Tag Archives: Gonalons


Gone-alons, Fellaini needs a brow wax, and Dancing Queen (Higuain)

I will admit that I have secretly coveted Maxime Gonalons at Arsenal for several years now. That’s why I make a Google News alert for “Gonalons Arsenal” two years ago and have been monitoring his transfer situation since. I’ve even written a post Banging the Gong for Gonalons. I think he reads the game well from a defensive standpoint, he’s strong in the air, and has an impressive, almost Pirlo-esque, range of passes at his command.

But he’s not for sale and never has been. Olympique Lyonnais posted an official statement on their web site that read “(we) were surprised to learn, by reading L’Equipe, that a fee has been defined for the sale of Maxime Gonalons and that this would be more than €12m. The club has no intention to give up its captain. The club’s development strategy is clear – Gonalons is one of the most promising young players. No clubs have contacted us, especially Napoli, and the club is sorry about the fact that some say to the contrary.”

This is interesting because I have found that L’Equipe is a very reliable source for transfer news. For them to have gotten this story about Gonalons going to Napoli wrong there must have been some pretty strong subterfuge on the part of either Gonalons’ agent or someone inside Lyon. But it really does look like they got this wrong! And Gonalons is not for sale.

Which is ok, right? Because that lady on twitter says that Fellaini is coming to Arsenal. I don’t know who she is, because I’m not in the know about her, but I am in the know about 101 great goals and they reported that she reported on twitter that he told her “I really hope so” or something when she asked if he was coming to Arsenal. That seals the deal!

Alternately, this could have been a case of the big Belgian simply mishearing her question. I can imagine a man, in a nightclub, with his hair covering his ears, could mis-hear a woman asking about coming to Arsenal. For example, maybe he thought she wanted him to store his bike in her trunk?

Also, I get the hair thing, Marouane, but the unibrow? That’s not how us Arsenal guys roll, mate. Sort your life out, seriously.

As for who I’d rather have at Arsenal, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I want the one who Arsenal sign. That’s right, I would take any of Fellaini, Gonalons, whatever, just someone big, ugly, and man mountainish, with hair like a caveman, who will scare the daylights out of Scott Parker.


And finally, is Arsenal going to sign Higuain today? I don’t know, but apparently Arsenal are in Spain trying to make it happen. No, I’m not going to make a Spain/Plain/Rain/Higuain joke, mostly because East Lower already did, instead I’ll make a terrible suggestion that Arsenal fans sing this song for Higuain to the tune of Dancing Queen.

He can dance, he can jive having the time of his life.
see that goal, watch that pass, diggin the Higuain.

Wednesday night and the lights are low
Champions League against Bordeaux.
Wenger plays Theo on the right, get out wide on the wing
Whip that cross, in swing.

Not anyone could be that guy,
Theo’s cross is too high.
But with a bit of luck the ball, dribbles across the goal
You’re in the mood for a dance,
and when you get the chance…

You score like Higuain, swift and sweet, number seventeen!
Gonzo Higuain! Getting the rub of the green.
He can dance, he can jive – having the time of his life.
See that goal, watch that pass, diggin the Higuain.

Playing center, you turn on ‘em.
Leave ‘em burning, then you”re gone.
Looking out for another, any goal will do
You’re in the mood for a dance,
and when you get the chance…

You score like Higuain, swift and sweet, number eightteen!
Gonzo Higuain! Getting the rub of the green.
He can dance, he can jive – having the time of his life.
See that goal, watch that pass, diggin the Higuain.



Arsenal transfer roundup: Bendtner, Vermaelen, Gundogan, Bender, Higuain oh lie!

When my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor’d youth,
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppress’d.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter’d be.

Sonnet 138, William Shakespeare: The Complete Works

Let us start Sunday off with some truth, or at least a truth; the truth according to Nicklas Bendtner.

Bendtner is leaving Arsenal, soon… Within a few weeks. If I were to guess I would say probably July 1 when the actual transfer window opens, he will be registered with a new club and no longer be our concern. Blah blah blah, wasted talent, blah blaah blaah, name on the “Hat Trick Heroes Wall”, blah blah blah, TGSTEL, etc etc, cheers, here’s to you Nicklas… Bottoms up son.

Like many players of the post-Highbury Youth Brigade, Nicklas Bendtner was a divisive character. I was there when he spurned a hat-trick of easy chances against Burnley and the one thing that stood out in my mind was how the crowd cheered when he was subbed off: on one side of me was a man clapping ironically and saying that he hoped Bendtner would never play for Arsenal again and on the other side of me was a man who kept going on about what a terrific shift Bendtner put in and how he was just unlucky. Then, in mid-week, against Porto, when Arsenal needed a good win because the Portuguese side had beaten us in the away leg, Bendtner got a hat trick. And that was Nicklas Bendtner.

That was an incredible time at Arsenal. Walcott was being hosed by Chris Waddle, Nasri still liked playing for us, Andrei Arshavin sparked from the wings that night, and Vermaelen was at the top of his game stopping Hulk and Falcao from getting on the score sheet, with a little help from Almunia.

So, what’s the Truth? Walcott is still a divisive figure (though he looks like he’s on the verge of something special at Arsenal to me), Nasri, Arshavin, Bendtner, and Almunia are all gone and Thomas Vermaelen is not anywhere near the top of his game.

A fact which is not entirely the Truth. Vermaelen suffered a strange injury to the tendons in his legs, had surgery and spent much of the next two years recovering.

But there have always been half-truths about Thomas Vermaelen. He was considered one of the best “headers” of the ball in his best season (2009-2010) but again, the truth there does not bear that out as in that season he won just 58% of his aerial duels, a number which has only dipped slightly to 55% since his injury. 70% or better is good in the air and all the big players like Distin, Hangeland and Cahill manage more than 70%. Per Mertesacker has finally adjusted to the League (probably with help from Steve Bould) and jumped from 63% to 69% and is winning a lot more both offensively and defensively. But Vermaelen lost a lot and still loses a lot of headers.

Perhaps it was the fact that we willingly accept the deceit of love which had me plunk down $100 of my hard earned money for a shirt with his name on the back.

He came back and was made captain at Arsenal and in the first few weeks of the new season everything was going well as it was Koscielny who seemed to be the one making mistakes. But then some worrying form crept in to his game and TV5 started making high-profile errors. People started questioning if he should be captain because his form had gotten so bad that by the end of January people were openly asking for him to be dropped. After the error against Liverpool, he was reportedly injured but the fact remains that from Feb 1 to the end of the season, TV5 made just 3 starts and 4 subs.

People were so relieved by his replacement that Koscielny inexplicably was voted above Mikel Arteta in the player of the year race, despite Koscielny’s rather ignominious start to the season.

We talk about truth and about accepting the deceit of love and that brings me to my million dollar question: Barcelona are reportedly interested in Thomas Vermaelen, would you sell him? You can’t weasel out of the question by stating “if the price is right”. In their pomp I wouldn’t have sold Theirry Henry or Cesc Fabregas for any price. Haggling over price is yes by another name. So would you?

Like Shakespeare said, we know that we are surrounded with lies and that our love (Arsenal? The Press? Transfer stories in general? All of the above?) lies to us and yet we willingly embrace the half truths. Technically, the term is confirmation bias: we listen to what we want to hear. Thus, if you wish that Arsenal are going to spend a lot of money in the transfer market The Daily Mail may be your paper of record and so on. But this reaches odd new levels when I see one reporter (or worse, some guy on twitter) tipped as having more credibility than any other reporter.

Reporters report what they are told. If a BBC reporter says that Arsenal are not interested in Fellaini then that just means someone told that reporter that. If the Times reporter says that Arsenal are interested in Fellaini then that means someone told that reporter that. Both reporters will get things wrong and frankly you don’t have any objective proof that David Ornstein is more correct than any other reporter, he was notably wrong on van Persie and on Arteta.

And of course, it’s Sunday. We all want to big stories to be true and the Daily Mail has probably the most divisive story of all: the one where Arsenal are going to dump the warchest out and smear pirate booty all over the chests of some “up and coming players” like Higuain, Bender, and Gundogan. Perhaps they will? Perhaps Arsenal just told Rob Draper that so that they can get you all to renew your season tickets? Maybe the players agent told him that? Maybe the other club told the reporter, like Toulouse did with Capoue?

We don’t know. We do know, however, that there are a lot of competing stories and that people are happy to listen to the reporter that tells them the side of the story they want to hear. Whispering sweet nothings in your ear as you lay in the grass dreaming of the season ahead.


Comparison of Defensive Midfielders


Word to the wise, all of these midfielders I think are “good enough” for Arsenal but they all have slightly different playing styles. I’ve Banged the Gong for Gonalons since February because I think he’s the exact type of player Arsenal need: cultured passer, tackles well, reads the game well, and is good in the air (70%). You will no doubt disagree. Please, do so below. I will be back to answer questions this evening.

Did he eat Arshavin?

Denilson’S anogo for Wanmaya at Arsenal plus Higuain says goodbye for Real

The summer transfer rumor mill is in full swing today and I have gone puntastic as reported Arsenal and Juventus target Gonzalo Higuain has said farewell to Real Madrid, Arsenal has said farewell to Denilson, Yaya Sonogo has said hello to Arsene Wenger, Perry Groves has linked Arsenal to Victor Wanyama and Lukas Podolski has scotched The Sun’s reports that he is off to Borussia Dortmund as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski.

And it’s only Monday!

If I had a tuppence for every time I have been asked “do you want Jovetic or Higuain” at Arsenal since January I would probably have a pound of them. Regardless, my answer has always been the same: Jackson Martinez. The Porto forward is simply tearing up the Liga and has the power and finishing that would compliment Arsenal’s more technical players like Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal would have to be willing to stump up the whole €40m of his release clause, a value Tottenham have fallen short of by €10m at least, so far, in their attempts to land the Colombian. I doubt Tottenham could actually afford Martinez, unless Gareth Bale is sold, which could be why they are contacting Porto, get the replacement ball rolling early as it were.

According to some sources, Tottenham are also in talks with Arsenal target David Villa and that seems a much more likely signing to me at around £12m. Apparently, Villa has choice of North London teams and if he picks them over Arsenal I will henceforth refer to him as the Asturian Robbie Keane. Of course, if he picks Arsenal, well then he’ll just be a genius signing.

In many ways that’s where I fall on the question of which of Villa, Higuain, Jovetic, and other forwards currently linked to Arsenal: I would like to see them all sign for Arsenal equally, but Higuain more equally than the others.

Put aside stats for a second (don’t worry, I’ll do a stats post some time) just the thought of Arsenal signing Higuain has me a bit excited because he scores goals like this:

And he does that a lot. Higuain even has a Bergkamp-esque goal in one compilation which is especially annoying because it’s like I’m watching the video through a sideways vagina.

Jovetic has scored some good looking goals, yes. And yes, David Villa is a wonderful poacher. And I would take any of those three at Arsenal but there are plenty of “best of” videos out there for all three players and I highly recommend you comparing them on your lunch break. Then you tell me which of those three you’d rather see at Arsenal.

Higuain would probably want to double his £60k a week salary but that shouldn’t be a stumbling block for Arsenal as the Gunners are reportedly clearing the decks to make room for signings like Higuain.

Fabianski, Squillaci, and Arshavin are all out of contract come July 1 and the three of them represent around £9m a year in salary (£180k a week). There are also a huge number of very expensive players out on loan who Arsenal could cut loose this summer and realize some salary savings as well because their loan clubs rarely pay the entire weekly stipend.

The biggest names among the wasters are Denilson, Chamakh, and Bendtner. It has been rumored today that Arsenal are on the verge of buying Denilson out of his contract and if so it’s a sad end to his Arsenal career. I know that won’t be a popular sentiment but I remember a young man full of potential who just sort of failed at Arsenal for whatever reason. Most people will say “f*ck him, he was paid well” but it’s not his fault Arsene Wenger gave him a massive contract after one good year at the club and if you can’t see that it’s sad to watch a guy fail at the highest level then I don’t know what to say.

It’s not like he was Nicklas Bendtner or anything. Denilson just wasn’t good enough, Bendtner has his name on the Hat Trick Heroes wall at the Emirates and I know because I was there when he scored three on Porto. Unlike Denilson, Bendtner has flushed his career down the drain with a mixture of booze and hubris and the club will be happy to be shot of him as soon as possible. I suspect he will also need to be bought out of his contract and that he will use the money to pursue his dream of making jewelry for the sensei of Cobra Kai Dojo.

And Chamakh, Chamakh. Sigh.

But so far, Arsenal have not signed anyone of that Higuain quality and instead there are very strong indications that the club are signing Yaya Sonogo. The young Auxerre man was quoted saying:

Arsene Wenger came to see me in Paris and was very frank. He told me that if I was good enough, I would have my chance. It’s been a year and a half that I have not played because of injury.

Naturally, talk of Arsenal purchasing an unproven French 20 year old with a history of injury has people nervous, anxious, or pacing around like a trapped lion hungry for fresh kill. But let’s just hope that Sonogo is part of a package of forwards that Wenger is going to buy.

Though at some point you have to start to wonder how all these forwards (that I want him to buy!) are going to fit at Arsenal and whether or not forwards beyond Sonogo are even on the menu. There have been a lot of stories about Podolski leaving this summer which I found very odd because he is in his first year at the club and a lot of Arsenal supporters moaned about how few games he finished. But he did score 16 goals and chipped in with 11 assists (all competitions) putting him third in both categories.

There is an argument to be made that none of the three starting forwards need to be replaced and I can understand that: Walcott scored 21, Giroud 17, and Podolski 16. But, beyond those three Arsenal don’t have depth as Gervinho is unconvincing and Arshavin is off. Sonogo as the only signing in that position would be disappointing to me.

Did he eat Arshavin?

And finally, the other player who needs a backup is Mikel Arteta. I’ve been clear about my admiration for Arteta and Arsenal will need to spend heavily, I suspect, to land the type of cultured passer with the same positional sense that the Spaniard provides. Perry Groves tipped Celtic midfield destroyer Victor Wanyama for Arsenal but I would be surprised if Arsene buys a player like that. The fact that Lyon have had to say that Gonalons is not for sale leads me to believe that the links to Bang a Gong Gonalons are real. As you can read in the link above, I feel he’s the best understudy to Arteta in world football now.

See how I didn’t say that Wanyama is crap?