Mails: Arsenal could Arsenalify Messi in days….

Date published: Wednesday 17th January 2018 3:08

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It honestly doesn’t matter who Arsenal sign
If I was an Arsenal fan, even the thrill of big new signings would be gone now because they’ll just have whatever made them special or appealing trained out of them.

Honestly, if Arsenal signed Messi it wouldn’t matter. If the get Mikhi and Aubamayang it’ll be a boost for ten minutes until both players get sucked into Arsenal’s lackadaisical, sometimes motivated but usually not way of playing.

Wenger out.
Alan, Córdoba


Aubameyang worries
Your article on Aubameyang and Arsenal is a good read but I still have a couple of reservations.

1 – This is Arsenal, so we will find a way to mess up the transfer.

2 – In the unlikely event of the transfer happening, it will be a big PR coup for us, but I fear that it won’t help the team, or Aubameyang. He is used to playing in a team that likes a direct style of play and fast counter-attacks. Something he won’t have at Arsenal. We like to start fast breaks but then stop around the half way line, pass it sideways a bit, wait for the defense to take up their position, pass it sideways a bit more, then eventually lose possession. If you think I’m exaggerating, this is exactly what has happened to Lacazette. His goal scoring record before joining us was pretty damn good but he was also used to playing in a team that had a more direct style of play.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC


…I fear that Sarah is missing the very obvious and very obstructive catches with the Aubameyang transfer to Arsenal:

1) I like to think I’m averagely intelligent but i’s taken me about 15mins to write a 4 line e-mail just trying to spell his name correctly…can you imagine Shearer et al having to say it all the time on MOTD?!

2) Have you seen his hair?! Garth Crooks would explode!! He would need to crowbar even more completely unrelated objections to popular culture in to his team of the week and, quite frankly, there’s enough already.
Alex (…or he’s clearly desruptive/petulant and it’s not like Arsenal aren’t suffering already with a 29-year-old child…), Ayr


RVP, Cesc and Theo are from era of Arsenal failure
Is there another football club that celebrates failure in quite the same way Arsenal does?

For Dennis Bergkamp, read Robin Van Persie, for Patrick Vieira, read Cesc Fabregas and for Thierry Henry, read Theo Walcott.

The past 12 years or so has just been one long period of failure and nobody epitomises this more than the aforementioned trio.

Man City’s loss at the weekend showed just how hard it is to replicate the achievements of Dennis, Paddy and Terrence but I have to say I’m happy the last of the trio of their replacements will imminently leave the building.

Arsenal used to be bloody minded, taking decisions in the interests of the club and not offering anyone a free ride, however hard that might be. Think how dear old Rocky was moved on or Merse was after all of his personal problems.

But Theo Walcott was allowed to stink out the place for more than a decade – a player that no had killer instinct and lacked the competitive streak and aggression we had accustomed to at the Arsenal.

I’m sure loads of our fans will try and rewrite history and tell you how wonderful it was to watch Generation Fail, with RVP playing less than half the potential number of games he could have done as an Arsenal player, or Cesc with his damn Barca DNA or Theo, with his inability to hit a barn door, but I don’t miss RVP or Cesc and I sure as hell won’t miss Theo.

So give him a huge ovation when he returns to the Emirates in a couple of weeks if you want but there are real Arsenal heroes that often get forgotten and are far worthier of applause than Theo – a guy that was richly rewarded for being crap.

I didn’t stand at the Emirates to acknowledge his 10 years service and wouldn’t be surprised if his transfer involved Arsenal representatives shoving him through the door and shouting “You’re it! no backsies!” before legging it back to London.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Read more from Planet Sport: Johnny Nic on why tennis needs a reboot (Tennis365)


No love for Theo
Simon, London – the issue with Walcott is precisely that, it’s that he didn’t make the most of what he had.

He has only ‘made the most of what he had’ at 16 years old. It’s like he’s not learned a single thing in that entire time. The alarm bells were there when Capello basically said he was incapable of following simple instructions, then didn’t select him for the World Cup. He’s no better, no wiser, no more astute a footballer than he was even then.

There’s also the element that he basically breezes around looking like he doesn’t give a solitary f*ck. I’ve never really liked Arsenal’s ‘selfie generation’ – Wilshere, Jenkinson, Ox etc. It feels like a gimmick, a soft play for the fans to mask gross and repeated ineptitude, like when Szcsesny drags Spurs on Twitter for likes after dropping a clanger (yes I know he’s good now…).

But Walcott is the absolute worst of that lot, because deep down, he doesn’t care. Possibly about anything. Even his language is bland. He pretty much admitted last season that Arsenal weren’t trying hard enough, and he was the bloody captain. Was he angry? No! He just accepted it like he’s accepted his own mediocrity for 12 years. He is the human equivalent of beige, an insipid, pointless, milquetoast waste of space. Eurgh.

Man United don’t even need Sanchez

Why don’t Man Utd spend the reported £35M transfer fee and rumoured wages of £300k per week on a position that actually needs strengthening? Like centre back? An area in which has been bandaged over since Rio and Vidic moved on. If Utd want any chance of catching City they need to install a tried and trusted centre back to take the pressure of De Gea and reduce the number of World-class saves he produces on a near weekly basis. Liverpool have just invested in Van Dijk, and although Utd have an enviable Goals Conceded stat on paper, in reality they often look shaky at the back.

A reliable centre back pairing has always been an essential part of any title-winning team – Arsenal had Toure & Campbell, Chelsea snuffed out teams with Carvalho & Terry, Toure also helped City clinch the title alongside Kompany, and Utd themselves had Rio & Vidic. Jones and Smalling often look like they’d be better off touring holiday camps as a comedy double act, whereas Bailly is some way off returning and Lindelof needs much more time to adjust to the league.

With an in-form midfield like they possess at the moment, including Sanchez won’t make that much of a difference. Martial, Mata, Lingard and Pogba are scoring plenty (only City and Liverpool have scored more this season, and they have strikers who don’t go missing for eight games at a time!) whilst providing ample opportunities for Lukaku, so adding Sanchez means dropping one and pushing the potentially brilliant Rashford further down the pecking order.

If I were a Man Utd fan I’d much rather see that money go towards someone like Rafael Varane or maybe David Luiz – both of who have worked with Jose at various clubs in the past.
Kye, Essex


If Pep was Mourinho, he would have bought him anyway
With the collapse of the Alexis Sanchez deal & Aubameyang going to Arsenal, I wondered if Pep is *too* fair & a bit *too* nice.

I know Man City don’t exactly need Sanchez or Auba…but I can’t help but think that if a more ruthless manager (Mourinho) was in charge at City, he’d buy both. Not out of need but just to scupper United’s & Arsenal’s chances of catching up a bit.

Mourinho has form with this tactic & I don’t blame him. Alexis IS great for United & Auba IS great for Arsenal. Both players could start a surge of greater confidence & form for their respective teams. So Is Pep too nice in sticking with what he has??
Joe, Plastic ‘Pool fan from Cambs


The woes of Toon
There’s a lot to say regarding the supposed collapsed takeover of Newcastle Utd. It’s all a lot of he says, she says, via sources hidden in the media.

One thing is for sure. Newcastle Utd fans will forever be doomed to a lifetime of false hope and misery. It’s just the way it is. It will never change. That’s the rules.

…and Man City fans used to think it was them. Pah!


Dragging it out is a transfer killer
Given the whole Sanchez/Mkhi affair I would like to point out that boring and protracted transfer dealings are not exclusive to elite players and clubs.

My team, Crystal Palace, has been notoriously slow at getting deals over the line since we got promoted. Many fans think this is down to chairman, Steve Parrish, aka the South London Levy, interfering and quibbling over minor details (what is a few million in today’s game?).

Over the past few summers the signings of Benteke, Cabeye, Mandanda and Sako have dragged on for most of the summer transfer window and arrived far later then they should have. We have also missed out on a few targets (Tosun, Oliver Burke, Michael Hector, Mangala and about four different left backs over the summer of 2016) by leaving things to the last minute and have been left with bargain bin back-ups (Adebeyor, Yaya Sanogo, Shola Ameobi, Zeki Fryers, Florian Marange and Jimmy Kebe). We now look set to miss out Khouma Babacar as well.

I am a firm believer that time is more valuable than money in a lot of these deals, whereby the couple of million you save/gain by dragging out the deal is less valuable than the time to recruit and bed in the new/replacement player. Just wondering if there are any fans out there who are happy with the way their club conducts transfer business or is it that all clubs are as dithering as Palace, ManU and Arsenal?
Joe, Midlands


No blame for Tevez
While I would never normally pass up the opportunity to put the boot into Carlos Tevez, I can’t help thinking that in this instance he is only saying what the rest of us are all thinking.

Things may well change over the next few years as the game develops over there, but at the moment football in China is a 90-year old Texan billionaire, and Carlos Tevez is Anna-Nicole Smith. The rest of us may tut and raise our eyebrows but deep down both parties know exactly why they are there and, despite the disapproval it may attract, both parties are ultimately perfectly happy with the arrangement.
Bill Handley, Gloucester


…Can’t believe I’m writing in to defend a footballer earning obscene amounts of money, but apparently it has come to that. Has William, Leicester got a controlling stake in Shanghai Shenhua or is there another specific reason for his Tevez outburst?

I’ve always liked Tevez the player (who couldn’t) and was a tad saddened to see him leave Boca chasing the money, but the fact he did it solely for the money is hilarious! What do the Chinese clubs expect from throwing money at mercenary footballers? Tevez grew up in a dirt poor part of Buenos Aires and was offered a £600k/week contract, of course he took it! If anything blame the club for being stupid enough to sign a player who was notoriously homesick in Europe, how did they think China wasn’t going to be a monstrous culture shock?

In short, well done Carlitos for milking the morons, and hopefully you’ll play out the next few years at Boca.
Jon, Bath City FC, Bath


Ronaldo retirement is end of an era
First of all can I say generally a high quality of articles on the website today, particularly Winty’s two articles and Storey’s fourth age.

It was the last article and the retirement of Ronaldinho which got me writing.

I do not recall many players who played the sport as if he was playing in the school yard. Smile on his face and more skill then everyone else in the school.

We are currently in an era where players like Ronaldinho probably don’t fit in. His opta stats probably would not get him in the top 5 in any team. His distance covered would probably stick him in the bottom five of any club.

However is there any football fan in the world that wouldn’t beg their club to take a chance on the next Ronaldinho.
H (doff my cap to Ronaldinho’s skills)


Football is heading towards agent academies
I really liked the article on the fourth age of football and apologise in advance for almost writing an essay on the topic…

Let’s imagine a fairly realistic future that may be quite close where these super agents (or companies) develop to become almost quasi clubs that run their own academies to develop players before managing their whole careers and perhaps post careers as coaches and scouts for the next generation.

Official ‘footballing universities or colleges’ where attendance and graduation to a top club is the new route to stardom. Of course playing for traditional clubs will remain the most important aspect of a player, but instead of loyalty to the club (if that even exists). You are loyal to the academy that found, grew and developed you while ensuring you’re ridiculously well paid while temporarily putting on the shirt (brand) of a top club for a few years at a time.

The clubs get ready made players and the players have had the best possible training, development and welfare while growing up. Perhaps also learning languages, business and financial acumen alongside sporting prowess to help prepare them for lives in the limelight and the inherently short career footballers have.

Something seems instinctually wrong with this ‘cold and clinical approach’ and it flies in the face of the romanticised view of football being more than a sport; but looking at the growing global brand of clubs and players this is already going on. The article linked at the bottom adds some interesting points about the complexities of youth players navigating professional club development programmes. Simply put, the emphasis already seems to be on compensation and not what’s best for the player.

When you also look at clubs like Chelsea hovering up the best talent only to put them out on loan. It seems like it’s hard enough for young players to break through and how many waste years or miss out entirely because of not quite being right at a single club.

A new academies approach doesn’t necessarily only benefit the top clubs. While you may have the Oxbridge ‘Mendes academies’ for the very best players. This change could encourage professional, well-funded networks of academies with a range of abilities to fit into any professional team. Outreach to schools, communities and professional coaching support could come as added benefits that help identify and develop talent.

Clearly there is enough money in football to make it worth developing players at almost any professional level and it may even be cheaper for clubs to buy or loan players out of this system than invest in developing their own?

One thing’s for sure, change is occurring and it’s not always bad, but I can’t help but think we’ll look back in 20 years at the current set up and hardly recognise it.
Tom Saints (This is an interesting article that highlights the complexities of youth development inside a single club)


On the release of football
Sachin’s story of his weekly pilgrimage to Liverpool via the Sandon with friends in toe is, quite frankly an amazingly brave, but alarming thing to talk about.

In the last 12 months I can’t profess to have had a particularly difficult time, however I’ve been volunteering as a Samaritans phone volunteer in order to help those people most in need. For those unclear on the Samaritans, it’s a freephone, email and text service for anyone who has any problems in their lives and wants an anonymous friend to help talk them through their issues. We get everything from people in the midst of committing suicide, to people who’ve lost their jobs/benefits/partners/pets/children/friends/family.

I’m not going to talk too much about the things I do and the calls I get as it’s covered by an excellent Guardian article here.

In early November England played Germany on a Friday night, in what was an inexperienced England taking on a youthful German side in one of the most dull 0-0 draws I’d seen. It’s England I should’ve known better.

Anyway, about an hour after the final whistle I picked up my first Samaritans call of the night. The poor caller had been through a hellish last 12 months culminating in a loss of support network around them and so the Samaritans were their only help.

We chatted away about the problems the caller was facing, and at one point the football was mentioned as something that used to provide the impetus for the caller to carry on living. But after a rough illness even that was failing to provide some solace. We ended up in a 30 minute discussion about football, in which we joked and laughed about players who turned out to be terrible and I listened to stories about the matches the caller had been to. At the end of the call, the caller signed off with a massive thanks saying – “That’s the first time I’ve been happy about something in months, thank you – you’ve given me some hope.”

No I’m not going to profess that I saved this caller’s life, after all I never knew their name, where they were from or what happened from the moment the call ended, but that has stuck with me ever since.

If football provides that voice for someone so low, so desperate, so lonely, why shouldn’t it be celebrated accordingly? Why shouldn’t it be looked at as some sort of ‘social and mental medicine’?

For people like Sachin it’s clearly helped during times of trouble. If only more people would talk about their issues, perhaps it can help them too?
Jo (Samaritans can be reached on or freephone 116123)

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