There’s a lot of optimism that the club is getting its act together in the transfer market. We’re going to be busy, get things done and be ready for the second half of the season without Alexis.
Why would you think that? There’s no evidence that we are, beyond the fruitless speculation of the back pages and let’s not forget for one minute that we still have a manager who has a track record of leaving things half-cock. Remember going into the season with a right-back as our third centre-back? We now go with a left-back there and started this season with a back three which contained two left-backs.
Hold your horses, people; we’re by no means certain to sell Alexis and get a replacement. I can see the former happening but the latter? I’m not so sure. Comfort yourself with the improvement in our ball possession statistics.
The Alexis story is nothing new, not for us anyway. Star forward out of contract, heading to a Mancunian rival. I say “rival” using the loosest possible definition of the word. Manchester City are no more a rival today than Manchester United were back then. These are clubs who in their respective times, are light years ahead of us on the pitch.
We can argue about oil money and denigrate whatever they may achieve as a result of it, but the reality is that this is modern football; this is the level at which Arsenal compete. Again, another loose definition.
You can seek solace in our supposed integrity but remember Stan is the winner. The value of his shares increases while your money means nothing. How you mocked Liverpool and laughed at Tottenham; we are those clubs now. We’re going to where they’ve been when they were figures of fun as we plough a lone furrow of mediocrity achieved ethically.
A Dedicated Flower of his Own Success
Except we’re not as astute. An astute Arsenal would have sold Alexis and Ozil two years ago and received double what we paid. We’d operate in the same way Monaco and Porto do; buy an unknown and turn them into a saleable asset at a huge profit.
We can’t because of delusions of grandeur. The dull owner, unambitious board and stale manager lack the vision to turn the club into something new. They trade on reputations, treading water but gradually pulled down by the current of nothingness.
Wenger pulled the usual line at the press conference, trying to stem the flood of questions. The water is lapping around his feet and Arsène told the assembled hacks that he has never broken a contract. As if that is going to stop the tidal wave of questions from coming.
“Every single decision I make what is right for the club,” he declared. Who judges what is “right for the club” because it is obvious that there are many different shades of the answer. “Do I stay for one year or ten years it is exactly the same,” Arsène warbled, unable to recognise that what is good for Arsenal isn’t the same question as what is best for Arsène.
It has everything “to do with [his] personal situation.”
Constant speculation over his future wrecked last season; we’re heading toward another twelve months of the same because he won’t let go and the owner is too enamoured with him.
“My contract clarifies that. Did I ever walk away? Never. Why should I change?” Maybe one of the assembled journalists will add the caveat of “but you did at Nancy, didn’t you”, to give the proper perspective to that answer.
The Old Familiar Sting
Unending mediocrity. If the club put a motif of “Forward” on the crest today, would the billboard say “Reverse?”.
Everything is a wing and a prayer. “It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract. But we want to keep Jack and if we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil, the rebuild will be less deep than if all the three left.”
Whose fault is the possibility of Jack leaving? “Ooooh, but injuries, injuries.” How many players contracts have been extended whilst out injured? Diaby, Rosicky, Cazorla; all extended because we, as a club, did the right thing. As soon as one gets fit, it’s “you earn your contract”. If Wilshere turns around and walks away, abuse rains down on his head while the culprit swans around as the injured party.
“There is still an opportunity for him (Ozil) to stay,” Arsène rightly said, before killing off the ambition in the next breath. “These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well…so he wants to fight as well for the Premier League.”
If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for the Premier League title, go on now go, walk out the door. “Incidentally he’s won trophies with us,” means nothing if they are not the right trophies, the ones you and everyone else continually tells us are worth winning.
The FA Cup means something to a certain generation of fans but it’s following the path laid by the erosion of the League Cup’s reputation. Television companies only build them up when they have the contract for coverage; otherwise, it’s sneered at.
We’re willing participants in the charade. Second XI, eliminated early? Don’t care about it anyway. We only want the Premier League and Champions League.
It’s Just an Illusion
It’s self-delusion, with supporters as willing participants as we continually lose to clubs with whom we were supposed to compete at the Emirates. Ooooh, but look at how much they spend on transfers compared to a club which is habitually portrayed as one of the wealthiest in Europe. Lies, damn lies and statistics.
Highbury didn’t die for this. Nothing died; it’s a new generation. The eighteen-year cycle returns, hidden beneath a deluge of averageness disguised as progress. A loose definition of the word.
A loose definition. Maybe these changes behind the scenes with the arrival of new guys in recruitment will change things, you have to give them time. We won’t know until the most fundamental change of is made.