It feels like there should be some musical accompaniment to the post today, something crass like “The Final Countdown“; something to act as a realisation that any semblance of sanity is about to disappear out of the window in the next six weeks. Yes, I said six weeks. That’s the four weeks or so of January with an extra week and a half of bitching time as the reality of Arsène’s failure to spend the entire contents of the wall safe in Ivan Gazidis’ office.
Of course the stories are in full flow already, Twitter the font of all knowledge. It’s car crash interweb; you cannot take your eyes off it, watching, waiting for the electronic equivalent of twitching eyes, the 21st Century Dreyfuss emerging into the sunlight. The first inklings happened yesterday with news emerging from two entirely reliable sources – Sky Sports and Talksport – that Team Ba was in talks with Chelsea, claims not quite denied later on. Twitches began about not even being able to sign £7m strikers, presumably soothed with claims that Team Zaha had agreed terms with Arsenal. Ba’s “representatives” have called the meeting which never took place as “unproductive“, phraseology that we are going to get used to reading and hearing as the media get caught out.
Meanwhile, it is believed that Ba was nothing more than a distraction as Arsène moved in on Yohan Cabaye instead with Leighton Baines will be motoring down the M1 to a North London stadium near you as well. Negotiations between Everton and Manchester United were so protracted that even Dick Law was able to nip in and steal the left back away. You couldn’t make it up. Well, not unless you were a journalist, of course.
Arsenal only feature in Walcott’s Circus (no animals were hurt in the making of this part of the post). Ringmaster Theo has called the Board Clowns to the main ring, along with the Arsène The World’s Strongest Man – So strong he carries an entire club on his shoulders! – to conduct talks on a new contract. The Sun claims that these will be the first for months, everyone agrees that they will be held within the next fortnight. Alan Shearer offered us the dynamic insight that Arsenal will be finished if Theo Walcott does not renew his contract, proving that a recent bout of analytical insight on MotD has entirely fried his brain. Little wonder Martin Keown was in the pundit’s chair this weekend.
At the root of all the lunacy about to strike the club is Walcott’s future. Reports are rapidly emerging that Ba’s fee will be around £12m when his agents demands are taken into account, for a deal over 4 years worth what Theo Walcott has been offered (£75k per week). Sensationalist reporting aside, those figures just don’t make sense and even if vaguely true, are the best indication that lunacy is not purely a reserve of the newspapers. It certainly brings Walcott’s alleged wage demands into focus, making them seem entirely reasonable and sane by comparison.
Thanks to everyone who has passed through the ACLF portals as we moved home this year, especially those kind words here, there and everywhere. A happy New Year to you all.