Wouldn’t It Be Nice & Cheick Tiote

To see you, to see you, Nice! Although wearing the ‘old man’ trainers didn’t do Arsène favours in the photos circulating of his promenade with Ivan. We’re getting M’bappe! Lemar! Seri! Sidibe! Anybody!


The convenience with which Arsenal have suddenly become ‘transfer ready’ is no surprise. Wenger’s contract renewal released the handbrake in that sense and unleashed a ‘media friendly’ version of the usual tight-lipped and security-conscious club.

Tough talk filtered out of the club in the days after the contract wrangles ended. Arsène, it was let be known, was under orders from Stan to spend, spend, spend! Otherwise, to paraphrase Hollywood, his arse was grass and Enos was a lawnmower.

As if.

This time of year usually brings cynicism to the fore. Too many false dawns in the past decade mean ‘wait and see’ is the order of the day.

Oh, did I mention we’re chasing Alexandre Lacazette again? Or for the first time. Last summer Jean-Michel Aulas, the Lyon chairman/president/owner/negotiator/teaboy, declared that the striker’s name wasn’t mentioned in any conversations he had with Arsène at Euro2016.

Anyway, now Atletico Madrid are out of the equation, it seems Arsenal’s free run at the player is ploughing ahead although Aulas is by all accounts, a prickly character with a fragile ego which belies his tough talking image.

Whatever. New players arrive when they arrive. I don’t care if Manchester City are spending the GDP of small nation on their squad. Every purchase they make includes a ‘City Tax’ which uplifts the price by at least 20% on what other clubs would pay for the same players.

And to some extent, Arsène is right when he says we can’t compete with their cash. It’s disingenuous though; we rarely go for the same players.

Fail to Prepare…

All of which makes it sound a lot like the footballing equivalent of “Are we there yet?”

And I suppose it is to some extent. The fixtures are released a week tomorrow, signalling thoughts turning to pre-season training which starts early in July. Time, as always, is at a premium.

After the farce of the past two pre-seasons, Arsenal must be ready come August. Not tired, unprepared or any other state which begs the question, “what the hell have you been doing all summer?”; just ready.

And they can be. Sead Kolasinac, announced as an addition to the squad this morning, proves we can move when we want to. OK, so there was no protracted negotiations over a fee which made things easier but nonetheless, we identified an area to improve and did so.

The trouble is Arsène thinks we’re two or three players short; the reality is that it is more than that. While keeping the squad together is important, there is a strong indication that the collective needs a jolt. It’s more than an indication; it’s the results post-Watford through to Middlesbrough.

Breaking the repetitive cycle of collapses, be they in October or Winter, is vital to success. However, the slowness of the manager’s response and the failure of the players to snap out of their malaise, shows it was the wrong combination of individuals. Nothing’s going to happen about the former but a shake-up of the latter is desperately needed.

We have a large section of fringe players who are too comfortable on the bench when they shouldn’t be. Yes, Walcott, I’m looking specifically at you since your photos were plastered over the press this morning.

Easy Street

And there’s nothing wrong with Theo being on holiday. I just feel he should be more annoyed at being reduced to a bit-part player. The form he shows leading into every contract negotiation, is what we should be seeing now.

Out of the England squad, out of the Arsenal side; for someone who was so highly-rated, his career is fading badly. He is a player who should be seeking a move elsewhere but such is the greed surrounding modern football, few actually ask for a move; they all want their bonuses.

Sitting on the bench is too easy for the modern footballer. It seems soul-destroying for those who were automatic first choice players for so long but apparently not. Maybe that Arsenal’s problem: too many are in the comfort zone. Shaking them out of it seems such an obvious answer but not at all easy to implement.

Cheick Tiote

Cheick Tiote’s death yesterday was as shocking as it was surprising. It seems we hear about these sad incidents with a greater frequency in modern football than we ever did when I was growing up. Maybe the globalisation of the news and media means we do hear more of these sad events; I don’t know.

I’ve thought long and hard, but can’t recall such an incident arising in the 70s and 80s. There obviously were but it seems with less frequency. I remember Asa Hartford’s move to Leeds fell through due to a previously undetected heart condition but that’s it.

Looking at the list and the causes of death, it looks as if football must do more to monitor players. The game is more physically demanding nowadays but that brings more responsibility on the club’s to ensure players well-being.

FIFA and national associations must ensure these changes are implemented, giving lower league clubs funding to help in this area.

For Cheick Tiote, it is too late. My condolences to his family on their loss.

’til Tomorrow.

48 thoughts on “Wouldn’t It Be Nice & Cheick Tiote

  1. The most notable attributes that I saw from Sead are: his physique and while he is extremely physical, he is blessed with absurd quickness and plenty of pace, defensively he is rock solid and doesn’t rely on his pace defensively but uses it when he needs to, attacking wise he is kind of unpredictable but capable of making a surging overlap or a powerful run through the channel, probably the best quality for me is that he is not just relentless in attack but a relentless and smart defender who plays for the badge.

    I’ll say this, he is the perfect long term replacement for Nacho and if we are able to keep Sanchez, the relentless nature of both Sead and Sanchez on the same flank would make any supporter stand up and would give any club in the PL problems.

  2. Morning YW. Sad news about Tiote. Reminded me of Tommy Caton who played for us in the eighties and died of a heart attack aged just 30 in 1993. But as you say it seems to happen more often these days unfortunately.

    A big transfer IMO is dependant on one or both of Ozil and Alexis leaving. In the unlikely event of both staying I would envisage only minor tinkering. As you rightly point out there are several second tier players on big wages that we could move on. Theo and Jack would be the most obvious – English and therefore should command a premium because of squad regulations.

  3. Good stuff Yogi!

    I completely agree with you about fringe players. For all the talk of Jenks being a Gooner, why did he stay when its clear his career is teedering on completely disappearing; well because wages weren’t likely to be met for a player that to my mind wasn’t good enough and part of his story is the nostalgia of “one of us” making it. Theo, I can’t really blame him when you consider that there was no real reason for him to be dropped having just scored 8 goals in 10 matches or something like that and then being dropped for Giroud who outside of his assist in the Final offered absolutely nothing after being put back into the line-up. Funny enough Theo still finished as our clubs 2nd leading goal scorer.

  4. @Andy 1886,
    And it reminds me of our own son, at 36, after a couple of strenuous games of squash.
    Only the good die young.

  5. Very sad news regarding Tiote. I did wonder about his stamina levels when he was at Newcastle, as he was linked with a move to Arsenal at one point. He always seemed to fade badly in the second half of the games I saw him play in. Probably unconnected, but it does make me wonder.

    Welcome to Arsenal Sead. It seems a good move and will also allow Nacho to play as CB if required. I suspect Gibbs is now on his way out. Hopefully his Arsenal contract isn’t too much of a hindrance in moving him on, but he has been happy to sit on the bench behind Nacho so maybe he is happy just taking the cash.

  6. We have just added arguably the best LB/LWB in the Bundesliga to compete with Nacho, they are going to push each other and its only going to make us that much stronger. The other part is they can play together on left flank as LB and LW if we go more defensive because both are good in the attacking third as well.

  7. C,

    Purely click baiting there c.
    Happy to see he has finally arrived looking forward to our options the wing back area with Monreal & Gibbs and Ox & Bellerin, with options in defense we only now need options in midfield and offensively.

  8. Great post YW, RIP check tiote remember him for that screamer he scored against us in that nuts 4-4 game a few years back.

  9. Sead:

    “Arsenal has a huge tradition and I followed the club as a young boy in the days of Jens Lehmann and Thierry Henry,” said the Bosnian.

    “Arsenal has always been a club that is well recognised in Europe and I’m pleased to be here.”

    “I think my main strength is my mentality,” he said. “I’m a player who will try to help the team as well as I can.

    “There are different positions [I can play] but I think left back is where I feel most comfortable. I can play as part of a three at the back too or further forward. I’m really flexible.”

  10. C,

    I hope we end that culture here because imo it’s part of the mental problem the squad suffers from if Debuchy for instance come mid Aug isn’t sold we should offer to “mutual termination” of contract, I feel it sends the right message.

  11. silvergunner,

    O I am completely in agreement with you. I think not just Debuchy but Jenks as well. The culture of the club needs to change and that would be a statement of intent and a sort of change of culture, while Arsene showing he has at least learned and while I NEVER wish anybody to lose their job, I do think that like with any other company, once you find a replacement they buy you out. Surely there would be or are suitors for a number of players especially for Debuchy who surely could find a club in France.

  12. Do any of you think the quotes from Bellerin re barca interest
    “You never know what could happen. Its a club that I grew up in as a kid, the best club in the world”
    “The truth is that every player of a top level wants to play in the Champions League, especially when I’ve been playing in it for two years. As a team, we didn’t achieve qualification and it’s something that we want to correct, but as a player, I repeat: it’s an important competition.

    “It’s a great thing to know about the interest of a club like Barca, the club where I grew up. I don’t know anything at the moment. I’m an Arsenal player and we’ll see what happens.

    “It’s always been very good in London, my family settled there with me, although now, for family reasons, they have had to return to Barcelona. I have a tougher time now because I’m a family person, I depend on them a lot, and it’ll be a new challenge to be without them.

    “I haven’t talked to anyone. I haven’t talked to the club. I know a lot of things are being talked about but as a player, the club haven’t told me anything, there has still not been any contact.

    “A lot can happen this summer.”

    Is he angling for a return?????

  13. Great post Yogi

    I am not sure Kolacinac makes our first 11 stronger because Nacho has been pretty good and replacing him in the starting line up is not really going to change us that much. However, Sead has to be an upgrade over Gibbs and he certainly does improve the depth in the squad. We have an over abundance of defensive players and that can only be a good thing. I really hope we stick with 3 at the back and if Arsene can’t build a solid defense with Kos, Mustafi, Gabriel, Holding, Chambers Mert, Nacho and Kolacinac playing in the back 3 and LW and Cech in goal then he is incapable of building a solid defense.

    Any big team that is is so limited in firepower that they have to start Theo and Iwobe as 2/3 of their front line on opening day and counts on Giroud and Welbeck as its other options is not going to win any big trophies. This season we were fortunate that Sanchez had the best season of his career and Theo got off to an unexpected good start and Giroud scored 12 league goals in a little more then 1100 minutes. We can’t count of any of those 3 to be able to replicate what they did this season. I am certainly not confident that Alexis will be in an Arsenal uniform next year and if he leaves Giroud and Walcott will be our only players capable of scoring in double figures. A team with such underwhelming firepower would struggle to get into one of the Europa league spots much less challenge for the top 4. The place we need to upgrade is the forward line and that is going to cost a lot of money and it will require Arsene to actually have the cojones to go toe to toe with other big teams.

  14. silvergunner,

    No I don’t think or wouldn’t take anything from them other than he answered a question. If he was truly angling for a move away he wouldn’t have signed his new deal this season. I do think, that like most from La Masia, Barca is in their hearts but I doubt Bellerin is angling. I can’t see why he would leave especially since Arsene has spoken time and again about Ox moving centrally and Bellerin is a much better RB and RWB than Ox could be due to his defensive work.

    Bellerin isn’t going anywhere.

  15. On a different subject I see that Gary Mabbutt, the former Spurs captain, is recovering from heart surgery after suffering chest pains on Monday. While I spent many years wishing him (sporting) ill-fortune (duly delivered in the form of an own-goal in the 1987 Cup Final loss to Coventry) I think that it’s fair to say that he was well known to be a very decent guy, so I wish him all the best in his recovery.

  16. C,

    Yeah that may all be true c but i would have just preferred “I am contacted at arsenal and have no intention of leaving in the near future” to the long winded “if you bid and arsenal accept i will come” response.

  17. andy1886,

    Good player from an era of football that i loved, the early 90’s when we were gritty and had backbone not the softies we see take the field against Palace etc.

  18. silvergunner,

    Yup, two pretty evenly matched sides during the late eighties/early nineties which made the rivalry all the more interesting. The difference was that we wanted it more IMO.

  19. silvergunner,

    I think we all would have but he has also said that many of times including time and again at the end of the season when he wasn’t starting and after the season. I think its one of those things were he spoke, gave a long winded answer but I don’t see him going anywhere. Now maybe in 1-3 years should we not actually put a title challenge up and he continues to develop, but not now.

  20. This should bring a smile, Andy. 🙂

    — ‘Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has warned Arsene Wenger he won’t settle for a bit-part role at the club next season amid interest from Marseille.
    The Frenchman finished his fifth season with the club last term behind Danny Welbeck in the pecking order.

    Wenger, 67, signed a new two-year deal after the club’s FA Cup final victory and he’s expected to sign a new forward with strong interest in Monaco ace Kylian Mbappe.

    Giroud, though, is unwilling to settle for a place on the bench and says he will consider his future if he’s forced into a bit-part role.

    ‘Wenger is counting on me even though he hasn’t used me much,’ said Giroud.
    ‘I will not settle for limited playing time (next season) like I have this season.’

  21. HenryB,

    Personally, if he feels that way then he can go. He has had 5 years to prove that he is a title winning CF capable of getting 20 goals and has proven not to be even close to be honest. His first 16 goal season it took a hattrick against an already relegated Villa side on the last day of the season to reach 16.

    I can’t think of another top 4 club in ANY of Europe’s big countries that would have kept him that long. I mean even Barca brought in Paco Alcacer, Madrid brought back Morata, Bayern have continuely brought back-up good strikers and Juve continues to bring in strikers. Then you look at PSG, Dortmund, Leverkrusen, and the rest who have brought them in.

    Goos striker but nothing more, at best he is CF2 and if Welbeck could learn to finish Giroud would be CF3 if we bought a quality striker or winger and moved Sanchez to CF1.

  22. Good post YW,
    You mention Arsenes trainers, but what about Ivan’s nice brothel creepers. Brings back fond memories of Ken Clarke(now Lord). Never trust someone who wears brothel creepers.
    On a more serious note, Tiote, another player dying criminally young. It does happen more or seems to. Too many games? Too much travel? Who knows. I really hope that the regional and global umbrella organisations can look into that and share information with their members as well as other sports disciplines. I really do fear for players at the 2022 World Cup.

  23. My thoughts too, C.

    I like Giro’s big heart – he does try to chase balls down, like the one he did in the FA Cup Final, before crossing for Rambo to score the headed winner.

    I have respect for him, and he always tries, has got good heading ability for crossed balls into the box, but …… he is slow, and too one footed, and has a habit, odd for a big guy, of easily going down in tackles, and appealing fruitlessly to the ref from the ‘on the ass’ position.

    OK for a backup – and I would not be unhappy with that, but a lot depends on whether Sanchez goes, or not, and also whether or not we get another top CF.
    If so, he will go down the pecking order and I do not think he will stay.

  24. HenryB,

    Agreed, and even for a targer big man he is ‘average’ in all aspects of his game. The most frustrating thing is how easily he goes down and looks for the ref who is more likely to give him a foul if he is the big stronger lad he can and should be. Compare him to say Llorente and its night and day but both are target men but when you watch Llorente, he is strong with a soft touch and relentless in his pursuit in the box.

    Good back-up but not first choice. If Sanchez stays, which I am actually starting to truly believe he will, then we bring in a quality attacker beit it CF or winger, Giroud like you say, falls down the pecking order. If that is the case then he is off, but I would have sold him thr moment Marseille offered 20m for him.

    Along with that though, the other interesting dominoe is Theo because if Giroud leaves Theo stays and if Giroud stays and somebody else comes, I could see Theo wanting out. Presently we have Theo, Giroud, Sanchez, Welbeck, Perez, Iwobi and Ox for the flanks; a new man comes in then surely Welbeck will see time along the front 3 positions.

    The next player that is bought will surely shape the squad and will give a better picture of who leaves and who stays.

  25. Bellerin and Giroud are doing exactly what their agent would tell them to do. The threat to leave is certainly the leverage trump card for any desirable player in any negotiation. Arsene did the same thing this year. The best thing that Bellerin can do for any future negotiations is to make it clear that he would go back to Barcelona at almost anytime the mood strikes.

  26. Another player I wouldn’t mind is Lemina from Juve to pair with Xhaka in midfield, would surely give us power and skill in midfield not to mention workrate and defensive workrate in midfield.

    @Big Al

    I know your lurking, what do you think of Lemina?

  27. C,

    I think that we’re all pretty much in agreement. Giroud isn’t a bad player, just not one who is going to take us where we want to go. I mean if he played as he does when he’s on one of hot streaks all the time that would be different. But sadly he’s an ‘almost’ player, almost good enough but not quite.

    The upside of his leaving is simply that AW is more likely to buy a top class replacement, if he stays the temptation is to make do with what we have.

  28. C, I’m not Big Al but I like Lemina. He’s strong and powerful with a decent pass and good at intercepting/tackling.

    But I would like Naby Keita as a Cazorla replacement as well. The question is if Ox is staying will he be coming into the midfield. In which case we might not need Keita.

    But Lemina seems a DM with more on the ball skill than some others.

  29. Many options for midfield but what we desperately need and have few options for are top strikers.

  30. andy1886,

    Yup, exactly my thinking, the upside is a new CF otherwise its Welbeck and Giroud.

    I don’t think he is an almost player, I think he is just a good player and like all good players he puts it all together for 10-15 matches in all competitions.

  31. Limestonegunner,

    I said Big Al cause I know he watches Serie A pretty regularly but I also know you do too.

    Lemina is quite a link player and that is what we need. I think the one thing that he does bring is that athleticism and mixes what we need in that workman like link player but also is quality.

    I think the other thing is that he has a high futboling IQ and has played next to a Xhaka type in Pjanic.

    Trust, there are a couple others I would gladly have first and foremost Tolisso of Lyon but you also have others like Keita, Seri, Gueye, not to mention Fornals of Malaga or even Sergi from Barca. Plenty of options we just NEED to get one.

    Ox centrally scares me because he gives the ball away too often in bad spots. If he develops a more consistent touch and passing (same with Ramsey) then I can understand.

  32. C

    Bellerin and Giroud both signed a new contract recently. They both signed contracts when they thought they were automatic first choice players. Giroud is certainly no longer CF1. If we play 3 at the back, I assume Nacho and Kolacinac will hold down the LWB and Xhaka/Le Coq will be the deepest defensive mid. That leaves Ramsey, Ox and Bellerin for 2 positions (RWB and Box to Box) . After his prolonged slump from Jan – April 2017 I don’t think its quite as clear cut as you think that Bellerin will be an automatic starter.

  33. Bill,

    I’m not sure Bellerin was completely fit during his slump and it showed, his turn of pace and quickness simply weren’t there and then when he cam back, he was the player we remembered both attacking wise and defensively. Ox for me is a defensive liability as a RWB and who says that Bellerin isn’t the automatic starter and for that matter who says we stick with a back 3, not even Arsene has. I think the thing is, Bellerin offers more even in attack because he isn’t just whipping in crosses like Ox but understands both cut backs and crosses. I guess we will see what happens but I would venture to say that Bellerin is in a better position than we think. His comments aren’t of somebody who wants to leave, more answering a question about Barca. Can we name one player who wouldn’t say they wanted to join Barca especially those from La Masia and born in that region.

    The other thing is Arsene has talked exclusively about Ox centrally, almost obsession like so I bet he gets a run centrally at some point.

  34. Reports say Ospina set to finalize move in the coming day.

    The Lacazette stuff is getting interesting with reports saying Arsene is confident of the deal, 50m transfer fee and 150k+/wk.

  35. Sounds good – could have done the deal a year ago but I’ll be pretty stoked if it goes through.

    He’s the type of signing that could make a difference.

    If he goes is it fair to say Theo is surplus to requirements at the right price?

    Strikes me we have a lot of coverage across the top – even with losing Lucas.

  36. So Barcelona are ready to offer £45 million for Hector Bellerin. We’ll know just how ambitious Wenger and Kroenke are when they reject any offer for the best right back in the Premiership.

  37. How long is his contract he just signed, pretty sure they will have to stomp up more cash than that if we were to sell him.

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