Paper Tigers: Lacazette, Asano Or Could RvP Return?


The Zombies sublime, Time of the Season, feels somehow appropriate this morning. The international transfer window opens tomorrow with a sense that it is going to send newshounds into a frenzy.

There are many reasons for supporters of the élite to be excited. United are set to land Ibrahimovic tomorrow with Mkhitaryan next week. Chelsea have all but signed Batshuayi for €40m and we’ve landed Granit Xhaka. A sense of a new beginning for everyone.

It’s noticeable that the transfer market for English clubs certainly, has, price-wise, gone mental. The new Premier League broadcasting revenues have sent prices sky-rocketing at home and abroad. Real Madrid are this morning, supposedly looking to bring in £125m from the combined sales of Morata and James Rodriguez. No disrespect to either but last year, they would barely have brought in half that total.

For the most part, when it comes to fees, it’s paper talk. If someone did a survey, you’d probably find that in the upper echelons of the game, the ‘undisclosed fee’ is the most frequent amount of money paid for a player. You wonder how long this will last; it’s not in the buying club’s interests necessarily, to declare the moneys paid straight away.

There are some fairly educated guesses about what each club’s transfer kitty is and knowing what they’ve spent helps a selling club more. But, issuing the list in the autumn? Is there a problem with that? I suppose the bigger question is do we need to know?

Some find solace in the knowledge of how much a player cost. Not that the fee is any indicator of their form at a new club. It seeks, in most cases, to inflate expectations, increasing the pressure on the player to perform from the outset.

The problem is that the modern game has become so enamoured with money and bragging about their commercial triumphs, that supporters want to see that money invested in big names, big signings. The final day of the transfer window has become a separate industry, with its own stars and increased sex toy sales.

But it’s activity which is more important. The actual signing of players who improve the squad matters more than the size of the transfer fee or their pay packet. We know that from painful experience down the years, with this cycle of under-investment in terms of key positions in the squad not yet ended.

The Vardy saga showed the issues of last season had not gone unnoticed. Xhaka’s arrival laid the foundations for Arsenal to build on. Being rebuffed by the Leicester striker is not great disappointment in the sense that his age made him a short-term solution. The money side of it? Well, the club made him an offer of what they thought him worth; he got more or enough from Leicester to not make moving to Arsenal worthwhile.

That’s an issue Arsenal have to face up to. Even smaller clubs can make their star players very wealthy indeed. We’re big enough to outgun all but three of the top flight financially but the gap to those below is closing. Rapidly.

The time for taking intuitive punts on players is gone. They rarely work any more; undiscovered gems generally don’t exist, or are certainly harder to find, with the saturated global football coverage. There are left-field signings and Vardy to some extent would have been one, more on his style than any sense of anonymity.

English football may be in the international doldrums but on a club level, there’s no time for introspection or navel gazing. The Premier League and UEFA has made football a ‘now’ commodity where the rich have to deliver immediately or doom and despair takes over. The clubs get no sympathy from me; they created the beast and it’s out of their control once they bring supporters into the equation.

Arsenal are no different. The empty promises over the years have worn goodwill thin. A strong summer of intent would bring some of that back. I’m inclined to believe that the club is working on bringing players in. Despite the failure, I can’t believe Vardy was the only striker targeted this summer.

There’s a hint of opportunism about the bid with Arsenal surprised to find the release clause really was that low. But I do think it was more planned than that, despite the popular theory it wasn’t and that he’s the only striker targeted.

Wenger would comment on Alexandre Lacazette – he never does – but it didn’t stop the speculation – it never does. And over in Japan, a little-known forward on these shores, reckons Arsenal are in for him. Takuma Asano claimed that he’s in the frame for a move to north London. I think it’s just Wenger’s mod sensibilities surfacing, with the Vapors on his current playlist.

Before we dismiss it out of hand though, Park Chu-young anyone…

Still, if he’s genuinely running out of options, Robin van Persie is reportedly on his way out of Turkish football. Let’s see him come up with a website for returning to the Emirates.

What jolly japes this transfer window may yet turn out to be.

’til Tomorrow.

93 thoughts on “Paper Tigers: Lacazette, Asano Or Could RvP Return?

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    Is our manager using the FA’s interest in him to do a “Vardy” and force Silent Stan into giving him a new and greatly enhanced new contract?

  2. Wavey says:

    Morning to all,

    Time to just let the waves of speculation wash over you. No one is coming to Arsenal until they are actually signed and it very easy to get sucked in to the rumour mill. We all know which areas need to be strengthened and it will be interesting to see if we are able to hook one of the ducks before they are all snapped up. Watch for an ever decreasing pool of talent as the summer drifts on.

  3. jonnygunner says:

    If we do sign a striker I’ve abso-bloody-lutely no idea who it could be,we’re linked to every bugger.

  4. Phil says:

    I too will believe we have signed a striker, or anybody else when it’s signed, sealed and delivered and not before.
    The Vardy bid, might have triggered a release, but obviously in terms of wages, not enough of a gap between what Leicester could or would offer.
    Chalk that up to poor negotiating again.
    The issue of whether Vardy was the right target, is immaterial.

  5. C says:

    Fans expectations based on money, madness. Isn’t it a shame that people can’t see quality unless it comes with a big price tag? Some players, yes I get it that they will cost a shit ton, but thefe is plenty of quality with a massive price tag.

    With that said, striker is one of those positions where its hard to find a gem unless they are either young or only have had one good season prior to their move(see Giroud). Lacazette, yes….Japanese striker, only if brought in once our CF1 situation is taken care of.

  6. MikeSA says:

    “Is our manager using the FA’s interest in him to do a “Vardy” and force Silent Stan into giving him a new and greatly enhanced new contract?”

    It wouldn’t be the first time, he has a lot of form in this area over the years whenever his contract was coming up for renewal

  7. HenryB says:

    Morning One and All,

    As Phil said, the non-show of Vardy was down to poor negotiating, again, and that seems to be supported by indisputable evidence (well if Phil said it – that must be the case).
    Vardy, the tea lady conjectured, was desperate for pink toilet rolls in the gents, and Arsenal just would not accept the increased cost over the white stuff. Deplorable parsimony by Wenger, I suppose. 🙂

    Hiya, Orson, I think you have hit the money on the head, so to speak, when you claim that Wenger is doing a ‘Vardy’ by forcing Stan to give him a big new contract with a greatly enhanced salary – after all, every 65 y.o. multi-millionaire manager on a reported annual contract of £8m + cannot be expected to survive on such a paltry sum – innit? 🙂

    Well that has got my day off to a nice start back to footie wonderland, and away from all the turmoil of the referendum – and no one has mentioned that loony Trumpet.

  8. HenryB says:

    Morning, C.

    @ 10:31 – Did you mean that there is plenty of quality without a massive price tag?

  9. C says:



    Yes, haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

  10. HenryB says:


    You are correct, because, leaving the Vardy non-event aside, thankfully, Leics and Southampton have led the way with their cheap buys, Mahrez and Fanté, now being chased for big bucks, as have a number of the South Coast players.

    The key is to uncover such gems before they cost big buckaroonies.

    Anyway, I could not give a stuff how much players cost. I am only interested in their quality on the pitch.

    To paraphrase Oscar Wilde; “The average footie fan is someone who knows the cost of every player, and the value of none”. 🙂

  11. Orson Kaert says:

    Good morning Henry, don’t discount greed, why would a 65 year old multi millionaire on £8+ million a year suffer the slings and arrows of outraged supporters for anything else.

  12. Wavey says:


    I agree that there is plenty of quality without massive price tags, but it’s usually unproven or playing in the wrong league. Almost a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If AW identifies cheap talent that then doesn’t perform he will be slaughtered for being tight on spending. Spending out for a big name doesn’t guarantee anything though. That’s why I have been tempted by the idea of bringing in an older established player and an up and coming. Of course, if we are willing to go up against one of the big hitters for a price tag then fair enough. Can’t exactly complain if we got someone like Higuain and he didn’t work out – although we would have nabbed him for a much lower price if we hadn’t let him slip through our fingers before.

  13. C says:


    Not just sides like Leics and Southampton but Dortmund and Juve and so some extent Athletico have been masterful doing this over the past 5+ years.

    I tend to agree with you, don’t care about the price, just the quality.

  14. HenryB says:

    Again, you are correct, C.

    I read a very interesting article on the way that Atletico Madrid run their recruitment process, which has become one of the mainstays of the club, both for success on the field and the eventually transfer income.

    Unfortunately, I cannot remember which paper I read the article in, probably the UK Sunday Times, but in essence they have a data base on players who would fill each position in their team. When a player is sold they have a Plan A for a replacement, and also a Plan B, C, D etc and it works brilliantly.

    I have over-simplified it, as their President went to great lengths to explain their methodology, and you would assume that all other clubs would have a similar back-up system, but, excuse the cynic in me, I do not think that every club does have a system, and I am thinking here of (cough, cough) Arsenal (cough, cough).

    In essence, Atletico pursue a proactive rather than a reactive model for buying and selling players – and it works very well indeed.

  15. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    I understand the idea that a lot of fans are overly obscessed with their club spending money. I am certainly guilty as charged. However the other point you made in your post is that undiscovered gems are uncommon. If that is true then it makes sense to believe that a team usually has to spend big money to buy difference making players. With that in mind it’s perfectly logical for a fan to want his club to spend big. There are always exceptions to every generalization and occasionally a team like Leicester can find a player like Vardy or Mahrez who does not cost much. However something is an exception to the rule because it’s uncommon and usually not repeatable. It’s very difficult in today’s world to build a top of the table team based on value purchasing. No one wants to hear that but it’s true. Anyone who would try to make the case that success on the pitch is not correlated with the amount you spend for players is probably not being realistic

  16. C says:


    I think that’s the thing, so often we look at players based on the league they are in as opposed to how they perform in those leagues and in Europe. For instance, Basel has produced: Shaqiri, Inler, Xhaka, Raktik, Frei and a few others but they all went for small or relatively small sums and its simply based on the league. I think all to often people look at how much the PL clubs are paying for players and base it off that when some need to realize that other countries probably laugh because of the sums the PL is paying based on how much those same players may move for in other countries. I don’t think its a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation unless that unproven player is so raw (Yaya) and isn’t followed up by a more proven commodity. For instance, the year Dortmund brought in Aubameynag (who was an immense talent at the time but was still raw and unproven) they also brought in Mhkitaryan. The issue that we have seen at Arsenal is that we may buy those young unproven players but there is no more established player brought in with them. I would have no problem bringing in a player like Lacazette and he being our only CF brought in but say if we brought in Embolo (who moved to Germany). I would also have no problem with bringing in Higuain (I have advocated this for a couple years now) because he would be a perfect buy: more than likely hit the ground running, is clinical, in the prime of his career, so that even if he does eventually not perform in year 1; we still have Giroud as a Plan B and then one more year of Higuain while also seeing what we got in Welbeck.

    For me, the Dybala situation last summer pretty much sums up how inflated PL monies are: He eventually went to Juve for €32m when up to that point it was quoted that Arsenal and a couple other PL sides were set to table an offer of much more than that.

  17. C says:


    I may have to look through the internet for that article because that sounds like a really good read.

    You may have over-simplified it but you got the point across, there has to be a plan of action and not just buy the biggest names or the biggest fees. Athletico have no only bought well but sold well and people can bang on all they want about Arsene and Arsenal doing things the right way, well there are plenty of clubs that do it much much better and have had much better success i.e Athletico, Juve and Dortmund but you also have Sevilla and most of the top German clubs just to throw a couple different ones.

    I think there is a Plan B and C, the problem is in my eyes, either the Plan B and C aren’t very good (see, well a number of players through the years) or either they have put all their eggs into Plan A’s basket that there is no coming back thus, Plan B and C don’t even get a thought.

    I’m with you, being more proactive instead of reactionary would see our great club push forward and not be stuck in neutral.

  18. HenryB says:

    Watchyer, OK. 🙂

    Greed is all around us, and with the huge sums of money being wafted about I suppose we cannot blame distinctly average players thinking ‘I want some of that’.

    And let’s face it, managers cannot be blamed either for thinking the same. Of course, quality managers are likely to receive a premium salary because of their reputation, so what I was saying really is that Wenger has never been short of suitors willing to pay him big tomaytoes, and recently the France and now the England FAs have been sounding him out, allegedly, and no doubt would be prepared to pay him a king’s ransom to work for them.

    I suspect that if AW wanted to stay at Arsenal, and extend his contract for another 3 years, Stan would happily agree to that – money no object – provided the fans do not vote with their feet and force him out.

    [Incidentally, your comment the other day, was very interesting, and for someone not involved, it gave a clearer insight into what the key issues were for the ‘leavers’. And others have made their disappointments clear about the result.
    It remains a complex and divisive issue, with understandable concerns on both sides of the coin. Difficult.

  19. Damon says:

    If Higuain is being touted for that, it only makes me think Lukaku for a bit less looks even more interesting to me.

    On the Vardy deal, I’m not sure I agree that it was poor negotiations on our part. In the past, I’ve been critical that we probably haven’t gone that extra little bit to get our man. In this case, I tend to think that what we reportedly were offering was about right for what the player could expect to get and where he’d fit into our squad in relation to other players packets

    He wouldn’t have been the player that I’d have pushed the boat out on to get.

  20. blazon says:

    Succinctly summarised, YW, thank you.

    he isn’t here yet
    but travel he might
    tho’ naturally, in the dead of the night.

  21. C says:


    Sevilla is basically an assembly line. They lose players and have a system in place. Its actually quite amazing and I know some scoff at them winning Europa League 3 straight years but that is quite a feat.

  22. C says:


    With them isn’t though just that they buy and sell really well but get the best out of players. Nzonzi wasn’t a bad player but he has played extremely well for them and he isn’t the only one but one that most on here will know. I think it will be interesting with their manager leaving for PSG.

  23. C says:

    Another that if we are going to punt, then take a punt on him would be Vincent Janssen. There is reports he can be had for 20m, why not do it.

  24. Jomki says:

    With Lack of good strikers around, i wouldnt mind RVP comming back.

  25. C says:

    I was talking to my coworker just now and we were talking Euros and he wondered how people would feel if Big Sam became manager of England.

  26. Bill says:

    You can win with less expensive players from smaller leagues but it’s more difficult and the probability of success is lower if you use that strategy. Our biggest success in terms of getting difference making players in this decade has come from buying more expensive players from Germany and mostly Spain. Our best purchases have been Ozil Sanchez cazorla. Nacho has worked out well and he is from Spain. Our success has been more mixed with players from the French league. Kos has been a success but Giroud Gervinho Chamakh are a mixed bag.

    No harm with taking a punt on less expensive players from smaller leagues in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough that can help us a few years from now. There are uncommon exceptions to every generalization but if the goal is to buy a player who an instant difference maker and helps us win the league next year then the highest probability of success is to buy established players from Europes biggest leagues. However if the goal is to buy a differncr making

  27. Damon says:

    Robin’s little boy inside has had enough of our cash to sit on our treatment table

    He can fuck right off. End of

  28. C says:


    Well my coworker is a bit mad. It was just one of those out of the box things that from time to time he throws out.

  29. Bill says:

    It depends on your expectations for the club. Do we want to be a club like Dortmund or Atletico that is relatively more successful then expected based on the amounts they spend or do we want to be a club that will usually compete and sometimes win our league and regularly will be one of the 5 – 10 best teams in Europe. Do you want to be the club that buys less expensive players and tries to develop them and makes sure there is room in the squad to give its younger players plenty of chances or do you want to be the club that buys the ready made players. To each his own. There are certainly positive things about being the first type of club. Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to compete with the other big money teams and you don’t win a lot of trophies. Stan Kronke certainly loves seeing our cash reserves grow. The down side is it’s hard to compete with the top teams in the PL and Europe with that smaller club sort of mindset. We certainly have the resources to be think more like a big club if that is what we want to do.

  30. Bill says:

    It’s a small sample size but one of the things that the clubs like Dortmund or Atletico who seem to over perform based on their resources in this decade is they have excitable and very passionate managers and their players respond positively to that manager. You could argue that Juve is another example under Conte.

  31. Bill says:

    Unless I misread the mood on the blog last season, I think it’s pretty clear that we all want Arsene to be more aggressive and to win something sooner rather then later. No harm taking a punt on a player from Japan or even the next Yaya Sanogo but that sort of player is unlikely to be a difference maker next season. If our goal is to win one of the 2 big trophies next season then the best chance of success will clearly come if we buy a big money forward or 2 who have been successful in one of Europes bigger leagues.

  32. C says:


    What do you consider to be one of Europe’s bigger leagues: Germany, Spain, Italy and England? What about France or a player like Janssen who comes from the Dutch league but scored 27 goals in 32 appearances? You can’t compare us to Athletico when you consider that they have done not only bleeding their youth but also buying players (especially strikers) from Portugal or players that were relatively unproven and not always at the biggest clubs. For instance, yes Griezmann is a household name but when they bought him he had 2 good season at Sociedad or Carrasco who was a good player at Monaco but certainly wasn’t the best of players yet both are the building blocks for their striker department.

  33. Damon says:

    I’m warming to the idea of Janssen

    If we do that, or that kind of a deal, I’d want someone else with him. I think Wavey was saying an old pro who you could call on for 20 games a season and get something out of them.

    Would take the pressure off the prospect to hit the ground running and hold onto that form all season. I hope we’ve all seen that when we’ve asked too many of them to do that, it inevitably ends up with a crash and burn.

  34. captain senderos says:

    the striker from the dutch league, janssen confirmed that tottenham bid for him was rejected by his club….interesting…..atleast spurs are trying to improve their attack while monsieur wenger is busy looking at french women asses in france

  35. Wavey says:

    I’m definitely on the Janssen bandwagon. I’m guessing that the Spuds deal is almost a given unless they get silly over the price. Can’t understand how a player who scored 27 goals in the Dutch league last season isn’t worth €20m? Given the dearth of strikers out there unless you pay top money, I would thought he was a snip at that price. It’s about time we had another Dutch striker. Would still have money left for another striker, or a winger. Lucas Moura?

  36. Bill says:

    I think one to the other keys to building a team that is successful while spending less money is to focus on building a very strong defense. It costs a lot less to buy a group of players that can be the best defensive team in the league. Defense is the great equalizer and Atletico is the best example. Juve was also clearly the best defensive team in their league. Even Leicester had to keep a long run of clean sheets to hold its spot on top of the table.

    If you are going to build a team with an attack first mindset and especially if you are going to build your strategy around ball possession such as Barca or Bayern you need to have overwhelming talent advantage especially in your forward line and that usually costs a lot of money. When Barca looked like it was struggling after getting overwhelmed by Munich in the CL a few years ago, their response was to buy Neymar and Suarez. They had to sell Sanchez and Pedro and a couple of their youth players to finance their purchases but it was certainly the right move.

    The point is that if we want to win in the near term while maintaining our attacking ball possession team mindset then we probably need to spend whatever it takes to significantly upgrade the talent in our forward line. If would take a major change in our managers ethos to build around a team that emphasizes defense first. Even if Arsene was willing to make that sort of change in his mindset, I am skeptical that he could make it work.

  37. Birdkamp says:

    Does nobody else shudder when they read about goal-a-game Eredivisie strikers?

  38. andy1886 says:

    Nope, most of our Dutch imports have been fantastic. At least since DB10 (Glenn Helder was the last duffer).

  39. C says:

    @Big Al

    I would have no problem with signing Janssen but I also wouldn’t mind Lacazette either. I think if Arsene isn’t going to go for a bigger named striker than taking a punt on Janssen or Lacazette makes sense. While Arsene does seem to want a striker, he still seems to prefer Giroud and the other striker either start on the wing or work his way into the fold.

  40. Birdkamp says:

    Damon, just wondering.

    Cos, well, you know there have been quite a few stinkers or limited players who have blown that league apart: Dirk Kuyt, Depay, Kezman, Afonso Alves, Finnbogason, Altidore, John Guidetti, Bryan Ruiz. And so on…add Bony now because he looks bad these days.

    OK, Luis Suarez, Bergkamp and van Nistelrooy worked out. Hmm, Romario and Ronaldo just about made the grade. But they all go back to a time when the league was competitive, for all but LS.

  41. Birdkamp says:

    Our Dutch imports were from a time when the Eredivise was, you know, relatively good. Big distinction.

  42. Bill says:


    You can over perform with a strategy like Atletico but I think even you would accept that it’s a lot more difficult to do it that way. The other thing is that we probably are never going to be far and away the best defensive team in our league and without that Atletico’s strategy would not work.

    Atletico has an amazing record of success with developing players like that but it usually takes time and the vast majority of teams are not nearly as successful as Atletico has been. I have absolutely no problem with taking a punt of someone like Griezmann as long as we accept that the chance of success for each individual player is low. Our record in this decade with developing and improving goal scorers is abysmal and I don’t see any reason to expect us to suddenly figure it out next year. If the goal is to win one of the big trophies in the next couple seasons then by far the best chance of success is to spend the money to get someone like Sanchez rather then hope we can find the next Jaimy Vardy who comes from no where or the next Griezmann or Costa who develop into big name players. Doesn’t that make sense.

  43. C says:

    @Big Al

    To be fair, a couple of those names on that list weren’t goal scorers before or after that especially when you look at Kuyt, Altidore, Ruiz, Guidetti, Afonso Alves. I don’t think its fair to mention Bony as he was good for Swansea but at Citeh he just doesn’t seem to fit there.

  44. Bufallo says:

    Birdkamp says:
    June 30, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Does nobody else shudder when they read about goal-a-game Eredivisie strikers?

    Yes, i do, …..

    Mateja Kezman, Dirk Kuyt, Afonso Alves, Ryan Babel and Mounir El Hamdaoui

    although Kuyt was a success in his own way, outrageous workrate which british fans love.

  45. Bill says:

    I would take Janssen or Lacezette if they are best goal scorers that are available. I don’t know anything about either player but the fact that Lacezette succeeded against a better group of players and teams in France would seem to make him the more likely of the 2 to be able to take over as our number 1 striker and adapt quickly and start scoring goals next season.

  46. Damon says:

    I’d say Suarez’s numbers (until his last season there) were average, then one stellar year. I don’ t think that league was much worse then than it is today?

    I’d say out of your list there, that’s probably about a 50% superstar success rate. Probably pretty good success rate when you compare it with any other punt on a player?

    On the Bony thing, I’d still be interested in him today…..

  47. Birdkamp says:

    Damon, that’s an optimistic interpretation, as most of the duds are recent and the stars are historic.

    That’s the point, C. When they were in the Dutch League they mashed it up. It’s happened so many times I’d usually want to see some sort of transitional stage. Ligue 1 is a massive step up from Eredivisie.

    I guess it makes sense, because you can’t actually go lower than the Jupiler League (2nd Div) in Dutch professional football. There’s been no mandatory relegation! Many of the defenders these forward will be up against are just a fraction above semi-pro.

  48. C says:


    That’s the thing though, I don’t think Athletico are over performing, they have quality all through that team and have a style and system that works for them, hell all the successful clubs throughout the history of futbol the same thing can and has been said. I think its unfair to say to say that Athletico’s strategy wouldn’t work without being the best defensive team as much as it would be unfair to purely put Barca’s success since Cruyff and in modern times Pep, strictly down to their attack. Just a couple of seasons ago Athletico were a high scoring club with Falcao and Costa and before that Aguero/Forlon/Reyes.

    Actually it doesn’t make sense to me purely because there are so many variables in that scenario. For instance, Griezmann had seasons of 10 and then 16 goals prior to his move to Athletico even though everybody knew he was talented as both a winger and a false 9; his first 2 seasons in Atheltico have seen him score 22 league goals at the minimum, I don’t think it was purely down to just taking a punt, but identifying a player that can fit into your system. Would it be great to spend massive amounts of cash on a big time striker, ofcourse, but there is also no problem with buying a player like Lacazette or Janssen who have really good goal scoring records and would give us what we need in strikers that in theory could get us 20 PL goals.

    I mean, lets be honest, if Bayern or Dortmund were to even think about putting Lewandowski or Aubameyang up for sale, there would be a line of suitors that would not only go into the bidding war with us but would also have the balls of steel to not just stay in but put in an absurd bid that frankly, Arsene and Arsenal would immediately balk at even with the loads of cash we have in the vault.

  49. Birdkamp says:

    I mean shit, Dirk Kuyt just scored 19 just last season. He looked finished when we played Fenerbahce three years ago!

  50. HenryB says:

    Sorry for the delay in replying to your 12:13, Yogi, fish and chips were a-calling. 🙂

    It was Seville I was referring to regarding the transfer sale/recruitment model, thank you.
    You have a very good memory!! 😀

  51. Damon says:

    Big Al,

    The stars are all pretty much once in a generation type of player, or historic, as you say. But that’s the kind of thing we’re after – no?

    To the best of my knowledge, no one has dramatically exceeded the goal a game sort of ratio in that league, so perhaps it isn’t a precursor for certain success. But it might be? I will concede that the league was a different beast ten years ago or more.

  52. C says:

    @Big Al

    I certainly get your point and what your saying because at times its brutal watching the Dutch League but I think there are also players that have a certain skill set that just translates. Yes it would be a gamble but I am also of the mind that he is a finisher and given the amount of chances we create he would do fine. Would he light it up in the first season, probably not but I have a sneaky feeling that unless we buy one of the bigger named strikers that Giroud is probably going to be first choice for the start of the season.

    Another thing is he is more the striker we need given the most part the ball is at the feet of Ozil, Sanchez, Santi, Xhaka(now), and our midfield and wingers; we just need a finisher at CF and Giroud to play Plan B.

    Why not take a punt, I would rather take a punt on him than nothing at all as many think will eventually happen.

  53. Birdkamp says:

    Damon, more that they happened in the past and the environment is no longer conducive to them happening again, sadly. Eeredivisie is bad. I mean, dreadful.

    Nobody stays, the league suffers, young players come through but don’t get to test themselves against international talent. So they’re not as good as the ones 20 years ago. But they’ll still leave anyway, and the league gets even worse.

    We’re complicit here, signing players like Ozyakup and Barazite when before they’d have filtered through the system in Eeredivisie. Players have always left Dutch football for bigger things, but now they don’t even wait to achieve anything or even make it to first team football.

    Credit to Cocu for what he achieved last season though. That’s a massive exception though, and probably won’t be repeated soon.

  54. Bill says:

    C @ 2:58

    Atletico might have been a high scoring team with Falcao and Costa or Aguero but they could never outgun Madrid or Barca and their results showed that. That is the point, if your goal is to out score your opponents then it’s all about having the most talent and usually requires spending the most money. However, from the standpoint of results, Simeone has been much more successful in the last 3 years by focusing on team defense. It costs a lot less to defend well and get results by keeping a lot of clean sheets compared to what it costs to build a team that scores a lot of goals.

    The point of the last paragraph in that comment is correct.. I don’t think we have any interest in getting into bidding wars for great forwards. However, Arsene is certainly not against spending money. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we will have the most expensive starting midfield in the world next season and probably the most expensive back ups in terms of the their value on the open market. As long as we are unwilling to spend money to build our forward line we will probably struggle to compete. Why buy an extremely high priced DM when we already had Le Coq and Elneny if resources were limited?

    The other point is that even Barca Real or Chelsea has not been spending huge amounts without having to sell players. That’s how we got Ozil and Sanchez. We have the resources to bid with anyone in the world for Aubameyang and if we needed more cash we could sell Walcott, Ox, Ramsey, Wilshere or even someone like Cazorla. It’s all about improving the team as a whole and other big teams would sell if they needed cash to buy a player who could be a huge difference maker.


  55. Aaron says:

    If we can get a team with a few players like Kuyt, who helped Pool win CL, crap, sign them now. 2 defenders, one mid and forward who are full of toughness, resolve, and will. Would make for exciting games and who knows maybe win CL!!

  56. Aaron says:

    Check that- Kuyt was on the losing side in next years final. There goes that theory.

  57. Bill says:

    If Xhaka was the last big money acquisition of the summer then the best thing we could do to get better results next season would be to re focus our strategic emphasis on defending. That worked for the first half of the season in 13/14. We were getting goals from Giroud and Ramsey was having his career season. However, I think the biggest reason we were on top of the table was we were leading the league in clean sheets and we I think we had conceded the fewest goals. Liverpool and Man City had us completely out gunned on the attacking end that season but we were ahead of both in the table while we defended well in the first half of the season.

    I am a results oriented fan and I am 100% in favor of winning with defense if Arsene was willing to commit to that strategy, especially if we don’t want to spend what it takes to buy a couple of difference making forwards. The question is could we maintain that sort of defensive focus for a full season?

    Obviously the ideal situation would be to do both, buy a couple of established forwards but still focus on conceding fewer goals.

  58. C says:


    They did but even when they were more high flying they had a system and that more than anything I feel is what we lack. Sure we need a more clinical CF and winger opposite Sanchez, but the system isn’t their consistently enough to get the job done. Even in Simeone’s first season when they were more high scoring, they won the Europa League and followed that up by winning the Copa del Rey (beating Madrid). The thing is, it is easier to build a defense but I don’t think our defenders are bad just the system or focus on it.

    I get what you are saying about spending money but I think it is a bit of an exaggeration to say we have the most expensive starting midfield when you consider how much Madrid paid for theirs, how much PSG, Chelsea Citeh and Manure paid for theirs and lets not get into their value in the open-market be in the first choice midfield or their back-ups, I mean if that’s the case than we are even further down that list. I’m not saying and never have said resources are or were limited but I have never been one to think that we need to spend boat loads because Arsene and Arsenal won’t do it no matter how much we have. Plus, when you consider that Aubameyang ONLY cost Dortmund 13-15m ONLY 2 seasons ago, there is clearly players out there.

    There is difference though between Arsenal and the likes of Barca, Real, Chelsea, they can sell players like Ozil, Sanchez Higuain, and so on and so on because they are able to attract the best players in the world and balk at no price. Yes we can bid for Aubameyang but lets be serious here, if we got into a bidding war with the likes of Madrid or Barca, their players have a higher re-sale value than ours for the most part. Of the names you mentioned, who could we really fetch large money for, because while reports have said that clubs are in for these players you also have heard those stories go quite pretty quickly meaning they were probably media re-hash or in the instance of Ramsey to Barca, based on Ramsey talking up a potential move to Barca (I mean lets be serious here, why would they want Ramsey when they have Raktik who is basically a better and more skillful version). See that’s the thing, we feast off the scraps of those big clubs which isn’t always a bad thing but isn’t always a good thing either.

    Also, of those players, unless they are going to a PL side, which one of those players do you see another big club in Europe paying big money for? Ox, Jack Ramsey, why would a club like Bayern or Juve buy them when they already have players and their back-ups better than those players (Koman is better than all 3 of those players and he is on loan at Bayern because his parent club Juve don’t need him right now).

    Should we be a lot better, absolutely but we aren’t.

  59. C says:

    Ibra just confirmed he signed with Manure as many thought he would.

  60. santori says:

    News today that HULK (Brazilian one not the green bloke) is off to China for something ridiculous like 47m quid (if I heard right)

    The market for strikers is even tighter now with China in the game too and apparently willing and able to pay.

    Asamoah Gyan apparently is at the same club in Shanghai. These aren’t players way over the hill like in the MLS but in their prime years or thereabouts.

    Nominally some of these players would have been targets for the less well off Premiership clubs but as I mentioned, Wenger is facing a double crunch for some time.

    He has teams around us who can spend more (Your City, Chelsea…not to mention PSG, Bayern, Real, Barca and Juve overseas). This restricts your top end choices.

    And you have the other teams with improved TV money who can also spend (look at Shaqiri and Bojan at Stoke). With the Chinese market developing, the market for strikers who would have normally gone to some of these clubs has also tighten and these clubs will be competing for the remaining players on the market against Arsenal.

    Ordinarily, we should not have a problem convincing those strikers to come to us but the overall effect does mean if we are distracted chasing the top end and do not (for good reasons) land them because of the competition by 6 or 7 clubs who can spend more, we may very well also find secondary targets have been snapped up already once we decide to shift to plan B and lower expectations.

    The market as I mentioned last summer in particular but also this summer is tricky with supply very much tight unless certain clubs move for big players and start the musical chairs.

    Its not a simple thing of going in with an offer as many pundits deem to imagine.

    You put in a bid too quickly and you alert the chasing pack. Some have similar requirements and can spend more.

    You wait too long and you run out of options but if you go for secondary options too quickly, you may have spent an over inflated price on a lesser player and you may miss a gem later on in the market.

    Many fail to understand the intricacies of the market. It’s a market. The price is not fixed.

    3m for some player who could either be the next Park/Ryo or the next Honda, why not?;)

  61. santori says:

    As far as Japanese players are concerned, Ryo was no different to many of the other Academy hopefuls we sign.

    He got a lot of press coverage which bigged him up but in fairness to him and Arsenal, he was as much as any other academy hopeful that did not make it and there are plenty which is the normal order of things.

    We could of course elect to thing ah another Asian player, he’s going to be the next Ryo or Park (Not Japanese but a more inexplicable perhaps panic cover) but we could also think at 21yrs for 3m that aside from a good marketing move, who knows? This chap may turn out to be the next Honda or say the little fellow Kagawa at Dortmund.

    We won’t be moaning then would we? (well some will still whinge as is their nature)


    Remember all the fuss some made over Dick Law of the jungle and Campbell. He’s turning out to be a potential gem if Wenger can of course find the space to play him more. But Wenger is one of the shrewdest operators in the market. He won’t be buying without a reason.

    He’s had his fair share of fails but its important to remember most of those players were brought in for comparatively low prices and had less impact to our bottom line which is important for a self financed model. As a result, we have been able to independently grow our resource.

    Contrast the likes of Liverpool and United and the losses they have made on poor transfers.

    If this is solely a shirt deal, 3m is not a bad price for a share of the Japanese market these days.

  62. santori says:

    As far as RVP is concern, would be nice if he showed contrite and came back for one last hurrah to help us win the big prize.

    Truth though is he’s lost his mojo. And he is a bit of a d^ck/c*nt.Surely we could do better.


  63. Bill says:


    Add up the amounts we have spent for our starting 3 midfielders and compare that to the the rest of the world’s other big teams. If we are not the highest then we are certainly within a sand wedge of any those other teams in terms of the acquisition cost of our midfield. However, we are very very long ways behind those teams in terms of how much we are willing to invest in our forward line.

    In terms of Atletico’s results. You know as well as I that winning the Copa Del Rey or Europa league is a long long ways below winning the league title and coming in second in the CL. The fact that they morphed into one of the world’s best defensive teams is the difference.

    It’s going to be tough to win the big trophies we want as long as we have the attitude that we can’t compete for the difference making players we need. I think the biggest problem is our mindset. There is no doubt whatsoever that we lost out on Higuain because we did not want to outbid Napoli. It’s a little less clear what happened with Suarez but I think most of us believe we could have done a lot better in our pursuit and and in the end we were willing to take no for an answer.

    We might lose the battle in many cases if we have to compete with Real but I thought that is why we built the stadium and its why we lead the world in TV revenue last season. Besides, if the rumor you mentioned yesterday is true then we won out again Munich to sign Xhaka so we are not afraid to go the distance if we really want the player.

  64. Bill says:


    In today’s market, if you use the wait and see reactive strategy that you suggest instead of being proactive the way we were with Xhaka then you have to accept there is a high likelyhood that you will end up missing out on your targets.

  65. Damon says:

    I agree Bill. We all know who the top talents are and who is more likely available over who isn’t

    I’ll say it again for those of you who haven’t heard me yet.

    Go BIG and go early and when it feels like you’re pants are about to be pulled down, tell them to stuff it and move on to the next one.

  66. Bill says:


    I think it’s pretty clear that the Simeone model will improve results if you’re trying to compete against teams that can outspend and out gun you. It’s pretty clear that Arsene is no longer the type of manager who can build attacking teams that are more then the sum of their parts. If you really believe we can’t compete financially with other big teams then focusing on defense and counter attack seems like a logical way to go. I would be all for it and I think Ozil and Sanchez and our players could adapt to that type of system. However, I understand a lot of fans would not want to see us play Simeone-ball irregardless of the results. To each his own.

  67. C says:


    Arsenal: Xhaka / Ozil / Santi / Le Coq – 84
    Madrid: Kroos/ James/ Modric/ Isco – 123.75
    Bayern – Vidal / Alonso / Thiago – 50m (with theirs it depends on who you consider their midfield but also keep in mind that they also got some players on a free and that doesn’t take into account somebody like Javi Martiez who is the back-up DM/CB who cost 30M or Douglas Costa who cost 22.5m)
    Barca are different because Busquets and Inesta came through their ranks but are said to be valued at well over 100m
    Chelsea: Matic / Cesc / William / Hazard – 100.13
    Citeh: Gundoghen (more than likely starter) / Yaya / Silva / Fernandinho – 94.31 (this number would add another 55.5 depending on if you consider De Bruyne to be apart of their midfield.)
    Manure: Schneidelin / Schweinsteiger / Mata / Fellaini or Herrer (they cost the same) – 93.55

    So yes we are in a stones throw but that doesn’t take into account wages and I didn’t even do PSG.

    See that’s the thing Bill, the Copa del Rey and winning the Europa League in EVERY OTHER COUNTRY but England means something and they would rather win those 2 competitions than finish 2nd in the league, don’t believe, go read about La Liga and how seriously the other countries take Europa League.

    I think your missing what I’m saying, its not about whether or not we can compete for players, its whether or not we want to fight and if the players want to come. There is nothing wrong with competing but the problem is Arsenal don’t seem capable of competing for those players and if they lose out get Plan B, instead they shit themselves and we end up with Park Chu-Young. That’s what I’m talking about, if Aubameyang had the chose between Arsenal and most of the big clubs, I love Arsenal but the other big clubs would be his choice in my mind (though he has already said as much) because of their silverware cabinet and their ambition in recent times. The Suarez deal was clear, Arsene tried to be cute and bid a quid more and Mr. Henry told him to go fuck off!

    That’s the thing, the players you are talking about, the Lewandowski’s, Aubameyangs, Mueller’s; we are competing against the big boys, but Arsenal don’t seem to know how to.

  68. C says:


    And that’s the point that I have been trying to make that Henry got, Arsenal are SHIT at going to Plan B or C when its clear we won’t get Plan A. They seem capable of goign to Plan D but struggle to get Plan B and C because they are more than likely easier to get, like Arteta or Flamini.

  69. Orson Kaert says:

    Well here’s a surprise, Boris is NOT standing for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

  70. Phil says:

    Thanks for your earlier comment Henry!
    Damon, just to provide context for my claim.
    The £20m offer might have triggered the release, but it wasn’t enough for Leicester to decide to cash in.
    So instead they increased Vardy’s salary to a point that he was happy with.
    If we really wanted him, then the salary offer from us should have been large enough to completely seduce him, and create too big a gap for Leicester to match. Or offer Leicester a bigger transfer fee, so they effectively pushed him out the door.

  71. Bill says:

    I don’t think any team plays with more then 3 central mids and both Hazard and Willian play wide. You are fudging to add Lecoq to the equation who cost us nothing and will most likely be 3rd choice DM in order to add a 4th player to bump up the numbers for Chelsea and Madrid. 😉

    Ozil cazorla and Xhaka cost us at least $90M in transfer fees. We may be neck and neck with Madrid but our 3 starting central midfielders certainly cost as much as any 3 starting central midfielders in the world.

    Atletico won the league once and almost won again this year and they finished 2nd in the CL twice in the last 3 years. I think any team in any league in the world would call that a step up from winning the Copa and the Europa league earlier in the previous years. The bottom line is there is no question that Atletico improved its results by focusing on being a great defense and counter attacking. I don’t think it’s earth shattering news that has usually been the best way for the less well financed teams to compete with the big money teams for along time. I know you love the idea of pacey forwards interchanging and running on to thru balls from a world class #10 and you love the technical players who are great passers but that does not fit well with Simeone-ball. Myself, I don’t care how we play as long as we get results. To each his own.

  72. Bill says:


    No way to prove it but I suspect we could have gotten Vardy if that had been a high priority.

  73. andy1886 says:

    No doubt some other big clubs may be looking for a first choice striker, but NOT Madrid (CRonaldo), NOT Bayern (Lewandowski), NOT Barca (Suarez), probably NOT Juve (but if they do want a new #1 then they can sell us Dybala). So that’s most of those who can compete or better us financially (in theory). I’d suggest that only PSG (assuming that Cavani isn’t the man) and Chelsea are in the market for a new first choice striker and Chelsea are signing Batshuayi. United could have also been in the market but with Ibra signing to add to Martial and Rashford I would assume not. City could be but would they be looking at a first choice or better back up for Aguero?

    So really we don’t have that much competition from the big boys.

  74. Bill says:

    i was excited about the way were playing Wengerball in the early Emirates era. It’s different but after several years it’s just as exciting to watch a team that does not have as much ball possession but defends like its life depends on it and quickly counter attacks when they get the ball. We did that against Munich in the group stage game that we won. The most important thing is winning the game.

  75. C says:

    You mentioned backups so I put 4. Hazard has played as a #10 or behind the striker, I was doing that quickly. The point was, should some of those clubs sell their midfield they would get more, hell Pogba might cost more than Bale.

    Just because the PL thinks lowly of the Europa doesn’t mean the other big countries don’t. Finish 2nd in the CL and the League and you get a pat on the back, win the Copa del Rey and Europa League and you win a trophy and you go straight to the CL, sorry you can keep your 2nd in CL and League, Ill take Copa Del Rey and Europa League in my managers first 2 seasons.

    Koke(the heartbeat of Athletico) is probably on of the most technically gifted midfielders in the world, Gabi is too. Griezmann is a pacy forward who gets onto the end of through balls on the counter along with Carrasco who is another pacy technical winger. Torres, may have lost a step but is extremely technical. The difference between what Simeone is doing and Arsene is the focus on the defensive side of the team, one cares and one doesn’t seem to.

    I think you might want to watch more of Athletico because technically they are a quality side. Yes against Barca and Madrid they counter, hell Bayern sat back and tried to counter Barca.

    You can have your Simeone and Athletico, I’ll take my style with my quality #10 and pacy striker (remember Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and Freddie).

    This isnt going anywhere.

  76. Phil says:

    Thanks Bill.
    You just reminded me of my own contradiction !
    A few days ago , I suggested it was a tyre kicker bid. ( meaning a pretend bid, whilst pretending to be serious .)
    Today I claimed it was a poor negotiation..
    It can’t be both.
    On a positive note, I am comfortable that I am right with one of my statements.!

  77. C says:

    Should, o mine as well……


    How was Vardy not a priority if he was reported to be in the building set for a medical and then things changed? Maybe Vardy just decided he didn’t want to come?

  78. C says:

    I blame all this on Arsene, instead of fucking signing a striker he wants to do commentary.

    Dear Arsene,

    Find a striker or fuck off.

    Best Regards,

    C fron ACLF

  79. andy1886 says:

    Be fair C, he’s absolutely loaded already so I’m sure he’s doing it and donating the fee to orphans or something.

    Isn’t he?

  80. Bill says:


    If Vardy was really a priority then why get outbid for wages by Leicester. I realize that in each individual case there can be something outside your control that details a transfer but when you have money available but keep missing targets over and over then you have to question the level of motivation of the buyer. The alternative is we that constantly make mistakes or miscalculate something every time which seems very far fetched.

  81. C says:


    I think Yogi outlined that in a post.

    If Suarez was a priority why only bid a $1 more? Only way to explain it is its Arsene and Arsenal.

  82. Bill says:


    I don’t watch Atletico very often and I don’t know the numbers but from what I have seen I suspect that the ball possession percentages and the number of touches in the attacking end and the number of passes completed is much higher on average for Arsenal then it is for Atletico. That is a major difference in style of play and tactical focus between the 2 sides.

  83. Bill says:


    That is the whole point. If we were really highly motivated to get a new striker then why let Napoli outbid us for Higuain and why make that abortive effort and be willing to take no for an answer with Suarez and Vardy?

    Arsene can certainly get it right when he really wants to get a player so the idea that he made mistakes on Vardy, Higuain and Suarez seems unreasonable. I don’t think there is a secret formula to getting players. If you really are motivated to get him then you have to pay the amount needed.

  84. Bill says:

    I haven’t watched Atletico very much but when I have seen them they transition quickly. They don’t slow the ball down and let the defense set up and end up pinging passes around the midfield.

  85. andy1886 says:

    Portugal in the semis despite not winning a single game in 90 minutes this tournament. Crazy, never liked penalties ever since the 1980 CWC Final.

  86. dukey says:

    Didn’t even bother watching the game yesterday, this tournament has been a huge disappointment, the football served up has been nothing short of poor. Portugul in the semis without winning a game, northern Ireland heroes after losing 3 out of 4 games. Wales v Belgium?? who cares. Iceland have been the only real good story..

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