The kind people at Arsenation enquired as to whether I had anything to say about transfer rumours. I sat down and thought. Nothing came. I thought a little longer. Still nothing came. The reason for my mental blankness, apart from my own intellectual limitations, was simple: there was absolutely nothing concrete to talk about.
Arsenal, particularly at executive level, does not seem to be particularly interested in this unseemly business called the transfer market. Yet there are rumours – ah, those shadowy pieces of journalistic ephemera – that point to a little panic. The board appear to be worried that if Arsenal falls out of the top four they will lose money. Really? You don’t invest in the team and it gets weaker: who’d have guessed it?
There is an old saying in business: you have to speculate to accumulate. Arsenal appear to be speculating that if the entire business model that keeps Chelsea, Man United, Man City, PSG, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona collapses, then they will come out on top. It’s a nice theory. The problem with waiting for the flood is that your own vessel might be so badly holed below the water line when it comes that you too might get drowned in the deluge.
Overwrought biblical metaphors aside, there are rumours. We have been linked with Zaha from Crystal Palace and a winger who actually can, and wants to, play on the wing would be nice. But how long before he grows up and we sell him on in the mode of Adebayor, Clichy, Nasri, Fabregas, Van Persie or Song. There are rumours about another striker such as Llorente but will we really pay him more than Juventus – a side that is currently the strongest in its domestic league? There are rumours about a young Macedonian kid whose very handy in midfield for a fifteen year old but will he ever deliver or show any greater loyalty than Adebayor, Clichy, Nasri, Fabregas, Van Persie or Song.
So what of the double-bluff? The board seems to be making a calculation. How little can we spend before the fans go completely mental? I don’t know the answer to this question. There are rumours – ah yes, those again – that January might signal a turning point as this start to the season has been so obviously disastrous. But we heard that last season and nothing really happened in January. If action is taken by the summer will it be too late? I am aware there are too many question here but unanswered question is all the fans are left with at the moment. That and a team filled with injury-prone players (Diaby, Gibbs, Rosicky) whose absence appear to be tolerated by the caching staff for some unknown reason.
All in all, the transfer rumour-mill is somewhat static in Arsenal’s case at the moment. Fans are wondering if it is Wenger’s fault or the fault of the board. I have no idea and nobody but the people inside the club really know either. All we can do is wait but nobody’s patience is infinite. If Arsenal beat Spurs tomorrow it will alleviate the pressure for a while but it will only paper over the cracks. Nobody is stating that Arsenal have pockets as deep as their rivals but something does need to change. Will it? Keep watching the football – but try to ignore the newspaper columns for a while!