It’s summer, it’s the transfer window, football matches are in short supply so little wonder that transfers are the talking point of the day. With the cost of moving to the Olympic Stadium to bear, little wonder that West Ham are cost-cutting. Not by taking Carl Jenkinson on loan, no, that won’t have been cheap for them by a long shot, having to pick up his salary and pay a loan fee to Arsenal as well. But the welcoming photo? Jenkinson’s embarrassed smile said it all; West Ham’s shiny new strip is so retro that it looks like it has been found in a jumble sale whilst the backdrop has been found in the back of David Gold’s shed and dusted down, brought out for Sam Allardyce to use as a backdrop for his Polaroid Land Camera snaps. Despite its age, the snaps are good quality and instamatic.
Going on loan is a double-edged sword at Arsenal. I am sure that Wenger spoke with the player and the full back knows more or less where his Arsenal future lies. West Ham wanted a permanent deal earlier in the summer but were left in no doubt that only a loan was on offer. That suggests the manager believes Jenkinson has the potential to play at the highest level; he has shown that the big games do not faze him and in recent seasons performed well when called into the team. The problem he faced is displacing Bacary Sagna who was arguably one the club’s most consistent players since signing from Auxerre. It wasn’t going to happen and had he stayed for another two years, I dare say Jenkinson would not be going to the East End as his development could continue at Arsenal.
That is the crucial aspect. As long as he is playing regularly, he will learn more in 20+ games in West Ham’s relegation battle than half-a-dozen at Arsenal in weakened teams. Even then, Wenger has won the FA Cup by fielding stronger line-ups and that policy seems set to continue having invested heavily in the squad, either in straight replacements or improvements. That is set to continue and in the remaining month of the transfer window, I am sure that we will see more activity, particularly with the squad restrictions imposed for the Premier League and Champions League campaigns.
Twitter’s knees were trembling at the prospect of Juan Fernando Quintero signing for €20m from Porto. Based on a tweet from a Colombian journalist which cited the player’s seat number for his flight to London – on Monday as it turns out – as proof, it quickly turned into a forest fire of gossip, hopes and aspirations. Quick off the mark and even quicker onto YouTube, the experts on the player have told us that he is better than everyone’s favourite Hamez, which given that he is flavour of the month is some claim.
With departure not until after the weekend, the photos of Quintero at an airport have yet to emerge and of course, stating he’s on a flight on Monday allows enough time for the story to change with public knowledge of the deal being the cause for it not happening. That and baggage handlers on a go-slow. Who knows, perhaps he’s already here and it will take that long for the carousels to turn, if recent events at Gatwick are anything to go by. Which might well be more to the point. Also Ornstein hasn’t given it the official seal of gossip approval whilst the Portuguese press had someone who claimed to Quintero’s agent claiming that Porto hadn’t told him they were in negotiations with Arsenal.
On the back of this, the view was that his arrival confirmed Santi Cazorla’s departure. Having scored the first goal at Wembley, he has not quite got the Vieira ‘last kick won the cup’ departure but pretty damn close. The fly in the ointment came when Enrique Cezero, Atletico Madrid’s president, claimed they had their full quota of Cazorla’s at the club and weren’t interested in Santi. But this is football and nobody believes chairmen and presidents when they speak so that won’t stop the rumours flying but it does tend to make me think this is a case of 1 + 1 = 2.
It’s distracting of course and with the signings of Sanchez, Ospina and Chambers, Arsenal’s odds of winning the title have fallen to 13/2. Adding Quintero, a defensively minded midfielder – it’s the new DM definition – will give them a sturdier look in midfield. It isn’t that the midfield looks weak, there just isn’t a Thames Barrier there, a player who you think opponents will see as a tough obstacle to overcome. Thomas Vermaelen’s future will also dictate any transfer activity. The likeliest destination remains Old Trafford, despite Barcelona’s reported interest. In the latter case, he is going to the same situation as Arsenal so remaining in England seems the most plausible outcome. In itself, that scenario lends easily to Arsenal taking another United cast-off in the form of either Phil Jones or Chris Smalling. Let’s hope they have a better footballing brain than Mikael Silvestre.
Big spending in the transfer market – real or perceived – meant Arsenal undermined their claim of needing to host more concerts at The Emirates to compete with richer rivals. The council didn’t agree, nor the High Court when Arsenal appealed. There’s a potential shortfall in cash and being the time of the season, ticket prices would be the obvious choice. A quiet rise slipped out as the Premier League trophy is hoisted above the squad’s heads next May, anyone? To be honest, in that scenario would anyone notice?
There’s nothing new in Arsenal making contentious ticketing decisions, the story on the left from June 1960 shows the club wanted to effectively scrap the minimum price for football clubs to charge to watch a game by introducing ticketing categories. It meant more could be charged for certain games, the usual names bandied around to highlight each category. Back then, they could not disguise it as trying to make pricing cheaper for the ordinary fan because it had the same motive as today; making the club money…