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Some Thoughts on Arsenal’s Transfer Season So Far…

Given the way the season ended (3 wins, 6 losses and 6 draws across four competitions), it was not surprising to see, hear and feel the anger building from supporters both near and far to Emirates Stadium.  “Spend some fucking money” was the chant that reverberated during the last game of the year – a 2-2 draw to Fulham.  The statements were quick to come out from the club that they had heard the message loud and clear and that, given everything that had transpired, they were not going to sit and wait, but would move quickly and decisively to right the various wrongs that had torpedoed so much hope.

Of course, this being Arsenal, it seems nothing comes easy…or cheap…or without fighting.

To be fair, it is always difficult to make moves when everyone and their dog knows you have to make moves.  Combine that with the push by selling clubs and agents to reveal any negotiations (or to make some up) in order to drive their clients’ price up, along with the rampant media speculation that occurs in order to fill up ink space and get page views, and what you have is a situation where any move made by the club will be seen from space and will feel like its dragging on and on.

Even so, the season of discontent has now turned into the summer of discontent.  While the club is unofficially tied to moves for players across the globe, none have so far turned into actual signings.  Blogs and websites are going crazy trying to predict who will arrive and when.  And with every day passing without any official word or sign of an arrival only increases the pressure and the anger.

So far we’ve been linked with: Lille’s forward Gervinho and winger Eden Hazard, Velez Sarsfield’s midfielder/winger Ricky Alvarez, Blackburn’s defender Christopher Samba, Bolton’s defender Gary Cahill, Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and, most recently, Sevilla’s winger Juan Mata. 

Combine that with the pressures of the Fabregas-Barcelona saga nonsense, the Nasri and Clichy deals about to expire and the pressure of the expected/demanded sales of out-of-favor players like Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner and it all equals to a mess where no one knows what will happen first to break the dam.  Do we need to sell first, then buy?  Get our targets in and then sell players?  Re-sign the wantaways and the new deal seekers then look to add?

As I said, it’s a mess.  A mess that is compounded by demanding supporters, angry bloggers and a media desperate for ways to fill up dead space and airtime.  If there was a way to make things worse, I somehow fear we’d find it.

One more thing: Barcelona tabled a 27M pound bid for Cesc Fabregas that was summarily dismissed by the club.  Every one of their little cronies (from Sandro Rossell to the sangria lady)  says that they will pay less than they offered last year (around 45M euros) for Cesc. Just for reference’s sake, here are the transfers of the most recent Spanish National Team – the 2010 World Cup Champions – and how much they cost:

  • D Alvaro Arbeloa, €4 million from Liverpool to Real Madrid
  • D Raul Albiol, €15 million from Valencia to Real Madrid
  • M David Silva, €27-€34 million (depending on who you read) from Valencia to Manchester City
  • M Xabi Alonso, €34 million from Liverpool to Real Madrid
  • F David Villa, €40 million from Valencia to Barcelona
  • F Fernando Torres, €56 million from Liverpool to Chelsea

Somewhere in there is Cesc’s true value and I’d suggest that it’s towards the higher end of the spectrum for two reasons: age (Cesc is 24 and will give whatever club he plays for another decade of quality in the heart of the midfield) and commitment (he’s shown no desire to move due to big money – it’s only Arsenal or Barcelona for him).

So if Barcelona want him, I’d say spend the money, stop dicking around and let’s end this stupid story.  Arsenal, as a football club, needs for this to be over.

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