Archive for June, 2013


How Can Wenger Heal the Arsenal Divide?


Ask a football fan for their opinion on Arsene Wenger and opinion will be mostly of admiration for a man who has remained at a club for 17 years and guided the team through a massive period of financial transition whilst still delivering Champions League football.

If you ask Arsenal fans on the other hand, opinion is more heavily divided. For some he is a genius, for others, a poison within the club who holds too much power and especially surrounding transfers. @BergkampSpin on twitter described him in one sentence. ‘Pure Genius, makes his side unflappable and stubborn side bearable’ @markedtaxi on the other hand says once was great but tries to be too clever for he’s own good now!’

Either way you look at it there is a huge divide amongst fans and critics alike, the likes of which is becoming more and more evident with each trophy-less season that passes.

The divide within the club could be resolved as early as tomorrow or it could be drawn out for as long as the Club continues to progress without winning a trophy. Whichever way you look at it, there are a majority of fans who could be appeased within the next few weeks and I hasten to add that I would be one of those.

I cannot deny that Wenger has been an outstanding manager for Arsenal, rightly putting himself up there with Herbert Chapman, Bertie Mee and George Graham amongst others. However I cannot think of another club in world football that describes themselves as being a big club which hasn’t won a trophy in 8 years and not changed it’s manager. Some argue continuity is greater than not celebrating success, but success breeds success and then continuity is a greater power within itself.

So how could the fans be appeased? How would some of them get off of Wengers back and start to get behind the club after mumblings of discontent in the middle of last season which saw the infamous ‘In Wenger We Trust’ banner removed from the Emirates?

It’s actually simple, so very simple.

Sign some players with the money we have been told we have, and not just any players, but players who would take us to the next level.

If anybody can explain where Gonzalo Higuain is right now, I’d be delighted. That deal seems to have dragged on longer that John Isner and Nicolas Mahut’s classic match at Wimbledon several years ago. Whilst we as fans sit back and watch Manchester City tie up two transfers in about 4 days each, then watch Carlos Tevez Join Juventus quicker than most of us can care to remember, we as a club are still sitting back on our heels making sure that last month’s bank statement paid us the correct credit interest.

Higuain, Rooney, Torres, El Sharaaway, Fellaini, Williams, Cesar, Begovic, Jovetic and many others have been linked with the in door at the Emirates as the club have willingly thrown others out the exit. I don’t buy people saying that the transfer window hasn’t opened yet so we can’t announce deals. Well City, Chelsea and Liverpool have broken all the rules then haven’t they!

My first ever article on this website called for realism from Arsenal fans. I once again call for Arsenal fans to be realistic, question themselves why these players haven’t joined the club and then ask themselves who is responsible for nobody putting pen to paper as yet. Why if the players have signed hasn’t it been announced? The contracts don’t start until 1st July so why not announce it before then?

Either way, should Arsenal have little or nothing to announce before their pre-season tour of the far east then the question has to be asked as to how these players will gel within the new team that they are representing.

Lets see what happens before the tour shall we?



Top 5: Managers Who should be Considered at Arsenal

Following on from my previous article where I outlined the problems within the current management structure at the Emirates, I was greeted with the typical “Wenger Knows Best” brigade and challenged to name others that could do a better job. I had thought not particularly long and hard about who I would like to succeed Wenger when hopefully he is sent packing. There were a few names I decided against, mainly due to the fact they have just recently moved clubs so I have omitted Carlo Ancelotti, Josep Guardiola, Manuel Pellegrini and Vítor Pereira to name just a few who would have made the list otherwise.


1. Jurgen Klopp

  Head Coach Jurgen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund congratulates FC Bayern Muenchen after losing the UEFA Champions League final match to them at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom

The Enigmatic German coach would be an outstanding choice to take over the reigns at Arsenal. He is of the highest pedigree. The job he has done at Dortmund is nothing short of a miracle when you consider the lack of financial resources he had when he took on the job back in 2008. Dortmund had to sell off many of their assets and almost start from day one again. With Klopp’s football philosophy he would be a perfect fit at the Emirates. He is used to working to a specific blueprint. I do not think it is too far to suggest this man is a football visionary. I would have to go as far as saying he is the real “Special one” He is the whole package, he is a motivator an a great tactician his record is very impressive as well, named German Manager of the year for Two years, has won Two Bundesliga Titles along with a German Cup and also the German Supercup.

2. Joachim Loew

Germany's coach Joachim Loew poses for photographers on the sidelines of a charity event in Berlin on December 13, 2012. With a record seven Bundesliga teams in the knock-out stages of either the Champions League or Europa League, Germany's European success can only help the national side, boss Joachim Loew has said.

Loew currently operates as the German National team coach where he has been masterminding success Internationally since 2006. He has always invested great time into developing young players and giving youth a real chance the current German National squad is great testament to that. He is yet to win a trophy on the International stage but Germany are many peoples Favourites for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil next year. He has vast experience within the game at different levels and I am sure he would be a great Candidate for the job. Interestingly his contract runs out after the World Cup next summer so he would also be available when Wenger’s runs out. 

3. Antonio Conte

Juventus' coach Antonio Conte looks on during the serie A football match between Juventus and Palermo on May 5, 2013 at the Alps stadium in Turin

Antonio Conte who had a very impressive playing career is starting to disprove the myth that good players dont make good Managers. He has only been managing since 2006 but has impressed many within the game especially in Serie A. His recent record is quite impressive for someone who has been learning his trade, He managed to take Bari up from Serie B in 2009 before moving to Juventus in 2011 where he has rejuvenated them (excuse the pun) winning Two Serie A titles on the bounce. Not only are they winning Titles they are winning them playing an attractive brand of football. There are parallels with how he used to play compared to how he sets his side about their business. His sides are energetic, industrious and attacking but do not neglect their defensive duties. As a player he won everything you could possibly win at club level it looks like he is on course to do the same as a Manager.

4. Frank De Boer & Dennis Bergkamp

The two former Ajax stars are now impressing as a Management team at their boyhood club. They have transformed a club that has been on the wane in recent years and are now making names for themselves in their new career. Bergkamp who was signed back in 1995 by former Arsenal Manager Bruce Rioch is acting more as an Assistant at Ajax with De Boer in the role of Manager. Together they have impressively won Three Eredivisie Titles in a row and have regained the dominance that the club once had, domestically at least. I am sure there will be a big number of Gooners that would welcome this kind of appointment.

5. Diego Simeone

Atletico Madrid's Argentinian coach Diego Simeone looks on during the Spanish league football match Real Zaragoza vs Atletico Madrid on June  01,2013 at the Romareda Stadium in Zaragoza

Simeone who had a reputation as a bit of a hardman in his playing days has shown he can cut it as a Manager. He is currently in charge at Atletico Madrid where he has won Three titles in Two years. he has made them into the only real threat that there is to Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga and he has done this on a relatively small budget in comparison. Atletico play a very attractive style of football which many wouldn’t have expected looking back at Simeone’s playing days. There are some comparisons between Atletico and Arsenal with how both sides try to play their respective games. 

• • •

As I said in my Introduction there were other names that would have made the list but they have recently moved clubs so I would think that would rule them out of any move next summer. With the five names I have mentioned I believe them all to be a good shout in replacing Wenger and getting the club moving again in the right direction. 


Feel Free to add some names to the mix or leave feedback on the article. 






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Dithering Wenger Strikes Again.

So it is being reported this morning that Wenger is dithering over wage demands and club valuations yet again. He has allegedly been chasing both Ashley Williams and Marouane Fellaini for weeks now. He does not want to meet Swansea’s £10 million asking price and will only offer £8 million, regarding Fellaini there are mixed reports on the situation but the most believable one is Le Boss does not want to meet the £24 million Everton value the player at and appears to be a million miles away from his £100,000 a week wage demands.

The Ashley Williams situation is truly unbelievable, let me get this right. You are looking for a reliable centre back with proven experience and you are quibbling over £2 million? for a club that has £70 million+ to spend that just is not anywhere near good enough.

The Fellaini situation is quite an interesting one, for weeks it has been reported that Arsenal have met the Minimum Fee clause of £24 million, now its being reported they have NOT bid what is going on? well it appears it is what Gooners have seen before its pointless Wenger posturing and hoping if he stays in there long enough that Everton will budge. We saw the same thing with the Mikel Arteta deal. I do NOT see how this is an adequate way to operate. The club has financial resources how about you put your money where your mouth is Wenger? for all the talk just days after the infamous Gazidis interview where it was claimed ” We can now compete with Bayern Munich” absolutely nothing has happened.

The only real thing that seems to have come out from the club is the FACT that Wenger has far too much control over spending. A normal operation for a club would be for the Manager with the aid of a scouting network to identify targets report these in the form of a dossier for a Manager to run the rule over himself before presenting these targets to the Chief Executive IE Gazidis then it goes from there. It appears that at Arsenal things run differently. I have seen evidence that Gazidis has been the one chasing targets and trying to get things moving. Wenger seems to be the one that is saying a certain player is too expensive, I do not want to pay that much and words to that effect. Is this normal practice for a Manager? I would have to say no not even close.

For many parts of last season the phrase or even chant in some cases was “Ivan Gazidis What the F*** Do You Do? well it appears he liases with our scouting network and tries to bring in a few players. for all his faults he was the reason the club Brought in Mertesacker, Arteta, Cazorla and Monreal. these were not wenger signings these were Gazidis signings. So if you want to attribute finishing in the champions league places for the last two seasons to anyone you might want to think about where you direct your praise.

I do see this season being somewhat a damp squib. Nothing has happened apart from the usual signing of a couple of players for the academy nice to see Wenger has changed his focus!!!. I keep seeing fans and even Arsenal Groups and transfer pages saying The Transfer Window is not open until July 1st. This is no excuse to not enter into negotiations. The transfer window only effects the date of when a player becomes available contractually for a club and nothing else. It does not stop a club from doing business. As soon as people understand that the better for everyone concerned. Also how would you explain Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man City, Chelsea and AS Monaco doing big business already if this was forbidden?


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Are the Gunners set for another long summer?


From the moment the transfer window opened on midnight on the last day of the season, the media and social networking sites have been awash with rumours of players that are targeted by Arsenal and even the most sceptical of Gunners have been impressed at some of the names that have been bandied about. We know Arsene likes to sign a cheap/free players but with £70mil to spend it’s time for pounds to be spent instead of pennies and with the likes of Higuain, Rooney, El Sharawaay, Fabregas and more recently Fellaini named as possible transfers is it finally a summer where Arsenal fans can get excited?

Arsenal fans are often described as the most media savvy of all the football fans and we are also read the most online about our club and keep ourselves well informed but I think sometimes we are guilty of being believing too much because we are simply desperate for Arsene and co to sign some world class players. I can remember the Podolski furore went on from December until his signing was announced at the end of April last year and I fear that this summer could be the same with a few names. For example Arsenal groups across Twitter and Facebook and even the media was so sure that we had completed the signing of Stevan Jovetic that it was talked about amongst fans for months but obviously as we all know now, Arsenal weren’t ever going to pay £25.5mil for him and the deal wasn’t even near any completion stages, it was rubbish.

We as fans are not at fault for what we believe, we support one of the more silent clubs when it comes to transfers but at least we can rely on the fact that when it does hit the website as an official announcement then it is true. Whilst we can be grateful for that I am not sure Arsenal are living up to the expectation of fans so far this summer with no official signings announced and we are watching other clubs go about their business efficiently. Whether you are AKB and WOB everyone is expecting Arsene Wenger to spend some money on the team but so far there seems to be no real indication of any real transfers apart from Sanogo and maybe the possible announcement of Higuain. We are all starting to get the feeling of frustration we get most summer and this one seems to be heading the same way-late business in august because there are no suitable players left to buy.

The way I see it is Arsene only has one year left on his contract, to earn a new contract and win back the fans he needs to win something this year,  and if he spends £70mil and doesn’t achieve that then it will be obvious that he is the thing that needs to be changed and I don’t think he wants to risk that. The alternative is that by spending the money he is conceding that the team aren’t strong enough and that is something Arsene still insists is untrue, even though we all know Arsenal need players Wenger ultimately has the deciding vote unless the board step in as they have on a few occasions over the last couple of years.

I really wanted to be excited about this summer, I really wanted to be proved wrong by Arsene and I wanted him to come and show me and the rest of the WOB brigade that he has it in him to go out and get some great players like he used to, I wanted him to show good intention, not haggle over money and get his business done early and prove that he is competing for a trophy next season. After hearing rumouring’s of a bidding war over Higuain and dithering over money for Fellaini I am starting to wonder whether Le boss has any intention of spending that money at all and if he doesn’t then I think we will be in real trouble next year.

As always Gooners, thanks for reading and please feel free to leave a comment.


Higuain Arsenal Bound?

Real Madrid's Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid at Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on May 26, 2013

It has been possibly the worst kept secret in Football that Arsenal have a massive interest in taking Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain to the Emirates. it has been widely reported that Arsenal representatives are expected to Jet into Madrid tomorrow for Negotiations over a fee. It has also been suggested that personal terms have been reached and a fee of around £25 million would secure the 25 year old Argentine’s signature.


It is no secret that last season Arsenal really needed more firepower, the club was undermanned in that position and this is surely a deal that most Gooners would welcome with open arms. Higuain has a very impressive strike rate in La Liga he is the third most successful Striker in Spain with a conversion rate that only falls short of Crisitiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.


Since signing from River Plate in 2007 he has made 187 Appearances for the club scoring an impressive 107 times, his International Record is also impressive scoring 20 goals in 32 competitive matches.


The signing of Gonzalo Higuain would definitely be a strong signal of intent for the coming season and a pleasing sign for all Arsenal fans. Early signs have been good with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Maraoune Fellaini also being heavily linked with the club. It could well be a busy summer.






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Empty Words and Broken Promises

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger waits for all his players to arrive for a training session at the club's complex in London Colney on March 12, 2013 ahead of the team's last 16 UEFA Champions League football match against Bayern Munich in Germany on March 13

So a week on from Ivan Gazidis’s outlandish comments about the financial stability of Arsenal Football Club what has actually changed? Well Sir Peter Hill-wood has finally stepped down due to Health problems and has been replaced by a family friend Sir Chips Keswick possibly the finest name in football. That appears to be all for now. Murmurings came out of the club over a week ago now suggesting there would be a big signing in 48 hours, all I can think of is this is a misquote and was meant to read sometime in the the next 48 years if someone pulls their finger out of their own pre-verbial backside.  In conjuncture with Gazidis’s comments the club has duly been linked with everyone and their wife with no concrete bids being made.


haven’t we been here before?


It was only one year ago that we had positive messages from the board regarding our financial state of play, signs were actually good initially we signed Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski and then came the exodus of our goals Robin van Persie our top goalscorer sold to a rival which Wenger said would never happen and then Alex song (top assists in the previous season) to what now feels like our feeder club Barcelona F.C. 


It seems that the same message is planned to be roled out every season. “There is money there if Arsene chooses to spend it” then nothing happens and wenger will state “The right quality was not available at the right price”. this has happened for a good 3 or 4 years now.


This is either a lie or our scouting team is the worst in Europe.


I understand it is still early, The European Under 21s tournament is stil going on and the FIFA Confederations cup has just started, But it is no coincidence that the most successful sides will get their transfer business done early. I keep seeing fans claim the transfer window is not open. If that is true then can someone explain to me how Barcelona, Man City, Chelsea and AS Monaco to name a few clubs have already made purchases then? even if the transfer window is closed it does NOT stop clubs from negotiating and getting deals in place the only hinderance in finalising the paperwork. 


Although I have been impressed with what the tabloids have come up with as targets, I am yet to see one reliable source that has any kind of quote from anyone related to Arsenal Football Club. One “news”paper that shall remain nameless printed “Wenger is ready to  break club record for Higuain” not anywhere in this article was there any quotes from Wenger it is all just speculation and most if not all wengerites are falling for it.


Are we to believe the Wenger has dramatically changed his methods and ethos from young player development to becoming another Roberto Mancini? this talk of £70 million plus is all well and good. But anyone with any kind of intelligence will be expecting a catalogue of changes but at a lower price. There will not be any £20 million+ signings in reality they will be at highest £15 million. Wenger has a track record of this he is stubborn and surely not going to suddenly ditch his principals. if Wenger was to spend the whole £70 million (which he won’t) he would much rather buy 10 mediocre players for £7 million each than 3 world class players for £23 million.


In Summarising I am trying to be optimistic about this coming season but I foresee Transfer window dithering from Wenger and Arsenal getting left behind to fight for the scraps just to try and appease the fans.






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Is Ilkay Gundogan Arsenal Bound?

  Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after scoring a goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom

Reports late last night claimed that the current Dortmund Midfielder is No1 priority for Arsenal in the summer transfer window. He is believed to be available for a fee in the region of £24 Million.

He was ever present for Dortmund this season and impressed in their 4-1 win over Real Madrid in the Champions league semi final first leg earlier in the season. It has been no secret that Wenger is in the market for a commanding Defensive Midfielder and Gundogan would fit the bill. The 22 year old is very quick, intelligent and good on the ball as well as being very good defensively. In my opinion Wenger has never replaced Vieira and the club has never been as solid since his departure. Gundogan would definitely make the midfield a lot more dynamic and secure.

Gundogan made 81 appearances in all competitions for Dortmund last season scoring 9 goals he was also instrumental in their 2011-2012 League and cup double campaign.

He also has international pedigree and has recently won his 7th cap which is no mean feat considering how many talented German Midfielders there are around.

One problem I have noticed this season with Arsenal is that there seems to be a lack of confidence in relying on the back four, the last few months Wenger changed the shape of midfield slightly by adopting two centre holding midfield players instead of the one, this has stifled our attack and there has been less creativity going forward. Signing Gundogan would change that he is capable of screening the back four and creating from deep this would allow the likes of Wilshere and Cazorla to go and create and be more of a threat in the final third.

This would be a real signal of intent from the club and big step in the right direction.


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