Where does one even start? Do you start at the breaking news that Arsenal seem to have relented on their stance of keeping the Ox by supposedly accepting a bid from Chelski for his services? Do you start by talking about how, if true, the decision to play him on Sunday seems even more maddening and insane with this information coming out yesterday? Do you start with Mustafi being shunted out the door after one season? Do you start with the noises that Liverpool appear to be stealing a march on Arsenal for Lemar? Or perhaps rumours of an Alexis transfer request which were loud enough for the club to deny it?
Whatever way you look at this, Arsenal appear to be a club in utter crisis, with everything burning around them and a manager carefully and serenely sipping his tea as if there’s ‘nothing to see here folks’.
If the Ox rumours turn out to be true – and there’s no reason to doubt this when there’s that much coming from so many different sources – then it really does point to a low point for us. Here is a player who Arsène has talked about building a team around. A player who Arsène has been doing his best to shoehorn into the team at the expense of team cohesion, of players playing in their natural positions, etc. Yet after all of that he still has a guy who wants out.
What does that tell you about his gravitas amongst the players?
It also suggests that he is now even compromising the composition of a matchday squad so that he can placate certain players and in afraid that is just plain wrong. If Arsenal knew the player wanted out he should have been nowhere near the squad on Sunday. He should have been sat at home waiting for the call about his medical. Instead Arsène put him on the pitch waiting for his medical. It is nothing short of a disgrace.
But as seems to be the pattern these days, it never rains but pours, as further rumours are hitting up that Mustafi is out of the door to Juventus. A player who was a regular last season. A player who had a very good first half to the season. A player who’s form dipped with everyone else’s. yet a player being swiftly shunted out of a team.
Why? When has Arsène Wenger ever been that ruthless? When has he said ‘nope, not working’ and shifted players out before they’ve had a chance to prove if they can make it?
The answer is that he doesn’t. He gives players plenty of chances. Heck, we’ve had years of seeing the Diaby’s and Walcott’s get chances after chances, yet suddenly he wants to pull the trigger so quickly?
It doesn’t add up. Unless you believe the conspiracy theorists that both Gabriel and Mustafi were StatDNA finds and Arsène is having no trouble getting them out of the door as a result. Given Arsène is a man who supposedly values the human side of player management it seems far fetched, but really, does it sound so unusual given the absolute circus surrounding the club at the moment?
Maybe not. Especially as we’re starting to hear that Arsenal supposedly have no money. Yep, that’s right, people are hearing through back channels that the club have not a bean to spend. Despite all of the extra TV cashing pouring in. Despite the Ox sale meaning will be in profit when it goes through and despite the fact clubs like West Ham, Watford and Leicester have all spent similar amounts to Arsenal, we don’t have any cash to improve this team.
What is going on? Where is all of this money? We have all seen some of the excellent blogs and analysis done by some Arsenal fans in analysing the accounts, so we know Arsenal have the ability to invest in this team, yet what is being briefed is that the cupoboard is bare?
That’s an insulting line to be feeding us. Well, it’s not even a line, it’s a bold face lie. We can now add being lied to by the club. Well, not directly of course, but through these back channels.
Is this rock bottom? Can it get any worse? Will it get any worse?
Possibly. But as a group of friends and I debated on WhatsApp last night, I suspect Wenger will try to go all out to appease everyone by signing a shiny new trinket. That might make some people a little happier, but the problems of this club lie beyond signings, beyond Wenger, there appears to be a general infestation throughout the whole way we are run. It starts at the top with the absolute poison that Stan Kroenke is for Arsenal, then filters down to his man Arsène who is overseeing the decline of a team that feels more rapid with every passing day.
There’s talk of more protests. Then there’s talk of what the point in protests are. But when you have nothing other than that to voice your anger because it is clear that the football club doesn’t care, what more can you do? I don’t want to not turn up to games. I don’t want to hold banners up inside the ground when the team are playing. But I do want to be part of something that at least makes it known that I am not happy with what is happening at the club I love.
What that means I don’t really know yet. Whether that is a vocal contribution at some stage outside the ground, that could be something, but I guess we’ll have to see what the appetite is across the whole fan base. The only way to get your voice heard is if it’s loud enough and accompanied by enough volume of people with you. Let’s just wait and see what happens.
Catch you all tomorrow.