Talk Is Cheap, Players Aren’t


Happy birthday, Gareth!!! Young Master Bale is 27 today so have a fine day.

Well, the rest of the world has gone mad, why shouldn’t I?

It’s that time of the pre-season when the stars return. Jack Wilshere’s back as well, with pictures of him sporting a new crew cut and seemingly thrilled at the prospect of being involved with proper training as well.

Arsène told the official site that players will be returning over the next few weeks,

I believe that [players] need four weeks’ holiday because they need to recover from [tournaments]

It takes you two or three weeks to regenerate… to recover completely, and they need to come back with hunger. That disappointment to lose a final, it takes some time to recover from that.

I believe the club benefits from [our players’] experiences at the top level, and the mental experiences as well that they have gone through with such a huge pressure. Of course in the longer term you benefit from that.

Mesut Özil, Ramsey and Alexis were all singled out by Wenger as having positive tournaments and to a lesser extent, Wilshere did. He came through unscathed which given the last few seasons has to be unexpected.

The concern is that the delayed holidays pose a selection problem for the opening games. Concerns are mounting that Wenger is once more being lax in the transfer market. With prices rising, his innate financial conservatism is proving problematic in recruiting a striker.

Granit Xhaka’s arrival addressed a midfield problem and there are strong reports in the Italian media that Arsenal are offering to treble Kostas Manolas current £25k per week salary. Rumours mean nothing of course and the biggest issue facing the club is not their own apparent inactivity but the signings other clubs are making.

United have already been busy and reports suggest Pogba will join next week. Forget the ludicrous sums of money involved in football at the moment and in particular over their fees, that isn’t the issue. It’s that Mourinho assessed the squads weaknesses and has addressed them. It’s unlikely he’s finished either, beginning the process of shifting those he doesn’t want out of the squad.

Ruthless and determined to challenge for the title next season.

Conte looks set to bring Kante to Stamford Bridge, as well as Napoli’s Koulibaly. Batshuayi signed during Euro 2016.

Guardiola is on Stones trail and has been busy, with Sane seemingly joining shortly.

A lot of ‘seemingly’ at the moment but those are the deals deemed most likely to happen.

The point is that clubs who we expect to challenge for the title next season are addressing the weaknesses in their squads early in the pre-season. They are bringing in new players to get them bedded into their squads and minimise the disruption.

Arsenal, quite simply, aren’t.

Yet again, we are lagging in the market, refusing to admit that the prices now surging through the roof. They have to be paid; £32m for Kante is more than you or I might consider his real value. The transfer market doesn’t and Arsène, as an economist, understands the theory.

I’ve said before that if he’s not finding value for money, come out and back the squad as it is. I’d admire the courage of his convictions, even if I disagree.

The genuine concern that I have is that he has been deceived by the improving league finishes. Five points ahead of City and United, 21 ahead of Chelsea; the reality is that simply signals that they needed to improve to catch and overtake us in next season’s title race.

The crucial gap was 10 points to Leicester City. Leicester are the Premier League champions. In the cold light of day, when all ‘romanticism’ is shoved to one side, that’s an appalling state of affairs. I know they enjoyed a freakishly good their season but we should have properly challenged for the title. And won it.

Frustration is mounting as a sense of Groundhog Day returns. We need to act decisively and bring players in. Perhaps there will be a surprise in coming days and a major deal will surface but I can’t see it happening.

Talk this morning that Riyad Mahrez is leaving Leicester and that Arsenal are interested. It smacks of the same opportunism that we displayed with Vardy. And, I have to say, whilst Mahrez is a talented player, do we need him? A salivating as the prospect of Mahrez, Özil and Alexis is, there are two issues.

Firstly, it’s a defensive nightmare and secondly, it’s still relying on Olivier Giroud to display a previously unseen consistency in front of goal.

Others mentioned are Carlos Bacca, £25m from Milan and if we’re honest, a more believable tale than the Daily Star claims that the board and Wenger are being panicked into bidding for Higuain.

The summer will turn out as it does, I’m afraid. And if Arsène presides over another failure in the transfer market, it will be the longest resignation letter written.

Finally, a reminder that this week’s Time of our Lives playlist is available on Dad’s Jukebox. 1967 is the year in question.

’til Tomorrow.

50 thoughts on “Talk Is Cheap, Players Aren’t

  1. YW says:

    Nope, grey and dull here. A bit like Arsenal’s world at the moment. Stroll on Lens.

  2. Joachim Nwachukwu says:

    Are neymar,messi and Suarez defensive nightmares? I believe with ozil,Sanchez and Mahrez opposing teams will be on defensive foot.let’s get Mahrez.pls

  3. Masterstroke says:

    Mahrez! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!
    This is going all Sexy Beast, so I’ll leave it there.
    ’nuff said!

  4. jonnygunner says:

    Morning all
    YW,in your opinion(although football has moved on immensly since the era of ‘the invincibles’)….instead of us trying to replace Giroud,do you think Wengers philosophy might be to gain more goals from the midfielders like Pires and Freddy used to chip in?
    I appreciate that we had Henry who was the better part of 30 goals a season(as opposed to 20 ish for Oli),but if Mesut,Rambo,Theo,Alexis etc all had a sensible contribution would that not ease the pressure on Giroud-he does supply a few good assists as well.
    I’m not defending Giroud for a minute(I’ve watched in disbelief many a time at his inability to put away simple chances)-but then other times he puts in a corker.I just go back to those hazy days when it would be Freddy or Pires on the scoresheet regularly -or am I being blissfully unaware?!

  5. Richard says:

    Oh please get over it. We have done good business so far. Wenger isn’t being lax had vardy taken our offer we would have a strike and midfielder sorted. It takes time to get things done players have to want to come and clubs have to want to sell. We will get the two faces Wenger has already said we needed. Sometimes certain deals take longer than others. Would you offer 42 million for something if you thought you could get stit for 38 million no you would go low and increase until you get where the seller is happy to sell. lets see who the club and Wenger bring in we have over a month to go befor window shuts and window has only been open 15 odd days. And we have brought in one first team and a couple of youth not bad.

  6. HenryB says:

    Nice Post, Yogi, and spot on.

    Years ago as a young accountant I was brought in as part of a team that were scheduled to look at the nuts and bolts of a well established family run business that had been founded at the beginning of the 20th century.
    It had been very successful in the community and profitable, but had, in the previous 10 years, begun to fall away and was heading for oblivion.

    The boss, head of the family, was very authoritative and told us to report back on what was needed to get the company back on track, however ‘difficult’ the results were to family individuals.

    It did not take long – and our team leader went off to discuss the findings with the boss.

    Things went somewhat pear-shaped at the meeting when it was ‘suggested’ that the root of the problem was, in fact, the ageing boss who, it was suggested, should take a back seat and promote one of the younger managers to introduce more creative and modern methodology.

    The boss was angry – he did not accept the advice – the company went tits up 6 years later.

    Remind you of anyone? 😀

  7. andy1886 says:

    Sorry Richard, can’t agree. Let’s take your point that:

    “Would you offer 42 million for something if you thought you could get stit for 38 million no you would go low and increase until you get where the seller is happy to sell.”

    If that means we start the season without said player, then the for the sake of your hypothetical £4m you risk: a) being less strong than you could be with the potential to drop points early on, b) you have no pre-season for the player to acclimatise and get to gel with his colleagues, therefore performances can suffer until he finds his feet, c) if you spend all your time haggling for one player you have less time to focus on other deals, and d) if the deal goes pear shaped late on then you have little or no time to find an alternative (most of whom will have probably already been sold to you competitors).

    All of which means for a sake of a paltry sum you might miss out on a trophy or even a top four finish. When you have a very large sum of money in the bank that’s simply bad business.

  8. NuttnTiddy says:

    Pray tell me the name of a single top striker that is available. Did you not watch the Euros? Not one impressive striker,if Germany had a decent goal scorer they would have won the series. Whoever Wenger signs the usual mob will scream he is not good enough and he should have bough X,Y, etc. One stupid site was saying he should buy Kane….????? do they think S***s would sell him to Arsenal. Dream on.

  9. Ras says:

    Lots of Sun here..

    I feel we won’t be at the races this season. It will be over for us by Noel
    I sincerely hope not but just don’t see how we are going to bridge the gap.

  10. andy1886 says:

    Just a thought, but if we had Mahrez it gives us the opportunity to play two up front with Alexis and Giroud. My thoughts are that if you don’t have a top class striker you have to play two very good ones.

    Of course it’s probably just paper talk again.

    Regards a CB if we are after Manolas it means that one of our CB’s is likely to be off (or at a minimum that Chambers is going on loan). No point in selling Per IMO, he has no real resale value and adds something different when partnered with either Kos or Gabriel.

  11. Akshay says:

    I would like to think that two 20 goal a season players like Mahrez who can play out wide, and say a Bacca for 20 million quid will be as good as a Higuain, while leaving us money for a center half like Manolas for nearly 30 million quid. If we assume Giroud can score 15 goals as a sub or an occasional starter, Alexis can get his 20 goals and Ramsey or Ozil to get 10-15 goals between them, we could very well challenge for the title.

    You could argue that Bacca needs to adapt to the Premier League, but at the least it will give Giroud motivation to play well and score. and atleast Mahrez and Alexis can chip in.

    For this season, we could play Chambers As backup to Bellerin, and when Mertesacker leaves next season, he can play as CB. That is if we sign Manolas.

    Forgive me for indulging in such speculation. But I can’t resist but thinking we should follow through on this plan.

  12. andy1886 says:

    Higuain for starters, you know, the guy we could have bought three years ago at half the price if we hadn’t f*cked it up……

    I’m sure whatever happens the “usual mob” will also find an excuse, the Wenger apologists always do

  13. Hoksilato says:

    Going back to your theoretical player purchase i would suggest the following:
    – Buy the player for 42m now – position solved / no further search,negotiations + joins pre-season early, etc
    – Stan forgets about the 3m he wants out this year
    Net potential “cost”, 1m….. well worth it in my opinion 🙂

  14. andy1886 says:

    My concern about Bacca is that he’s not a significant upgrade on Giroud so will he improve the quality of our strike force? Then you also have to remember that it leaves us with two strikers who will both be 30 this September, so all we are doing is putting off the problem for a couple of seasons.

    He does seem to have a bit more pace, so that’s useful, but I don’t know enough about him to say if he could partner Giroud in a two man attack.

    What I do know is that he would be a decent buy for the money, which is what I think will be the main appeal for Arsene.

  15. Akshay says:

    I dont get why we should worry about a striker problem two years from now when we need to solve the problem right now. Not all solutions will be ideal. besides, who else we got?? Icardi? Greizzman? They all cost a bomb and we would not have the funds to pursue Manolas and Mahrez, both who could add positive qualities to our team right now. Being overly dependent on a guy like Higuain to reproduce his 35 goal season means nothing unless others score a chunk of goals as well ( RvP 2012). So a Bacca can be a solution to our problems as well

  16. YW says:


    Giroud’s PL record at Arsenal: 11 in 34, 16 in 36, 14 in 27, 16 in 38
    Henry’s: 17 in 31, 17 in 35, 24 in 33, 24 in 37, 30 in 37, 25 in 32, 27 in 32, 10 in 27.

    In his first 4 seasons at the club, in 1 more game, Henry scored 25 more goals (82 v 57)

    The two don’t compare.

    Giroud’s failure isn’t so much in front of goal although 1 every 2.5 games isn’t particularly good for a top striker, it’s the fact he’ll score 10 in 20 games and then nothing for 10 or 15 more. It’s not good enough as a Plan A. Fine as Plan B but not A.

    You’re right though. The midfield don’t score enough but don’t be fooled by Mahrez last season. Prior to that, he’d never scored more than 4 goals during one season in the Premier League, Championship or Ligue 2.

    A goal machine he is not.

  17. andy1886 says:

    But does he solve the striker problem Akshay? As I said I don’t know that much about him but from what I can see he wouldn’t be a significant upgrade. If we can play the two together then maybe it’s a good idea, if not we would be simply replacing one good striker with another when we really need a great one. You also have to consider what sort of contract he’d want, at pushing thirty he’ll be after three or four years on big money which I’m not convinced we would want to offer.

  18. C says:

    If we are well and truly in for Manolas then we need to make that happen as that would be CB problem solved for the foreseeable future. Not just that but he would undoubtably be the natural replacement for Mert now.

  19. YW says:


    What business? Oh, Xhaka. Good signing. Where’s the rest of them to improve us.

    Are you seriously suggesting we’re bidding for players? We don’t bid £42m for a £38m player, of course not. We’d go in at £20m!

    The fundamental problem is that Arsene is very cautious. He isn’t in touch with the values in the market, nor is he aggressive. He has said before he loathes the transfer windows but that’s not good enough. He might not like it but the squad we have right now is nowhere near strong enough to win the title. I doubt we’ll even challenge for it without 2 more additions.

  20. YW says:


    You don’t bid for a player on the basis of one tournament. Arsenal should know every player at that tournament already. Any decision should already have been taken to move for an individual.

  21. YW says:

    Icardi won’t cost a bomb – Inter have told him to do one and his wife, who is also his agent, is hawking him around Europe like a container full of cheap sunglasses.

  22. C says:

    I would also like to mention that Icardi wouldn’t cost a shit load, maybe 30-40m which really isn’t a lot given teh scope of things. Mahrez would be interesting and I actually disagree with you Yogi, as Sanchez and Mahrez actually do their defensive work quite well.

  23. andy1886 says:

    He could be trouble but I’d take Icardi. He’s younger than Sanogo for starters and has shown far more ability. At least if he didn’t work out he’d have resale value and we wouldn’t be stuck with him for the duration of his contract like some players I could mention who we couldn’t give away in a raffle….

  24. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Yogi, how is scoring none in 10 or 15 games, ok as plan B? It is utter nonsense. I’ve read on this blog numerous times how OG simply isn’t good enough, so why would we then trust him as a alternate option? We need a squad that are good enough, not those that aren’t. To be honest, I could say that about the entire team.

  25. andy1886 says:

    So if we bought Mahrez and Icardi for circa £60m I don’t think too many people would complain. And we know that both are available, so where’s the problem? Flog two or three and we could recoup a significant portion of that.

  26. YW says:


    In OG’s case, he won’t be playing 10 or 15 games without scoring. He just won’t be playing but he offers an alternative. I personally think he needs to be frightened into playing well; he’s in a comfort zone and not under pressure. His best season came when his position was under threat at the start of it. He scored more frequently – not more goals, just more often – and that’s what he needs to do. That’s why he’s a Plan B.

  27. YW says:


    If Mahrez came, Walcott and Campbell would both be sold.

  28. andy1886 says:

    @CA – Giroud seems to play best when under pressure for his place. Whenever he has little or no competition he seems to ease off. I’d be more confident of him playing well to get his place back than if he knows he’s our unrivalled #1 striker.

  29. andy1886 says:

    Exactly YW, that’s a deal I’d take, what are those two worth in today’s market? £30m easily, maybe more.

  30. Orson Kaert says:

    Hi folks, just out of hospital after a brief stay to have a clot removed from my arm, it had cut the blood supply to my right hand. Fantastic treatment from the much maligned British National Heath Service.

    Hope to be back to normal soon.

  31. andy1886 says:

    Hi Orson, glad to hear that you’re recovering. Norwich and Norfolk hospital? I’ve been there before when my Nan was in, seemed like a decent place and the staff were great.

  32. Orson Kaert says:

    Hi Andy, it’s a bit posher now, The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. ?. But the staff were marvellous.

  33. Wavey says:

    Afternoon all,

    I keep hearing the argument that deals take a long time and that players have to want to move. Many argue that we should be patient as we will get our targets in the end. It seems to me that we are doing absolutely nothing. Why do I think that? Because the clubs that these players are with have stated that no one has approached them. So all these stories about Arsenal being in for certain players, but baulking at the prices being quoted are nonsense because we haven’t even asked the question.

    Coming back to something that he who doesn’t listen said. We didn’t just tell Juve to go away when they asked about Alexis. We gave them a price. How do I know? Because their technical director said it. A direct quote from a senior figure at a club, not a story made up by a newspaper.

  34. andy1886 says:

    Sounds suspiciously like Arsene’s famous indecisiveness again Wavey. If only we were back in the days when he’d give Dein a list and leave him to it.

  35. Orson Kaert says:

    We’re probably waiting for the cast offs from the other bigger clubs. City, Manure etc. We’ll probably get Rooney ffs. Or Negredo or some other failure. Wenger will do his best to convince us of the “qualeetee” of his signing, but we’ll know better.

  36. Bill says:


    The problem with your theory is none of our midfielders or wingers not named Sanchez are scorers. You can’t ask Ozil cazorla Ramsey Elneny Iwobe Xhaka Wilshere ox Campbell to score more goals and compensate for Giroud because that is not the type of player they are. Defense is a team game and you can compensate if one outfield player is struggling but that does not work with scoring. If Ozil is struggling cazorla can pick him up because we have so much excess creativity in the squad but ozil and cazorla can’t compensate if Giroud is misfiring. The team can play the best football in the world but if the CF misses all the chances then all the creativity is useless.

  37. Ras says:

    Bill @3.42 I agree with most of what you have cited.

  38. Buffalo says:

    Kante joins Chelsea, “it’s a dream come true” he says
    Vardy snubs Arsenal to stay at Leicester, “it’s a dream come true” he says

    We dine at Little Chef in comparison to the big spenders. Basically we clearly didnt offer Vardy enough of an incentive, either financial or sporting to join, in my opinion.
    Oh well, least it’s not a surprise. On we stumble. Or is that fumble. Clocks ticking……ah but even if it stops will still tell the time twice a day retorts Wenger.
    Come early September if we havent made a serious splash on a couple of first team players then i really do find it borders towards the dishonest, in terms of relationship with the fans. Business needs to be done soon, not the old oh can we loan Wellbeck, no we can only buy him, oh well go on then. And then he spends the rest of his career injured.

  39. andy1886 says:

    Funny, I thought that players only wanted to join clubs that play in the Champions League. And Kante has left a club about to play in the competition for one that isn’t in Europe at all. I only mention it because certain people kept repeating it ad infinitum to explain why top four really was a trophy and a great achievement.

    With United having no problem recently and Chelsea similarly not suffering I can only conclude that it was either something that uniquely applied to Arsenal or that it was in fact a complete load of bollocks.

  40. Colts says:

    My discontent hasn’t boiled over yet, I can vaguely smell it but to stir apathy would not be appetizing.
    How is it beyond arsenal to bottle lightning. while the law of averages builds up a humongous tab mocking us through beer spittle.
    The plan, brittle. The Man, chicken little. Few remember how the Center of our universe auditioned for Skittles.

    Our Swiss, ain’t around for party tricks, a ball hardly kicked yet fear of who we’re starting with, parts the red like Moses did.
    Goals from kids, never, better blow those quids, the role is win, sticking to guns is for the dumb, on a whim.

    We’re still in it.

    Happy groundshog day 😉

  41. YW says:

    Oh Andy, you’re so naive ??

    Of course players want CL football, that’s why Suarez joined Looneypool.

    Fuck me, does anyone still buy the CL bullshit?

  42. andy1886 says:

    Oh I’m sure that they’re still out there YW, and that they still believe it along with PMGOL conspiracies and “we can’t compete with Oil Money!!”. Plus the classic “don’t forget what happens if we spend money – just look at Leeds!”

    Taking all that into account we’ve won the title every season of the Wenger era! So be careful what you wish for 😉

  43. Ras says:

    Just listening to Danny Kelly ( Souds fan) via Talkshite Radio. Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror states ( from his sources un revealed obviously) that Chelsea basically got in there first for the deal of Kante. They apparently put together a better deal than Arsenal.

    ‘He was sold on the Chelsea option.'(D Lewis).Hence today he is Chelsea player.

  44. Orson Kaert says:

    There’s no acounting for the lack of intelligence in today’s professional footballers.

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