Archive for August 2nd, 2011

A “bloody patient” transfer update

116 comments August 2nd, 2011

In the depths of the transfer window, with scoops and exclusives being hurled at you from every possible angle, sometimes it’s hard to know who to believe.  So let’s start by telling you who not to believe.

First up, Guillem Balague.  I’ve got nothing against Balague the man.  Despite his eerily accurately trimmed beard, he seems like a decent enough sort.  I also understand the pressures of his job: as a freelance journalist, he has to generate his own work.  The consequence of that, however, is that having “a story” becomes more important than it being a “true story”.

This is all well and good until such a story begins to toy with the emotions of that most vulnerable of creatures, the Arsenal fan.  Having already written in AS that a €23m deal for Juan Mata was done, he then spent yesterday telling anyone who’d listen that the buyout clause in Mata’s contract had now expired, and Arsenal could be forced to pay anything up to €60m – the deal, in essence, was off.  This, of course, sent morale among Arsenal fans spiraling, as the twits on Twitter tried to decide who to blame: had Arsene forgotten about the expiration of this clause, or was it the fault of Ivan Gazidis, who had crucially forgotten his pin number just as the deal was about to go through?

It is all, of course, nonsense.  If such a clause existed – which it may have done – and Arsenal felt that this deadline was essential to us agreeing a deal, then it would have been done.  As it is, with Valencia having already signed a potential replacement for Mata in Sergio Canales, we probably remain confident of agreeing a fee regardless.  Furthermore, signing a replacement for Cesc before striking a deal with Barca would only weaken our hand.

Fortunately for all of our sanity, the player’s father has cleared up the situation somewhat:

“Valencia simply rejected their offer. After some hesitation they answered ‘no’ to the Gunners’ offer.

“So my son remains a Valencia player, for now. But I don’t think it’s their last offer.

“There are several offers for Mata and I think that Arsenal will come forward again. The situation is still evolving.”

So it’s exactly the same as where we stand with Jagielka: one bid rejected.  Now whether or not we return with improved offers will tell us just how badly we want these players.

Much, of course, depends on what happens with Cesc and Nasri.  Neither situation has progressed since the weekend, but The Sun claim City will return with a £22m offer for the Frenchman this week.  Whether Arsenal will be in any position to accept or refuse that, without knowing Fabregas’ fate, remains to be seen.

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has spoken out about transfers once more, saying:

“As Arsene said, we are looking to buy some players but we are not going to do our business in public. They are going to have to be bloody patient – as we are.

It is frustrating for both the fans and Arsene and the board.”

Some would say we already have been quite patient.  The season is right around the corner now and so it’s understandable if that patience is beginning to wear a little thing.  Nevertheless, I maintain my belief that it will only take a few dominos to fall for this to be a successful summer for Arsenal.  Cross all available digits and pray.

Finally, my opinion on a few rumours floating around that I don’t wish to dignify with links: Arsene has neither the money nor the desire to sign both Gary Cahill AND Phil Jagielka; if Stoke couldn’t afford Cameron Jerome then they can’t afford Nicklas Bendtner; and Arsenal signing Joey Barton is about as likely as Arsene bringing Neil Ruddock out of retirement to play as a creative midfielder.

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