- Rooney – still definitely not coming
- Cesc – not going anywhere this year
- Fellaini – possible
- Higuain – possible
- Jovetic – most unlikely
That’s about it. To be honest you may as well chill, because we know Arsène’s methods by now:
- consider every player very carefully, particularly how he will fit into the system Arsène likes to play
- consider the effect on the development of other players in the squad
- consider the value you’ll be getting and don’t pay over the odds
- keep everything really quiet for as long as possible so those buggers at Chelsea don’t get a sniff
- negotiate as hard as possible on fee, but give the player what you think is a fair salary compared to his peers already at Arsenal, regardless of whether he’s on anything like that now and would be happy to sign for 10 bob and a packet of pork scratchings
All this means that if Arsenal sign someone before the end of June it is unlikely to be the star name we all seem to crave. More likely it will be someone from the French second division we’ve never heard of. Said Frenchman may turn out to be brilliant, of course; it’s happened before. All I’m saying is the big names won’t be along just yet. Maybe later in the summer.
On the subject of transfers I was reminded the other day on twitter by @yorkshiregunner of the story of how Igors Stepanovs got signed. According to Ray Parlour, who was there at the time, Martin Keown used to get really wound up if he thought another centre back was going to be signed and potentially displace him from the team. So Ray and some of the others started talking about Stepanovs, saying how great he’d been when he came for a trial, and how they thought he’d fit right in at Arsenal. This wound Keown up no end, but no one was more surprised than Parlour when Stepanovs actually turned up as a new signing. When Arsène was questioned about it by the players, he said he’d heard them all saying how good Stepanovs was so decided to sign him on that basis!
Make of that what you will.
One of Arsène’s former clubs, AS Monaco, are the source of a lot of transfer rumour right now. Having just won promotion back to Ligue 1, they seem hell bent on challenging PSG in a Chelsea/City style spending war. I can only assume that either their owners haven’t heard about FFP, or are thinking, “We’ll qualify for the Champions League first, then we’ll worry about whether they’ll let us in.”
On the plus side they are rumoured to be interested in John Terry, which would at least get rid of him from my view.
Monaco and their players have just had a bit of bad news though: they need to pay tax. No one has paid income tax in Monaco since 1869, except for French citizens who have moved there since 1957. However, the French FA decided that was giving the football team an unfair advantage so have ruled that all French league clubs must now have a ‘tax residence’ in France, meaning all employees of the football club are now liable for income tax. Harry Redknapp is said to be no longer interested in taking over as manager.
Back at home Ivan Gazidis has given a long interview to various journalists, the full transcript of which is available on the Daily Mirror site. It’s an interesting read, if you can get past the feeling of having heard it all before. The difference this year is that Ivan is really pushing the ‘We’ve got money to spend’ angle, in a clear message that if it doesn’t get spent it’s down to one person and one person only, the manager.
Ivan said so much that it’s possible for any Arsenal fan of any persuasion to point to bits that support their own views and say, “I knew it! There was/wasn’t money to spend before! It’s all the Board’s/manager’s fault we didn’t spend last year!” You can cut it any way you want, but whatever the message you take, it’s still just talk. Ivan doesn’t decide which players to buy, he doesn’t decide how much to pay for them and he doesn’t decide how much to pay them. (Though he carefully used words to give the impression that he is very much involved in all those activities, without actually claiming that he makes the decisions.)
Anyway, I think we’ve all had enough of talk. I want to see transfer action. But with Arsène at the helm, I’m not holding my breath. And that’s where we came in.