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Discussion Starter #1
THE ARSENAL board has always been resistant to change, especially when it comes to loosening the purse strings.

But unless the Highbury hierarchy listens to Arsene Wenger, gets real and starts smelling the coffee over Ashley Cole, it will be forced to preside over the dismantling of everything the Frenchman has been trying to build.

Yesterday's launch of the Premier League probe into Chelsea's "illegal" approach to Cole bought Arsenal a bit of time.

Not even Stamford Bridge chief executive Peter Kenyon would be brazen enough to make further contact with Cole until the investigation has either cleared Chelsea of any impropriety or branded them guilty - although the likely penalty of nothing more than a fine will have little effect.

That at least gives Arsenal a window of opportunity to make Cole the sort of offer he cannot refuse, probably trebling his £27,000 per week terms to head off the Premiership leaders.

And while the bean-counters among the Highbury board may not want to admit it, they have to accept that their only way of preventing the collapse of everything Wenger has sought to erect will be by caving in to the reality that Chelsea have changed the face of the game for good.

The brazen nature of the Chelsea challenge is one that will have the Arsenal board coughing into their brandy glasses.

But Wenger, looking with a mixture of envy and disbelief at the financial resources that first Claudio Ranieri and now Jose Mourinho have had at their disposal, probably always knew that this day was coming.

Vice-chairman David Dein, the director who works most closely with Wenger, had been preparing for it too, ever since the first few weeks of the new Chelsea order. In the immediate aftermath of Abramovich's takeover, Arsenal were among the first to feel the aftershock.

Chelsea's targeting of both Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry was serious. So serious, in fact, that Arsenal feared both their French aces were on the point of quitting Highbury for Stamford Bridge.

Wenger's relationship with both players proved enough to keep them in harness, but when he arrived in Monaco for last season's Champions League draw, with Abramovich's huge yacht moored within half a mile, Dein's quip barely masked the bitter truth.

As Chelsea's spending broke the £100million barrier in the space of three months, Dein joked: "Roman Abramovich has parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us."

But the bottomless reserves in the Abramovich armoury mean that the shells have kept on coming, a fusillade stemmed only by the imposition of the transfer windows.

What Abramovich, Chelsea and Mourinho want, they fully believe they will get.

If a problem emerges, money finds a way to smooth it over. And very quickly.

Like it or not - and Arsenal don't - money talks. In fact, in football, it shouts, and Arsenal's voice has been far too timorous. That is why Wenger's words have to be acted upon by the board. If they do not meet Cole's demands, there would be an inevitability about his defection to the other side of London.

The repercussions would be huge. While Wenger's influence is profound, the glue that has kept things together has been his ability to persuade the players that their ambition is matched by the club.

Failing to keep Cole, and allowing him to decamp to the club which has emerged as their most likely successors as champions, would be a signal that the battle is effectively over already, that Arsenal are throwing in the towel. What would follow would be cataclysmic, the beginning of the end, as Arsenal faced the prospect of watching on as Chelsea and Manchester United disappeared further into the distance. Rather than queueing up to commit themselves to the brave new dawn at Ashburton Grove, the players will be looking to the exit doors.

Forget the plans that Wenger has talked over with Henry, Vieira and Robert Pires. Ignore all the ideas the manager might have had about becoming the dominant force and producing a team fit for their new £400m home.

The player drain would become a flood, as unstoppable as a force of nature, and with ramifications that would become truly unpalatable for the Gunners faithful.

Chelsea have already effectively turned West Ham into a feeder club. Suddenly, Arsenal might find themselves in the same position, powerless to resist the sheer weight of financial reality.

That is a prospect that the Arsenal board should dread. But it is all too real and explains Wenger's fears and desperation that the money men hear his call.

If not, then his own long-term position must come into question. Wenger has been at Highbury for nearly nine years, altering the club in every aspect, bringing outstanding football and great success.

But all the time, the Highbury chief has needed to be convinced that the ambitions he held were truly shared, and that the club was willing to bankroll his dreams and aspirations.

Now, more than ever, he needs to see and hear that again.

Wenger is responsible for making Cole into the player he is. That his most successful home-grown protege could signal the break-up of everything he has envisaged would be a bitter pill to swallow. The Arsenal board have no choice. Compete - or die.

..and here's more on the wanted lists

IF the unthinkable becomes reality and Ashley Cole walks out on Arsenal for Stamford Bridge, it could start a stampede of clubs chasing the top Highbury stars. Here are some of the many names who would be on the wanted list of the best teams in Europe

JENS LEHMANN: Borussia Moenchengladbach/Stuttgart - The Calamity keeper could go anyway as both German clubs want him.

SOL CAMPBELL: Inter Milan - He insists he will be playing in Italy in five years' time. Could Cole's departure bring that plan forward?

PATRICK VIEIRA: Real Madrid - All of the top clubs remain an admirer of the powerhouse skipper. And he knows it.

THIERRY HENRY: AC Milan - Unlikely to follow Cole to Chelsea or subject himself to Spain's race problem with Real.

ROBERT PIRES: Real Madrid - Wenger stole him from under the noses of Real six years ago. Could the Spaniards have the last laugh?

JOSE REYES: Barcelona - Battling homesickness and a loss of form anyway. A return to Barcelona might just be the answer.

FREDDIE LJUNGBERG: Juventus - Contract talks have already begun in an attempt to keep him out of the Italian club's clutches.

PASCAL CYGAN: Okay, okay, maybe Arsene Wenger will be able to keep hold of at least SOME of his players

----------

Anybody read this? Utter rubbish. Cole leaving wouldn't signal the departure of seven players. Sol Campbell just signed a new deal for another three years. Reyes is just getting his form back (you know, playing with a smile on his face like he used to), Freddie won't leave, Pires is beginning to enter the twilight part of his career, and Thierry will be here as long as Arsene is.

Complete crap, as usual.
 

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khimik said:
THE ARSENAL board has always been resistant to change, especially when it comes to loosening the purse strings.

But unless the Highbury hierarchy listens to Arsene Wenger, gets real and starts smelling the coffee over Ashley Cole, it will be forced to preside over the dismantling of everything the Frenchman has been trying to build.

Yesterday's launch of the Premier League probe into Chelsea's "illegal" approach to Cole bought Arsenal a bit of time.

Not even Stamford Bridge chief executive Peter Kenyon would be brazen enough to make further contact with Cole until the investigation has either cleared Chelsea of any impropriety or branded them guilty - although the likely penalty of nothing more than a fine will have little effect.

That at least gives Arsenal a window of opportunity to make Cole the sort of offer he cannot refuse, probably trebling his £27,000 per week terms to head off the Premiership leaders.

And while the bean-counters among the Highbury board may not want to admit it, they have to accept that their only way of preventing the collapse of everything Wenger has sought to erect will be by caving in to the reality that Chelsea have changed the face of the game for good.

The brazen nature of the Chelsea challenge is one that will have the Arsenal board coughing into their brandy glasses.

But Wenger, looking with a mixture of envy and disbelief at the financial resources that first Claudio Ranieri and now Jose Mourinho have had at their disposal, probably always knew that this day was coming.

Vice-chairman David Dein, the director who works most closely with Wenger, had been preparing for it too, ever since the first few weeks of the new Chelsea order. In the immediate aftermath of Abramovich's takeover, Arsenal were among the first to feel the aftershock.

Chelsea's targeting of both Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry was serious. So serious, in fact, that Arsenal feared both their French aces were on the point of quitting Highbury for Stamford Bridge.

Wenger's relationship with both players proved enough to keep them in harness, but when he arrived in Monaco for last season's Champions League draw, with Abramovich's huge yacht moored within half a mile, Dein's quip barely masked the bitter truth.

As Chelsea's spending broke the £100million barrier in the space of three months, Dein joked: "Roman Abramovich has parked his Russian tanks on our lawn and is firing £50 notes at us."

But the bottomless reserves in the Abramovich armoury mean that the shells have kept on coming, a fusillade stemmed only by the imposition of the transfer windows.

What Abramovich, Chelsea and Mourinho want, they fully believe they will get.

If a problem emerges, money finds a way to smooth it over. And very quickly.

Like it or not - and Arsenal don't - money talks. In fact, in football, it shouts, and Arsenal's voice has been far too timorous. That is why Wenger's words have to be acted upon by the board. If they do not meet Cole's demands, there would be an inevitability about his defection to the other side of London.

The repercussions would be huge. While Wenger's influence is profound, the glue that has kept things together has been his ability to persuade the players that their ambition is matched by the club.

Failing to keep Cole, and allowing him to decamp to the club which has emerged as their most likely successors as champions, would be a signal that the battle is effectively over already, that Arsenal are throwing in the towel. What would follow would be cataclysmic, the beginning of the end, as Arsenal faced the prospect of watching on as Chelsea and Manchester United disappeared further into the distance. Rather than queueing up to commit themselves to the brave new dawn at Ashburton Grove, the players will be looking to the exit doors.

Forget the plans that Wenger has talked over with Henry, Vieira and Robert Pires. Ignore all the ideas the manager might have had about becoming the dominant force and producing a team fit for their new £400m home.

The player drain would become a flood, as unstoppable as a force of nature, and with ramifications that would become truly unpalatable for the Gunners faithful.

Chelsea have already effectively turned West Ham into a feeder club. Suddenly, Arsenal might find themselves in the same position, powerless to resist the sheer weight of financial reality.

That is a prospect that the Arsenal board should dread. But it is all too real and explains Wenger's fears and desperation that the money men hear his call.

If not, then his own long-term position must come into question. Wenger has been at Highbury for nearly nine years, altering the club in every aspect, bringing outstanding football and great success.

But all the time, the Highbury chief has needed to be convinced that the ambitions he held were truly shared, and that the club was willing to bankroll his dreams and aspirations.

Now, more than ever, he needs to see and hear that again.

Wenger is responsible for making Cole into the player he is. That his most successful home-grown protege could signal the break-up of everything he has envisaged would be a bitter pill to swallow. The Arsenal board have no choice. Compete - or die.

..and here's more on the wanted lists

IF the unthinkable becomes reality and Ashley Cole walks out on Arsenal for Stamford Bridge, it could start a stampede of clubs chasing the top Highbury stars. Here are some of the many names who would be on the wanted list of the best teams in Europe

JENS LEHMANN: Borussia Moenchengladbach/Stuttgart - The Calamity keeper could go anyway as both German clubs want him.

SOL CAMPBELL: Inter Milan - He insists he will be playing in Italy in five years' time. Could Cole's departure bring that plan forward?

PATRICK VIEIRA: Real Madrid - All of the top clubs remain an admirer of the powerhouse skipper. And he knows it.

THIERRY HENRY: AC Milan - Unlikely to follow Cole to Chelsea or subject himself to Spain's race problem with Real.

ROBERT PIRES: Real Madrid - Wenger stole him from under the noses of Real six years ago. Could the Spaniards have the last laugh?

JOSE REYES: Barcelona - Battling homesickness and a loss of form anyway. A return to Barcelona might just be the answer.

FREDDIE LJUNGBERG: Juventus - Contract talks have already begun in an attempt to keep him out of the Italian club's clutches.

PASCAL CYGAN: Okay, okay, maybe Arsene Wenger will be able to keep hold of at least SOME of his players
----------

Anybody read this? Utter rubbish. Cole leaving wouldn't signal the departure of seven players. Sol Campbell just signed a new deal for another three years. Reyes is just getting his form back (you know, playing with a smile on his face like he used to), Freddie won't leave, Pires is beginning to enter the twilight part of his career, and Thierry will be here as long as Arsene is.

Complete crap, as usual.
:dielaugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The Melodramatic English Media
by Moi (khimik) :D

Oh, you guessed it, they’re at it again. The entire scandal involving Ashley Cole, Chelsea and a wee bit of tapping up (Peter Kenyon at it yet again) is just too much for certain papers to resist from turning into a soap opera. Since the ‘news’ was leaked sometime last week, more and more melodramatic rubbish has been printed by the papers by the day.

I don’t live in England anymore, so naturally whatever I read in the English papers comes from their websites. I usually read the Guardian and for some ungodly reason, the Mirror. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that ninety nine percent of what the Mirror publishes both online and in its papers is complete and utter shit. Some of the ‘stories’ (if you could even call it that) are so false it’s almost painful.

That brings me to something I read today. I usually read anything they have to say about us, often just to get a laugh. This particular ‘story’, however, is so over the top it’s gone beyond the stage of ridiculous and into the realms of insanity. A particular story written by Martin Lipton is what I’m blabbering on about.

Lipton’s claiming that should Ashley leave then the entire squad will follow suit; well, pretty much words to that effect, anyway. He believes that the mass player exodus would be so large that it would resemble ‘a flood, as unstoppable as a force of nature, and with ramifications that would become truly unpalatable for the Gunners faithful’. Lipton has also claimed that Chelsea will turn Arsenal into what they’ve turned West Ham into – nothing but a feeder club whose next big star from their famed academy is shipped off to Chelsea after a few years. Lipton has even gone as far as to claim that Arsene Wenger will soon be leaving our beloved club – just because our board are tight with the purse strings (I wonder why, Lipton), that Wenger will just up and leave.

This may seem as though it is an attack on Martin Lipton and only Martin Lipton. Well, it isn’t. I, personally, am just sick of this continually happening by the press. One sniff of a negative piece about Arsenal is immediately lambasted across the various papers as though the world is about to collapse in on around N5 and Highbury is going to be sucked into some sort of parallel vortex into the next dimension.

Unsure of what I mean?

JENS LEHMANN: Borussia Munchengladbach/Stuttgart - The Calamity keeper could go anyway as both German clubs want him.

SOL CAMPBELL: Inter Milan - He insists he will be playing in Italy in five years' time. Could Cole's departure bring that plan forward?

PATRICK VIEIRA: Real Madrid - All of the top clubs remain an admirer of the powerhouse skipper. And he knows it.

THIERRY HENRY: AC Milan - Unlikely to follow Cole to Chelsea or subject himself to Spain's race problem with Real.

ROBERT PIRES: Real Madrid - Wenger stole him from under the noses of Real six years ago. Could the Spaniards have the last laugh?

JOSÉ REYES: Barcelona - Battling homesickness and a loss of form anyway. A return to Barcelona might just be the answer.

FREDDIE LJUNGBERG: Juventus - Contract talks have already begun in an attempt to keep him out of the Italian club's clutches.


If that isn’t the biggest load of hyperbole then I’d like to see it. That is not only over the top but it is simply taking the piss. Yes, Ashley Cole could leave this summer and I, for one, would not at all be surprised if he did indeed leave us for the most despicable club in football (yeah, even the doping at Juventus wasn’t as bad as Chelsea and their tainted money). It will be his choice and if earning more money at Chelsea is more important to him than the club he’s grown up with then that’s his choice.

But the thing is, Ashley leaving would not trigger a mass exodus like Martin Lipton and the Mirror would so dearly love to see. They would absolutely ‘luv it’ if Ashley left Arsenal for their new bumchums to butter up to. Arsenal in a negative light has to be their number one selling topic, after all.

With all due respect to Ashley Cole – and I do love him as a player, he’s one of my favourite Arsenal players out of the lot – he doesn’t have the status of Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry, and especially Arsene Wenger himself. Yes, Ashley’s supposedly imminent exit wouldn’t exactly go down well the dressing room but if Vieira had left for Spain I fear the departure of Henry would have happened a lot quicker than that of Ashley Cole’s.

Which leads me to believe that everything Lipton has written in this article is a load of made up crap like ninety nine percent of their articles are. Why? It’s simple. Arsenal aren’t exactly in contractual negotiations with Freddie as far as I’m aware, Ljungberg still has another two years to run on his current deal, and Freddie has voiced nothing but his desire to stay at Arsenal. Sure, this isn’t exactly conclusive proof he would be staying or leaving (I think we all remember Vieira saying something of similar ilk at the end of last season).

The defining moment that will keep a lot of these players here was Sol Campbell signing a new Arsenal deal. Vieira staying was incredibly important but it’s my opinion that Campbell staying at Arsenal was more important – whether everyone realises it or not Sol is our natural leader on the pitch while Patrick maintains his dressing room leadership.

The media’s take that Cole leaving would spark a cataclysmic exit is, as I said, going incredibly over the top. As per normal they are being melodramatic beyond belief. They act as if Cole leaving would be the end for Arsenal, that we’d have no hope if a left back left and we’d be swapping Barclaycard for Coca-Cola. Rubbish.

It’s been perceived as though Arsenal are the real big loser out of this. How? Even if Ashley did decide to join the dark side, we have a ready made replacement in Gael Clichy ready to come in. Even if Ashley did decide to let his eyes blink incessantly for the sterling Arsenal would stand to receive a substantial fee.

What these uninformed amateur-esque morons at the Mirror and the like fail to mention is that Arsenal hold the all important card in all of this: Cole can’t talk to them until we agree a fee with Chelsea. David Dein knows how much money Chelsea has and knows what we could get out of this. Marseille knew this and they managed to rob £24m for a lummox like Didier Drogba, because Marseille knew Chelsea would pay anything to get what they wanted, and Marseille in turn exploited that. They made Chelsea pay £24m for a striker no more talented than Milan Baros, and he surely is not worth £24m too, yes?

So how are Arsenal really this damaged? What’s stopping us from demanding a fee of £50m for Ashley, as well as the contract of Petr Cech? Nothing. The worst case scenario out of this is that Chelsea and Arsenal agree a fee that’s not befitting Ashley’s talent. Yes, we could lose Ashley, but if we made £50m plus Cech off of this sale, we could buy that top class centre back needed to partner Sol Campbell, and we already have Gael Clichy ready to come in to replace Ashley.

Or, nothing happens. Arsenal could dawdle on the fee for as long as they wanted to. David Dein could continually reject the fees offered from Chelsea until it borders onto insanity:

Peter Kenyon: “Chelsea offers £25million for Ashley Cole.”
David Dein: “Sorry, we want more.”
Peter Kenyon: “Chelsea offers £30million for Ashley Cole.”
David Dein: “Sorry, we want more.”
Peter Kenyon: “Chelsea offers £40million for Ashley Cole.”
David Dein: “Sorry, we want Petr Cech as well as your money.”
Peter Kenyon: “We have no further offers. I will be back in a few months to illegally approach more of your players and get away with it because the FA are incompetent and spineless.”


What I’m trying to say is simple: it is not as bad as Martin Lipton is trying to claim. Reyes may leave, but that has nothing to do with Ashley Cole’s supposed imminent departure. If Sol is playing in Italy in five years time then good for him, he’ll be 36 then and most likely past it – he’s good, but he isn’t Maldini.

If Freddie Ljungberg decides to leave for Juventus then we can quite easily buy Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City. AC Milan would have to pay an astronomical fee for Thierry Henry to be prized away from Arsenal (think triple what Chelsea might have to pay for Cole). If Martin Lipton thinks Real Madrid would get the last laugh by buying Pires now then he’s definitely taken some drugs – we all know Pires’ best years are behind him, and we all damn well know who saw Pires’ best years; that certainly is not Real Madrid.

Arsenal could buy an entire new squad from the money they would receive from Cole, Ljungberg, Henry, Reyes and all of these supposed departures that are on the cards. Arsene Wenger could quite comfortably buy Cristian Chivu or Ledley King, Shaun-Wright Phillips, Fernando Torres and a host of others in one swoop if he had to. Maybe even Adriano.

So, basically, don’t believe this rubbish being printed by Martin Lipton and his equally moronic colleagues who would just love for this all to happen. But I digress that they’re in for disappointment, because there is no possible way Arsene Wenger and David Dein would allow this volume of players to exit Highbury in a short period of time. Hopefully, when it’s September 2005 and we’re playing in our redcurrant kits, Ashley Cole, José Antonio Reyes, Patrick Vieira and whoever are among them, otherwise I will certainly look like quite a plum.

PS – Peter Kenyon embodies everything that is wrong with football and the sooner he’s banned from any involvement in football the better.
 

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khimik said:
THIERRY HENRY: AC Milan - Unlikely to follow Cole to Chelsea or subject himself to Spain's race problem with Real.
:eekani: :eekani: :eekani:

I only got back from the hospital yesterday. Do you want me to go back? :tongue:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Haroon said:
:eekani: :eekani: :eekani:

I only got back from the hospital yesterday. Do you want me to go back? :tongue:
It wouldn't happen, and even if it did I imagine we'd get some unbelievable fee for him. I can't see Henry going back to Italy after his bad experiences there the first time and going to Spain would go against everything he campaigns for - so, he'd likely stay with us until he's past it and head off back to France or something.

Bergkamp's bad experience at Inter was enough for him to rule out ever playing on Italian soil again, unless it's as the away team.
 

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Interista said:
Milan could do with a leftie :)
Marek Jankulovski :stuckup: I am dead sure I would faint if I saw Galliani and Henry together in the official presentation with the TIT holding the Milan jersey and smiling. :scared: :doh: That's my worst fukin nightmare. :depress:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Haroon said:
Marek Jankulovski :stuckup: I am dead sure I would faint if I saw Galliani and Henry together in the official presentation with the TIT holding the Milan jersey and smiling. :scared: :doh: That's my worst fukin nightmare. :depress:
Even with the way he's cut up your two rivals these past few years? ;)
 

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Haroon said:
Marek Jankulovski :stuckup: I am dead sure I would faint if I saw Galliani and Henry together in the official presentation with the TIT holding the Milan jersey and smiling. :scared: :doh: That's my worst fukin nightmare. :depress:
Well if this Martin guy is right :dielaugh:, better re-book the hospital bed ;)
 

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khimik said:
Even with the way he's cut up your two rivals these past few years? ;)
You know how much I like him so the answer to all questions will lead to the same road.

:devil: (me) Vs. :rolleyes: (The Tit): Result -> :eyepatch: and then :skull:

The Tit goes down. :stuckup:
 

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Interista said:
Well if this Martin guy is right :dielaugh:, better re-book the hospital bed ;)
I trust Rhys that this Martin guy is just writing to sell. Henry?? ... I mean come on!!!! :depress:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Haroon said:
You know how much I like him so the answer to all questions will lead to the same road.

:devil: (me) Vs. :rolleyes: (The Tit): Result -> :eyepatch: and then :skull:

The Tit goes down. :stuckup:
Oh well, guess we'll have to keep him. Poor us :dielaugh: ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Haroon said:
I trust Rhys that this Martin guy is just writing to sell.
He's just making it up aiming to sell off the Cole story. The Ashley part is the only one which has an inch of truth to it, the rest is just made up.
 

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Bravo khimik !! :star: :happy:

Great article crirtics. :thmbup:

Victoria Concordia Crescit ! :stuckup: :proud:
 

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I always think player transfers stem from either a player/club or newspaper reports

But the part I don't agree with is when the newspaper reporters print rubbish stories of players going to certain clubs. Then this snowballs into disturbing a completely settled player. The player then enquires about whether or not he could get a better deal with the club. THEN IT HAPPENS!!!

For their part they do sometimes get it right where a player really wants to move, but that only happens in 20% of cases. The other 80% is utter rubbish.

AND THE SOLE OBJECT OF ALL THIS SHANANIGANS IS MONEY
 

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khimik said:
The Melodramatic English Media
by Moi (khimik) :D

Oh, you guessed it, they’re at it again. The entire scandal involving Ashley Cole, Chelsea and a wee bit of tapping up (Peter Kenyon at it yet again) is just too much for certain papers to resist from turning into a soap opera. Since the ‘news’ was leaked sometime last week, more and more melodramatic rubbish has been printed by the papers by the day.

I don’t live in England anymore, so naturally whatever I read in the English papers comes from their websites. I usually read the Guardian and for some ungodly reason, the Mirror. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that ninety nine percent of what the Mirror publishes both online and in its papers is complete and utter shit. Some of the ‘stories’ (if you could even call it that) are so false it’s almost painful.

That brings me to something I read today. I usually read anything they have to say about us, often just to get a laugh. This particular ‘story’, however, is so over the top it’s gone beyond the stage of ridiculous and into the realms of insanity. A particular story written by Martin Lipton is what I’m blabbering on about.

Lipton’s claiming that should Ashley leave then the entire squad will follow suit; well, pretty much words to that effect, anyway. He believes that the mass player exodus would be so large that it would resemble ‘a flood, as unstoppable as a force of nature, and with ramifications that would become truly unpalatable for the Gunners faithful’. Lipton has also claimed that Chelsea will turn Arsenal into what they’ve turned West Ham into – nothing but a feeder club whose next big star from their famed academy is shipped off to Chelsea after a few years. Lipton has even gone as far as to claim that Arsene Wenger will soon be leaving our beloved club – just because our board are tight with the purse strings (I wonder why, Lipton), that Wenger will just up and leave.

This may seem as though it is an attack on Martin Lipton and only Martin Lipton. Well, it isn’t. I, personally, am just sick of this continually happening by the press. One sniff of a negative piece about Arsenal is immediately lambasted across the various papers as though the world is about to collapse in on around N5 and Highbury is going to be sucked into some sort of parallel vortex into the next dimension.

Unsure of what I mean?

JENS LEHMANN: Borussia Munchengladbach/Stuttgart - The Calamity keeper could go anyway as both German clubs want him.

SOL CAMPBELL: Inter Milan - He insists he will be playing in Italy in five years' time. Could Cole's departure bring that plan forward?

PATRICK VIEIRA: Real Madrid - All of the top clubs remain an admirer of the powerhouse skipper. And he knows it.

THIERRY HENRY: AC Milan - Unlikely to follow Cole to Chelsea or subject himself to Spain's race problem with Real.

ROBERT PIRES: Real Madrid - Wenger stole him from under the noses of Real six years ago. Could the Spaniards have the last laugh?

JOSÉ REYES: Barcelona - Battling homesickness and a loss of form anyway. A return to Barcelona might just be the answer.

FREDDIE LJUNGBERG: Juventus - Contract talks have already begun in an attempt to keep him out of the Italian club's clutches.


If that isn’t the biggest load of hyperbole then I’d like to see it. That is not only over the top but it is simply taking the piss. Yes, Ashley Cole could leave this summer and I, for one, would not at all be surprised if he did indeed leave us for the most despicable club in football (yeah, even the doping at Juventus wasn’t as bad as Chelsea and their tainted money). It will be his choice and if earning more money at Chelsea is more important to him than the club he’s grown up with then that’s his choice.

But the thing is, Ashley leaving would not trigger a mass exodus like Martin Lipton and the Mirror would so dearly love to see. They would absolutely ‘luv it’ if Ashley left Arsenal for their new bumchums to butter up to. Arsenal in a negative light has to be their number one selling topic, after all.

With all due respect to Ashley Cole – and I do love him as a player, he’s one of my favourite Arsenal players out of the lot – he doesn’t have the status of Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry, and especially Arsene Wenger himself. Yes, Ashley’s supposedly imminent exit wouldn’t exactly go down well the dressing room but if Vieira had left for Spain I fear the departure of Henry would have happened a lot quicker than that of Ashley Cole’s.

Which leads me to believe that everything Lipton has written in this article is a load of made up crap like ninety nine percent of their articles are. Why? It’s simple. Arsenal aren’t exactly in contractual negotiations with Freddie as far as I’m aware, Ljungberg still has another two years to run on his current deal, and Freddie has voiced nothing but his desire to stay at Arsenal. Sure, this isn’t exactly conclusive proof he would be staying or leaving (I think we all remember Vieira saying something of similar ilk at the end of last season).

The defining moment that will keep a lot of these players here was Sol Campbell signing a new Arsenal deal. Vieira staying was incredibly important but it’s my opinion that Campbell staying at Arsenal was more important – whether everyone realises it or not Sol is our natural leader on the pitch while Patrick maintains his dressing room leadership.

The media’s take that Cole leaving would spark a cataclysmic exit is, as I said, going incredibly over the top. As per normal they are being melodramatic beyond belief. They act as if Cole leaving would be the end for Arsenal, that we’d have no hope if a left back left and we’d be swapping Barclaycard for Coca-Cola. Rubbish.

It’s been perceived as though Arsenal are the real big loser out of this. How? Even if Ashley did decide to join the dark side, we have a ready made replacement in Gael Clichy ready to come in. Even if Ashley did decide to let his eyes blink incessantly for the sterling Arsenal would stand to receive a substantial fee.

What these uninformed amateur-esque morons at the Mirror and the like fail to mention is that Arsenal hold the all important card in all of this: Cole can’t talk to them until we agree a fee with Chelsea. David Dein knows how much money Chelsea has and knows what we could get out of this. Marseille knew this and they managed to rob £24m for a lummox like Didier Drogba, because Marseille knew Chelsea would pay anything to get what they wanted, and Marseille in turn exploited that. They made Chelsea pay £24m for a striker no more talented than Milan Baros, and he surely is not worth £24m too, yes?

So how are Arsenal really this damaged? What’s stopping us from demanding a fee of £50m for Ashley, as well as the contract of Petr Cech? Nothing. The worst case scenario out of this is that Chelsea and Arsenal agree a fee that’s not befitting Ashley’s talent. Yes, we could lose Ashley, but if we made £50m plus Cech off of this sale, we could buy that top class centre back needed to partner Sol Campbell, and we already have Gael Clichy ready to come in to replace Ashley.

Or, nothing happens. Arsenal could dawdle on the fee for as long as they wanted to. David Dein could continually reject the fees offered from Chelsea until it borders onto insanity:

Peter Kenyon: “Chelsea offers £25million for Ashley Cole.”
David Dein: “Sorry, we want more.”
Peter Kenyon: “Chelsea offers £30million for Ashley Cole.”
David Dein: “Sorry, we want more.”
Peter Kenyon: “Chelsea offers £40million for Ashley Cole.”
David Dein: “Sorry, we want Petr Cech as well as your money.”
Peter Kenyon: “We have no further offers. I will be back in a few months to illegally approach more of your players and get away with it because the FA are incompetent and spineless.”


What I’m trying to say is simple: it is not as bad as Martin Lipton is trying to claim. Reyes may leave, but that has nothing to do with Ashley Cole’s supposed imminent departure. If Sol is playing in Italy in five years time then good for him, he’ll be 36 then and most likely past it – he’s good, but he isn’t Maldini.

If Freddie Ljungberg decides to leave for Juventus then we can quite easily buy Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City. AC Milan would have to pay an astronomical fee for Thierry Henry to be prized away from Arsenal (think triple what Chelsea might have to pay for Cole). If Martin Lipton thinks Real Madrid would get the last laugh by buying Pires now then he’s definitely taken some drugs – we all know Pires’ best years are behind him, and we all damn well know who saw Pires’ best years; that certainly is not Real Madrid.

Arsenal could buy an entire new squad from the money they would receive from Cole, Ljungberg, Henry, Reyes and all of these supposed departures that are on the cards. Arsene Wenger could quite comfortably buy Cristian Chivu or Ledley King, Shaun-Wright Phillips, Fernando Torres and a host of others in one swoop if he had to. Maybe even Adriano.

So, basically, don’t believe this rubbish being printed by Martin Lipton and his equally moronic colleagues who would just love for this all to happen. But I digress that they’re in for disappointment, because there is no possible way Arsene Wenger and David Dein would allow this volume of players to exit Highbury in a short period of time. Hopefully, when it’s September 2005 and we’re playing in our redcurrant kits, Ashley Cole, José Antonio Reyes, Patrick Vieira and whoever are among them, otherwise I will certainly look like quite a plum.

PS – Peter Kenyon embodies everything that is wrong with football and the sooner he’s banned from any involvement in football the better.

Khimik... You gave one heck of a critic to this article. Good job man :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
 
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