Archive for June 12th, 2008


No Yaya

Barcelona have reportedly tabled an official £8m offer for Alex Hleb. It’s also being reported that Hleb has already agreed to an £80k/wk contract with Barcelona which explains the throwaway bid: Barcelona, having tapped up the player, have to feel that they are in the driver’s seat. Barca feel so confident of signing Hleb that they are making ridiculously small offers and taking away negotiation pieces such as Yaya Toure.

£8m is just barely more than Arsenal would make if Hleb bought out the remainder of his contract. That’s a pretty insulting bid, but don’t be surprised if we see a figure like £9.6m at the end of the day. That’s the reality that the Webster ruling brings to clubs. Let’s just hope that Arsenal keep all players under 4+ year contacts, so they can get fair value for them when they do leave.

On the ‘player’s coming in’ front, Wenger has uncharacteristically responded to rumors and publicly ruled out Vincent Kompany. More shocking than his ruling out of the infamously injured defender is the statement that went with it:

I know him to be very, very good but I have decided that defenders are no longer necessarily needed for next season.

There are many ways to read that. You could see it as a boss who feels confident in a back 4 chosen from Gallas, Toure, Sagna, Clichy, Song, Senderos, Hoyte, and Eboue. You could see it as a manager who already has a signing lined up and it’s not Kompany, let’s just say, to keep the boo birds happy, that Wenger is in negotiations with Micah Richards. Or you could see it as Wenger losing his grip on reality. Judging by the responses from fans I’m going with a 10%, 2%, 88% split of the three. No one hates Arsenal as much as an Arsenal supporter; love and hate are, after all, two sides of the same emotion.

I fall in the ‘let’s think about this before we react’ category. First, it’s just one statement and it’s a statement that contradicts his earlier proclamation about needing a burly defender. So, he either thinks he’s found that defender within the squad or he’s got someone lined up. Second, he leaves wiggle room in that statement by saying “no longer necessarily needed.” He could always change his mind, he is the boss! Which brings me to third, Wenger is known for his close negotiations and press diversions: it’s a smart way to keep a player’s valuation down to earth. So, there is a possibility that he IS in fact buying a defender and that all of this is just a lie to throw the press off the scent. And finally, why do we think we know better than Arsene Wenger?

My feeling is that it’s not going to be Kompany no matter who it won’t be. And that’s my word.

Meanwhile, the Adebayor/Roque Santa Cruz story just won’t die. The story stays alive because Milan and the Italian press keep stirring it up. Milan’s vice-president Adriano Galliani told their version of Arsenal TV that they sent a letter to Arsenal inquiring about Ade but they haven’t heard anything back. Big surprise there. Wenger has put a £30m price tag on Adebayor so unless the letter said something like “Dear Arsenal, please consider our bid of £78m for Emmanuel Adebayor, kthnksbyelove Milan” I don’t see Wenger coming in off his vacation to write them back. “Dear Milan, Stuff your hole with gelatto. Best wishes, Arsene Wenger.”

And Finally…

Sir David Richards’ job is in jeopardy after his insane comments about foreigners and England’s failed Euro 2008 campaign. When the head of the world’s most successful, multicultural business starts to make xenophobic (and some say, racist) remarks about foreigners — he has to go. As some parting advice to Sir David, and all those people who want to build a fence around England and keep the unwashed masses out, why not take a look at what’s happening to some of Britain’s youth? Up in the frozen wastelands of the SPL, Palermo has made a bid for promising Scottish youngster James McCarthy. I saw a few other stories this morning about English youth going to Spain and Italy as well, but the links were 404 dead dead dead so I can’t link them here. But the point is that English youth leaving the Islands to get an education abroad is what will make the England National Team better and that’s starting to happen. I’m not suggesting that Palermo’s academy is the best in the world, just that the more cultural exchange and competition that all players (the world over) experience, the better football will be.

Mr. Richards… tear down that wall.

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