What the Hec? Silly Season and Self-Important Judges

“Arsenal ‘ready to sacrifice Hector Bellerin for £50m'” rang the headline. Of course, they are. Most billionaires would sell their grannies for 50p so £50m for an employee is a done deal.

And then like a fool, you read the story which basically says that Manchester City wanted Bellerin last summer but signed Kyle Walker so are no longer interested. And Juventus, they want Bellerin but not at £50m so really, no-one is interested. Not even Barcelona.

Or Hector Bellerin. There’s no hint that he’s off or has asked to leave and lord knows, he has most reason to want to go after the abuse he receives. It’s not hard to see why players outsource their social media accounts. Bellerin genuinely runs his and my godfathers, some parents would be embarrassed by their progeny.

Two players who are likely to leave this summer are Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson, who are both being touted as loanees for next season. Oh, come on, not even Arsenal are that daft to sell them although reading the criticism of the latter for venting his frustration at the weekend…it’s just as well we don’t impose a morality code on the players because the hypocrisy ran knee-deep.

He threw his bib down. Tsk, tsk. Such petulance. Oooh, you bad boy. No wonder he was frustrated. Warming up when we’re comfortably in the lead, in his position, I’d think it was the ideal occasion for a ten-minute runout. Nope, a senior pro went on instead. Not sure what we gained from Jack playing ten minutes but that’s Arsène’s call.

But aren’t supporters tetchy about it? It wasn’t Jay Boothroyd throwing the shirt at his then-manager, was it? Arguably, Mathieu Flamini cutting the sleeves off was more disrespectful. It didn’t do him any harm, did it? Yes, it was frustration but does it really matter? No, not one jot.

I Went to Law School and Took a Law Degree

The silly season never ends, does it? If it isn’t on the back pages, it’s on social media. There’s an alphabet of acronyms denoting who is what, most of which spell either S-O-C-I-O-P-A-T-H or…you get the drift.

The biggest myth is that because we’re Arsenal fans, we are all bestest buddies in the whole wide world. That’s never been the case and I don’t need social media to tell me that. It’s like any walk of life; you find people you like, whether or not you share their views. The world is a boring place when it is just an echo chamber and Arsenal is no different.

Yesterday saw Kevin Campbell pull at the seam of criticism because he mingled with a certain set of fans at the weekend. Judgements flew in quicker than at the Bloody Assizes. Campbell, to his credit, calmly took apart the arguments. Not one person gave a proper answer to the questions asked for definitions of supporters or backing up their claims to be in a position to judge others.

Everyone supports the club in their own way. The majority through a broad channel called ‘the norm’ – “Hey, Norm!” – which is looking at the club and talking about it over an electronic pint. Except for Jonny, he’s not allowed in the bar because he breaks everything.

Anyway, Campbell took the criticism on the chin and having made a few people’s arguments look foolish, went about his day.

And the fact that a former player had taken time before a match to have a few drinks with fans flew completely over people’s heads.

Counseled All My Clients to Plead Insanity

Then you have those who slag off Arsène’s critics. Gilles Grimandi is now their flag-bearer because he criticised the critics among his former team-mates. Emboldened, the cheerleaders slagged off former players which will be really awkward when any of them turn up as coaches or managers in the future. Really awkward as someone somewhere probably took pictures of the tweets.

This isn’t a plea for people to get along. Mankind has never lived in perfect harmony and no amount of gaseous soft drinks will ever change that. If you can’t get along after a beer, you’ll never get along sober. A bit of thought before you speak might make a difference though.

A recognition that people don’t like all your mates, and you don’t like all theirs, but it doesn’t give you the right to judge them. And more importantly, you’re no better a supporter because you think you are. Sanctimony? You probably can’t even spell it. Well, you can now you’ve read it.

The government is talking about limiting children’s time spent on the internet. To be honest, there’s a fair number of adults they could do with the same restrictions.

Anyway, tomorrow is the eve of a season-defining match. Or not, it could be the match which defines the week. Milan thoughts will abound like spring lambs gambolling through a meadow.

’til Tomorrow.

68 thoughts on “What the Hec? Silly Season and Self-Important Judges

  1. Good morning folks. Yogi ACLF is the closest I get to social media. Your insights into it sound to me like a language from another planet. Why anyone bothers I just don’t know.

    Anyway, have a good day one and all.

  2. You’ve got to hand it to Kevin Campbell, there aren’t many ex pros that will go for a drink with the fans. We bumped into him outside the 12 Pins in Finsbury Park where he was in the company of the AFTV mob. They’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but fair play to him.

  3. Selling Bellerin doesn’t make a ton of sense because we don’t have another RB and replacing him, well its not as though he is shit, just needs to be coached up and we have a quality player as many people have said before.

    Nelson, Nketiah; well its makes perfect sense to loan them out next season but those that are on the youngster for getting pissed off that he didn’t come on, well they need to find something else to get on about. We kill players for not wanting to play or taking matches off and yet this kid is getting pissed on because he is pissed he didn’t come on when we were comfortably up and putting on Welbeck and Jack made no sense at all.

  4. Great post yogi

    If someone was really willing to offer us $50M for Hector it would be foolish to not take the money. I think it’s pretty clear that Hector has hit his plateau which is no where near as high as we had hoped or some of us thought. $50M could buy a RB who could give us just as much and we would still have a lot of money left over to help pay for the DM we really need. I know that a lot of people hate the idea of selling one of their favorited players, however, you can’t run a football on emotion. We should have sold Jack W 4 years ago when he was worth $50M and turned the money into a goal scoring player. Look at what Chelsea did when they sold over valued players such as Oscar or Mata and used the money to use to build their squad. If we really can’t go toe to toe with Man City and ManU financially then need to use the Chelsea example as the way to build a squad title winning squad while still keeping net spending at a reasonable level.

  5. Didn’t see the bib throwing meltdown

    Quite frankly, if a young player isn’t getting worked up about not getting senior team minute, fullstop, there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere.

    Before anyone else says it, yeah, I know. It’s the money

  6. We have talked endlessly about how the club should use the loan system as the way to develop its younger players. Since the start of the Emirates era and “ project youth” Arsenal has been the most aggressive big club in the world with regard to finding creative ways to give minutes to the younger players that Arsene considers our best prospects. Arsene has been more creative then any other world manager in finding ways to “blood youth” in our low leverage games and he has used young players such as Ox and Iwobe in the first team more then any other big team manager. We now have a huge sample size and unfortunately it has not worked for either the club or the young players and it makes no sense to continue to do the same thing and expect different results. I would argue its time to change the way we develop our youth and use the loan system as the way to help develop our most promising youth such Eddy and Reiss Nelson

  7. Making decisions based on emotion is clearly the way to build a squad. Making those difficult but smart decisions such as selling Bellerin and using the cash to buy the players we need are important if we are going to compete with the clubs who can outspend us. Players are resources, Arsene and David Dein understood that early in the Wenger years but over the course of time Arsene lost David Dein and then he lost that cold calculating thought process and with the start of project youth he began to think more like a fan. The world wide perception was that our academy system had one of the deepest and most talented groups of players of any youth system in the world and yet we have not built any true first team superstar players over the years and perhaps even worse we have made very little money selling youth players. Arsene has done an incredibly poor job of managing those resources.

  8. Neil in NC:
    talking of right backs, Mathieu Debuchy player of the month in Ligue1, go figure.

    The biggest problem for Debuchy was he could not stay healthy. Hector came in and had his adrenaline fueled early overperformance which pushed Debuchy down the depth chart. Debuchy could not move back up the depth chart because whenever we tried to use him he got hurt.

  9. Bill,

    In today’s market £50 million wouldn’t buy a ready made replacement for Bellerin. Selling him makes little sense. Better coaching would make him a better defender. But we know that is beyond Wenger’s capability. So we need to keep our defenders in the hope that our new manager, when he arrives, will provide the coaching to necessary to build a cohesive and effective unit out of them.

  10. Bill,

    The thing that your missing about using the Chelsea model is that they actually spent SHIT loads on players such as Cuadrado, Hazard, Willian, Diego Costa, David Luiz, Lukuka, Schurrle, Betrand, Matic, Salah, Zouma, etc and then sold some of them for a shit load more but kept the key pieces in place. For instance, they could have sold Azpelacueta, Courtious, and quite a few others but they kept their young core together and built around them. Selling Bellerin and not having a quality RB, take that back, any RB ready to step in doesn’t make ANY sense. Its like the whole GK situation, we sold Szczesny simply because we wanted to keep an aging Cech who was showing signs last season and Ospina who is at best a Cup GK and now Cech looks like he is really past it, Ospina should have been sold and our two young GK’s Martinez and Macey should be getting a run out but aren’t.

    Honestly, if we are going to sell a player, why not sell say Ramsey to the highest bidder and buy a DM.

  11. C,

    I can see why we would be willing to sell Bellerin to help balance the books. If the 3 signings rumoured for the summer are genuine, then we are talking about a spend of at least £100m. It’s no surprise that we would look to recoup some of that with a chunky sale. There are candidates who I would like to see go before Hector, but none of them are going to generate anywhere near the £50m being bandied around for our young RB. The problem of having a fairly average squad is that many of the players have very little resale value.
    The concern is that we don’t have much in the way of cover at RB. Are we really talking about Chambers becoming the first choice at RB if Bellerin goes? Maybe a new manager will lick him into shape, but it seems to be a considerable risk to me.

  12. Orson Kaert,

    Spot on, I mean its something that Dixon (who I think speaks a shit ton of truth and is not just a talking head) bangs on about quite a bit, the fact that Bellerin is a quality RB that needs to be coached up and its clear that he isn’t being coached up right now.

    The funny part is, Bellerin was transformed into a RB in our youth system and when he first arrived, sure he struggled immediately to adapt but once he did it was clear his quality and even now he puts in performances but doesn’t have that consistency that comes with being coached up properly.

  13. Bill,

    Our loan system isn’t set up to develop players. It’s set up to send them somewhere that will stop them moaning about playing time. We don’t appear to have any organised structure to develop players through the loan system, or even keep tabs on them when they are out on loan. Chelsea have a dedicated coaching staff member who provides loan players with updates on the areas they have to work on after their loan games are reviewed. There are many stories at Arsenal about loan players not having any contact with the club for months when they are on loan.

  14. Wavey,

    Sure selling him to balance the books from a financial aspect makes sense, but personally the feeling I have is that the new boys running the show while have to keep the books there abouts, have also been given a bit of freedom to do what they must to get us back into CL futbol. Selling Bellerin makes no sense because the RB in our youth system, while talented isn’t anywhere near ready, in today’s market a quality RB goes for about 50m unless we find a player that is on the cusp but that makes no sense when Bellerin is already under contract. Not for nothing but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of other players dangled like Ospina, Chambers or Holding, and then there is the Ramsey and Jack situation in which I feel that should Jack re-sign, I could see Ramsey wanting out or wanting a big pay day in which case that could be interesting sale. The Bellerin situation feels very similar to the Szczesny situation and that has turned into shit for us.

  15. Bill,

    First, mate you HAVE to stop with your narrative that Arsene has been the most aggressive in the last whatever. I mean lets be honest here, Pep was much more aggressive, I mean FFS he put a 20 year old Busquets into the Barca side along with so many others. Look at Bayern, United, Chelsea, they all have put youth members in key roles, its what big clubs do but the difference is there is development with those players and being coached up to succeed.

    When it comes to the loan system, the biggest difference between say Chelsea and Arsenal isn’t in the actual loan systems its in their youth teams that lead to the loans. For instance, our U23 side is and has been filled with 16-18 year olds who are still developing both physically and their technique, you look at Chelsea’s U23 side and its filled with 19-21 year olds who have developed physically who are then sent on loan to lower and mid-table sides across Europe because they are physically, technically and emotionally ready to play. Then you look back at the players we are loaning, and most of them are 16-17 years old with no contact from the club (see Wavey’s comment) so they are essentially left on their own with no direction from the club and then continously loaned out without ever being directed on how to develop for Arsenal’s needs.

    I mean the perfect example of this is Christensen who was a superb but RAW talent in the U23’s who many thought would either become a very good CB or who would become a lower table CB with talent but unable to be polished; he developed at Chelsea and then went on loan for two seasons (if memory serves) and is now the centerpiece for the Chelsea defense moving forward no matter the manager and is blossoming each and every match.

  16. Orson Kaert:
    Bill,

    In today’s market £50 million wouldn’t buy a ready made replacement for Bellerin.Selling him makes little sense.Better coaching would make him a better defender.But we know that is beyond Wenger’s capability.So we need to keep our defenders in the hope that our new manager, when he arrives, will provide the coaching to necessary to build a cohesive and effective unit out of them.

    Orson

    I think we and whomever is willing to pay $50M are over rating Hector and I suspect we could buy someone just as good for less money and use the rest of the money to go towards rebuilding the squad.

    I understand your idea that Bellerin might get better with a different coaching set up however, that goes against 13 years of solid evidence. There have been literally hundreds of young players who have left and some were very heavily hyped and almost none have improved with different managers after they left. There have also been dozens of players like Joel Campbell or Lukas Perez that we thought Arsene was holding back and they don’t get any better after they leave.

  17. “Honestly, if we are going to sell a player, why not sell say Ramsey to the highest bidder and buy a DM.”

    I would be all for that. We certainly have an huge overload of players who fit best in the #10 position. No other team in their right mind would buy Ozil or Mkhitaryan with their current wages and Wilshere is out of contract so Ramsey is the only #10 that has any value in the transfer market. Unfortunately his value is going to drop now when he enters the final year of his contract. More evidence of the miserably poor job of squad and wage management that Arsene has done. The gigantic contract for Ozil starting in his age 30 season when his production has been dipping is another example.

  18. Bellerin, despite his current form, is a very decent player. He has pace, which is a real asset these days, and hasn’t had many injury problems. I suspect Barcelona will come sniffing sooner or later and the lad is from Barcelona. All we can hope is that when he is sold to Barcelona we have a capable replacement in the squad. It looks like AMN is being crowbarred in there at present.

    We really could do with £50 million to go with the other £150 million sitting in the vaults gathering dust.

  19. Wavey:
    Bill,

    Our loan system isn’t set up to develop players. It’s set up to send them somewhere that will stop them moaning about playing time. We don’t appear to have any organised structure to develop players through the loan system, or even keep tabs on them when they are out on loan. Chelsea have a dedicated coaching staff member who provides loan players with updates on the areas they have to work on after their loan games are reviewed. There are many stories at Arsenal about loan players not having any contact with the club for months when they are on loan.

    Exactly my point and I could not have said it better. I am hoping that when Arsene leaves our methods for developing players and our use of the loan system will be completely overhauled and changed dramatically.

  20. The one position that Arsene has consistently managed to fill with quality throughout his time at Arsenal has been fullback.

    Funnily enough, the position he played. Yes, there have been a couple of stinkers, Santos anyone? But he’s generally always replaced quality with quality. The list winners far outweighs the horrors.

    That’s all I’ll say on the Bellerin thing.

  21. C

    “Honestly, if we are going to sell a player, why not sell say Ramsey to the highest bidder and buy a DM.”

    That is utter and complete rubbish. Over the years Arsene has used more players like Denison, Song, Ox, Wilshere, Iwobe, Walcott, Bendtner, Sanogo etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc in high leverage minutes then any big team manager in the history of world football. The list goes on and on and on.

  22. C Ignore the comment at 2:37. I am going to fast and not proofreading. The copy and paste I tried to use did not work. The correct copy and paste and comment is below

    “First, mate you HAVE to stop with your narrative that Arsene has been the most aggressive in the last whatever. I mean lets be honest here, Pep was much more aggressive”

    That is utter and complete rubbish and you know that better then anyone if you stop and think. Over the last 13 years Arsene has used more young players in high leverage minutes then any big team manager in history. Denilson, Song, Ox, Wilshere, Walcott, Bendtner, Sanogo Iwobe etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc. The list goes on and on and on and on.

  23. C

    “The thing that your missing about using the Chelsea model is that they actually spent SHIT loads on players such as Cuadrado, Hazard, Willian, Diego Costa, David Luiz, Lukuka, Schurrle, Betrand, Matic, Salah, Zouma, etc and then sold some of them for a shit load more but kept the key pieces in place. For instance, they could have sold Azpelacueta, Courtious, and quite a few others but they kept their young core together and built around them”

    You make the exact point I am trying to make. Its impossible to be active in the transfer market and not make some big money mistakes. You have to balance those mistake by being willing to sell a player who is over rated and will bring a big return. You can’t wait until their contract is set to run out in 3 months. Chelsea has made plenty of mistakes however they have successfully competed with the Manchester teams and won 2 of the last 3 league titles and their total net spend has been in the same ball park as our during the last 5 -6 years. They did it because they have been much smarter and and they make good decisions with regard to selling over rated players who can bring a good return and then use the money to buy better players. Arsene on the other hand seems to think like a fan and seems to get emotionally attached to his players. We should have sold Wilshere 4-5 years ago when it was clear he was injury prone but someone was still willing to pay big money for him. Ramsey is injury prone and over rated by the rest of the world and we should have sold him after his great performance in Euro 2016. There are hundreds of heavily hyped academy grads that we could have sold for bigger money but instead we waited until it became obvious to the rest of the world that their ceiling was somewhere in the English Championship or below. Chelsea has proved its possible to compete with the Manchester clubs but we have to make smart decisions. Selling Bellerin if someone is willing to over pay is a smart decision. Watching him for the last couple of season its pretty clear that he is currently over rated but that won’t last forever.

  24. Think about this again.

    “Chelsea has made a some big money mistakes with players they have purchased however they have successfully competed with the Manchester teams and won 2 of the last 3 league titles and their total net spend has been in the same ball park as ours during the last 5 -6 years.” Something similar has to be the model we use as we hopefully transitions to the post Wenger era this summer of next year.

  25. Chelsea’s original squad with Lampard, Drogba, Terry, Cech, Essien etc was built with one of the worlds highest net spends of the 2000-2010 decade. They were incredibly successful and won 3 league titles and a CL title and went to 1 CL final. However, by 2012 they were aging superstars who had almost no value on the open market. Their squad was arguably in worse shape then ours right now and they had arguably fewer marketable assets on the squad sheet. They had to completely rebuild the squad and inevitably they made some mistakes and it took a few seasons but they have won 2 of the last 3 titles with a net spend in the same ball park as ours. Much as we hate them you have to admire what they have done and Arsenal should not have to reinvent the wheel if we learn from their example

  26. The single biggest reason Chelsea has been able to thrive during this decade and we have struggled is because we have Arsene Wenger and they do not.

  27. Arsene has done a really poor job of squad and wage management and I don’t think he has had a coherent plan with regard to how to best use our resources during this decade. I don’t see how Arsene could have possibly had the time and energy needed to make good decisions when he is the field manager, chief scout, wage negotiator among all of the other titles he has held. I think his ego and his “control issues” have prevented him from delegating those jobs

  28. Bill,

    Are you kidding me, Pep literally put a 20 year old Busquets as Barca’s DM when EVERYBODY in Catalonia said otherwise and Busquets was the final piece to Barca (even to this day he is IMHO the best midfielder, full stop in world futbol) and Spain’s domination. He bought and started Alba who was a La Masia product who left for a 1.5 years then came back and was only like 22 years old, Sergi Roberto replaced Dani Alves when Alves left and Roberto was just bursting through the youth ranks.

    Take a look at what Bayern has done, they gave mins regularly to Muller, Kroos, Schweinsteiger (hell they started him on the wing just to get him into the team), Lahm, Alaba, Kimmich, Koman, the list goes on and on.

    Those two teams alone giving any mins to those players is more than likely an important match let alone them being regulars in the sides that not only won league titles but consistently or win the CL. Say what you want bout Pep but actually take a look at the teams that he has played, they aren’t some aging squad, they are generally a young squad. I mean even look at PSG this season, Kevin Trapp is a BRILLIANT German international but they dropped him for an eary 20 youth product, and there is a lad in their midfield who plays quite regularly and he isn’t the first. I know you don’t watch much European futbol outside the PL, but your comment is WIDE of the mark. The biggest difference is that they coach up their youth and fit them into their teams with specific instructions and don’t give them too much on their plate.

  29. Bill,

    No, your missing the point about Chelsea’s spending, they had spent literally a shit load in a 2-3 year period and if I’m not mistaken in back to back windows brought in Pedro, Cuadrado, De Bruyne and Salah which was on the back of already having Willian and Hazard so they had QUALITY players already in that position so that if they sold a couple then they already had quality players in place. Selling Bellerin, literally makes no sense because we have NOBODY behind him, I mean he literally has had to play damn near every match because there was no RB2. Bellerin isn’t overrated, listen to people talk about him, they all pretty much say the same thing, he has pleatued with people like Dixon pointing specifically to the fact that Arsene isn’t a coach who coaches up defense. So if a defender clearly has all the tools and is young but needs coaching, why sell him if you have nobody (quality or otherwise) to replace him; that makes no sense to me. You replace the manager who it is already clear can’t get the best out of his experienced players let alone the younger players who are quality but have yet to find that consistency.

    I mean honestly, you do realize that finding a RB of quality is going to take spending money, so we sell Bellerin for 50m and then bring in his replacement for 30-40m + a contract and it at best breaks even and we still have to address other areas. Why not just keep Bellerin and get him a coach to actually teach him something and help him find consistency and we have our RB for the present and future.

  30. Parlour has his say:

    “I’d be amazed if Arsenal sold Bellerin.

    “He’s still a young player, he’s still learning and he wants to learn.

    “I still think defensively he has to get better, but he can get better.

    “He’s not had the greatest of seasons and I think he’d be the first to admit that, but I do rate him a lot.”

    “I wouldn’t take £50 million for him, because you’ve still got to replace him in the team.

    “Full-backs these days are so hard to find, because they’ve got to be able to play like wingers. You’ve got to be able to get up the pitch and produce good quality.

    “He’s got great pace, so I wouldn’t be selling him, no.”

  31. Its kind of funny that the world of futbol bangs on about Kane and his goal scoring yet I wonder if they realize that Cavani, Immobile, Salah and Messi are all on par in the league

  32. Not sure how anyone can say that Bellerin is this or Bellerin is that because we will not find out just how good he can be until he gets some decent coaching and plays in a team where defending isn’t just an added bonus.

  33. C

    TBH Cavani is over-rated. He misses far more than Kane or Messi, even Salah. Remember the two games against us? PSG should have battered us twice but didn’t. And because of that, we got batter by Bayern. Instead of being humiliated by Barcelona…

  34. YW,

    Does he, I think Kane misses more than people realize. I think Kane misses quite a bit as well, I mean think about his misses against Juve. I think Cavani doesn’t get the credit he deserves but I do get what your saying. Maybe Cavani was being nice and not letting us getting hammered by Bayern 3 years straight, he felt bad for us so he let his mate Suarez rip us to pieces.

  35. Reports saying Kane is out until May, that’s a massive blow for Spuds and possibly for those that follow England

  36. Interesting that Manure started strongly but Sevilla has looked the more dangerous side going forward but can’t seem to at least hit the target

  37. According to the daily mail there are only 2 full backs in the history of world football who have had a transfer fees more then $50M. The vast majority go for a lot less. Suggesting Hector is one of the 10 best full backs in the world and he is a $50M player is a huge stretch IMO.

  38. “According to the daily mail”.

    Just so you can put that into perspective Bill, it’s the same as one of us this side of the pond saying, “According to the National Enquirer”…

  39. Someone correct me if i am wrong but I suspect the real reason Man City was willing to pay $50M for Kyle Walker was because he was English. That sort of transfer fee is not the going rate for good fullbacks.

  40. They paid £50m for him for two reasons.

    Firstly, Tottenham had no contractual reason to sell so could set the price they wanted. Second, being English isn’t the issue, it’s homegrown. Young Hector is homegrown for our purposes. Third, Daniel Levy is bloody good negotiator when it comes to selling his players.

  41. Bill,
    There is no way in hell that Bellerin has plateaued. Yes he hasn’t had a great year, but there is only upside. To me he will be the Spanish RB.
    I have no problem selling players who don’t want to stay, or who have underperformed , but selling quality to cash up and spend elsewhere makes us a Southampton, or a West Ham or a Charlton. Just a selling club with aspirations but no real ambition, and forever underachieving.

  42. Sevilla goes up 2-0 and thats all she wrote for United in the CL as they would now need, what 3 or 4 goals

  43. I’ve watched the last few Utd games. Sanchez has been average at best. No where near the player he was in his first few seasons for us.

  44. YW

    I had not thought about the homegrown issue. That does change the equation a bit. It’s just my opinion but it still doesn’t make him a $50M player

    Phil

    Hector struggled most of last season and he was so bad Arsène had to drop him last year. Instead of bouncing back this year, he has not been close to the level we expected. He has been an average or worse defensive player and we hoped his attacking chops would make up for average defense, but for the last 1 1/2 years his contribution on the attacking end has been highly underwhelming. That is a very large sample size.

    When Kieran Gibbs first came along he looked great and we were all certain he would be our next great LB, but his plateau was far below that level and he never got better. Hope springs eternal but it’s been 1 1/2 years of underwhelming for Hector and there is no good reason other then hope to think that he will suddenly resume the upward momentum and return to the level we had expected.

  45. C,

    C
    If we were really interested in a youth system and developing young players surely we would look to recruit the person’s who have been responsible for youth development at Monaco or Southampton and not appointing Mert’. Liam Brady has been in and around the youth scene for decades and achieved very little

  46. If we are desperate for a homegrown player why not sell Hector for $50M and use the money to buy a DM and give Maitland-Niles a run at RB. Hector has certainly not set the world on fire with his end product in the final 1/3 for the last 18 months. We need a solid defensive player and someone who can give us width at RB, we don’t need a $50M player who has underperformed at that position. AMN can give us the width we need and I suspect he has more potential then Hector from the standpoint of a purely defensive player.

  47. Buckagh,

    Mate, we had Jonkers who was doing quite a good job but he and Arsene never really saw eye to eye but Jonkers was responsible more or less for the bringing in and/or development of Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Nketiah, Bennacer, Adelaide, Holding, Bielil, Mavidid, Nwakali, the Willock brothers and quite a few in the last few years but he and Arsene were at odda and Jonkers left.

  48. Bill,

    And yet Gubbs has looked a much better defender and having left Arsenal, so is it the player or the manager? I mean Clichy and Sagna left when Arsene thought they were done yet they went on to have life after Arsenal.

    So it comes down to, is it the player or the manager coaching him up and I know I stand firmly in the ‘its the manager and coaching him up camp’ along with quite a few others including Dixon.

  49. Great beach walk this morning, not our usual Overstrand to Cromer and back beside the North Sea, but along a beautiful sandy beach pounded by the surf of the Arabian Sea. 😎

    The walk was made even better by the knowledge that Man U and Mourinho were out of the Champions League. 🔔🔔🔔

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