By Sir Hardly Anyone
As we know, given the fact that we have been keeping records, 105 players have been linked to Arsenal through this summer. We’ve signed only a few of them – and it is noticeable that with the exception of Holding it was only in the couple of days before the transfer was announced that the media picked up on the story at all.
In other words, day after day, week after week, the bloggettas and the press have been throwing wild rumours at us, with an accuracy rate of virtually nothing.
And yet they still have the nerve to tell us that they know what’s what in the footballing world. Truly shocking if you ask me, which I know you didn’t.
Of course we’ve been trying to show up their sillyiess for a while, and the reaction to having their incompetence exposed has been different from paper to paper. The Guardian for example is just running rather awful sarcastic pieces these days in its transfer news section. For example, “Valencia aren’t willing to play ball and let Arsenal have Shkodran Mustafi in exchange for a signed Igors Stepanovs sticker, a used copy of Gilles Grimandi’s autobiography, a Yaya Sanogo figurine, a Marouane Chamakh wig and Gunnersaurus’s phone number”.
What they don’t seem to get is that these ramblings are neither more or less incompetent than the actual predictions they have been making all summer, and then blaming on someone else. Today’s effort is, “So now they’re eyeing Monaco’s Congolese defender, Marcel Tisserand, whose prospective move to Espanyol might just be on the rocks once he discovers that there’s an opportunity to see Aaron Ramsey’s new haircut first hand.”
The Independent seems to have dropped out of the game a bit thinking that the story “Mustafi will not join Arsenal this summer, says Valencia head coach” is so good it deserves running twice, the second run immediately under the first on the Arsenal section of their website. But the robots have found something else for they also have “Arsenal eye defensive alternatives as Valencia refuse to sell Mustafi”
Today they are going for Monaco defender Marcel Tisserand – a story they have picked up from the Daily Mirror: “the 23-year-old, who can play at both right-back and centre-back, has struggled to establish himself at the French side and is anxious to see if Arsenal’s interest comes to anything.”
And they are also back to Bayer Leverkusen’s Omer Toprak – this time taking a piece from Bleacher Report.
After that it goes a bit downhill, quoting the Sun as saying “that the club are monitoring Velez Sarsfield forward Naza Bazan Vera. The 17-year-old striker is yet to make an appearance for his side’s first-team but has impressed in his age group for the Argentinian outfit. Villarreal are similarly scouting the teenager who has been compared to Argentina and Juventus star Paulo Dybala.”
The monitoring bit is interesting, given that a) Arsenal have a huge monitoring unit in the Far East that feeds statistics back daily, and that b) the kid isn’t actually playing.
But with the Indy it is always worth going on their website to look at the latest news from AFC Bournemouth. For the third month running the story about Heathrow Airport is there, plus some other tales unrelated to Bournemouth such as “West Ham have club-record £31m Lacazette bid rejected”
It’s the robots guys. They just don’t work proper.
But it is the Telegraph that has changed its tune most of all. They have given up on the gibberish, and instead given us a list of the young players who we can look forwards to seeing in “10 young players Arsenal fans can get excited about this season”
Here’s the list
The start with Iwobi, which is cheating a bit but yes he is still 20 and a product of the youth system.
Next up is Chuba Akpom who (we are reminded in every piece we read about him) joined the club aged six.
In third spot is Jeff Reine Adelaide whom the awful Jonathan Liew of the Telegraph spent part of last season laughing at. Or rather I am not sure if he was laughing at the player or the fans, but he is usually laughing at someone.
Then comes Daniel Crowley who has gone on a season-long loan at Oxford after which we have Ainsley Maitland Niles, and then Krystian Bielik, whom we saw in the pre-season games. He probably needs one more year before joining the first team (he is still only 18) but looks good to me.
After this it is Gedion Zelalem, a player who is causing a certain amount of head scratching as Andrew’s last match report on him showed. Has he lost it, can he get it back, where is it hiding, what was it in the first place?
Stephy Mavididi, Donyell Malen and Eddie Niketiah finish the list. Which is interesting because there is no mention of Chris Willock who I would certainly include in my list. And no mention of Gnabry.
We know that Arsenal are looking to bring one terrific player through from the youth each season, following in the footsteps of Coquelin, Bellerin and Iwobi. So who is it to be?
Gnabry looks a good choice to add to the mix – given his six goals playing for Germany’s under 23s in the Olympics. But Gnabry-reading as a hard job. Why was he sent to West Brom on loan – a club that simply doesn’t play in the style that Gnabry plays? Was it to humiliate him? It is hard to say.
His playing record is extraordinary. Compare and contrast, if you will, his club activity with his international activity.
|2015–2016||West Bromwich Albion (loan)||1||0|
Indeed it is hard to remember all the details of those ten games he played after making his first start for the club on 22 September 2013 in the Premier League against Stoke City after Theo Walcott was ruled out just before kick-off.
And that curious moment in the Under 21s play offs last season when he was slotted in to play in the play off final, and then pulled out without explanation at the last minute.
At the moment there are a lot of people who think Gnabry is the reason why Campbell has gone on loan. Maybe that’s right.
But there is one problem. If we do play Gnabry, Akpom, Zelalem, Willock, Adelaide or any other guy who has come through the ranks, there will still be the “spend some fucking money” chants, because our own youth players don’t count.
Its sad – in the olden days (which I remember all too clearly) we all used to take pride in our youth team. Some of us still do, but the press (aside from the Telegraph) don’t seem too interested.
Which is why no one in the media ever does a proper comparison between how many youth players we bring through to the first team, compared with other clubs. I know we are running at one a year at the moment, while Chelsea haven’t had any since John Terry – but what of everyone else.
Does anyone fancy doing the analysis? Please write in if you do.
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