Bonjour mes amies… the World of Arsenal is back from a four day mini break in Las Vegas and what a great time to go out there it was. My fellow Gooner JAT did give you a rough account of the rubbing with the celebrities that Las Vegas gives you, and previous trips have involved Wayne Rooney and Matthieu Flamini, but to meet Maroune Chamakh this time round was a massive highlight. The French speaking Moroccan isn’t really at all fluent in English. My other fellow Gooner Totti is like a super duper talent spotter and sharply located Chamakh at Wet Republic in Las Vegas. (For those of you who clicked that link, yes, we had a luxury bungalow next to the top 100 models). And Chamakh, like myself, is a high roller, aka, top baller… not only did we see him there, we bumped into him at XS in Encore (yes, I was actually staying in that hotel too)… our conversations with the player were broken at the least, but when I asked “will you score 30 goals next season”, he answered, “yes, yes, I will”… so he obviously understood what that meant… I’ll get onto the Arsenal news very shortly, but before I do, a special shout out to Paris Hilton who was also raving at XS and Jermaine Pennant, who also turned up, with a seriously large afro!
The trip actually was packed with celebs and you can throw in David Trezeguet, who has remarkably thin legs and Marcus Bent (sorry for walking straight past you when you were in the queue), not to mention another lot that Totti saw (Tom Huddlestone – apparently very rude, Victor Anchibe, James Vaughn, and David Dunn…. who apparently called us a pack of French c*nts – when I say us, I mean Arsenal of course – to which Totti replied, you’re just a f*king northern b*sterd…. all in jest I think)…
Meanwhile back in London, not much happened whilst I was away, but since I’ve been back, it’s been story after story after story.
Before I touch on some of the headlines, I’d like to express my point of view on Arsene Wenger’s signings this summer and the recent sales that have seen Toure, Adebayor and potentially Gallas leave the club. Of course, Cesc is the lastest name to be linked with a move away from the club. Many people say that Arsene has a warchest of cash and that he should spent it to avoid Cesc leaving. They say that if he doesn’t then he is doing his job properly. I’ve heard from various other Gooners that protests are being organised against Arsene Wenger.
Now, how on earth people can be so short-sited and actually believe that we are better off without Arsene Wenger is beyond me. If Arsene doesn’t spend money on players then there are reasons and those reasons will only benefit the club. We may think we know it all, but Arsene is the one that has to balance a squad of players, a crazy transfer market, where players like Roque Santa Cruz go for £20m and Ronaldo’s for £80m. He has to balance the budget of a club, manage the debt and ensure we can challenge. In fact, we were recently given the title of the best run club in England. Do you think the reason Arsene doesn’t splash out £100m on 4 new players is because he doesn’t want to the club to succeed? Of course not. He wants the future of the club to be sorted, both with the best young players and a sound financial background. To sign a player of Maroune Chamakh’s quality for free whilst a player with a similar record in the French league, Karim Benezma, cost £30m – sometimes, I wonder whether our fans would prefer to spend money rather than have a quality player. If we do move for Joe Cole, we’d have a £15m player right there and someone who can perform at the highest level – although I think it’s a smokescreen from the player’s agent to negotiate a better deal at Chelsea. Personally, the options for Joe Cole, I believe are staying at Chelsea and get the deal he wants and by getting his agent to speak to City, United, Sp*rs and us, he gives himself major bargaining power.
My call to Arsenal fans is that we should realise that we wouldn’t have won many titles and cups without Arsene and wouldn’t have made it to two European final’s nor moved stadium without the Frenchman at the helm. Be patient, respect the players, the manager and the future.
Now onto Cesc… and there have been more stories linking Cesc with Barcelona coming out of Barcelona and now a u-turn from Yaya Toure whom was almost set for Man City before the deal collapsed… on Toure, his agent said:
“There’s a lot of interest in the deal (for Toure). Arsene Wenger likes him and Arsenal are interested. If the conditions are good, everything can be finished soon. He could come into the Cesc deal and Barca and Arsenal are struggling to come to an agreement. Everything has changed with City, because they talk a lot but then afterwards they don’t appear to be a rich club but rather a bankrupt one.”
I’m not convinced that this statement is purely independent because it was shortly followed by Laporta.
“If a player of this characteristics, who also has the privilege of being Arsenal captain, announces to the club that he understands his time there has come to an end and he wants to continue his career at a club like Barca… I always want players in my club who want to be there and they should have that commitment. If a player shows legitimately that he does not want to be at Barca, immediately I open the doors and defend the interests of the club, but I try to reconcile them with those of the player and the buying club.”
And as expected the tapping up is a) public and b) continuing to happen. At this point, Arsenal legally can complain to Fifa. Whether or not we will is another story all together. With Barcelona reportedly still owing us £12m for Henry and £4m for Hleb, there is a cause for concern over their finances. I couldn’t understand how these debts are still outstanding by looking at the accounts, but I think they’ve past their deadlines.
Joan Oliver, who is a director at Barcelona spoke of our recent reaction:
“They said they would not sell, it’s logical therefore that they have not set a price for him. We made a formal offer. The only official response we have from Arsenal is that they are not ready to sell the player, for which it would be difficult for them to be putting a price when they say they are not selling. On our part, after having made an offer we are ready to sign the deal this very morning. We still have time to do it, but it is a deal we cannot do just by ourselves.”
And surely they have to interpret that as a NO, but instead they’re using it to further discuss the transfer. I personally believe Cesc will stay this summer and that Arsene will be loyal to his aims and strengthen the squad. It would be nice if we heard a statement from Arsene right about now…
Okay, that’s a wrap for today, I’ve got to recover in time for the trip to South Africa, and we’ll be leaving this Thursday…. I’ll be back tomorrow with more folks, but until then…