Retail therapy for the Arsenal.

September 3, 2011 26 Comments by Sian

Scoring averages for the team this season have been rubbish, and so have my blogging averages. I apologise. In my Mertesacker-enforced defence, I’ve had a busy summer and I am also a one-woman band. Lots of other blogs have guest bloggers, but I’m just me. Maybe I should HAVE guest bloggers? Not to be sexist, but since the title is ‘From a GIRL who loves the Gunners’, maybe my guest blogger(s) should be girlies too? I don’t know. That MIGHT be a bit discriminatory. But then again, FAGWLTG has hips and dainty feet and plucked eyebrows and emotional hormone-induced outbursts and knows that this is part of the charm. If any of you chicas are interested, leave a comment, maybe? I completely just thought that idea up as I wrote it, by the way, so we’ll have to work the details of that one out if anyone IS interested.

ANYWAY.

There have been no matches since the dog’s dinner that was Sunday, but there has been a lot of movement within the camp of Arsenal. It was a bit allergy-inducing for an Arsenal fan, actually. We get a bit itchy nosed and tickly eared at the thought of ONE new player joining us. Two gets the throat twitching. So not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE players coming in post-Manchester bomb drop really did batter the nasal passage.

Let’s list them: In addition to Carl Jenkinson (Charlton Athletic), Gervinho (Lille), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton) and Joel Campbell (Saprissa?) plus babies Hector Bellerin (BarceHEAVElona) and Jon Miquel Toral (in February, but still from BarceHEAVElona), in the closing days of the transfer window, we signed:

- Chu Young Park (AS Monaco) 

- Andre Santos (Fenerbahce)

- Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen)

- Yossi Benayoun (Chelsea – loan)

- Mikel Arteta (Everton)

It’s difficult to say how crazy the last few days of the transfer window were, because from a Gooner’s point of view, anything is exciting. Remember last year, when we ended up begging for the signing of 56-year-old Mark Schwarzer from Fulham? Or January, when we signed precisely no one?

The work permit of Ryo Miyaichi also became… er, valid? In existence? What’s the correct terminology in terms of a work permit? So that’s good. In other permitty news, Joel Campbell will have to spend the season on loan at Lorient Koscielny because his is not yet valid or in existence. Pardon my ignorance in terms of a work permit, but in my simple little mind, surely the only qualifiers are that a.) you exist and b.) you have evidence of a job. How much more evidence of a job does one need than a nation of football fans discussing the suitability of a person for a job without having seen him play?

But in any case, it was a bit of a mad one. The Mertesacker one especially really did come a bit out of the blue. I got off my (delayed as usual) Victoria line train at Victoria on Tuesday morning to find the Twittersphere alight with mentions of our brand new lengthy German. Admittedly, I know little of him beyond the fact he’s tall, German, has a lot of caps for Germany, was captain of Werder Bremen, and has a cool sounding name. I do also remember that at some point people were SCREAMING for the signing of him a while back. I remember this due, once again, to the cool sounding name.

He’s tall, he’s big, he’s experienced and he’s German. There is not a single thing not brilliant  about this description! He’s also apparently a long term admirer of the Arse having returned to Germany with an Arsenal shirt in his hands after a trip to England made in his youth. People called out for a centre back and they got one. People called out for height and they got some. People called out for experience and they got some. I don’t see how there can be too many arguments in this one. Obviously, you can’t judge before you’ve seen… we could sign Iniesta and he might be crap in rain, so as my little sister Evie keeps grown up-ly saying ‘The proof is in the pudding’. Many people would have sooner had Gary Cahill. I do wonder how many people thought of Cahill before the papers told us we should be thinking of Cahill. He has a lot less caps for England (who are a lot less good than Germany), and also had only one year left on his contract. Unless he leaves in January (possibly to us), he may now leave on a free in the summer – I say may because obviously he might stay and I also heard something about Bolton having an extension option on his contract this morning. May be bollocks though. But anyway, if this is untrue, then that’ll teach Phil Gartside not to be so slutty with his retweet button.

The signing of Santos was also from nowhere. He’s taken a particularly frightening photo on the website so far, so that can only bode well. I’ve heard mixed reviews of him, but again listen to my wise and gorgeous sister’s views on proofs and puddings.

The craziest day was most definitely Wednesday. At about 3pm, suddenly the names Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun were being slung about. So was the name of Bayer Leverkusen’s Renato Augusto, which is possibly the best name to have ever been given. I might call my son Renato. Would have to marry a foreign man first though, English people with exotic names just get bullied. Sian is not exotic, it is Welsh.

Suddenly, at about 6pm, the Arteta deal was off and we were only getting Benayoun. Well, the Goonersphere went off on a right wobbly! “Shambles! Joke! Laughing stock! Pathetic! Wankaaaaaahhhhhhs!” is all that was to be heard. I was confident, however, that it would all work out in the end. So confident, in fact, that I toddled off to the cinema to watch Anne Hathway’s accent in One Day (nice film, by the way, didn’t affect my views of the book and was still a tearjerker but OH GOD THE ACCENT).

Anyway, I nervously checked my phone throughout. Nothing was going down. The film finished, and my friend and I walked back to the car. The first tweet I received on the matter was from a depressed Everton fan asking me to look after ‘our little Spaniard’. My heart leapt, before it fell. We’d signed Arteta? But… but… we NEVER sign people I like! The last one I liked was Juan Mata and, well.

But apparently we’d signed Arteta. I wanted to laugh, because I just KNEW Wenger and chums had something up their sleeve. I just KNEW the people who’d dedicated their pasty little summers to their computers pretending like they knew what they were doing, would ultimately be wrong. And I was glad about Arteta, because I think he’s brilliant. Benayoun, also, seems to have been very underestimated by the Arsenal fans so far. I’d love for him to prove everyone a little bit wrong.

The only thing that soured the signing of Arteta (once it was confirmed), was looking at the timelines of the few Everton fans I follow. They were devastated. I probably wouldn’t have had the greatest empathy of this, had we not just been through the summer of doom with Cesc. I had to stop looking, because it made me feel too horrible. I love Everton. Moyes’s comments toward Cesc last season (shut up bitters, I still love him) and offside goals aside, I really do like them. I don’t know why, I just do. Obviously, we’re now going to play them and something will happen that creates actual civil war in the United Kingdom, but at this point I still like them. I hope they’re OK this season. And if any Everton fans happen to be reading this, I’m sorry we took your man. We know what it’s like to lose a beloved. But he has been very very classy throughout the whole process and the fact all the Everton fans so far seem to be wishing him well and missing him, surely bodes well for the future for us. I like that’s he’s not an arsehole. He’s also quite fit. That’s never unwelcomed by me.

There has been little news otherwise, because we’re in the depths of the international period of shite. I’m interested to hear the views of fans with regard to our summer though. What do you think of it? Had we signed the lot we signed on Wednesday in June, would people still be thinking of them as panic-buy quality? I think that in summary, June to early August was awful. Then we suddenly (perhaps as a result of force) woke up and did something. I’m much more confident looking at the squad now than two weeks ago. It also shows you how crucial qualifying for the Champions League was in terms of attracting players.

Swansea next, at home. I’m looking forward to it.

26 Comments

  1. Mark Ellison
    2180 days ago

    Well written as always!

    I want to hate Arteta as an Everton fan but I can’t as he such a good guy as well as great player. Appreciate him as player and class human being

    Reply

  2. Seàn
    2180 days ago

    Excellent piece hopefully the giant will do a job at the bk and arteta will show his class in a team that plays ball, i also reckon yossi.cud produce some good stuff in a team that plays da ball to his feet

    Ps where can i find a girl like u in ireland??? No gooners this side of the pond :(

    Reply

  3. piken79
    2180 days ago

    good post, looking forward to the season as well…I believe we will surprise a lot of people by finishing 2nd or 3rd…if we had bought these guys mid summer I would have gone for first but there is going to be that adjustment period for the new boys. Up the Arsenal!

    Reply

  4. Georgie
    2180 days ago

    Sian, in all honesty if you were told in may we would lose cesc, nasri, clichy and bendtner and we would sign arteta, beanyoun, Gervinho and park chu young, would you have been pleased? Not abusing or being smart, genuine interest! Enjoyed the read!

    Reply

    • Sian
      2175 days ago

      Wouldn’t have mattered who we’d have bought, I’d have bee gutted to have lost Nicky B, we all know this ;)

      Reply

    • Sian
      2175 days ago

      *Been, not bee. See, so devo’ed!

      Reply

  5. ed
    2180 days ago

    first off brilliant article. funny too.

    comments on signings.

    signing mertesacker = better than cahill. thanks bolton for rejecting our bid. also thanks everton for rejecting our bid for jagielka. other PL cbs we were linked to dann and samba. thank whoever that we didnt actually buy them.

    havent seen much of santos but he seems to be able to run. hopefully he gets good protection from his LW.

    J.Y. park looked good for south korea yesterday. looks like he’d do better at CF instead of on the wing so may be played out of position.

    benayon looked good when at liverpool, didnt do well for chelsea. did have a terrible injury tho. think his experience will be needed. and he can certainly make goals.

    arteta was my favourite everton player. has a good shot on him, can pass well, isnt particularly fast but then neither is/was cesc.

    i like everton too. i like moyes (albeit his comments last season i did not) he is a good manager. they have some good players too. baines, cahill, coleman and a few others

    Reply

  6. GunnaFiya
    2180 days ago

    There is something slightly intriguing about an intelligent girl-who-loves-the-gunners with the exotic sounding(welsh) name Sian who writes brilliant articles like that! Seriously, what is there not to like about that? *hopes you’re not hideous or fat*

    P.s. The gunners will be fine. Summer signings are super qualiteeeeeee!

    Reply

    • Sian
      2175 days ago

      This comment made me laugh out loud! I’m not fat, I’m pretty sure I’m not hideous but you’ll have to check my Twitter to see! And yes, they are qwwwality!

      Reply

  7. Gabi
    2180 days ago

    Heya Siany,

    Brilliant blog as always. I’m a long-time reader, but rarely comment as I feel I have little to add to the perfect completeness that is your articles. I’ll make an exception this time though!

    Firstly, I LOVE our signings. I think the only thing panicky about them was when they were bought (and as you rightly point out that could have a lot to do with Champions League qualification, not just the Doom at OT). As to the quality of the players themselves, they are all older, proven, experienced, fill the positions that were crying out to be filled, and most of them have captained either their club or country. Plus the three that will likely slot right into our first XI are a Spaniard, German and Brazilian internationals. Not too shabby at all.

    I was quite worried about us two weeks ago, but now I truly fear for Swansea. Bring on that season!

    Secondly, I am also a girl who loves the Gunners. I think that qualifies me to have a crack at this assistant-blogger thing? If you’d take me? Maybe email me to let me know what you had in mind exactly :) Also if it adds to my resume at all, I’m Australian so I’m nearly always awake when you’re asleep and asleep when you’re awake – we could tag-team to cover all the important news as it happens? Or something. Heh. Anyway let me know!

    Up the Arse!
    -Gabi

    Reply

  8. Girl Gunner
    2180 days ago

    As usual sian,nice blog!!!
    I loved the signing of per mertesacker,and he is tall!!
    In general we signed quality players and can’t wait for the next match!!!
    Sorry to all the everton fans!!
    Anyways, again,love the blog!!
    The gunners,up,up,up and away :)

    Reply

  9. Girl Gunner
    2180 days ago

    PS: excuse the over-usage of exclamation point…
    Was a bit over-excited :)

    Reply

    • Sian
      2175 days ago

      ;) Sometimes we need an exclamation mark (!!!)

      Reply

  10. irishgray
    2180 days ago

    Once again a great article Sian :) And I find myself in full agreement with you when you say sorry Everton fans as we lost Cesc so we know full well the pain of losing a payer so well loved. With regards to the new players that came in and if it was “panic” buying or not, I would have to say no. I believe we were in for one or maybe even two more players besides the ones we did end up buying but they decided against signing for us because Nasri and Cesc both left. It was that and the uncertainty over CL football that delayed our ability to sign new players. I honestly feel that if we had finished even one position higher then we did and were automatically qualified for the CL, then Cesc would have played one more year for us. Nasri was turned to the dark side a long time ago and was always a lost cause.

    The players we have brought in are top class. Arteta is sorely needed in midfield, especially when JW is out. Mertesekker is a beast of a CB and will relish the likes of Stoke and Blackburn who like to “get stuck in”. Santos is a dead ball specialist so we will finally get some quality crosses from the left, some goals too I would wager. Banayoun never quits and has great ball control and dribbling skills, a bit past his prime it must be admitted but is only on a loan so should be a great piece of business by the end of the season. As for Park? He is exactly what we have needed for a while. Sorry Sian but in as much as I liked NB52 he never did make his case in the way RVP did, yet wanted equal billing. Now he has stated he will never come back to play for us again, sad really. Park however is a human dynamo and although nowhere near as big as NB52, is extremely quick footed and has excellent ball-control-skills. Finally a partner that RVP will relish playing alongside.

    All in all I will miss Eboue more than any other, but life goes on. Would love to win something this year just to shut up the critics and idiot pundits and with the team we now have I think we have a fair chance.

    Reply

  11. El Greco
    2180 days ago

    Thanks for the Blog, Sian – enjoyable reading, once again, without having you having to report on another dismal result:-)

    The good thing about a few of the signings that came outta the ‘blue’, ‘left field’, ‘fell from the sky’ etc. is knowing that, to a large degree, so did Viera, Pires, Henry and many more!
    We all know that Arsene has a great record for bringing in so-called unknowns, sprinkling a bit of fairy dust ove their heads and…..hey presto!

    Reply

  12. Mina
    2180 days ago

    Nice post. For me the signings are really good, not many could argue that our summer transfer business could be better, specially if we started to be that active earlier and avoid a terrible start to the season but it’s always better late than never.

    I’m very optimistic now about our season, it’s a shame how we’re drifted from the league that early but the season is recoverable. I had been watching Mertesacker quite often with Bremen and Germany until a year ago or so, an excellent defender and for me, he’s better than Vermaelen but he’ll definitely need time to adapt to the EPL and the team playing style (though Werder Bremen’s style is relatively close to Arsenal). Arteta is an excellent playmaker and free-kick specialist and will find his place easily with us. Benayoun is also a very talented attacking midfielder and I wish he came sooner. Any average LB for me was welcome so can’t complain about the international Brazilian who I haven’t seen before, many fans including me hoped for Baines but who knows, Santos might turn out to be far better than him, another Sagna would be great for me.

    I know many would disagree but I think Cesc and Nasri departures aren’t that massive. We spent most of the time last 2 seasons without Cesc for his hamstring problems and Nasri couldn’t keep a consistent form for a whole single season. We all knew Cesc was going to leave one day sooner or later, it was a mistake to assign him captaincy and put all hopes about silverware on him which led to the huge depression among fans and teammates now. I love Wenger, I really do, but failing to find anyone who can be a team captain but a 21-year old Spaniard who was going to leave at some point anway really summed up his assembled team last 4 years.

    Reply

  13. Daniel
    2180 days ago

    The strange thing is about that day was that when Arteta was first mentioned, I felt he got a luke warm reaction. Then when the deal was off, people seemed a bit put out. Then when it was only going to be Yossi – who I think is a great addition to the squad, someone to use when we lack that final third cleverness – people were going barmy. Then when the Arteta deal was back on, everything was salivating and spitting blood going “CCCOOOME ON YESSS, MIKEL MMMMM!” etc.

    It was all strange and admittedly I was thinking that Cesc out and Yossi in would have been a total shame but Arteta? That’s a different kettle of fish. We’re 17th in the league and need someone to come in and straight away make a difference – Mikel is that man. And ALSO his wife is smokin’.

    Nothing more to add on the others as you said it all pretty darn perfectly.

    I’d also like to point out that I wrote a guest blog here once upon a time but I think you’d do well to keep it to yourself as you have such a brilliant style and sense of character running through each blog. I could be wrong though, it may be a great idea! Just don’t panic buy any new bloggers ;)

    Reply

    • El Greco
      2180 days ago

      ‘smokin’?……wot, roll-ups, cigars?

      sorry – couldn’t resist it:-)

      Reply

      • El Greco
        2180 days ago

        Yeah, spot on, Daniel – ‘Smokin’ best describes Mrs Mikel!

        Reply

        • Daniel
          2179 days ago

          Damn straight!!! ;)

          Reply

    • Sian
      2175 days ago

      I have chosen my guest bloggers well, dear Daniel… I hope you will like them!

      Reply

  14. irishgray
    2179 days ago

    El Greco & Daniel – Have to agree she is smokin’ hot :)

    Reply

  15. FunGunner
    2179 days ago

    Another intelligent and entertaining article, Sian. Thanks very much – how nice to read so much common sense and perspective from one so young. Naturally I agree with almost every word of it. (Can’t stand Moyes, but do respect the club.)

    I too am very pleased with our signings – love the bit in the article about Per, by the way. Very good business. As you say, Cahill’s a good player, but not at that price. Funny thing is, I think Bolton really DID want to sell him but they are complete numpties when it comes to negotiating. How unprofessional was Gartside’s tweet? Hope the sneering was worth the £8-10 million it ended up costing.

    What I find interesting is that our new signings are being viewed as representing a change of direction for Arsenal. I really can’t see it like that. Our forwards are mobile and versatile, even Santos is a more effective version of Traore, I am told. Even Per, the defence pole, played in a team which kept a very high defensive line. We have brought in more height and more speed and will be less reliant on one particular player, but we are still going to be playing Wengerball.

    Reply

  16. Irishgray
    2177 days ago

    Sian, you mentioned maybe having a guest blogger, I would like to take this opportunity to volunteer FunGunner :) She is a diehard Arsenal fan and knows how to string a fair few points together(especially when she gets pissed off!! :) . ) Would be a win-win all round, just sayin’!!

    Reply

    • Sian
      2175 days ago

      Tell her to get in touch!

      Reply

      • irishgray
        2175 days ago

        Will do :)

        Reply

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