It’s a reminder of the ‘good old days’, but it’s the sort of love for a club you want players to show. The words signal that he understands what it means to fans.
After Real Betis won 5 – 3 at Sevilla, captain Joaquin said, “Anyone who gets home before five in the morning gets fined.” That he was obeyed says it all. Can you imagine that being uttered by whoever the week’s Arsenal captain happens to be? I can’t. And if it was, the night would be spent sipping a vegetable smoothie or two.
The Premier League era sucked the fun out of football. And it ain’t coming back.
There’s been a lot of focus on the current squad and their futures under Unai Emery. That’s no surprise, but those out on loan are as much of an issue. They are the young players gaining experience/in the shop window and the older pros: the ‘dead wood’.
The latter is the issue the club must deal with. Carl Jenkinson, Lucas Perez, and Joel Campbell; fewer in number than previously but more stubborn to shift.
Which is a problem. Or would be normally. Campbell and Perez are out of contract this summer, surely riding off into the sunset.
The summer Dick Law spent chasing Campbell’s agent around the Caribbean looks more foolish with every passing season. If only Campbell had been so elusive on the pitch.
Perez was a little better as a signing, but still not up to scratch. Having passed on him earlier in the summer, we returned when Arsène felt pressured into doing something. Anything. It should have been ‘anything but signing Perez’. If you want to know how he got on in Spain last season, this from the Guardian sums it up:
One night an unhappy fan spray-painted his feelings all over the wall of Lucas Pérez’s house. There was just one flaw: the next day a note had been taped over the graffiti accusing the Deportivo striker of being a “money-grabber” and telling him to “go now!”, which read: “Lucas doesn’t live here any more, dickhead.”
You’re a Big Man…
Neither of that pair will add to the squad; I genuinely can’t think of a positive which would come from re-signing them. Are they going to deliver more than Danny Welbeck? No. Neither is going to deliver more than any of the young players they would find themselves competing with and after more time on the bench, it’s hard to think they would be anything other than disgruntled.
As for Jenkinson, he flopped at Birmingham and featured seven times, one fewer than Cohen Bramall. It’s sad to say but his career is really at a crossroads. At 26, he ought to be in the prime of his career, but it would come as no surprise to find him disillusioned. Turning down the move to Crystal Palace back in 2017 becomes a bigger mistake with each passing day.
He still has two years left on his contract and it must be crossing someone’s mind that paying that up might be the best way to get him off the books. It’s hard to see a top-flight club coming in for him and if you can’t make it at a struggling Championship side, maybe dropping to League One – back to Charlton? – might be the answer. Whatever the case, leaving Arsenal isn’t proving an easy thing for him to do.
Is this a case for the ‘new, ruthless’ Arsenal to answer?
Which begs the question: will the new stats-driven recruitment put an end to signing ‘dead wood’? Is the new ‘dead wood’ just the natural ageing within the squad?
…But I Do This For A Living
There’s no way numbers can guarantee success; every signing still comes down to a hunch, even if the numbers lessen the risk. Just because a player did well at another club doesn’t mean he will be a success at Arsenal. All manner of factors affect performances and it might just be that a particular manager got a certain level of performance from the player.
However, you would expect the stats to put an end to the sight of an Arsenal executive chasing his tail and ending up sipping Piña Colada’s by the pool instead. It didn’t happen often but when it did, Arsenal did it in style.
With cash seemingly tighter than ever – and a salutary warning from Chelsea about the whims of benefactors – we need to be smarter about how we work. News that Chelsea were ditching the ‘new’ Stamford Bridge project reminded me of the scene in Get Carter where Michael Caine throws Alf Roberts off the top of a multi-storey; the two architects on seeing a panda car pull up observe, “I don’t think we’re going to get our fees on this one…”
Which is a no-way contrived segue into this morning’s transfer gossip. One gossip site is determined to tell us “the truth behind every Arsenal rumour”. It must be a short article under that headline, with each player’s name accompanied by the words “just a rumour”.
So that’s the transfer gossip dealt with today unless you want to read more about N’Zonzi, the unlikely arrival of Dembele, the madness of anyone thinking we’d sign Balotelli, the madness that is Balotelli. The list almost endless and frankly I can’t be arsed to continue with it.
The reality is, it’s all rumours and there’s no-one new to add to the list. Then again, it is pre-9am on a Monday morning…