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June 2021

Arsenal set to sign. Quick find some more exclamation marks!!

by Tony Attwood

Sometimes it is difficult to know whether to laugh or cry so probably it is best to do both.  At once.  Arsenal are planning a “summer swoop” for Swansea captain Ashley Williams, and Saint Germain striker Kevin Gameiro (the latter having “set pulses racing”). (Is your pulse racing?  If not, don’t worry it will be.)

Stevan Jovetic a Montenegrin centre forward is ready to fly in while Victor Valdez and Pepe Reina are on the shot stopper shortlist.   The “African Neymar”, Saint-Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has attracted and Arsenal are linked with Gonzalo Higuain.  (The Argentinean hitman is in his seventh season at the Bernabeu).

Actually I want to stop there.  I mean “hitman”???  A hit man is a fellow in a heist movie who, well, sort of, hits (or maybe shoots) people.  Do we really want to sign one of them?

The general rule for anyone seriously interested in who might be signed by Arsenal is, “if you have read this in the papers or on the blogs, then he ain’t coming.”   This is so because Arsenal issue strict instructions to any club they are in negotiation with that if the story that Arsenal is interested ever gets out, then the deal is off – at least until the last few days.   Just think back to our recent acquisitions and ask, how far ahead of the deal did you know about it?

The other key rule for any fan really wanting to know what is going on is that if the tell-tale phraseology of semi-dead writers is used (“set to” is a prime example) then it is made up.  “It has been reported” means “I just made this up”.  And we have even started seeing in English blogs and press “flies in” – a direct steal from the Spanish press, where transfer targets (mostly Arsenal players) are always flying in.  Even when they are not, which is always.

Of course there is always the chance that by the sheer rules of randomness that rule the universe someone will, by fluke, pick a player who is on his way to Arsenal.   Untold Arsenal set to pick a transfer target by fluke.  That’s about it.

But there’s a double edge here.  Take this (actual) headline from today’s blogs.  “It has been reported that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will make a defensive midfielder his number one target this summer and has targeted Celtic’s Victor Wanyama the man to come in and fill the void left by Alex Song.”

“Reported” presumably means, “in the press”.  But the press make it up.  So you might as well say, “Some has just made this up…”  Maybe Wanyama has been so identified, although if he has this story has only got it right by luck.  You could also reverse the story and run the piece from a couple of days back: Barcelona are set to sell Alex Song back to Arsenal for a cut-price fee.

Take out “set to” and replace with “would love to” and you might have it.  The Express really put the boot in by calling Alex a “Barcelona reject”, and at least the paper did actually actually use the word “may” in the story, thus: “Alex Song may be set for a shock transfer back to Arsenal this summer after struggling to make an impact at Barcelona.”  (“May be set to” must be the Football-talk for “I made all this up”).

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Of course what these stories never do is give you any clue as to their source.  Untold has highlighted the fact several times that Alex has not only hardly got a look in at Barce, he was actually voted joint winner of the “worst transfer deal of the summer” by fans in Spain in a recent poll.  Here’s the Express’ take…

“French club PSG [helpful in case you thought PSG was Peterborough Sports Group] are also interested, and would be able to match any financial package compiled by Arsenal [helpful in case you have not read any sports columns in the past year], although Song is thought to favour a return to the club he spent seven seasons with after joining in 2005. ”

Good that – “is thought to” – getting another bit of jargon in.  Thought to by whom, one might ask.  Probably the guy who delivers the Express to houses in Skegness each morning.

“Rumours suggest that Song was sold because Wenger did not trust his effort and commitment in training, something that may have to be resolved before any potential return can be planned.”   One up to the Express – they admit there are rumours – but, and this is the clever bit, the use of the word “rumour” only comes half way through, thus implying that the bit before the rumour was true.

We can also be set to sell people too.   Vermaelen,  Sagna and Mertesacker are going, and so are all our goalkeepers apparently, except for that Argentine youngster who no one quite remembers.And on the way in is Ashley Williams.

Now leaving aside the issue of if we could ever sign someone called “Ashley” again, A Williams has already been “Wales Footballer of the Year” and “Clubman of the Year” and part of the Championship PFA Team of the Year.    He doesn’t get injured (he played 106 consecutive games, and between 2007/8 and 2009/10 played almost every minute of the season.   A QPR bid is rumoured (yes rumoured) to have been put in but this is denied by Swansea for whom Williams plays.

In October 2012, A Williams signed a three-year contract with Swansea and it is “understood”  £8m would buy him out.  Except if you know about it in advance we don’t do the deal.

Oh but, “Arsène Wenger wants to sign Ashley Williams at the end of the season, having lost faith in his central-defensive partnership of Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker.”  Apparently Williams can organise a defence in the way that Adams and Keown could but these dodgy foreign players can’t.  (For the sake of this argument “foreign” does not include Wales.)  He has played over 350 games for Stockport and Swansea.

 Just to complete the story, the Sun Says Vermaelen is going to Barcelona for £15m.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

52 comments to Arsenal set to sign. Quick find some more exclamation marks!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    !!! Here is my bit !!!! oh, and look just found a few more!!! 😉

    Problem is some will take any rumour, accept it as true and then be disappointed and/or mad when said player goes nowhere or to another team.

  • Rupert Cook

    Yes, so what? Loads of players are linked to loads of clubs. You missed out Sanagogo (that’s his name or close to it) a French striker, 20, and injury prone. Sounds like a perfect Arsenal signing.

    Most players we sign are players that nobody else is interested in. We seem afraid of actually trying to bid for someone any other team (of note that is) is interested in. Chamakh, Santos, Park (did he exist or was he just a piece of wasteland people walked their dogs on), Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla to name six. I can’t understand why Cazorla was ignored by big clubs because he is certainly a class player. Bit of a coup there for Wenger.

    It’s going to be a fascinating summer in transfer world. We supposedly have 70 million to spend but watch that total drop once season tickets have been renewed to half that. (Cynical old me). We could probably spend well in excess of that without all our rich board members and lifelong Arsenal fan Kronke visiting their local soup kitchens but I suspect we’ll patch the side up and rearrange our ambitions to making sure we’ll qualify for the Europa League for the next sixteen years.

    We’ll see. I can’t wait for this dull season to end. Once the trophies are doled out to the usual suspects plus Swansea we can get on with being that huge cumbersome stationary HGV you’ve seen parked in a lay by for seven years on the edges
    of town.

  • Philbet

    Ahh! but wait until the ‘Arsenal miss out on target’ stories,when any player who the press ever linked with Arsenal joins another club,he will then have ‘snubbed Arsenal’ and most of the management,staff and fans will be massively disappointed to have missed out on ‘another transfer target’ despite the fact, (like Zaha) we were never interested in them in the first place.

  • I ccertainley knw wenger will not sign any body , he must to primary school to sign unknow players, players like mata,harzad could have been an arsenal players today.

  • mystic

    ‘Just think back to our recent acquisitions and ask, how far ahead of the deal did you know about it?’
    Ridiculous comment, err Giroud, need I say more?

  • Adam

    Well this summer should be the usual merry-go-round before a World cup, with those so called high profile players wanting playing time to make sure of their international status.

    Malaga are hoping to sell their entire squad?

    Arsenal are hoping to buy an entire squad?

    Brazil are looking to export half the country, which is against international law, but get around this as the industry is football?

    Portugal are looking to purchase half of the Brazilian population, which is against international law, but get around this because its the football industry?

    In another transfer twist it is revealed that Arsenal’s tour of Vietnam is actually a scouting mission, as we are looking for an entire squad of short technical players that have a history and the ability of digging in?

  • nicky

    I’m getting increasingly peeved over the way in which, no sooner does a transfer window close, than there is much chat about who we should buy and sell when the next window opens.
    The latest offer being circulated around the Emirates (according to my Gran who cleans there) is that the Argentinian branch of the Flat Earth Society is touting their main striker Rio Pic (known as R.Pic on their printed programmes). As an amateur body, the Society wouldn’t accept money but would appreciate the return of a bit of the Falklands.

  • nicky

    I’m getting increasingly peeved over the way in which, no sooner does a transfer window close, than there is much chat about who we should buy and sell when the next window opens.
    The latest offer being circulated around the Emirates (according to my Gran who cleans there) is that the Argentinian branch of the Flat Earth Society is touting their main striker Rio Pic (known as R.Pic on their printed programmes). As an amateur body, the Society wouldn’t accept money but would appreciate the return of a bit of the Falklands (perhaps the airport runway?)

  • Gabriel – would you like to present any evidence for that view?

  • bob

    Mr. Attwood,
    UA still does not acknowledge that Song (the rumored failure and alleged worst signing) has not been replaced, let alone that he was too valuable not to replace (or let go in the first place). Your nimble skirting around the Unsung Song saga is something to behold. The laundry list of too-many midfielders already did not exactly pan out into adequacy, as our defense sorely, sorely lacks the kind of protection that a hardman and mobile/versatile hardman or other would/could provide. Through no fault of his own, Arteta is not providing this, and Song’s absence has continued to hurt us throughout this season. Where was UA’s voice on this during the January transfer masquerade? Was there no need to be filled? But, then again, Song is now an official (if rumored) failure, so we’re better off for having fooled Barca and (of course) driven them further toward bankruptcy, eh?

  • WalterBroeckx

    the only thing we can do is guessing about the reason. I tried to call Arsène but his wife said he would call me back to explain it. But still waiting.

    My take: if he was making trouble then there was no need to keep him. But as said: I don’t know, you don’t know, we don’t know.

    To be honest I didn’t like it as I was a big fan of him and have defended his playing skills for many years against the moaners who said he wasn’t good enough, bla bla bla.

    Why he wasn’t replaced? Again we don’t know.

    What we do know is that it was a bad move for all involved.

    What I do want point at however is that last season with Song in the team we conceded more goals than this season.

  • Sammy The Snake

    The media is usually full of bull stories, but… We certainly knew about a few signings well in advance, Chamakh & Arshavin come to mind.

  • @walter though we have conceded less than when we had Songman i miss him a lot he had something which made us tick although the refs hated him. I will take him anytime he is back.@Walter what happened to Asharvin is he injured or rested for the last games we really need his experience.

  • zdzis

    I’ve been writing about this for quite some time. The genus “Arsenal rumour” typically involves:
    a) players with a history of injury,
    b) players under 25,
    c) players inadequate to play for Arsenal for any particular reason (lack of perceivable quality being the major one),
    d) players from France (or French-speaking),
    e) players who have recently signed extensions on their contracts.
    So, if he’s young, recently tore his ACL and plays in Ligue 2, we’re surely in for him. The contract issue can be illustrated by any of the “missing out” rumours, like the recent Howedes rumour. Nobody knows if we were ever interested in getting the guy, but hey, he just signed an extension, so we’re totally missing out on him.
    (I’d file Williams under “inadequate” – a reliable, but rather simple-minded defender who’s almost at the height of his physical powers.)

    As for our “departures” column, it typically involves our best players in crucial areas: defence, goal, wings. The idea behind this is obviously that we’re a “selling” team, so we’ll be happy to be rid of our best assets ASAP, especially where it would hurt us the most. However, Vermaelen’s recent form and Sagna’s age DO signify there may be some movements brewing.

    @Rupert Cook
    Yeah, you just keep thinking Arsenal only enters one-horse races. You do that. Anything, if it makes you happy.

    @bob, in general
    Song’s departure definitely forced us to rethink our defensive tactics, and I think we’re still looking at a team that hasn’t grappled with that. Do we really need a typical midfield enforcer like Song? I believe we don’t; I also think we’re not in the market for one. It seems (!) we’re looking for a defensive playmaker rather than an enforcer, but that’s just what I think is going on.
    Why wasn’t Song replaced outright? On the face of it, Arteta played a far more crucial role defensively than Song last season. He was always there when Song went up, and he cleared the mess Song left behind on numerous occasions. However, we often took the gamble of sticking to Arteta as our only option in holding midfield, which turned out to have been too big a risk. But, as Walter pointed out, we were eventually outdone not by the absence of Song, but by individual errors from our key defensive players. I admit to being baffled by that, since Bould’s emergence seemed to herald the end of our defensive woes, but for some reason, the central defensive trio Meretsacker-Vermaelen-Arteta slips on that banana peel in every game. Do we need to buy a new player to fix that? I think it’s more of a tactical issue, but I also expect us to land a defensive-minded midfielder soon. Why only now? Because we actually had resources that seemed sufficient on hand. Hindsight is a marvellous thing.

  • Rufusstan

    I always thought the bottom line with anything to do with transfers was:

    Rule 1: wait until it is on
    Rule 2: wait until it is on

    If anything you read in the media likely to be is baseless speculation, manipulation from a club or agent, or malicious rumour, why bother reading any of it.

    Whilst impossible to avoid everything, sticking close to the above has done wonders for my sanity and blood pressure.

  • bob

    You caricature Song as a one-dimensional enforcer, and we’re not looking for that. Right, we’re not. But Song was not what you paint him as. The messes you then slight him for were because we went on offensive quite a bit. He was a two-way player and developing more fully and needed to integrate the two sides into a better balance. You don’t say this. You don’t note how effective was his overhead assist game, great passes to RvP and Theo, from that position. (People who with that kind of service knew how to finish….unlike Giroud.) And, how he was also capable of stopping attacks dead in their tracks. He was flawed, but not the cartoon you make of him in order to justify a flawed move by Arsenal’s braintrust, and the failure to bring in the necessary coverage in last summer’s window and again in January. It is unfair to misrepresent how he was in order to justify a flawed and unrepaired hole in our midfield and not protect our backline as Song was capable of. Did he need more coaching, perhaps? Sure, why not. That said, every so-called defender this season requires that. I won’t even bother asking you if you would take Song back for the last 10 games because you’ve changed what he is in your mind’s eye for this flawed piece of swiss cheese that he is/was not.

  • bob

    ” Why only now? Because we actually had resources that seemed sufficient on hand. Hindsight is a marvellous thing.”
    What hindsight? At the time, last summer, several here and me (unfortunately alot) we indicating how many of that laundry list of resources were still injured (wilshere, rosicky), just back from injury (arteta), not yet matured/finished (ramsey), new to the side, etc. That was willful blindness to get the money from Song’s sale to bring the AFC transfer balance to zero. It won the accountants their christmas bonuses and everyone else who saw this and screamed for help a January migraine headache. This is not about hindsight, it is about policy and the waving of a list of names with the reckless assumption that there was adequate coverage and prowess. We have had glimpses of what could be (even with Ramsey there) with Ramsey rounding back into a developing force to be reckoned with. But this is not the powerhouse midfield (yet? ever?) that you project in our shared dreams of what might be.

  • bob

    Imo, Mr. Attwood focuses right now on the by now obvious media bread and circuses, because otherwise we’d be spending the time developing a clearer and sharper a focus on our technical performance on the pitch (to match the uniquely clear and sharp spotlight that UA appropriately places on the referees’ performance on that selfsame pitch). This media circus goes on season after season and is a mass opiate. Why it’s grist right now for the UA mill is because it’s been a long stretch between games and there’s not been an informed, self-critical eye turned on our pitch performances because that is not the editorial policy of this otherwise brilliant website.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Slightly off topic but some news on stan
    Reading the comments section made me whince. Really not so sure on stan hope he proves me wrong

  • bob

    Before we even get to the comments, the article itself does not even list AFC as an item in Stan’s laundry list of holdings. That AFC is so off the Denver Post’s radar when it turns so much attention on Stan does, to some extent, reflect how little he is identified with Arsenal. Now, on to the comments…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not sure if they are representative bob but they make depressing reading.

  • bob

    Sorry, but @8:40 I meant to write you that “with Wilshere [not Ramsey] rounding back into a developing force to be reckoned with.”

  • bob

    Mandy, readers,
    Do these comments by Denver Post readers explain the Silent in Silent Stan?
    Comment from Ryan W. “Do NOT allow Kroenke a buy-in. That family destroys everything they touch. It would be suicide to allow this acquisition. Look at The Avalanche. Look at Arsenal. It goes on.”
    The next comment:
    “Totally agree with Ryan W. Kroenke is destroying the once-proud franchises of the Avs and Rapids. If you’re a billionaire, then pinching pennies to run organizations into the ground is incredibly stupid and selfish. Sell your holdings to someone who cares about winning. And don’t buy out anything else we currently enjoy.”
    The Colorado Avalanche were a massive force (equivalent to Barca in football) in NHL hockey. What has been allowed under Ss’s watch to happen is shocking.

  • americangooner

    Being in US means I am less affected with whatever nonsensical transfer rumours the English papers press on their front/back pages. As is the common knowledge rumours are just rumours, and the sole reason a particular player is tied to us is to increase their value. As zdsis pointed out there are some “set value” of players we are supposedly interested on. Its also true that no one knows who we are actually targetting untill its revealed pre-maturely -poldi & giroud OR at the last minute: monreal, arteta, per.

    Regarding Song, I don’t think so a player can be traded without all the parties agreeing to a deal. I don’t think anybody will snub a chance to play with the best players in the world. But its also a mistake in part of AW to release him, given he was tied to arsenal till 2015(?). And if Barça wanted him badly, Arsenal should have asked for a greater valuation. As far as I see, it was a rash decision from AW and a regrettable one from Song.

  • Rupert Cook

    @ Mandy, Kronke appears to be a destroyer of dreams, at least for fans of the teams he owns. If he’s so disinterested in his US teams then I can’t see why he’d have any interest in a football team in a foreign country. I strongly suspect we’ll rue the day we ever got involved with him.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interestingly this stuff on stan has been tweeted by amongst others lady nina brace well. He has fingers in many pies nothing wrong with that nor has he done anything that could be construed as wrong at arsenal. But his arrival has not improved things nor have previous expectations been met under him. This may not be his fault . Is stan a serious responsible ambitious club owner. Is he a risk averse collector or is he a fast buck merchant. Two out of three are bad. Just sometimes wonder if wenger holds it all together. I spent last weekend rubbishing bid reports for various reasons. However tweeters with a track record of knowing far more than me think there is a bit of smoke to this one even suggests a hi level quatar consortium has appointed the facilitator city used to try and force this. Could all be rubbish of course but if there is any truth we may see what sort of owner stan really is. If he is indeed an owner for the long haul I really hope his plans are for success for this club and that these comments in the link are wrong but for me at least stan has a bit to convince

  • Mandy Dodd

    On the song issue can only agree it has really cost us. As Walter says none of us really know. I personally suspect wenger did not for whatever reason want song and had someone else lined up which fell through. Maybe even a Newcastle player but who knows. Vertongen said he only did not sign for us as wenger wanted him in mf. Wenger is surely too intelligent to think he would get a season out of dishy or that arteta and Rambo are at least song replacements both far too attacking. But this has left a tactical void which cannot be filled until summer. Maybe coq should have played more but others seem ahead in pecking order thought he did ok in general. Just hope this is not a very costly tactical void. Now hear jack injured for tomorrow, happy days! But a chance for rosicky or ox?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Above dishy is Diaby fat finger texting on an iphone but in no way Freudian!

  • Linz

    Bob,whenever i read comments from fans of Kroenke’s other “franchises”,noone ever has a good word to say.The impression i get is that their performances have all declined since he took over,and worryingly, a phrase i see oft repeated is “asset stripping”.In the interview Stan did in 2011,he said that the Glazers were doing a great job at United,and he couldn’t see what all the fuss was about with them using the clubs profits to pay off the money they had borrowed for the takeover.Kroenke also said that it is common in the US for owners to take profits out of their franchises, and appeared to suggest that this is somehow acceptable.What worries me is that one day there will be no Wenger at Arsenal,no PHW,Ken Friar et al to ensure that all the clubs profits are reinvested back either into the playing squad or infrastructure. I just don’t know why Kroenke wants Arsenal,and since he has been the majority shareholder,we have lost our best players ,and the performances on the pitch have declined.

  • Rufusstan

    Bob, I’d hope that you would not be deliberately misleading, so I’ll just assume that you missed the bit on the article linked by Mandy, where the list of stuff owned by Kroenke was clearly marked as the stuff under KSE, and that Arsenal (and the LA Rams) which are not, were mentioned just afterwards.

    The Avalanche stuff? Yup they used to be all conquering. Kroenke took them over, they don’t win stuff any more. Funny thing, Kroenke took over, they kept winning. League enforced a salary cap, they stopped. I cannot say either are connected, but its more complicated than just blame the owner.

    I don’t like Kroenke, but the guy laid out what he would do, and has done it. He never claimed to be an Abramovich figure, agreed to not take money from the club. Made it clear that he’d stay out of the way of running the club. What more does anyone want? A guy who has admitted he knows nothing about football interfering with things?

  • Gooner Murphy

    @Mandy Dodd
    Great find the link about Silent Stan and concur there’s smoke rising from the fans of Stan’s other sporting acquisitions’ and I hope some people with a greater knowledge are up to speed with this fellows ambitions regarding AFC ,after reading this I for one am very concerned as to Silent Stan’s Silent Intentions

  • Rufusstan

    With Song, I just have a suspicion that it is still not clear what actually happened. The first signs that anything was up was about a week before he signed for Barca. The whole process felt like they rushed it though.

    Song has said that he’d been pushing for a new contract for months. With 3 years left, you’d think that meant he was after a pay rise. It seemed that the club put him off, I guess they supposed they had plenty of time.

    We’ll never know if the club misread things, Song just decided we didn’t love him any more, or Barca got a sniff and moved on it.

    However it played out, I really do not think the club expected him to leave, so were left with 10 days to try and replace him. The way Arsenal work, that was not an option. They might have tried in January but I’m guessing Wenger decided that anyone they could get then was not sufficiently better than Arteta to bother. I may well be wrong, but I’d hope we have someone scouted out ready to bring in in the summer.

    By the way, to highlight how the club can work, Gibbs gets injured and 24 hours later we have Monreal. The man is clearly not a snap/panic buy. You figure the club have been thinking of the need to replace Santos for a bit, so the player was there, ready to go (just cost us a bit more than if we’d been able to wait until the summer).

  • Mandy Dodd

    i realise these things are complicated. these comments could have been left by nothing more than US anti capitalists, Stans wifes is linked to a company that is not universally popular. It is hard to know what goes on, maybe we really have not had the money, maybe the stadium and recession set us back more than calculated. Maybe Stan is as good as his word and lets the club run itself.Some fans would die for that. the season is far from over, but so far it has not been vintage. Again there are reasons for that. We have lost but bought some very good playerswho maybe have yet to settle. However our squad is clearly short, and will be even shorter if Jack is out. Wenger seems to have become less risk averse, and reluctant in general to use some talented kids, this marks a change. some arebeing over played. I am not sure what if anything is wrong, but all I do know is that if you draw a timeline of the clubs ups and downs, Stans arrival has not so far yielded a great era, in contrast to our much derided managers arrival. Stan, Wenger, Usmanov, Quataris or whoever is in charge this summer need to put a few things right,that be the lesson of the season so far!

  • ian


    There maynot be a PSG in Peterborough but there is a Saturday team named PSV, it stands for Peterborough and Surrounding Villages!

    Met a young lad once who was a Peterborough fan who told me he was on PSV’s books but had been offered a trail with Peterborough United.

    Asked him why he was going to the trial and he told me that Peterborough were the better team. I remember saying “i know you’re a fan but clearly Peterborough are not better than PSV”. I then found out what PSV stood for!

  • Rufusstan

    First, apologies in hijacking this more in a Kroenke focus.

    It is just starting to niggle me now. It seems to be a given that if Kroenke takes over a team it goes into the toilet. With the data above about the Avalanche making me twitchy, I figured I’d nose around a bit.

    One of the first things I found was this:

    It goes through how bad Kroenke’s record is with his US franchises and uses it to imply how bad its going to get here. Fair enough, and the comments are predictably vitriolic.

    The author mentions the Avalanche but only in general terms (see above), but focuses on the Denver nuggets.

    Since Kroenke has taken over their results are ‘shocking’:
    1). They’ve failed to even make the playoffs 3 times.
    2). They’ve gone out in the first post season game 8 times
    3). They have only made one championship final in 13/14 years<– best result since he has been in charge
    4). They've not even made an NBA final.

    All true and not exactly a wonderful record. Also a wonderful example of selective use of data. A quick look at their results:

    1). The 3 failures were in his first 3 years as owner. They've made the playoffs in each of the 9 seasons since. Oh, they failed to make the playoffs in each of the 5 seasons before he took over.

    2). Cannot explain that one. May be a sign they cannot compete with the big boys or they bottle it in the important games.

    3). They have only done that 3 times in their near 40 year time in the NBA so they are about on par.

    4). They have NEVER made an NBA final, ever.

    To me it looks like the guy has taken a decent team that was struggling (not making the playoffs 8 times in 10 years) and turned them into, well a decent team.

    If you look closer perhaps you can find reasons why the fans are so pissed off. Maybe its ticket prices, maybe they expected more out of him; maybe he promised more. Perhaps its all papering over the cracks and in a year or 2 it all falls apart.

    I'm no fan of the guy (as I keep saying) and if he screws up my Arsenal I'll be the first demanding we burn him at the stake. Right now though it feel we are using the old witch test — throw him in the river, and if he floats; we burn him. Part of the trouble is his own fault of course; if the guy would actually just talk to us……

  • bob

    Yes, you are right: I looked again and did miss that the Denver Post article listed AFC in the last line of KSE holdings. (The double spacing made it fall below my browser’s bottom line when I first read it and assumed it ended there, before the last space and line.) So, thanks for checking and assuming I’m not a disinformer, however well-founded or insipid my views may be.

    On the issue of parallels with Arsenal: What you also miss is that last year, his NBA basketball club, the Denver Nuggets, sold its absolute best (a top, top league-wide elite) player, Carmelo Antony, to the NY Knickerbockers in direct exchange for a few far lower salaried decent players. To me, as a Knickerbocker and Arsenal fan, the Anthony trade runs a strong parallel to AFC/Kroenke sell off the elite RVP and then Alex Song; and (not direct trades, of course)and buys of Santi, Giroud and Podolski. Song’s this-fast trade created the net zero transfer balance that, imo, has been club policy under Kroenke’s ownership. (He did fly into London to meetings each of the last two summers and presumably, as owner, was decisive on these and Cesc’s departures.)

    To me, this suggests a basic ownership pattern: swapping high-priced elite for just decent-enough-to-compete (it is an entertainment business, after all); but not to excel and conquer (win the league). This is not a championship seeking model. Top four (making the playoffs – i.e., CL) is good enough (at least as long as we get there. And if we don’t, we’ll see.) The policy sustains the profit margins and brand value.

    This said, I concur with Mandy: “If he is indeed an owner for the long haul I really hope his plans are for success for this club and that these comments in the link are wrong but for me at least stan has a bit to convince.”

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting stuff Rufusstan. As you point out, data can be selective, is not always clear and its authors may have an agenda. Guess it all boils down to expectations. Rumour is that he is sending his son over this summer, suggesting maybe he feels the need for more input…if of course this rumour is true. Absentee owners are of course far from unique and can be successful. But just get the feeling the club is in a bit of transition and requires strong leadership. Wenger cannot and should not do everything. Ivan seems a smart decent guy doing a good job. Looks like Stan will not put a penny into team matters, again, not especially anything wrong with that. Nor does he interfere. But I get the feeling Wenger knows anything he spends is finite, when it is gone, that is it, nobody to step in and help out. FFP inxtremes. Maybe we can manage like that, but this season does not bode well. Clubs traditionally below us are net investing, we have to comete with these as well as the SD brigade. Wenger is gifted, but these days it is difficult to be an alchemist. In short, just not sure the world of Stan can put us where we want to be, even with Wenger. Going back to the question I put, I fear Stan is either a risk averse collector, or a fast buck merchant. Could be wrong, but find both of these worrying. But time tells all

  • bob

    It is possible to be both a collector and, in the right context and conditions, morph into the fast-buck merchant who unloads a given part of the collection, and always for the good of the collection as a whole (KSE), not of the part (AFC).

  • Mandy Dodd

    we shall see Bob!

  • bob

    “if the guy would actually just talk to us……”
    I wouldn’t hold my breath, or yours.
    He jets in to speak at the annual meetings (the transfer window) and the very occasional supporters event. So the “if only” you ask for/wait for won’t occur or won’t be what you might want to hear. People who can fashion a sports holdings empire may have a collector’s affection to this or that item in the collection, but I wouldn’t be on the lookout for loyalty. That word (or expectation, or prayer) is pablum for those whose money is siphoned upward.

  • bob

    p.s. what they do know is that the product has to be entertaining enough to keep ’em hooked (through comedy, tragedy or the irresistible roller-coaster ride of both in a heady mix, kind of like….)

  • Rufusstan

    Bob, again we are at one data-point to draw a conclusion. I knew about the Melo trade (my brother-in-law is a New-Yorker and knows that baseball is the only US sport that doesn’t send me to sleep). I always thought that the general impression was that Denver got the better end of the deal, and that was Bourne out by the results last season.

    So you go from trade 1 big player (who forced the trade) –> policy to trade out the best from Denver –> Policy to trade out the best at Arsenal.

    By the way would you say Andre Iguodala is in the just decent-enough-to-compete category? If we start the same argument by saying that they’ve just traded in an All Star at his peak, where does that lead?

    The direct Nuggets to Arsenal comparison do my head in as well. We are again back to interpreting the data. Read it one way and you see the Nuggets as a team that underachieve, don’t care about winning things and are happy to make the playoffs. Make the direct connection and of course Arsenal aim and budget to just about make 4th place, because according to the argument that is enough.

    Turn it around and what do you see? Looking at the data above suggests that the last dozen years have seen Denver go from a horrible position to the point where they are as successful as at any point in their history. Now apply that model to Arsenal.

    On the zero net spend. Yep we have had that for the last 2 years, which sadly corresponds to Kroenke’s ownership. We sold our best and world class player each year.

    Sounds bad (burn him!), but again, selective use of data. Arsenal have been running at around a net zero transfer spend for nearly a decade. That means this has been in place for around 8 years before he took control, and 5 ish before he had any connection with the club. Impressive if he managed that. Of course our transfer stinginess has nothing to do with the £400 million lump of concrete and steel we go to every other weekend.

    Again, I have to highlight that I have no particular liking for the guy, but all the ills of the club are being dumped at his feet. I don’t really care, except the evidence backing it up feels spurious, and if so, we are being led away from where the real issues lie.

  • Domhuail

    We have had years of experience with Stan clones here in North America and it can work out well or not so well. Here are a few things you Brits have to realize:

    1)Stan is first and foremost a businessman, whose investments are much closer to his heart than any one team or franchise ever will be.
    2)Being a very astute businessman, he knows that keeping his teams competitive and entertaining but affordable is just the right mix to keep the value of his investments high. He has little if any so-called ¨loyalty¨ to any one franchise or Club.
    3)He does enjoy sports, otherwise he would invest in other things that are usually more profitable but he takes a longer term interest in his investments and is willing to wait for their share value to increase to a point where he can reap significant rewards…a sound business philosophy for any investor.
    4)He doesn’t understand or care much about Football per-se, he knows American football, Hockey and Basketball pretty well and keeps his approach simple, non-interventionist and at arms length. He lets his Clubs be managed by the professionals and the Boards, who he knows and respects, unlike too many of our so-called supporters.
    5)The Glazers at one time owned shares in my hometown hockey team and almost drove it into the ground by cutting corners and failing to bring in needed players. The new owners have taken the opposite tack and the team is now improving each season.

    For those who think that Usmanov is the solution, they had better talk to Malaga fans….as this seems more likely to be his type of legacy if he got hold of AFC. He talks a big show but he is much more the asset stripping type than Stan ever was or is. I am 99.9999% certain that Stan would sell AFC if someone came in with the right share price and business model but, despite media fabrications and whiny fanboys spurious fantasies, that hasn’t happened so far.

  • Rufusstan

    Mandy, the guy has been buying sports clubs for nearly 20 years. The only point where has got rid of any of them is when outside forces have made him — say the league point to 2 of his clubs and say you can’t own both.

    Even then he seems to pass them onto his kids rather than get rid of them.

    I’d doubt he’d sell Arsenal, no matter how much we’d want him to. He has no motivation to.

    Sadly I doubt he’s ever going to be an Arsenal fan, the best we can hope for is he leaves us alone (as seems to be happening).

  • Doublegooner


    For those who think that Usmanov is the solution, they had better talk to Malaga fans….as this seems more likely to be his type of legacy if he got hold of AFC. He talks a big show but he is much more the asset stripping type than Stan ever was or is. I am 99.9999% certain that Stan would sell AFC if someone came in with the right share price and business model but, despite media fabrications and whiny fanboys spurious fantasies, that hasn’t happened so far.


    What proof do you have Usmanov ‘is much more the asset stripping type ‘ ??

  • Doublegooner

    Danny Fizsman must be turning in his grave.

  • Stuart


    Danny Fizsman must be turning in his grave.
    What proof do you have that Danny Fizsman must be turning in his grave.

  • bob

    You imply that I’ve said Stan’s the only reason for our declining path. I don’t know enough to lay it all at his feet; and you don’t know enough to exonerate him (even as you say he’s not your man). Fine. But your stats are equally selective, if not uniquely spurious in almost whitewashing Stan’s stewardship over our declining pitch performance. (Unless you want to say and aren’t that it’s Arsene, all Arsene – is that it?)

    The last two years, Stan’s, are not the same financially in terms of what was available to us to spend when compared to the previous six (with our prized stadium sucking up everything). By AFC’s own propaganda for two seasons (and you don’t know otherwise, nor do I) there’s been more money available or coming available than in the prior 6 seasons and it has not been spent on the pitch; this despite the passage of 4 transfer windows that were screaming for AFFORDABLE quality moves: for exmaple, quality defensive reinforcements (when we were overstretched and competing on 4 fronts two seasons ago) and clincal strikers (the last two windows) and defensive prowess in the midfield (the last two windows).

    And why was there money: the real estate deal completed, the manageability of the stadium debt by every public utterance; the two CL finishes; the sell offs of our best; the insistence on zero net transfer balances; the leap in TV money to kick in this very June (which was known about for at least a year); the expectably-improved Emirates Airlines deal; the potential (if the marketeers do their self-touting best) of more/better strategic partnerships like they say; etc.

    Your 180 degree turnaround of the timeline does not account for this difference – a qualitative difference in the two years relative to the other six, etc. – which is arguably the major source of the current angst and anger in the fanbase; that is, it comes down particularly to the perceived (and I’d argue accurately perceived) refusal to spend to actually compete for a championship – as opposed to parking the bus at a sustainable fourth place.

    The petroboyz cannot buy up every player, and other sides spent rather well such as you know who. We have had available options. Do you think Chris Samba, for one, or retaining Alex Song, for another, or splashing for Mata, for yet another, and lo, there are more (as you surely know), where moves were not made nor consummated.

    Why exactly? AFC/HQ are a black box and we , neither you nor I can know exactly what went on – which is why I cannot and do not lay everything at Stan’s well-heeled feet. But imo, a meaningful turnaround (rather than decline) over the last 2 seasons was still in the cards, and this despite the departures of RVP (to our second worst enemy to really squeeze out that last drop of filthy lucre, eh Rufusstan?) and of x-Cesc Fabregas, if we had chosen to try to purchase near like for like. But we waited, it seems, until the last second on Cesc’s wounding us; and zeroed out the transfer balance by dumping Song (when we had him for 3 more years). Many hereabouts have cried nothing but poverty and the stadium…the stadium, even as the money – the unspent money – was accumulating and its arrival foreseeable.

    Overcautiousness is not prudent but it is reckless; and just as Stan flies in to be at those key annual meetings that coincide with the transfer window decisions, one can only presume that he had something like major impact (except under your passive ownership assumption) on the non-spending that turns out to leave holes: in the lack of clinical finishing and relatively spineless midfield that we suffer from, match after match, as you read.

  • Doublegooner


    Very good 🙂

  • Mandy Dodd

    Fear you may be right rufusstan. Some say a quatari consortium want a London club and that we are first choice but if not available they will go elsewhere. Not saying this is ideal either far from it but if more petrodollar boys come in, under stan we fall further if this is the case. Unless we can do a Dortmund and not seeing signs of that yet. Looks like we are stuck with stan he is not the worst but I have seen nothing about him to make me believe he will take arsenal forward especially when the day comes we lose wenger. Stan reminds me of Alan sugar did nothing wrong. Sound business practices but failed to keep place with others and his decisions set his club back ten years. Hope son of stan has more to offer

  • Rufusstan

    Mandy — I have to admit when the buyout rumours popped up last week, my first thought was ‘where the hell were you 5 years ago’.

    Now? They could pay off the stadium I guess, FFP may get in the way of them chucking a couple of hundred million at the team (though that may explain the now or never clause). We’ve built most of the stuff FFP lets us chuck money at.

    Talking about Dortmund just makes me wish we had their system. No billionaires sniffing around, no absentee American owner, no snubbed Uzbek out in the cold. Life could just be simple again.

    Bob, I’ve tried to get my head around your post but just too tired, I’ll try again in the morning. All I can ask for now, could you please highlight what you think I’ve posted that is spurious; its something I scrupulously try to avoid.

  • Stuart

    I thought you’d like that one Doublegooner 🙂