Backlash! Arsene casts doubt on completing his current contract...

Not the result we wanted (nor the other relegation candidates apart from Hull City) on Saturday at Old Trafford. We would have loved to have rained on Yanited’s Premier League title parade. Still, we came away with our heads held high. Mind you, United decided to expend minimum effort with the Champions League Final against Barcelona coming rapidly into view.
Much as I detest Sir Red Nose’s arrogance and bad manners, you’ve got to hand it to the bloke. He’s a superb manager. If there’s one thing I can stand more than arrogance is somebody’s who arrogant with something to be arrogant about! Although he got off to a slow start at Old Trafford, he’s done a superb job there, as he did at Aberdeen beforehand, taking them to three Scottish League titles, breaking a fifteen season stranglehold of the Glasgow Old Firm, four Scottish FA Cups, a Scottish League Cup and a European Cup Winners’ Cup win over Real Madrid in a rain-soaked Gothenburg in 1983.
In some ways this achievement was even more remarkable than what he’s achieved at Manchester United. He had a fraction of the money available to him at Aberdeen than that at the disposal of Celtic and Rangers. He still made Aberdeen a power to be reckoned with. An unlikeable and flawed man in many ways, but a winner to his core. It would be churlish than do other than congratulate him on winning yet another League title for the red side of Manchester.
The Glazer family must send daily prayers heavenwards that he remains healthy and hungry for more success. The Americans have constructed a financial house of cards which will be blown over the moment the success and the money dries up, as it will at some stage. No dynasty lasts forever. Who would have thought that Liverpool, which swept all before it at home and in Europe in from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s, would go nineteen seasons without a League title? True they won the Champions League in 2005 (just, after being 3-0 down to Milan at half time in Istanbul); but it’s been a long time between drinks in the League.
Whether we like it or not, United has set the standard both at home and in Europe. As Fàbregas The King said in his blog yesterday, it’s up to us to chase them and catch up. For the first time in Arsčne Wenger’s nearly thirteen years at the club I have a doubt in my mind whether he’ll be around for too much longer. Over the weekend, two of Spain’s big sports dailies As and Marca, reported Arsčne as saying that Florentino Pérez’s “project” for Real Madrid, advanced as part of his campaign to re-assume the club presidency in elections on 14 June coming, would be “interesting for any manager”. He went on to say that “Normalmente, yo suelo terminar mi contrato” (“Normally, I complete my contracts.”) Is this the first sign that Wenger has had enough of the constant criticism of him and his methods at Arsenal from a section of the Gooner Nation? I sincerely hope not. Those who want him out should be VERY careful what they wish for. I do think the club has shot itself in the foot yet again in public relations terms by clumsily censoring the shareholders’ question and answer session with the manager before transmitting it on Arsenal TV. The attitude to information in the club’s media department remains positively Leninist. A big, big mistake.
Those seekers after truth at the Mail on Sunday report that that the Arsenal board meeting last Thursday established a transfer fee budget of £13 million, plus additional sums to upgrade the contracts of Cesc Fàbregas and Robin van Persie. I’ve no idea how true this is, but it does sound about right to me.
Last summer’s dealings ended up about square with the ins and outs and we laid out around £15 million in January for Andrey Arshavin. We’ve also just re-signed Theo Walcott on a new four year deal which will have cost a good few quid I would have thought. With the expected boost in working capital from the sale of flats at the old ground not expected any time soon with the recession, there isn’t a lot of cash available just sitting in an account waiting to be spent. The board would also be very silly if it planned for anything other than a dip in corporate hospitality and merchandising income.
We clearly need to strengthen but I don’t expect the club the go on a mad spending spree. If you believe the press speculation, something that both Ivan Gazidis and Arsčne Wenger counselled against at two separate question and answer sessions at the ground last week, then Robin van Persie is stalling on signing a new contract worth around £3.64 million a year. IF that’s true, the club is right to dig in its heels. Van Persie is clearly a very gifted player, but he seems to have chocolate legs. Any offer to him should make him a very big earner IF he puts in the appearances and the club does well on the park. Payment by results should be the order of the day. If that’s not good enough he should bugger off, in my humble opinion. We only want willing soldiers.
Many out there in the Arsenal blogosphere and on phone-ins are calling for the board to pump cash in. Let’s be clear about this. As I wrote last week, any new cash would have to come in the form of a gift to the club or a new share issue. The conditions of the loan re-negotiated after the completion of the ground has very strict conditions written in about the cash balances we have to maintain. The only way around that is a gift or new equity capital.
In any event I’m still not convinced that splashing the cash like a drunken sailor on shore leave will bring the success and trophies we all crave. I’ve gone over this ground in detail before so won’t re-state my case. I am worried about the word “normally” in Arsčne’s statements reported in the Spanish press, assuming them to be accurate.
All I say to those wanting Arsčne out is:  be careful what you wish for.
Keep the faith!

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