World Cup Gift For Dutch & The Transfer Window: Statements Of Intent Coming


Having entertained in the opening stages, there was a concern that the World Cup might start to resemble whatever derivation of catenaccio is de rigueur with the current footballing establishment. Refreshingly, such fears were unfounded as the Round of Sixteen continued to hold the world in its thrall yesterday.

It was a day that promised so much and half delivered. Mexico outplayed the highly rated Dutch for much of their encounter before succumbing to late goals from Huntelaar. The striker was out to prove a point; Arsenal supporters had billed and cooed over him for years and frankly, he was hurt that this year’s model is Alexis Sanchez. A quick reminder to everyone that he was still around. We couldn’t forget, for it was Huntelaar who converted the dubious penalty awarded for a foul on Arjen Robben. With the theatrics involved, you can never be sure if there was contact or enough contact to warrant the dramatic fall to the floor. His knees must have taken so much punishment over the years from the tumbles to the turf; I just hope he isn’t storing up problems for himself in the future. The Snipers Popular Front and Peoples Front of Snipers put aside their differences to protest to FIFA that Robben had fallen as if shot by one of their members. They wished to make it clear that this was the act of a renegade, a lone gunman and not an officially sanctioned action,

As is the case with Brazil, I have not been impressed by the Dutch beyond their opening game drubbing of Spain. Heat undoubtedly played a factor yesterday and their durability will stand them in good stead. I suppose the questions will be answered in the semi-finals when they will almost certainly face Argentina, a good side compared to the average ones they have beaten thus far. I don’t mean that disparagingly either; Mexico played well and should have been further ahead. Alas they were not and missed out on a meeting with Costa Rica in the next round.

Although how the surprise package of the World Cup so far achieved that, only the Greeks know. With a man advantage for an hour, they lacked the guile or ability to deliver the final pass to score more than their very late equaliser. Navas in the Costa Rican goal had, from memory, no more than one or two saves of any difficulty to make. That might include the penalty shoot out as well, although I could be wrong on that. Joel Campbell worked tirelessly during the 120 minutes in contrast to the easygoing afternoon he enjoyed against England. Oh, and a word to the pundits: nobody cares if Ruiz was trying to shoot in the other corner.

Which brings us to the main point of today; any day in fact. Arsenal. The World Cup offering some solace from what would be the inevitable trauma of the transfer window. It’s a pleasant distraction, don’t get me wrong on that one. Frankly, the prospect of three months of interminably inaccurate headlines without any substance is frightening, not just in how the stories emerge but the manner in which they are inhaled. The footballer supporters weed, I suppose, but more insanely addictive.

Whilst other clubs spend heavily, Arsenal quietly wait to announce the deals for strengthening the squad. It is necessary to do so, even to stand still with the departures of Sagna, Bendtner, Kallström and Fabianski. Squad members they may have been and with varying reputations in the eyes of supporters, but they all played a part in the cup victory and fourth-placed finish. That is the stepping stone – or history may prefer, foundation – and the weight of expectation is such that each time a foot is placed on it, there is a sinking feeling as the sand moves under the pressure.

Arsenal have work to do and with pre-season training beginning in the coming weeks, the sound of clock with every passing second, gets louder.

The club trumpeted new commercial deals this year, the land of plenty having walked through the fallow valley for almost a decade. At this point views diverge. On the one hand, the messianic Wenger has produced miracles to maintain a squad able to compete for fourth place, sometimes more successfully than that but never for the holy grail on either domestic or European fields. He has come painfully close to both but never able to find the crucial difference between success and failure.

In the face of apparently contrary statements from the board and financial reports that show the opposite, Arsène has steadfastly maintained he has been restricted in the sums he could spend on the squad. In fact, nobody has argued with that; he has always had less than other clubs to spend. The arguments come from whether he has spent the funds available to him and if you revisit the comments from board members down the years, this gas been a central and recurring theme. The politics of those decisions is evident; a fully-supportive board was hanging the manager out to fry. If he took the plaudits for wise investments, they were not taking the brickbats when he did not. Neither party can play the reduced circumstance any more; to do so invites ridicule.

Personally I have always thought Arsenal had less money than some, more than most but the manager chose to go down the route of youth because (a) he is naturally conservative and (b) he could build a dynasty. It didn’t work because firstly, the players who he had faith in actually wanted to win trophies as they got older and could see that having blown a title, they were unlikely to do so to any great degree with his policy and secondly, he got the shock of his life with the stadium’s reaction. I don’t for one minute suggest that Mesut Özil was a reaction to the Villa defeat nor do I believe he was part of some grand plan last summer. Had we signed Suarez, I don’t think the German would have come to us as well. He was  a ‘either/or’ option. He’s here and reports this morning suggest that he will be joined by Sami Khedira at around £23m. In the last year of his contract in Madrid, he is ripe for a transfer rumour or two, especially as the same reports carry the important caveat that he is trying to negotiate a new deal with Real. Arsenal are always the perfect stalking horse in a constantly changing transfer market.

That fluidity is mirrored in the electronic stands. The mantra of “spend some f’in money” is now replaced by signings being valued as a statement of intent. Arsenal, if they are to be taken seriously as genuine contenders, need to sign a superstar, they need to send shivers down the spine of their rivals. It works in some contexts, Özil’s arrival concerned Mourinho to the extent that he would not loan Demba Ba. Did it frighten him? No, it just made him even more obdurate than ever. That Arsenal were still looking for a striker that late in the window is another matter.

The German highlights the different views on Arsenals transfer policy. Despite the public arena playing out alternatively, Özil is still held up as a coherent transfer strategy or a sign that the club got lucky. As ever, the truth is somewhere in the halfway house between the two.

Is this summer’s silence the result of twelve months ago? I’d like to think so, the club announcing key signings before the additions to strengthen the squad. From a PR perspective, that order shows intent in targeting crucial players, of making the starting XI better, even if it is just a perception, a convenient means of conveying a message. The truth of it doesn’t matter, who cares which order players are signed in or how much they cost? The only truth that matters is Arsenal signing the right players to win the title.

If they could have it all wrapped up for pre-season training, that would be quite nice. I just hope we don’t get to the point where signing anyone is considered quite nice.

’til Tomorrow.

390 thoughts on “World Cup Gift For Dutch & The Transfer Window: Statements Of Intent Coming

  1. @C

    Absolutely, I’m Nigerian.

    I wasn’t thoroughly disappointed with the result though we played quite well for 70mins.

    Mikel, Moses were woeful honestly. Moses pulled a ‘Wilshire’ like you mentioned, always overdoing things. Honestly, I just think we lacked that bit of inventiveness in the final 3rd.

    Matuidi could have seem red, but I think we were a bit hard done by on the penalty incidence involving Evra and Osaze and the goal.

    Twitter was awash with news that Debuchy will sign for us just before the game. His performance was average though. I believe he can produce better.

    GERMANY!!! My pre tournament favourites.

  2. @tateezee

    I agree with that. The ref was definitely poor and Nigeria should have had a penalty. I was surprised that Musa and Odemwingie didn’t get on the ball more. France were very lucky though and honestly I doubt they stand a chance against Germany.

  3. Bloodie hell, Neuer would make me TERRIBLY TERRIBLY nervous as a GK. Boateng isn’t a good partner for Mert because he lacks the quickness and pace. I though Mert and Hummels were brilliant together. I would even move Mustafi back to his natural CB postiion and let Boateng play as a RB.

  4. Of course they have a chance – for one thing it’s football but more importantly you underestimate the French at your peril.

    The All Blacks will tell you all about that – 1999 & 2007.

  5. I still don’t understand why Low doesn’t play Lahm at RB and go with a midfield pivots of Khederia and Schweinsteiger. That would make this German team so much stronger.

  6. Algeria is really asking questions. I think with Lahm in midfield is taking away from this German team same as I thought with the Bayern team. Mert and Lahm are brilliant together but Mert and another CB i.e Boateng and Mustafi aren’t.

  7. Yeah I’d plump for Aurier too but Debuchy is not a bad player – it would certainly be no disaster.

  8. FIFA will not do anything about Robben. Having already been rudely deprived of some of their whore-time by the Suarez incident, I doubt they’ll be in any mood to disengage from their buffet/whorehouse compound to tackle another issue of substance.
    Lord knows what their set up is. Qatari money has probably financed them the whole island of Fernando de Noronha as a private playground for the duration of the tournament.

  9. He isn’t but Janmaat would be option #2. I just think if we are going to spend 10-13M for a RB we can do better than Debuchy. He makes me nervous in his actual defending.

  10. Debuchy is older more mature and EPL tested. Aurier is younger. more raw and there is a greater upside…but of course a greater downside as he has to adapt to a new league, culture and pay packet.

  11. I agree with C. No need for Lahm centrally.

    Algeria hanging on and even creating some good chances. Just wish one had gone in. Very brave and spirited performance from the Algerians.

  12. Algerians not just going long ball though they are exploiting the slowness of it with balls in behind. But Algeria can also play the ball on the ground some and pass pretty well, but they know their advantage is quick counters and keeping defensive shape so they get the ball into position to release Slimani or Feghouli whenever they can if the midfield is packed. If there is space on the wings, they push it forward and try to create. Very good game plan and discipline. Not panicking. But they are going to concede eventually, which is why it is a shame they couldn’t finish one of the 4 or 5 really good chances they had.

  13. if we’re signing debuchy does that mean we’re signing a cb as well?
    because debuchy cant play cb

  14. Hana Aicha: Yahya al-Jaza’ir!! Slimani is looking a real threat. How excited would Algeria be to avenge 1982 AND get a chance to play against France?!

  15. I agree with C, teams are targeting BFG’s lack of pace/mobility. Kosc is very mobile so they complement each other. BFG could use a speedy Lahm as I don;’t think Hummels is as fast. I am not wathing the game – is Hummel playing? Lahm is a great player but not having played at FB during the year (he was used in MF by Guardiola) maybe Low felt it was too risky to put him back there?

  16. Lahm has played fullback for years. Not a problem. Hummels has the flu.

    Who came on for Gotze?

  17. Will we sign a new CB? I’m not so sure if Vermaelen is moving. As much as he’d like to go somewhere where he could start and get more games his agent probably won’t sanction a move to a club that can’t afford Arsenal level wages. Where could he go?

  18. Neuter is really an accomplished keeper. What distribution!

    Wasted break from Algeria. Can’t waste these!

  19. LG, yes he’s played at FB for years but maybe Low was reluctant to reintroduce him back there after not having played there recently…..or maybe it is Lahm’s prefered position now. But I do think Germany have a glut of great midfielders and he would be better at FB.

  20. And Nueur knows when to leave the box and get loose balls. Never see him miscalculate and get caught in no man’s land.

  21. well if we sign a rb who can only play at rb then weve only got 3 cbs for an entire season and to be honest we got a tad lucky there with injuries so we were never down to bare bones, but i wouldnt risk it twice..
    all it takes is one suspension (kos) and one injury (tv) and were looking into the baby team and we aint got anyone stand out in it because the baby team is a joke…which is why they are overhauling it..

    if the choice is debauchy then we’ll need a cb as well…or the squads thin, again, and it will fuck us when challenging for pl, again.

  22. Am stuck at work so I can’t see the game….One thing I noticed from the previous Algeria games I saw is that there fans seem to be 100% male – the men didn’t bring their wives, daughters or girlfriends.

  23. That’s a point on the Debuchy debate – Aurier has played CB quite a lot, surely that’s a massive point in his favour?

    If we sign Debuchy and TV agitates for departure we would need two CBs, no?

  24. Schurrle deserves a yellow there for sure, high and wild. Why won’t this ref ever caution the Germans?

  25. Maybe Arsene doesn’t want TWO youngsters, i think he wants an older player that would retire in two years so Jenks takes over.

  26. jonny,
    correctamundo, 2 needed if we lose TV..

    also, whats not in his favor is hes the same age as jenks, with bellerin only a nappy pin behind AW may see it as stockpiling or blockage

    whats in debuchys favor is that hes a stop gap?

    potentially we are looking at 3 players just to rebuild the defence and AW doesnt like buying more than 3 in one go….unless we concede 8

  27. @LSG

    Finally Low gets it right!!!!!! FFS, Lahm is one of not just RB’s but FB’s in the world they need to stop trying to make him a bloodie hold mid. You have Khederia and Schweinsteiger who enjoy playing together and are very good. Fucking Pep did this.

  28. Living dangerously. Algeria are definitely going to concede soon. The question is can they score one of these counter attacks.

  29. Let me get this right, instead of picking up an athletic RB who was voted best RB in France at only 21 years old who is basically a like for like replacement with the RB we lost with more pace but has proven even on the World stage that he is a top top talent and player already who will only get better, gives us depth at CB, CDM and LB if need be and can be had for 10M you would pass on him to sign a RB who can be shaky defensively but he is what he is at this point for 12M.

    That seems like a GREAT idea. If Jenks is as good as everybody feels he is(i rate him) then let him battle it out for the RB spot and whoever wins wins. We want to have quality depth so that we can build and be able to challenge on 4 fronts and win on all 4 fronts why not let the best man win.

  30. I know Philmar that you and I have at least the moxie to bring our girlfriends to games and on the occasion even our wives.

  31. Neuer is incredible. A slower or less aggressive and decisive keeper and Algeria would have scored something from these balls behind the slow German back line.

  32. @LSG

    Exactly. I remember us talking about this with Bayern and the samething happened against Madrid, Lahm moved to RB and everything seemed to start rolling again.

  33. So close! Algeria have shown they are fighters. Great spirit, effort and energy. They have done themselves proud. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they concede another as they are going forward all out.

  34. Great finish for the German goal. Algeria tired and you knew it was coming. I don’t think there is any way they can equalize.

  35. Algerians cramping. How they managed to play with such energy while fasting Ramadan–no food or drink since before dawn and playing at the end of the day–is unbelievable. Catching up with them now in extra time. But serious commitment and courage. They’ve made a fan in me.

    Ozil gets a sitter.

  36. Wow

    Algeria blew me away.

    The underdogs have been wonderful this World Cup.

    They dared and almost rewarded for it!

  37. Moe, they have been great. Alas, these major European teams keep winning. Holland, France, Germany. But the games have been great.

  38. Amen. Although I am happy to see Brazil continue. But CR–I’ll be backing them against van Gaal’s Dutch. Hope for a big upset.

  39. It is just paper talk. Last year we really were in negotiations with Real fir Higuain.

  40. LSG

    I mean in regard that so many papers are saying we WILL get him etc..

    Although you are right, we were actually in negotiations with Higuain.


    I hope so, i really really do.

  41. Important goal from Ozil today for Germany.

    Hope it makes him a bit more committed with his decisions on the field.

    Both Metersecker AND Boateng were left to dry on numerous occasions with Germany’s fullbacks too slow to cover.

    Loving the contest in the knock out stage, all of the games have been incredibly tight. The best teams for the contest in the quarter finals have gone through thus far but they have been made to work hard to earn it by some teams that have given all and deserve respect.

    Both Argentina and Belgium will have to fight complacency cos the Swiss (and more likely) the US are capable of an upset.

    Lower scoring games in the knock out stages but far from dull as they are all on knife edge.

    Interesting to see what Monaco does. They have to sell an asset or two. If Falcao goes to Madrid, then Benzema may come available. If not, we may have a shot at Falcao as a short term solution/alternative to Giroud/Sanogo.

  42. Heres the thing.

    nothing happens in the transfer window in a vacuum

    Likely Wenger had Ozil as a target and very likely Madrid had already expressed intention to sell.

    It would be very foolish for the Spaniards not to otherwise.

    Wenger had already laid ground work and thereby the possibility of Ozil (dependent on Bale) tied up significant funds that would otherwise allow us to bid above 40m for Higuain or Suarez.

    If we took either striker AND Ozil at 82.3m, there isn’t anything left likely to spend on any other player. Possibly Wenger had a lower figure in mind of 60-70m for both being that he nominally sides on financial prudence.

    So to say we did not plan Ozil is naive to say the least.

    Ozil’s possibility has/had a direct impact on the amount we could bid on the striker which complicated issues being ;

    1) Napoli had appetite and pocket to go past 35m (likely more than 40m) with Higuain, hence the switch of attention to Suarez

    2) We did not do sufficient homework on Liverpool’s intention to keep Suarez.

    As I said, nothing happens in isolation. This summer’s move for a striker will depend on the movement of other clubs with deeper pockets than us. As mention, if Monaco decide to relinquish Falcao to stay within financial fair play, then (if Madrid are the suitor) we may possibly see Benzema come on market. if not and if Falcao stays forgotten due to lack of world cup exposure, we may have a chance at grabbing him.

    This will also be dependent on other clubs like Chelsea who will be on the hunt for striker(s). If they do not take on Costa, They may enter the fray for the two aforementioned.

    We cannot operate the way most here think we do and simply have one target on our list.

    Likely we have already begun to negotiate or pave the way on several key targets with contingencies in place.

    the Ozil move was also dependent on player sentiment which is a crucial factor.

    Most people on this site are used to going into shops and buying things fixed price. Anyone who has any experience haggling will know how prices are affected by other interest and that price will likely come down at end of window if there is intent to sell.

    Add to that the fact that it is not just a club to club decision in that the player’s own motivation is also a factor and you have a moving target. Wenger speaks German and has begun to build a German core confident in the knowledge that the talent pool at the moment is in Germany. This soft pressure is also a key element in bringing Ozil over and this has to be done ahead of time.

    After all, we aren’t the only club that can afford him.

    Finally the timing is important, grabbing at end of season (mainly bc of Bale) played into our hands as other clubs had already committed their big spend by then.

    I feel most don’t understand the dynamics in the market as well. It is not as simple as it seems.

  43. RB

    Again, we don’t plan for just one player.

    There are many permutations.

    1) Coleman is probably the best choice in terms of experience, age (25), and PL experience. but he may be over priced.

    2) Aurier has plenty of raw power and potential but he is still inexperienced and may have adaptation period to wrestle with which may impact our start of season (not to mention ACN)

    3) Debucchy is probably the best priced and at 28 a short term solution. A lot depends on how Wenger sees the organic development of both jenkinson AND Bellerin. If he feels we need cover for just 2-3 seasons by which time either of the younger Rbs will take the helm, then Debucchy has plenty of legs left

    Alternatively, Wenger may have someone else in mind but he definitely does not have only one target nor does he work on one target without stoking other alternatives. This is a market, not a shop and there are many other buyers in it. Most act like we are the only ones.

    We do not and cannot plan for just one eventuality.

  44. Anyone still think we should have bought a player called Mitrogolou last Jan?

    Anyone feel we needed Yann Mvilla, or Voctor Wanyama or for that matter even Luis Gustavo?

    Anyone still think it was a waste of time for Dick Law to chase one Joel Campbell?

    We all think we know better. That’s the problem.

  45. Sorry to interfere with your musings, Santori, but you have had some interesting and sensible things to say, and I thought it would be rude not to say so!! 🙂

  46. Santori

    Never wanted Mitrogolou, Wanyama, Gustavo or M’villa.

    And yes, I do think it was a waste of time chasing Joel Campbell, who for the record has never played for Arsenal and according to Lee Dixon, was about to be sold by Arsene Wenger. That’s the reality check when Campbell is held up as the saviour; Wenger was going to sell him. Another one from the transfer window of 2011 whose signature is questionable.

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