My thoughts this morning are with the victims of the barbarism of yesterday in Nice. It, as with the other atrocities carried out around the world on a daily basis, ought to give us pause for thought and for the majority it will.
But if your plan today was to ‘troll’ someone on social media, to abuse them or their families because they hold a different point of view to you, take a step back. Read a newspaper and digest the pain and suffering of those in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Americas; people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, trying to live their lives as best they can but whose lives were ended through hatred and bigotry.
If you think you are contributing to society in a positive manner with your pathetic behaviour, get a grip and do something useful with your life, instead of succumbing to hatred and bile.
This morning sees little going on around Arsenal. Joel Campbell is apparently off to Valencia, or at the very least, interesting them. He would like it there; a very nice part of Spain and a beautiful city with lots to do. Plenty going on and a good nightlife. And sun. Loads of it which is a pleasant change from the wretched weather we’ve been having.
Gonzalo Higuain, if he leaves Napoli, is going to Juventus for £58m and two players. Which is news to Napoli, I’m sure. Auerlio De Laurentiis must be drumming his fingers down to the bone waiting for the fax machine to whirr into life and produce the official Juve offer. On headed notepaper, of course; nothing less is acceptable, and with a personal note from Andrea Agnelli, hoping he and the family are well, and can they expedite this move as he’s hosting a party on his yacht this weekend.
It’s probably news to Arsenal that they are set to lose out on Higuain as well. Whilst he is the sort of forward most of us would agree we need, I seriously doubt that we are even looking to bring him in. He’s too expensive for the manager and board’s tastes, despite the way the transfer market is moving.
The Premier League’s boasts about how much money they are making from the broadcasting deal made it inevitable prices would rise. When Leicester City have a £32m bid for a distinctly average forward like Troy Deeney rejected, you know the world has gone mad.
Arsenal paying £78-80m ought not to be flung around lightly. It’s a huge sum of money but there over-riding perception is that we won’t go into those realms, not on one player. You could argue that by not doing so, the board undermine the potential for success. It depends on the player, of course, but I think in this instance, it would be a credible bid to launch.
It’s not me making the decision though. The concern is that we know there’s an issue with the forwards and goals in general from the squad so the investment is needed in footballing terms. Problematically, the board and Kroenke aren’t concerned about that; they worry about things from a business perspective and therein is a significant factor to bear in mind.
There’s a clear divergence between the ambitions of the board and supporters. We want Arsenal to challenge for trophies, the board are concerned with achieving a level of success which maintains and improves income. The shiny silver in the trophy cabinet is nice but decorative; it doesn’t guarantee a significant increase in revenues.
However, it does lay them open to accusations about a lack of footballing ambition. And, as the core reason for the club’s existence, that can’t be ignored. It’s a question of priorities and until the balance is redressed, there will always be antagonism toward those in charge. It’s not much different from any other walk of life, to be honest.
That’s modern football for you. The commercial revenues were always nice for clubs to have but back in the day, gate receipts were more important. Fans are important still and most clubs acknowledge that without those attending matches on a vast scale, the game’s appeal vanishes to broadcasters and sponsors.
But life would so much simpler if they weren’t there, are the unspoken words.
As such, our aspirations are likely to be unquenched. I don’t think a world-class striker is coming this summer; I’d be surprised if its anything more than a squad player replacing Campbell. It’s a sad state of affairs but a sign, I think, of an institutional problem that the Arsenal board are too timid to address.
The belief in the squad, I am sure, is genuine on Arsène’s part but it masks a naïvety as well. We finished second, continuing the upward curve in the Premier League but, I think, off the back of poorer performances last season than the season before. The key totals were lower: less points, fewer wins, fewer goals scored – the same number conceded.
There’s no two ways about it, compared to the year before, we were poor but we capitalised on Spurs collapse to finish second. Expecting the same good fortune this season is madness. Others are investing significantly in their squads with new managers addressing the shortcomings as they perceive them.
Arsene has done the same for Arsenal; perhaps he genuinely believes that Xhaka solved the only genuine problem we had with Walcott recovering form to pressurise Giroud. Only he can answer that question but it had better not be with “the quality wasn’t there” because it is. You just have to pay for it.
We shall see. The transfer window is not long open and with summer tournaments delaying moves all over the place, we may not be in as bad a position as it’s perceived. Which is a greater part of the problem and one which is habitual at Arsenal: poor PR with the fans. Quiet with Arsenal doesn’t mean anything: it can good, it might be bad or it could mean nothing is happening. We don’t know. A little hint here or there may be helpful.
What I would value though is Arsène making a statement of fact if he isn’t going to add to the squad. Come out and underline that, state your faith in the players. Perhaps they will appreciate that and be spurred on. At least it’s a philosophy we can follow, even if we disagree with it.