By Sir Hardly Anyone.
The Toppled Bollard is back open and the chickens are headlessly stumbling towards where the bar might have once been before it was locked down. And headlessly seems to be the right word as we read the headline from Tribalfootball that “Arsenal hero Nicholas urges Arteta to cull three players.” Mind you nothing much would amaze me in terms of what Charlie says these days. But even so, culling seems extreme.
The three are “[Mesut] Ozil, Sokratis, [Shkodran] Mustafi” (their brackets not mine). Comparing Arsenal players to wild animals that need to be reduced in number by selective slaughter, it seems to be particularly harsh on Mustafi who has been playing extremely well of late. But then we all realised years ago that Charlie had given up watching football, so one can understand why he is out of date.
But speaking of wild animals ready to have their heads chopped, let’s meet the nation’s sports journalists and see what they have to say…
1: Dani Ceballos
“Arsenal are confident of being able to extend Dani Ceballos’ stay at the club for another season, say reports” (Sports Review). AS says he is ‘set to remain’ at Arsenal although we are also told his loan “reportedly cost the Gunners £15 million” although it didn’t (the clue is that no one will say where the money went in a way that makes any sense – and a lack of detail of always the clue that the tale is fantasy.)
2: Jack Grealish
“Arsenal are interested in a swoop to sign Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, according to a report” (Sports Review again). Two hints that this is not true. One is the use of the word “swoop” and the other the phrase “according to report.” The only thing less certain is news is a piece that says “reportedly”.
3. Philippe Cotinho
You see this is what you get what the media start the transfer rumours in February. But “Arsenal are at the front of the queue to sign FC Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho, according to a report” (There it is again, this time in Sports Review). The Mail has “Arsenal signing this Barca flop in £27m-worth loan move seems like a realistic solution,” although to what I am not sure. Not more culling surely.
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“Arsenal handed Willian transfer deadline as Barcelona make offer for Chelsea star” That is in the Express, and is a set up for the next story that will tell us that Arsenal dithering has meant that Willian has gone to a Dutch club we’ve never heard of. Although the Mirror has “Barcelona ‘make offer’ to Chelsea star Willian with Arsenal on transfer alert.” (What actually does being on “transfer alert” mean?)
“Gunners face competition from United for Magalhaes,” says the Mirror. (That is Gabriel dos Santos Magalhães, known as Gabriel; a Brazilian defender playing for Lille.)
This is from the Mirror who tell us that Man U and Everton are close to a deal with the player having visited each club earlier in the season. Cue “Arsenal dithering losing chance of valuable player” headline.
“Brighton show interest in Ainsley Maitland-Niles as Arsenal midfielder ponders his future” says the Mail before telling us that “Arteta is an admirer of Maitland-Niles, which was emphasised when he played the academy graduate in the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City. But there is concrete interest in the midfielder which could lead to Maitland-Niles having a big decision to make.”
The implication – Arsenal doesn’t make decisions, decisions are made by players and other clubs.
Another Daily Mail set up for an Arsenal dithering story, with the headline “West Ham ‘leapfrog Arsenal in £20m chase for Manchester City defender John Stones’ ” The Star has “Arsenal transfer blow in John Stones pursuit as West Ham ready £20m swoop”.
8. George Lewis
“Arsenal ‘hoping to wrap up’ George Lewis deal following Chelsea clash/Willian latest” saysLewis is a 20-year-old winger, born in Rwanda, playing in Norway’s 3rd division.
The story is only partly mashed by the player becoming a teenager part way through the report. He can play on either wing and has trained with National League Solihull Moors, according to Football London, and he’s had a trial with Ipswich, and is now a free agent.
9. Jack Grealish
The Boot Room say he might be on the way from Villa after Robert Pires compared him to Bergkamp, according to the Boot Room. The price is £80m. “Arsenal throw hat into the ring for£80m English playmaker” says Footy Extras.
10. Ricardo van der Laan
The Daily Canon cites “O Jogo” as the source of the tale that Arsenal are “eyeing a move” for this goalkeeper. Now that might seem strange, although as he is only 17 and is thus “one for the future” as these journo types love to say.
What is interesting is that the article recognises that we have Matt Macey and Dejan Iliev at the club already but “you can’t see Macey and Iliev sticking around much longer.” Except that is exactly what Martinez has done, and look where that’s got him!
11. Said Benrahma
He’s with Brentford, and his is ‘flattered’ “to see himself linked with a summer move to Arsenal”. He’s an Algerian international, and a 24 year old winger. One might ask how many more wingers we need. The story is in liga financial.
12. Bring back the oldies
Dayot Upamecano’s transfer to Arsenal has been doing the rounds since before we played as Dial Square but that doesn’t stop liga financial from picking up the story as if it is new. Old ones are the… well, what journalists trot out when they stayed too long at the Toppled Bollard.
And that’s it for another transfer review.
- The value of the Arsenal players, and the Arsenal team
- Will spending money work for Arsenal this summer? And if not, then what?
- Spending money (part 2): Arsenal’s biggest problem and how to solve it
- How can some clubs commit fouls with impunity while others get card after card?
- These days Arsenal players are taught not to tackle. Maybe they shouldn’t talk either.
- Why rule changes happen – but we never get the one rule change we need
- “Supercomputer” predicts just one away win for Arsenal this season
- Revealed: how the media campaigns constantly to stop Arsenal signing players