The Telegraph pronounces: “Real Madrid accept £48m offer for Karim Benzema.”

By Tony Attwood

Remember Gonzalo Higuaín?  In 2013 Arsenal were pronounced by the press to be about to sign him.  It was everywhere all the time, non stop.

So non-stop that even Untold (or to be more precise, me,) said that “it looks like we are signing Higuaín,” which was rather embarrassing because I was the one who had previously described in glorious technicolour the whole way in which the Vapour Transfer system works.

And that is exactly what the Gonzalo Higuaín situation was.  We were never going to sign him, but we needed other transfers to happen before we could get our real target: Mesut Ozil.  So to distract from those negotiations (and most particularly stop Tottenham from inserting a “you won’t sell Ozil to Arsenal” clause in their Bale contract which they initially demanded), the game was played.

On 27 July 2013 Napoli confirmed the signing of Higuaín, and gave him their number 9 shirt – we never even put a bid in for him.

So to Benzema.  Slowly the media is changing its tune and saying “Real Madrid are unwilling to sell Karim Benzema to Arsenal and are using the Gunners interest to prove they retain the ability keep their best players” (according to James Olley in the Standard.)

But today, 20 August, The Telegraph announce ‘Real will allow Benzema to join Arsenal’ proclaiming that “Arsene Wenger is keen” on the deal with “Rafael Benitez looking to play Cristiano Ronaldo as a central striker.”

But then, under that heading of  Real will allow Benzema to join Arsenal’ there is a curious thing in which they say that “Real president Florentino Perez is a huge admirer of Benzema and has made it clear that he wants the striker to stay at the club having only last summer signed a contract extension running to 2019…

“Real have allowed the Benzema to Arsenal rumours to circulate in the belief that the player has no desire to leave and so keeping him at the club would constitute a show of strength to their rivals.

“Arsenal would have to test that resolve with a bid in excess of £45 million but, as yet, they have received no indication Benzema has had a change of heart over his immediate future.”

So let me run that headline by you again.  Real will allow Benzema to join Arsenal’  which is followed by the rather clumsy explanation about Real using the story to bolster their standing as a club that can’t be bought and that they won’t let him go.

Tucked away in the detail is the fact that Arsenal actually haven’t made an offer and Mr Wenger has often said, “if something exceptional turns up, we will do it.”  Desperate to make something of this, the Telegraph insist that he is “alluding to Benzema’s availability” in this but there is nothing to indicate this is true.

So why are they pushing this so much?

Largely because their web site is covered in stories which say that Arsenal need Benzema despite the fact that his game by game goalscoring record in the last three years is almost identical to that of Olivier Giroud.

Indeed Alistair Tweedale in the Telegraph wrote a whole piece about how Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud “had their limitations highlighted over the years, and a blunt attacking performance against West Ham will have done little to allay fears amongst fans that Wenger is content to mount their title challenge without adding the world class striker they so crave.”

The assault on Wenger’s transfer dealings is straight out of the aaa handbook, and includes the statement that “Benzema is one of the best strikers on the planet” and that “Years on end of chasing the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Edinson Cavani continue without progress – while Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck have proven insufficient as a lone striker – but the wait could be over this summer with Karim Benzema on the club’s radar.”

The fact is that there is considerable evidence that Higuain was never intended for Arsenal, as noted above, and that Alexis has never been intended as a centre forward.

“Benzema,” says the paper, “is a cut above, and combines qualities that both of Arsenal’s current strikers boast.”

Now the most obvious way to prove or disprove this is to analyse the number of games played and the number of goals scored in recent seasons, and that’s what we did last weekend.   But instead the Telegraph analyse comparative goalscorering in the Spanish league which isn’t the same thing at all.

Then suddenly they change their tune, as if realising that Benzema is pretty much the same as Giroud and say instead “Benzema can hold the ball up and bring others into play – something that Wenger values hugely given the quality of his midfielders – and is also decent in the air. He is, meanwhile, quick on the turn and looks for balls in behind, too, varying his game so greatly that defenders always have a huge deal to think about when facing him.”

So, all of a sudden we are not looking at a centre forward who scores goals any more, but a player who can bring others into play.  The story changes.

Then it changes again.  “While Giroud will always look for the ball to be played into him with his back to goal, Walcott prefers to play on the shoulder of the last defender. Benzema can do both.”

Interesting indeed – and from what I have seen of the player, maybe he can.   But the result is still the same – he scores the same number of goals as Giroud, and do we need another assist merchant when we have Ozil.

Then the issue is compounded further.   “Over the course of his six seasons in La Liga, only superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo can boast more goals and assists than the Frenchman.”   OK, but that is goals and assists.  So if we have Benzema we don’t have a new out and out striker who outshines Giroud, but someone who is particularly strong on assists.   So all we need to know is, assists for whom, and why we need another assist player when we have Ozil.

But then in another change of direction the Telegraph says, “It is goals that he would be signed for”, and so we are back to the fact that he has scored almost exactly the same number as Giroud, from almost exactly the same number of games.

So what’s the point?

Of course it is true that Ozil played with Benzema in Spain.  Ozil set up five goals in the 2011/12 season for Benzema.   Time to gather the stats for Ozil setting up goals for Giroud.  Was anyone actually watching Giroud score against Palace?  Oh look, Giroud is rather good at that sort of thing.

Of course I am not there on the inside; I pick up snippets and bits and pieces and try to see how the whole transfer system works, and all I am saying is that nothing seems to point to the Benzema transfer tale being anything other than a phantom.  If I am wrong (and it will most certainly not be the first time) I will of course come out and admit it, just as I did with Gonzalo Higuaín.

And maybe that’s the point.  At least when I screw up I say so.

(Sir Hardly Anyone is down the pub).

@UntoldArsenal on Twitter


The books

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




35 Replies to “The Telegraph pronounces: “Real Madrid accept £48m offer for Karim Benzema.””

  1. Tony – I have it from an impeccable source that Arsenal were starting to prepare for Higuain’s arrival. Quite why he didn’t come in the end is unclear.

    From my viewpoint we dodged a bullet there. Would like Lewandoski – according to the Daily Heil we enquired earlier in the summer – but otherwise happy with current options.

  2. We Not only want Benzema… WE NEED HiM! After all the Attacking players Chelsea poses, they still went ahead to sign PEDRO.

  3. Adding benzema would really be great even though his stats with giroud are identical.theres always,I believe,that variety benzema will provide.

    Meanwhile,I believe the manager,with more than thirty years of experience in the game,is better equipped to decide that.

    And be rest assured arsenal will achieve something special this season…

  4. Higuain… well never convinced by him. If you compare him with Giroud… I am not sure Hiugain is better.. really… or just so slightly.

    Benzema should be better than Giroud… I forgot where i read the stats… very similar goals and asists and better at something else… Don’t think its a huge upgrade but you know when you get to a very high level, upgrades come bit by bit.

    I like Cavani. I prefer him to Benzema but how to get him from PSG… is a mystery. Even harder to get him at a reasonable price…

    Everyone wants a world class striker. The problems are 1) does the player want to come 2) what price the selling club wants.

    It is very hard to pull off such a deal. Besides, no one can be sure if the player will turn out a flop… really. Messi and Ronaldo played badly in the last world cup. If they can play badly and have little contribution, any one might just be the same.

  5. I think they need to sign him more as a statement, or someone of similar quality.
    At the moment Wenger is basically saying we’re going to challenge for the Premiership and how does he prove this?
    By buying a goalie for £11 million (which he has had quite a shocker for the first 2 games)meanwhile sticking with the exact same team that finished 12 points behind Chelsea…. plus its already been made public that there is £200 million there.
    That is absolutely disgusting by Arsenal.
    The team is not strong enough, it was proved last seasons on various occasions, Monaco, Anderlecht, Stoke, Swansea, Sunderland, Everton, Borussia Dortmund, plus it was proved again in the first game of the season again West Ham.The team is not strong enough, that’s a fact and to not bring in anyone else when the money is sitting there ready to use, while at the same time charging extortionate ticket prices is unforgivable.
    It’s shows no desire by Wenger or the board and shows they don’t really care what the fans think, they’re happy with their 4th place and last 16 CL because that’s what we are getting.

  6. Sorry, I have more 😀
    United spent a fortune, City the same, Liverpool the same and look at them, 2 wins out of 2.
    Memphis Depay, when I watched the 2 goals against Brugge he reminded me of a young Henry and the other Premiership teams need to be scared if he turns out anything like Henry.
    City look formidable also, 6 goals in 2 games.
    If we bought Benzema and it didn’t work out at least the fans will know that Arsenal tried to win the Premiership, the intention was there but it just didn’t work out.
    Though Wenger and the board and not even trying, all they are doing is filling every Arsenal fan with false hope and we all know whats going to happen, stupid losses to low end teams because they were too stingy to fix the problems that were so obvious last season.
    Next summer we will be given the same excuses, the same pathetic tweets from the players about how they are disappointed to finish 4th again, meanwhile City, Chelsea and Untied are enjoying competing for the Premiership again.
    Though the difference is, next summer we won’t be excited about who we may sign, we’ll be petrified that our superstar Alexis will be thinking ‘screw this club, I’m going to a club with some ambition’ and who could blame him?

    We don’t need to be stingy anymore, we have the money to fix the problems and if we are sitting here at the end of the season in 4th and being knocked out the CL in the last 16 after it being well know the money was there to strengthen then well…..
    All I can see atm is Stan sitting there counting his money going ‘how can we suck more out of the fans? because my missus wants an extra few 00000 on the end of her bank balance’
    That is all I see atm, directors laughing at the fans while counting their money.

  7. Cech is about the only signing I can think of who was endlessly linked to us for a long time in advance. Normally we hear little, then something happens quickly (from our perspective at least)

    So when we have one of these which drags on and on and on, it seems reasonable to me that we should have learned to tell ourselves that transfer is very unlikely.

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me a dozen or twenty times…

    Top of my head ; Higuain, Draxler, Khedeira, Schneiderlin, Cavani (last time or the time before that), Vidal, now Benzema.

    People who have not noticed that these declarations of bids made, accepted, signings imminent, almost always do not come to pass surely can’t claim to be both equipped with common sense, and entitled to justifiable indignation when x who is almost certain to join us doesn’t join us.

    They’re like people who have bought into Ponzi schemes on 10 to 15 separate occasions.

    Quite simply, the only sensible thing is to work hard on believing nothing until it is confirmed. I doubt anyone can do that perfectly- I certainly can’t- but that doesn’t alter the fact it is the only sound thing to do.

  8. man I have seen many people analyse things but hut off for you.
    tho you might not speak the utter truth or have full information but atleast you try to make sense out of things and not just jump on the band wagon. if Benzema is being bought for a statement in the premier league then I understand but if not then he is not that much improvement to Giroud who I actually rate high when it comes to goals. people used to abuse adebayor and now benteke who has gone to Liverpool but if you actually look at the impact adebayor had at arsenal and the impact benteke had at aston villa you can argue they were good players. I think arsenal just need to make a statement to the football world that they are now super powers just like most arsenal supporters want to think.if you asked who to sign in that position this would be my list
    1. bony
    4.even the chap at QPR who do.(Charlie Austin)
    5.balotelli (I still rate him one of the best strikers in world football currently only that he does not have his head with him)

  9. Chris
    You are on the wrong site mate, you will be more at home on Le Grove among all the other pessimists.

  10. I also picked up an Independent headline saying that Benzema deal is done, but the article attached to it is based on reports from Rodney Marsh on Talks..te repeating what his mate in Spain, who often knows what’s going on, had told him.

    So more impeccable journalistic research!

  11. Looks like we are not only getting Benzema (Telegraph) but Cavani (Daily Star) as well. Why not go in for Charlie Austin and Beherino as well!

  12. @ Chris,

    Fans like you were described somewhere like passengers on a plane who after flying a few times feel the know how to fly the plane more than the pilot. How much do you know about football to think you know more than Wenger with over 40 years playing and coaching experience and the highest coaching badge possible.

    Just out of curiosity, would you exchange the squad of Liverpool, or Man U for Arsenal’s. Maybe City is as good or better but not the other 2.

    Man U made a statement buying ADM and what happened?

    Like Mick said you are on the wrong site

  13. chris chris chris–oh no why do you really do this to yourself.its not really healthy for you to spent all that time typing nothing
    are you really serious to judge a season on 2 games and for you to mention Manu win over Clubb Brugge is really an indicator we cannot take you serious
    you dont sound like an ARSENAL supporter to me- honestly
    our great club needs people who understand both the game and the facets of life
    you hurt some of us who love arsenal and what it represents
    Surely you accidentally came to this site when you were actually typing for perennial mourners at LeGrove

  14. Breaking news!!! Benzema seen at Dennis Bergkamps allotment at Enfield, chatting about how Grandad McGuffpants taters were blown up in the 1945 by a doodlebug down at Plot No13. “Should be training with the first team up at the Colney tomorrow” says bloke down at the Post-office,who was on holiday earlier this year in Madrid and walked past the stadium. “lets hope he signs” says bloke in post office “as Giroud is a load of rubbish” he added.
    (source: Metro)

  15. The Telegraph story is predictable and most likely made up to get clicks and sell papers. There is no secret to it and really no need to even describe the phenomena any more.

    I will say though that their analysis of how Benzema could help us is far more relevant that the simple goals scored per game analysis published on Untold.

    One thing that might be happening here is that Wenger has a target that is not yet revealed and the Benzema news is actually being leaked by Arsenal. I hope so. A new striker please 🙂

  16. Well done Chis – all set for failure. Then you can say ‘I told you so!’. Reality is one swallow can choke you! & it does not make a Summer.

    I still have faith in Wenger, who incidentally has had a major input in the whole transformation of Arsenal Football Club (& also impacted the methods that other clubs have begun to follow). He is beyond your understanding.

  17. Tony, Although I do think we use the ‘vapour transfer’ where we’re really not at all interested on occasion, I also believe we convert failed attempts into vapour transfers. That is to say, when we believe a player is only worth £Xm (for whatever reason) but we think there’s a strong possibility someone else will bid higher, then we use that as cover for our main target. I understand that we had made an unofficial offer (not written) for Higuain and we’d spoken to him, he was interested and RM just wanted the official offer. However when Napoli jumped in and RM wanted to start an auction we stepped out as increasing the offer would have eaten into the main target fund. If Higuain had told RM that he wouldn’t go to Napoli and that he only wanted to come to us then I believe we’d have got him but Higuain just saw the potential to earn more salary, so we walked away.
    Similarly with Suarez, if he’d put in a transfer request when we bid the famous ‘and £1’ bid then he’d have joined us but the club was worried that he was rather too mercenary and would be off when the next high bidder came knocking, so they left it in the position where Suarez had to make the transfer work. If he’d put in the request then he’d forfeit the loyalty bonus (probably over $1m) but he wanted the money, so he clearly wanted the money more than an AFC squad number.
    It has to be remembered that AW wants players that want to play in a Wenger team, not players who only want to earn more money. If they want to play for him then he’ll try to pay them more as soon as he can, but he doesn’t want that as the players driving force.

  18. Chris

    In your version Wenger is a guy who is willing to go along with working for an owner who is using the club purely for financial gain.

    If that’s correct, that would make Wenger as bad as them. Presumably his motivation is also simply to keep earning big wages at a place with good job security. It would also mean he has been acting for more than a decade (Daniel Day Lewis eat your fricking heart out). Pretending to be someone who loves football and Arsenal football club, pretending he has big dreams for the club, when all along he just wanted his cash and the job security.

    How plausible is it,then, that such a person would turn down jobs like the Real Madrid one? If someone attempts to think that through, all they could come up with, seeing as the Madrid wages would be better, is ‘well, he knows he’d get sacked quickly, doesn’t he? Cos they never keep managers long, and cos he’s not even a good manager anyway!’

    That would have to mean (a) Madrid are stupid to have wanted him as their manager and (b) a man who could deliver champions league football for a decade ,on a tight budget in an ultra competitive league, would not have the ability to do well at the worlds biggest club, in a less competitive league, with access to a gigantic budget and with many of the world’s biggest stars already at his disposal.

    There are no not-so-good guys who would turn down that chance.

    Truth is, you’d have to do incredibly badly at Madrid to lock yourself out of other top-paying jobs when it is your time to leave there. You might have to, if you do so badly-at Madrid, with Zidane and company- that you put off the new billionaires in mainland Europe, then have to go to Russia or China, or whatever, but if you’re doing it for the cash, why not?

    The theory- that he turned down the most prestigious and best paid jobs in world football, because he figured a little less each year is better when you can guarantee big earnings for a long time- becomes even more fanciful, or rather more preposterous, when you consider just how much of a genius, of the evil variety, you’d have to be to create and recreate a team over a decade which finished 3rd or 4th but no higher, or lower.

    How smart would you have to be to do that when countless clubs are breaking their balls and bank balances trying to guarantee that aim yet regularly failing?

    – ‘Arsene, these fucks have just spent 100 million to try get to 4th, should we be worried, won’t this jeopardise our nice little earner?’
    – ‘Non, worry not, gentleman. I’ll get us our fourth place, maybe even 3rd, but, of course, no more’.
    -‘hA,HA, HA. Oh Arsene, what would we do without you. God, and i’m a billionaire you know, but I just knew I had to come here to steal a million or two extra per year’

    So, if Wenger has sacrificed the chance to go to Madrid, and manage the world’s best players and buy virtually anyone he wants, why is he now, when he could still go to PSG, or have gone to City at various points, willing to work for people who are no better than crooks?

    If he’s one of the good guys, he’d have to be incredibly stupid not to twig the people he works for are bad guys. And if he’s incredibly stupid, how did he keep managing to get into the champions league, every year, when quite often other teams spent more but couldn’t do it?

    It’s implausible. Totally implausible.

  19. Has Stan started taking dividends then?
    I know one of his businesses got some money for a job that wasn’t exactly clear but if they provided something then they should be paid for it.
    Although Stan probably is in it for the money long term in as much as when he sells it, it’ll give him a bloody good profit But no one that’s ‘in the know’ has ever suggested that he’s taking money in the short term other than a decent salary and expenses but as a billionaire that’s less than a pimple on a hippos arse.

  20. Higuain may or may not have been a smoke and mirrors thing, but surely Napoli paid well over the odds and from what he has done since, looks like Wenger was right to stay away…….though it is possible Wenger, with his talent for developing forwards could have done great things for Higuain, he may even have taught him how to stay onside.
    But ultimately, think Wenger dodged a bullet there, and dodged another with jovetic, supposedly another done deal at the rims.

  21. @Nonny – You are absolutly deluded if you think our team is as good as uniteds current team, let alone Chelseas or Cities.
    I’ve supported Arsenal for 25 years and people like you piss me off, you’re so deluded….
    Do you really think our team is capable of winning the PL? really?
    Then tell me, why did we finish 12 points behind Chelsea last season with the exact same team (apart from Cech)?
    Why did we get obliterated by Monaco when people were expecting us to walk all over them?
    You buy into Wenger and the boards crap ‘we will challenge this year’ oh what like we did last year?
    I suppose Flamini, Welbeck, Arteta, Giroud, Gibbs, Mertesacker will win it for us right….
    Pull your head our of your arse, the team is not good enough to win the PL, I mean, we got schooled by west Ham on the first day at the Emirates haha.

  22. @Chris,
    You are too pessimistic if you think Arsenal is not capable of competing for the PL title. It’s great you supported Arsenal for 25 years, so why did you recently stop? A supporter is define as “a person who approves of and encourages someone or something.” Clearly your statements if read are not that of a supporter when you say they are not good enough.

    But I’ll play your question game.
    Why we finished 12 points behind Chelsea? One short answer injuries! We lost Ozil and Giroud for 3 months to start the season, and Koscielny for 1 month during the same time. No time would survive losing the spine of their time. It’s no coincidence then that after everyone came back in January, Arsenal was able to accumulate the most points from January to the end of the season.

    Compared to the united team:
    where Arsenal players > United’s
    Our CBs > United’s CBs
    Monreal > Shaw
    Sanchez > Depay
    Ozil > Mata
    Cazorla > Carrick
    Ramsey/OX > Januzaj
    Giroud > Rooney (as lone CF, Both have scored 41 goals the last 3 seasons, but Giroud did it in 70 less minutes!)
    Cech > or = Romero

    United’s players better than Arsenal’s
    Darmian > Bellerin (older + more experience, but I’d still prefer Bellerin)
    Schneiderlin > Coquelin (can also be debated)
    De Gea > Cech

    So in 8/11 positions Arsenal has the better player. The only position that United has a clear advantage is GK, who also happens to be trying to leave that club!

    So instead of calling other people delusional, you should stop buying into the media’s crap, pull your head above the bed sheets, get some sunlight, and SUPPORT the club!

  23. If Chelsea , Man City , Man Utd teams are so superior to the Arsenal , and if money is no objection and the player is willing to move , my question is , which one player from each club would like to join Arsenal ?
    It could be a short term deal or for the long haul . He must ,in you opinion, MUST be either an improvement on our current players or he would add depth to the squad .

    For me –
    Chelsea – Cesar Azpilicueta
    Man City – Sergio Aguero
    Man Utd – Wayne Rooney ( very , very , reluctantly !)

    What about you ?

  24. Chris,
    I believe we can challenge for the PL title for two reasons

    1) This group (without Alexis) was top of the league more than any other team in the 2013-2014 season. Only injuries to main players threw us off course in the end when it mattered. At the end of the season when all were back we won the FA Cup

    2) This group managed once their key players were no longer injured to pick up most points of any other team in the PL since the start of the new year.

    We have challenged in the season 2013-2014 for the title. If the key players would have less injuries we will challenge.

    If you call me deluded for believing this then I think you are deliberately closing your eyes for what has happened the last two seasons.

    And one bad match and defeat doesn’t change my opinion.

  25. from what I’ve seen, Mr Wenger likes Giroud very much. Girouds presence up top brings life to the ARSENAL midfield. So Giroud being a liability for ARSENALs title push is bollocks. Giroud is as important a player as Ozil is or Rambo is or Santi is or Wilshere will be.

    If we sign Benzema, it doesnt mean Giroud is shit. It is beacuse we can have numbers to wade through the injury curse if it strikes….

  26. I actually think that Arsenal and Real are(were) negotiating and the price was the issue. Real wants to get as much as possible and Arsenal do not want to pay too much. So we will see the result before end of window. Only two ways it can go…

    If AW had kept the two emerging strikers from going on loan, i would have said that he was not sure of getting a striker or he did not think he needs one, which he said.

    Then there is Cambell who is still at Arsenal, and Adelaire who looks very promising and should be eased in slowly to the team.

    So Arsenal have options in case of no deals going through, but that is not going to be enough for many.

    Anyway, i do not think that Benzema is an improvement to the team, but what do i know?

  27. Rich not to mention that if Arsene was to get sacked by RM then he would get a lovely little pay off before moving onto another huge salary, would probably have been more financially prudent for him to have gone there no matter what..,

  28. Tony,
    Excellent analysis. My belief is that Real Madrid may be trying to get Lewandowski from Bayern, and the Benzema to Arsenal (or Man United) rumor is a fishing expedition. I do not know how Benitez and Zidane relate to each other, as Benzema is a Zidane (and Perez) protege. Is Perez looking at the Messi-Suarez-Neymar line and trying to improve his?
    Nevertheless, I do not see us keeping Giroud if Benzema comes in. Benzema is a Prima Dona and him and Giroud dislike each other. For anybody to suggest that the Boss will get Benzema in and find enough time to sell Giroud is utter s**t in my very humble opinion.

  29. Brickfield,
    I like Aguero quite a lot.
    If we were intent on improving our bench, other additions may include David Silva, Yaya Toure, de Gea, Coutinho, Eriksen, Azpilicueta, Matic, and Hazard, despite my dislike of the latter. But only Aguero would be a starter.

  30. If Benzema really was made available, I would not rule out Chelsea or Utd trying to gazump us. Costa looks very injury prone, Remy won’t win them the league.
    Looks like city getting another player …this time de bruyne , that takes their spending to about 135 million? Unless they sell how are they keeping within FFP?

  31. @Mandy; it’s naïve to think that the form in the second half of the season was enough to carry us through this. As I’ve said, I would admire Arsène for having the courage of his convictions in believing the squad was strong enough and consciously deciding that Petr Cech was all that was needed. In my view, it isn’t enough but I’m not paid to make that decision.

    Things might all change come the end of this transfer window, Arsène may have already sanctioned the additions and deals are being struck. It’s telling that no-one is entirely confident it will happen; quite the opposite, in fact. A factor in that is the lies spread earlier in the window; tantalising transfer tales turned out to be as fake as anything Hollywood had to offer. It fed a world-weary cynicism and it would be interesting to see if the tabloids and rumour mongers have suffered any reduction in the hits as the summer has progressed. There’s no let-up in the headlines but I’ve reached a point with aggregators where a day’s headlines fit on one page.

    In the end, rumours don’t matter; they are just the fodder to pass the time and feed egos. If you genuinely ‘get off’ on being seen to be connected, it’s as sad an indictment of yourself as it is those taken in.

    The reality is whether this squad is strong enough to challenge and perceptions on that change. Some have unwavering belief. We know that it is a good squad, the general consensus of needing just another defensive midfielder to cover the inevitable suspensions and provide Francis Coquelin with genuine competition, and a central striker, a Plan A, B or C depending on your view of Giroud and Walcott I’ve seen mention of a winger but to be honest, the right side has Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain whilst the left has Alexis and as much as he may not like it, Santi Cazorla.

    But confidence is chipped away when other teams invest. Not because you want the players although Pedro would have been, in my view, a welcome addition, Otamendi too, but more because of the perceived addressing of weaknesses by others, even if there are smacks of panic buying in Chelsea’s case; some panic buy.

    We’ll see; a fortnight or so to go and two winnable games will change the landscape and whilst not wiping out the memory of the opening day defeat to West Ham, it will certainly lessen the impact. Defeat in either? Someone get the klaxon sounding, the trolley dash will begin any moment after the final whistle.

  32. Jamie, thank you for your …dare I say CULTURED , almost LEFT field words.
    As for the major signings so far, not sure most of them would improve our squad …sterling fifty mil, no, Pedro, we have better. Schneiderlin might make reasonable backup for Coq based on the stats I have seen, ditto Schweinsteiger. but do not see how any of the others would fit in.
    But there is still time to buy should Wenger see fit. Some very big clubs have been very quiet so far.

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