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Premier League Betting and Odds

The one Arsenal transfer story that refuses to go away

By Tony Attwood and Sir Hardly Anyone

The Telegraph has just published a poll of readers on the issue of how many players Arsenal need to buy in the next 10 days.   The answers

  • None (The squad is fine as it is)  6%  (that includes your two humble writers of this piece)
  • 1-3 (Minor tweaks needed)  76%
  • 4-6 (Reinforcements required) 13%
  • 7+ (Only major changes will do) 2%
  • Players aren’t the problem #WengerOut   3%

These figures caused us some considerable amusement and bemusement as we sat in the Untold Space Station looking out into the depths of the solar system, seeking Planet IX while sipping our cappuccinos.

And it was that bottom 5% that really did cause us to pause and consider.  These people believe we either need seven or more new signings, or that the manager should go.  These are the people who have never heard of the notion that players may or may not fit into a team, who believe that new managers are available and will always make an improvement, who believe that constant total revolutionary change is needed.

These are Arsenal’s Trotskyists.

The fact that we have Arsenal Trots and that they represent 5% of the people who read the Telegraph’s Arsenal page on line and fill in the form is interesting.  We both had our doubts about that newspaper but to find five percent of his readership carry such revolutionary fervour really is too much.

But it is also interesting that this vote comes at a moment in which we have Francis Coquelin back in full training a month earlier than expected, and have just signed a new defensive midfielder.   And at the moment that we have Rosicky back playing (he’s playing for the under 21s this weekend) and Alexis back both ready to play.  And that lazy nicking a livin’ fella with the umlaut.  And that Welbeck chap in full training next week.

“Ah but Arsenal get more injuries that the rest of the universe put together,” is the cry.

But “no” we shout, because the new figures proved that we don’t get more injuries – Arsenal is very middle of the road for injuries.

So what is it that is influencing the Arsenal Trots.  Is it that the papers keep saying we have a £50m budget and won’t spend it NOW!   Or are they forgetting that when the right player comes along (£42.4m for Mesut) we spend it, because we hadn’t been spending it on every creature that moves (in the style of Liverpool!)

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Are they forgetting that we got Elneny?  Are they forgetting that in the past year we have brought in such new players a Bellerin, Coquelin and Campbell.  Not new to the club of course but new to the first team, and how.  Are they forgetting that we are about to introduce the likes of Gedion Zelalem (he has played 13 times for Rangers this season, plus despite being only 18 has now played three times for the USA under 23s!), Jeff Adelaide and Alex Iwobi?

Now we can’t say which of those three is coming into the team next season to make the impact that Bellerin, Coquelin and Campbell have made, but we would be very surprised if at the very least one of them doesn’t make an impact.  In fact if two of them step up that would be par for the course.

And I wouldn’t be that surprised to see some movement towards the first team on the part of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Jon Toral, Wellington Silva, or Emiliano Martinez.

But still the Arsenal Trots want money spent big time and no end of brilliant youngsters will keep their thoughts at bay.  So who?

Here are the real people (as opposed to those found in the bloggettas, or lurking around estate agents offices) who are tipped as the men we will have…

  • Granit Xhaka for £37m from Borussia Monchen Whatnot.
  • Andriy Yarmolenko, £25million for  13 goals in 22 games this season.
  • Odion Ighalo of Watford, the Hertfordshire Hitman.
  • Nolito of Celta Vigo who apparently created 96 goalscoring opportunities in 2014/15.  As long as he’s not nicking a living then.  A snip at £12.6m
  • Goncalo Guedes of Benfica.  He’s a winger, I’m told.

And the ones we won’t get are Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuaín.   But that never stops them popping up on the menu.

So the transfer story that won’t go away is… the story that we need to buy someone.   We have been doing ok in the Cup and League thus far with a depleted squad – no Alexis, no Ozil, no Rosicky, no Coquelin, no Santi Caz, no Welbeck, no Jack, and WE CAN’T GO ON LIKE THIS.

We need someone.

Or maybe not.

Two more anniversaries

  • 21 January 1899: Adam Haywood scored the only goal of the match against Gainsborough to make it six goals in four consecutive games.  Sadly only 2000 turned up to see the game.
  • 21 January 1905: The last league game for Bill Linward.  He came in and played two games in two days and made an immediate impact on the season.  Overall for Woolwich Arsenal he played 50 times and scored ten goals.  His prime season was the promotion season of 1903/4 when he played 27 times.

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21 comments to The one Arsenal transfer story that refuses to go away

  • serge

    Granit Xhaka! Fantastic!
    Worth the £37 million just for his name alone.

  • Pete

    I am pretty confident and relaxed that the club will stick to their philosophy of only buying either (i) world class talent and (ii) prospects that can be developled into (i). In both cases not overpaying.

    That is fine by me. Paying enough already for my season ticket so very pleased that the club are being careful with “my” money.

    All that I can think is that the 5% are mischievous supporters of other teams.

  • Big Lebowski

    Pleased to say I was one of the 6%. Don’t need anyone else this season

  • Barry L

    An excellent piece apart from the fact that you inhabit the world of reality – as opposed to the world of X-Box.
    I assume many aaa’s are X-Box-ers, where you can buy all the galacticos you want.

    Not sure if Mr Piers Organ has an X-Box, but at the beginning of the season he said that if he were AW, he’d offer Florentino Perez £60M for Karim Benzema, and if he refused keep raising the bid until he waved the white flag.

    You’ve said a number of times that: a player has to be available to buy; has to be available at a fair price; be willing to join Arsenal; and above all be better than what we already have. It is enlightening that there have been very few quality moves into the EPL in the January window.

    Far from being the team with most injuries, we are a) expecting most of our top squad back in the next 2-3 weeks b) have seen the team show guts and character (that we apparently don’t have) and c) seen some fringe players such as Campbell take their chance to impress. Younger players such as Iwobi, Zelalem and Hayden are waiting in the wings.

    Would love it if Ollie Giroud scores 20+ EPL goals to spite his many critics, and for Theo also to hit a great streak of good form.

    We can always add a couple of players in the summer, but only if they’re top class at the right price. Right now let’s get behind the team and back them to do the Double this season.


  • shakabula gooner

    Yes, Wenger has to go.
    Hasn’t he gone yet?
    What’s he waiting for?
    Is is hard of hearing?
    Am I just jiving and –
    Irrelevant to his employment contract?

  • Robert

    Had I voted in the Daily Fascist’s poll, I’d have been one of the 6% – we don’t *need* to buy anyone this January, especially as we have an array of talent expected to return soon from injury. Besides, players brought in from other leagues rarely make an impact in the first few months.

    However, there is an argument to be made for recruiting young talent (such as the two Nigerians mentioned in the press), exceptional talents who are available at the right price (very unlikely), and players who will replace the likely summer exits (to give them longer to adapt to the PL).

    By way of comparison, last January’s key moves were: Gabriel and Bielik in, Podolski loaned and Afobe out.

  • Robert

    OT: The 2016 Deloitte Football Money League has just been published –

    Some interesting figures:

    1. Arsenal is the top club worldwide for matchday revenue – we generated more than Real Madrid, Barcelona and Man U, to name a few.

    2. Arsenal overtook Chelsea to become the 7th richest club. Man U were 3rd and Man C were 6th.

    3. 5 PL clubs were in the top 10, 9 PL clubs were in the top 20, and 17 PL clubs were in the top 30.

  • Andy Mack

    The 5% are either the simpleminded aaa, or supporters of other teams that want either our manager / some of our players at their team….

    I certainly wouldn’t be against the manager buying anyone else but it’s certainly not a necessity.

  • Pete

    Arsenal are a stable club. Therefore we are able to plan for the LONG-TERM. We are progressing, relative to our competition year-by-year. Over a, say, 5-year time-horizon the goal is to progress from 4th to 1st. Which is bl**dy hard as we are up against three teams with more money and several more with less money but happy to mortgage their futures.

    Hence the purchase of Elneny – young, developing, available for a good price and one for the longer-term. Possibly to replace some or all of Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky in the summer. But, not essential for this season.

    Most clubs lurch from one crisis to another. Therefore most of their purchases are knee-jerk to achieve immediate goals. This means that squad balance is often lacking – and transfer fees and wages are too high. Which in terms mean that it is then difficult to offload these misfits. Situation usually exacerbated when the manager changes.

    Enormous evidence of this everywhere. E.g. the Totts “Magnificent 7” with the Bale money (plus Adebayor and Townsend of course!), Benteke at Liverpool, Valdes, Memphis and Mata at MU, Mangala at MC, Pedro and Rahman and on. And on. It is absolutely scary how much money is sitting on the bench and in the stands at other PL clubs. And these guys can’t be moved on because no one else can or will pay the wages they are currently receiving (never mind matching the transfer fees).

    It is very easy to buy overpaid journeymen “squad fillers”. It is very hard to sell them. It is hard to believe that so many clubs keep screwing up in this regard. Repeatedly.

    I can’t think of a single player now at Arsenal who we would like to lose but can’t. When we had “Dead Wood” at least they were relatively modestly paid and hadn’t arrived on big fees.

    By contrast, our two really big money buys are commonly regarded as two of the best players in the League – genuine World Class.

    Astoundingly cost-effective squad-building by the manager, staff and Board.

  • Andrew Crawshaw


    Tony’s post this morning about the rules for buying young players are particularly relevant to the two Nigerians we are linked with. Both Kelechi Nwakali (DOB 5/6/98) and Samuel Chukwueze (DOB U/K) starred for Nigeria at U17 level last year. Signing them now will certainly require specific FIFA/UEFA approval, waiting until they are 18 will preclude them achieving the ‘Homegrown Status’ that we would almost certainly look to them achieving. A tricky dilemma.

  • Andy Mack

    Pete, we have had a bit of that with a Danish lad called Nic……

  • Pete

    Andy M – I know but not signed for a big fee and allegedly on £52k a week which was obviously overpaying for him at the time although seems more modest now!

    But current squad – I don’t think so?

  • Pete

    OT: Relating more to “Who Runs Football Article”. It always puzzled me why Arsenal v Leicester hadn’t been selected for television. 1st v 2nd at 3pm on a Saturday! Fantastic!

    Now, suddenly, I see that Sky have retrospectively moved the game at 3 weeks notice. 12 noon on Valentines Day. That isn’t going to go down very well with either the wife (or the son who will probably be playing that morning).

    What a load of b*llox.

  • Andy Mack

    Pete, I agree. Plus at the time Nic was the best alternative that we could afford. But some of the gambles that teams take now with players is unreal.

    After he spent a year hiding at Man Disunited you’d have to be either an egomaniac, serious gambler or just dumb to pay Falcao any salary you’re not contracted to…

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    We’ve all known that the Boss has made a clarification during his press conference today that was relayed on, as he said Arsenal are not likely to sign another 1st team squad player after signing Elneny. He went on to give his reasons for his stance on the no more signings.

    So to me, there is no point having any debate anymore on Arsenal adding to the 1 signing they’ve already signed this window. However good is the player being agitated for Arsenal to sign is, be he Granit Xhaka in debate, the Boss verbatimly said he’s not going to do anymore signings this window. Period.

    What should be our focus now is on Arsenal beating Chelsea to all the 3 points that will be at stake on Sunday evening at the Ems. That will see the Gunners consolidate their hold on the leaderboad after the match is concluded.

    In this order, the Boss has acknowledged in his press conference that the game against Chelsea will not be an easy game for the Gunners to prevail over their firest London rivals, the Blues.

    Despite the fact that Ozil is a guarantee to be a starter in the match and Sanchez is possibility to start on the bench. Chelsea will still like to be the spoilers for Arsenal if they are abled to raise the level of the quality the game. And that what Arsenal MUST stop Chelsea from achieving. That is important.

    I think Guus Hiddink’s Blues outfit have already known they are out of the title race. Save if a miracle happens. But they are still nursing a hope for a miraculous 4th place final finish in the table against the likes of Man Utd, Tottenham HS are looking the more likely to grab the 3rd & 4th places beneath Man City on their individual team current form. Man City are likely to finish 2nd behind Arsenal1st, on the table on the final day of honour.

  • Tai

    Count me on the first 6% too.

    I once heard Wenger say that bringing in more than three outfield players into any team from previous season upsets the technical balance of any side. Ever since, I have been watching all sides and how true!

    None of these AAAs is giving Wenger the credit for being the first and only top side having signed a player this window…even when we top the league. Oh, I forgot…Elneny is not a player…he didn’t cost 50 mil!

  • Tom

    It’s hardly surprising that the first group and the last two are equal in numbers. Both are the polar opposite extremes ,far removed from the main stream Arsenal supporting core of fans I have spoken to over the years.

    The first group never needs any strengthening because they fall in love with all Arsenal players and hate to see any of them go.

    The second group is so infatuated with getting the ” new and shiny” all the time, that any Arsenal player going through a hard spell or waiting for his chance to impress, isn’t good enough and needs to be replaced.

    Before Coquelin’s ascension to prominence, the first group thought Arteta and Flamini were probably the best holding mid pairing in the league and none better were needed.
    And before Cech’s transfer , Szczesny was the world class keeper more than suitable for Arsenal FC ,and Cech’s transfer was seen as mind bugling and even upsetting.

    As unrealistic and idealistic the first group is, the second one is far worse, it has to be said.
    Totally ignorant about finances and club’s abilities to overhaul its squad in such a manner.

    Replacing 7+ players and the manager is probably as good a way to guarantee a rapid slide down the table as anything else you could think of.

    At least there’s something romantic about the position Arsenal don’t need to buy and should always try to promote from within.

    The second group offers no such value and if their wishes were met , six months from now they would ask for 7 more players and a new manager as well.

  • Florian


    Chelski were out of the title race a long time ago – no team has won the PL with 9 defeats in their books. Realistically their hopes for a Top 4 were dashed by the draws with WBA and Everton. They play 9 of their remaining 16 matches away from home. I’m willing to predict 6th place is the maximum they can achieve – if they’re lucky.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I just have finished an article about the Sky decision to move that match. Fuming, I am fuming… steam coming out of my ears…. This is a major financial blow for our supporters club.

  • Gooner S

    An odd choice of term in “Trotskyists”, when referring to 5 Daily Telegraph readers!

  • Ancient Gooner

    The 5% don’t like Arsenal. They are fleas on the back of the beautiful animal. Why worry ?