Waiting For Gonzo, Adams Roo-Barb & So Nacho

fifa hack
The hack on Fifa’s website

Whichever way you cut, the image of Sepp Blatter as a dancer in the Rio Carnival is disturbing.

So to Arsenal and the ongoing Higuain Affair. The stage at which the deal is at depends largely on who you choose to believe, or more likely if. According to reports at the weekend, Arsenal were in Spain but rather than applying the Factor 30, met with Real officials to finalise a deal to take Gonzalo Higuain from the Bernabeu to North London. Papa Higuain confirmed negotiations were at an advanced stage in Marca but Radio Cadena declared the Argentine striker was having a medical today when the deal will be sealed. Which deal is open to debate; is Papa telling the truth about Juventus still being a player in this market and more importantly, if they are, why haven’t either club been able to strike a deal with his current employers? The theme from Soap is beginning to start.

Cynicism abounds at this time of year with previous views about the club hard to shake. It’s like a lonely hearts ad: tough negotiating stance seeks value for money for long-term relationship. My name is Dick but you can call me Al. The public spiel is that Madrid do not have a new manager yet so no deal can be done but they can sign Isco? Florentino Perez has insisted that finalising a deal will happen only when Higuain can be found, turning the Bernabeu into a massive game of Where’s Wally? Arsenal are at an immediate disadvantage with Dick Law trying to work out why Waldo got sacked on the flight over from the States. Still, £22m is a lot of money for someone’s cast-off.

Tony Adams comments in this morning’s media simply carry on from yesterday, presumably the initial plan from the media. I cannot see Arsenal signing both the Argentine and Rooney, despite claims of the latter being the midfield foil for the former. The most telling story emerging in recent days was of a new contract being sought, this Summer simply repeating the cycle of a few years back. Were Team Rooney seeking to take advantage of the vacuüm at Old Trafford between Ferguson’s departure and Moyes’ arrival? From the Arsenal perspective, there seems little basis in reality of two players coming in and taking the majority of the savings achieved by releasing players earlier this month, particularly as one of those would be almost double that of the other which is more of an issue than the bright lights of London.

More worrying than any of that is the wormhole that Nacho Monreal found himself in mid-interview with Marca. Talking about his first season at Arsenal, the Spaniard observed that three and a half months on from his move from Malaga, he thinks he has settled and done well. Which he has. Mulder and Scully resolved the issue by reading the Spanish version and seeing that no mention was made of December at all, so as you were.

This season will be interesting to watch. Arsène has a choice to make between Gibbs and Monreal. The two left-backs bring different solutions to the team, Gibbs more attack-minded with Monreal more defensively assured. Neither of them is a slouch in the other’s strongest area and it depends on Arsène’s view on the balance of the team as to whom he starts with. However, it cannot be beneficial is he becomes Greenwood-esque in his decision, the England manager never able to settle on Shilton or Clemence as his first choice goalkeeper ending up alternating them on a game-by-game basis. The defence benefitted from being settled during the run-in, changes kept to necessity and the results begat the reward. That certainty needs to continue, especially as right back is more of an issue with Sagna’s Arsenal career entering its final phase and Jenkinson reaching the point where he begins to take over from the Frenchman.

Injuries and suspensions will influence the choice in either position, forcing Wenger’s hand but whilst I expect Sagna to start the season on the right, the choice between Gibbs and Monreal is much harder.

’til Tomorrow.

154 thoughts on “Waiting For Gonzo, Adams Roo-Barb & So Nacho

  1. I don’t think it is a fair characterization of my comment on Giroud to describe it as “questioning his ability”. I said he is very good. Just not Henry, Anelka or RvP. Are you suggesting he is, MA? If so, then I think you’d be open fairly to a charge of exaggeration, to put it mildly.

  2. Miami:

    “And you know very well Bill, if Higuain does join and doesn’t score the magical 20+ in the league, you’ll be bitching about it. Probably demanding yet another striker next year, no?”

    Yes!! If we buy Higuain and it turns out he is not that good then we need to look for someone else the following season. We need to have a top striker on this club and we have to keep looking until we find him. I don’t expect Higuain to lead the league in scoring the first year but I do think that one season is enough time for him to make you confident that he will become that top striker. Even if he does not score as many as you hope because he has a slow start or gets hurts for several games, you need him to be a good finisher and to get better and better as the season goes on rather then plateau in Dec/early January and struggle to score the rest of the way.

    With regard to Theo, he has proven he is worth the 100K/week IMO. However, just like everyone he has to do what is best for the team no matter what he wants. He is and has been a right sided attacking player and I think he always will be. Perhaps Arsene promised to give him a chance at central striker, which is exactly what happened but I can’t imagine Theo was promised the central striker job without the caveat that the experiment would be abandoned if it was not the best thing for the team.

  3. The good thing is that with Higuain’s record and age, even if he were not to fulfill expectations at Arsenal over his first two years, he would be possible to sell without as huge a loss as many big signings, like say a Berbatov. It is different for an Argentinian international with his sort of pedigree in mid career.

  4. Ah got it Bill – break the club transfer record – make Higuain the best paid player at the club – 3-4 years contract presumably maybe even 5

    And then if it don’t work out do the same next Summer

    And if that don’t work out the same in 2015

    And 16

    17 …….

    Mwah ahaaa Ho Ho Ho

  5. @Lime

    “And so who exactly is questioning Giroud’s ability in the comments here?”

    “But he isn’t going to suddenly gain pace and learn how to dribble past players.”

    Perhaps I miss understood? I mean you did allude to the fact that if the player could be as good as Wiltord or Kanu that would be “fantastic”. Actually, I think you used “even if you believe”, which would clearly suggest that you don’t; or did I misunderstand that as well?

  6. @Bill

    “but I can’t imagine Theo was promised the central striker job without the caveat that the experiment would be abandoned if it was not the best thing for the team.”

    As our top scorer, scoring from both the central role and wide would suggest he failed? Last I looked 14 goals was the top scorer for the team last term. I hope however you are right and that Theo is happy to be the team player and do what is best, because if he gets the hump it’ll be ugly; and of course it’ll be Arsene’s fault.

  7. @Lime

    I have no issue with looking at a players contribution over at least 2 seasons. Do you think those people complaining about Podolski and/or Giroud have done that?

  8. Anicoll:

    We need a great striker on this team. IMO, Higuain represents the best possible player that we could get who could become that striker, so the logical thing is to go after him with all guns blazing. There are well know high dollar transfers that don’t work but for every Torres to Chelsea there are 2- 3 Suarez, Drogba, Rooney, Aguero, Torres to Liverpool etc etc etc etc that do work and become major difference makers for their teams. The law of averages is on our side and if you believe in Arsene and our scouting network then the chance that someone like Higuain working out well for us is very good. That’s all you can ask is for the decision makers at your team to make maximum use of your resources to give you the best possible chance to succeed.

    However, If after a season or 2 there is still a real question about whether Higuain or Giroud can be the striker that we need then we have to look for other options. (That does not mean we jettison the players we have but we have to maximize our chances). That seems like a no-brainer.

    The alternative is let your resources gather dust in a bank vault because we are either paralyzed by fear of making a mistake or its against your principals to “spend big”. IMO, either of those options is a betrayal of fans and more important the players who all want the team to have the best chance to succeed.

  9. @Lime

    Let me apologize if indeed I’m being overly defensive of Giroud. To be fair I would do the same for any the new players especially where the body of work is incomplete. It is however interesting that you later mentioned of Higuain that if after 2 years he has not proven his worth, then we can look at selling. I think 2 years is a minimum, I would prefer 3 to be honest but fans are seldom so generous. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, because I’m on the fence with Gervinho’s contribution to date.

    I do think Giroud is faster than you think, and I am actually happy enough for him to lead the line. If Higuain does come and is indeed proving to be a better player than I have no issue with playing the lad in form. Just as I would maintain a Arteta/Ramsey combination over Wilshere until such time as he can prove that he is better than either is replacing as them as the automatic choice.

  10. @Bill

    I think Anicoll’s point is that for some fans, regardless of what you have there is a clamor for more. You seem to argue and perhaps rightly that is improves chances, it can however also disrupt a team’s harmony. Fans of course cannot see the latter, and we are always more than happy to spend someone’s else’s money. It may also be that regardless of what happens, some fans are simply just never happy.

  11. Miami:

    Just my opinion but I think our team was clearly better with Theo wide right. If Theo decides he is only going to be a central striker or he is gone then he better not let the door hit him in the backside as he is leaving. Again, just my opinion but he is not going to find any big team in the world where he will play central striker on a regular basis. You know as well as I that we can’t hold that spot open just to keep Theo from pouting.

  12. Out of sheer curiosity, I looked into details of Walcott’s starting position this season, and it transpires he played through the centre 5 times in the league (4 goals / 4 assists) and once in the CL. I distinctly remember him drifting toward the middle of the pitch, especially later into the season. True, he didn’t score (or shine) against Man City and Bayern, but he got us the goods against the weaker sides.
    If Sanogo’s our only new striker, I’d expect a winger to come next.
    And Gervinho to leave.

  13. @Bill

    I agree Theo wide is the best option but given the back and forth last year and his obvious demands as spelt out in the media, I have a level of concern.

    I tend to think he could actually get work as a central striker, but it would need to be a 2 pronged attack. Him playing off the shoulder would be a frightening prospect, he is just that quick. Then again a smart side would play deeper, who knows; he clearly has the ability to knock them in.

  14. @zdzis

    It is so hard to think when it comes to Gervinho, undoubtedly talented but he has to start doing more from positions he gets in to. It is to be fair not just a knock on him but also the team when it comes to poor crossing/deliveries.

  15. Miami:

    “I think Anicoll’s point is that for some fans, regardless of what you have there is a clamor for more.”

    That is the way its supposed to be for fans, players and team management. When will you ever find a team that is so good that it can’t be improved? There is no such thing. As Yogi has pointed out time and time again (you don’t want to replace your best players) but standing still is usually the same moving backwards. Every team needs freshening and new blood just to keep what it has, much less to improve.

  16. ‘ we need a great striker ‘

    fuck my old boots – dyareckon ?

    Umm and Bill – there is no ‘Law of Averages’

    And no Bill – if you sign a large fee for an allegedly ‘great striker’ – and pay them an eye watering wage – and they prove to be crap

    You can’t just move em on

    Dyaseecomrade ?

  17. @Bill

    I guess that is an area we don’t see quite eye to eye. In my view there comes a time where you have to sit back and enjoy the show. I have no doubt many fans would agree with you, but whilst I want improvement I am not so obsessed with asking/moaning/whining/pleading/begging for more. I truly hope we get Higuain, a very nice player and then let him and whomever else battle it out to start.

  18. Gawd help poor Gonzalo if he does sign

    Never in the field of footballing hype has so many dreams been attached to one smallish and quite talented Latin

  19. zdzis;

    I really like Theo starting as our wide right player, however, after watching this season do you honestly think we could compete for a title with Theo starting regularly as our central striker? Do you think that counting on Theo as a central striker is a reasonable risk when we have the money in the bank? It might be different if we were completely skint and had no other options but that’s just not the case. Perhaps he will turn out to be a great striker someday but I am not holding my breath, and I don’t think we should avoid getting a striker while we wait and hope that for the day he breaks through.

  20. Miami:

    I have a wonderful wife, 3 great children, 3 great dogs and 12 great horses and everything I could ever want from life. However, this is not life, this is sports. If you could actually maintain a high level by sitting back and enjoying the show then fine, Unfortunately, I think history is clear that for a sports club the fastest way to mediocrity is self satisfaction.

  21. Miami,
    I was very sad to see Gerv get that red so early, and then we were out of both cesc and Nasri, and suddenly he became one of our main outlets. Seems to me it was too much for him at such short notice. Good player, but not cut for this kind of job.

    As for the strikers debate, it all boils down to long-term strategy: if we’re looking to improve on Giroud, we need someone like Higuain. This will cost us dearly and may not prove the solution. And if we’re looking to play Walcott and/or Poldi through the middle, we’re on the lookout for a winger or winger/striker. this might cost us (perhaps even considerably) less, but is just as likely to backfire.
    Yes, not moving forward is moving backward, but neither of us knows anything about where we’re currently moving. As said before, countless times, it seems, we’ll be damned not to bring any new players in, and twice damned if we bring half-baked half-product instead of an at least possible solution. We’ve waited a month for some news and we’re parched as the desert, but it’s only a week until the wet season. We might as well take the time to just laugh about so many senseless rumours and cringe at what the former Gooners choose to say.

  22. @Bill

    “Do you think that counting on Theo as a central striker is a reasonable risk”. I’m not advocating this, but just playing the devils advocate. It is any less of a risk to Higuain? I mean he could get injured right. As much sense as it makes to sign Higuain there could just as easily be applied an appropriate rationale to acquire another wide player to full the void of Theo and play him in the middle. If the details provided by Zdzis are accurate, could you really ask for much more than 4 goals in 5 games?

  23. @Bill

    I’m glad you are happy in life mate 🙂 and I hope the family are all doing well.

    Is Arsenal your counter balance? everything else going right so you chose a club to which you could have the anguish?

  24. Bill,
    I don’t expect Walcott to grow 4 inches overnight. He’s not a classic striker. However, I expect there are several possible solutions to our situation, and one of them involves altering our tactics to exploit Walcott’s potential as a central player as well. To make myself clear: in the unlikely situation that Sanogo (or someone like that) is our only alternative to Giroud, Walcott would provide another. He already proved he can play centrally against weaker sides to good effect.
    That in no way invalidates our need of a new striker other than Sanogo – it just implies that other than someone like Higuain, we may be looking for a more versatile player who could trade positions with either Poldi or Walcott.

  25. In my opinion, MA, you are being overly defensive with regards to Giroud. Unless you think there are no strikers available who are better than him, you cannot object to suggestions that certain players would be better, particularly if they offer something different, and since we need to have more than one good bona fide striker to begin with.

  26. But I do like your loyalty, MA. Just as long as you are good humoured about it and don’t take it amiss that others aren’t as enamoured of him. It doesn’t mean we think he’s a bad player or not good enough for Arsenal. We want more and we want the best we can possibly have within our financial limits for the club.

    Arsene Wenger himself said, “If you eat caviar every day it’s difficult to return to sausages.” Is this an insult to sausages? I wouldn’t think it has to be interpreted that way…

  27. @Lime

    I may well have been overly defensive, I said as much but it does not in any way change what you yourself said. You asked where someone had questioned his ability, I demonstrated it and rather than acknowledge it, you preferred to deflect.

    Again, this has nothing to do with the need for another striker. It is the putting down of players already on our books that I don’t understand. You stated you would be pleased if he ever rose to the heights of Kanu or Wiltord; yet in his first season he outshone both. Wiltord (47 appearances 15 goals), Kanu (17 appearances 7 goals, his best season was 49 appearances and 16 goals), Giroud (47 appearances 17 goals).

  28. @Lime

    I try never to take anything personally, I would still have a beer with you or Bill even after we have periods of prolonged disagreement 🙂

  29. Btw, who are the people complaining about Giroud and Podolski (and I don’t mean on some other blog, I mean here on ACLF). I see nothing but fans of the two players and count myself among them. Good players. Valuable to have in our squad. Ideally would play a big role next season and be even better than they were in good first seasons.

    But these aren’t 22 year olds in the midst of rapid development. You don’t count on them being worlds better. I had hoped Gervinho would be better his second season and I’m still not counting him out. He could get better since it is clearly mental and emotional concentration and presence–he’s super talented. And those aspects can improve a great deal. But Giroud and Podolski seemed happy, adjusted well, so I’d expect something roughly similar, maybe a bit better.

    If we want to challenge, we need to add to this foundation. And that’s no slight on them. If they wanted to guarantee their starting positions, they should have carried us to 2nd place or challenged United for first. That’s presumably where we want to be next season.

  30. Miami:

    I will be happy when we doing as well as I think we can given the resources we have available. I have been whinging, moaning, complaining about defense all these years and Arsenal as a club deserved every word of that bitching because we were much much worse then we should have been at that phase of the game. This year we actually did something really positive and made a significant improvement and I not only stopped bitching but I gave them the credit they deserved. IMO, your expectations as a fan should be for the club to do the best it can. If you are a Fulham fan, you are happy if you finish in the top 10, Spurs fans would be happy sneak into the top 4. If you honestly believe the clubs management is doing everything it can to give your club the best chance to succeed on the pitch then you have gotten everything you can ask for. However, letting money sit in the bank when you could have strengthened your team or playing consistently poor defense for 6 years does not represent giving your club the best chance to win so why should we be happy with what they are doing? Doesn’t that make sense?

  31. @Lime 🙂

    Depends on the sausage, I use to go to the East London Sausage Company on Hoe Street in Walthamstow (London). Those were tasty bangers 🙂

  32. MA, that just shows you how happy I am with Giroud. He’s better than Kanu and Wiltord then. It isn’t depreciating Giroud since those are terrific players. But guess what, those players were terrific and have written themselves into Arsenal history because they contributed to title winning teams. I am hoping for the same for Giroud, and it is in that sense that I meant I would be happy if he is at the level of a Kanu or Wiltord. Really good players who contributed to title winning teams because they backed up super talented players.

    We will need Giroud. Of that I am convinced.

  33. @Bill

    Oh, I get where you are coming from mate. What I am saying is that there comes a time when you actually stop with the ranting etc and just watch and see what happens. I know this money thing as been the ants in your undies for quite some time 🙂

  34. Miami, I’d love to hang out and talk Arsenal in a pub someday. I think we’d have a great time! In fact, I am having a great time chatting with you via ACLF too!

  35. Tbh, I think caviar is over-rated and do have a soft spot for spicy lamb sausages–mmm merguez!

  36. What – no mention of the wage structure Bill ?

    And all this money left in the bank Bill – season after season – does HMRC know ?

    And all these 2 bob substandard cast offs we have had to endure Bill – disgraceful

    Barely endurable

    Santo, Poldi, Theo, the Ox, Mikel, Jack, Per, Bacary, Laurent, Nacho, Aaron – the rest are so poor to type their names would cause me physical agony

    How I can bear to even watch this rubbish astounds me

  37. @Lime

    The biggest question mark for me when Giroud came upon the scene was whether or not Arsenal were intending to shift their tactics. The thing is they didn’t, we were then asking a prototypical CF to play outside his comfort zone. As a team we never used his aerial ability enough and it comes down to the way we have played under Arsene, a ball to feet team with quick pass and movement. I think Giroud will look back at his 1st season and acknowledge he could and should have done better in parts. I have faith in him because of what I have seen, he gets in to good positions and often runs excellent channels. Whether as a 1st banana or a 2nd, I’m more than comfortable with his ability.

    I am not going to name names, there are those that already know. But, there are indeed people here at ACLF that have stated in writing that they don’t feel Giroud is good enough to lead the line. Perhaps, if they are willing they’ll name themselves (three come to mind straight off the bat). It is of course their opinion, they are entitled to it; just as I am in defending the player 🙂

  38. The ELSC did a great apricot and chicken banger, but usually I went there for the peppered Boerewors.

  39. @Lime

    I went to World of Beers (WOB) on Saturday and had a Sea Dog wheat beet with blueberries in it (surprisingly tasty, and only 4.7%).

  40. “However, this is not life, this is sports”

    You puzzle me sometimes Bill. You’re happy in your personal life there, and that’s fantastic place to be, good on you (and there is nothing is snide implied there, I mean that most sincerely). yet you seem to be implying that for you “sports” is a most serious business, as MA says it’s almost some kind of counter balance to the rest of your existence. Maybe that’s partly a cultural thing. I love Arsenal, I love football, but it’s, y’know, entertainment. I want to be entertained. First and foremost. Yeah I’d love us to win a few more trophies, but y’know it’s good for the soul to have a few lean years. Teaches you a bit of humility and all that. Think about it, a few more years without silverware and we’ll all be experts on humility 😉

  41. “Sea Dog wheat beer with blueberries”

    What is the world coming to. I ask you. What’s wrong with a nice ale.

  42. I drank Hoegaarten in London with the odd Boddington’s thrown in and if I want the tasty stuff a Bailey’s on the rocks 🙂 I had to many pubs available when I worked in the Gherkin, though you cannot seemingly go 50 feet without finding some where to drink in London.

  43. Bailey’s still makes me heave after an unfortunate incident when I was 16. Some bastard spiked me drink(s). That’s what I told my mum and dad anyway. When I came eventually came ’round.

  44. apricot and chicken banger! dear god.

    wheat beer though…yes sir.

    have you tried Hoegaarden Miami?…lovely beer that is. or I have found a new german one called weihenstephan which is the best wheat beer I have had…not too sure about blueberries in me wheat beer though.

  45. I think there is a lack if patience amongst Arsenal fans ,and in my opinion rightly so, it is an impatience that is the result of the angst that fans feel. That impatience born of years without a trophy.

    So for those reasons i think there is a much higher demand from Arsenal fans now for players to deliver on a consistent basis and be immediate superstars.

    Arsenal has not done much to quench the trophy hunger, or the hunger for material success that fans can appreciate. If a set of fans had trophy success or some kind of palpable success that could sustain them whilst the players develop then it would be the ideal situation.

    However Arsenal does not have that, so it is in no way a reflection on a player’s ability in my opinion when supporters deride a player or consistently criticise them. It is to do with their impatience because of their prolonged abstinence.

    Even the beautiful football which in my opinion kept most of us sated for a very long time is now gone. I think the badge of honour that we had ,not only the youngest squad in the premier league but also played football that was admired and praised world over, was our corner stone. Now that is gone, supporters need something else to cling to.

    So back to my point the whole arguement about player’s being critised is a lack of patience from supporters. And i’m saying it is rightly justified. That’s what it comes down to.

    It’s interesting that Arsenal FC fans want instant success now more than any other club, simply because of our trophy drought. There is less room for development for players unless it accompanies some kind of success.

    My statements seem rather broad and i seem to paint people with the same brush but it is just my opinion that this maybe the reason so many fans are a little more negative towards the developing players at Arsenal.

  46. Seems everything in Madrid is getting ready to come down the pipe in the next 24-48 hours. Ancellotti is expected to be announced as manager, Isco is going to be introduced and Higuin will be coming to Arsenal with deals already in place for all 3 things to happen.

  47. I think Bill’s approach is perfectly reasonable.

    It’s not that football is more important than the things that really matter, Bill’s got those, it’s less important. Therefore we can treat it as we might any hobby. It’s for relaxation, fun. It doesn’t really matter what multi millionnaire plays for your team of which mega rich bastard owns the club.

    If I was sane, I’d agree completely with that approach but I am the product of several generations of Arsenal supporters. I can’t help being an idealist zealot.

    Bill is right though.

  48. It is possible we find different things entertaining. I love to see beautiful attacking football played by the top talents we can afford challenging for titles. Misplaced moral righteousness seems very compelling for many others, however.

  49. afternoon all, great reading as per norm. I have to be honest I do enjoy the transfer window for fueling my hopes and desires for improving our squad although given our history fully understand the cynicism from fellow supporters.

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