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Arsenal and the winter transfer misery

By Walter Broeckx

On all radio stations you hear songs with words like: ‘It’s Christmas time’ and all deejays are pretending to be father Christmas and are shouting ‘Hohoho’ between every Christmas song they are playing. We hear the word peace every five minutes and with the snow so much present we are heading for that white Christmas we are supposed to dream of.

We all are wishing each other happiness in the new year that is coming very close now and I just will join in already and wish the readers and participants of this blog all the best for the new year: staying healthy and enjoying the Arsenal. That’s all it takes to have a good new year for me. And that is what I wish to all of you.

But behind the date of 1 January is already the start of a new period that I hate: the winter transfer period. Ever since the start of December we could see little reports in the media about player A who could come or should come. Player B who could leave or should leave. Player C who is unhappy and want to leave and player D who is happy and doesn’t want to leave but will have to leave.

And the closer we get to the new year the louder the talk doing its rounds. If one should believe all the hype the media we should prepare ourselves for a complete new team in January. Forget the 25 rule we will have a squad of 52 players at least. If we should believe the media that is. The fact that they wouldn’t be able to play in the EPL is just a small detail for the know it all in the media. As long as they have their headline that has brought some extra readers to their sites and newspapers the world is fine for them.

Also on the going-out front it is as if we will have a whole team leaving us in January. You name a player and we will give you a team that is interested in him. All top teams are after our players. And that is a bit strange as they all are rubbish according to some sources in the Arsenal blog world.

So how on earth would Real Madrid be after that ‘useless’ (not my words and opinion!!!) Clichy. Why would Mourinho (of all coaches) be after him? Or is he not that bad as some try to tell us? And if it is not Real Madrid, they will find another team for him. You just got to love those newspapers and websites for their help in the transfer dealing.  All for free and without any self interest of course.

But the problem is that some fans believe all this media rubbish. And all of them have their own opinion on who we should sell or give away, as they are bad players you understand. So we are starting on a new round of ‘Wenger should buy X, Y and Z or he should be sacked’. And as everyone has a different opinion on who this player X, Y and Z are we would have hundred of new players coming over to us. And if Wenger doesn’t buy their own personal top 3 he should be sacked.

So expectations are high once again from some fans. And with every new rumour they grow bigger and bigger. And then they find themselves disappointed at the end of the transfer period as Wenger hasn’t bought their preferred players and we start again with a round of abuse against the manager, the board and everyone who is not in the we should buy them all-mode.

Am I against signing new players? No. But I certainly don’t have the pretension to say that I know who we should buy and who we should sell. And this is just because I am a supporter. I’m not a would-be manager. I’m just a supporter with my biased view on things and with my biased view on our players. I like them all, so I wouldn’t want anyone out. They all have their skills and they all have their flaws. Just like I have and most of us have in our own little lives.

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Sometimes I have written a masterpiece and sometimes when I re-read what I have written I think: Why did I send this to Tony? And why did he publish it?   It’s the same with football players. Sometimes you find the genius assist and sometimes the ball goes in the stand. As a supporter you swear for a moment, if the latter happens. But then I know: that is just the way life goes. Apart from one useless and rubbish Arsenal player in a game last season no player can finish a game with a 100% success in his passing. We just have to accept the fact we and the players are human beings.

So let us take a look at what we have and what we will have in the next months of the season. First of all we are in second place and we have played the big teams away from home.

We have missed some key players so far this season like Vermaelen in defence. And Robin Van Persie in our attack. And as we are used to having him out for half a season we can count on him in the next months of the season. He always has some injury that keeps him out for months and now he has already had this period of the season.

We have Cesc back and hopefully he will finally get his season underway and we can hope that his hamstrings are completely healed for the rest of the season. We get Diaby back who is much hated by some of our own fans but who can offer something completely different to the rest of our midfielders. We just got to hope that he doesn’t get kicked off the field once again by some Neanderthal who can get away with it unpunished as it happened twice this season.

So that should be 4 players we didn’t have for the biggest part of the season we should have now. Two in midfield and one in attack and one in defence. And in fact having them missing was also a bit of a blessing as it gave the chance to Wilshere to shine and to prove he is worth his place now and will be a very great player in the near and distant future for Arsenal. And I will not even mention Ramsey as I think he still will have to climb a big mountain to come back to his level. But sure wish he would get back as soon as possible.

We are second in the league for the moment and we are certainly not rubbish. We are nearing the ideal age for most of our midfielders (most of them are still only around 21-23 years young) who are getting stronger each season. We have (when fit) four good centre backs, we have cover on our full backs. We have cover in attack and when all our players are fit (and it can happen, just look at City who had only one player out this weekend) Wenger is having a difficult task to keep everyone happy and give them playing time.

So I don’t need any new players for myself. I will support  and stick with the older players and will not throw them away just because there is a new shining player in the display. And if someone gives me a new player under the Christmas tree I will accept it and cherish it just like I will do with the older players.  As a supporter I will support my Arsenal players until the moment they have left.

Yesterday Wenger said that if we could learn from our mistakes in the first half of the season we could get far. And I think he is right. And as most of our players are still young and in the learning stage: we will learn.

The longer the route to glory, the sweeter the success will taste.

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27 comments to Arsenal and the winter transfer misery

  • kurt bento

    hear hear. i totally agree. i see this on so many blogs and forums, where everyone wants wenger to buy someone just because he’s scored a few more than usual or is a decent defender.
    i read a blog today, desigunner’s i believe where he talked about how roy keane was brilliant at the tots but woeful at pool. the same with so many others.
    at the end of the day, wenger knows best. we may not have won a trophy in 5 years but we’ve got so much more than the others. and i see good things in our future…

    on that note. have a merry christmas!

  • gunner 71

    This is quiete a silly unintelligent article. What I have read in the media is different to what you have read. Infact Wenger himself on some time ago said Arsenal will only spend if players leave – which if you were sensible enough will realise that he was still thinking of keeping to that 25 man rule.


  • Dark Prince

    Walter- You are ‘hoping’ for a lot if u think Fabregas, Van Persie and Vermaelen will be injury free all season. Its a big risk to assume they wont be injured again. It would be interesting to see what would Wenger do if Vermaelen, Cesc or Van Persie get injured again bcoz i guess these 3 players r injury prone, and having regular injuries is something expected from them, atleast from Van Persie and Cesc.
    But on the other hand, i really dont like that we have a winter transfer period. The managers have a decent 3 month summer transfer period to work out their strategies for the whole year. I’d seriously want this winter transfer period to be banned.

  • Isn’t it interesting how the two or three people who write from the AAA perspective so often end up hurling abuse.

  • gandiv

    Walter – it is wishful thinkng if we have learnt anything to be honest – i still think the players are not fully confiedent of playing the way wenger wants them to. I can sincerely pray for us to beat the chavs

  • gunner 71

    Be sensible. There is no such thing as AAA perspective. It is all in your head. Or are you saying others are not allowed a different view ?

  • gunner 71


    This was another three sentence snipe from Gunner 71 which just descends into sarcasm. I don’t normally cut comments for sarcasm, and maybe for some reason this morning I am full of humbug (what with it being Dec 24) but it really doesn’t seem to me to be courteous towards Walter to have this stuff appearing. As I have said in my longer reply if Gunner 71 or anyone else wants to write a coherent logical argument against the current policies of the club, of course I will consider it, but these short bits of abuse (two of which have already been published) seem to me to serve no purpose at all.

  • gulp

    @gunner71 Fabianski and Chesney has proven WE DONT NEED A GOALIE!!! Or you think we would have gotten more points this year with Given or Swchartser?
    you thick or someting gunner71? yeh you must be. you think good clubs want to sell their best defenders? you are right down stupid are you not?

  • Gf60

    @Tony. Far from interesting. Very boring if you ask me…think it’s time the children went back to school and learned the art of debate.

  • Mahesh

    Well, Walter, nice article! I believe everyone would agree when I say Wenger should be sacked if he does not get Christiano Ronaldo and Messi (both can play on wings) this January. And since, both are injury-prone (they do get injured, don’t they? 🙂 ), we should have, ummm, maybe Iniesta as backup. Well we have Nasri also who is ‘decent’, but his place will be in centre, since Fabregas is going to leave in January. In fact, my Grandpa’s cousin’s niece’s friend’s daughter’s maternal uncle’s nephew has heard that Fabregas has already started packing his stuff because it will take more time to pack in this cold weather. Half of his stuff has already been sent to Barcelona!

  • Gunner 71, I will try and explain. If you say “there is no such thing as AAA perspective”, then that statement is rather pointless and boring, unless you try and explain your point, argue it through, give some evidence etc. Just saying it is really only fractionally better than your first highly abusive post.

    This site has published a lot of material about the AAA, and has come up with rebuttals to many of their claims, along with a fair amount of evidence that the AAA is in fact just a small number of people who use multiple identities on the internet, multiple email and IP addresses and who often copy work from one site and paste it on another. Some have criticised me for giving so much space over to them, but I believe they are an interesting sociological issue worthy of study, and our study has led to some interesting conclusions.

    Of course there are some who are anti-Wenger, who believe that several members of the first team squad need changing, and so forth, but from the evidence we have published, I suspect that the number is small. As for the rest, well read on…

    To move on to your second point “It is all in your head.” Again, if you want to say that a writer here is deluded, OK – not very pleasant, but your comment has appeared. However, it would show a level of courtesy (a level of courtesy I would add that is generally shown by most pro-Wenger supporters) if you argued your point instead of just coming out with more abuse. Giving out simplistic one line abuse as you do simply makes you look fairly simplistic yourself, and expands the awareness and understanding of those who come here to learn about and debate football not one single fraction of a decimal point.

    Finally, you say “Or are you saying others are not allowed a different view ?” If you had done any of us the courtesy (I use the word again because I really can’t see how else to describe this) of looking at the site and what it is and what we have said in the past you would know the answer. But because you haven’t I will spell it out.

    From the day the site was launched it placed on the banner, “Supporting the Lord Wenger in all he does” or words to that effect. And in article after article, and indeed in the permanent pages on this site which you can read at any time, it says, “this is a pro-Wenger site.” The argument is put, there are hundreds of anti-Wenger sites, some of them very prominent. We don’t seek to have a site here that allows space for the anti-Wengerians because they have lots of sites of their own, and indeed some of them not only refuse to allow comments from pro-Wenger supporters, they actually will take our comments, and change them in order (in a very childish manner in my opinion) to point fun at the writers.

    But that does not mean we don’t have debate. The editorial view here is that many of the articles on this site are well-considered, well-argued pieces about various aspects of football. If someone comes along with an article or a comment which has a similar level of analysis and consideration, and which reaches an anti-Wenger conclusion, then I, as editor, will publish it. But what I get rather fed up with is just a sentence or two of abuse, which is what you indulge in.

    I do hope that makes matters clearer for you – although as I say, none of this is new. It appears on the pages on this site, if only you would care to read them.

  • antarchile

    I mostly agree with you.
    I also believe that Wenger’s ego is too big and a liability.He lives around keeping his ‘genius’ status .he seems obsessed about discovering and nursing another football star.
    How else could you explain that next monday we will have Koscielny and Squillaci to deal with Drogba and Anelka?..And if they get a corner add to that Terry, Ivanovic,Lampard…etc
    How is it possible that any team , big or mediocre ,can throw a high ball into Arsenal’s box and have every fan praying for someone to deal with it?

  • Bongo

    Here’s what I think, I agree wholeheartedly with your article. But something does need to change. The two things we need are one to win something, not for me or for the fans but for our young players who have never tasted that. They’ve never known anything but “potential” they’re stuck in that mindset that “next year” we can do it.

    Two, I’ve noticed year in year out people talk about injuries to key players but not in the way that it matters most, our team just can’t gel. We have too many changes with players coming back and going out. Far too many. We actually did really well at the start of the season, with Fabregas, Van Persie, Walcott, Vermaelen, Bendtner, out injured. Our back up players are very good, we have the best squad in the league and when playing together consistently and gelling well they won. It’s not actually about having Fabregas injured, it’s actually more about him coming back that’s the problem because as we’ve seen every time he does, he looks in need of another pre season.

    What makes Barcelona better than us? Because they play the same players week in week out, as good as Messi, Xavi and iniesta are (very very good) The fact they play together ALL the time (even for Spain except messi) and are rarely injured makes them look far better. A midfield of Fabregas (Nasri), Wilshire(Denilson) and Song(Diaby), with an attack of Arshavin(Vela), Van Persie(Chamakh), Walcott(rosicky). [For arguments sake and just to illustrate my point the ones in brackets are my second choice] If that line up was to play week in week out, with barely any change, they too would build that intuitive understanding and would become world beaters. They have the individual talent.

    Our style is very reliant on players instinctively knowing who’s behind them and where they can put the ball without having to look up. When players come back they have to start all over again, as you saw against man utd, I’ve never seen fabregas misplace that many passes or pass the ball so blatantly into a space where there was no one making a run.

    I’m not a manager nor even a very good analyzer of the game, but all I see lately is our midfield going backwards, we’re being dominated there now by everyone. We were dominated by partisan but our quality shone through. We would have been dominated completely by united if they didn’t misplace just as many passes.

    We don’t need to buy anyone and we can’t prevent injuries but we need something to offset the effects of those injuries. Regardless of how good Barcelona are, (I’m not comparing indiviual talent here) but if Villa was out as much as Van Persie, If Messi was out as much as Fabregas, if iniesta was out as much as walcott or xavi out as much as Diaby then I honestly believe they would be far worse off than we are. Because for the past 5-6 years we’ve had a revolving door of injuries and we’re kind of used to it, we’ve become a bit accustomed to it and still fight for top honours.

    If new players would solve that problem, then I’m all for it but I wish something could be done. We literally have the talent to become the best team in the world but at the moment we never quite reach that level because 1. our players have never tasted it, they’ve become accustomed to disappointment, only a trophy will make losing so bitter that they fight to win every second of every match. 2. We never go longer than 3 matches without 2-3 changes to key parts of the team.

  • gunner 71

    Hello Mr. Tony Attwood,

    We have been down this road before when my comments have been banned, and I am very sure this one will be as well. First let me address your earlier remarks about abuse.I have had this hurled at me from your respondents in the past, and obviously you seem to have overlooked Gulp’s response at 10.35am. NOW THAT IS WHAT YOU CALL ABUSE.

    Second, if what you are looking for is a well reasoned objective debate, then that is what I provide not yourself, since you say you support the so-called Lord Wenger in all he does (including when he makes mistakes and we Arsenal fans are not allowed by yourself to point that out). Now is that not BOOTLICKING ? – It was not an abuse, but a statement of facts. It is people like yourself that holds the club back from returning to its former glories, by encouraging unknowing fans and the board that their policies are great and need no tweaking or changes as required.

    Now your question as to why I respond to your medium rather than go elsewhere is simple. As I told you before, once you aim your website for public consumption, you should also be ready to accept that there will be views not shared by yourself. More importantly my comments are also aimed at others who may read your articles which at times has no objectivity, and accepting these, no matter that there are other websites.

    Your terminologies are also childish. What is AAA ? What is Anti-Wenger ? I have expressed these in the past that these are unimportant. What is important is how well Arsenal does. Believe me you cannot challenge me in this type of debate! I am only interested in what happens on the football pitch and will support any manager that delivers. I remember when the summer window ended there was a debate as to why Wenger did not buy a goalie. So many comments from your site insisted that Almunia was as good if not better than what is available for Arsenal to buy. Now you tell me where Almunia is right now ? Yes Fabianski is doing ok, but will never be the goalie Arsenal need if they want to mount a challenge for major honours. Reason ? Simple – he is not tall enough to reach the ball, which made him susceptible to mistakes whenever he tried to reach it. This was why he was unfortunately tagged as “Flappyhandski” – I would have thought Lord Wenger saw these deficiencies a long time ago. How well Arsenal performs is determined on the pitch and not by you being Pro-Wenger or someone else being AAA. You are not clever by twisting facts and making others appear silly by giving them names. Instead you ridicule yourself with these silly names. If other websites gave you names do you now descend to their level ?


  • Dax

    Very very well said. I espcially liked the part about cherishing the players we already have, I do this as much as possible be it through Twitter or Facebook!! They will make mistakes from time to time, but giving in to the mindless media ramblings about wanting a player out on th back of some poor performances is not what being a true Gunner is about!!! You support them till the day they leave end of.

    Le Boss is doing all he can to bring us the sucess we crave, he is doing his job let every Gunner do their by wholeheartedly getting behind the team we have right now and stop thinking of the players that we should bring in. The squad is nearly fully fit their is within it an ability to make wholesale changes depending on the fixture, believe in them like the Boss does even if we fall short at least you can say you did your part. Remember every Gunner in the stadium represents at least a thousand out there who would love to go but because of geography and cost issues cannot ( like me).

  • jacob


    You want a coherent and logical argument out Gunner71? I won’t be holding my breath… These folks are all the same, they start with abuse and descend into a kind witless sarcasm that would make a young teenager cringe. Apparently if you agree with the current policy you’re a boot licker! For Gunner71 that is LOGIC.

    I would honestly love to see a well argued and concise post from one of these buy-buy folks but I fear that it will never, ever happen for one simple reason; their position isn’t based on reason, logic or thought, it’s based on the kind of populist claptrap that drives all manner of simple-isms in today’s world. They feel in their gut that Arsenal have splash the cash so it must be true that Arsenal have to splash the cash… their gut rules and well since their guts can’t speak they resort to abuse. These folk have no need for, nor any understanding of, the complexity of running a football club. They have no notion of the idea of squad balance, they have no care for overall team psychology nor do they understand that there’s no football player Tesco out there where a manager can stroll in with his wad of cash and just pick a top class defender, custom built to suit Arsenal, off the shelf. The only thing worse than these people’s lack of manners is their lack of any basic intelligence. Unfortunately for us as Arsenal fans all these people ‘support’ our club too and possess computers and keyboards and so I suppose that we’re doomed to read their drivel…. till we win and then they’ll forget all the stuff that they’ve said

  • Byo

    @gunner 71-
    And please tell- who this “decent defender and a goalie” are? How much they cost? Is their team ready to sell? How they fit into our style? etc, etc….
    I just get tired of the same old stale “arguments” again! I will say there are some “perfect teams” out there to be a fan of, why keep wasting your breath on an imperfect team that gives you multiple bouts of indigestion, and a manager that drives you crazy?

    P.S I was reading one of those sites recently where the writer asked his readers for who they want to buy. I counted upward of 25(including Samba!). It was uproriously hilarious it made my head hurt.

  • Marker

    I believe Gunner 71 is right. The 2 defenders Arsenal bought during the summer are not up to the task, and we know it. Kols was newly promoted from a second division French team and Squills is a burnt out French international who was pretty average in his hey days. If the problem is money, why are we the third richest football club in the world (behind ManU and Real – according to Forbes)and yet our spending power is at the other extreme ? We are being brainwashed by the board into thinking we cannot spend more than what we are spending at the moment on the right players.

    And Walter you said you did not need new players. If players are sold and Wenger then buys new players as he has said surely that makes Gunner71’s arguments more sensible than you think ?

  • ugandan goon

    merry christmas untold,
    i think i am correct in pointing out that denilson was the only PL player to score a 100% pass completion rate over 90 mins. last season yet there is a buzz on ‘those other’ (lest i offend the tiny totts visiting) websites about his emminent departure for spain or italy, depending on who you believe. the logic seems to take in the 25 man rule nowadays and so a player must leave (hounded out) before we start clamouring for a new one, how they forget that we have invested masssively in the potential of a player to get him this far and just before he becomes an accomplished player we have to sell him to buy someone two or three years older who will play for two seasons before we have to buy again while our original player is peaking somewhere else. by this logic we should have collected on song two seasons ago, we would’nt have bought fabregas or any of the players we have now or build a stadium. the only exception as i see it is arshavin who we bought after he had peaked and had experience, yet he almost got booed at united because he was obviously tired in the service of our club. so untold i think we should just issue the challenge that anybody posting in asking for the world should just take it out of their massive chritmas stocking which has everything they could possibly want you know trophies , players, new stadia, fine weather, football played in their living rooms etc
    ps i will gladly provide the boot licking service if they need it
    up the arsenal!

  • RedGooner

    Here is the thing DarkPrince we dont frikken need them to be healthy all season to win the league. we only need them available for the games against chelsea and Utd the rest of the teams are squad can compete comfterably.
    We havent had a full team against those 2 in years if you look back and thats a 6 point swing each time.

    I think we will beat chelsea monday night as its the closest weve had in years to been at full strength against them.

  • Dark Prince

    Red Gooner- no, i disagree, we need to hav our best players not only for the big matches but atleast for 90% of the matches in the epl. The losses we had in our final games last season and the losses of West Brom and Newcastle in this season has showed how important it is to hav our best players for the maximum number of matches.
    Also, though we have one of our best squad playin against Chelsea on Monday, i doubt whether Cesc, Van Persie and Walcott have regained their previous form. Only time will tell how fit our players are.

  • Ronnie Brown

    Signings? For me the only position I would consider a signing if no-one leaves is central defence if Vermleon doesn’t make it back this season, if he does I think we are fine.

  • Ronnie Brown

    And there is certainly a AAA, when you hate our manager, most of our players, and consistantly attack them and go AGAINST them yet claim to support Arsenal that is Anti Arsenal Arsenal.

  • It is people like yourself that holds the club back from returning to its former glories, by encouraging unknowing fans and the board that their policies are great and need no tweaking or changes as required.

    That is a quote from Gunner 71.

    The notion that I actually have an influence on the club is just so eccentric, so weird, so off the planet, that I don’t think I can find a reply to that.

  • walter

    That former glory does this include coming 12th in the 90ties? Or avoiding relegation in the 70ties or was it 80ties?
    Gunner 71, the Arsenal path was not covered with titles each year. We have had those spells without trpohies in the past and every team will have them in England. If not now then it will happen again in the near future. The near futures when we will be winning and winning and winning. And then we will have a setback (it always will happen) and then we will come back. That is the life you face as a Gooner.

  • RedGooner

    DarkPrince, I understand what you are saying but looking at the team and they way players have developed particularly in the carling cup, I think we are nearer to the finished article as a squad then in previous seasons.
    The westbrom game no one turned up so its hard to comment on but we seen the same from other teams this season.

    Newcastle we made one defensive mistake by the goal keeper. That game we would have drawn or even won we were unlucky overall I thought.

  • Dark Prince

    RedGooner- yes, we’re definately more close the finished article of the team as compared to last season….but we’re still a long way off to become a finished article. Almost all the players still have 2-3 yrs atleast of improving. The only players who i think hav reached their prime are Clichy, Sagna, Van Persie, Arshavin, Rosicky and Squillaci. Rest all the players hav lot to improve upon.
    I think we need to concentrate on injuries now bcoz dont kno why, but our best players r d ones who always get injured…Cesc, Van Persie since quite a few years and since this year, Vermaelen. Have a bad feeling that there is definately something fishy about this.