Calderon’s Super Duper League + Transfer Snooze

Good lord… I think I might have drank a bit too much last night celebrating my independence from something or another.

You know it’s a bad night when you wake up on the living room floor in the middle of the night with a pair of traffic cones and a Scooby Doo comic book. Fortunately, it’s a Sunday and that almost always means little or no news. I guess I get off light today! I need it.

First up, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has expressed his interest in revisiting the “Super League” idea: wherein basically the G-18 would play each other in a special, extra competition. I think of it as sort of a “39th game on steroids.”

I’d like to think that something like this would never happen but when it comes to money and big clubs you just never know so, lets take a second and see just how stupid this idea is.

First, the best clubs in the world already play each other in the Champions League. I know he says that they don’t, but it’s not true. Last year Arsenal played Porto, Fener, Roma, Villareal and Man U in the Champions League. Now, I’m not sure who Perez would include in his little circle jerk of “top clubs” but those are top clubs in their respective divisions. In fact, if you look at the history of the Champions League Finals, it’s almost always 2 clubs from the G-18. So, it’s a lie that the world’s top clubs don’t play each other. What’s really going on is that Real Madrid have been dumped out of the Champions League in the first knockout round 5 years in a row now and haven’t gotten past the second round since they won all the way back in 2001. They are just sore losers.

Second, we don’t need more games because more games means deeper squads. Thus, only clubs that are engaged in financial doping would be able to afford the squad needed to engage in such a system. So basically it would be a “super league” of Chelsea, Man U, Real Madrid, and Manchester City. That would be a lot of fun, wouldn’t it?

Speaking of Man City and buying trophies, Martin Petrov figgers that City could be “as good as” Arsenal. Here’s the thing about that… no chance. I’m not saying they won’t be able to buy a few big names and gather a team of some of the world’s most expensive talent and hell, they might even be able to parley that into a top 4 finish or even a few trophies. But they need about 20 years of challenging for the top of the league to be “as good as” Arsenal. Besides which, it’s temporary, this spending, just look at Chelsea — biggest paychecks in the league, biggest transfers in the league, a BILLION U.S. dollars spent, and all they won was two Premier Leagues and two FA Cups.

And now, as the sun’s setting on Chelsea and the glimmer of gold is shining at Real Madrid and Man Citeh, Chelsea’s having a devil of a time holding on to their current squad of mercenaries, much less attracting top talent like Ribery.  That seems to be the cycle at these clubs; throwing tons of money around gets temporary success, followed by years of mediocrity.

Enjoy it while you can, City supporters.

Transfer Snooze

Evidently, the Alsacian army is storming across Belgium picking up want away players left and right. After signing Tommy Vermaelen, Arsenal are now being begged to snap up Eden Hazard, by none other than Eden Hazard himself. We’re pretty full of attacking options on this team, and he’s a bit young and raw, so I’m not sure we really need him. Which means he’s almost certainly going to be unveiled as the newest Arsenal signing on Monday, right?

Right… Arsene will unveil him right after we send Adebayor to AC Milan for £20m plus Flamini. Wait, £20m PLUS a player for Adebayor? Something doesn’t add up. See, I put Adebayor’s value at around £15m and rumor has it that Flamini has a huge annual salary, one that we didn’t want to pay and that now AC Milan doesn’t really want to pay either. So, if you take Adebayor’s £20m and SUBTRACT the inflation on Flamini’s contract I bet this drags Adebayor’s value down to the £15m range!

Perfect! So this too is a done deal, right?

Melo to Arsenal for Eboue Makes a Very, Very, Happy 4th

cashley

To all my American readers, happy 4th of July. I hope you all raise a beer and grill a meat in honor of our melting pot of a country and this our 233rd independence day. Also, if you could do me a huge favor and not point bottle rockets at my house, I would really appreciate it. I mean, I’d hate to have to yell at you, then shoot you with my guns, while refusing to quarter British troops…

Anyway, I was just getting to the point in the summer where I resign myself to accepting the fact that Arsenal’s only moves were going to be signing a bunch of players already under contract, like van Persie, Gibbs, Rambo, and Wilshere when all the sudden, like a lightning bolt, Fiorentina’s director Pantaleo Corvino admits on the club web site that they are in negotiations with Arsenal over Felipe Melo, and that, incredibly, they want Eboue thrown in as a makeweight in the transfer.

*blink*

*blink blink*

Not only that, but, erm, he says they are already negotiating with Eboue over contract terms.

*blink*

Well… I say why stop there? We’ll give you two Emmanuel’s for the price of one! How about we throw in Emmanuel Adebayor to sweeten the deal? How could you turn down a man who, according to his brochure, is “wifi enabled” and a “tender lover?”

How indeed.

I don’t know about you but this news is cause for celebration! I think I’ll even remove him from the “players who didn’t sign for Arsenal page,” there’s life left in this deal yet!

Speaking of that page, I had some trepidations adding Melo when I did because in the back of my mind I thought that there was the off chance that his extending his contract was basically just his way of paying back his employers for taking a chance on him in the first place — you know, extend his contract and increase his transfer fee sort of thing. Fingers crossed that I was right.

The only other story of any note, and one that’s sure to bring a big ole shiat-eating grin to the face of all Arsenal supporters, is that Ashley Cole is rumored to be going to Real Madrid. You all already know how absolutely perfect that would be if it is true. Cole is probably back to his best form since he disgraced himself to wallow in Rubles at Stamford Bridge and though he, like all Chelsea players, is prone to severe bouts of indiscipline and disrespect for the game the Chelsea supporters have finally taken quite a shine to him. In short, now is exactly the time for ole Cashley to do what he does best; cash in on all that good will and move on to a bigger club and a bigger salary. Who could blame him really, this could be his last chance to play for a club with a real history and a real future, oh and did I mention a bigger salary?

Wow. That’s a good day isn’t it? Arsenal are on the brink of signing that hard nosed midfielder that everyone wants, while throwing in a player who is probably excess to requirements, and Chelsea about to get screwed by Judas for a few pieces of silver.

I’ll raise a Pilsner Urquell to that!

Have a happy and safe 4th, and please, seriously, don’t point those damn bottle rockets at my house, thanks.

Wenger: “This year will be decisive”

arsene

Good day.

I can’t really say “good morning” anymore because, well, because I’ve been officially picked up by NewsNow and that means, starting today, more people from all over the world are going to be reading this blog. Kinda scary, kinda exciting, I better make it a good blog eh?

I do want to recognize my long suffering readers before the insanity of having a whole new audience sets in, you guys are the reason I do this. Your insights into the game, into Arsenal, into global finance, into the global nature of the game, and just into human nature in general are invaluable. When I write, I tend to speak with the voice of authority but really you all have taught me so much. Thank you and I hope you know that your comments will always stand out with me among the other voices that are about to join us. Now, on with the blog…

I was reading through the news feeds last night and came across a translation of an interview with le Boss on French Radio RMC via our friends at Gooner Talk. So, I did some digging of my own and found the original and ran it through my own translator (Google Translate!) and it looks like an important interview even if it is brief. I will rely on my French speakers to let me know if I missed something in translation.

The big bombshell that everyone is talking about, because it is transfer season, is that Wenger is actually looking at Chamakh as a replacement for Adebayor. Not going so far as to say that he wants to sell Ade, because that would be dumb, but he puts the ball in Ade’s court, saying:

If he does not want to stay, then we will start looking (for replacements) but I think he will be with Arsenal this season.

As I have said many times in the past, I like Adebayor. Owing to the fact that on my very few trips to see the matches in person I ended up being there when he scored his first ever home goal. Plus, for years, he wasn’t the best striker in England, but he worked his ass off and I appreciate hard work over lazy talent all day. So, I have been a staunch defender of Ade — until this year. Now that it seems the talent is there, the hard work has evaporated, leaving him as a guy who is basically disrupting Arsenal’s flow with his constant offsides and who occasionally puts in a world class, audacious goal.

So, I see Wenger’s point. If he WANTS it, he could be one of the top strikers in the world. In which case, let’s keep him. Conversely, if he just going to be a lazy loudmouth who disrupts what Arsenal are building, Wenger will find another tall fellow who can hold the ball up, stays onside, and works hard as the lone striker; Chamakh.

That’s the “bombshell” from the interview and what you’ll read about in all the papers but there’s some subtler things at work here that I think are equally important. Things like, what’s Arsene’s future at the club and what’s the long term plan for this team?

There is no doubt that Wenger had his head turned by Real Madrid this summer. Clearly they approached him and said “hey, we’ve got this plan to buy up all the world’s talent. How would you feel about coaching Ronaldo, Kaka, and Benzema?” His response is a bigger bomb than whether he wants to replace a wantaway Adebayor, in my mind:

Obviously, yes, because I’m at a point in my career where I must consider these things. I’ve been at Arsenal for twelve years and I do not want to become stagnant. But, I refused because I have built a young team and I wanted to finish what I started. There’s no doubt that this will be a decisive year. If this team is not challenging for a title, the club will rebuild everything.

In a lot of ways this isn’t anything new. Wenger has often maintained publicly that he is committed to the cause at Arsenal, that he started this youth project 5 years ago, and that he wants to see it through to fruition; a Champions League trophy. But what is new is the admission that this is it, either this team wins something this year or he’s blowing it up, “tout reconstruire” he says.

Complete reconstruction.

Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but that’s a bigger bombshell than whether we buy some replacement for Adebayor.

Complete reconstruction.

It makes sense too, with van Persie, Arshavin, and Cesc itching to add to their trophy cabinets I can’t see them being content with being out of the title race in November again. Which Arsene calls “ce qui a fait grincer les dents” it would feel like grinding your teeth.

So, maybe Wenger’s just being realistic and admitting that if we don’t get a trophy he’d need to let those three go and start over. Throw in Gallas’ contract situation (ending this year), Toure wanting away, and all the other experienced players who have been making smoke in the press and maybe this is an admission from Wenger that this is it, the last chance saloon. Win or go home.

What with Joan Laporta tapping up Cesc pretty much daily now and Arsene locking up the youth with all these long term contracts (Rambo and Wilshere) it looks like Arsenal are actually poised to blow the team up if needed.

That Wenger has admitted it publicly that’s the real bombshell to me.