You complete me



There is nothing going on today.

Maybe it’s one of those “quiet before the storm” things.

I could write the whole blog in single sentence paragraphs.

I won’t.

Arsenal are being linked to one and only one player, Andrei Arshavin, and his agent is telling anyone who will listen that Zenit are trying to artificially inflate the price of the player.

DUH — Here’s a news flash, Secret Agent Man: that’s what clubs do.

Anyway, the deal is either on for £8m or off for £20m, depending on who you read today. Like I said yesterday, the desperation here is palpable. I don’t know why Arshavin is so deseperate to leave Zenit but offering salary cuts and the way his agent talks makes me even more wary than just, you know, having to deal with a bunch of racists, oligarchs, and gas monopolies.

Why is Arsenal involved in this deal? The whole thing stinks.

The other story is that Arsenal have signed… another teenager to professional terms.


Ok, one last thing, you have to see this video of Fat Ronaldo working out.

Jesus, what happened? Did he start smoking 2 packs a day and eating small children for lunch? I think that’s what the “reporter” is saying anyway, some days I wish I spoke Portuguese.

I will break into your day if there is breaking news of an imminent signing. If not, enjoy the day “off.”


19 Responses to “You complete me”

  1. 1 jack
    January 7, 2009 at 6:38 am

    haha ronaldo the fat cunt. unfortuneately he willnever get back to his best i dont think, especially not with that training, where he is hardly breaking a sweat.

  2. 2 WC
    January 7, 2009 at 7:10 am

    The Arse Shavin saga leaves me more and more cautious about the player. Really if he’s going to be such a handful to get I’d rather not deal with it and use the rest of the window to find someone else. I don’t know why Zenit thinks he’s worth 20M from a UEFA Cup and a couple of Euro games.Really he shouldn’t even go for more than 15M and that’s generous. Arshavin’s attitude as well leaves a bad taste in my mouth – he actually reminds me of when Gallas wanted to leave Chelsea and kept staging these player strikes and sit outs to make some kind of statement. If thing continues like this for the rest of the week I’d be more than happy for Wenger to take his 15M and look elsewhere because Arshavin is a gamble at best and putting all the eggs in one basket for someone who has never proven himself on a high level is ridiculous.

  3. 4 caribkid
    January 7, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Agree totally regarding Arshavin. I think he is potentially brilliant but the off the field antics being attributed to him and his Agent leaves much to be desired, and the last thing Arsenal needs at this point is another cry baby in it’s ranks. We already have 1 too many.

    Re: Ronaldo

    He has obviously given up his passion for transvestites and substituted it with food (lol).

  4. January 7, 2009 at 9:03 am

    He’s “swallowing” his sexuality?

  5. 6 T-Town Alex
    January 7, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Inter is trying to recruit Eboue. Reported by our friends at L’Equipe.

  6. January 7, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Huh? Inter needs some comic relief I guess.

  7. 8 barnaby
    January 7, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    The Arshavin saga is getting ridiculous, but still happy to get him. Reminds of last summers Nasri signing which took almost the entire summer(euros got completely in the way as well). This one could take a long time to shake out, but the problem to me looks like the club, not the player. He’s desperate to leave but I think that’s all that’s going on with him. Too bad every time he tries to leave Zenit slaps a crazy price on him making it impossible. He’s got a right to be frustrated with that, Zenit are behaving badly here and they made a mistake last year as they will get less for him now, he’s getting on. Arshavin is willing to take a pay cut and he’s asked his club publicly numerous times to lower his valuation and they’ve just kept on, and I think we can see his agent is doing his best to rubbish the rumours. Yeah he’s been flogged all over Europe, but he is a top player and wants a new challenge and there’s nothing wrong with that part of it. But as soon as there looks to be serious interest from a club to come in for the player Zenit alert the world in attempt to trigger a bidding war. Now, it’s fine to act in your own best interest as a club, but acting in your own best interest also involves how best to handle certain situations and for the club to treat the player, a loyal servant for EIGHT YEARS, who’s helped them WIN THINGS, is actually not in their best interest. Good, young and smart players will see how Zenit is handling this and think twice before signing with them or any russian club. Also, Guus has come out and said ‘Danny’ is his replacement for Arshavin and is prepared to lose him, so for the club to come out and say they want top dollar for him so they can ‘replace’ him is very telling. Guus is trying to help the player and Zenit are appearing to only be interested in getting short term bucks, sacrificing their club’s global image and treating the player like a piece of meat. Who wouldn’t want to leave a club like that?? I think the player has decided on AFC and Zenit will just have to come to terms with it. The more intelligent clubs realise quickly that if a player wants out it’s best to work a deal, something Zenit are slow to learn.

  8. January 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    All that would make sense if he wasn’t saying “Barca are my dream club, no, wait, Tottenham! No, I mean, Man U, that’s the only club I will play for in England. Did I say Man U? I mean Arsenal, yeah, that’s the ticket!”

  9. 10 barnaby
    January 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Yes Tim, but you have to remember that Barca put in a responsible bid of 12 mil for a 27 year old and Zenit blocked it with their antics and unreasonable sale price. If it weren’t for Zenit’s bs tactics he’d be at barca right now. I don’t think he said totts was his dream club, he said he was interested and much has been made of those comments and comments made to other clubs but what has not been made of those comments is that he is ‘open to possibilities’, he didn’t pledge himself to any particular club all he did was express interest and flexibility as much as anything. I think he’s realised that the barca option has passed by and he wants to move on. And why not, barca are packed with midfielders/strikers. We, on the other hand, could really use his services.

    The cool, calm fatherly demeanor and most importantly the history, reputation and legacy of AFC under Wenger demonstrates clearly player and club unity and loyalty and that is surely a big attraction to Arshavin after his ordeal with Zenit. We owe it to Wenger that we are the frontrunner to sign him. Citeh will ape chelsea as the next glam club circus with players entering and exiting with all the attendant instability, not attractive to a player with character and class. If we lose Arshavin to citeh, then I’ve misjudged him and will be fine with him not coming to us, but I do not think that is the case. This player is ONE OF THE GOOD GUYS. He is russian, much is probably lost in translation, Wenger is keen on him, Guus knows he’s one of the best. He would be very good for us, his attitude, his technique, his ability all to the good for AFC. Gotta run right now, but Tim, know this, he will help us tremendously. He would be a good signing.

  10. January 7, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    I don’t know where you got all that information Barnaby but let’s run down Arshavin’s dreams:

    “I have supported Barcelona all my life. Barcelona are my dream,” Arshavin said on Wednesday. “I never thought I would have a genuine chance to play for the club. Let’s see how the situation unfolds.”


    “I don’t want to play for Zenit any more,” he told German media. “Playing for Bayern is a dream.”


    That doesn’t include his statements about how much he “loves” Tottenham’s playing style or how Real Madrid would suit him, etc.

    But I think the part that really shocks me is his threats to go on strike and/or buy out his contract. Zenit is a despicable pack of cunts, but Arshavin signed a contract with them. He needs to honor his contract just like Hleb should have honored his contract.

    From my perspective, Zenit, like Arsenal, took a chance on Hleb/Arshavin those clubs nurtured him gave him every opportunity to succeed, paid him well, protected him and built that player’s value up. Why shouldn’t Zenit be allowed to value Andrei Arshavin at £100m if they want? The player is under contract! He shouldn’t have signed the contract if he didn’t want to fulfill it.

    I felt the same way about Hleb and now the same way about Arshavin. He’s a contract scofflaw who has admitted that his real dream is to play for Barca. What’s to say that Arsenal don’t sign him to a 4 year deal, suffer through while he gets his chops in against EPL opponents and have him pull a Hleb in a year.

    I can see the press conference now: “Arsenal knew all along that I have been a Barcelona supporter all my life and it is wrong of them to try to hold me back from that by over-pricing my transfer.”

    After the Hleb ordeal and given the recent rulings on transfers that are slowly stripping clubs of any power, you’ll have to forgive me if I see a player who claims to love two teams, is effusive about two others suddenly starts pitching for the team I love — and pitching hard (wage cuts, etc). Arsenal should learn a lesson from Flamini. Flamini is one of these types of players too and we knew that when we got him, I think we are being given a hint of what Andrei will do to us in 2 years and we should steer clear.

    But larger than whether the player’s character should be questioned or whether he has shown his true colors over whether he values contracts or not is the question that really bothers me: why on earth would Arsenal want to give a ruddy cent to a club which openly discriminates against blacks? I don’t care if they were offering the Russian Kaka: we’re enriching a racist club and I cannot stand for that.

    Sorry if that bothers you but that’s where I stand. If this deal goes through I will be writing a follow-up open letter to the email I sent them today, voicing my displeasure with Arsenal potentially doing business with a team that openly discriminates against blacks.

  11. 12 T-Town Alex
    January 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Tim, I think you are throwing a lot of undeserved punches. Look, ANY employee of any organization is expected to be 100% loyal to the organization. Any organization is only expected to be 100% loyal to their bottom line. All the team building events, and employee development, and salaries and benefits are designed to help achieve business goals. This is true for Arsenal and every other football team. There is no philanthropy here. There is no love of youth. If Arsenal signs 7 year-olds in the academy and develops them into 17 year-old ‘potential greats’ it is because it makes good business sense. If we play the style of football we play, it is part of the differentiation of the Arsenal ‘product’. I don’t think Arshavine or Hleb or Flamini did anything out of line. They got (or are trying to get) what they want, and Arsenal FC didn’t. That’s all. None of them did anything unethical. You work for an employer, and if you are not happy (for the right or wrong reasons) you move on. At least half the equation is the club. Buffon is constantly turning down salary offers twice or more what he is making at Juventus because he doesn’t want to leave. It’s not because Buffon is an angel. Juventus must be doing something right too. Of course you can’t always keep everybody happy, and that’s part of why we lost Hleb and Flamini. And I also don’t think Arsenal or any big club would care if they have to deal with Osama Bin Laden in order to sign the next Maradona. They would do it in a heartbeat. If signing Arshavine from a racist club makes sense, we will do it. Remember, Von Braun sent our astronautes to the moon.

  12. 13 barnaby
    January 7, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I understand your view completely Tim, but I think the player is taking unfair blame when the club have held him back for no other reason than a few extra mil which now they won’t get and have likely become bitter and disappointed about it and are taking it out on the player – totally unprofessional and I might add a poor business decision.

    Which player would not want a bigger club in which to grow after he has taken his current club as far as it can go? At Arsenal he can fulfill all his promise and achieve all professional goals on one of the world’s biggest stages in world football.

    I do not like Zenit because of their past actions, but he is Russian and he’s likely to get his start in Russia, there’s no fault to the player there, and in that case credit to him for wanting away.

    Also, Tim, I really have to take issue with your view on contracts – almost all players break contracts then, henry, vieira, all have left us ‘under contract’ – we took the money and ended those contracts. But unlike Zenit, Wenger knows the real nature of the business and it’s about relationships as much or more than money, in fact the two are inseparable – Wenger can write several books here. Wenger looks into the heart of his players as much as the club’s bank account and yes he does a good business but he knows when a player needs a new challenge, a new situation to reinvigorate their joie di vivre(hashed that) and understands that it’s the treatment of that player when he goes to a new club is in effect marketing for the old club. What of our players, including Flam, did not speak well of the club after moving on?(maybe only hleb very little), all others are still reverential to the club. Ex players speaking well of the club is not concept unknown to Mr. Wenger. At AFC we treat our players well generally and almost always fairly. One where I don’t think we quite did was Flam who was underpaid for years and that did cause an issue – and there’s always two sides to a story.

    ‘A selling club’ by AW – all clubs sell, it’s the undeniable business side of things which AFC do well, clubs like Zenit don’t. They are naturally disadvanted as a ‘small’ league and should be more familiar with these proceedings. Were Zenit a club of stature and character they would have sold Arshavin at a reasonable price, wished him well and thanked him for all he’s accomplished in putting that tiny speck on the map, and sent him out into the world as ambassador of their club and league. That’s my major point here Tim, Zenit have handled this like amateurs, very badly. They’ve moved to block his every turn and every opportunity to showcase his ability on a bigger stage. And no, once he gets his move I don’t think he will use his new club as a shop window, I just don’t believe that, not after what he’s been through and his character just doesn’t fall that way to my view.

    One of the most insightful, honest and brilliant statements that I have ever heard from a player regarding contracts came from our own Backary Sagna – ‘contracts don’t really matter, what matters is how well you play’. Contracts are based on a temporary view of player value, the player plays better than current value, the club usually pays more to recognise that. There is no ‘owning’ going on because contracts are a two way street. Clubs eventually have to pay the going rate and the happier the player(or unhappy as it were) are always factors to consider not just whats written on the contract. Yes the contracts matter, but it’s not the whole story. Zenit can ask for whatever they want, but that approach has not served them well nor will it in the future for their club or their league or their bank account in the long run, that’s what I mean by going for the short term buck and not recognising the importance of a longer view. Zenit have not handled this well and it has already cost them, the player is ok Tim, the problem is the club.

  13. 14 barnaby
    January 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Oh, you’re right about the racism Tim, but when does Fifa, uefa do their job? Not enough being done there on all fronts, and that has to change.

  14. January 7, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Alex, your points would be valid, except both parties signed a contract. How would you feel if Arsenal said to Rosicky “I’m not paying your contract because you have some congenital problem?” Or if the team said, no, sorry Baptista but that money we paid you? We want half back because you sucked.

    Arsenal holds up their end of the contract and the players should too.

  15. January 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Barn, clubs pay underperforming players all the time. Look at Eboue!

    But seriously, the contract is a two way street Arsenal are currently paying Rosicky and he hasn’t contributed. It seems like players always want clubs to honor their contracts but then when they see a bigger club, they suddenly don’t like their contract.

    Look, I have been a labor person all my life from peon to shop steward. My whole family is full of labor people. So, contracts mean something to me: they are a written guarantee that both parties will hold up their end of the bargain. Yes, Zenit is being stupid about this whole thing, yes, I feel bad for Andrei but at the same time Andrei needs to understand that Zenit isn’t breaking the contract — at least not as far as I can tell. And if they are mistreating him, he needs to take it to the CAS, not to the media. Moreover, never threaten a strike, you either strike or do not strike, and conditions have to get really bad before you strike in the middle of a contract.

    Does Zenit asking for what they think is a fair price rise to that level? I don’t know, that’s what the CAS is there for, to help mediate these things. Andrei should avail himself that resource.

    What I do know is that Arsenal get the shit end of this stick, a lot. Look at the Diarra situation. He went to Pompey for 1/4 what he was worth, because unlike Zenit, Arsenal caved in to his tantrum. Hleb too, same thing, except he upped the rhetoric and threatened us with a buyout.

    The really big problem here is that it take a lot of resources to develop a player like Hleb. We put him on the pitch for two, pitiful, pathetic, god awful, seasons. In his last year he had developed into a pretty decent player and then suddenly, he wants to leave, and surprise it’s to go to Barca.

    This happens because, as great as Wenger is, Arsenal are not quite at the same level as Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Man U, and (some would argue) Liverpool. We’re really f*cking close but not quite there. So, our players can get lured away and if they throw a big enough wobbler they get away for cheap (there’s no doubt that Hleb drove down his transfer fee through his actions like threats).

    So, I see both sides here. Yes the player wants to go to a big club (ANY CLUB WILL DO) but also Zenit have to see all the work they have put into Arshavin and see £16m for Darren Bent and say, no, we need to recoup some of that money and have enough to buy a decent player in return.

    If contracts are not honored big clubs will pick over little clubs even more than they already do, it puts a huge advantage in the hands of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool, AC Milan and Man U. Do you want them to have more advantage than they already do with their 80,000 seat arenas, long history, and whatnot?

    I don’t.

    As for UEFA, yeah, I don’t understand how they look themselves in the mirror after their little “stamp out racism” campaign and how they fine teams for racist chants but a club that actively discriminates is allowed to play in their second most important tournament?

    The message is that it’s ok to be a racist club, just don’t do any “Roman” salutes on the pitch.

    Anyway, this was a good convo, but I have to get back to work. See you guys tomorrow!

  16. 17 Keith Barham
    January 7, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Zenit may be a racist side, but they have gay rights covered. Their manager is Dick Advocaat.

  17. January 8, 2009 at 12:25 am

    I’ll side with Tim on this one. At any other job, you can get sacked for poor performance, bad BO or even if they find someone better than you. As a footballer, if they sack you, they’ve got to pay out your contract. So the player signs up for a guaranteed amount over a fixed number of years. The club owns their services for that set time. Obviously, if a player’s underpaid, the club will want to re-negotiate to keep the player happy, but they’re under no obligation to do so.

    To those who are talking about freedom of movement, there’s nothing to stop a player just asking for one-year deal, or rolling contracts. They seem unpopular with the players, though, as evidenced by how many players take up Arsenal’s over 30s offer.

  18. 19 barnaby
    January 8, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Wait, guys, transposing the world of everyday employee contracts, which are ‘at will’ contracts cancelable for almost any reason by either side, onto the world of pro sport contracts is not a good analogy. Pro contracts are enormously complex and involve a myriad of details and conditions. Different kettle of fish. Also most clubs don’t agree to one year rolling contracts so they can have leverage in potential transfer negotiations, like I said it’s a two way stree.

    What is also being assumed here is that the employer is acting in good faith, and guess what, arguably it is, but it’s clearly not the smart move. Zenit can keep him but there’s a big downside in that course of action for several reasons: 1) unhappy players don’t play as well decreasing their value, 2) Arshavin has 18 months left and can buy out his contract(webster ruling) leaving Zenit with zero transfer fee, 3) unsettled squad can’t help team results, to name a few.

    The point I’ve been trying to make is that Arshavin has done everything he can for the past year to find a transfer and the club have chosen to ignore him and crash and burn every chance he gets and he’s had to get tough himself to get his point across. Why is Zenit handling it this way? I argue it’s incompetence and/or just not understanding how football business is conducted in the real world. As for Diarra, Wenger knows that once a player becomes toxic it’s best to ship him out(we got a sell on clause too dont’ forget) we don’t get shit end that much, it happens to all clubs from time to time, but AFC have been pretty darn good overall i’d say. Anyway, cheers guys, it’s been enjoyable, now it’s my time to do what i do, til next time.

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