Tag Archives: Thomas Vermaelen

Smalling for Vermaelen – Don’t write it off

So this mornings transfer news has all been about Thomas Vermaelen, and that he has agreed terms with Manchester United. The obvious immediate response from most Arsenal fans is ‘great, selling another captain, losing another senior player,strengthening another rival’ and I understand why.

Over the last few years, we have strengthened our rivals, or lost our captain, via:

2006/07 – Ashley Cole – Chelsea
2006/07 – Thierry Henry (c) – Barcelona
2009/10 – Kolo Toure (c) – Manchester City
2009/10 – Emmanuel Adebayor – Manchester City
2011/12 – Gael Clichy – Manchester City
2011/12 – Samir Nasri – Manchester City
2011/12 – Cesc Fabregas (c) – Barcelona
2012/13 – Robin Van Persie (c) – Manchester United
2013/14 – Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea (via Barcelona)
2013/14 – Bacary Sagna – Manchester City

By all means, it has been a torrid time. Stadium restriction’s meant that we could not compete when it came to wage bill. The likes of Adebayor & Nasri more than doubled their wages. The fact that Adebayor is still being paid 100k a week by Manchester City shows what we were up against.

But this summer, things were supposed to have changed. We were supposed to have become more competitive. And yet we sit here, and its ‘same again Jack.’

We have already lost Bacary Sagna to Manchester City. Whilst I would not want Arsenal to have tied up £25m over 3 years in a 31 year old on the wain, it is a repeat of previous years. And now we come to Thomas Vermaelen.

Talk of him joining Manchester United is very real:

  • He shares an agent (SEG) with Robin Van Persie
  • He has a year left on his contract at Arsenal
  • He is currently Arsenal’s third choice centre back
  • Manchester United have lost Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic
  • He would be 1st choice for Manchester United

So Manchester United need a centre back, and Arsenal need to either secure Vermaelen to a new deal, or sell this summer. It all points to a move to Manchester United.

Whilst he is experienced, and, at times, has performed admirably for Arsenal, I would not be sad to see him go. Recently he has become a liability and he does not have the best fitness record.

So if we are set on selling him, we must get the best deal for him, enabling us to replace him without too much extra cost.

The obvious preferred destination is abroad, with Napoli potentially interested, however, with a British girlfriend who has just given birth to his son within the last year, it is unlikely he will be keen on a move abroad, so once more it all points to Manchester United.

Now the deal that we can potentially get. A pure cash deal would be in the region of £10m. For that, our options are limited on who we can get in. Unless Arsene Wenger can pull off another masterstroke, unearthing a talent like Koscielny or Mertesacker, £10m does not go far in this market, and there is always the risk of another Squillaci.

The option the press seem to be speculating is a cash + player deal. They have already linked us to Tom Cleverley (turn down Cesc, buy Cleverley…), Nani (Just a shit Michael Jackson) and Chris Smalling (English Senderos).

The first two are a non starter, but, after thinking about it for most of the morning, would a deal of a little bit of cash + Chris Smalling (or even a straight swap?) be so bad?

We lose an unhappy, out of form player in the last year of his contract and we gain a 24 year old centre back who, whilst having gone through a sticky time recently, has all the attributes to be a very good centre back.

Between Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, the careers of both Smalling and Phil Jones have nearly been ruined. Played mainly at right back and defensive midfield, neither has been given a run at centre back. Smalling is a big (6 4), strong, quick centre back. He would provide brilliant cover for Koscielny and Mertesacker and, at just 24, he could still develop into a top first choice centre back.

Whilst at the moment it is all press speculation, and we know how unreliable that is, I would not be too upset to see Vermaelen go to Manchester United, with Smalling coming the other way.


10 Reasons why we will beat chelsea + starting 11

1.. Wenger has never beat a Mourinho side, this bad run has got to come to an end one day.

2.. Our lads have had 9 days without a game. No excuses of any tired legs

3.. A win tonight puts us top, draw 2nd and lose we are down to 4th.

4.. Chelsea’s away record isn’t so great having already lost away at Stoke Sunderland and Newcastle.

5.. Our home record (let’s forget about that Villa game) has been pretty good so far.

6.. Chelsea no longer have Drogba, god what a pain he always was.

7.. Ashley Cole is not playing. Having gate crashed our players xmas party it’s been rumored he’s been dropped for this game.

8.. Oddly our captain might even start a game.

9.. Chelsea have kept only 1 clean sheet in the last 11 prem games.

10.. Wenger knows his record in the big games is no-where near good enough only winning 13 out of the last 50 against top 4 opposition, lets hope tonight he gets his tactics right.

Likely Starting 11 – Chesney, Sagna, Verm, BFG, Gibbs, Flamini, Arteta, Santi, Ozil, Theo, Giroud.

Did Nike restrict Arsenal wearing suits?

Picture the scene, it is a big match in the Premier League. Sky camera’s are there early, eagerly awaiting live pictures of the players coming off the coach. The pictures will be used by all news outlets across the globe. They will reach as many people as who watch the game itself. Sky Sports News, for example, show live footage of every Premier League club arriving to their respected ground on a Saturday. Pre-game has become big news.

Now you are the kit sponsors of a club. You also have your logo’s on the club tracksuits. Be it Nike or Fly Emirates, or whoever is sponsoring the club at that point, your logo is on that track suit. Now there are only a the few times it is worth having your logo on the track suit. The first is training ground pictures, however these are often covered up by bibs. The second is when players wear tracksuits as they get off the coach and these pictures are beamed around the world, beaming your logo around the world.Arsenal Tracksuit

Now previously, when the discussion of wearing suits before games has been raised by fans, the answer from the club has always been clear and unequivocal. Arsenal did not wear suits as the management of the club felt is more important for players travelling to games to be comfortable than smart. Anyone who commutes in a suit will know that, travelling over long distances, they can get uncomfortable. How many people reading this wears sweatpants and hoodies when they go on long flights? Elastic wastes, cotton t-shirts and track tops are more comfortable the suits. It was a legitimate reason for not wearing a suit.

Before the game against Liverpool, as revealed by ourselves, Arsenal re-introduced the wearing of suits before home games. In a clear move away from the previous stock theory of comfort, it is clear the clubs policy has changed. When the journey from London Colney to the Emirates is so short – 17.8 miles, 57 minutes in current traffic, wearing a suit should not be problematic. It makes me think, was the previous stock answer actually a cover up for Nike and/or Fly Emirates?

With kit deals being so lucrative, sponsors want to get their maximum value. Part of this is having those pictures of players arriving to the stadium pre-game. The thinking is that it was actually in the contract of both Nike and/or Fly Emirates that players would arrive to games wearing tracksuits, bearing the sponsors logos, rather than suits.

It is rumoured that upon taking the captaincy last summer, Thomas Vermaelen requested the players start to arrive to games in suits. Smarting themselves up, showing the class that is required to represent Arsenal Football Club. Usually at Arsenal, what the captain wants, he gets, when it comes to fashion. The most famous example is every player wears the same length sleeve as the captain.

Now if Thomas Vermaelen wanted the players to wear suits, why has it taken so long for the clubs to role this out? The only answer can be that it was not implemented to appease the sponsors. Since then, Arsenal have renegotiated their deal with Emirates, as well as signed a new kit sponsorship with Puma. Within these new deals, you have to think Arsenal removed the clause that players will wear tracksuits to games, therefore opening the way up for players to wear suits for games.

With the Nike deal now basically over, and the new Emirates deal in place, the previous restrictions placed upon the club by the sponsors is now lifted. And that means Arsenal players will once again wear suits to games.

Arsenal Suits

It is a sad indictment that Arsenal were willing to sell their class, their history of wearing suits, to the sponsors, but that is the world we live in now. A world where your stadium is now names after a sponsor. A world where the level of corporate income is more important than the standard of coaching. The game is now about consumerism rather than sport. But that’s another blog!

Anyway, no matter what the reasons are that we are back wearing suits, it must continue. We are the classy club in England. We have the history. We are the gentlemen of the game. Arsenal players wearing suits before games should not be about sponsorship, should not be about politics, it should be a given. Arsenal are class.