The Summer of our Discontent: how Arsenal are falling behind everyone else.

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The Summer of our Discontent

By  Ian Trevett

There is no doubt that this summer has been a disaster and it is a bad time to be an Arsenal fan. Manchester United has spent in the region of £60m. Chelsea and Manchester City are about to splurge their limitless cash any day now. Meanwhile Wenger is counting his pennies, refusing to invest in his flawed squad, stubbornly clinging on to the piggy bank while the club faces a period of stagnation and decline. Our big players have seen the writing on the wall and they want out, ready to desert the sinking ship.

Does that sound about right? I think it sums up the consensus among the majority of on-line gooners and the ranks of the TV, press and radio media. But is it true or is it just paranoid ranting?

For a start let me nail my colours to the mast. The way we fell away at the end of the season was unacceptable and there is no doubt that the club needs some new blood. The ability is there but the belief seemed to be lacking. Some players definitely went missing at the end. So there are issues to be addressed.

But has the summer been a disaster? ‘Who knows?’ is the simple answer. Has anyone had a great summer? So far, definitely not. The business hasn’t been done yet and reports about us falling behind in the transfer window have simply been made up.

Most of the anger seems to be based on what fans think Wenger will do, rather than any knowledge of what he actually will do.

In truth, the window has yet to come alive for anyone.

Manchester United have been held up as an example of how a decisive transfer policy can pay dividends. Well they have spent some cash, but is their squad actually any stronger than last year? They have replaced a retiring keeper (they hope), added a defensive back-up and bought a wide man (to replace Giggs who will be eased out).

But they haven’t replaced Scholes. Are they any better? They have better cover for Vidic and Ferdinand, but I don’t really see them as being any better. Would we really be celebrating now if we had bought Jones and Young? If they can get Schneider I will be concerned. But as I write they haven’t.

Chelsea have bought a reserve keeper and a Barcelona reserve player. So what! In fact the most important news on the player front is the loss of Essien for the bulk of the season. Their midfield remains heavily reliant on Lampard. They may get Modric, but as I write they have bought no-one of short-term significance.

Man City look closest to a major signing in Aguero, but as I write the main news out of City is of Tevez trying to leave and Balotelli being an idiot.

Liverpool is perhaps the only club that has upped the quality, with three midfield acquisitions: Adam, Downing and Henderson. This does represent an improvement but they were well off the pace last year and have a lot of ground to make up..

Spurs have been very quiet. The only news is Modric’s flirtation with Chelsea.

And Arsenal? We have bought a forward plus a reserve right back and lost a left back. We will have a struggle to keep a couple of key midfield players Again hardly spectacular.

Looking at the summaries above just proves that the summer has been incredibly slow for everyone.

I am impatient like everyone else. But that doesn’t mean the summer has been all bad news. One big deal will probably kick-start the whole market. And then we will have a better idea about where the club is going.

Until then any comment is just hot air based on completely unfounded speculation. Frustrating it may be, but I’d much rather the manager takes his time and gets it right.

Ryo Miyaichi: who checks the passport. Oh no oh no oh no!!!

Arsenal players at the under 20 world cup and the under 18 European cup this summer

The 2011/12 Arsenal squad could be the biggest squad ever

78 Replies to “The Summer of our Discontent: how Arsenal are falling behind everyone else.”

  1. Actually I am only really interested in Arsenal improving their squad. What other clubs are doing is irrelevant to me. Quite obviously ( to me anyway) Arsene needs to spend some money wisely. I believe that his failure to do so over the past few seasons has caught up with the club. I also have my doubts that he will do much though. His proclamation that we might get one new defender coming in made my blood run cold. Perhaps here is not the place to re-run who he should or could buy and for how much. The results will tell their own story and they won’t lie.

  2. Finally someone talking some sense. The Arsenal fans really need to calm down and relax untill the transfer window is over. I am tired of all the doom and gloom. Wenger is not a stupid man and he will bring in the players we need for the squad. If he doesn’t by the end of the window then feel free to bash away but give our club a break for another 5 weeks and wait and see what happens. When he does bring in the right players and we bring home silverware this year I hope the same people bashing Wenger and our fantastic club are not the ones saying “I always new we could do it”. I think fans need to show some pride for our club and get behind our players and Wenger and show we support them.
    From a Canadian Gooner now living in Finland
    Gunners Forever

  3. Your way of describing the fan consensus as “hot air” is spot on. But it’s not just “paranoid ranting” because, as you say, it’s been “made up.” (Please note that Untold Media articles here on UA have offered examples and hypotheses on WHY it’s been “made up” so you and readers could check or re-check those out.) Like you, I hope “the manager takes his time and gets it right.” And, to be a bit more specific, getting it right on the pitch is also related to getting the pitch itself “right” (so to speak). Today, Sky Sports reports Arsene’s public statements on the need for Technology to be adopted; and, as it turns out, Arsene/Arsenal have wanted to try out goal line technology (which FA’s Scudamore praises for 2013/14 and it seems might be tried out for the next World Cup) for our fast-upcoming Emirates Cup. That’s him getting it right, right? He also clearly says he would like technology to go further (read video replay technology); but that’s not got official backing and at least not yet.

    So guess what, Fifa has just REJECTED Arsene/Arsenal’s desire to try out their own recommended goal line technology at our upcoming Emirates Cup. (After all, they’re pushing 2013/2014 and THIS is the year of Rednose 20, IMO) In the face of this, Arsene remains upbeat — indeed trying to get it right:,19528,11670_7062214,00.html

    Yes, on the pitch and off the pitch and in the connections between them, getting it right IS advocating for technology. To assist (to put it gently) the referees in their eternal quest to “get it right.” Anyway, to help speed this up, here’s what “the manager” is saying aloud for us all to hear (as reported): “You want it so you have a better chance to make the right decisions,” said Wenger.
    “You know it could be a help for the referees. The more help they get, the more decisions they get right.
    “If out of 100 decisions they get 95 right instead of 85, you have to use technology. And I would like to use it for more than goal-line decisions, but it’s a first step.”
    Wenger added: “I think Fifa do not want to start to have a different set of rules for it here and there and I can understand that.
    “But the good news is they are open to it and it looks like in the next World Cup we will have it.”

    So, Arsene has spoken out – the single voice to do so – and Arsenal has tried to “prematurely” deploy the “futuristic” idea of goal line technology this year – but have been checked by Fifa. Seems, then, that to “get it right,” maybe another article and, beyond that, loud advocacy by FANS could help support Arsene’s technology proposal (and it’s not the first time). On the pitch, this off the pitch prescription by our Docteur to heal our hearts, dispel hot air, cure paranoia, and get it right. Perhaps you/UA will follow on in this direction in a follow-up. Indeed, the window is still open.

  4. p.s. Adam, have a look at the above. That Arsene does this warms my heart; even as his/our need to do likewise, to use your expression, chills my blood.

  5. Improving the squad, yes, but so far, we’ve seen little evidence of that in wenger’s transfer market activities. He’s basically still a cheap-sale traders, always looking to buy cheap…even with Gervinho, he hoped it’d turn out to be a “bargain” buy. Jagielka for 10m pounds? What a crap.

    Mata’s not coming, neither is Santi Carzorla. Who wants to go to Arsenal? Young potentials and inexperienced youths, but not the top class players..Instead, top players like fabregas an nasri want to leave. Fabregas..already frustrated one year ago. Yet, wenger did nothing to bring in players that would have brought results and trophies: Bought tortoise-speed and bungling-Squillaci when he could have spent a bit more for Samba. Why? Stingyness of wenger. Nasri is not convinced either so far about wenger’s resolve. Having seen cesc’s past one season of ‘agony’, I believe nasri doesnt want to be in the same boat. Wenger is “too smart” for the good of Arsenal .. unfortunately.

    Barca will get cesc eventually but not at the price wenger demanded. They bought Sanchez for 33m. They’re smart at making a fool of themselves but who long as they get cesc. Best team in the world, with financial “problems”, still managed to get the best players in the world. Arsenal, best nursery in the world keep selling and losing class players they developed. Wenger’s legacy – lots of money, no trophies.
    Then their mockery of Arsenal will continue again.

  6. “Would we really be celebrating now if we had bought Jones and Young?”

    I think the answer would be yes!

  7. I keep getting stick for saying i’d prefer a predominantly British looking team with RVP Sagna TV5 and Shez being the foreign element, the only problem is we are five or six years off this unless we can spend as united do 35 to 40 million on players. The Cesc and Nasri saga has been totally unacceptable the latter being a sickner as we simply can’t compete with a two bob club who got unbelievably rich over night and will now like Barca tap players up without a care in the world. I hope Girviniho doesn’t do a chamack and disappear without a trace. Last season Arsenal were so very close to success however the positions that every football person as well as millions of fans across the world know we need destroyed any hope of trophies, Wenger not correcting this problem this summer will again leave Arsenal scrapping for fourth if we are lucky.

  8. The piece by United above is interesting because without putting forward any evidence for anything it attempts to repudiate the article.

    Consider some of what is said here…

    “Jagielka for 10m pounds? What a crap.”

    Now who ever said Jagielka was wanted by Arsenal or that we offered that price? A paper, with all the others repeating the story. Any truth in it? Impossible to say, but highly unlikely. One might say, “Cesc for £25m? What a crap” But that was the sort of offer the Barca chairman was said to have made.

    And yet the whole piece is an attack on Arsenal.

    The comment goes on…

    “Who wants to go to Arsenal? Young potentials and inexperienced youths, but not the top class players”

    So when Nasri, and Cesc presumably never wanted to come to Arsenal. Ah, that would explain why the mayor in Spain said that we had hijacked Cesc.

    Or try this one

    “he could have spent a bit more for Samba”.

    So, the writer has this inside knowledge that despite the fact that no one wants to come to Arsenal, Samba would have come and his club would have sold him. Really? But the piece is commenting also on the fact that Nasri and Cesc want out, and yet Arsenal are saying no.

    So is it not possible that maybe Samba’s transfer was stopped by the club, or because the player didn’t fancy playing in front of fans like those who jeered the club in Germany last weekend?

    “Wenger’s legacy – lots of money, no trophies.”

    Ah, now I get it. So the movement from the days of Rioch when getting into the Uefa cup was a time of wild celebrations and dancing in the street, with top players all demanding to leave if the manager didn’t – that is still where we are, rather than a club that has been in the top show in Europe every year. The club with the unbeaten season….

    But hey, it is so easy to write this rubbish when there needs to be no relationship with history or reality.

    I wonder what the world looks like from inside a brain like that?

  9. United,
    A brace by Gervinho in less than 30 minutes and you are able turn that into, oh, he hopes THAT’ll turn out to be a “bargain buy.” And I’m impressed that you know with certainty that a 10M bid was made for Jagielka. And more so, that you know with certainty that the slight Mata has the physique to withstand EPL agronomies. And you know what’s in Nasri’s head from, what, your sources at The Sun? Look, I’m impatient too, but there’ five weeks left and toxicity will not help you get there.

  10. You are missing one rather large point from your analysis and that is that Arsenal were considerably adrift of Manure, Citee and Chelski last year and so must improve the squad to catch up. The defence proved to be woeful last season and again during pre-season, and the squad will only be weakened by the departure / discontent of Fabregas and Nasri.
    Wenger has again promised to enter the transfer market and again it looks as though he will not make any significant purchases. 2011/12 looks bleak.

  11. “this summer has been a disaster and it is a bad time to be an Arsenal fan”

    This is absolutely right……

  12. “I wonder what the world looks like from inside a brain like that?”

    Don’t be daft Tony his skull is emptier than Rupert Murdoch’s soul.

  13. Well, that was quite a reposte to United, Tony! I agree with all you say and am a strong Arsene supporter. However, he has spent nothing at all from his budget as Gervinho’s cost is roughly equal to present sales (Clichy, Eboue and JET). He is running serious risks if he does no more than replace the players. If Cesc goes surely he must do more? Maybe he knows a little more than bloggists and media? As told on Untold, his track record of spending only £1.7M per year is amazing. Arsene is one person who cannot be bullied by anyone, but would it really hurt Arsenal if he spent big, just this one time?

  14. My goodness the department of disinformation is working overtime today.

    Let’s take this one

    “You are missing one rather large point from your analysis and that is that Arsenal were considerably adrift of Manure, Citee and Chelski last year and so must improve the squad to catch up.”

    OK, so the premise is that the league table of the previous season gives a real clue as to the difference between one club and the other.

    Fair enough concept: let’s try it out.

    In 2002/3 Arsenal ended up five points behind Manchester United. In the summer of that year the press were full of Vieira leaving. It was the back page headline every day of the close season. Arsenal were in deep trouble because no one would come to Arsenal and our best players were going.

    What did Wenger do in such a crisis?

    He sold some players. Seaman went to Man City and Luzhny went to Wolverhampton.

    The transfers in were modest; some unknown 16 year old kid from Barcelona, Lehmann, Senderos and Clichy.

    We were five points behind Manchester United and one of our best players was about to leave and we bought dross like that and an unknown Barca kid who clearly was crap otherwise the club would never have let him go.

    One year on Man U ended up 15 points behind us.

    My point is not that the statement about points behind is simplistic and not a total answer, but rather that people who claim to be Arsenal fans are spreading this sort of disinformation. Simplistic notions with no evidence or backup.

    My question is why are they doing it. My answer is rather complex and best left for another article.

  15. Critic – I love that.

    Arsene should stop buying players like Ryo and instead buy some quality fans. Yes yes yes. That’s the campaign we should be running from now on.

    thank you. Made my day.

  16. I think Tony is getting really unhappy with some people saying things they’ve invented while asleep having beforehand read the sports section of the Daily Star. I reckon the world has become a truly indeed pity place to live in, everyone is blaming someone else. I do understand that if a club doesn’t win a major trophy in a long time, fans tend to turn on it and show their frustration, but the constant moaning and blaming this and that while offering unreliable short-term solution is not going to help at all, is it? Nowadays some people tend to support their own ambitions associated with the club rather than the club itself, a matter of arrogance? Perhaps. But if you truly love this club, then stop moaning, blaming and especially try to teach a top world football manager how to do his job. Arsenal FC are doing their business behind closed doors, it’s a competitive world and it’s only the media who feed information hungry people with crap. Just wait until all the business matters are settled, review them and get behind the team for another exciting season!

  17. @critic
    That is the post of the day, possibly the post of the week.

    Can I also suggest spending some money to hack the phones of various annoying journalists?
    Imagine the press conference:
    Journo #1 “Mr Wenger, is Cesc leaving?”
    Wenger “Ah Mr Smith, how is Chantelle?”
    Journo #1 “Chantelle?”
    Wenger “You mean the woman you spent the night with at a Travelodge on the M6 last week was not your wife?”

  18. “For a start let me nail my colours to the mast. The way we fell away at the end of the season was unacceptable and there is no doubt that the club needs some new blood. The ability is there but the belief seemed to be lacking. Some players definitely went missing at the end. So there are issues to be addressed.”

    Ian, I couldn’t disagree more. We didn’t fall away, we were blasted away. What belief was missing against Aston Villa, against Newcastle, against Sunderland? In each case we were victims not slackers.

    Tony, I find it difficult to read this nonsense anywhere, but here! Why? Why do you allow it? You don’t believe it; why should you choose to put readers who support the ref watch through the agony of reading this nonsense on Untold?

  19. On a more serious note, has anyone else seen the Lord Fungus press conference where he announces that there will be no further signings?
    Also note that none of their signings are ‘proven winners’, whereas Gervinho has a league winners medal from last season. Likewise Chamakh has two. Their spending power isn’t sufficient to attract top talent either (I suspect Sneijder doesn’t want to leave a team good enough to beat Barcelona for one that got spanked in Rome and London by them).
    And people complain about our transfer activity?

  20. Dogface,
    I’ve suggested that perhaps there might be a common address for some ditto-head postings above. I call what you use a “gotcha app”.

  21. Woolwich Peripatetic,
    “Lord Fungus” is, well, the name of the summer! The “fungus amongus,” as we used to say in Brooklyn.

  22. Cape Gooner. I agree about Newcastle where the ref had a massive influence on the result. Against Sunderland we had a good goal disallowed and Ramsey should have had a pen against Villa.
    But against Sunderland and Villa we clearly had dropped several levels compared to the first half of the season and we were poor against Stoke.
    We had decisions go against us, but we have to be good enough to cope with this.
    I think you are confusing me with a Wenger critic. In which case you couldn’t be further away from the truth. I have utmost faith in him, but it has to be acknowledged that we finished the season poorly.
    Wenger realises this as he is moving on several players at the moment. There are reports (or speculation) that Eboue is leaving because Wenger was frustrated at his needless error at the end of the Liverpool game.
    The gist of my article is that I have faith in Wenger to get this summer right.
    By the way, the official site has confirmed that JET has gone to Ipswich. I was sure he would make it but perhaps this is an indication on how high the standards are being set for young players at the club.

  23. Good, constructive article.

    Crazy for Arsenal to get criticised when the transfer window has been quiet all round. We’ve got an attacker in, a reserve right back, and Wenger has stated that he WILL sign a defender. It serves no advantage to make a bid for someone like Gary Cahill right now, as it gives Bolton too much time to drive his price up and to begin an auction with other clubs. If we bide our time, Bolton may well realise that this is their last opportunity to get any money for him, money they are in desperate need of, and would accept a more realistic price for him.

    We’ve lost no-one of any real consequence (sorry Gael Clichy fans), with lots of dead-wood hopefully to follow.

    Wenger’s views on the squad aren’t too different from the majority of the fans. We needed another attacker because towards the end of the season no-one apart from Van Persie could score or create a goal. A strong, capable defender is needed to help strengthen our defence- he’s said he will get one.

    Dead-wood like Almunia, Denilson, and Eboue, who the fans want rid of, have either left or have one foot out of the door. Bendtner may also leave, a rather divisive figure when it comes to our support, and Gael Clichy, who has long been deemed not good enough for Arsenal, has already been sold.

    If we keep the squad we have together, and I appreciate that’s a big IF with the questions surrounding Cesc and Nasri, and we get someone like Gary Cahill into the team, we’ll have a hell of a strong squad to challenge competitively this season.

    Have faith.

    Long time to go before the CL knock out round!

  24. “But against Sunderland and Villa we clearly had dropped several levels compared to the first half of the season and we were poor against Stoke.”

    Sorry Ian, but against Villa we should have won 6 – 2 and against Sunderland, apart from the goal, there was the “offside” against AA and THIRTY times the ref passed possession from us to Sunderland. Ian, you may be a superman, but most people would have the stuffing knocked out of them by that. AA was fouled time after time with nothing given; Clichy’s foul throw??

    Why were we poor against Stoke? They are favourites to beat us on a pitch with long grass. They play a better “ball in the air” game than we do.

    Look at what RvP said about what has happened at the end of (3 of) the last four seasons. He then said we will never win anything. He is right. All we can do is play great football and enjoy it. Until the corruption is rooted out, a discussion on how to win the EPL (or for that matter, the Champions League) is superfluous.

  25. There was one newspaper who printed an article stating that Liverpool FC do not discuss their transfer dealings with the general public.

    On the 1001 and still counting Arsenal sites we have one billion (American style) fans (?) publicly discussing and too many cursing The Arsenal and Mr Wenger in particular. Some call Mr Wenger a miser, yet he has spent more than he has been paid in his time as manager here.

    Mr Wenger has won titles and cups in France, Japan and England. What other manager in the EPL has achieved that in two completely different cultures?

    I think it was £14,000 that The Arsenal spent on Bryn Jones to replace Alex James. How times have changed!

  26. Cape Gooner – It all sounds a bit defeatist to me. We’ve had it before. From 1998-2005 United’s tactic was to kick lumps out of us every time we played. The refs completely ignored it. It would have been easy to say that we haven’t got a chance. But we won trophies the hard way.
    I love Wenger’s football and his philosophy makes me want to win trophies even more. It isn’t just the club I support, it is a style and philosophy I support as well. And I especially want to beat teams like Stoke whether they are ‘favourites’ or not.

  27. relax all the moaners.
    plenty of time till end of July.

    Dont discredit Arsene, he has brought us trophies in the past and he has kept us financially sound.

    This is much more difficult than what Chelsea, ManU and ManCity coaches have done.

    give the team some time.

    BTW, i dont care if Cesc/Nasri goes.

  28. @bob – Ahhh… there has been some of that – yes *cough* cin *cough*, I am keeping an eye on it. This is the kind of article that will attract a lot of ‘new posters’ with an axe to grind and an ‘opinion’ to bleat.

  29. “Paranoid ranting” sums up the media hype and many arsenal blogs
    quite nicely. good blog as usual.

  30. I was ridiculed by one of the moaners for saying the same thing about United. Yes they’ve bought a keeper, a winger and a young CB with potential but they’ve lost Van Der Saar and Scholes plus Giggs is surely going to be used sparingly next season and Rio seems to be picking up a lot of injuries to point where he may need to retire soon. I echo your sentiments that only if they buy Sneijder can we say that they have genuinely improved the team compared to last season.

  31. The author is right. So far, we don’t know how well Wenger has done this summer. However, after the cowardly capitulation we all were witness to at the end of the season, ‘the Professor’ could have made a real statement of intent by going out and signing the players that we so desperately need, give them pre-season to gel and sleep easily through August knowing that he doesn’t have to scramble around for once.

    Instead, we all know what is going to happen: no activity until the last few days when Wenger will bring in some sub-standard player (like Mart Poom, Squillaci and Silvestre) despite having all summer to identify a proper player. For someone so intelligent, he really does baffle me!!!

  32. Thanks Cape, I think we all want the same thing!

    The other thing no-one seems to have picked up is the Chelsea midfield. With no Essien I think it looks a bit light at the moment.

  33. Can someone tell me some inside information about the following:
    1. Why did we sell JET
    2. Why has Lansbury not been part of the pre-season squad
    3. Why has Bartley not been part of the pre-season squad
    4. Why bring Connor Henderson ahead of these 3 when he is not only behind this lot but also behind Coquelin, Miquel and Bothelo in the Reserve and Youth set up.

    I don’t give 2 figs about what the press say don’t say about us. But these are facts and they are causing me huge pain and concern.

  34. Dan,
    We both know that the transfer game is played to the end, whether or not it’s convenient to us. It’s not convenient, that’s true – especially with the extra CL leg to get through. It drives a lot of anxiety. But in the EPL cutthroat business, our need is massively used against us. It’s the unspoken truth. So Arsene/Arsenal is caught between a rock and a hard place. But it’s not either/or. An in between way to go is what’s taking place and still has 5 weeks to go. That is to get as much of the side practicing and playing together as possible, build team chemistry as much as possible, and add/subtract as soon as possible. You cannot assume that nothing is happening and Arsene is a sadist blowing smoke to mind-f**k us. My point is that there are 5 weeks to go. The ways of the EPL window demand that time is taken (Aresene’s interview said this week would mean 20 hour days and we’re only on Tuesda). And, then, with no prediction – because you and I know nothing – we will meet up again in five weeks and have a much better fact-based assessment to share of where we are all at.

  35. Phil,
    Dunno. Five weeks to find out if it stays the ways you’ve described. Conor Henderson is already out of the picture. And things do change from day to day, especially out of your sight and mine; and all our hand-wringing does zero except to darken our sun (not The Sun, which could bring a smile). Do either of us know except second and third hand whether Lansbury, Bartley and ready; or that JET was the answer, or might not yet produce a rather large sell-on fee that could yet go into a purchase that does make a difference. Believe me, I could make your seeming argument; but it’s really hollow with no knowledge. Businesses give no reasons and fans are not entitled to anything, by that amoral logic. But come five weeks from now, we’ll know if we were just spun and made fools of. Let’s consider a wait and see approach without, today, adding more doom and gloom to the mix.

  36. Phil – for the moment just an answer on JET and Lansbury

    He went on loan to Cardiff and did not set the world alight. In fact the reports were that although there was a huge talent it could not be directed to the team effort. Add to that his problems in his personal life (vis a vis his car) and the guess is he just isn’t quite up to the standard that we all hoped.

    Lasbury – if you look at the records – could not push his way into the Norwich team in the latter part of the season, but was often on the bench. Says something in itself I fear.

  37. Bob,

    I look forward to coming on here on September 1st and assessing how we end up doing… I think I’ll be bald by then after all of this transfer stress lol!

  38. manure don’t need to improve. Any gaps will be filled in by the men in black, just like last season.
    Many people have been saying this manure team is not as good as the ones of old, and they’re right. But that drop in quality is offset by the help from the MIB.
    For anyone who’s seen “How to Buy a Football Club” it should be pretty obvious what type of characters we’re working against every time we play, and not just when we play manure. Clearly some managers would have no issues instructing their players to kick the crap out of us to help out old red nose.

  39. I think the reason for most of the fustration felt by fans is that both Arsne and Ivan said it would be a busy transfer window for us and many of us believed that we would strengthen in the areas which let us down (namely set pieces). so far nothing has happened in that regard, though I’m aware there are still 5 weeks to go. I feel the club has missed a great opportunity to turn a lot of fans opinions around and lift the morale by signing the necessary players early and giving them a fully pre-season with the rest of the squad. Granted I dont know the ins and outs of how transfers are done but united have proved it can be done.

  40. the iphone and the ipad are two of the most popular and successful tech products ever invented. do you seriously think apple would consider contracting with a supplier to encase either product in carbon fiber because customers thought it would look cool? of course not! the iphone is highly functional, attractive, and cool. is it the best phone on the market? not by a long shot, but it does so many things right while making a substantial profit that apple can afford to keep its doors open and continue working on the iphone 6, 7 and 8. are they going to tell you what features are coming in versions 6, 7 and 8? i think not. do you know how much they pay their suppliers? no you don’t and you won’t anytime soon.

    so you support the iphone of football clubs. sleek, technically advanced and profitable. is it perfect? not if you use trophies for a yardstick. but does it do enough things well to be among the best value for the money on the market? i think it does.

    i watched the finals of the copa america through half time on sunday. i couldn’t stand to watch any more than that as the football was so ugly. neither team played with any grace or finesse. the only plan they had was to kick, run and hope. it was like watching sunderland playing stoke with the wick turned up a notch. i watched brazil play a couple matches and they were unrecognizable from the great teams of 1970s through the nineties.

    unlike some arsenal fans, i watch the miss universe contest for the bikini parade, not to see the winner in her gown and sash.

  41. Speaking of manufacturing discontene, has anyone laughed at how wengers’s rather subtle pop at the PGMOL, has not registered with the dumb asses in fleet street because rather than fit the clubs attempts to set a precedent by hosting a tournament with added fairness into the context – wenger is leading the charge to prove to the world that football can still be entertaining and fair by lessening the effect of human error/ bias- they have gone with fifa sticks two fingers at wenger and his science- talk about the flat earth society!

  42. Like a few others, I too am a bit concerned that a talent like JET has been sold. He never got playing time at Cardiff as there were too many loanees at the club and there are rules about how many can play each game or something, when he did play, he did play well with the small smattering of minutes given. Then after being benched for weeks by Dave Jones, he gets called to play in a position that didn’t suit him during the play offs. It was a series of unfortunate events really.

    As for those that say he had a bad attitude, I have’nt seen evidence of this recently. The car issue happened a couple of years ago and if that was the problem then we should also be getting rid of Traore and a number of other young players who have got into trouble. Let’s face it he is hardly Adel Taarabt or Balotelli, in terms of bad attitude and behaviour.

    The only thing that would make sense in this sale is if he was asked to sign a new contract like Lansbury and Arsenal decided to sell them and get some money before they walked away for free. Otherwise I don’t agree with the sale.

    All things being equal, there is no way Conor Henderson should be in front of Lansbury in my opinion. Neil Banfield has made a judgement call on a number of players this season because the reserves need to be trimmed, but I question whether they have been right.

  43. Tony, Thats a bit harsh on landsbury. If memory serves me correct Henry had an injury just before the run in or last few games of the season and it was supposedly that norwich then when he became fit didnt want to disrupt the good flow they had going. But on the whole they seemed quite pleased with Henrys performances over the season.

    Id like to know your opinion on Nasri also. It appears he joined the darkside had his turned like ashley cole years ago.
    When that sort of tapping up occurs I dont think Nasri will sign next season with us.
    Would we not be better trying to sell him and buy eden hazard with the proceeds rather than let him go for free next season.

    It doesnt make sense if we are trying to be prudent with our finances.

  44. @ Mike in Atlanta, haha – I respect your honesty about the Miss Universe contest.

  45. @ Phil, fair point, as far as I know:

    1) JET is not better than we currently have, and we can no longer take risks by putting him in for a long run of games like George Graham did with Rodders.
    2) & 3) both have had recent injuries, so probably not being rushed back.
    4) Henderson – we only see a snapshot of these players, not what they do everyday in training – he obviously delivers to get the opportunity.

    I’d like to see Lansbury, Botelhlo and Bartley in the first team, but if they took a while to bed in would the fans really accept mistakes and potential dropped points? Sadly not. Also I think Botelho needs another year for passport, and which of us can accurately judge the quality of the Spanish second division against the premier league?

    Regarding all the opinions of Wenger out and he needs to spend money numpties:

    1) were you personally there when the board said “here’s £50m Arsene, GO SPEND!!!!
    2) how are you all getting on with your sporks?


  46. I’d like to see Lansbury get more of a chance too, the little I’ve seen has been impressive. At least let him play all or most of the Carling Cup games, and bring him on when we’re 3-0 up. Provided Dowd is not the ref, of course…

  47. Boys and girl,
    Lets not be too sentimental about both these players are old enough to vote, if you are not pushing guys out the first team in the championship- you are a long way from pushing for a place in the champions league. that is the quality of player they are up against, look at wilshere, frimpong etc- they are the sort of talent the club is looking to retain.
    Now that you have had the sugar, here is the bitter pill, roarie deacon who we released on a free this summer pitched up with his team sunderland and scored the first goal in a 2-1 win earlier today. one word “D’oh”

  48. I think Wenger is waiting to see what really happens with Cesc, and will spend and adjust accordingly. If reports are true that Nasri will not sign, that will come into it.
    I expect us to start the season with 1 but not both of those players,and strengthen accordingly but what do I know?
    Loved reading this article, a rare bit of context.
    Utd now have a younger keeper than we have, and we are now being slagged off for going with a rookie keeper. Ashley Young – has talent, but defines inconsistancy. Jones – one for the future, we have a few of those too. Utds greatest weapon next season – Fergie, Chicarito, Rooney or the FA? You choose?
    Liverpool, spent a lot but oozing deadwood, and just lost to Hull – ok it was pre season and we lost to Hull a while back, but still, they lost to Hull. think Liverpool may become this seasons damp squib – a feeling in my bones.
    Chelsea – bought in Jan, Luiz started well but looks ill disciplined, on the pitch anyway and Torres……
    Citeh – we shall see.
    Shame the odd troll is back. I have been on a few sites where trolls pretending to be Utd or Chelsea fans have actually been unmasked as Spurs fans. Tragic I know but I guess if you want to spend 24 hours a day trying to run Arsenal down, being a Spurs fan is not a good start in life!

  49. Ha ha, no need to say anything more, just watch. Cesc not wanting to say anything either…. Meanwhile wenger still CANT convince nasri. Another young potential in the radar aint it….Joel campbell. How old is he? 🙂

  50. @united’
    guess what we will throw 250,000 pounds at him for hair implants, while our club owes the best part of a billion in debt. guess who pays for all this? that’s right, you, muggins.

  51. RobL, Gooner Gal, Phil,
    Henderson seems likely out of the picture; as was stretchered off at the end of Cologne, and Arsene said afterwards that it looked bad, but they’d wait for test results. Anyone know his latest status?

  52. @ Mandy Dodd, I agree with all your points, except I would say Manchester United’s 20th league cup may be facilitated by the following:-

    1. The FA
    2. Fergie
    3. His ex players and other EPL managers
    4. Some bloke called Joe Sim
    5. Rooney’s forearm smash

    Even the odds are stacked against us I still think we are in with a shot.

  53. (dis)United,
    agreed, as you say: no need for you to say more. (the U10 sadistic pleasure you take in others’ anxieties really speaks for itself).

  54. I actually think that there is one thing that hasn’t been mentioned that is causing some of the issues in getting players and especially non english players and that is TAX.

    To get overseas players the salaries to be paid have to be adjusted for the fact that top tax rate in Britain is 50% and players will won’t a certain after tax amount.

    Arsenal can offer the same gross salary amount but once tax is taken off what the player gets is less than can get elsewhere so have to offer a higher gross salary which not willing to do.

  55. very very true Gooner Gal. The ex players and general Fergie friendly gimp managers. Would be interesting to see tackles / fouls committed by Aston Villa / Stoke / Sunderland / Fulham / Newcastle and the like at the Emirates vs those at OT. And will be interesting to see who refs such games, as well as the early meeting with Utd at OT. Just hope we do not get West Ham or whoever Phil Brown has descended to in the cup or more of the same!

  56. Jas777,
    Yes, taxes have got to be a consideration. BUT, of course, it’s EPL-wide. So why is it “an Arsenal problem” more than others in this league. Indeed, what do you mean by “elsewhere” – unless it’s outside the EPL, of course. And inside the EPL, wouldn’t the very highest of the high earners – which is not Arsenal – get taxed at a still higher rate than those in the middle to lower rungs of that EPL ladder? I’m sure this is naive, but so be it. My question to your logic is why then does anyone from abroad choose to play in the UK at all? I wonder if there are exemptions or tweaks in UK/EU tax codes that help the EPL attract and keep its high-profile talent? Or how else could it be a viable league? Do clubs slip in “expense account” subsidies? Only the shadow (accountants and agents) knows:) Any answers out there?

  57. @ Mandy, I think your referral to Fergie’s ex players and ‘friends’ as gimps is excellent! I think I may refer to them as that from now on.

    Phil Brown helped Preston NE get relegated to league 2 last year, so I hope they have done the sensible thing and sacked him. I hope we play Fat Sam, I always enjoy it when we beat his teams.

  58. bob,
    there are no exceptions to the 50% tax rate. As to why they want to come to England at all, well we have only have theories.
    A significant part of a footballer’s income is from sponsorships, image rights etc
    Take any player, say Ageuro. He is apparently earning Euros 210,000 per week at Athletico and will supposedly earn around GBP 150,000 per week meaning a massive pay cut.
    But the English Premier League is by far the world’s best and most-watched league. He will get increased media coverage in England and in turn around the world thus making himself a more
    marketable brand. Increased publicity will increase his replica kit sales and thus more income from image rights.
    So though footballers earn less from their Clubs, that difference can be compensated by increased earnings from other sources.

  59. Nice article, but i differ on many points.

    Firstly, ManU already have a team that can win, infact its more or less the same team that has won last season except for Van Der Sar and Scholes. So they are probably in a good position right now. They bought a good defensive back up and a superb winger and a excellant goalkeeper to replace Van Der Sar. So they jus seem to be needing jus one midfielder, which is quite possible in their terms. After that they will be pretty much set.

    In Chelsea’s case, they have a strong starting 11, but their back ups are not as good. So their main target would be to bring in back ups. They got one gk back up and one midfield back up in form of Barca youth player, and i believe they might get another experienced midfielder to join in. On the attack front, they have good options in form of Drogba, Anelka, Torres, Malouda, Kalou and incoming Sturridge, who has had an excellent loan season. So they seem to be needing only a good back up for their midfield and defence.

    City on the other hand have a massive squad. They already have lots of good options everywhere. Maybe a back up for Hart might be necessary, but lets be honest, they dont even need to buy anyone this season unless someone is leaving.

    Now coming to Arsenal, we too have decent squad. But its our back ups in certain areas which can be a worry. For eg, at left back, Gibbs is a big worry in case of Injuries. And if he gets injured then Vermaelen might be used, which could make our left back stronger but will make our central defence weaker. Even our Midfield is a worry, we still haven’t got anyone who can replicate the passes of Cesc. If he gets injured, our whole game becomes slow and predictable. Ramsey might be good but he doesn’t do the job of Cesc. Also, we still haven’t found a decent winger who can deliver good crosses consistently. Thats another worry.
    So in Arsenal’s case, i think we have more work to do that anyone else….

  60. @Dark Prince – Jack has had a great start to the season and I think he should/will move forward more – just like he was in the youth team. Also he will start scoring goals again. His pass to Gervinho on Sat was as good as anything Cesc does and I think he is the natural succesor not Ramsay. However I agree totally about the winger scenario. Walcott is fantastic but he wants to be CF. If he is injured we have actually not one real winger on either the left or the right. It’s a weakness. Look at what Velencia does for Rooney – no Valencia no Rooney goals. If we had someone that good, RVP could play more central instead of having to drift out and try to make things happen. But hey Miyachi may be the answer on the left. It would be waste of a finisher if Gervinho gets stuck with that task.

  61. Phil- Jack is definately the future, so is Ramsey, but at the moment both of them are not even half as good as Cesc. they do show that exceptional passes sometimes, but not as often as Cesc. Plus Cesc being injury prone gra big issue as for many matches he isn’t there and Jack or Ramsey dont really fulfill that role always. Look at our Carling Cup final, Cesc got injured jus a few nays b4 that match, and eventually his creativity was missed desperately…So the back up of Cesc should be there in our team, we cant wait for another couple of years till one of Jack or Ramsey to step up.

    Though i agree with you on the winger situation.

  62. @Dark Prince

    IMO, Manchester United would be weaker than previous season if their transfer window is closed without another transfer. Actually, compared to their 55 millions on 3 new players, I think we have been improved greater than them with just 7 millions.

    de Gae is a great talent, but we still have to wait what he could do to replace another great talent with ton of experience like Van Der Sar. I don’t think de Gae can do better than him. Meanwhile we have Szczesny and Fabianski, maybe our best two GKs in the past 6 years.

    They’ve lost Scholes without replacement yet.

    They replace Brown and O’Shea with Jones. Their defence looks solid. We have Vermaelen back, Clichy – the weakest link – has gone and replaced by a young talent. Arsene said that we will have one more CB, with Vermaelen,Koscielny, Djourou, Squillaci and new CB, it’s fine to me.

    They bring A.Young, with Nani, Young, Valencia, Park, it looks dangerous. We do too, with Gervinho, Arshavin and Theo.

  63. @Dark Prince,
    Two of the things that saved Manchester United from ignominy were the goalkeeping of Van Der Sar and being able to bring on Paul Scholes to pick the lock of a well parked bus. De Gea is talented but he’s also rather light for a PL keeper (unlike Szczęsny) and untried in English football. They still have no natural playmaker.
    One of our problems, which the youth team lacks is that our players are too often static around the opposition box. One thing a midfield which has Ramsey/Lansbury, Wilshere and Frimpong in it has in spades is dynamism. If our right and left backs can get past their opposite number and provide a reverse pass to a runner from deep the chances of a goal are much higher.

  64. Travis – lets be clear, Van Der Sar was exceptional only bcoz of their defence…..without the defence Van Der Sar looks ordinary, jus look how many goals they conceded when Vidic and Ferdinand were injured last season in the begining….
    So the excellance of De Gea too will depend on the defence, which is still solid in the form of Ferdinand and Vidic….plus with the likes of Smalling and Jones developing, they have good back ups….

    So i think De Gea will prove his worth with a defence like that in front of him.

    I dont think i need to speak on their attack….they have lots of option and lots of depth….i can say they are preparing themselves to win more than one trophy this time, thats why their making depth in their attacking squad….

    Now the only place left is midfield….that definately the weakest link in ManU, and its credit worthy that they won the league without having a proper midfield. And this would definately be the place where they will work….but if they dont then yes, they’ll be weaker bcoz Scholes has left…. They have Anderson but he hasn’t completly reached a world class level…. But if they bring in someone very good like Snijder, then they’ll be good enough to win the league again….

  65. Woolwich- i agree with your comments on De Gea, but he’ll be having the luxury of havin a superb defensive partnership ahead of him, unlike Szczesny….

    Also, the full backs providing a reverse pass will be less effective bcoz again our midfield attackers will be static in front of the goal with the ball….plus the reverse pass is very rarely used by our full backs, the ones in our team who use it are Van Persie, Arshavin and Walcott….the full backs aren’t so aware of those opportunities….so they normally go for a straight cross directly in the box, which is a good thing, but their crosses are very poor and hardly go past the 1st blocker.

  66. @DP
    I think De Gea will get very tested at set pieces, if Vidic and Ferdinand have to babysit him it will harm their defensive organisation. VdS could certainly look after himself in those situations.
    Conversely I see all of their attacks going a bit one dimensional. They really struggled to break down teams away from Old Toilet because they have no genuine target man (Berbatov, LMFAO!) and no creativity in midfield.
    If Chelsea can avoid having a mid season slump (though that showed how shallow their squad is) and get Torres integrated into their side I suspect they will be the favourites for the PL.

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