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