Well yesterday was a fun day wasn’t it?
It started off with bickering between fans – is there any a day where Arsenal fans are not arguing on social media? Yesterday it was between those delighted that we won the FA Cup, and those who were unhappy that we had won it.
At around 2pm, the bickering stopped and turned into vile abuse as it was announced that Arsene Wenger was set to sign a new 2 year contract at Arsenal.
Before I go on, why do fans need to get abusive to other fans, just because they have a different opinion. Yesterday I have seen people call 60 year old women c**ts and mock fans dead families members. On top of this the usual wishing cancer on people, wishing death on people. Just because you might be hundreds of even thousands of miles apart, does not mean you should not have to treat people with respect.
The majority throwing abuse would not say the same things to peoples face. They would not turn up to a pub in Holloway to continue the argument. Big brave men (and it is usually middle aged men throwing the abuse) hiding behind a keyboard. And it is both sides of the argument. Wenger In’s are just as abusive as Wenger Out’s. No one covers themselves with glory.
Rant over, back to yesterday’s news.
Wenger signing for another 2 years was predictable. Even without the FA Cup win, he was always going to stay. The FA Cup did not save him – and that is why we should celebrate winning the FA Cup. Had we lost against Chelsea, yesterdays news still would have been announced.
The deal was reportedly agreed back in January. Rumours circulate that we had spoken to a few other managers. Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus was sounded out, but has decided to remain at Juventus. Thomas Tuchel indicated he was not yet ready to leave Borussia Dortmund – ironic that he was then sacked yesterday.
Diego Simeone plans to see out his contract at Atletico Madrid. Doors were getting shut. Did Arsenal do enough to keep those doors open? Probably not. Deep down they were happy with Wenger staying.
Even if Alisher Usmanov had his bid accepted earlier this year and was now majority share holder, Wenger would have been given a new contract. Usmanov has spoken before about being a big fan of Wenger and, with David Dein likely to return as Chairman if Usmanov ever returned, Wenger would have two strong allies on the board.
Wenger staying is the wrong decision. He should have been announcing he is leaving Arsenal, not announcing his new two year deal.
People seem to forget you can want Arsenal to win trophies, but still want Wenger to leave. The weekend was perfect. Arsenal won the FA Cup. But then Wenger should have walked. On his own terms. With his dignity in tact. No one would have criticised him had he done a Kevin Keegan and resigned in a toilet in Wembley.
Wenger has been a brilliant manager for Arsenal. He has continued to build the club after the successful George Graham era. Those that say he ruined it are deluded. 3 FA Cups in 4 years cements his greatness. But it was time for him to go.
Whilst some managers might have turned us down, with £10m a year salary on the table, there would have been plenty of options through Europe. Instead, Wenger will be heard for another 2 years. Another 2 years of infighting. Another two years of arguments. The only hope is we have a couple more years of success in that time.
So Wenger is staying, time to deal with it, we can be unhappy but can still back the team. Let’s win the Europa League, the League Cup, the FA Cup and the Premier League next season.
The second piece of news to break was that Nigerian youngster Henry Onyekuru was set to sign for £6.8m. And as predicted, all hell broke loose.
I had a discussion a few weeks ago with a few in the She Wore Whatasapp Group. The discussion surrounded Arsenal’s recent inability to uncover gems. Specifically from South America. I blogged about this a bit last week.
Ultimately, South American youngsters are hugely over priced. You pay extra because they are Brazilian or Argentinian. A lot of money spent on the next Pele or Maradona. Whilst there have been some successes, a lot of them end up flopping. And expensively flopping. Just look at Gabriel Barbosa over at Inter Milan.
€29.5m spent on ‘the next big thing’, 9 games, 1 goal for Inter Milan and he already looks like he is heading back to Brazil.
In the discussion I mentioned that your value is in the African market. If you can pick up one of the many young Africans plying their trade in Belgium, secure them before they make that move to France and become an established star, you can still find value.
Think Kolo Toure, think Michael Essien, Yaya Toure, Emmanuel Eboue, Didier Drogba. All of these players went for pennies when they first made a move to a bigger side in Europe. Yes, there are still risks, but the risks are a lot cheaper than a South American import.
To those moaning about Onyekuru joining the club, have you been cheering Rob Holding’s name over the weekend? Think back to last summer.
Arsenal announced the signing of 21 year old Rob Holding for £2m from Bolton, who were relegated from the Championship.
Fans: “Wenger doing it again, going for a cheap youngster rather than an established star. I wish he would stop these projects. Booo. La Fraud. #WengerOut”
AW: “I am sorry he didn’t cost £55 million, so he can’t be good.”
Arsenal win the FA Cup with Rob Holding staring
Fans: “Rob Holding, you know, his better than Canvarro”
What I will always say is it is not the cost of a players that is important, but their talent.
In 2015/16, we all moaned that we had not signed Riyad Mahrez on N’Golo Kante when Leicester did. Wenger admitted he knew about them but decided not to move for them. They cost Leicester buttons, and go on to be win Premier League titles and back to back PFA Player of the Year Awards.
But could you imagine the outcry if we signed Mahrez from Ligue 2 Le Harve – he had scored 6 goals in 3 years in the French 2nd tier. Imagine if we went for N’Golo Kante. 1 year in the French top division. No caps. At 5ft 6in he is not exactly the physical specimen we have needed in the middle of the park. Typical Wenger going for an unknown Frenchman.
Recently we have had people moaning that we did not buy Kylian Mbappe last summer. Wenger was close to a deal, he even visited Mbappe at his parents house. Imagine if Arsenal went and signed a 17 year old French striker with just a single Ligue 1 goal to his name, rather than Lucas Perez. We would be up in arms.
12 months forward, Mbappe is being pimped round Europe for £80m and those same fans who would have moaned if we signed him 12 months previous are now moaning that we did not sign him 12 months previous.
Maybe we just love to moan? We could sign Gareth Bale and people would complain we had just signed an injury prone full back with the best days behind him.
Henry Onyekuru is a 19 year old striker who was top scorer in Belgium last season. He had a release clause of £6.8m and Arsenal have offered £6.8m +£1 to secure him.
I am sorry his name is not Gabriel Henry, the next Santos ‘wonderkid’ and has just cost us £20m. Imagine how excited we would have been if we had signed Henry from Brazil ,he had just finished top scorer – the Brazilian league is no better than the Belgium.
Don’t believe the hype over South American youngsters, and lets back young Arsenal players when they join. Give them the chance. Not get on their back and have a go at them before they have even held up the shirt.
Onyekuru could be the next Drogba, but he could be the next Kalou. Gabriel Jesus might become the next Neymar. But might also end up the next Alfonso Alves.
Support the team, back the players, even if you do not support the regime.
Up the Arsenal