Unlucky Theo

Ba likes short balls, Arsenal sign 5 Brits, and yet still have no British center back

You ever woken up in the morning and your bladder was so full that your first thought was “oh my. This feels like a two pounder”? Probably not.

That’s how I woke up this morning, sleeping straight through an hour of alarm but waking when I felt the pressure of my bloated bladder pressing against my rib cage. Oh, and I know how to estimate the weight of my urine because, well, because I weigh it.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I weigh it while it’s still in my body: step on the bathroom scale, have a slash, step on the scale again, minus the difference. I do this every time I use the bathroom and there’s a scale nearby. It’s a habit now, despite the fact that I know full well that a pint’s a pound the world around and that the human bladder can only hold about 800cc.

The point is that I got up late. Two hours late. And as a result there will be no brilliant commentary here today.

I will say that the Demba Ba situation seems to be heating up. Heating up in the same way that things always heat up right before the John hands the hooker $50. Ba is apparently putting stickers in all the phone booths in North London with the rather provocative tag-line: “I like short balls”.

This follows on the heels of the articles published a few days ago were he was quoted as saying “I live in a black and white world but I dream in red and white, yellow and blue, and purple and that weird blue/black color, what’s it called? Nike Slate?

Lett’s put the health problems aside for a minute. Am I the only one who noticed that Demba Ba fell apart after the ACN last year? Fell apart as in “15 goals before the ACN, 1 goal after.” I know that the reason the wheel’s came off Ba’s season last year is because Papiss Cisse exploded onto the scene scoring 13 goals from January onward, but Ba only had one assist in that time. And Newcastle didn’t even play him centrally so that he could win a lot of headers. It’s all just very strange and I’m just going to say it, he seems like a grifter. Arsenal need someone hungry to prove themselves in the Premier League, not someone hungry for the big payout.

Speaking of hungry to prove themselves, Arsenal announced today that all five of their British internationals (I know that Jenkinson isn’t one yet) have agreed to new long-term deals. Jenkinson, Gibbs, Wilshere, Chamberlain, and Ramsey have all put pen to paper and in so doing have given proof to Arsenal’s British strategy. As predicted when the League instituted the Homegrown rule, British players are going to see a spike in value, and especially British players who have some talent. As a result, Arsenal have clearly pursued a strategy to procure young Brits, mold them in the Arsenal way, and try to keep them at Arsenal. Zaha would make a welcome addition to this core of British talent and don’t be at all surprised if Arsene “swoops” for his signature in January or this summer, depending on what Theo tries to pretend he’s doing.


This signing puts to bed Theo Walcott’s post-Reading  quote about how signing contracts “take time”. No, Theo, they don’t. You are refusing to sign, end of. Clearly, Theo wants no part of Arsenal’s British renaissance*. I’m going to call it, it’s done, folks, Theo is not signing a new deal with Arsenal. Let’s just hope that he keeps a professional attitude, it looks like Arsenal are going to need him for for the rest of the year.


The one place that Arsenal have missed out in this British sweepstakes, however, is in the center half position; having been beaten to the signatures of Smalling and Jones by United who are also pursuing a British strategy. I know that a player like Sol Campbell is a once in a lifetime kind of guy but I can’t help wishing that Arsenal would buy a British player who is built like the Iron Giant and yet mobile as Koscielny.

Arsenal have tried to buy a British center back but keep getting beat to the signature. The last one was Gary Cahill which is a real shame because, and I’m not afraid to admit this, I was wrong — he’s been stellar for Chelsea and would have been a huge addition to Arsenal. Oh well, there’s more fish in the sea and I just bet that Arsene has some super-sneaky British center back from some lower division team that he wants to bring to Arsenal. Who would you pick?

Right, that’s my fluff for the day. If you need more from me, you can read my thoughts on what goals Arsenal should prioritize this winter over on the Fan’s Roundtable. Keep an eye on that spot, there will be more articles this week on various topics with commentary from Brett, Joel, Zara, and me.


*HA HA that’s a French word.

43 thoughts on “Ba likes short balls, Arsenal sign 5 Brits, and yet still have no British center back

  1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Denver Gunner

    I think Theo is going to sign for Arsenal. I do not have any rational reason for this, I just have a feeling. Everyone handles these things in their own way. I think more than anything he wants to play as a striker. Of the big teams I think Arsenal is the only team he has reasonable chance to accomplish this with. I think it will be done in the new year as well.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1skyranger

      I’m with you on this. They would be bonkers to let him go . It wouldn’t make sense for either party ,to my mind. My fingers are crossed!

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

        It’s not as if we have any leverage in these negotiations any more so it’s not really upto us. Theo is free to sign a pre-contract this January with whoever he chooses. It would require a minor miracle at this point.

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

      I agree. Maybe I’ve got my Rose colored glasses on because of how I feel about Arsenal… but it doesn’t make any sense for him to leave. Where is he going to go where he’ll get playing time, wages, champions league football, and at least some games as a central striker – only Arsenal.

      If it’s only about the money, he will leave for a rich club. If its only about being a central striker, he will go to a poor club for less money. But he seems too smart to fall into either trap… Arsenal is the only BPL team that can offer him everything he seems to want, at least to some degree.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

        Guys, the only way I see Theo staying is if this signing of “core British players” somehow gets him to rethink his decision not to sign. I remember Theo saying he is friends with the “British lads” in the club, so that could play on his mind. If that happens, I would say this PR strategy from the club was brilliant! But to be honest, I think the chances are very, very low.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        The issue with Theo is not the striker issue but money.

        @23, he is likely being advised that he should make his next (and likely final) big move now. Come 28, his pace will begin to wane and he will likely be a depreciating asset.

        One possibility is to extend him for 3 years and sell him in two with tacit agreement particularly with our growing stable of young and quick wingers likely to mature by then (at least Chamberlain)

  2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dämiz

    Tim what about our young English defender Isaac Hayden. He is technical, strong and quick. He is playing very well for the reserves and I thing he could be very big in the future.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      For that matter,we don’t have an English striker either.

      Really we only need 5 home grown players to meet quota.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        …or rather Wenger has turned the whole thing on his head and now positioned Arsenal as one of the leading clubs developing England’s future.

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurasian

    Bit unkind to Demba Ba. He’s a powerful centre forward, not cut out to play a wide role, so of course his goals dried up when he was shunted wide. This season he’s back in his favoured position again, and resumed banging them in.

    If he’s a grifter, I shudder to think how many grifters we have on our team.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      49 shots, 1 goal.

      Goals dried up, his chances didn’t. “Wide” or not.

      There’s a reason no one took him this summer.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

      Agreed, he has been a goal scoring machine his entire career. 101 goals in 198 games and only had one bad season, 2009 -2010, when he had niggley injuries and a contract dispute with Hoffenheim.

      Being following him since 2008 when he, Gustava and Grafite were sensational in their Bundesliga run, which eventually petered out because of no squad depth.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        That’s the great thing about Ba: he keeps having these “weird” half seasons where he chooses not to show up.

        Does Arsenal need another Adebayor?

      2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurasian

        Is it not logical though that when playing wide, he doesn’t get the same quality of scoring opportunities? And a lot more of his energy is expended on running and tracking back.

        A problem with Arsenal this season is that our forwards are strong in some areas but limited in others. Giroud is a good target man but is slow and not the greatest finisher. Poldi has a great shot but might not be able to lead the line on his own. Gervinho is Gervinho and Theo lacks physical presence and has one foot out the door. Ba to me looks like more of an all-round striker, and stats seem to indicate that if he plays through the middle and gets shots, he will put them away.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Ba’s attitude this season is a warning as is ACN.

        What we need to match (give variation) to Giroud is someone very quick and with good technical ability.

        It is a short short list if we are talking top quality which is why Wenger is prepared to consider Henry if he can’t make it happen (likely also in part contingent on releasing at least one of our excess strikers)

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    I don’t get this “they all signed, so it’s easy” argument.
    It’s not like Ramsey and Jenkinson had to reject Manchester City to sign for Arsenal, so for (at least) 4 out of the 5 above, this was a no brainer.
    On the other hand, Walcott is wanted by other clubs, wants to play as a striker and is still negotiating about money.
    That doesn’t mean that he will sign, but give him some slack.
    Because yes, these things sometimes do take time.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

      Signing Walcott on a free is a no-brainer for any club, but how many big clubs would sign him as a striker? Maybe Everton if they part company with Fellaini?

      While I think Walcott has done enough to earn an experimental try at the Arsenal, I think it’s hubris on his part to think that top sides are rolling out the carpet to sign him as a striker.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

        Fellaini is not a striker, so I really don’t see the relation between those two things, sorry.
        Also, Liverpool could sign him as a striker since they are desperate because they only have Bucktooth and can offer him higher wages, Chelsea could sign him as a striker since they only have Tomess and can offer him higher wages and City could sign him as a striker because why not.
        And they can offer him higher wages.

    2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      They only take time if the player rejects what the club has to offer repeatedly and makes outrageous contract demands that “aren’t about money”.

      They are easy of the player wants to sign.

      This player does not want to sign. He will not sign.

      1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

        Well, Rooney didn’t agree the new deal over night as well, he was just squeezing the club for every last penny he could take.

        And like I said, this doesn’t mean he will sign. And I also think that he won’t.

        But it’s just that comparing him to Jenkinson or Ramsey is like trying to say just because you made out with your best friend’s average looking cousin, you should be also making out with the hot model on the dance floor in the same amount of time. I don’t believe in that.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

        Oh come on, no need for sarcasm, you know what I mean.
        Besides, I don’t think I should write for the third time that I ALSO believe that he won’t sign.
        But if signing a contract was so easy, then all transfer business would have been finalised on June 1st, now wouldn’t it?

        It’s just that I believe the British Steele example from above that includes 5 perspective youngsters is not a valid example and far from being the norm when it comes to signing a football contract, especially when it comes to complicated situations like Walcott’s, where both sides are trying to get the maximum from that deal.
        Anyways, time for bed, it’s not like we are going to change anything if anyone of us “wins” this debate, and I have to get up in, like, 5 hours to go earn my “not-90.000-per-week-pay-check”.
        So, here’s to us signing Cavani, Zaha, Fellaini and Enrique in January.
        And also Walcott as well.
        Good night everyone.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Ras Dam

        It is that easy. Look how many transfers get done on transfer deadline day. Players, agents, clubs drag these things out to suit their needs.

        I’m pretty sure Theo’s going. Probably to a club where he doesn’t have to work particularly hard yet end up with more money and trophies.

      4. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        The likely reason why Wenger has allowed the contract issue with Walcott to fester through the season is because he is prepared to come very close to agreeing to Walcott’s terms.

        However if given opportunity (and offer) he would likely sell, therefore he is awaiting an outcome.

        if Liverpool (say) cough it up, Walcott could be sold. The key issue then for us is that we reinforce the position form market and not persist with the mistaken formula of promoting from within, granted we have many young and talented direct players developing (quickly) on the wings at the moment.

  5. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    I have a more cynical take on the contract announcements from today. I think this “core of british players” quote from the club is just a bit of PR exercise. When we got Cesc and RVP and were dismantling the Invincibles team, the club said something similar along the lines of: these young players will be the core group of players around which we will build the team when we make the move to the new stadium. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad we have Wilshere, Ox and Gibbs on long term contracts, but all this does is ensure we get a good fee for them if we sell any of them. They will leave when they want to leave and the longer we go without winning, the higher those odds will get every year. This whole idea that they will stay because British players are somehow morally superior than the rest and will stay with the club longer just isn’t believable to me. Remember Ashley Cole?

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

      That’s not being cynical my friend, that’s reality. It’s all about PR and damage control It is what it is. No major corporation can consistently withstand bad publicity and retain high stock value, increasing consumer demand and viable commercial sponsorship’s.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Yeah I think they may be prepping us for a Walcott departure.

        Look how easy it is Theo to sign on the dotted line? ;)

  6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribkid

    Looking on it realistically, Theo does not have an abundance of transfer options in England which would further his career.

    Manu has Chicarito, RVP, Rooney and Welbeck up front, and Nani, Valencia and Young on the wings. Would be very difficult for him to make the squad, much less play as a striker.

    Chelsea, under Benitez doesn’t play with a false 9 and even if they did, he would have to compete with Mata, Marin, Oscar and Hazard for those positions. Adding in the manager and player turnover at the owner’s whim, it would be less than an ideal situation.

    At Man City he would have to compete against Tevez, Balotelli, Aguero and Dzeko at the striker position. Doubt he would get a sniff at his “favored” position. He certainly could play on the wings for them, but this would be totally against the grain of what he has been saying and would be seen as a traitor. Don’t think he has the cajones to be an anti-hero.

    Spurs would see him competing against Bale/Lennon on the wings and Ade/Defoe in the middle. could actually see AVB using his strengths intelligently and would be his second best fit. Again, cant see Theo making this move knowing he would be vilified for life.

    Liverpool would be a great fit, he would get playing time and along with Suares could certainly cause some mayhem in the EPL. Would he be willing to end up with a rebuilding team which is currently out of the CL and seem’s destined to be on the outside for another few years. If he really want’s to become a “goal scoring” legend this may be his best bet. They probably could afford his salary demands if he came on a free.

    Looking at the above alternatives, the grass doesn’t seem much greener on the other side. Who knows, thought he would be a goner for sure. However, his options are limited in the UK. Could definitely see him at AC Milan, Real Madrid or Barcelona if they were interested.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Ah, an English center back. It’s hard when we already have Vermaelen, Mert, and Kos. If one of them is sold, then aren’t Yanga-Mbiwa the suppose first choice to be look at. The only young English center back who get a lot of mention except Smalling, Jones and Cahill, is Caulker. You might get the next Campbell if one day he signs.

    Demba Ba? Not the one that I really want Arsenal to sign. There’s only two choice for me, Lewandowski or Cavani. Realistically, they would be hard to get in January. So, I wish a right winger, like Navas or Nani, could be bring so that Walcott would be free to be a center forward options.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      English Centreback? Well we don’t have an English keeper either. So what?

      Likely Djourou will vacate his spot end of season and Miquel will be pushed up to first team. Vermaelen may be shifted to LBack with Gibbs if we land Yanga Mbiwa, who is by the way, French.;)

  8. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    I can’t see Demba Ba. his attitude this season at Newcastle is not what we should be looking for.

    Plus the moment you sign him, he is off to ACN. Knowing our luck, he’ll be back with a knock till end of season.

    Lewandowski looks unlikely. Ditto Cavanni.

    To me, what we need to supplement the more direct and physical style of Giroud is someone with more pace and technical skills.

    Leandro Damiao for me is a useful target as he can give us both speed and skill without sacrifice in the aerial department or durability.He is 23 and not cup tied (plenty of upside. Down side may be price (scared off Spurs) but he hasn’t hit his normal heights this season in Brasil and INternacional have been poor so motivated sellers likely and price very negotiable (pending competition)

    Another Brasilian we should consider is Pato. with the emergence of El Shaarawy, he has been sidelined. still only 23, he combines creativity, technical skills with raw pace. Price may be quite attractive with Milan likely to offload further (FFP).

    Downside, his injury record which has kept him out of competition again this season but means he is not cup tied.

    Also off left field, if Walcott is sold on to Liverpool, maybe we could make a cheeky bid for Suarez by assisting their recall of Caroll to partner Theo with offering Chamakh to big Sam (Rumour of interest) The sneaky Uruguayan schemer will be a perfect diving partner to our Santi …in particular with technical skills. Not cup tied.;)

  9. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    How did I miss * again!!!?!?!?!?

    Theo can sign or bugger off to wherever he pleases…As long as he remains professional, it looks a good idea to keep him till the summer…
    There is no team in Premier League or outside who will use him as good as Arsene…may be United can but he better grow his hair to cash in on the free hair dryer treaments in that case…

    Samir of the Nazareth thinks he is Ballon d’or candidate goes to City and made 45 appearances to and from bench to grab a total of 6 goals and 9 assists…He scored 15 goals for Arsenal the season before..Last year atleast he got a flavour of Europa league..this year none of that even..

    Nicklas BendUnderpants grabbed the big fish in a small pond dream central striker role for match in match out at Tyneside and ended up will lesser appearances than each of his season with Arsenal since 2007. He wasnt their best player, not the second best either…and missed out on European football for a year.

    What Theo should realise is that he is not good enough to make it big outside the comfort and nurture of Arsenal and Arsene. The earlier he realises the best for both parties..

    1. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

      Bayern’s official website characterizes the draw as “challenging, but manageable”. Now if that isn’t being damned with faint praise…
      While it’s unlikely that they will repeat another spectacular choke job for a 2nd consecutive year, I think we can give them a time of it particularly if we add “1 or 2 exceptional players” as Wenger has alluded. As you say, bring them on!


      1. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

        Exceptional players are one thing but can we find those who are ‘cheap’ and not cup tied will another.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

      I’ve never been able to get this guy. He’s icky and creepy. What the hell is saying or trying to do? Why this kind of provocation?

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