Tag Archives: Julio Caesar

Transfer Odds: Higuain collapsing, Cesar fading, Williams stable…

There are others, to be sure, and we’ll get to them momentarily. The news this week is not for the faint of heart, as two players to whom we’ve been closely linked seem to be receding ever farther from reach as Napoli, flush with cash after selling Cavani, threaten to ruin everything. Jerks. Not only do they seem on the brink of signing Higuaín, their sale of Cavani may be guilty of driving up transfer-fees that much more, not that they needed the help. If there’s any consolation to be found, it’s that nothing’s certain, and as close as Napoli might be, they’re still not as close as we’ve been or rumored to be.

Let’s get a bit of good-ish news out of the way first: we seem close to announcing the first proper signing of a player (Sanogo came in on the cheap, he’s French, and he’s young, so he doesn’t signify a new way of doing things around here). Brazilian midfielder Bernard Anício Caldeira Duarte’s odds of signing have skyrocketed to 59% from out of nowhere and is now, according to transfermarkt, our most likely signing. I’ll have to add him to the chart, come to think of it. I’m not sure how excited to get for a 20-year old who stands 5’5″ (162cm), so I’ll have to more research so that I know whether to be excited or enraged.

Bernard’s surge occurs mid-way through my composing this post and as s Higuaín’s odds dropped again from 60% to 58%. We’re now in a neck-and-neck race with Napoli, whose odds grew to 57%. A hefty grain of salt is on order as I still can’t explain how they conjure these numbers—I continue to use them because they make more sense to me than the drivel peddled by The Sun or The Mirror. Statistics feel more meaningful to me. Of course, you can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.

I don’t know what to say about the Higuaín saga. We had apparently agreed to personal terms and a bid in the £23m range only to turn our attention to Suarez when negotiations with Real Madrid stalled. Now, into the breach steps Napoli who have £54m from the Cavani sale and a gap at striker to fill. Partly as a result, Fiorentina Pérez wants £37m for Higuaín. Can you blame him? He sees us offer Higuaín £40m, Cavani sells at £54m, and he wonders why he should be bothered to sell Higuaín at what now seems like a discounted price in seller’s market. We’re looking like rubes in the transfer-market, unable to comprehend how the game is played. That, more than any actual player we’ve signed, sold, or missed out on in the last ten years, might be the most damning legacy of our, uh, prudence in previous transfer-window: we’re thoroughly unpracticed in how to play a high-stakes game and quail at the numbers being discussed, only to see those numbers grow. Meanwhile, Chelsea and PSG and Napoli (apparently) keep on raising the stakes. Are we going to ante up or are we going to fold?

I guess Kenny Rogers put it best in his song, “The Gambler,” when he said this:

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

We’ve spent too much damned time counting our money over the last decade or so; we have upwards of £70m to spend. Get Higuaín for 30m (a price I’ve suggested is closer to his true value anyway). Give up on that biting, diving, racist and save the 50m that Liverpool want; spend it on players who fill other needs, like a defender or two. We’ll be without Monreal and Vermaelen for the first half-dozen games or so, so take the plunge to get Ashley Williams and then bring up Miquel to support Gibbs. We have a soft-enough start to the Prem season that this should be enough to shore up the defense until Vermaelen and Monreal heal up.

As to these other players, not much movement to worry about. For all the talk of Suarez, he’s still a long-shot at 29% odds, as is Luis Gustavo. Further away are Papadopolous at 22% and Rooney at 18%. Fellaini seems to have all but disappeared from our radar for now. Frankly, I could care less about any of these players.

We’d better learn how to play this transfer-window better or we’ll be left scrambling yet again for a fourth-place “trophy” and trying to counter the taunts of trophyless seasons with flimsier retorts of top-four streaks and Champions League appearances. The club finishes the Asia Tour with a game on Friday against Urawa Reds, and this makes me wonder if we won’t hear anything until Monday at the earliest. I just hope the news is dramatic and good and Argentinian.

That’s all for now. Voting in the 2012-13 YAMA awards is still open; please consider voting for Woolwich 1886 as a “Best New Arsenal Blog”—thanks!

Transfer Round-up: Higuain, Cesar, Williams, Suarez in limbo

This has been a difficult, trying week for Gooners who are paying any attention to transfer-talk. The one shred of good news we can cling to comes thanks to Atlético Madrid and a laughable rumor that they’d agreed to terms with Santi Cazorla and that owner Miguel Angel Gil Marin was in London to negotiate. Those fools think that they can bid £17.5m on a man whom we brought in for £12m and who is probably worth £25m. Fine. With Arsène and Santi in Vietnam, I’m not sure how far this rumor can stretch. Such are the times in which we live.

However, as I said, that’s the good news so far this week. Everywhere else we look, those ninnies from Napoli seem to be botching things for us. There’s been talk of them bringing in Julio César for some time, and newly flush after their sale of Edinson Cavani, they’re now looking to spend. A move back to Serie A might make sense to César, although Napoli were docked two points in 2012 for match-fixing. They may not yet be implicated in the current tax-evasion and money-laundering scandal (which I covered here), but it’s hard to resist the impression that the league itself is a bit of a festery pool. Be that as it may, Napoli did finish in second place this past season, so César would be trading up from the Championship to the Champions League. Transfermarkt has pegged the likelihood of him going there at 80% as our chances sag again to 53% from 62%, and the betting remains closed.

If only that were the end of Napoli’s meddling. They’re now “in talks” with Gonzalo as they seek to replace Cavani’s 29 goals. It’s maddening to think of how long we’ve pursued his signature, only to see the odds sink to 71%, down from their high of 80% on 7 July. Worse, Napoli are now rated as a more likely destination by skybet, putting the line at 4/5 and us at 2 (meaning that if you bet five on Higuain to Napoli you win four; if you bet one on him to Arsenal, you win two). C’mon, Napoli. Be a friend. Just finish signing Damião and leave it at that. He’s a decent striker. I don’t think Brazilians and Argentinians like each other. Uruguayans and Brazilians, however, are like peas and carrots. Or so I hear. Go get Luis, leave Gonzalo alone, and we promise to root for you to overtake Juve. Deal?

The other possible glimmer of optimism comes concerning Ashley Williams. Despite being named Swansea’s captain earlier this week, little has changed as his odds remain at 42%, and skybet still sees us as the odds-on favorites to get him. The captaincy is a nice honor and recognition of his importance to the squad, but I’m not sure it changes much as far as availability. I seem to remember some other club whose captains had little trouble departing. With Vermaelen out for the first three or four games of the season after aggravating a chronic back problem, we may see the club pursue Williams or another center-back with more urgency. Vermaelen’s injury highlights the need for a fourth center-back as we’re one injury away from having only two in the squad.

Further off on the edges of the radar but still registering at transfermarkt are Suarez (32%), Papadopoulos (22%), Fellaini (20%), and Rooney (18%). Until that number climbs above 35%, the chances seem too remote to entertain.

With the club in Asia until 26 July, it seems unlikely that we’ll hear of any news before then, as desperate as many of us are. With Arteta, Wilshere, and Walcott recently making public statements about the importance of some new signings, however, perhaps we’ll see something sooner than later. Arteta, as vice-captain, and Wilshere, as a club talisman, surely have Arsène’s ear when they speak publicly and did so just days after Arsène spoke of “secrets and confidentiality.” In that same press conference in Jakarta, Arsène said that “we want to give happiness to all of our fans”. Well, Arsène, seeing the current squad in the flesh is a well-deserved thrill for the fans there, but I’m sure I speak for everyone in the Gunner family when I say, please announce a significant signing, and soon!

That about does it for today, then. If you have a moment and haven’t done so already, go on over to the YAMA awards and vote. This blog, Woolwich 1886, is nominated in the Best New Arsenal Blog category, and I hope to earn your vote. Thanks!

Transfer Updates: Higuain's fade, Cesar's signing, Williams's surge…

There’s a queasy feeling that I just can’t shake, and I’m going to blame Suarez. Ever since the news that we may have put in a bid for him, our pursuit of other players has faltered. Thankfully, the oddsmakers still rate Real Madrid as his most likely destination, and the probability of us signing him(as rated by transfermarkt) has never risen above 35%, my arbitrary threshold for including a player on my little chart. In fact, that probability has sagged to 25%, which I take as a good sign. On to the current Top Three Players Most Likely to Become Immediate Arsenal Legends at the Stroke of a Pen.

What’s that shiny thing Williams has?

There are rumors to the effect that Julio César may have agreed to sign with Napoli, but there’s no official verification. Should that turn out to be true, this would be a setback, to be sure, although not a disaster. The website oddschecker.com shows no betting sites taking bets on him going anywhere, but that’s happened with players before only to change. I’ve argued that we should sign him, but if he prefers to take a pay-cut to return to Italy, there’s not much we can do about that. We’ve been linked to him a little but not seriously, so it’s not as if someone has snatched him from under our noses.

News regarding Higuaín, however, is a little more troublesome. For the first time since I’ve started tracking him closely, the odds of him signing have fallen, from a high of 80% a week ago to 73% today. Along similar lines, the betting sites have started taking bets on him again, with us at 5/4 and Chelsea at 4/6, meaning that Chelsea has somehow emerged as favorites. By contrast, transfermarkt still rates this as a ?, so there’s still hope. All the same, I worry. I tell myself that Higuaín wants no part of playing for Mourinho after shabby treatment at Real Madrid, but, for all I know, they’re besties and can’t wait to join up at Chelsea. Mourinho makes me nervous, I’ll admit. Such is the way my paranoid mind works. We’ve been linked with Higuaín for so long and we’ve come agonizingly close. Once the club left for the Asia tour, though, I gave up on there being any news this week. With hope, the change in his status simply reflects an absence of any other real news.

Along similar lines, I’m hoping that all of the talk of Suarez is a smokescreen meant to distract us from the real behind-the-scenes dealing that will result in Higuaín’s signing next week. I’ve dubbed it Wenger’s Law: the more headlines there are around us signing a player, the less likely it is we’ll sign him. Under this law, the Suarez story was meant to gobble up all of the headlines like they’re so many Serbian defenders. Then, when everyone’s obsessing over whether or not we should sign Suarez (something I swear I haven’t done at all), Wenger calls a press conference to announce that we’ve signed Higuaín. Presto! Wenger’s Law strikes again. I’m crossing my fingers.

In more-optimistic news, the likelihood of our signing Swansea’s Ashley Williams has surged dramatically, almost doubling at transfermarkt from 24% to 42%. The betting sites agree that we’re favorites for his signature with a betting line of 2/5. He’d be a nice addition, but I’m not feeling a huge tingle in any parts of my body when I hear his name. We already have three solid center-backs, and squad-depth is usually a Good Thing. This would be a good signing, but not the kind of paradigm-shifting addition that Gooners crave. He’s only played two seasons of top-flight football (helping Swansea earn promotion, it must be said) but has done pretty well. However, whoscored rates him as weak in aerial duels and tackling. On the other hand, Swansea play an Arsenal-lite kind of football, so he might bed in more quickly than other center-backs we might consider.

Other players still on the peripheries are Fellaini (28%), Papadopolous (22%), Grenier (18%), and Rooney (17%). We’ll continue to track these and others with the hope that something dramatic and exciting and, above all, factual, can be reported. Until then, this is the silly season in all of its, uh, glory.

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Transfer updates: Higuain, Fellaini, Rooney, Suarez. Oh yeah, and Cesar.

Another week has passed without any noticeable movement around key players. There’s been some talk of a £30m bid for Luis Suarez, which I flat-out wish I could veto. The man’s a time-bomb waiting to go off. Yes, he scored more than a few goals, but scoring hasn’t necessarily been a problem for us. If we are set to sign Higuain (as I believe we are), I think any bid we did or did not make is more about the poker game between us and Real than it is about actually landing Suarez. After all, the toothy Uruguayan says he wants away from the British press. Shame on them, after all, for noticing his transgressions. Does he really want to come to London proper to escape the scrutiny? More to the point, do we want to splurge that kind of cash on a guy who will miss six games after biting Ivanovic and who is one missed snack-time away from biting someone else? Happily, his move barely registers at transfermarkt or the betting sites, so we can dismiss that for now.

Instead, we can turn our attention to other, more likely and more interesting targets. Despite reports that our pursuit of Higuain has hit a snag, with Real Madrid now insisting on something closer to £30m (a figure I’ve actually suggested is closer to his market-value), it looks like Higuain will finally and truly be a Gunner. If this doesn’t happen by week’s end, however, I cannot be held legally responsible for my actions.

So Real wants to extract maximum value for Higuain. Fine. He’s under contract until 2016, so that gives them a bargaining chip. However, transfermarkt has continued to upgrade the chances of his move to Arsenal from 75% a week ago to 80% today (Sunday). Sanogo was at 93% when Arsenal announced his signing, so we draw ever nearer. I’m not sure what the point of no return is—the magic percentage that marks a confirmed signing—but I don’t feel I’m going too far out on a limb to suggest that we’ll see something significant before the end of the week.

Julio Cesar has become a bit of a forgotten man even as the chances of his signing grew from 50% last week to 62% today, and odds went from 1/3 to 1/4 as news of Barcelona’s interest came out. In other words, we could very well see his addition sooner rather than later. It’s a shame that a treble-winning goalie’s signing rates so much less attention than that of bizarrely-coiffed Belgians, even if that keeper is 33 years old. There’s been little news of movement around Cesar, but his experience and skill and mentorship, as I’ve argued, could go a very long way in realizing the talent that Szczesny displays only in fits and starts.

In dimmer news, the likelihood of Fellaini joining Arsenal seem to have faded a bit as transfermarkt now only rates his signing at 33%, down from 40% a week ago. I’m not necessarily disappointed, having previously argued that we should approach this signing with caution. With the emergence of Aaron Ramsey and his partnership with Mikel “minifig” Arteta, I feel very comfortable about our defensive midfield and certainly don’t feel that Fellaini would be an upgrade on our current batch of attacking midfielders: Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski, Wilshere, Rosicky. If we can nab him, great. If not, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The buzz around Rooney continues to grow, although not enough to warrant me redoing my nifty little graphic. Transfermarkt rates the odds at only 22%, and the betting sites give us a narrow edge over Chelsea, giving us a 2/1 to Chelsea’s 5/2. There’s the rub. With noise over Rooney’s potential departure getting louder, can we afford to let Chelsea get him? Should we pursue him more aggressively than I’ve suggested if only to keep him from Mourinho? Other clubs, like PSG, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid, are in play to varying degrees. but it’s us and Chelsea who seem to have an inside track. I can’t blame the man for potentially wanting to stay in England, but I would certainly prefer he do so with  Arsenal than with Chelsea.

To come ’round full-circle then, let’s let that bid for Suarez stand as a shot across Real’s bow: stand down on Higuain, or we throw down on Suarez, if only to get petty. Then, once that’s done and over, we can turn around and pursue Rooney with greater force. The potential additions of Higuain, Rooney, and Cesar would certainly meet if not exceed my call for two or three signings. Assuming we do land these three, the question then becomes: is this enough? Will those signings re-establish us as legitimate contenders in the Prem (and the Champions League)? Offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Last but not least, Monday marks the final day of voting in the YAMAs 2013 Best of… Awards. Woolwich 1886 is nominated as a “Best New Arsenal Blog”, and I hope you’ll cast your ballot for me in question #3. Click here to get to the survey—there are seven questions, so it should only take a minute or so. Thanks!

Higuain to Arsenal bet: £14 wins you one stinkin' pound.

In a strong signal that Arsenal is closer than ever to landing the signature of Gonzalo Higuain, betvictor has lowered its odds on the event from 1/8 to 1/14. A quick explanation: the fractional odds show us the payout on the right and the wager on the left. In this situation, then, if I bet £14 on Higuain coming to Arsenal, I’ll win a single pound (plus my original wager) for a whopping total of £15. There are slower ways to fund your retirement, to be sure, but when we last checked the situation on 27 June, the odds were 1/8in other words, in just five days, the odds have nearly halved, indicating that a signature could be imminent. Could it be as early as this week? In the still-running poll, sadly, 44% of us were too optimistic in suggesting that Higuain would sign by 28 June. With the transfer window now officially open, will the 33% who predicted a signing by 5 July win the day? I’m sure all of this are looking for any and every morsel of evidence to confirm it: Wilshere’s following Higuain on twitter. Arsene’s set to make a “final push.” And on and on.

When will Higuain sign?

I’m not much of a betting manI’m too much of a coward to take the plunge. However, the betting parlors are taking the collective wisdom (such as it is) of anyone interested enough to put their money where their mouths are. Paddy Power and the rest won’t stay in business very long if they can’t accurately assess odds, which is why I’ll look to them to figure out where things stand rather than reading headlines. To believe them, we’re about to sign Higuain, Rooney, Fellaini, and now Bayern’s Mario Gomez. It’s a dreamy world, full of rainbows and unicorns and dragons that poop jelly-beans.In other words,  let’s get back to reality.

With the signature of Yaya Sanogo, there’s no harm in hoping that the lid is now off the transfer-kitty. Transfermrkt, who rate the probability of transfers, have left Higuain’s move at 75% likely, unchanged from a week ago. For context, Sanogo is still listed at 93% likely to sign while also being listed as in the squad since 1 July, so there’s a curve of seven points there.  Similarly, the likelihood of Cesar signing have grown from 50% to 57%, and skybet have lowered odds from 1/3 to 1/4. Despite rumors of Barcelona’s interest, it seems that we continue to have the inside-track and hopefully enough of a head start to land the man.

It’s going to be an antsy couple of days as we hope to hear some official announcements about Higuain and Cesar. In the meantime, it seems we can distract ourselves with variations on Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”:

Score a goal, Yaya Sanogo,
You’re the first signing of the transfer window.
Score some goals, Yaya Sanogo,
You’re sure to be a superstar bye and bye.
Score again, Yaya Sanogo,
Caz can’t always do it solo.
Score more goals, Yaya Sanogo;
I don’t wanna miss when you hit that high!

Good times.

Last word: don’t forget to vote in the 2013 YAMAS Best Arsenal blogs balloting!