Adrian Lopez

Ba Ba Black Sheep: Cavani, Ba, Llorente drop off Arsenal’s radar

We’re poor little lambs who’ve lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We’re little black sheep who’ve gone astray,
Baa—aa—aa!
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha’ mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

Gentlemen Rankers – Rudyard Kipling

Alan Pardew has publicly stated that Demba Ba is signing for Chelsea and as details of the deal are revealed it turns out that it’s always only ever been Chelsea that he could pick. Despite the pleadings of the Arsenal fans, and the public stance of the board stating that they have more cash on hand than King Solomon, the Arsenal was never at the table, much less in the cards, even if the ante seemed small change. And if you’re inclined to think that means Arsenal are in for bigger and better targets, players like Edinson Cavani or Fernando Llorente, just forget about it because they too are out of your reach. What Arsenal will be busy doing this January is selling.

Demba Ba is 27 years old and has a horrible medical history. If reports are to be believed, Ba couldn’t even pass a physical. Ba also wanted a five year deal from any suitors and was asking a minimum of £80,000 a week. That came down to a £20.8m guaranteed payday for a player who cannot return the guarantee on the field.

His release clause from Newcastle was also reported to be just £7m but peering behind the curtains a bit reveals that Ba has a number of agents who all want a cool £1m each (one is his brother) and that £2.5m of that release clause is payable to Demba Ba himself. Ba’s footballing career is apparently a sort of cottage industry for his family as Luke Edwards points out in the Telegraph. Edwards also says that Ba signed for Newcastle because they offered him the biggest contract. There was no pretense about Newcastle being a storied club, or Alan Shearer being his favorite player growing up, he was signing for the contract.

Ba is also being revealed to be a bad teammate and something of a bad personality in the locker room. There is no doubt that Ba undermined Papiss Cisse’s career, demanding his favored position and even refusing to pass him the ball as he put his own talents under the spotlight for would-be suitors. In their recent loss to Manchester City, Ba took 6 shots, some from ridiculous positions and many when Cisse was better placed to get the goal. But he scored, and it was a decent take as well, a goal that may have helped seal the deal with Chelsea. He was clearly playing for the next contract.

Demba Ba turns out to be the quintessentially modern footballer and perhaps we, as fans, need to come around to the idea that sentiment plays little or no part in the dealings of the modern footballer, it’s all about the money. I think we knew this all along, but it bears repeating on occasion so that we fans don’t start back down the path toward the delusion that for the modern footballer “the club” they sign for is anything more than a temporary employer.

Yet Arsenal were never going to be that employer despite the very public bragging of the board about how much money Arsenal have to spend on transfers. Arsenal could buy four Falcaos by my reckoning, what with the cash on hand, the annual announcements about record profits, and the hundreds of millions that they keep telling us they have to “invest in the club” from all these new sponsorships. Yet it’s not Falcao that Arsenal are strongly being rumored to covet, it’s Atletico Madrid’s second best striker, Adrian Lopez.

And true to form no one is talking about Arsenal buying any big names, in fact the big names have all been linked to the big clubs, among which Arsenal are no longer counted — at least when it comes to transfers. Cavani is a player many would love to see at Arsenal and which the board have said Arsenal could afford but his agent makes it clear where he will be playing next season:

For now Cavani will stay but I wouldn’t be so sure about that once June arrives. I’m sure there are clubs ready to pay that. But only five clubs in the world can afford to do that — Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain. You are intelligent enough on your own to understand where Cavani will play his football next season.

Not Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente is another striker that many of my twitter followers get all excited over and he is going to… Juventus. Llorente is like Demba Ba in that he had a falling out with his coach and club, because he wasn’t being paid enough and now he’s off to a team which will pay him handsomely to be tall.

So who are Arsenal looking at? Did you see that I mentioned Atletico’s second best striker, Adrian Lopez? That’s starting to look like a reality but first it seems, Arsenal have to sell.

It’s almost as if the club and players read my column on Deadwood and decided that they didn’t want to live there any more: Arsene Wenger has admitted that Squillaci is looking at a deal to take him somewhere, Djourou is reportedly being courted by Hannover, and Andrei Arshavin is piquing the interest of several clubs, including S.S. Nazio in Rome.

Clearing those three players off the books not only frees up salary that can be used for new (and existing, such as Theo Walcott?) players but also frees up three roster spots that Arsenal can use for new, foreign, players. Selling two of their five center backs also makes me wonder if Arsenal aren’t looking to buy a player who has the versatility to play defensive midfielder or can play center back in a pinch, like Ettiene Capoue. Though if Adrian Lopez is any measure of the player that Arsenal are looking to buy, a more likely target would be Toulouse’s second best center back. Aymen Abdennour? Steeve Yago?

I don’t know for sure, but one thing I do know is that Arsenal have the money. Do they have the will to spend it? I don’t think they do but I’d love them to prove me wrong.

Qq

34 thoughts on “Ba Ba Black Sheep: Cavani, Ba, Llorente drop off Arsenal’s radar

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    Cheers again for another great post. I always thought Ba would be a good signing for us at that price – in my reckoning he’s a 13-16m player, so 7m is a steal. But that’s before you take all the other factors into consideration: crocked knee, agents, etc. I didn’t really pay attention to the other stuff about personality, and I still don’t because, for me, it is conjecture. But the agent stuff, plus the fact the fee would be a lot higher, is real for me. As is his busted knee – we don’t need more injury-prone players. So, I won’t lose much sleep over not getting him. And I think other clubs are thinking the same – how else could you explain Sturridge to ‘Pool over Ba? (On another note, Sturridge over, say, Walcott is an interesting one, and may play into our hands).

    Who else then? Hard to say. I’d love a loan for David Villa. I have no idea how successful he’d be and what the overall cost would be, and clearly the latter is clearly important. Nor is he anything near a long terim solution. But… he’s David-Fucking-Villa. Superstar factor. Brilliant, innit.

    Jokes aside, he’d be exciting and sell a few shirts, but not a solution. So who? Llorente out. Falcao no chance. Cavani never.

    In fact hold on Tim, me and you agree that we don’t even really need a striker, we need a winger!

    It’s all quite confusing. I can’t think of too many excellent wingers either (I don’t have a great knowledge of the other leagues). I’ll leave it to Wenger et al. I suppose.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1shotta

    “….one thing I do know is that Arsenal have the money. Do they have the will to spend it? I don’t think they do but I’d love them to prove me wrong.” But you already gave us the answer. They don’t want to be held to ransom by the Demba Bas of this world. They have been burnt by the Skunk and Nasri in the wages sweepstakes.

    Worse of all January is when clubs make the most expensive mistakes.

  3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    It is a sad indication of our ambition / current status that Adrian Lopez is likely the best we can hope for in this transfer window. I’ve long believed we’ll make a bid for this player, even though it does baffle me somewhat (given that he doesn’t score many goals for a…uh…goalscorer).

    But maybe Arseblog is right, and Lopez is not on our radar (he claims the Lopez rumor is nothing but goal.com buffoonery). Arseblog seems to think that we have another striker in mind, one who is currently plying his trade in Spain. But if not Lopez, and if not Llorente, then who? David Villa? I find it impossible to believe the club would actually show some ambition and bid (seriously) for Falcao, but I can dream…

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Canuck

    Dream away bunburyist. The real dream is for ambition. I took some stick for suggesting the reality is we are a mid table team. While I will continue to hope we finish top four, it is clear that we are not in contention for the top of the table. It seems we used to have legitimate expectations that we could finish top, but now a fourth place finish is our victory. Yes, it is remarkable that we have been consistent CL participants. But there is a difference between aiming for the top of the PL and falling short (top four) and aiming for top four and falling short (mid table). Our real competitors now are Everton, Spurs, Liverpool, etc. our ambition is reflected in our signings, and something spectacular in terms of a new signing would be an alien concept. There are multiple reasons why this is so, but it is the reality.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    The tag “Andrei Arshavin is mentioned in this blog” is missing ! Im ok with clearing the squad to make room for summer signings. Big gamble again, but there are still a lot of football this season. Also Chavs losing to QPR makes our draw vs. Soton not so painful after all. Hey, we could beat citeh next game!

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    Apparently, this theme doesn’t allow “replies” which sucks donkey cocks.

    Anyway, there is a forward in Spain who Arsenal might be interested in, he’s only 23, has Premier League experience and has scored 7 goals and 3 assists…

    Carlos Vela.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    I think we should find a world class motivator or psychologist to supplement our squad. Too much matches that were lost because of the mental attribute not up to the task. Even if the players are supposedly have a lot of experience and a cup winner.

    On the addition of players on our squad, I really hope that we could hurriedly conclude the deal of Theo and the selling of those deadwood. I just have this feeling that we will only start to add when those thing finish. The ideal thing is we could do both in and out at the same time, but I just couldn’t believe that the club would do it.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Actually the theme do allow “replies” Tim. Every post is a reply in this theme ;-) . So, those that means you would consider changing theme again? The outlooks is fine and if it doesn’t slow down for you, then its better, but I think a reply button is necessary though.

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1TRob13

    …reports that Walcott is waiting to see if Arsenal buy a striker before signing. If true, he is most definitely holding the club hostage. Oh – and what Ba was doing to Sisse any different than what Walcott is doing to Giroud?

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    Apparently this theme doesn’t even allow me to comment. Wrote a long reply about Ba, completely lost. Ok then, one small comment. If he truly is a mercenary, then he’s found the perfect club for himself.

  11. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    David Villa is a more technically gifted version of Lukas Podolski – by which I mean he is a finisher but doesn’t create his own goals – but critically, David Villa can’t play the point in Arsenal’s 4-3-3 which means he will have to play wide where he’s not very good at crossing or dribbling. Also, while he may be an upgrade on Gervinho and Podolski offensively (arguably) he does not play any defense. Never has, never will.

    So, where does David Villa fit at Arsenal? A better Theo Walcott?

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1Gary

    From what I’ve read and heard, Adrian is actually a great player. A friend of mine who supports Atletico tells me that it’s Adrian who starts all the goals, but Falcao just takes the headlines. He’s got good technique and dribbling, and from what I’ve read is able to play both on the wing and in the central striking position. I don’t think it’s fair to say that we’re settling for second best just because we’re going for a name not many people recognize as easily as Falcao. Plus, Adrian is also two years younger than Falcao as well.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Tim,i have the same issue as Zed. My comment to replied to your first comment is not posted.
    On your last comment, is there any chance, however slim, that we accommodate Villa by changing our tactics? Like what you said on twitter about using 442 diamond which only lacks Falcao?

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    Ok, this is odd. My last comment (I supposedly had three comments in here) didn’t show up either. Is it waiting for moderation or any other thing Tim?

  15. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

    Like Zeddington, also having trouble posting to the under-construction blog. Trying Firefox on Windows instead of Safari on Mac.

    It would be interesting to see how Villa could adapt as a goal scorer outside of La Liga and such sublime suppliers of crosses and perfectly weighted passes like Iniesta, Xavi and Fabregas.

    I think he’d be a bust here.

  16. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-for-us-it-was-either-giroud-or-demba-ba-

    See above.

    There is a reason why we don’t go for the likes of Demba Ba. Ditto Llorente.

    They are similar to Giroud.

    What we need is a player with a bit more pace who is clever around the box and good with awareness in tight spaces (where Walcott really isn’t)

    Not becuase Demba Ba can’t pass a physical cos he clearly is fit or because he’s temperemental cos he isn’t Balotelli… we need to be very careful who we bring in.

    Chamakh, Park and Bendtner (and the difficulty offloading them) amply illustrates this. Incidentally, Chamakh likely off to West Ham which is good news.

  17. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    It is a very short list when you consider our requirements for a striker to bring in the necessary variation to our attack.

    Lopez is a reasonable choice with some risk. Ditto Leandro Damiao (who would likely cost double) but may retain some competitive advantages with his height and strength.

    Someone like Jovetic may be available but isn’t particularly quick.

    I would expect we will start to move for someone once Chelsea have concluded with Ba and when Chamakh is on his way.

    Also interesting on the arsenal main website is Wenger’s thoughts on the current market for players.

    As he mentions, France is no longer as productive with talent at the moment and there is an increase competition there where once we had close to monopoly on it when Wenger took reign.

    Instead, Germany and Spain (predictably) are current leaders with young talent (we have Eisfeld) but the net is being cast wider. Wenger is looking as far a field as Japan (which we know with Miyaichi), a fast improving market for emerging young players as can be seen by their increasing presence on the continent.

  18. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    With regard team motivator, well no.

    More likely what we do need is better rotation by Wenger.

    He has not used his assets as efficiently as need be.

    With Newcastle so close, and Southampton a tight/deeper sitting team, he could have started with Giroud with the benefit of both Walcott and Podolski on either flank (for that matter Gervinho)

    Also with the number of games Santi and Arteta have accumulated, he should have rotated one (likely Santi as Arteta is difficult to replace at the moment) with Rosicky to increase tempo and midfield efficiency.

    That he persisted with Walcott up top to me seems contract related and at times to our benefit (Newcastle) but in long term if persistent, to our disadvantage.

    Tim (Stillman) @Arseblog makes a very good case why to some extent, who plays up top is moot but that there is a danger that if Walcott fancies himself only effective in the middle, that this could be a mistake for the team overall.

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1arsonwenger

    BTW, another couple of striker options if we are looking for the fox in the box with know how :

    1) Pato. Yeah he is a massive injury liability but assuming we have Giroud and Walcott both fit, not a bad option to have if husbanded properly.

    2) Suarez. Unlikely to see CL football at current rate with Liverpool (not that there is a guarantee with us either). If Walcott refuses to sign and Chamakh goes to the Hammers, wouldn’t mind a ‘swap’ for the rat face schemer. Clearly good work rate and knows his way to goal.

    They can recall Caroll to link up with Walcott and Sturridge either flank.

  20. Vote -1 Vote +1Mohd

    If wenger can clinch the cl spot without buying any player in the tw,he will be vincated. On the other hand he will have to go if the gunners drop out of the top 4.
    There is every indication the gunners could finally be made to pay for Wenger’s refusal to buy the marquee players.

  21. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1fcArsenal

    “Demba Ba turns out to be the quintessentially modern footballer and perhaps we, as fans, need to come around to the idea that sentiment plays little or no part in the dealings of the modern footballer, it’s all about the money”

    That’s really harsh, a playing career is 10-15 years and a small part with a maximum contract.

    You negotiate and look after your livelihood.

    Remember it works both ways, a club is ruthless, a guy like Lampard who put heart and soul into Chelsea cannot even get an appropriate contract extension.

  22. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1SG_Gooner

    The club has the money but do they use it on one marquee signing or a few promising players? That is the dilemma.

    Now it is well known that Arsenal bid $20 million for Reina a few years ago but Liverpool did not sell. Another example is Vertonghen who was not comfortable with the role of a DM which Wenger offered to him. That tells me that Arsene is willing to spend if needed. Yes, some of the recent signings have not worked out but that goes with any signing. Cheap or expensive. We had our disaster with Reyes who was talented and expensive. Simple fact is that right now club is managing their risk with cheaper signings which if they don’t work out will not be a big financial hit to the club.

    Also, why do we always assume that all these players in the Spanish and German leagues will come running to play for English clubs? EPL is great to watch on TV for the audiences but the technical level of the league is way behind those leagues. There is less protection for players here in England from the referees so chances for injuries are higher. We need to accept that unless we pay top dollars to the players they may prefer playing in other leagues.

    Even though Arsenal has great reputation in Europe and players have always liked our football style we cannot always attract them to play for us. A good example is Phil Jagielka who Wenger tried to sign up for 2 seasons but in the end got turned down by the player. In fact, Phil has just signed a new contract with Everton which is great as it shows that there are still players out there who care more for their club than money.

    What is needed here is a bit of perspective. Wenger is largely dependent on his scouts to uncover promising new talent. He can’t possibly check out all the players personally. In fact, he has finally admitted that with the French football in decline he has started to look at other markets. It is easy to get excited about players who are doing well with other teams. The challenge is to make them do well for Arsenal. Gervinho is a prime example who did really well for Lille but has been shocking at times for us (although not as bad as most people perceive him to be).

  23. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Alex

    How about you all read the new article by ShortFuse that might help open the eyes for some…though from the comments I’ve read here,and the actual article, I doubt that…

  24. Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    Arshavin to Lazio….no irony in that one..!!!

    Its time to scour the Eastern Europe in my opinion…surely there could be other crozilians plying their trades..

    Padrew has France covered…
    The best of spain are pole dancing in front of the money bags..
    Good Germans rarely come out
    The big names in dutch league are pitting their show in the Europa
    Italian goal getters have attitude problems..

    ….good options seem to be more in eastern Europe, considering the resurgence of some teams in CL…

  25. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1TopGun

    Dont really agree. Of course we are not going to compete with the spending power of Chelsea and ManCity, but is that the reason why we are not going to buy an out and out CF? No.
    As you pointed out yourself Tim, if Walcott stays, we will have an excess of players wanting to play the CF for just one spot in the formation. Therefore, no Ba, Cavani or Falcao. Although I accept Falcao was never a possibility anyways.
    What we lack are wide players and thus we are looking at people who can play wide, like Adrian Lopez, not because they are second fiddle to Falcao. I would be happy with Wenger if we make that signing and strengthen our weakest areas rather than playing a trasfer war to show we are competent financially.
    The League is won on the pitch afterall, not in the transfer market.

  26. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Kubla Khan

    Kipling was a good old orientalist, fond of making racist generalisations. Ba! Black sheep? I see the irony here but I can’t blame Ba. He has a right to get the best deal.

    I am often surprised that the majority of Arsenal bloggers with your type of following are naive when it comes to analysing the club policy. Do you write to get followers or are you genuinely misguided?
    Arsenal are in a state of ownership wherein the board is toothless, the owner biding his time before ge sells his shares and the coach or manager pleasing his employers to stay in his job. Football is not an issue in an existentialist manner for these people. For Wenger, the lube between the pitch, the boardroom & the modern shirt selling market in the overseas niche has become blurred.

    Wenger has lost the edge in the transfer market, he has been found out. He admits that. Pardew is the Wenger of old. Wenger takes the Gogol maxim of pleasing the owner to new nadir: he blames the fans for wanting the club to win, or to sign good players. His reference to Messi acknowledges that Arsenal are now like Charlton Athletic. As a man fixed in his devotion to his own contract & making money for himself by making money for the club, Wenger will blame the fans. His caviar quote is the best example.

    Arsenal are a post modern club. Selling and getting new consumers for their ticker tape product in their Americana at Emirates is all that matters. Park selling shirts matters, not Park. Football victories occasionally will come. But the fans want caviar. The proles were used to sausages, no?

    Wenger is extremely patriotic. He will choose Giroud over Ba, Diaby over any other player. Wenger has lost verve, he has lost the word and the deed. He has sold the game to the loud announcer at the Emirates. It’s his stadium he thinks. The caviar, the show is his. The proles raise their voices in vain. Islington is not Cstalunya. He knows.

    Wenger isn’t here to sign players like Cavani. That’s laughable. Even to suggest that is a crime. Are you not following club policy? Lopez? Villa? No. These players won’t join Arsensl. Wenger is after a different breed. Those that will keep silent and not question him. He isn’t after quality really because he will then have to win.

    Arsenal are a model to follow for the post modern club. Winning on the pitch is secondary to sales. But there might be a flaw there. It’s the overseas punters who will decide Afc’s fate. The home punters will just dream of the invincibles and worry about being or not bring AKB.

    I expect nothing from Wrnger. Arsenal will win nothing under the current regime. No great players play for and no great players will be signed by the club. Watching this scenario is reading a text from history, a valuable but unimportant piece of text.

  27. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Canuck

    Kubla has nailed it. Our ambition is for fourth place, not first. Fourth is about money, not victory, and offers enough return. Most of our players are overrated by gunner faithful, and we do not scare anybody, which is why Bradford and Southampton et al play with enthusiasm against us. Short version – we are a mid table team, hoping to finish fourth, along with Everton, Spurs, L’pool, etc.

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