Arsene Wenger has been in the press a lot in the last 24 hours and he's finally had a chance to address the copious amounts of speculation that have surrounded the club in the last few days. The gaffer has been linked with Real post the various shareholders meetings that took place last week - coming under criticism from members of the shareholders as well as aiming some criticism at some of the fans. It's been a while since then, but Arsene's had time to think and review the last week and his responses from yesterday do help the "average" fan like me and you learn what is going on.
First of all, Cesc has been cleared of any wrong-doing from the Arsenal vs Hull game earlier this year - the allegations made by Hull were that Cesc spat at his assistant manager - something that the "staff" at Hull saw - something that no one else saw - something that the cameras didn't record even though the ground was covered in them as the match was broadcasted live on tv... sounds fishy? Well the FA thought so do.
“It is a relief because personally I always believed he was innocent. That it has been confirmed by the FA is very good news for us. They [Hull City] are free to do what they want [if they decide to take the matter further]. I have said from the start we will always be available to give the evidence we have and will not stand in the way of any enquiry. That’s what we did. You have to respect that if the FA comes out and says there is nothing about the whole enquiry to punish Cesc Fabregas, then we have to respect that as well.”
That’s certainly very good news – and I believe we were confident from the beginning of this saga simply because we were innocent.
Back to Arsene and his link to Real Madrid – we’ve heard Peter Hill Wood, Ivan Gazidis and then Arsene Wenger all come out and rubbish reports, and in his press conference yesterday, Arsene took another step confirming his commitment to the club – something that fans hadn’t really doubted – but something the media went a bit crazy on.
“I believe I have always shown my commitment to this club. I cannot deny every noise or contact I have. My commitment is as strong as ever and if one day it changes I will inform you. I don’t want to talk about that [the Madrid speculation] because that is endless. I might write a book one day about all the contacts I have and if you are interested in it I am happy to offer it to you [the media]. But I don’t think I will ever write it.”
Arsene was asked a whole load of speculation and touched on the potential signing of Marouane Chamakh – a 25 year old striker who currently plays for Bordeaux – saying that he is aware of his form this season but has not made a bid for the hitman, most probably because he believes he doesn’t need to strengthen in that department – the manager recently talked about his strength in depth up front – and also because he doesn’t want Adebayor to leave.
“At the moment his future is at the Club. He has a long contract and we want to keep him at the Club. I am hopeful I will be able to keep him. My gut feeling is he will be here [next season]. But I believe that, considering transfers and the money available, the less you talk the better it is. Let other people talk and do what you want. I believe the more everybody shuts up inside the Club and doesn’t talk about anything and works hard is the best.”
The second part of that quote is a little confusing. When Arsene speaks about “transfers and the money available” you think he has either read this blog or considering this was in relation to Adebayor staying or going, he is acknowledging that money could be raised from the transfer. We all know or think we’ve got approximately £13-14m to spend this summer after key issues are sorted out and the sale of Senderos and Adebayor could add a further £20 million ish… Arsene however, emphasizes this point:
“No [we do not have to sell] because we have a balanced budget. But it depends how high you want to buy. I believe that what is important in this stage of a club’s life is to keep the players you have.”
Which means if he does sell the aforementioned players, it will obviously increase his transfer budget. Would Adebayor still command the same fee as was being touted last season? I doubt it – will he leave? Only Arsene knows – and talking about what Arsene knows and doesn’t know – he definitely knows how much money is available. No manager of any club at thus stage of the season would be in the dark over their summer budget and when Arsene speaks like he did yesterday, you know he knows.
“I don’t complain about the money I have and I am not afraid to spend the money when I find it. It is not true [that I am afraid to spend]. I cannot manipulate people’s brains unfortunately. And I don’t want to in fact. We spent the money on Arshavin. In one day I decided to do it.”
Arsene was very talkative at the press conference and found time to talk about the recent shareholders meeting – for Arsene he’s had support from everyone, the fans, the board and the players – and after four seasons of no trophies, is it not fair for some of the shareholders to ask some questions? Maybe yes, but maybe not in the manner in which they did.
I was disappointed because I believe especially the shareholders cannot complain. You look at the share price when I arrived and the share price now. You check in October 1996 it must have been around £400 and now it is £10,000. Some would say between eight and 10. But it means that the Club has moved forward and not gone back. There are two things in our job. Criticism I accept with respect. Disrespect I don’t accept and don’t respect. I prefer the fans to complain rather than the shareholders. I could understand that more.”
And when you put into that context, Arsene has a a point. The manager goes on to say that he does appreciate the fans support and I’m glad he’s come out and said that because ultimately, we’re a faithful bunch of fans who pack out a stadium week in and week out – our Carling Cup game against Wigan had a higher attendance than the Chelsea Champions League game – and that’s saying something. When the papers talk about “fans not supporting” it does hurt the average fan, like me and you, who do support the team. Arsene acknowledged the support and talked about the minorities. Good stuff.
“When you are manager you want the support of your fans and it’s good to know you have that. In any job, most of the time it is minorities who come out with the loudest voice. The majority responds to minorities. I cannot ignore that some people were not happy and I can understand that. But I do as well as I can – I can’t do more. I can’t work harder, believe me.”
And finally – a massive well done to the youth team for their massive and comprehensive victory against Liverpool in the Youth Cup final (first leg)… unfortunately I went up north last night, but one of our faithful readers and commenters, Debs, made it to the ground and this is here mini-match report (thanks Debs!):
I didn’t get there until about 20mins after kick-off cos my coach was late, but it was like the perfect timing, cos just as soon as I was settled in my seat, we scored the first. It was a well-worked goal, like most of the others. Then there was the penalty, even though the Liverpool dude ought to have been sent off cos I think he was the last man or it was not a great tackle or something. Even their ‘keeper should have been sent off in the 2nd half, but I think the ref let him off with a yellow cos we were 4-1 up at the time. Liverpool coudn’t live with us and the 2nd half was 100% Arsenal, and we could have scored more, if not for some good defending and goalkeeping. Rhys Murphy came on late and I knew he was going to score- which he did, only for the linesman to raise his flag, even though he was onside.
Wilshere was at his best yet again and he was involved in practically all the goals. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas’ goal was a brilliant header and Watt’s chip was Vela-esque. Kyle Bartley was excellent in defence- he won every single header, and even when he had a chance to score in the 2nd half, he headed it away ass if for a corner cos I think he still had his defensive hat on! lol. He sort of reminds me of Van Persie, just in his build though, but he did lead the back really well. The ‘keeper didn’t have a lot to do thanks to the defence.
Jack definitely gets my vote for man-of-the-match cos he was absolutely committed and everything seemed to go through him- he was excellent on and off the ball and always tracked back and he got a thoroughly deserved standing-ovation when he was replaced. I think he was the one who gave away the ball which led to Liverpool’s only goal (which was a really good strick by the way), but he didn’t let his head drop and he just continued with the game. He definitely pulled the strings there to perfection. Sanchez Watt also gets a mention cos he played really well, even though he started on the bench. He’s got good link-up play and I think he and Jay Thomas have really good understanding. Jay Thomas was outstanding also and is my alternative man-of-the-match. He used his strength really well and led the team from the front.
It definitely is a very very strong squad, and they ALL did themselves justice today. It’ll be interesting to see who makes the first-team grade soonest, but most of them, I think, are definitely going to be premier league class sooner, rather than later.
So much on today’s blog, I haven’t had time to talk about Stoke!
Well guys, have a good Saturday and enjoy the sunny day – I’ll be back tomorrow with more, but if you need regular updates, you know you can always follow WOA on twitter!