Tag Archives: She Wore

Wanda Group, Atletico Madrid & Dalian Yifang – The dodgy dealings that saw Yannick Carrasco move to China

The primary reason why Arsenal fans do not want Belgium midfielder Yannick Carrasco is because he currently plays in China.

He has no ambition
He is the wrong mentality
Only interested in money

Carrasco begun his senior career at Monaco before joining Atletico Madrid  for a reported fee of €20 million in 2015.

He became the first Belgium to score in a European Cup when scored Atlético’s 79th-minute equaliser against Real Madrid in the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final.

Capped 31 times by Belgium, he was part of the golden generation which finished 3rd at the 2018 World Cup, starting 3 games.

So how did this talented 25-year-old end up in the retirement home of Chinese football where careers go to die? I felt it was a little more complicated than him being ambitionless and money orientated.

Carrasco joined Chinese side Dalian Yifang in a fee worth around £27m in February 2018.

Alongside Carrasco, Argentine international Nicolas Gaitan also joining the Chinese outfit from Atletico Madrid in a double deal.

Dalian Yifang were newly promoted to the Chinese Super League and 6 days before the signing of Carrasco and Gaitan went through were bought out by the Wanda Group.

The same Wanda Group that used to own a stake in Atletico Madrid before selling up a week prior to their takeover of Dalian Yifang for just over €50m.

Despite selling their stake in Atletico Madrid, the Chinese group retained naming rights over Atlético’s stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano.

In simple terms, the Wanda Group used the money taken from the Atlético Madrid sale and bought in Gaitan and Carrasco.

It all seems a little strange that they sell their stake in the club and then immediately buy 2 players from the same club for almost the same as what they sold for.

14 February 2018 – Wanda Group sell 17% stake in Atletico Madrid for €50m.
20 February 2018 – Wanda Group buy Dalian Yifang
26 February 2018 – Dalian Yifang sign Yannick Carrasco & Nicolas Gaitan from Atletico Madrid for €48m

It all feels a little fishy. Were Carrasco and Gaitan used as pawns to pay off debt between Wanda Group and Atletico Madrid? Both perhaps offered a huge incentive (IE money) to be involved in the deal?

Gaitan left Dalian Yifang on a free transfer after just one season, joining MLS side Chicago Fire in March 2018. With Yannick Carrasco set to also leave after a year (he would have left earlier had a deal to join Arsenal not fallen through in January), you have to wonder if the agreement between Wanda Group and the pair was that they could both leave after a year.

If Arsenal sign Carrasco, we would be getting an winger with pace and tricks. He will be exciting but also sometimes infuriating, but he will light up the Emirates. It is unfair to hold the move to china against him.



The Arsenal and Me – Ian’s Story

It was always going to be Arsenal. My Mum was regular in the Clock End with my grandparents standing a bit further back. My first game was West Ham 4th April 1970 a birthday treat. I was seven and West Ham were the team of the moment with Peters, Moore and Hurst. I am ashamed to say I bought a West Ham rosette much to my Dad’s annoyance, it lasted till we went 2-1 up!

During my childhood visits to Highbury was limited to birthdays and special occasions but when I left school in 1979 Highbury was a regular destination. I headed straight for the North Bank always in the middle, we were there at least an hour before kicking off chanting the players names and enjoying ‘rip roaring’. It became my second home right though until the new stand was built. At one stage I lived close to Highbury, finishing a double shift at a local restaurant before biking to the ground.

I traded in my £56 Terrace season ticket (that was the annual cost!) for a Clock End Season ticket which I kept until my second son was born and I rarely could get the time to go along. My three sons followed in my footsteps and we enjoyed wonderful European nights and weekend games together. My proudest moment …. when my second son stood on his chair aged eight in the West Stand shouting ‘You fat B**stard’ at Ronaldo (the original one). I knew then my work was complete!

Three of us were there for the last game, we got in by the skin of our teeth in the very back row of the North Bank. I stayed to the end and had to be asked to leave … I knew then that it would never be the same. My sons come with me occasionally, League Cup games and European nights mostly, the thought of paying nearly £400 for four tickets to see an A category game means I am unlikely to share those heady derby days again with them.

My boys have all left home now and I have tried to go back, the last game was Napoli. It was a depressing experience, the stadium almost empty 10 minutes before kick-off, so called fans arriving long after the kick off with drinks and hot dogs, the incessant talking through the game with a mass exodus 5 minutes before half time and the end.

No longer are the names chanted… with the incessant music and the distance to the pitch they would never hear you anyway, and if they did, I am not sure many of this team would really care. When did playing Neil Diamond have anything to do with my club?

Maybe I am getting old! I still watch every game, but it is from my armchair rather than shouting to the rafters in the North Bank, despite the wonderful football delivered by Arsene, the last eight years of mediocrity only added to my view that it is time to move on.  I know it is heresy to say so but for me Arsenal have never been a ‘Big ‘club. We had the tradition and the ethos, we played the game well, occasionally we had periods of success, but we knew deep down it would not last. The current expectation of success seems to drain the enjoyment of the players.

I always walk back past Highbury after every game and wonder what if …………


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Vacuum of real Arsenal news filled by tedious transfer speculation

It feels like we are on the cusp of some positive news in the transfer market.

Speculation over the last few days that Arsenal are close to agreeing a deal with Yannick Carrasco has increased over the weekend. There has also been a lot of talk over Celtic left back Kieran Tierney and Sampdoria duo Joachim Anderson and Dennis Praet.

At the moment it is really hard to tell the difference between genuine links to players, and those which have just come journalists trying to make a name for themselves, or bloggers / clickbait websites that are interest in increasing traffic over reporting the truth.

I am writing this at 7:25 in the morning and already NewsNow there are 20 Arsenal related stories in the last 4 hours. 20 are about transfers. 13 different players are mentioned. 11 of the 20 stories come from the same 3 sources.

This is not a single blogger sitting there pumping up a lot of content for $1 per 1,000 hits. It is (alleged) news websites and mainstream newspapers. The likes of the Daily Express, Football.London and the The Sport Review.

Add in the attention seekers on Twitters – those accounts that pretend to be ITK, and those that spend all day copy and pasting NewsNow headlines onto their accounts and the Arsenal news sphere becomes a really crowded place.

It is perhaps best, therefore, to take a step away. Do not check NewsNow every morning, don’t follow those Twitter accounts. Instead read your daily blogs that provide decent content. The likes of Gunnerstown or ArseBlog. Follow journalists who only speak when something is actually happening, rather than deal in speculation. David Ornstein and Amy Lawrence. And do not jump on every rumour like it is real.

Things are happening at Arsenal and from tomorrow we can begin officially signing players from abroad.

Deals are being worked on, they will be completed in the coming weeks. But what those deals are, no one really knows outside of Unai Emery and Raul Sanllehi’s inner circle.

With the lack of real Arsenal news, the official club website has taken it upon itself to run a load of headline stories about the women’s game.

The ladies won the league last season and, with the women’s world cup currently on, it is some really good exposure for the game.

Finally, a reminder that season ticket renewals are due today.