A Tale Of Two Transfer Windows

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness
It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity
It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness
It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair

– A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (1859)

Dickens summed up the transfer window perfectly. The harrowing nature of this time of year for some is unbearable, tension raises their blood pressure to dangerous levels, to the extent that their doctor would suggest they give up on football totally. Resorting to Championship Manager or whatever descendant they own to relieve this stress is probably not a good idea because they come back with ten Swedish second division players whom Arsène should sign. The trouble is that he uses those stats too. Well, not the FIFA13 ratings but ones which seem equally fanciful if they made Squillaci seem like a good buy in the first place.

Talking of which, his time for trading has begun and he must feel like he walked into his local market with the number of stalls selling their wares all around the place. Shouts of “Two for ten million pound” might grab his attention momentarily but he is shopping with a new wallet this summer. Whilst he might also be looking at the Williams Builders – we built our reputation on strong foundations – instead of the sharp intake of breath at the price, he flicks through his notes to make sure he won’t be overpaying. As he wanders through the stalls, he stumbles across a stand selling his own players and notes from afar that the few onlookers are reluctantly enticed by the ragged bunch on offer. Some inducements might be necessary, newer offerings placed at the front. Certainly the Turkish buyers have a nice line in rugs which Annie might appreciate in the living room. His faithful sidekick, Ivan, is not being too proactive in selling though; maybe a BOGOF promotion is needed?

Nosey street urchins constantly peer inside his bag to see what he has bought, any hints to what may be on offer elsewhere. Having spent some time eyeing the French produce, prodding and poking an exotic fruit known as a Sanogo, a fair old kerfuffle has sprung up among these grubby children, some shouting he has bought it, the rest note that the deal was not sealed and Wenger merely asked the stall’s owner to put him to one side. Briefly glancing at Joe The Vet, he realises his lingering look has given hint to his desires to the scowling, brooding presence of an Old Lady behind him.

A hubbub is building at one end, the new market being readied for next year. A tarpaulin has fallen to the ground from a sign revealing the new area will be known as Brazil2014. Ambling over to have a look, Arsène realises that this could take a while to look around, hoping his old friend Eurosport will once more have a place for him to rest his weary head and the opportunity to have a closer peek at players from the comfort of the hospitality tent.

The growing din coming from the streets surrounding the market reveals lots of suits listening to a Swiss chap shout that Arsène should be looking at the English produce on sale. Something caught his eye. At first he thought it was a Gourcuff fake but instantly realises it to be a genuine Grenier. Too excited, he blurts his interest out to the world; rats and vermin scurry to their masters to tell the tale. Giddy with joy, he turns to be confronted by Glazer Brothers regaling the world with the grotesque beauty of a lesser-bearded Rooney. Whirling from the ugliness encapsulating a rare talent, he spies the Spanish Villa he once loved, now rundown and tattered. A Portuguese man looks like he might take this retirement project on, Arsène shying away from the brickwork which might not stand the rugged British winter.

Turning to walk the harsh cobbled streets, dejected by the emptiness of wares on offer, a reflection catches his eye. In the Hall of Mirrors, did the distorted glass show his long-lost son Cesc talking to a strange-looking creäture, seduced by the gold on offer from within the darkened caves? Looking closely, he can make out Gollum and a leprechaun. It couldn’t be, he determines that his mind is giddy from the aromas of these streets.

Weary of it all, he turns toward home, whirling dervishes cross his path, speaking in their transfer tongues, whispering falsehoods and hopeless promises. In the distance, a brighter sky forms…

‘til Tomorrow.

81 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Transfer Windows

  1. Excellent read Yogi, ACLF probably the only football blog on the planet to quote Dickens, how cultured are we !

    Your right the silly season is upon us with our club apparently about to sign everybody and his brother, i’m going to make a determined effort to not look at all the gossip columns and latest scoops and just concentrate on Arsenal.com when we have the actual confirmation that we have signed a player.

  2. Bloody good! Certainly the best illustration of how frustration could affect Wenger I have read.

  3. Simply fantastic from a literary point of view, i think its way too early to get worked up on d transfers or lack of it. We will strengthen but we also need to offload. Lets all hope for d best.

  4. By Jove! This ticks all boxes! This write-up shall make top 4 with ease 😉
    There’ll always be the next player. There’s only one club.

  5. Monaco have paid £38.5m for James Rodriguez. Clearly I have my head too far up my Arsenal as I’ve not even heard of him – but £38.5 million!

    Add to that Joao Moutinho for £21.5m, and the imminent £51m arrival of Falcoa. Oh, and I suspect Valdes’ signing on fee and wages won’t be cheap either.

    Sure, the extortionate wages on offer, sunny, temperate coastal climes, relaxed tax laws and Monte Carlo’s millionaires’ playground to enjoy may have something to do with Monaco’s appeal, but I’m sure it was the prestige of playing for AS Monaco that swung it for them.

    And not playing in Europe’s elite competitions this season (and quite possibly in the seasons to come) was clearly not a problem for these men of honour, such was the intense lure to play for a club as great as AS Monaco. #AgainstModernFootball

    Amy Lawrence of the gruniad posted this earlier on Twitter:

    “Am curious if anyone at #Monaco has come up with a cunning plan for FFP regulations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I88WW2xDlAc

  6. Arsene does not need Ivan or Bouldy as his faithful sidekick – what is required is someone more decisive and clear thinking, someone 100% focussed, he needs a deputy who can motivate the players – step forward Madame Thérèse Defarge

  7. This is what annoys me, we have a net spending of 9 Million of the last 10 years. That’s phenomenal for a team of our level. We play by the rules, have kept the philosophy of playing attractive football, have developed a whole host of young world class players (Who have eventually gone on to win titles and cups for a host of other teams) and we’re still in champs league every year, have a new stadium and some of the best facilities in the world..And we can’t attract top level names because these oil baron’s and middle eastern consortiums pump in millions to teams like Chelsea, City, PSG, Malaga and now Monaco and pay them millions more. Sickening. The days of playing for a club seem well gone, it’s playing for the “Yankee Doller” now.

  8. YW classy stuff.

    Mgk Rodriguez is a talent no doubt but that money is ludicrous.

    The French league will be interesting next year.

  9. Top hole Yogi, top hole.

    Just been reading up on the messy state of affairs in Spain with regards the Europa league – good to see that their mismanagement is having SOME small effect.

    “Normally, the three Europa League spots for Spain would go to the Copa del Rey winners, and the sides finishing fifth and sixth.

    As Atlético Madrid won the trophy this year, their place is given to the team who finishes in seventh, as the runners-up in the cup were Real Madrid. Messy, but simple enough to work out in theory. Valencia or Real Sociedad are guaranteed to finish in at least fifth spot. Málaga secured sixth place with a 3-1 victory over Deportivo. Betis’ victory over Zaragoza put the Seville side in seventh, three points above Rayo Vallecano, but with an inferior head-to-head record, meaning Betis need one point to make things safe.

    But this is where everything gets tricky. Technically, Málaga are banned from next season’s Europa League after failing a UEFA financial health check. An appeal lodged by the club with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is in progress. Should that fail and the UEFA ban be upheld, then the side finishing in eighth spot would be in Europe. As previously mentioned, Rayo Vallecano currently hold that honour.

    The problem there is that the Vallecas club failed to get their licence to play in Europe due to UEFA’s ruling on outstanding debts owed to clubs, players or employees. Rayo’s case is also being reviewed by CAS. This is how we end up with either Sevilla, Levante or Getafe playing in Europe next season.

    Although it should be seen as a tad embarrassing for Spanish football – the media are being quite blasé about the whole affair – it could be a good thing for the game overall in La Liga. For once, clubs who run their accounts ineptly will see that whilst there may be no punishment within Spain, there are serious consequences in Europe with the reminder that playing in UEFA competitions is by invitation and not a right.

    The immediate effect is that in a week’s time the Champions League and relegation places will be nicely put to bed. However, the Europa League places are going to need one or two footnotes added when the season’s final report is published.”

  10. Always thought there was a touch of the Dickensian about your work, YW. Great read 🙂

    Let’s just hope we can move quick enough to clear some serious space on the wage bill and maybe banish some of the ghosts of windows past who are… lingering around, shall we say?

  11. It does not require me to praise you for a meritorious, indeed superlative essay/Post.

    Carrying on from your opening quotes from Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, the remainder of that quotation may also highlight our current situation.

    “We had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
    We were all going direct to Heaven,
    We were all going direct the other way –
    In short, the (future) period was so far like the present period, That some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

    That sort of sums up the aspirations and fears of the fans as to the outcome of the Transfer Window and the season ahead.

  12. The transfer window has not even open and there are already so many rumours. Some of them are so ridiculous that you get annoyed to have bothered clicking on the link to open the article.

    For instance the Paul Pogba to Arsenal rumours.

  13. Yogi brilliant piece there my friend.

    I winder what Arsene has up his sleeve this window, maybe talking ti throw people off his real targets?

  14. Wicked good post yogi. Tip of my hat. I have always said you are the supreme being of the arsenal blogosphere and the ultimate wordsmith. Great stuff.

    I have to admit that I have a bad feeling about this window. We are going to put in lowish bids for a couple of name players and miss out and end up with a good player or 2 but no real difference makers. Hope I am wrong.

  15. John Cross suggesting we might have found a compromise to keep Sagna for another season. Now that would be good news.

  16. If past years are anything to go by, the media will have us chasing any number of “hot” prospects, and we will end up with players no one as ever heard of.

    We should always remember that AW wil not buy anyone unless he is better than who we have already.

    BY the way, the suggestion that CF may come back is interesting.

  17. “Whirling from the ugliness encapsulating a rare talent…” Good stuff.

    Dickens on transfers:

    “We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us.”

  18. @Jonny

    That would be a great start to the silly season if Sagna stayed ayleast next season.

    So Zenit has now made a U-turn and are trying to sign Arshavin since he’s free.

  19. @ugsol

    Here’s the thing IF Crac comes back, where to play him. We could play him in the AM role that Arsene built the team around and push Santi on the left and Jack behind Cesc where he enjoyed his best fútbol to date with Podolski and Theo as the strikers because of Cesc and Santi’s ability to pick any pass they want and take advantage of Podolski and Theo’s movement, pace and finishing.

    Or

    Say we got a Gonalos or Capoue, then we could go with jack Santi or Ceac in the other 2 midfield roles with Podolski/Theo/Giroud(or the new striker) and that lineup would be EXTREMELY attacking with a midfield boss to shield our improved back 4.

  20. Finn:

    Over the years we have limited ourselves to transfer fees in the low teens because we did not want to “spend big” on any one player. The problem is that despite the small net spend, we still have a huge investment in transfer fees and wages in this current squad but no real true stand out players. (except perhaps the Kos). The idea that we find good players and turn them to superstars has not really worked since the rest of the world has caught up with our former scouting advantage. Perhaps Arsene was never comfortable taking a risk on an expensive player or perhaps that’s just his philosophy. I understand the idea that football is a team game and you want everyone to contribute equally (football socialism) but in reality that sort of concept can get you into the CL but its hard to win PL or CL titles without a couple of true standout difference making players in the squad. We have money and we have a good squad but lack the top quality goalscorer and perhaps one other difference making player. Those type of players are going to be expensive unless we are willing to buy prospects, but even great prospects are a crap shoot and when they work out they take a long time to develop. I hope our goal for this window is to get those difference making players this summer even if we have to go out of our comfort zone and pay the market rates.

  21. top post yogi I must say if you didn’t already know.

    I really don’t know why anyone gets involved in our transfer titty tatty affairs. news now! I have not clicked on it(ok once or maybe twice) but turning into an ex user isn’t a straight path. summers gone past I like every other fecker was hitting it every day, even a twice a day man.. no more. there is no point. Wenger is like the guy who would win the lottery and bank the money and maybe upgrade his citroen 2cv and keep his job cleaning the bogs. he wont change his ways he is stuck in them.

    when it comes to spending its funny how we coughed up £12m(and where did we get it from)for a left back when our one was out for three months and top 4 could have been scuppered….money is there and we have been able to spend more if really needed.

    i’ll expect this sanogo and maybe another couple of unknowns not dis contented sitting on the bench.

  22. that sounds depressing…im actually very confident next season if no one jumps off board even with the expected unfashionably unknowns I think we could mount a title tilt..not convinced we’d win it though….unless Arsene does decide to get his hands on all that pat cash under his mattress.

  23. the other question is does Arsene think we can win it? and will he go all out like he does for top 4?? then we’d have a chance.

  24. @ Bill a very good striker a very good versatile midfielder if coqueline is off and right back in

    Perhaps a center back if JD stays in Germany.

    It would be ideal if the likes of oxlade and gervinhio can be more productive next season then we can really challenge.

  25. And of course the problem with building superstars is that as soon as they come to fruition they are ripe for the picking by clubs with bottomless pockets. At some point our model is going to have to find the money to adapt, so that we can pay near to top-market wages.

    Otherwise the likelihood is that we will continue to lose our very best players.

    Just look at Borussia Dortmund who have essentially been victims of their own success. It’ll take a minor miracle from Klopp to compete with Bayern again next season – but from Bayern’s viewpoint what better way to gain advantage than by strengthening your own squad by cherry-picking your principal competitor’s best players?

    It’s rapacious, ugly and a brutal example of a muscular financial powerplay – but it’s coldly, compellingly logical as a tactic.

    In England presently there are three teams which can and will do this to us – at least until we can afford to roughly compete on the financial terms we offer our players.

    For yesterday see RVP, Nasri et al but the fear is that tomorrow it might be Kos, Wilshere or Cazorla.

  26. Dukey:

    I think we can mount a challenge if we play defense the way we did the last 12 games of this season. Still think we need to add a couple of top quality attacking players to really take us over the top.

    “the other question is does Arsene think we can win it? and will he go all out like he does for top 4?? then we’d have a chance.”

    That’s the other big question. Just my guess but he is willing to compromise on his attacking ethos and willing to spend 12M in a hurry if top 4 is in danger but I doubt that he feels the same urgency to win the league. May be we are misreading the signs but that is certainly the feeling I have gotten watching us over the years.

  27. Jonny:

    Good point. I guess we have developed a couple of superstars in Cesc and RVP but we could not hold them.

  28. great jonny, what next arshavin never got out of Vladivostok airport and is also back with a big bag of duty frees!

  29. Jonny

    Thats the problem we loan out players like Santos Bendtner and Chamakh but no one wants to buy them permanantely.And we know why.The wages

  30. Hope we don’t pay more than 20million for Jovetic. I don’t think he’s worth any more than that. I’d pay £20mill for Pogba though, boy’s going to be great was gutted Man U and then Juve got him! Can never tell what’s going to happen though, hardly anyone had heard of Carzola until this season and look what an asset he’s become!

  31. With a player like Santos it was just a mistake. That’ll happen to any team – it is not an exact science.

    But we have clearly overpaid some of our youth players in the past and whilst getting that right is assuredly far from simple it continues to be a costly mistake – as we struggle to shed large, irksome salaries for absent players.

    I think most of us agree that it would be preferable to have less of a flat pay structure. It’s unclear to me if AW agrees with the suggestion we got it wrong in the past or if there is now difficulty in enacting real change in the dynamic for the future.

  32. James we are going to have to cut our losses with the likes of chamakh, bendtner, denilson and co and I kind of hope we have learnt our lessons in wage distribution, top dollar should only go for those that have proven themselves either elsewhere or here and should be in proportion with the amounts paid by other clubs that aren’t propped up by oil money.

  33. Silver:

    I hope for the Ox but he is still not even 21 and I suspect he will need a couple more seasons. Gerv has had 2 years now and I can’t see him moving above Theo or Podolski or Cazorla or even Ox in our wide slots without a significant injury issue. The problem with giving Gerv more minutes is that it takes away the minutes for the players who I think will be more productive so I don’t see him improving our squad. It would be nice if he could rotate into wide slots occasionally to give Walcott or Podolski a break but I can’t really see him becoming a game changer for us playing a game here or there. If you look at the numbers our wide players did reasonably well. The problem is we lacked regular scoring from our CF and any significant scoring from attacking mid when Cazorla did not play that position. Next season I think we need to keep Cazorla at attacking mid and hopefully fix whatever stamina issues that podolski has so he can play regular minutes and be productive wide left and we need a lot more production from our CF. The latter is where we should concentrate our transfer efforts IMO. Add some strength and athleticim to the midfield would be the other priority for the summer.

  34. After the 8-2 slaughter at Trafford Park I was only too delighted to see Santos arrive and would not have given two fucks what he cost or what we were paying him. At the time it was him and/or Traore or does my mind play tricks ?

    He came in, did a decent if scary job for a dozen games until he was injured in Greece, and never really got his career back on track.

  35. jonny:

    Everyone makes some mistakes in the transfer market like santos. The problem is that we have put our mistakes on big wages.

    The other issue regarding our transfers is the relative lack of success of our signature signings in 2010 (Chamakh) 2011 (Gerv) and the other big money signing in 2011 was Ox. Ox has huge potential but has not really helped us yet and might not for a couple of years.

    Cazorla was great last year. Podolski’s first season showed some real promise but he spent most of the second half of the season on the subs bench. Giroud IMO is an excellent plan B CF. Other then Cazorla we have not really gotten great return out of the players who were relatively big money purchases in the last few years. It appears the 10 -14M market for attacking players is a very hit and miss place to shop today, even for someone like Arsene.

  36. Nice write up Yogi.

    I see the arm chair managers are out in force today. I would love to see what you can bring to the table what with the retroactive wisdom on display. Mistakes that been made, no bones with that observation at all. It is easy of course to look out and pretend to know better, but the fact is the past or exactly where it should be; in the past. Our sight should be for the road ahead.

    Kos, Cazorla and Theo are all stars or rising stars of the EPL and football in general (based on the 12/13 season). Bill, just because you consider Kos the only elite player, doesn’t actually make it so.

  37. C:

    Fair enough.

    How do you evaluate performance if not retrospectively?

    Cazorla probably deserved to be on the PL team of the year and Theo was worth his new wage package and statistically is a good wide right player but not elite until overcomes his inconsistency, I think. Our record for bringing in attacking/goal scoring players in the last few years has not been great other then Cazorla and the numbers of goals scored by the players we have bought would support that conclusion. No?

  38. Comparative study of data Bill
    We were comfortably the top scorers in the PL last season at home and third away from home

    Now that strikes me as a respectable goal scoring result and evidence that the players we have responded to the challenge well

    Yes

  39. ‘Everyone makes some mistakes in the transfer market like santos. The problem is that we have put our mistakes on big wages.’

    Yes but surely a significant part of that is that we have a far more restrictive budget. City and Chelski have done this far more severely but to them it’s practically an irrelevance.

  40. Theo may not be the most consistent player in the world but 43 appearances 21 goals and 17 assists rank up their with many an elite name in the football world. You are right to have praised Laurent Koscielny for his efforts this season and indeed last, but we should also recognize his companions efforts as well in Per Mertesacker. Defensively they have been an impressive unit. Santi Cazorla managed 49 appearances 12 goals and 16 assists in his debut season for Arsenal, again an impressive year.

    I’m not sure what your gripe with Theo is Bill, I mean you championed the lad at the start of the season. Looking back you would have to concede that he has performed well above the expectations of anyone. No?

    In fact there have been few players that have truly disappointed this season. Tv5 would be the one player I can say without doubt has been not performing to expectation. I have not included players loaned because they were rightly deemed unnecessary to the cause. In fact think back, if Arsenal were to have no committed so many individual errors leading to goals (14) then we would not have struggled to challenge for fourth. It was a stat Arsenal led the league in and alas Tv5 was responsible for 4 of them. I don’t question his ability, but he has a touch of the old buccaneer spirit in him; charging forth out of defense forgetting his duties behind him.

    The average league salary is now around 28k per week. Now this could be used as a yard stick to beat Arsenal upon the head with, but how does do the top 6 sides play players? I don’t have the stats for that information but I would love to know. Arsenal are likewise not the only side to have signature signings not live up to their billing. In fact all the sides around them are in the same boat, it is the nature of the beast.

  41. @anicoll5

    I tend to agree, we finished with more points (73 v 70), a better defensive record and 2 less goal than when we had RvP. We all wanted more of course, no silverware once again biting us in the ass but it was not all negative. In fact there seems to be a great deal to actually build upon in the next season. This side should be more stable, have more chemistry and be better able to utilize their collective experience from a campaign together. If we had wisely with quality and depth, we’ll be in a better place to resume battle.

  42. Even by your usual standards today`s post was pretty, pretty, good YW.

    Thanks too to Flint for yesterday`s piece. Exceptional stuff.

    Read it here on a daily basis.

    Like Anicoll I hailed Santos as the new Maldini when he first arrived. He had a bit of flair & looked OK in one on ones but injuries, fish & chips & thinking games at Old Trafford finished an hour early seem to have put paid to his promising start.

  43. Miami:

    I tend to look at things with the opposite of rose colored glasses as you know. The point is not to be negative but to look for ways we can improve ourselves. We have been arguing about this for years and years. Everyone is all for adding new players as a general concept but when we start talking about specific players or positions we need to upgrade then suddenly the players we have are all excellent players and next season they are going to become legendary and its all going to come together for them as a team. (a bit of hyperbole on purpose). Unfortunately its never worked out that way. You don’t get better by patting your self on the back and telling your self how you did the best you possibly could. You get better by focusing on the things that you need to improve and fixing them.

    I have said Theo has been an good wide player and clearly was worth his wage increase, I only thing I argued is that we should not have frozen him out at the beginning of the season since he was the best we had at that position and that we needed to give him the 100K/week since letting him go would have hurt the club. If you had to pick a PL first 11 or may be even a second 11 would you put Theo in it based on his everyday performances? I don’t know about that.

    I seem to remember at the start of the year we were in the top 10 in all of European football in wages. Chelsea, Man City were comfortably ahead of us and ManU was a fairly close but also ahead of us.

    Jonny:

    The point I am trying to make is not to beat us with a stick about our signings but to make the case that its become difficult to add top quality attacking goal scoring players today when you limit your spending to players less then 15M. I am campaigning for a “big money” goalscorer. (just like always). More risk with that method no doubt, but the probability of significant reward is much higher, IMO.

    Ani:

    You watched the same team I did. We lead the league in goals at home because of a few games that we scored 5 or more. We seemed to struggle if we didn’t go crazy. Overall our attack was mediocre for the most part.

  44. @Bill

    Absolutely nothing wrong with your views on wanting to improve the squad, hell, I agree. All I took umbrage at was the idea that we alone could look at Kos as a source of pride (being a top class player). I think I made pretty strong cases for the inclusion of both Theo and Cazorla to that list.

    Based purely on last seasons performances I think we could do better than Gervinho and Tv5. I am all for adding quality and depth and simply Gervinho has not done enough in two years to suggest he could not be better replaced. Tv5 is a different problem, he has the ability but his lack of composure at times brought him harshly in to the light. He clearly has the ability to compete, the question is whether this enforced spell on the side lines has feed that hunger.

    I like yourself want to see a new CF but something different from the traits Giroud or Podolski bring to the table. I want to see a midfield addition, someone more defensively minded. It need not be an enforcer, more someone with guile, strength and an ability to pass and tackle. The ability to rotate Arteta and or Ramsey would be a great asset to Arsenal. It then allows Cazorla, Rosicky, Wilshere and maybe even Aneke, Gnabry or Eisfeld to be used higher up the pitch. I do believe that we are going to see some inclusion of the final three names somewhere during the course of the season.

    I don’t see us replacing Djourou, not with Miquel in the wings. It would appear that the latters season as been a good one and so the question is whether he is now 4th choice CB or a potential loanee. Now if Tv5 was going then a CB would be required and same with RB is Sagna was to depart. On the latter, the consensus is that Hector Bellerin could and should see some 1st team time, but an experienced option to play along side Jenkinson would be smart. It then leaves the keeping situation, if Fabianski is gone then we’ll buy if not then we should be set. Mannone is either leaving this season for a nominal fee or will be a Free come the conclusion of next season.

  45. “Ani:

    You watched the same team I did. We lead the league in goals at home because of a few games that we scored 5 or more. We seemed to struggle if we didn’t go crazy. Overall our attack was mediocre for the most part.”

    It is true that at times we were either bolting down the track or limping, not a lot in between. That said, the fact that the team could gel in games and bolt home showed you do have the class to do to it. This question is more about mental application to my mind, we have good CF’s we just need more consistency. That is not to say that adding an additional name in to the fold would not be a good thing for the team. I just think some people tend to over look some of the good whilst focusing on some of the bad 🙂

  46. The defense was absolutely excellent in the last 1/3 of the season and greatly exceeded my expectations. Clearly a huge positive.

    However our attack was inconsistent and despite scoring 72 goals there are a lot more questions then answers regarding especially regarding our front 3 players. Other then Theo, no one really stepped up if you look at what happened over the course of the season.

    Podolski is a potential impact player but clearly a lot of questions surround him after the way he was used this season. Again the point is not to beat up on those guys but to focus on the fact that we need to add some real quality players or risk standing still or even moving backwards from the standpoint of our attack. Taking into account our financial situation, standing still and hoping that a year of togetherness will mean significant improvement makes no sense whatsoever no matter how good you feel about the players we have.

  47. Miami:

    “I just think some people tend to over look some of the good whilst focusing on some of the bad ”

    I do that on purpose for 2 reasons.

    1) I believe it almost all of the time. In the past I have been much closer to being correct the majority of the time compared with the opposite extreme.. IMO 😉

    2) It generates more discussion and debate then talking about how good we are.

  48. @Bill

    Lol, you sound very curmudgeonly 🙂

    I think is, I get it. It is easier to complain and poke holes than it is to find solutions or work with what you have. It isn’t like I haven’t been down the path you tread. The zenith for me was last season, then there came a realization; at least for me. I walk around thinking I’m the bee’s knee’s when it comes to supporting Arsenal, truth be told I’m not 🙂 What I was, was spoiled. The start of the Arsene reign was something magically, it ensnared me and from that day I became an entitled fan. As I said, it changed for me last year. I woke one day and understood that as much as I might second guess the avenue pursued by the club, it made not one jot of difference. I now try to joy the team for what it gives me in a footballing sense, the joy or anguish comes in almost equal measure 🙂 I tend to think it is what love for your club is; highs and lows.

  49. Miami @ 7:50

    “I like yourself want to see a new CF but something different from the traits Giroud or Podolski bring to the table. I want to see a midfield addition, someone more defensively minded. It need not be an enforcer, more someone with guile, strength and an ability to pass and tackle.”

    We agree completely on what sort of players we need next season which is the important part of the whole discussion, IMO. However, we come to those similar conclusions from different directions. We missed our goal of moving up the table and winning some silverware so patting ourselves on the back tends to distract us from doing whats needed to improve. The good stuff does not need to be fixed so no need to focus on that. Identifying the problems and potential problems is sometimes the most difficult part and fixing those issues needs to be the focus.

  50. Bill, under the laws of limitation to prevent deleterious overuse I hereby revoke your right to write the word defence (or defense) for the rest of the summer.

    Before you go on the attack, or become too defensive, I assure you this is best for everyone, most notably you and that it has the full support of the ‘loquacious guardians and protectors of the English spoken and written word, who are very real and not made up at all’.

    I am told that the punishments are swift and terrifyingly unutterable.

    You have been warned.

  51. I think it tend to be a sense of relief than a pat on the back. I personally enjoyed the finished, though there were moments of puckered holes along the run in.

    I think the run in taught us what we already knew, the team has potential. The problem is how do we harness that potential and create a sense of confidence and consistency. We did poorly against the team around us this year whilst smacking the teams below (for the most part). We were not however pounded or played off the park by any. As I said, if we can build on the run in then we have the basis of something to look forward to 🙂 We know what of course well transpire come the start of next season, but I have faith and sometimes it is all you need.

  52. Miami:

    “Lol, you sound very curmudgeonly”

    Not curmudgeonly. Just want us to start winning things again and hoping that those in charge feel the same way. Not sure that’s been the focus especially the last couple of years. I will admit to being a bit jaded by years of head scratching decisions which often seem to be driven by chronic overdoses of rose colored thinking from our decision makers.

  53. “I will admit to being a bit jaded by years of head scratching decisions which often seem to be driven by chronic overdoses of rose colored thinking from our decision makers.”

    I think this is overly simplistic. You know those in charge want us to do well, it is just your frustration taking the lead. None of us really know what is going on, and just because the media prints something does not make it true. Maybe we did have more money and didn’t spend it, may be we didn’t but hanging on to it as an excuse to continue to lambast the club serves no purpose. We all know the issues Arsenal encountered as part of building the Emirates and again it is in hindsight easy to say that the major sponsorships deals were to long and ultimately restrictive. The thing is, they helped us through a transition to the new stadium and also a major global recession (depression). We are starting to finally see the horizon from the seats in the new stadium, new deals enabling more money to be invested. Is it time to at least some what break the shackles? I think so, though we’ll be even better placed again this season with the shirt deal also finally in place. Again, it is not about being rose tinted, it is just about looking forward to what has been built by a terrific club.

  54. Miami:

    I understand all of that and again it depends on how you want to look at it. Glass half full vs half empty. I prefer the half empty since I think it drives you harder to improve on what you have done before and focus more on avoiding making future mistakes that will keep you from ever filling the glass to the full mark. That’s cliche but it makes the point.

    There have been a lot of things that have happened over the years that could have been done differently and better and at least some of those things were obvious prospectively and we have talked about that a lot over the years. I really think that we were so focused on doing things “the Arsenal way” that we were not willing to be realistic enough to admit when we were making mistakes (Rose colored syndrome). That’s human nature, who wants to admit something you worked that hard on has flaws. No one wants to give up on what has been a major project of trying to win “the Arsenal way” Unfortunately, It seems like in the last couple of years we have down graded from trying to win to trying to make the CL “the arsenal way”. What’s really frustrating to me is that the board has let Arsene take control to the point that there is no one else who can question him about any of his decisions. I honestly think that Arsene would have moved on to greener pastures by now if he had not been that much control. Unfortunately, its much easier to recognize that something you are doing is a mistake if there is someone else in the organization that can offer other ideas or counter balancing opinions.

  55. Yogi, a very good novel for depicting some of the commentators, on this site!

    Charles Dickens was forced to work as a child, as his father John Dickens, always lived beyond his means and ended up in the debtor’s prison!

    Yogi, in the earlier days of your blogging: yourself, Frank and Flint McCulloch, had some really top notch tactical debates. I miss in those lively debates.

    It makes Bill, writing about tactics, seem more like a baby in swaddling clothes! No comment on the fields of play, no comment about the head groundsman and staff and which players were available for selection!

  56. Bill – when the glass is half empty you will know when it is half empty

    Please cross reference that cryptic comment with an observation on here in relation to supporting the club between 56 and 70 a day or two ago

    What I have the extreme privilege to enjoy is year after year of very good football,not a perfect vintage but loaded with quality and energy

  57. anicoll,

    talking of good football, I have enjoyed this seasons style a lot more then the old micheal flatley tippy tappy bollocks. more of the same next year please Bould..I meant wenger …I meant Arsene.!!

  58. Seriously good write up Yogi, you out done yourself yet again.
    I agree with Bill and I agree with Miami, so I guess I’m a fence sitter then.

  59. So Monaco is flexing its financial muscles with the signing of the 2 lads highly rated lads from Porto, then Falcao and now Victor Valdes along with Cavalhro from Madrid. Ligue 1 will be quite interesting next season with PSG and Monaco clearly not afraid to spend ridiculously and with Marseille always getting better we should definetly poach a couple from Lyon like Gonalos! They want Gervinho on loan so we can take Gonalos on a permanent, makes perfect sense to me!!

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