Are There Any Rabbits In Arsène’s Magic Hat?


Welcome to Twitter Meltdown Day. Or it would be were this the end of August. Millions of eyes rooted firmly on social media, waiting for the latest from Sky Sports Central where Jim White holds the world in his thrall, whirring into the transfer market like a mannequin on roller skates for the latest news. Actually, a mannequin on roller skates would probably more exciting than the transfer news. Today sees The BBC From Salford getting in on the news, a Transfer Special from the Football Focus team twenty-five minutes after the window has closed. Not for them the roving reporters around the grounds, surrounded by a bunch of Herberts rounded up from local pubs and caffs, suitably fuelled for their dance stance.

Whether there will be any at The Emirates remains to be seen. Yesterday began with optimism, world domination awaited as Arsène was buckling his swash through the football clubs of Europe to deal with his immediate problems caused by injuries. He took Schalke’s £37m release clause and laughed; he had Vucinic in the palm of his hand, mesmerised during talks; he was a Pied Piper leading players through the streets of London toward the glistening castle in the distance. Or at least that is what you would have thought from the press reports. As it is this morning, he is the chef whose pièce de résistance has gone disastrously wrong, a Gallic Gordon Ramsey painting the north London skyline blue. Draxler has gone, Vucinic prefers to wait for Inter, nobody is Klose to arriving – not even Miroslav.

When it comes to transfers, we should take a leaf from Len Shackleton and have an intentionally blank page; nerves might be less shredded come 11pm tonight. But where’s the fun in that?

Speculation this morning centers on Julian Draxler. A deal was struck, the fee agreed by the boards of Schalke and Arsenal and then, *poof*, as if by magic the chief economist appeared and Arsène pulled the plug on the deal; £37m was too much for the player, if the quoted release clause is the correct fee. The narrative is all too familiar, perhaps too familiar, too comfortable. Would the manager balk at paying the price if he genuinely wanted the players. I am not for one minute suggesting this is a sham, I genuinely believe Wenger wants Draxler but waiting for a World Cup summer to buy a player is flawed logic. Did the board leave the final fee decision to the manager? Probably, nothing would surprise me and if it was an outright £37m, little wonder he is nervous about a player who is far from the finished article by all accounts. It depends on how much risk is involved and more to the point, how risk averse the holder of the purse strings is. Is that even the reason? Earlier in the day, Schalke were “very confident” that the player would reject a move this winter and it suits their purposes as well, they have six more months to find a replacement. Arsenal meanwhile, are left with a scenario that the summer brings an increased risk of competition for the players signature for no movement in price.

No doubt this episode with its (mis)information will lead to renewed calls for someone to manage the manager, of how it would never happen at any other big club where persuading an identified target to join is his sole preserve. Cash? That’s nothing to do with him, the board gets the deal done. Would that football were so black and white. Maybe it is in clubs flush with money, not like Arsenal where, oh, wait…where’s that Len Shackleton idea gone?

(This line is left intentionally blank)

Elsewhere Vucinic won’t be joining, Arsenal issuing a transfer facepalm by claiming never to have been interested in the first place.

Breaking news from the transfer news centre…Julian Draxler’s Arsenal dream move is still on, it hasn’t fallen through but stalled

It all depends on which news outlet you want to believe. Some are placing great stall in the words of various directors from the Bundesliga club, others preferring their own interpretation of their source’s information.

Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, Here I am, Stuck in the middle with you.

You wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a joyless world when you cannot watch the path stories follow for a day, as long as you don’t get suckered into believing everything you see or hear is the truth. Days like this, topics like this are footballing X-Files; the truth is out there but never uncovered. Like all walks of life, it’s someone’s version of the truth. Until the whole story is told, we are enthralled by the tales woven across the pages and airwaves. Those who hurtle headlong into transfer oblivion with each twist the news takes, make the day more worthwhile; the mass hysteria of social media is amusing unless you are caught in the maelström.

And at the end of today, if the squad which is second in the Premier League is unchanged, is it a disaster? That is not to absolve the executives and manager if deals fall through; we should not be so quick to condemn or fit in with the agendas of either extreme of the spectrum. There certainly is benefit in strengthening, even with a loan deal. Giving the manager options can never be the wrong thing surely? With injuries talked about in terms of weeks and months, reinforcements would benefit the squad as a whole in view of the fixtures either side of the Champions League encounters with Bayern Munich. Perhaps we will look back at the season’s end and point to this day as the one which decided the fate of silverware?

I don’t think so but that shouldn’t detract from the entertainment value of the lunacy.

’til Tomorrow.

290 thoughts on “Are There Any Rabbits In Arsène’s Magic Hat?

  1. @M.I.A.

    Haha! Probably the same stuff Mayor Ford smokes in drunken stupor. After this transfer window stress ends, i might just join in. 🙂

    PS: It’s now official Kallstrom is ours now. Loanwise.

  2. Kallstrom confirmed.

    We have now strengthened the one are of the squad where we was punctually pretty well stocked. Whilst the two positions where we a re really short go untouched, amazing really.

    Kallstrom is a good player, but no better than what we already have. As for his shooting from distance/free kick expert status….check out his goals record. I would not expect too much in the way of goals. With rumours of us trying to get Klose and Kalou on loan I think AW has been having a nostalgic old time at home playing CM01/02.

    You can never knock adding to the squad, but this is really not the signing that could have pushed us over the line in the title race. I fear we will look back on this window as a huge missed opportunity.

  3. I’ve just logged back in after having a nice relaxed day drinkng wine, was expecting to see Draxler or Vunicic signed but instead see an unkown called Kim……. have we signed for the Arsenal ladies team!!!!!

  4. just pray giroud is fresh and fit and no crazy ref gives him a direct red. without him 100% fit we will struggle to compete where we wanna..

  5. @MA & Jonny

    I agree with both you. With him taking such a stance on both Education and Healthcare, which happen to be 2 of the most polarizing topics in American politics, plus as Jonny said his color/heritage plays apart.

    At present we are at 2 government shutdowns because they couldn’t get the budget together due to ObamaCare which both parties had agreed prior to. Though I worked for the government and mostly everything that happens affects me in some way, a lot of my coworkers and people that I talk to from other agencies are really concerned heading into this election about the potential of more government shutdowns.

  6. Couldn’t help having two cents. Quick question, does anyone have any more insight into what goes on at the annual bilderberg meetings? Quite the piss take if true.

  7. I think our other positions are fine, just Giroud on his own is a big risk.

    But like i said before, i actually do believe in Bendtner.

    He is nowherr near as bad as some people make him out to be.

    It is not ideal though, we do not have enough in my honest opinion to win the title.

    But i am no pyschic , so we wait and see.

  8. kallstroms no mug but hes really not what we needed and hes years passed his best..
    the loan move for kalou was a puddle of piss and i come to the conlcusion wengers just trying to force podolski out becuase that bid was an insult to ze hammer..
    kloses years passed is best as well

    its a positive that wenger is making moves he knows we need to strenghen this window but without spending serious money he really is clutching at straws with some of these loans..

    we lack quality and pace upfront more than anything and nothing what im seeing tonight is going anywhere near to solving that..

  9. @MA & Jonny

    Palin is somebody that is generally laughed at by her own party and while I lived in FL, the republicans there even said that they would rather have Hilary than Palin anyday of the week. She is some kind of stupid.

  10. Borges Spineli

    We are terrible at freekicks, we are worse than terrible.

    So anyonr who can actually make the keeper work is welcome

  11. A mate of mine that lives in Germany is saying that there are several reports that we were most definetly in for Draxler and that we had sent delegates to bring him back this window. He said that the reports are saying that the both Schalke and Arsenal’s board had agreed a fee but Arsene didn’t think that Draxler was worth the 37M that Schalke wanted and only valued him between 25-30M so no deal.

    If this kid goes to Brazil and lights up Brazil like he is capable of, I wonder how many and how quickly the doomers will come out especially if we don’t win the title.

  12. At this point I think Arsene has backed himself into a self-made corner to be fair.

    We needed a striker or a wing player with pace that was able to not only score goals but to also provide us the pace that we lack and he didn’t get it. So now he has to win the FA Cup or EPL with what we have which is possible but he must either play Podolski and move either Santi or Ozil to the right or he must be ready to face not only the fans but the players as well if we were to not win the title because we couldn’t score enough and he refused to play Podolski for whatever reason( I don’t buy Podolski doesn’t want to work for the team, the lad is trying to do everything he can to engulf himself in the club and its history not to mention he has continually shown a passion for the club that is only rivaled by his passion for Koln).

  13. Just wanted to check the transfer news here and found the S Palin vs. H Clinton discusion.

    Which makes me think we are not close to any signifficant signing, and the squad is “strong enough” to fight for the trophies.

    Having said that, the William Buckley principle works for me in most cases: vote for the most conservative candidate who has a realistic chance of winning.

  14. @JJ

    I hope so too mate, I will do hope so mate.

    I think we could see something like what they did with Podolski where they got the deal done early almost right after the winter window closed.

  15. My Manure coworker just yelled that he can’t believe that Manure would loan Chicharito to Valencia but I think that the report is false after just reading it.

  16. Without an alternative, spearheading striker to Giroud, we won’t unhinge Manchester City from the top spot. For such is the momentum that they have garnered in the past 7-9 weeks. Can’t see no sign of it abating any time soon, objectively speaking. Focus now, for us, should turn to consolidating 2nd place and giving a good account of ourselves in the FA Cup at all cost with top prize in hand. Succeed at both, and this season can be hailed as an important milestone for the ensuing chapter of our club to build upon. Anything other than as stated, and heads SHOULD roll.

  17. well this Kim kallstrom does have bags of experience in Europe and internationals. could be a good back up player.

  18. All I know is he looks fit, therefore it helps the side in the short term. I still don’t understand the reluctance to get a striker but I do understand that the real targets of interest will not be available right now in any event. Klose would have been an interesting get as a short loan.

  19. maybe Wenger is counting on the bindippers missing out on cl footy and Saurez sending Wenger an sos. still would be better to bring someone in on loan but its that age old question….he has to be better then what we have..

  20. C:

    “At this point I think Arsene has backed himself into a self-made corner to be fair”

    That exact same statement has been made about Arsene many many times in the past transfer windows. This one is slightly different because everyone now believes we have money that could be used if we wanted but the reality is that fortunately for him he does not really have to be concerned about corners. 😉

  21. which is why i was seriously puzzled at our link with kalou..
    what the fucks he gonna bring?
    he wont trust podolski but he’ll make a move for kalou??

  22. @Bill

    No its different this time Mate because we have a real shot at winning the EPL and the FA cup and for him not to get even a striker on loan after spending the whole summer looking for one is what makes this time different. Us announcing that we have money and Arsene about to sign a contract worth 8M a year for the next 3 years is just the icing on the cake to what could happen.

  23. @MA

    Klose would have been a good get in the short term since everything else either fell through or Arsene didn’t deem it worth it. Tello and Draxler it was for me to be honest with Pato as potentially dark horse signing.

  24. Kallstrom will be fit, professional & hopefully handy in a Yossi Benayoun way …..but I get the feeling the Draxler deal took so much of the club`s attention other areas where we needed to strengthen appear to have been ignored.

  25. C:

    I really hope that this window is just about his belief that there is not any real true game changers available now, along with just a small bit of his old stubborn self. He has always hated making significant acquisitions in the January window unless we were in real trouble of missing 4th. Arshavin and Nacho are examples of the latter. We have been in real contention before in January such as 2011 and nothing significant was done so this is back to the old days. Hopefully it will work out for us this season and he will spend really big this summer.

    If he does not spend this summer then it will be a case of “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. However, no matter what happens it will not have any real effect on Arsene since he is made of titanium and can do whatever he wants with his club.

  26. Surely the Kalou thing is just rumour?

    Palin is a much better option. Sure Kalou is right wing but he is notorious for missing his targets.

    Besides Palin knows how to put makeup on dogs and can shoot a moose.

    Plus she’d stop people shooting on goal when she stands in the wall – too good a target to resist.

  27. The no brainer is recalling joel campbell
    Its very annoying the way we sign all these south ametican kids none ever make it
    Galindo borthello Wellington

    Kim kallstrom will he be another park

  28. lets us just pray to the she – god of the gooniverse that we pick up zero injuries, niggles, cramps to any of our players in the next 4 months..

    not as much as a single blister..

  29. Absolutely pathetic! Dont doubt that Kim will give us some cover in midfield, but surely he is just going to be competing with Flamini and Arteta for the holding role and I doubt he gets the spot when others are fit.
    Still cant believe Wenger can’t find a better player out there than Bendtner. Picking up another option up front would have done us no harm at all. It’s times like this I feel we are still being run by a bunch of accountants. If we come out of this season with nothing surely we should be pointing to the lack of activity in this transfer window as the reason why.

  30. It really worries me that we could have signed someone from a position of strength at the top of the league, but we would rather put the chance of winning something at risk by sitting on our hands again.
    For me AW has become so indecisive in the transfer window, damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This inactivity has got to be harmful in the long run, from the first half of the season it was clear that gaps still existed. So is it prudent to wait for the summer and start all over again with everybody on the footing, or should we buy now when we are first/second in the league and a new signing or two could refresh the team and lift us for the second push for trophies.
    I don’t know if Draxler was going to be the mutt’s nuts or not, but I do know that there is a good chance that we will lose out on him in the summer. So if he is as good as AW apparently thinks doesn’t it make sense to bring him in now and acclimatise him to ensure he is ready to hit the ground running next season. In the meantime, he could have turned out to be the new impetus we need, a very talented young lad with nothing to lose.

  31. bleh people keep saying a backup striker was never important for our campaign.. Thing is a backup IS never important until you need him. That’s why they are called backups. You only play them if you have to. Kallstrom is a player like that. Solid but unspectacular. A striker in the same mould would be very much apreaciated.
    Solid but unspectacular…

  32. poodle

    I agree, for me this window has always been about finding a backup striker better than Bendtner. I’m sure that player is out there, but I don’t understand why we haven’t really managed to find him.
    Draxler was clearly one for the future, so why did we spend so much time on him when we weren’t going to play the full release clause? It seems that in our usual blinkered way we have spent so much time on one signing that we haven’t really sorted anything else out.

  33. If we do not sign another striker its also obvious that we deffo could not find anyone better than Poldi or Bendtner in that position for the price we were willing to pay. no point signing another Park tbf…

  34. And Kallstrom, if he turns out to be as solid as Benayoun we have done a good deal for a midfield that deffo did not work with Flamini next to Arteta. That was much of the reason we could not break down the Saints defence in last match..

  35. lol atleast he could have signed henry up as a backup like a couple of years ago. For nothing els than to boost the fan moral :p

  36. Right, that’s it. All transfer talk is done and dusted until the final whistle is blown on the Premier League season…two chances of that one; slim and none and slim just rode out of town…

  37. @Yogi

    The window is closed but if I’m not mistake they allow transfers if there is an imminent signing like we have put in a bid. Apparently we are waiting to hear back on Cisse of Newcaatle(strange one but he is a good striker when on form) and reportedly reports in Spain say Morata could be on his way on loan until end of season with possibility of permanent.

  38. just read that kim kalldashianstrom had a 70% pass completion rate last season..blimey thats shite, he better be a good flipping tackler.

  39. Klose is said to be pissed at Lazio over rejecting our bid for a loan until the end of the season.

    Arsene will undoubtedly say ” We were active and tried to sign a striker but none was available”.

    Bendtner turned down a permanent move to Turkey to stay at Arsenal until the summer. Odd that one seeing as though Denmark are not in the World Cup so he had nothing to lose outside of wages.

  40. must say though, positive thing is that AW will be forced to try out Poldi as a striker now if Giroud gets injured. Poldi is very good, but like Robin before him needs to adapt to the role. Poldi will show everyone if he gets the chance…Hope Giroud stays fit though…

  41. @Dukey

    No just got friends that went to college in several different countries(i should have left but family issues stopped me) so they keep me up to date as they love futbol as much as I do.

  42. i really do think wenger is waiting to see if Saurez will be available if they fail to get cl football, i can imagine wenger would love to work with saurez, if ever there was a player that suited wengers ideas to the ground its saurez.

  43. No Klose is a more mobile more clinical Giroud. Not to mention he is even, at 35 years old a deadly finisher on headers.

    Going back and watching Kallstrom it was interesting to see for Sweden he was give the #9 shirt. He is a very good passer of the ball even with his passing accuracy because he looks to knock the ball to the wings similar and play those deadly balls over the top for strikers to run on to. I remember him at Lyon when they were winning Ligue 1 and he was part of the fulcrum and he is fit. Also he is a taller midfielder at 6’1″ which we needed.

    Glad Park is gone but because it gives him a chance to make his countries World Cup squad.

  44. more clinical then the sniper….probably the same i reckon, i wouldnt want to be running away from any of em if they had a luger in their hands.

  45. @dukey if that happens and he pulls off Suarez this summer.. one just have to bow for the emperor of transfers tbh… Does that mean we have to hope United win the league? Mind you if Real is interested we got no chance regardless of whether liverpool end within top 4 or not…

    deal of the window: Mata to United…. Mou must feel silly, if united get top 4 this season they will be a proper force next seson. All thanks to Mou..

  46. In order of priority:
    Dukey- 3.08
    “relatively ordinary Australian team .”
    You will find that generally it only takes a relatively ordinary Aussie to beat a Pom.
    Having said that, England underestimated Australia significantly, many of your key players underperformed, whilst our better players stood up.
    Re the transfer window, a missed opportunity, but I am sure we will buy Drax in about 5 years for 70m.

  47. interesting to see how you fair against them. if you do well then it wont make us look so bad after all(pah). if you have a new bunch of class acts. well see. im with bob, we bottled it more then you outclassed us this tour, too many of our players never fancied it from the opening barrage of balls from Johnson.

  48. So another underwhelming transfer window is over. Not too fussed about Kim, he is a backup and he is on loan. But on the striker front, we really needed someone as cover for Giroud. As things stand, we have him and of course the Greatest Striker in the World. Is it really that hard to buy/loan someone better than Bendtner, even in January? Anyway, I am thanking Almighty that we didn’t buy that useless clown Kaloue. If we had, I would’ve started doubting the sanity of our manager.

  49. Sensible addition. Pity we could not add on an additional striker but the market for one that would make sense for us was very thin.

    1) Kallstrom – Adds plenty of experience to the engine room and Wenger is absolutely correct that midfield for us is where it matters most. his versatility also means Arteta is now covered and we have another option when Ramsey is out. Another plus is we get a weapon for set pieces which has been missing for several seasons now.

    Whilst many may seem underwhelmed in the media with the Swede, this sentiment is a familiar one when Wanyama, gustavo and Mvilla were our solution to our porous midfieldand Flamini’s free addition greeted with muted indifference.

    2) Striker – Again I feel the issue here is not to replicate Giroud because Bendtner can replicate much of what he does (to of course a lesser extent at the moment). Given the limited time he has featured, TGSTEL hasn’t done too badly. Also as the media seem to forget, whilst not entirely suited as a holding player, Poldy is a striking asset from out left and could add addtional firepower even if Giroud is out if he was paired in tandem with Bendtner. So although not ideal, we have cover where central midfield is a worry bc of Flamini’s reckless recent action and Ramsey’s absence.

    I have of course advocated a loan for Pato (for which I was willing to waive my fees in Arsenal’s interest). of course it makes total sense to me but I must also (as we all do) bear in mind that none of us are privy to the closer idiosyncracies surrounding such strikers which could complicate moves.

    Other strikers that have been mooted either did not want to move (Vucinic), would incur oportunity cost down the line (Mitrogolou) in the summer when several bigger names (Benzema, Manzukic and Falcao) could come available. Purchasing them now would mean Wenger would be less likely to put the extra money into a bigger bid in the summer should opportunity arise. Had he bought last january when many were bleating on about it for the sake of top4, he would have been less likely to have climbed the dizzy heights of 42.3m for Ozil.

    Crucially, most of the strikers many mooted were CUP TIED.

    3) Draxle.. Again, he is simply over hyped at the moment and over priced. media fodder. We likely had an eye on him should Schalke decide to sell short but they have no compelling reason to and we could spend better across the board on 25m which incidentally would have been the price for the slightly better proven Jovetic. Why would we pay money for a young player who again is CUP TIED when we could have snapped up Konoplyanka for 15m? Seems absolutely daft.

    4) On Konoplyanka. The news trickling in at the death that the mugmashers had failed to seal the deal got me more satisfaction almost than our signing of Kim. he would have simply wasted his career there and perhaps got some friendly advise to wait till summer from say Sahin?

    A versatile player who is one of the top creative players currently in Europe still unattached to a big club, he (like Santi) plays with both feet and would be a viable replacement IMO for Rosicky whom whilst excellent will only continue to feature in sporadic bits due to age. Frankly I would prefer us to release Rosicky in the summer and funnel any money we intended to use to extend him toward the more physically robust Sagna for the extra season he is looking for.

    So mix bag for me but overall a practical decision to add in midfield and cover a couple of important positions. If we analyse some games where we have dropped, it isn’t because we cannot score but that midfield (by either tactical misinterpretation) or tired legs) have failed to hold the centre.

    Kallstrom is a good addition and I for one relish an additional experience head to come in in this critical juncture as a good thing where others can only see the player as past his due. But that’s the media and their narrative for Arsenal. Alas.

  50. Dukey and Santori make a lot of sense, in my opinion. I expect the next 2 months to be one of the most defining periods of our Arselife. The squad remains great inspite of the perceived transfer failings. We’ve lost Theo but Santi and Poldi seem to be on their way back now. Not to mention the Ox. Once Ramsey returns, we’ll surely be brimming with proven quality. One can still hope….

  51. My first impressions of the new guy:

    – Seems like a good kid.
    – Speaks English (++)

    The rest remains to be seen…..I guess I have a few YouTube clips to watch!

  52. But you see the madness in the Draxler price when Zouma the hottest defender on the planet went for 12,5M.

    Either Zouma is underpriced or Draxler was very overpriced.

  53. Poodle

    I really would have liked Zouma at the Emirates…. he would have been a superb backup for our CB’s. I watch a lot of French football and have been impressed by him at St-Etienne! I think Källström has been a shrewed loan, he can play across midfield, can score with either foot and his freekicks are awesome. He will fit in comfortably and is a good replacement for Ramsey./ Wilshere. I hope to see him on the bench tomorrow against Palace.

  54. Goonerandy

    I’d suggest we wait and see….. it’s not something to worry about, if it happens it happens. Then we’ll have to rely on Poldi and Bendy. AW will have to play Poldi and we’ll have to hope the ‘air kick King’ does better!

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