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October 2016
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L’Equipe suggests new signing imminent, Morata to Arsenal, Tottenham for England

By Sir Hardly Anyone

It’s a funny old business, this transfer lark.  You remember Carlos Tevez and how with WHU in 2007 he conspired illegally to keep State Aid Utd in the Premier League at the expense of Sheffield Utd.  Sheffield got £18m in compensation for the behaviour of State Aid (then known as West Ham) but of course WHU should have been thrown out of the league.

Anyway State Aid are now saying they want Tevez back, and I guess that would fit for the club funded with the money of those of us who pay British taxation.

Mind you, not to be outdone Messi is reported as going to Chelsea.  Seems that the club that behaved as it did through most of last year, including an insane court case, now sees Messi as the perfect fit.  No one actually said, “he’s a tax cheat so fits our profile perfectly” but you can just imagine the thought process.

And that’s not all (and yes I will get to Arsenal in a moment).

Having been humiliated in international matches this summer, after using the tactic of employing five Tottenham players in the team, the FA have decided that what was wrong was not that they had too many Tottenham associated people linked with the team, but rather that there were not enough Tottenham associated men in the affair.  So they are now turning to Harry Redknapp and Gary Lineker to help them sort of out the future of the England team.

Meanwhile Petr Cech is reported as having talked to reporters.  Now that is always dangerous in the extreme, because what comes out the mouth is not what goes out in the media but it seems that he told Sky something and they say that he “admitted to reporters that the Frenchman (that’s Mr Wenger to you and me) had the necessary qualities for the England job, but urged him to stay at Arsenal for the time being.

“Obviously that is a question for Mr Wenger, if he would like to take this (England) job, but he is someone who has been coaching in England for such a long time, he definitely has the pedigree and the quality.   He knows the atmosphere, the mentality and knows the expectation and the love England has for football, so obviously this is to his big advantage.

“But I think he is enjoying his time at Arsenal being a club manager, having the day-to-day job and it would be more of a question for him.”

Elsewhere L’Equipe today has the story that Arsenal has made a bid of €15 million for the Djibril Sidibé from Lille, and the bid has been accepted.

Sidibé joined Lille in July 2012 as cover for Mathieu Debuchy.  He is now 23 and is known for his passing out of defence directly onto the front runners.  He has played both at right and left back and in defensive midfield.  He’s played 96 league games for Lille, scoring seven.

But that is not all the new news today, because suddenly out of the blue the Telegraph is suggesting that “Alvaro Morata prepared to snub Chelsea in favour of Arsenal move”.

Now the word “snub” is usually used when the editor of the made up sections of the paper (which these days is most of it) says that a new story is needed NOW!!!

They then go on to repeat the headline in the text, in order to make it look as if they have done more than 0.1 seconds research.  And true enough the paper is saying the Morata is “reportedly favouring a move to the Emirates because of his desire to play in the Champions League.”   And yes it is true that most of the papers are ignoring the fact that Man U and Chelsea will not be in the Champs this coming season.  Best to keep it quite I guess.

The fee is supposed to be £65m.

Mind you the Telegraph is also saying that “Another area that Arsenal need reinforcement in is in the midfield, with Welsh star Aaron Ramsey set to miss the beginning of the season.”

So if we pause on this for a moment what we have is the notion that Ramsey will miss a couple of games at the start of the season and so for cover ARSENAL NEED TO BUY SOMEONE FOR THOSE TWO GAMES.

I can only presume that they have forgotten exactly what Arsenal’s midfield looks like.

Moving on the Evening Standard have now said that Alvaro Morata is coming Arsenal’s way.  He’s the guy who is with Real Mad but with the buy back clause from Juventus.  They buy him back for £23m and sell him for £57m to Arsenal – that’s the deal.

Anyway there’s another player on the horizon now, Guy Smit, a goalkeeper who has a two week trial with Arsenal.  Seems he has had enough of NEC Nijmegen.

Newcastle midfielder and Frenchman Moussa Sissoko has revealed his desire to join Arsene Wenger’s side, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. The midfielder reportedly “loves the idea” of signing for Arsenal this summer after Newcastle were relegated to the Championship but Wenger has no made indication of signing the player.

So this is a man in whom Arsenal have no interest whatsoever starting his own transfer rumour.  Well, I never!

But less you thought it was business as usual, I can tell you it is not, because with the internationals just about over it is time for the media to come out with fulsome attacks on Arsenal.   We haven’t really had too many of these so far this summer, but now with most of the possible names that could be linked with Arsenal, now linked with Arsenal, the word is out – the media must wheel out the “Arsenal are being left behind” stories.

No worries that these stories came out last year with the assertion that Arsenal were the only club in the western spiral arm of the galaxy not to sign an outfield player last summer, and then Arsenal went off and came second in the league.  No, if a story was run last year it will be run again this year.  And next year.  And the year after that.  Besides what have facts got to do with anything.

And here we go with

Why Arsenal are in danger of getting left behind by Manchester United

The first thing to do is to note that everyone else is buying.   The first bit of reality to avoid is the fact that only 25% of new signings actually make much of an impact in year one.

Then time for noting that the latest new signing is Japanese, and we all know what we think of the Japanese.  Well actually some of us manage to avoid ludicrous national stereotypes but not the Independent who go for “Remember Ryo Miyaichi? No, nor do I.”   Untold wrote about Ryo too, but without the notion that because one Japanese player failed another would also.

Where does it stop?  Because we signed goal keeper Frank Moss from Oldham in 1932 and he was a great success does that mean we should sign all future goalkeepers from Oldham?  It is the same sort of bent logic.

The article then notes that Olivier Giroud went 15 games without a goal last season, and say that is “not title-winning form by any stretch.”  Except that Arsenal only scored three goals fewer than the champions.  So maybe you can’t judge everything by the top scorer.  And as Untold showed in its analysis there is no link between having any of the top scorers in the league in your side, and actually winning the league.  Sometimes it happens, but mostly not. (Does having top league scorer help you win the league? Here’s the stats…)

The article rambles on, suggesting that we need to replace Gabriel, but then as always with such articles telling us that Arsenal fans, “could be forgiven for wanting to see the chequebook opening sooner rather than later. If not, the club and its fans could be heading down a path well-trodden.”

The piece does also say that there is a way to go in the window, although rather forgetting that actually it has only been open for eight days thus far – and misjudging exactly how long is left.   But it is a handy piece, for it will become the benchmark for all the other papers.   We’ve had the rumours, now we will have the endless put downs and the “fans will be angry that…”

It was ever thus.

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43 comments to L’Equipe suggests new signing imminent, Morata to Arsenal, Tottenham for England

  • tunnygriffboy

    It’s all very well taking the out of all the transfer gossip which is just clickbait. You do seem blase about the window.

    Last summer was awful and with the will you won’t stories coming out this summer it smacks of the same thing happening this summer. I can understand why fans are getting twitchy.

    I seriously hoping that Vardy wasn’t the only target thissummer and him turning us down has put us into a headspin and has us panicking and scrambling around for other options.

    History suggests we could easily mess this summer up again. The squad wasn’t strong enough last season and as it is at the moment it certainly won’t be this season coming.

    If Ramsey is unavailable for the beginning of the season how are we going to do without Kos, Ozil and Giroud ? It has the makings of a disaster v Liverpool which will send the Emirates into melt down and right from day one of the season the crowd will be on the players back creating a really unpleasant and negative atmosphere.

    The players don’t deserve this but you know it will happen. We need a few more additions to raise the spirits ofnot just the players but the fans as well

  • Thank you so much for your analysis. You have a very excellent analysis of such baseless stories run by some of the media houses. Keep up your job.

  • Peter12

    Same old, same old story with Arsenal and transfer windows and recruitment (or lack of). Everything you said is true. Wenger doesn’t seem to understand that new recruitments refresh and galvanise the rest of the players in the squad. It is a must to invigorate the team. So, no Morata (unless we pay ridiculous money), he doesn’t want to come to us in any case; NO NEW PLAYER OF ANY REASONABLE QUALITY AND EXPERIENCE. IT WILL BE SHUT-UP SHOP. You might as well take a long, long summer holiday, like some other unmentionable people seemed to be doing!

  • Pedant

    My advice – switch off until the start of the season and then see what has happened.

    I don’t understand the ups and downs that many fans have on something we have zero control over.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    How do u know that Ozil Kos n Goiroud will not be available for the start of the season?

  • Pat

    Very very excited that Giroud and Koscielny are in the Euro final. Commiserations to Ozil though.

  • tunnygriffboy


    Ramsey has said he’s having a month off and won’t be available for the first game of the season. Stands to reason Kos, Ozil and Giroud will be given tuhe same.

    Doesn’t matter though we have Sanogo to play instead of Giroud as it stands.

  • Leon


    Arsenal give ALL returning tournament players four weeks off to recover. Then they have to get fit. Six to seven weeks is normal.
    So no Kos, Giroud or Ozil for a long time. Ramsey only slightly earlier and the others in dribs & drabs. Happens all the time, so expect a seriously understrength team against Liverpool.

  • Alex

    Media Quotes from here and ther does not hide the faulure of refreshung/overhauling certain departments in the squad.

    Year in year out Arsene never ever done fully addresed the lisquad limitation.

    Come end of the TW and will be same all same.

    Arsenal Financial Institution under Kronke.
    is abundantly clear to many the club still do not want to spend money and thight strategy is well and truly alive.

    After alll the american owner is how he run his business.

  • colario

    It has been said in Untold many times, many, many times that unless the transfer is confirmed on the Arsenal web site then the announcement in the media that Arsenal are seeking …… or selling….. then it is as true as any rumor. I would think the same goes for other clubs unless it is on the website then it is a rumour or ‘vapour transfer’.

    A personal experience of a rumour.

    My boss (who was a very good boss) surprised one day.

    She said to me ‘Rumour has it that you are a Jehovah’s Witness’.

    I had in the past studied not with them but about them and decided not for me. So I was surprised at hearing this and tried to think what it was I had said or done that had brought this rumour about.

    After a few minutes discussion I asked her: ‘Who say that I am a Jehovah’s witness?

    She replied:

    ‘I can’t tell you that it is confidential’.

    I could not believe my ears.

    I asked her:

    ‘Since when has a rumour been confidential?’

    When it comes to transfers, when it comes to facts about the club, read the club website.

    However remember even the most upright, honest organisation can not resist publishing the version of facts that puts it in the best light possible.

    Let’s not forget. It is something I do.

    Let’s not forget. It is something you do.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Tuny n Leon

    There is nothing to be Pessimistic.
    If we are 3^/4 player short i dont think the team will suffer bar Ozil who is definitely irreplaceable. Let me put for you the following team for Liverpool.

    Bellerin Mert Gabriel Monreal
    Elneny Jack/Xhaka
    Alexis Santi Iwobi

    I hope Santi can replace Ozil upto some extent for a match or two.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Further with Germany out of the Euro we can expect Ozil to join the team by 10th August afer 4 weeks rest.
    Isnt it possible?

  • nicky

    Tony you mentioned about Arsenal the only team not to sign an outfield player last summer, and then Arsenal went off and came second in the league. It is almost like you are boasting we came second and that it success. Imagine how much of a better chance we would have had of improving that position to first if we had signed a couple of quality players especially a quality striker. Does that not bother you or grate you ?? And you say Only 25% of players make an impact on the new season so 25% of nothing is nothing .At least we would of given ourselves a chance with a few signings

  • Jammy J

    Sorry to be OT, but did anyone see that Clattenburg has been appointed as ref for the European cup final? So in his worst recorded season (performance wise) he manages to get the FA cup final, the Champions League final AND the European cup final? Seriously, how can anyone look at this and not realise what is going on? This sets an extremely dangerous precedent for any other ambitious referees..

  • tunnygriffboy


    Would probably play Xhaka and Coquelin/Elneny in that match. With Liverpool high energy press I’d be inclined to play Elneny not just for his defensive contribution but also because he has more footballing ability than Coquelin.

    Santi nd Jack are good at evading the press with their control and ability to take the ball on the hàlf turn.

    Would like to see Morata in the side if we could get him.
    Walcott and Ox have been far too inconsistent over the last couple of seasons. Plus they have constant injuries. We really need someone to come in and give competition to Giroud and to make Walcott and Ox pull their socks up.

    Are you comfortable with Mert and Gabriel in defence knowing that yhey are going to be hit with extreme pressure and pace by Liverpool ? I’m not.

  • Al

    So are you suggesting Wenger signs players who will fill spaces for Ozil, Giroud, Ramsey and Kos? What happens when they come back?

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Agree to your points.Hope Wenger buys a cover for Giroud as Welbeck is out for long.If we can get a lethal finisher ala Lewandoski/Morata it would be good nrws but you know the availability of such strikers is very much limited. Too many iffs and butts involved to get such signings.
    Re Mert/Gab i agree they are not better than Mert/Kos partner ship but still not a disaster situation.Both are seasoned players and hope will not let us down.

    Still not sure about Jack.He looked too rusty in the Euros.Would play Xhaka/Elneny ahead of him to partner with Coquelain in the DMF role.

  • Al

    Agree about non-availability of quality strikers in Europe. Wenger said if you want top strikers you have to look to America… and looking at the euros I fully agree. Think Giroud is one of the strikers with the highest goal return at this tournament, with 3, and that tells you everything. Ibrahimovic, Lewandoski,Muller,Torres,etc, all struggled. Meanwhile in contrast strikers across the Atlantic were faring much better than their European counterparts.

  • Nicky, I fear you misunderstand the essence of the argument, and an interpretation of an article on the basis of “almost like you are boasting” doesn’t really take us much further forwards.

    Two analyses undertaken by Untold both reveal from different sets of data that the signing of players is of very limited consequence. One looked at the number of big name signings who make an impact year by year and the other looks at the position of clubs year on year for whom the top scorers played. The relationship between top scorers and new signings on the one hand, and the final position of the clubs is tenuous . Certainly many of the clubs that came lower than Arsenal last season spent a lot more than Arsenal on players last season.

    The point that is made in all the Sir Hardly Anyone pieces is that day after day we are fed stories suggesting that buying players for lots of money is all that matters, or at least is the prime indicator of how well a team will do next season whereas the evidence shows this is very far from the truth.

    If Arsenal had bought another player last summer, there is a chance Arsenal might have won the League, that is true. But there is also a much bigger chance that he would have had no impact, or worse, a negative impact (as when the player turns out to be no good in his new team, but the manager feels obliged to play him, because of the money spent.)

  • Rosicky@Arsenal


    Agree good strikers come from South America these days.Even Lewandoski and Muller were below par at the Euros against parked busses.

    Re France vs Germany the better team lost
    The match was a reflection of how Arsenal suffers against parked busses.Germany inspite of keeping pocession and excellent passing could not score.
    Dont you think same happens at Emirates when we play mid/bottom table teams?

    We need to find a way to score against parked busses this season as now too many teams are playing such tactics.

  • Mick

    @ Rosicky@Arsenal
    Do away with one point each for draws.
    In the event of scores being equal at the end of the game the team with most possession in the opponents half gets the three points.
    Radical I know but we have to find a way to discourage this negative football now being served up by more and more teams.

  • Leon

    Your team looks about as strong as we can put out, except Alexis will not be ready for another two weeks after the start of the season, so perhaps Ox-Chamberlain will fit in there.
    I don’t know how many Liverpool players are likely to be absent from: Sturridge, Can.L Lallala, Allen, Skrtel ,Henderson.

  • nicky

    I understand what your saying tony. The point is you can do all the analysis you want but you have to spend well. Wenger has only spent big on 2 players up to now(3 if you count xhaka) they have delivered. the same cannot be said when we have been bargain hunting!

  • tunnygriffboy


    Of course I’m not suggesting we buy replacements for those players who have been at the Euros. That would be ridiculous

    I am saying that with Welbeck out long term and Walcott having a poor season we need competition or an upgrade on Giroud with a different set of attributes. I am not totally convinced by Gabriel and Mert was creaking last season especially when caught high up the pitch. A quality CB to partner Kos would improve the team a lot.

    I’d also like to see another wideman ome in on the right who would provide goals more consistently than Walcott or Ox. I’d be prepared to let one of those go if we got someone more reliable in.

    Lastly this theory that new players don’t improve the team is a bit odd. Ozil improve our team ? Alexis improve our team ditto Elneny ? Our team/squad would be improved greatly if we brought these quality players in. Players at the club get a boost and those that don’t like should be moved on. One or two of our players seem to be in a comfort zone.

  • Al

    I remember having the same discussion with a friend; in boxing if there is no knockout the boxer with more points wins. They should look to do this too with football; more possession warrants half a point, if a game is drawn. That way all teams will come out to play, if not to win at least to try and get that half point. The Emirates cup uses this kind of model, although not for possession but goals scored, so it’s implementable.

  • Al

    Ok, so I guess we can add at most one or two players then from what you’re saying. Don’t have a problem with that. If the right player is available then let him get signed.

    Think everyone is forgetting a certain Joel Campbell…

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Agreed good players improve the team like Alexis and ozil have done. But the thing is you dont find the likes of Ozil and Alexis every now and then. Infact good players are hard to find.If Wenger finds one and the situation occurs i am sure Wenger will act. Remember Wenger bid for Suarez before we signed Welbeck or Wenger tried to sign Higuain and Benzema as reported by the media.In all those cases the players refused as we understand.
    People slating Wenger for his lack of transfer activity actually dont know the real situation imho.

  • Josif

    @Sir Hardly

    It’s true that Leicester scored just three goals more than Arsenal but you have been ommitting the second part of the statistics: “…despite having ninety shots less than Arsenal.” That puts things in a different perspective and stresses out our need for a new striker to lead our line.

    The most bizarre part is that even Mr Wenger has admitted we lacked a 20-goal-in-the-league striker last season. That’s why he tried to sign Vardy (whether I liked that attempt or not is something else) as neither Giroud nor Walcott have been able reach that mark at Arsenal.

  • insideright

    Arsenal did sign an outfield player last summer – his name is Jeff Reine-Adelaide and he will be a star. They also introduced a player to the squad that they bought years ago – his name is Joel Campbell. I thought he showed great promise last season and looked worth a lot more money than we paid for him years ago.
    Some of the biggest successes in English football over the years have been bought and introduced much later to the team when they have become acclimatised to our game and when the opportunity best presents itself.

  • norman14

    I’m a bit more concerned about the stories surrounding Alexis at the moment. It’s now been reported that his agent has said the player wants to leave, and apparently Juventus have made a derisory offer. If he does go, (and while I hope he doesn’t, I don’t want players who don’t want to play for us either), is it possible for us to get both Morata and Griezmann?

    I don’t like all the transfer crap that’s currently surrounding us, but I much prefer it to the media slobbering over Maureen, and the pictures of him on a bike in his office. Maybe every trashy newspaper should be called the “Moanchester Minute x Minute”.

  • I disagree Nicky – Elneny looks a superb talent and was twice player of the month after he joined, and he’s bargain. Coquelin, Bellerin and Iwobi have all cost nothing in transfer fees and been superb. Monreal drew criticism because we were buying the leftovers of a bankrupt club Malaga, and we got him for £8m. Similarly with Santi Caz for £10m.

    Arsenal buy big when they have to with Ozil and Alexis, but actually get superb results out of some of the youngsters and the low profile buys.

  • tunnygriffboy

    Bargains are great. They haven’t always worked though. As Mr Kronke hasn’t in anyway indicated that he is prepared to put his own money to transfers (he has enough to match any club if he wanted) then we rely on the sustainable model.

    I like the fact we follow this principle. Accordingly we have to look at value in a lot of our signings. We also have to bring through young players which I applaud.

    My gripe is that with the sustainable model we now have more money than we’ve ever had. The TV deal is astronomical. My gripe is that we don’t appear to be using all of our financial resources. You may say that we’ve spent £30million this season. In reality this could have been spent last summer where imo we let ourselves down badly. We are now playing catch up this window and atm things don’t appear to be rosy. I concede that this may change as there is a long way to go. Not strengthening last summer when we should have has made me nervous for this window.

    Bargain buys and value for money along with good/great youngsters are part of the club’s DNA. That’s fair enough. However the PL (exception last season) and CL are not won with bargains and youngsters. You have to have some world class players and a bit of stardust. We now have the ability and should be adding that every window.

    Giroud needs serious competition even if it’s to give him a break. As the manager has said we need more goals. Mert is 30+ and looked ragged at times last season. When we push against good sides his pace is often exposed. Kos (who is WC) is 30+, just played through the whole of the Euro’s and over the last few seasons has picked up a fair few niggling injuries and has missed a fair few games. Gabriel is solid, not stellar and imo we need another quality CB to cover any eventuality. Cham ers is not ready for the biggest games and a loan and regular football would do him good. He’s still very good and a very good prospect.

  • Mick

    Give it a rest, you are beginning to sound like a stuck record.

  • tunnygriffboy


    Truth makes you twitchy ? 🙂 🙂

  • nicky

    I agree that elneny, Coquelin, Bellerin have been good players and iwobi has potential ,but for every one of those bought Wenger has also bought a Chambers,Gervinio,Santos,Park,Jenkinson,Squilachi etc.He has also added a good few dud free transfers like sanogo,kallstrom etc who have added to our wage bill.
    You also say that Arsenal buy big when they have to well im sure that the time is now to sign a top quality strike to compete with giroud and to offer something different to our only fit striker.You used the excuse last summer about there being no strikers out there that could improve us .I dont think with the talent knocking about you and Wenger can use that excuse again and get away with it to the fans.we now have the money and the players are out there.

  • nicky

    Mick are we not allowed to debate on this forum the positions we need to strengthen and what players we would like to see playing for us??

  • Jambug

    If you can make the argument that had Arsenal bought one, maybe two more players last Summer, we may of won the league, surely you can make the argument that had Man City bought one, maybe two, maybe three, maybe four LESS players last Summer, THEY may of won the League, because following there £100 Million plus Nett spend they actually accrued 13 less points and finished one position lower.

    I’m not saying either are true, but simply making the point that all it is is speculation, and that can work either way, in which case both have as much, or as little, credibility as the other.

    Yes we may of done better with another signing, we not.

    Yes Man City may have done better with fewer signings, they may not.

    Nobody knows, but bashing Wenger for not buying is always the easy option.

    Whilst knocking City for buying too many is simply never going to happen.

  • Menace

    Jammy J – it’s the old boy network. Football is just a path to financial glory.

  • nicky

    Please check the writer of comments 11.57,1.19,9.13 and 9.18, attributed to me.
    They are NOT my comments.
    Who on earth would want to be another me?

  • nicky

    Jambug Its the first time ive ever heard someone say that a football club would be better off with fewer signings.Quite a bizarre statement.How can anyone be taken seriously with comments like that.

  • Nicky, it is interesting that this is the first time you have heard someone say that a club would be better off with fewer signings, although there is no logic in the connection between the fact that you have not heard it, and it being bizarre.

    Poor signings can influence the whole club negatively, and in my little series of articles on how transfers have little relationship to winning trophies (of which three have been published so far, all drawing on different areas of evidence) I will try and show just how widespread poor signings are, and start to consider just how they can affect a club in a negative way.

  • Supporting Arsene Wenger’s philosophy smarks of mediocrity! What stopped him from vigorously bidding for Henrick Mikhiyartan who had LESS than a year in his contract??? For all the jibes thrown his way, Wenger should have ‘taught Jose Mourinho some lessons’ by doing AlL in his book to nick the ex Dortmund star at Mou’s expense. Failure to buy big is greed with all the money in the bank (please pro Wenger fans, admit it. I love the man but not his non-buying ideas) when the team apparently need great players. Its better to have a star flop in a season (which could be down to temporary loss of form, and not world-class status) than an average player destroy your reputation and sense of judgement…Wenger NEEDS 1. Dimitri Payet 2. Gonzalo Higuain/Julian Draxler 3. Jaison Murillo