Balotelli, Campbell: Everything’s Super As Verm Heads Out & More


All eyes on the World Cup and those that aren’t seem intent on recreating Arsenal squads of yesteryear. Manchester United, constantly seeking revenge for Arsenal’s audacious capture of Mikael Silvestre, are not resting on their laurels having tempted Robin van Persie northward. Reports this morning suggest a £15m bid is in the offing for Thomas Vermaelen and when that deal is complete, they will hop onto the next flight to Barcelona with Alex Song their target, hoping to wrongfoot the Chelsea delegation intent on reuniting the Cameroon international with his bosom buddy, Cesc. I don’t know if they still are chums but it was a way to work bosom into the post this morning; a quiet rebellious act. Against what I’m not sure given I write the posts and make the rules for them.

All the while, Stan Kroenke is sitting in his Denver office waiting for the phone call to come from Abramovich or the Glazers, having worked out it would be cheaper for them to buy Arsenal than pay out all the sell-on clauses and transfer fees we have in place. A bumper year for the bottom line is in the offing.

His financiers will be keeping an eye of the reckless intentions of the manager for whom the money is burning a hole in his pocket, this morning’s favoured target is Pepe Reina at a hefty £5m. It would be a disappointing signing to be honest. If the Spaniard is seeking a move, I would be more than happy if he pitched up in the Premier League and proceeded to continue his finely honed technique of throwing the ball into his own net to give Arsenal points.

By this point, you’ve realised that talk of the World Cup is being put off for as long as possible. England’s defeat to Italy was not unexpected, the manner of the game probably was. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the dour affair I, for one, expected, with both sides showing good – and brave – attacking intentions. The Italians enjoyed great space down the English left and it was surprising that this area was never addressed. No matter which attacker he had in front of him, Baines was constantly sucked inside, leaving Darmian and Candreva with the freedom of the flank, England’s rearguard invariably arriving too late to prevent the final ball being delivered.

Indeed Balotelli’s winner came from that source and provided more evidence for his admirers that Arsenal could do worse than look at the Italian. Whether he is the right forward that Wenger is seeking is another matter, his spell at Manchester City was not entirely successful but questions are being asked if his hellraiser days of partying with Oliver Reed and Richard Harris might well be at an end given his impending domestic bliss.

For England, the result leaves them where they were expected; needing six points from their remaining two games to guarantee progress. In the attacking sense, it was a positive night with Sterling, Wellbeck and Sturridge offering promising naivety. Rooney once more disappointed and question marks must be asked against his inclusion against Uruguay as he offered little in the attacking sense whilst lacking defensive discipline. Whether Barkley was any better in the latter sense in unclear; Italy were ahead and had no pressing need to attack when he came on. His was a bright cameo, the same with Wilshere, both proving in a short spell to be more suited to the England team that Rooney and Henderson. It’s unsurprising with the latter, confirming suspicions about the former that he is nowhere near as good as his hype; a promising youngster who got old and offered nothing but boorish behaviour. Even replacing those two leaves the over-riding feeling that England are a top half of the table side, one coming together and with the potential to be better in a few years time.

The group was thrown wide open by the first match in the group. Costa Rica’s win featured a good performance from Joel Campbell, one that is sure to have many proclaiming that Arsène’s search for a wide player – cover for Walcott among others – is over. That was always the reality, the unspoken element of the fervour which surrounded the rumours about Carlos Vela; Campbell was waiting in the wings, a player whose reality is either return to the club this summer or be sold. Credit to him for the by-product of cresting a clamour for the former.

Uruguay were as nostalgically disappointing as Costa Rica surprising. Maxi Perreira’s rolled back the years, the player’s direct lineage to the 1986 squad of Enzo Francescoli when anything that moved, was kicked. Hard. Campbell survived the assault born from the frustration of their humiliation. It was good practice for the welcome the physicality that the Premier League will offer.

Blunted is the way I describe the Uruguayan attack without Suarez; Edinson Cavani was another superstar whose billing appears over-inflated on the basis of their sole performance thus far. It’s one match and it will be a surprise if he plays that ordinarily in the remaining games. But that’s the way of football, always has been, always will. Like England, failure to win their next two games will send them on the first plane home the day after the final match of the group phase.

But is it quite that simple? Presuming Italy do not lose to Costa Rica is not unreasonable – and I’ll presume just that –  and means England can afford to draw with Uruguay and hope to prevail in the final group game. Four points to set up a place in the second round is an achievable target. It’s not earth-shattering either but as Italy proved down the years, it’s about qualifying for the next phase and take it from there.

Elsewhere Wilfred Bony took aim at a transfer to Arsenal with a goal against Japan whilst his agent mocked Newcastle, telling the world that his client was looking for a move to a top six club, all the while hoping that the call on hold on line 2 wasn’t from Daniel Levy whilst Arsenal are going to compensate for losing Vermaelen by hijacking Liverpool’s move for Dejan Louvren. Or Callum Chambers, I’ve lost track of it all as you might have guessed.

’til Tomorrow.

88 thoughts on “Balotelli, Campbell: Everything’s Super As Verm Heads Out & More

  1. That glint of Joel Campbell in his hopeful return to Arsenal for the next season will be that sparkle to the Arsenal diamond !!
    The inclusion of Jackson Martinez, Seamus Coleman, Pepe Reina , Balotelli, a DM and a Central Defender will complete the Arsenal Tiara!!

  2. Campbell certainly worth a place in the squad. Arsene would be mad not to bring jim back. Must say I was most disappointed with Jack’s cameo.

  3. Good to see Campbell play well. He’s clearly much better than Sanogo and should be replacing him in the squad, unless of course he continues to impress and Arsene sells him for a nice tidy profit! By contrast Rooney again fails to live up to the hype, if anyone who watches England still actually believes any of it. I would drop him, Lallana would offer much more energy and solidity in front of Baines. Hopefully Roy will have the balls to do it.

  4. Whilst I think the presence of Rooney is a luxury we can ill afford, his perfectly weighted pass DID give us our one goal against Italy.
    On the Club front, I think that the possible departure of Vermaelen wouldn’t be too much of a loss, while the arrival next term of Campbell is positively exciting.

  5. Yogi

    Great post. I thought England played reasonably well. Like you I was expecting a slow game with a 0-0 draw a real possibility. Hopefully England can get 6 points in the next 2 games.

    I thought both Joel Campbell and Balotelli impressed. I thought jack W looked lost.

    I would be happy if we bought Balotelli, Remy, Vela, JavI Martinez or Gonolons or some DM. Aurier, and a back up GK. T

    Forwards. Ballotelli, Remy, Giroud, Vela, Campbell, Walcott, Ox

    Midfielders. Ozil Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere, Rosicky, JavI Martinez, Flamini/Arteta.

    Defenders. Jenks, Aurier, BFG, Kos, Verm, 4th CB, Gibbs, Nacho

    Wojo, back up GK, 3rd GK

    That would be a 25 man squad that more firepower and a lot of depth. I would still rather have a CF more in the Suarez/Aguero mode but I think we could do worse then rolling the dice with Ballotelli/Remy/Giroud/Podolski as our strikers. If that squad does not meet the requirement for the homegrown rule then it would need to be tweaked.

    Sonogo, Gnabry, Akpom, Eisfeld, Bellerin, Toral, on loan to see if any of them could actually help us in the next few seasons.

  6. On the evidence so far, Campbell -1 goal 1 assist, Aurier – 2 assists, and Balotelli -1 chance 1 goal, would look
    like very tidy additions to the Arsenal squad. Balo was up against the “best” of English defenders and did his job perfectly with full concentration and composure. Campbell’s assist was a superbly weighted pass. A little more or less and the goal would not have been.
    With the Vela clause and the Fabregas payment we should be up another £15M ,and with TV off. How much for him? If we don’t do some serious shopping this time….

  7. @YW,
    Were you serious about 24-year old Balotelli being a drinking partner of Messrs Reed and Harris? Reed died 15 years ago and Harris 12 years ago.
    Balotelli would have had to sneak out of school to join them!

  8. Joel Campbell is the perfect example of why I think sending players on loan can be so valuable to our team. I seriously doubt he would be playing with the ability and confidence in big games like yesterday had he spent the last 2 seasons in our U21 or at the back end of our subs bench. We would have no real idea of what he was capable of doing and more then likely he would have left when his contract ran out. He was able to gain great experience and work thru some of the worst of his youthful inconsistencies and mistakes while playing for someone else. I don’t really know if he will end up becoming a top quality player and a regular starter for us. The reality is that he probably won’t. However, the chances that he will end up becoming an influential Arsenal player has been significantly improved by spending the last couple of seasons on loan playing regularly for decent teams in strong leagues. It is a huge win/win for the player and the club. Obviously all circumstances are different but in an ideal world we should use the loan system whenever possible to help develop our young players

  9. TV to Manure for £15M ? Yes please (with a Sid James laugh)

    England’s problems down their left reminded me of our game at Everton last season when Arsene simply refused to change anything.

    Rooney reminds me of John Barnes (though not with hairstyles) in that it just doesn’t happen for him at International level. Like Andy , I would drop him.

  10. Interesting thoughts and entertaining writing as ever, YW.

    I think a bit stingy in the praise of Campbell. It was better than a good performance. He had a tremendous game and pulsed with energy. Sure it is just one game. And the promise he shows must not derail efforts to improve in attack with more established players as well. But that is not the lad’s fault that the club seem to take any opportunity to gamble on the cheaper option. He is making his case and that was one terrific opening argument, I thiught. He certainly has given me more reason to watch Costa Rica games with genuine interest.

  11. I would bring Campbell to London and send Sanogo on loan, if Campbell has a good tournament. if he has a good pre-season, Campbell can be backup to Walcott (get games while Theo is still finding fitness) and be our third central striker.

  12. I agree with Bill that Wilshere looked quite ineffective and out of it. Not really match sharp mentally/emotionally comfortable yet in the England team, it looked to me.

  13. It was a much better game than I expected but was slower than any of the others. Late afternoon Manaus and two European teams. Italians played a bit smarter and stayed fresher but a very creditable match from England. Rooney’s face was so red and Hodgson looked like a cooked lobster by the end.

  14. Not quickly sign up Serge Aurrier is pure madness. This boy offers much more than Sagna. He is much younger and technically more superior in attack as well as assists.

  15. I agree with Limestone. The potential of Campbell and/or Vela should not stop us from going full out and spending whatever is needed to improve the squad. They would be the least expensive and easiest options and it would like to see both given a chance but there are certainly question marks about both. History has shown that the easiest and least expensive option has usually not been the one that improves the team the most.

  16. No way to know for certain, but If Ox had been sent on loan and played regular minutes on loan in his first or second year with Arsenal he may have become a better player for the club and might be further up the depth chart during this World Cup. The Joel Campbell we saw yesterday would certainly be starting for England. I suspect that the talent levels of Ox and Campbell are similar. The difference may well be the experience and mental strength Campbell has gained playing every game the last 2 seasons. Perhaps if Theo had been sent out on loan early in his Arsenal career we would not have had to wait as long for him to really develop his finishing skill and morph into an effective wide forward

  17. We talk about player’s turning up in big matches.

    Campbell turned up against Man Utd and helped his team win and now he turns up against one of the group favourites and gets a goal and assist.

    Should he continue like this, he deserves at least the bench or rotation. And if he proves himself a starting spot.

  18. I agree with Bill on the loan thing, had some of our young unused subs gone out on loan they would be better than they are now.

    Providing they play for a good team.

  19. @Yogi

    Nice write, I missed the final game of the day but read above that Aurier was credited with 2 assists? In any case the major talking point of the day must for Arsenal have been the good play of Campbell. I know you and I previously debated the merits of the kid with his performances for Olympiakos this past season. Are you still of the mind that he would not be a favored recruit?

    I’m not about to jump on the band wagon because C and I have discussed this kid at length off and on over the past couple of years. That said, his performances must give you some pause to consider him as an attacking option from the bench? He is doing what is being asked of him well enough to warrant a chance, however he is by far not the completed article yet and at 21 years I would expect him to be. I think his ceiling is reasonable high, just as I do for Gnabry who at 18 years has the same inconsistency at times. Were Campbell to be included in the squad then I would agree with Bill and a loan to an EPL club for Gnabry, if not then Gnabry stays. The most pressing issue for Arsenal is the contract situation for Campbell, 1 year to run and thus another loan is out of the question. This is decision time, sell or stay and if the latter then a new contract must be envisaged.

    The two players I like for RB have both it seems had fine opening ties, Janmaat for the Dutch and Aurier for the Ivory Coast.

  20. I would not take 15m for Thomas Vermaelen, the lad actually played well when called upon last season, either hold tight and refuse their advances or hold tight and force more money out of them. I mean, bloody Luiz went for some absolutely stupid fee to PSG.

  21. Vela and Cambell would be great to have in the squad. Send Sanogo off on loan and bring in a top class centre forward. That gives us 2 players for each of the 3 forward spots. Get some rotation going and make it clear that they will have to fight for their places. why we have not signed Aurier is baffling, there is a top class young player who wants to come to us, a few more games like yesterday and his price is going to go beyond what we would pay.

  22. I agree with Miami regarding Gnabry going on loan. I would suggest that since he is only 18, he might be best served by 1 year on a championship club and then if he does well another year on a PL club. IMO the same sort of work up for Akpom and Eisfeld and Bellerin and Toral would be ideal. Sonogo needs to go to a PL club I think.

  23. @Poodle

    No question Gnabry has the talent to make it (at least in my view). He was over taxed last season with appearances at U18, U21 and senior levels combined with all his training requirements. That said, the return of Campbell would be a bonus to him if he could obtain a loan to an EPL side that plays the ball on the ground. He is a very talented young lad and even the coaches from Barca were purring over his ability in the recent UEFA youth cup.

  24. “Serge Aurier – believe the hype

    With the amount of interest that surrounded right-back Aurier before this tournament, you would understand if the 21-year-old didn’t quite reach the mind-blowing levels of excellence expected of him. After all, he is just a right-back.

    In fact, he showed he was not just a right-back, as his two perfectly placed crosses provided the goals that his side so desperately needed.

    Tenacious and powerful down that right side, Aurier really came alive when Sabri Lamouchi used Serey Die as a third centre-back, allowing his teammate to become the devastating force he has so often been for Toulouse this season.

    Both crosses for the two goals were sublime, executed with a level of technique that many right-backs do not develop until at least their mid-twenties. The only negative was his role in the Japan goal, ignoring the free Keisuke Honda on the edge of the area to seemingly mark nobody in particular.

    But this should not be too much of a mark on his performance; his never-ceasing willingness to get stuck in and join up with the attacks was a true joy to behold.”

    From Soccernet

  25. Cesc: “Arsenal was first option, but Wenger said he had Ozil at my position. I had 2-3 other options in England, Mourinho won me over.”

  26. Bill, I’m not sure which PL club would want Sanogo to be honest. That’s not mean, he hasn’t looked ready for us, and let’s face it if you can’t score for Arsenal with the quality players we have providing the chances what chance would he have with someone like West Brom, Leicester or Burnley? I suspect some time in the Championship is more likely, or just as Ryo did he’d just end up warming the bench at a lesser PL club.

  27. “Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Joel
    Campbell will return to Arsenal this summer and
    get a chance to stake his claim for a place. #AFC

    -The Times

    So no sale then.

    Does that mean should he prove himself we will give him a new contract?

  28. interesting that campbell was given a work permit last summer..
    yet we chose to send him out on loan again away…not sign a striker and pick up sanogo on a free to not play him for 5 months and then not see him contribute a thing in 15 apps.

    agree with limey..

    campbell back in the squad..sanogo out on loan..

  29. Poodle

    Gnabry had a couple of good games but just like a lot of young players before him, he was looking very ineffective by the time Arsene took him out of the regular rotation. I am certainly not convinced that he is as good as sterling.


    Good point but we need to find out either way if Yaya really can make the grade. Best way is a Zpl loan

  30. @bill

    I expect inconsistency from young players and Gnabry is no different. That however does not mean he doesn’t have something to offer the side. His issue largely was that he was playing and training for 3 Arsenal sides and of course he got injured. Campbell’s arrival should see him loaned, but were he left to just add depth to the senior side I think he would have been better. I know you are not trying to malign the player, just pointing out that for a younger player he was asked to do a hell of a lot for the club. His situation is and was vastly different to that of Sterling.

  31. @Lime

    With the exception of Sterling no one for England stuck their hand up. It was however an entertaining game and as a neutral I was delighted with that. Jack didn’t have a lot of time to make any impact, 17 mins of regulation and 5 mins of extra. One pass aside he was tidy but England never controlled the middle of the park nor the tempo of the game.

  32. I agree, England did very well last night.

    The attack was great.

    The midfield was slow.

    The defence was reasonable.

    But i really think had England had their shooting boots on, this game could have been comfortable for them.

  33. england did very well last night..
    neither team had the midfield everything was happening down the wings and it was very much ding dong for 90minutes
    if we had a decent forward and a little bit more luck with the sterling and henderson shots the italians would have been stuffed..
    the conceded like 90 corners..

    but im biased..

  34. @JJ

    Apart from a few spurts Italy controlled both tempo and possession. The only positive out for England was Sterling.

  35. MA

    I disagree, England controlled the second half, Italy did not do much in that half. In fact the last 25 minutes Italy couldn’t get out.

    Maybe first half Italy were dominant but no way second half, they were virtually subdued apart from one or two chances.

  36. @Moe

    The latter part of the game Italy defended their lead. A choice they tactically, and even then England couldn’t do the job.

  37. they werent controlling anything when their fullbacks were being ran at and their defence was on the back foot throwing themselves at everything and giving away endless corners and possible penalty shouts..
    baines got a raw deal last night but chiellini looked shite as well.

    they snatched that top class sides have to from time to time but it wasnt a controlled performance by any means..england stood up last night and made a real game of it..

    italy are a great side but in my opinion..honestly..they didnt deserve to win..a draw would have been about fair…

  38. agree with both those comments..
    im enjoying my international football again..
    think theres been some great games..

  39. Moe:

    Agree 100%. This has been a truly magnificent start to the WC. Goals, upsets, good crowds, quality games u name it. This is what the game is about and maybe sometimes we pay too much attention to the suits (Blatter and co etc.), forgetting that all people really want is a good game of football, whether it’s in the Amazon or Qatar.

  40. Auier….sign him up if we havent already!

    Glad to hear Wenger saying Campbell will be at Arsenal next year.


    Inregards to your thoughts yesterday, yea I do think that they maybe waiting for the PUMA deal to strike it seems. Would be a brilliant stroke of genius if we announce both the Aurier signing along with the PUMA deal. Add Balotelli, Campbell and one of Gonalons, Khederia, Schneiderlin or a dynamic powerful athletic CDM and job well done.

  41. jj snd Highbury

    Yep, i love the attacking football on display, teams are having a go and being rewarded for it. I was watching the Holland-Spain game and i was praying to god it wouldn’t be a possession borefest, theres no fun in that.

    Costa Rica had the balls to attack and won, Holland weren’t scared and destroyed the spanish, even Croatia should not have lost to Brazil.

    Teams are being positive, everyone wants to play well and that’s what makes it so fun.

  42. @MA

    Saw those Cesc comments. Seems like many thought, Ozil killed the Cesc deal which I’m not completely surprised by in any way. Ozil is younger, has struck a brilliant partnership with Ramsey and Cesc would have been a supreme luxury but not until we addressed other needs especially with Santi, Ox(given Aesene seems him there though I don’t agree), Mozart and hopefully Jack all finding their form and fitness centrally next season.

  43. C

    Yep, since maybe the signings have been helped by the PUMA deal, maybe PUMA have said to Arsenal “We want to be associated with these signings because it would be good PR and we are contributing financially..”

    So maybe that’s what it is. Otherwise the worrying quite over our club is quite unnerving.

  44. @Moe

    Yea especially if any of these Balotelli rumors are true. It would be not just good PR but good signings.

    Unnerving….its part of being a a Gooner.

  45. This Swiss side is a decent side I have to admit, especially attacking wise.

    Djourou has been no-nonsense in defending. Good to see him do good last season in Germany and now for the Swiss.

  46. Seems Giroud has a bad hamstring and is out for the French team today.

    Arsene said France should quit futbol if they can’t beat Honduras.

  47. Swiss just stole 3 points in stoppage time. Ecuador had a chance but for some strange reason the lad didn’t pull the trigger and then Swiss counter and score in the final seconds.

  48. There hasn’t been one boring game so far. Incredible number of injury time goals as well. Amazing! I thought this would be filler until the start of club season but it has been very entertaining so far and great atmosphere in the stadia.

  49. No OG or Kos for France. But Let’s see how Benzema and Griezmann play. Looking forward to Argentina tonight too.

  50. Sagna also on the bench. Debuchy ahead of him! Strange line up from my perspective. Kos is better than Sakho.

  51. PSG already “agreed” to buy Griezmann right? If not he’d fit nicely into Arsenal 🙂

  52. North- maybe I prefer games when I know the players!! Already interested in France/Honduras!! 🙂

  53. Mostly been played with good spirit and discipline–this Feance Jonduras is the first real ugly, physical and I’ll-tempered match. Needs a goal.

  54. Honduras playes like Stoke vs Arsenal. Suddenly everyone think Honduras are violent? Weird since everybody thinks Arsenal are soft..

  55. Seems like a typical post Zidane and Henry French side. Ultra talented but underwhelming. They’ve hit the post a ton and just caught a break with Palacios just getting his 2nd yellow equalling red.

  56. Really poor from Wilson Palacios with the first red of the tournament. Fouling Pogba the second tjne in thr box. Penalty for Benzema–he converts with authority. 1-0 right before halftime and Honduras gave a whole half with 10 men ahead of them. No way back, I think.

  57. when i played against arsenal we used to get stuck into them and make it hard and you didnt like it did you thierry..

    we managed

    pogba kicks out and it should be a red card shouldnt it thierry



  58. i know why giroud wasnt picked.
    because deshamps knew honduros were going to come out and kick his players and he wanted a striker on the pitch score goals and win the game and not one who was going to spend the entire match sat on his arse waving his arms around to the ref..

  59. fuck me
    they cant even play football…theyve got no threat from anywhere, from set pieces or counters or anything

    they just want to hurt ppl all the time..

    worst side ive seen in a long time..

Comments are closed.