A day of destiny. For all those eligible to vote in the British General Election today, please make sure that you do so. I’ve never understood anyone not voting in the election; it’s a spurious reason to claim that “the parties are all the same”. It really means you can’t be arsed and that is not acceptable.
There’s clear daylight between the two parties and the vote is for what Britain you want; the one for the rich or the one for everyone. Time to stand up and be counted.
Onto all things Arsenal and Dave Ospina is set to leave for a paltry £3m next week. So long and thanks for all the fish but most of all, thanks for ruining John Terry’s last game for Chelsea.
If the fee is that low, is this a good deal for Arsenal? He isn’t leaving on a free next summer so there’s no urgency there. I know we only paid about £3.5m for him in the first place but this is the Colombian national goalkeeper and he has played well this season. It also makes you wonder what we’ll receive for the likes of Debuchy and Jenkinson, and others we need to shift this summer.
Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud are the big earners, you would think. The former won’t earn as much as he might a couple of years ago; now, we’d be lucky to get £25m for him in my view, while we know the Frenchman’s value is about £20-22m.
Whether both leave depends a lot on Alexis’ future. Giroud will stay if the Chilean goes, I think that’s a given. Walcott though, is someone who must move to reignite his career and probably will now Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is signing a new deal.
Bang for the Sponsor’s Buck
According to reports in this morning’s Heil, Emirates Airlines are set to end their sponsorship of Arsenal’s shirts. Claims they are disillusioned with football must be taken with a pinch of salt; their name is plastered across Real Madrid’s shirts and if anyone is giving them value for their sponsorship buck, it’s the Spaniards.
Whether Arsenal are is another matter. More likely, Emirates see the way Premier League deals are going and don’t think we’re worth the same or close to Chelsea’s £40m deal. They have a point if we are to become residents in the Europa League. It’s the sort of issue where Stan will sit up and take notice of the performances on the pitch.
A bonus for the club will be the additional sponsorship revenues to be gained from shirt sleeve sponsors. As I understand it, the current Emirates deal precludes any other logos on the shirt beyond club, league and manufacturer. More money for the manager to spend or just making up lost ground?
Transfers are a murky business. Liverpool’s apology is unlikely to save them from a Premier League punishment after they admitted tapping up Virgil Van Dijk. It’s a widely known practice and I don’t believe any club isn’t involved in the practice, despite any protestations to the contrary.
The minute they talk (via agents) to the player’s representatives, the wheels are in motion. Few are blatant about the issue as Liverpool have been, and that triggered Southampton’s complaint to Premier League HQ.
However, trailing a deal through the media, trying to weaken the selling club’s resolve by presenting it as a fait accompli, is a hugely risky business. Especially when they hold all the cards. It doesn’t stop a deal from happening, but for most clubs it makes the price higher.
It Caused a Slump in Brown Envelope Production
The timing could hardly be more apposite. Alan Smith spoke in the Mirror about George Graham’s dismissal:
“There were whispers, we had spoken about it in the dressing room, saying, ‘Have you heard this about the gaffer?’ At first we thought it was just gossip and we were a bit sceptical. It seemed such a big thing that he’d possibly lose his job.
“That was probably about three months before it came out into the public domain. I was going to the hospital with the club physio Gary Lewin for an operation on my knee when the news came out that he’d been sacked.
“It was a big shock. He’d been so successful, been one of their own as a player and to be shunted out of the door like that created a big ripple.”
I’m not defending Graham’s actions and his removal as Arsenal manager was justified. Surprise stems from him being perceived as the only culprit at the time. Others were almost caught – Cloughie had retired – while Spurs successfully overturned a points deduction for illegal payments in 1994.
At the time, David Dein was looking for reasons to remove Graham and this gave him the reason. The football was dire and empty seats were a regular feature of Highbury. Arsenal, a good cup side, were a fading force in the Premier League. Sound familiar?
While surprise registered at his dismissal, it was due to it being on a matchday. Nottingham Forest by a curious coincidence, were the visitors to Highbury that night. Arsenal responded as Arsenal seem to; winning in adverse conditions.
While I remember feeling injustice and righteous indignation after the FA points deduction, there was no sense of loss at Graham’s departure. The club needed a shake-up, one which duly arrived albeit in an unexpected manner.
Wheels are Turning
Liverpool’s actions prove the game has barely cleaned up its act from the days when Don Howe wore a cloth cap and glasses as he ‘tapped up’ Viv Anderson. As ever though, it appears to be the rarest of cases where there is hard evidence of it happening.
Fair play to Southampton for having the balls to complain. We should have done the same years ago when the likes of Cesc, etc., were openly tapped up by Barcelona and City. But it’s not the Arsenal way to rock the boat or make waves. The same cycle is beginning with Hector Bellerin and that may be the price of dropping into the Europa League.
It feels like a big summer for Arsène to dispel the feeling that we’ve taken more than a big step backwards. It’s going to be a long summer, isn’t it?