Gazidis, “not good enough”
Ivan Gazidis met with members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust last night and @DarrenArsenal1 was there and tweeted some of the quotes that have made their way into the press. Speaking about the result at Bradford, Gazidis said
I think I am frankly tired of getting up here and delivering the same message. Tuesday night was not good enough and it made us all upset and angry. I would like to apologize to all of you, especially the fans who traveled up there.
That is something we will work hard to put right. We all work here and are desperate to deliver the success and trophies we all want.
He’s said this before, several times. Almost always after a loss. The sentiment is also something that the board and CEO have spoken about extensively, that the club is here to win. As I like to do, I searched the dot com for the phrase “not good enough” and got 90 pages. Many of the pages were from Wenger but one of them contained this quote from Gazidis:
“I am not happy where we ended up but I am pleased we are disappointed by it. There are other clubs who would feel this is a good position. Or we could say in December if someone had said we’d have been in this position then we would have bitten their hands off.
So why aren’t we feeling great about it? The answer is because we have higher expectations.
But this is not a situation where we should be over-reactive and feel that we are in crisis. We are not. We have a team with an average age of 23 or 24 that went to the Champions League Semi-Finals and is going to get better.
Does it need to be supplemented? Quite possibly but it is a very, very promising situation for the next four or five years.
So right now I think it is important to have some perspective and be brutally realistic with ourselves – but not only on the negative side but the positive side aswell.”
Since then Arsenal sold Cesc, Nasri, Song, and Robin van Persie.
When Paddy left it was going to be OK because we still had Henry.
When Henry left it was going to be OK because we still had Cesc.
When Cesc left it was going to be OK because we still had Robin.
When Robin left we pinned our hopes on Union Jack.
Arsenal negotiating new long-term deals
Several sources are confirming that Arsenal are in discussion with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere over new long-term deals. If I read the Arsenal community well, I would guess that the latter news will delight, and the former will deplore.
It’s clear Arsene is pursuing an “English” strategy. Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Aaron Ramsey are supposed to form the core of Arsenal for years to come. Moreover, Wenger has been duking it out with Fergie over these English players for the last 7 years, winning with Theo, Aaron, and Ox and losing out on Smalling and Jones (were there others?). And there’s real interest on Arsenal’s part for Zaha.
Buying young English players makes sense, economically. If you want English players on your team you have to get them when they are super young because once they show any promise at all they cost many multiples above what foreign players cost. Just look at the absurd prices Liverpool paid for their English players.
Locking Wilshere into a long-term contract is a no-brainer. He’s probably worth £40m right now. If he has a decent year, that could easily double.
Locking Ramsey into a long-term contract also makes sense, even if he is frustrating Arsenal supporters. Stuart Downing cost Liverpool £20m. At that rate, Ramsey is worth easily £30m. Right? But seriously, he’s still an asset so locking him into a contract makes sense.
Even if you do think he’s the Welsh Denilson.
Of course that above logic applies to Theo Walcott’s situation as well. The problem is that Walcott’s contract demands are not (entirely) about money and Arsenal, right now, would not be meeting his demands.
The Stuart Robson Effect
Stuart Robson has an almost magical way of mixing legitimate criticism of Arsenal with some personal vendetta against the club. From an outsider’s perspective it’s got to be hilarious: former Arsenal man, obviously astute footballing mind, absolute Arsene Wenger hater. From an insider’s perspective it’s hugely frustrating because any criticism of the club takes on a Robson stain.
For example, let’s say I want to criticize Arsenal’s defensive high line. As a defender, it’s a legitimate criticism that Arsenal play too high up the pitch some times. Playing that system creates too much space behind the center backs and gives terrible teams an easy outlet to create big chances against Arsenal. It also makes the defenders look worse than they might in a different system and requires forwards and midfielders to press constantly when they lose the ball. And worse, it’s kind of boring. Let’s face it.
But if I even mention “Arsenal” and “high line” I invoke the voice of Robson banging on like a jilted lover about Arsenal. It’s hugely frustrating.
And now he’s talking about wanting to change the manager.
For the record, my article yesterday was a metaphor. I don’t want to shoot anyone in the head and I don’t want Arsene Wenger fired. But I do want change from the top down. Apart from some sort of “English” strategy, the club looks directionless at the moment and so weak that Bradford’s captain is bragging to the press that Torquay is a tougher test than Arsenal and that his manager looked at our starting lineup and wrote “POOR TEAM!”
The worst start to a season in his entire tenure. Players who went to Bradford and put in a half-assed performance for 70 minutes. Bradford using our own set play against us. Three losses in the last four games. All of that does seem pretty poor and probably demands some sort of change.
The Arsenal Supporters Trust is reporting that Gazidis and his finance director said last night that Arsene Wenger has “significant” funds available to strengthen the squad in January. Perhaps that will bring about the change we all want to see. Perhaps we’ll just buy another Arshavin. Regardless, Arsene and Arsenal have now stated that Arsenal have the money and we all know that there’s needs at the club. They have created their own stick with which to beat them in May. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
That doesn’t make me a “Robson” to point that out does it?