At about 4pm my time Tuesday, while all decent souls in England slept, The Mirror reported that Arsenal were set to sign a 5 year shirt deal with Puma worth a reported £170m. The response on twitter was immediate, the jokes began to flow, the congratulations, the moaning, and of course everyone began spending the money that Arsenal won’t actually bank until at least 2014.
Just to give you a sense of how big this story was in the Arsenal online community I made a joke on Twitter about how this image (below) was an “Exclusieve” look at the new Puma-Arsenal WHITE away kit and I received something like 1000 retweets in just a few minutes.
Instead of giving twitter free traffic, I pulled my tweet down and posted a longer version of the same joke here on 7amkickoff. After all, hits mean money and money means I get to go to England to see Arsenal next season.
I kind of knew this would happen but within minutes my site was down and it stayed down until around 2am. The story has all of the markers of a huge hit generator for Arsenal web sites: new kit, money, the hint of transfers, and of course I used “white away” which pushed the button of the memory of that white away turd that Nike foisted on us a few years back.
Jokes aside, my real reaction to this story is that we need to all take a deep breath and wait for some facts. You know, “stuff not reported by John Cross”. I’m not saying he’s the worst reporter or even that he has his facts wrong but with deals this big you always have too look at the details before you can say much of anything.
Sadly, some people are already spinning the deal as negative: it’s not big enough, it’s not the biggest deal in English football history, it’s only average, Puma kits are ugly, etc. These folks wouldn’t be happy no matter what Arsenal do: win the League Cup and “it’s not a real trophy”, win the League and “we should have won in 2007-2008″, get a massive shirt sponsorship deal and “yeah but its front loaded which makes me wonder why Arsenal are so cash strapped!” Etc.
Here’s how I’m going to measure this and every deal (TV money, Emirates sponsorship, Puma, Thomas Cook, Pringles, Gauloises, Trojan warming gel, whatever) until August 2013: by the players Arsenal buy and the trophies we win. That’s all that really matters.
Of course there will be smaller stories about how much money we have, whether we have the £100m or so that I think we need to spend on this squad, and where the money is going but ultimately I just want to see the next Henry, Bergkamp (think we already have him in Cazorla), Campbell, and Vieira. That’s it.
Before the furor had even begun to subside over the Puma shirt news story, Sir Alex Ferguson sensed an opportunity to one-up his old rivals and decided to announce his retirement from football. Good. It’s about time.
I don’t give two fucks, TWO FUCKS, about his record or any of this other shit we hear about “what a great man he is” or how he “helped English football.” Save the hagiographies for when he’s actually dead. I have never liked him or the things he got away with in the media, on the field, and with his teams on the pitch and I’m not going to go all jelly soft in the middle over him now that he’s retired. Besides we all know that he’ll be back in 6 months when he takes over for Moyes or whomever fails in his place.
Who will take over from him? Well, that’s the real question now. United announced that the next manager would be “cut from the same cloth as Busby and Fergie” which has led many to the conclusion that Moyes is tipped to take over. It led me too believe that the next manager will be a diaper (because Fergie is full of shit). I have no idea who is taking control but you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be Sam Allardyce, no matter what he says he could do if only he had a bigger team.
That said, I feel like all this is an opportunity for Arsenal. There seems to be a lot of money sitting around. The figures have been guestimated between £70-100m last summer and even more this and more the next summer when the Puma money comes in, especially if the Puma money is front loaded like reports say it is. That ability to buy for two consecutive years is important because no team, not even City and Chelsea, are able to get all their targets in the first year.
And there are plenty of positions that need filling at Arsenal: I’ve been banging on about getting a keeper at Arsenal for years — if Szczesny’s good enough the competition will make him better; we also need to replace Arteta, who is a hugely important player and leader, but he can’t play forever — get in one of these guys like Gonalons who is big and can make a pass; Arsenal need forwards — Gervinho has played 2 years with Arsenal and scored 11 goals, we need to call time on this guy, sorry, but there are other dribblers out there in the world who don’t need to be molly-coddled. And that’s not a complete list nor does it address issues with depth at Arsenal. For example, Bony is only £10m folks, £10m. That’s what Arsenal paid for Gervinho and I can tell you that Bony is a far sight better than Gervinho.
Another opportunity is that a lot of players are leaving Arsenal this summer as well which will clear plenty of Salary room to make a big name signing. Squillaci, Arshavin, Fabianski, Djourou, and others are coming off the books, their salaries combined are over £200k a week. That money could buy a player like Cavani, Lewandowski, or Bale, big names, big salaries… money we will have.
But first, Arsenal need to qualify for the Champions League and to do that they need to win their last two games against the two worst defenses in the League: Wigan has allowed 67 goals and Newcastle has allowed 66 goals. Yes, they are both battling to escape relegation but Wigan has to play Man City in the FA Cup final, then three days later Arsenal.
4th place is in our hands, no matter what Spurs do, Arsenal have 4th place locked up if they win their last two games. And frankly, if we can’t beat Wigan and Newcastle we don’t deserve 4th place.
And talking about opportunity, 3rd place is even open for us, depending upon what kind of disaster strikes Chelsea and Tottenham. See… opportunity from disaster.