Archive for August, 2011

Arsenal: Deluded in Wealth


Couple of weeks ago – can’t exactly remember with whom – we were talking about who would make a suitable replacement for Arsène Wenger in the event ‘it’ happens and names such as Martin O’Neil (for his commendable management of clubs running on tight budgets), Guus Hiddink (for obvious reasons) and Frank Rijkaard (as I felt his philosophy fits well to Arsenal’s) came up.

Yes Wenger’s shot the club’s stature to rocket heights since he arrived (the club is worth some $1.2b at the moment and has reached the lucrative Champions League group stage 14 successive years) but for whatever reason(s), this same man and club has settled for a policy that sees a teenager with no experience whatsoever at the top level (club and country) arrive for £15m when the likes of Steven Defour and Arturo Vidal cost their new clubs around the same amount.

So who’s deceiving who when same Arsenal that deems it most appropriate to spend a sum on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finds it difficult to do so in the very much needed instances of Gary Cahill, Christopher Samba and so on? I’ll just put it this way about Wenger… at another club, he would be out of a job and Jose Mourinho will gladly emphasise this point anytime, anywhere.

Take a Ibrahim Afellay for instance, what’s stopping Arsenal from getting he who cost Barcelona a mere €3m just over a year ago? He has had limited playing time ever since and really has no concrete future at the Nou Camp where that alien Lionel Messi is untouchable, Pedro stays consistent, Cesc Fàbregas and Alexis Sanchez have just arrived and a talented indigenous midfielder Thiago Alcantara is just itching for a starting spot? All that without mentioning Xavi, Andres Iniesta and probably Seydou Keita.

Alas, Arsenal can actually get the necessary, albeit more expensive yet much needed experienced players to solve this whole mess without fuss what with about £90m available in the transfer kitty (excluding whatever could be added from the prize money of reaching the Champions League group stage). So why players such as Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Cahill, Samba, Ricardo Montolivo (all linked to the club now and then) and others of such calibre are not Arsenal players yet miffs me.

If the club insists on being self righteous in an arena that has (sadly so I admit) long dropped the notion of basing the transfer value of a player on his experience, achievements and reputation (Andy Caroll’s a good player but he’s worth more than way too many strikers much better than him including teammate Luis Suarez), then nothing less than the six years going on seven without a trophy should be expected.

As for the dissipation we got at Old Trafford, worst I’ve ever felt being a Gooner since the 6-1 loss against same club in 2001 and I cannot feel sorry enough for Gooners who paid to watch the match live. To their credit, they sang on rather than boo the players at the end.

Never could I also ever imagine I’d witness an Arsenal side field some six players that cannot boast having ten appearances with the first team making the squad for a Premier League match against Manchester United. Really? You would do that against your arch-rivals?? Just quantifies mediocre the state of the club.

Problems at the club are bare to see, solutions to them even more so and the sooner the better because I’m in no mood to go two decades without a league title or any other major title at that.

This article birth as a mere comment at http://t.co/yV01ZLp but guess I had quite a bit to say hence the above. Sincerely yours, since late ’97 till the Mayan Calendar comes to pass or whenever after, I stay a proud Gooner!h whom – we were talking about who would make a suitable replacement for Arsène Wenger in the event ‘it’ happens and names such as Martin O’Neil (for his commendable management of clubs running on tight budgets), Guus Hiddink (for obvious reasons) and Frank Rijkaard (as I felt his philosophy fits well to Arsenal’s) came up.

Yes Wenger’s shot the club’s stature to rocket heights since he arrived (the club is worth some $1.2b at the moment and has reached the lucrative Champions League group stage 14 successive years) but for whatever reason(s), this same man and club has settled for a policy that sees a teenager with no experience whatsoever at the top level (club and country) arrive for £15m when the likes of Steven Defour and Arturo Vidal cost their new clubs around the same amount.

So who’s deceiving who when same Arsenal that deems it most appropriate to spend a sum on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finds it difficult to do so in the very much needed instances of Gary Cahill, Christopher Samba and so on? I’ll just put it this way about Wenger… at another club, he would be out of a job and Jose Mourinho will gladly emphasise this point anytime, anywhere.

Take a Ibrahim Afellay for instance, what’s stopping Arsenal from getting he who cost Barcelona a mere €3m just over a year ago? He has had limited playing time ever since and really has no concrete future at the Nou Camp where that alien Lionel Messi is untouchable, Pedro stays consistent, Cesc Fàbregas and Alexis Sanchez have just arrived and a talented indigenous midfielder Thiago Alcantara is just itching for a starting spot? All that without mentioning Xavi, Andres Iniesta and probably Seydou Keita.

Alas, Arsenal can actually get the necessary, albeit more expensive yet much needed experienced players to solve this whole mess without fuss what with about £90m available in the transfer kitty (excluding whatever could be added from the prize money of reaching the Champions League group stage). So why players such as Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Cahill, Samba, Ricardo Montolivo (all linked to the club now and then) and others of such calibre are not Arsenal players yet miffs me.

If the club insists on being self righteous in an arena that has (sadly so I admit) long dropped the notion of basing the transfer value of a player on his experience, achievements and reputation (Andy Caroll’s a good player but he’s worth more than way too many strikers much better than him including teammate Luis Suarez), then nothing less than the six years going on seven without a trophy should be expected.

As for the dissipation we got at Old Trafford, worst I’ve ever felt being a Gooner since the 6-1 loss against same club in 2001 and I cannot feel sorry enough for Gooners who paid to watch the match live. To their credit, they sang on rather than boo the players at the end.

Never could I also ever imagine I’d witness an Arsenal side field some six players that cannot boast having ten appearances with the first team making the squad for a Premier League match against Manchester United. Really? You would do that against your arch-rivals?? Just quantifies mediocre the state of the club.

Problems at the club are bare to see, solutions to them even more so and the sooner the better because I’m in no mood to go two decades without a league title or any other major title at that.

This article birth as a mere comment at http://t.co/yV01ZLp but guess I had quite a bit to say hence the above. Sincerely yours, since late ’97 till the Mayan Calendar comes to pass or whenever after, I stay a proud Gooner!

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Random Yarns: Transferred Prosperity…


Having such reservation on an adversary is understandable but it can be baffling when a person is not exactly in high spirits over the prosperity of their friend or colleague.

Few days ago while watching a movie on dear old 114, my little cousin came to me (busy scheming football manager tactics in the room) to ask what my reaction would be if my wife suddenly revealed to me that she has built a house?

Half conscious of even his presence let alone his question, I replied that I’d be happy and why not? I’m not a fan of being a tenant as I’m sure every other Nigerian is not too but that’s another little matter.

To my surprise, my cousin shakes his head at me and begins about why such a wife would embark on such capital grubbing project without putting the husband in the know. Besides, he continued, why should she be the one building the house?! (not his words in quote but basically what he said).

At this point I needed to tap the space bar and let the game allow me little time to access this. Did he have a problem with the woman of the house doing the ‘manly’ thing or was it just about her not letting him know about it till the house was built?

Right on cue like a striker’s foot on the end of a well dressed, defense shredding true pass ala Robin van Persie/Cesc Fàbregas, Wayne Rooney/Ryan Giggs… he said “why would she even build a house instead of using the money to help with upkeep”; and by upkeep, rent, food stuff and all.

Thankfully my cousin wasn’t being overly chauvinist though he wasn’t exactly being ambitious there. Besides, why couldn’t he see the issue as a case of transferred prosperity; my mind reversing the concept of transferred aggression.

Then again, the matter of egos arise though in my opinion there should be none of that between couples. In all this, I generally feel the couple should build the house together and leave such surprise packaging for a friend of the union.

In the event of one half of a marriage – husband or wife – coming up with such surprise package, that half should be prepared for whatever misgivings that may come from the other half.

As for the concept of transferred prosperity itself, it’s safe to say most of us have a knack of competition in-built otherwise there shouldn’t be a problem when a family member hits the jackpot on a lottery but that in-built nature would move one’s emotion to wishing it was himself/herself that got ALL that money instead of being hopeful of getting a small share from the big pot….

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The Rich Also Cry Mancini


It’s all fun and games until the City starts to fall apart and Manchester City may well need to check its excesses before it self-destructs owing ironically to its most potent weapon, near limitless wealth. Having been bought over by Sheikh Mansour, Manchester City has transformed into a feared adversary in the transfer market especially and more importantly on the pitch, though the latter remains arguable.

In any case, the oil riches have elevated City from mid-table obscurity under the likes of Steve McLaren and Sven Goran Eriksson to the lucrative top quarter of the league as well as Champions League football courtesy of its 3rd place finishing last season. This, coupled with high profile players being signed at will and pampered with wages pushing the line of absurd, certainly the club’s stature has improved surreally.

All that could however lead the club back to obscurity, given a more celebrated one, what with the pampered players such as Carlos Tevez and more recently Mario Balotteli giving the world a peek into the illusion that clouds the air at the Eastlands. Unfortunately, rather than trim its excesses, it may well be a fine manager in Roberto Mancini that will bear the repercussions while the brats stay on.

Mancini is known for being an excellent manager especially when it comes to resource management if I may put it that way. The Italian, since his managerial debut with Fiorentina, holds a record of reaching at least the semi-final of a Cup competition in every season he has managed a club. This includes Coppa Italia triumphs – in his only year at Fiorentina, at Lazio as well as four consecutive times at Inter Milan – as well as reaching the UEFA Cup semi-final with Lazio and winning the FA Cup last season at City.

Therefore his managerial abilities, tactic wise, remains very sound in my opinion but the other side of his abilities is in question. I believe Mancini’s main problem is being exposed to an obscene amount as transfer budget right after six seasons managing in a debt-riddled Serie A. He left Fiorentina with the club then perilously close to bankruptcy, Lazio was heavy in debt in the two otherwise successful seasons he spent at Rome and Inter Milan’s finances can be described as secure when he reigned at the San Siro and became their greatest manager in three decades with a complete lock down of the Italian league and cup titles.

So being able to thrive with little resources, Mancini was employed under the assumption he would properly manage a complete opposite of what he is used to. Alas, it has been a mess so far off the pitch and the level of ego at a club that pays at least £140,000 weekly to at least seven first team players with six more not far behind in earning at least £90,000 weekly leaves much to desire when it comes to the individuals being a team.

Egos then will see more players than not advocating to be left untouched in the first eleven at all times, some for all 90 minutes at all times even as Balotteli’s attitude seems, leaving dear old Mancini with the headache of what to do with; for example, his front line that at the moment comprises unsettled Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor, Edin Dzeko, Balotteli and new arrival Sergio Aguero without forgetting David Silva…

From the above, Adebayor can be left out seeing as he is determined to force a move away, one less source of migraine for Mancini there. And moving on, one may argue having good depth but there are times, a lot of times, when it is individual brilliance that rescues City from an embarrassing situation in a match as Tevez, Yaya Toure and maybe Silva can testify from last season’s performances. City surely can’t hope this would be the case all the time.

And in all this, Mancini still wants to add two players to the squad as quoted to stating last week and you start to wonder if there is a script at City…

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