Tag Archives: Cavani

EX-CLUSIVE: first look at Arsenal’s new WHITE Puma away strip

The Mirror broke with the headline that Arsenal have agreed to a £170m deal with PUMA to supply shirts for the Arsenal starting in, uhhm, they are actually unclear on that fact saying… “The deal, which will not be announced officially for some time…”

But I had a friend on twitter @BayAreaGrimbo who tweeted this picture to another friend of mine and I can confirm that she replied “LOL”.


Seeing the photo, I immediately “swooped” as I believe this to be an exclusive, sneak preview of the new Arsenal away kit starting in, uhh, let’s see, Arsenal’s deal with Nike lasts another year at least, so, let’s go with 2015.

What, exactly, Arsenal will do with all the money from this deal is now up for speculation. Will they buy Cavani? Jovetic? Bony? Falcao? Aubameyang? Lukaku? David Villa? Cesc Fabregas?

Am I just stuffing famous strikers names into this blog post in order to generate more hits because if the deal is real then it won’t put money into Arsene Wenger’s “war chest” until the year after his contract runs out by which time all those players will already belong to Chelsea/ManU/ManCity?

Yes, but it’s for a good cause. Nothing generates hits like a “New Kit” post. And a “new kit” post, plus a “transfer war chest” post, is like that one time when Superman fought Batman in the future.

What I’m trying to say is that I hate comics.



Man U teach Arsenal a lesson: sell sponsorship to London Colney

I know that I’ve said this before but I just can’t find where. But regardless my inability to find my original quote, the sentiment remains the same: Arsenal should sell sponsorship to London Colney to the highest corporate bidder.

I hit upon the idea a few years back. It was an international break and the English national team were practicing at London Colney. I think it was just about the same time that Man U announced that they were getting money from DHL to sponsor the United training kits. Immediately I felt like something was missing and sure enough, noticed that there were no corporate sponsors for Arsenal’s training ground. I can’t remember if I just put the observation in a comment on a blog post or tweeted it but I know for a fact that I sent the club an email suggesting that they get on that before Man U beat them to the punch.

And today, of course, Man U has beat them to the punch, announcing a £120m deal that will hand the naming rights to their training center (plus other special privileges such as private parties and whatnot) to American company Aon. Just in case you’ve forgotten the whole story behind this: Aon is Man United’s current shirt sponsor but Man U sold the shirt sponsorship rights to their training kit to DHL. Man U duped someone at Chevrolet into putting an obscene amount of money into their main shirt sponsorship. Then Man U bought out the last two years of the DHL deal and now they have gone back to Aon and asked them to pony up more money to keep their name at the training center. Incredibly, they said yes.

In a sense this illustrates the power of the Man U brand. Sorry if that offends but it’s true. Man U is now able to dictate terms to sponsors and is pulling in massive amounts from corporate sponsorship with a creative mix of slicing and dicing. They package certain rights to certain parts of the world (China gets one set of sponsors, Europe and America another) and they compartmentalize the United brand and sell different options (training ground, main shirt, etc.). This isn’t some genius strategy on their part, any kid with a single class in economics will tell you, this is just simple market segmentation.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have announced their own “£30m a year” deal with Emirates which I have jokingly said means that Arsenal could buy “Four Falcaos”. All joking aside, it’s not the greatest deal in the world, but not the worst either. The problematic aspects are the long-term naming rights to the stadium (until the year 3030 I think) and the fact that the deal is front-loaded (again, like it was in the first place) meaning that while we will have cash to invest in the squad next year, over the next 10 years that deal will look poorer and poorer as value for pound in the transfer market is squeezed out by the inflationary pressures on player salaries and transfers caused by the unchecked spending of the Sheikhigarchy.

Arsenal are also rumored to be in the market for a new shirt manufacturer, or at least a renegotiated deal on the old one. That should bring in further revenue and along with some concessions in the old contract and Arsenal’s very own segmented marketing strategy will push Arsenal’s commercial revenue stream up. How high? We don’t know yet.

Still, I think Arsenal are missing the beat here with London Colney: the national team still practice there, it’s centrally located in London (who wants to have a corporate function in Manchester?), and it’s a major brand (Arsenal!) ripe for a partnership. Surely Coke or Pepsi want to sponsor London Colney and rename it the “Mountain Dew center for kids who want to play football real good” or something? It could be that the Emirates rights are preventing this or there could be some other reason why they haven’t sold the rights to Colney, we won’t know unless they tell us.

But I would love to see the rights be auctioned off to the highest bidder and for us to take that money and buy Gonzalo Higuain. And Falcao. And Edinson Cavani. BUY ALL THE PLAYERS.



Transfer Porn

A weird thing happened this weekend, something that a lot of Arsenal fans missed because we spend so much time in our own Arsenal bubble. It happened during Southampton’s 3-1 win over Manchester City and no, I don’t mean Joe Hart’s error that led to Southampton’s goal or Gareth Barry’s own goal which sealed the win for the Saints. I talking about a substitution which didn’t happen.

See, Man City went to Southampton with the most expensive team ever assembled on English soil. Sheikh Mansour has already spent well over a billion dollars assembling that team. He pays a lot for the players and then pays them well, the best paid team in the Premier League costs him $310,000,000 a year in salary. And yet, with 7 players on the bench, Manchester City couldn’t name a single striker.

Man City’s bench consisted of Costel Pantilimon, Maicon, Kolarov, Kolo Toure, James Milner Scott Sinclair, and Jack Rodwell. That’s a keeper, two defenders, a defensive midfielder, and three mostly-attack-minded midfielders.

Man City’s manager, Roberto Mancini looked up at the scoreboard, then down the line at his bench and with his team down 3 goals to 1, made three changes: James Milner, Maicon, and Kolarov. That’s an attack minded midfielder and two defenders.

The reason City got into this situation is because they have had problems with the attitude of certain players. Carlos Tevez was one of Man City’s first “big name” signings. They spent lavishly on him and touted him as the symbol of the shift in power from the red side to the blue side of Manchester.


But trouble has always followed Tevez and even with an enormous pay packet Carlos Tevez couldn’t buy what he needs to keep him happy. West Ham are still paying for their encounter with Tevez. Tevez saved them from relegation but because his ownership was muddied, making him ineligible to play in the Premier League, Sheffield United felt like they were relegated unfairly in 2007 and sued the Hammers. Sheffield United won the suit and the Hammers will make their last payment of £6m to Sheffield United in June.

Tevez wasn’t in the City team to face the Saints for “personal reasons”. A tune all too familiar to Man City fans who suffered through a year where Carlos played golf instead of football.

But City started the season with a plethora of talented strikers. They had Dzeko, the 12th man of the season last year, Kun Aguero (their leading goal scorer), Carlos Tevez, and Mario Balotelli — an insanely talented forward. But Balotelli was sold to AC Milan in January, Tevez sat out for personal reasons, and suddenly even the mighty Manchester City, with coffers full of gold, could only muster a substitution of two defenders and James Milner.

If anything this shows me how difficult it is to get this balancing game of players and playing time right. You can’t simply look at the world’s best strikers and say that Arsenal should sign them. You can, of course, but I suspect that you’d admit that you’re living in a fantasy world.

Whenever I write a transfer story I’m cognizant that what I’m really doing is providing you with a fantasy. Something that you can get excited about but which probably will never come true. This January there was the supposed £30m “activation fee” for Mario Goetze, or me comparing Edinson Cavani’s stats with some other player’s stats but really when it gets right down to it, it’s all fantasy.

Transfer stories are porn for sports fans. They are a carefully constructed fantasy world, full of perfect physical specimens, divorced from human emotion, and abstracted from the gritty reality of having to deal with real human interaction. “Can I fix your pipes?” becomes “Can I score some goals for you?” and “Can I head the ball away time and again, keeping clean sheet after clean sheet?”

Like the simplicity of sex in porn, we imagine our team just buying these players and then imagine these players performing physical acts for our team that will bring us to the climax of lifting a trophy.

Sadly, the reality is that even the richest owners in the world can’t just buy whomever they want and when they do they can’t keep the players they have happy, despite paying them a king’s ransom. That’s the reality of transfers and that’s the reality of porn; real people are messy. They have problems that even money can’t overcome.

I’m not saying that I don’t like a good transfer story or that I don’t think Arsenal should buy some players this summer. I’m just saying that I know the difference between reality and porn. And reality is that even Manchester City have difficulty keeping their bench stocked with top talent this season.

And we expect Arsenal to have 3 Cavanis? Fantasy.