What? You didn’t think I could let a world class joke like that go could you?
Seriously though, the transfer window is heating up and rumors are now flying faster than ever, though for some reason, Chelsea seem to keep getting shafted in the end.
The Chelsea story is an actual story, it’s just that no one is reporting on it. Nearly half the time I’ve been an Arsenal supporter the summer transfer window went like this: Week 1, “Arsenal to bring former great Ian Wright’s adopted son back to Highbury for £8m.” Week2, “Chelsea snap up Shaun Wright-Phillips from City for record fee of £30m.” Week 3, “Arsenal looking at Ghana star Essien to replace departing Vieira.” Week 4, “Chelsea stun the Premier League again with £35m swoop for Essien.” Something like that, you get the point.
So, regardless what I think of Melo as a player, you can imagine my apprehension when I see Chelsea being linked with Melo. It’s almost an apoplectic reaction, honestly, I feel like shouting “HOLY F*CK PAY ANYTHING JUST SIGN HIM.”
But the truth is that Chelsea are more like a toothless old lion these days: their ocassional roars only frighten if you fail to see them gumming their meat over in the corner.
No pun intended.
The facts is that Chelsea are starting to look like an old team and their director is desperate to bring in new recruits to inject life. The only problem is that his transfer policy (“hmmm, let’s see who the other top four are linked to and bid MOAR”) is both transparent to everyone involved and the prices elsewhere are just flat out better. I mean, why would Glen Johnson want to return to the team which famously snubbed him and, worse, then only showed interest after other clubs were linked? Given an offer of money from his old mercenary club, the new mercenary club on the block, and a club like Liverpool — someone who has actually won a European Championship — the choice was obvious.
The funny thing is that this story is repeating itself ad nauseum this transfer season. Some team is linked to a big name player and suddenly Chelsea’s name is added to the list, only to be swept aside by Real Madrid or Liverpool or the prospects offered by a club like Arsenal. Listen to what Vermaelen said in his interview, he mentions Arsene Wenger as one of the reasons that he came to Arsenal, calling le Boss “one of the top names in football.” Even if Chelsea come in with some huge money offer I still suspect a player like Melo will be given some pause. After all, Arsenal is pretty much the only team where he is likely to get the first team action needed to secure a World Cup spot.
Meanwhile, back up north in Liverpool the Reds are nearly admitting defeat in their bid to hold on to Xabi Alonso. This article lists the transfer fee as £30m and I’ve seen that number as high as £38m. Even the lower of those two valuations is, well, it’s crazy. Just last season, Arsenal were mooted to have bid between £12m and £18m for his services and they had that bid denied. By all accounts Alonso went on to have a tremendous season, but a double the value season? Wow, I wish we’d have broken the bank for him, just the sell on value alone would be worth it!
And you know what? If Real don’t sign Alonso, it looks like they could just get Essien. HA!. That would be delicious, delicious, irony if Essien would leave Chelsea and go to Real. I always thought Chelsea would collapse when Abramovich lost interest but it’s starting to look like they are going to collapse when all their best players either leave for greener pastures or die of old age. Live by the Euro, die by the Euro, I guess.
Which brings me to our beloved Arsenal, where Arsene Wenger is still preaching fiscal prudence and talking about keeping a young squad together. No argument there from me, I like all the players on this team* and think that it would be premature to start breaking it up, so I greet news that Robin van Persie may have signed another deal with open arms.
Meanwhile, the transfer fanatics will be looking for a sign of a signing from Wenger and he has given us one saying
I want to add to the squad and have identified one or two targets. But identifying players and buying them are two different things. Ideally I would like to bring everybody in before we start back in pre-season training in July. I don’t want to leave it until the end of August.
All Arsenal fans should be very excited to hear that, because if he pulls it off it will be a first for me to see the whole team assembled before summer practice starts. The only problem is if we’re after Felipe Melo we won’t be able to negoatiate with him until after the Confederations Cup — which ends the 28th of June. I’ve never seen an Arsenal transfer take less than a month, so maybe we can get him in before August but let’s not get our hopes up.
The other funny thing Wenger said in the interview happened when he hit on the magical £100m “money in the bank” number
I am fed-up with people who think I have £100m in the bank yet don’t want to spend it. How can people think that? The pride of the club is in having moved to a new stadium while maintaining the club at the top level.The policy of the club is that they have backed me in what I do and the way I do it. We now have to be strong enough to stick to that. We cannot pump £100m into it, so we must keep faith in what we are doing.
Well, people think it because Arsenal keep releasing statements saying that they have £100m in the bank! Now, maybe you don’t have that at your disposal, fair enough, but don’t take the piss out of the supporters when they are just listening to what the board is saying. Simply put, Arsene, this is the modern condition: everyone knows what everyone else is up to nowadays, you can’t hide information, especially if it’s in public reports. So, take the piss out of the board. If they said, “Arsenal have to have a strategic reserve of [such and such] in order to stave off possible economic disaster” then I don’t think fans would have a problem seeing this huge number. Sorry, but that’s the kind of transparency that’s needed now days.
Either that or re-invest the money into the damn Highbury development and get that off our backs!
I will break in to our regular coverage if there is a miracle signing, other than that, see you tomorrow.
*ok, I wouldn’t be heartbroken to see Silvestre, Adebayor, and Eboue sent off to greener pastures, but I still, erm, uhhh, like them, as people.