Friday, 23 September 2011

My Fear That The Current Wage Structure Will Mean More Players Walk Away

I got wind of the questions that were asked about player contracts in the press conference today and like I mentioned on the fans forum, for supporters like us, it’s very concerning that the bridge between our wage structure and other clubs wage structure is ever increasing.

With Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Alex Song etc all inside of two years of their contract expiry, the longer the time goes on the more nervous we all get.

I wish after the Barcelona game, all the top players were offered contracts because bar Cesc, they all may have signed!

I am convinced the club will be working hard to get these contracts signed but with the current wage structure it may prove difficult.

It may be time to take a serious look at the wage structures because keeping players will be hard but attracting replacements may be even harder.

Keeping someone like Robin Van Persie is massive in attracting major talent to the Emirates’ in fact keeping Robin and staying in the top four are the two most important things in my opinion in regards to attracting players of the calibre that this club deserve.

Money is dominating the game so if Arsenal are not competing for trophies (the big ones) and if wages are not high enough then you cannot blame the top players for not coming and the top players we already have for leaving; and believe me, that pains me to say, it really does.

For now, concentrate must be on Bolton and the short term is important. Three big games this week and three positive results may make everyone feel a bit better! Certainly will calm me down!

Let’s hope our form against Bolton at home in the last few years continues and we get the much needed three points.

Come on you Arsenal!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

If You Think Its Time For Mr Wenger To Go Then Fine But Please No Abuse

Some want him to go and some want him to stay; I have no problem with opinions and views but when any abuse starts, I am out of there (not literally but out of the conversation).

Having been to Old Trafford and Blackburn (away) this season, I have heard the arguments on why Mr Wenger should go and most have been logical but a few then go over board by attacking our most successful manager personally.

The home support is slightly different and overall seems to be undecided on Mr Wenger.

I know football is passionate and when alcohol is involved the passion only increases but to abuse or take the micky out of a man who has won three tittles plus FA Cups is unfair in my opinion.

The man has given me the privilege of watching the lights of Henry and Fabregas along with trophies and finals in every competition we could be in.

Joe Mardon (@thearsenal_) who writes for the Gooner last night talked about how Mr Wenger build the 'modern Arsenal' and he is spot on he went on to say "What ever happens Arsene Wenger is still Arsene Wenger and deserve to be treated as such".

You may think its time for him to go because it has been six or so years since a trophy and the squad does not look as strong as it has in the past so there is an argument and I will not de-value anyone that thinks it is time to move on but I just think there is a way of putting the argument across.

But please, no abuse. I think he deserves some respect.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Swansea / Dortmund/ AST meet- General round up of the last 7 days.

Three points against Swansea was the most important in my opinion, not so much the way we played or the score line, many disagree but I went home pleased with the three points and on as a bonus we got a clean sheet.

The Dortmund game was an interesting one. First half, Dortmund could have been a few up but as the game went on, most of our players stepped up. Song, Sagna, Koscielny were outstanding when defending the one goal lead. Robin Van Persie led the line so well and took his goal brilliantly. In all it was a great point; off course when you’re leading and are pegged back so late on in a game it is disappointing but in the bigger picture it’s a top point.

Sandwiched between the games was the Arsenal supporters trust (AST) meeting and as always, some interesting points came out from it.

Main points included:

  • Fanshare could be paused as there are not enough shares being made available to give to fans who want to join the scheme. Most supporters want it to carry on but unless Mr Kroenke gives shares back (along with Mr Usmanov) then there may be no choice but pause the scheme.
  • The AST will write to Stan and ask him to speak and give some sort of direction for the club.
  • The club and Arsene Wenger have always tried to keep squad harmony high by paying the whole squad well. So it does mean that Abou Diaby is on approx 60k (more then Modric for example) a week and Robin Van Persie is on 70k but this was seen as a way to avoid ego’s and keep morale up. (But some would say it also means that players who are not in the level of Van Persie are over paid and feel too comfortable).
  • There is around 50m in the TPA (transfer proceeds account) according to the AST but with wages and improved contracts to the players who only have two years left i.e. Van Persie, Walcott etc means it gets complicated on what exactly can be spent on new players.
  • The commercial deals with Nike and Emirates only get Arsenal around 15m a year which compared to other clubs is poor. AST think we should be getting at least 50m and that is why the club only break even. The contracts expire in 2014 where Arsenal will be expected to negotiate much better deals.
  • Arteta is a huge signing in terms of money because a 10m transfer fee plus wages means its more nearer 20/25m as he got a four year deal. With Arteta’s age, there is no real re-sale value and that means the club and manager know they cannot recoup much money on the player.
  • The much talked about wage cut taken by Arteta is not that clear cut because he got an extra year on his contract at Arsenal and therefore makes it up.
  • There was a fans forum which consists of gold, silver and red members along with an ethnic minority, a gay and a few other members and the club hinted they are prepared to spend in January.
  • In terms of Nasri and Fabregas; AST feel that Arsenal got a good deal because of the threat of Arsenal reporting Man City and Mancini for tapping up after the Man City manager openly spoke about bringing Nasri to City in a press conference in pre-season. Arsenal also has a sell on clause on Fabregas (if he ever was to move).
  • AST think the club are still paying some of the wages of the players who are out on loan i.e Denilson, Bendtner etc
  • The medical side has been looked at but many members pointed out that other clubs do get injuries and any supporter just looks at their own club but because of the depth of our squad, Arsenal are more affected by them.
  • Finally, the talk of Arsene Wenger’s strategy was talked about and it was agreed that because of the changing environment, i.e Man City and Chelsea coming in, it has made Arsene Wenger’s job of winning the title near impossible by not spending in the transfer market.

We go to Ewood Park and I am pleased I am making the trip because I genuinely think we will win. I think slowly but surely most players are coming back to fitness and we can add Gervinho and Song to the squad that played against Swansea and the team is more then capable of winning at Blackburn. The bench will look a lot stronger here then it was on our last away day too!

Blackburn will be playing for their manager a bit and be desperate to get at least a point so it is important to repeat the start we had last year and try and knock any momentum they get early by scoring a quick goal.

Early start of us all making the trip but Come on you Arsenal !

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pinch Punch And All That

August for me will be remembered for:

  • Losing our own cup (Emirates Cup)
  • Losing Cesc Fabregas
  • Losing Samir Nasri (but funny enough, I didn’t mind that too much)
  • Losing our first ever game to Liverpool at the Emirates
  • Losing 8-2 at Old Trafford
  • Getting 3 players sent off in 3 Premier League games.

Off course we got to the group stages of the Champions League and did show some of that much talked about mental strength in the second half in Udine but there was not much to get excited about in the month of August.

Overall, August was one of the worst months I can remember as a supporter of the club in recent years but now the month is over and five new faces have come in, I will move on.

September starts with us welcoming Chu-Young, Santos, Mertesacker, Yossi and Arteta to our club and I am happy we have them here. You have 2 captains of their national side along with a club captain and all five are over the age of 26. You could say that is exactly what people were asking for.

The signings do not give you the ‘wow’ factor (however some would argue that Mrs Arteta may) but the players are here to improve the squad. Anyone that went to the game on Sunday or even watched it on TV will have felt very low. I remember looking at the guy in front of me when the subs were read out and we both felt there was no one that could change a game (some will do more then that in the future but are not ready yet) or even help us see out a lead if we got one. Yossi may not be the spectacular signing we wanted but can do a good job when called upon.

The signings of Arteta and Mertesacker are vital. Arteta will give that level of creativity and experience in the centre of the park and Mertesacker will give that much needed height (how many goals came from set pieces again?) and experience. People are quick to tell me he is on the slow side and he may well be but having received very few yellow cards in around 200 appearances tells me he is a good reader of the game.

Onwards and upwards from now; the squad is by no means complete and work in January may need to be done but I feel a lot more positive then I did on the M6 on Sunday at about 8pm.

Now for an injury free international week and bring on Swansea.

Come on you Arsenal. !

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