Stand Down Arsene, Stand Down Please!

September 27, 2010

“I see no chance of your bright new tomorrow, so stand down Arsene”.

That’s how the lyrics of the song goes or something like that anyway.
Today someone called into the radio station I was listening to and said that their was 30% of all Arsenal supporters that attend the games want Arsene out and after Saturdays debacle it is rising. But wouldn’t it be a shame that a man who has guided us from being a just above average club in the Premiership to one of the four richest clubs in the world, building a half billion pound stadium and winning four Premierships and a few other cups along the way gets pushed out.
Just because of the lack of a few minor tweeks to the team: The goalkeeping position being the main one that is frustrating supporters at the moment he is managing to heap a whole tonne of pressure on himself.

If he doesn’t win anything this season I firmly believe the knives will seriously be out, like I said earlier what a pity that would be.
If he went now he would leave the club in as healthy a state as any club without a sugar daddy in the world, you just know what will happen, a manager like Guardiola could come in and he would have virtually an open cheque book, he would have the Royal Bank of Arsenal, plus this and next years profits to buy whoever he wanted and pay some of the highest wages. He could even borrow a few hundred grand and we still would be as rich as the Dippers or Man Scum.
And what a hero he would be after Arsene set it all up for him on a plate.

I know Arsene is a professor of the big bad business world, but surely he can see that a club as big as ours will need to win trophies sooner rather than later, unlike other businesses the goods come in feel good factor ness, over a rio for a season ticket is a lot of dosh and some fans only like to back winners it their escape from everyday life, and unfortunately in this day and age we have encouraged that type of fan in to spend money and if he spends money he has a say.

I suppose you have to give your customers what they want in any business and although we are in the entertainment business unlike other entertainment businesses no-one is entertained if we lose, just angry frustrated and disappointed.

So we have lived on our past glories and got the stadium for nearly six years, we are in a very manageable financial state so the business needs to focus on what we all play, watch and follow football for, to compete and win and not to prove a point like as if you could win the Le Mans 24hr motor race in a diesel car.. You could always try to do it the easy way.

All I ask of Mr Wenger OBE is please don’t just try to win this football race by an inch, lap the competition, that is something you are more than capable of doing.
The anti-Arsene squad are already starting to get their momentum up and you don’t need the grief. Just prove how good you are and they can crawl back under the stone from which they appeared.
But you just know what they will say.. “We have been telling Arsene to do that for years”.

So Arsene, as the old adage goes “Don’t spoil the ship for an ha’peth of tar”.


DRAWING A LINE UNDER THINGS – AT LEAST UNTIL THE END OF THIS SEASON.

August 7, 2010

Written by Oliver..

Two days after returning to London, Cesc Fabregas issued an official statement in which he committed his immediate future to Arsenal. He started off by apologizing to us Arsenal supporters for not speaking out earlier, stating he had not decided what he really wanted to do until “this moment”. He further indicated that he was (is?) seriously considering a move to Barcelona, and implying that the move did not happen primarily because of Arsenal’s refusal to sell. He paid tribute to Arsenal and us supporters and stated this issue is now closed and he will be completely focused for Arsenal, will not think of Barca and will give his absolute best for us. Here is the actual statement:


Firstly I would like to apologize to all the Arsenal fans for not speaking sooner about my future but I have not known what I was going to do until this moment,


‘I cannot deny that joining a club like Barcelona was not an attractive move for me.


‘This was the club where I learned my football; it is my home town where my friends and family are and a club where I have always dreamed of playing.


‘There are not many players in the world who would not want to play for Barcelona.


‘I have had many conversations with Arsene Wenger both in person and over the phone over the last few months and although the content of those conversations will remain private, the conclusion is that Barcelona have had two formal offers rejected by Arsenal.


‘I am a professional and I fully understand that it is Arsenal’s prerogative not to sell me.


‘I owe a lot to the club, manager and the fans and I will respect their decision and will now concentrate on the new season ahead with Arsenal.


‘I can assure all the fans that now the negotiations have ended I will be 100 per cent focused on playing for Arsenal.


‘I am an Arsenal player and as soon as I step out on to the pitch that is the only club I will be thinking about.


‘I am looking forward to the start of the season and putting this speculation behind me.’

So that is that, then….Or is it?

Not quite. I think this statement will disappoint many in that it is not unequivocal enough to prevent future speculation. Given Cesc’s established stance that he would like to return to FC Barcelona someday, I did not really expect a long-term commitment. Perhaps he could have committed for the length of his existing contract, but that would not account for changing realities from season to season. A situation may arise in the next season or two where transferring Cesc to Barcelona is in the club’s best interest. Nevertheless, there are several things that Cesc said provide some insight into how he feels.

Those who have read my previous comments here on Avenell know where I stand on Cesc: throughout the summer, I felt that Cesc was struggling with which team he wanted to join. He is Captain of Arsenal, the team that made him what he is today. But he is also very publicly being courted by Barcelona, the team he grew up supporting, the one his family supports, and the one he began his youth career with. Add virtually the entire Barcelona team whispering in his ear during the six weeks before/during the World Cup, members of his family/inner circle quite possibly trying to engineer a move to Barcelona and hearing the Catalan media talk about him “returning home” day in and day out, and it is not difficult to see how his emotions may have been pulled in different directions. I also felt that he deliberately kept his silence – and I am not talking about the media-twisted and distorted quotes held up as proof he wanted to leave us – because he did not really know what he wanted to do and was not willing to say anything to possibly give one side and advantage over another, should transfer negotiations ever commence. Finally, I felt throughout the summer that if everything were equal – no external perception issues, an atmosphere for good negotiations existing – he would prefer a transfer to Barcelona. His statement seems to corroborate some of that, but certainly not all.

From Cesc’s statement, I infer that while he did not decide his preference “until this moment”, he had “leaned” a lot closer towards Barcelona than Arsenal than I suspected. I say this because he implies that his decision was mostly due to Arsenal’s refusal to sell, while also emphasizing the attraction Barcelona holds for him. That debunks my premise that he was genuinely undecided for much of the summer. Indeed, his statement about “respecting (Arsenal’s) decision” – with nothing said regarding his emotion towards it – indicates he will not elaborate on how he actually feels about it. Take what you will from that.

Cesc and Arsene both admitted to talking over the summer. No surprise there. I had felt, however, with the premise that with Cesc remaining undecided, he had never actually told Arsene that he preferred to go to Barcelona. Taking his statement as a whole, I now believe there was a point – possibly in a later conversation, and not the first or second (which the media constantly says Cesc told Arsene he wants to leave) – where Cesc did in fact tell Arsene that he would prefer a transfer to Barcelona and possibly even asked Arsene to start negotiating. It is likely (although not 100 per cent certain) that Arsene did not negotiate. I now think that Cesc wanted a transfer more than I had previously thought.

With all of the above, it appears as this summer’s saga will end as I thought it would: Captain Cesc leading the Arsenal team out on the Anfield pitch on August 15th. I know this is not the end of the saga, just one chapter. I further think that we will have intense transfer speculation about another important player next summer, not only Cesc. I do not know who it will be, but I think several players will have very good seasons – and if we win something, that will fuel speculation even more.

As Arsenal supporters we now have a choice. Support our Captain, take his words at face value and cheer our team on, believing he is the professional he says he is: perhaps disappointed at not transferring this summer, yet able to completely set that aside and give everything he has in him to lead our team to success this season. Able to put the future where it belongs – in the future – and concentrate on the here and now, Arsenal. Or do not support him. Demand his relief as Arsenal Captain for wanting to transfer to Barcelona this summer, expect an un-motivated, sulking, malcontent Cesc, and see our season collapse around us. Most of us will choose based on how we view Cesc’s actions and non-actions over the summer. For myself, I believe Cesc is fully committed to us for this season and will do everything he possibly can to help us win something. I will worry about the off-season in the off-season. The way I see it, so many things can change between now and the end of May, that I do not feel it is necessary to worry about that now. For those who choose not to support Cesc, you may well be proved correct in the end. But at this moment, we do not know how this season – and Cesc’s performance – will turn out. He says he “owes us a lot”. I feel I owe him my unconditional support. It is my choice and I feel it is the least I can do.

(this would not be an oliver post without a reference to my struggling baseball team, the new york mets, but not today. it is all about cesc today).


New number 10 and 11, New 9?? New rules….

July 21, 2010

The boys are in Austria training hard in preparation for tonights friendly. Robin, our new number 10 is yet to join up with the squad, as is our captain. Also missing is Eduardo, our  number 9 who it appears has left us for pastures new. I really hope his career kicks off again and he gets somewhere near back to his best.  Another player who has changed his squad number is Carlos Vela, he will now wear number 11. That just about puts to bed any suggestion that Vela is on the move, good!

But what to make of the now vacant number 9 shirt, will Wenger promote from within, maybe Jay Simpson, Sunu or someone else, will Chamakh or Nikki B now change their squad numbers, OR will we all be stunned by the signing of a new centre forward to fill the shirt?.

Talking of players, Red Arse has kindly provided an idiots guide to the new rules….

From next season the Premier League are introducing the new HGP rules restricting the numbers of players permitted in a first team squad and setting a maximum number of “foreign players” who can be included in the squad. More about the numbers game later.

What’s that all about, you may ask?

O.K. let’s have a look at the background to see how we arrived at these new rules.

Good old Sepp Blatterbum, several years ago, tried to introduce worldwide rule to help protect and develop “Home Grown” football talent. His “big idea”, was, in fact, based on the very understandable desire to protect youngsters from Africa and South America, in particular, being lured by European clubs and then being dumped far from home, if they weren’t good enough.
In addition, he wanted to encourage the opportunities for the development of each nation’s own young players, and reduce the mass movement of other countries’ youngsters.

He and Michel Platinum tried to force clubs into accepting a 6 + 5 rule. This meant each team would have to have 6 home grown players and 5 foreign players in it. Unfortunately for them, this proposal was not acceptable under European Law and was thrown out. Now the Premier League mandarins have proposed their own version of Blatter’s idea, probably to prevent future hassle from FIFA and UEFA.
So what are the numbers then?
Each Premier League club can have a maximum of 25 players over the age of 21 in their first team squad.
There will be a maximum of 17 foreign players over the age of 21.
Therefore clubs can have 8 “home grown players” in their squads.
Each club can also have an unlimited number of players, of any nationality, under the age of 21.

So there it is; Foreign players 17
Home Grown players 8
Maximum Squad size 25

Simples!

What is the definition of a “home-grown” player?

A home-grown player is one who has been developed by an English or Welsh club for at least three years before reaching the age of 21. The obvious effect of this is that there will be an even greater premium put on the market price of any English player. It will also eventually, it is hoped, improve the quality of the England team, though this is debatable. To give an example of “home-grown” players, over the age of 21, in the current Arsenal squad, would be; Clichy, Mannone, Denilson,Fabregas and Djourou.

Examples of foreign players over 21, would include; Arshavin, Diaby, Nasri and so on. I estimate that Arsenal have 14 or 15 foreign players in the squad at the time of writing. This may change if Arsene buys another one or two players.

When does this new rule take effect?

At 5 p.m. on the last day of the transfer window, each club must supply a list of its first team squad and its composition. The squad can be amended during each of the following transfer windows.
So now you know. What is your view on the possible benefits or problems arising from these rules. Will they cause Arsenal problems? Are they a restriction on clubs’ autonomy, designed to see a “levelling down” in the quality of the top teams?

Interesting?

Have a good day all, enjoy the game later 🙂


Arsene talks the talk, Jay walks the walk, Almunia finished?

July 18, 2010

I’m going to start at the end and share what Arsene Wenger said after the game when questioned about Fabregas.

There was a lot of unneeded talk, It is not pleasant to read this every day. Now, the story has to stop.

Cesc is our captain, he is so important to us and we want to keep him, that is why we were not listening to any offers.

It was not a problem of money, just the desire to keep him at the club.

We can only influence our own behaviour, and I believe things have now gone straight again with Sandro Rosell. We always had a consistent attitude and were always reluctant to talk about Cesc’s departure.

It is very important we give the impression that because somebody wants a player from us, we don’t just give in on.

We have shown our love and care for Cesc since the start. I believe Cesc loves the club, has shown his attachment to the club many times and I am very confident the story will end there. We want Cesc to be part of our club next year, and that is it.

What we want is to build a team for the future, to develop our team and are not in any talks for next year or the year after – we want our players to be focused on the targets we have at the Club.

So it seems Cesc is here to stay, well, for another season anyway, but be prepared to go through all this again each transfer window until Barca finally get their man! That is of course, unless Wenger sorts this current squad out and turns it into a winning side! Do that and the player may just want to stay on, especially if Jose turns the screw on Pep this season.

Was it just my stream or everyone’s who signed up for the £3 deal with afc.com?? There I was, 2.55pm having bought some fancy lead so I could watch the match from my laptop on the television but after ten minutes I thought I was going to have a seizure, no offence intended… Shocking coverage, just shocking!!

Yesterday’s game really was a ‘game of two halves’ – the second half saw a whole new eleven turn out.

Arsenal starting XI: Fabianski, Nordtveit, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Traore, Frimpong, Rosicky, Wilshere, Arshavin, Simpson, Emmanuel-Thomas..

First half I thought, Simpson, Frimpong and Wilshire shone from the ‘non regulars’ Arshavin and Tomas looked cool calm and fresh, ready for a season of hard work ahead..

 Simpson (2) and Arshavin (1) were the goal scorers.

If it were up to me, Jay Simpson would stay, yes it was Barnet, yes it was a friendly BUT the biggest yes is, Yes, he scores and he seems to know where the goal is…

Why oh why has this lad been told to find another club? He loves Arsenal, I think many fans already love him too, he really could be ‘the next Ian Wright’!

Not suggesting for one minute he’d be the first striker on the team sheet, but he has power pace and an eye for goal, is that not the qualities of a decent striker, a player who could come off the bench and gets us a goal??

Arsenal’s second-half XI: Mannone, Eastmond, Djourou, Miquel, Gibbs, Lansbury, Henderson, Nasri, Barazite, Walcott, Chamakh

Second half was dull, Walcott did ok, Chamakh didn’t have a fantastic half, but who cares, first game in an Arsenal shirt, I’m sure as the games get going and become more serious, so will he. Same for Djourou, finally got to see him back and without a bandage heavily strapped around his knee, he looked fit and comfortable on the ball, seems promising…

Nasri finished off after a hand out from the Barnet defence, 4-0 to us.

83 mins on the clock and the fans sing… Arsene Arsene give us a wave, me, I’d be asking him to give us more than a wave, a player or two would be better greeted than a bloomin wave… 😉

Difficult game for all three goal keepers, they had very little to do, in fact I’m not sure Chesney even touched the ball? Or did I just blink and miss it?

Talking of keepers, what about Almunia then, having been named in the 22 man squad for the Barnet game, he’s suddenly missing – my thought is he’s off and he knows it – instead of being at Barnet, he’s sorting out his future and that future is no longer with us… Why would Chesney be wearing the number 1 shirt otherwise, or is that me just hoping 🙂

But for Almunia I think its over, nice chap but average keeper, all the best Big Al….

On to rumours, Everton have turned down a £14M offer from us for Phil Jagielka but it’s suspected that Wenger will up his offer this coming week. Good!! Also, if we want the kid from Ipswich it will cost us £10M, surely that £10M would be better spent elsewhere?

Have a good day all, not long to wait for the next game 🙂


Another Diaby/Denilson season! Waiter to go home, Hammers want Sol, they can have him!!

July 12, 2010

I read yesterday that Atletico Madrid want to throw Almunia a lifeline to help firm up their defence. Yes of course I laughed, AM are supposed to have ‘the next Casillas’ (David De Gea) in their squad so why not play him and leave Manuel alone. Not that I’m complaining of course, they can have Almunia, in fact they can have Almunia and Fabianski for all I care!

I have to go away for a couple of days now. I’m helping a Spanish couple and their dog pack up all their belongings, then I’m taking them to Heathrow Airport to make sure they catch their flight to Madrid-Barajas Airport!! Oh, I’m also going to pinch any return tickets out of their luggage if I find any!! 🙂

‘Bye Bye Mr Fawlty’ says our very own Manuel as he flys over Torquay!! (yes I know, it won’t go that way)

Sols gone off on one again, first it was abroad, then Scotland, quick flirt with Sunderland and now it seems he could come right back to the heart of London and sign for the team who was the cause of him leaving us a few seasons ago, how bizarre would that be….. Talking of West Ham, seems Avram Grant is keen to get his team back up the table this year, not only does he want Sol but he also wants Loic Remy having secured the signing of some pacey winger from Mexico, Pablo Barrera…

West Ham can have Sol, if he wanted to stay with us he would have sorted this out with Wenger a long time ago. After we gave him another chance last season to play in the Premier League and Champions League, this is how he repays the club! No doubt he’s scouting around to see where he can earn the most money, well go Sol!!

Yesterday there was a bit of a debate about whether or not Arsene Wenger will buy another Centre Half, many thought that when Wenger said we are in for a defensive player it could be a midfielder rather than a defender. Well the boss has since confirmed we won’t be buying a midfielder…

He said,

“We are not interested in Gourcuff and we were never contacted, he’s a player I like a lot, but we are sufficiently covered in midfield.”

But, does that mean in the attacking sense or defensive? He gives nothing away does he, but all the time our captain stays, of course he won’t need replacing – I guess its ‘Watch this space’…

In the meantime though it looks as if we have another exciting season ahead watching Diaby and Denilson in the midfield. That worries me big time, Denilson is no substitute for Song, never! If there’s one thing Wenger needs to get right this season its rotation. He/we cannot afford an injury to Alex Song or any other player, but especially Song.  I wish Arsenal could send Diaby on a crash course at the ‘school of defending’ and see him as Songs deputy rather then Denilson.

At least now the World Cup is over, the old wiley one should be on his plane back to London by now. The squad are training and he needs to get his arse into gear now and get this Arsenal side ready to take on and beat all rivals. Yes the transfer window is open for another 6/7 weeks but our first ‘proper’ test begins with The Emirates Cup on the 31st July when we face AC Milan.

Barring a last minute deal between Barca and Arsenal for Cesc, we should get an idea of what this coming season will look like, player wise. Surely and as I keep saying, Wenger will want the squad sorted and together by that date, so that gives him twenty days realistically to make any new signings.

I know many many fans don’t believe he will bring in a player or two, but I do. I think we will see a goal-keeper and a centre half. If we lose/sell any others then I think we will see more. They may not be who you want, but in a few months they may just be players you like….

On a final note, resident blogger mikeB sent this in, after I stopped laughing I thought I’d share it. A perfect ending to the World Cup where England were just dreadful, so was the final….

It seems England  are not only thinking about ditching Stuart Pearce and Ray Clemence but are thinking about new sponsers too!!

I love it, thanks mikeB….

Have a good day all, today our transfer window could open……


Saga draws to a close, no thanks SWP and it will be Wengers fault!

July 9, 2010

Come Monday morning this World Cup saga will be over, either Cesc or Robin will begin the new season as World Cup winners, I sure hope it’s Robin, at least he’s contributed to Holland’s results, unlike our current captain of course who sadly has had to watch from the bench for most of his time in South Africa.

The main reason I can’t wait to see the back of this competition is we finally get to hear from our captain, but secondly and maybe more importantly, Arsene Wenger will be back doing his day job for Arsenal.

We know we already have Chamakh and Kos but this could be the time that the transfer window comes alive.

Pre-season soon begins and clubs will want any new boys to be involved early, ready to begin the new season with players fit  and used to their new team mates.

It will be exciting and interesting to see where the players like Ozil, Honda, Mertesacker and Schweinsteiger all end up, they may of course just stay where they are if their happy. These players are just a few who have shone during this competition and speculation will go into crazy mode.

I’d be happy, very happy if German pair Bastian Schweinsteiger and Per Mertesacker were signed by Wenger. What would they cost together, £40-50M, I’d say that would be money very well spent. Add to that Schwarzer and I think we are complete. Give me the cheque book Arsene, I’ll go and sort them out….

On to rumours, more silly rumours – suggestions are that we are in a battle with others to sign ex legend Ian Wright’s son, well we don’t need him and surely we don’t want him. He is a City cast off who was dreadful at the World Cup. Not to be able to shine amongst that shower of s***e says it all, he’s finished, he probably was from the day he signed for Chelsea. He left City for money then after gathering splinters he went grovelling back to a club that made him a darn good player, what has he done for them since??

In any case, we have enough tiny tots in our side, we need beasts, not tiddlers…

Talking of tiddlers, Stéphane Sessegnon is again linked with us and a host of other clubs. He’s reported to be in advanced talks with a Premier League club and his move away from PSG will be announced over the next few days. Prior to signing for PSG, he was with Le Mans and his position was holding midfielder. At only 5’8″ tall I can’t see him being signed by Wenger, can you??

The real good news though is yesterday Arsene Wenger said that our summer spending is not over and we are looking for another defender, mme, me thinks it’s not just a defender either, I am beginning to have even more hope now…

Couple of others linked to us again, Benfica’s Rafik Halliche who is valued at £4M and yesterday, the rumours about Melo gathered pace after reports in Italy suggest Juve hope for a swap with Clichy. Not sure on that one myself, is Gibbs ready to take over the LB position full-time, maybe he is?  Fabio Capello has made it quite clear that many a youth player will now get a chance to play for England so why not?.

Gibbs, Wilshere and Walcott could all very well be involved in Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, now that would make me pay a bit more attention to the television when England play…. Then just look at the other young English players in our reserves and youth, it could soon be Arsenal playing in the Euro and World Cup……

Even then though, were we to get all the way through the competition, only to be beaten in the final, it would still be Arsene Wengers fault 😉


Has Wenger got it right?

June 19, 2010

I’m one of the first to admit I’ve been critical of our wiley old boss over the last two or three seasons and for many different reasons – lack of depth/strength in our squad, standing by players like Diaby, Denilson and Silvestre, poor team selection and substitutions, the list goes on. Most of this comes from frustration having been beaten by Wigan, Spuds or even Sunderland, all games which I feel we should be winning..

At the end of the season, Wenger said something along these lines in relation to any possible incoming transfer targets.

‘I won’t buy a player on a World Cup performance, I want a player who can perform for the whole season and not just for four weeks’ (It’s not word for word, but it’s near enough)

Well Mr Wenger, I think you are spot on with your views and we fans should be glad he’s not judging any player over the next three weeks… Just look what has happened over the last week and a few of the players many of us were crying out for the boss to sign:-

France – Gourcuff, Toulalan
Holland- van der Vaart
Germany – Mertesacker
Serbia – Subotic
Cameroon – M’bia
Brazil – Melo
Australia – Schwarzer

The above are just a few of the ‘big’ names linked to us over the last few weeks and like me, I bet many fans have been waiting for the World Cup to begin so they can get a good look at players with their own eyes and not just through a few youtube clips..

Not long ago, when the rumours about Cesc Fabregas gathered great pace, Peter Hill-Wood said that any money generated from sales would be all Arsene Wenger’s to spend. In panic, like everyone else, I started thinking about who is there out there who could fill our captains boots? Reality is, there isn’t anyone, but the name Yoann Gourcuff started to do the rounds (I blame JonJon for that 😉 )

After a few youtube clips, I convinced myself he was the man, however…….

Having watched France draw on the opening day and lose to Mexico on Thursday, right now I can honestly say that the only thing Arsenal could do worse than buying a player from the French team right now, is sacking Arsene Wenger and appointing Raymond Domenech – seriously, they have been poor but Avenell raised that subject yesterday so I won’t harp on.

Holland didn’t exactly set the world alight either, but they are the side I can watch with ease, a bit like watching Arsenal. They have talent and experience all over the pitch and during the opening game, van der Vaart looked pretty good, could have easily got himself on the score sheet – I’m going to keep my eye on him as I think he may be one of the few to impress all the way through the tournament, as will Holland (my fav’s to win)

Germany, they had a storming 4-0 start, yes, not against the strongest opposition and after Cahill got sent off the score could have gone into double figures. Blimey i thought, go on Arsene, go get a couple of this big strong talented German guys – next game they get thrashed 1-0 by Serbia and referee called, A Undiano Mallenco. Dreadful game, dreadful refereeing but Germany were poor.

Did Subotic or Mertesacker do enough during yesterdays game to make you wish we would sign them?

Cameroon – Without our man Song, they lost, M’bia needs to be watched again. The same can be said of Melo, Brazil won but they made it look like hard work against North Korea….

So – my point is, we get linked to many players, many are involved in the World Cup, many aren’t. All I know right now is that those involved in South Africa over the last week have really failed to impress so far. Maybe they don’t need to, maybe they just want to start slowly and build up as the tournament progresses. Sadly though, as we will soon see, the latter only gets you an early flight home.

Arsene Wenger is right, not only about a player who ‘can perform for four weeks’, but what about players who ‘can’t perform for four weeks’.

A good, solid, steady player performs all season, not just for a World Cup, but including a World Cup.

A big named player gets you a big named player, but maybe a player who is desperate to break into the side of his country is a player who will fight harder, play better and not take his place for granted, he’ll also cost a lot less money…

Talking of which, it seems Laurent Koscielny will soon be our second signing, he’s obviously done enough to impress Arsenal. If he’s as good a signing Vermaelen has proved to be, I’ll be very happy….

It’s not all about ‘who’ the player is, it’s about ‘what’ the player is about. Maybe I’m just starting to understand the philosophy behind Arsene Wenger and his transfer policy… And there was me thinking he’s just been a tight old bugger 🙂