STONE COLD FRIDAY: Oiling and Cementing The Arsenal

How long does it take to build an oil refinery? No, it’s not a trick question. Find the answer and that’s how long Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov have to prepare for a hostile takeover of Arsenal. Does that even happen in football? Well, the people you don’t see coming are the most dangerous. As far as hostile takeovers go, the ones you are warned about are the ones that creep on you while you continue to believe yours is the Arsenal way.

One person you cannot take for granted is 60 year old Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote. With an estimated net worth of $12.5 billion, Forbes ranks him as the 67th richest person in the world and the richest man of African descent. 3 years ago, he peaked in the Forbes list as the 23rd richest person in the world. He has interests in cement, flour milling and has the 3rd largest sugar refinery in the world. A diehard Arsenal fan, he insists that as long as he gives Kroenke and Usmanov an offer they can’t refuse, they’ll walk away from the table. There’s nothing that better prepares you to buy a football club than constructing your own £8.5 billion oil refinery.

Oy Arséne! Watch Out

Dangote has told Bloomberg business that his first act as Arsenal owner will be to fire Arséne.

The first thing I would change is the coach. He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck.

I suspect this could be music to the ears of the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade. With the game having changed so much over the years and Arsenal becoming hostage to its philosophy of prudence, times ahead are interesting. A billionaire owner who is not averse to opening his cheque book will certainly put the cat amongst the resident pigeons at Highbury House. One of the establishment figures might even get to do a ‘Peter Hill-Wood’ with that famous ‘We don’t want his lot around here’. Our Peter was referring to Stan Kroenke if you can recall, and see where that led us. A new owner in Dangote would certainly make the prospect of a new manager with a new calibre of players one to savour for many an Arsenal fan.

Are We Taking Colombo to the Crime Scene?

Meanwhile, there’s a small matter of that pesky trip to the Potteries tomorrow evening. There’s just something about the Bet 365 Stadium that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the dodgy winter weather and windy conditions, or maybe it’s still a crime scene that saw the hatchet job that nearly killed Aaron Ramsey’s career. Perhaps it’s the reminders of having to hide behind the sofa when Rory Dilap unleashed one of his bullet throw-ins towards Almunia.

The days of Tony Pulis have gone at Stoke, but in recent years, it still hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal. Sparky has knocked off a few rough edges in the squad and they now play much better flowing football. Who would have thought that Stoke would now boast the biggest collection of Champions League winners in their team?

I’m Getting a Therapist This Season

As I’ve grown older, I’ve learnt to accept and embrace my limitations as a mere mortal. For sure, supporting Arsenal is not for the faint of heart. One game into the season, and look at that roller-coaster ride against Leicester City. Yes, it’s absolutely encouraging that we’re showing fight and spirit to the end. Yes, it’s encouraging that we did it without Sanchez and with a make shift defence. Yes, it’s encouraging that we have super-sub Olivier Giroud to do the impossible. But shipping 3 goals on match day one, and in the manner we did is not even funny one bit.

There must be something in the Arsenal Charter that addresses duty of care towards the health and well-being of their fans. If it’s not, all the Arsenal Supporters’ groups should pull their finger out and get one in there. Having to wait for a ‘smash and grab’ in the last few minutes of the game can’t be a way to live life as a fan. Don’t get me wrong, the job on the day was the 3 points. History will never remember the roller-coaster. I feel nothing for Leicester. Craig Shakespeare must have been standing there thinking ‘We was robbed’.

Plucky Little Arsenal

We must take the same determination to Stoke and build on that. We should have a better balance for the game, especially with Per now available for selection. Mustafi should also be back. Tomorrow is one game that I believe suits Giroud, though it’s also important for Lacazette to get a customary welcome to the Premier League – the version where ‘pluck and spirit’ go a long way in reminding players never to take any team for granted. Le Coq is also available for selection, though I don’t see any scenario that hasn’t got Xhaka and Ramsey in the starting line-up.

It’s certainly an opportunity to build on our start and get the points on the board. With Tottenham playing a beleaguered Chelsea and Everton playing Man City, points are going to be dropped around us. These are the opportunities we must take, putting some daylight between us and our neighbours in the table. It’s understandable that many are still focused on the transfer window, hoping and anticipating that we will make more signings before the deadline. My sense is that the season is here. We’re stuck with who we have. Let’s get on with it. If there’s movement before 31st, well and good. Meanwhile, there’s points up for grabs.

Have a great day good people.

Thanks to Darius for his Friday thoughts. There’s a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox where Times of our Lives reaches 2004.

44 thoughts on “STONE COLD FRIDAY: Oiling and Cementing The Arsenal

  1. Ian:
    Anyone who takes an interest in cement sounds like a very boring person to chat with at a party!

    Give me 12 billion dollars and I promise to be the most boring person in the world

  2. The refinery should be finished by 2019 ceteris paribus. Just in time for Wenger’s contract to end on a high??? Well the refinery would make sure the billionaire remains top of the Forbes list of African entrepreneurs, seeing he would be refining fuel for a nation of 190 million people with an average consumption of 40 million barrels of PMS daily, with that kind of cash at his disposal, Arsenal would be competing with PSG.

    But in reality, how he would turn as a sole owner because he seems to be interested in buying out Kroenke and Usmanov in one interview, is a different matter entirely. Would he actually be the sugardaddy type of fan/owner, given that he is not actually a spendthrift, with all the money at his disposal he still fancies value for his money, he isn’t the party animal, most billionaires of his class are. There’s a joke about him, he went shopping with one of his younger wives at Harrods and remembered he had at a business meeting in Lagos. He hurriedly left the store and jumped on his jet to get to the meeting; the wife calls after two hours wondering about his whereabouts, and he replies: I just left for a meeting in Lagos.

    The rumor of either Dangote or Jay-Z buying Arsenal have been making the rounds since 2010 or thereabouts, so if he has set a target, good luck to him.

  3. YW:
    I’m just a cheapskate – I’m the most boring person without needing a million…

    Well, if you don’t need the million, YW, just pass it over, I’ll have it — and I will kiss your boring a** and throw an ACLF party!! 😀

  4. OK, that is a really interesting Post, thank you.

    I think Mr Dangote made a similar statement 3 or 4 years ago – but nothing came of it. It would be interesting if he did eventually make a bid, but if ‘reports’ were accurate, Usmanov made a bid to buy out Stan fairly recently at a price that would have valued Arsenal at £2bn and giving Kroenke a huge profit on his shares – but he turned that down.

    Not sure why he did so – that’s a hell of a profit – but maybe he would turn Mr Dangote down too?

  5. Namaste all,

    Read 7 last night, he had posted an Wenger interview with Auclaire. Long story short, he feels like he can’t compete. So coming over to here right after reading that depressing interview to find Andy’s post on Aliko was exciting.
    Started to fantasize about Aliko sending James Bongo to Stan’s ranch at the witching hour to make an “offer he couldn’t refuse”.

    Taking advantage of others dropping points, we don’t like doing that do we?

  6. There were some reports that Arsenal was key to Kroenke’s financial dealings in obtaining a facility to build or upgrade a stadium for one of his US soccer teams; if that were the case he would not sell his stake in Arsenal, until a time he does not need Arsenal as an asset.

    The Arsenal FC is a shining example of a well run football club competing in Europe under the stables of KSE Inc. An asset, lending credence to his retention of Arsene Wenger, the apt manager and his able deputy Ivan Gazidis the actual CEO. Stability in the realms of Kroenke’s empire across both sides of the Atlantic. To the detriment of fans and lovers of attacking football, its money-ball that’s most important now, or should I say ball-money.

    Why rock the boat with a new manager and destabilize revenue streams, when the man in charge can deliver decent bank statements? a capitalist’s orgasm.

  7. lari03,
    What I took from Dangote’s interview is this. Yes, he could have made a bid earlier, but thought it would be rejected. But with the guaranteed revenues from the oil refinery, he’d be printing the money. I doubt Dangote would make a bid unless he is sure it will be accepted, hence his statement that anyone is up for sale at a price. There’s a price threshold for everyone, and when it comes, they will take the money and run. For one, this guy is more loaded than Kroenke even before a refinery. And that project will give him the cash flow needed. I don’t think he’s a reckless man to not know how to do a deal.

  8. Darius

    Great post. I have no problem with a multimillionaire owner who is willing to spend lots of money. I think Abramovich has done a brilliant job of building Chelsea and their net spend is quite a bit less then ours in this decade. If you can’t beat them you might as well join them.

  9. Freddo from last night.

    I don’t know what the truth is about why Perez to Deportivo has not worked out but I certainly don’t assume that everything his agent says is true anymore then I believe everything that Arsene says.

  10. Top post mate!

    Problem I see is that Kroenke won’t sell because of the continued investment of the tv channels throwing money into the PL. Here in the States I think there is talk about needing ANOTHER subscription in 2018 to view the CL on a separate channel, Kroenke is probably dancing.

    O well, guess we are were we are.

  11. Why are we still stuck with eleny and couqlein in the midfield; we need two midfielder in the mood of viera and casimero of real Madrid then we can think of challenging for titles.

  12. I’ll agree, but add that he was right about him, but, I fancy, for all the wrong reasons?

    consolsbob:
    To be fair to our late Chairman, Darius, he we absolutely bloody correct about Kroenke.

  13. Nah, Damon. For a lotnof right reasons. He is the ‘wrong sort’ of sports club owner and human being.

  14. consolsbob,

    For a minute I thought that by ‘late’ chairman you meant that he was brown bread. Having just checked I see you mean ‘late’ as in former rather than deceased.

  15. echezona,

    Funny enough Elneny is exactly what Casermo is and does the only difference is that Casermo was given a run of matches to not only bed into the team but also make mistakes, Elneny not so much.

  16. Am I the only one who is disappointed that Gabriel has gone, departed, disparu, transferred?

    I liked the guy, and he never let us down in my opinion.

    This does seem to smack of reacting to a squad too full of less than adequate players based on numbers not on ability.

    Oh well — I am not going to change my mind – whatever.

  17. HenryB,

    No Henry, I’m seriously fucken confused bye his sale too. I don’t get it at all.
    Have a feeling it’s going to bite us at some point in the season.

  18. Pistol Fish,

    HenryB,

    I’m thinking it’s the correct candidate for sale amongst the CBs, though we never saw I coming.
    Kos, Mustafi have been better than him.
    Per is a unique situation – would you have imagined his performance in the FA Cup final? Compare that with if it were Gabriel.
    Chambers has came good last season, I hope he continues with us in better stead. Plus he’s homegrown.
    Holding is U-21, so probably not in the equation.

    Moreover, Gabriel needs first team football because of the World Cup.

  19. Pistol,

    My surprise at Gabriel’s sale is not just based on his ability – but on how little that leaves us in the CB position.

    Per has been fantastic, but as he has said himself, it is time for him to go into retirement, and that will be at the end of next season, and in the interim, we have to close our eyes and hope he is not injured yet again.

    Kozzer has a chronic (long term) injury and as age advances that increases the risks of him becoming more injury prone.

    What does that leave us with? Mustafi, Chambers and Holding – one of whom is just coming back from injury, another who has been slated for transfer most of the summer, and the other who was taken off against Leicester because he was struggling.

    Then we have a useful but non-CBs in Monreal, and an attacking MF in kolasinac – not ideal.

    No, no – we are too light at CB to mount a Premiership challenge without a settled and proven roster of CBs, and getting rid of a gritty competitor like Gabriel is too much — just my opinion, of course.

  20. Holding was 22 in January this year – Chambers will be 22 in September, but for HG purposes, he was 21 at the beginning of the season and that is how he will be classified.

  21. HenryB,

    No not at all, I’m actually quite pissed about it.

    Whether it waa RB in an emergency or CB he always gave everything and was solid but aggressive and was always down to stand up for his mates. Maybe not a spectacular defender and he always seemed to get the label as ‘doesn’t look the part or he struggles because of communication’ but who cares about that stuff when you watch him play.

    For me hia departure smells similar to the departure of Szczesny: Chambers was set to be sold the deal fell through so sell Gabriel the player clubs in La Liga want. Sound familiar, Ospina was all set to be aold on 4 different occassions at the start of the summer, the deal fell collapsed ao lets sell Szczesny and loan out Martinez.

  22. Oludotun,

    Gabriel isn’t going to the World Cup for Brasil mate, they still have Thiago Silva and Marquinhos as first choice(two of the best in Europe) and then in typical Brasil fashion I suspect one of the promising young CB’s to go.

  23. HenryB,

    Don’t forget that it was Gabriel who put the shackles on Lukuka and Costa(before getting sent off which wasn’t completely hia fault) and dealt with the CF’s that Kos and to be honest, the reat of our CB’s struggle with. You know the big physical aggressive kind that clubs like to go directly too.

  24. What makes it even more interesting is that other big clubs have actually signed CB’s to help with both depth and as upgrades. Spuds aign Sanchez, Manure Bailey and the Sweden lad, Citeh, Everton signed Keane and Chelsea aign Rudiger.

  25. More to that, Arsene is so willing to let go of Gabriel, Szczesny, Elneny(though he rejected the move) and Martinez but willing to keep/set high fees for the likes of Ospina, Debuchy, Perez and others.

  26. Oludotun,

    Why do we even need to sell a CB?
    And I disagree, I don’t think Mustafi has been any better than Gabriel. Mert is basically there on sentiment and if Chambers is a first team player where the hell has he been all pre season?
    I’ll be suprised if Kos is available for half the season. So we have to rely on Mustafi staying fit and playing alongside Chambers, who has looked good but is no where near the finished article.
    Unless Wenger intends to bring in a new Centre back of first team quality I think selling gabriel was just plain stupid

  27. C:
    HenryB,

    No not at all, I’m actually quite pissed about it.

    Whether it waa RB in an emergency or CB he always gave everything and was solid but aggressive and was always down to stand up for his mates. Maybe not a spectacular defender and he always seemed to get the label as ‘doesn’t look the part or he struggles because of communication’ but who cares about that stuff when you watch him play.

    For me hia departure smells similar to the departure of Szczesny: Chambers was set to be sold the deal fell through so sell Gabriel the player clubs in La Liga want.Sound familiar, Ospina was all set to be aold on 4 different occassions at the start of the summer, the deal fell collapsed ao lets sell Szczesny and loan out Martinez.

    Absolutely my view too, C. Jiggling numbers – and sod need. 🙁

  28. We all seem to be in agreement.

    This wacky transfer business is a nonsense, and you have it right C, we are laying off CBs or trying to, while the other clubs are busy recruiting additional CBs — weird.

    And who ever heard that you cannot buy much needed fresh blood for the team until you sell other players. That is ass about face.

    Get the players we need and cut those not wanted off the squad roster — then it is up to them whether they want to go – or not – their choice.

  29. I fear for Kozzer’s fitness too, Pistol.

    He knows and so too does Wenger that our best CB often plays in pain – and he is not the player he was two seasons ago – he is still good, but injury and age will continue to take its toll and then what do we do?

    I am cross about this whole thing.

  30. HenryB,

    It all seems to be ass backwards but thus is business at times at Arsenal.

    I completely agree about buying before selling, buy the players you need and sell or even loan out the rest.

    The fact that we are kind of stuck because Arsenal wanta to buy but can’t so we sell the players that are actually useful and would help us and keep the players that have become less useful for whatever reason.

  31. Pistol Fish,

    Chambers isn’t even in the picture. Last weekend he couldn’t even make the bench and we went with 2 LBs as part of the back 3. I’m expecting Chambers to be sold. Our defence has been compromised yet again. This is likely to be our downfall this season, unless our forwards can outscore the nunber of goals we concede. If I were a neutral I woukd be looking foward to every game. Unfortunately I will be watching them from between my fingers.

Comments are closed.