Tierney Off, Ceballos & Zaha On: The Transfer Wheels Turn

Transfers are rarely straightforward, certainly not where Arsenal are concerned anyway. Rarely do we walk in and slam a suitcase full of used fivers on the table, exclaiming, “Bosh! There’s your dough – let’s get this done.”

When we do, it rarely ends well; Shkodran Mustafi is a prime example.

When we don’t, it ends in tears as well. Reports this morning claim we’ve walked away from the Tierney deal. Celtic want £25m up front which doesn’t sit comfortably with our pursuit of Wilfried Zaha. The pursuit of the Palace winger is similar to Manchester United’s chase of Wan-Bissaka. Palace held firm, United caved in on the price. At £80m, it is right to question whether Zaha is a good deal. He isn’t, is my answer.

However, Palace don’t have to sell. Zaha signed a new contract in each of the last two seasons and didn’t negotiate some sort of release clause. More fool him and to some extent, he’s like Koscielny. He wants his cake (the cash) and to eat it (a move to a bigger club). Unlike the former Arsenal captain, he isn’t striking to get his way, or not as Koscielny is finding.

My concern about Zaha is that we don’t need him. And not at that price. The club is desperate to make the deal happen to prove we aren’t skint. A big-money deal is more important than signing players in positions we need to strengthen.

Whichever way you cut it, this is a bad transfer window for Raul. Unai Emery will attract most flak even though he’s not singularly at fault and hamstrung by poor management elsewhere. Managers are the lightning rod for criticism while executives hang around like a bad smell or walk away with a handsome payoff while everything crumbles around them.

Enlightened Times These Are Not

This isn’t limited to Arsenal, however. There is talk that a Premier League player is preparing to ‘come out’ as gay but executives at his club are worried about fan reaction and that it will consume the club. I understand how it will be with the media but fan reaction? Surely, we’ve moved on when Graeme Le Saux found himself (wrongly) harassed for being gay; he wasn’t.

That said, you only have to look at the ‘enlightened’ replies to Arsenal’s Pride posts on social media to know the knuckle-scrapers still roam this earth, usually hiding behind some kind of religion as justification.

What players get up to in their own time is their business, so long as it is legal. Then it’s a matter for the law to judge, not us and our hypocritical morality. That’s nothing compared to the prurience of red top hacks. Their morality isn’t questionable, it’s simply absent. A group of people who think nothing of hacking mobile phones, embrace the rampant racism of the American president. They most certainly don’t speak for me.

Sex tales sell advertising space and papers. The hacks claim to speak for us all but 99% of the population don’t even read their rags.

Instead of being emboldened by the culture in women’s football where no-one bats an eyelid about gay footballers, the men’s game shrinks into its shell. The fear of what might happen, cowering before the power of the press, is overwhelming. When you are beholden to the media to promote your product, you make a Faustian pact.

Dani Ceballos Incoming

Rather than fans being stuck in the middle ages with their attitudes, is it not the executives – mostly white and older than middle-aged – who are the problem? It won’t be easy for the first individual who comes out, nor for their partner.

However, they are still the same person they were before, the same player the were before, so why should it be any different just because of their sexuality?

Back to the transfer tattle. Zinedine Zidane and Dani Ceballos signed off on the season-long loan deal, with a medical set for today. That’s something positive, I suppose.

Where he fits in is another matter. Certainly, he buys Joe Willock time to develop but with Granit Xhaka retaining his place despite a hefty portfolio of cock-ups, is Ceballos what we need?

He, Torreira and Guendouzi, on paper at least, is a dynamic midfield but the lack of width means Mesut Ozil plays in a wide position instead of the #10 which is supposedly his best role. Disinterested Mesut will soon show up.

And the porous defence remains. Defending starts with the attackers but bypass them and t’s open season. As I said yesterday, 102 goals against in the Premier League over two seasons is not the stuff of Champions League football. We are struggling to compete this season and almost certainly, are locked in a battle for sixth.

Our fragile mentality is a huge problem to overcome. And I can’t see any evidence that it will be.

’til Tomorrow.

30 thoughts on “Tierney Off, Ceballos & Zaha On: The Transfer Wheels Turn

  1. Pete the Thirst says:

    A gay footballer…no really? There must be plenty in the Premier League. It is the 21st century and about time football caught up with the rest of society.

    I remember Graeme Le Saux being lampooned by Robbie Fowler at Anfield. All he’d done was read the Guardian!

  2. Brian says:

    After reading your blog I have to say we are very like minded. I agree with almost everything you type. I only disagree with your prediction of where we will finish. I think we will still battle it out for fourth. Un**ed have their own problems and Chelsea cannot bring new faces I’m. Those down the road don’t look like strengthening their team either.. gain a couple maybe lose a couple. It’s not as bleak as it first appears.

  3. Sheila says:

    This article reeks of the disappointment and pessimism of a perceived failed transfer window. Why not wait until the window has closed so you can write a measured, objective analysis of the club’s prospects for the coming season? And please , let’s not pretend that anyone of us possesses a crystal ball into the new season that gives us any greater insight than mere speculation.

  4. YW says:

    I’m writing as I see it right now. Sixteen days to land the players we need. Incidentally, the window opened in May so we haven’t covered ourselves in glory. I don’t see any rational grounding for believing we will sign the players we need.

    I hope my pessimism is ill-founded. However, this Arsenal and we don’t do dynamic in the transfer windows. I know it’s a small world with communication easier but I wonder if the three bigwigs spending a week or so in the USA!USA!USA! was such a wise idea. Did our negotiating team ease off with their bosses away?

  5. andy1886 says:

    Missing out on Tierney would be very poor business, let’s hope they cave in. Defensively we’re a shambles and doing nothing is just not acceptable. It’s not even as if we’re likely to improve the defensive midfield ‘shield’ (I use that term very loosely).

    Zaha? I probably rate him higher than some, he can win games. He’s certainly more dynamic than the majority of our side and would provide some much needed width. Ceballos? We can only judge when we see him play but he’ll have to settle into a new club and a new country. Don’t expect an immediate impact. As already mentioned we already have a ‘meh’ midfielder in Xhaka who provides not much either on defence or offence. We don’t need another ball recycler who pings the odd nice ball around the park so let’s hope he has some skills that we do need.

    Overall a ‘D’ for me on our transfer business to date. Must do better.

  6. C says:

    Zaha for 80m, no thanks, gice me Bailey from Leverkusen who is not only more consistent but does it all and for me, is a better player.

  7. andy1886 says:


    The problem is that we’ve seen lots of players who look good elsewhere in a different league and different team but when they come here they’re poor. Mustafi and Zhaka for example. Being Prem proven is worth an awful lot and reduces the risk of any purchase.

  8. C says:


    But we have also seen big fish in little ponds and then when they make the move simply can’t do it. At 80m, not for me especially since we need help in other positions, namely in defense.

  9. YW says:

    I know, Jimmy, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Your comments will improve with time.

  10. C says:


    Not only that but Bailey is a winger that is built for the PL. Pace, strength, quickness, brilliant close control but will work his socks for the team. Not only that but at 21 years old he has plenty of untapped potential and at 40m would be a steal.

  11. C says:

    Its 2019, if a futboler is gay, so be it, thats their life. Completely agree with you Yogi.

  12. Phil says:

    Nice work YW,
    A very fair summary of our transfer performance , or lack thereof , this off season.
    Mind you my expectations under this regime are so low, I am not surprised in the least.
    £80m for Zaha is excessive, and I would walk away if Palace are standing firm.
    Improving our defence doesn’t necessarily require a new player coming in, just Mustafi going out would shave about 10 goals off the against total.

  13. C says:

    For those that know the Juve defender Rugani, how would you feel if we grabbed him? With Juve signing 2 young CB’s and have earmarked them as the heirs to Chellini and Bonucci, I would gladly take Rugani.

    That would give us a CB grouping of Rugani, Holding, Saliba(loaned out), Sokaritis Nacho(in a back 3)and Mustafi(if he isn’t sold). Then there would be Chambers and Bielik if they aren’t sold or loaned out.

  14. Two Owls says:

    Let’s sign players for our back line. Surely defence is the priority.

  15. Stu says:

    I really don’t understand the mindset of football fans who are anti-gay. No one is asking them to be gay or even just pro-gay. The player is still the player and that’s all that really matters. Some say they are scared and it’s about their (the fans) own masculinity, but somehow I doubt the fit, well honed, wealthy young player will be looking into the crowd on match day at wheezing Wayne or chubby Charlie, with their Greggs-fuelled moobs, thinking “oh yeah baby, fire up the Ferrari!”.

    Ironically, if the player was sticking his wick up the backdoor of a busty blonde from Slut Island, who had had more “transfers” than Nicolas Anelka and taken more, er hum, “deposits” than a busy football agent involved in tapping up allegations, no one would batter an eye lid. But(t) if that backdoor has doorbells and a pull chain in front of it, it’s somehow wrong.

    As long as it’s behind closed doors, isn’t illegal and doesn’t impact in the performance on the football pitch, I couldn’t give a monkeys what the player does in their own spare time. We could have a back four of Julian Clary, Alan Carr, Judge Rinder and Graham Norton as far as I care, if they could do a better job than Mustafi and Co.

  16. Colts says:

    noonerz goonerz,

    odd window isn’t it, linked to decent names in positions we need but still playing pauper lol. which makes sense to an extent, we’ve pissed on our own shoes for too long.
    aren’t most deals amortised, so 25 up front for someone who has never played in the prem. has somewhat of an injury history and is known for his forward play opposed to his defending is a bit rich lol.
    of course he improves on what we have but I’d rather zaha.
    a quick look on tube and oh my, he’s Alexis without the goals lol. seriously though it’s exactly what we need on the left. if bammy Is cool with playing rwf then that’s a frightening forward line that will by default take some pressure off the defence. which isn’t getting much better anytime soon so why not go with your strengths?

    fairly excited with ceballos, disappointed we couldn’t make it permanent because of a silly buy back clause but hey, he might prefer it here after a season. I could see him in a two with the terrier in front of granit for big matches. even taking over from ozil in the 10 should the wizard lose interest.

  17. Blue Yonder says:

    Fail to see the chasing of Zaha. OK, he’s got game and would provide the wide link that Arsenal need but the vital need is at the back. And 80 mil is flat-out unaffordable. Tierney should be affordable and would fill the need.

  18. C says:

    In the most twistedly cruel date, Arsenal is in DC and I have a daughter commitment…..o, well she comes first but luckily I can watch on my phone.

  19. C says:

    Willock has all the physical tools to be a brilliant midfielder.

  20. C says:

    Penalty and Nacho(Real Madrid) has been shown red for a deliberate red stopping Lacazette from scoring after rounding Neves.

    Brilliant opening 10 mins for Arsenal.

    Lacazette takes the penalty and scores it!1-0

  21. C says:

    Lacazette with a lovely lil flick and Aubameyang rounds Neves for 2-0!!!

  22. C says:

    And then FUCKING Sokaritis goes and gets 2 silly yellows and sees red in the 1st half!

  23. andy1886 says:

    Didn’t see the game last night but from reports a number of things are becoming clear (most are not surprising in the least).

    On the plus side:
    The kids are giving a good account of themselves, some (Willock in particular) are ready to get minutes in PL games.
    Our forward line is as good as ever. Selling either Laca or Auba would be madness.
    Ozil seems interested again.
    Chambers could play a part if we don’t sign another CB.
    Results have been good.

    On the negative side:
    Mustafi is still Mustafi.
    We don’t have any decent fit full backs.
    Xhaka has been terrible.
    Playing Mkhitaryan is like playing with ten men.
    We lack width.

    Given that we have only until 8th August to sign players the transfer team really has to pull their collective fingers out. Pulling out of the Tierney deal at this late stage is terrible planning, hopefully it’s just a negotiating tactic. Good to see that Ozil seems to have had a change of attitude (we wills see) but if we could get our money back on Xhaka I would take it. A fee for Mustafi would be a bonus but I’d let Mkhi go on a free if we could find a taker.

  24. Damon says:


    Let Mickey go on a free whilst we hold Kos to his contract.

    Probably the right thing to do in both cases, but it would make me chuckle, just to royally piss Team Laurent off 🙂

  25. andy1886 says:


    Yeah Kos could potentially be useful but Mickey’s salary off the books would be more useful than his performances!

    Think that we might have to keep Chambers though as things stand.

  26. Stu says:

    Blue Yonder,

    Here to serve my friend, here to serve….

    …. and to provide a teeny weeny bit of what I consider rational thinking and humour from time to time.

    And all together, after three; one – two – three:

    Up the Arse, Up the Arse, Up the Arse. Up. The. Arse!

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