On Chelsea, Contract Talk And Suits That Go Bump In The Night

Through streets broad and narrow
Chelsea wheel their wheelbarrow
After Roman ran off and took all his cash

In my mind’s eye – or should that be ear – the terrace choir sounded a lot better than the Dubliners who just performed it on TOTP. It’s a vivid mind’s eye.

Anyway, it’s the level of enthusiasm for tonight’s match I have. Yes, it’s Chelsea, but it’s a friendly. An over-priced one, at that. What will be the XI? Similar to that we saw in Singapore, I’d expect. Those who returned to training this week might get a runout as a second half substitute. However, it’s the Lazio match where the team closest to his first-choice XI will take the field at kick-off.

Although I’m sure the players take it seriously, I can’t get with the over-analysis which will inevitably follow the match. Unai Emery’s people will do that, but theirs is a targeted approach knowing the end result. Ours is guesswork. But remember it’s a friendly and we’ll get just an inkling of what the Spaniard is aiming for.

One who shone on the tour was Emile Smith-Rowe. His reward for a precocious talent is a long-term contract which staves off fraught negotiations for four or five years. Earmarked for a loan spell this season in some quarters, I’ll be surprised if that happens. His talent deserves the opportunities which exist for him – and Guendouzi – off the bench in the Premier League this season, as well as cup matches.

There’s a danger of ‘too much, too soon’ with talented youngsters and we’ve had false dawns before. Yet there’s a sense that it won’t be the case this time. Maybe it’s the enthusiasm for the new regime rubbing off on me that makes it seem that way? I genuinely don’t know.

Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy

His reaction to scoring against Atletico is best described as ‘joyous bewilderment’:

“I didn’t even know what to do when I scored. It was a bit of a shock. All the players running towards me, the fans screaming. I can’t explain to you the feeling I got inside my body to score for Arsenal. I still can’t believe it’s happened.”

The youngster goes up in my estimation for telling Barcelona and Tottenham to do one when they tried to poach him. Did that play a part in the decision to reward his efforts with a contract extension? Possibly but Unai made it clear on the tour that ESR’s work in the training sessions impressed him most.

ESR spoke of the training under the Spaniard.

“Unai is very involved on the training pitch and likes to stop the session a lot. He’s very tactical and I think it really helps us as a team and it’s really enjoyable to be involved and able to speak so much more. I think the manager is trying to bring his culture to the club and if it works it’s going to be really great.”

The hope is that his career follows the path of one of his idols Cesc, rather than the injury-ravaged one Jack Wilshere trod. It’s criminal the way Wilshere’s talent never flourished due to injury. Maybe he’ll enjoy better fortune at West Ham, with a wiser head on his shoulders and a different club outlook.

Elsewhere, Aaron Ramsey still hasn’t signed a contract renewal. He’s either playing his hand well or putting the club over a barrel, holding it to ransom. It largely depends on the side of the fence you sit as far as his value to the squad is concerned.

Suits You, Sir

The never-resolved issue is that if he is sold, would you sell to an English club? Strengthen Chelsea or bring a bit of joy to Jose?

His style doesn’t seem particularly suited to the Spanish league and while he will adapt, I’m sure, a bid seems unlikely. Barcelona or another club might take a punt if he’s available on a free transfer, but I don’t see it.

It’s bad contract management which let us reach this point. Starting talks last summer was surely the time to play ‘sign or sell’; now we’re in the realms of a January sale which reaps in the region of £15-20m. Better than nothing but a kick in the teeth for Unai Emery.

Finally, more stories surfacing about Ivan to Milan. I understand the concern that if he goes, the management structure will be shaken. However, he put the management structure together so if it does wobble and collapse, he’s not as good as you think anyway. Arsenal Football Club will be around long after he’s gone and you and I are propping up daisies. Worry about the on-the-pitch stuff instead of the head suit.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

48 thoughts on “On Chelsea, Contract Talk And Suits That Go Bump In The Night

  1. Ivan has been Terrible for a long time. The attraction of Milan is filthy lucre.

    Have a feeling Son of Stan will get more heavily involved.

  2. A most enjoyable read YW
    I can’t offer any reasoning as to why-but I feel extremely optimistic about the season ahead.
    It would seem that in his very short time at the helm,our new manager is already changing the culture.

  3. With Xhaka and Torriera back, it will be good to see how Emery will fit that midfield together. There is such a new and exciting feeling, I am ready to see how the pieces all fit together and the influence that Emery has.

  4. Ever effervescent YW, much appreciated.

    Was Stanley Baker greatly lauded in his time for his talent? I’ve always enjoyed watching his performances.

    The comments from ESR are very positive indeed and evidence that the Goonerverse should be optimistic about the new season ahead.

    Under AW I felt there was a culture of arrogance after the PL title in 01-02 which never abated, under his reign.

    So I’m really impressed with Unai at the moment and that he recognises that there are little clicks amongst the playing staff, as well as coaching and back room staff, which needs to be addressed. Getting them all talking is just the starting point. Essentially although it’s a place of work, if it becomes more like family, instead of just a football club, then that will transpose into performances on the pitch (hopefully). But I was concerned that he said “if it works”? Does this mean there are other forces at the club that are working against this methodology?

    My measure of success would be seeing player’s happy playing together, doing the thing they love in an Arsenal shirt. It would be showing team spirit and camaraderie in defeat and victory. Showing grit and determination in the 90 + minutes to win or get a draw. To see tactical changes which negate the opposition’s plan of attack or to re-address a weakness in our formation. To see player’s rotated when not performing and their replacement’s taking that opportunity with hunger and desire to usurp the first team regular that’s ahead of them.

    Any position in the top 6 will be acceptable, with a quarter final run in any of the cup competitions. As long as the aforementioned is achieved.

  5. Great post Yogi

    Nice to hear the stories about Emery being tactical and being involved in the training sessions and even more exciting to hear that his really values hard work and energy. All of those things are such polar opposites to the things we heard about Arsene. I have never really believed that a manager could make individual players better but he can make them more effective. I know that distinction might seem artificial but I think its real. Arsene’s teams in this last decade were almost always “less then the sum of their parts” and that made all of the players less effective. I dont think Emery can bring back the Mesut Ozil from 6 years ago or turn Ramsey into the next Frank Lampard or teach Alex Iwobe how to produce end product. However if he get this team to play in a manner where they are “more then the sum of its parts” then all of those players will be more effective.

  6. Time will tell but I don’t think that Emery is going to completely change what has happened with our academy players. Just like with the senior players, he can make the system work so they can be more effective but he can’t make them into better players. Emery used several younger players in his days in Sevilla but the last time I checked I don’t think many of them are still playing regularly on the current Sevilla team and I correct me if I am wrong but I can’t think of any of his progeny that moved on to bigger teams and did well. The point is that he was able to work into his system and they we reasonably effective but he does not have magic dust that makes them into better players.

  7. I don’t think Arsene actually made his players better even in the early part of his reign. Arsene knew French football better then anyone and he got lucky to have a group of players from France who really good and he and David Dein were way ahead of the curve when it came to scouting and finding really good players who were flying under the radar. He put them together and gave them a system that allowed them to thrive. Unfortunately Arsene lost David Dein and the rest of the world caught up with us in terms of scouting and that changed everything.

  8. Bil,

    You’re right that a manager can’t make a player more talented, but the psychological aspect of football is something that a manager can have a massive influence on. So a manager can help a player reach their full potential, and I think that was one of Arsene’s great strengths. I think the problem was that his ‘go out and play’ method works well with intelligent attacking players, it’s pretty catastrophic in defence – which is why his early success was based on a defence that, as Lee Dixon pointed out, already knew how to defend as a unit and so could, ‘go out and play’.

    so yes – can’t change the raw materials, but can help players to make the most of them, which in many cases, can almost be the same thing.

  9. Bil,

    Torres at Liverpool and Torres at Chelsea is a prime example – was exactly the same player, but in one team he thrived, and the other he crashed and burned. Not saying it’s the managers fault, but in situations like that, how good the player is is already well known, it’s just reminding the player of this fact and building up their confidence.

  10. Actually I based my comments around the point ESR made:

    “it’s really enjoyable to be involved and able to speak so much more.”

    Hinting at that under the previous regime, younger player’s opinions weren’t valued and their voices were seldomly heard. Where Unai is challenging that ethos and encouraging everyone to feel included.

    I agree that to some extent AW got lucky and he and David Dein reaped the rewards of the rest of our competitors being a bit behind in terms of scouting for talent in France. However, after 01-02 it did seem like it was our god given right to win and it wasn’t something we were prepared to work hard to achieve on a cold, wet, evening, north of the M40 in the winter months.

  11. Nice one, Yogi, thank you.

    In those moments when Arsenal have scaled the heights, life for all us fans takes an upturn, and life is that bit sweeter.
    When things take a turn for the worse for the Gunners, our personal despondency increases exponentially, and the moody blues have their way.

    But with 20/20 retrospective vision it is all too easy to see that both the ecstasy and the melancholia are brief and passing — they are history — unchangeable and just memories.

    The future is uncertain and still to reveal itself, but for the Arsenal there is, at last, the delicate hint of a promise of good things to come after the slough of misery of recent years.
    I am waiting in hopeful anticipation for the outcome of next season, and even if I am not around to see it, I hope that the following seasons after that are good for the club, and for all the loyal Gooner fans out there for whom they mean so much.

  12. C,

    Salah and De Bruyne are two young guys who looked good when they wee young — both were given the heave-ho and went to other clubs where they have blossomed. I wish they had ended up with us.

    After hoping that Jack and the Jeff, as well as a couple of other Arsenal youngsters would make it big time only to see them fall by the wayside, so I am reluctant to say anything at all about Emile in case I jinx him.

    He seems to have everything (except experience so far) to be a huge star …… doh! what am I saying …. he is doomed now ….. doomed —- quick, say something horrible to save his career — oh, yeah, his haircut needs attention! — and Bill doesn’t like him! 😀

  13. HenryB,

    I’m excited about Smith Rowe, I think he is quality just needs to continue to develop and gain experience. I think the other thing is that they need to be directed and instructed and I think that is one of the clear differences between Emery and Arsene.

    Funny thing is, nobody is talking about the fact that Torriera is only 22 years old but he has shown. Its why I have high hope for Bellerin to get back to his best and why players like Guendouzi and Smith Rowe have a higher chance because they will be given specific roles with specific tasks in the team.

  14. You are right, C, and that’s why I have such high hopes for the future of the team.

    From what I have read and seen, Emery is a new broom, sweeping away the past regime as all good, new managers need to do, and bringing a breath of fresh air with him regarding his own training ideas and tactical astuteness, and that’s the way it should be.

    In a troubled world, personally, and internationally, it has not stopped me looking forward to the new season and seeing how we do. And yes, Torriera , could be the best signing of this summer. He was superb — and you may not agree with me about Dembele, but Rambo is being an asshole over his contract, so I would swap them now, and pay the difference, if it was an option.

    Many of us have had enough of players taking the p*ss when it comes to their ridiculously inflated contract demands.

  15. HenryB,

    Its why I also have high hopes for the future because Emery is not only changing the team but the club culture. He is teaching players and its also refreshing to hear the players speaking specifically about tactics, instructions and being taught a new way of doing things.

    I agree about Torriera, he could IMHO will br a brilliant player for us and one of those signings that will be instant impact. Guendouzi, I think will also give us quite a bit as he continues to develop and he seems to fit right in Emery’s system and style.

    I agree with you about Dembele and Ramsey. I said this the other day but its interesting that people shouted sell Sanchez and Ozil when they did this yet its quite the opposite for Ramsey despite most ignoring the fact that he rejected a contract and seems to have multiple times based on reports.

    With that said, I would take Bailey of Leverkusen right now…

  16. I don’t know much about Bailey, C, he has flown under my radar, even tho I watch a good bit of the German, French, Spanish and Italian leagues — well that’s all of them 😀 — obviously I have not been paying enough attention – but if you say so – I am happy with your knowledge!!

    Incidentally, thank you and others who, yesterday, wished me well with my health issues — much appreciated. 😀

  17. jabberwocky:
    Bil,

    Torres at Liverpool and Torres at Chelsea is a prime example – was exactly the same player, but in one team he thrived, and the other he crashed and burned.Not saying it’s the managers fault, but in situations like that, how good the player is is already well known, it’s just reminding the player of this fact and building up their confidence.

    Fair point. I can’t explain what happened to Torres and why he played so well for Liverpool but was such a bust at Chelsea and never replicated his Liverpool form.

    An example I use is Raheem Sterling. I think we saw in the World Cup exactly the type of player he is and I don’t think Pep has actually made Sterling a better player but Sterling looks much better when he is playing for Pep’s team because Pep has the ability to get players to buy into his system and play with high energy. I think the reason Pep leaves after about 3 years because his ability to get the players to play the way he needs wears off with time.

    Emery has the reputation for making players better but I think its the same concept. I can’t think of any players that Emery developed while at Sevilla who were really that good. I don’t know if any of them are still playing regularly at Sevilla and I don’t think any of them moved on to other clubs and thrived. He did not turn them into talented players. However they were relatively effective when they played together at Sevilla because Emery built teams that were better then the sum of the talent of their parts.

  18. Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Elneny, Ramsey, Guendouzi, Mkhitaryan, Ozil

  19. Team news is in:

    Cech, Bellerin, Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Elneny, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang

    Subs: Leno, Lacazette, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Iwobi, Chambers, Mavropanos, Nelson, Nketiah, Smith Rowe

  20. Bil,

    Aleix Vidal went and is at Barca, Denis Suarez went and still play for Barca, Ivan Raktik, Kevin Gamerio, Carlos Bacca. Vitolo plays for Atletico Madrid, Nzonzi became the player that he is because of Emery. Banega developed ans flourished under Emery, Daniel Carrico developed under Emery and is one of the best CB in La Liga.

    Part of the problem is that you only follpw the PL and tend to think that if a player isn’t playing or doesn’t make it in the PL they aren’t that good outside of Messi and Ronaldo😂

  21. C,

    Here’s the full subs bench, C: Leno, Martinez, Holding, Chambers, Mavrapanos, Osei-Tutu, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Smith Rowe, Nelson, Nketiah, Iwobi, Perez, Lacazette.

  22. C

    You are being extremely loose with your definition of definition of players that Emery developed. You mentioned a bunch of player who happened to play for him at one point in their careers but almost all of them had been around with other clubs for a while.

  23. I still don’t see those 2 playing together much, especially in big matches. I hope they do, but Emery strikes me as too cautious for 2 up front.

    Bill:
    It’s only preseason but it I hope if Lacazette and PEA play together when the games start to mean something.

  24. Pete the Thirst,

    I don’t think he is too cautious. It feels like he looks at Aubameyang as a winger/striker hybrid which actually is brilliant because he, like Lacazette, really are meaning they are more than capable of playing together. The other thing is that both have a really good work rate both pressing high and tracking back.

  25. Club put out statement on Ramsey:

    Aaron did not start tonight’s match due to a minor calf problem – he was replaced in the line up by Emile Smith Rowe as a precaution”.

  26. Looks like Lacazette saved our blushes.

    Good run out and not a bad result, even if the result wasn’t really important.

  27. couldn’t find a way to watch the game, but from the BBC’s text commentary it seems Chelsea have their own Smith-Rowe and then some in Hudson-Odoi (age 17), who appears to have given Hector the kind of nightmare Chambers suffered in the same position way back.

    Seems we started like rabbits in the headlights (sound familiar from seasons past?) but we warmed up eventually and had them penned in their half and after several saved attempts Wwe (Lacazette) salvaged a draw with the last kick of the game.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this affects our performances as we start the league. Those cold starts that hand our opponents the first goal seem to be part of the deep culture in the squad, which Emnery has to erase fast.

    But I’m encouraged that we didn’t give up. The real world gradually swims into focus as 10 August approaches.

  28. Oh blimey! Of course – penalty shoot out! It’s World Cup season still, so penalties it must be!

  29. Apparently penalties again?

    What for?

    I have to admit I have no idea what this “competition” involves or how’s it’s supposed to work.

  30. This really does seem pointless. Penalties after a warm-up game where most of the team gets subbed…?

  31. Finally – AN OMEN for the season!! Cech saves a penalty to win the sudden death after we level at 5-5. We’re gonna win the league…we’re gonna win the league….

  32. Noon Gunner:
    This really does seem pointless. Penalties after a warm-up game where most of the team gets subbed…?

    Maybe someone knows what it’s all about, but at this stage I’m just baffled.

  33. Noon Gunner:
    Finally – AN OMEN for the season!! Cech saves a penalty to win the sudden death after we level at 5-5. We’re gonna win the league…we’re gonna win the league….

    Nice!😄

  34. Pete the Thirst:
    I still don’t see those 2 playing together much, especially in big matches. I hope they do, but Emery strikes me as too cautious for 2 up front.

    I suspect he sees both ozil and Mkhitaryan as forwards and I think he needs to drop one of them so we can get both PEA and Lacazette in the line up

  35. Bill,

    Agree with that. Personally I think they compliment each other and if ball comes into box we’ve a bigger chance of scoring as they’re both fox in the boxes. Ozil Played really well last night imo, looked like the ozil from his first season with us hope he continues. Excited to see Torriera, elneny was horrid. Also hoping for a mavrapoanos start as we looked shakey to start with… Especially down the right and from corners

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