It was light out and my alarm wasn’t ringing. I flicked on my tablet and checked the clock: 6:30 but no network signal. That can only mean one thing. My head was heavy with the drinks from the night before but I swung my leg over the edge of the bed and got up to investigate why there was no internet. I knew that the power was out but to see the cold dead router sitting there filled me with anxiety. Fuck. I have to write. I have to get clothes washed for this wedding tonight. I have to get cleaned and dressed and I have to get coffee. COFFEE.
I stumbled around the house, half doing everything: piling clothes for the laundry that won’t happen, checking to see if I can’t steal some internet from somewhere, and looking forlornly at the kettle for my coffee wondering if I could get the water boiling if maybe I just set the whole house on fire.
“What am I going to write about?” I thought and then remembered that last night, when I was checking twitter and having some whiskey at the local, news had broken about a post match interview with Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers in which he brags that the Scouse have landed Nuri Sahin. I recall watching him as he stood there with his smug git face, happy with the 1-0 crushing of perennial European powerhouse Hearts of Midlothian in a Europa League qualifier, talking about how “Hopefully in the next 24 hours we’ll get some confirmation (that Liverpool have signed Nuri Sahin)” and boasting that the player was “just downstairs now” and my heart sank.
According to the BBC, the reason Liverpool “won” is that Arsenal pulled out of the deal. The loan originally did stall over the buy-out clause but that wasn’t the final factor. In the end Arsenal didn’t want to pay as much of Sahin’s £115,ooo a week salary as Liverpool did and they ended up with the player. The Beeb makes no mention of a £2m loan fee as others have suggested. Just salary, and not even all of his salary.
Minutes later, Arsenal’s official site released their pre-match presser* in which Arsene says that the club “might not be done with transfers and besides which there are Diaby, Wilshere, and Rosicky coming back like a pack of new signings.” I’m paraphrasing here because it’s something we’ve heard so many times that the actual quote is immaterial. The point is that Arsenal have apparently given up on Sahin and unless “something special” (actual quote) comes up, Arsenal are making the familiar noise as if they have concluded their transfer business for the summer. At least the buying portion of their transfer business.
If Arsenal are done buying it means that the club will have spent another summer losing key players, replacing them, and making a profit. Arsenal could still surprise and buy someone like Capoue (highly doubtful), M’Vila, Gabi, Mexes (all my exes live in Mexes), or someone else so I suppose those of us who like to can hold out hope for some signings. Don’t forget that Arsenal bought Arteta at the last minute and he turned out to be a stellar signing.
When I get to a computer, coffee in hand, I see that Wenger has done his actual presser. Asked about Song, Arsene scotched rumors of an unprofessional attitude and highlighted the fact that we took this player who no one rated at first and turned him into a Barcelona caliber player. “That’s nice of us to do for Barcelona,” I say out loud to no one.
I don’t know what else I expected him to say, honestly. He’s hardly going to badmouth the player publicly. But this whole saga is frustrating. We created a Barcelona caliber player, then “took the opportunity” to sell him, and had no replacement lined up – unless you count players returning from injury or Mikel Arteta. This idea that Arsenal are now opportunistically selling off key players is really not something I want to believe. It’s so much simpler for me to hang my hat on the story that Song was a knob and Arsenal had to be rid of him because the alternative is that we are now a feeder club for clubs that are challenging for titles; Man City, Man U, and Barcelona. Maybe that’s what we are and maybe that’s something you’re all ok with.
But either way you have to admit that at the start of summer there was such an air of hope at the club. We knew that Robin and the management team had a conversation but there was no Independence Day announcement as of yet and so we could all pretend for a while that he might re-sign with us. The club bought Podolski and like a roller coaster ride, our cars were jerked into action and started to climb the big hill. Then in late June Arsenal sign Giroud and the roller coaster excitement really starts to build. The club were investing in the team for the first time in years. Money was going out the door before money came in! We were getting in quality players! We couldn’t wait to see the new team!
But just like that famous carnival ride, when you’re at the highest point you get the biggest drop. Robin van Persie sent us over the top with his Fourth of July announcement and the bottom fell out. The fans were upset but said “fuck him, as long as the club re-invest his transfer fee in a quality replacement we are OK.” And they did get a quality player in Cazorla who I’m not at all bothered that we didn’t pay a ridiculous fee for.
So, up went the ride a little bit, until all this stuff started happening with Alex Song and Barcelona. Then the ride started going all wonky, upside down and round in circles until it splashed us in some water. Confused and not knowing what’s next we were starting to get queasy. But the next hill loomed and it was a big one, Nuri Sahin coming in from Real Madrid “everything was done”, Sahin “confidentially “wanted to go to Arsenal”, and “the photographers were ready for a Monday photo shoot.” This was it, the big deal for a quality player who would add much needed everything to the squad.
It took an age to get up that last hill, it was just too long and flat. And just like the last hill before the end of the ride we made one final decent and now we are pulling into the station.
Hey look, there’s the carny offering us another ride but I don’t want to do this ride again at the moment, thank you very much. I think I’d much rather do the Indiana Jones ride or something. Less ups and downs.
*I spoke with the webmaster (ITK!) and he said that it was coincidence. They release content at that time of night all the time so that people can have fresh news when they wake up in the morning. If you’re looking for a conspiracy, it’s not there, sorry.