The Chips Are Down & Superstar Footballers

Whichever way you look at the Arsenal, the media coverage points to a club in crisis. The lack of leadership, so manifestly needed on the pitch, isn’t coming from the manager or the board off it. Nothing positive or decisive is coming out of the club, and that includes the PR stories planted in the press recently.

Staggeringly, the chairman Sir Chips Keswick, left Selhurst Park early, when it was 2 – 0. If he had a prior engagement, the club weren’t commenting which leaves the insinuation that he left in disgust at the performance. At least he didn’t pay for his ticket, eh?

I’m sure Arsène will bat any questions about that away, as well as those about his own future. “Before we start, I would just like to say that we are too far up the creek to be super-worried about the paddles” is what he won’t say but definitely how the situation looks.

Mesut Özil’s future is somewhat clearer as well, it seems. In media terms, he is set for a “humiliating climbdown” after offers from Europe “failed to materialise”. If a £200k per week salary is a “humiliating climbdown”, then I am sure many of us would willingly swap positions with the German and accept such humiliation.

Alexis Sanchez, the other ‘contract rebel’, is talking to the club again, if reports of a £280k per week salary are correct. And like the Özil story, there is a very big ‘IF’ next to it.

A White Knight On His Steed

Meanwhile, Marc Overmars has an unusual way of wanting to be the first director of football at Arsenal. ““I think there is a list with some names and I might be on it. But it’s not that exciting yet.”

What names could be on the list that don’t excite him? Maybe he wants Matt Damon or Jeremy Renner; ‘the Bourne Excitement’ is probably already circulating on pirate dvds and in plain, unmarked envelopes already.

Overmars refusal to deny the job’s existence substantiates claims made by the media that Ivan is waiting for the name to accompany the job title. Making Arsène’s renewal palatable is ‘Mission:Impossible’ for the majority of supporters but Arsenal will count on apathy taking hold at the time. They hope the fanbase will shrug their shoulders and accept the outcome, being good little serfs and knowing our place.

Emotions are sure to run high in the aftermath but this is the board sticking their heads above the parapet and not being allowed to crouch back down. The manager’s future, whether they acquiesce to his terms or appoints someone else, is their decision. They are ones accountable for the outcome, upon whom the shambles can be pinned.

Up to now, they have been slippery than eels. While the initial venom of failure is pointed at the manager, there’s no doubt Ivan and co., won’t get such an easy ride.

Our Good Time Starts and Ends

Arsène’s press conference is under way and there will be more on that tomorrow. But something caught my eye, which underlines that at heart, his philosophy on football hasn’t changed.

Talking about the Alexis offer, he said:

“I cannot confirm we have offered that.

“Secondly, we will do as always and consider our financial potential and pay the whole squad.”

It is an indicator that he still doesn’t tolerate the ‘superstar’ in the squad. One of the reasons Project Youth failed was the ridiculous sums of money paid to distinctly average players. The socialist wage structure dulled the incentive to try harder and Wenger, given the choice, would it seems return to those days.

When the clubs signed the latest broadcasting deal, players wages were always going to rise. For players of Alexis’ standing in the game, salaries were always going to rocket. Yes, we need to pay squad members a decent wage but by any standards, they get that for being a professional footballer.

While they might get more money elsewhere, the squad player isn’t necessarily going to get more game time unless he drops down a level. Which they don’t want to do because the kudos of being an Arsenal player is greater than playing for Stoke .

If Arsenal want to pay average players more, incentivise them. Give them performance bonuses; that’s what happens in the real world.

But then, when does football ever inhabit the real world?

’til Tomorrow.

43 thoughts on “The Chips Are Down & Superstar Footballers

  1. Yup, AFC doing a great impression of a drunken man reeling around on a foggy moorland (if you’ve ever seen An American Werewolf in London you’ll know that it’s not going to end well). Meanwhile at the press conference Arsene essentially says nothing is going to change, to quote him what he has learnt from our recent difficulties was “nothing that I did not already know”. Forget a top four trophy then Arsene.

  2. Ah Mr FofS strikes again….the old socialist wage structure that doesn’t apply to the man himself ! Thank you ‘oh great leader’. Said it before but it’s a rather clever ruse by AW, overpay bang average players and oddly they remain loyal. If he truly believed in a socialist wage policy he’d cut his own cloth accordingly and Arsenal would pay the London Living Wage to its less fortunate employees (but yet the much maligned ‘gangster club’ Chelsea do). Hiding behind yet more dishonesty, all done entirely for his own selfish reasons, i mean his egalitarian wage structure has been so revolutionary and successful……said not a soul. Been adopted by clubs all over the world, not. He is lurching into tragedy, we all know how the final act ends. “Very soon” he said. Another lie, frankly he has so little credibility left i’m amazed he tries this rubbish out, shows his malaise and lack of creativity . Media, fans, players……nobody takes you seriously now Arsene you are a parody of yourself. Too many lies, they catch up with you in the end.
    Sir chips didn’t leave because he was ‘disgusted’ he’s not that into football and had a party to attend. The idea that he is ‘challenging’ Arsene is frankly laughable. That is not how their relationship works at all.

  3. Morning,

    Nothing like a few leaked stories to calm things down a bit. Just have to keep the fans ticking over until the end of the season so that the new contract announcement can be made in the summer with apathy and acceptance having set in by the start of next season. Arsenal have pretty much written the play book here and are going to go through it play by play every time. A bumper contract deal for Alexis and the arrival of a DoF in the summer are designed to appease the masses.

    Wenger has shown in his latest presser that he has no intention of changing the way he does things at all. Why should he? It seems fairly clear that the club are just waiting for a way to announce that he’s signed a new deal. Just keep leaking those stories and we should be fine until summer. This only changes if the BoD do genuinely get pissed off with him and the only member of management he seems to be pissing off at present is Ivan. If the owners actually gave a shit what Ivan thought that would be important, but they don’t.

  4. Tend to agree Bob. Hope you have a good day today. Couple of weeks back I replied to your email but we had server issues I found out in hindsight. Did you receive it?

  5. Wavey,

    Totally agree , although the difference this time is our horrible form, which just might tip the balance if it continues until the end of the season.

    That’s why the next few weeks are critical.

    If we were to reach the FA Cup final it wouldn’t surprise me if Arsene announced he’d signed a new contract on the pitch at Wembley …& then sang the team final song …most likely a cover of Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again “

  6. So, let me get this right. Over an extent timeperiod the club and Sanchez has been at a standstill regard the wage in the potential new contract to Sanchez. Sanchez wants 200k pounds per week while Arsenal “only” want to pay him 180k pound per week. Now suddently they have found another 120k pound per week so they can get him to stay. That is even more redicoulous than the +1 pound debacle when they tried to get Suarez. Who in their right mind can believe this shit.

  7. Yogi,
    Surely these days we cannot expect any leadership from the Arsenal Board.
    With Kroenke and Son sitting there, the two control what the Board decides. 😉

  8. I have a suspicion that the “egalitarian” wage structure had less to do with a principled socialistic perspective on the “collective” and more with serving as an image enhancing ruse to discourage the arrival or prolonged stay of any real “stars” that might remove any “spotlight time” from The Great Leader.

    I think anyone with an ounce of honesty and intelligence at this point will have come to the realization that this is all about Wenger for him now.

    Any notion that he “loves the club” has to have long been laid bare by his grandstanding behavior in the latest abortion.

  9. there’s a saying where I come from “even when crying, I can still see clearly”. A couple of reasoning I’ve come across in goonerverse recently have left a bad taste in my mouth….I hope Wenger leaves soonest, but to postulate that the “egalitarian” wage structure introduced by AW is or rather WAS a ploy to discourage superstar players from coming into the team does not sit well with me. I find that quite head scratching….why would anybody in their right senses want to do that? Could AW be really that stupid?-thats the question I can’t seem to find an appropriate answer to…and some others….

  10. Nice stuff, YW. The press conference had a couple nuggets. One relates to Alexis. It seems according to AW that Alexis is very attracted to the ball and prefers to play wide left to get on the ball more frequently. Either it isn’t true but AW prefers to blame Alexis or, and more likely, AW really doesn’t know how to handle Alexis who has a strong will and big personality. Not the usual nice guy prototype of the last decade (Theo Walcott type). Alexis wants to be left so AW lets him. Alexis wants to play when he should rest that strain, AW lets fm him play. And so on, he has alluded many times to not being able to exercise full authority over and control his star player. To me a sure sign he has to leave.

  11. I think the wage issue gets at this as well. AW has difficulty wielding authority and managing big wage disparities so prefers to solve this by the more egalitarian approach. Instead of using it to say to other players, if you score and assist and play as hard as Alexis does, we’ll give you a pay rise too. He can’t seem deal with this just as he doesn’t seem to be able to subordinate Alexis’ desires to a team tactical structure or manage the player effectively.

  12. Good afternoon YW . A rancid pall of misinformation and subjugation has set in at the Emirates. As discontent grows and spreads on a daily basis the Voice of the serfs is ignored whilst false leaders gather to make Counsel.

    A pungent odour called stagnation laughs and celebrates whilst change is forced to wait and pontificate on what might be.

  13. It is interesting that in recent weeks more of the pundits are saying that he should go in the summer. Wenger may not listen to others, but there has been a shift in sentiment and the BoD must be aware of it. When everyone’s view is that he should bow out at the end of the season, the BoD surely can’t believe that they are more knowledgeable than all of these experts? If Wenger were to some how turn it around and finish in the top 4, the BoD would have a reason to sign him up again. If he doesn’t, and given the recent performances, they must start to think that maybe all of these TV guys suggesting he signs off in the summer know what they are talking about.

  14. Ronaldo wants to play even if it means with crutches, so more often than not Ronaldo plays = whoever was/is the coach needs to go. Same with Messi and most superstar players worth their salt…learning everyday, I am.

  15. Wenger may be bloody-minded, but the BoD are just interested in the revenue. You don’t continue to back the horse which appears to be struggling as he gets older, no matter how good a runner he was in the past. These guys don’t do sentiment, just money.

  16. Another top post yogi.

    Great picture. I love Marvin the Martian. He was my second favorite Looney Tunes character. Foghorn Leghorn was my favorite. Neither were the superstars but I thought they were highly under rated Looney Tunes characters.

  17. Wavey,

    Might be wishful thinking but it has crossed my mind that it appears the decision isn’t going to be announced until the season is over. Is it too much of a stretch to think that they’ll decide then, depending on results between now and then?

  18. Marvin the Martian’s only well known role was in Duck Dogers in the 241/2th Century which a lot of people consider one of the top 2-3 episodes of all time. That is the only thing most people remember about him.

  19. We briefly talked about the socialistic wage scale yesterday in the comment section. I think Arsene really believed in his ability to create his own superstars and I suspect he thought a lot of the players that he over paid were going to be his superstars of the future and perhaps he wanted to engender a sense of loyalty while they were still young. He did not have to overpay either transfer fees or wages for superstar players because he would have a conveyor belt of homegrown superstars to replace any that he might lose.

  20. Building your own superstars rather then paying overpriced transfer fees and wages for established players was one of the cornerstones of the Emirates era project. It morphed into one of the characteristics of the moral high ground and the “Arsenal way” to do things.

  21. Damon,

    I hope so, with the form we are on at the moment our run in is daunting. If we do end up outside the top 4 I would assume that the BoD will want to know Wenger’s plan to turn it around next season. I don’t think they are going to be impressed if his response is that there’s not a lot to change.

  22. drazy005,

    Yes, I guess thats just over the top, just like when I suggested that Wenger’s “training” actually impeded and even regressed player’s progress and play a few years back, which now seems to be fairly widely accepted. I seem to recall similar responses and attitudes to that suggestion at the time.

    Wenger got rid of Keown for standing up to him, even though he made a major contribution to the run in 2006, just like he bridled against credit going to Bould when he first took over from Pat Rice.

    If Wenger had any genuine ideals with respect to his egalitarian wage structure he wouldn’t be milking the club in the manner he does, its all for show, and to gratify his ego.

    I suspect over time, especially once he’s out of the loop, we’ll start to get an inkling of just how toxic his contribution has been for some time now.

  23. Reports saying we’ve signed a new left back….on a free.

    Arsene’s 2017 revolution has begun.

  24. Yes I did, Damon. Thank you.

    I have just run out of anything to say about this state of affairs.

  25. Apparently a pre-contract with Schalke’s LB on a Bosman. Chelsea allegedly bid around £5.5m for him in January. All sounds a bit too good to be true. A hatful of clubs wanted him, but we beat them to the punch. He can play as a CB and DM as well.

    Doesn’t sound like Wenger leaving to me. Wouldn’t all transfers be on hold?

  26. MikeSA

    I think the intentions were good at first. Arsene’s self belief was so strong that he really believed he could pull it all off. However, he had such a heavy emotional investment in what he was trying to do that he lost any ability to make accurate objective judgements and he could not bring himself to abandon things that were not working.

  27. consolsbob,

    Quite right

    It is no statement on YW’s daily writing, which is a marvel that he finds anything new to churn out with the flux we currently sit in, but I find myself drawn to other blog sites at the moment

    Now might be the time to try and get in the ear of a few of Arsenes more militant supporters. There is a sense that some are ready to convert on nearly every board I visit st the moment. As much as I enjoy everone here, I can’t keep on saying the same things while we wait to hear what the club are going to do

  28. consolsbob,

    Not yet. I do find that dropping into some of the sites with the more extreme stances is a good gauge of the general mood. It’s not pretty out there!

    I know some think I’m ultra negative but I don’t fancy Monday at all. Boro fighting for their lives. I expect them to be everything we don’t like, physical, competitive and will play on set pieces. I can see us not turning up again and getting beaten there too. Palace and Boro were meant to be the guaranteed six points in the run in. The rest is fairly daunting before you consider our horrible form

    We’ll see what happens but whilst Arsene and the board are banking on things turning around a bit, as it always has done before, to take some of the pressure off. I can see it getting worse. If the AKBs turn befor the end of the season The Emirates could be extremely hostile

  29. Looks like we signed a left back……….Things are on the Up & Up for Arsenal Football Club.

    Let’s Celebrate this great feat.

  30. If Alexis wants to get on the ball more, play him at No 10, ffs and put Ozil out on the left, where he can turn inside and hit his little chips into the box (and free up space for Bellerin).

  31. I see Wenger feels that the club cannot be held to ransom by Sanchez.

    I notice that it’s no problem if he does it though…………

    I’m sorry, I have zero time for this SOS now.

  32. It’s degenerated into a pathetic episode.

    It was a given once Wenger left his position, his legacy would regain its sheen. I am no longer sure – damage is now being done from which his image will never quite recover.

    Writers will look at Wenger in the present and find it impossible to not paint the end of his Arsenal career in negative terms. Wenger is stepping boldly into ‘Decline and Fall’ territory.

    Events will now demand the literal and figurative ‘final chapter’ – the inability to quit while ahead.

  33. DFS-,

    I agree. The fiction that he cares for and loves the club in a special way is certainly being undermined by the harm of these attenuated negotiations and associated uncertainty when clarity is needed for the club. The apparent desire to be a manager with total control taking precedence over what is best for AFC would undermine his legacy.

  34. If Sanchez wants more the ball, then he has to play as n°8 at Caz’s place. Or maybe we can ask the players to stay on the bench so that Senior Sanchez has all the balls in the world to have fun.

  35. I agree with the divas. It’s all sanchez’s fault. We need to ship out the bad egg that has ruined Wengers harmonious squad.

  36. The squad harmonious in lack of ambition. Sanchez is the equivalent to a doomer for the wengerites, one and the same,someone who wants to win above all else… How dare he.

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