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On the right track

Good day to all of you. International break, not a lot going on but let’s get cracking anyway. First up, a couple of things from a day or two back.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is apparently up for contract renewal. He’s a bright young lad with the world in front of him. If Arsenal are really offering him a new contract it could down to a variety of things. Either we’ve triggered a clause in his contract that stipulates a new contract after “X” amount of games or we are looking to reward him for a splendid start to his Arsenal career last season. I also seem to recall that his deal from Southampton included add-ons payments. Not sure if that add-ons are inclusive of international appearances.

In any case, AOC made his first appearance of the season in the weekend’s win over Liverpool. Not his most eye capturing performance going forward but I’ve got no complaints about his defensive work. For Theo Walcott sitting on the bench, it must be a bit tough to take, seeing his young friend take centre stage immediately after his recovery from injury. This is the season for AOC to kick on and cement his place in the first team. Barring any major drop in form or fitness concern, AOC should really be starting most games.

However, he is not the only one who’s up for contract negotiations. According to Matt Law, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs are also on the list of those that Arsenal wants their contracts to be extended. It is good to see us being proactive and trying to tie them down to longer contracts without having to go through the pain of wondering whether they will leave or stay once there is only 1 year left on their contract. It is something which has taken us a few bad experiences to learn from, so hopefully this is something that the club will enforce from now onwards.

Yesterday, I watched the Steve Bould interview on Arsenal Player. It’s very hard to shake off that feeling that he is going to be absolutely vital to our season. Some are already claiming him to be the best signing for us this season. Sorry, but I have to disagree there. That title should belong to little Santi Cazorla. That said, I stand on my earlier statement on Bould and am really excited to see how this season pans out. His influence are there to be seen. From the Per Mertesacker positioning at the near post for each corner kick to the entire defence raising their hands in unison to call for offside, all stems from his input no doubt.

In the interview, he also claim that Arsenal are always looking to emphasize on our footballing style. That is to constantly keep the ball on the ground and pass it around to create opening. That is never going to change as long as Arsene Wenger is at the helm. I don’t think that Wenger tasked Bould specifically with the defensive side of things but nevertheless, it is a part of the game which Bould stated that he would like to work with. It is all very positive. If Bould can make these players as good as he was in his pomp, then we are going to have a really good season.

One last thing to touch on for today is the Peter Hill-Wood comments. I don’t think there are anything controversial with his statement. The worst thing I could think of is that this statement goes into public view and it doesn’t make good impression on the club. However, there are nothing false about his statement. It is true that we cannot compete in the market that Manchester City and Chelsea competes in. Up to a certain extent, we probably can afford to pay for the transfer fee in the region of 25M but the wages is a whole different ball game. I’m no financial expert, for details on those, I suggest you have a look at the magnificent Swiss Ramble’s blog.

Many question how it can come to this stage. Wasn’t the move from Highbury to Emirates is to allow us to be the top financial dogs in the footballing world and enable us to compete for the signature of the best players around the world? Answers are both yes and no.

The move was initially designed to get us on par with Manchester United’s earning but the arrival of sugar daddies into today’s game have moved the goal posts. Spending based on the wealth of the owner and not what the club generates, there is no chance that we could compete on those grounds. Fair play to United though, while they do not have the same luxury as Chelsea nor Manchester City’s financial muscle, they went at it from a different angle. Selling one of their most prized asset in Cristiano Ronaldo and various lucrative commercials deals have allowed them to splash big in terms of transfers and wages. 2014 is the year we are waiting for.

There are some comments that said that our low financial power has put a big dent into who we want to sign. A point which I think we all can certainly accept. But when the comment also states that we are only going for players whom no other team wants – hence, not very good players. This is not a point which I can readily accept. Per Mertesacker and Cazorla are two deals which I don’t remember us being in a fight with any other team to sign the players. Yet, one is celebrated and the other is labelled as slightly above average.

I don’t profess to know the inner workings involved in any transfer deals. However, I quite sure that not every club wants to announce to the entire world what other parties are involve in the negotiations. Nor will many football club confess to wanting this particular player before losing out to Arsenal at the final hurdle. However, I will say this. Even if we do get all average players but we have a system that they all fit perfectly (parts of a well-oiled machine, if you like), then I’ve got no complaints.

Till tomorrow.

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