Nightmare Scenarios, Diaby & Mystic Tommy


For the briefest of moments, you wondered if fourth place going to be good enough. Just briefly. And then Manuel Neuer realised it was Danny Welbeck bearing down on his goal and a gloved hand made contact with the ball, it seemed that Moyes tactic of rope-a-dope might actually work. Therein is the risk Arsenal take in the tussle for fourth place; a truly awful team might win the Champions League and demote them to Thursday night football. We might seek solace from United not being as good as the Chelsea team which triumphed in Munich but to be honest, there is very little to choose between the two. Frankly, Chelsea weren’t as good defensively as is recalled; Bayern were woeful in front of goal on the night and got hit with a sucker punch. Sound familiar? Thank God the Bavarians have the chance to right last night’s wrong in a fortnight’s time.

By which time, Arsenal may well be on the cusp on securing their own entry into the Europa League by winning the FA Cup. A horrible thought occurs in that nightmare scenario of a United triumph. At the moment, I am willing Everton to stay the course and United to falter in Europe. It leaves the delicious prospect of they or Tottenham missing out next season, with seventh place unlikely to take a European spot. If United win the Champions League and Arsenal the FA Cup, an extra Europa League place opens up. It’s the nightmare scenario in more than one way.

But it was an idle moments concern, nothing that disastrous can happen.

Can it?

Well, if Abou Diaby can return to training, anything is possible. And the Frenchman is doing just that this morning. Having run over hill and dale (or monts et par vaux) to regain fitness, Diaby is about to take part in first team training and is no doubt focussed on returning to action. A leading question was asked recently about being selected for Les Bleus in Brazil and naturally the midfielder would be delighted to do so. Whether he can or not is another matter, one for Deschamps to decide. For Arsenal, the question is whether he is going to be fit enough and whatever his personal ambitions, the club should exert influence over the player’s thinking and be blunt with him if they do not think he will be ready to handle the glut of fixtures in the first round – perhaps the knockout phases as well – is another matter.

Sympathy often feels in short supply for Diaby. Too often discussion about him centres around wages and how he has the Life of Reilly. It misses the point. Money makes life comfortable but not being able to play must be purgatory for Diaby; frustration will seep into his every move and no matter how much time he may spend training, to not be able to kick a ball competitively – at all – must be a living hell for the man. Keeping positive in those circumstances is demanding. Yes, Arsène has indulged him and commercially you question the wisdom of the long-term deal signed four years ago but that is using hindsight in judgement. Arguably, Arsenal were placing the hope that his woes would be behind him and the future was bright. Why not; at that point he had played 104 times for the club in three seasons. He made 40 appearance in 2009/10; he has played that many games in total since. Just think about that for a moment. Forty times in four seasons; three in fact, none have been made yet. Then think about the mental toll that must take on the man before damning the contract.

One man who might understand the sense of frustration Diaby is suffering is Thomas Vermaelen. The club captain has not suffered anywhere near as badly with injury; perhaps its worse sitting on the bench watching a pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny perform well for the club. Those feelings will be compounded knowing that even a heavy defeat does not unseat either of the incumbents, no matter how badly they have played. But patience is a virtue and injury means Vermaelen has the chance to stake a claim for a starting XI place. Genuinely, I don’t think he will win one under Arsène Wenger. The Belgian was held culpable when Wenger snapped last season and like Wojciech Szczesny, the central defender dropped to the bench. Unlike the Pole, Vermaelen has never been given another chance, settling into the role of a footballing fire alarm; break the glass in case of an emergency but often left alone unused.

Despite this and wanting assurances about his own future, Vermaelen has come out and spoken about the manager’s future,

Everybody wants him to stay as long as he can. He’s been incredible what he’s done for this club, and for the players as well. We would be really happy for him signing on for a few more years. The spirit is unbelievable in the team. We’ve worked a lot on our team shape and everybody knows their role in the team, everybody’s working for each other and that’s because there is a great team spirit. That’s the great improvement for us this season.

It is just the hunger in the team. Of course it was there before but the spirit is great and you can see us fighting for each other really hard.

I don’t think anyone can rationally challenge what Arsène achieved in the different phases of his reign but as with any investment, past performance is no guarantee of future returns. There is no guarantee of any manager at any time achieving anything. It comes down to whether the board has confidence in the manager achieving once again and using the resources available to him efficiently. If Arsène believes it is his job to leave the club in good shape for his replacement, he has ensured that already. There has to be more and he has to be sure he can challenge for trophies again. The board likewise. Talk emerges once more of a two-year deal to allow an orderly succession is wishful thinking; nothing in football is orderly and how can they plan for a particular manager when he may not be available when it suits the club. If, as is reported, Arsenal want to install a Director of Football, do it now, give the incumbent time to settle into his role. Surely that person would have input into the recruitment process; the two after all, will be working closely together.

I am not surprised that the players feel loyalty to Wenger, he shows them the same in public and has stuck by them on the numerous occasions they have let him down. This isn’t about taking responsibility for performances as he did after Chelsea; that rests with the manager anyway, as it does with all department heads. Of course history has shown that loyalty now means nothing tomorrow if Barcelona or one of Europe’s grands fromages comes knocking at the door. Players will leave and so to managers. That aspect is something which we need to be prepared for. Arsenal have been fortunate in Wenger’s longevity, it gives players a sense of stability but in truth there is a time approaching when changes in manager will be comparatively frequent; that is the nature of the modern game, it’s the nature of most other sports and no matter how the board might like to think of the Arsenal way as being above that, they can only stem the tide for so long, particularly with an owner who has shown little compunction in dispensing with the services of his other head coaches. Football is a strange business and this season has proven that instability isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Or perhaps the bad thing is Arsenal never took advantage of it?

’til Tomorrow.



137 thoughts on “Nightmare Scenarios, Diaby & Mystic Tommy

  1. Morning YW hope all is well been off the radar for the last week. Away working in sunny Prestatyn, N Wales of all places. No internet, no TV etc. I only learned of the City result on Monday morninig. Bob and Northbank hope your both well mes amis

  2. Bet you are glad to be home, Ras. Good morning to you.

    As for verm. Like all the others, he should speak less and do more.

    The nightmare that you lay out YW, is not one I care to spend too much time thinking about.

    Orderly succession? In football? Anywhere?

    Carpe diem.

  3. In other news, if we can get a win vs Everton then the following week we have Kos, Ramsey and Jack all back in contention! No mention of Ozil though! No conincidence our form has dropped since Ramsey has been out injured! Get past the obsticle of Everton with the players that are returning then i think we can mount a pretty impressive amount of points over the last 6 games! City and Chelsea to play Liverpool still as well! Who knows, might as well take a bash at it! Diaby returned to full training today as well…It’s written in the stars!

  4. It will be good to have Diaby back this season even if it is for a few games. The players that are being played on regularly look knackered Arteta in particular. Also, Flamini is one yellow card away from what I believe is a 2 game suspension. So any fit body that can augment the squad is welcome. On the injured quartet, frankly I am not sure if they’ll play this season. Ramsey is forever close but not ready. There is no word on Ozil. God knows when he will be fit for training let alone playing. Jack the lad will not be ready soon. Even if his injury heals quickly the club will not take any undue risks that can jeopardize his World Cup chance. Sir Walcott we all know will be back next season and raring to go. Kos probably will be only one coming back some time in April.

  5. Mornin Bob to say that I’m happy to be at home is an understatement itself. Nothing better than sleeping in your old bed.Just been for a stroll to buy bread etc. Will eat a late brekkie and look back over last weeks in the World that is Arsenal.

    Hope your well Bob

  6. Shubham

    Wenger has said he’s in the squad for Everton having had him fully looked at by the medical staff. That deosn’t fill me with hope, if he had said any other medical stuff i’d have been ok with that statement.

    I hopwe he can do a RVP and stay injury free for a long period! He could be vital, but i don’t hold much hope!

    Barkley is touch and go for our game, if he’s out thats a massive relief! Just need TV and Per to keep Lukaku quiet! Kos did it brilliantly at Emirates!

  7. I’ve nothing but sympathy for Diaby, some of the abuse he gets of some people for being injured says more about them than it does him,let’s keep him as a bonus player for next season because if he finally breaks his shackles he is some player, if would certainly be nice to see him have the life of Reilly as opposed to the life of O’Reilly..

  8. Each to their own, but I tend to think that the legend of Diaby grows more with his non appearence than it ever did on the pitch. Yes, he has had a few good games, he’s also had a few terrible ones too. Newcastle away 4-0 up, a stupid challenge and the resultant 4-4 springs to mind. Sentiment is all well and good but doesn’t win you games of football. Can anyone honestly say that over the last four years another player could have made better use of the place in our 25 man squad and the wages that we had invested in him? I would wish him well and release him this summer. He just isn’t up to the rigours of the PL.

  9. Mel

    I’ve always been a massive fan of him, his performance at Anfield last season showed how he can boss a midfield. I thought that pair with Flamini and Ramsey in the center we could have a powerful midfield and the energy to break at pace needed to utilize Ozil’s proper talents!

  10. Could have been a great player, but because he could never really manage a run of games was never able to realise his potential. A real shame, but his ship has sailed now with us.

  11. I agree that Diaby’s reputation has been overblown due to his horror luck of injuries. in years to come some people will be telling their kids whilst they sit them on their knee the legendary tale of Diaby in action and how they once saw it.

  12. Barca got transfer ban for 2 windows….And Puyol retires end of the season!

  13. I bet that ban is amended. Didn’t the same happen to Chelsea a few years ago?

    Thriving, thank you, Ras.

  14. And Valdes is injured for ages (and was leaving).

    No doubt they will have some young players who will just step up from their academy.

  15. Bob

    I believe so, 2010 i think! but if it isn’t, they lose their first choice GK and CB and have no way of buying in new ones. Pinto in goal for a season? hmm! Their stretched at CB as it is!

    It will probably be lift though! If not, i say pip them to Marc-Andre ter Stegen!

  16. goonerandy

    I maintain that the Barca academy isn’t as strong as some believe or else surely they wouldn’t need to spend as much as they have over the last 3/4 years? Espeically with Neymar! Perhaps attacking minded players are fruitful but with the exception of Busquets i can’t think of many defenders or keepers that have florished!

  17. Yogi thanks as always for a great way to start my morning.

    I agree about Diaby, its not his fault that he has had a couple of bad injuries due to some bad challenges. I hope he can finally shake off the injury bug and we get a full season from him next season because when he does play and gets a run of matches I’m sure he will come good. I remember watching him play in his early days and the cameo’s that he has made over the years and what a fantastic player who could have been World class.

    Verm is a different story for me, he is a player that was the essence of everything you wanted in a player:grit, determination, talent, fight, spirit, passion, athleticism and was the ultimate team player who gave everything he had to literally the final whistle with a never say die attitude. But his performance dropped and with that his spot in the side. This weekend is a big test for him against Lukuka and hopefully he will come good like we all know that he can.

  18. @MLF & GA

    They do have players in their academy mate and to be honest, it doesn’t matter who you have in your youth, if you have the chance to nab Neymar in their system and the way their players get protected then you do. I think that Valdes could well resign with Barca now due to him tearing his ACL and no clubs really going to come out and sign him.

  19. Well by all accounts Djourou is officially off, with the fact that the release clause in his loan deal has been activated by the fact that he has reached 20 appearances.

  20. @Yogi

    I agree completely with you when you talk say: “Talk emerges once more of a two-year deal to allow an orderly succession is wishful thinking; nothing in football is orderly and how can they plan for a particular manager when he may not be available when it suits the club.”

    It’s almost as though the board has this thinking like whenever Arsenal futbol club come calling to whatever manager they want that manager will automatically come running and the club of said manager will bend to our will. I think if Arsene is the honorable man that he portrays and we all believe that he is, right now is the best time to step down and the board to find a suitable replacement. We have just tied down the core of our team for the next several years, theirs about 100+M to find players that will fit with the new manager and we will have ended our trophy drought and read to forge ahead.

  21. To add to Barca’s misery, Pique is out for thenext month atleast with a hairline fracture in his hip.

  22. C

    Barca have caught Arsenalitis it seems. Players dropping right left and center.

    Are the youth able to maintain the top spot with Real now though? Hmm!

    Good to that Djourou is off our books at last, followed swiftly by Bentner, Park and a few others i hope! The money that can be freed up by releasing the rest of the dead wood could fund some bigger wages coming in. I think this is Arsene’s defining summer, even if he wins the FA Cup, he has to face the fact that Chelsea will punt a few players and bring in some players (No doubt Costa or Falcao in place of Torres and Ba etc), City will buy at least 1/2 defenders and Liverpool wil probably go a bit crazy so that they can stay in the top 4 next season and keep their champs league money and Man U will splurge as well! I can see Moyes overhauling the entire squad and with all their new deals coming in they can probably afford it as well! We can’t be content to bring in 1/2 players, we need 4/5 if we’re being honest with ourselves! If Wenger wants to leave the club in good hands in 2 years time, he needs to start investing in it now!!

    Considering we’ve only beaten Liverpool once from the list above, we need to secure some seriously good players in the summer. I’d pick Liverpool to fall out of the top 4 as i don’t think Rodgers will cope with Champs league on top of a more competitive prem league, but still can’t take any chances!

  23. C,

    Maybe arsene wants to go out in a blaze of glory, so is waiting to see if his troops can win him the fa cup.

    Or maybe he is waiting to see if we qualify for the cl now as he isn’t going to demean himself and put up with traveling to the farthest flungest deepest parts of Europe to play teams no one has heard of.

  24. Also we could do with finishing higher than 4th to avoid champs league qualifying rounds, less games the better around that time!

  25. Dukey

    I think he’s waiting on FA cup outcome for sure. Win and he’ll stay for 2 more years! Lose, i think he’ll leave in the summer provided they can find someone half decent to replace him! For me, i’d take Simione from Atheltico or Klopp from Dortmund. Lowe would be a bad appointment, his club record is terrible! Realistically, i think Klopp will be available after next season, Bayern’s dominace over the Bundes has started and they’re no chance he’ll win it whilst Pep is about, whereas Prem League anything can happen these days

  26. Barcelona agreed terms to buy Alen Halilovic from Dynamo Zagreb last week. How does that now pan out? If he is any good why don’t we jump in? £1.8m up front for a player who was meant to be going to Barceloan doesn’t sound like a bad deal. Could set it up so that there is an arrangement to pass him on to Barcelona.

  27. @MLF

    To be honest, if you look at Barca, they are in pretty good position talent wise because outside of Xavi and Inesta, the rest of the players are in there early to mid 20’s. They will more than likely replace Xavi with Cesc which isn’t that big of a drop off if any. Their injury concerns is the more worrying thing if your a Barca fan because they are in places where they can afford it which is in their CB position.

    I disagree with you that we are in a good position and while we may bring in 4-5 players, all of them won’t be impact players and IMHO a couple should be Ginter who could be an young yet experienced player who will be rotated and played in the Cups and against the lower table teams to gain experience and bed into the team. I think of those 4-5 players that could potential come in, only maybe 2 will be players that walk straight into the the starting XI.

  28. @Dukey

    That very well may happen mate and I hope that he can go out with a shiny FA Cup winners medal.

  29. C

    That’s what i meant, i wasn’t meaning 4/5 starters! A CDM and CF as starters and if Sagna leaves then an experienced RB! We’ve got Theo, Ramsey, Jack, Rosicky, Santi and Ozil as attacking mids with flair, whilst Flamini, Arteta, Diaby, (Also Ramsey and Rosicky) who can sit deeper but i’d bring in a Bender type for youth and engine! I agree, i’d take Ginter! But i’d keep Podolski as well, btu i think he’ll be out lamb to the slaughter because of his wages, i think we’ll sell him and use his wages for someone else (Perhaps Draxler).

    As long as these rumours about Kalou and Vucicnic being our targets aren’t true as CF options!

  30. Not to mention Gnabry and perhaps Campbell who will be looking to break through and i missed Ox out of my midfield list

  31. @MLF

    Ok we are on a similar page then when it comes to this. I do hope that Sagna stays so that we don’t have to bring in a RB. It would be good to just bring in a more athletic CDM to go with a settled back 4 and a more experienced Szcny.

    I do think though it all starts with our manager and who is going to be the manager next season.

  32. Yeah, this is how our squad could shape up next season! Bringing in a CDM, CF, CB cover and of course keeping Sagna! left Pod out as i think he’ll be sold! But, it’s all injury premitting, impressive on paper but nothing to stop Ramsey, Ozil, and Rosikcy all getting clonked at the same time etc!

    New back up gk



    Martinez (Or whoever new arrival is)

  33. @MLF

    That actually is a very good looking squad the only issue for me is that Campbell will probably be sold, and injuries are inevitable to this Arsenal squad.

  34. C

    I agree, i reckon at least 3 of the midfielders will be injured at the same time! Campbell probably will be sold, i don’t know if that means he’ll be replaced by another player or perhaps keep Pod. Diaby’s inclusion is also skeptical as 1 more injury and i reckon he’ll be gone

  35. @MLF

    I want us to keep Podolski for everything that he not only brings on the field but off it and in the locker room too.

  36. C

    Like him him to stay also, i don’t think he’s effective when paid with Giroud but i think a CF like Suarez/Costa/Martinez could play welll beside him! He’s also not really had a prolonged period played with Mesut yet!

  37. I would like him to stay also* stupid mobile phone keyboard.

  38. @MLf

    More time with Ozil for Podolski and then pair him with a more mobile CF that will allow him to interchange between left and center.

  39. So Arsenal have made a signing… Jonatas Centeno (16 years) and represented his country and U15 & U16 levels. The Portuguese winger will be one of 14 new scholarships offered for the coming season. Nice to Arsenal actually chase and acquire a winger, still senior level is where the next step in that direction should take place.

  40. @MA

    Yea saw the photos of him signing a couple days back. It is great to see them go after a true out and out winger.

    Its not going to happen on the senior level I would imagine.

  41. Kalou, 28 cheap and top scorer for 3rd placed Lille this season, sounds just like someone Arsene would like to have.

  42. @MLF

    I could almost bet my mortgage on Akpom getting a full loan next season, especially if they get interest from an EPL or Championship side (with a view to promotion).

  43. Nobody in their right mind would be happy with Kalou and if Arsene brings him in people will be in a massive uproar.

  44. underwhelmed or unhappy it won’t matter, I just cannot see us in for the ‘available’ world class strikers that could move in the summer. If Draxler remains a target that is where the biggest fee will be paid, simply cannot ever have to many AMC types in the Arsene tactical handbook 🙂

  45. C & Muppet

    It’s very Arsene Wenger though isn’t it….He’ll get him for about 3 million instead of having to spend £35 on Martinez etc and we’ll have Kalou and Giroud up top. Shoot me now. Having bid for Suarez in the summer, surely bringing in Kalou is not only a back step, it’s borderline insane….

    But he’s only some of the names being branished around today. Vucunic (Sp i know), Josip Drmic and Song are amounst the others. I hope Wenger pulls out a surpise and actually buy’s someone like Martinez/Costa etc!

  46. Bourinho has come out and said that there (Chelsea) priority is a striker, so lets me clear and based upon what Arsene himself has said in the past, we will not be making a move until they are done. I can see Costa signing for Chelsea, they have the money and some make weights in Torres and Courtois if they need to go that route.

  47. Miami

    I full expect Bender or a CDM coming in, but i think we’ll get the usual tosh when it comes to strikers…”We have Giroud he scored 20 goals last season” and he’ll let Pod go and then bring in a Kalou for less wages. I can’t see us spending more than £50 million of that supposed £100million transfer budget.

    I can’t understand why Wenger isn’t pulling his hair out and going insane, we watch the same matches as him and we’re doing it on a weekly basis now….he must know we can get better than Giroud up top!

    If Schalke get £35million for Draxler, they deserve a round of applause, he’s good and has potential, but he’s not £35million good. Hazard was established and destroying teams single handed and cost the same.

  48. Miami Arsenal

    Called the Costa move back in Jan! With Torres being an Athletico boy as well! They’ll get him for about £20mill + Torres and the GK!

    Worryingly, i saw today that Spurs want Lukaku and if Costa comes in i can see it happening. Now there’s a CF who’ll score goals for them.

    And here we are…Linked with bloody Kalou

  49. @MLF

    I’m not going to get worked up over it at this point, we don’t know the Kalou story has legs we just want something else to bitch about 🙂 Truth be told we are all hoping that Ozil’s signing was a step in to our future and not some aberration. I think Giroud has something to offer, but he also has limitations. We need depth at CF no question and what is more, we need variety in the attributes as well, what with Sanogo being more physical than truly technical.

    Back up keeper is a must, given we’ll only have Martinez, Macey, Vickers and Iliev on the books. Sagna position needs to be address, the will he won’t is not good for this fans heart. Bendtner’s leaving is going to be met with my applause. Thomas Vermaelen and Podolski give me some fits, both capable starters or from the bench but the former I’m sure will ask for a move and the latter will be forced in to one. My point? All of this needs to be done and replacements found to add depth to the squad, this before a proverbial word is made about what actually NEEDS to be done with a winger, CF and fingers crossed a more athletic powerful DMC. The latter is the main concern because right on time Diaby is starting training and will lull us in to that false sense of security about the position until the window closes and he is injured again.

  50. @MA

    Draxler is more winger then ACM. I think that bringing him in would be good if that is the winger that we bring in.

  51. @C

    Didn’t he start as an AMC? I see he has had 65% of his appearances on the LW though.

  52. Miami Arsenal

    I think it’s a dead cert we’ll go for Bender! But i agree we need a out and out winger who’ll attack, but Giroud negates this by somehow never being in the bloody box for counter attacks! But i agree with all that’s said, surely the bids for Bender and Suarez show Wenger knows he needs players of that calibre to come in, but i couldn’t agree more that Chelsea will get Costa but that’s just one option that’s out there! With buying Ozil they set the bar prett high, i hope they aren’t content to limbo under it

  53. 4 goals from 20 appearances on the left is underwhelming, but I believe Bill may have spoken of that once or 100 times before, so I’ll say… damn that looks good 🙂

  54. @MLF

    I think the thing is that we will be bringing in a natural goal scorer, I could be terribly horribly wrong but I just have this funny feeling. The backlash from bringing in Kalou would be overwhelming to be very honest and I just don’t think that Arsene is that stupid of a man especially after Kalou openly stated that he rejected a move to Arsenal in the winter. To then go back in for him would be utterly insane and is a fireable offense.

  55. C & Miami

    I’m not impressed with Draxlers stats to warrent be ok with paying £35million for him…I’d be ok with £15 million and Podolski going other way perhaps but even then!

  56. C

    I seriously don’t know why they don’t wrap up the Martinez deal now….He has come out and said he supported them in Columbia and his boy out is £31.5 million! Not exactly massive in football amounts!

  57. Bender would facilitate the departure of Arteta I would assume. Obviously it could just as will be Flamini, bu the latter is younger (both will have 1 year on their contracts remaining).

  58. @MA

    We didn’t think the Kalou story had legs in the winter either…..

    He started some matches last year as a ACM for Shalke last year but for both Germany and Schalke he plays primarily as a LW in the Podolski mold. I think his pace and dribbling would do well on our left side and I do think he is a good finisher. As good if not a bit better than Ox.

  59. Miami Arsenal

    I like Mikel, but he’s not going to get any better at CDM…I think Flamini is better! I’d keep them both another season, let Arteta go and then bring in someone to play beside Bender at CDM if needed! Ramsey could also slot in there perfectly! I agree about Diaby, his return could hinder a CDM coming in if they place faith in him…..*Glup*

  60. @MLF

    Jackson Martinez and Eliaquim Mangala in a 45M take it or leave it deal would be a terrific start to the window 🙂

    We could then part with Tv5 in the knowledge we have a bang on starter able to push Per and Kos to the heights of their possession or be replaced not unlike when Tv5 lost his. I’d be secure in the knowledge we had Martinez and Giroud with a young hungry Sanogo in their shadows. The problem with this scenario other than Arsene wanting it to happen, will be that Mangala will be a heavy sort after transfer in his own right.

  61. @MLF

    I prefer to keep Podolski and bring in Draxler as well. The stats for him will be skewed a bit given the fact that they haven’t had a CF for much of the season with Huntelaar out until recently.

    I completely agree about Martinez. Lets wrap that deal up now before he puts on the show that everybody in South America thinks that he is going to put on at the World Cup leading the line with Falcao out.

  62. @MA

    Jackson Martinez/Mangala for 45M, Gonalons for 15M and find a GK and that is great business and a brilliant summer by Arsenal!

  63. Miami Arsenal

    I haven’t seen Mangala once so i can’t comment on that but City and Man u are supposed to be interested in him, but i get feeling Bayern are lurking with a bid for Koscielny….He fits their style perfectly.

    Martinez would keep Grioud out the team, Ozil, Ramsey, Rosicky etc would have a field day setting him up! Boy’s an machine

  64. C

    Same comment as above but for Gonalons…Never seen him play either! I remain in the Bender camp. Poorly choosen words i know

  65. Miami/C,

    I can only see Kalou as being back up to the back up, despite him having some good stats, what, in 1 premiership season about 6 years ago ?

    I can see us being in for some strikers Miami, but I only if we play along with being extorted.

  66. “Martinez would keep Grioud out the team, Ozil, Ramsey, Rosicky etc would have a field day setting him up! Boy’s an machine”

    In truth we don’t want that to happen, I don’t mean the replacing of Giroud as the no 1. but rather the need to play the one player in all the games. Rotation has played a part in the issues we have with Giroud right now and they would do the same to Jackson, who is also not use to playing as many games. We should be encouraging the competition and allow for them to split the role, with Giroud perhaps featuring more in those games again more physical opposition, with a fresh Jackson ready if needed from the bench. If Jackson were to be acquired and subsequently assume the no 1. role then of course he should be featuring regularly but lets not create another injury or fatigue issue. In this scenario (at least in my head) it always give Sanogo another year to develop and push for the no 2. spot in the near future.

    Mangala is a pipe dream of course, I have heard the paper talk and offers of 25M plus for the CB (to rich for Arsenal’s blood, especially as a potential back up). The Younes Kaboul rumor is however of some interest to me, a free and a decent player as a potential back up with EPL experience. Hasn’t played a lot in the EPL this year with just 8 appearances.

  67. @muppet

    “I can see us being in for some strikers Miami, but I only if we play along with being extorted”

    Oh I agree mate. The lesser tiers if we want to call them that still have some interesting options, not least would be Tello, Morata and even perhaps Stephan El Shaarawy (who has barely featured at all for AC Milan this season).

  68. Mario Balotelli another one of perhaps some interest, he has almost as many yellows this season as goals 🙂

  69. “Sympathy often feels in short supply for Diaby”.
    Not from any true supporter of Arsenal FC, Yogi. We have seen him in his pomp when, in a moment, he can turn a game our way. Any lesser individual would have given up by now, taken a substantial pension from his employer and driven off into the sunset in a Ferrari.
    Not our Abou. Determination and confidence that he will at least regain a place in Arsenal’s first team, if not in his homeland’s national squad.
    What has no doubt spurred him on has been the 100% support of his Club and all those connected to it.
    Now his latest nightmare appears to be at an end and full training has begun.
    It is now up to all loyal followers of our great Club to welcome him back with confidence and support, in sure and certain hope that at long last he will be able to fulfil his true potential.

  70. If the lesser tiers have fantastic potential, then great. Otherwise I don’t see the logic – we’ve got Sanogo as a developmental option. I think most have been calling for a world class striker, and, to be honest, as much as I wouldn’t want to criticise Giroud, even a buffoon can see that he’s not in the Henry/Suarez/Shearer class, so the world class striker makes sense. But I still think it would be good to retain Giroud, as he gives us options.

  71. “If the lesser tiers have fantastic potential, then great. Otherwise I don’t see the logic – we’ve got Sanogo as a developmental option.”

    I agree with this, but give me the choice of Tello, Morata or Sanogo and I would have in them in that order. Tello won’t be sold, he may argue and complain about opportunities but Barca know we is potentially world class. Morata would have already been a first team regular I would imagine at almost any top tier club, just not Real. The purchase of Bale and subsequent emergence of Jese has put paid to his attempts, that doesn’t mean he is not good. He is faster and far more technical than Sanogo.

    I’m all for a world class talent if we can get it don’t get me wrong, but as I alluded to earlier, some in the second tier would still offer upgrades. The inherent problem with the youth movement is also that they are being more and more heavily priced without the pedigree to back them up, so Tello and Morata would still fetch substantial fees.

  72. @muppet

    I’m also trying to juggle the notional 100M in to 5-6 players, that would offer something to the side 🙂

    We failed last summer apparently in a 19M bid for Bender, so what will it take 25M? 31.5M buyout for Jackson apparently, so that is what almost 56.5M before wages are added to the picture. So two upgrades and at this point no sales, but the loss of 2 possibly 3 players on a Bosman.

    Podolski and Tv5 should net us something north of 10M each, both under contract for 2 and 3 years respectively. So say we managed 23M, or 11.5M a piece.

    Notional 100M – 56.5M + 23M = 66.5M (wages excluded)

    Keeper, RB and CB musts, whilst a winger is an optional want/need…

  73. I haven’t seen much of Tello. Will have to have a gander on YouTube. Thanks for the heads up MA.

  74. I think we’ve got a shed load of money MA. It’s a case of player availability and if the fees come in on budget. I read recently that Gazidis said that he knew why all deals fell through, and they’ve been trying to get quite a few players for a couple of years now. This makes me pessimistic. Gazidis’s comments corroborate with the fact that we’ve been chasing Draxler for a while. As others have said on here, I hope the club start paying market rates and get on with it. That’s what the commercial deals are going to pay for.

  75. @Muppet

    You may well be right, I have no idea why any deals actually fell through. As a realtor I can tell you there is always someone looking for a bargain (Arsenal), the problem is often that they don’t actually know what a bargain is when it is presented to them because it doesn’t fit there personal view of value (Arsenal).

  76. I do like Tello he is quite a player no doubt about it. Another one would be El Sharraway for me. Pace and a clinical finisher.


    I tend to agree with you about having 1 striker that we are soley reliant on. I think if we do bring in a new striker and Giroud becomes the #2 that there are enough matches to rotate but I think that whoever Arsene brings in will play to the strengths of Ozil thus will see more match time.

  77. Hahaha MA… I think AWs view of a bargain is pretty legendary.

    I remember hearing a story that Dick Law offered 4m for Cahill at Bolton, before he went to the chavs for 17.

    The director of Bolton told Law to f**k off and not come back !

  78. “Hahaha MA… I think AWs view of a bargain is pretty legendary.

    I remember hearing a story that Dick Law offered 4m for Cahill at Bolton, before he went to the chavs for 17.

    The director of Bolton told Law to f**k off and not come back !”

    This would be worth a longer chuckle if it were also not so sad 🙁

  79. Miami.

    Latest stats show the Draxler now has 1 goal in 21 Bundesliga games this season. Not exactly filling up the stat sheet.


    You would think that if their main CF was injured they would need Drax to take up the slack and if he is their best player you would hope he would step up and score more. You can rationalize whatever way you like but it’s seems pretty crazy to assume he is going suddenly morph into a natural scorer. I don’t think we want another player who has a lot of technical skill but struggles to score. We are already overloaded.

  80. @Bill

    Is that how futbol works now, when your best goal scorer goes down your best player who is still very young himself is suppose to step up and start scoring more? Strange thing when you yourself have been injured and your team as a whole has struggled this year.

    He himself has been out injured for several months. Lets not kid ourselves, though he is their most talented player, he at this stage is not a player that can just go out and score time in and time out. He’s a winger that is capable of scoring goals and cna be turned into a very good goal scorer. Lets not forget that he is just 20 years of age. Not trying to compare him to Henry because that would be unfair for both of them but have you taken a look at his goal scoring record at that age, I did it for you so you wouldn’t have to: 96/97: 48 appearances, 10 goals, 97/98: 44 appearances, 11 goals. He is young and is one of the most highly rated players in World futbol and is a winger by trade.

  81. @Bill

    You would have to conclude the stats aren’t impressive indeed, which is interesting because he also has 8 MoTM awards. I wouldn’t mind the lad from what I have seen of him, pace and width but not for the reported 37M.

  82. cahill went for 7mil..

    bolton wanted 17 mil as thats what his release clause was but his contract was up so were willing to listen to reasonable offers and 4 million was less than what they paid for him to sign him..
    which is why we got told to fuck off and not come back..

    he went for 7 in january and won the cl and fa cup…

    we should have signed cahill but we always seem to make an easy transfer matter if the price is fair….

  83. ref just gave a penalty to the Chavs, Thiago Silva won the ball and Oscar went jumping over, ref gives penalty.

  84. C:

    OK. I guess we can spend a big chunk of the transfer budget and cross our fingers and hope that he turns into a goal scorer someday. That’s a huge assumption at best. Even if Drax does make it someday, don’t forget that it took RVP about 6 years to become a difference maker, it took Walcott about 5 years and we have had the Ox for 3 and he still has some ways to go. I thought we needed someone for next season.

  85. @MA

    He has put in several other brilliant performances outside of the MOTM. He helped set up Huntelaar’s goals but didn’t get the statistical assists for whatever reason.

    Not only the things you have described but he loves to make those runs to get behind the defense and beyond the strikers.

  86. @Bill

    I was saying that I would take him, 37M is a a lot of money. Lets also forget that players develop differently. Yea it took RvCunt several years but do you remember who the striker was that was keeping him out of the team for several of those years? Theo came to us as a what 17, 18 year old. Draxler is a 20 year old who has starred at the top flight of Germany while also breaking into a super talented German national team. I don’t think he would have done that if he wasn’t a top quality talent. Not to mention he would help us next season on the left or right wing and don’t we need help there as we have ALL discussed?

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