The general consensus on Arsenal tomorrow—the final hours of the transfer window—is there is no consensus. Some believe the Boss is done with his transfer work, scrubbed the knuckles clean, tugged down the tie, and hunkered down for the campaign ahead. Others maintain that our French Professor has been working the wee hours, concocting a late minute master-stroke, some bit of inspired business that will hurl the Gunners firmly into the title discussion.
My sense is that it’s in between and probably closer to the latter. One player in for sure; perhaps two with one of those an indication of a little ambition.
Arsenal Football Club have done some good business this summer, have a profit to show for it, and, importantly, they’ve been moving wages off the books. There’s money there. Perhaps more than past seasons. They’ve also had time to scour the landscape. Yes, they’ve been busy selling, but every sell points to possible buys, the contact with so many clubs leading to interesting ‘you don’t say’ conversations.
Add in the fact that new sponsorship deals are to be negotiated soon, from which the club simply can’t be talking dollars from outside the Champions League confines or risk missing a deserved mouthwatering haul, and I think it’s safe we’ll lean toward agressive. Yes, Wenger might take a wait-and-see approach, rely on the comforty comfort of the January window, but I believe our man understands he’s breaking in a truly new team—there are but a few faces from more than two seasons ago—and he must get the kinks out in a hurry. Finally, thorw in the ambition of our rivals (notably Liverpool who seem to be going all in on Champions League or bust), and there’s no time to act like now.
Tomorrow will tell.
Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0
So Arsenal’s first game is in the bag except, come the end of round one, the bag proves frustratingly empty. No points to be found. Well, no holes either and there’s something of a “Did that happen?” feeling about Arsenal’s 0-0 home draw with Sunderland.
Arsenal were bright from the open—plenty of possession, glimpses of the sure-feet of Santi Cazorla, and decent mopping up at the back save the twice “hold this line, no this line” confusion between Mertesacker and Vermaelen. Meanwhile, up top, Podolski proved lively (perhaps so much that he eventually ran himself out of the game) and Gervinho looked a gear faster than last season. My sense, however, is that our big signing of a year ago still lacks enough variety in his movement to be consistently dangerous. We had a couple exciting moments—most related to Santi—and if Walcott would have chipped a tight, return ball instead of playing a blanketed Podolski, Cazorla might have had the easiest header of his life and Arsenal a one goal lead.
The main talking point of the second half seems to be Giroud. Everyone rues the great chance he missed, but surely one doesn’t expect a new striker to score what amounts to his first quality shot on goal in the new shirt. And to be fair: the chance fell to his weaker foot. I read somewhere among the Twittersphere that the lad scored nearly 90% of his goals last season with his left. His goals will come.
For me, the lasting memory of the second was yet another wasted assist-opportunity from Theo. Our England winger chose to slam a volley into the side net as opposed to square to a wide-open Podolski who could have tapped in a goal.
Sensing a theme here? Yes, Theo didn’t play well nor appear all that useful against a defense sitting back. And, frankly, he didn’t look too committed to the cause Saturday. I’m certain the player comings and goings, as well as Theo’s active European summer, must have taken some toll. But he’s also in the midst of a contract situation, and there are signs—worrying ones—that he may be the next to jettison the club. I’d say it’s no more than 1 in 3 he leaves, and that depends on other players, other clubs making some moves. Don’t get me wrong: I’d love Theo to stick around and hope he does.
One player who didn’t stick around (beside, of course, the man to remain nameless who plays for a team with zero points to date) is Song. It was great to watch him develop and I’m thankful for some good memories, but don’t think the club will miss him as long as a defensive midfielder arrives to fill the gap. We’re currently hearing a lot about Nuri Sahin—a fantastic player—but he is a playmaker and really cover for the injured Wilshire. (Hence the loan: if Wilshire recovers and finds form we can allow Sahin to return to Madrid). No,the midfielder I believe we’re in for is Yann M’Vila; I expect him in the shirt before the window closes in just under two weeks’ time.
But, alas, back to match. Sadly it was a bit less compelling than the transfer whispers this weekend. And, in the end, our Gunners withered on what was a blistering day at the Emirates against a determined, defensive side. A goal simply wasn’t in the cards; we must take our point and build from there. One positive: Sunderland did absolutely nothing to trouble us at the back for most of the game. A clean sheet is something to be proud of and a run of them can get our defensive minds in the kind of place that leads to stalking trophies. So onward and upward Gooners. There are points out there, ones to be won and stuffed in the old bag.
“ This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.
As announced earlier this year I had a meeting with the Boss and Mr. Gazidis after the season. This was a meeting about the club’s future strategy and their policy. Financial terms or a contract have not been discussed, since that is not my priority at all.
I personally have had a great season but my goal has been to win trophies with the team and to bring the club back to its glory days. Out of my huge respect for Mr. Wenger, the players and the fans I don’t want to go into any details, but unfortunately in this meeting it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal FC should move forward.
I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract. You guys, the fans, have of course the right to disagree with my view and decision and I will always respect your opinions.
I love the club and the fans, no matter what happens. I have grown up and became a man during my time with Arsenal FC. Everybody at the club and the fans have always supported me over the years and I have always given my all (and more) on and off the pitch. I am very proud of being part of this fantastic club for the last 8 years.
As soon as Mr. Gazidis is back from his 2-week holiday in America further meetings will follow and I will update you if and when there are more developments.
Robin van Persie
Post Euros and all the justified Spanish celebrations and darn if there just aren’t enough football morsels to sustain the imagination.
Arsenal news seems to be dominated by the whimsical and insane: RvP to Juve on the cheap; Le Boss in desperate talks with the skipper; and the Chairman not sure if any business is happening, will happen, or has ever happened. It all makes for copy as noxious as Samir Nasri’s twitter-farts, but, alas, it’s all a Gooner has to go on at the moment.
Best, I think, to pop over to Arseblog and have a proper read (click on the monkey if you dare) as our man in Ireland knows how to put all of this momentary nothingness in the proper ho-hum perspective.
“ Giroud didn’t play much (at the Euros so far), but he’s going to be an Arsenal player…(a 90% chance)…next season. I think he has exceptional potential and will integrate very well in our collective and our way of playing. He is a real team player and knows how to combine with other players and I’m sure he will do well with us.