My ears are ringing in pain. I simply cannot wait for the end of the transfer window so we can get on with the more serious business of football. While transfers are important, I believe that clubs should not be overbearing in their pursuit of players and should show more respect to rival clubs and their loyal supporters.
Some people have described Arsenal’s unwilling stance to sell Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona as being equivalent to modern day slavery. I find that very unamusing and a rather unbalanced view of the situation. I am at pains to go over the position of the club as per Fabregas but for the sake of clarity I will do so.
The statement read : "Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas is under contract with the Club until the summer of 2015. He is a highly-valued member of the team and part of our future plans. We have followed recent speculation linking Cesc with a move away from the Club but as there has never been any official approach for him, only two informal exchanges, in which we made it abundantly clear that we have no interest in transferring Cesc, we have refrained from publicly passing comment.
"However, yesterday evening we received an offer from Barcelona for Cesc and in response, we immediately and resolutely told them once again that we have no intention of selling our captain. To be clear, we will not make any kind of counterproposal or enter into any discussion. Barcelona have publicly stated that they will respect our position and we expect that they will keep their word."
How difficult is that to understand? Perhaps the club could have released the statement below.
"If you want him that bad, come back in the summer of 2015 and you just might just get him on a free transfer! We don’t even want to talk about selling our best player so please leave us alone!"
To outline this firm intention, the club has boldly put Cesc Fabregas on the front of the club Magazine’s World Cup special.
I have to admit it works both ways as negotiating clubs need to show mutual respect to one another. Arsenal showed that in the pursuit of Marouane Chamakh. When it was clear that Bordeaux were unwilling to sell at a price the club considered fair, Arsene Wenger cooled off his interest as he knew that if he waited for a year, he could potentially get him on a free. A risky move yes, but it paid off as the player fully understood that as long as he was under contract, his parent club held all the aces in the deal!
The tradition of mutual respect at the club was further reinforced yesterday as Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood revealed that Arsenal were definitely interested in Fulham Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer .
He said: "We certainly have made an inquiry for him (Schwarzer) and they (Fulham) are not prepared to sell him, so we have gone away."
End of story! That reveals two things. Firstly, we won’t badger another club over the head into giving into our wishes to sign their player. If we can’t agree, we’ll simply walk away as there is no time for going back and forth this summer. Secondly, we ARE looking for a new Goalkeeper.
Whilst I consider defensive signings a priority, I can see where signing a player like Schwarzer comes in. Even though he’s 37, I consider him to be at the peak of his career with one or two more good seasons left in him. With retirement looming shortly, he probably has an extra drive and desire to win some silverware right at the end of his career.
Signing him will most certainly mark the end of Manuel Almunia’s time as first choice and will also provide sufficient time for our younger goalkeepers to build up their confidence. I’m sure Arsene must have been thinking about making Schwarzer first choice for next season with Almunia as back up (even though I doubt if he’d play) and Vito Mannone as the Carling Cup 'keeper.
He’d then be able to send out both Fabianksi and Szczesny on loan for a year bringing them back in the summer of 2011 to fight for the No. 1 spot. By then Almunia would have probably left the club, Schwarzer would be on the verge of retirement, and James Shea would be battling Viton Mannone for third choice.
Since it appears that we have been rebuffed by Fulham, I will be interested to see what our next move will be. Will we return with another bid or look elsewhere. I don’t know whether there are any other viable alternatives to Schwarzer that will tie in with the scenario I have speculated above. What I do know is that Roy Hodgson is a reasonable manager and like Arsene Wenger he will do what is in the best interests for Fulham—one club that I greatly respect and admire
It is also possible that we could attempt to take advantage of Robert Green’s contract situation at West Ham since all their players except for Scott Parker are up for sale. Time will tell!
Hill-Wood also mentioned the fact that William Gallas is set to leave the club after failing to agree to a new deal . But then, that’s old news or isn’t it?
He said: "If someone else is prepared to pay him (Gallas) that, good luck to him. We would very much like him to stay for another year, but we are not too sure about two."
Well said! I think the Chairman’s PR skills are improving as since the silly season started, he hasn’t yet said anything I don’t agree with and I am happy for that. He also hinted that Arsenal don’t seem to be interested in Joe Cole .
He said: "I had a long conversation with (chief executive) Ivan Gazidis, who had been with Arsene (Wenger) and his name never came up at all."
That leaves the door open to Man United or Tottenham. Personally, I don’t see him signing for a team not playing in the Champions’ League next season.
Speaking of departures, one player I am sad to see leave is Philippe Senderos as I always thought he could have become a great player for us. Unfortunately, he had quite a few nightmarish games involving Drogba and eventually it looks like he felt he just needed to be elsewhere. He’s joined Fulham so he’s still in London and has a great chance to kick start his career. I do most fondly remember him for his performance in the 2005 FA Cup final and in our run to the 2006 Champions’ League final. I will miss him and I’m sure he’ll get a warm welcome whenever Fulham come visiting to the Emirates. Adieu Big Phil!
I’m going to get ahead of myself here and assume that Mikael Silvestre will be released at the end of the season. I don’t believe any further comment is needed on him. He was brought in as cover for our centre backs and overall, he didn’t do a great job at it.
Sol Campbell was signed in January and in six months accomplished more than Silvestre did in two years at the club. He’s been offered a new deal at the club but I believe that Celtic have offered him a more attractive package as not only does he get to play in a less competitive league (no apologies to that statement), he is more or less guaranteed more games (barring injuries) and he might even get a two-year deal rather than the one year he’s been offered at Arsenal.
I’ve gone over this before but we’ve reached the point where we really have only two first team centre backs. That simply is not good enough! Any top flight team should have at least five or six fit centre backs at any given time. Speaking on the Season Review DVD the Arsene Wenger admitted that we need to be stronger at the back .
He said: "...in the positives as well is the number of goals we scored because that is quite higher than ever. And when I say that positive I have to go straight away to a negative because of the number of goals we conceded is too high as well to win a championship. So where we progress from there is quite simple—we need to be more steady defensively and concede less goals.
"The basic improvements that have to be made is defensive and with spending the right money. The right money is not necessarily quantity because you never know how much people want for the players you want. But what I mean by the right money is that we will not be scared to spend if needed."
As mentioned previously, Laurent Koscielny and Pape Diakhate have been touted as potential replacements and promoting one or two youth team players as usual should sort out the balance at the back. For me it's Vermaelen on the left side and any one of Djourou or a new signing on the right side of central defence.
I’m not expecting any new signing to have as big an impact as the Belgian had last season but if they come close, it would be a big help. I’m secretly hoping that we can conclude all the signings we need by Members’ Day which is set for Aug. 5 so we can avoid all the late drama that is usually involved with deadline day.
It’s my birthday today but I’m not celebrating just yet. Find out more here. However, I do hope to have a little celebration right after the Emirates Cup on Aug. 5. Who’s interested?
Till then…Victoria Concordia Crescit.