Players be fighting to join the Arsenal these days!


Remember the days of olde when Arsenal were known as a selling club with no ambition? It began at some point, depending on who you ask, a few years after the Invincibles season, coincided with the financing of the new stadium, and culminated in the last few seasons. No longer are we signing the Squillacis and Gervinhos and Lichtsteiners of the world. No, instead, we have top-shelf players fighting and scrambling to join this club or re-up to stay. It’s a breath of fresh air so stunning that most of us, to be honest, don’t know what to make of it.

There were times when, I have to admit, I actually wanted our best players to struggle a bit just to make them less-desirable to other clubs. Think of it as an Bizarro-World Stockholm Syndrome of sorts. Triggered, perhaps by the tapping-up of Ashley Cole way back in 2006, I’d find myself tempering my expectations, maybe even sabotaging certain players so that they wouldn’t do so well as to attract the attention of Chelsea, Man City, or Barca. Whereas hostages develop a certain affection for their captors, I, like many of us, had developed a certain aversion to various players, or at least to certain levels of performance.

Prepare to fast-forward. Fast-forwarding, sir! We’ll skip past the part where we sell Fabregas and then Nasri and van Persie. Instead, let’s get to the part where top-shelf, highly-coveted players are beating down the Emirates’ doors to join this club. We currently employ some of the most-exciting players in Europe, and each of them has re-upped. I’m talking of course of Martinelli, Saka, and Saliba, each of whom could probably walk into the starting lineup of just about every club in the Prem bar one or two, depending on the position we’re bickering about. Instead, each of them has put pen to paper on a new contract. Ødegaard (the signing of which was a coup on its own) has publicly proclaimed his willingness to renew his contract. ‘Tis a brave new world, indeed…

Our latest transfer business sees us adding a new chapter to this nascent novel. Our pursuit of Declan Rice may have been more drawn-out than anyone anticipated, courtesy of West Ham’s obstreperousness, but the reportage was consistent: Arsenal was the only club he wanted to join. Okay, it wasn’t quite that direct, but Rice made it clear that he wanted to stay in London and play Champions League football. Even from way back in January, it was pretty damned clear that this was long-form verbiage for joining Arsenal and Arsenal only. Along similar lines, Jurriën Timber “only wanted Arsenal” and is “super-excited” about Arteta’s project (according to Ornstein).

It’s a far cry from our players openly flirting and auditioning for moves elsewhere. Instead, it feels if anything as if players are auditioning for a move to the Emirates. Auditioning? Players are begging to join this squad, to be a part of Arteta’s much-vaunted (and much-maligned) process. If Arteta’s only accomplishment is to exorcise the memories of our reputation as a selling club with no ambition, I’ll count that as an unqualified success.

Something tells me, however, that this accomplishment is more of a floor than it is a ceiling.

Average rating 4.6 / 5. Vote count: 17

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

17 thoughts on “Players be fighting to join the Arsenal these days!

  1. Palladio43

    These are the dog days of summer…. Excessive heat, short violent rain storms, and an absence of football on Saturday, Sunday, and midweek. Nothing to do but to argue about transfers of dubiously earned money in exchange for players who will be deemed too old as they near age thirty. Where once these arguments or discussions were held in oak-panelled pubs over pints of ale, now they span the ocean and are transmitted wirelessly amongst anonymous authors.
    What has changed? Is it the medium used for conversing with one another? Is it the the absurd amounts of money earned by are short-term heroes, failures, or villains? Is it the game still played by street urchins using large wadded paper taped together in lieu of a proper ball in favelas? Will all the money over n the world ever bring back a truly beautiful game now that Pandora’s box has been opened?
    I cannot answer these and so many other questions, but then again, I am just “an interesting voice of reason”…….

  2. greenjanner

    Good points, Jon. It interests me that you clearly have very positive views Ipoh the current regime and a good sense of the failures of the recent, and not so recent, past. Yet you find time to speak reasonably to a few posters who are basically just rude and arrogant.

    It speaks well of you.

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      Thanks, GJ. I’ve put my foot in it often enough to have learned to take a breath before engaging anyone whose tone or attitude might be a little sharper than the situation suggests. Were this blog big enough to attract the attention of the bigwigs and poohbahs, that raise the stakes enough to justify us getting worked up. As it stands (and I hope it remains), this is merely a digital pub where we can chat a bit about the club. No need to puff out any chests or poke any sternums.

  3. A Simple Truth

    I too enjoy your more positive slant on all things Arsenal-related Jon, as anyone who craves intelligent discourse doesn’t want to participate in some sort of Pavlovian-like echo chamber experiment…the difference between you and most whom go out of their way to praise your glass 3/4ers full approach, is that you will allow those with differing views to move about freely within the space you’ve so graciously created…so as an offering to you for your good works here’s a few more positive takes on our present situation, besides the obvious youth-based talent we presently employ:

    (1) we just might have more depth on the backend than we’ve had in a couple decades

    (2) we made the most substantial investment ever in an area of the pitch which has been oft-times overlooked

    (3) we’re in the process of making a concerted push to reclaim our seat at the PL parent’s table, after an extended and largely self-imposed absence

    (4) we’ve even tried to get some real business done early in the window, albeit it hasn’t always been conducted in a overly flattering fashion

    have a good one

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I wholeheartedly agree that we should avoid echo-chambers and appreciate your thoughtful critiques. Thanks also for the compliments to the blog itself!

      At a risk of introducing some potential gloom, if not doom, I think we have to prepare ourselves for a tougher season. Even with new signings, we’re losing valuable leadership in Xhaka (say what you will about his skill on the pitch) and possibly Partey as well. That’s a lot of experience/leadership, and I believe that Partey is the only one in the squad who’s played Champions League.

      That UCL group could wear us down far more than the Europa League did – it’s unlikely we can field a side closer to what we’d seen in League Cup matches. Add to that the very real possibility that Newcastle, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Man U will be stronger. Taking points from them will be tougher, and the top four will be a lot more crowded.

      The points you raise offer solid grounds for optimism, so I thought I’d complete the role-reversal and offer a few cautionary words.

  4. A Simple Truth

    Cheers Jon for your reciprocal and noteworthy offerings…there’s no doubt that finding our way into the 2-hole, or higher, this season should be a more arduous task than last…Klopp, who should have been at the Emirates all along, will almost assuredly unveil a better side, although they still might be a year away from competing for things…Poch will instantly make Chelsea a much tougher out, which shouldn’t be a difficult ask considering the manner in which they captitulated to us last May, but I still think they will need some time to get their i’s dotted and t’s crossed…that said, when you look at their similarly youthful options, they could emerge as a real footballing juggernaut in the years to come…ten Hag has proved his mettle, as if it weren’t for his unwavering presence early last season things could have easily imploded…now he currently finds himself in a bit of a financial pickle, until things on an ownership level get fully sorted, but if that scenario changes sooner than later, look the fuck out…finally, with Newcastle’s newfound financial realities, Emery’s redemption tour plans and the formidable duo of Bloom and DeZerbi at BHA, depending on their roster come mid-August, MA had better up the ante when it comes to his tactical nous or we could find ourselves battling for the Arteta version of the Wenger Cup

    as for our potential leadership vacuum, with our Swiss miss seeking slower pastures and the potential exodus of Partey, I’m far less concerned about how removing them from the equation impacts our obvious leadership deficiencies and infintely more concerned about how this vacuum came to be in the first place…if Xhaka’s “qualities” were so pertinent to our success, why did we shit the bed so spectacularly two years running with him on the pitch for seemingly every f’ing minute…he’s not a winner and never has been, so his supposed rise to the top of our locker room food chain speaks more about the fragility of our manager than the fact that he was best-suited for the role…much like Wenger, in his latter tenure, MA’s monopolisitc inklings have led him to avoid and/or discard anyone who might usurp his supreme authority…this dynamic can still yield results, as we’ve seen with Pep, but the likelihood of achieving those heights with a manager-in-training is exceedingly lower…the saving grace might be the arrival of Rice, who I think is far more of a natural leader type than those you’ve mentioned above, fingers-crossed

    have a good one

    1. greenjanner

      Rant over?

      You just could not maintain that positive take on the club could you?

      You really do not like Arteta. Still waiting to hear about better options as a manager. Seriously.

  5. A Simple Truth

    certainly not a “rant”, as you would suggest…I would love to hear your contrarian thoughts regarding MA’s tactical ineptitude, which certainly isn’t something that I’ve conjured up out of nowhere with no factual basis…maybe you watch football without the volume on or, even worse, buy into the very tired notion that the media and the officials are actively engaged in some sort of longtime conspriacy against our particular club…as for the only other “negative” comment I made regarding our manager, do you honestly believe that MA doesn’t have some of the very same monopolistic leanings as our former manager and/or his former boss at City…if this very real possibility seems ludicrous to you, please refrain from getting behind the wheel as all that sand in your eyes will undoubtedly affect your vision

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      easy, gents – apply the handbrake just a little bit. No need to let disagreements degenerate into anything too aggressive. The tone here seems sharper than need be. To wear out an already worn-out saying, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

    2. King5

      With these searing analysis, you should apply for the Coach’s job, I’m sure you have your badge.

  6. A Simple Truth

    I guess I was under the mistaken impression that it was a fairly innocuous back-and-forth, but your “handbrake” request is duly noted

    1. Jon Shay Post author

      I don’t insist that we all comport ourselves with a genteel reserve or prepare ourselves to hold hands and remember to say “please” and “thank you” at every turn. It did seem that this back-and-forth was veering toward something less innocuous. Maybe I’m being overly wary. In any case, I appreciate your willingness to play with the handbrake on.

      1. A Simple Truth

        as someone who has likewise dabbled in the pedagogical arts, albeit primarily at the collgiate level, I understand your desire for establishing decorum-related parameters…that said, you might want to reign in those “professional” tendencies just a tad, as conversations can become incredibly stale when emotion is too hastily removed from the equation…just my opinion though…Cheers

        1. Jon Shay Post author

          I wholeheartedly agree and don’t want to stifle disagreement, witty banter, or pointed remarks. You’re good about always ending with a friendly remark. As I’m sure you know, tone can be hard to manage when we don’t know each other in-person. Don’t be gun-shy.


Leave a Reply