TGIF: Not quite a Wenger free zone but almost!

PGL: Well, well it’s been a one hell of a week. Every Gooner under the sun came out and had something to say about the offer Mr. Wenger had been made from Madrid. There seemed to be three groups, A: Those of us who desperately wanted him to stay, B: Those of us who desperately wanted him to go, and C: Those of us who thought he’d earned the right to do what he wanted. I’m firmly in Group A, delighted he’ll be guiding us again next year. Group B, today I’m on bended knee. Do not let this issue divide us. Please lets convert the passion we all showed in the debate into more passionate support. It’s not that long ago that United fans were questioning old whiskey nose and look where they are now.
To those who thought the Insider Petition was pointless, FTK informs me word of the efforts of he and all here at Arsenalinsider.com have reached Le Boss, so please don’t ever forget, ‘fan power’ works both ways…
 
PGL: The really big issue has been Le Boss but there’s no point in talking round in circles, what needed to be said on the matter has been said.. So lets get onto our new away kit! Firstly, FTK’s version was pretty close, the pinstripe was spot on! Shame about the colour! I, for one, am delighted that we won’t be wearing white again. I found that whole white kit very unnerving. Abusing the Spuds whilst wearing white just did not sit right with PGL. Colour issues aside, I think it’s a sweet looking kit. My favourite shot is the one of Cesc and Andrey, something tells me these to will be one of our greatest partnerships ever.
There is also the not so small matter of the FA youth cup final being played tonight. The next generation will be showing us what they are all about on the biggest stage available to them. I’d love to see the kids win this one over the two legs. Winning things is a habit and the sooner this bunch get into that habit the better.
Word has it that we’ll see the young Italian lad in goal against Stoke. Lets hope he’s been practicing catching long throws!
FTK: Well said PGL! Further to the Arsenalinsider petition and the RedAction show of support for Arsene Wenger on the Cannon Roundabout outside the Armoury at 3.30pm on Sunday, Arsene can be reassured that he is wanted at Arsenal Football Club. He will be seeing the petition this morning and other e-mails of support. The club made me aware of this, and it has been reported in the major newspapers such as the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph The Friday press conference at London Colney will be dominated by journalists asking him about his position at the club.
I have the view of one inside source that indicates the line will be of calm reassurance and what was all the fuss about? It is thought that Arsene Wenger will state that he has never at any time publicly voiced his intention to leave Arsenal Football Club and not to forget that he remains under contract. He will reconfirm the need for the club to live within its resources and his admiration for his squad of players. He may well confirm that he is aware of the fans support having been sent to him. With that response the Journos will undoubtedly press him upon his alleged meetings with Real Madrid, so I cannot wait to see the footage of this press conference.
The new away kit style (Stripes and Collar) that I exclusively revealed on this site is exactly as the version released by the club but in Midnight Blue. Doubters of the accuracy of my artists impression need to look at the dark lines which highlight the collar and the bottom of the sleeves. I was also the only blogger to indicate the existence of the Blue kit on TGIF. Well done on your excellent animated title image!
The first leg of the FA Youth Cup should be an opportunity for fans to see the quality of the up and coming players such as Emmanuel Frimpong, Jack Wilshere who may recover from injury to make an appearance, and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas our prolific goal scoring Kanu look alike. Midfielders Coquelin and Sunu are two French players that I rate very highly. Also ones for the future are the accomplished defenders Luke Ayling and Kyle Bartley.  Steve Bould is hoping that 30,000 fans should be in the Emirates will help the players develop. The match is also being televised live on Setanta, a measure of the importance of the two clubs Liverpool and Arsenal, and don’t forget that the second leg to be played at Anfield will fall on May 26th, the 20th Anniversary of that famous Title win by George Graham. Away goals will not count double in the event of a draw, so don’t panic if Paul Ince’s highly talented son Thomas scores.
Another Big Issue just breaking is the clearing of Cesc Fabregas in the “Spitgate” controversy. The FA disciplinary panel has ruled that our captain has no case to answer. This is bound to be greeted by wide smiles all round.
 
PGL: The budget being touted for our summer spending is, to be frank, worrying. Most of us were crying out for a new centre half to come in last summer, but the one we seemed most interested in Zapata was quoted at 18 million, and the guys price will not have dropped over the course of this season so we will need to be looking at plan B, C and D during the window. My personal choice for a CB would be one that comes with Prem experience but with the prices we’ve already been hearing I’m not sure that will happen. Song and Toure last Saturday, however, did look like a good pairing. Maybe Song will move back permanently to make room for another midfield player? There is also a final decision to be made on Senderos. What ever happens (sorry FTK I’m nicking you maxim!) next season ‘success must start at the back.
I’m still not as convinced as others that Ade will move on, what I am convinced of is that if he stays he will have to fight Bendtner each week for a starting birth. The Dane has proved me wrong, very wrong, over he course of this season and I now believe he will make it at the Emirates. Competition will be strong up front next season, and competition is key.
One thing I’d really like to see during the summer is for our business do be done swiftly. We should be out of the transfer market by July… please, please no more last minute deals!
FTK: The £13 million transfer budget has been confirmed to me as an accurate figure, despite the rubbishing of this figure by certain Insiders. The resolution of this dispute between Arsene Wenger and Board will need to be handled positively by Ivan Gazidis. The fans need to know that Arsene Wenger wants more money for decent transfers such as for instance £15 million for the Fulham centre back Brede Hangerland. It is thought that this is part of the reason for Arsene Wenger to seriously consider his future at the club. Some observers have suggested that Arsene Wenger never had any intention of leaving Arsenal Football Club, and that this dalliance with Real Madrid was more a shot across the bows of the Board to get an increase in the transfer budget. Whatever t he real reason for Arsene Wenger’s mindset, interested historians of Arsenal Football Club will be begging Arsene to write his memoirs about the truth of whether he has had money to spend or not during his tenure at Arsenal.
Currently Arsenal have 13 players out on loan, and one needs to understand why Arsene Wenger’s egalitarian wage structure leads Arsenal to have the third highest wage bill in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger has hinted that part of the way that he funds transfers is by reselling our young talent. The transfer value is influenced by the salary currently being received by the players. In essence by having young players highly paid, buying clubs will have to pay handsomely for the right to buy that player. This provides good income for the club.  If Arsenal fans wish to see the most accurate figures for the amounts spent by the top clubs over the last few seasons, then I can recommend the KPMG transfer monitor  which is packed full of figures and comparisons. This publication confirms that the credit crunch has hit transfer spending generally with some estimates of the totals being almost halved in the most recent transfer window. Arsenal’s apparent lagging behind in established acquisitions may be due in part to the high cost of players driven by agents and player salaries. Players at the peak age of 25-28 command the biggest fees, hence the emphasis on youth by Arsene Wenger. KPMG states that…

On average Premiership clubs pay a premium price for forwards over all other positions. The average fee for a Premiership forward was £10.0 million which compares to average fees of £2.4 million for goalkeepers, £4.5 million for defenders and £4.4 million for midfielders.
• Players in the 25–28 year old age group command the highest average transfer fees when purchased by Premiership clubs. A player in the 25-28-year-old age group will be bought for an average fee of £6.8 million which compares to an average fee of £3.4 million that will be paid for players in the 29–31-year-old age category.

The increased Broadcasting revenues given to the Premier Leagues are part of the problem. With the Premier league likely to become the only truly global sporting franchise, these revenues are not likely to fall as Peter Scudamore has got this ingenious blind auction that obliges the likes of BSkyB and Setanta to pay premium rates to avoid losing the coverage of live Premiership games in the UK to newcomers such as ESPN. There are benefits to football fans as well in the shape of increased coverage of the Italian and German leagues on terrestrial TV channels. The Football league as a whole suffers from relative lack of investment as this figures from the KPMG transfer monitor reveals
 
Considering the £200 million turnover of Arsenal Football club, having a wage bill of £100 million will need to be addressed if no further funding enters the club. This where Vic Crescit’s excellent blog yesterday exposed the greed of the major shareholders. I can exclusively report that the Takeover Panel’s report will reject any claim from Red and White holdings of Danny Fiszman and Stanley Kroenke acting in concert, and therefore being obliged to takeover the club. Red and White Holdings have been outflanked by these moves, which are much to do with Danny Fiszman’s retirement fund and cashing in on high Arsenal share values as any long term aspiration of Stanley Kroenke to buy the club. The very absence of a “genuine” fan with big pockets on the Board means that charitable gifts will not happen. This means that the only way to raise the badly needed injection of funds will be via a rights issue.
Alisher Usmanov has already indicated his readiness to inject £10 million into the club to provide a fighting fund for Arsene Wenger. If the status quo is to be maintained in terms of shareholdings then all the other three major shareholders would have to match this sum. This lifeline is being obstructed by the wariness of the Board over Usmanov’s real intentions, and the fact that the only means that this cash injection can take place is by a rights issue that would immediately devalue the current holdings of the other major shareholders. Having seen the profits made by her adversary Danny Fiszman, Lady Nina is likely not agree to her percentage of share ownership falling along with the share price, so there is currently an impasse. Unless the other major shareholders can be persuaded to part with £10 million, something I have repeatedly called for, then Ivan Gazidis will have to raise the funds elsewhere through increasing marketing revenues. He has started well by announcing a new Arsenal Soccer School in Oil rich Dubai.
All this means finally is that Adebayor will have to be sold in order to fund the desperately needed experienced defender and defensive midfielder transfer fees this summer. Giving Arsene an expected budget of around £35 million if other smaller deals go through and Adebayor is sold for around £ 17 million, the considered likely valuation of the player. Adebayor could well end up at our rivals Chelsea, once Ancelotti is appointed. The Daily Mirror is even suggesting that he will not play on Sunday against Stoke City. If this is the case, then his departure will happen quickly. Adebayor has looked after Adebayor, and I laugh when I recall his quote that he would play for Arsenal for nothing… But he has scored some great goals and I wish him well as long as he doesn’t score against us next season.
 

Irish Guy Predicts GW14 Premier League Results

“There’s nothing to worry about, it’s not an issue for me. I’m staying here.”

PGL: The shortest but probably the most important quote to appear on TGIF. As I said earlier, I’m not all that interested in getting into the debate again, what I want to know is how so much of our business has been played out on the back pages this season. The season started with the Nasri deal being in every paper and ended with the quote above. Next season, the off field change I’d like to see more than any other next season, is Arsenal doing things quietly again.

FTK: Hear hear to that PGL, and I also want us to get back to high paced beautiful one touch passing game. If Barcelona can play like this next Wednesday in the Champions League Final, then the “ethos” of playing the “Arsenal way” will be vindicated.
 
PGL: Denilson was excellent against United. He played so much football this season I think its surprised us all he had a dip or two but I think next season he’ll be a force. He put himself about and made the right decisions when in possession and again showed off his most under rated attribute, he read the game and closed down space in a way that would make Bertie proud!
FTK: Strangely enough PGL, I have been not only impressed by Denilson but also the work rate of Niklas Bendtner must come in for recognition. He is really setting an example to other players who are failing to put in the effort. But as you might have guessed, my performance of theweek goes to the fans who came to our site and signed the petition that Arsene Wenger will see today. Nearly five thousand fans have made their wishes known at the last count in the space of 48 hours, that is an excellent response.
 
PGL: For the second time this season, and frankly he should get it every week for being such a tool, Stan Collymore. This week he said we are the most annoying fans in the country. I tell you what Stan, you’re the most annoying person in the country. I honestly have no idea how this guy earns money as a football pundit. I wish the prat was at Old Trafford last Saturday, our fans were amazing. I left the ground really pleased I was there, the Gooner pride on show was truly awesome, it filled every inch of the stand and filled every each of my heart. So fu*k you Stan, don’t question us again.
FTK: You and the other away Gooners did us proud PGL at the Theatre of Dreams.
My Friday Finger goes to Richard Scudamore, Chief Exec of the Premier league who came out and defended Manchester United’s right to field an under strength team against Phil Orange’s beleaguered Hull City team, who following the now FA declared false Fabregas spitting allegations, most Gooners would love to see relegated. The bias towards Man United continues in my opinion. Since having rubbished the FA Cup when they opted out during a visit to play the Super Cup, Man United appear always to get the best of decisions from the FA or the Premier league. They are not the best team in the world despite what the trophy list count says. They are as bad as Real Madrid when it comes to tapping up players and my dislike of them will only be tempered by the imminent financial meltdown of the club in 2012.  Not even a wealthy Arab will want to pay off the Billion pounds of debt needed to be repaid. Manchester Unted are heading for administration, so enjoy the titles whilst you can you mugs…
 
PGL: A pretty obvious one, I’m thankful the gaffer is staying put. And I’m thankful that we tried to take positive steps to let him know he is appreciated. As FTK said as he graced our screens on Tuesday night ‘the silent majority’ want and know he’s the man to take us forward. So roll on Stoke City and the last game of a long and tiring season. So, rest up, you’ll need all your strength for next season, it could be our greatest…
‘One Arsene Wenger, there’s only one Arsene Wenger’ and he’s a Goooner!
FTK: Arsene Wenger is the greatest manager of Arsenal Football Club, having left his mark in much the same way that the great Herbert Chapman did. If he is given the funds, he will deliver glory again to Arsenal Football Club. Don’t expect any early buys, as it seems that we will be quite cagey in the coming transfer window. With Arshavin available for next season’s Champions League Qualifiers, I am less anxious about us having finished in fourth place.
P.S. TGIF End of Season Awards will be announced next week! Voting closes Tuesday!

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