Transfers and results, results and transfers. Is there a connection?

By Tony Attwood

So where have we got to?

  • One defeat in the last nine
  • 20 goals for, nine goals against in last nine
  • Seven wins,  one draw, one defeat in last nine
  • Five wins,  one defeat,  one draw in last seven league games

OK it is not the form of the Unbeaten Season, but it is better than the form at the end of the year for the Second League Double.  It is, rather curiously, identical to the league form in December 2001 – the build up to the Third League Double.

Indeed in that Third League Double season our biggest problem came in January with only two wins in the five games.

And there is a point to all this ruminating over numbers – because in the end, it is not how the world is, but how we see the world.   The old “glass half empty” issue.

Take the last home game against QPR.  Giroud was sent off, and suddenly there was nervousness and tension around the ground – the feeling that QPR might sneak an equaliser.  But there was no reason for this – we were one short in the forward division, not in defence.  No one at the back was out of position – and yet it felt like we were under constant attack.

The same is true as Uefa slowly start to remove the shutters from the iced over window of transfers.   At the moment we’ve got the heating turned up and the doors and windows just open a crack as the bloggets (those funny publications that think that 200 words on “Arsenal confirm deal for defender” – which they haven’t – is actually a news item)  chunter away regurgitating the same old same old.  Meanwhile the dinosaur newspaper football departments, pumping out their mediaeval vision (actually that is three articles in a row in which the word mediaeval has been used – this must be a footballing record) fill their pages with “what your club needs” pieces, listing the type of player that each club MUST HAVE in order to avoid relegation, push for a European spot or even to win the league.

Of course what they don’t want you to do is…

a) read the “must have” list for all the clubs, because if you do it all seems very similar.  (Journalists know that most fans only read about their own club, so most of the lists of “desperately in need of” are very similar);

b) recognise that buying in new players is no guarantee of anything, (as Tottenham and Liverpool have shown with avengance of late);

c) compare the results after the shutters are pulled down again on 1 February;

d) think that just because a club wants a player, that player is going to come.

But still it fills a page or two.

Anyway, you know what it is all about.  A central defender and a defensive midfielder.  Yep, that is what, according to the Express, is required by Crystal Palace, Everton, Liverpool, Man U,  and West Ham.  Oh yes and Arsenal.

Maybe that is why it is hard to find these pesky little fellas.  Especially when you have stories like “Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk is ready to reject interest from Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United in January, with the Premier League clubs readying £10m bids for the 23-year-old centre-back.”  That’s on the BBC web site today.

But still there is always someone else.  “Arsenal are planning a cut-price £4m January move for West Ham defender Winston Reid,” says the Excess, sorry Express.  Really?

If you want the tip of the day it is that “Arsenal close to signing £20m midfielder Carvalho”.  It is in all the papers, so nothing is new.

More amusing and rather droll is the notion that we are spending £62m to buy Edinson Cavani, as PSG try to get their FFP expenditure under control.  It was a fairy story of which Mr Wenger said, “Everyday there is a different rumour so I don’t give importance to that.”

So where did all that come from?  Was it perchance a vapour transfer hiding the fact that we are actually buying William Carvalho for the defensive midfield slot?  He’s 22, and is said to cost £22,000,000 but that sort of symmetry is often just invented.  (Actually wouldn’t it be more fun if we offered £22,000,022?)

Oh yes and we are also buying Loic Perrin of St Etienne who is both a defensive midfielder and central defender, so two for the price of one.   Crystal Palace, Everton, Liverpool, Man U,  and West Ham plus a whole host of European clubs are all standing by and crying their eyes out as we get who we want.

Going out, according to the chatter, are Lukas Podolski and Tomas Rosicky, the former to Inter, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund – although perhaps not all at the same time – the latter to Olympiakos.   Or Gala Fairydean (sorry Galatasaray) or Athletico Madrid.  Mr W. doesn’t want either of them to go.

On a more exotic front, apparently we have a permanent squad of scouts watching Mason Holgate, a Barnsley (yes you’ve got it – Barnsley who are still mad at us for giving them Frimpong – a player who has never played more than nine games for any of the six clubs he has been with).

But oh, what’s this?  Tottenham want him (Holgate not Frimpong).  And so do Everton.  He’s 18, and a defender, and is very confusing because Barnsley is also home to Holgate School.  It would be embarrassing if we bought the wrong thing.

And there is always an old story. Sami Khedira has admitted that he’d be happy to stay at Real Madrid. but still hasn’t agreed a new contract.

Ah well.  In 33 days we will know for sure.

Although come to think of it, what we do know for sure is that in 2015 we ought to have these new-ish signings playing for us…

  • Ozil
  • Ramsey
  • Walcott
  • Arteta
  • Gnabry

Even if we just get three out of five, that is a hell of an input into our squad.  And I haven’t even included Jack.


In case you missed it…

How the Arsenal transfer policy works

The dangers of retreat into mediaeval journalism

Not to mention…

The Untold Index, and the Arsenal History Society blog




36 Replies to “Transfers and results, results and transfers. Is there a connection?”

  1. For some time now, Arsene and his staff will have decided a short list of potential signings during the January Window.
    All I hope is that behind the scene, meaningful/yet unofficial negotiations have been going on for a while.
    Let us not have a repeat of past shambles on the final day, when panic stations appear.

  2. If Santa existed, I would ask for:


    I think we are more than stocked in the forward division.

  3. Don’t be so cruel to those poor journos! They have to write something, and why let the truth get in the way of a good story. We announced we had £20M to spend in the Jan window, so obviously we are in the market for Cavani at £60M, and Mat Hummels at £45M.

    I’m with Nicky – if we can get experienced quality back-up for CB and DM, with the players coming back we will be set for a good second half of the season.

    Of course this won’t satisfy the AAA’s (bit quiet at the moment) because EVERYTHING is Wenger’s fault. It’s called – don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!!

    Happy New Year to all at Untold Arsenal

  4. Yes , its all very bizarre.
    We have 3 keepers, but have been reading we have been looking at Casillas!
    Now we have a veritable list of players we are on high alert, or in advanced negotiations over.
    I bet some long for the days when it was just Sebastian Frey, or M’Vila or Huntelaar every transfer window, the poor journalists seem to have to work so much harder on the sheer numbers of their falsehoods now.
    Personally, I am quite sure that Southampton will completely disrupt their season and sell us one of their best players for £20m just because he is French, it appears our manager is as well….and we are constantly told we need such a player.
    Away from Arsenal, did hear on an unmentionable radio station that Liverpool were in advanced negotiations to pay £23m for Berahino (Spurs apparently bidding a more realistic £12m for said player) , no idea if that is true, but from what we read of this player and his attitudes, I am sure West Brom would bite their hands off at such a fee, but if so, that club have officially left the realms of the sane….in fact, with Balotelli, they have done that twice in just a few months.

  5. morgan schneiderlin got himself a red card yesterday against chelski!just a coincidence ??may be he didn,t to play against us or is it me simply wishing??what about song not celebrating his disallowed goal ,classy i say!!

  6. I liked Coquelin yesterday. Anyway, since every one has written us off for the PL, CL and that we have negligible chances in the FA cup( we actually have it in our locker!), then signing someone in January would be a waste of money, don’t you think so? If that’s the case, then we stay with Coquelin and wait for our injured.

  7. @Will,

    Hammels : I think he os overrated. I prefer other defenders.

    Pogba: definitly, but will he have the patience to learn from Arteta. If he does, it will be awesome, he will be the best buy.

  8. yes pogba would be brilliant, however he isn’t a holding midfielder DM. hes a box to box type player. he likes to run through the play, get forward, into the box, score goals. hes a galvanizing player for any team. but hes not the makelele or even viera that some people take him for….

  9. Good morning Sir, Chief Tony. Only God knows who Arsenal will sign this coming Jan’ window to enhance some departments in the Gunners’ squad. If the voice of the Gooners will be the voice of wisdom, the boss may succumb to the wish of the Gooners and buys a CB and a CDM. But if the boss thinks Flamini and Coquelin will be adequate to cope with the CDM role domestically and externally, (CL) he may not bring-in a new recruit. Moreso if there be a 3rd CDM somewhere at Arsenal that has not yet been revealed, say may be in the youth team. The samething applies to the CB position. But I think the boss could do with an import at CB if he doesn’t want to promote Ajayi to the CB rank to cover injury prone-Koscielny. As for the CAM position, I think the boss will be well covered there by his returning top quality MDs. But the striking-line could still be boosted with a new top striker if the boss is not sure if he should promote Akpom to be there. Should the boss decides to promote Ajayi and Akpom, he should please test-start them at Southampton to see if they will justify the promotions. Will it be risky to do that? The boss could be audacious. The Gunners will beat the Saints whatever. Now on a pathetic note! Podolski is a player of the mass-Gooner. But he appears not to be in the good books of the boss. Something personal? Nobody can compel the boss to start Podolski at Southampton save if the boss decided to do that. However, I want to beg the boss to please start Podolski at Southampton so that he could give us some goodbye goals to remember him bye as he went. The print media has widely rumoured his going.

  10. Tony even if we get all of ozil,ramsey,walcott ,arteta and gnarby back you just know others are going to get injured and replace them on the treatment table.And only a madman would be hoping to rely on diaby if he ever shows his face again.
    Would it hurt arsenal team wise and financially to go and get a quality CB and DM ad say spend 30m on the pair???No in my opinion, and im sure we have more of a chance of getting them than Crystal Palace, Everton, Liverpool, and West Ham.Man u i’m not so sure about even though they’ve no champions league.A last point ,i dont think the fans would take another january window like last one and i think wenger and the club know that also.

  11. The only position which is in need of another player is central defence, in the others there is an excellent choice.

  12. Nick, the club and manager have to be able to think beyond the fans wishes when spending millions. All depends on who is available, and whether those that are available are needed, or wanted by the club. and the price would have to be realistic
    What if the player/s he really wants are available to him, but only in the summer?
    We have made panic buys in the past, more than a few have not worked. We seem to be operating at a much higher level with transfers these days, and that will bring its own challenges, especially in Jan.
    Walter was told by someone from within the club that they will not buy players that will burden the club, as has clearly happened with a few in the fairly recent past.

  13. Nick,
    ‘the fans’ who is that?

    You maybe wouldn’t take that but I think it is a bit slightly exaggerated for anyone to tell what ‘the fans’ would take or not.

  14. To be honest JohnL, I am not sure Vieira was the Vieira people remember. he was the ultimate box to box midfielder and it was usually left to Petit or Gilberto to do the defensive duties.

  15. By the sounds of it we have already secured Krystian Bielik. Theres a interview with him where he talks about the conversation he had with Wenger about where he will fit into the team. Dubbed the next Viera; although im sure at some point Frimpong was probably said to be the same. Anyone actually seen him play? Only 16 years young at the moment.

  16. Problem with fans is we keep requesting for top notch back up in all positions but problem is that not many quality player wants to sit on the bench and fight for his place these days(as done by edu, ljumberg, kanu, Wiltord, even Db10 at one time) , the level of football these days imply every player is atleast wanted by someone somewhere and ambitious players are hard to come by, most are a bunch of mercenaries ###highest bidder hires them.

  17. Think we will certainly sign a defender or utility defensive /mf player, but would be a bit surprised if there are any specialist CMs out there of requisite quality to splash out on. Flam has been doing ok lately, Coq has promise, maybe needs a few games. But, relying on Arteta and Diaby sounds very risky if fighting on multiple fronts, unless… should they take such an option, it is based on things the club knows and we dont

  18. @ Nick Lee

    “i dont think the fans would take another january window like last one”.

    Certainly it will make a vocal minority start complaining.

    I noticed that our twitter following reached 5 million just before Xmas. To tie the two things together, the only thing for certain is that not one of those 5 million will know as much about managing a football club or the transfer market as a highly paid professional. It’s just very sad that some of them think they do and spread such counterproductive negativity via their ill-conceived rhetoric.

  19. Now that annoys me,I have no problem someone saying wenger made a mistake with this or that but to say he is rubbish and knows nothing is insulting.

    In my eyes, he is the best manager out there. While the guys on Twitter can’t even manage to complete a full sentence.

  20. I am very nervous of the cacophony screaming the mantra “Give us a CD/DM”. We have Per and Arteta both of whom will need replacement in the next couple of years but for both of whom absolute top world class replacements should be found. To find such quality available in the January window would be extremely rare and so nobody should count on it.

    The players who may be sought and even found right now would be a squad filler – indeed a Kalstrom or Squillaci! The players to look are for either quite young or old as you want them either with the potential to improve or not to be first team squad blockers. Still a hard call to find in January.

    I wish Arsene every success but would not be at all surprised if many are not disappointed given the narrow field, short time and reasons why neither clubs nor players want to move on at this point of a season. We should all listen more carefully to what Tony is saying.

  21. @ will,

    your absolutely right. i think vieira was a box to box player but still more defensive than pogba. more emphasis on his defensive side than pogba certainly. and your right that vieira played best when coupled with a more conservative player in petit and gilberto. in fact vieira’s worst form for arsenal was probably when he was played in the midfield with cesc and had to hold more.

    my point is that i love pogba, i just cant see the club spening that much money on a box to box player when we alraedy have ramsey, wilshere and the ox. unless wenger sees pogba as a more defensive player than he playes at juve.

  22. Referee appointments are out for Thursday.

    Thursday 1 January 2015
    12:45 Stoke Man Utd Michael Oliver M McDonough L Betts M Atkinson

    15:00 Aston Villa Crystal Palace Robert Madley G Beswick I Hussin M Clattenburg
    15:00 Hull Everton Kevin Friend S Ledger D England A Madley
    15:00 Liverpool Leicester Mike Jones M Scholes E Smart D Coote
    15:00 Man City Sunderland Chris Foy J Collin A Halliday G Scott
    15:00 Newcastle Burnley Mike Dean R West A Garratt N Swarbrick
    15:00 QPR Swansea Anthony Taylor S Beck M Wilkes L Probert
    15:00 Southampton Arsenal Craig Pawson S Long S Burt R East
    15:00 West Ham West Brom Jonathan Moss D Cann D Eaton L Mason

    17:30 Spurs Chelsea Phil Dowd S Child M Mullarkey A Marriner

  23. Gord
    Now where have I seen/heard about that combo of officials at the chelski spuds game before, with bad,consequences. Something about that combination worries me.

  24. Don’t know much about transfers, but the comment on the fact the when Oliver was sent off, there was nervousness in the stadium. Well thats interesting is it because the fans know that our defence cannot hold on due the previous matches? Its quite a natural feeling to have. Even for the out field players. It will take time and good results to restore the confidence back.

  25. Gouresh – When Olivier was sent off the fans grew nervous because there was a Crow in the middle of the park. That crow didn’t see the reason for Olivier’s red mist, nor did he see the throat grab by Pluto. Our defence is excellent despite having to cope with unseen fouling on a regular basis.

    The goal against us by West Ham was scored by a player who held Debuchy down while he jumped to head the ball. For some strange reason nobody seemed to notice that fact (particularly not the blind Crow). It is why Debuchy fell to the ground following the pressure on his shoulders.

  26. Menace, I am not referring to this particular incident. Weather or not the ref saw the grab buy Rio is debatable. Also the clubs need to take this further. I am referring to the nervousness thats in the crowd when we let in a goal or even if we are 3 nil up and the opponents score, u can sense it in the stadium. Why? I am not that fortunate to get tickets but when i watched Arsenal matches on tapes back in India with Tony Adams or when Sol was in the defence., I did not sense the same level of nervousness.

  27. I am in India at the moment – though I am a season ticket holder. I know the fans in the stadium are uncertain because they know the crow in the middle is crooked. Our previous defences didn’t have such professionals officiating. They were amateur – ie they worked in other jobs and refereed as a part time ‘job’. The Rio grab was seen by the crow or his assistants – if it wasn’t then the FA should take action. I am nervous before the game even starts because it is no longer football as I knew it. The added Defensive Midfielder that the PGMO provide our opponents has more than physical blocking capabilities. Surprisingly we have had a couple of penalties which is against the grain for Rileys crows but that doesn’t stop them ‘playing the game’.

    Just as a hunch – I would bet on Hull winning the FA cup tie 3-0. Something (a sixth sense) tells me that there is revenge in the air. If they lose be happy; if they win you will at least afford to drown your sorrows.

  28. Incidentally – I remember some real nervous moments when Sol was in defence against West Ham. Tony Adams was England captain nothing he did would effect the crows of that period. In fact the crows allow England captains additional license to special Laws even today.

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