Usmanov – Melo + Blaise = Bananas Transfer

Come on dude, hit the red arrow on time and we get a huge bonus!

HA HA! I love the smell of butt-hurt in the morning.

In yesterday’s column I said that we should be prepared for the full court press of Usmanov and his cronies calling us “spendthrift Arsenal” and reminding the world of their philosophy that “only a big money backer can get Arsenal fans a trophy.”And sure enough, there are stories all over the web about Wenger £60m Hit and my personal favorite Usmanov Bemused by Arsenal Rejection.

Let’s make some things clear. First, this is an inflated market — with Real Madrid, AC Milan, and United tossing cash around like water, player valuations aren’t in line with what they should be. Should Arsenal pay over the odds for players? We don’t have a good track record when it comes to doing that, so I would be reluctant to splash big cash in this off season.

Second, if other clubs hear that Arsenal got a £75m injection of cash, then suddenly guys like Blaise Matuidi go from £2.5m to £10m. And guys like Melo start demanding bigger salaries in addition to their hyper inflated transfer fees. Basically, we’re wasting money in order to appease a few vocal fans.

Third, it’s typically distasteful of Usamanov to tell everyone beforehand that it’s a £100m rights issue, intended to pay down debt, that would free up some money every year for player purchases when in reality it was a £75m rights issue, that would all be blown on inflated player transfers, and not actually provide any further financial stability.

And then! The fat f*cking cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae, his thinly veiled threat which even goes back again on their position.

Based on financial information that only they have, the board have informed us that they are confident they have adequate financial resources to support the manager to strengthen the squad, to weather the property downturn, to renegotiate the Highbury Square loan on good terms and to deal with the continuing difficult economic conditions

I mean come on, if Wenger was supposed to get £60m in transfer money, that would only leave £15m to support all those other items. Which would be impossible. Besides which, it’s not a secret that Arsenal already have over £100m in cash reserves. It’s not like they’re exactly hiding this information, when they make it publicly available at the end of every year.

Really this is just PR bullshiat intended to get a few fans riled up and judging from the comments I see all around the web it’s worked.

Chillax and listen to the words of Ivan Gazidis, he’s a smart guy:

Simply spending money in the transfer market does not make a team or guarantee success. The focus is still on developing young talent.

As I have pointed out before Arsenal spend as much money as Spurs every year, though entirely in player salaries. This is our current model, we buy selectively, bring players along, and pay them well. Other clubs, like Spuds, don’t bring anyone along, and spend madly in the transfer market in the hopes of signing a pot of gold. Has it worked for them?

Well, they did get that 5-1 win over Arsenal a few years ago and a Carling Cup trophy. Huzzah…

Funny enough, even though we’re supposedly broke as a biatch we’re still being linked with all kinds of players. First, the Melo situation seems to have taken another turn and talks with Juve have apparently broken off.  I have to wonder if Fiorentina isn’t playing both Arsenal and Juve against each other in the press here. There sure does seem to be some smoke and maybe Arsenal did make a bid, but I’m not sure we’re still on the player’s trail.

Especially since all the world seems to think we’ve leveled a £2.5m bid for Blaise Matuidi. Going so far as to report that a meeting between Arsene and Blaise took place today.

I’m not sure if Wenger’s going to be buying this guy or Lorik Cana but remember all the stuff I said about Lorik Cana yesterday? You can erase all that because Blaise is a young African Francophone. You tell me which player Arsene Wenger is more likely to buy?

There’s also some weird report that Arsenal are supposedly on the trail of Sebastien Bassong. I don’t think there’s much to this story. First off, Arsenal would have to clear out some of our central defenders to make room for him and while I do think that Senderos is probably on his way out, Arsene has been adamant about keeping this group together. So, unless we lose both Gallas and Toure in addition to Senderos, I’d be surprised to see another central defender come in. Second, it’s the player claiming that Arsenal are after him based on a conversation that took place in January. Yeah…

I’m not linking to the two bullshiat stories that have Cesc going to either Barca or Real Madrid, because they are bullshiat.

I will, however, end this with some good news! I always admit when I’m wrong. In fact, I love being wrong because basically I’m a pessimist and tend toward the negative interpretation of events so when I’m wrong, that usually means something really kick ass has just happened. And something kick ass, has, in fact, just happened!

Last year, I predicted that Thomas Rosicky would never play for Arsenal again and just today Rosicky has shot down my pessimism saying that he’s in the best shape of his life and ready to push Nasri and Walcott for a spot on the wings. I’m excited for him. Hell, I’m excited for the fans, I mean can you imagine the roar of the crowd as Arshavin, van Persie, Rosicky and Cesc bear down on a club like Sunderland?

I can and I think it’s going to be a good year.


  1. I think i have some sort of ras cause i am itchin for some actual action. so tired of finances 9 days till the first friendly. cant wait.

  2. Very well written, good analysis of the Usmanov con. Unfortunately, as you say, some Arsenal fans and stupid journalists buy his rubbish. Don’t people read? Why don’t they look at the Arsenal accounts instead of relying on a man who has no qualms about lying about Arsenal’s financial situation? And if they don’t know how to read accounts, why do they insist on spreading a lie they have no way of supporting with facts? Are these people really Arsenal fans?

  3. I could actually see Bassong coming in. I don’t think he’d start but would be brought along slowly and thrown in during the African Cup of Nations. He’s French, available and isn’t bad – just young and inexperienced. Don’t forget that Gallas will most likely be leaving next year and that would give Wenger a year to work with him. We might be able to get him for a reasonable price too.

    1. Agree with you Alex on Bassong. He would be the perfect fit under the conditions and meet Tim’s requirement as an African Francophone (lol).

      Matuidi is not my cup as he is does not provide much needed height to our height disadvantaged MF. He may be an excellent player but does not give us the needed balance. So, I’ll stick with Cana at 6.5M.

      1. @CaribKid69, It prices of 6.5 mil and 2.5 mil for Cana & Matuidi are remotely accurate, we could have both of them for half the price of melo. We get some immediate leadership and we get another one for the future.

  4. Goo post Tim. If Usmanov wants a club to toy with, he should have bought Southampton or Northampton or any of the other ‘tons’ out there. Arsenal is far too big for him to understand.

    I had a sneaking suspicion that the Melo thing would hit the snags with Juve. Remember when I commented on your post that I went on the Fiorentina official site the day they requested for Eboue? The first thing I saw was a fans’ protest that Melo should not be sold to their Serie A rivals, which was why Fiorentina made the statement about their dealing with Arsenal. After that protest, some Italian Journalists started several write-ups extolling the virtue of selling to Juventus to keep the Serie A strong so that they could achieve something for the Serie A in the Champions League. But when the Juve deal was announced as almost done, the Fiorentina fans flooded the site with pictoral protests, even yesterday; insisting that Melo should not be sold to their rivals. They do not mind if he was sold to Arsenal. That’s why Fiorentina is now giving Arsenal till end of Friday (tomorrow) to buy Melo from them or forget it.

    LB, Not many so called Arsenal fans are true fans. They consist mainly of guys who jumped on the Arsenal bandwagon following the ‘invincible’ season.

    True fans support the club win, loose or draw, not just trophies. We all like to poke fun at the Spuds, but they have not won shite for so long except that cup for kids, eh… CC. Do they abandon their club? Of course not. They still sing themselves hoarse every week.

    Look at Leeds, they engaged in a race to be top 3. They even deluded themselves into thinking that they were Arsenal’s Achilles heel. Where are they now? And their fans? Still with them of course.

    What about Newcastle? I don’t even need to answer that.

    True fans will be true to and love their club; but fly-by-night fans only love ‘Trophies’.

  5. And oh… I will do an ‘Eboue dance’ when Rosicky gets on the field for Arsenal this season. Just watch out for it. If you see any fan doing that dance, that will be me; except of course if any other fan plans to steal my thunder.

  6. over the last couple of years, i have developed a special form of hatred towards anything and everything to do with newcastle.. so i am not too excited about this bassong news. i agree that its probably a bs story though.

    can you imagine matuidi and eboue as a dancing duo? it was embarrassing enough to see eboue do his act last year. i can just see those two doing a dance off with the moves getting progressively atrocious each time. maybe arsene should think about bringing in a choreographer as well.

  7. nycgunner: I am with you there mate. Remember when Adebayor tried a duet with Eboue? A choreographer will indeed not go amiss.

    1. @LRV, Just please don’t get Van Persie involved. You have to love how Ade, Eboue and Song pursuaded him to dance after one of his goals last year, he looks pathetic, all the while the look on his face is screaming “get me the f*ck out of here!!” epic fail on his part.

  8. I know that I am pure n00bsauce and all that, tend to get shouted down in the arses (though I do love that blog), but I have a genuine feeling that even a decent CDM will turn this into maybe (maybe!) the best overall squad in the EPL. we don’t have the depth on the bench (quite yet), but we also don’t have money to splash around for no reason (deco, quaresma, yuck)

    even if Denilson (who is much, much improved) keeps his spot, this is going to be a truly competitive team.

    almunia, fabianski
    sagna,gallas, toure or vermaelen, sylv(justkidding), big phil (bench), clichy, and eventually the very talented gibbs,
    denilson + song + diaby + cesc,
    and ramsey (maybe?), wilshire (maybe?)

    and then the truly scary scary group

    nasri, walcott, arshavin, rosicky, RVP (i’d like to see him and walcott switch it up ever now and then) maybe Ade’s lazy ass, eduardo is a poacher, vela is close to ready

    i’m probably forgetting some decent players too.

    no, i forgot eboue on purpose.

    this is one of the better balanced team in the prem, and united will begin their decline this year.

    chelsea is showing their age, but liverpool (if they can keep their midfield) will be the team to beat. i don’t know enough about anything to say for sure, but i like our chances to claim some silverware.

    wish list: De Rossi (never, ever, going to happen) Mehmet Aurelio (too old) but the difference will be Cana, or Inler, or Melo (if his agents stops being a prick)

    I am actually looking forward to this season, anyone else?

    As always Tim, thank you for making a young American feel quite welcome, not intimidated, and keep up the awesome work.
    oh, and any interest in making T-Shirts? I’d love one.

    1. @Dooley, I have actually thought about making shirts but I can’t get a local supplier and all the online places charge too much.

      You have a suggestion?

      1. @Tim,

        i used customink for a charity thing at school.

        worked out to around 9 bucks a shirt for 30 shirts. not cheap, but it would be cool to identity ourselves as both Americans and Arsenal supporters.

      1. @arsesession,

        yeah. i realized that last night, and smacked myself in the face. Djourou is going to make a pretty good Gallas one day, but then again Vermaelen might too. Who’s going to be our Toure when times get rough?

  9. I could see Bassong coming in because we all know about the rocky relationship Toure and Gallas have. Sure they have a decent working relationship but the one in the dressing room is apparently volatile and to be honest as much as I think Gallas is a better defender right now than Toure, he’s also a bit of a selfish prick. Remember his threat on Chelsea to score an own goal if he wasn’t allowed to leave? Yeah no player is bigger than the club and as much as I’d love to keep both players I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of them go – most likely Toure since he’s worth more in the market.

    The Melo saga is turning into last year’s Ronaldo to Madrid fiasco and I’m just tired of it mostly because he’s not a 20M pound player. Of course we could use his talents but what has he done to merit his price tag? Scrapped into 4th place in a terribly craptastic Serie A league of which is his first “real” season and won a Confed Cup with an already great team – not really sure I’m impressed yet. I’m almost ready to welcome Matuidi just to quiet the press (but Cana please).

    As far as Usmanov is concerned, I was expecting the board to turn him down. If there’s one thing Americans know about sports, is how to turn them into money making machines. Despite MLS’ middle of the road quality and questionable fan base, they still turn profits because they’re run in a way that they can operate self-sufficiently without running into debt. Arsenal has always been proud to be a club run like an operational business without billionaire backing while also being one of the top European clubs.

  10. Dont mess with sunderland. They will sign our monster Paulo Da Silva as their new CB!
    Oh, and I’d love t shirts too!

  11. Man, that Rosicky news made my fucking morning. He has always been one of my favorites.

    I second the t-shirts.

  12. Tim, I think Arsenal could make extra money from an Ade + Eboue dance show. I can see people almost getting a heart attack from laughter.

    Right, the grand-daughter needs my attention. I’ll be off for a while.

  13. @Tim, you can import T-Shirts from China for about $3 per and have them customized locally.

    I could assist in creating a photo ready image for imprinting if you give me a rough sketch of what you would want.

  14. Nice post as usual… And ummmm well I got nothing to say today cuz I aint feeling well =(
    Thanks for the link though.=)

    Oh and Eboue’s dance was just WOW =D

  15. Eboue makes me smile …. but then frown and scratch my head some days. When in the right state of mind – I enjoy having him come in off the bench.

  16. Well the blogosphere is somewhat buzzing that Marchionni’s terms have been met by Fiorentina so all Juventus need is to drop the cash difference and Melo is seemingly on his way to Turin. Blaise Matuidi it is then? I’m not convinced he’s the finished product though he can imprive.

  17. You know how I know there’s some real football talent on this blog? We’ve been dropping some of the names like Cana for almost a year now and just recently most people are finding out about him since the web has been dropping his name.

    In other news I read somewhere that Huntelaar is seriously considering leaving Madrid and even goes as far as saying Marseille could get him. I love Marseille, they’re my favourite Ligue 1 club, but surely Wenger could save this goal machine from disappearing into the depths of a lower league.

  18. If we’re willing to spend the huge surplus we’ve got, why were we strapped for cash for Melo? Why are we waiting for Adebayor to leave before we buy? I’ve heard that we’ve a transfer budget of 15 million or so, 10 of which was spent on Vermaelen.

    Anyway, with the rights issue, what if the other shareholders chipped in as well? Usmanov wouldn’t gain that much more. I read Gazidis’ statment, and I see it as a smokescreen to hide the reluctance of Kroenke and co. to dip into their own pockets.

    1. @Connolly’s agency, Like every business we keep a reserve as a “just in case”. It’s not there to dip into just because we have it. Think of it like your personal savings – it’s money available but no one ever wants to touch that savings account until they’re retired.

      Furthermore, we’re not the kind of club to just take whatever money people throw at us – these things almost always have consequences. There’s no such thing as a 100M pounds no strings attached and that kind of injection would undoubtedly affect the value and distribution of the shares.

      1. @WC, Those people who point to the figures on the financial report talk about that reserve, but if we’re not willing to dip into it, it shouldn’t be counted as money we have. Thing is, we need new players to be competitive in the league. We are struggling in the transfer market if we’re counting on selling Adebayor and Senderos to finance new purchases. The whole idea of the rights issue is that everyone chips in. The fact that the board (made up of the majority shareholders minus Usmanov) rejected it, shows that they’re not willing to put money into the Arsenal. Whatever explanation they give, that’s the bottom line.

        1. @Connolly’s agency, I pointed to them as a refutation of Usmanov’s statement:

          Based on financial information that only they have, the board have informed us that they are confident they have adequate financial resources to support the manager to strengthen the squad, to weather the property downturn, to renegotiate the Highbury Square loan on good terms and to deal with the continuing difficult economic conditions

          Arsenal absolutely have the money. If they wanted to spend it they could. THEY DON’T WANT TO SPEND MONEY in what they see as a pointless fashion.

          That’s the model that this club has chosen. I agree with it, you don’t. Fair enough.

    2. @Connolly’s agency,
      the reserve amount maybe mandated by Arsenal’s bank……or negotiated by the club
      in its loan rate: by keeping a large $ reserve, the bank might have offered a lower
      interest rate. (just my own speculation)

      1. Not quite true. Their debt negotiations were based on match day revenues. If you study the Annual Report you will also find they have a separate contingency account which covers and exceeds their debt repayment.

        Like Tim said, it’s just the Arsenal way of conducting business in a very conservative manner, and the philosophy will not change under current ownership.

Related articles

Valencia hint they are set to sign Gabriel from Arsenal