On Jinxes and Mad Contracts Disease

Busy times at Highbury House, with all these contract negotiations ongoing. It’s just as well Huss Fahmy is in charge of those talks; all his experience at Team Sky is useful with the back-peddling going on over Jack Wilshere’s contract.

The Mirror, which claimed the last contract offer was final, parped a new contract offer winged its’ way to Team Wilshere and is more to his liking. Woohoo! Jack’s back.

Only for the club to sell him in the summer, of course.

Which is the way we need to do business if that’s the plan? I mentioned the Monaco/Porto model the other day and Wilshere would be a prime example of how that could work better for us.

However, I’d guess the new boss sanctioned his retention, fully aware that our transfer budget is too low to solve the major weaknesses in our squad. Keeping Wilshire staves off one of the problems for another twelve months.

Which almost segues seamlessly into Santi Cazorla’s future. He wants to play for the first-team before the end of the season and after his trials of the past few years, it’s a welcome sight to see him jogging around the Emirates turf.

From memory, Santi’s contract runs out this summer and the decision is weighing up the cost of his wages against that money being freed up for another player. With the attitude toward Wilshere’s contract, it’s almost unthinkable that any new deal for Santi won’t run along the same lines.

It’s a tough call. The grin is only just returning to his face after a bleak time; would you want to wipe it away again? It would be the same gut-wrenching feeling as realising you’d shot Bambi’s mother; you knew what you were doing but the guilt would devour your soul.

 I Don’t See Any Method at All, Sir

As you can guess, I’m almost avoiding talking about the Atletico Madrid match. Not because I think it will bring a jinx to bear on the result – I wish I were that confident we will dig that performance out. In any case, I don’t need to worry about jinxes. We’ve got the Chuckle Brothers in the centre of defence; I’m more worried about them.

No, thinking about Thursday night sends me off into a moment’s reverie. Sepia-tinged memories of Paul Vaessen scoring in Turin or Thierry’s virtuoso effort flood through, and for a moment I think we can do the same in the Wanda Metropolitano.

We ought to be able to but I’d then be worried about the final itself, thinking we used all our luck up in reaching Lyon. It would be nice to have that worry, I must admit. I’d quite like to have that worry.

There’s no reason why we can’t do it. Every team has those performances in them, even one as hit-and-miss as this lot. What it will need for everyone to turn up and be focused. No kicking the ball into your face when row Z beckons; no drifting out to the wings to find space only to watch helplessly as the ball spends more time on the other flank. None of the rank stupidity which sees us in the worst away form for more than half a century.

In short, probably the best performance of the season. The late equaliser conceded means it’s now a one-off cup-tie for us. We need to approach it with the same mentality as if it were an FA Cup semi-final or final against much better teams. We managed that at Wembley last season, we need the same in Madrid.

Terminate…with Extreme Prejudice.

Will it happen? I wouldn’t bet on it – another jinx, you see – because I don’t believe it will happen. I hope it will, but I don’t believe it.

For every Milan, there are the first 70 minutes in Moscow. And we don’t have a habit of turning ties around in the second leg either. This is where we capitulate normally; let’s hope the squad hasn’t read that script.

Finally, you’ve seen the photos of what is being claimed as the ‘official’ kit next season. Normally, such things don’t vex me but…I hope this a joke. A wind-up. Something from the casual range. It probably is; not even the clowns running the club now are this daft, surely?

It looks like a t-shirt, doesn’t it? It is a t-shirt. Isn’t it?

’til Tomorrow.

35 thoughts on “On Jinxes and Mad Contracts Disease

  1. @lari03,
    Two points….
    Couldn’t agree more. The last two or three kits have, IMO, been poorly designed. Bring back the yellow!
    And I would hope that Arsenal FC is generous to a degree with Santi’s future. The Club can surely afford to be. 😉

  2. Regardless of how– Arsenal are perfect away in the EL this year.
    No worries. I’ve handled the jinxing for you!

    Suspect you are correct about Jack’s ‘new offer’ if in fact, true.
    No matter. It ‘will be true’ before days end– as it circles the digital sphere.


  3. Good morning
    I read of 2 new managerial candidates, Liverpool and Manu’s assistant managers!! I’m sure they are able to manage, but I would sooner have Viera if we are going down the little experience route.
    Love to see Santi back, everyone seems to like him, his smile is infectious.

  4. Would absolutely love to see Santi flowing across the Emirates pitch one last time and get a proper ovation but I would let him head back and finisb his career in Spain THEN sign Max Meyer if he isn’t signed up already.

    Jack, well well well that’s a situation because honestly I would prefer Max Meyer to Jack.

  5. I don’t mind the kit.

    They’re all shite, to a certain degree, these days anyway. Don’t really give two fuggs what they play in

  6. Michael,

    Is an even better reasoning to go with Arteta now.
    If he’s great: ‘Win’! If he’s not: ‘Next’?
    And Viera gets another year or 3 experience– and will not have been used-up with a poor-what-comes-next, if so.


  7. For all the goals scorers all over the pitch that need to get double digits that my mate Bill thinks we need to have…..its funny that if David Silva scores 1 goal between now and the rest of the season, Citeh will be the first PL team IN THE HISTORY of the PL to have 4 players score in double digits in the league.

  8. Great post Yogi

    We all want Jack to succeed and he has had a few good games along the way this season but its clear he is not the difference making player we had hoped. For the last couple of months he has looked average at best. We already have a full compliment of #10’s and now we are also considering a contract for Santi. Giving either of them a new contract would be the type of emotional decision that was part of the Wenger era and I sincerely hope we move away from that sort of thinking. I echo your sentiment that we should have signed and sold Jack when we had a chance but why in the world would Jack want to do that at this point? With his injury history he needs all the leverage he can get and a free transfer gives him a lot more flexibility. Jack should sack his agent if he even considers signing a contract only to be sold.

  9. C from yesterday

    “FFS mate, you know we don’t get experienced or see the talent of young playera unless they actually play and since the PL is gone, why not play some of them and enjoy their performances. Maitland-Niles has performed all campaign long no matter the competition or position. Nelson is 18 years old and thr futute looms bright for him not just by Gooners but by those in Europe as its no secret that Madrid, Barca and Citeh have been sniffing around him with his contract yet to be sorted. Mav, well he is a player that honestly was composed, assertive, calm on the ball and took no shit from Lukuka who has routinely since his PL debut made Kos look like a rag doll but we all know he is young but EVERYBODY waa young at some point.”

    You have told me the exact same thing about 100 times now and I understand your sentiment but look back on the last 10 years and where has that brought the team or the young players?

    I don’t have any problem with enjoying the performance as long as we see it for what it is and not over estimate what it means for the long term. The danger is that over the years we have take not only enjoyed performances like Sunday but we have used that as part of our decision making process with regard to squad building. Alex Iwobe are perfect examples. We did not strengthening the squad at wide forward when we pencilled in Iwobe as the starter a couple of years ago and look how that has worked out. There are dozens and dozens of examples like that. How many years did we hold squad spots and avoid buying the players we really while we waited for Ox or Nik Bendtner or Alex Song to fulfill their potential. All I am asking is that we learn the lessons that history has taught us over the years.

  10. I think Maitland-Niles played well and I really do think he has some promise. However its the same conundrum as always. If we decide not to buy a defensive midfield players because we don’t want to block AMN’s path then we probably end up hurting our results over the short term and we do even more damage over the longer term if we find out 2 -3 years from not that he is not as effective as we had hoped. That scenario has played out dozens and dozens of times over the last 10 years and there is no good answere

  11. Bill,

    I can understand that but make no mistake you can enjoy the performance, be cautious but hopeful. I think a large part of it is down to development of these players and within the squad. For instance with Iwobi, he should have been dropped and allowed to step out the spot light when he was going through a rough patch, but then you watch Maitland-Niles who has struggled at times but he also has a different tempermant abouy him. I’m not saying don’t invest nor am I saying pencil him in as a bang on starter but at the same time, I do think Maitland-Niles has a really bright future and there maybe others but they also might struggle, we honestly don’t know until they feature.

    Until then, I will continue to enjoy the youthand their performances.

  12. C

    “I can understand that but make no mistake you can enjoy the performance, be cautious but hopeful.”

    I have no issue with being hopeful. The problem is it’s been 13 years and we have not been nearly cautious enough and we have not learned the lessons history is trying to teach. We have consistently left ourselves a few players short because the our desire for this next phenom to succeed outweighs our logic and temptation to believe that this time will be different has been to strong.

  13. Very interesting that Holding has extended his contract. It really does feel like it will be EITHER Jack or Ramsey but not both.

  14. Bill,

    Hope springs eternal with Arsene set to leave, players simply haven’t developed under Arsene like we many have hoped.

  15. C

    The danger comes if we decide we don’t really need to buy another defensive minded midfielder because Maitland-Niles has shown promise and that strategy has not worked out very well over the years. However, if we do buy someone then its likely to block AMN. Unfortunately we can’t have it both ways.

  16. Bill,

    Don’t think it works like that and I have more faith in the new man then I do the old ones. Lets see what happens because I think Maitland-Niles can provide us a bit of the leg work that Xhaka can’t / doesn’t do. But with that said we will wait and see what happens but Maitland-Niles certainly has a calm about his play that most his age don’t.

  17. C

    We probably should have dropped iwobe when it became obvious he was not producing the end product we needed a couple of years ago. However we had not bought anyone who was much better because we wanted to give iwobe a chance. If we had bought someone better before the season started then iwobe would never had gotten his chance. In the end we get to say we gave him a chance but the final result has hurt the team and it’s been underwhelming at best for iwobe himself. The same scenario has played out the same way over and over

  18. .C:

    Hope springs eternal with Arsene set to leave, players simply haven’t developed under Arsene like we many have hoped.

    The fact that we might be willing to ignore the lessons of the last 10 years and instead hang our hats on “hope springs eternal” is exactly why I am concerned. How many years do we wait to see if our hope is rewarded this time?

  19. I think we’re at a point where the transfer budget is so low that we’ll see very few of the current squad leaving unless it’s natural wastage such as contract expiry or retirement. We have such a small stock of saleable assets that I think the new manager will work with what he has for a season, to see if he can develop players.

    Wilshere and Iwobi are two obvious examples. Ramsey’s decision whether or not to stay depends on who we appoint. A no-mark like the Bujovic or Faria and he is gone. Vieira or Arteta? I’m not convinced he’ll stay but wouldn’t be surprised if he did. A proven title winner? He’ll stay.

    In 2019, we’ll sell Bellerin, Wilshere and probably Mustafi if we can’t get shot of him before.

  20. This forthcoming transfer budget is puzzling me , why is it so low given we will get twice that in TV money. Transfers are generally on credit over the length of contract, and we appear to have plenty of money, I would like to get a Swiss Ramble view.
    And FWIW I had a score on Jardim at 20s….so shrewd punters should forget about him getting the job.

  21. .C:

    Yup just like Ox…

    I was clearly wrong about Ox but hopefully I learned a lesson from that and won’t get fooled so easily the next time.

  22. Yogi

    If what you say is true then Arsene has really left us with a mess. I don’t expect us to spend &200M but I am hoping the bluster about a small transfer budget is misinformation just like the huge transfer budgets we used to hear about

    I think players like xhaka and Mustafi still have some value in the transfer market. The bottom line is rebuilding will take a couple years and the regime needs to put together a coherent long term plan rather then pitch from crisis to crisis. Like it or not, the first priority for next season is climbing back to the top 4 and moving upwards from there. Results have to take priority over player development when those 2 goals are in conflict.

  23. C

    One of the other lessons we have to learn from the career path of all of our highly rated players after they leave Arsenal is the fact that we let hopefulness cause us to over rate their actual talent level. Benik Afobe was one the highest rated players to come thru the ranks and he has been one of the most successful of the players that got away. However his ceiling is not good enough to play regularly for Bournemouth.

  24. I remember the stories that Barca and Real Madrid were trying to steal Benik Afobe and Barca wanted Ignasi Miguel because of his ball playing skills at CB. In retrospect I wonder if those stories were made up by their agent but I did believe it at the time and its an example of how much we tend to over rate our own.

  25. Back in the real football world, Argyle have to win at Scunthorpe tonight to get into the play off positions in League 1. We were bottom at Christmas so have put a great run together.

    A question for all you nerds out there. What manager in the English leagues has won the greatest percentage of his game since in charge, and I don’t include those who have managed for only a few games?

  26. I remember a snowy night in Huddesfield abdout, well, over 40 years ago. Mitched off school to go. A 14 hour round trip by coach.

    Miserable hole it was but we won.

    Now, I listen on the radio from a caravan in rainy Cornwall with just a decent bottle of red and a bacon sarnie to comfort me.

    Times are hard.

  27. Asensio spent his age 19 and 20 years on loan which is how I think we should be developing our most promising players.

  28. The loan system allows a player to develop and gain some experience at their own speed. The mistakes they make and growing pains don’t hurt us. It also gives us a chance to watch the player be “test driven” for a couple seasons before we risk using him in high leverage minutes

  29. Reiss Nelson is only 18 but he has had already played close to 500 minutes with the first team in Europa league and cup games and does not have a single goal or assist. That does not mean he won’t make it but he has to be able to produce end product if he is going to succeed as a forward and so far he has given us nothing. I think we should send him on loan for the next 2-3 years and see what happens. He can gain the experience of playing every week and make the mistakes that come with youth and by the end of 3 years he will still only be 21 and we will have a much better idea of which way his career is going.

  30. Really entertaining game today between Madrid and Bayern. Assuming Liverpool can hold their 3 goal lead in tomorrows game, it should be a really good CL final and I think Liverpool has a good chance to win.

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