Welcome as the news is that police and officials will face prosecution over Hillsborough, can that be expanded into the media. Kelvin Mackenzie, for one, deserves his day in court.
The Establishment faces a dilemma; dare a hugely unpopular government interfere in the legal process and protect their own? They did in 1989. My cynicism remains resolute but for the families of the victims, I hope the accountability they crave is delivered.
Onto Arsenal and this morning, it’s pretty much as you were. I was going to crack a joke or two about lemurs and play on words with Thomas. Then my mind wandered, foraging in the realms of mingling ‘ring-tailed’ into that train of thought. However, if he shops in Nicklas Bendtner’s jewellery emporium, then that’s Monsieur Lemar’s affair and none of our business.
Monaco apparently rebuffed Arsenal’s advances and £30m+ offer, with negotiations ongoing despite apparently telling us Lemar isn’t for sale. These are similar tactics to the ones used by Lyon, with whom we are still talking about signing Alexandre Lacazette. Atletico remain the only club with whom Aulas has agreed a fee for the striker. Yet.
Lemar is such an obvious Alexis replacement that it’s little wonder the headlines proclaim the Chilean is departing for Manchester City. Nobody’s quite sure when but it is happening. Apparently. Maybe, because Arsenal prefer to ship him off to PSG or Bayern but neither of them wants to pay £40m for the striker, even though that’s roughly £15m less than the fee City must shell out.
While Alexis is at the Confederations Cup – and Portugal made England look good at penalties last night – the speculation will continue. And it will while he is on holiday as well.
Questions and Answers
Personally, I’d like to see him stay but if we’re selling, a Premier League rival is simply out of the question.
The whole premise of the Emirates move was to make us competitive with Europe’s élite. That lie has been exposed; we’re further away than ever before. As we invest, they invest more; it’s that simple.
But we’re also at a crossroads domestically as well. We’re a club which was happy with finishing in the top four; aim low but sell tickets high. Aiming low comes with consequences and next season’s Europa League adventure is the culmination of that.
We didn’t build on 2014-15’s third place; we stumbled into second a year later. Rather than heed that warning, the club assumed that turning up was enough. When we found out last season, that everyone else was also doing that, it was too late.
However, a good summer this time could see us overtake Liverpool and potentially, Spurs as well. Instead, we in the corridor of uncertainty, waiting to see if we’re the defender sliding in with a deft interception or the lummox who puts the ball into his own net.
I know which one my money is on.
Losing Sanchez is wrong on just about every level. It sends a message of futility; it shows a club where money is more important than achievement. It shows a club hopelessly out of touch with the support.
Nobody in their right mind can conceive of selling Sanchez willingly to City. Few of us can conceive of doing so unwillingly either. Nasri, Clichy, Toure, Van Persie; arguably, we’re still trying to recover from the latter but that motley crew has one thing in common: a Premier League winners medal with another club.
Alexis Sanchez cannot be allowed to add to that list.
Truth or Consequences
There is a downside to not selling to City, if that is what Alexis wants. He can walk away for nothing next year; doing a ‘Sol’, if you like. That’s the consequence of not selling. We lose the fee.
Next summer is also Arsène going into the final year of his contract. He must announce his future then. We cannot have a repeat of the clusterf*ck last season became because he wouldn’t tell anyone what he was doing. Quite literally, he didn’t know what he was doing.
Wenger freely admits it impacted on the season; we see the consequences. In many respects, it forces his hand this summer. He has to improve the squad; a summer of near misses in the transfer window is not good enough nor acceptable.
Improving the squad with quality players is the only way to convince Alexis that the club is trying to move forward. Doing so at City’s expense reinforces the message that staying put is an attractive option.
However, irrespective of the manager’s future, the club has no choice but to shake the ‘magic money tree’ and find the cache equivalent to any fee we miss out on. That’s the consequence. Sending a message that we’re £xm down on spending isn’t acceptable either.
They are out of options; Alexis renews or he goes abroad. Anyone who sanctions a deal which sends him to City should clear their desk once the ink on the sale contract is dry. But the fat cats won’t; it’s not the Arsenal Way.
And Now For Something Completely Different
A cautionary note to all this. We keep telling ourselves that social media is our personal echo chamber. The fourth estate is the same. It’s rare that journalists vary from a transfer theme. Once the ball starts rolling, there’s not diverting it. Just because it’s in the back pages, doesn’t mean that it is true.
Nor does a lack of physical signings mean we’re not doing anything. I can’t believe that. Not yet, anyway; I don’t want to until it’s proven to be the case.
There’s a long few weeks left on this story. Maybe even months but if that is the case, it becomes a pall over the club. Unlike Arsène, it isn’t a contract we can leave dangling. If that means flying to Chile to meet the player, then so be it. Do it. just get the situation resolved.
Finally, there’s a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox as Times of our Lives reaches 2002.