OK so it is reportedly which means when translated someone made it up and everyone else (like me I suppose) is copying it. Although the source does appear to be France Football which tends to get these things more right than wrong.
So he’s…. well 16 and is costing around £3m which according to invented commentaries already doing the rounds, is too much. Man U said no. Allegedly. Anyway, he will play for two years as a scholar and then move onto being a professional, which is what English law now dictates. He will presumably start with the under 18s.
He comes from Paris, has played for France under 16s, and scored five goals in 10 games as either a forward or attacking midfielder, and in July 2012 signed for Lens.
Now according to the history-denying Telegraph, Mr Wenger has warned fans not to expect another signing along the lines of Ozil and Alexis, but reading the transcript it doesn’t seem he said much like that at all. And “expectation” isn’t really a word to use in this context because I don’t think anyone expected us to buy either of them at the time.
But the Metro says we have just agreed the deal with Petr Cech. If that’s right I’ll be referring back to this article for the next three months, as a sign of how insightful Untold is by picking this one out. If not, I’ll never mention it again.
The source of the story seems to be the “Secret Footballer” – the guy who has written a couple of moderately interesting books about what it is really like to be a footballer, without revealing his identity. Certainly worth a poke through on the beach in June.
Anyway, you may remember Gonzalo Higuain – one of Untold’s biggest cock ups in that we (OK I) said we were signing him when it was all a phantom. He’s back on the agenda and Arsenal have “made an offer”, a phrase which is followed by “according to reports,” a phrase which ought to be followed by “made up by a 13 year old sitting in his bedroom and with nothing better to do”.
But now we have the reason why he is moving. He is “frustrated with life in Italy.” And that is interesting. Quite often I find I am frustrated with life in Northamptonshire, but even so I am not sure that is reason to move. Mind you, I’d be frustrated with life anywhere where I was not regarded as the greatest writer of the age. Which means I am constantly frustrated.
But enough of me. Why Gonzalo is frustrated we are not told.
So here’s another. Szczesny is going to Southampton on loan next season. (The Metro).
Moving on, one of the ways of putting down Arsenal that has emerged in the second half of the season is to suggest that Coquelin and Bellerin are good, but not good enough.
EPL Index has done this in an article saying
Coquelin is a classic destroyer. He is one of the best pure ball winners in the Premier League. Five to ten years ago that may have been fine to have, but the position has evolved since then. The defensive midfielders don’t need to be playmakers creating chances, but they do need to be able to help dictate the game and move defences side to side.
I’m not going to argue if this is true or not, but I quote it as it is a pure example of that latest technique which says, yes, ok, they are good, but there are better players out there, so we should go and buy those and forget the one we have, and if we don’t then Wenger is a turnip. (Or some other vegetable).
This of course is music to the ears of the aaa but it is limited, because as always with such arguments they reflect players as they are now, not as they can be in years to come. Anyone who saw Francis in the mauling by Man U some years back will have said he wasn’t up to it. But as a predictor of what he would become that was not very accurate. So why suddenly has his development stopped now.
Thus if instead of saying, “this is how he is and that’s that” we said, “look at the journey he has made in the past couple of years, and consider what might happen if he made another 10% progress” we’d actually reach the conclusion that we absolutely don’t need anyone else.
As with all predictions, it depends on the basic premises.
And in many regards that is the heart of the constant problem with football commentary. It is all about NOW, not about what has happened and how it might continue by way of development. Still, I suppose that is a bit of a tricky concept for some to get hold of.
And of course there is the issue of money. As Mr Wenger said, “The appreciation today of the quality of a player is just down with the money you spend. If we had bought Coquelin at Christmas for £40 million, everyone would say ‘What a signing’. I am sorry he didn’t cost any money, he is still a good player.”
The logical conclusion of the EPL Index approach is that one might as well not have an academy at all, and just buy players. It is a model, although not one I feel at all comfortable with, any more than I feel comfortable with the notion that was published in the comments recently that it doesn’t matter where a club’s money comes from. A rich donor or gate income it is irrelevant, says the argument. Go for as much as you can get.
It’s a view, but not one that I personally like. And indeed, as we have known throughout his time at Arsenal, it is not one that Mr Wenger likes either, for speaking of the retreat of Uefa from FFP he said,
“I could see it coming: resistance in France and many countries, in Italy for example, where people want to sell their clubs. If Milan is for sale, Roma is for sale, people who want to invest money want to make sure they can do what they want with their own money.
“And Uefa might be under threat as well. All these people once they go together say, ‘Look, we are a force, let us do what we want or we move away.’ That is certainly the fear.
“I have no problem to lose the battle. I just fought for what looks to me to be logical: that any business, to have continuity, should live with the resources that it creates.”
Well now, Uefa under threat. Now that is a thought.
One from the anniversary files (the rest are on the home page)
20 May 1993: Arsenal 2 Sheffield W 1 (FA Cup final replay). This was the third and final game against Sheff W at Wembley, and the 17th and last cup match of the Cup Double Season as Arsenal became the first ever team to win the League Cup and FA Cup in the same season. When Linighan scored Jonathan Pearce commentating, “The boy from Hartlepool is in the big pool of London football, and he’s become the biggest fish of them all.”
And there’s Twitter too: @UntoldArsenal