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October 2016
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No apology, no remorse, no honesty. Another day from the Arsenal covering football media.

By Tony Attwood

This is where it ought to get difficult for the media.  It has become clear that the whole Higuain story has been a fantasy, a close repeat to the fantasies that were served up exactly three years ago and yet it has been pushed at us day after day by the media.  We have details of meetings, bids, counter bids, part exchange offers, the price, the meetings…  And now it turns out none of it was true.

So where did it all come from?  And what will the media do now?

An apology for grossly misleading the readership would be nice.  An investigation into how they came to get it all so wrong would be good.   An explanation of how they got all those quotes would be a benefit.

Of course they could all argue that they were simply misled, but then that would lead to the question – then having had such an almighty misleading story, over the same player, for the second time in three years, why are you continuing to publish “news” from the same sources?

Taking a look at how the media has reacted to the news that there has never even been a conversation about Higuain, the Guardian has not one word on Arsenal on its football page today, the Independent blames Arsenal for not making it happen, the Telegraph has an Arsenal transfer column but with no Higuain as if there never had been a fantasy story, and the Mail has lots of Arsenal stories but also has removed all reference to Higuain.

But we know where it will all go next.  In fact it is already here… “Arsenal could make a surprise move for Manchester City defender Jason Denayer as well as Borussia Dortmund’s Matthias Ginter as Arsene Wenger looks to target new defensive options for the future, with both players under 22 years of age,” is one of the pieces in the Independent today.   Which seems to have the implication that although the Higuain stuff was all totally made up, we should now start to believe this story instead.

And “surprise”?  In the same way that Higuain not happening was a surprise?

And meanwhile the bloggettas continue with their fairy stories…

  • Done Deal: Arsenal announce agreement has been reached for transfer of striker
  • £50-60m striker, Journalist confirms Arsenal are in secret talks over lethal forward
  • Pep Guardiola agrees to sell his£12m star to Arsenal, transfer to be completed this week
  • Confirmed: Arsenal in talks to make international striker their third summer signing

What is so interesting is that the language doesn’t change.  Here is one typical piece

According to The Sun, Wenger is ready to sanction £22m to be spent on Denayer and Ginter in £10m and £12m deals respectively. It’s added that Arsenal are hoping to capitalise on City’s interest in Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci in the hope that new manager Pep Guardiola will allow Belgium international Denayer to leave.

The 21-year-old is looking to leave City – either temporarily or on a permanent deal – to seek more first-team football, as he endured a nightmare Euro 2016 in which he was at fault for Hal Robson-Kanu’s brilliant goal in Wales’s 3-1 quarter-final win over Belgium.

Looking back to Higuain the Independent is the only news source that tries to wriggle its way out of the situation (rather than just pretending it never happened) by going back to the topic, saying of Higuain, “The 28-year-old is a long-term target for manager Arsene Wenger but the Frenchman has been frustrated by circumstance, inflated transfer fees and repeated leaks to the media.”

So, it was all real, they are saying, despite now agreeing with everyone else that there never was a deal, or offer or anything. And there is a gross rewriting of history – since there was no bid three years ago either.   And all this now despite the fact that we even had supposed details of Giroud going the other way quotes with the club manager and president etc etc.  

Which overall raises the double point: where did the story come from, and why did the media keep running it even though there was no substance, and especially when they have been caught out before?  The answer can only be, because it was free.

I suppose what I find so disturbing in all of this is that not only is the old story dropped but the new story is instantly there to replace it.  “Arsenal now seem to be closing in on Mauro Icardi. Talks with Inter Milan have reportedly gathered pace and the north London club are expected to make an offer worth around €50m in the next couple of days.”

Notice how the word “now” is slipped into that last bit.  It still suggests that there was a Higuain bid going on, but now it has fallen apart, Arsenal are going elsewhere.  But there was no bid, no exchange with Giroud, no nothing.  So “now” is not only irrelevant but misleading, helping to set the scene  to bring up the notion that Arsenal failed to get Higuain.

Within a week we will be seeing…

“After their failed bid for Higuain Arsenal are now seeking to…”

And indeed the language for the next story is just the same in the same fanciful style as the Higuain tales.

Icardi’s agent, his wife Wanda Nara, had confirmed earlier in the week that Arsenal are one of the many clubs trying to sign the Argentine, while Sky Italia suggested that a meeting between the two clubs had been arranged for next week.

No apology, no remorse, no honesty.   Another day from the football media.  Another day of the endless journalistic attempt to put Arsenal down.  It goes on constantly, and tragically, many people believe it.

I go on about this so much because it becomes part of life, part of the fabric of our society.  Nothing is real anymore, so really it doesn’t matter too much what you do.

The youngster is believed to have travelled down to London on Monday night and it’s believed the final touches are now being added to the deal.

Hopes of signing Barcelona’s Arda Turan look to have been dashed after the player’s agent revealed that the Turkey international is willing to fight for his place at the Nou Camp.

Despite being linked with a move away from the Catalonian capital after struggling to make an impact at Barca, the 29-year-old is keen to stay put with the Spanish Champions.

“The interest [in Arda] is normal but the rumours saying he is leaving Barcelona are false, he is happy at the club,” the agent, Ahmet Bulut, told The Guardian.

41 comments to No apology, no remorse, no honesty. Another day from the Arsenal covering football media.

  • Joel

    The fact is that the Papers are amazed like the rest of us that Arsenal continue to ignore the gaping holes that they have in their squad.Most informed people would like to believe that Arsenal would want to buy top- rated players . Unfortunately such players are expensive especially given the inflated transfer market and Arsenal take the view that they will only pay a players “true worth”….and so the vicious circle continues . Unfortunately it her clubs don’t take this “holier than thou” view on board.So when United pay £100m for Pogba and Juve come knocking for Alexis we will have to watch another high class Arsenal player move to a Club that is capable of winning trophies…Interestingly we will also undoubtedly see a miraculous healing of an injury which is conveniently keeping him away from a club where he has lost faith….

  • akm

    and you know what is real because…??

  • Stenhaug

    Its why it is called “silly season” is it not? Of course it is all just made up. But the fact that wenger isnt even trying for any of these targets is more worrying.
    Arsenal need reinforcements, wenger him self was talking about 3 players before the season. If this japanese kid and another youth player, are two of those “three”, i would not be surprised, not at all.

  • crispen

    Joel is a football prophet….

  • Ajay

    I think even if Arsenal wanted to sign someone it would not be possible because of these pests named above. It’s like there something you are going to do and some one props up and gives you a unnecessary reminder. And with that the whole mood changes to, I am not doing it. There are so many being linked, it’s turned to a farce and to think there’s another 6 more weeks of the same is unbearable. I’d rather the games begin and let the team do the talking.

  • Ajay

    By pests I mean the tabloids.

  • nicky

    To expect remorse or an apology from the press is from cloud cuckoo land.
    The main purpose of newspapers is not to publish the truth but to gain circulation.
    To achieve this aim, we, the gullible readership, assist by buying and absorbing the lying rubbish.
    The answer?
    Only read and half- believe Untold.

  • Yellow Canary

    Not sure why anyone takes any of these transfer rumours seriously. Doesn’t this happen to every club? So what. Wait until the window closes and see who we have actually signed then.

  • Leon

    If we’re just referring to the rumours & gossip, then fair enough, read it and believe what you want & forget the rest. But for actual news, there isn’t really a reliable source anywhere other than the Arsenal’s own web site. A couple of blogs try, but they’re usually a day or so late and it becomes old news.
    Best of luck with the remorseful apology.

  • Leon

    Exactly. It doesn’t matter and is nothing to get irate about. Why have a heart attack over a load of nonsense?

  • OK Stenhaug you have our attention. We are all on edge.

    ” But the fact that wenger isnt even trying for any of these targets is more worrying.”

    So come on. Where is your evidence. I am sure you will have read the t&c on this site; we are evidence based. So you obviously have some evidence. Just share it.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think we’ve all come to know and understand the media’s ploy in their Arsenal transfer rumours. And we may read the rumours and deduce what particular rumour has any element of truth in it and could likely come to pass.

    Rod Holding is one Arsenal media transfer rumour I am taking seriously to come to close for us. But at no time have I ever taken seriously the Higuain media transfer rumour to Arsenal. And I believe Arsenal will not sign any Icardi from Roma too. Despite the fact that Roma could seek for a part payment and a part player exchange of Szczesny if Arsenal table a deal for Icardi to have him transfered to us. By the way, how a prolific goals scorer is this Icardi for Roma to warrant a media transfer hype of him to Arsenal? Such a part payment and a player deal imho won’t serve Arsenal any good should they at any point contemplate doing such a poor deal with Roma at this time.

    As I’ve said before, and if to buttress the argument one John Brewin of the Espnfc has raised up but in a positive and sober way. Arsenal will not sign more than the 3 players the Boss has said he would sign this summer. The Boss had made a failed bid to sign Jamie Vardy and that failed bid could mean a blessing in disguise for Chuba Akpom who the Boss can use as option and cover for Arsenal CF position if at the end of this window he didn’t sign a striker at the market for Arsenal. But as it stands, he has signed 2 new players for Arsenal leaving Holding to be likely signed to makeup the 3 in numbers. But if Asano won’t be deemed a senior squad player signed but for the academy school and could be loaned out. Then, there is still a hope the Boss will sign a striker for Arsenal this window.

  • AKM because we track all the transfer rumours, examine the patterns, look at the language, and consider the results year by year. That is why we can reflect back on the last Higuain story – because we covered it in such detail three years ago, and then were (I think) the only outlet to do a full analysis (it was spread over three articles) on what happened through the whole saga. And I suppose because we have been running this for 6000 plus articles, and gather evidence and engage in logical analysis.

  • Alex

    Mr Tony
    Are we talking about the same Higuain that yourself 3 years back you were certain to make us believe here that he was coming from Real Madrid to Arsenal.

    But Higuain signed by Napoli.

    You said at that time when questioned that you been told by some reliable inside Arsenal sources that he was coming and you took it in full faith and publush it here..Embarrasing as it was you said what you being told and you believe them.

    I read your posts and i tend to believe everything you said is true.

    Simply you did not make it.You just believe it and you did not lie one bit.
    I trusted you while others had different understanding of you.

    The fact of the matter is Arsenal the club love this kind of spin and i would not be surprised if themselves are spreading the rumors as you are a prime example if i may.

    Arsenal the club does not come out and squash the rumors !!!! Why ???
    For me is an evident sinister PR fabbrication just to keep on edge the fans.Purposely making believe that some big signing is coming.
    Every season the same all same .Hardly one notable player is brought and the rest of the money is spent on teenagers that hardly make any impact the season ahead or for that matter even in future.

    The fan understands well that the club is making money but the owner is not interested in any trophy.

    Basically is all rubbish rumors no substance.

  • davood MC1

    Hi tony
    Just in response to yours and Stenhaug’s comments. The evidence is in what Gazidis stated. It is the usual comment at this time every year. Crying poor, we can’t compete, going to look at ligue 2.
    It has grown a little tiresome when it is the same year after year after year. Until last year I was all behind Arsene, but it was his choice to sign only a goalie and he has to live with the fact it cost us the league, but there was no ownership over that mistake, he didn’t say “my bad, I am going to learn from my mistakes”. Now I am not convinced we are really as ambitious as we tell everyone. sure we want to win, but it seems like we don’t like the price of the market so we are going for the needle in the hay stack method. Its no coincidence that it has only worked once…like ever in modern football.

    I’m not asking for a total revamp like many fans and am realistic, but I believe two or three top quality guys and we can win the league. Blaming not having money when Arsenal have more cash reserves than any other club in world football that are about to be juiced up by the EPL TV rights is ridiculous, bordering on insulting. I love the way Arsenal is run like a business and we aren’t trying to spend more than our income, but you have to remain critical and realise that this has gone way way too far the other way and that we are just an absolute cash cow for the board and especially our sole owner who is turning the club into a way to buy as many texan ranches as possible…

    The market is wild no doubt, but we HAVE to dip into it just a little if we think we stand a chance at the title next year. Without a Striker to play with or compete with Giroud and maybe a Centre Half and a Wide man (Per is getting a bit old – and Theo and the Ox have had more chances to show they are up to it than anybody could have wished for [and still aren’t]) we simply ARE NOT going to be in the running for the title…its just the reality

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis

    davood MC1

    I guess that you are about 12 years old?

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis


    I guess that you are about 16 years old?

  • Leon

    At last an announcement from the .com. that Rob Holding has signed. Now that was a rumour for most of the last two months.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis, no more of that please. The issue is one of evidence, not the age of the writer.

  • Jags

    If untold keep on publishing shite from toxic fans, I’m afraid in going to stick with not reading it.
    I came here for abit of sanity and reading from clever, articulate supportive fans. Please keep it that way.

  • Davood, I have a complete transcript of Mr Gazidis interview, and I don’t think that in any way that supports your contention.

    I will come back to this in a later article; I found what he actually said most interesting.

  • Marcus

    Yesterday I wrote a comment on another blog aclf saying that I believed that wenger would sign holding rather than a big signing centre back as he does not want to stunt Gabriel’s growth or completely kick per out of the team. Holding has just been announced on

    I also said that I believed there was more substance to the higuain rumours than a lot of people thought and we could still well get the player. Wenger has shown that he will spend big for the market, at the time the 42.5mil for ozil was a lot more money than it is now in football, and he was prepared to wait until the Very end of the window, a dangerous tactic but one which resulted in us making arguably the best and biggest signing in the prem since aguero. If wenger had worried about his reputation he would have signed a less talent other midfielder earlier and they would not have had the impact of ozil. I believe we may still get higuain for a number of reasons:

    1) wenger actually likes the player – clearly after the attempt to buy him 3 years ago

    2) he has been trying to buy a world class striker for a long time- since the 40m +1 Suarez bid

    3) Napoli have been trying to push his price up all summer and probably would rather 60m + for him than another 2/3 years him playing for them at the top level, they do not earn money like the pl teams, they are unlikely to stop juventus dominating serie A in the next few years and could probably still achieve 2nd or 3rd without higuains 36 league goals….

    4) although he failed to guide Argentina to the copa America (he was against Sanchez) he was probably the best striker in the world last season, 38 goals in 42 apps for a team that doesn’t have quite the same playmaking capability as Bayern barca or man city means that this is an extroadinary achievement a fair few of his goals were incredible individual finishes aswell showing he really would have the ability to score a lot of goals for us.

    5) to use a common cliché “he is like a rich mans giroud” this means that it could suit both teams to do some kind of player exchange plus money deal as the players are used to playing similar roles however giroud is not as fast as higuain and not as clinical or good at dribbling. Arsenal could also buy higuain and keep giroud and have two easily interchangeable strikers who work in the same system.

    6) I think wenger has given giroud enough chances and the player is at the right age now that wenger would not mind replacing him in the first team. Unlike for instance if we bought a winger we would be stunting the growth of iwobi Campbell the ox potentially gnabry and jeff. Both players are of an age such that in a few years welbeck will still be able to compete for first choice striker

    7) the Napoli president has recently come out and said they don’t want to sell to rivals, and higuain would be betraying himself if he went to juve. We are feasibly the only club apart from them who could buy him as all of our rivals have reinforced there or have a big name striker(city)

    Overall therefore as much as it may have in part been made up by the press and regurgitated with false quotes this does not necessarily mean that it will not happen we have now solved our defensive and midfield needs in a way in which we only have one definite first team player. Wenger tends to work with the philosophy Ferguson had in his years which is you should never add more than 2 first team players in the summer. We have added one higuain still could be the other.

  • Marcus

    Also we will be in the running for the title and definitely make top 4 whether or not we sign anyone from now. If last season taught anyone anything it should be that what wenger said about continuity in the squad and the team knowing each other isn’t all BS, look at Leicester and totenham they only signed a couple of first team players into an all ready gelled squad and had great signings. Ever since Liverpool adopted the policy of 6 transfers a year they have done poorly and turned good players shit, I don’t expect next year to be that different for them tbh

  • Marcus

    Signings = seasons

  • Pat

    Nice bit about Rob Holding on Arsenal web site. In passing it tells us Calum Chambers was named in team of the competition in Toulon. Also that Rob was player of the year for Bolton, the team we signed him from. Sounds like a good young player.

  • Menace

    The only gaping holes are in the thinking of those that believe they know better than Wenger. I accept there are some areas that might make a difference but I do not see ‘gaping holes’.

  • westwing

    Love this site. Love the jokes, the sociology and the Watergate infused paranoia. Arsene Wenger is 102 yrs old – fact! Writing from Honolulu where all the sufers are in stitches at the funniest site in sportsworld. Go Wenger Go! we chant under the sacred volacano. My question is though – just how old is Holding the Boy Giant?

  • omgarsenal

    Marcus…..the best fact based and rational arguments I have seen on UA for a long time. your understanding of the club’s (and Wenger’s) transfer approach is absolutely spot on! Well done….you should seriously consider writing a complete article for UA on your understanding of our Club’s approach to player promotion and transfers. In fact I am pleading with you to do so, that might shut up the ITK’s who harass Tony and Walter with their pseudo-knowledge and generic statements of BS!

  • davood MC1

    Thanks for the response Tony, but really it is the same as he is saying every year. I too have read the transcript. I don’t find it that interesting, just political spin (I think Gazidis would make the perfect politician: say a whole lot of nothing over and over again until the point people just believe it). Sure there maybe some gamesmanship to play the poor card, but things are looking quite stagnant and it smacks of excuses and an owner who is really using this as his number 1 investment.

    Like I said its only 2-3 positions that need to be solidified. CB, RW, ST. Maybe Holding is the answer for CB, as from my own research he seems quite developed, but he needs to play if he comes otherwise it will likely be Culum chambers all over again…stunted growth. If its just him in defence I could live with that.

    But we need to invest in the front line, Absolutely. Wenger even knows that (given the failed Vardy pusuit), I just hope in hell that Asano is not the answer (he may be something in the future, but I highly doubt he is ready to go straight in now. Walcott and Chamberlain are not really working out, both struggling for form, injuries and simply quality. They can be valuable squad players, but nothing more. Clearly (esp. with Welbs out for foreseeable future) we need another striker. Giroud is great i love him, but he cannot do it alone. Wenger ran him into the ground last season and his form drops off every year when he is over played. Again that is a Wenger mistake (if you can’t see that then you’re a cyclops). Maybe a Draxler or Greizmann or Mahrez type (these are just player type suggestions before y’all get upetty) can fill both options and only one player is needed…BUT we must invest and we need to go big to get the “extra percentage” or “absolute quality” player that Gazidis and Wenger always harp on about. That is simply what the market is dictates

    And to those who spout this type of stuff: “The only gaping holes are in the thinking of those that believe they know better than Wenger” I never say I know more than wenger…EVER. He is the best manager Arsenal have ever had and I have HUGE respect for him. Does that mean he now gets to act with impunity to his decisions? Does that mean he cannot make mistakes and if he does we should not critique them? This site is all about critiquing flaws in football and even society in general. To think our beloved club, its management and manager are impervious to mistakes and/or immune to being critiqued on them is utterly naive

  • Leon

    Good news that Holding & Chambers have already played together. They both appear to be right footed, so not a natural pairing, but a probability for the future (and not too distant I’d say) of Arsenal’s central defence.

  • finsbury

    OT but it makes a nice change to read stuff from elsewhere that is about the actual footy and not some special agents cut:

    Crucially, the model also measures the effectiveness of pass recipients. While Italy’s Graziano Pellè was the best target man at the Euros, collecting balls that took out an average of 82 players per game, Mesut Ozil’s ability to find space in the opposition half as an outlet to teammates was equally remarkable. Passes to the German playmaker took out 63 players per game on average. This is the kind of insight that traditional statistics didn’t provide; Ozil’s passing skills were well-known, but his movement perhaps wasn’t as valued.

    ozil and Griezmann are revealed to be some of the better passers via Reinartz’s metric.
    “Ozil enables you to get the ball past players,” Reinartz said. “He’s the best in the world between the lines… that’s why he’s an automatic starter under any coach even if the public don’t always appreciate him. I believe the importance of attacking players as pass recipients is the greatest insight we have gathered over the last couple of years.”

    So that’s what Football thinks of Ozil.
    But here we get hacks and plundits saying:

    “He’s stealing a living” and Rooney and sterling are…the mind boggles.
    “He’s yet to convince”

    The rational and sane or forgetting that the honest mind can file away the gibberish written by the the downright disingenuous and desperate friends of special agents out there alongside the equivalent gibberish written about the club’s transfer policy which predates the current manager (please refer to Saint GG and Big Sam’s reluctance to speak to the press about bungs).

  • Marcus

    Omgarsenal… Thanks for the kind words. Not every young fan is a clueless whiny Fifa player who believes their limited experiences on a games console surpass wengers multiple decades at the top level.

  • Davood

    You ask of Mr Wenger

    Does that mean he now gets to act with impunity to his decisions? Does that mean he cannot make mistakes and if he does we should not critique them?

    No, of course not, but it does mean that since we have spent months gathering data on the impact on new strikers in clubs, and new expensive players in general, have drawn it from various sources, then it would be reasonable to explain why the findings of all that work are to be set aside.

    I write about Ivan Gazidis from the position of having had a couple of meetings with him and corresponded with him on issues – not of course about players, but when I had the idea for the statues, and the work of the history society. It is not the same as dealing with him in business, but at least gives me some insight from having dealt with him directly.

  • davood MC1

    Hi Tony
    I am glad there is still sentiment that we can both have a huge amount of respect for Wenger and what he has achieved, but also realise that he is not infallible and that his mistakes too must be examined. Seems a lot of the time if you ever critique the man you are instantly AAA, which I wholeheartedly am not. But I am also not blind to the fact there are some rich white men making an absolute killing from this club. One of the most frustrating thing about when Gazidis et al. (and Arsene from time to time) speak about the club is that when its convenient to speak about the proud financial record of the club they discuss Arsenal in terms of competing with the biggest clubs in the world, managing through a tough time (stadium) and emerging in tact and now being right up there with the best in the world. Only for them to then say things like Gazidis’ latest about not being able to compete financially with the biggest clubs. That is hypocrisy and political spin. That is what frustrates most about the current board and ownership structure. I am sure gazidis is a reasonable person to communicate with; a shrewd calculated businessman. He definitely knows the PR game, but I think people are starting to see through it a little

    As always I really appreciate your work and love this site. you are shining light on the not so nice parts of the beautiful game. A game run by money, power struggles, that seem to be creeping more and more into the very integrity of the game, bringing that into question. Arsenal is a huge club in arguably the biggest league in the world. Even if the worst the club is guilty of is using prioritising financial gains over slightly more modest profits and a better shot at winning, it is still not right and that is why i mention these things. Even if we do pay the HUGE market value for a striker Arsenal is not going to suddenly be bankrupt, not when we are sitting on the highest cash reserves of any team in world football.

  • Polo

    Good to read a positive piece on Giroud. If only the main stream media write like this the world would be a better place with less negativity.

  • finsbury

    The only people. I have witnessed suggesting any football manager is infallible has been the AAA when attempting and failing to smear those who don’t agree with them.

    There is lots of evidence of the above.

    There is also lots and lots of evidence that many Arsenal fans who support their club are capable of understanding that all managers make mistakes probably in all games. And it is this understanding that allows us to observe much of the content of the AAA and the likes of the AST and consequently and reasonably conclude that their are either not being serious, they aren’t very smart or that they aren’t very well.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Polo -July 22, 2016 at 5:16 pm – Thanks for that link , it is a very nice article . I do hope he has a great season next for us , and wipe the cynical smiles off the faces of his stupid critics .

  • Polo

    @BG I hope so too. I think that if Giroud wasn’t an Arsenal player and he played for say Napoli or Lyon, I say most of the Giroud haters will be the first to demand AW to sign him. It’s sad how some of the Arsenal fanbase spread so much vitriol at him.

  • ob1977

    I go out of my way not to read articles saying are linked with such and such, but out of boredom I sometimes click on one id it interests, but some of my friends are constantly moaning of our failure to buy the latest name lo led staying arsene had failed us again, the latest one being their disgust that arsene would go for the failed N’Jie from Tottenham, because as it’s reported it must be true…

  • davood MC1

    @polo & @BG
    absolutely agree on Giroud. A very very good player, and I agree we’d have half the fanbase requesting him if he wasn’t a gooner. But he doesn’t do well when he is over played. Every season he seems to fade when forced to play every game. We need to keep him fresh and at the top of his game through rotation, highlighting the fact we absolutely need absolute class depth at striker. And it needs to be class so Wenger can have absolute confidence in resting him. All this is even more relevant with Welbs out