Arsenal Transfer Bingo


Football transfers are all smoke and mirrors; Mulder and Scully would find the search for truth in this arena as painfully frustrating as in the search for extra-terrestrial life. They should have gone to Slough for that answer. I guess that was too simple, too limiting for the producers of the television series. One which poses such questions and then finds the answers in the first episode is somewhat limiting. You could stretch it out by encompassing the whole trip and show it real time: Episode One – The Journey To Flight; Episode Two – Q; Episode Three – The Wait. Even then I’m not sure there’s much mileage in it. Well, beyond that actually travelled.

You might have guessed that this morning’s blog is smoke and mirrors; there’s not much going on. Arsène has applied the usual caveats to talk of signing Edinson Cavani so the much-mooted £30m transfer is off. If it were ever on in the first place. Which I doubt. A new reason for not buying a player emerged, that they would be cup-tied in the Champions League. HOUSE! Yes! I’ve won the Arsenal Transfer Bingo – every reason not to sign someone has now emerged.

For Wenger, it is a bit difficult to know what he is supposed to say. Being unable to play in one tournament that can still be won is really scraping the barrel as reasons for public inactivity goes. I suppose that when names are mentioned in future, he will have to rely on “Warm”, “Hot”, “Ice-cold”, as answers when hacks turn in their questions about who is the latest target. Or continue to feed off the desire of the support for ills to be cured and make up transfer targets. The latter is the easiest course although the former has potentially more fun. For one press conference at least. In part. For five minutes.

It is inconceivable that a player would be rejected simply for being cup-tied for the remainder of this season. We are still playing for fourth place – there is not point in looking beyond that until Tottenham are overhauled; take fourth then look at third and so forth. Well third. Sigh. The ardour with which a high cost signing was pursued without any hint of substance was incredible; that shows the depths to which the confidence of some has fallen. Perhaps it’s true, I doubt it. Stories with seemingly more depth have turned out to be false and the ultimate beauty of the scenario is the barreness. I’m liking it more as I think about it.

Fortunately Wilfred Zaha is still on the market despite being signed by Manchester United last week. Well, that’s what the papers claimed and maybe United have tried to reach agreement with the Palace. A shame they’ve been talking to Liz and Phil rather than Prince Ian of Selhurst. Fortunately Theo Walcott is signing his new deal. By the speed of his signature, when he’s learned joined up writing. Either that or Arsenal are waiting for the Banda machine copies of the contract. Look it up if you don’t know what a Banda machine is. The youth of today.

Patience is a virtue at the moment, the view that most transfer business is done in the final week is going to be realised for anything Arsenal do. Which isn’t much of a guess since by this time next week, we will be into the last week of the window. Understandably in one sense, Wenger is waiting to see what happens with Abou Diaby, waiting to see if there is any reaction to recent injuries. If none, he should still not rely on the Frenchman as anything more than a bit-part player overall. When fit, great but unfortunately his fitness issues mean that he is not a player around whom a squad can be built. To do so is folly.

That contract is another reason for delaying signature(s). Until Team Walcott do put pen to paper, words mean nothing. However, is signing a new striker now the highest priority? In some eyes yes, others think more protection for the back four is still the more pressing need.

Transfer talk is a vicious circle. The more that the rumours mount, the more that there is a clamour for truth. In a situation such as Arsenal’s where the first half of the season has left the team short of expectations, action is going to be the only thing to sate demands for improvement. Yet clubs are already facing pressure from agents who try to create an auction on a sale through leaking to the press. Making formal announcements only invites other clubs who are interested, to act and possibly usurp a deal. Let’s be honest, in any walk of commercial life, successful deals are not trumpeted until the ink is dry. Football is no different.

It’s just that the horn section should have been exhausted by now.

’til Tomorrow.

287 thoughts on “Arsenal Transfer Bingo

  1. jonny i think le coq will eventually turn into the defensive lynchpin you were describing but he has a while to go yet,probably needs to bulk out a little and learn his when to stay and go but he will get there


    Ahead of Chelsea game with weather forecasts predicting cold, grim weather, Arsenal FC has swooped into the market paying well over the odds for a Canada Goose parka for 450 pounds to give manager Arsene Wenger greater comfort options on the bench. “It is top, top quality, fastens very smoothly in the style we want to use and zips up quickly with great technique,” explained the frigid Frenchman on the edge of the training ground at London Colney shivering in the open sleeping bag that passes for his coat. “I can’t wait to get it on the pitch. But it will be a few minutes before the custom duties are paid and it can be delivered–but it passed all the inspections.” Steve Bould, however, despite rumours of a similarly bold purchase of an thinsulate lined track suit believes that any big money winter gear in the January transfer window would be unnecessary as he has faith in his lycra shorts to be adequate.

  3. Shotta @ 6:37

    You old grumpy pants. 🙂

    What part of my statement is not true? The reports are that he signed for 100K/week which is exactly what all the stories have said he wanted since the whole saga started last summer. Three cheers for Theo since he had the integrity not to bump up his demands after he played so well early in the season. Still a bit of a head scratcher why it took so long but better late then never. No?

  4. @Vice

    I agree with you mate except I think Santi closes the ball down quite well. It must be the Spain in him but he works hard defensively and does quite well. He reminds of like a Nat or fly that just keeps nagging and nicking you and then next thing you know, he got you and got what he wanted!

  5. Bill, maybe he did bump them up and AFC had to compromise with his new demands at the level he had been demanding earlier. That might partly explain why it ended up taking longer and dragging on the last several weeks. Perhaps?

  6. Limey you forgot poor old Neil Banfield. Everyone’s forgotten Neil. 😥
    He only coaches a third of the team ( the mid. is what I heard).

  7. c,

    I think Cazorla closes down pretty well too, perhaps that is a reason why the team seemed so balanced v. Swansea. Santi and our entire front line were closing down well with our midfield trio right behind them. I would like to see that continue against Chelsea. They can play some decent football if we don’t take it to them.

  8. @LSG

    That is the biggest news in recent times for Arsenal. I was hoping he would make the transfer which is very unArsene like that he did. His zipper the last couple of matches seemed to give him a decent bit of trouble. Bouldie is Old school he doesn’t do zippers just sweatsuits over the head.

  9. a_or_b – not that it matters a jot but in the context of the earlier ‘English Spine’ discussion, Conor Henderson was born in England.

    Hopefully he’s young enough to overcome his injury set backs.

  10. @Vice
    O I completely agree but the thing is I think Podolski’s work rate and finishing is the hey here. When he plays on the left and Santi centrally we get the finishing and defensive work rate(even though Le Coqs volley was beautiful to watch such a shame it didn’t go in). I do fancy if Le Coq doesn’t Starr for Diaby we could see him come on around 65-75 to close out the match then start against West Ham.

  11. It would do wonders for us to pick up 6 points in these next two matches. I really hope the squad builds on the positive energy and does not fall back into its schizophrenic ways.

  12. Theo finally signed? Great news, although its not so much ‘news’ anymore as we’ve been expecting it for days now.

    I recall George saying it didn’t make sense for him to be our highest paid player at 100k/w. Do you still think that George? I hope not.

  13. From the Arsenal newsletter:

    Kieran Gibbs believes that his run of consistent form and fitness over the past year has banished any concerns that he might be ‘injury prone’.

    The left-back will soon make his 100th appearance for the Gunners, almost two thirds of which have come in a 12-month period that has seen him go from strength to strength – and he is revelling in the chance to show what he can do.

    “I think I’ve done well lately — 2012 was probably my best year. Even after having the hernia, I managed to come back and play the final 15 games of last season and the first half of this season. I think it shows that I’ve got it in me to play that number of matches, and proves that I’m not injury-prone, as people may have thought.”

    It’s a far cry from some of the darker times he endured a few years ago. The 23 year-old explains that, after breaking his metatarsal in November 2009, there was a fleeting moment when he thought he might never play football again.

    “Breaking my foot triggered quite a lot of my injuries,” he said.

    “It took me eight or nine months to get over that injury, which turned out to be really serious in the end. I remember the doctor ringing me. He said he had bad news, and I thought he was going to tell me I wouldn’t be able to play again. In fact, he told me I needed to have more surgery, and funnily enough the boost that gave me was massive. Coming from a moment when you think that’s it, you’re finished, to one where you realise you can carry on is such a great feeling, a massive relief, and I used it as motivation to approach my recovery positively.

    “Before that I’d never really had injuries, but in the next couple of years I had quite a few and it was really frustrating. I did my knee and rolled my ankle, and later on I had a hernia. I just got on with it and never really listened to any comments. I just knew the most important thing was that I got back and let people judge me on my football.”

  14. Dupps:

    “I think the delay was more about the length of the contract plus other ‘rumoured’ offers”

    Really? Whatever the hold up it was good that they were able to compromise. Just glad we kept him. I certainly did not think that Theo would ever sign another Arsenal contract.


    “Bill, maybe he did bump them up and AFC had to compromise with his new demands at the level he had been demanding earlier. That might partly explain why it ended up taking longer and dragging on the last several weeks. Perhaps?”

    I suspect that the numbers that we read in the press were leaked by team Walcott. Can’t think of any reason why the club would leak the numbers. If Theo had changed his demands or been unreasonable in any way then the club would have had reason to leak the info. His “reported demands” never changed despite all that was written in the last 7 months so I have no reason to think he might have done that. However, nothing we can do but guess what might have happened.

  15. Szcz

    +Vito, Santos, Kos, Coq, Rambo, Ox, AA.

    …snowy conditions: perfect for the return of the Czar!


  16. 100 appearances already? He’s a big boy now, our Keiran. It wasn’t that long ago he was just a youth player, was it?

  17. Nostrathymus says, “barring serious injury, Kieran Gibbs will become one of the greatest LBs in english football”.

    he was totally unstoppable against the Swans.
    once he scores a couple more, watch out!

  18. @Shotta,

    Whether Bill “contrived” it or not is supposition on your part, which is interestingly what Bill was using in making his conclusion. I think people need to realise everyone talking on here is offering their opinion. You using the “polite” reference as if to justify your dig just again smacks of the divide that you willing to perpetuate on this site. It is not your site, nor anyone’s but YW’s and he has, in his wisdom chosen to allow people to enact their free speech within reason… yes, even yours.

  19. well if Walcott sees out his new contract he will have been her for 10 years. that is rare in todays world. Kinda cool though 🙂

  20. I think AW will play Diaby in almost all games to see if his body can cope. if it cannot cope its clear he will have to buy someone els to cover. But if it can cope it will be great. Maybe we can even wait for Aneke to become mature enough to fill inn…

  21. The slight concern with Kieran is that physically he is still not a big boy – so to speak

    I prefer my full backs chunkier 🙂

    Having a great season though

  22. viceologist @ 8:42 pm,

    I strongly agree. For me, Cazorla OR Jack should occupy the advanced midfield position but (almost) never both. Santi seemed to do fine out wide on Wednesday and I’d rather Le Coq behind either of them (ably supported by Abou). This seems especially important against Sunday’s opponents.

  23. Jonny, you prefer him over Clichy because he wears an Arsenal shirt? or is there some trait you see in Gibbs that is missing in Clichy?

  24. MA,

    “is there some trait you see in Gibbs that is missing in Clichy?”

    As natural winger, Gibbs gives better dribbling skills and delivers a better ball: not to mention, he can finish. Defensively, I also think he had more tenacity.

    I know the question wasn’t directed at me but, ah oh.

  25. MA,

    I’d say that Gibbs is more complete a player than Clichy. Let’s not forget how long it took for our ex-left back to score his first goal. GC often got into good positions going forward but seemed to lack attacking belief in his abilities. Gibbs is better in that department. To be fair, they can both be defensively suspect but KG has the opportunity to improve in that sense.

    And plus the fact, GC has developed a really crap sense in hairstyles since leaving.

  26. @Dgob,

    I like both to be honest, I think Clichy was the better defender. I say that purely on the basis of the games I have seen. I have never seen Gibbs playing live whereas I was fortunate enough to have been Clichy. I think they are both very effective going forward and I find it hard to separate the two injuries aside.

  27. “And plus the fact, GC has developed a really crap sense in hairstyles since leaving.” lol.

    I always put that down to the lack of class at the Sky Blues; just my opinion mind.

  28. You guys think we’ll see more of Gnarby and Eisfeld next year? I know it is difficult to blood youngsters when the pressure is on them from day one but I thought both have played well enough to get the odd game. It maybe that it is time for the loaning of them to smaller EPL clubs.

  29. Anicoll, I think it is a good observation there about the importance of Mata. You know they are going to hack at JW. We should be equally ruthless stopping Mata playing with Coquelin being aggressive. I don’t think their other midfielders are good enough passers to make up for his creativity. It might be worth playing Coquelin with just that mission in mind.

  30. Most of the good things Chelsea do flow from the boots of the Spaniard LSG
    I’d be interested to see how he would get on with a bit of olde English man to man coverage, no time, no space

  31. Miami, I think YW sums it up well. I certainly think he can go further. There have been some hints of sublime skill from him in the last few weeks. I think there is much more to come.

    I always argued he was not injury prone and explained why I am glad for him that my argument thus far has proved on the money.

  32. One thing I have found about Mata when I’ve watched him play whether it be for the Chavs or country is that he struggles against physicality. Even in the Olympics when he was suppose to be the “man” teams whether it be man marked or just kept a close eye on him and then got a little physical with him he struggled. Even against West Ham, Diame and their other lad were quite physical with him and he struggled. Maybe Diaby is just what the doctor ordered not to mention Jack and if Le Coq does come on Le Coq.

  33. I think we will benefit from the fact that Chelsea’s home form has not been very good this year. They have a hostile crowd that is beying for Benitez’s blood, and it seems to be quite a toxic environment for them.

    If we rush them early and put one past them in the first 15 minutes their crowd will turn on them and I think we could dominate from there. That is what I am hoping for.

  34. Very happy with Walcott, Walcott, Walcott, Walcott, signing da ting …

    On the gloating front, can all those who made out that it was an absolute certainty that Theo was going (most didn’t, several did) please just ensure that they squeeze a small mention into their next post that they were, well, wrong.

    100k + 3million signing on fee! Arsene must be off his head, yes? No?

    Well, I’m happy, anyway. Important player, on the pitch and symbolically.

    Right, now that’s been taken care of – let’s strengthen.

  35. I used to love our Gael.

    He latterly became prone to cock-ups (lack of protection in a 4-3-3?), but nevertheless, more often than not I sat back with confidence that he could handle what his opponent had to offer.

    I was blindly in love during the post Invincibles’ era (I know Clichy is an invincible, but he was also one of the leaders of the new school)right up until the departures of Cesc, Nasri and Clichy in the same window. For me, that was the end of a promising, thoroughly enjoyable, so close but ultimately so far era.

    Let’s make this one the real deal.

  36. @Matt

    Arsene isn’t off his head at all if you really think about it. Since we truly don’t know how other players are getting pad not to mntion the fact that he is a vital piece.

    We can’t strengthen yet mate we have 1 more very important world class RB to take care of. If we are strengthen and re-signing him then I am all for it!

  37. @Matt

    Isn’t it crazy that one, Jermain Pennant was an Invincible and he scored a hat trick in the first game. O how a player with talent that has fallen off the radar.

  38. Thanks for that, Y W. I must have missed the news.

    Actually, did you notice that the new page was just a rewrite of the old one. A cut and paste job if ever I saw one. Very lazy work. Must have been the shock of the signing!

    I was wrong.

  39. I was always fancying Clichy when he was one on one with his attacker, surely not someone to be brushed aside lightly, but I think it’s correct to point out that in attacking sense Gibbs is offering us much more. I think the numbers are very clear in that regard. Clichy had 1 goal and 9 assists in almost 200 league games for us, while Gibbs is going to take that number over. He is already at 1 goal and 7 assists with just 50 games played.
    Also, Clichy was in the later years of his career with us often prone to playing attackers onside.

    I think with Gibbs potential he will eventually be able to eclipse what Clichy has offered us. He is just as good at intercepting as Clichy was, but he needs to be more consistent defensively. With Kieran just being 23, I wouldn’t want to swap him for any other left back in the league.

  40. @C

    I think you may have misread my cheap Chilean red induced ramblings.

    I think he has got this one right and I’m very happy with how section of January has turned out.

    It was a rhetorical question – a cursory nod to the double standards that often pervade on these here electronic pages.

  41. C

    Splitting hairs, perhaps, but Pennant didn’t make enough appearances to be awarded a league winners medal, and his hat-trick was in the 02/03 season.

    Can you believe he’s 30, though!

    Time flies.

  42. So, Jack. Alex, Aaron, Kieran, Carl and now Theo. End of an era, start of an era – it’s all a question of emphasis.

  43. Yes it feels like the beginning of a new era Merlot. I couldn’t see the wood for the trees after our defeat at Old Traford a couple of months back, but I can see the future of Arsenal taking shape now. Keep those core of players together…and it should be an exciting one.

  44. My pound shop sells vibrating cock rings! Now that’s just wrong! and they sell them next to the ‘3 packs of ibuprofen for a quid’ .. and then next to the cock rings there’s pound shop lubricant…. am I just being fuddy?

  45. @Matt

    No I understood you post mate I’ve been drinking and well, I seem to answer with craziness. I got off early so atleast I wasn’t at work. I did understand and knew you were happy with how January has turned out as many of us are(though we do sometimes want more but were fans what do you expect).

    Pennant scored at the beginning of the unbeaten streak May 2003 against of all teams Southampton hahahahaha.

  46. On another note, Joel Campbell is doing really well. Got to watch him play against Aletico Madrid yesterday and looked good even though his team was completely overwhelmed by Falcao and the boys.

  47. Honestly I’m suprised that the Walcott saga has ended with his signature but to be fair it has looked the mostly likely outcome for about the last two weeks.

    The cynic in me believes he simply didn’t have a better option. Chelsea, Utd, Man City if interested would have seen him fighting for a start and with a lower profile. Don’t get me wrong I’m very glad he’s staying, I just don’t want him kissing the badge at the weekend.

  48. @BRF

    He never asked to leave and has always said he wanted to stay. He has fought and battled for Arsenal. He signed a contract to stay and at the end of his contract he will have been here for 10 years. If he wants to kiss the patch I’ll love it because IMHO he has earned it because HE IS STILL HERE! He again never asked to leave just asked for a raise when his contract was coming to an end, nothing wrong with that.

  49. lol H, if he scores a hatrick and we win ill do the badge kissing. Well it is against the Chavs, he can have a quick peck I can live with that. However if he ever does the Bale celebration he’s dead to me.

  50. C I’ve read your post and I can hear the chirping of fledglings, I see lambs jumping in the fields, I smell the cherryblossom in full bloom.

    Look Im glad he’s stayed but when it comes to players and Theos contract talks I’m a bit more cynical. He’s taken the descision for one reason it’s the best thing for Theo Walcott.

  51. If Theo’s contract is only for 3 and a half years does that mean he can renegotiate next summer?

    He’s a canny lad. I hope he manages to keep up his form

  52. *qualified gloat alert*

    I always thought (certainly hoped) TW would stay so I’m pleased to have been right about that one.

    Trouble is, I was badly wrong when it came to Viera, Cesc and RvP.

    A rare case of three wrongs ending up with a right, then.

  53. I hope the boss extends his contract in 2014. This would allow his project to provide the rewards his deserves and would also mean that DB10 could slip in nicely with the sort of succession planning the club favours. His recent interview just fills me with hope about this:

    “I would (consider it), yes,” he responded in the interview when asked if he would like to return to Emirates Stadium.

    “We have started something good now at Ajax and I know a little bit in my role now, what I like and what I don’t like so if I could fulfil a similar role abroad, especially at Arsenal.

    “That would be one of the things that I would like to achieve in the future. But not in the near future because we have just started here.”

    So sadly, I’ll be beating the ‘In Arsene We Trust’ drum for a good while yet.

  54. Arsene’s said what many of us have maintained regarding Abou:

    “Honestly, what he has gone through is unbelievable,” Wenger said.

    “It is frustrating because it all started with a bad tackle at Sunderland, in the last minute of the last game of the season, which was decided already. You always think ‘how can one thing that was so stupid can have such an impact on a career of such a big player?’.

    “This now is a big period for Abou, and he is conscious of it.

    “You do not want to put any pressure on him, though, because he has enough and Abou puts himself under so much pressure.

    “He is a very conscientious guy. You should see how he works, how he is focused every day, because when a guy suffers as much as he did he becomes very professional, very rigorous.

    “You have some guys, they can drink five beers, come to training, and play and go home and nothing happens to them.”

    Wenger added: “When you have a guy who is a lot injured, and he has not a serious life, you can say ‘you see, you are punished’, but with Diaby, he has a very serious life – he doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t go out, and is very conscientious in training, so you always feel sorry for him.

    “You are in a position where you have to have patience, because what did he do wrong? Nothing. At least you have to give him a chance.”

    Fingers crossed, fitness becomes a permanent for him now. I’d still like cover for him and that is simply because his importance to the team seems obvious. Hence the importance of planning to manage any absence.

  55. Dgob – I have no doubt that a fully fit Diaby would have seen Arsenal experience a different outcome in countless games and competitions in recent seasons. A full trophy cabinet and a player exit door covered in cobwebs would have been at least two of the likely outcomes.

    And just imagine how less dominant the teams featuring Patrick Viera would have been had his career been similarly blighted with injury …?

    If he ever were to get right then I believe those positive outcomes would still await – and that very much includes with the existing player rosta as well as tomorrow’s.

  56. ArsenalAndrew,

    I absolutely and emphatically agree. It’s just a case of hoping that he can stay fit. I find myself leaning on the experience (health wise) of the Dutch boy. Fingers crossed, this is the moment when his health corner is turned.

    The successes associated with the Vieira era could, I really believe, be surpassed with the current squad (one or two much discussed additions not withstanding).

  57. Thanks Dgob.
    To all the faithless, loose-lipped naysayers..
    AW is as decent as they come…”at least you have to give him a chance.”

    “Wenger added: “When you have a guy who is a lot injured, and he has not a serious life, you can say ‘you see, you are punished’, but with Diaby, he has a very serious life – he doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t go out, and is very conscientious in training, so you always feel sorry for him.

    “You are in a position where you have to have patience, because what did he do wrong? Nothing. At least you have to give him a chance.”

  58. One of Arsene’s great strengths is his appreciation that all players have strengths and weaknesses and this is the attribute that allows him to stick by players for the long run. Some might use that as a stick to try to beat him with charges of sticking too long with players for whom the proverbial ‘twist’ might be an alternative and ‘better’ option.

    For me, I disagree, as after a decade and a half + of following AW’s career at Arsenal, I now know he sees things in players I’ll never see unless put on a grass covered plate right in front of me. Preferably with a label stuck on it. With an arrow.

    I’m not suggesting he never makes mistakes btw, but his successes have been stellar and remain unrivalled and unmatched. Whilst pretty much every signing is a big gamble, few managers can generate the excitement levels Arsene achieves simply by signing someone.

    And when AW next makes a marquee signing – whenever that may be – I wouldn’t mind betting that it shatters the old AFC transfer record purely because the guy’s ability to amaze and surprise remains, in my view, undiminished.

  59. Brentford FC ‏@BrentfordFC

    All supporters coming down to help clear the pitch this morning will receive a free ticket for today’s match. #brentfordfc

    How good is that?

  60. I hope Diaby keeps fit, I really do. I’m sure he is everything that Arsene says. It must be a big ‘if’.

    I like what you say there Andrew, certainly true in the past, but is it accurate these days?

    All of our recent signings have all been established internationals of much sought after younger players apart from the odd ones and, perhaps, Gervinho.,

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