By Tony Attwood
There is a very interesting little snippet on the Mirror website “Arsenal should learn from their mistakes and allow Mikel Arteta to make summer signing” which proclaims, “Mikel Arteta must push Arsenal to sign Houssem Aouar after failing to land their midfield targets in January, which proved to be a huge mistake later in the season.”
This sort of story runs all the time, and suggests constantly that Arsenal are let down by their administrative procedures. It is a complaint that undermines supporters’ trust and belief in the club and its ability to move forward, hitting as it does at the notion of bad administration.
But there is never any evidence presented. How do they know that Arsenal not signing player X was caused by dithering? We are not told that nor are we ever shown comparisons between Arsenal and other clubs when it comes to achieving their goals.
In fact this dithering and wasting time idea, along with taking long lunch breaks and inventing unnecessary processes is a media invention which leads the Mirror to claim (without any evidence) that “The Gunners were keen to sign a midfielder and a striker in January, and made a move to sign Aouar’s then team-mate Bruno Guimaraes, but were hesitant. While they mithered, Newcastle went out and signed the Brazilian, and cruelly it was a masterclass from Guimaraes at the end of the season that saw Arsenal miss out on the top four.”
(Mithered is a north of England word meaning “mother” although it can mean in some dialects “to make an unnecessary fuss.” I think they meant “dithered” and the proofreader missed it. Why can’t the Mirror get a proper proof reader. They could have signed the Sun’s proof reader, but they dithered over his salary demands and so lost out. And there is as much evidence that is true as there is regarding the Mirror’s story about Arsenal.)
In fact the only source for anything in this story turns out to be The Sun, which is not highly ranked when it comes to truthfulness and insight, which says, “Arsenal are leading the race to sign Aouar after contract deals between the player and Lyon have stalled. The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of next season, and the French side would rather cash in on him to avoid losing the star for free next year.”
Again there is no evidence to back up this assertion, but the Mirror comes back in saying, “Arsenal have to make the most of the situation, as they have been handed the ideal scenario by Lyon. Arsenal have been made to pay for their hesitance, and they must build on that and improve in the transfer market.
“For a while now, they’ve been too slow on transfers and watched players go to rival clubs. And their mentality doesn’t match the philosophy that Arteta is trying to impose at the club.”
So the point is that everything about Arsenal’s transfer system is rubbish because everyone is so slow to act. But what we don’t get is any evidence of how Arsenal compares with other teams in this regard.
If however, we take the evidence of the transfer stories that circulate in the media constantly we can see that each summer at least 97% of their predictions about who Arsenal are signing never come true. The question then is, are these players that Arsenal could sign, but their “mithering” (whatever that means) is the cause of the problem? Or are they just lists of players that the media make up?
The Mirror has another point too, that Arsenal have been signing players past their peak (Willian and David Luiz are cited).
But then the ultimate irony: “Arsenal need a new midfielder with Thomas Partey’s inconsistent injury record, and Granit Xhaka is constantly linked with a move away.”
True Partey missed 14 games through injury this season just finished, which is annoying but not that uncommon for a player in that position. But consider “Granit Xhaka is constantly linked with a move away.”
Yes that is true. But hang on, who is doing the linking? Why, it is the media, and most particularly the Mirror.
So the Mirror, having stirred up the antagonism says, “Arsenal have to start acting as though they’re a big club, not just pretending to be. They can talk the talk and make assurances to the fans, but it means nothing unless they actually produce results and make a statement.”
That of course means improvement. Just like the fact that this past season Arsenal got eight points more than the season before, which is an improvement. But the Mirror doesn’t mention that.
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