So, the squad is off to Oz. Let’s hope it all goes a lot better than the last tour down under. John Spurling’s excellent, Rebels for the Cause, covers off the drinking which led to Malcolm MacDonald and Alan Hudson being sent home early. The Canberra Times reported on the interview, with Terry Neill answering questions on the incident with a straight bat.
His reluctance to talk ended when he got home. Just as MacDonald and Hudson sold their tale to the tabloids, so too did Neill. Interestingly, there’s no mention of George Armstrong, who (apparently) begged to be sent home. Terry Neill decided to punish him by making him stay with the tour party.
I’m sure that the professional athletes in our squad today, will not indulge in those antics – and others which I can’t tell of – and the most telling about the trip is those who haven’t made the trip. Wojciech Szczesny is still heavily linked with Juventus but at the moment, the Italians are trying to do a deal on the cheap. Arsenal are having none of it, and certainly not for the €9m being touted.
Others such as Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy, are, well, what are they doing. Interest in Gibbs from Watford waned at his wage demands and there’s been pressure little interest in the other two, publicly at least. Meanwhile, Lucas Perez remains on the verge of a return to Spain.
While his inclusion in the tour party means nothing in the context of the season, it’s interesting that David Ospina travelled. The Colombian is frequently linked with moves to Turkey but nothing has come of them thus far. Is he staying at the club which puts the notion of Emi Martinez as the back-up goalkeeper on the backburner.
Joel Campbell is another skirting under the radar. Away with Costa Rica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he is one of the eleven whose contracts expire next summer, and another whose future lies away from the Emirates.
There are too many of these ‘characters’ in the squad. Arsenal’s ability to move these on will impact on complying with PL wage regulations. It’s not only about Sanchez and Özil, but Ox and Ramsey, whose Mr20%‘s are in talks with the club. It’s the same for most clubs. Only a £7m increase in wages is permitted unless other revenue streams, excluding tv deals, rise. Dropping into the Europa League will hit us hard with our non-broadcast revenues surely falling, unless we have some big deals in the pipeline.
United shifted Rooney on a free to release his wage spend for others. We need to look at doing the same with some of ours. Those are ‘dead’ wages as far as we’re concerned, and if that doesn’t focus minds of the Transfer Window Action Team, nothing will.
Wednesday sees the point of no return passed with the abysmal away kits launched in Sydney. It’s almost as if Puma decided to test everyone’s patience and entice Arsenal into breaking the contract. I wonder what penalties we’re suffering on that with respect to not being in the Champions League?
In other news, no-one is signing this week nor is anyone on the tour leaving before we get to China. Not yet, anyway. Everton still want Giroud, with £75m burning a hole in their pockets; that’s if you believe what you read in the papers…
Anyway, that’s it for today save to remind of the stonking playlist over at Dad’s Jukebox.