Arsenal Sunk By Falcao, Positives From The Weekend & More


The Emirates Cup is heading to Valencia, probably a good idea if it’s stamped “Property of Arsenal Football Club” so that this year’s winners don’t sell it off to contribute towards their new stadium. It was a bit “after the Lord Mayor’s show” following the 5 – 1 win over Benfica; Monaco, dismissed beforehand, were obdurate and a lacklustre Arsenal, not fully fit and out-of-sorts, fell into last season’s bad habits when faced with such opponents. Talking of bad habits, it was good to see that the standard of officiating in this country is as bad as ever with Martin Atkinson inexplicably letting his linesman overrule him, despite being further away; he’s finding out this morning that his two wrongs (ceding decision-making and awarding a free kick) don’t make it right (the penalty he was going to give). I am sure he will be relegated to a Tottenham pre-season tournament next year as punishment.

Arsenal lacked penetration in the first half with Olivier Giroud needing an awful lot of work to be ready for the start of the season, with only the Charity Shield to prepare for the Premier League campaign. He was enthusiastic about the arrival of Alexis – or as the commentary team called him several times, “Alexi“. Giroud noted,

He is a fantastic player and I think we will have a good understanding together on the pitch. He is simple to play with and he can feel the game – I think it will be easy to play with him

And when you start playing, Olivier, I am sure you will find out. If you think that is harsh judgement, Wenger was even harder on his compatriot,

“Giroud is not ready at all so I thought I’d take him out because he didn’t look ready”

Arsène can take some positives out of the Sunday performance. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain provided the spark needed on the right flank, Chambers did well again – aside from Falcao’s goal which will concern Wenger, repeating a pre-season theme of vulnerability from set-pieces – and in the second half, Alexis and Akpom were threatening as central strikers.

Chambers is being primed, you suspect, for the central midfield role, it’s a theme Arsène has consistently warmed to in the past week or so. Developed in midfield, he has the versatility the modern game seems to demand, reflected yesterday as he covered Debuchy’s bursts forward well. With the manager deflecting attention away from the transfer window in his post-match press conference, the inference of relying on Flamini and Arteta with Chambers as back-up is clear. My own view is that playing Flamini and Arteta together is a double-edged sword; what worked well against Napoli wilted at Old Trafford. Too often together they stifle the side’s attacking inspirations and it seems likely that one alongside Ramsey will continue. The question then becomes which one; warrior or aesthete?

On that subject, Wenger noted over the weekend that Arsenal had not made a bid for Sami Khedira whilst observing that he only knew the German was available from the newspapers. The general consensus has moved from Arsenal signing him to a free transfer next year to either Bayern or Chelsea. At least it was a longer played out drama that Juan Fernando Quintero who is still apparently arriving in London today.

The manager has much to ponder but it seems likely that the squad he currently has is the one which will be present for the first week of the season, new arrivals will take time to bed in, get to know their team-mates and achieve match fitness. The coming weekend’s meeting with Manchester City is going to be vital for sharpness, particularly those such as Giroud whose late return to training has impacted on his fitness. On dot com, there was a shortage of food to feed the press corps and they were not going to let it drop, forcing the manager to defend Giroud’s weight (“He’s not put weight on“) and then Cazorla (“No, he’s okay“). The newshounds gave up at that point but you wonder if it is going to be a recurring theme until a full quota of custard creams is served at half-time.

Elsewhere, knickers are getting twisted at Frank Lampard’s loan to Manchester City and the principles behind it along with FFP ramifications. I understand why but think there is too much being made of it, particularly in the case of Lampard and David Villa. It’s a long stretch to suggest that New York City Blues or whatever the hell they will be called are suddenly going to sign very good players and immediately loan them out. Whilst the principle is all well and good, it overlooks one thing; unless a player gets it writing that they will immediately be loaned out to Manchester City, there is no guarantee that it will happen. They could sign for New York, only for City to change their minds and not take them. Any agent / lawyer will want that in writing. Such things are called contracts and the minute a five-year contract is filed showing that the deal includes a loan to City, it rather falls down.

The fundamental problem is that having made a hoo-ha of FFP, the media and it’s supporters are having a bit of a hard time accepting that it is, if not dead in the water, certainly holed to the point of sinking. Two transgressors at the top-level were caught, in a time when clubs are still losing money hand over fist. Real Madrid have spent, so far, €115m whilst receiving roughly €36m and come the end of the season, they will still comply with the regulations. Barcelona have a net spend so far of €60m and they will still comply. FFP is not designed to curb spending, it isn’t even designed to curb excesses for the most part. It’s certainly not designed to level the playing field as Arsenal hoped for such a long time.

Anyhow, that’s the triviality for today over. Sometimes there are more important things in life.

’til Tomorrow.

170 thoughts on “Arsenal Sunk By Falcao, Positives From The Weekend & More

  1. Yogi

    Well RVP ain’t getting no extra holidays in my Fantasy team…. he fucking starts on the 16th. 🙂 I’m amazed that I’ve shared that on here LOL

  2. After digesting the implications of the acquisitions and seeing the games at the weekend, I think we may see a change in playing style this season.

    It seems to me that Alexis and Theo are both going to start games unless they are unfit, rested or saved from weaker opposition… I think AW (and myself TBH) would prefer a more fluid style with them complimented by Campbell, Ox, Pod… or even Yaya or Ozil (as he played for Germany in the WC)… rather than a “fixed position” central target man. Such a front 3 could all interchange freely with the imperative for the men on the flanks to help the full-back. The target man (and as they go I have a lot of time for Giroud as a Target, hold up player) then become Plan B… Or to occupy brutal defenders (we all know who I am thinking of….). Theo, Campbell, Alexis would be pretty attacking…. Theo, Alexis, Ox more conservative, and with Ozil nominally one of the front 3 more of a counter-attacking side….

    All of this mean Caz would understudy Oz or play with him in more protective structures… I have often wondered when both play why Caz is the one who is nominally wide, when Oz showed some class (especially in the final itself) in that nominal role for Germany.

  3. Don’t know who’s voicing my liver, NB, but actually today it’s fully fit after two training outings at the weekend.

    Today resting up for Alsace Gewurztraminer with spicy food this evening….

  4. After all it is pre-season!

    BTW I don’t base the idea of leaving out Giroud as a result of his (admittedly terrible) level yesterday, but for reasons of style of play….

  5. Can anyone tell me why Djourou is still on the team list on the official website? It’s been updated several times recently but he still appears (albeit without a number). FFS didn’t we sell him to Hamburg?

  6. Yeah, the German don’t officially come back until the 11th of this month. 5 whole days become the season proper kicks off. Advantage the sides with fewer or no world cup finalist for sure, but certainly no conspiracy going on.


    Everything I was read said he is gone, so the fact his name is still there is weird.

  7. @Yogi

    Given City do own the NY City franchise and also a controlling interest in Melbourne Victory, I’m guessing their are no rules from preventing it. However I am interested to know whether it is permissible for City to own European clubs as part of their globalization? Do you know, or perhaps one of the other smart contributors aware of any limitations in this regard? Obviously, it would anti-competitive for them to say acquire Burnley or Sunderland in the same league, but else where in Europe may be a different story.

    I seem to recall reading something about City using ‘intellectual property’ and ‘NY City infrastructure costs’ being applied to their FFP application, but I cannot find anything now so perhaps I missed the mark on that one.

  8. Djourou has been sold and not only has a number for Hamburg but is also training. I mean FFS folks, you only have to hit possibly 3-4 buttons to remove him from the website!

  9. The style of play issue is probably the biggest reason that I am not a huge fan of Giroud as our lone striker. Even if it’s not the intent, as long as he is on the pitch I think it’s going to be easy for the team to fall back into the last 2 seasons striker back to goal set up and tactics.

  10. MA

    If they do own a club in Europe, the two cannot meet in competition, national or continental. It means that on each occasion they both qualify for Europe, one drops out as a Champions League qualifier could end up in the Europa League.

    So in theory, yes. The reality is otherwise.

  11. It is a bit difficult to find info on the ownership and rules governing ownership of other clubs.

    Man City own 80% of New York City MLS Football club.

    Man City are 100% owned by Abu Dhabi – Sheikh Mansouer. (So he/they are the ultimate owners).

    UEFA rules govern ownership of clubs within Europe. (Chelsea have had their knuckles rapped for having a too close link with a Belgian club – look it up yourself) 🙂

    Whereas ownership of clubs outside of Europe seem to be controlled by FIFA who have a certain reputation.

    No wonder Wenger says he does not know the rules. FIFA are maybe waiting for the highest bidder?

    So, Man City could buy young players and loan them out to clubs they own in the US and Australia, and boost the chances of those clubs in those leagues, while improving their own ‘future’ squads.

    Murky waters, methinks.

  12. I don’t know if these clubs are being bought up to build a farm/feeder system. I think football clubs are bought up by scum dictator tyrant/mafiosa like Thaksin Shinawatra, Abramovic and Mansoor to help launder money.

  13. It seems another Arsenal prodigy, Afobe, has been offered the poison chalice of a loan deal, usually the precursor of ‘so long, good to have known you – see ya’.

    I saw him as another youth with great potential. Sad.

    Arsenal striker Benik Afobe has headed out on loan once again, this time to League One side MK Dons in a move that will take him to the end of his contract at Emirates Stadium.

    The 21 year old was considered a player of immense promise when he was a schoolboy, as he scored over 40 goals in one season at U16 level, but a succession of injury problems and difficult loans have dictated that his Arsenal career hasn’t worked out as expected.

    The England U21 international has previously spent time with Huddersfield Town, Reading, Bolton Wanderers, Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday but has scored a combined total of just nine league goals during those spells.

    The Hale End product made a brief return to Arsenal last season, scoring some important goals at U21 level, but it has long been clear that his future lies away from the club after he was overtaken by both Yaya Sanogo and Chuba Akpom.

    Afobe will be hopeful of featuring regularly for MK Dons before assessing his options next Summer. It is now looking increasingly likely that he will leave Arsenal without having made a competitive appearance for the first-team, which is certainly something that many would have predicted five years ago.

    He becomes Arsenal third loanee for 2014/15, with Carl Jenkinson at West Ham United, whilst Wellington is spending the season with Almeria.

  14. Sorry, I am not sure of the etiquette of showing another blogs article, so credit to Jorge Birds Arsenal Youth.

    Apologies to both Jorge and Yogi if I got that wrong. 🙁

  15. Here are a list of some Premiership Clubs and their links.

    Ivory Coast ASEC Mimosas
    Belgium K.S.K. Beveren[8] (club defunct)
    United States Colorado Rapids
    Scotland Inverness CT

    United States Los Angeles Galaxy
    Netherlands PSV Eindhoven
    Netherlands Vitesse

    Belgium K.R.C. Genk

    Australia Perth Glory [23] (defunct)
    Denmark Aarhus
    Sweden BK Häcken
    Thailand Chonburi FC [23] (defunct)
    Sweden Djurgårdens IF
    Portugal Gil Vicente
    Switzerland Grasshopper Club Zürich [23] (defunct)
    England Hyde
    Belgium KV Mechelen
    Netherlands NEC Nijmegen
    United States New York City F.C.
    Australia Melbourne City FC
    Portugal Sporting Lisbon
    China Shanghai Shenhua [29] (defunct)
    Norway Strømsgodset IF
    South Africa Thanda Royal Zulu [29] (defunct)
    South Africa Black Aces F.C.

    Wales Connah’s Quay Nomads F.C.
    BrazilDesportivo Brasil
    Netherlands F.C. Twente
    Brazil Fluminense Football Club
    Norway Manglerud Star Toppfotball
    Australia Parramatta Eagles[35] (defunct)
    Sweden IF Brommapojkarna[35] (defunct)
    Scotland Livingston F.C.
    Wales Newport County A.F.C.
    Belgium Royal Antwerp FC
    Republic of Ireland Shelbourne F.C.
    England Walsall F.C.
    South Africa Western Province United

    Seems that Man city and Man Untd are well into the associate clubs.

  16. @Henry

    I was just getting ready to write about Afobe heading out on loan.

    I always thought that Afobe and Akpom would come through and be a devastating pair for Arsenal, seems as though I was partially right. I hope Afobe does well and signs for a mid-table club because I do think that he can do a job in Spain, Italy, Germany or even the EPL.

  17. @North

    Its called google, its the crazy new thing where you can type in a word, phrase, etc… and it gives you loads and loads of information on what us young people like to call “The Net”. You should try it sometimes, its not that difficult to use 😉

  18. Theo is set to be back in full training by the end of August apparently with both he and Arsene setting a mid September target for his return!!!!!!

  19. I see the Khederia rumours are about again with his agent apparently in London to try and hash out a deal.

  20. “He came to us from sunny Spain, Sánchez, Sánchez / He hates the scum from down the Lane, Sánchez, Sánchez / He chose to come to London town and turn the f*cking Scousers down! / Alex Sanchez number seventeen”.

    Is this really the Alexis Sanchez song?

  21. Really cannot see any young english player bothering with city any more. Unless the lure of £££s is their main motivator…

  22. Regarding the headlines where AW supposedly said he isnt after a DM…

    They are bollocks, in a (hairy) nut shell. They have just chosen to take his comments out of context to create “turmoil amongst the Gooner faithfull” Well, the ones who are in a near constant state of hysteria and panic, prone to bed wetting and light flatulence… But enough about Bill 🙂

  23. C

    Big mistake leaving Everton. Especially when you look at where there are now compared to Sunderland? You would imagine if he had stayed injury free he would be a first team regular?

  24. As for TV5’s replacement… How about a very experienced (29 yo) International, plays for the dutch team and is his club’s team captain…. The name’s Ron…

    Or have I gone too Vlaar?

  25. Given that Man City have had their locally-trained quota reduced from 8 to 5, in line with their total squad allowance being reduced to 21 from 25, the selling of Rodwell reduces the players they can choose from. They now only have 8, 5 of whom they probably wouldn’t want to be seen with in public. And what about they “club-trained” rule. Does that mean 2½ players have to be club-trained? Who the f*** are they going to be? They only have Micah Richards, Dedryck Boyata and John Guidetti in their first team squad who are eligible. Let’s say they only have to find 2; that effectively reduces their real CL squad to 19 because they’re not really going to want to put two of them on the bench.

  26. I certainly didn’t rate Vlaar until the World Cup where he performed really well in the semi-final. Apart from the penalty miss, of course, but the fact that he had the balls to go and take the first one lifted him somewhat in my estimation. And in Van Ghghghaal’s, I imagine, given the stories about LVG at Bayern.

  27. @Damon

    Completely agree with you. Thought he made a massive mistake when he left Everton because he was never going to oust Yaya and at the time Barry and just fell further ans further down the pecking order. He would surely be a first team regular for a good Everton side.

    A similar player would be Sinclair who should have never left Swansea for the oil money.

  28. MA

    You are very keen on Ox as LW, but I thought that we lost some of his presence in the game yesterday when he moved from RW to LW. In the first period of the second half he was ripping their LB to pieces and helping Alexis to create havoc in the Monaco defence. It is by far our most threatening period of the game. When Alexis came off and Ox swapped positions we lost some of our impetus.
    On current form, which is hard to judge given our limited number of pre-season games, I would be tempted to put Ox on the right and Campbell on the left for the Community Shield. Then to really add to the fun we should start with Alexis through the middle. That is a very pacey front line.

  29. So the future for young English players going to Man City is to end up at Sunderland. Rodwell joining Adam Johnson after spending time on the bench at City. I guess if you are young enough you can afford to take City’s money for a couple of seasons then resurrect your career in the north east.

  30. @wavey

    I think the thing with Ox is that LW is his for the taking to be honest. Once Theo is back, he slots on the RW, Sanchez moves centrally and the LW is IMHO between Podolski and Ox as I see Campbell as Theo’s backup.

  31. Had a bit of time to digest the pair of games over the weekend :

    1) Sanogo. Hopefully he has found his feet, all four of them and this puts him in good state with regard confidence levels at least. he certainly does not hold back with celebrations. In some sense, he is as Wenger puts it Adebawhore with technical skills. hope he doesn’t end up with the ego too.

    2) Campbell. Had he been signed this summer, there would have been genuinely more enthusiasm around him. Some excellent work distributing the ball and that goal was top class. had it been Ozil, there would be pages written about him by now. Just typical. Fans prefer to see shiny new toys to organic development. Like to see him in a more central role maybe in tandem eventually with Alexis, or Walcott or even Podolski. certainly don’t think he will be making the numbers this season, he gives us something different.

    3) Akpom. really impressed with Chuba, both in attitude and technical skills developed. He’s got some height too the lad. he has time on his side and should best continue development but he is making a strong case for himself.

    4) Chamberlain. Made a massive impact when introduced. In Walcott’s absence, he brings dynamics and pace to the wing but also on both flanks. I suspect he will eventually give us another option to jack penetrating from the middle too ( and Diaby if available). England’s future is in the technically gifted youngsters Arsene is raising. For a Liverpool future, well see last world cup.

    5) Alexis. Fantastic control and the way he plucks the ball from the air. he is definitely going to give us something special this coming season. Love the way he runs off the ball. It’ll be a matter of time before some of our other midfield wizards find their range with him and it could be devastating.

    6) Santi. let’s not forget Santi. A bit off pace but love the way he slipped the ball through in the box. We have a very flexible line just behind the CF now in Alexis, Santi, Ox in particular able to switch flanks.

    7) Bellerin. Night and day to Jenkinson which is why the latter is in the shop window IMO. hector’s crosses are architectured where Jenko’s are whipped in blind. Technically comfortable with the ball, he is a good shot for RB alternate to Debuchy. certainly one of the more inventive and threatening fullbacks we had and it looks like he is adding a bit more discipline to his defensive set.

    8) Debuchy. Again for the sake of the media, there has been a reason why he is ahead of Sagna in the packing order for France.

    9) Chambers. Love the number of permutations with him. We know he can play RB. he seems very composed at CBack and likely could be a shoe in for a Koscielny replacement down the line. But Wenger has also been keen to remind the press that Calum has the energy levels to play in central midfield dare I say as a DM. Probably an area where he may gradually develop into.

    10) Coquelin. Hard to say what will happen but he was a mixed bag. Got caught in possession a number of times but almost nipped in a goal. He’s at an unfortunate timeline with some of the DMs maybe likely to make way in a season but at 24, he will need to push on with his career. Seemed to have potential some seasons past but may have stagnated since.

    11) Miquel. Another who is on the cusp of either making first team or likely moving on with career. particularly with Chambers being auditioned at Cback, you have to wonder. he has height to lend and is comfortable on the ball but we need someone at the moment who can rotate through Metersceilny and not just act as a good enough back up (which is reason for vermaelen’s departure on our part)

    12) Diaby. Absent. Bubble wrapped and marked fragile for safety or contracted the vermaelen injury? Don’t see who would take him on being so injury prone and with the amount we have spent on his recovery, you have to feel that we will try to get as much out of him this season at least.

    13) Khedira. Unless its him, I don’t think we are in the market urgently for a DM. We mainly cnceded our goals in the box through sloppy covering. The urgent need is for a DM. If one of Per or Koscielny gets injured, we are left with either and Chambers which is a risk granted Calum shows promise. In midfield either of Jack or Ramsey will line up next to either of Arteta and Flamini. there is a familiarity there which helps and we can also bring Diaby in on occasion into the mix if need be (and then there is Chambers)

    If we seal Khedira though (and 22m is a steal if true), Diaby may be out.

    14) Zelalem. Still a bit young but what vision. The ball through to Akpom was sublime. You can’t teach that sort of instinct. he’s grown in height, should stay around the first team for continued exposure. Also hope to see Gnabry back.

    15) No Walcott, Ozil, Podolski or Meteresecker still. Could do with another week or so of prep to be honest.

    16) Falcao. What a player. Simply lethal. Looks like he will be off to Madrid but how I wish we had an opportunity to sign him. At 28, he would be a fantastic stop gap for the younger lads but also what an asset for us.

    17) 4-1-4-1. 4-3-2-1, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3. Looks like that’s the way we will line up next season. I feel Wenger is constructing a team to be comfortable interchanging within those formations within a game. There is plenty of versatility and cover in the squad now.

    18) Set pieces. we have to be careful with these. Particularly loading up with technically gifted but shorter players, we will have to be wary where we cover with height. Which is why I feel it should be necessary now to have some height in defense. Calum is 6′ which is on par with Koscielny. We ideally need someone who is in between Per and Koscielny. Age around 23-26 which again is median between the younger up and coming Cbacks in Calum and hayden and the older set in Meterscielny. Mat Hummels anyone? we can offer him 30m like United but with CL footy courtesy of the 4th spot pot.:)

    19) I understand the games would be too close for proper recovery time particularly this summer but always felt it seems senseless to invite 3 interesting teams for the Emirates cup and end up playing just two. maybe the tournament could be stretched out a little over two weekends or is London too expensive a city to keep 3 teams in hotels that long?

    20) Jack. He is best running at defenses (which is where he will risk losing the ball). BUT it opens the game up for us and gives us a different dimension. Fans have got to realise that players do organically develop, particularly someone like Jack who is a year and season off of Ramsey. Ask yourself how you felt about Ramsey a season or two ago? Walcott, Fabregas, Ramsey and the great TH14 all came good around 23 yrs. Being English, Jack has the weight of added pressure but he is a fantastic player to have. It will be a big season for him so instead of being negative, Arsenal fans should learn to get behind him. 😉

  32. And less “C” wants to censor me for mentioning height or Michu (I still think we should have at very least got him on loan), this is where a blog like ACLF is top notch.

    I’ve been on other sites (namely 7amkickoff) where the crowd prefer to hear their own voices. Its sycophantic rather than constructive in criticism never mind the faults of statistical based analysis.

    Censorship is for those who like to hear their own opinions only. Anything away from their narrative is quashed.

    Here’s to the fantastic environment that Yogi has fostered on his site.

    I’ve learnt at least one thing….that Michu is slightly unavailable at the moment, but hey, if you really need a player of his ilk, I’m sure money will be a viable solution in ending a loan with Napoli.:P

  33. And I’d have to concur with C on at least two things, yes Barton and Wynalda are complete imbecils. But so are most of the pundits on ESPNsuckernet. Completely clueless.

  34. @Santori

    I’m glad you have a sense of humor mate, otherwise might be a bit difficult to survive on this blog.

    I completely agree with you about the espnFC commentators and pundits.

  35. @C

    That’s the best bit about the community here, unless its about DMs and height, we don’t take things too seriously.:)

  36. Vermaelen at 10m departure.

    Would make it attractive to bid for Hummels at 30m. Net cost at 20m. Salivate.

  37. Khedira or Hummels?

    So hard to choose between them.

    I’d say Hummels but maybe both?

    Total spent thus far about 58m.

    If we can secure Hummels for 30m + CL and sell Vermaelen = 20m

    If we can buy khedira for 22m (plus slightly lower wage demand) + sell Arteta for 8m = 14m

    That would be another 34m + 58m = 92m Will Wenger spend? Apparently he is a stingy old git.:D

    But he does speak some German.

  38. Plus still lot of chatter about William Carvalho (mainly though from Portugal)

    Price seems high at 30m euros.

    He does play DM and has the size to cover our needs at Cback too. Left field alternative to primary targets?

    Maybe its Khedira or Hummels and Carvalho in either role? Khedira/Carvalho as Cback could be interesting.

  39. Morning all

    I’m getting in line early today for my ticket.

    On transfer porn… the Carvalho rumours are gathering some momentum. Would it be possible? At least his wage deands won’t be as high as Khedira, Carvalho apparently is only on 5,000 euros a month. So we can offer him £10,000 a month and save £140,000 a month which would have to be paid to a 27 year old with a dodgy hairstyle and fitness record.

  40. Morning Northbank,

    You are falling into the deadly transfer rumours which are hypnotic and designed to leave you deflated and a devout doomer.

    Just ignore all the talk, until Arsene walks the walk. 🙂

  41. Morning ‘aitch

    I don’t fall into the deadly transfer rumours…. it’s something just to discuss for the day, tomorrow it will probably be something or someone totally different. I just go with the flow, but none of it turns me into a doomer. 🙂

  42. Morning boys!

    I like this Carvalho talk. It has been a persistent rumour for a while now

    He would be a superb addition

    On the wages though…

    I also read he’s on 5k a month. A month!!

    Khedira on the other hand was reportedly looking for closer to a million sterling a month before tax? If reports are to be seen as true, I read he was asking to net £150k a week!!!

    Apparently Lisbon are prepared to deal under the buy out price, but only for a lump payment in full up front

    Whilst I’m sure there will be many suitors at the prices being suggested, but not many who could dine at that table. Possibly only us and the oil clubs?

  43. Morning, Damon,

    I agree about Carvalho and my teasing aside, of course, that is what NB was saying too. 🙂

    In the papers this morning there is an article saying Wenger was admiring Kondogbia who played really well for Monaco on Sunday. He had been interested in him and now says he is only just behind Pogba for the French.

    Question is will he try and buy him now? Apparently he only played about 16 games for Monaco last season – so who knows?

  44. Alisha Usmanov is now officially the richest man in Russia, and has given an interview in the Telegraph about Arsenal.

    I am tempted to buy the paper just to read what he has to say. One thing I have heard is that Kroenke has never even spoken to him about the club – and whatever one thinks of either of them, that is pathetic.

  45. I got that wrong didn’t I…. Khedira is asking £150,000 a week, not a month.And when you think about it, Carvalho can’t be on £4,500 a month???? must be per week at least 😀

  46. I’m not sure about Usmanov. I know anyone close to being as rich as he is probably has a “mixed” path to have gotten there?

    His history does appear to be pretty murky though?

    He seems to want to spin this angle that he’s a fan and the board are stone walking him and he just has the best interests of the club at heart with much hand wringing along the way

    He clearly doesn’t need the cash, so you have to ask yourself what his agenda is for doing interviews in The Telegraph might be?

  47. Northbank1969

    He only broke into their team last season, it’s a bloody complicated situation with him…

    They are in 350million euro debt, so they sold Calvalho’s rights to a Portuguese company (I think it was BMS or something) who have just had to be bailed out by Portuguese Government and they get 40% of any money made on transfer of him. So, essentially they need cash asap, Sporting’s attendance has dropped in new stadium by 20% per year as they rose ticket prices due to in increase on tax thus needed to pay players more to keep them! They are in a bad situation and i imagine that Arsenal could take full advantage of this, if they convinced the Portuguese company to sell (his agent is Jorge Mendez, apparently quite a ball buster and can make or break deals so if they got on his good side…) by offering £24million up front in one payment then i think we could get a good deal. He’d be on a lot less wages then Khedria and he’s younger, less injuries and a BEAST

  48. NB

    Actually I believe it is 5k a month. An old contract that Lisbon have reportedly tried to renew with a heavily increased salary, but he’s not having it

    Hence why they’re apparently trying to start a bidding war?

  49. henryB….Along the lines of this i imagine:

    “I think that Arsenal’s planning was based on acquiring the new stadium, a decision taken by the previous owners,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

    “The acquisition was financed with debt, which would be repaid through match-day revenues among other sources.

    “There is another way of doing it: when shareholders buy all of the assets and contribute them to the club. As a result, these debt-free assets may generate income for the club.

    “It is always up to the shareholders to choose which model to adopt.

    “The board and main shareholders chose the debt option at the time, which led to Arsenal going almost 10 years without winning a domestic title or the Champions League.

    “The first trophy only arrived in the 10th year.

    “As a result of this choice, they were selling players and were unable to buy top players.

    “These difficulties have now been overcome and the team is in a good state; the club’s finances are in order and I believe that Arsene Wenger and the club’s CEO (Ivan Gazidis) will manage them correctly.”

    Usmanov has never been afraid to voice concerns over the direction of the club, and wrote an open letter in 2012 criticising what he saw as too prudent an approach within the self-sustaining business model.

    But with the Gunners spending big to acquire Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the past two summers, and with Wenger set for moore spending before the end of the summer, the Uzbek billionaire believes the Gunners can now challenge for more silverware.

    “The club is very well placed to succeed,” he said.

    “I think we begin a new era for Arsenal where we win trophies. That is most important for football.

    “In my opinion, in line with the existing rules, the club has the correct decision-making process in place, including their selection policy, especially now, when they have the means to buy the best players.”

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