Gazidis Rejects Usmanov, Like a Boss


Busy day yesterday in Arsenal world, so let’s get stuck in.

First, Arseblog scoops everyone with his interview of Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis. It is an impressive and professional interview, and could easily be used as a template for any aspiring journalists. Remember Giovanni’s goal against Arsenal last year? You know the one, left side of the pitch, he hits a screamer with the outside of his right foot, postage stamp? Arseblog’s interview is like that, except if Giovanni played for Arsenal and hit the goal. You know what I mean… Blogs 1-0 Press.

Then, to add to the surreality of our world, The Telegraph catches on to Arseblogs hilarious Adebayor brochure, after it’s made the rounds, and publishes it in today’s paper. 4 days after even I had made mention of it. Blogs 2-0 Press.

So, now, like the circle of life, here I am talking about that, and how the blogosphere scooped them, which I’m sure they will talk about next week some time, and then it will be 3-0 to the bloggers.

Did that make sense?

Anyway, there’s no reason for me to rehash the Arseblog interview with Gazidis, it’s been hashed plenty. If you want to know how many dozen players Arsenal are signing this year for how many billions of pounds each, you should just go and read it.

I will say this, Ivan Gazidis, in the interview on Arseblog and on the dot com, comes off as a very impressive speaker and thinker and with him at the helm, I think Arsenal’s in very good hands. He says that he wants to grow the club’s brand, to increase the international presence, and there’s more than one hint that Arsene Wenger is at the club for the long haul.  Moreover, the whole club seems to be aching for a trophy and everyone, from players to the CEO, claim that this is going to be our year. From the dot com he said:

We’re laser focused on next season. Our young players have some very valuable high level experience under their belts and will be one year older and better, mentally and physically. They will learn the lessons from last season and will be better players next year as a result. They are ready for the challenge, believe me. If we have a successful and healthy pre-season preparation, we will have extra depth in the squad, with a fully-fit Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky returning, and Andrey Arshavin eligible for all competitions. In addition, Thomas Vermaelen will be available from the outset.

Did he just say that Eduardo, Rosicky, Arshavin and Vermaelen are all going to have frickin lasers on their heads this season? Holy crap, who needs a midfield enforcer when we’ve got Vermaelen with lasers???

Seriously though, every Arsenal supporter would love to see Arsenal bring in an experienced central midfield partner for Cesc. Which makes us all get uptight when we see a story that oft reported Arsenal target Felipe Melo is not signing for Arsenal but is instead signing for Juventus. Two words about that story my friends: The Sun.

This transfer has been up and down, left and right, there’s even an Eboue thrown into the mix, so you’ll pardon me if I take what the Sun has to say about it with a huge grain of salt. In fact, fark that, I’m not even taking it with salt. I will wait until I see him in a Juventus kit before I believe a word that fish-wrapper has to say.

And if we do lose out on Melo, oh well, there’s Blaise Matuidi or, and I really do think he’s on our radar, Lorik Cana. Speaking of which, here’s why I think it’s going to be Cana and not Matuidi or Melo: first, Wenger tried to bring him in to the club when he was younger — that means we’ve been tracking him a long time and we all know how Wenger likes to keep tabs on folks a long time before buying them. Second, he’s cheap. At a mere £6.5m, he fits in Arsenal’s budget, Melo’s reported £21.5m does not. Don’t believe me? Read the Gazidis interviews. Third, he’s not French but speaks the language and plays on a French team (Olympique de Marseille). And finally, when Wenger buys, he likes to surprise. So, erm, don’t be surprised to see someone other than Melo come in.

And finally, in the time honored tradition of “incendiary headline, tiny news blip” I will end today’s article with a huge “meh” and simply say, yes, the board rejected Usmanov’s rights issue. From what I’ve read, it looks like it was exactly what we all feared: a publicity stunt to get Red & White holdings some press over the possibility of big spending on incoming players in the off season. Gazidis basically said that because of the way our debt is structured and our super low interest rate, the rights issue would not have cleared up enough principle to free up a significant amount of money annually.

That’s what they are publicly saying about this rights issue. I have no reason to think they are lying.

That said, I do have every reason to expect that Usmanov and his cronies will now do a full court press in the papers and we should see more “spendthrift Arsenal” and “only a big money backer can get Arsenal fans a trophy” articles in 3… 2…

P.S. Yay for van Persie and yay for Arsenal, him signing a long term deal with the club is one of the strategies that Gazidis talked about in his interviews yesterday. You mean you haven’t read them yet? What’s wrong with you???


  1. Yeah, there’s some debate going on in other blogs regarding the papers picking up the Ade brochure. Some folks are vilifying arseblogger for fostering more division within the Arsenal ranks, while some are laughing off the whole thing. I’m in the latter camp. Anyway, as for transfers, as much as I’d like to see a Melo come to Arsenal, I’m fine with the club being relatively conservative yet again this offseason. There’s clearly a valuation bubble, not unlike the dotcom and housing markets of yore, and as history has shown, those are not the best markets to be buying into. Reassuring to me that the club is going about its business in cool, sane fashion. Lastly, as for the midfield, I know he’s not the kind of midfielder we need at the moment, but I would love to see a guy like Wesley Sneijder on our side. He’s for sale, certainly, and a gritty competitor. That is all.





  3. I’ve read both interviews. Gazidis is class. I think one of the most interesting bits is his when he talks about re signing players from within the team as even more important that signing new ones. Even if these arent huge media stories, they should be welcomed by the gooner nation with delight, not moaning about the lack of new players. What do we regard as a perfect signing after all? good, technical players with EPL experience. Well these “like new signings” are that, plus Arsenal FC experience. You cant beat that.:-)

  4. Ugh I cringe everytime I see a picture of Usmanov. Would we really want a guy that looks like that holding us for ransom with a 100M pound carrot on a stick over our heads. He looks like The Blob.

    Everyone jump on the Lorik Cana train!!!!

  5. This is completely off topic but I found the quote too funny not to share it:
    From Sky Sports transfer watch
    8.55 Phil Brown has expressed his pride at Hull City’s failed pursuit of England international striker Michael Owen.

    What a f*cking loser. I once tried to get Christina Applegate to come to a party my friends were throwing (she was doing PR at some event). She smiled and a completely blew me off. Should I be proud of that too?

  6. Dude, is Christina Applegate. I would be proud of even daring to try! On Gazidis again, he talked too about recruiting top execs to take the Arsenal brand to the next level. I wonder what is he up to….

    1. Gazidis is currently looking to hire 4-5 more Execs at Arsenal who will focus mainly on re-branding and expansion in various media arenas.

      He said that some weeks back in one of his interviews.

    2. @Yan, to be fair, I was 18 & drunk (which = no fear). I was fairly certain that she wouldn’t spit on me if I were on fire. Not really bragging about it (ridicule is the proper term I think).

  7. Good post, Tim! I have always known that the Usmanov nonsense is a non-starter. Melo Fiorentina may have decided to go mellowed at Juve, but The Arsenal will always thrash them in the Champion’s League any day.

  8. The Board stand is shit. Arsenal need big money to buy players who can add value. And they dont come cheap! This is waht Arsene Wenger has been saying, give him players who can make a difference, not another Song or Diaby!!! We need guys like Usmanov bout the Board does not need his money cause they want to hang on to POWER without spending the money

  9. Gazidis is turning out to be a brilliant chief executive.

    Oh and I agree with you… Cana is the man we need. Especially looking at his price. Melo’s price was wayyy too high. What if he took say, half a season to adapt to the Premier League. 21m and Ebuoe wasted! We needed Eboue to stay anyway. I don’t think Gavin Hoyte or even Kolo Toure would have made a good back up right back if Eboue left.

  10. I just stumbled onto this site for the first time and I enjoyed your style. Then I noticed you are a Yank like me and have a similar story to how you fell in love with the Arsenal (i.e. grew up following American sports, made fun of ‘soccer’, got tired of football, basketball, baseball and hockey, saw a ‘soccer’ match and it ignited your passion again.).

    I’ve been following Arsenal since the 1998 World Cup when I first watched and admired Bergkamp and Overmars on Holland. I learned they played for Arsenal, so I went on the internet and started researching. From there I’ve spent loads of money to subscribe to PPV, FSC and Setanta. And more recently I’ve begun watching matches online.

    I also do my rounds of the blogs every morning and stay closely in tune with all the news surrounding the club. And I argue with all of my friends that are supporters of cack clubs like Man U and Chelsea whenever I run into them.

    So where are you located now Tim? Still in Tacoma? I’m in Pennsylvania. Thanks for writing this blog. I look forward to adding it to my bookmarks for daily reading!


  11. It was a good interview. I am hopeful with Gazidis at the helm. He seems to understand the club’s time honored traditions even though he’s only been around a few times. I am particularly positive about what he said with regards to branding Arsenal more globally. That is exactly what we need in order to compete with the likes of Man U and Madrid on an international level. However we need to win trophies before we can even begin to think about how we brand ourselves better. I can’t wait for this season to start. I am jumping on the Cana bandwagon even though I have no idea how good of a player he is – just because we need someone, ANYONE, to come and provide some steel in the middle of the park.

  12. Finally waking up from my ACL surgery. Had to grind my knee bone down cause the docs said it was much worse than they thought. WHat i’m saying is thanks Tim for inviting me to play I’ll be back in 6-9 months. cant wait. Back to the point Yay RVP

  13. I kind of agree with Usmanov on this one. 100 million would be useful at a time like this. And Usmanov wouldn’t get that much more of the club if the major shareholders buy in as well. Why not make it a joint rights issue with the other major shareholders? I think it shows a lack of ambition on the part of the board to just reject it and not offer anything in return. We are hampered with the Highbury Square project and most of those reserves are being held in case things turn nasty.

    Love the mental image of our players with lasers on their heads, by the way. Now that I think about it, Gazidis DOES have a bit of Dr Evil about him…

  14. My 1st post here & greetings to all. (The PNW is mother nature at her best.)

    We will have to wait ‘impatiently’ for Arsene to play his hand. I have no doubt that Arsenal will end up with a deeper and stronger roster.

    We do not need ‘big name players’ to play attractive football and compete with clubs like Real, Barca, Inter, Manu, etc. There is only one ball.

    Arsenal style of play relies on a type of player that is thinking ahead of the moment, with or without the ball, and possess a technical level to execute.

    How can you not get excited for our next season? Arshavin will be eligible for all contests; Eduardo and Rosicky will be less of a question mark. Along with RvP,Cesc, and Nasri, this is exceptional collection of talent!

    Gazidis is just what our club needs to support Arsene. I’m impressed that their first course of business was resigning key players.

    By the way, I was drawn to Arsenal from a specific moment in the ’98 WC – abt the 89th minute of the Argentina v. Holland match.

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