Posts Tagged ‘Yaya to Arsenal

10
Jun
09

Setanta to fold, make football more watchable for America

With the company seeking £100m in “fresh investments” it’s looking increasingly like the world’s dumbest football-content provider may fold.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t call it “shitanta” without warrant. They were horrible, even unbearable at times. Like when they would have an hour preview of the matches where they would have some monchichi coiffed fucktard (Paul Dempsey) babbling on about all the shit he’d heard about on other tee vee programs. Inevitably he would spout one of the following before every Arsenal match:

Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in 4 years

Arsenal’s defense is a mess

Arsene and Arsenal are bad sports

blah blah blah Arsenal’s middle field need to bust their guts out won’t sign anyone don’t make me luff

That guy losing his job is the upside to this whole sordid affair. I think I can sum up their entire broadcast enterprise thus; their most popular segment, by every measure, was their puppet show. A puppet show. A show where grown men stick their hands up the asses of a doll and crack childish jokes while making ridiculous voices.

It will also be a relief to the rest of the world to put their “bloggers” and “reporters” out of their collective misery. No longer will drivel from the likes of Pat Dolan fill my RSS feed! In fact, the only reason why I subscribe to their feeds at all is that they usually re-print stories from other news sources and they allow comments, which sources like The Telegraph do not (or require registration to read the comments). Through the comments I can get a sense of what my fellow Gooners are thinking on a topic, so that little value-added bit will be missed.

Oh well…

Honestly I don’t know what they were thinking with their business model. They wanted people to pay for a subscription service to watch football. Why would I pay $2o a month (or more, some folks would have to upgrade their television service just to be able to subscribe) to watch football when I could take that same $20 and buy beer at the bar that’s showing the game? You know, hang out with my friends, watch the game together? Oh, I nearly forgot to add that even if you subscribed to the channel you would still have to pay-per-view some premium games.

Maybe the $20 paid for the puppet show and the thoughtful commentary.

I say all this knowing full well that as an American I have been very privileged. Because of Setanta and Fox Soccer Channel, I have been able to watch nearly every Arsenal match, including Carling Cup early round stuff where I’m the only one at the bar, over the last 3 years. Before Setanta, I would have to pay-per-view big matches and I would have to settle for watching some other crap and hoping to get live scores for Arsenal at half time.

But here’s the thing, because Setanta gave fans the ability to watch every single match, when they sell off the rights (which they will do) someone like ESPN will step in and broadcast games. Setanta built the demand, they did it stupidly, but they have built the demand. We all knew that ESPN was trying to get in on the EPL anyway so Setanta’s collapse just accelerates that. Moreover, the fire sale of rights means that it will be profitable, right away, for ESPN to broadcast these games.

Win-win.

Thanks, Setanta, for bringing us the world’s sport, now step aside and let the big boys have their time.

The Poop Scoop

If yesterday’s transfer rumors were dead, today’s are deader-er. There’s one article about Yaya, with his agent saying that Yaya is unlikely to come to Arsenal because they won’t pay him enough. A lot of people are looking at this as the death knell of the Yaya saga but to me this sounds like an agent trying to put pressure on Arsenal to up their offer. Everyone else is making up negativity about this, me, I’m making up positivity. In my world, Arsenal talked to Yaya’s agent and said, “we’ll pay him £40k.” Yaya’s agent said, “hmm, not enough, let me embarrass you in the media and see if you’ll up that to £60k.”

Meanwhile, Robin van Persie is preparing for his future as a Setanta blogger and has given us his analysis of Vermaline: he thinks Vermaline is the perfect signing for Arsenal. YAY the RvP seal of approval! Just what Arsene needed, rumor has it that this signing has been hung up waiting for RvP to give his approval. With that hurdle cleared, the deal should go through at any moment now.

And finally, the deal we’ve all been waiting for the press to break; Arsenal are selling William Gallas Agbonlahor.

William Gallas is now truly a #10

FAIL.

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07
Jun
09

Vermaelen close, but no cigar

unfortunately van Persie scores here

Bit of a flurry of news today on what the Dutch press are calling the “imminent” transfer of Thomas Vermaelen from Ajax to Arsenal and what the Brit press are calling a done deal.

The original report is from the Belgian, Dutch language, Sport newspaper, HLN. Maybe Setanta translated the page differently but according to Google Translate there is no mention that this is a done deal. It looks like Arsenal and Ajax have agreed to a fee (depending on your reading a fee between £10-12m) and that Vermaelen’s agent is in London negotiating salary.

I wanted to know a bit more about the player and there are some famous photos of Vermaelen and van Persie getting into a bit of a scuffle, so I looked into it and that’s from the 2007 Amsterdam tournament where Arsenal won 1-0 and lost van Persie to injury at the end of the match. You will draw your own conclusions about his ability based on that link, but I’m advising caution. Yes, he was brushed aside rather easily by Eduardo in that video, and yes he’s pretty much directly responsible for van Persie’s goal but that was two years ago and as you can tell from this video he’s beefed up quite a bit.

You can also see from the above video that he’s pretty damn good in the air, beating Gareth Barry and Klaas Jan Huntelaar to the ball.

If Arsene buys him I’m sure he’ll be quality. After all, he is Ajax captain and some of the comments I’m seeing from Ajax fans are that he will be greatly missed.

What isn’t being discussed, so far, is which of the two Arsenal center backs he will replace. If you asked me earlier in the year I would have said Gallas, hands down, but now I’m not so sure. Wenger has spoken glowingly of Gallas since he stripped him of the captaincy and I really do think Cappy is our best defender. Toure, on the other hand, has had a pretty rough season and famously handed in a transfer request because he couldn’t handle whatever was happening in January. Frankly, I think if (and that’s a big if) Wenger gets rid of one of them, it will be Toure.

What’s really strange is that if Toure leaves it will be the latest in a long line of Arsenal defenders who basically had a mental breakdown and left the club at the end of the season (Campbell, Senderos, and now Toure). Being a defender at a big club takes a lot of mental strength, and being a defender at Arsenal, where the tactics constantly expose defenders, must be absolutely maddening.

There really isn’t much more going on, Arsenal are still linked with Edin Dzeko (striker) and Yaya Toure (defensive midfielder). The latter has reportedly rejected a Barcelona contract offer which may give some of you hope but I think is just his agent angling for a bigger contract. Another supposed Arsenal target is Joleon Lescott and between Moyes saying his players aren’t for sale and Manchester City reportedly offering Everton £18m and the player £80,000/wk I’m thinking that Arsene would either have to move a big name player or convince Lescott that a Champions League campaign will increase his England chances.

Well, I guess he could sell Robin van Persie for £25m.

05
Jun
09

More fun with statistics, plus Arsenal in for another Toure?

He's ready for his close-up

Lies, damn lies, and Arsenal Stats

The blogoshpere is all atwitter (see what I did there?) about the dot com’s article detailing Arsenal’s supposed statistics.  Ahhhhh, I’m calling bullshiat on this.

I don’t trust statistics that are so obviously false. Denilson completed 164 passes all year? What the hell? Here’s a chalkboard showing that he completed 117 passes… in two games. 164 passes all year would equal less than 5 passes per game. Now I don’t know what kind of fools they take us for, but everyone knows that every Arsenal player completes more than 5 passes per game. Almunia probably completes more than 5 passes per game.

Or how about the stat that Song supposedly had only 17 tackles all season? Hmmm…. Here’s two games where he made 21 tackles and won 17 of them.

So, I have no idea what’s up with those stats, where they got them, who compiled them, how they were defined, or anything. I just know that they are utter garbage.

I mean, who would believe that Adebayor was offside only 43 times?

Lies, damn lies, and football economics

The other day I put up that “transfer anatomy” handout, you remember, the one with the little bit in the corner that shows how much teams have spent over summer transfers?

Right, well yesterday the folks who audit football clubs’ accounts released their findings of last year’s accounts and we got two major stories out of that research. First, Chelsea spent £172m just in wages in 2007. And second, the accountants found that Liverpool lost £43m during the 07/08 fiscal year.

These three things are related, I swear!

What this shows, to me, is that a club, that isn’t Chelsea, has to make a choice: they can either pay high wages, or they can spend a lot of money in the transfer window.  Which, in my mind, utterly destroys the simplistic “Arsenal need to spend” argument.

So, look at the first link there where you see that Tottenham spent £47m in transfers from 2004-2007. I’ve always wondered how they could afford to do that and still report profits, considering the much smaller fan base than Arsenal, the fact that they don’t have a billionaire owner, no European football, and they have a mediocre sized stadium and don’t charge much for tickets. They can afford to do that because they basically pay half the salary that Arsenal pay. Arsenal paid £100m in salary in 2007 and Tottenham paid £50m.

Now, ignore Chelsea and Man U — they spend what they want irregardless common sense, I mean Chelsea is coming close to £1bn* spent over the last 6 years.

A BILLION.

POUNDS.

So, ignore them, they are a reality distorting black hole of a cunt.

Instead look at Liverpool and you can see a serious problem. Liverpool have spent nearly £100m in salary every year and nearly £90m in the transfer market. The other lode stone is that they have a £300m debt that Hicks and Gillette piled on the team when they bought Liverpool.

The point here is that Arsenal and Liverpool have a very similar financial situation; both clubs have large debts (albeit for different reasons), both clubs have large wage structures, and yet Arsenal have saved money every year and Liverpool have borrowed and spent.

And now, the crows are coming home to roost and Liverpool’s debt is due, evermore. I’m not suggesting that Liverpool won’t find someone foolish enough to become a partner with Hicks and Gillette and then they’ll fail. Instead, I see this as a test case. See, Man U has a huge line of credit that they can’t even make the interest payments on due, I believe, next year, and I think what happens here, this year, with Liverpool will be indicative of what will happen with Man U next year.

The second thing I’d like to take away from this is that yes Arsenal are being fiscally prudent by not spending large sums in the transfer market but what I wonder about is the huge wage bill. Who, exactly, are we paying all this money to? Sagna? Clichy? Almunia? Bendtner? Song? Denilson? Nasri? Walcott? Those are the majority of our starters there folks, and they must be making damn good money if our wage bill is £100m.  Furthermore, I have to wonder if any of these players would be willing to take a modest pay cut in order to bring in some more players? They all talk about bringing someone in, but I’ve never once heard them say “I’d take a pay cut if it would help, because I want to win a trophy for the fans.”

And the last thing I want to bring up is just how important Wenger is in all of this. Yes, he’s set this wage scale which is stifling our transfer ability but just the fact that for four years he’s kept Arsenal at a very, very high level of play, all the while helping to manage the books and keep Arsenal fiscally sound for the long term is, I think, going to go down in history as one of the all-time great managerial feats. Compare these 4 years to Rafa Benitez, who’s constant clamor for transfers makes me wonder if he won’t get lumped in with Hicks and Gillette as the three reasons why Liverpool’s future is so uncertain.

I think this gives us all a bit of perspective on why Arsenal spend the way they do and what is likely to happen this summer with transfers. Which is to say, very little. Given our history, what I’ve shown you of the finances,  and the fact that Wenger is increasing our wages yet again (I mean, van Persie did have 10 goals this season, that’s worth another £1m or so a year) I would expect there to be just a little left over in the kitty for transfers. In fact, selling before buying is very likely.

That said, what I’d like to see is the point where the board feel like they are comfortable with the amount of cash in the reserve (at last count over £100m) and they start spending some of these annual profits that you and I are generating for them.  Maybe this year is the year? All signs point to an even bigger windfall over last year, when they netted more than £20m in profits. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

Daily Transfer Rumors (The Poop Scoop)

Ah, I love the smell of last year’s rumors trotted out as this year’s signings! Supposively**, Arsenal are again interested in Udinese defender Christian Zapata, which is probably a bunch of crap considering that the player is both confirming and denying that Arsenal are after him.

Meanwhile, the perennial “Yaya to Arsenal” story has risen again.  The player himself has insisted, repeatedly, that he does not want to play for Arsenal. But that isn’t stopping the World’s Least Reliable Newspaper from printing quotes from Yaya saying

It’s true that it would be great to play for a big club with my brother,that would be fantastic but you never know.

Well, if the Sun is reporting it, it must be true.

Meanwhile, in the “Players who are not leaving or coming in” department, Stephane M’Bia is heavily linked to Everton now. I will update the Players Who Didn’t Sign For Arsenal page if there’s confirmation of him signing for Everton. Also, I want to be the first to break the shocking news report that Andrei Arshavin IS NOT re-signing with Zenit St. Racistburg, it turns out that he just likes practicing with his old teammates. This is really a remarkable story, it’s one of those X player is not signing for Y team stories but it’s at the level of ludicrisness that the only equivalent would be Science News printing a story like “Scientists refute the notion that the sky is brown.”

Finally, the Vermaelen saga drags on. I’m starting to think there might be some truth to this story and Vermaelen is the “commanding” center back that Wenger seeks.

Ahem…

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow!

*add up their wage bill at an average of £150m from 2004-2007 = £600m, then add in another £150m in transfers and you get £750m, so sue me if I add a bit of hyperbole.

** unlike irregardless, supposively is not a word




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