Arsenal’s missing 97 players and the pre-season tour



By Tony Attwood

Let me say from the off that the two concepts in the headline are not connected.

It is just that there is not that much to write about in terms of the pre-season matches as yet, although I thought a list might be helpful.   And something else came to mind.

“Arsenal miss out on signing Benjamin Sesko ” is the headline that has been used with variation in many outlets.   The fact is the player isn’t going anywhere else – he has decided to stay where he is, which of course is his right.

And it made me wonder what actually happened there.  The story runs like this. “The Slovenian was identified as a top target to bolster the centre-forward department, but a deal is now unlikely to happen.  Sesko has decided to continue his development at Leipzig for another 12 months and Arsenal will have to look elsewhere.”

So what do we know?  Well nothing much.  The notion that Sesko was a top target is one that the media has repeatedly repeated (if you see what I mean).  There is no independent verification that it was true that Arsenal wanted him.   There are after all a whole range of possibilities such as…

1: Arsenal were desperate to get him but simply didn’t offer enough or screwed up the bid in some other way.    This has often been the tale put out in the past although it has become less popular in recent years since we’ve been exposing it as twaddle.

2: Arsenal thought the player could be ok, but that he was not exactly what they wanted, so they offered a moderate fee or salary, just in case it got accepted.

3: Arsenal didn’t actually want him, but they are in the middle of a delicate negotiation elsewhere.   So in order to keep the journalists looking the wrong way (and they are generally very simple folk these football journalists) and in order not to let the player that they really want get too excited, they kept this story running, until the rather simple journalists realise they have been strung along.

4: Arsenal would take the player as a second choice but really wanted the other fellow.   But by making it look as if they were really in the business of going after Sesko that could make everyone look the wrong way while Arsenal “reluctantly” settled on the player they wanted.

5: Arsenal really were not interested, but the media just like to fill their pages with mindless rumours and so they ran this one.  Arsenal wouldn’t mind because it means the media are not on the right track at all, so they said nothing.   It is a case of one journo running the story and everyone else trailing in behind in case they have missed something.

So is there any reason to believe that these different approaches are going on all the time?    Well, yes to a degree.   We know that each summer, over 100 players are tipped as coming to Arsenal and in fact usually the number that actually arrive is three.   But what goes on with the other 97 who are rumoured to be coming Arsenal’s way?

Certainly, if the club is seriously looking to sign someone, the last thing the club wants is the media running the story.   That would only make the price go up and the player press for ever better terms of employment.  So having 97% of the summer’s transfers being totally ludicrous gibberish is helpful not just to Arsenal but to all clubs.

Indeed it is quite possible that some of the clubs are regularly putting out transfer stories themselves just to confuse everyone – including the opposition.  Certainly, if that were the case it would explain Chelsea’s behaviour in buying everyone that moves.  They never quite understood that most of the stories are pure fantasy.

Moving on thanks to the Athletic for this: the summer pre-season tour.

July 28: Arsenal v Manchester U at the SoFi Stadium, LA.

July 31: Arsenal v Liverpool at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

Date to be fixed: Arsenal v Bournemouth at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles.

To be fixed: Arsenal v ??? at the Emirates Stadium (what with Arsenal not playing in the Community Shield since Manchester City did not win the double.



4 Replies to “Arsenal’s missing 97 players and the pre-season tour”

  1. Arsenal was never interested in Sesko, he does not fit the Arsenal profile, which is at least two seasons of performing well and his technical level to make a pass at least 80% completion.

    The Agent spreaded the news to the German media outlets then the English media took on the news. All designed cleverly by the players Agent to get him a better contract extension. It fooled most of the English media and the player got his contract that he was always after.

    There are not many strikers that are also good team players with regards to technical ability in the form of a Bergkamp or Henry type striker. The nearest I have seen is WIRTZ or Santiago Gimenez or Martinez. The others that can play as a striker but would need converting as Wenger did with Henry is Kvaratskhelia and Olise. These are versatile to footed attackers that are clinical and technical and have done well in the centre forward position. They are all clinical and technical and have performed well and unlike some of the untechnical strikers mentioned in the media, they are not one season performers.

  2. daveg

    WIRTZ you say? There’s a shock.

    I must admit I’m a little disappointed. You failed to mention checking him out on YouTube.

    What kind of agent are you anyway?

  3. I used to read Brian Glanville and Hugh McIlvanney in the mid seventies when they wrote for the Sunday Times. Their journalism has long departed legacy sports media ( journalists they’re not) which is why I’ve never bought or read legacy media for the past 35 years. As for the BBC’s new football woke website with their obsession of diversity, equality & inclusion over relevent content – no thanks I want to read about football not an ex-footballers political posturing at license fee payers expense.

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