By Tony Attwood
Right. You are Arsenal manager or CEO or whatever. You are in charge of transfers. What do you do?
Tell everyone who you are signing or stay quiet? The former has a problem because if the deal doesn’t go through because the selling club won’t sell, it makes you look silly. So you might think of being quiet.
Buy anyone, just to keep the fans quiet? Well, that will come back to hit you in the face after a while if the player is no good.
Pay any price the selling club asks. That gets you your man, and is good if you have virtually unlimited resources like Chelsea or Man C but if you only have £70m at today’s rates that is just two players, and if one gets injured and one is less good than you thought, that might not do it, but the money is gone.
Talk to the newspapers about deals to keep fans happy? Well, that could rebound because the papers won’t print what you say, but will instead will make you look an idiot, whether you are one or not.
Anyway, let’s imagine you find your way through this, and you buy a player and he just doesn’t turn out right because of a real deep problem he has that you can’t tell anyone about. What then? You have to take it on the chin and accept that it looks like you made a bad purchase. Like, for example Marouane Chamakh.
He started off really well, with 11 goals in 22 games. It might be hard to remember – but he was good. I remember an away game at Wolverhampton. He led the line, scored his goals, did his job. Not Van Persie, but a decent stand in.
But then the world fell apart for him. Until now we thought he’d just lost it in a football sense, but it now turns out that there was a blackmail case in 2011 and that affected him deeply. Of course I know the AAA would say a professional should be above this, and I’ve not been blackmailed so I don’t know, but I do know that my work as a writer utterly disintegrated in the year leading up to my divorce and the two years after. Life can hit you, and if you’ve never been hit, you are probably living in a cupboard.
The story has only now come out in L’Equipe and if you read it (and have any humanity) you will feel sorry for Chamakh both at Arsenal and West Ham. But my question is, as Arsenal manager, not just what would you have done then, but what could you have done? The story was sub judice so you couldn’t have gone public. It just has to look as if you, the manager, brought in a bad player – despite the early results looking really good.
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As for what the real manager will do now, all the rumours are circulating once again, as you would expect. One interesting buzz is the re-signing of Flamini who having created the Flamini-Fallacy has now, I supposed, invented the Flamini-Circle. He never really cut it long-term at Milan, (although he was a part of the 2011 championship team), could find no new club when his contract there ended, re-signed with a huge pay cut, and is now a free agent and remarkably is just 29 (he seems to have been around longer). He must feel a bit like Hleb.
So not the highest of recommendations, giving his name to a spot of mental blindness, but in his partnership with Cesc for one year he was superb, and in the year of the seven left backs, he showed he could play all over the field.As to the rest Arsenal are now “set” and on “red alert” plus “high alert” and every other type of alert and settedness to sign everyone. Karim Benzema and Angel Di María from Real Mad, Yohan Cabaye from the Zebras. If Real Mad do one of their “the shirts will pay for it” insanity deals with the man from up the road, then they will probably let someone or two slip out the door, while still claiming it is all in the bleached shirt.
The reason Di Maria could be on the way in is the fact that Lukas Podolski didn’t get a game in the opening matches, but came on for the last seconds in the Villa match – a curious move.
Paul Pogba at the Home of Dubious Events (Juventus) is also mentioned as has Micah Richards (over and over) and Ashley Williams (ditto and ditto).
We could of course sign the lot, we could manage to get no one. Don’t watch this space, because I am about to finish, but you could try looking at the comments. This article (for clarity and to help readers who find it hard to grasp the notion that comments on this site have to be about the article, and should not just be abuse) is about the best way to conduct transfer policies, and who we might buy. There, that’s it. Where’s the grapefruit juice?
23 August anniversaries; young Theo, Overmars’ first
- 23 August 1920: Lionel Smith born
- 23 August 1958: Tommy Docherty signed for £20,000
- 23 August 1966: Alan Skirton’s final game for Arsenal
- 23 August 1975: Arsenal lose to Stoke, (recollections of first match)
- 23 August 1997: Overmars first goal for Arsenal
- 23 August 2006: Theo Walcott is youngest Arsenal player in Europe, 17y 129 days.
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal FC: crowd behaviour at the early matches
Decent posts (or if you prefer “Recent posts”