On Transfers, Oracles, PR & Ramsey

Arsenal’s PR department aren’t as daft as they sometimes seem. The club is in a fix and needs to get a positive message out to the people. Put it on their website, twitter or Facebook pages, and as sure as night follows day, it will be met with invective and frustration.

The words of the manager and CEO are met with cynicism and disbelief whilst those of the players are similarly distrusted; help was needed. Whispered tones on the telephone and the footsteps of shadowy figures were heard in the avenues and alleyways of London town. The only thing missing was a real pea-souper for the scene to be fully set.

And then it came. The sinister fog descended onto the Arsenal twitterverse; the Oracle spoke. Arsène, Ivan, Stan or whomever, weren’t lying; the club is trying to do business.

For the Valencia board, he had a specific message:

And for the entranced, he offered:

Arsenal were in business and the Transfer Window Action Team was ready to spring into action.

It’s an interesting exercise in puff PR via a journalistic source. Ornstein tweets infrequently and is thus a ‘trusted source’. There is no transfer until Dave has spoken.

Last night, some were so oblivious to the angle being pushed that it was staggering. This is a club which signed one genuine first team addition last summer, winter and this summer so far. Rob Holding turned out to be a first team player through necessity rather than design; he wasn’t intended to be anything other than this year’s Calum Chambers: one for the future.

Yet we are asked to believe that a big-money striker is on his way, with a value such that we are haggling over a £25m fee for a defender. In this market.

And some fell for it. Revisionist budgetary values emerged. Arsenal’s transfer budget this summer reduced to £100m, of which £35m had already been spent on Granit Xhaka. That leaves £65m to cover fees, wages, and commissions for a centre back, striker and contract negotiations with Alexis and Mesut Özil. Yes, we truly are the paupers of Europe’s élite.

No matter that the procrastination has contributed to three dropped points already and in all honesty, next Saturday’s trip to Leicester is one to view with nervousness rather any confidence. And that’s despite their insipid performance at Hull which should be inspiring us.

Riches which might be added to by challenging for trophies are being denied by indecisiveness.

The whole situation beggars belief. We look to the past for inspiration but I find none. There’s no virtue in the club’s policy of waiting until the end of the window to carry out their business. At that point, intransigence doesn’t become more pliable to club’s who aren’t minded to sell now. They need persuading not antagonising.

Having been questioned by Thierry Henry at the weekend, Ian Wright added his views to the situation:

“I remember when they signed the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars and the real sense of excitement that brought to the place.

“And not just among fans. Star name arrivals get the players buzzing too because they make your job easier and you’re more likely to finish with a medal or two.

“But at Arsenal that feeling is simply not there.”

Wright goes on to capture the mood around the place at the moment. It’s emptiness; Arsène Wenger is ensuring his legacy is intact but not in the way he intended. If it continues this way, he will be remembered as the best businessman to manage Arsenal rather than the joy of the first decade of his reign. Far from being the doorway to Paradise, moving to the Emirates has become a millstone around his neck.

It’s another shambles and I am sure that internal reviews will take place to see if we could do anything better. As if they do; the one covering the medical situation hasn’t tangibly improved our injury situation, has it?

On which subject, he had his say over Aaron Ramsey’s injury when talking to the press after the Liverpool match:

“Look, [Xhaka] and Ramsey [and others] – they all came back later. 

“I pushed Ramsey in and he got injured. It’s a very difficult situation to sort out because the players come back late because of the Euros and, on top of that, you play them and they get injured. If you don’t play them you miss them.”

It’s a strange situation to admit that you pushed a player who will run 11k or so most matches. Surely this is a man more than a centre back, who needs nurturing, particularly as he has a recent history of hamstring problems? Not in Wenger’s world and now Ramsey is out for a month.

Anyone going to Leicester this weekend had better take their boots with them. The pre-match entertainment might well be trials for the Arsenal.

It’s baffling how frequently the club finds itself with this scenario. It’s as if we never learn from previous mistakes…

’til Tomorrow.

123 thoughts on “On Transfers, Oracles, PR & Ramsey

  1. buckagh says:

    It looks as if Arteta has a real role and input at City not just making up the numbers

  2. consolsbob says:

    Why is it a given with some that we cannot compete? I just do not understand this mantra which seems to be a given fact for some.

    It may be me who is just not seeing things correctly but, whisper it, Leicester won the PL last season. Did they outspend the the ‘rich clubs’?

    Which argument are we having? That we can’t compete or that we are failing to do so based on the evidence of Leicester’s season?

  3. Phil says:

    Hi Nicky,
    Not sure which facts I am ignoring.
    Happy to be informed.
    Bob, in agreement.

  4. jjgsol says:


    I am sure that I have heard that before in the last day or so.

    Now who was it who was who said it?

    Oh yes, the brain dead, delusional, snide one. (not insults, just opinions of course)

  5. nicky says:

    You blithely assert blame on the Club’s “management” as though the Board has any real authority to put things right. I have pointed out that power rests with the Kroenke family as majority shareholders. 😉

  6. Wavey says:


    Because a football team should be constantly developing and improving. Even the champions never sit on what they’ve got. They go again, bringing in new players to ensure they are ready for the fight because they know that their opponents will not be sitting still.

    Because our opponents this season, both big and small, have already moved to improve their sides and bed in their new players so that they can contribute to the fight as quickly as possible. We all know it’s a marathon and not a sprint, but it does no harm to put the early work in so that you are not too far back when it comes time to make your move.

    We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but what we have seen is that what we have done in the past is not enough. Not getting Higuain or Suarez when we had the chance was just one example. And again, although we don’t know the details of what happened, we know that we ended up leaving important gaps in the squad which meant we weren’t good enough.

    And the argument that we can’t compete in the transfer market with the big guns, the sugar daddies, is a poor one. We don’t have the money to spend £300m in a window, but we have enough money to buy players at the top end of the market if we are willing to pay the current market rate.

  7. HenryB says:

    Hi Nicky, 🙂

    I am sorry if my rather tongue in cheek invite to you to inject some good cheer for me has embroiled you in a one-man v the rest jabberwocky competition. 🙂

    You do not need back up from anyone it seems to me – you are giving as good as you get – and everyone has been very civil towards a man of your seniority, which is how it should be, and you are in good hands with Yogi in attendance.

    Probably best to call it an honourable draw – and conserve energy for round 2 tomorrow! 😀

  8. nicky says:

    Your 9.19 defeated me. Can you remind me of the point you are making. We are usually of the same mind. 😉

  9. Wavey says:


    If there is a limit of £80m on spending in this transfer window as you indicate, the signing of Xhaka makes absolutely no sense at all. I think Xhaka is a good player, but we should surely have been focusing on the two more important positions. With a budget of £80m to spend we could have signed Mustafi for £30m as soon as he returned from the Euros and had £50m for a striker. I would have thought that would have been enough for Lacazette or Icardi (not that I’m saying they had to be the only options). With Xhaka having cost over £30m we have £50m left and two much more important squad positions (where we are genuinely short of players) to fill.

    As others like to point out, I know nothing about what is going on in the background but we seem to make the wrong decisions, or sit on our hands.

  10. G4E says:

    CBob, let’s face it….Leicester won it because the other teams were sh*t including us.

    Leicester won’t have a chance in hell if Chelsea, Man United, and Man City are challenging and in good form.

    Apart from last season, we cannot compete with the big boys despite ranking ourselves with them.

    Actually at the moment we don’t seem to do anything right at all.

    *** ON the argument on playing the Players who came late from vacation, we must have players made out of glass (As Usual) because other players in other clubs play just fine.

  11. Phil says:

    All I said was that our management choose not to compete with clubs when it comes to big transfers.
    That means the executive team – Wenger / Gazidis etc
    And the Board which sets the direction.
    So yes, it also means – KSE.
    I stand by that.

  12. Orson Kaert says:

    F**k football, I’m going to watch track cycling from now on, it’s much more exciting and there are no prima donnas concerned only with their hair styles, tattoos and money.

  13. FREDDO says:

    Ornstein is being used to send a message to Valencia not to get too greedy (because they think Arsenal is in trouble). Negotiations 101. What’s really going on, nobody knows. The idea that Arsenal have a fixed “budget” for transfers is ridiculous. This is all about managing the expectations of those they are negotiating with. You think that if Messi said he’d come for 50 mill, there would be a “budget”?

  14. HenryB says:

    All I said was that our management choose not to compete with clubs when it comes to big transfers.
    That means the executive team – Wenger / Gazidis etc
    And the Board which sets the direction.
    So yes, it also means – KSE.
    I stand by that.

    Difficult for anyone to argue with your opening statement, as that is evident from what we hear and read.

    Your closing comments regarding the Arsenal management structure, which dictates the above policy, are also undoubtedly true – altho I did not see the comment from Nicky that you were responding to – however, if Kroenke said to the Board and/or the manager, “Go out and buy the best player(s)” they would immediately do a complete volte-face and do as instructed – or get the boot as Kroenke is the absolute boss.

    [Not that there is any chance of him saying anything of the sort!]

  15. Damon says:

    I find it hard to explain in a way that hasn’t already been said why our transfer activity is showing itself to be weak, all the while I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes and that it might still be put right, albeit a little too late

    The CF situation is where there isn’t any wriggle room, imo. He tried to get Higuain and Suarez three years ago. And failed, without successfully replacing RVP since then. He then bids on Vardy this summer. A public admission that he thinks we still need to improve at CF.

    While we now haggle over a CB due to injury necessitating backup

    To say that since Vardy knocked us back there weren’t alternatives would be wrong. To say that in the last three years a CF hasn’t moved that would e improved us would also be wrong

    So what is the huge stumbling block that has stopped Arsene correcting a squad deficiency he’s identified over the last six transfer windows available to him?

  16. HenryB says:

    Hi Damon,

    Agree with your view — and the answer keeps coming back full circle to …….. money — or the reluctance to use it to buy what we need.

  17. jjgsol says:


    The point us the we have both complained about the propensity of many of our colleagues on this blog to insult others, either aw or other bloggist who say something different. The insults that I referred to were what I was called on Monday.

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