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Jack’s back – but who drops out?

The club that changed football

Looking for a terraced house in Northamptonshire?

Making the Arsenal


By Tony Attwood

OK, I know, Wilshere won’t be playing for Arsenal in September, but sometime in late October he will be ready for some experience, perhaps first as a sub and then as a starter in the games.

Which is great – but let us suppose (and of course it is a huge supposition) that we carry on with the good luck in injuries and don’t get many.  (Or maybe it is because, as Anne pointed out last season, things have changed.  Last year  certain players were being targeted for injury by a few opposition players, seemingly with the connivance of the ref, that tactic has come to an end).

So we have

 Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby,

Santi Cazorla

all fit and continuing to work as an impressive unit.

Lurking around we have Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin.  Now I know that there are lots of Ramsey haters among the AAA, and I know that Coquelin is still learning his trade as a young player, but I would bring these two into the reckoning because I do think Ramsey does have enormous potential, and he is learning not to take any notice of the AAA, and Coquelin although at an earlier stage, is the sort of player we need to have;  a player who can step in at a moment’s notice, in defence or midfield and who grows in confidence in every game.

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But there is more.  Because we also have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who can do all sorts of things in all sorts of places.  We’ve seen him in central midfield as well as an attacking mid-fielder as well as a wide-man in the front line.

And it so happens that Frimpong is back as well, and although we might not be seeing him at the moment with such a strong midfield as getting a place, he is there, ready and willing and hopefully a little calmer than he was before he went to Wolverhampton.

As a diversion from all this we have the Alex Song saga.   Do you remember all the “Arsenal is a selling club” stuff from the AAA, and the “just like last season” and the “Arsenal are braced to lose yet another star player” and on and on.   Now suddenly the reason for losing Song is clear.   We had too many players for the positions.  If any of the rumours about Song not turning up on time, not following orders on the pitch and all that sort of thing are true, there’s another reason for flogging him.

Sadly for Alex, if he follows the Flamini Fallacy, things won’t be so good.  Certainly he did not start in the last Barca game, being an unused sub.  He has actually been on the field just once this season.

Barca are top of the league and for tomorrow’s match Eurosport has him predicted once again as being on the bench.  Incidentally in that last game against Getafe, Fabregas actually played all the way through the match.  I believe that is the first time that has happened in the league this season.  Maybe for the occasional player there is life after Arsenal – but if so, that is still the exception.

But maybe Alex Song likes benches.

Anyway, back to Arsenal’s problem with midfielders.

  • Mikel Arteta,
  • Abou Diaby,
  • Santi Cazorla,
  • Aaron Ramsey,
  • Alex Oxlade Chamberlain,
  • Jack Wilshere.

Not enough to choose from?  Add Rosicky in two weeks time.  Want an outside bet?  Andre Arshavin.  And a totally outside bet: Tomas Eisfeld.

So, it is yet another crisis time at Arsenal.  Yet another total balls-up by the incompetent manager Wenger at the selling club Arsenal, doomed forever to die in the shadows.

And the problem?

We’ve just got far too many midfield players.


55 comments to Jack’s back – but who drops out?

  • Eddy

    Iam hoping that the decision to sell Song turns out to be one of Arsene’s best ever but one thing is for sure,90% of the panicking,blinkered Johny Come Latelys won’t admit that their over the top comments regarding our bleak future were vindictive and self harming.

  • Reece

    push cazorla out to the wing (where he used to play) and have wilshere (once fully fit) take his place in the middle to add creativity to the wingers, wenger did this with benny last year. Gerv, Podol, Cazorla as our front 3, then arteta wilshere and diaby in the middle. Just an idea…

  • Damien Luu

    We not only have too many midfielders, we have too many good ones. Arsene will surely have a good headache 😀 I love it when he has this kind of headache.

    Like I said at the start of the season, we will scare the life out of everyone with our midfield this season (and a few next).

  • ARSENAL 13

    I think this seasons capitol one cup is worth watching. The young players who may not be playing regularly can get a chance here. It would be the ARSENAL of the future. Ramsey, Wilshere, Frimpong, Yennaris, Miquel, Ox,……all in one team…

  • WalterBroeckx

    I’m already wetting my pants as the popular expression goes by the prospect of seeing Jack back on the field. We have then 7 or 8 excellent midfielders for only 3 starting spots.
    Because they are versatile and because Arsenal has trained them that way or their former club they can go on the wings in attack if needed but boy this surely looks great.

    Just imagine our now normal starting line up in midfield (Mikel, Santi and Abou) and then after one hour we could put Jack, Aaron and Rosicky in the field if our midfielders are getting tired…there goes my pants again 🙂

  • Hmm i like it when everyone especially the AAA and the whore-lists are talking nothin against the Arsenal. They do not not sell too much either. There is something i would love to talk about teams such as Newcastle,Spurs and Man$ity. Can they compete on all fronts!? As of me i think we will enjoy to see if there made of clay or iron.Its still to early but i would love you Walter and Tony to give me what you think about this. Cheers

  • bob d

    no brainer diarby he will be injured by then !

  • GR1FF

    Ridiculous article. For the first time in years, The Gunners have strength in depth , in the most vital area of the pitch. Every one of the midfielders mentioned are Quality Premier League players and could start for any other team in the league. To suggest that we have “Too Many” midfielders is blasphemous. Wenger knows what he is doing. And to be perfectly honest, the loss of Song has had minimal effect on the teams performance and actually , if he had stayed , would be very much struggling to hold down a place in Arsenal’s starting 11.

  • Gr1FF – that irony by-pass operation you had was a success then.

    Here’s a tip – don’t comment on a web site for the first time without actually knowing what the ethos of the web site is. It can make you look a bit of a prat.

  • John

    Song leaving has not impacted us at all. Arteta is playing that role very well and providing he doesnt get injury he can play the DM role very well.

    Plus we have Coquelin as back up I believe Frimpong will go on loan.

    Regarding Wilshere coming back I believe Wenger will be in beside Arteta when Diaby is off form and were Cazorls is currently playing during other games. Cazorla can take up LWF and Podoloski move in full forward we have so many options is crazy.

    Tony quick question when are Arsenal planning on releasing there financial accounts to May 2012 or have these been released and I’ve missed them????



    Great having Jack back hopefully he can stay injury free

  • Zen

    I would like to see Wilshere be Arteta’s under study. Arteta’s position is the most fragile. There’s absolutely no one who can cover for him once he’s out.

    There can be rotation between Arteta and Wilshere for both legs to last as long as possible throughout the season. And for Wilshere to gain the exposure he needs.

  • JohnW

    I actually think this is a good situation to be in. Injuries will come, and when that happens, that’s when teams win matches. Now we don’t have to panic when any player is injured because their replacement will do the job. Should we negotiate this month successfully, I have a feeling Arsenal will be strong contenders this season. But should we lose both at ManC and Chelsea, then the self doubt will step in, and it can do us a lot of harm. Cross your fingers.

  • sebas

    The one thing i just absolutely cannot stand is people constantly are people who think that wilshere should be moved to the top of our midfield triangle. Has it not been clear that cazorla is most effective when he has the ball and beats his man to make space for a pass in the final third.

    I know its been a long time, but i still remember that jack is at his best when he’s looks for the ball from our defense and brings it forward aka what arteta is doing now.

  • bob

    “Now suddenly the reason for losing Song is clear. We had too many players for the positions. If any of the rumours about Song not turning up on time, not following orders on the pitch and all that sort of thing are true, there’s another reason for flogging him.”
    This is not a sudden revelation. It’s been your pov from just before he was shipped out (not lost). The rumours are rumours – unsubstantiated; yet you pose their hypothetical truth as “another reason for flogging him.” Frankly, if this is the attitude that fans are encouraged to adopt toward our former players – cannon fodder – then is there any reason that a present day player should stay to repay fans for their loyalty and emotional investment in them? Where’s the ethics here that you/we demand from our players? You’ve rationalized our pushing Song out the door on no evidence of anything. It’s club policy, so it’s Okay, isn’t it. If there’s evidence of Song’s wrong-doing, then fine. But he’s now the possible-traitor – the possible Song the Disruptor – so we’re so much more clever and better off without him. IF there’s evidence of Song’s wrong-doing, then yes. But you present no evidence. Only rumors. This is damage control, after the fact. And I don’t think it’s fair, whatever the mounting consensus in these comments.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Tony – interesting article.

    Another article on the topic of our Jack is this site.

    I am not sure how late to the party I am regarding the Marble Halls blog, but I have found the quality of the writing has made want to check it out on a daily basis. I don’t read many sites beside this blog, but this one I thought deserves highlighting.

  • John

    Tony when do Arsenal May 2012 accounts get published????

    Sebas I don’t think people are saying Wilshere will play were Cazorla is playing now all the time.

    But we have options to play him there with Arteta Diaby behind and Cazorla/Gervinho wings with Podoloki up front.

    Other times it will be Jack with Arteta and Cazorla in the midfield.

  • godge

    Arteta, Diaby, Carzola, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere, Frimpong, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Eastmond, Henderson, Aneke. That makes 12, all of whom presumably have the ambition of being a regular in two years time.

    It makes it hard to even guess at the composition of the Capital One Cup team. Assume the first three are left out because of games played, Wilshere, Rosicky and Frimpong are not fit and Aneke on loan, that still leaves 3 from 5, all of whom would have been looking for a full 90-minute run-out.

  • nicky

    While not wishing to look a gifthorse in the mouth, our surfeit of players in the midfield engine room may still prove to be a blessing.
    Our association of longterm injury and the fast close-passing game remains. And we have not yet reached the chill of winter with its heavy pitches ( excluding the Emirates)coupled with the inevitable toll on the muscles and bones of young athletes.
    At the season’s end we may well reflect that the ease of rotation was an important aspect of our success.

  • FunGunner

    Good points, Tony. And the biggest plus of all is that we have more fit than injured midfielders, shock horror!

    Wilshere can work his way back into the first team over the next year. What a luxury. For what it’s worth, I think he can play all three of the mf positions, but I like him best in what is now the Diaby role.

    @ bob
    I would ask, are we missing Song on the pitch?
    Was Song a purely defensive midfielder whose role we cannot replicate?
    I think the answer to both those questions is no, and that would suggest it was the right decision to let him go. There were clearly sound playing reasons to let him go – we don’t *need* him.

    Having said that, I do tend to believe the stories we have heard. He was experienced and a mainstay of the side, and £15m is not a fortune for a quality midfielder in his prime. There is no compelling financal reason to sell him. If the club just wanted to make money, they could have sold one of our other midfielders – but they sold *him*. I consider that this is because he failed to unequivocally shut down rumours of a move to Barca and he was trying to get a payrise when his current contract had three years to run AND he also attempted to dictate to the club the timing of discussions. He was not willing to wait until September 1st – a matter of weeks – to talk about his contract. In addition, it shows a desire to hold the club to ransom, because the difference between discussing his contract post-Sep 1st and talking pre-Sep 1st is that in the first case, he would not be able to credibly threaten to push for a move to another club. That is bad behaviour in itself and indicative of a disrespectful attitude.

  • FunGunner

    @ Tony
    The link below is off topic, but interesting – covers the ground you explored a couple of weeks ago. Perhaps a groundswell of opinion going our (Arsenal’s) way?

  • FunGunner

    @ Goona Gal
    Agree with you about Marble Halls blog.

    And may I say as well I have seen some very sensible comments from you at Untold.

  • I don’t know about the accounts date. Sorry

  • bob

    You don’t have any facts. Nor do I.
    It’s all cold supposition, but your quick to slate him only. And did the club not jump at the opportunity to ship him out? And wouldn’t the gallant zero transfer balance of incoming and outgoing at least deserve a mention in your laundry list?
    Do we need him? I don’t know, yet; nor do you, given injuries and readiness and the like. Nor does the club. Maybe there’s errors on both sides that deserve inspection/correction. But we don’t get to know do we. All that said, with no evidence, it appears that you are justifying the kind of treatment that I wouldn’t. And let’s not condemn one side for the kind of disloyalty implied by holding the club to ransom when just now, when you sniff the surfeit of midfielders coming back on line, you’re thisquick to show your own disloyalty to a former (how do we put it) loyal servant. I believe and invest in some players, and dare say we all do, for the most part. I don’t go for the cold after-the-fact rationalizations of the Good-Riddence-to-Song-the-Disloyal hymn book that you sing from. Why should any player show loyalty to fans that are so quick and continue to slate them after they’ve been shipped out for reasons that we do not know?

  • bob

    p.s. FunGunner, did Song start the tippy-tapping from the Barca boys – Busquets, Pique and Puyol – or did Barca? or was it Dein? or who was it that began this dance and with what intention? Do you know it was Song that started it? We don’t know, but there’s been something more to this than your Song-the-Disloyal mantra and the “crime” of knowing anything might make us more informed fans, should you fancy that.

  • Dave C

    Am I the only one who is bored by Bob’s incessant opposition for oppositions sake. This blog is pro-arsenal. If you disagree with most of the opinions, why bother spending so much time here? It’s okay to have a differing opinion, but it seems you just like being the center of attention.

  • bob

    Dave C,
    Whoops, time for the pitchforks, eh, Dave? Well, mate, you and I are free to ignore or answer anything. I was writing to FunGooner who wrote to me with his analysis on a topic that matters to us both; and we two disagree. It’s been two years worth of contributions on all sorts of stuff. And I’m sure we’ll disagree again, if you care to. But I’d be Careful that the C in your Dave won’t come down to Censorship. Until then, why don’t we just agree to disagree? Or no problem, just don’t read my drivel. (And, at this stage, I’m tired of the same old Song, but it was brought up in Tony’s article and we have an ongoing disagreement on this point; though not so on many others.)

  • bob

    p.s. And, Dave, where were you two summers ago when several of us – even I – were full tilt at it, writing here and elsewhere, to defend AFC/AW against the then all-out media assault on the club? I hope you were here then, and if you were, we might have both been showing our love for Arsenal in our respective pro-Arsenal ways.

  • Mihir

    Bob – I think we’ll never really know the reasons for Song’s departure.Everything is just speculation.I don’t know why you took offence to Tony’s statement. All he said was that if the rumours were true, then its just another reason for flogging him. He never said that they were true. However, his earlier point is valid. We do have many midfielders in those positions.
    Moving on, I would request Anne to do one of her media investigations on why Song left? Sitting here in India, it certainly seems awfully strange as there seemed no imminent need. Was it a Dein engineered move? Was the club tired of being held to ransom?

  • FunGunner

    @ bob
    Going by Song’s own version of events, his representatives said that he was “desperate” to sign a new contract – despite there being three years left to run on it – and frustrated that the club would not discuss it immediately. His response to the Barca overtures is on record – he did not rebuff them and kill the story. If you think that that behaviour does not merit any criticism, that’s your prerogative. It makes no difference. I go back to what I said at the start – are we missing him on the pitch? No. Was he a purely defensive midfielder whose role we cannot replicate? No. And also, do we have several midfielders? Yes. Under those circumstances, there are sound reasons to sell one of them. He was the one who Barca were sniffing around, and he was the one who was demanding a pay rise, so why not him? No mystery there.

  • FunGunner

    Forgot to say, I don’t see why it matters who contacted whom first – he was under contract and Barca’s overtures (assuming they started it) should have been rebuffed. Unless of course he wanted a move or to use their interest to force a pay rise.

  • Adam

    Song played from the 12th minute against Spartak the other night replacing Pique (injured) so he may end up getting a run in the side but at the back for the next 3/4 weeks.

  • Adam

    Oh would just like to point out that Barca have two ex-premiership defensive midfielders playing at center back for them Song partnering Mascherano.

  • Dave C

    I’ve been reading the blog and your comments since then and defending the club might be better served by pointing others to the blog instead of arguing with everyone on every topic. I’ve wasted enough of everyone’s time, and I apologize for going off topic. I just get tired of your agenda.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Fungunner – ta!

  • bob

    I agree, Anne’s eye would be welcome on the Song mystery.
    Whereas others prefer premature closure and let’s get on with it, I find her work to be fearless when it comes to having the courage to even explore a murky question. That’s rare and to be applauded; even as others have no tolerance for keeping something alive that’s not really been closed.

    The first-rate way that Song was playing, paired with the fact that he had 3 years to go at 55K while the likes of Arshavin do nothing at 80K would have anyone of quality wanting a raise.

    You are making so much out of the reputed September 1 deadline – with no evidence that it was posed at all, or was a hard (line in the sand) deadline, as opposed to a request or a negotiating ploy at worst – and you slate him for DEMANDING a pay raise: and this when you don’t know that it was a Demand as opposed to say, a persistent request to begin a re-negotiation. (Or is your objection that he asked for such a raise at all?)
    Imo, that man Deserved a raise and we’ll just have to see if he’s going to be missed. To be clear, I do hope that’s not the case. I’m hardly invested in our being weak, ffs – in any aspect of the game. But I feel that his persistence gave the club management an opening to ship him out lickety-split to achieve said management’s desired zero transfer balance (imo, a primary goal), even as Song was affordable.

    And why it is a mistake? Well, do you really think we’re a stronger side without Alex Song? That we won’t need insurance given the recent/chronic history injuries/potential injuries/time to regain form by Diaby, Rosicky, Wilshere, Arteta, etc.? And that we won’t drop points because of an overtaxed midfield? To me that’s a best-case scenario based on wishful thinking. If nothing else, I’d prefer having the calibre of Song to be safe than sorry. Again, I’d be happy to be proven wrong over this worry.

    As a last thought experiment, do you think that if Arshavin and/or Chamakh would have been moved this summer, that we’d even be having this discussion?

  • bob

    Dave C,
    Pray, tell me what is my hidden agenda? Fyi, I’ve happily got eight new people to date to regularly read UA. They love it. That said, I hope you bring in new readers as well. Surely we both know that Walter’s work is helping to revolutionize football for the good of Arsenal and the good of all.

  • bjtgooner


    I like your well thought out arguments and the way you construct your comments and your support for Arsenal and AW through good times and bad. If Dave C doesn’t appreciate your efforts he can go fry his ass in a hot place!

  • Sammy The Snake

    Too many great midfielders…. Hmmmmm….
    We’ll play a 4-5-1 formation.
    Problem solved!

  • @ Sammy The Snake
    How about a 9-1 formation?

  • Whoops… manners!
    @ Tony – Good post as always, and some good comments/debate, too.

  • The font

    Tony best site by far but a bit harsh on griff if it was his first time on site he may have missed the irony and was only protecting arsenal

  • FunGunner

    @ bob
    The name is FunGunner, btw.

    Song was is a very good player but his positional discipline had become a problem. I welcome deep-lying midfielder coming forward to provide assists, but he didn’t always pick the right moments and left us exposed. In practice, Mikel Arteta was our defensive shield last season – he is a more disciplined player.

    He may have felt with good reason that he deserved a pay rise, considering the improvement he had made under the tutelage of AW. However, it is highly unusual for a player to get a new contract with three years to run on his contract. The club were within their rights to ask him to wait. They had more urgent contracts to deal with of players who were entering their last year and he should have accepted that – it’s not like it wasn’t true! He had been happy to sign the contract he had, he should have stuck to it.

    You asked where I got Sep 1st from. I didn’t mean Sep 1st was a specific deadline, I meant it as the earliest date after the closing of the transfer window. This is the story Song’s “people” put out.

    “Alex Song was massively committed to Arsenal, he loved the club and was dying to sign a new contract,” a source close to Song told Telegraph Sport.

    “We tried six times to renegotiate his contract. They kept saying it has three years to run.

    “They’d say things like ‘we’ll sit down in September, October,’ when at first they’d said it would happen in the summer.

    If you want to stay and only want more money, why can’t you wait until September, especially since you have a contract with three years to run?

    My objection is that he flirted with Barca in order to put pressure on Arsenal to get a pay rise. I also think it was cheeky to insist on talks when he had three years to go. To go back to my original point, regardless of how he behaved, we have plenty of players who can do what he did. He wanted more money than the club thought he was worth and another club was interested in him and he was interested in that other club. Why wouldn’t we sell him?

    Arsene does like to balance the books, but he would have hung on to RvP for example, if he had had a last-minute change of heart, because he is a special player. We have occasionally made a loss on the football business, last time was 2009, I think.

    We’re certainly not weaker without him. We have replaced his creativity and Arteta provides a better defensive shield. He may well have been happy to stay – but he overestimated his importance to the club and his strategy (if it was so) to stay AND get an early payrise, backfired.

    We do have insurance for injuries, that’s the point – we have loads of midfielders. Without Rosicky, Wilshere, Frimpong, we have Arteta, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, AOC and Diaby all currently fit, all quality players. We have a total of 9 players for 3 or 4 spots. Song is a very good player, but he does not rank above our current first-choice three.

    If Song had been considered as special as RvP or Fabregas he might have been kept despite everything. If no-one had wanted to buy him, he would have been kept. But he wasn’t, and they did.
    I assume that is the point you were making about AA or Chamakh?

  • FunGunner

    This part got left off the bottom of the quote:
    “Then Barcelona came in and yet Alex still said he wanted a new contract. When they said we’d all sit down on 1 September that was the final straw.

    “That shows disrespect to the player. Barcelona is a once-in-a-lifetime thing; you have to jump on that train when it comes.”

    Regarding his attitude, I think that is quite damning – and it’s coming from Song’s people.

  • SothernGunner

    Would love to see Jack working alongside Arteta, with Diaby in front of them, Cazorla & Podolski either side and Giroud leading attack. Think this brings out the best in each of the players. Plus they all boast enough talent &/or experience.

    Have the likes of Theo, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Gervinho, Frimpong, Coquelin and Rosicky to come on as a subs or step in when unavailable.

  • SothernGunner

    Regarding Song.

    Cant be too harsh on the guy. He was one of my favorite players in the last few seasons for Arsenal, filled a role that we had problems in at certain times, and made huge improvements for a few years running. Hate to speak like the AAA, but when you think he could have ended up being regarded in the same vein as Denilson or Bendtner, it shows you just how far he’s come while at Arsenal. Have to remember he was originally a centreback, so when people talk about his positional problems, he’s had to learn a completely new role in order to help the team. There were times where he was brilliant for us (Spurs away few seasons ago, Arsenal down to 10 men, 0-0), other times less so.

    At the same time, I can understand why the club sold him for that price, and so far (touch wood!) we haven’t missed him.

  • SouthernGunner

    (Mistyped my username, so pasted it below. Apologies for any repeated posts.)

    Would love to see Jack working alongside Arteta, with Diaby in front of them, Cazorla & Podolski either side and Giroud leading attack. Think this brings out the best in each of the players. Plus they all boast enough talent &/or experience.

    Have the likes of Theo, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Gervinho, Frimpong, Coquelin and Rosicky to come on as a subs or step in when unavailable.

    Regarding Song.

    Cant be too harsh on the guy. He was one of my favorite players in the last few seasons for Arsenal, filled a role that we had problems in at certain times, and made huge improvements for a few years running. Hate to speak like the AAA, but when you think he could have ended up being regarded in the same vein as Denilson or Bendtner, it shows you just how far he’s come while at Arsenal. Have to remember he was originally a centreback, so when people talk about his positional problems, he’s had to learn a completely new role in order to help the team. There were times where he was brilliant for us (Spurs away few seasons ago, Arsenal down to 10 men, 0-0), other times less so.

    At the same time, I can understand why the club sold him for that price, and so far (touch wood!) we haven’t missed him.

  • bob

    Say what, a problem with his Positional Discipline? Compared to who? Gibbs? Pray, which midfielder assisted RVP with brilliance for many of his season saving goals? Ramsey? Coquelin? Ox? No, Alex Song. Southern Gunner reminds us that Song’s position was changed, and he learned by leaps and bounds. And, whatever you say, you are gambling on Diaby’s staying healthy, Rosicky’s staying healthy, Arteta’s staying healthy – and you are gambling on Coquelin’s soaring growth and Ramsey’s finally returning to what he was. And you are gambling on Wilshere returning to form and making a difference. When you look, person by person instead of tossing out a list of names, there are brilliant talents provided that everyone returns to and maintains the optimal form.

    You acknowledge no gamble in this strategy. I contend that Song was not a gamble, but dumping him is precisely the gamble you’ve endorsed without calling it a gamble.

    And your Arsene’s been known to balance the books….Well duh, yes… But we don’t really ever know if it’s Arsene and/or the Board now who balances the books, do we? I think Arsene’s not been 100 percent onside with that program. And, your “balance the books” is actually not the SAME thing as achieving a zero transfer balance when the books are already better than merely balanced – from the CL money, best-ever TV contract, and real estate sale – NONE of which you consider. And to enshrine the Zero Transfer Balance when you can afford to keep a very good and still developing Song – whatever the non-fatal shenanigans that so offend you – is to take an unnecessary and potentially injurious risk to our prospects, imo. Only time will tell.

    I note how offended you are when Song pushes for a raise with 3 years left? The cheek of it! Do you mean it’s an outrage whilst Arshavin pulls down hi 80K; and there’s other driftwood like Chamakh, neither of whom plays? What I said was the money we could have had from moving them (and failed to do so) would have easily given Song his raise. But you don’t deal with that either.

    Perhaps because to you contracts are sacred even when the actual, increasing value of a player – who you deem not special enough – does not deserve a raise. Well, look at the Ox. Is he not proactively being offered a raise in the middle of his initial contract? Why isn’t Song’s demonstrated and continuing development valued anywhere near as high?

    Ah well, I think I’ve done this to dust, but so be it. We have very different values at work in what matters to each of us to, happily, want the best for our team. For me, that includes treasuring an emotional investment I make in our quality players; whereas, imo, you identify overly much with the bottom-line bean counters and, perhaps, are leaving little room for such sentiment, even when it comes to quality performers – in this case – like Alex Song. And, imo, he was demonstrably better and with better remaining potential still (approaching world class) than many if not most of the midfielders on your/ Tony’s can’t-fail list.


  • bob

    Ta! Great to be in it with you!

  • bob

    p.s., sorry, meant to write “even when (Song)… does deserve a raise”

  • Shard


    I see your point about Arshavin and Chamakh (who came in on a free and hence his wages would reflect that) and it’s certainly possible, even probable that Song won’t have been sold if we could have sold the other players in the squad. But we couldn’t sell them for one reason or another.

    As for selling Song being a gamble, of course it is. But then you can’t not gamble and run a football club efficiently. Ignoring the comebacks of Wilshere, Frimpong, Rosicky and Diaby would also be a gamble. Both financial, and possibly in terms of team spirit, since there would likely be some unhappy players due to not finding enough games.

    I’m not saying this is the reason Song was sold, but there really is a long list of potential midfield talent coming through the ranks. Coquelin and Frimpong along with Wilshere are the first of the academy group. Then there is Henderson (who’s on loan at Coventry now) Add in Yennaris, Aneke, Toral, Olsson and whoever else I’m forgetting. Maybe it was a calculation to do with players’ skills, how they fit in the team, and the age of the players.

    Arteta, Rosicky are 30+ probably on their last contracts with 2 or 3 years left.
    Cazorla is 28(?) with lets say 4 more years.
    Diaby 26 with probably 4-6 more years in him.
    (Song would have come in a bracket similar to Diaby)
    After that is Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere, Frimpong and Yennaris, all of whom, if they stay are going to need to be registered in the squad in the next 2-3 years, by which time the likes of Rosicky and Arteta should be retiring. Song, maybe just didn’t fit in with the age profile, especially when you consider that there are others who can do a job.

    Whether a decision to sell him was made to balance the books, due to his bad attitude, or just because he didn’t fit in with the plans will probably never be fully revealed. But the correctness or otherwise of the decision will be known in due course. Till then bob, I think Song’s departure should be laid on the backburner. Not forgotten, but not in the forefront of discussions. Players have been sold before when least expected. Overmars and Petit were surprising. Didn’t turn out so bad. This might, or might not. But it seems to be working ok as of now. And if the extra funds we have available are used to make the squad as a whole better (both wages and transfers) then we can’t have complaints. I’m looking towards the Jan window for a striker/wide player. Though hopefully it won’t be so much of a NEED as an added luxury.

  • FunGunner

    @ bob

    Regarding Song’s attitude and what I said before about attempting to dictate the timing of talks to Arsenal, I assume you have read the quotes posted above, which came from Song’s representatives.

    You previously said he was first-rate, so I was bringing up his lack of positional discipline as an example of an area in which he had not performed as well as he should.

    You bring up his assists – did you notice that I said before we have replaced his creativity – Diaby and Cazorla are both effectively new players, Arteta is now a deep-lying playmaker but with better discipline than Song. Don’t you consider these players creative?

    Regarding Gibbs – we don’t have a surfeit of left backs.

    I acknowledged earlier that he has improved. I don’t have a downer on Song as a player, far from it. He’s terrific. I just don’t think he was indispensable to us.

    We’d be gambling on the continuing fitness of whoever we had playing for us at any time – including Song’s.

    I see no reason to doubt that Coquelin will continue to improve and Ramsey is already looking like the player he was 20 months ago. Wilshere doesn’t have to make a difference this season – like I said, we have six or seven good midfielders, not counting Rosicky, wilshere or Frimpong.

    Of course there is a gamble, but there is a gamble in keeping Song – always assuming that he genuinely wanted to stay.

    I didn’t say AW “has been known” to balance the books. That would imply it is an occasional thing. I said the opposite – that he is prepared occasionally to make a loss. Arsene makes the decisions on the football ins and outs. He often says that is one of the reasons why he is at Arsenal – that he is the manager, not just the head coach. He was asked specifically by Richard Clarke on about RvP, whether the Board/SK had made the decision. He bridled at the idea, and said that of course he kept them informed, but it was his decision.

    I did deal with Chamakh and Arshavin. To revisit, you can’t move a player on unless they want to move AND somebody wants to buy them. And I did say Song had good reason to want a raise.

    What is sacred to me is commitment to and respect for the club. On that basis, I am offended by the attitude evinced in the second set of quotes particularly.

    You can’t override AW’s judgement about who deserves a pay rise. You don’t have the information or expertise. Some players will be on a bit more than they deserve, others on less. That’s just the way it goes. When they sign the contract, the club is gambling on future development. Sometimes the development doesn’t take place.

    I would characterise the difference in our outlook more like this: I put the club first. I mourn favourite players when they leave, but that’s the nature of a football club – players come and go, the club endures.

  • poodle

    why so worried about Song anyway? its probably the best for both parties. Le Coq will most likley outgrow song in near future, Frimpong will outgrow song. Diaby and Arteta is doing a fine job. Song would not have been a guaranteed starter in the team this year. Would he be happy sitting on the bench?? With him gone and the possibility of Walcott being sold we have effectivley sold all of the players that lost the CC cup to burmingham xcept kos, sanga and Woj?? this team is all new, no old baggage.

    Was Song unfairly treated? Why? its Arsenals right to sell any player they want. Thats a part of the game. And if they saw any reason for him not to be in the club then ship him off!!! Why keep a player you dont want??
    Was it Dein or Song who pulled the strings here? Honestly as a player you are responsible for your agent. The same goes for RVP. Your agent speaks for you thats why you have to be able to controll him. You and him are basically one. What he says will always reflect on you.
    You reap as you sowe. And if someone puts out a statement on your homepage, then thats your statement. If your agent tells the fans you hate Arsenal then thats your thoughts. Simple as.
    I did like song though, he had good values, he cared for the right things in life. He would not have been sold if he did not want to go. And he was sold to a great club and will winn trophies. For song this is a win -win situation. I think as a player Barca and Arsenal are great clubs to be in. And i think alot of the reason many Arsenal fans hate barca is that they are a club much like ours but in addition they are a bunch of arrogant twatts too.
    we are not.

    Song is gone, hes water under the bridge… we should use our energy to support who is left instead of debating those who willingly left over money……..remember Chamakh and Arsharvin are impossible to sell as they dont wanna go. You cannot be sold if you dont wanna leave… simple as.

  • bob

    Yep, have to agree with and appreciate your balanced analysis of the possibilities; and only time will tell. Now and going forward, there are petro-dragons to slay, on the front burner, and starting today.

  • bob

    “I would characterise the difference in our outlook more like this: I put the club first. I mourn favourite players when they leave, but that’s the nature of a football club – players come and go, the club endures.”

    As I read it, you’ve absolutely separated what you call a sacred love for the club from fans’ (profane) love for their favourite players. If you are that absolute, that a club can do no wrong, or no wrong enough for fans to justifiably protest, advocate, even, in extremis, to walk away, then you’ve well characterized our differences. To clarify, for me it is more situational.

    To wit: When as a life-long fan of a certain sports club, I witnessed the shipping out of favorite players by Management; players they deemed wrong – too colorful, non-comformist and unpredictable – to appeal to (Management’s desired) a new fanbase. I quit being its fan. To many of us, its moves were racist, class-biased, and against the former multicultural look and feel and heart that gave it broad appeal. It felt totally wrong in principle; and, most of all, it broke the hearts of traditional fans for moving out – wholesale – the very players whom we had emotionally invested in. With many others, I then quit my loyalty that team for doing this. It was management that ruined it when they shipped players who were the heart and soul of our passions and imagination for economic calculation.

    Against that backdrop, I don’t believe in abstractions or absolutes or the primacy of economic calculation; and find your mantra about “players come and go but the club endures” as coming this-close to regarding them (objectively-speaking) as cannon fodder. Let’s not expect players loyalty then, as many demand in the name of their clubs. You may mourn this one or two or three, and continue your non-conditional love for the badge. But, that’s where we part company. I love certain players who, for me, are the heart and soul of the club and these are inseparable for me. Who, to me, with the coach, are the club; and this in a way that no management regime can override. Why, pray, is ownership the legitimate club, as opposed to its players and coach?

  • bob

    p.s. Some unfinished (future) business: In relation to my last comment (above), I’d wager we will/would be having the discussion above when Sagna is consigned to the trash-heap. My wager is this will happen soon. Based on your last, you might be mourning (maybe, don’t know if you think he’s a “terrific” player, like Song); but, hey, it’s all in the game, isn’t it. No loyalty for the loyal servant for having the unbearable cheek to state out loud that (his friend) Song’s leaving got him to thinking about his future at AFC. Nope, we don’t “need” him, do we, by your standard of need. Ah well, I invite you to consider discussing that event when it comes and reaffirming your sacred principles in that context.