By Tony Attwood
There is a lot of talk about what seems to be Vardy’s rejection of Arsenal. “Vardy ’80 per cent’ certain he will snub Arsenal” says the Independent. And to rub it in, “Arsenal transfer plans face disruption over Vardy delay” in another article in the same paper.
Typical bloody Arsenal, can’t even get a simple transfer right.
Except, actually we have done. Granit, who plays today for Switzerland, has been signed, and by all reports, a very good signing it is. And in January we got Elneny without any fuss, indeed without anyone in particular knowing about him. The price was modest, it all went through smoothly, and just in case you didn’t notice he became our player of the month. Twice, as I recall.
So two recent transfers did go through smoothly. But still there is the feeling that if there is a cock-up waiting to happen, that cock-up will be Arsenal’s.
The trouble with this view of the world however is that the cock-up can be predicted so often that the cock-ups starting cocking up each other. If you see what I mean.
For example, staying with the Independent (and to prove my point I will take all my examples in this little piece from that one website), they have an article titled
Jamie Vardy to Arsenal: £20m move for Leicester City striker leaves Paul Merson ‘flabbergasted’
Merson, who made 289 appearances for the Gunners across a 12-year stay in north London, admits he was surprised by Arsène Wenger’s decision to move for Vardy, questioning his suitability for a switch to the Emirates Stadium.
The 48-year-old pundit told talkSPORT: “I’m shocked. I’m absolutely flabbergasted with it. Arsenal don’t get the ball forward quick enough for Jamie Vardy. No disrespect, but he plays at Leicester where everyone goes and has a go at them.”
Of course we might forgive Mr Merson for not remembering that Arsene Wenger has repeatedly signed players and turned them into something they were previously not. Thierry Henry (whom Mr Merson might remember) played 141 time for Monaco and scored 28 goals. He played 19 times for Juventus and scored 3 goals. Then Mr Wenger transformed his style of play, and he played 369 times for Arsenal and scored 226 goals.
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That’s what Arsene Wenger does – he develops and transforms players – although of course he did not transform Paul Merson, but instead allowed him to go to Middlesbrough.
So from the Mersonic point of view not getting Vardy would be a good thing, although that would not overcome the vision that we have tried to get our man and failed.
And there’s another such story doing the rounds just now in the same paper.
United ‘to rival Arsenal’ in battle for £25m Mkhitaryan
This is all part of the “hi-jack” theme so beloved of newspapers and bloggettas. Arsenal do all the work to find and then bring to the club a player of merit, but at the last minute one of the big money clubs (Chelsea, Man C or Man U) come in and hi-jack the useless little amateur team – Arsenal.
This vision assumes two things – one is that the money teams don’t have a proper research department of their own, endlessly on the prowl for players, and instead simply wait for Arsenal to do the hard work. And second that players will always be tempted by the three money teams and push Arsenal aside.
There is plenty of evidence to contradict the first notion – there are just as many scouts and researchers working for Chelsea etc as there are for Arsenal. And although there is a feeling that some players might not welcome playing in front of a crowd who (as I suggested in the previous article) portrayed as being in constant revolt with the whole stadium rising up to boo Wenger and Giroud, there is, to counter this, the extraordinarily high esteem that Mr Wenger is held in by players worldwide.
Indeed it is not just the ability to find and bring through Coquelin, Bellerin and Iwobi in the last two years alone, it is his tactics. Staying with the Independent, as I said I would, consider this headline
Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Four calls that make Arsene Wenger a tactical genius – Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Olivier Giroud
That was from the Villa cup final in the Independent, and it does reflect what I believe is the way many people actually working in football (rather than being just pundits) see the manager.
So, many players do want to play for Mr Wenger, and of course when it comes to this coming season, the attraction of Man U and Chelsea is a little diminished by the fact of them not being in the Champions League in the coming season, and of their PR disasters. Chelsea were humiliated in the legal case concerning their doctor which has just blown up in their face, and with their lowly position in the league this year, while Man U have been perceived badly by some for ditching their manager after he won the cup, treating him poorly within his sacking, and replacing him by a man who not only behaved so badly at Chelsea, but also took that team to the edges of relegation.
Arsenal, in these terms can look a safer bet. So the Indy is hedging its bets by also running,
Mkhitaryan nearing Arsenal switch as Wenger continues summer plans
Now if you have a long memory you might remember Untold’s series of articles on vapour transfers – a phrase Untold introduced to the lexicon during the 2012 summer transfer window. And looking at the way this market is shaping up I am wondering if we might be seeing some vapour transfer workings.
The notion comes from the software industry where it is a fundamental part of advertising and marketing, and I defined it in 2012 like this
It is the “rumour” (deliberately leaked) of a suggestion that a player might join a big club, when there is absolutely no possibility that he will join the club.
Of course it is very hard to see what is a vapour and what not until it is all over. Was Vardy a vapour, leading the way to disrupt all sorts of other activities and make this go through…
Arsene Wenger talks up Leicester’s N’Golo Kante, fuelling transfer rumours
The France international we are told, has a £20m release clause and so following on we get
Wenger fuels Kante transfer speculation.
But of course this is Arsenal so we not only get transfers that Arsenal mess up, we also get our players being lifted by other teams, normally Barcelona. Thus within the headline (and I am still with the Independent web site today)
Arsenal ‘plan to offer Bellerin new contract’ to fend off Barcelona
But maybe this is just made up stuff by journalists without any of the sophistication that the vapour transfer has within it, because we have already had, from the Daily Mirror,
Arsenal starlet Hector Bellerin reiterates desire to stay at the Emirates …
And just in case you didn’t get that ESPN said much the same.
Hector Bellerin – I want to stay at Arsenal for a long time
In fact even the Daily Star got in on the act…
Arsenal transfer news: Hector Bellerin dismisses Barcelona links …
So what’s going on? Well, just the normal deliberate “leaks” from clubs to mislead each other, but mostly the increasingly desperate and gullible journalists.
Just another normal summer then.
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Publisher of Untold Arsenal held by police in the early hours of this morning https://www.facebook.com/TonyAttwoodofLondon
On the Arsenal History Society site
Arsenal win the League for the very first time. The story (in detail) of April 1931, as part of our series on Arsenal in the 1930s.