BIG squad made up totally of ready-to-roll first teamers because when they are not injured, they all expect to play.
And let’s just note that even as we approach the end of the piece there is still not a mention of Coquelin. Coquelin who was there and ready to play for us when needed. Coquelin who has been tracked by Untold since he played his first game in a training camp.
Why does he not mention our Francis? Oh, because maybe as a writer he has some shame after all, at realising what a total load of unmitigated cock this article is and that he never ever saw what Untold saw all those years ago.
The piece concludes “It is Groundhog Day.” It may well be, but for the Telegraph not Arsenal.
Blacksheep, with whom I travel to Arsenal games, thinks we should ignore papers, not buying them and not reading them even on line, so that they wither away. I agree we need to fight them, but take the opposite view (which makes for interesting trips from Northampton to London) and think that the more their rank stupidity, bias and lack of basic knowledge is revealed, the more the message about what they are up to will get across.
So yes, a lot of publicity here for the Telegraph. But I hope you see the point.