Tag Archives: Tottenham

Everton, Matteo Guendouzi, Emile Smith Rowe and more…

Everton

We play Everton tomorrow in our 2nd game of 4 in a row at home.

After 2 defeats in the opening two games, we have now won 4-in-a-row.

Victory would propel Arsenal towards the top 4 and would keep the club on course to get around 75 points this season – only once has a club got 75 points or more and failed to finish in the top 4 – ironically Arsenal in 2016/17.

Just as important as the victory would be the first clean sheet of the season.

Arsenal have already conceded 9 Premier League goals this season – the fifth highest in the league. Add conceding 2 against FC Vorskla and it is a slight cause for concern.

There is only so many times you can keep scoring 3 or 4 to win a game before you start dropping points.

I wouldn’t say no to a boring 1-nil to The Arsenal tomorrow.

Matteo Guendouzi

The incredible thing about Matteo Guendouzi was when he came on against FC Vorskla on Thursday, no one saw him as a youngster getting a run out.

Making his debut in that game was Emile Smith Rowe, the 18-year old becoming the first player born after the turn of the millennium to play in Arsenal’s first team.

Guendouzi is just a year older than the Englishman, but the feeling around the pair is remarkably different.

Smith Rowe coming on felt like a kid getting a chance, Guendouzi coming felt like a senior professional coming on.

At £7million, Guendouzi so far has been a terrific piece of business.

Even if he was 22 or 23 years old, we would be saying that Guendouzi  was a great find by Sven Mislintat, coming from the French second division. The fact he is just 19 further highlights how important good recruitment is in the modern era of crazy transfer fees.

He has jumped ahead of Mohamed Elneny in the pecking order, and whilst Lucas Torreira should start ahead of him, his signing and development is going to save us millions in the future.

Between Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles we have two quality young central midfielders. Even if their potential is to only become squad players, that will result in about £50m worth of talent for just £7million.

Guendouzi still has plenty of rough ages to be polished, and it is too early to compare him with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Patrick Vieira; but if he stays injury free (Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere) and motivated (Denilson) there is no reason he can not reach the top.

Emile Smith Rowe

On Emile Smith Rowe, he had a great little cameo.

A lot has been talked about recently of young Arsenal players leaving the club in their droves.

Stephy Mavididi (Juventus), Marcus McGuane (Barcelona), Chris Willock (Benfica), Donyell Malen (PSV), Kaylen Hinds (VfL Wolfsburg), Daniel Crowley (Willem II) and Vlad Dragomir (Perugia) to have left the club in the last 12 months for a new challenge abroad.

Instead of it being a negative that Arsenal have lost these players, I actually see it as a positive.

Arsenal are either offloading, or not getting in the way of players who are simply not good enough, and ever really likely to make it.

Someone like Mavididi was let go because Arsenal had Eddie Nketiah coming through. Nketiah is a year younger than Mavididi and ahead of him in the pecking order.

Smith Rowe would have ended the Arsenal careers of a few players who were older than him.

On the list of players who have left, you have to think him coming through was why we did not work harder to keep Chris Willock or Daniel Crowley. He has also now moved ahead of Joe Willock – who is older.

Just 18-years old, he showed some nice touches. At times his passing was a little heavy, but I look forward to watching his development – both in the Europa League and against Brentford in the League Cup.

We have some very good youngsters coming through and are reigning Premier League 2 Champions (U23). If we have a talented 17-year old breaking through who is better than a 19-year old within the squad, we have to make the tough decision in the best interests of the club.

New Spurs Stadium

Over the months I have tried to keep abreast of what is happening at the Spurs stadium. This is more to do with my day job than my interest as an Arsenal fan.

It was well known back in March that there were major problems and that it would not be ready for the start of the season. Despite know this, Tottenham still sold season tickets based on playing at the new ground, and created an advertising campaign that the new Tottenham Stadium would be the only place in London to watch Champions League football this summer.

There has been more than one major issue during the complex build, and the chaos is starting to make national news.

The root of the problems is in how the deal to build the stadium was structured.

Normally with a build as big as this, you leave it to the experts. You appoint a main contractor to oversee the entire project, sub contract the packages out, and maintain full operation control of the build. All the “client” does is visit the site, keep an eye on things. Arsenal did this with Sir Robert McAlpine and the Emirates Stadium.

Teamwork and exemplary management made sure the award-winning Emirates Stadium was in a league of its own is the quote that go’s alongside details of the project on the McAlpine website.

Tottenham chose to have direct commercial relationships with individual subcontractors, which also meant it appointed Mace as construction manager rather than overall main contractor.

Some subcontractors have felt they were being “pinched” by the terms of these direct deals with the club. Tottenham pushing down the prices despite the cost of builds in London increases.

This led to some trades acting purely in their own interests, rather than also considering overall project progress, which led to further complications and delays. Cutting corners. Rushing jobs to get out of there.

Up against things financially, they did not want to spend any more time or resources on the project then they had to, and their work was unsupervised with Mace only able to “advise” subbies – normally onsite the main contractor would be at the top of the pyramid, in charge of all those below them. Instead everyone reports directly into the Tottenham project management team.

In construction, there is a long held theory of buy cheap, buy twice. It feels like by pushing down sub contractors and going for the cheapest possible options, the overall project is actually going to be way over budget. And it already extremely late.

At the time, Daniel Levy probably felt he was getting a good deal on the stadium, but as costs move past the £1bn mark and the stadium set not to open until 2019, the cheap route has ended up the wrong route.

And by maintaining full control, it seems the financial punishments for late delivery of a project that a main contractor would be liable to pay do not exist.

Keenos

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Tottenham New stadium chaos revealed as completion expected in 2019

The Construction News have exclusively revealed allegations that site chaos, confusion and ill-discipline lie behind the delays to Tottenham Hotspur’s £850m stadium.


“Stop what you’re doing!” cries a supervisor, halting the work of a gang of electricians on Tottenham Hotspur’s new £850m stadium.

The sudden stop is due to the appearance of workers from an air-conditioning subcontractor, who are carrying a large piece of metallic piping. These AC workers have turned up to finish their installation. The problem is, the electricians were told the AC work had already been completed.

As a result, all the work the electricians had done has to be torn out. This is made all the more frustrating by the fact that completed electrics, carried out on the exact same spot, had already been completely ripped out two weeks earlier for the same reason.

Electricians had worked all weekend to complete their work on this first occasion, only to discover on the Monday that the air-conditioning had not been installed. A fortnight later they think the AC has finally been finished; again they have to rip it out.

This is just one alleged instance of poor co-ordination and communication that sources working on the project have shared with Construction News (CN)  to help explain the stadium’s delay, announced last month.

Of all the stories CN has heard from project insiders, this one captures many of the principal problems alleged on the job.

Sources claim that an unclear management structure, chaotic organisation and poor communication led to mistakes – often by electrical subcontractors. They describe a huge site where small problems escalated rapidly. And compounding these programme setbacks were personnel issues, with reports of physical altercations and drug-taking on site.

Mace a ‘toothless lion’

Early into the project, Spurs took the decision to cut deals individually with subcontractors and appoint Mace as a construction manager to oversee the job.

By choosing to have a direct commercial relationship with individual companies rather than appointing an overall contractor, the club limited Mace’s liabilities on the scheme.

However, insiders have told CN this approach also limited Mace’s influence.

Multiple sources claim this arrangement led to subcontractors focusing only on completing their own tasks, without considering the wider implications for other trades or progress of the overall project. The lack of co-ordination or logistical planning frequently led to confusion on site and costly mistakes that delayed work significantly, the insiders claim.

Mace’s visibility on the site prior to the delay being announced was also limited, according to the sources. However, CN understands that Mace has maintained its staff numbers at similar levels thoughout the project, but that some of its personnel have increased their visibility on site since the delay was revealed.

The construction manager’s ability to control the actions of subcontractors is limited because it is only able to “advise” rather than instruct the trades on site. The lack of a commercial relationship changed the power dynamic between the construction manager and those on site, CN’s sources allege.

“They are like a toothless lion, they have got no claws and no teeth,” a source with in-depth knowledge of the management structure tells CN. “This situation is quite strange. [Mace] can only say, ‘This area is ready, could you please deploy someone and sort it out?’”

Further confusion has been caused by the presence of Tottenham Hotspur’s own project managers on the scheme. “I don’t really know who the construction managers really are – Mace? Tottenham?” the same insider says.

‘No communication’

Poor communication is a common claim in almost every problem described by CN’s onsite sources.

The lack of dialogue between trades on the scheme is said to have resulted in confusion between trades on site, compounded by the scale of the project and the number of subcontractors. “What should take a week normally takes a month, because of the sheer scale of it, but also because the communication is horrendous,” a source on the site tells CN.

As well as electrical wiring being ripped out on two occasions because of a lack of communication, CN has heard other alleged instances where the work of one subcontractor hindered that of another.

One further example was when a team of electricians is said to have tried to connect two sections of wiring, only to find that access had been blocked by the installation of a ceiling. Another alleged case saw an electrical subcontractor team arrive to work on executive boxes, which were understood by other subcontractors to have been completed.

“There was just no communication,” a source tells CN. “Everyone was rushing to finish their jobs; it didn’t matter whether the other ones did or not.”

Sparks fly

The electrical work on the project has received more scrutiny than any other part of the build.

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds has said “faulty wiring” was the cause of the stadium’s delay, and there has been repeated tabloid media coverage of the rates being paid to electricians on the site.

A number of sources on the project claim that electricians have been working in chaotic conditions, which only began to improve in the wake of the project’s official delay.

CN has heard how staff employed on the stadium felt unable to work effectively because they were not provided with the right tools for the job.

One worker tells CN how the platform they were working on to install ceiling wiring was not high enough to reach the spot they needed to. This meant they were constantly leaning over the edge, which they described as “difficult”.

They also claim they were unable to power their tools properly because the transformer provided only lasted for four hours, but they were working for 12. When they tried to charge the unit, they realised they had not been given the wires to do so.

The inability to get the materials on time and to order was another problem for gangs of electricians on the project. “Things would go wrong because people didn’t have materials,” one electrical source alleges.

The insider reports that vital materials ordered days in advance would not be delivered to the store, meaning advance planning was often scuppered and teams had to work ad-hoc based on whatever supplies were available.

“They should have known exactly what they needed for next week and had it there ready for then, but somehow it wasn’t done,” they claim. “We’d have to reorganise everything based on the information we were given that morning from the store. I’ve never in my life worked like that.”

Work was also delayed by the night-shift team taking equipment and supplies and leaving it in other parts of the site, insiders report. This meant that some days began with electrical subcontractors roaming the site looking for the equipment they had been using the day before.


Recent reports are that the stadium will not be ready for completion until “early 2019”. This increases the likelihood that Tottenham will be forced to play the entire season at Wembley.

As it was well known prior to season ticket renewals that the stadium will not be completed in time, you have to wonder if the Spurs are going to be investigated by the Advertising Standard Authority for false advertisement.

Especially their tube advert which claimed the new stadium would be the “only place in London to watch the Champions League”. Clearly now a false claim.

Keenos

Transfer fees set to become obsolete?

Twelve months ago a lot was being made in the press about the contract is Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

“1 year left, how have Arsenal got themselves into this position” were the cries at the time.

An interesting interview with Arsene Wenger gave a glimpse into what he believed was the future.

With dramatically increasing transfer fees, the former Arsenal boss was of the opinion that the future would see a lot more players winding down their contract and leaving for no transfer fee.

That clubs would offer shorter term deals to players 2 to 3 years, a player would do his time and move on.

It would provide security to the club – knowing that if a player signed a 3 year deal he was likely to see it out – and security to the player – knowing that if he fell out of favour, he could spend a year away on loan before moving on.

For those scoffing at the opinion, writing it off as a way Wenger justifies the clubs handling of the Ozil and Sanchez contract situations, let’s look at those contracts set to expire within the next 2 years:

Manchester United

2019

David de Gea*, Anthony Martial*, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian*, Antonio Valencia*, Ashley Young, Andreas Pereira

2020

Marcus Rashford*, Nemanja Matic*, Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini*, Lee Grant

*Contract contains option for a further year

Arsenal

2019

Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Nacho Monreal, Petr Cech, Stephan Lichtsteiner

2020

Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson

Manchester City

2019

Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Brahim Diaz

2020

Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Fernandinho, Fabian Delph, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Claudio Bravo

Tottenham

2019

Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Fernando Llorente, Michel Vorm

2020

Christian Eriksen, Vincent Janssen

Chelsea

2019

Cesc Fabregas, David Luiz, Olivier Giroud, Gary Cahill, Lucas Piazon, Willy Caballero, Robert Green

2020

Eden Hazard, Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro, Marco van Ginkel, Ethan Ampadu

Liverpool

2019

James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Alberto Moreno, Lazar Markovic

2020

Adam Lallana, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Clyne, Divock Origi

If you disregard the guys expiring in. 2020, you could easily build a competitive team with players whose contract expires in 12 months.

De Gea

Alderweireld Kompany Vertonghen

Milner Herrera Fabregas Shaw

Martial Ramsey

Giroud

I do not think transfer fees will become completely obsolete in the future. Teams will still want to sign players under contract. But what will happen is the majority of transfer will be free, or loan deals, and fees for players under contract will become astronomical.

The future could be upon us.

Keenos