Saturday, 25 June 2011

An Offer We Can Refuse

This week Barcelona finally opened the bidding for Cesc Fabregas with a tidy offer of £27 million. Now, call me cynical, but if a player like Jordan Henderson is worth £20 million, how on earth can El Capitan be worth only £7 million more? Cesc is a World Cup and European Championship winner, had played over 150 games in the premier league as a teenager and has become one of the worlds best players. Henderson hasn't actually achieved anything yet.

Maybe the Henderson valuation is based on the fact that he is young English talent which, as we already know, is always way over valued. Maybe we also have to admire the Barca approach here. Rather than paying way over the odds at the start, they have begun with a small bid which will no doubt increase anyway. There is no harm in testing the waters as it were. Perhaps Manchester City and Chelsea could learn a thing or two from this method rather than throwing cash around at the latest flavour of the month. £50 million for Torres and a reported £27 million for Edin Dzeko come to mind...

On a complete side note to all of this, Arsenal FC once again proved this week that they are streets ahead of other premier league clubs when it comes to staying in touch with their fans. As you will recall, I previously had a minor moan about not being sent my new home shirt on time. However, this week I received a letter from the man in charge of home shopping at Arsenal, issuing a full and frank apology for the late delivery and offering me a full refund. Needless to say, i was absolutely delighted at this unexpected gesture, so thankyou very much Arsenal FC, a club full of class.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

It all starts now

You know how you always get in the build up to Christmas, thinking about all the exciting things you might, but probably wont, be getting? Thinking about how you will have the greatest time of your life because everything will be so perfect? Then you actually get nothing that you wanted, only a load of toiletries and maybe some new socks, turning your day in to one of crushing disappointment? Well, that is exactly how I, and no doubt all other football fans, felt in the build up to 9:00 am yesterday morning.

The day the football fixtures for the new season are released is always a day that draws great interest among fans, a day that I consider to be the actual first day of the season. And boy, do I feel like Arsenal were screwed badly.

Starting off a season by making the long journey to Newcastle is bad enough, but following that, a home game against Liverpool and then an away trip to Manchester United? It feels like Santa came down the chimney and kicked me in the nuts.

I don't think we could have picked a more difficult start to our season if we tried judging by last seasons results in these fixtures:. Newcastle; the scene of an embarrassing fall from a 4-0 half time lead to a 4-4 draw with ten men. Liverpool; somehow throwing away a 1-0 lead earned in the 98th minute, to draw 1-1 after 99 minutes. and Manchester United; where we went down without a whimper 1-0 to the eventual champions.

If we were to take five points from these games I would be absolutely delighted, but I think taking two would be a lot more realistic. This could however leave us way of the pace already. Man City should have at least 7, Chelsea should have 9. Not ideal for the gunners.

The only saving grace about all this I guess is that we are getting the difficult fixtures out of the way early. Even before the end of October we will have already travelled to Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane, so come the business end of the season we will have the big games at our place. I could of course be completely wrong and Arsenal could once again surprise us, taking maximum points form the 3 games with a massive goal difference, but only time will tell.

The one other stand out fixture for me is the home game against Chelsea, April 21st. The day I get married. Should the sky TV people want to leave it on this date and make it a 12:45 kick off, there is a very good chance that I wont be turning up to my own wedding. If I should make it, then what better present than to have the mighty gunners beating one of our biggest rivals? Fingers crossed.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Forget About The Price Tag

"When I heard Johnathon (Barnett) repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road"     Ashley Cole.

This is the quite frankly ludicrous quote from our friend 'Cashley' Cole's autobiography which really hammers home just how out of touch with the common man todays footballers are. The book was published in 2006. fast-forward 5 years to today, and we hear from Cristiano Ronaldo that, should Manchester City want his services, he would DEMAND £400,00 per week to play fottball for a couple of hours. This would of course be on top of his reputed £150 million price tag!!

Where the hell does he get off rating himself that highly? How can the gelled tumbler, the portuguese winker, or, my personal favourite, that absolute w***er who cost us the world cup, value his ability to kick a ball for 90 minutes a week at this extortionate amount?

Lets put this in to some sort of perspective. Arsenal have a wage cap (if we can call it that) of £90,000 per player per week. A very solid structure that, although restricts the players we bring in, has left us in an incredibly stable financial position. Lets go further. In the Premier league season just gone, Blackpools highest payed player earned "only" £10,000 per week. And he (Charlie Adam) looked world class almost week in, week out.

So what could be bought for the equivalent of one weeks Ronaldo? £400,000 =
  • 16 nurses fully paid for a year
  • 16 teachers for a year
  • 20 infantry soldiers fighting for a year
  • 14 police officers on the beat for a year
  • 18 firefighters for a year
There are very few things that genuinely anger me. However the obscene amounts of money that footballers these days demand in return for minimal work is most definitely one of them. I think everyone would agree that the occupations that I have listed deserve the sort of financial input that football has. Maybe rather than buying up all of our clubs, A rich sheikh might like to buy a hospital and plough his money in there. Sadly, I doubt this will ever happen.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Don't forget your change Mr Wenger

Jordan Henderson          Sunderland-Liverpool          £20,000,000
Phil Jones                       Blackburn-Man Utd            £16,500,000
Carl Jenkinson (who?)    Charlton-Arsenal                 £1,000,000

What we see here ladies and gentlemen, is evidence of an Arsene Wenger spending spree, a true splashing of the cash. Having been promised that millions would be spent on world class players, we get a Finland U21 international who has only played a few times for his club. Bravo. Meanwhile, the current champions and Liverpool are both throwing notes around like Ryan Giggs throws his phone number around on a night out (sue me). Oh well, there's still the rest of the summer to look forward too :/
On a seperate note, a month ago I pre ordered my brand new home shirt, to be ordered first thing this morning. I slept through the delivery so had to wait even longer than originally planned but, on collection and having got it home, I unwrapped the package quicker than Ryan Giggs unwraps his sister in law (probably should lay off giggsy now). Imagine my shock, disappointment, and near tears as I discovered not my shiny new red and white shirt, but a pair of five year olds football socks and some Samir Nasri shorts. Anger and rage literally filled the air but, a breif phone call later and, fingers crossed, my shirt will be arriving tomorrow. Still, I cant help but wonder if this is what happened this week in the transfer market for Arsenal. We put in a good bid for a decent player, but there was a mix up and we ended up with a player that was meant to be headed to somewhere like Southend (no disrespect) whilst our player ends up the Premier League champions. Unlikely I know, but it's something to cling to I guess

Monday, 6 June 2011

I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want...

Last week I talked about the players I thought should be staying and who should be leaving the Emirates this summer. This week, as promised, I will look at the players I would love to be stepping out on to the turf on the first day of the season in August.

Obviously, if money was no object this would be so much easier, with names like Messi, Xavi and, well, anyone else who currently wears a Barcelona shirt, swapping the red and blue stripes for the red with white sleeves, so i guess I'll just stick to the realistic options.

I previously mentioned that Szczesny is a great long term prospect, but it would be a great help for him to have an experienced, seasoned pro to guide him in his developement. So my first pick is Shay Given. He's one of the best keepers that the British Isles have ever produced and to have him guide the young Pole would be an amazing benefit. And the best thing is, we could have him on a free!!

Defence is a position were we seriouisly struggled last year, especially after Thomas Vermaelen got inured so a solid partner is an immediate priority for us. If for once we were prepared to shell out a little bit of cash (but come on, who am I kidding?) then I would love to see us sign either Gary Cahill or Phil Jagielka. Two young English defenders who both know the game, no frills throw-backs to the good old days when a defender had one job, and that was to keep the ball away from the goal. If we were to really be ambitious then I think we could go for Lucio. Without doubt one of the best in the world at centre back and i think he would compliment the verminator greatly.

In midfield I think we are over staffed, but only in numbers. There is not enough quality in depth and not enough experience to pull us through the tougher games. A look back at last weeks blog will see that I already think that quite a few of the players who should go play in midfield, so who should replace them? I think Scott Parker would be a good addition, however I can only see him being a fringe player unless Ces Fabregas was to leave us in the summer. We are also seriously lacking a player who isnt afraid to have a pop from outside the box, or inside the box for that matter, so a goal scoring midfielder would also be good. Obviously this is where I should be asking for the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, but we aren't Manchester City. However I dont think it ios beyond the realms of all reality that we could make a pop for Kaka. He's unsettled at Madrid, contributes goals and assits, and he is quite experienced. the only stumbling block would be wages as i dont see him wanting to take such a large paycut to join us. I think it would also be a good idea to bring in another comative midfielder to cover Alex Song when he is inevitably suspended. maybe we could bring back Lassana Diarra, or, if he was to be a part of the mass player cull that we are all anticipating at Stamford Bridge, how about Michael Essien?

Finally, we need a new look strike force. With Nic Bendtner adamant that he is going this summer (and not before time), we desperately need someone to play alongside RVP. Recently the papers have been saying that Peter Odemwingie may be about to switch the hawthorns for the Emirates, but i dont think he is the sort of calibre player we should be looking at, no dis-respect of course, but the other names that have been touted are Jermaine Defoe and Karim Benzema. These are two names that are really exciting as both are genuine goal scorers of a real proven quality, who have both played at the highest level. I think we could easily afford to bring them in to the club and they could both make a huge difference in the goals for column.

So thats it. Just a few names that I think we should be looking to bring in to the club to add the experience and ability that we were clearly lacking last season. Obviously I'm not in charge of hiring and firing and i certainly dont control the purse strings (step forward the accontant Mr Wenger) but these names should be easily attainible.

I dont know what im going to write about next week, we'll see what this week brings.

Feel free to leave comments or any suggestions on what I could write about next week :)