Can Arsène Afford To Be As Honest As Jack Wants?

Arsenal return to Premier League action with a tricky little test at Burnley on Sunday. It’s hard to think that any of the team which lost in Cologne did anything to warrant inclusion in the starting line-up at Turf Moor. Arsène is a bigger picture guy as well, looking to the future as much as the present.

One problem that isn’t going away is the future of Mesut Özil. If a week is a long time in politics, it’s a lifetime in football. The German is the subject of speculation that he is being lined up for a move to Barcelona this winter as the Catalans resigned themselves to missing out on Philippe Coutinho.

That was until Lionel Messi decided that, to use the popular press euphemism, Özil “nicks a living” in the big matches and let the Camp Nou hierarchy know his views on the matter. And that would be the end of the matter, you would think. Not so; Arsène fielded questions on the very subject at his post-match, pre-match press conference.

Özil hasn’t agreed terms with Barcelona, he declared, before chastising members of the Fourth Estate for their hypocrisy on Twitter. OK, you have to read quite a lot into what he said to reach that last conclusion but the clues are there. If you jumble up all the words, you can see quite clearly he says, “Why should I answer questions from a breed who are so stupid that they take on Arsenal Twitter?”

Anyway, the upshot is that Wenger is tired of the speculation over the player’s futures. He could do with a break, you feel, from the Fenerbahce, Manchester United and Barcelona speculation. At least Alexis is only interested in one club, even if PSG and Real Madrid are intent on clouding the issue.

Nothing in Life is Free

I have said it before and will no doubt do so again but this is a clusterf*ck of Arsenal’s own making. Poor management all round – not just Wenger but Gazidis and Law too – to let contracts get to this stage. Even better, both first and second choice goalkeepers have contracts which expire in 2019. Only at Arsenal, it seems.

Not only at Arsenal, there are potentially higher profile free transfers next summer than before. Even Messi has yet to sign a new deal with Barcelona. Football chicken is well and truly under way.

And it puts managers in an invidious position as Jack Wilshere is about to find out. His contract expires next summer as well, which is flying under the football radar. Or those of the back pages after he declared he wanted to stay at Arsenal. Speaking after Cologne, he said he wanted “honest” talks with Wenger, about his future.

Despite being keen to stay, he knows that he isn’t going to get back into Gareth Southgate’s England squad unless he gets into the Arsenal XI. So Jack wants to know where he stands, as opposed to sitting on the bench.

However, Arsène’s predicament is that replacing Özil and Sanchez alone is likely to cost £150m+ unless he can pull off a coup and sign Goretzka in the January window. It’s unlikely Thomas Lemar will move for less than the £92m bid accepted by Monaco in the summer. A good World Cup will only see that rise.

Simply put, we don’t have the cash to replace an experienced player like Wilshere as well. That’s the brutal reality of our situation. While Willock is promising, is promoting him to the first team for cup matches enough experience for a season in the first team if the situation arises?

Talk is Cheap, Footballers are Not

So the honest opinion Jack craves will most likely be clouded by others situations. Wenger needs to be at his persuasive best to persuade a hugely talented player that his future is at the Emirates. Plenty would; Wilshere is Marmite for very few reasons which have to do with himself.

The real question is whether there’s a place in the side for Wilshere. All the while Özil is here, the answer’s ‘no’ for the most part. I get that, so does everyone else. When he’s gone, the question becomes whether we change our style as a result of losing Sanchez and the German at the same time. Do we become more ‘direct’ as a result of just the same with different personnel? I’m not so sure the answer is as clear-cut as either extreme believes.

Speculation will intensify between now and the end of January over the futures of those out of contract next summer. If all three leave, broken cannons will adorn the back pages. Rightly so? The fourth estate’s desire for vengeance on the Arsenal support may be a dish served cold…

’til Tomorrow.

69 thoughts on “Can Arsène Afford To Be As Honest As Jack Wants?

  1. Where is everyone this morning? Today’s post has been up a whole 10 minutes and I was first.

    Another right, riveting read YW. Many thanks.

    If Ozil does go in January it would likely make Jack’s situation as little clearer, as he is likely to get more games in the second half of the season.

    Ozil is a real marmite player for many fans. He can sometimes put in a dazzling display but, as has been said many times before, it relies on quality players around him playing well. Arsenal don’t have enough top quality players playing at their highest level all of the time to get the best out of Ozil and we don’t have the budget to buy in the players we need to make it work. We realistically need a player in that position who can drive the team forward when players around him aren’t doing so well. It’s interesting that Maureen has said something similar about Mkhitaryan this weekend, “He started well this season but his performance levels, goalscoring, assists, high pressing, bringing the team with him as number 10, were decreasing step by step”.

  2. Arsenal get a lot of stick for letting these players run down contracts but are these two players really worth splashing out £700k a week on? That’s £36 million a year, say 3 year deal that’s £109 million and that is just on 2 players could get players of a similar quality with more passion and desire to play for the club for a fraction of that cost.

  3. Willock is promising? Oh how our standards have plumbed the depths over the past few years. I always think “would this player be considered by either of the Manc’s, Chelski, Liverpool, and now we have to include Spuds,” and the answer is decidedly, not on your life. I watch the Europa team and I despair at the level of the young players coming through now. Maybe Nelson has a chance, but if any of the others make it, to me it will just show how mediocre Arsenal have become.
    We should have taken the £60m for Sanchez, I don’t care that it would have benefited Man City, they are a class apart from everyone else and no one will get near them, but at least we would have had some money to spend. Our future spend availability looks appalling as we will lose Ozil and Sanchez for nothing, or virtually nothing if either go in January.

    I started to support the Arsenal in 1962 and we had a crap team then and it looks as though we are heading back to that era. But even then, from 1959 till 1964, Arsenal always went out and spent big on a class player, Mel Charles, George Eastham, Joe Baker, Ian Ure and Frank McLintock.

    Oh happy days!

  4. Ozil is a great player but not for Arsene or Arsenal.

    Any contract offer will be a face saving exercise by some sort of suit at AFPLC. It won’t be on football merit

    Jack is worth much more to us when fit. I’m astonished he’s not had more PL time than he has thus far. AW has the perfect 2:0 reply to me, but I’d have started him against Spurs.

    If we could get £15m in January for Ozil and stick that on top of what Jacks getting now for the next four years I’d say that’s a good deal

  5. I agree with you, Damon, that Mesut is a great player.
    I disagree that his ‘greatness’ can be affected by the club or the manager.

    The other players in the team need to be at the required level too in order to achieve titles – and in that I think we are not too well served — too many ‘sick notes’ or near retirement players, or just not good enough at the top level.

    Jack is ‘marmite’ as YW said, and so too is Özil, and I suspect agreement on which side the marmite is spread is unlikely to be agreed upon. 😀

  6. HenryB,

    Fair enough

    I disagree though. Dislike him as I do, if Maureen had this squad for the last 24 months, not out of the top four and at least one title tilt into April

    Never again under Arsene

  7. Damon,

    You are probably right there (viz a vis a title – cannot ever think well of Maureen, but ….. ) and losing our best two players is not going to make our chances of CL or PL titles any better.

    Replacing them with similarly talented players is just not going to happen — if there are suitable players available in January or in the summer, then the big spenders (including Maureen) will grab them, and we will only watch and grimace. 🙁

  8. HenryB,

    So with all that said, How can you defend the management (or manger) of the Team?

    By your own words we’re regressing? Have been for years?

    I struggle a bit in this conversation as your comments on other Arsenal blogs seem to offer more support for Arsene’s dynasty, depending on the mood of the board you’re on?

  9. Thanks for another cracking post yogi.

    Ozil was a great player who can still have an occasional great game but he has not been playing great football on anywhere close to a regular basis for about 2 years. May be its just me but the title “great player” is not given to someone on a life long basis any more then you would call a manager great based on what he did between 1996-2004. Once they retire then we can reminisce about how great Arsene and Mesut were but until they retire both should be required to earn their accolades and their big contracts which neither have been doing.

    Regarding Jack, we can’t possibly build any team which requires him to play regularly in high leverage situations. I think his ability to be an impact player is over rated. Perhaps he is another player who would never have replicated his first year performance or perhaps the injuries and years have taken away a lot of his ability. However what we have seen of him when he has played in the last 2 seasons has been not inspired much confidence in his ability to regularly impact the games. Even when he played regularly last season he was highly underwhelming. He is not the player we thought he was in 2011. Just as problematic is we just can’t count on him to be healthy. Its imperative to have another impact player on your squad who can play Jacks position but that means you can’t use jack regularly because you can only use one at a time. We have to think of jack the same way we did with diaby and whatever we can get from him will be a bonus but there is no way we can rely on him to be available n a regular basis

  10. The job of your creative players is supposed to be to improve the effectiveness of attacking players around him. The idea that our talismatic world class creative player can only be expected to have a positive impact when he is surrounded by a whole team full of other great players all playing in their top form is the opposite of the way it should work.

  11. Exactly!!!!!!

    The job of your creative players is supposed to be to improve the effectiveness of attacking players around him. The idea that our talismatic world class creative player can only be expected to have a positive impact when he is surrounded by a whole team full of other great players all playing in their top form is the opposite of the way it should work.

  12. Damon.

    I probably do not always explain myself as well as I might.

    In our conversation today, for example, you said that Mesut was great, but not at Arsenal or under Arsene. I disagreed with the latter part — because I think a talented/great player is always a talented/great player, and that is not dependent on the manager.

    Now if you said Özil does not demonstrate that talent in the current Arsenal team because he is not used in his best role, or because of the tactics (or sometimes lack of them) used by the manager, I would have understood that.

    As far as what I say on other blogs, there is no difference to what I have said about AW on here on a number of occasions, and altho I get bored repeating it — I have said, that AW, like all men, has reached a certain point where he has become ineffective, and he should have retired 2 or 3 years ago.
    Also as a man I have always admired Wenger, from what I can tell from his pubic utterances, he seems honourable, intellectual, has been a top manager (see above re retirement) but he has made mistakes with players purchased, and is too loyal to some (Theo? Le Coq etc?) who should have gone long ago — in my opinion.

    I do not hate him – but neither do I think he is infallible – he is a human being, like the rest of us, with all that means, including making judgement mistakes.

    I do not pretend to know everything (or sometimes anything) about football management – but the views I express are my own – and I thought after all this time that was obvious.

    I am disappointed you do not see that.

  13. Damon,

    Ozil is like a finely tuned instrument – he needs a platform provided by others to function as well as he can and AFC are not capable of providing that on a consistent basis. Although I’m not his biggest fan I think that it’s more the case that he’s not a good fit for the club and would probably be more effective at a truly top side that can give him that platform and the freedom to use it.

    It all comes back to having a coherent strategy in mind when you sign players as part of a vision of the side that you want to build. As I’m sure we all remember AW was initially trying to sign a top striker and when that didn’t come off (unsurprisingly considering the way we went about it) Ozil was a last ditch face saving alternative. That’s no way to build a team.

    Of course I’d like us to have the best players but I’d rather have an actual ‘team’ of good players than a bunch of great individuals just thrown together on the off chance it might work. And we aren’t going to be spending £90m on Lemar for example now that the £60m for Alexis is no longer on the table. So by necessity we have to build a team rather than try to rely on ‘stars’. All we need is a manager capable of doing it.

  14. I haven’t yet seen anything from Wilshire that leads me to believe he will get any Premiership starts as long as Ozil is both fit and at Arsenal.

    If Wenger is honest with Wilshire he must make that clear. Wilshire must then decide whether he should leave in January or hang on until Ozil’s situation is decided.

  15. Andy,

    Spot on! 😀

    My only addendum would be to say we also need to offload some on the current roster who are not even particularly ‘good’ players, and like you I cannot see us buying the best/top players, as they will be snapped up by those willing to spend.

  16. Well Yogi, look at what you have done, Ozil vs Jack.

    The crazy thing is, I think our best team actually has them BOTH in it with Jack playing the Santi link role and Ozil making things happen in the final third. Just something about Jack doesn’t seem to work further up the pitch and often times you see him dropping into midfield to pick up the ball and then run at players.

    As far as Ozil goes, I think so much of people criticizing him is that he doesn’t always track back but for me, its like criticizing your DM for not joining in the attack. They are in the team for their specific roles and the other stuff is icing on the cake. Its funny that Ozil is so criticize for it, but have people actually watched Jack do the defensive work and track back, I’m not talking about his revenge tackles but actually tracking back like so many want of Ozil? Ultimately, the failure of this team falls on Arsene because I don’t care if its Jack or Ozil, but both need defensive pivots who care more about bossing the midfield and doing the defensive work and at the end of the day, as Andy said, Arsene doesn’t have the platform especially consistently to do so.

    I actually agree with Henry, a great player/talent doesn’t dissipate, they are still a great player/talent but they may not always show it. I also had a laugh about the whole big match thing, because last I checked in some of the big matches our defense and pivots were quite shit on the day as was the whole team. I also find it funny how everybody praises Ramsey for scoring in the FA Cup Finals but in those same Finals OZil was widely praised for being brilliant. The other thing with Ozil is that people want Ozil BECAUSE of his talent to be a leader and it doesn’t always work out like that, the most talented player isn’t always the leader of the team, actually quite often the best or most talented players aren’t the leaders of the team.

  17. Orson,

    If/when Özil goes in January then Jack could get his chance. As one of his biggest fans, I have to admit he has shown nothing like the talent he needs in the PL after so many injuries struck season.

    I wonder if Iwobi, even tho he is going thru a ‘wobbly’ spell at the moment will be given Özil’s role instead?

  18. Andy

    Any technically skilled creative player who is given the freedom to move where he wants and who touches the ball more then any other player in the attacking 1/3 is going to look really good on a team filled with superstar players who regularly dominate their opponents. However, Ozil was reasonably effective playing for Arsenal in 2013 up to December 2015 even though he had to play with Giroud/Ramsey/Walcott/Sanchez etc. The reality is that we have better players now then we did back then. In the first part of the 15/16 season Mesut could still be consistently effective even without a dominant team around him. The start of the the downward arc of a every players career is variable and something changed around Dec 2015.

  19. HenryB,

    Thanks, I was following you and Damon’s back and forth and you were spot on.

    I think the thing that people forget is that Jack WASN’T our creative hub; it was Cesc, then when Cesc left it was Mozart for the season he was fit and then Jack started getting injured but Jack was always that link player sitting next to a true DM. The other thing is people are holding onto this notion that injuries haven’t affected Jack and while he has moments, even against the lesser teams he featured against in the Cups he should be bossing the matches and he simply isn’t. I love Jack the talent but I wonder if the reality is that he simply isn’t that player and may never be, a sort of exceptional talent that injuries have robbed of his physical gifts and yes he might be able to do it over the course of several cup runs, but taking over full time, playing 40 matches in a season at minimum, I don’t think he can physically.

  20. You are right, OK,

    Iwobi is not in the same class as a fit Jack (however long that lasts) and will never be at Özil’s level – but the implication earlier was that we will be unlikely to buy a top player, so if Ozil’s replacement has to come from the current squad, I think that could be Iwobi rather than Jack.

    Next season, if Jack gets injured again, or does not recover his old class because of previous injuries, perhaps one of the youngsters [Willock, Nelson?] if we still do not buy a good/great replacement for Özil.

  21. Spuds down 1-0 and 30′ into the game Pochettino has ABANDONED his back 3 and completelt changes his formation because West Brom was looking much more likely.

    Think about this, is Spuds lose and we win, we are above them and for all the lovefest and how good they were playing, they would be behind us….

  22. The other thing is, will Jack actually sign if say a contract from say La Liga come in and offer him the keys in a less physical league where tactics are more important than power and pace.

    Spuds supporters are frustrated and Kane and Alli arw being marked out the match so far..

  23. C,

    Bill probably would not agree with that (3:28) but then he does seem to leave comments that have little to do with what was actually said.

    You are factually absolutely right about who played the ‘creative’ role over the years, and that’s not fair — it is a bugger when facts are produced that buggers up some fantasy argument. 😀

    We all like a bit of fantasy and conjecture — but your grasp of the actual facts brings everyone back on track!

  24. Bill,

    My question would be although we now have better players do we have a better team? I would argue not. A few years back we had more of an identity, everyone knew how we would play. It wasn’t a style I particularly enjoyed, and it wouldn’t be my choice to go back to it, but at least we had a style. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have a vision and a plan, things breakdown and individual talents don’t flourish in that sort of environment.

  25. HenryB,

    Thanks and its interesting just how quickly people have forgotten the history.

    Remember when all the discussion waa Ramsey and Jack were the future pivots of Arsenal…

  26. Sorry that I might have seemed a little distracted this afternoon, because I have been watching the F1 Qualifying, and now the England v Samoa Rugby international.

    Very good — both of them!

    (pleased to see the Spuds losing at home — hope it stays that way). 😀

  27. Watching the Dortmund v Schalke match too and Dortmund have been brilliant and Yarmelenko was certainly a player missed.

    The other thing with Jack is, people kill Ozil for being advanced and not banging in the goals, but Jack isn’t that player either.

  28. Also….ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT by our U18’s who put the Spud U18’s to the sword, 6-0. The present and future of London certainly looks reds, no powershift then.

  29. C

    “a great player/talent doesn’t dissipate, they are still a great player/talent but they may not always show it.”

    If talent is defined as a players ability to positively influence the games then quite clearly every players talent dissipates at some point as they get further along in their careers. When that starts to happen is variable but it is inevitable. Same thing happens with most managers and Arsene is the ultimate example. Arsene was once supremely talented but not anymore.

    It depends on how you define talent but even if a player is talented but does not show it on a reasonably regular basis then what good does that do for the team?

    By your definition you would probably argue that Jack W is supremely talented but for whatever reason even when he plays he has not been nearly as effective on a consistent basis as we had expected when we first saw him in 2011. I would argue that any definition of talent which does not include “the ability to regularly have a positive influence” is at best debatable and any definition which does not include that stipulation is basically meaningless. No?

  30. Aubameyang just got his 2nd yellow and now Dortmund are down to 10 men with 20 mins left and one of the best strikers in Europe off on yellows

  31. Bill,

    When you consider the number of assists provided and chances created by Ozil, it is hard to see how he isn’t a positive influence. Even Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar don’t score in every game, so perhaps they too are not a positive influence.

  32. Bill,

    Is Benzema, Mueller, Mbappe and others not a talent. I mean people praise De Bruyne but Ozil has created more chances and had more assists than him since Ozil’s arrival playing with way less talent upfront.

  33. Interesting Pochettino has gone all out attack with 30 mins to play, he really has thrown caution to the wind by taking off Vertoghen and leaving on Dier who is sitting on a yellow and looks like he wants to be sent off today.

  34. Orson

    The number of assists Ozil has produced has plummeted starting in January 2016 and in reality he has as good or better goal scorers now then he did before January 2016. You know as well as I that the stats can be very misleading and they should match the eye test. The stats suggest that he is still creating chances but the eye test would suggest that in the majority of games that stat is misleading. The actual number of assists certainly matches the eye test much better then chances created. I would argue that logical explanation is that the passes they are calling a “chance created” can not possibly be the same quality chances that he was creating back in the days when was still consistently piling up asssists.

  35. Bill,

    I am beginning to realise that you have little notion about ‘team work’ and keep banging on about individual players.

    Top teams are the sum of the individual players — there is a key difference — because rather than just one individual such as Özil, whom you seem to have a hang up about, a successful team is the result of the combined action of all the players, especially when they are effective and efficient.

    So referring back to what I said earlier —
    — a group of poor quality players are never likely to be successful, however hard they try —

    — a team of average players, even with a sprinkling of top class players (Sanchez and Özil) will always struggle, as the sum of ALL their parts is not good enough —

    — a team of good players will be better than the above, but without a top quality player, or two will struggle to succeed —

    — but a team of top quality players will inevitably have more chance of winning titles — the sum of their parts blah, blah

    — and so on.

    So, it is not down to what one player does – however gifted. It is really that simple! 😀

  36. C:
    Orson Kaert,

    Ronaldo had 1 goal in 9 La Liga matches to start the season….nope not a talent

    I would suggest that if Ronaldo continues to score at that same rate for 2 years then in retrospect we can be reasonably certain that this year was the start of the downward arc of his career trajectory. In retropspect we can probably say that January 2016 was the start of the downward arc for Ozil.

  37. HenryB,

    Absolutely top quality post there, the brilliance is in the simplicity.

    I think the perfect example of what your saying is Spuds. The media and the world seem to be banging on about Spuds and all this but take Kane and Alderweild and probably to a bit lesser extent Alli and Lloris from that team and you have a lot of good players that finish and fight for 5-6th but consistently don’t do it.

    Then you have say Dortmund under Klopp when they did the double and won back to back Bundesliga, a team of quality players mixed with some good players and they were brilliant.

    The other thing is, I honestly struggle though with people talking about Ozil and Jack and saying stuff like, “O yea Ozil can leave because we have Jack” but fail to question how much is Jack gong to ask for in his contract and given his injury history would it be more of a risk to give Ozil 3 years at say 250k/wk or Jack 3-5 years(which he will probably want) at say 150k+/wk?

  38. Give it up, Bill, it’s becoming an obsession with you.

    C was being sarcastic re Ronaldo — he is still a brilliant world class player, who won the Golden Boot award recently, beating no less than another world class player in Messi — and yet you are condemning both him and Özil based on a fanciful view of what we might, or might not, see in 2 years time – you are joking too — presumably?

  39. C

    Ronaldo is one of the greatest players in this century and perhaps one of the best in many of our lifetimes. However, if he continues to score 1 goal every 9 games then none of that matters for Real Madrid chances to win La Liga and the champions league this year or in the future.

  40. HenryB,

    Honestly Spuds could have lost; Rondon was absolutely spent and in the 89′ he had a chance to finish off a cross on the counter but he simply didn’t have enough legs left and then Robson-Kanu had a chance but hit it straight at Lloris and even an inch either side and Lloris is beat.

  41. Spot on, again, C @ 4:58

    My suspicion is that, sadly, Arsenal will let Jack go, either in January or in the summer.

    If we can see that Jack is really struggling to recover his wonderful talent because of injury problems, then you can bet Arsene and his coaches will see it too, with the inevitable consequences.

    As Orson said earlier, there is no chance Jack will get many minutes playing time, as things stand now, whether Mesut leaves, or not. It hurts to say it, but ………

  42. Henry.

    Clearly Ronaldo is a great player but even he will stop being effective at some point. May be this is the year and may be not. No way any of us can say either way right now. If he continues to score 1 goal every 9 games then he will no longer be a great player who can help his team win. That is very straight forward

  43. C,

    I don’t care Ozil doesn’t track back. Actually, I think his stats prove he’s more than effective in that department for the position he plays

    I don’t rate him at Arsenal because he turns up twice a season. Not often those two games are against top teams either. I know he did last week but name me three other big games in the last three years that he bosses??

    Simply. Not good enough for what was the club record signing

    He is at fault for not finding a way at AFC for not finding a way to be effective. But more so, Arsene is at fault for not giving him the platform to thrive

    Therefore, they’re both at fault. Ergo, he does work at Arsenal or under Arsene

  44. HenryB,

    Hi Henry,

    It’s interesting that Wenger has recently seen Jack as playing further up the field when the view previously had been that he would more suit the Santi role and drive from deep. Is this in preparation for the potential departure of Ozil in January? If Wenger is privately expecting Ozil to go in the January window it would make his conversation with Jack a lot easier, certainly for planning the remainder of this season any way.
    The issue for Jack is whether he sees himself in that role or not. Southgate sees him playing deeper and an extended period pushed further up the field will probably do him no favours in his aspirations of playing at the World Cup next summer.
    To be honest, all of our other options for the Ozil position are a bit of a make do, as I don’t think any of them has enough quality to fill the spot. It will be interesting to see what Wenger does in the transfer market to fill the gap, as the budget available is likely to be limited.

  45. I’m disappointed, yet again, Damon.

    I know a lot of bloggers, from a lot of blog sites, many of whom change their avatar names, but their style of writing and general demeanour come thru in their comments.

    Someone I really liked (total opposite of me, I would say) 🙂 used to blog elsewhere and was rather like you. He went to that WC and gave us plebs a commentary about the games and the experiences, one of which was the ear shattering vuvuzela — and I thought I would ask, indirectly, if it was your good self.

    No matter, I have not forgotten your welcome help with my friends antiquated Mac feet which saved me a deal of money that I would have had to pay Apple (£250 approx) — and which, after your advice, cost the princely sum of £4:50.

    I still value your opinions! 😀

  46. Hi ya Wavey,

    My sentiments too. We, as a club, specialise in ‘make do and mend’ and I for one am getting fed up with it, because we fans spend hours discussing which of our limited roster can be used to fill the hole, so to speak.

    The correct way to replace O and S and Jack too, would be to spend the money on top quality, and as I am tired of saying, any titles won as a result of such entrepreneurship, would more than pay for such acquisitions in the form of increased sponsorship deals – but I feel my voice is lost in the wind — which is better, I admit, than peeing into the wind! 😀

    I genuinely have no confidence in my own speculation as regards Jack – and if Wenger sees an opportunity for him in a different role as you suggest, I hope it would work, with for Jack and the fans, but ……

    AW had better, with Kroenke’s consent, use that chequebook wisely and heavily, to replace the outgoing players, whoever they are, or Andy will have a competitor for most outspoken fan. 😀

  47. Bill:
    Arsène was once a great manager but I think we all agree that he is not anymore. Same thing happens with players.

    Bill, I have been saying that for a long time — I deeply respect Arsene, but time and tide await no man and he really should have gone a while back.

    See — we do agree on some things!! 😀

  48. HenryB,

    I haven’t been very well recently, but I’ve read your comment to me a few times and I’m a bit confused by it. Apologies if it’s my poor brain, as I’ve trouble processing simple things at the moment.

    Why are you disappointed? Because I’m not the other blogger you thought I might be?

    You suggest that lots of people use lots of sites and have a different persona as they flit back and forth. Sorry to say, but I find that a bit offensive. You might find duplicity ok, but it’s not for me. I can assure you that were I to post elsewhere, you would be quite sure that it was me.

    Lastly, are suggesting that I come across as aloof when you use the word plebs?

  49. Hi Damon,

    I’m sorry that you are unwell, and I hope you feel better soon. 🙂

    (1) I cannot add anything to my comment at 2:44 p.m. yesterday.

    (2) As for other bloggers; what I said was far away from what you imply I said.

    2 (a) You said: — “You suggest that lots of people use lots of sites and have a different persona as they flit back and forth. Sorry to say, but I find that a bit offensive. You might find duplicity ok, but it’s not for me.

    2 (a) What I actually said was — Me: — “I know a lot of bloggers, from a lot of blog sites, many of whom change their avatar names, but their style of writing and general demeanour come thru in their comments.”

    You might be correct, if you find bloggers changing their avatar names are being duplicitous — but you can see above, that it is not what I said.

    (3) I was referring to my erstwhile friend’s joking way of occasionally calling me, and other bloggers ‘plebs’ which had no connection with you as he did not even know you – and is not an antonym for ‘aloofness’.

    Look, I have a lot of goodwill towards you, Damon, and Mike, for helping me to resolve a problem that would have cost me a lot of money, and I had no intention of annoying you. But I blog for fun – and it is not fun to have to explain every comment I make, so I promise not to try and chat with you in the future, and hopefully that will solve the problem.

    And a nice win this afternoon will surely help too. 😀

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