Izzy Wizzy, Let’s Get…The January Window Continues Apace!

There’s a lot of optimism that the club is getting its act together in the transfer market. We’re going to be busy, get things done and be ready for the second half of the season without Alexis.

Why would you think that? There’s no evidence that we are, beyond the fruitless speculation of the back pages and let’s not forget for one minute that we still have a manager who has a track record of leaving things half-cock. Remember going into the season with a right-back as our third centre-back? We now go with a left-back there and started this season with a back three which contained two left-backs.

Hold your horses, people; we’re by no means certain to sell Alexis and get a replacement. I can see the former happening but the latter? I’m not so sure. Comfort yourself with the improvement in our ball possession statistics.

The Alexis story is nothing new, not for us anyway. Star forward out of contract, heading to a Mancunian rival. I say “rival” using the loosest possible definition of the word. Manchester City are no more a rival today than Manchester United were back then. These are clubs who in their respective times, are light years ahead of us on the pitch.

We can argue about oil money and denigrate whatever they may achieve as a result of it, but the reality is that this is modern football; this is the level at which Arsenal compete. Again, another loose definition.

You can seek solace in our supposed integrity but remember Stan is the winner. The value of his shares increases while your money means nothing. How you mocked Liverpool and laughed at Tottenham; we are those clubs now. We’re going to where they’ve been when they were figures of fun as we plough a lone furrow of mediocrity achieved ethically.

A Dedicated Flower of his Own Success

Except we’re not as astute. An astute Arsenal would have sold Alexis and Ozil two years ago and received double what we paid. We’d operate in the same way Monaco and Porto do; buy an unknown and turn them into a saleable asset at a huge profit.

We can’t because of delusions of grandeur. The dull owner, unambitious board and stale manager lack the vision to turn the club into something new. They trade on reputations, treading water but gradually pulled down by the current of nothingness.

Wenger pulled the usual line at the press conference, trying to stem the flood of questions. The water is lapping around his feet and Arsène told the assembled hacks that he has never broken a contract. As if that is going to stop the tidal wave of questions from coming.

“Every single decision I make what is right for the club,” he declared. Who judges what is “right for the club” because it is obvious that there are many different shades of the answer. “Do I stay for one year or ten years it is exactly the same,” Arsène warbled, unable to recognise that what is good for Arsenal isn’t the same question as what is best for Arsène.

It has everything “to do with [his] personal situation.”

Constant speculation over his future wrecked last season; we’re heading toward another twelve months of the same because he won’t let go and the owner is too enamoured with him.

“My contract clarifies that. Did I ever walk away? Never. Why should I change?” Maybe one of the assembled journalists will add the caveat of “but you did at Nancy, didn’t you”, to give the proper perspective to that answer.

The Old Familiar Sting

Unending mediocrity. If the club put a motif of “Forward” on the crest today, would the billboard say “Reverse?”.

Everything is a wing and a prayer. “It looks like Sanchez will not extend his contract. But we want to keep Jack and if we have an opportunity maybe to keep Ozil, the rebuild will be less deep than if all the three left.”

Whose fault is the possibility of Jack leaving? “Ooooh, but injuries, injuries.” How many players contracts have been extended whilst out injured? Diaby, Rosicky, Cazorla; all extended because we, as a club, did the right thing. As soon as one gets fit, it’s “you earn your contract”. If Wilshere turns around and walks away, abuse rains down on his head while the culprit swans around as the injured party.

“There is still an opportunity for him (Ozil) to stay,” Arsène rightly said, before killing off the ambition in the next breath. “These guys want to win, and they want to make money as well…so he wants to fight as well for the Premier League.”

If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for the Premier League title, go on now go, walk out the door. “Incidentally he’s won trophies with us,” means nothing if they are not the right trophies, the ones you and everyone else continually tells us are worth winning.

The FA Cup means something to a certain generation of fans but it’s following the path laid by the erosion of the League Cup’s reputation. Television companies only build them up when they have the contract for coverage; otherwise, it’s sneered at.

We’re willing participants in the charade. Second XI, eliminated early? Don’t care about it anyway. We only want the Premier League and Champions League.

It’s Just an Illusion

It’s self-delusion, with supporters as willing participants as we continually lose to clubs with whom we were supposed to compete at the Emirates. Ooooh, but look at how much they spend on transfers compared to a club which is habitually portrayed as one of the wealthiest in Europe. Lies, damn lies and statistics.

Highbury didn’t die for this. Nothing died; it’s a new generation. The eighteen-year cycle returns, hidden beneath a deluge of averageness disguised as progress. A loose definition of the word.

A loose definition. Maybe these changes behind the scenes with the arrival of new guys in recruitment will change things, you have to give them time. We won’t know until the most fundamental change of is made.

’til Tomorrow.


27 thoughts on “Izzy Wizzy, Let’s Get…The January Window Continues Apace!

  1. Splendid read as ever YW.

    If we WERE still at Highbury it would be half empty come Saturday afternoons. There’s a lot of the old die hards who haven’t been seduced by the lethargy, incompetence & lack of ambition that now dominates the club.

    If you take away the ‘state of the art’ stadium & change some hairstyles it’s 1983 again.

  2. Wise words, oh sage one.

    The club is held hostage to one man’s arrogance, but those in power do not regard it as an issue whilst we remain profitable. The guys at Emirates should be coming through the contract to see if there us a way out of the sponsorship arrangements. They probably thought sponsoring the stadium, in particular, would mean putting their name to a football ground which would be the home for a top club winning the top trophies. They have also been lied to.

  3. Paulie Walnuts,

    Remember it well, some poor fare but at least we were ‘honest’, no spin and bullshit. And you could get in on the day for less than a pound I think if you were a youngster (I would have been 17 in early ’83). Throw in a visit to the chippy and a look around the record/pc games (on tape if you recall) shop and it was a heck of lot more enjoyable than the current ‘experience’.

  4. Wavey,

    Yup, fans may not influence Stan but when the sponsors start drying up he’ll take notice. Lots of people suggesting that maybe Wenger’s goose is cooked this time but I’m yet to be convinced. I still think he’ll see out his contract and get another season to fluke something and possibly get a new contract after that. Unfortunately we may need two very poor seasons to see him off, but ultimately I think that’d be ‘a price well worth paying’ (to quote the old bat Thatcher) to see the club escape from the time warp that we’re currently in.

  5. More links to Mahrez, probably lazy journalism but I would be happy with that if the price wasn’t silly (say around £40m). Sell Theo and Sanchez and buy Mahrez and that’s around a net zero spend which would suit Stan (net lower wages too). Not keen on Malcom, another small lightweight player with potential but not premiership proven.

  6. Broadly agree, but I don’t get the feeling AW has ever been interested in Mahrez.
    There has been plenty of opportunity.
    Also, I don’t really see how he adds much in the way of goals (excepting assists) – not enoigh to make up the shortfall of Alexis departure.

  7. Jonny,

    Wenger prefers a more left-field signing that shows how smart he is, he rarely takes the obvious route, so yeah I agree that it wouldn’t be a typical Wenger signing. Mahrez has eight goals from 24 games apparently this season and Alexis has eight from twenty-one, so not a huge difference. Obviously Alexis isn’t 100% on form or committed but I also believe that Mahrez would provide good service to Lacazette so it’s about a better team rather than just the quality of individual players. If you wanted a fairly safe option I’d take him.

  8. Thanks for the post Yogi. It must have been a grumpy day at the yogi house.

    I remember all of the optimism of the early Emirates era with project youth that was going in to completely revolutionize the way big teams did business and Wengerball which was going to bring the beauty back into the beautiful game. It was a very noble concept and Arsene was given a blank canvas with which he could try to paint his own picture and build his dream of the way he wanted to run a football club. In reality I think that dream ended with the meltdown in the last 1/2 of the 10/11 season and the end of the Cesc era. Since then we have stagnated and the optimism of the early Emirates era quickly faded. This decade has been mostly management by crisis intervention and we lost any sense of a coherent squad building plan. You can only remain stagnant for so long and credit to Arsene for being able to paper over the cracks and holding things together with smoke and mirrors and bandaids for as long as he has with the FA cup runs and keeping us in the top 4 all of those seasons but its always felt like the fall was coming and its looks like right now the downward spiral is picking up momentum. We clearly need to hit the reset button.

    I am 100% certain that Arsene will finish this contract and he will manage next season. It feels like Ivan has left the ranks of the AKB’s and the recent hiring of Sven and Raul clearly wasn’t what Arsene would have wanted so I am truly hopeful and even a bit optimistic that 2018/19 will be his last season. Dismantling the mess and rebuilding a squad that can compete is going to take time and there are going to be missteps but hopefully we have the right people in place and hopefully they can convince the right manager to come. Time will tell how it all plays out.

  9. I doubt Arsene would ever choose to leave as long as he has his health and the club is willing to pay him and give enough control to make him happy. Maybe I am way to optimistic but I am hopeful that he will be offered a statue in front of the Emirates but not a another new contract and the end will come in 2019. When he does finally leave I hope he decides to go out with dignity and not have to be dragged out kicking and screaming.

  10. Good point about the ‘18 Year cycle’.

    We are no more successful now that Mee was in the Seventies or Graham in the 80’s. Same old Arsenal but now, as Andy points out, a lot more bullshit with more expense and a lot less fun.

  11. Chelsea really struggling. Their defense is strong but they need Hazard and Morata to score and right now they don’t have anyone who can score. We have seen over the years that almost every team in the league can play solid defense and if your “impact” players can’t make something happen you finish with a lot of draws

  12. so lets get this straight.
    because we decided not to take the 60mil for sanchez in the summer, we decided to hang onto to him until jan when we can sell him for 20mil and make up the other 40 by selling everyone else?

    we are already 25mil in the transfer black from the sales of chesney, ox, gabriel, gibbs and le coq.

    i hope theres something up the clubs sleeve other than letting everyone run there contracts down and selling everyone else…..

    from the outside in we look like a right set of wallies – a plan hasnt been carried out this badly since olaf the hairy, high chief of all vikings, accidently ordered 100,000 battle helmets with the horns of the inside.

  13. Apparently this Malcom to Arsenal thing could be happening and possibly this week. His representatives are in London.

  14. What a lovely day, sunny, warm low twenties, little wind but the pool is a bit chilly. Morning by the pool, light lunch an amble round the Botanical Gardens, pleasant dinner with a quite nice bottle of Canarian red.

    Football? I just can’t be bothered 😎

  15. So after all of the Sanchez to Citeh, this Sanchez to United stuff is quitr interesting because they are saying its a done deal as Citeh don’t want to up their offer and Sanchez doesn’t want to wait until the summer.

  16. Bizarrely, people are getting more upset about United than City, C. Seems Mourinho is still more unpopular than Guardiola…

  17. Yet again the Sanchez situation makes no sense at all. We are allegedly wanting to sign a replacement before letting him go, but seem reluctant to get our act together and actually sign someone. The onus is on Arsenal, so if we are interested in certain players who have release clauses we have to stump up the cash. The club does not have any room to negotiate and it seems pretty clear from the press hype that Sanchez is desperate to go in this window. United being the front runners is an added frustration both because of their position in the league and their manager being such a complete wanker, but I can’t see how we can even consider keeping Alexis past this window. If we thought he had a strop on at the start of the season, imagine what it will be like if we make him stay until May. We have to get a replacement for Alexis now whether we sell him, or not because he isn’t going to be making any effort to play for the team after January. He has already divided the dressing room and that cannot be good for our aspirations for the rest of the season. January isn’t the best time to sign players, but there seem to be plenty around in this window who are itching for a move. I’d be tempted to go for N’Zonzi and Moura, some stability in the middle and a player with something to prove as he looks to restart a stalled career. We have proved effective as a home for players who need a restart in the past.

  18. I don’t seem to share some of your views. We were a selling club for years buying cheap and selling at a premium. That was criticized for years. Now we try to keep our good players, you are criticizing again. Why I’m not too happy with the balance of the team and the result for some weeks now, I think that is being corrected. I tend to think many Man United supporters have invaded our club. They fought to get Arsene sacked in the summer because if he stays on he will break many of Sir Alex record. People used to snare at us finishing in top 4 and losing in the last 16 to the best club in the world. A year out and all of a sudden we we are appreciating it.

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