Arsenal and West Ham United draw 3-3 and the Sun says it;s more evidence that Arsene Wenger is crap:
“Isn’t it funny the Wenger empire was built on a defence he inherited from George Graham – and they have not won the League in 12 years since the likes of Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn left?”
You could argue that money played a factor, what with Arsenal unable to match their rivals’ spending. Or you could just find it funny how the Sun’s man in the know knows nothing.
When Arsenal last won the Premier League title in 2003/04, their defenders were:
Jens Lehmann: league matches started – 38
Ashley Cole: 32
Martin Keown: 3
Pascal Cygan: 10
Gaël Clichy: 7
Sol Campbell: 35
Kolo Touré: 36
Who knew going the entire season undefeated was all down to Martin Keown? He really was that good…
Arsenal fans, listen up. If you are going to pick a fight with any of the West Ham mascots, we’d not go for the massive teddy called Bubbles the Bear. Football is now a family game, and attacking a teddy can upset the kids, or at least the older fans who think children don’t like seeing rough stuff outside the kindergarten. If you must got for a West Ham mascot, aim at Hammerhead. He looks like he can take it. And if your thumbs drop off, that’s your look out.
Anyhow, here is Arsenal fan Ty punctuating Arsenal’s thrilling 3-3 draw with West Ham at the Boleyn Ground by picking on the Hammers’ mascot – a former X Factor contestant (most likely) inside a giant teddy bear costume.
Ty saw Bubbles waving at the Arsenal fans, dashed to the front and asked Big Ted: “Why don’t you do that when you play Millwall?” Big Ted then bent forward in an act of simulation known as ‘holding onto your sides’, lest he laugh so hard his stuffing fall out.
— akanni (@_BigTimerT) April 9, 2016
Transfer Balls: The Metro reads all sorts of things into a smile, telling its reader bots:
Arsene Wenger smile hints Granit Xhaka to Arsenal transfer could be done
“At the moment, no. We are starting to look at people who can strengthen our squad, but we are not on any particular case in a concrete way”
But who needs words when you can have a smile?
As for the player, well, earlier this month he told Express:
“I’ve seen the rumours. All I can say is it’s nonsense. There have been no negotiations with Arsene Wenger.”
But, of course, the deal has already been done. We read about it in the… Metro:
Martin Samuel is writing about Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere in the Daily Mail:
“Ghouls filming private moments on their mobile phones are a modern curse. So Jack Wilshere merits some sympathy, being a young man unable to go anywhere without a predatory stranger wishing to make his life their property.”:
Predatory strangers armed with cameras who create stories like:
ECLUSIVE: Ariel Winter reveals new inking in a high cut swimsuit as she frolics in the Bahamas surf… after getting THREE tattoos just weeks after 18th birthday
Catching some Lana Del RAYs? Bikini-clad singer tops up her tan in a nautical two-piece during relaxing Malibu beach day
You can read those predatory paparazzi-scoops and many more like them in the, er, Daily Mail.
News is that Arsenal will flog Theo Walcott. The Bleacher Report says Arsenal will sell the player if he fails to make England’s Euro 2016 squad. The whole story can be surmised thus:
Dean Jones reveals that Walcott could leave the Emirates if he doesn’t get a Euro 2016
Can you reveal an ‘if’?
The Metro has firm facts: “Arsenal transfer news: Theo Walcott ready to seal move away this summer.” Does he want out? Would Arsenal miss him? The Star chips in:
Theo Walcott set to rock Arsenal with stunning transfer decision
If the Bleacher Report is right and Arsenal want shot of Walcott, his stunning decision would be to stay, right? The Star then cites its source:
According to Bleacher Report, the 27-year-old attacker will look for a move away from the Emirates if he’s left out of Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad. And Arsenal are apparently willing to listen to any offers that come in for the speed-merchant who’s played for the Gunners since 2006.
To put the tin lid on the ‘ifs’ and could’, we turn to another organ for more. We’re told Walcott’s pace is no longer what it was (so much for “speed merchant”) and he’s “fighting for his future” at Arsenal. You can read that in, er, The Bleacher Report.
The Daily Mail’s lead sports story on the backpage declares: “Jack in the Dock.”
He’s been arrested? No. The Arsenal midfielder has been “caught in a brawl”. Police are “investigating scenes of disorder” outside London’s sticky West End club Cafe de Paris at 2:15am. On page 84, Sami Mokbel says Wilshere was annoyed with a “fellow reveller who was attempting to film on his phone”. Film what? Wilshere, says Mokbel, was at a bureau de change on a night out, having been given permission by his club to “let his hair down”.
Daily Mirror (front page): “EXCLUSIVE: England’s Wilshere in 2am bust-up”
It’s not an exclusive. But the Mirror does have more news. It says Wilshere was “quizzed” by police in an alleyway after “allegedly being kicked out of a club”. He’s “accused of hitting another reveller, which he denies.” There were no arrests.
And so it is that footballer not arrested is the Mirror’s lead news story.
On pages 4 and 5, the Mirror puns: “Jack’s Bin Trouble.” But he isn’t in trouble as he stands by some bins in a “rubbish-strewn walkway”. He wasn’t arrested. And is it his fault the streets of London are grotty? Should he have picked a cleaner bit of pavement / walkway / alleyway? The story goes that Wilshere was then put in a taxi.
On Page 5, David Kidd says “our hearts sink at the sight of Jack Wilshere cowering behind a bin after being thrown out of a nightclub”. What happened to his being “allegedly” bounced? And do our hearts sink? Surely, at the Mirror they skip a beat at a footballer-at-large story.
The Sun (front page): “WILSHERE COP QUIZ OVER 3AM BRAWL”
3am. 2am. What matter the facts when a footballer is in the crosshairs? The Sun zooms in on the “crocked England footie star”. Only, he isn’t crocked. He was. But now he’s back in full training. The Sun says a man was punched. It says Jack and his mates were “asked to leave” the club.
The Sun then seems to accuse Wilshere of taking his rehabilitation from a broken leg lightly, declaring, “Ace parties..as he bids for Euro fitness.” This will make England fans “angry“. But Wilshere broke no club rules.
We’re left wondering what it is that Wilshere did wrong? As off-field misbehaviour goes, Wilshere’s antics were harmless. Are Arsenal fans who cheered on hard-drinking Tony Adam angry that Wilshere went out? Are England’s famously prudish and restrained fans angered by Wilshere apparently having a beer and a shout? The tabloids expect Wilshere to be role model, to behave in ways unlike most 24-year-olds – and not only those with oodles of cash in their pocket from an honest day’s work. Do we expect purity from everyone in the public eye, such as, say, newspaper editors, a chaste group of moralists who never put a foot wrong as they report the facts and only the facts?
Arsenal are at “war”, says the Sun. The back page tells of team manager Arsene Wenger’s “fury with Ozil”. Can it be that the club’s best player and the vintage coach are rowing? The Sun’s headline certainly implies so. What did Ozil says to spark “fury”? This:
“Looking at our season so far, we have to be honest and admit that we screwed up ourselves. We did not play to our potential in the games against the so-called smaller teams. You immediately get punished for that in the Premier League. But we still have a chance of winning the title. We have to hope Leicester and Tottenham slip up and then make the most of it. I would be delighted for Wenger if we win the title. He played a major role in my decision to join Arsenal. He was desperate to sign me.
“Everybody knows he is an extraordinary manager. He is always hungry for success, has a lot of experience and always takes his time for the players. He helps players develop.”
To the Sun this makes Ozil “the defeatist German” who has “chucked in the towel”… (over a summer sun-bed?). And Wenger has this to say:
“I have nothing against the players being honest, but we have to look forward — and this group deserves to be rewarded for all the effort, hard work and dedication they have put in. There is still an opportunity for us and we have to grab it because it’s now or never.”
Transfer Balls: The Express says, “Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will both sign new contracts at Arsenal in the summer.” Fact!
Ozil will get £180,000-a-week. Sanchez will get a raise on his current £130,000-a-week.
Big news in the Express, which recently told readers:
Mesut Ozil wants to quit Arsenal and return to Spain… he has grown tired of a lack of silverware and would like to move back to Real Madrid.
Such are the facts in the Express.
The Daily Mirror says Arsenal will not be waving adieu to their manager:
Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger plans to buy and buy not say ‘Bye-bye!’ this summer
Out got: Tomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Per Mertesacker.
In come: John Stones, Victor Wanyama, Toni Kroos, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
As Arsenal fans fall about laughing, they might also wonder why the Gunners would invest so heavily when the manager will be leaving at the end of next season?
The Daily Telegraph has been talking up its new content management system. It’s now quicker than ever for the once mighty paper to trot out balls. The headline seduces Arsenal fans:
Arda Turan absolutely buries Arsenal with this Barcelona comparison.
Buries! What he said was:
“I was feeling that I would sign for Barca. Sincerely I thought: ‘If I play very well I will end up signing for Barca. If I play well I will end up at Arsenal.”
The Telegraph mused:
“It’s not clear whether the denigration was inadvertent or intended, but if the latter then perhaps Gunners fans can see the swipe as something of a back-handed compliment.”
Stick it though the new CMS bot and your get talk of Arsenal being buried.
It represents a coup for the Arsenal academy who have traditionally not competed with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City for the top teenage talent in Europe and beyond.
The Mail says that the deal has not yet been done:
Arsenal to complete signing of Chelsea starlet Domingos Quina in next 48 hours
The Indy then takes the Telegraph’s fact that isn’t and slips inverted commas around it:
Domingos Quina to Arsenal: ‘Gunners win race’ for teenager after he quits Chelsea
Just three days ago, the Metro told its readers:
Manchester United are clear to sign Chelsea wonderkid Domingos Quina
Two days ago the Sun said:
“Chelsea starlet Domingos Quina quits club and plans to join Premier League rival – Ace walks out on Blues with Man Utd, Spurs and Liverpool closing in”
Not deal is done until it’s done.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger must spend loadsa money “or else”, warns the Sun.
Arsene Wenger is told to launch his biggest ever Arsenal spending spree – or miss out on new Arsenal contract. Gunners’ chiefs want big names like Toni Kroos, Gonzalo Higuain, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and John Stones
A new contract? Wenger’s existing contract expires in summer 2017. The Mirror told us he would then leave the club.
Now we’re told that Arenal are getting tough with Wenger by, er, demanding he spends a fortune on some great players. Well, so says the Sun, which is hot on Arsenal transfer news, first to report that Arsenal wanted Fabregas (they didn’t) and had bought Higuain (they didn’t):
Says the Sun for a second time:
Arsenal will not consider giving him a new deal until he starts competing in the transfer market. Gunners chiefs want him to splash out on names like Toni Kroos, Gonzalo Higuain, Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and John Stones this summer.
Wonder what Arsenal will buy Higuain for this time? And do Manchester Untied want to sell Kroos (he never did join the Red Devils)?
Such are the facts.
On March 13, the BBC told us: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Paris St-Germain forward says he is likely to leave.”
What he said was: “For the moment, I will not be at PSG next season. I still have a month and a half left here. If they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of me, then I will stay.”
Thierry Henry, the Arsenal youth coach and Sky TV pundit then went on Sky TV to tell everyone: “”Who can we sign? Who’s available? I hear that Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to come. It’s a Ibrahimovic problem of who’s going to want to come. Are we going to make the Champions League?”
Who Henry heard that from he doesn’t say. The big Swede is looking for his next deal – in case Paris fails to rework the Eiffel Tower in time for the start of next season – and Henry has a TV contract that demands he say things that start a conversation.
On March 17, the Mirror said: “Arsenal eye Zlatan Ibrahimovic transfer after being offered PSG’s superstar free-agent-to-be.”
The Express added: “Ibrahimovic wants Arsenal move but may end up with Rodgers and Xavi in Middle East.”
On March 18, the BBC hears from Arsenal’s manager: “Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Arsene Wenger ‘surprised’ to be linked with striker”
A journalist chucks the Swede’s name at Wenger, who replies: “We are not on Zlatan’s case… I’m just surprised by the name you’ve thrown at me.”
The Mirror hears that and manages to conjure: “Arsenal not thinking about signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic “at the moment”, insists Arsene Wenger”
No, not at the moment. But when Arsenal sign a 34-year-old on £250,000-a-week we’ll let you know.
“Arsenal are soft and weak.” Not our thoughts, rather those of the Daily Mirror, although it attributes the words to Barcelona’s cocksure defender Dani Alves. But is that what he said ahead of Barcelona’s home match with Arsenal? What he said was:
“When the draw was made, we knew it could have been tougher for us. That is no reflection on the quality of Arsenal. The quality of the way they play the game and the quality of some of their players is there for all to see.
“It is a reflection on their experience, character, and mental strengths. There are teams in Europe that don’t have the quality that Arsenal have, but you would rather avoid them and play Arsenal – because you know that those teams have experience and character.”
Did he calls Arsenal soft and weak? No. Did he say, as the Mirror says he did, “Arsenal lack character and mental strength”? No. He did not.
Alves merely pointed out that drawing a side who had lost at home to Olympiakos failed to fill the holders with dread.
The Mirror also fails to note what else Alves said:
Arsenal do have quality, and when they are at their best they can achieve special things, so from us there will be no complacency.
Oh, and he also said this as he held court in Spain:
“…when I said the press was ‘rubbish’, for example, I did so because they’re damaging football … And I then came out and explained it [better], because I know there are good people in the profession and it’s not fair to generalise.”
Indeed, over the course of Mokbel’s story there is not a shred of evidence to argue the case for ‘yes’.
…the club are developing a succession plan for when he does call time on his distinguished Gunners career. That is a clear indication they believe their manager’s time at the club is drawing to a close and they are considering potential replacements. Pep Guardiola was viewed as the ideal man, but the Spaniard has committed himself to Manchester City.
Offers made by Arenal to Pep: nil.
And as for that talk of succession, well, the Daily Star told us in January:
Deal close: Arsene Wenger ready to sign new two-year Arsenal contract
And right at the end of Mokbel’s balls, readers are told:
…Wenger is planning for a future at Arsenal beyond next season. The manager has played a key role in improvements at the club’s London Colney and Hale End training bases, as well as the restructuring of the scouting system.
Such are the facts?
It’s all enjoyable hyperbolic stuff from John Cross, who seems to forget that when papers scream about the magic of the FA Cup, they don’t mean the supernatural wonder of the biggest teams winning it every year. Arsenal lost to fellow Premier League club Watford thanks to a “wonder goal” and their athletic, spirited performance – the Gunners were unlucky, missing a host of chances to score, including an open goal – and the world is at an end.
These are a few highlights from Mr Cross’s story – and is he a product of nominative determinism?
“Wenger’s men were booed off after Watford ended the Gunners’ hopes of winning the Cup for a third year running”
Not winning the FA Cup every year is a travesty. There were some boos, but not many.
“The season is effectively over for Arsenal. And you wonder whether it is also the end of the road for Wenger.”
So says Cross, who told us exactly when Wenger will reach the end of the road, providing us with a date:
“…Wenger stormed out of a radio interview when asked if the holders’ cup exit puts his future under threat”
In the Times he “walked out”.
“The most worrying aspect for the Gunners is they look dead on their feet”
That’s the same Gunners who hit the post in stoppage time and then missed an open goal. Had it gone in – and it seemed simpler to score – what price headlines praising Arenal’s never-say-die attitude?
Indeed, deep into his story, Cross says the Watford defence made a “series of heroic blocks, interception and headers”. At the end it was”like The Alamo”.
In The Alamo, the victorious Mexicans kill all of the Texan defenders. But, as we said, it’s wonderfully hyperbolic stuff from the Mirror’s man in the know.
When Arsenal defeated Hull in the FA Cup last Tuesday night, the Press focused on the Gunners players forced off early. The headlines talked of disaster:
“Arsenal run into new injury crisis after win over Hull” – The Week
“Arsenal defender Gabriel ruled out for three weeks with hamstring injury” – Independent
The Indy zoomed in, telling readers on March 6: “Gabriel: Arsenal defender ruled out for three weeks with hamstring injury.”
The Metro thundered: “The Gunners lost Per Mertesacker and Gabriel to injury during their FA Cup clash with Hull on Tuesday night, leaving them with no fit centre-backs given that Laurent Koscielny was already out.”
Four days on and the BBC reports:
Arsenal pair Per Mertesacker and Gabriel are fit despite being injured during Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Hull… Laurent Koscielny [who is back training] remains a doubt with a calf injury.
Arsenal also have young English centre back called Calum Chambers.
but who needs facts when you can make it up as you go along to fit an agenda…
The Metro sats Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are in line to sign Bayern Munich’s Mario Gotze. But what else has the paper of record (surely, the paper run by SEO bots, ed) told us about the German?
Metro, May 13, 2015: “Arsenal are interested in a stunning £30million move for Mario Gotze”
Metro, July 7, 2015: “Chelsea join Arsenal in transfer hunt to sign £49.6m Mario Gotze’
Metro, August 17 2015: “Mario Gotze wants transfer to Arsenal”
Metro, August 17: “Arsenal ready to sign £49.6m Mario Gotze”
Metro, October 12, 2015: “Mario Gotze plays down talk of exit after Arsenal and Man Utd transfer links”
Today the same player apparently worth £31m.
Is Gotze leaving Bayern, where his contract expires in the summer of 2017? The player says he’s happy at the club, telling Bild leaving is not up to him – “it all depends on the plans of the club and the new coach [Carlo Ancelotti].”
Not exactly chomping at the bit, is he.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was answering questions about his tenure at the club. It was put to Wenger at a press conference that ex-players like Dennis Bergkamp, or Patrick Vieira could replace him.
The papers review:
Daily Mirror: “Arsene Wenger finally snapped yesterday over questions about his future. Wenger blew his top.
Daily Express: “Wenger was angry man yesterday but, even during his outburst, he chose his words carefully. Responding to a journalists question about whether the fans’ behaviour would have any bearing on his signing a new contract, the Arsenal manager took his time before saying, “I have no problem to cope with everything but I find that a bit boring in the end.”
The Sun: “The Arsenal boss launched a passionate defence of his reign saying, “I work and work and work. If it’s not good enough someone will tell me one day. I dod not worry about what you say about me or what fans say about me. What I find just boring is always sitting her after 19 years to face, ‘Do you think tour are good enough?'”
The Star: “Strop Gun – Wenger cracks… the “fuming Arsenal boss let rip“.
The Guardian: “I am humble enough to question myself every day,” says Frenchman.
Those boring press conferences are anything but boring.
Arsenal are not doing not too well; not doing too badly. It’s all a bit so-so. But the media wants drama. Today’s back pages lead with a ‘row’ between Arenal manger Arsene Wenger and the club’s greatest goalscorer Thierry Henry.
Henry’s new job is to write opinion to deadline. He fills a Sun newspaper column. This week he opined:
I HAVE never heard the Arsenal supporters as angry as they were at the Emirates on Wednesday night when their team lost at home to Swansea…
I will be watching on TV and what I want to see is a really strong response from the Arsenal players to get the fans back on their side. We all know the quality is there but confidence is not high and that was obvious at Old Trafford last Sunday and again on Wednesday night…
…injuries happen to every team and there is no point complaining or feeling sorry for yourself. You just get on with it.
“Thierry Henry has his opinions. He has not found the measurement of the fans’ angriness, of 60,000 people straight away, because he sits in the best seats of the stadium… Look, he’s in a difficult role. Thierry Henry will not play tomorrow for Arsenal. His comments are like any other comments, they cannot help us to win, nor be an excuse to lose. We have to focus on ourselves.”
Which when put through the tabloid sensation generator becomes Wenger “demands showdown talks” with Henry (Mirror) and:
It’ll be “war” by tomorrow…
Can Arsenal win the Premier League? That question to the BBC’s ‘football expert” Mark Lawrenson:
Lawrenson would “not rule out” Arsenal, who are in the, er, easier position to win the league because they have less points that Leicester.
Said Lawrenson after a 3-3 draw at Liverpool: “Arsenal were the much better side in the second half, but if they are seriously going to go on and win the league, they should have taken all three points here.”
Who says being a football expert is easy? Answer: everyone.
Two days after a limp Arsenal lost to a mid-table Manchester United side and the Daily Mail leads with news that the Gunners have £135m to spend. The Mail says Arsenal have “cash reserves” of £135m – but will give Arsene Wenger only half of it to strengthen his squad this summer”.
It’s not Wenger’s fault Arsenal are toothless in attack and palsied in defence, says the Arsenal marketing team whose fingers are all over this ‘news’. It’s Arsenal’s “hierarchy”. Blame them. Leave Wenger alone.
Trouble is that Pep Guardiola has £150m to spend at Manchester City, Manchester United will chuck another £100m at the brand – although the Express says the Red Devils already have found “a generation to rival the class of ’92. – and Chelsea have £150m for next season’s push.
What does £75m buy Arsenal?
“Arsene Wenger has made the central spine of his team the summer priority,” says the Daily Telegraph. That’s a central defender, a central midfielder and a centre forward, then. The Gunners will have a tad more cash because “Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are all likely to leave.”
Of those names only Flamini occupies a birth in the Arsenal ‘spine’. And he’s been on his way out the club for months. They wanted shot of him last Christmas.
Reading on in the pisspoor Telegraph, however, we learn that the paper’s exclusive is utter balls:
Wenger regards this as his best squad since the ‘Invincible’ era and, although his thinking will certainly be shaped by the next three months, he does not currently plan a major summer overhaul.
Nothing major – just replacing your team’s ‘spine’.
Former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is talking about Arsenal. The Gunners lost 3-2 at Manchester United in a match notable for how little guts Arsenal showed.
I have watched them quite a bit recently and it is not the first time I have seen them play like that. They just don’t look good enough. At the moment, they look a very average team…
Arsenal have got it all on now. If they don’t play better than that, they could end up back in fourth in a season which, without any doubt, has been their big chance… You couldn’t fancy Arsenal from what you have seen of them at Old Trafford. Not when the chips are down.
Or as he put it a few weeks back in another Daily Telegraph column:
I think we saw this weekend, though, why it is a two-horse race for the title. Manchester City came from behind, late on, against a good Watford side and Arsenal managed to grind out a win when they were not playing well against Newcastle. That is not something Arsenal have been able to do in the past and it shows their progress this season.
It’s a funny old fame…
Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is “devastated”. His club manager, Arsene Wenger, says the midfielder “could miss SEVEN WEEKS” of the season, reports the Mirror. The Arsenal fans won’t miss him.
Before we look at the player’s future, let’s hear what Wenger actually said:
“His injury is quite serious and keeps him out for a few weeks. He is consulting a specialist at the moment because he is injured at his knee. Hopefully we will have good news. He is out for a few weeks. How long exactly? I don’t know but a few weeks.
So, “could miss seven weeks”, could be ‘could be back in two weeks”.
“It’s a new injury. He has been cut in two by Mascherano and he did his knee. It was a fully committed tackle but it didn’t look malicious. We have to see how big the damage is in his knee. Hopefully we will have good news later.”
Will Arsenal fans miss the England player who signed from Southampton five years ago? Not much. There’s something very middle-class about the way Oxlade-Chamberlain plays. He never fully dives in, drives forward or does the tough, rough stuff. It’s all a bit nice. The player’s injury was a result of mis-controlling the ball when an Arsenal break was very much on. That he did not then give the Barcelona enforcer a dose of his own aggression to win the tackle further emphasised his weakness.
And now ‘the Ox’ is on his way out of the Emirates. The Indy says Arsenal are “ready to listen to offers for England international midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer as it is thought he has not made enough progress during his five seasons at the Emirates.”
He hasn’t made enough progress. That much is certain.
Arsène Wenger paid £12m to Southampton in 2011 for the then 17-year-old, who has made 149 senior appearances for the club, during which time he has broken into Roy Hodgson’s England team. But Wenger fears that Oxlade-Chamberlain has not developed as he first hoped, and if the club can make more than their money back this summer then they would be open to selling him.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is intelligent and skilful. But at Arsenal he’s a work in progress, a player for the future. For five years Arsenal have waited for him to step up. It’s surely time for him to move on…
Arsenal were beaten by Barcelona in last night’s Champions League match. The result never was really in doubt. Arsenal are a decent side, who could have nicked a goal; Barcelona shimmer. Over in the Daily Mail, Arsenal obsessive Adrian Durham tells readers about Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s “biggest blunder” in a coruscating carer. It was not buying Louis Suarez, now starring for Barcelona:
“What a blunder from Wenger. [He] gets a tip off that Luis Suarez has a £40m release clause in his contract, decides to offer £1 more than that figure to trigger the release, fails to realise the player needs persuading to move to Arsenal.”
The tip-off was sound.
“In a million years, will a player who values himself highly just walk out on one club failing to compete for the very top honours, to join another club failing to compete for the very top honours, simply because that new club values him just £1 more than his release clause?”
No. That’s not what happened. This is what Luis Suarez said about Arsenal’s bid for him in August 2013, which you can also read in the Mail:
“Last year I had the opportunity to move to a big European club and I stayed on the understanding that if we failed to qualify for the Champions League the following season I’d be allowed to go. I gave absolutely everything last season but it was not enough to give us a top-four finish – now all I want is for Liverpool to honour our agreement. I am 26, I need to be playing in the Champions League. I feel I have done enough to be playing in the Champions League at this stage of my career. Now there is an option for me to do that and I want very much to take it.”
Durham ignores the facts. But he does offer some advice for whatever fee the Mail pays him:
Some Gooners have defended Wenger on this one, but ultimately he had the chance, but failed to sign a player who would have transformed Arsenal overnight. Offer £80m – what he’s worth – make the player feel truly wanted.
Pay double the asking price. Genius!