France Go For Broke, Transfers & Barca Make A Messi Of It


Another quiet morn as the world prepares for the final competitive fixture of the 2015/16 season. France take on Portugal and with no Arsenal interest in the latter’s squad, most will be willing the hosts to win. For the English it means forgetting centuries of enmity and blockages at Calais, which never comes easy.

France are favourites and it will be no surprise to see Portugal do exactly what Greece did to them in the final of Euro 2004. Dour defence, taking the one opportunity they have and then more dour defence with prayers to every God created by man, with more than a little luck thrown in.

To Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny: Bon chance, mes amis.

It would be good for football to have an open and high-scoring game. Defensive sides winning matches at this level doesn’t bode well for the coming season with any number of limited intellect coaches taking the easy option. We’ve already got Mourinho and Allardyce in the top flight; we don’t need any of their acolytes either.

Away from that, Arsenal have apparently rejected a move from Juventus for Alexis Sanchez. The headline screams: “ARSENAL will not sell Alexis Sanchez this summer despite Juventus submitting a bid which met the Gunners’ valuation.”

Which is curious in itself; why would Arsenal set a valuation on the player who they have no intention of selling?

Nonetheless, defying logic, the story continues, “That’s according to Juve sporting director Giuseppe Marotta, who claims the Italians were told £34million would be enough to land the Chilean – only to see their bid snubbed by Arsene Wenger.”

So, we weren’t interested in selling the player but set a valuation. That information was passed onto Juventus who acted on it only to find out that we weren’t interested in selling the player. Someone’s Mr20% is running a bit short of cash this summer or they need to keep a close eye on rivals for their client’s signature.

It’s easy for buying and selling clubs to be duped by the unscrupulous.

The club has previously rejected offers for Olivier Giroud, according to reports, which would be hardly surprising since we’re struggling to sign a striker ourselves. Sometimes misfiring is better than nothing.

Lyon have denied Arsène Wenger has contacted them over Alexandre Lacazette, which is probably true. Any bid would come from Dick Law or Ivan Gazidis so there’s nothing to read into Aulas’ statement on the subject.

The question of what constitutes a good summer’s business vexes many. Last year was accepted as the definition of bad: no outfield players and just a goalkeeper signed when more were needed. But a good summer? As much as it is signing players, retaining players is as big an issue. A good summer is striking the right balance between the two.

Keeping hold of key personnel is as important to a squad as replacing others. The problem is that we can barely agree on who those key personnel are. Some worship the ground Mesut Özil walks on, others think he’s over-rated. The same applies to Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker; in fact, the whole squad. There isn’t one player who is universally considered unsellable.

Not like Lionel Messi, he’s unsellable.

In a bizarre moment, even by football’s standard, someone at Barcelona thought it was a good idea to launch a social media campaign to let Messi know he is still loved in Catalunya. We are, according to the club, all Lionel Messi.

It’s not surprising that the club is backing tax fraud; they, after all, have been fined several times down the years for similar offences. And like Real Madrid, they were one of several Spanish clubs found guilty of receiving state aid by an EU Commissioner. It’s a way of life for the richest clubs to move money around; Tottenham are owned by ENIC out of the tax-friendly Bahamas, for example.

However, that Barcelona thought anyone would have sympathy for a convicted fraudster is simply baffling. Are we supposed to feel sympathy for a man who was conveniently given a sentence just below the two-year level which meant he avoids serving time? This is a man whose obscene wealth was inflated by tax evasion, not a legal avoidance scheme. If he felt hard done by, he only has to go down to the vaults and sleep on his piles of euros to feel better.

Football lives in a world of its own.

’til Tomorrow.

72 thoughts on “France Go For Broke, Transfers & Barca Make A Messi Of It

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    Nice post Yogi, among the speculation there’s been no comment from Alexis about his future shirt colour.

    It would be nice if he came out and said words to the effect “I’m very happy at Arsenal, I would like to see out my career at this club that I love so much. The fans are so much in love with me and they always give me 100% support. I have told my agent to tell Juventus to get stuffed”.

  2. jonnygunner says:

    Good morning YW,Orson.
    Orson,I’m not convinced that Alexis is a ‘committed’ club player-I don’t think for one minute he loves the club.

  3. Orson Kaert says:

    Johnny, perhaps I should have finished the comment by saying “I’m not holding my breath”

  4. jonnygunner says:

    I don’t think he’s a ‘long termer’,and we won’t be the club he finishes his career at-I’d put my house on it. He doesn’t speak passionately or emotively about Arsenal,he seems just to get on with it,but,deep down you know that if another club came along with a nice offer he’d be offski -he’s just not fussed.

  5. jonnygunner says:

    Maybe that’s down to Arsene though. We know he has his favourites,but equally I reckon he lets every one of them know that they’re not above having the chop,maybe that’s why a lot of the team don’t always appear committed -because they don’t know how long they’ve got left themselves.The only club that looked like they stuck together was the Foxes,and,to a point(dare I say it-the Spuds).
    Maybe it’s just the way football is evolving,teams by name but not by nature.

  6. andy1886 says:

    One thing that the club seems to struggle with is the idea that the best team wins the league, not the best collection of individuals. Looking at the players we have if Arsene was able to mould them into a real team like some of the sides of old then we could have easily won the title on one or more occasions in the last decade. But he seems unable to do that any more. We are disjointed, occasionally the side clicks and we look terrific, but more often than not they look like a jigsaw puzzle that has been completed with the aid of a hammer.

  7. YW says:

    It strikes me that the days of ‘long-termers’ are mostly gone. Clubs don’t show any loyalty to players so why should we expect them to do the same.

    We do though, projecting our own loyalties onto players, expecting them to fight for the cause in the same way that we do. Always have, always will.

    Interestingly, we’re seeing the rise of player-specific supporters with football’s globalisation. Fans who support the club because of a player and have no compunction about changing clubs when the player leaves. We’ve got that with Wenger to some extent as well. Proof, perhaps, that some supporters have a consumerist approach to the game; brand loyalty over-riding club allegiance.

  8. Orson Kaert says:

    Yogi, I don’t think the lack of “loyalty” is a particularly new thing. Clubs have always traded players, Herbert Chapman was quite good at it

    We have to enjoy the players we have while they remain and either wish them well or curse them when they leave.

    Sadly, in modern day football the only loyalty shown is that of the fan to the clubs.

  9. andy1886 says:

    For us oldies the idea of supporting the club because of an individual is quite frankly absurd. Players come and go, managers (who’s support has always traditionally been rather fragile) are rarely more than a few losses from the sack. The club itself comes first, second, third ad infinitum.

    Which is why I’d be happy to see interest in the game wane amongst the casual consumerist hangers-on, so those of us who are actually wedded to the club rather than the manager, a style of football, an individual player, or football as an optional form of entertainment choice (not a sport), can clear off and get their kicks elsewhere.

    And if it damaged Murdoch’s empire in the process then that’s an added bonus.

  10. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    With genuine interest in OG, why not sell? A player that is considered rather white by his clubs own fan base you would think would be gone after the first decent offer.

  11. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Fucking autocorrect… Shite not white

  12. HenryB says:

    Once big money entered football, stage left – any idea of loyalty went out the window – from the perspective of both players and club.

    But I guess one has to ask, how do you define ‘loyalty’? Keeping Theo nice and warm on the bench or the treatment room while paying a kings ransom – loyalty? stupidity? Who knows.
    Keeping Giro and refusing to listen to any offers for him is puzzling to be honest. Sell and get Greizman with the proceeds? Buy cheap at CF and put the Giro money into buying Pogba seems more sensible, maybe?

    There seems to be a lack of entrepreneurship at Arsenal or by Arsene — deal, set the pace, keep the fans happy – win championships – silly stuff like that.

  13. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Wait, HenryB, that reads like with the OG money would be getting potentially 3 players. Now, my math ain’t great, but I’m not sure that 3 would go in to the 1 sum for OG.

  14. consolsbob says:

    I’m with Andy.

    It is very hard to give a flying one about modern footballers, indeed in the ‘sport’ in general.

    As for tonight’s match, I am hoping, along with the late Lord Nelson, for a win for Portugal.

    “Treat every Frenchman like he was the Devil himself”.

  15. HenryB says:

    Nope, CA, I did not explain myself too well perhaps.

    Sell Giro for £25m, and put that money towards buying Griezman [£60m] means a reasonable net £35m — or put it towards £100m Pogba — net £65m etc — plus buy a cheap replacement for Giro, say £25m and it would change the whole feel of the Arsenal team for relatively little money.

    Anyway, I was just trying to show the lack of entrepreneurship at the Gunners, nothing too clever, because nothing like that will happen.

  16. Colts says:

    Perhaps Wenger dithers so much because he’s trying to avoid mercenaries as he knows his system needs time to grow, with harmony amongst players critical to his style of play.
    I can’t imagine any of our players agitating for a move even if they weren’t completely happy, not to mention its a very decent gig here.

    Gotta be France eh, Portugal errgh, no thanx.

  17. Two Owls says:

    Are you interested in the Directorship Henry? I like that sense of freshening the team up with a completely different feel. Sign some more of those Devils!

  18. HenryB says:

    Two Owls, 😀

    Wouldn’t it be great if the culture of the club was changed to allow a little canny planning? That is what Dein brought to it – not so much the negotiations really – and we could do with someone else like that.

    So to add what I said earlier – if you threw £25m Walcott into the pot with Giro, we would have £50m to add to our cash transfer chest, and anything becomes possible.

    Yep – the Gunners need me there alright! 😀

  19. Orson Kaert says:

    Henry, it is reported that Manure are ready to pay Pogba £11 million a year on top of a £100 million transfer fee. Competing with such obscene offers is way beyond the realms of possibility for Arsene and Silent Stan even if we had five Girouds to sell.

  20. HenryB says:

    Not sure about that, Orsey.

    £11m equates to about £210K per week, and Arsenal were reported to have ‘offered’ Morata £140K per week.

    A chunk but not over the horizon. Don’t forget — nudge, nudge – sponsors can be urged to help as they get the spin off from a colossal player being in the team they are sponsoring.

    Not outside the realms of possibility to my thinking just needs a positive mindset. 😀

  21. Orson Kaert says:

    A mindset alien to both our risk averse manager and owner. Henry.

  22. HenryB says:

    Just watched Lewis win the Grand Prix.

    I love his attitude — a winner if ever I saw one. 😀

  23. Bill says:

    Thanks for the post Yogi

    Go France. Go Andy Murray

    Goooooooo Arsene, Go Ivan, Go Stan. Spend some money.

  24. Wavey says:

    Why did the club quote a price for Sanchez? It seems a strange thing to do. Surely they should just have said that he isn’t for sale? Juve were given a price, they thought it was reasonable and agreed to it and were then told he wasn’t for sale. Could this be Wenger not understanding the market rate for players again?

    Here Arsene, Juve want to know how much we will sell Alexis for.
    Tell them £34m, they’ll never pay that.
    They said it’s reasonable and they will pay it.
    Oh shit, tell them to fuck off, he’s not for sale.

  25. Wavey says:

    Weird, somehow my email addy got changed.

  26. andy1886 says:

    “So I see…nothing odd going on ?”

    …..cut to video of sinister looking gentleman in suit stroking a fluffy white cat…

  27. andy1886 says:

    Question for those watching the game on the BBC. Is Danny Mills the most irritating commentator on TV? Has he ever said anything that a five year old couldn’t have come up with?

  28. Phil says:

    Nice one YW.
    French dominating.
    Sissoko looks like an old Wenger signing.

  29. santori says:

    Sissoko is stand out so far for me.

    Someone please buy him off of Newcastle.

  30. santori says:

    Not sure where anyone can get the idea there was a price quoted for Sanchez unless you believe gossip.

    Simply said, Alexis is not for sale. Full stop.

  31. Phil says:

    Are you allowed to go down the tunnel for a jab and return?

  32. santori says:

    Danny Mills is an idiot.

    It’s a prerequisite for TV commentator.

    See Carragher, Owen, Barton, Macca etc etc.

    None managed football clubs or operated in transfer market but some people choose to listen to them.

  33. santori says:

    Think France need to get up on the wings more. Sagna has done some runs but has put in some poor crosses (The Arsenal Sagna would surely never do this)

    Evra less so.

    Problem I think is Portugal threaten the flanks with Nani and Queresma. Evra (and to some extent Sgana) are more cautious going forward, the former because he is much older now.

    France needs to stretch Portugal wider.

  34. santori says:

    Also Sissoko has been operating more central. Payet hasn’t gone wide enough.

    Looks like Coman may come on.

  35. Bill says:

    Dominating the game does not mean much without scoring.

  36. consolsbob says:

    Isn’t it Danny Murphy?

    He is another idiot, of course, but in the interests of fairness and accuracy.

  37. santori says:

    Dread the thought of Portugal doing the Greece.

    Took Giroud on a little too early IMO. he links so well. That said, close for Gignac on the post. Someone buy him from Mexico.

    France needs to keep believing and keep creating the chances. One of them must go in.

  38. santori says:

    Better chances and creativeness from France.

    Just seem a bit too anxious in the final touch.

    Greizzman had the best chance.

    Sissoko having a beast of a game!

  39. santori says:

    Phil McNulty at the BBC is no better.

  40. Orson Kaert says:

    Not bloody extra time and penalties again!

  41. Orson Kaert says:

    It looks like both sides have run out of ideas and are going to settle for penalties.

  42. andy1886 says:

    Yup, you’re right CB, a pair of knobs either way.

    This tournament has highlighted how far the art of playing as a striker has fallen. Defensive football will kill the game as a spectacle, no-one wants to see ninety minutes of the ball being passed around without end product. Fans come to see goals and great saves, pinging a ball to feet over thirty or forty yards or playing little triangles is all very well but gets rather dull after the first half dozen times. Playing with a false number nine should be a sackable offence.

  43. Birdkamp says:

    But for a couple of iconic moments the WC in 1990 was dull and brought about a few rule changes. Could happen again.

    Little to do with formation and a lot to do with the desire (lack thereof) to anticipate passes and get beyond the ball. Formation doesn’t enter into it.

    And how are you going to play Pogba in front of the defence? He’d be better in literally any other midfield or forward position.

  44. santori says:

    Getting nervous.

    Penalties surely favour Potrugal.

    Martial? Cabaye?

    The younger player could stretch the tired legs at the back but if it goes to penalty could be risky. Cabaye maybe with Sisokko going slightly wider? Then Cabaye for penalties maybe safer…then again.

  45. santori says:

    Have to say Portugal have been very organized.

    France have to be careful. First Matuidi now Koscielny. Clattenburg could be a bit of a twit

  46. santori says:


    That was a strike by Raphael!

  47. andy1886 says:

    Oh Dear! Portugal winning playing the way they do would be a dreadful result.

  48. santori says:

    If there wasn’t any clearer warnings for France.

    Roll the dice Deschamp.


  49. Orson Kaert says:

    That should be that, Portugal will hold on to this, I can’t see France scoring now.

  50. andy1886 says:

    This could have an effect on Giroud and Kos, late start and a European Championship hangover?

  51. santori says:

    Well … you have to bet them and France didn’t do it. Shame.

    Far from the best team but you know, that’s football.

    Thought Deschamp took off Giroud and Payet too early. Substitutions a little too early.

    That said, if you don’t do the business, Portugal have every right to win it.

    Can’t say Portugal did not have their chances either.

  52. santori says:

    Nah Giroud and Koscielny should be OK.

    Bitterly dissapointing but these two are used to that 😉

    And they have had a fantastic and POSITIVE tournament.

  53. Bill says:

    I certainly understand the displeasure with a game like that. Defense always has the advantage and a well organized defense is the best way to close the gap when there is a difference in the talent and technical skill levels between teams. No one in Portugal cares in the least how they won.

  54. jjgsol says:

    In truth, Clattenberg’s mistake led to Portugal’s goal.

    Had he given the free kick the right way, ie against Eder,, who was the one who handballed and not Kos, then Eder would not have been in the position he was to score, a couple of minutes later.

    What an awful game.

    Another example of the modern game where defence comes first.

  55. santori says:

    I don’t think it was a poor game.

    I don’t think Portugal were entirely negative either. They had their moments.

  56. jjgsol says:

    Pogba worth !00m +? You have to be joking.

    He is a very very poor Viera.

  57. santori says:

    You can’t say defense comes first because as an attacking team, France dispatch a host of more defensive minded teams.

    Luck is also an ingredient and if you do not take the chances presented, you can get punished by her.

    Should have kept Giroud on to end of full time and maybe Payet a little longer.

    Then add Gignac and Coman slightly later. Thought France gambeld early and tanked in second half of extra time early on. Warnings were there and they got caught.

    But its all hind sight.

    Oh well. At least the Arsenal players by and large have had a very productive Euros. Granit, Ozil, Ramsey, Giroud and Koscielny.

    Can only benefit them in coming campaign.

  58. santori says:

    I have my doubts he will go to United but you never know. Much of it is media generated hysteria from the pro-British press.

    More likely Madrid will be the preferred destination particularly with Ronaldo aging.

  59. andy1886 says:

    @ jjgsol – It’s Vieira (not Viera). It may be pedantic, but as he’s one of our greatest ever players it bugs me when people cannot spell his name correctly.

    Let’s hope next season is an entertaining one, any side with a half decent striker will have a decent chance as Leicester showed last time around.

  60. santori says:

    I tell you who is overrated…this Renato Sanches bloke everybody is getting their knockers in a twist about.

    Big (media created) deal.

  61. Wavey says:

    A quote from Juve director general Marotta:

    “Sanchez is a great player, but Arsenal do not want to give him up,” Moratta told Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

    “We informed the Gunners, who asked for £34m – surely a reasonable fee.

    “However, when we responded to this request, Arsenal told us they will not sell the player.”

    So he’s lying?

    The papers that published the story are all lying?

    I agree that most of what is published is pure speculation by the press. So often you see stories about Wenger after one player or another with the most tenuous of links. When I read an actual quote attributed to an actual person I tend to assume there is something to the story. When the exact same quote is picked up by several papers I tend to think it’s probably accurate. I’m pretty sure that attributing an actual quote to someone if it weren’t true is libel.

  62. Wavey says:

    I didn’t answer Nicky’s reply on Sanogo last night, but Andy put the point very well.
    I wanted Sanogo to succeed at Arsenal and I do believe that the club has to some extent killed his career by throwing him in the deep end. His loan spell at Ajax appears to have been a disaster and he even struggled at Charlton. My boss is a Charlton fan and feedback from him was that Yaya was poor. Yaya may well be one for the future, but he can’t be a player we consider relying on for striker cover in the coming season. If that sounds like I have a downer on Yaya then fair enough, but I am more concerned that Sanogo will be regarded as cover when he just isn’t ready.

  63. Bill says:


    The fact that you really need to take your chances against a team that is organized is exactly the reason so many of us have been begging to get a better striker and more scorers who are better finishers. Arsenal does not have many scorers in the squad and while it’s great for Giroud to be a distributor, he is always going to be the player who gets the most chances and if he is not able to finish then it’s inevitable that we will struggle. The relatively slow tempo of way of our build up gives every team we play enough time to get organized which makes it imperative for the CF to be better at finishing the chances he gets.

  64. Damon says:

    The Sanchez thing is Troubling. As Wavey says, it’s a quote from a real person, not some vague journalist driven column filler that begins with “Once upon a time”. There has to be something there to attribute that to

    I can only come up with two scenarios that could explain it. Both are a bit awful

    1. We’ve made another fine mess of things and left ourselves with egg on our faces. If so, we’re fucked as it simply demonstrates how far from market value reality our valuations are

    2. He’s not going to renew and we’ve decided to cash in. Floated the prospect at a entry level price to flush out who might get involved in a bidding war before driving the cost up

    I’d be sad to see him go and think there’s only a few who could replace him realistically. If Hazard is loose, that would work. Not likely though. I could see Gitze coming in to replace him though, which would be a pity. I’d see that as a downgrade on the squad. Gotze for Theo though would be an upgrade though

    Either way, not too tasty a proposition imo. Why do we always get made to look like mugs every summer? Doesn’t seem to happen at the other top clubs in England? Certainly not as often, by a distance?

  65. C says:

    So Portugal sans Ronaldo huh, don’t think many saw that coming. Wonder how this will effect Kos and Giroud because if you don’t think it won’t then your naive especially when you consider it was on home soil and before the tournament they were joint favorite and thrn after they beat Germany were overwhelming favorites.

  66. Cosme says:

    Deal ACL, the backdrop to “we are all Messi” is not dewy-eyed support of Lionel Messi but the hijacking of Barcelona FC by catalan separatists. Imagine Celtic being taken over by the SNP, and the football club being used as agitprop at every opportunity and in every match to promote Scottish independence. Barça has morphed into a political party and Messi is simply a political stooge serving the interests of hardcore nationalists (it also serves Messi of course as it deflects attention from his, and his father’s, greed/crimes). ACL, you should be aware that 60% or more of Barça’s fan base in Spain is outside Catalonia and the politicisation of the club is anathema to the majority of fans. In fact, Barça is a truly national institution with its “peñas” (fan clubs), along with those of Madrid, in every village and every town, in every corner of the country. Also many of the club’s Spanish players are reportedly uncomfortable with this posturing bearing in mind that players like Iniesta, Pedro and our own Bellerín, hark from outside the region. I have written to Bartomeu, the President, and to Luis Enrique and indeed to UEFA to explain how supporters do not want to see matches turned into political rallies. I have told Bartomeu in fact that if he wants to play politics then he should leave the club because Barça is indeed “mes que un club” but not a political party and he is pissing off many supporters who love the club but want no truck with nationalism.

    Finally, today in El País newspaper (equivalent to the Guardian, sort of liberal left) the respected journalist Rubén Amón wrote an elegant épée-stroke of an article entitiled “Ignorant Messi” where he touches on your own sentiments about Messi’s grotesque wealth and his tax fraud. “Ignorant” is a play on words because of course Messi pleaded ignorance – on my honour it woz me dad your worship-but ignorance is no defence in Spanish law. Not having learnt his lesson, Amón then points out that Messi has allowed his name to be used in “we are all Messi” feigning ignorance that he is in fact a willing marionette in the manipulative hands of the club establishment. Suddenly Messi is a victim-and by extension the club-and this wonderfully gifted footballer has become Madrid’s whipping boy – his greed and his stupidity conveniently buried under the avalanche of headlines. Nauseating.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: