Mental Health: No Laughing Matter & Arsenal’s Summertime Blues

If your first reaction to the news of Aaron Lennon’s mental health issues was to wonder what footballers have to be stressed about, have a word with yourselves. Mental health does not respect wealth, pays no heed to social class and laughs in the face of everything you hold dear. When there are problems, they have devastating effect on families, loved ones and friends. It’s no laughing matter at any time and not an issue made any easier being splashed on the front pages as some comedy totem, especially when the government is butchering NHS mental health care budgets.

I hope Aaron Lennon receives all the care he needs in these difficult times and beyond.

Summertime Blues

The summer is not so far off. In a few weeks, Arsenal are free to sign any player in the Premier League, not that we will. Even under normal circumstances we wouldn’t be that pro-active and these are far from normal circumstances. Inexplicably, the club has still not confirmed the manager’s position, even if everyone expects him to sign a new deal. It is so typical of Kroenke-era Arsenal and we’re not the only ones; Colorado Rapids supporters feel our pain, they share it.

Let’s be honest, none of us expects a strong and decisive summer from Arsenal. We have no history of it that I can recall. There are bursts of activity but all too often, we leave it to the last minute thanks to the inferiority complex developed during the building of the Emirates. A club less suited to financial power you could not wish to find.

Fundamentally, the structures at the club are undermined by the individuals setting the direction. It’s stale, blinkered and unreceptive to football’s new age. Commercially, we lack bite and don’t care enough about winning. Puritanism pervades every aspect; win but only in the right way otherwise it’s better not to win at all. Well, we’ve got the last bit down pat. Sadly, every passing day chips away at his reputation; it’s going to be a long time before the shadow of a man who stayed in the role to long, is lost.

Cruel Summer

The club is in a mess of its’ own making. Reports continue to push the virtues of Marc Overmars as director of football although Robert Pires made no secret of his desire for that role. Sorry, Robert, but not at Arsenal right now. The same arguments against an inexperienced manager hold for a director of football. Another ‘yes man’ is not what the club needs; there’s no creative friction in a dictatorship, no matter how benevolent it may try to be.

At the moment, Arsenal need a root and branch change, beginning with manager and coaching staff. Fresh input and ideas; Ferguson might not have wanted to refresh his staff every few seasons but he had to and United remained fresh. No matter the change in personnel, they didn’t become stale until the Scot decided on a glorious hurrah instead of leaving a squad with longevity. We’re in that position without the glory, certainly in the Premier League. It may yet come in the FA Cup.

However, when you look at the squad, it isn’t one I can envisage staying together. I expect Per Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs and Olivier Giroud to be sold this coming transfer window. A left back is clearly a target and in all honesty, if Marseille want the French international, £10-15m seems a good price for a player of his age and ability; he’ll score a hatful on his native turf.

Summer Cauldron

At this moment in time, there’s seemingly little value in Mesut Özil at the reported salary he is negotiating. He’s a fabulous player but a man in the wrong time at Arsenal unless we invest in heavily in players of a similar stature. He isn’t going to drag us out of a rut; he’s not that kind of player. Theo Walcott is the same; a very expensive substitute with no future in any side playing 3-4-2-1.

It’s easier said than done but when you see Real Madrid’s wage bill is 10% higher than ours with a 50% uplift in turnover, it’s hard to claim we’ve got that side of the business right yet. My suspicion is that there is a far wider gap between the top of their payscale – the level below Ronaldo – and the bottom. Players at that end know they must earn the big increases, it won’t just come to them. Arsenal on the other hand, are soft touches. We’re too concerned with giving them the incentive before delivery.

If Arsène stays, the turnover of players is pointless. The same handbrakes will be applied in every aspect of the game they are now. Sadly, we’re a club which has a manager whose life outside of football is empty, as he freely admits. He won’t let go, control will have to be wrenched from his grip.

And that is the saddest thing of all.

’til Tomorrow.

85 thoughts on “Mental Health: No Laughing Matter & Arsenal’s Summertime Blues

  1. Great post – it is just tragic what the government has done to the NHS – if they get back in, it will, most likely, be toast.

    Agree with all the comments on the players – as we have said before too many times it is a ‘hot mess’ and a extremely damning to all concerned that the club has, across so many metrics, been allowed to fall into such a state of decay and disorder.

  2. I saw a sign saying ‘Drink Canada Dry’.

    I thought, ‘it’s got be worth a shot’.

    😉

  3. Good morning folks, one report in this morning’s Telegraph is indicative of Arsenal’s current plight. Long time Wenger target Alexandre Lacazette has made it clear that should he decide to leave Lyon in the summer it will only be UN order to move to a club which can offer Champions League football next season.

    In the last decade Arsenal have received in the region of £300 million for our exploits in the CL, we, or more properly Stan Kroenke, banked a tasty £45 million last season despite our regular last sixteen exit.

    The lack of money a available coupled with the absence of Champions League football is going to force a rethink about the level of player we can attract, the consequences of that realignment will be felt strongly at the end of next season which could lead to a downward spiral in terms of revenue and success on the pitch.

  4. The UN has nothing to do with my previous comment, the word should have been “in”.

  5. I expect Per Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs and Olivier Giroud to be sold this coming transfer window

    the same per that signed an extension in january, giroud will go only if wenger goes and that’s a big if. i fear you’ll be lucky if gibbs alone goes, i very much doubt the departure of the other two although it would make me very happy. we’ve wished for a ‘clear out’ and a ‘freshen up’ every summer, noises are made, warchests are tossed into the discussion, very little actually happens…..it’s cheaper that way. just how the lads like it. muddle along, you dont get involved in football to win trohies folks, that would be madness !

  6. Morning YW another good read. My thoughts go to Aaron Lennon a good footballer and old school winger.
    My take is that we need wholesale changes. I would like Alegri to take the helm but fear that because of the wholesale changes needed he might not find his feet until the following season patience would be needed in that event I think probably a better idea would be to get in a good manager with premier league experience like Koeman and put him on a short term contract, he has experience moving mass players whilst at Southampton knows the league and will probably maintain the top 6 status we have been relegated to.
    We need to act quickly and you never know he might bring Lukaku with him. Wishful thinking I know but the status quo needs to change.

  7. Nah, just a lucky bugger, Pete.

    Busy planning the journey at the moment (sat in a park in Paris, mooching nearby cafe’s wifi) 🙂

    If timings work, I will pop across and see our Limestone – then it’ll be Niagara, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis – after that it gets a bit tricky – it might depend on available funds but I am hoping to fly to Calgary and see the Rockies. At the very least Seattle plus Vancouver to close things out.

    Any of you Americans have any tips for those places do let me know. 😀

  8. Didn’t Giroud just sign a new contract? I did find it funny though that his agent has come out and said in a very indirect way that Giroud’s future at Arsenal is definitely tied to Arsene. It was one of those, “If the manager stays we are good but if he goes then so will we.” type of quotes.

  9. Jonny,

    Super!

    If you’re crossing the Rockies by road or rail, I can’t express my jealousy strongly enough. My mum and dad are doing it later this year. My mum is Canadian, so I know the east coast cities pretty well. Visited a lot of family there over the years

  10. Orson Kaert,

    Lacazette 5’9″ 26 years old and still hanging around Ligue 1 is he what we need. He is a second tier striker at best and we are well stocked with them, either we step up in every department at the club or we are headed for the mediocrity that Spurs have suffered for decades

  11. I am so glad you made Aaron Lennon’s case the main paragraph of your post today.

    I don’t need anty replies to this but I have struggled for 37 years with GAD and I assure 90% of doctors be it NHS or Private or psychiatrists understand the torment we can go through, not even our closest and dearest..Just chuck a pill at someone and make the drug companies richer. is not the solution..

    As for Arsenal I have nothing more to say as I have run out of wallpaper.

  12. I do not see how we make it out the the season without descending into a real crisis – have we quite plumbed the depths yet?

    I just pray we pull something out against United and that could at least provide some energy and impetus to keep us on a kind of even keel for the next few games.

    However, if we rack up a couple of losses (starting this weekend for instance) there will be a palpable sense of despair from the fans – the atmosphere will become rancorous.

    I thought it interesting that James on the last Arsecast noted there were more empty seats at the Leicester game than he had seen before. They also mentioned they think the demand for season tickets is inflated (citing some anecdotal evidence).

    Couple that with the idea of losing the 50 million simply by reaching the last sixteen of the CL (see Orson’s comment) and I think the club will be stressing and straining before we get near the FA Cup final.

  13. DFS

    Regarding your comment from yesterday. Antonio conte said this on Feb 17 2017

    “Antonio Conte insists his priority at Chelsea is to win and not keep all his players happy.

    It’s important to understand that when you stay in a great team, the most important thing, the target, is to win, not to try [and] have 21 players happy and you don’t win anything.

    “The owner doesn’t ask this: to make 21 players happy. I’m happy if we win, not if we lose and have 21 players happy.”

    The quote you copied and pasted by Pochetinno sounds nice but the things Conte says are much closer to the way big team managers actually use their squads. Assuming Chelsea win, if you look at the last 3 PL winners none of them went deeper then 15-16 players unless they were forced to because of injury. You can disagree with the pecking order that Arsenal has used, but Perez or last season Joel Campbell are about 7th in line for minutes at 3 positions and no manager is going to use a player who is in the position other then in early round cup games unless he is forced to go that deep because of injury.

  14. Yogi

    Great post. Not much to say about what you wrote because it’s all true and there is not much more to say.

  15. Jonny

    Whilst in Seattle you must visit Pike place market. As a Chef you will be in paradise.

  16. DFS

    Willian and Fabregas are the only Chelsea players outside of the first 11 that have gotten any significant minutes this season. Same thing with Rannieri last season and Mourninho the season before that. Fergie did not go 20 deep in his squad unless forced by injury and the its the same with any big team manager.

  17. Bill,

    So what was the point in signing Perez? Seems to have been a replacement for Campbell. A nice player to have for the purposes of squad depth, but that’s about it.

    Wenger was looking fairly smug after we beat City and was loving the plaudits he was getting for his great tactical insight in changing the formation. A shame he never takes any responsibility when we lose and in fact storms out of the interview when pressured on how he can let Spurs get past us on his watch.

  18. Jonny to get a different perspective on Chicago, take a boat trip round the city centre river system and out onto Lake Michigan.

    I can also recommend Pike Street Market in Seattle. The range of fish on sale there is amazing.

  19. Bill,

    You are right most title winning team have a core 11 that playlist games but it’s important that the players stepping in do so seamlessly.

    I think overall it’s been our inability to control the midfield that has hurt us coupled by indecision in defence. I know I have said this before but coquelin not being anywhere the level he was when he arrived has hurt us. I find it inconceivable that he can’t perform the same way without Santi.
    I still don’t understand what Wenger has against Holding, Monreal had been effective as a wingback for me after that win against City I just assumed he would play the same team.
    Against Man U Wenger really has a headache my gut says he’ll continue with Ramsey and Xhaka but I’m hoping coquelin gets the nod alongside Ramsey for this one I can see someone like Herrerra goading him into a red card. Hoping Monreal moves to wingback and Holding in the back three. Giroud surely has to sit it out and welbeck comes in.

  20. With that, another one club futboling Legend and truly World Class player is set to retire at the end of the season. It was truly a joy to watch one Francesco Totti!

  21. Good point, but the same logic doesn’t hold for Arsenal. Giroud is clearly not head and shoulders better than Welbeck. In fact the opposite could be argued. So why the hell did Giroud get 80 minutes against Spurs on Saturday?

    Giroud appears to be Arsene’s man, and Welbeck is not.

    Bill:
    How often does Vincent Janssen start for Spurs when Harry Kane is healthy?

  22. Wavey

    That was exactly why he bought Perez. To fill the Joel Campbell spot. Play in the early round cup games and hold the fort in case we had some injuries until Welbeck got back.

    Pete

    If Arsene does not use Giroud at CF he uses Sanchez or Welbeck instead. He is not going to go down the depth chart to Perez unless he has to. That is exactly how any manager would use his squad. Do you think Fergie would have used Perez if he had 2 players in front of him that he thought were better options? Not a chance.

  23. It’s manager speak to say that they want to believe in every player in their squad and they trust all of them but that is not the way things work in professional sports. The notion that managers rotate their 3rd choice players into high leverage games when they are not forced by injury in order to keep them happy is just not reality.

  24. For Bill & YW and others. Here’s a titbit to tickle your certainties:

    A number of years back a friend of mine used to meet Wenger quite regularly. He worked in football, still does. Arsenal had recently signed Andre Arshavin and this guy asked Wenger’s opinion on his new signing. His answer was a little baffling as he didn’t address the question directly, but stated that he wasn’t a fan of Russian football because he thought their performances were enhanced by doping practises. When they came into the English game their performance levels tailed off quite quickly because they weren’t on their usual chemical cocktails.

    This was pretty accurate for players like Shevchenko and Rebrov, so the question is why did Wenger sign Arshavin in light of those comments?

    Maybe he didn’t sign Arshavin?

  25. Bill,

    Let’s ignore Perez for a moment. Anybody that saw the Man City FA Cup game saw the difference Welback made when he came off the bench. Against Leicester I was hoping Wenger was saving him for the Spurs game, but of course Giroud trotted out and did precisely nothing for 80 minutes.

    Welbeck’s pace would have scared Spurs’ centre backs, who are not fast. He came on with the game lost at 2-0.

    Just doesn’t make sense.

  26. Damon,

    You should get in touch as well if you ever come over again, Damon. Kingston sits nearly equidistant to Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

  27. Jonny,

    Hopefully we can catch one of MU, Soton, Stoke, Sunderland together at least in the fair city of Kingston. You are a bit early for sailing on Lake Ontario, alas!

  28. Vincent Janssen has started 7 PL games and played about 790 league minutes. 7 is exactly the number of games Harry Kane missed in Sept-Oct of this season. Janssen does not play when Kane is healthy. Just like most managers not named Conte, Pochettino will give lip service to using his whole squad and keeping everyone engaged but that is not the way he has managed his team this year.

    Pete

    Welbeck started 3-4 games in a row during that really terrible run when we lost to West Brom and Crystal Palace. Arsene also tried using Elneny during that run and neither of those players helped. Arsene clearly decide to cut way back on Giroud’s minutes this season but he was forced to go back to went back to Giroud and switch formations to 3 at the back starting with the game against Boro because we were sinking like the Titanic with Welbeck at CF and Arsene did not know what else to do.

    Sanchez at CF worked for a couple of months early in this season but the reason Arsene went to Giroud in mid December was because what we had been doing in Sept/October stopped working. We went from being 1 point ahead of Chelsea on Nov 1 2016 to 12 points behind after those terrible performances against City and Everton in mid December. We dropped out of the title race over the course of those 6 weeks with Sanchez at CF and Arsene needed to do something in order to keep from dropping even further behind. Unfortunately nothing he has done has worked this season.

  29. Limestonegunner,

    Now that my grandmother has passed away, I’m there much less often that I used to be. My mum was an only child, so closest family is first cousins, once removed and their offspring.

    Plenty of them and wonderful people, but the pull to cross the Atlantic for them isn’t as strong as it was for my Nanny! Never say never though sir.

  30. Orson Kaert,

    I agree, there are also some amazing architectural tours of Chicago by boat–river and canal–that make an extraordinary way to see Chicago. The parkway parallel to Lake Shore Drive on the lakefront is wonderful in June. Chicago is a great city. I’ll have to brief him on Toronto, which can be less grand but very interesting at the neighborhood level.

  31. I actually give credit to Arsene for being willing to spend some of Stan’s money to buy an experienced player like Perez to hold down the back end of the squad until Welbeck returned and make our early round cup teams stronger. In years past he would have used someone like Akpom in that role

  32. Great write-up Yogi. Top drawer, yet again.

    Jonny, you’ll love Minneapolis. Fantastic city, great diversity for a town that size, beautiful, great food scene, lots of cultural things to do. If the weather is nice rent a bike (lots of stations around town you can pick up/drop off at) and cruise around all the lakes (Calhoun, Harriett, etc …. You can ride around 10 lakes easy in an afternoon and all on bike paths). If you’re looking for a nice local spot check out Tilias near Lake Harriett. It’s a cool little joint, great beer selection, excellent food. You can’t go wrong anywhere in town, though. Lots of farmer’s markets, Yelp is your friend looking for any restaurant. It really is a great place, just avoid Edina. One last thought – you must see the Rockies so make sure you do!

  33. Limestonegunner,

    Not just Roma but Italian futbol as a whole. I actually think he is one of the few truly top strikers that doesn’t get spoken about or mentioned when it comes to great strikers.

  34. Pistol Fish,

    Jonny – And in Vancouver, visit Granville Island Market. If you can swing for a car rental for a day or so, make the drive up to Whistler, Blackcomb – it’s absolutely stunning scenery. In Vancouver itself, the bus system is excellent, cheap and can get you most places.

  35. Jonny,

    Probably a bit late to respond to your trip itinerary, but ……

    If you are flying in or out of Calgary, and have the time, a Greyhound Bus to Banff, (stay overnight, maybe) and then you will be tempted to go on to Jasper, Lake Louise which is a must and pretty cheap (maybe $20) – go say hello to all the elk, who call Banff home. 🙂

    Or, if you can afford it – try catching the Rocky Mountaineer from Calgary to Vancouver (or the reverse) it’s all a bit touristy but it’s a great journey because of the scenery, with the Rockies and the Lakes, which are simply fantastic, and after going all that way to the Canadian West Coast, you must try to fit it in. Good luck. 😀

    Canada is truly fandamntastic — and I do not know why the US did not invade and conquer it!! But there is still time!! 😀

  36. Thanks – I have heard great things from past work colleagues.
    Def on the to-do list.

    Pistol Fish:
    Jonny

    Whilst in Seattle you must visit Pike place market. As a Chef you will be in paradise.

  37. Bill,

    Problem is, I would actually rather have Perez in the team than Welbeck or even Giroud. For all the talk of Giroud being a consistent scorer, think about this, he doesn’t even get to 16 goals last season without a hattrick on the last day of the season against a Villa side that gave up during the holiday period.

  38. Thanks for all the advice peoples – I am cutting and pasting them into a draft email (where I keep all my notes) so I can access them easily. 😀 😀

  39. That train through the Rockies looks fabulous – now, hear me out, but does anyone have £2,500 they want to lend me?

    I’m good for it.

  40. I’m going Clacton next week… any recommendations?

    Another nice post YW. It helps lift the doom and gloom of what is happening at our great club.

    I’m sorry but I can’t see a quick fix from the mess we are in at the moment?

    We could replace the whole team and still be up shit street with the deadly duo of AW and SB. We could replace AW but due to all the brown nosing and so called loyalty they won’t play for the new manager.

    In essence we need a complete overhaul… but that means a few years of mediocrity until we clear the crap out of the club but the problem with that is we could be left so far behind we could be talking decades and not years.

    So all in all… yip “shit creek, without a paddle” comes to mind!

    OT: been listening to talk sport and the debate is should Sol Campbell be invited as a legend to the last game at Shite Fart Pain. Some funny fecker held Martin Jol as a legend above SC. I was gonna phone and say well if Martin Jol is invited why isn’t GG?

    I king 8 spuds🤓

  41. Limestonegunner,

    On a short, three day, visit to Chicago I was surprised to come across the Navy Pier, considering the distance from the ocean.
    We had travelled by rail from Seattle on the Empire Builder, three days and two nights on the train. Fantastic scenery and a thirty minute stop in a place called Whitefish Montana.

  42. C @ 5:00PM

    “Problem is, I would actually rather have Perez in the team than Welbeck or even Giroud.”

    The problem is that because that is what you want does not mean that its the right answer anymore then my belieing that my opinion is right. You and I have been blogging together for several years and the number of players that you have told me need to get more minutes has gone well past triple digits. Every big team has a player or 2 that a segment of the fan base believes should be playing a lot more and a lot of our regulars agreed with you about Joel Campbell last season. However, The way he has played in Portugal this season gives us all the evidence we could possibly need to agree that Joel is not the sort of player who could have been an impact player for Arsenal. There is no logical reason to think that Perez is any different then Joel.

  43. C @ 5:00PM

    “all the talk of Giroud being a consistent scorer”

    No one in their right mind would try to suggest that Giroud is a consistent scorer. He is the most streaky player I have ever seen. You know that I have spent more keystrokes complaining about Giroud for the last 5 years then anyone else on the blog. You remember all the debates with MiamiArsenal.

    However, you have to be willing to look at both sides of the story before you make judgements. Yogi mentioned in one of his earlier posts that at the time Giroud was statistically the most efficient striker in the league this season. Arsene clearly wanted to dump Giroud last summer but no matter how much you dislike Giroud you can’t dispute the fact that for a while he was scoring goals when he was on the pitch. There is not a manager in the history of world football who would be watching his team imploding all around him and leave a player who was the most efficient goal scorer in the league on the bench and not at least given him another try.

  44. To be fair to Arsene the one thing that we have to give him credit for is trying to find something to stop the implosion. He has tried the same things that any manager in his position would have tried. He has gone thru Sanchez, Welbeck and Giroud at CF with no luck. He has changed his favored formation and tried to change the defensive players and even drifted away from the ball possession ethos. Unfortunately for him the squad he built is just not that strong and it looks like he has not been able to motivate the players even when the top 4 is at risk. He has no answers and all of that is a clear sign that its time for the club to make a change.

  45. Regarding Perez, the players whose minutes he should have been given was Iwobe. It was crazy but typical Arsene to hand the starting LW job to Iwobe last summer. The great run of scoring form by Alexis and Theo in Sept/Oct masked the fact that Iwobe should not have been a starting forward for a team whose objective was to challenge for a league title.

  46. Pistolfish.

    It was in one of yogis posts and I assumed that most efficient meant most goals per minute played.

  47. Higuain was basically useless for 99.9% of the first half of the game against Monaco but he scored the only goal during that other 0.1% which made him the most important single player on the pitch for Juve.

  48. Bill,

    Higuain has a knack for scoring. Can’t teach that. Boy could we have used a real goal scoring CF.

  49. Limestone

    Higuain again. 0-2 Juve and with their defense the chance of Monaco recovering is almost nil.

    No you can’t teach a player to score. If you could then every team would be teaching all of their players to finish. It’s the single most critical and difficult skill in football and by far the most expensive skill to purchase.

    I think yogi did the calculations in one of his posts but even with $70M spent for Higuain the net spend on their squad is roughly equivalent to ours but despite all the money we have spent we are not anywhere close to their team

  50. MBappe is really good but the Juve defense is just too good and well organized. When one of the Juve players make a mistake and one of the Monaco players gets into a dangerous position there is always someone ready to cover up

  51. Higuían, was it 2013 when Arsene pulled out of signing him, wouldn’t go the 15 million euros extra Real were asking when Napolī got involved, probably worked out better for him

  52. buckagh,

    Another case where we seemed to have the deal sewn up but Wenger dithered switched to Suarez and we got neither (Ozil was a consolation prize and not what we needed despite the fact that Arsene fans tried to sell it as a cunning master stroke).

  53. Barring miracles its a Real v Juventus final, I get to a few Juventus home matches and would be delighted if they win it, BTW €20 is match ticket price there

  54. andy1886,

    I don’t think he dithered over Higiuan he just wouldn’t pay anymore when Napoli came on the scene, and then made an insulting bid for Suarez when 50+ million would have probably worked for Liverpool

  55. buckagh,

    Maybe, but it looked like they could have concluded the deal before Napoli got involved. The Guardian ran the story that the deal was done on 20th June, more than a month before he joined Napoli (who sold Cavani on July 16th). He has form on that front, there seem to be a number of stories about us losing players because Wenger couldn’t make up his mind (Mata was another one).

  56. Yogi

    I love the picture from the Looney Tunes and the Disney animated movie yesterday because I am a huge fan and they seem so appropriate to what is going on at our club. I also enjoyed todays movie reference in the picture. The Shawshank Redemption is one of the greatest movies ever.

  57. Bill,

    Me too. Looking forward to that final. 2nd legs notwithstanding, it seems it will be two storied European heavyweights battling. For Buffon’s sake, I’d pull for Juve.

    I really wish we had spent a few more million for Higuain when we had the chance. All he has done is break records in Serie for scoring since then. He’s quite consistently clinical.

  58. At all levels of this club the decision makers are ditherers. Club suffers from sclerosis.

  59. Mbappe added to the list of Wenger’s “I almost signed…” 😆

    Arsene Wenger says he met with striking hotshot Kylian Mbappe at his home last year as he looked to take advantage of the fact the Monaco man’s contract was coming to an end.

    The Arsenal manager has been quite vocal in his admiration of the 18 year old, speaking more than once about how he was a player the club had been watching very closely.

    Just how close wasn’t know until now, however, with Wenger saying, “The player would tell you that I was at his home last year to try to get him here.

    “He was at the end of his contract but Monaco managed to keep him and the decision was very, very tight.

    “I could understand it as well because he was educated there and at the end decided to stay there.”

    Is there a single top player that isn’t on that list by now??

  60. andy1886,

    Isn’t that a case of “tapping up”? A practice Wenger has moaned about numerous times in the past. He does lay himself open to ridicule by these repeated admissions of failure to sign his targets.

  61. C,

    Let’s unpack what Giroud’s agent is saying: If Arsene stays and Oliver can keep loafing around pretending to be a footballer, Oliver will stay; but if he’s expected to pull his finger out under a new manager, he’s gonna bail, big-time.

  62. andy1886,

    How Wenger cannot see he paints himself as a ridiculous figure with the ‘almost transfers’ is beyond me.

    It must be a desperate desire to feel credible, relevant.

    I presume there is some truth to the Mbappe story as he is at pains to be specific about a house visit (though with media duties etc. I’d love to know if it was a dedicated visit or happenstance).
    At this point one would think he would keep quiet about such issues until the ink was drying.

    Robert Pires has painted himself (and Wenger) into a corner with this.

    Joshing aside (lets be fair and say this visit was for real) isn’t it going to be a sad indictment if he does leave Monaco but not for The Emirates?

    How would the Mbappe Arsenal story get spun then?

  63. buckagh:
    Barring miracles its a Real v Juventusfinal, I get to a few Juventus home matches and would be delighted if they win it, BTW €20 is match ticket price there

    How do you get tickets for Juve at home please? I’ve tried and failed a few times and the online sites are crazy prices and also usually require some type of Juve membership. Any tips please?
    I hope they win it too although Chiellini is a yellow card in the 2nd leg away from missing the final (again – he did last time) which imho would make beating RM impossible. Rugani, their other CB, is injured too.

  64. DFS-,

    Absolutely, F365 often runs a ‘Wenger Nearly Signed XI’ type story ridiculing him when he makes these claims and he obviously doesn’t realise that he’s becoming a joke figure. It’s one thing showing that you are still on the case with emerging talents but he seems to miss the point that claiming that you repeatedly fail to sign players that go on to be superstars just makes you look a loser (and makes fools of the club at the same time).

    Orson Kaert,

    On ‘tapping up’ I think that if his contract was coming to an end then he can talk to other clubs in the last six months of that contract. There may be different rules for younger players like Mbappe, I’m not sure.

  65. andy1886,

    Leaving frustrations aside, the summer transfer market is going to be something else to watch unfold.

    Some agents will push players at us, and some would like to move regardless to the relatively big stage the club can provide…but I would love to be privy to the enquiries which are going to dead end.

    Under the current negative spotlight I imagine many established players will steer clear – I wonder if we’ll get to hear about the ‘refusals’?

    They should really attempt to keep transfer gossip and speculation shut down until complete.

    If we keep spin with Mbappe up (hasn’t it been claimed Monaco rejected a 78 million bid from United?) we would cast ourselves as weak and ineffectual in the season, and the off season once again.

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