Monday, May 29, 2006

Theo's performance, a few transfer rumours, and the Chavs' money

Sorry about the lack of updates since Thursday, but this has not been entirely my fault: there has been very little to report. I would assume this is because most of the world's quality players are locked up in world cup training camps, which makes negotiating new deals difficult - if not impossible, as Shevchenko and Rosicky have shown.

I was going to write a post on England B's shambolic performance the other night, but didn't get round to it. Suffice to say - Theo acquitted himself nicely amongst the squalor, with a few deft pieces of control, a rasping shot, and some general all round speediness.

The pressure on him is farcical: he was given a standing ovation just for getting on the pitch. While it's nice to show that we'll all behind him, there is a real danger, in my mind, that he'll drown under the enormous expectations placed upon him. I hope he does well at the world cup - for England, his and Arsenal's sake - but I won't hold it against him if he struggles. I hope more people remember this, otherwise we could destroy his talent before it blossoms.

In general, over the next few weeks, I'll post up a few England articles. These will have [England article] in the headline - you can thus decide whether to read them or not before you get there. Similarly, more general articles regarding the world cup, will have [world cup] in the headline.

Right, regarding our gorgeous gooners...

Chavski are, reportedly, trying to steal Kolo. HANDS OFF. I doubt he would make such a traitorous move, but i also suppose that every player has their price. Regardless, we're meant to be, supposedly, on the verge of offering him a new contract. Would be a sensible move anyway.

Paddy is also meant to be heading back to us. Er,no. Although the rumour of him and/or Sol going to Newcastle seems a little more plausible, as does the rumour that Sol is on the verge of being shipped off to the cottage. While Myles appears to have been wrong with the destination, and the price, I would be very surprised if Sol was still with us come August.

Players we've actually been linked with are a little thin on the ground. ANR has a few, and, unsurprisingly, they're quite young: Podolski, the German 'Rooney' (!?!?); a young Turkish player named Sahin - haven't heard of; Merida - who may 'do a Fabregas' and get out of his Barca youth contract; and French under-21 international, Ribery. They're probably all great players, but it'd be nice to get another established talent in. Especially if Cygan remains our fourth choice centre-back - shudder.

Ian Grant also, correctly, states that despite turning the premiership into a near farce due to their financial clout, programmes like MOTD and Sky aren't going to openly criticise Chelsea due to viewing figures.

Personally, my hope is that the Chavs turn into the new Real Madrid - finanically blouted and decadent, buying players they don't need, or who are past their prime, due to their name and supposed kudos, in order to satisfy Abramovich's ego. The way he runs the club is little short of a child buying all the shiniest toys in the toy-shop to show off to his mates. At the moment, stability is only being maintained in the club because of Mourinhio, who, despite his whinging and acting, is a damn good manager. Yet i have the feeling that his unhappiness does partially stem from Abramovic and Kenyon's running of the club. Myles has suggested that the SWP move last summer was completely engineered by Kenyon - explaining SWP's dissapearance this season - and i feel the same thing happened with Ballack, and possibly Shevchenko.

Will these players really strengthen Chelsea? Ballack is a near carbon copy of Lampard - Mourinhio's favourite player - except better, yet Mourinhio was happy with having Frank. How the hell will the two fit into the team? Will Ballack actually be a disrutpive purchase? And, at 29, £35m+ is a ridiculous fee for Shevchenko. He will get the goals in a way that neither Crespo or Drogba did, but is he still worth that fee? He only got 19 goals last season. Is this not a slight case of Abromavic just wanting an ex-Soviet jewel in his crown, regardless of what Jose thinks?

I think these players will strengthen Chelsea, but there is a real chance that the Chavs' edifice could come apart if they continue with their current 'galactico' policy. Here's hoping, because i think other plans to limit their power probably won't work.

Til later, an end of season term-card for the players is in preparation [by me!],



Anonymous said...

I don't know about SKY's viewers, but I for one am seriously losing interest - with Chelsea anyway. This is not football and it is not sport. It is a travesty and I am as appalled as I am disgusted.

And before anyone starts ranting about jealousy and envy, I can assure everyone, as I am sure that most other football fans will agree, no one gives a damn i Chelsea wins every single game with Tennis figures for the next ten seasons. They do not exist!

For the real fans there is always the real Championship and who gets to actually win it all and finish second.

A hypothethical question that has bothered me slightly: "if you cannot have the slightest grace and style while you are winning, when will you?".

Someone bring back football and make it what it was meant to be: A game. A Sport based on skill, desire and hard work - not blood money!

Call me old fashioned, but I know I am not the only one.

With football optimism

Gus J.

sggooner said...

interesting view on chel$ki. will they implode like real? really doubt it though. like you mentioned, moan-rinho is still at the helm and he has that magical tough.

i think if anything were to happen, the FA will step in soon. cos if this shopping spree goes on, we'll have a F1 with Ferarri dominating a boring sport and then sponsors will leave.

you get my drift...

Anonymous said...

Chelsea are showing no signs whatsoever of becoming the self-sufficient enterprise Abramovich wants to make them, and shelling out another 50 million on wages and transfer fees this summer won't help. They've recorded record losses two years in a row - eventually, that has to stop.

Abramovich will not take those losses forever - either he waits a decade for a new generation of glory-hunting 6 year olds to get jobs in Budgens to afford shirts, or he pulls the plug. That's how long it'll take.

And when he does pull the plug, Chelsea won't just be bankrupt, they'll be selling off the grass from the stadium, blade by blade.

Anonymous said...

Money talks, so I doubt if anything will be done to stop the Chelsea's of this world. Only Abramovich pulling the plug will end this madness. It would be great to see a more competitive Premiership and less of the win at any cost mentality. Sport should be about entertainment as well otherwise there will be no more 'bums on seats' to pay for it all.

Anonymous said...

Whilst they continue in the current vein, every team should put out their youth team against Chelsea. See how long Terry, Lampard, Ballack etc continue to be motivated when facing 16 and 17 year olds every week. They will soon look for pastures new.

Ash said...

People keep comparing Chelsea to Real but Madrid were different. They won the CL in 98 without spending lots of money. Real developed players like Raul, Hierro, Moreintes, Casillas, Helguera Roberto Carlos and Makelele. The only big signings were Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham. Real also entertained us with some breathtaking football.

I dont think Chelsea will win the CL next season. Barca are still the best team in my opinion. If Wenger makes some inspired signings we could still challenge them next season in England and Europe

Anonymous said...

how can anyone compare Chelsea to Real Madrid - its an insult to a great club like Real who caught our imaginations and our parents imaginations, with the likes of De stefano, the galatico's. Simple fact, Real have history, romantic and admirable history - chelsea havent got anything, no friends, no admirers and they certainly havent caught the neutrals imagination.

I would actually compare Chelsea's story to that of Lazio - flush with money, didnt win in Europe, then eventually investors stopped funding them and look where they are now - back in the wilderness where they belong.

As for transfer speculations.....Ribery story is picking up pace and with Henry's glowing reports on him, this would certainly get Wengers attention. Tuncay Sahin, good prospect an excellent forward, seen him play on turkish tv, and i got to say he is an excellent prospect, but maybe not for us just yet - he will end up like Reyes.

Vieira, returning to Arsenal? Some might say "no way", i would say, why not? I would rather have Vieira alongside Cesc, then Gilberto, who again has had another bad season. He isnt performing, and in the Champions League final, gave the ball away too cheaply. Vieira is 29, Gilberto is 29 and Senna, who we are supposedly interested in, is also 29, Ballack is 29. Out of the 4, the best is still Vieira.

As for Europe and the Premiership next season. I do reckon we will go all the way again, the belief is there, which will help our cause in the Premiership. Man Utd will be stronger next year also, so Chelsea wont have it so easy.

Puskas said...

Considering all the money they've spent over the last few seasons the Chav's sure get a lot of lucky 1-0 wins and practically half of Fat Franks goals were deflected long range shots. That luck can't last and just as teams adapted to play us when we were at our peak, other teams are starting to loose their fear of the Russians. Keep the faith gooners, we're on the up again but we'll do it with class and know we've earnt it! I just hope we don't take last seasons away form to our beautiful new home.

Nturtle said...

anon at 7:45...I think it is NURI Sahin we are talking about in a potential transfer. Young player with great passing and ability.

See clip here:

Deciduous Guacamole said...

Chelsea are a bunch of w**kers.
Let's face it, without the Russian they'd be in League 1 by now.
Who knows, once he's off and running, they probably will be.

Anonymous said...

Would Shevchenko and Ballack make that much difference this year anyway? World class players to be sure, but in totally different leagues. They'll need time to adapt. Crespo, Mutu and Veron couldn't adapt to England. Hleb only came good in the last few months. And since Shevchenko and Ballack are both 29, they've probably only got a couple of good years left anyway. What's the freakin' point?

As an aside, what's the difference between Barcelona using the media to influence Henry, and Arsenal signing up Barelona's kids before they can sign a pro contract (e.g. Fabregas and Merida)? They're both within the letter of the law, but they're both dodgy, immoral ways of doing business. What's worse is that Barcelona was prepared to pay Arsenal the market value (50 mill?) whereas we sign Barca's kids for practically nothing

1. For Fabregas, after appeal, we paid 2 million + van bronckhorst.

2. For Flamini, we only paid compensation after we were taken to court.

3. For Walcott, we only paid (a maximum of) 12 million because Walcott's family were decent enough to ask that Southampton be given adequate compensation. A less scrupulous player would've walked away and pocketed a huge signing fee for himself (i.e. like Harry Kewell after Leeds went bankrupt - not the same, I know, but similiar).

Whether Fabregas, Merida, Dos Santos (Mexican kid we tried to get), and the rest of the Barca whizkids would rot in the reserves if they stay with Barca isn't the point - we're stealing their kids. If we were really above board, we would've informed Barcelona first.

When Chelsea tapped up Ashley Cole, we screamed blue murder. When we 'tap up' unsigned kids, we smirk and say "Arsene Knows".

We really can't get on the high horse for this issue. Laporta has a right to be angry. Our transfer policy stinks at least as much as theirs.

P.S. I am an Arsenal supporter, and above all an Arsene Wenger supporter. I love his style of football, the elegant simplicity of his mix of skill and speed. When Vieira was sold, and throughout last season, I kept the faith. I believe that "Arsene Knows", that the next great side he builds will become the best side in Europe.

But I know when something isn't right.

GLORY1000 said...

I am an Arsenal fan too. Fab has not yet sign a professional contract when Arsenal signed him. Moreover Barca were very stupid making the best players in various compitition rot in the reserve. As Fab described it he said we beat teams 20-0 and 30-0. Even the reserve game for Arsenal team is more competitive, that was why Fab came. Fab's parents were aware of Arsenal speaking to Fab and they were happy with that.

About Cole, Chelsea were wrong to arrange a meeting and speak to him period behind the club's back. Fab and Cole are two completely different issues. One was illegal and the other was perfectly legal.

Anon(6:45) you also seem to have forgotten that Barca have got a lot of our players too. If I begin to count I will lose count. At least 4 players from Arsenal have gone to Barca since Arsene came. We have only got one in Cesc and if we got the other Wiz kid I will be laughing. Remember also that Barca almost stole Henry for £50 million. I mean Henry is priceless for everything else there is mastercard. Cesc is happy and that is all that matters.

Barca are bargain hunters just like any other club in the world apart from Chelsea who seem to be in another market. You know what that is Chelsea's problem. LET NOT MIND WHAT THEY ARE DOING, WE WILL BEAT THEM NEXT SEASON AND WIN EVERYTHING!

Barca are angry because they did not get Henry period!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ribery would be a terrific signing. Hope we get him quickly as he could shine in the France squad this summer. Does anyone know which side he prefers? Hopefully the right as we badly need cover for Freddie. That said, I'm not sure if a winger-cum-striker should be our priority. What about a keeper and a left-sided centreback, assuming we're selling Sol? No, I'm not hopeful as Wenger has never ever spent serious money on defenders. But it would be a nice thought. I mean, suppose Senderos is injured? And what are we going to do in the Champions League when Lehmann is suspended for one or more games?

On Chelsea: they're likely to implode in a year or so when Mourinho one day shrugs his shoulders and walks. It's bound to happen sooner or later as he and Abramovic already don't see eye to eye over the signing of superstars. There can't be much satisfaction in that policy long term for Mourinho, who obviously wants to build up a team of his choosing, which means a workmanlike team with a strongly defensive ethos. I can see them falling out pretty soon, especially if Chelsea fail to win the Champions League yet again.

Ash said...

I see nothing wrong with our transfer policy. Signing Cesc was good scouting. Now it seems that we only paid £2m but back then it was a big risk. Barca could have kept him but we believed in him more so he came to Arsenal and I see nothing wrong in that. We have only signed one kid from Barca. Merida who is out of contract has not decided who he is joining. Real, Arsenal and afew others are after him. I think Barcelona have an outstanding academy but they need to sort out their own house first before blaming others

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying that it's illegal to sign an uncontracted player from another club. I'm not even saying that the other club has to give us permission before we can offer a contract. The player has to be free to choose.

But I am saying that the home club has to be notified before anything is signed.

The way we approached Fabregas and Flamini was clandestine, immoral and just plain wrong. We should have informed Barcelona and Marseille of our intentions before we contacted the two players. Those two clubs should have been given the chance to negotiate with their players, and, if the players still wanted to leave, those two clubs should have been given decent compensation. (e.g. with Walcott, where we've paid an initial fee and have additional payments to pay after appearances, titles etc).

The fact is that we got Fabregas on a technicality (his pre-contract wasn't signed by the right person). Same with Pique with Man Utd. Merida's gone into hiding until he signs for us. No one's seen the kid for months. This isn't the right way to do business.

Barca has two former Arsenal players (Gio van Bronckhorst on a free and Silvinho from Sevilla?) on their list. A few years back, they gutted our midfield by buying Overmars and Petit. But these were legitimate transfers, with a formal approach to Arsenal.

Barca also tried to sway Henry through the press, but ultimately, they made a formal approach to Arsenal. They followed proper protocol. Henry wasn't tapped up.

Barca was ready to pay 50 million for a 28 year old who had 1 year left on his contract, and who had previously said that Barca was the only club he would consider if he left. That's 7 million more that Zidane cost at the height of the Galactico madness. That's 15 million more than Shevchenko. By any definition, that's a good price.

I realise Barca aren't saints. Destablising a player through the media is contemptible. And I know that the Masia hoards players, and wastes their talents, and Fabregas probably is better off with us. And Henry would've gone for 10 million if Real Madrid hadn't stepped in.

It's just that we can't claim to be the classy, moral club we always seem to be if we do the same. We can't whinge about being picked on the big bad Spanish clubs and steal their kids at the same time. We can't have a hissy fit about Chelsea meeting Ashley Cole if we tried the same thing with Baptista.

On the pitch, Arsenal is wonderful. They're not cynical like Chelsea, or thuggish like Bolton. Their style of play is beautiful and pure (i.e. they play attacking, entertaining football instead of grinding out results).

I just want to see this attitude displayed off the pitch as well.

Ash said...

I think that you will find out that agents have a role to play in that. Merida is not hiding because of Arsenal. He has afew offers and his agent said that he is not coming back to Barca. It is perfectly legal and within fifa rules to speak to a player within the last 6 months of his contract let alone out of contract so how could you describe that as immoral when its within the rules of the game. We've lost players on a free like Edu, Wiltord and now Pires coz they had better offers elsewhere but Wenger hardly blamed Valencia, Lyon or Villareal did he? Its a free market

Anonymous said...

This suggestion that our transfer policy is often unethical is very interesting, but where are you getting your facts from? For instance, while I find it perfectly plausible that it was Walcott's family who insisted we pay Southampton reasonable compensation, how can we know this is true? Anyone can post anything on the net, especially anonymously and a lot that gets posted is simply made up.

Another thing that's always puzzled me is why during the Ash tapping-up saga, we publicly denounced him to the FA. I mean, what was the point - it was public knowledge anyway that it happened? It struck at the time that there was something weird and unnecesarily harsh about the way we were deliberately setting out to make life hell for one of our own players when there was nothing obvious to be gained and a lot to be lost - Ash's loyalty and goodwill for a start. Were we trying to paint ourselves whiter than white as a kind of cover for the fact that our own dealings on the transfer market were far from pure?

Anonymous said...

Wenger's always been different. I've always liked how valuable players like Edu, Wiltord, Pires and Kanu are allowed to run down their contracts and leave on a free transfers. It shows that Wenger values his players as people, and not as marketable assets. Any other manager would have flogged them off for a cut-price transfer.

But these players were contracted for a set amount of time. Once that ends, both parties are free of obligations. It's different with a sixteen year old youth player who has been scouted, trained and developed by a club.

Legally they're the same. Ethically, they're not.

Just imagine it wasn't Barca that had its kids stolen.

What if it had been Man Utd in the late eighties? No Giggs, no Beckham, no Nevilles or Butt. A whole golden era stolen from a club.

What if was likeable, little West Ham? If Lampard, Cole, Defoe, Carrick and both Ferdinands (by the way, how good would that team have been)had been snapped up by us, Spurs or Chelsea for a pittance? It would have been perfectly legal, but I'm sure West Ham fans wouldn't be too happy about it.

I'm not saying that a youth player has to be bound to the club he signs for. I just think adequate compensation is needed. The current tribunal system isn't the best.I think the current system is based on years, appearances and wages? Most of the time, that's alright. The vaguries of player potential means that everyone's a punt. However, I remember reading that under that system, Walcott would've cost about 100,000 pounds.

Arsenal thought they had nicked Fabregas on a free. Barca wouldn't have received anything if they didn't appeal. Moreover, Barca approached arbitration at a significant disadvantage, as Fabregas had already signed with Arsenal.

Fabregas ended up costing us about 2 million pounds, and Barca's probably got first option if he leaves. That's a lot of money for a 16 year old, but bear in mind he was the star of the previous U-17 world cup.

Compare this fee to Carlos Vella the 17 year old Mexican we signed last year. He had a great U-17, and cost us a 3 million transfer. But I don't think he was as impressive as Fabregas was (Incidentally, we also tried to nick the Mexican real star from Barca). 2 million for Fabregas was, at best, fair value.

In the case of Fabregas, where the talent is obvious, there should be a period of negotiation before the player signs, like we had with Southampton for Walcott. Southampton had to deal, as Walcott wasn't going to sign for them. However, as Walcott hadn't yet signed for us, Southampton could still approach the negotiating table on fairly even terms.

I just want Arsenal to play nicely.

If Arsenal would inform the club of their intentions and allow the club to approach the player first, and then arrange a settlement with the club before formally signing the player, I would be happy.

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Ozgur said...

How have you not heard of Nuri Sahin? He was the youngest player to have ever played inthe Bundesliga in Germany and the youngest to score.. and youngest to be capped by Turkey.

Arsenal offered 3million euro's to him in 2005 but Dortmund declined.
Arsenes been watching him for quite a while now