Friday Transfer Roundup; What’s Weak This Week?

The one constant of the last few years as an Arsenal supporter has been the fact that we all basically go bat-shiat crazy during the summer. Some more than others, calling for pretty much everyone in the squad to be replaced, but everyone to some degree wants Arsenal to sign some new blood. You could characterize the distance between these two camps as a rift among supporters but I think you’d be wrong. We all just want a winning squad, and unfortunately we all think we know how to get us there. Hell, even the players at the club seem to think they know how to get some silverware what with England’s Future Number One stating that Arsenal need to splash the cash, and Robin van Persie saying keep the faith.

I guess it’s just something that almost all Arsenal supporters do. I can’t quite get my head around it, so, if you think you know why we are so transfer crazy, please let us all know in the comments.

Meanwhile, here’s a wrap up of who we didn’t sign this week and the chances that we will sign them!

Felipe Melo: Arsene Wenger has so many options to buy in central midfield that this one particular “Will he or won’t he?” is starting to grate on a lot of folks’ nerves. I would welcome the player but I don’t think Arsenal are even involved in this any more, irregardless the statements of his agent/the Fiorentina President, etc. It’s looking increasingly like Arsenal are being used as a stick to get the maximum value out of the transfer to Juve. -1/10

Miguel Veloso: Evidently, this player rates highly, on gaming consoles. In real life? He’s headed to Bolton. That he was linked so heavily to Arsenal last year and so decisively not this year shows you that the press knows f*ck all about where players are actually headed. Chances he’s coming to Arsenal this year? 0/10

Ever Banega: Ever do what? Tiny, miniscule, little Argentinian holding midfielder who currently plays for Valencia. He’s only been in Spain for 1 year, he’s not currently on the Argentinian national team and I’d be surprised if Arsenal could get him a work permit. 1/10

Dani Parejo: Big, rangy, young, hard nosed holding midfielder. Incessantly linked to Arsenal by possibly the keenest footballing mind on the planet. 2/10

Fabian Delph: No one is linking Delph to Arsenal, except me. In fact, he was heavily linked last year but this year the line went dead. The fact remains that Arsene Wenger is heavily investing in English kids, possibly to stave off constant criticism and likely to side-step potential rules changes such as the proposed 6+5 Affirmative Action Quota System for Englishmen. Delph is a left footed midfielder with a blistering shot and a bit of an early penchant for long range goals. His old manager compared his lung capacity to an Ethiopian Marathon runner, and I’ve seen him compared favorably to many of England’s finest midfielders, and Gareth Barry. Leeds are publicly admitting that two clubs have bid for the youngster but aren’t saying who and it’s a bit of a stretch, since Arsenal already have a British midfield core for the future, but with Wenger you never know. 3/10

Eden Hazard: His name may be an oxymoron, but Wenger would be a straight moron NOT to sign him. I’ve played him on the x-box* and I can tell you he is better than RonaldoKakaRonaldoRonaldinho all rolled into one. Plus, he wants to play for Arsenal. Never mind that Arsenal has more attacking options than you could shake a stick at, this guy is GOOD. Need we say more? 4/10

Chamakh: Wenger actually admitted that he was looking at this tall striker, but only as an option if Adebayor demands a transfer away. Given the fact that Ade went from 1st place to 5th place in AC Milan’s World Strikers Beauty Pageant I think we all have to admit that this is 50-50 at best. I’m feeling generous, plus I do think Arsene is trying to offload a player who has an attitude problem. 5/10

Lorik Cana: Cana has announced himself as eligible, but ONLY if l’OM sign a replacement. Cana’s logical replacement, Stephane M’Bia, is trying to sign with Marseilles but crap keeps getting hung up. The latest news I read on L’Equipe is that the deal is all but done. Once that happens, expect to see reports linking the £6.5m rated Albanian Supermodel to several clubs, with Arsenal being the favorite owing to the fact that Wenger already tried once before to bring him in and was denied over a work permit. 7/10

Blaise Matuidi: Young, African Francophone, reminds me of Michael Essien, and we do know that Arsene tried to sign Essien. Additionally, he’s reportedly available for a mere £2.5m and further reportedly had a meeting with Wenger this week. Not exactly the guy that Arsenal supporters are looking for, we’d rather have an M’Bia or Cana by my estimation, but certainly fits Wenger’s historical buying patterns. 8/10

There’s your weekly roundup, I’m sure if I missed anyone you’ll let me know about it.

Have fun and see you tomorrow!

Usmanov – Melo + Blaise = Bananas Transfer

Come on dude, hit the red arrow on time and we get a huge bonus!

HA HA! I love the smell of butt-hurt in the morning.

In yesterday’s column I said that we should be prepared for the full court press of Usmanov and his cronies calling us “spendthrift Arsenal” and reminding the world of their philosophy that “only a big money backer can get Arsenal fans a trophy.”And sure enough, there are stories all over the web about Wenger £60m Hit and my personal favorite Usmanov Bemused by Arsenal Rejection.

Let’s make some things clear. First, this is an inflated market — with Real Madrid, AC Milan, and United tossing cash around like water, player valuations aren’t in line with what they should be. Should Arsenal pay over the odds for players? We don’t have a good track record when it comes to doing that, so I would be reluctant to splash big cash in this off season.

Second, if other clubs hear that Arsenal got a £75m injection of cash, then suddenly guys like Blaise Matuidi go from £2.5m to £10m. And guys like Melo start demanding bigger salaries in addition to their hyper inflated transfer fees. Basically, we’re wasting money in order to appease a few vocal fans.

Third, it’s typically distasteful of Usamanov to tell everyone beforehand that it’s a £100m rights issue, intended to pay down debt, that would free up some money every year for player purchases when in reality it was a £75m rights issue, that would all be blown on inflated player transfers, and not actually provide any further financial stability.

And then! The fat f*cking cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae, his thinly veiled threat which even goes back again on their position.

Based on financial information that only they have, the board have informed us that they are confident they have adequate financial resources to support the manager to strengthen the squad, to weather the property downturn, to renegotiate the Highbury Square loan on good terms and to deal with the continuing difficult economic conditions

I mean come on, if Wenger was supposed to get £60m in transfer money, that would only leave £15m to support all those other items. Which would be impossible. Besides which, it’s not a secret that Arsenal already have over £100m in cash reserves. It’s not like they’re exactly hiding this information, when they make it publicly available at the end of every year.

Really this is just PR bullshiat intended to get a few fans riled up and judging from the comments I see all around the web it’s worked.

Chillax and listen to the words of Ivan Gazidis, he’s a smart guy:

Simply spending money in the transfer market does not make a team or guarantee success. The focus is still on developing young talent.

As I have pointed out before Arsenal spend as much money as Spurs every year, though entirely in player salaries. This is our current model, we buy selectively, bring players along, and pay them well. Other clubs, like Spuds, don’t bring anyone along, and spend madly in the transfer market in the hopes of signing a pot of gold. Has it worked for them?

Well, they did get that 5-1 win over Arsenal a few years ago and a Carling Cup trophy. Huzzah…

Funny enough, even though we’re supposedly broke as a biatch we’re still being linked with all kinds of players. First, the Melo situation seems to have taken another turn and talks with Juve have apparently broken off.  I have to wonder if Fiorentina isn’t playing both Arsenal and Juve against each other in the press here. There sure does seem to be some smoke and maybe Arsenal did make a bid, but I’m not sure we’re still on the player’s trail.

Especially since all the world seems to think we’ve leveled a £2.5m bid for Blaise Matuidi. Going so far as to report that a meeting between Arsene and Blaise took place today.

I’m not sure if Wenger’s going to be buying this guy or Lorik Cana but remember all the stuff I said about Lorik Cana yesterday? You can erase all that because Blaise is a young African Francophone. You tell me which player Arsene Wenger is more likely to buy?

There’s also some weird report that Arsenal are supposedly on the trail of Sebastien Bassong. I don’t think there’s much to this story. First off, Arsenal would have to clear out some of our central defenders to make room for him and while I do think that Senderos is probably on his way out, Arsene has been adamant about keeping this group together. So, unless we lose both Gallas and Toure in addition to Senderos, I’d be surprised to see another central defender come in. Second, it’s the player claiming that Arsenal are after him based on a conversation that took place in January. Yeah…

I’m not linking to the two bullshiat stories that have Cesc going to either Barca or Real Madrid, because they are bullshiat.

I will, however, end this with some good news! I always admit when I’m wrong. In fact, I love being wrong because basically I’m a pessimist and tend toward the negative interpretation of events so when I’m wrong, that usually means something really kick ass has just happened. And something kick ass, has, in fact, just happened!

Last year, I predicted that Thomas Rosicky would never play for Arsenal again and just today Rosicky has shot down my pessimism saying that he’s in the best shape of his life and ready to push Nasri and Walcott for a spot on the wings. I’m excited for him. Hell, I’m excited for the fans, I mean can you imagine the roar of the crowd as Arshavin, van Persie, Rosicky and Cesc bear down on a club like Sunderland?

I can and I think it’s going to be a good year.

Gazidis Rejects Usmanov, Like a Boss

reject

Busy day yesterday in Arsenal world, so let’s get stuck in.

First, Arseblog scoops everyone with his interview of Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis. It is an impressive and professional interview, and could easily be used as a template for any aspiring journalists. Remember Giovanni’s goal against Arsenal last year? You know the one, left side of the pitch, he hits a screamer with the outside of his right foot, postage stamp? Arseblog’s interview is like that, except if Giovanni played for Arsenal and hit the goal. You know what I mean… Blogs 1-0 Press.

Then, to add to the surreality of our world, The Telegraph catches on to Arseblogs hilarious Adebayor brochure, after it’s made the rounds, and publishes it in today’s paper. 4 days after even I had made mention of it. Blogs 2-0 Press.

So, now, like the circle of life, here I am talking about that, and how the blogosphere scooped them, which I’m sure they will talk about next week some time, and then it will be 3-0 to the bloggers.

Did that make sense?

Anyway, there’s no reason for me to rehash the Arseblog interview with Gazidis, it’s been hashed plenty. If you want to know how many dozen players Arsenal are signing this year for how many billions of pounds each, you should just go and read it.

I will say this, Ivan Gazidis, in the interview on Arseblog and on the dot com, comes off as a very impressive speaker and thinker and with him at the helm, I think Arsenal’s in very good hands. He says that he wants to grow the club’s brand, to increase the international presence, and there’s more than one hint that Arsene Wenger is at the club for the long haul.  Moreover, the whole club seems to be aching for a trophy and everyone, from players to the CEO, claim that this is going to be our year. From the dot com he said:

We’re laser focused on next season. Our young players have some very valuable high level experience under their belts and will be one year older and better, mentally and physically. They will learn the lessons from last season and will be better players next year as a result. They are ready for the challenge, believe me. If we have a successful and healthy pre-season preparation, we will have extra depth in the squad, with a fully-fit Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky returning, and Andrey Arshavin eligible for all competitions. In addition, Thomas Vermaelen will be available from the outset.

Did he just say that Eduardo, Rosicky, Arshavin and Vermaelen are all going to have frickin lasers on their heads this season? Holy crap, who needs a midfield enforcer when we’ve got Vermaelen with lasers???

Seriously though, every Arsenal supporter would love to see Arsenal bring in an experienced central midfield partner for Cesc. Which makes us all get uptight when we see a story that oft reported Arsenal target Felipe Melo is not signing for Arsenal but is instead signing for Juventus. Two words about that story my friends: The Sun.

This transfer has been up and down, left and right, there’s even an Eboue thrown into the mix, so you’ll pardon me if I take what the Sun has to say about it with a huge grain of salt. In fact, fark that, I’m not even taking it with salt. I will wait until I see him in a Juventus kit before I believe a word that fish-wrapper has to say.

And if we do lose out on Melo, oh well, there’s Blaise Matuidi or, and I really do think he’s on our radar, Lorik Cana. Speaking of which, here’s why I think it’s going to be Cana and not Matuidi or Melo: first, Wenger tried to bring him in to the club when he was younger — that means we’ve been tracking him a long time and we all know how Wenger likes to keep tabs on folks a long time before buying them. Second, he’s cheap. At a mere £6.5m, he fits in Arsenal’s budget, Melo’s reported £21.5m does not. Don’t believe me? Read the Gazidis interviews. Third, he’s not French but speaks the language and plays on a French team (Olympique de Marseille). And finally, when Wenger buys, he likes to surprise. So, erm, don’t be surprised to see someone other than Melo come in.

And finally, in the time honored tradition of “incendiary headline, tiny news blip” I will end today’s article with a huge “meh” and simply say, yes, the board rejected Usmanov’s rights issue. From what I’ve read, it looks like it was exactly what we all feared: a publicity stunt to get Red & White holdings some press over the possibility of big spending on incoming players in the off season. Gazidis basically said that because of the way our debt is structured and our super low interest rate, the rights issue would not have cleared up enough principle to free up a significant amount of money annually.

That’s what they are publicly saying about this rights issue. I have no reason to think they are lying.

That said, I do have every reason to expect that Usmanov and his cronies will now do a full court press in the papers and we should see more “spendthrift Arsenal” and “only a big money backer can get Arsenal fans a trophy” articles in 3… 2…

P.S. Yay for van Persie and yay for Arsenal, him signing a long term deal with the club is one of the strategies that Gazidis talked about in his interviews yesterday. You mean you haven’t read them yet? What’s wrong with you???