Thoughts On Dein’s ‘Return’ To Arsenal

By now, you are probably well aware of the acquisition of 14.58% of Arsenal FC by Russian Alisher Uzmanov and his holdings company, Red & White.  You are also probably aware of their decision to appoint the former owner of those 14.58% stake shares, David Dein as their Chairman.

So what does it mean for Arsenal?  Is it good news, or bad?  Well, the simple answer is no one knows.  People have their opinions, and I’m not one to tell you if they are right or wrong, so all I can do is give you my own.

Based on what we do know about Uzmanov, we can assume that he will endeavour to buy up more shares in the club.  People like him aren’t going to be happy with shelling out £75m to just have a slice of the pie.  They will want the whole pie.  And probably the peas, mash and gravy too.

The appointment of Dein as chairman I see as trying to put a ‘friendly’ face on the front of a takeover bid.  Some will argue that Dein was always around as he held his 14.58% even though he wasn’t part of the setup anymore after getting into bed with Stan Kroenke.  But now things are worse.  Now he is doing the dirty work of a Russian oligarch and every single thing he does will seem like an ulterior motive, no matter how much he protests he has the best interests of the club at heart.  And that is what worries me.  He will now be trying to please his new boss, and at the same time trying to realise his vision for Arsenal FC.

No doubt his return will be welcomed by Wenger and some of the players.  If you believe everything you read, there’s a chance Henry will return in January because the reason for his departure is now invalid.  Ok, so that’s not strictly true, and by strictly I mean not at all.  But it is true that some staff at the club will welcome their old friend back.  But as I’ve mentioned, he never really went away.  With his personal holdings, Dein was 14.58% of the club and to that end he had certain rights.  They just weren’t the same as when he was the voice of the board.  Now he’s the voice of Uzmanov.  A third party.  And someone who is not entirely savoury.  You can bet your bottom rouble that the Uzmanov/Dein dream team will not be so quiet and unassuming as Kroenke has been (which is to his credit given the uproar caused by his stake acquisition).  As with all investments they will wanta return from it and given his past history, Uzmanov will expect Dein to make this return significant.

These are testing times for the board.  Now sitting in the shareholder’s meetings are two foreign investors, both of whom have designs on acquiring the whole club as their personal plaything and cash cow.  With an agreement in place that none of the board will sell any of their personal shares (which totals 45%) for at least a year (now probably 9 months) they are ok.  Just wait until that non-selling contract runs out, and all Hell breaks loose.  It’s going to be mental.  And in the middle of it all, the smiling face of Tango-man Dein.

My personal view is that Arsenal is a shining example of how a club should be run.  A board of fans (albeit rich fans) controlling the majority of shares, and a few private investors.  Money is generated solely by the club’s successes and not through some sugar daddy.  All this is now under threat from a big fat Russian and a moustachioed American.  All the years of history and tradition are in danger of being lost in favour of turning the club into the new Chelsea, and if that happens then I’m sure I won’t be alone is losing my passion for the club I’ve supported all my life.  Results and trophies are what it’s all about, but buying your way to them is not something that sits well with me.  We don’t begrudge Man Utd their success as they have earned it over years of good results.  That is what we are aiming for.  Well, were aiming for.  The fact that they are a pack of despicable ***** is largely irrelevant.  Chelsea were always a mediocre club, with little tradition or history and for the most part, just making up the numbers.  Now, you know what happened to them and you know how much they are despised by very large proportion football fans.  We don’t want to be that.  We have been moving in the right direction under Wenger all on our own, and if it is destroyed by these new investors then it will be a hard pill to swallow.

 Oh yeah, you may remember that Arsenal also qualified for the group stages of the Champions League.  We were drawn into group H along with Slavia Prague, Steaua Bucharest and one of AEK Athens or Seville.

I’m off to mope.  Catch you later

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Thursday Round-Up 09/08/07

Morning.  Just a quick one today, as I’m in a rush.  Still not happy about my stupid job situation, but it’s paying the bills at the moment, so I’m reluctant to walk out on it right now.  Things may change, but part of the problem is that I know that they won’t.

First up, is the rumours about Lassana Diarra have taken a new twist.  The ever reliable [sic] Daily Mail are reporting that he’s been the subject to the bargain hunting eye of Harry Redknapp.  Apparently, a £5million offer from Arsenal has been rejected by Che*sea because they won’t sell to a rival.  Pompey, who aren’t Che*sea’s rivals, are more likely to have a bid accepted by the blue scum.  It does seem a little odd that a player who was being touted as available for £2million would not be allowed to move for £3million more, but when you have as much money as The Chavs, you can pretty much do what you want.  I’m still dubious that we actually need Diarra, but I do think he’s a good player and so would be loathe to lose out on him if we are genuinely interested.  That’s the price you pay for being a club “full of kids who won’t qualify for next season’s Champions League” I guess.

Tribal are also running a hilarious story, that true or not, is so funny that it’s worth forgetting about the usual protocol of trying to base everything I write on some sort of truth.  What their source is, I don’t know, but it’s some sort of interview (or just a bare faced lie) with new Sp*rs signing, Younes Kaboul, in which he says that as a kid he dreamed of playing for Arsenal.  Brilliant.  I’m sure we’d all love it if Eduardo came out and said he’d dreamed of playing for Sp*rs or Utd or The Chavs.  Well done Younes.  Welcome to England.

Arsenal.com is reporting who’s been selected for international duty.  You can see the list here.  Using my super computer to crunch some numbers, here’s a list of the players and the possible games they’ll miss through injury/fatigue. Jens Lehmann – Manchester CityTomas Rosicky – Manchester CityAlex Hleb – Manchester CityEmmanuel Eboue/Kolo Toure – Manchester CityRobin van Persie – Manchester CityArmand Traore – Manchester City, CL Qualifier 2nd Leg, Portsmouth 

Ok, so it’s not really that great a list, but I’m struggling for news and need to fill up space.

I am going to try and revamp the look of the site tonight, so you might notice some weirdness later on this evening.  

Right, I need to go.  Stupid job.  If anyone wants to hire me and save me from this hell, I’ll do anything (except that) for £30k p/a Cheers

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Quick Round-Up 06/08/07

Phew what a scorcher.  I’m literally sweating sitting here writing this.  Hopefully that is not a reflection of my lack of physical activity this summer.  A few games of squash aside and a 5-a-side tournament, I’ve done little in the off season, and with the first pre-season friendly for my team tomorrow night, I could struggle.  Especially if it’s hot like this.  Seriously, if you’re a believer in global warming (which I’m not – I studied climate change as part of my degree and I can’t see any real evidence for it) then you’re probably loving this summer and it’s mentalistic, topsy-turvy weather.  This morning I wore a jacket to work as it was cold.  Driving home, I left most of my body’s moisture on the car seat.  I can’t cope.

Onto some football then.  What’s going on in the world of Arsenal FC?  A lot of talking and not a lot else.  There is nothing major to report, but there are some good stories on Arsenal.com that are worth taking a look at.

The Boss has been talking about the squad, specifically about Nicklas Bendtner and Robin van Persie.  On Bendtner, he commented,

“At the moment he is a raw talent…Nicklas is not completely ready to start in the Premiership and I wanted to give him as many games as I could in pre-season to help him understand what is needed…Certainly I believe the talent is in there. He is super quick, very tall with good technique and he is intelligent. He just needs to play at a higher pace now.”

It’s nice to hear the boss say that whilst he thinks he’s a good player, that he’s not going to rush him into things.  Because of Thierry’s departure, the media are eager to pin the ‘talisman’ mantle on someone else, and it’s a pressure the young strikers can do without.  If Bendtner had scored a few more goals in the pre-season, he might well have be the victim of “Thierryism”.  If anyone knows how ready the player is, it’s the boss – and I trust his judgement.

Another player that is beginning to suffer from a condition I’ve just invented, is Robin van Persie.  However, if there is one player that is capable of producing moments of magic like Thierry did, it’s him.  He is super skilful and whilst he is a vastly different player to Henry, he does have that potential to turn a match in the blink of an eye.  We only need to look back a few days to the Inter Milan match to see that.  And let us not forget his contributions against United last season, or against Blackburn in the FA cup the season before.  Wenger seems to agree that his time in the spotlight is only just beginning

“Robin’s responsibilities have got higher now Thierry has left” Wenger commented. “Before it was all on Thierry’s shoulders now it is more on Robin’s.  I want him not to worry about that, just play good football, enjoy it and not be injured. Last year he could only play 17 games and missed 21, that was too many. Henry missed 22 so together they were out for 43.”

It’s a bit concerning to hear the boss say Robin is saddled with the weight of expectation that Thierry carried, but I’m sure he doesn’t mean it in that way.  In fact, I think he means the opposite.  I reckon he’s trying to alleviate the pressure on the Dutchman, rather than say he’s got to step up and do the business that Henry used to do.  He’s spot on about the injury thing though.

Arsene also spoke about the benefits of the Amsterdam Tournament

“Overall I am pleased with the performance of the team in the tournament as a whole because we had two quality games. We have built up our belief and confidence. There is a great solidarity in the squad now.”

This reminds me of the time when we didn’t lose a few games in a row.  49, to be precise.  Every time the players took to the field there was a sense of belief and team spirit that was almost tangible.  Without the “big personalities” of Henry and Ljungberg, I really feel that maybe the team spirit of yore could return and carry the team to titles.  Biased optimism maybe, but if there is a grain of truth in there, then we have every right to get excited.

Dennis Rommedahl seems to have been eating sour grapes.  The ex Charlton player reckons we won’t be able to mix it in Europe with the big boys.  He seems to have forgotten who got to the champions league final 2 years ago with a young and inexperienced squad.

Apparently, “the new Maradonna”, Franco Di Santo, has come to England to offer his services to all and sundry.  He’s having talks with Arsenal sometime this week.  Apparently.  Other interested clubs include, Sp*rs, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Blackburn and Manchester City.  Apparently. 

Right, that’s about it for today.  I’m working on a Fulham preview and an article on why Sp*rs won’t finish higher than fifth, so be sure to check back for those later in the week.

Cheerio

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Its Started Already – Here We Go Again

In the words of the great Homer Simpson; Boring!

There’s not a great deal going on, and rather than re-hash what I wrote yesterday, I decided I just would try and find some news.  I did, but it’s not good.

First up, the return of the striker crisis as Adebayor and Walcott are set to miss The Emirates Cup.  The boys are said to be done in by the heat and exhaustion caused by the Austrian training camp.  Heat eh?  Should’ve stayed in good old Blighty – there’d be no problem with heat.  Water yes.  Heat, definitely not.  So that means that we’ll be seeing a lot of Eduardo and RVP at the weekend, which is a good thing really as I reckon that they’re are best chance of scoring goals next season.  I rate Ade, but just have a hunch that Eduardo will do really well for us this coming season. 

The Pedro Silva and Angel Di Maria thing has re-surfaced and depending on who you believe we signed them both!  Or we haven’t.  Everyone is claimnig they started the rumour, and for all I know they did.  Except they didn’t.  I did.  Except I didn’t.  Confused?  Join the club.

So to avoid looking like a dick (again) here’s a hilariously translated Pedro link and some spanish and translated Di Maria links (here too), and you can make up you own minds – I can’t do it for you.  Although why you’d want to wear make up on your brain is quite beyond me.  How do you even get at it?  Some kind of skull hinge?  That in itself is odd and I encourage you seek medical help.

 Yes, I am struggling to write anything interesting or factual.

Thierry Henry re-signs for Arsenal in £27million deal!  Yeah, ok, that’s just a lie.  Sorry.

Er…any plans for the weekend…?

UPDATE: Found some quotes from Di Maria on ESPN saying he’s in talks with Arsenal.  Quite a reliable source, but then everybody’s prone to being suckered by hoaxes.  Ahem…

Arsenal transfers suggest Wenger might sign a new contract

SKY Sports are reporting that we have signed two teenagers from South America.  Angel Di Maria and Pedro Silva are 19 and 17 respectively and are apparently highly rated by chief Scout Gilles Grimandi.  However, the lads do not fulfill the work-permit criteria to actually come to North London.  So in a deal brokered by Arsenal, Salamanca, the club currently looking after one of our own in Carlos Vela, have agreed to take the Argentinean and Brazilian on loan for next season.  Whether or not they re-surface in England for the 08/09 season remains to be seen.

It’s good to see the boss is still committed to signing the young players as to me that signals his intent to carry on with the youth project, and gives us a possible hint that he may well sign a new deal with the club.  Why would he go to the effort of getting the South Americans and getting them loaned out if he wasn’t going to be around to nurture them as he has done with many others?  I just have a hunch that this was Peter Hill-Wood was talking about when he said he’d chatted to Arsene and was confident a deal would be struck soon.  I reckon that PHW asked the boss what his intensions were regarding the transfers of Di Maria and Silva and why he should go to all the bother, and AW responded by saying that he’d be around to oversee it.  Or words to that effect.  Anyway, this is just what I think, so if you work for The Sun or The Daily Mail you should probably think of your own ideas before you get made to look stupid.  Just saying.

The return of Nicolas Anelka is once again being mooted by several sources.  Supposedly the board isn’t to happy about Wenger’s idea of having “Le Sulk” come back and is trying their damnedest to put a stop to it.  I have to say that I’m on the side of the fence that reckons that he would be a good buy.  He’s proven that he can score goals and although he lacks the eye catching flair of Henry, he does invite parallels to be drawn as his style of play is pacey, direct and he’s a clinical finisher.  I’m not so sure that the board would try and stop Arsene doing what he wants and at the end of the day, he’s the guy paid to know about football, so who are the money men to say otherwise?  Also, Anelka has shown a considerable development in his maturity and temperament and I really don’t think there would be the same problems that arose during his last stint with the club.  I would welcome the move as he would be a perfect compliment to Adebayor, RVP and Eduardo.  He is different in style to all three so I think he’d fit in straight away. There’s not a lot going on otherwise.

The game against the Turkish side Genclerbirligi was played tonight, and by all accounts it was a good workout for the lads.  Robin van Persie scored a brace and Walcott chipped in with one himself, after RVP returned the favour of an assist.  Arsenal .com has a full report, but the highlights are that Sagna played the first half and Eduardo the last 21 minutes, and by all accounts little Theo was amazing.  Other players that got a particular mention were Adebayor and Denilson.  Lovely.  There’s nothing better than hearing all the players you are relying on to do well seemingly are.  I’ll have extra helpings of that please Arsene.

I’d also like to congratulate JB on destroying me at squash tonight.  I love having my spirit crushed.  Love it.  Oh, and the fact he was wearing a Spuds shirt whilst doing it just added to the pain. 

Catch you tomorrow

More of the same…but Myles was wrong! Again.

Yawwwwww-awwwww-awwwwnnnn.  Today will be mostly having the same stories as yesterday.  There are a few new stories doing the rounds, but nothing hugely exciting.  I shall round them up for you anyway.  I’m nice like that.

There’s not a lot going on in the world of Arse today.  This is probably due to the lads being out in Austria running around in the sunshine.  Arsenal.com has some pics of this, and am I the only one who really wants Bacary Sagna to sort his hair out before the season gets underway?  I don’t care if a player (or person) is black, white, Asian or whatever, but I do have a problem with them looking like, what I perceive as, a tit.  Arse.com is also running an interview with AW where he talks about why he signed the signings that he signed i.e Sagna and Eduardo.

Cesc has been quoted as saying that he wants to wear the captains armband.  I would’ve thought he could swim already?  Whatever makes you feel more comfortable Francesc.  He (like so many others) reckons we’ll be challenging for titles come May 08.  I’m glad he’s positive, but it’s getting a little old and seemingly a bit desperate that everybody at the club keeps saying it.  I know they’re not going to say “we’re screwed without Thierry”, but I’m just bored of headlines that tell us so-and-so is confident of success blah blah blah.  I guess I’m just itching for the talking to stop and the football to start.

We’re still trying to sort out a deal for Reyes to go to Real Madrid.  I think they know he wants to be there and doesn’t want to be at Arsenal, so they’re trying to hold us over a barrel and apply some soothing KY.  Would having David Dein on board help?  Nope.  Not even a tiny bit.  Not even if he had his own padded barrel with auto-lube function.

Bastion of all footballing hearsay and nano-truths, Tribal Football quotes Caen striker Yoann Gouffran as saying he might come to Arsenal on loan.  Maybe.  Possibly.  A bit.  STOP.  THE.  PRESSES.

The Palacio story has been revealed by it’s originator as a hoax.  A massive surprise, I’m sure you’ll agree.

The excellent Gunnerblog is worth checking out today.  More so than usual

Finally, Myles Palmer has made a lot of people happy by telling the world he was wrong.  He had claimed that Freddie Ljungberg did not fly out to Austria with the rest of the squad.  Only Freddie did go to Austria, and is probably enjoying some schnitzel right now.

That’s pretty much it.  I have to stop anyway because I need to prepare myself for replacing all my bodily fluids with red wine.  Midweek-binge drinking-tastic!

Blog Power!

So it turns out that the Rodrigo Palacio story was actually started by a blogIt’s amazing how someone writing a Boca Juniors blog can write a remark and suddenly the media is reporting it as the truth.  Reporters are lazy these days it would seem, and they’ll quite happily site “a source” in an article that is, in truth, one bloke writing whatever he thinks of, on an internet blog publisher.  Some famous reporter who I don’t know would be spinning in his/her grave at the very thought, if he/she is in fact dead.  Is Lois Lane dead?  Imagine she is; she’s doing 1000rpm about now.

A slightly more respected source of news, The Times, has a nice piece about the DoF appointment being delayed.  They quote AW as saying “I wanted to do it before the end of the season when I started buying and selling,” he said. “But then I thought that now is the worst time because I have no time to tell someone how I want to do things. I did not want to unsettle the team before the end of the transfer market. So at the moment I work with Ken Friar and it is working well for us.”  The article goes on to suggest that both Grimandi and Reading’s Nicky Hammond are still in the frame for the job, but it is unlikely Dein’s successor will be named before the start of the new season to prevent “unsettling” the players.  OK then.

Carlos Vela is set to be called back from loan.  Considering the source, and the fact work permit troubles have lead to stories flying about months ago about Vela’s return only being possible until Janurary, take this with a giant vat of salt.

PHW is still confident Arsene will sign a new contract.  Myles Palmer of ANR is up to his old tricks of telling us what will happen in the future regarding this story,  based on nothing more than his own opinion.  Good work fella.

Finally, looking ahead to The Emirates Cup at the end of the month, AW is keen to use the calibre of the opposition as a springboard for a good start to the season.  He said, “I will select the team for the Emirates Cup matches from everybody who has returned training…That means that it will be the first time our new signings would have played at Emirates Stadium for Arsenal, and the sides we field will be very strong.”

So with the team now in Austria for the training camp, we can look forward to the games against Genclerbirligi on Thursday, and Salzburg the following Wednesday to get us in the mood for the Emirates Cup on the 28th.  Nice.

And that’s yer lot for today.

Is anyone else hungry?  Time for a pizza, methinks.