By Tony Attwood
With enough Americans voting for a man who doesn’t believe climate change is happening, and that his political opponent should be put in prison, it would be nice to have a bit of positive news from Arsenal just to keep us going, but as you’ve probably heard Alexis Sánchez has been injured in Chile.
The most frightening thing (in the football world, which by and large pales into insignificance this morning, but I need something to distract my mind, although its hardly a positive distraction) is that Alexis is still in Chile.
The statement from Chile’s equivalent of the Football Association (and I admit I know nothing of them, apart from the fact that like the FA they associate themselves with Fifa) is enough to make me stay under the bedclothes: “The medical team of the Chilean national team can confirm Alexis Sánchez has a low-grade muscle tear. The player will stay in Santiago, under treatment and evaluation, ahead of Chile’s match against Uruguay.”
Which could well mean that they will deem him ok to play Uruguay next Tuesday.
Here’s the current league table for South America…
All teams play each other home and away and then the top four nations qualify directly to the finals. The fifth-placed team plays the winner of the Oceania region for a fifth place.
So the temptation for Chile would be to follow the car thief route. They steal your car, smash it up, hand it back and say, “get it ready for next time”.
It’s not been a good couple of weeks for Alexis, who as we mentioned recently has been cited in a tax fraud case in Spain following his time in Barcelona. As I pointed out, it may not be as serious as the Neymar case as it looks on the surface more like a case of not declaring a bank account in another part of the EU. This is in contrast to Neymar, his parents and two of Barcelona’s executives who, the Spanish High Court has just said, should stand trial for alleged corruption.
This all dates back to the transfer from Santos to Barcelona of Neymar and there are serious allegations about whether Barçelona concealed a contract to poach the player in 2011. It is the sort of thing which in England, as we saw yesterday, the FA turn a blind eye to, let the High Court have its say and then do absolutely nothing. Sweet FA as is commonly said, but I can’t spell out otherwise one of the news gathering corporations won’t carry my ramblings any more.
The Spanish court has said Neymar’s father and mother should also be tried on a corruption charge along with the club’s chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu, his predecessor Sandro Rosell and the club itself for corruption and fraud.
So we see the twin evils of modern football. The corrupt and illegal practices of Barcelona, which emerge in the form of everything from child trafficking to corruption and fraud, and the way in which our player can be wrecked doing his international “duty” – a misuse of the word, if there ever was one.
Back in England The FA has failed to make any comment on the issue of Sammy Lee and its employment of him, which we considered yesterday. It’s argument is that “court proceedings are not yet complete.” That is the most feeble point that could be made from a totally feeble and hopeless operation, existing only because the media won’t deal with them as they would any other failed and corrupt organisation. The only issue in the case unfinished is the exact amount of money Mr McGill is awarded in damages.
So is there any good news at all?
Well there is one. There is no sign at all that Héctor Bellerin has been involved in any sordid activities normally associated with Barcelona and so there is no criminal case on the horizon against him. His agent Albert Botines has suggested that Hector will sign a new contract extension on his current contract which has three years still to run.
The only downsides to the Bellerin case is that on the one hand Barcelona will undoubtedly start the DNA tactics in the near future, and start offering him a tax free income and on the other hand Spain will soon start picking him, so there is the extended risk of injuries.
The agent said, “Héctor is very happy at Arsenal. This would be the fourth time he has signed a new contract at the club and it is clear he has made good progress.”
Meanwhile newspaper columnists anxious to supply negativity to Arsenal’s cause are still, even now, saying that Bellerin is about to move back to Barcelona with Manchester City there to pick up the options if Barcelona fail because of the distraction of their court cases.
It is reported that Bellerin earns £40,000-a-week contract, and that this will go up to £100,000 a week.
Mr Wenger has described Héctor Bellerin as a “true Arsenal player.”
From the Arsenal History Society
The Arsenal History Society publishes numerous series of articles exploring different aspects of Arsenal’s history. You can find an index to all the series to date on the Society’s web site.
Most recent post from the Arsenal in the 30s series: October 1935: Ok but not good enough