Tag Archives: Yann M’Vila


It’s fargin war: Capoue set to sign for Everton, M’Vila for QPR

At this point, I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that if you’re at all a rational person, if you look at the world and are able to make sense of reality, and if you like making sense of things, it’s probably in your best interest to stop reading news about Arsenal now because if you don’t… you… may start throwing things. In fact, just stop reading this post right now.

Seriously. Stop. Go outside, walk the dog.

You’re not stopping? Ok…

Two days ago Arsene Wenger made the proclamation that despite the loss of Arsenal’s most important midfielder (Mikel Arteta) to his now annual January three-week injury layoff Arsenal were not really in the market for a midfielder because “If you think there are any players of Arteta’s calibre available now in January,” he said, “I wish you good luck.”

This was a bold statement from the Arsenal man, especially considering that he had just selected Abou Diaby to play in Arteta’s place in a crucial match against Manchester City. Abou Diaby, who has started a grand total of 24 Arsenal matches in the last 30 months, struggled mightily against the reigning League champs and looked so far removed from “Arteta’s calibre” that the only praise Arsene Wenger could muster for the man after the game was that he played 60 minutes without picking up an injury and that he will “get stronger.”

Meanwhile, reports surfaced this morning that Arsenal look set to lose out on four long-rumored transfer targets as Everton are on the verge of signing Toulouse midfielder Ettiene Capoue, Queen’s Park Rangers look set to swoop for Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila and Marseilles forward Loic Remy, and English forward Wilfried Zaha looks set to sign for Manchester United. Yes, I know, by mentioning Arteta and Diaby and then Remy and Zaha I’m mixing midfielders and forwards. I’m doing that only because there are a lot of folks who believe that Arsenal also need a striker now that star center forward Gervinho has gone off to the Africa Nations of Cups.

And if you’ve ever wondered why there is a divide among Arsenal supporters, or if you’ve ever wanted to catalog what that divide looks like, what arguments each makes, you need look no further than the comments that this article will receive below. Because what this all really comes down to is an argument over what each person believes is “a quality player.”

Some people will argue that Diaby is “Arteta calibre” and they will point to that one game that he had back in 2009 where he really just looked a world beater. The other person will state, plainly, that he may be the Lionel Messi of midfielders but he’s started less than one game a month for the last two and a half years.

Some folks will say “well who the hell are YOU to say which players are quality? You sound like that bitter fan questioning Harry Redknapp over why he picked Frank Lampard over Scott Canham. Redknapp was right, Lampard was miles better than Canham.” And their opposites will reply with a catalog of examples of players that Arsene didn’t rate who turned out to be fantastic.

On it will rage, Arsenal fans will now begin to throw things against walls, probably their own feces, as they go ape-shit over this latest news.

How do I personally feel?

I think Moyes is the most astute manager in the Premier League in terms of getting value out of the transfer market. He doesn’t get the big payouts that Wenger does but then he doesn’t bet as much as Wenger does either because Everton don’t have the same deep pockets that Arsenal have. I have been a fan of Capoue since I was convinced to give him a chance by Tim from Arse2Mouse and I would love to see Capoue in an Arsenal shirt.

Based on his stats and on watching him play football, I believe that Capoue would provide the steel that Arsenal need in midfield, protecting Jack from “wheelchair” tackles. I believe Capoue is a fantastic deep-lying playmaker as well and would offer some great service from distance for either Theo to run under or for Giroud to win. Capoue is also able to play center back and he is one of the best in France in terms of winning aerial duels, I believe that those are two places where he could help Arsenal.

But most importantly, Moyes is reportedly bringing Capoue in because Chelsea are going to sign Marouane Fellaini. And if that’s true, then, it means that Everton are losing a star player to a big-spending team (which many agree is inevitable) and are looking to replace like quality for like quality in the transfer market. And that’s something that many Arsenal fans feel like Arsenal have not really done lately.



You wouldn't want to make him angry

Won’t someone please just call Rennes? ANYONE???

Morning everyone, plenty to go over so let’s just get stuck in.

The first is my article yesterday on Theo van Walcott. Just to make this as clear as possible I will say this: A)  Theo Walcott has flaws (dribbling, touch, injury record, etc.) but he also was Arsenal’s second most important offensive weapon. B) Theo and vain Persie combined for 51% of Arsenal’s League goals last season. C) Theo developed into that player during his youth at Arsenal (just like Ashley Young did at Villa) D) Given the spend of Man U, Man City, and Chelsea, and the extremely unlikely event that either of those three finish outside of the top four again next season that means Arsenal are battling for fourth place. E) Liverpool is an ambitious club with a long history and deep pockets. F) Selling Theo to Liverpool (is still a rumor, but) would represent a weird shift for Arsenal: they are now not only a selling club but we now sell our top players to direct rivals. G) Theo making that move in the way that he did — by breaking off contract talks last year — means simply that he used Arsenal as a training ground to move on to what he perceives are better things.

Second, it’s the curse of this summer that any time I publish a fact (e.g. that Theo has poor touch) I simultaneously get both hyperbolic praise and calumny. Can we all just dial this down a notch? Look at the whole article I write before deciding that it completely backs up or discredits whatever your pet point is.

Third, I see that the Crown police are looking into Rio Ferdinand’s “choc-ice” tweet. I think it’s great the the police in Britain have time to investigate a black man for what amounts to calling another black man Uncle Tom and yet turn a blind eye when thousands of fans sing about how  Adebayor’s dad washes elephants. Also, have I ever told you how much I love to eat choc-ice? Ohh man, I split open that wrapper, splay it wide and just get in there like Richard Nixon, licking every part until is succumbs to my ravaging in a gooey mess. I love me some choc ice.

Fourth, I saw that Andrei Arshavin* returned to training! Here he is looking thin, and happy, and well baked. I actually had a chance to go back and look at his contributions to Arsenal over his career and decided that he’s another figure people will endlessly argue over. 10 goals and 18 assists two seasons ago is nothing to sneeze at but somehow he fell out of favor with Arsene and returned the next year to only give Arsenal 2 goals and 4 assists before being shipped off to Siberia. I suspect that there is more to this story than we could possibly guess. Like he really just missed the borscht in Zenit. Is that racist of me to say that? I mean borscht is a stereotype.

Finally, I just happened upon this article about how Rennes are just waiting for the phone to ring and invite Yann M’Vila to the big dance. The quotes from that article are fucking comedy gold but here let me sum them up:

Yann is our most important player and our only France international, which is why we were all “hey Yann, you can leave this summer.” And Yann was all “sweet! I mean, I love it here, that sucks, but I’m a professional I’ll suck it up and take one for the team.” And then we just sat by the phone waiting for people to call, but no one called and the Loneliest Song Ever Written stated playing and so we ate some ratatouille  galette saucisse. Is that racist of me? I mean, ratatouille galette saucisse is a Rennes stereotype. Anyway, we can’t figure out why no one is calling us despite all the interest from Barcelona, Arsenal, and the TuneSquad so that’s why we gave this interview, you know, to remind people that they are interested in Yann. Anyway, yeah, erm, I’m rambling, so call me some time. You have my number. Talk to you later. OK?

That’s my interpretation.


*Yes, I see that Robin returned to training as well. I also noticed that the club photographer managed to catch him all by himself. I wouldn’t read too much into this. At least he showed up for training, unlike some former players who had injuries that miraculously healed themselves the moment they signed for another club.


To Bouldy go where no Yann has gone before

I’ve heard just about every rumor imaginable about Arsenal over the last few years. Everything from speculation that the reason Arsene didn’t spend any money was because he wanted to leave a “war chest” for his successor to speculation that Arsene Wenger didn’t spend any money because Stan Kroenke was using the cash to buy the team. I’ve also heard this pernicious rumor that Arsene Wenger doesn’t like to hear opinion from others and that as such would never hire a man like Steve Bould or Tony Adams who might question the boss on his playing style. With this morning’s news, I think it’s safe to say that we can put all three of those rumors to bed (thought not quite safely to sleep) for the time being.

On Wenger’s transfer policy over the last few years, the reality is probably far more complicated than we’d all like to think. We see other teams snapping up players like Juan Mata and Gary Cahill and it looks easy when it’s really not. We only ever see the end product, what goes on before Mata signs for Chelsea is more complicated than I care to write about this morning. We also fantasize about a past and particularly a past chairman who “just got things done”. Again, this is easy to do when all you see is a rumor on the back page of a broadsheet and then a week later a photo of Bergkamp holding an Arsenal shirt.

I suspect that when the story of Arsenal over the last 7 years is finally told we will read a tale of great hubris, failures, successes, miscalculations, back stabbing, players refusing to do what they are told and almost none of it will be the names you think will be tied to each of those adjectives. We simply do not know what’s been going on.

But we do know that Arsenal have broken the mould a bit this summer and have signed Lukas Podolski before before the season has even ended. This is a season where the club could end up anywhere from 3rd place to 6th place on the final dy and yet the Podolski signing is a clear a signal of the club’s intentions: no matter where we finish this year, the aim is to be better in the next.

Indeed the boss has also been startlingly vocal about his squad and frankly I think he’s sick and tired of yelling at the fourth official and throwing water bottles all over the place because he, of all people, knows that it’s not the fourth official or the Emirates branded Nike Obsidian water that’s been the real problem, it’s the team. And the team have plenty of players that they need to get off the books, I don’t even need to list them here because you all know the names better than I do. I think Wenger knows their names as well and is ready to move them on and bring in fresh blood.

To that end, we are hearing strong rumors (some even saying that it’s a done deal) that Yann M’Vila is on the verge of signing with Arsenal for a record transfer fee of nearly £18m. If true, that’s incredible for several reasons. The first is that it’s an admission that the Arsenal midfield needs some steel. I know that people like to disagree over what every player brings to the table but M’Vila is legitimate holding midfielder. Of course he can play box to box, of course he’s creative, of course he can pass the ball with great range, and of course his touch is great and he holds the ball well. I would expect nothing less from an Arsene Wenger signing, he’s hardly going to go out and get a one-dimensional player like Scott Parker. But M’Vila is a defensive midfielder and you will be surprised (pleasantly I think) at how few times you see the opposition simply waltz past him.

But the most remarkable thing is that if the rumors are true it means that Arsenal will be paying a record fee for a defensive midfielder. I’ve long thought that Wenger doesn’t so much disregard the value that this position brings but rather undervalued it, in the sense that he thought it crazy to spend more than a certain amount in acquiring a DM. So, £18m is a tactic admission that he was wrong, that this is a specialists position, and that should you find one who can tackle like Scott Parker and pass like Alex Song, well maybe that guy is worth a good bit of money.

And then there’s the Steve Bould story. Arseblog wrote this morning that “Steve Bould will this week be confirmed as Arsenal’s new assistant manager.” That bold of a statement from the well-respected Arseblog himself is as close to fact as we get, until it’s published on the dot com. And yet it was just yesterday that various other sources were reporting that Bould would never take the job because Wenger won’t listen to anyone else. Apparently, some folks believe that Wenger locks himself in his fortress of solitude and plays subutteo all afternoon while the assistant manager just arranges the cones on the deck of the Titanic.

There’s no doubt that Wenger is a stubborn man, that he’s a man with a vision, and that he likes things his own way. There’s also no doubt that Wenger is insanely detail oriented, wanting to be involved in every aspect of the club and probably having an opinion on anything that anyone ever does. That’s what all great men are like. He’s a figure like Frank Lloyd Wright; obsessed with details, sometimes to the detriment of the big picture, builds flawed houses, but everyone wants a Wright house, and he changed architecture forever.

That’s why I laugh when people use Wenger’s stubborn streak as a club to beat him. Saying that he “needs someone to challenge” his ideas. Do you really think Mourinho’s second is challenging him? And what does that look like to you? A scene from Uncle Pulis’ Naked Shower Hour?

Yes, Wenger is stubborn. He can be since he’s done nothing less than change football in England while being the greatest manager Arsenal have ever seen and building a 60,000 seat arena. But, if it comes to pass that Bould becomes that Arsenal number two and that Milla Vanilla* signs for £18m, I think it signals a change in Arsene Wenger. Perhaps a slowing down of his activities at the club and of moving to the next phase of his career.

Which would be a bold move, entirely on Arsene Wenger’s terms.


*Blame it on the rain