The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Doubt over both Higuain and Fellaini deals.

Arsenal fans in the transfer window…

Greetings folks.

First of all, I’d like to extend my appreciation to all of you who said kind things about my passable Hip-Hop lyrics from yesterday’s post. I did expect to be royally abused, but wasn’t. Thank you.

As you have probably already noticed, there isn’t much going on. Yesterday was taken up with tales of Nadal’s surprising exit from Wimbledon, and Tony Adam’s occasional bursts of clarity – our once great leader seems to think Higuain isn’t the answer to Arsenal’s woes, and that Wayne Rooney wouldn’t be a good signing because of his proclivities.

I can’t say I agree with the former – Higuain is a class act – but he certainly has a point regarding the latter. I can only imagine the damage Rooney could do to both his career and image once the elderly prostitutes of Soho start calling for him.

The main news today isn’t hopeful. Marouanne Fellaini is expecting (supposedly) a wage increase of £25k-per-week which would put his salary on parity with the Club’s biggest earner – a wage it is said Arsenal are baulking at. Featured in The Daily Mail, a paper about a reliable as my bowels after Indian food, I think it’s safe to say this is another in the long list of stories without any weight to them.

Do I believe Arsenal would haggle over price? Absolutely. Do I believe £100k-per-week is a massive stumbling point? Not at all. Were the figures quoted absurd, then yes – I can imagine there would be a problem. Fellaini currently earns £75k-per-week at Everton, and the rise he allegedly wants isn’t exactly ridiculous. If we can pay that amount to Walcott, we shouldn’t have too much trouble offering it up to others. I think Fellaini warrants it.

That’s the way the papers work, I’m afraid. If there is no news to reports, if they have exhausted every avenue or have nothing to invent, then news can be easily created casting doubt over that which they have built to seem a certainty. The same is currently going on with the Higuain transfer.

If you wish to put faith in the printed word of tabloids, you’d probably assume the Argentinian frontman is practically a done deal. Even I do myself to a certain extent. However, as someone (again, I’ve forgotten whom, so I apologise) pointed out yesterday on Twitter, Arsenal were in a very similar situation with Juan Mata. The Spaniard becoming a Gooner seemed destined to happen, but things took a turn for the worse at the last minute, and Chelsea nicked him from under our noses.

Point being – the papers will report whatever sells before anything truthful. Higuain could be close or a million miles away. We just can’t know. Juventus are still in the mix, and whilst I doubt he’d pick a league as moribund as Italy’s over the Premiership, it shouldn’t go unsaid that nothing is at all confirmed.

Until he is gleefully clutching an Arsenal shirt outside the Emirates in a picture featured on the official website, all of what I read is just speculation and fluff. There is still plenty of time for the deal to go either way, or for another party to get involved.

That’s all for today, folks. I shall point you toward the comments and ask for you thoughts on the two big deals in the pipeline. What do you think will happen? Is the likelihood of both coming to fruition something you believe, or do you possess a hint of suspicion like me? Let me know.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

New Arsenal away shirt, a bid for Fellaini too and other fluff.

Brian’s friends had grown weary of his constant transfer talk.

Morning folks.

Yesterday the highways of the internet were awash with tales of Gonzalo Higuain’s impending transfer to Arsenal. Today, it’s the turn of Marouane Fellaini. Everton’s Belgian midfielder with the blaxploitation haircut has a £23m release cause, and Arsene Wenger is mulling over meeting it.

We’ve heard this story a few times before, haven’t we?

Likening the current climate in the Arsenal community to Groundhog Day would be cheap and a little too easy. As far as clichéd analogies go, that’s the cream of the crop. I consider it all to be much closer to Dawn of the Dead.

In the Goonersphere, media outlets are taken over with brain-dead hordes of the undead posing as ITKs and spurious football agent accounts. A seemingly unstoppable virus is sweeping across the nation, infecting all in its path with stories of “swoops”, negotiations and insider news. Only a small, brave pocket of resistance remains, and we have to use all means at our disposal to repel the attacks.

I like that idea – especially because my imagination allows me to create a scene in which I cut the entire staff of Caught Offside in half with an AK47 as they shamble toward me murmuring, – “Arsenal to break transfer record in mega deal for this Brazlian wonder-child”.

Foolishness aside, and forgetting that it’s most likely a tall tale of near biblical proporations,  I have to admit that I would be immeasurably pleased to see us sign Fellaini. Everton’s prize asset has all the attributes we lack in our midfield. We have plenty of diminutive, cunning little rascals with grace and exemplary ball control, but we lack an imposing figure in there who’s not afraid to get a bit physical when the time is right.

That’s not to say Fellaini is all about simply that. Not at all. The afro-haried angel has plenty of other talents, and is capable of playing in a few different areas across the pitch. “Dynamic” is a word often chosen to stand alongside players of his ilk, and that’s a description I feel is very apt in this case.

Perhaps a deal will materialise some way down the line. There are other potential suitors for his services, so I’d hope the Arsenal act as swiftly as possible. Amongst all the fluff and speculation, are only option is to wait and see.

Elsewhere today, I was doing my customary flicking through news and I came across this picture of what is proposed to be Arsenal’s new away shirt for 2013/2014:

Nike’s final away kit?

When I browse through news, I have a tendency to see a picture I like, save it, and then forget where I got it from when I use it. I’m very big on ensuring I credit other sources, so I should apologise heartily to whomever it was that featured this image initially – it does make me feel a little better that the picture itself is plastered with text, so it can’t appear as if I’m trying to pass it off as my own.

The shirt, assuming it’s not a fabrication, is said to be an homage to a very similar kit worn by the Invincibles during their season of triumph. It could be true, but the picture does look  suspiciously like someone has taken that exact shirt, and switched the sponsorship logos on the front.

Regardless of its legitimacy, I like the idea of Arsenal having a yellow away shirt. Being something of a traditionalist, the Gunners walking out in a blue shirt has never quite sat right with me. Arsenal away from home is, and always should be, yellow.

And on that note, I shall leave you for today. By now you know the drill; the comments await, and I’d like for you to use them to give me your thoughts on Fellaini, zombies, and the picture of our ‘new’ kit. I look forward to reading a few.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

PS – I almost forgot; I recently signed up to Ask.fm, so should you ever be overwhelmed with the urge, you can ask me a few questions. Hopefully, I won’t just be fielding inquiries such as “Why are you so shit?” like I have a feeling I may…

Fellaini for £23m, Spectacularly over-rated keeper and Uzbekistan’s finest.

“£23 million, you say…”

Morning, folks.

Today represents something of an oddity; there are quite a few stories to talk about. Granted – they’re not exactly dripping with truth, and set in tablets of stone, but I’ll take what I can get.

First up is Everton’s Belgian enforcer, Marouane Fellaini. He of the ridiculous hair has been qouted as saying he wants to move to London. Well, I say “quoted”, the article istself contains nothing in the way of actual words attributed to the player, just a concoction alleged to have come from “close friends”, which is pretty much admission of bullshit.

I think it’s a safe bet to say Arsenal are interested. The problem seems to be meeting his £23m release cause, as our parsimonious manager isn’t quite sure wether it represents value for money. In a world where Andy Carroll can move for £35m, I’d say it certainly does.

Fellaini is an excellent player. He’s tough, good on the ball, and has the positional discipline we often lack in midfield – especially when Arteta’s not there. He’d be a blinding signing for us, and at 25-years-old he has plenty of time left to improve further. Taking the step up to a club playing Champions League football is the next obvious step in his career. If Arsenal and Arsene Wenger continue to dilly-dally regarding the price, someone else is going to beat us to him. I sincerely hope that doesn’t happen. We lost out on Juan Mata in similar circumstances.

As much as I hope for that to materialise, the polar opposite applies to Julio Cesar. I see nothing more than a good shot stopper capable of horrendous blunders when I watch the Brazilian play. Securing the services of an experienced keeper to keep Szczsney on his toes is certainly a good idea, and will improve the balance of the squad. There are far better options out there than Cesar. I’d go as far as saying I’d prefer we brought Eboue back to play in goal.

Lastly today, we have Odil Ahemdov, an Uzbekistan midfielder who plays for Anzhi Makakakkakakakalllakkakak (that’s right, isn’t it?).  If I’m not mistaken, this is a player we were supposedly interested in last summer, and his obscurity caused great uproar amongst fans.

It would appear those rumours have resurfaced, and Arsenal have retained their interest throughout the past year with regular scouting trips to watch him play.

Sometimes I read through certain websites around the Goonersphere whenever a player like this crops up, and there is always someone who claims to be an expert. They’ll say things like, “He’s a combative player with two good feet who plays well under pressure”  and invariably my first instinct is to think to myself, “Come on, you’re just making that up. You’ve never heard of him”.

I’m an honest kind of fellow; I wouldn’t know who he was if he burst through my window as I’m typing and urinated on my cat. To me, he is nothing more than a few videos on YouTube, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, or a signing that lacks ambition. For all we know, he’s another undiscovered gem found by Arsene Wenger. If he does sign, then he deserves that benefit of the doubt. How many of us can claim to have known that much about Santi Cazorla before he came to England?

As silly-season plods along, I find myself getting increasingly exasperated with all the spurious fluff floating around. How I long to be able to discuss football stories that have some weight and relevance. Arsenal will make signings over the summer, of that I have no doubt. Perhaps they will even be surprising and welcome. Until then, it’s all aboard the speculation express.

Buckle up.

That’s all for today, folks. The comments are waiting below as they always are. Use the to empty your thoughts and hopes regarding player ecruitment. I shall endeavour to reply to a few.

As always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

No-go David Villa, no-go Huntelaar, Jack wants Theo to stay, and other news.

Christmas Eve. One more day of obscene commercialisation, and then it’s all over…

Morning folks!

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except… the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation”

That’s always been my favourite Christmas quote. I’m sure I need not tell you which film it’s from. It has little or nothing to do with Arsenal – I suppose you could argue the film’s villains have an arsenal – but I thought I’d share it regardless. It’s Christmas, a time for sharing…

A quote that is relevant comes from Jack Wilshere. As one of the 5 British players to have recently penned new deals with Arsenal, Jack has urged (not pleaded, as some media outlets describe it – that sounds needy) Theo Walcott to take note of the example they set and end all the speculation surrounding his future.

??Theo??s been great for us. We just signed five British boys so hopefully he can be the sixth and cap it off.

??I??m always winding him up, saying, ??C??mon Theo, sign?. It??s up to him and the club. Theo knows what he means to us and what he means to the fans.??

I’ve had my doubts with Theo over the years. I still have a few now. But he is a player I want us to keep. There are signs he’s beginning to come good after such unpredictability, and I’d rather that be realised in an Arsenal shirt.

With our Boxing Day fixture against West Ham cancelled, there is little news elsewhere that isn’t speculative today. One rumour that warmed my cockles upon its emergence was the tall tale of a swoop for Barcelona’s David Villa. He’d have been a lovely signing, wouldn’t he? A striker of undoubted class, who I think would score a bucket full in the Premiership.

Alas, it would appear unlikely now. Barcelona’s director of football, Andoni Zubizaretta, has taken to the press to quickly ensure we all know such stories are hogwash, and Villa will be going nowhere in January. As that news broke, it was swiftly followed by a release from Schalke letting it be known Klass-Jan Huntelaar has signed a new contract with the German side.

That’s two down. Who’s left?

That really depends on what you believe – if anything. We live in an age of social media and hit-hungry websites. The overwhelming majority of what’s available to peruse is fabrication. The smart money would be on Demba Ba, and his convenient release clause. He’s a handy striker, and has a proven scoring record in English football. However, I just can’t help but feel we could do a little better.

Other than that, you’ve got the usual suspects; Reina, Zaha, et all. Perhaps with our current resurgence on the field, a defiant Arsene Wenger will state , “we’re in good shape, there is no need to recruit”. I hope not. Good form or not; the sqaud could use a couple of new faces.

And that’s about it on the news front. With Christmas around the corner, Arsenal fans should take a moment to thank both Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Williams. One of them headbutted Shawcross, the other tried to take Robin van Persie’s head off with a football (“attempted murder“, according to a certain pickled, bitter Scotsman working in Manchester).

Thanks, guys! It was a Christmas present I know I appreciated.

That’s all from me today. You know the drill; take a moment to comment with your thoughts.

I shall return tomorrow. I hope you all have a good Christmas Eve.

Walcott, Ramsey, Koscielny, Giroud, and a 1-1 score-draw that’s better than a 0-0 bore-draw.

Everton 1-1 Arsenal; battle of the terrible moustaches.

Morning folks.

Before our past two games, I would have been very happy with a points total of four – a draw at Everton being the one point. I wouldn’t say I was too upset with the manner of our result last night, but it certainly shows poor we were at Villa. Goodison is tough stadium to travel to, and, once all the painful bleating and cries of discontent have stopped, to emerge with a point is hardly catastrophic.

However, as is seemingly customary, it could, and perhaps should, have been better. Theo’s goal in the opening seconds was a great start, but Arsenal always have their fingers hovering perilously close to the self destruct button. Where other teams might have closed the game down and operated on the counter, we chose to wait patiently until the moment arose when we could do something really fucking stupid – and we did.

If ever you’re stuck for an example of Arsenal’s shit-awful defending – you shouldn’t be – look no further than Fellaini’s equaliser last night. Yes – it was a decent shot that curled past Szczsney, but the mistakes we made leading up to it beggared belief. We managed to give the ball away twice in the build up – from a routine distribution out of defence from our own goalkeeper.

With the scores level, both teams had chances to win the game. Olivier Giroud was unfortunate to see his header glide just wide from another excellent Walcott delivery, and Everton can rightfully feel aggrieved to have been denied a penalty after Arteta’s clumsy challenge. All in all; a draw was a fair result. The main downside was losing Koscielny after a few minutes with a groin strain – an injury that’s set to keep him out for the dreaded “3 weeks”.

We’ve a decent run of fixtures in December, and plenty of opportunity to make back some points. A draw wasn’t terrible by any means.

Right about now, Twitter users claiming Arsenal allegiance are lambasting the team and pinning as much blame on Aaron Ramsey as they can – ignoring his contribution to our goal. Deconstructing the performance strikes me as pointless today. In a community so awash with bickering, insults, and bloated opinion, to do so would only open me up to opprobrium from the extremists on both sides of the debate – it should be noted that these extremists are not just the ones calling for Wenger’s head, but their counterparts too.

What I feel is best is a little distance. Sit back, take some time away from the internet and think; does a 1-1 draw against a very good team on their own patch really spell Armageddon? It’s been a tough few weeks suppoerting Arsenal, but things could be a hell of a lot worse.

There are problems at the club, and things need to change. I don’t dispute that. However, all this crap between fans is getting to the point where I feel better off disassociating myself from it. Are we really that petty we feel the need to bicker amongst one another and create these ridiculous factions? When the sun sets, aren’t we all really just hoping for the same thing?

Personally I’m tired of it all – the black scarves, the Wenger apologists, the Ramsey haters, The ‘AKB’, The ‘WOB’., Piers Morgan, and all this disarray. For now, I’m going to keep my distance and obtain a little perspective.

Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards. The comments await a few of your opinions on the match, the players, and anything else that might be on your mind.

I shall return with more tomorrow.