Archive for July, 2008

31
Jul
08

3-1 to the Arsenal! Plus, get a free shirt?

Arsenalist, as usual, has the best highlights from yesterday’s game and I’ve linked to one here (above) as the teaser for this article.  It’s the second goal of the match, where Vela chips to Bendtner, who heads the ball to himself, and then clips the ball past Lehmann for a goal.  You have to watch the whole video to see that Bendtner gets a foot on the ball to score the goal because for me, at first glance it looked like he had gotten lucky and kneed the ball in.  But no, that was all skill, baby.

Arsenalist also has a video of Jack Wilshire’s goal and you should check it out just to see Clichy set him up.

Afterwards the boss was effusive about the young players.

It is good for the confidence to win here and you could see that the young players did well again tonight. I believe the strikers have shown it can work. Vela is a little bit like Eduardo da Silva, and Nicklas we already know from the end of last season is a very powerful striker. They both did very well.

And with that, Wenger closed the book on Arsenal signing a striker this year.  Adebayor, Bendtner, Vela, Eduardo, van Persie, and Walcott are all that the club needs according to the boss.  Given these performances so far, it looks like Wenger might be right.

Speaking of Adebayor, he, along with Nasri, RvP, and Gallas (as captain), got his first start of the pre-season for Arsenal yesterday.  Reports are that Ade looked sluggish and tired while constantly being flagged for offsides during an ineffectual 45 minutes.  No doubt the boss will have him running full bore in no time; though it remains to be seen if he can cure his chronic offsidedness.  The only question that remains is, if last year’s performance by Adebayor warrants a 300% increase in salary, how much of a discount do we get for yesterday?

In all seriousness, I have to give the big fella some credit because after what he’s put the fans and club through with this summer’s stupidity it takes a lot of balls to go out there and play.  A lesser man might have feigned injury or some such (ahem *Campbell*) to get out of playing.  My advice to Ade is, keep your mouth shut, practice, get fit, and score goals and you’ll have the Arsenal fans back in your pocket in no time.

So far, the pre-season has been very good.  We’ve seen the emergence of Vela and Bendtner who have shined alongside the brilliance of Jack Wilshire.  Yes, it’s a young team.  I know the old heads will balk at the idea of fielding this youthful Arsenal squad (where are the Adams’, the Seaman’s, the Henry’s OH MY?) but this is what the boss is fielding and you all might as well get ready for it. Because while the boss says he might have “one more signing” up his sleeve I would put money that it’s another Amaury Bischoff type; young and talented but completely unknown.  This pre-season has proven that Arsenal are now going with a 100% youth policy and judging by the fact that those youth won yesterday’s match I can’t really question that policy.

Free France Shirt

My friend and Man U supporter was buying a kit on, erm, kitbag.com yesterday and found an amazing deal: buy an Arsenal kit and get a free France shirt.  So, last night I verified this was the case and thanked him and promised him a spot on the blog.  Alas…  this morning the deal has changed and now it’s just 20% off.  In that case I’m buying mine through the club, so they get maximum profits.  Sorry Orlando.

He Left His Heart at Tottenham and it got Syphilis

Part time footballer and full time gambler David Bentley has finally achieved his dream, he’s playing for Spuds.  Before being dropped by Arsenal because of his personal problems and also because he’s clearly dumber than George W. Bush, he loved Arsenal.  And now?  His heart has always been with Tottenham.  Well, Davie, your heart is at Spuds but part of your £15m transfer fee stays with Arsenal. I hope you Enjoy 11th place while the owner spends the team into bankruptcy — it’s no less than you deserve.

I can’t wait for his next brilliant contradiction.

30
Jul
08

Huge summer signing

I was wrong: Arsenal have broken the bank and signed Amaury Bischoff from Werder Bremen.  Despite what others might tell you, this guy is an unknown quality having only made 1 (one, uno, ichi) senior club appearance in his entire life.

He comes to Arsenal pre-injured, inexperienced, untrained, and completely unknown, but at least it was a free transfer.  You’ll also be surprised to find out that there are no videos of this kid, mostly because HE HASN’T PLAYED ANYWHERE.

Of course, last year Wenger signed Bacary Sagna and he turned out to be a revelation, so who knows maybe this kid will be another Sagna.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

30
Jul
08

Cute, real cute…

Arsenal have finally announced the major summer signing that we’ve all been waiting for: Citroën UK will be Arsenal’s Official Car Supplier.  [que the loser music from The Price is Right]

Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a good piece of business, but to get cute about it and call it a “major summer signing” makes me laugh, but AT them not with them.  Just sign a player already, damnit.  Hopefully some 8 foot tall wild eyed alien killing machine.  Or better yet, some 8 foot tall wild eyed killing machine with an English passport so all the xenophobes will shut up for once.

The only signing Arsenal were even rumored to be looking at was Goekhan Inler and Udinese released a statement mere moments after I went to press yesterday putting the kabosh on that rumor.  Sure, there are rumors that Mario Gomez is either coming to Fulham or Arsenal but how much credence can you put in a story that says the player is going to either a top club or a pub team?  None.

And that’s what we are left with, kids, nothing.  I guess there’s a friendly today between Arsenal and Jens Lehmann but I can’t watch it here in the states.  Nothing.  Joey Barton lost his whopping 5 figure shoe contract with Nike!  meh… nothing.  I even did a search for news on Adebayor, called all my contacts, searched through the rolodex for long lost lovers with an inside scoop.  Nothing.

I wonder what position Wenger will have the Citroen play when half the team is out with injury in January?

29
Jul
08

10-2 to the Arsenal!

I have to admit; I’m getting excited for the new season.  I know, we’re three and a half weeks out but I’m still excited and yesterday’s 10-2 drubbing of some pub team in Austria only helped raise the level of excitement a bit.

It’s not the score line that got me excited, it’s the fact that some of the young players looked so good.  Jack Wilshire in particular is pretty obviously a rising star in the Arsenal academy.  Yesterday, all he did was score 2 goals and set up Theo for another.  Now, Wenger has warned us all not to get too excited about the player while at the same time reminding us that Wilshire is the only 16 year old that he’s brought with him to the camp.  It’s too early to say “he’s the next Fabregas” but I would not be surprised at all to see this kid get his chances in the League Cup and maybe even a Premier League start.  Just like Fabregas did when he was 16 (ZOMG!!! He’s the next Fabregas!)

The rest of the team is starting to shape up as well, with only two players still ruled out due to injury; Rosicky and Eduardo.  Rosicky is still recovering from a May knee surgery, which he underwent to correct the problem that had plagued last season with niggling injuries, and will be out until at least September.  Don’t be shocked if that date is moved to October then November, etc etc.  I’m just going to say it: this season really has to be his last chance at the club.  If he’s injured again this year, I say sell him on.  There will no doubt be a significant loss in transfer fees but it has to be worth it when you consider the gaping hole on the right side of the midfield that is filled currently with Eboue.

Meanwhile, van Persie, Arsenal’s other ubiquitously injured all-star, is praying for an injury free season.  Me too, his goal scoring (nearly 1 goal every two games), vision, powerful free kicks, and footballing guile are all needed if Arsenal are going to seriously challenge for silverware this season.

I don’t know who’s going to hold all these sick ward players together now that Gary Lewin is off to be chief Physio for the England national team.  Though I make light of this, it is a tremendous loss for Arsenal.  Gary’s quick thinking is widely credited for saving Eduardo’s foot after he was brutally attacked by Martin Taylor.  Good luck Gary and thanks for 28 years of service to the club.

And finally, Arsenal are rumored to have bid £5m for Goekhan Inler.  I’ve watched him pretty closely in several games and remain unimpressed; he reminds me of a poor man’s Gilberto.  That said, he’s a physically solid player and if Arsenal do buy him we can trust that Wenger will polish him up and turn him into something he currently is not.  If that happens, £5m would seem a good bit of business.

That’s it for today.  There’s a friendly against VfB Stuttgart tomorrow which is supposedly going to be broadcast live via Arsenal TV.  If you live in the U.S. you can NOT watch the match on Setanta, according to my research.  Oh well.

28
Jul
08

Rumor and innuendo prove Arsenal are collapsing

The wheels are surely coming off Arsenal now.  I know because I read it in the Mail; they heard that someone told them that Newcastle have bid £4m for Senderos, which is clear evidence that the rumors they heard that Arsenal are in financial trouble are true which is a rumor that was sparked by the “sacking” of Keith Edelman.  Yes, that’s what they actually reported this morning. But fret not Arsechums, David Dein and Alisher Usmanov can save the club because Dein is a close friend of Arsene Wenger and would handle all of these transfers and Usmanov is so rich that he could actually just purchase a trophy off the shelf.

Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas is leaving for Real Madrid unless Arsenal win a trophy this season.  Me too; if Arsenal don’t win a trophy I’m changing the name of the blog to “7am jugador” and cashing in all my Arsenal stuff for Real Madrid gear.  Sure, the quotes attributed to Cesc were completely and categorically denied this morning by Cesc but that doesn’t mean they aren’t true!

Sticking with the Mail Online as my main news source I see that Sir Alex Ferguson is prepared to bid for the services of Thierry Henry.  Forget for a moment that Henry has ruled out playing for another Premiership team, that he’s past his prime, and that he has stated that he’s staying in Barcelona, the logic employed by the Mail is impeccable: this story is true because Fergie is known to take chances — like when he took Cantona from Leeds. Air tight logic there.

Of course all of this transfer talk is moot, the Mail also reports, Arsenal have their replacement ready and waiting in the wings: Denilson.  I know this might seem to contradict their earlier article that Arsenal are collapsing but in the Mail newsroom two wildly disparate stories can coexist.  It’s like magic.

Joey Barton Watch

Poor Joey Barton, the Premier League’s most unlucky player, was released from prison today having served 75 days of a six month sentence.  You’ll remember that he was sent to prison, unfairly, for having a man’s face hit his hands in a McDonald’s parking lot after someone had forced him to drink too much.  King Kevin Keegan reacted swiftly to the news that Joey was finally released by saying “I look forward to giving Joey a second, second, second, second chance.  There’s no doubt the lad deserves it.”

And finally…

Malaria?  HA!  That can’t hold Kolo back.  Kolo Toure flexed his biceps and simply squeezed the Malaria parasite out of his body.  Here are some pictures of him in training with the team.  I’m pretty sure that Senderos couldn’t beat Malaria, hell he couldn’t beat octogenarian Sami Hyypia last year, so maybe the rumors of him leaving for BartonKeeganCastle are true.

Man, it’s good to be back!

27
Jul
08

I’m baaaaaack!

I’m back. We drove a little over 24 hours “straight” from Friday morning at 9am to Saturday at 9:30 to get back home.   There were a few stops, some cat-naps, and a lot of driving but we made 1,200 miles in one day with a 2 month old fussing in a car-seat.  Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, maybe it was the knowledge that I would soon be sleeping in my own bed, but the best part of the trip for me was when we dropped out of the plains of Eastern Washington and into the Columbia river gorge.  The walls of the gorge were covered in the honey colored light of sunrise and that low sun cast such wildly dramatic shadows; the canyon looks as I have never seen it.  Typically I pull in there in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky and everything looks so washed out.  Then, as I crested the hill and reached the vast plain that is the breadbasket of Washington State, there must have been some minor meteorological miracle because, I saw the Eastern side of Mount Rainier.  Usually this is covered in a haze, but not yesterday.  Again, fresh perspective, it’s what this blog is all about, right?

I won’t bore you with a long synopsis of what (didn’t) happened with Arsenal while I was incommunicado; you have no doubt been reading other blogs (you whores).  It’s not like anything really exciting happened anyway: there was a load of crap from Hleb, Arsenal didn’t buy anyone, there were some friendlies, Arsenal didn’t buy anyone, the pundits have already relegated Arsenal, Arsenal didn’t buy anyone, Adebayor hasn’t been transferred, and Arsenal didn’t buy anyone.  Did I miss anything?

Tomorrow, look for regular service to be returned.

Cheers.

20
Jul
08

The closer I get…

tipis
Ironically, the closer I get to England, geographically, the further away I am from Arsenal.

I had no internet last night as I slept in some crappy little cabin next to a tee-pee.  I’m not joking.  There were tee-pee’s.  Actually, the word is “tipi” (I guess) but typing “tipi” didn’t make any sense to my brain so I’m sticking to tee-pee.

Regardless of how you spell the word, there were these structures right next to the cabin we stayed in.  Is this supposed to be ironic?  Cabins and tee pees?  I couldn’t tell.  Dinner wasn’t much better: a couple of overcooked burgers for me and the lady and a plate of spaghetti noodles and canned vegetables for the 10 year old.  Again, I’m not kidding.  The “spaghetti” was noodles and some whole canned  tomatoes, some canned mushrooms, onions, and about 3/4 of a cup of celery.  It was like some kind of retarded country mirepoix.

Then we drove 300 miles and now we’re in a place called “Chico” which is actually pretty nice.  There’s some kind of gourmet chef on duty and the food is supposed to be fresh and local.  At the other joint they had Halibut on the menu.  Halibut.  In the MIDDLE OF THE COUNTRY.  Even if I had a jones for a piece of Halibut I wouldn’t eat it from a scummy bar in Montana, where the closest airport is a day away.

Anyway, the place we’re at now reminds me a lot of London.  It’s kind of an older place, shared bathrooms, floor tilting all different directions, etc.  The only difference is that the walls are festooned with all manner of dead animals.  It’s like London Bed and Breakfast meets Teddy Roosevelt’s study.

There is a bar, right next to the hotspring, so maybe the Teddy Roosevelt part is actually Earnest Hemingway.  I’ll have to reserve judgement on that until I see if they have mojitos.

Oh yeah, Arsenal…

Uhhh.  Huh, they beat Barnet 2-1 yesterday.  YAY!  They are undefeated in the new year.

Hleb thinks Cesc “could follow him to Barca,” yes and Cesc could also follow me with a foot up Hleb’s ass.  Hleb needs to shut his mouth, Barcelona don’t need more people helping them prise away the world’s best players.

Yaya should shut his mouth too.

And speaking of transfers, the boss supposedly told everyone that he’s going to break the mold and bring in an “experienced” player or maybe it will be an old man on crutches or some decrepit old fogey.  We’re not really sure, but whomever it is it will supposed be someone with “experience” and who has more experience than your grandpa?

I’m still very reluctant to say that there will certainly be a signing.  If you’ve been around for a few years you know that this happens all the time.  Arsenal say “we’re going to buy AT LEAST one more guy, but hey don’t forget that van Persie, Eduardo, and Rosicky were all injured last year.  Getting them back is like 4 signings! (van Persie counts for 2).”  And as soon as the transfer window closes, they say “well we tried, we really did but Arsenal are a business and we’re refusing to pay over the odds, dissemble, dissemble, dissemble.”

So, you’ll pardon me if I have the “new signing parade” on hold.  My money is still on no new signings.

Maybe I’ll write a little tomorrow.  I don’t know, because I’ll be in Cody Wyoming and god know what they use for internet out there; two coconuts and a string?

19
Jul
08

I’m off

The panel van is all packed and we’re just about ready to leave but I thought I’d stop by for a quick note because there was a pretty major announcement yesterday.

But first, let me say, Arseblog wrote a piece this morning that basically said it’s the manager’s job to “bring success” (code for trophies) to the club and that this “success” will only happen when we buy some “experienced” (code for old) player.

He’s wrong.

Well, sort of.  Success can be defined in many ways: for Derby last season success was achieved when they scored a goal.  For Arsenal, this year and every year for the next 10, success is not going into bankruptcy or (worse) being forced into a takeover by Alisher Usmanov.  Every single thing that the board and the management says and does indicates that they are running Arsenal like a business and will be very, very conservative when it comes to transfers in.  And so, I think we need to redefine success for ourselves away from the notion that Arsenal are perennial title/FA cup challengers and toward the notion that Arsenal are a frugal team and title challenges are icing on the cake.

Success could also be seen as being a member of a club that bucks the current system.  Arsenal don’t need to pay £80m every year to bring in big names like Kaka and Schevchenko and then slip up at the last minute of the final; we can do that on the cheap!

And further, why does everyone think Arsenal need experienced players?  Who’s more experienced than Fabregas, Toure, Clichy, Eboue, Almunia, Senderos, and van Persie?  They’ve all been to the Champions League final and have had years of experience in the EPL.  Throw in old man Gallas for some salt and a poor haircut and I honestly struggle to see what more experience the team needs.

So a shift in definitions, really a shift in perspective is needed. This team has the necessary components to win a title.  Unless… unless Cesc Fabregas gets injured.  But it looks like it would cost £80m to get a replacement for him anyway and I don’t see that happening.

Speaking of which, the Kaka to Chelsea for £80m story does add a bit of a wrinkle to the Adebayor to AC Milan story.  If Milan were to suddenly find themselves flush with £80m would they reconsider a bid for Adebayor at £25m+?  Maybe, but all signs right now are pointing toward Adebayor being in an Arsenal strip next season.

Which is another thing you should probably shift your perspective on.

Anyway, that’s it for today.  8 hours of driving HERE I COME.

18
Jul
08

Was Hleb really that bad?

hmmm, should I pass?

hmmm, should I pass?

I got some stick yesterday from my meatworld friend (and Arsenal supporter — Alex) for saying that Hleb averaged 25 shots per season over the last three seasons. It’s true! I swear! It’s such an amazing statistic that it’s hard to believe but according to his profile on ESPN.com it’s true. We’re not talking “shots on goal” because last year he only had 13 shots on goal — in all competitions. I mean total shots; 25 shots, 11 assists, and 4 goals — in 38 competitions.

The other thing I got stick for was my characterization of Hleb as a forward. In the Arsenal 4-4-2 he lined up on the left side of the midfield but as we all know, he rarely played that role of winger; I honestly cannot remember him putting in a cross all year. And there were times, in the 4-5-1 that Hleb was slotted in as a second striker. You have to at least characterize him as an attacking midfielder.  And for an attacking midfielder to average 25 shots per season for three years on one of the most proliferate shooting teams in the world, should indicate that something is seriously wrong.

To give you some perspective; Gael Clichy had 21 shots in all competitions last year, Kolo Toure had 40 shots and netted 2 goals and 2 assists, just go ahead and click through and look at the rest of the team I think it’s pretty clear that Hleb was profligate.

So, yes, Hleb really was that bad.

Arsenal are falling apart

Of course, now that Gilberto, Hleb, and Flamini are gone the press are having a great time sticking the needle in. For some, our midfielders are disappearing so fast that “Arsenal’s midfield is the Bermuda triangle.” For others, winning anything this season would be Wenger’s best accomplishment ever, on and on.  The bloodsport of the press second-guessing Arsenal’s practices (transfer and otherwise) in in full swing. Which has been spurred by Wenger’s latest statement that buying a big name now would be “killing” the youth program that he has built up.

Well… it would. If Arsenal signed Marcos Senna, they would be taking opportunities away from Diaby, Denilson, and new boy (announced today) Francis Coquelin. If Arsenal are a business, as everyone in management keeps telling us that they are, then bringing in a big name player is bad business because big named players cost more money than you’ll ever get back on them. It’s like buying a new car, the moment you sign Marcos Senna he really has no place to go but down in valuation. Buying Francis Coquelin on the other hand isn’t 100% guaranteed to pay dividends but if he does pay off it’s almost always a huge payout. Just look at the money being offered for Adebayor.

The only problem with the youth system, and the reason that Wenger and Peter Hill-Wood keep doing their media blitz and saying the same things over and over, is that a youth system makes trophies less likely. Not impossible, mind, just difficult. Experience matters on the football field and team full of green players would most certainly be run off the field.

But that’s the genius of Wenger’s system. People point out how few players over 21 that Arsenal have available to play in the midfield as if age was the only factor in determining experience. Fabregas is only 21and already he has over 175 starts (for both club and country) he’s been to several different competition finals, and this season earned a starting spot on the Spain team who won Euro 2008. He’s got more experience than most 27 year olds and all credit for that goes to Arsene Wenger. He bloods these kids in cup competitions and so forth but more importantly, he stands behind them when he puts them in the starting lineup and gives them all the room they could ever need to grow. By the time a 17 year old has reached his 21st birthday, if he’s put in the hard work, if he’s got the talent, and if he’s been lucky to escape injury he will be as experienced as most players in their late twenties.

I know a lot of Arsenal supporters have gotten used to the idea that the team wins trophies. But the thing you have to remember is that we don’t deserve the trophies, we earn them. Arsenal cannot afford to splash out £100m over a year (as Tottenham and others have done) buying a big name players just to satisfy a few cranky fans who feel like we deserve a trophy. We don’t “deserve” trophies at Arsenal, we earn them. Hard work, dedication, and the genius of Wenger will get the club another trophy I have no doubt.

There is no shame in this. I’d much rather support a “selling” club who knows when to turn a hefty profit on a player than support a “buying” club where every year the fan expectations are doubles and trebles and superstars.

So, when we see Wenger buying another 17 year old we’ve never heard of we should rejoice, because it means we have the opportunity to watch another player blossom before us, maybe win a trophy or two, and then go off to Barcelona while filling our coffers.

This weekend and next week

I am going on “vacation” tomorrow. By which I mean I am driving my family from the beautiful Pacific Northwest to the Badlands of South Dakota. To visit my in-laws. Who I just saw two-months ago. Did I mention that I will have a two-month old baby in the car? For 1,200 miles? Yeah.

I will be stopping at places along the way but since I will be in the middle of no where I cannot guarantee that I will update the blog every day. Which means that no doubt Wenger will sign Marcos Senna while I’m gone. Yeah.

So, if you don’t hear from me, that means I’m dead, which will be a welcome relief from the car travel. But seriously, probably the blog won’t get updated every day for the next 9 days. So, here’s to Arsenal: let’s hope they beat Barnet in their pre-season kick off tomorrow. And here’s to me: let’s hope I survive the trip.

17
Jul
08

Official news

Alex Hleb is officially a Barcelona player. The club is being very professional about this departure and even treating it like it’s a sad day by giving him the normal farewell with one of those “looks back at his career” articles; that said, when you read the thing it’s almost a backhanded compliment. In three years he scored 11 goals and got voted Belorusian player of the year twice. 11 goals in three years. In the last three years, William Gallas has more goals than Hleb. Because when he gets a chance, HE SHOOTS.

I’m not trying to get down on the kid, but damnit, watching him play for the two years prior to this was insanely frustrating. I only need to say that he averaged 25 shots… a year… in all competitions for the Arsenal fans to shake their head and mutter “shoot. SHOOT!”

So, he took his passing boots to Barcelona, away from the hustle and bustle of his home in Hampstead Heath, and it could be said that Hleb was a Wenger failure. Well, not a complete failure but a sort of half-assed failure. Wenger was never able to work his magic on Hleb and transform him from a central player to a wing player, he never could get Hleb to take chances when he got them, and in the end Arsenal couldn’t even really cash in on his transfer.

Afterward the boss had this to say

Yes, it is true that some of the things he said painted him to be a completely coddled, rich, knob. And yes while he was at Arsenal only the Holy Spirit took less shots on goal but Everyone at Arsenal wishes Alex the best of luck for the future.

I may have misheard parts of that quote but I’m pretty sure that’s what Wenger said.

And that’s the whole of the news. There are rumors that Gilberto will sign for Panathinaikos today but nothing concrete just yet. Honestly? Losing Gilberto will be a much bigger story for me than losing Hleb, but I’ll write about that when (if) it happens.

All news has gone dead over the Adebayor transfer saga. Yesterday, Galliani was quoted saying that AC Milan was done buying after landing Ronadinho and today Barca signed Hleb, so where Ade would go at this point is only left up to the wild imaginations of the football press corps. Maybe they’ll link him to Chelsea. Oh I know, Adebayor is going to Man U! You heard it here first! Tell everyone. I have the inside scoop: my brother’s cousin’s sister’s fiance saw Adebayor pass out at the Manchester Baskin Robins, it’s very serious.

What happens to Adebayor when he doesn’t get a transfer? After all that’s been said and done I have to wonder how he scampers back to the club with his tail between his legs? An understanding manager might take a look at this whole situation and see that here was a young man, who grew up very poor, fresh off a great season, who had his agent telling him things, other agents telling him things, clubs promising him things, and basically everyone in his inner circle convincing him of a bunch of stuff that was completely false. They did all that in order to unsettle the player so that they could get him for a bargain. AC Milan paid a mere £16m for Ronaldinho. Now, I know he’s fat, but this is a guy that Chelsea reportedly offered eleventy billion pounds for just last year — no, they were bargain hunting and they figured if they unsettled Adebayor enough, Arsenal might let him go for a similar amount. Meanwhile Barcelona smelled the blood in the water and let it be known that they too would buy Adebayor, if the price is going to be stupidly low, like £16m.

An understanding manager might put a crazy valuation on the player (say £35m) in order to let everyone know that he’s not only not interested in selling but also that he understands that you all are up to your old tricks and that it’s not going to work this time. Because once you put a huge value on the player, there’s no way that you can sell him for half the price and still save face.

That same understanding manager would probably have a clear-the-air meeting with the player before the begining of the season, to make sure the guy was still on board and to let him know that he understands. And then he’d re-introduce the player to the team as if he was a new signing. Which is what he’ll be because there’s no way that you can go through something like this without it being a transformative event.

Anyway, that’s what I imagine will happen. And when Adebayor steps out onto the pitch in an Arsenal shirt, we should all give him a warm, understanding, welcome back.

Just don’t do it again, Ade.

My Obsession With Robbie Savage

It looks like it’s time to hang up my Robbie Savage kicking boots because there’s no kick I could deliver that would bite nearly as much as the fact that he was dropped by Derby County. I expect Tottenham to sign him for £16m any moment now.

And Finally…

In at number 2 of the Gunner’s all time greats is Denis Bergkamp. I couldn’t possibly write a more fitting tribute to the man so, please go read it. The only thing I would add is “grit:” Bergkamp had it whenever Arsenal needed it, and the club could use a man like that right now.

Until tomorrow

Update:

Gilberto has officially left for Panathinaikos.  Far more so than Hleb, Gilberto will be missed.  His leadership (he was club captain 2 years ago) on and off the pitch, his skill as a midfield stopper, and his knack for scoring a goal at just the right moment all made him an important player for Arsenal during his 6 years with the club.

But possibly the most important quality that Arsenal need to replace, especially now when the likes of Adebayor threaten to throw the club into turmoil, was his quiet professionalism.  The way he went about playing, practicing, and coming on when asked (in whatever position the boss asked him to) after he had been stripped of his starting position and his captaincy at the start of the season speaks volumes about the class and character of the man.  It is fitting that the first we all heard that Gilberto wanted to move on was just the other day, when the deal was nearly done.  Not a peep to the press about it.  No agent angling for a better deal.  No complaints about “mistreatment” or “slavery” by his former employers.  Just a “hey thanks I had fun, I’m going to finish my career in Greece if you don’t mind.”

Arsenal need more men like that, especially now.

Good luck, Gio, your class will be nearly impossible to replace.




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