Brian GlanvilleSpare a thought for poor Arsene Wenger, beset it seems from all sides. On the one hand Robin Van Persie, fresh from his unconvincing displays, in the image of the whole Dutch team, in the Euros that last late irrelevant goal scored surprisingly with his right foot rather than his potent left. For him the Gunners, though they have only just bought two strikers of renown in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.

For Van Persie, who has been treated surely with patience and support by Arsenal during his long periods out through injury, that wasn’t enough. He does not feel that they are in a position to challenge for the major honours even though they will yet again be contesting the Champions League. Manchester City have all too plainly been licking their fat lips in the hope of buying yet another Arsenal star and yet another striker.

When, in a year or so, the Platini plan limiting such colossal and somewhat repugnant expenditure as City’s, perhaps they will no longer be able, or their Abu Dhabi backers be able, to tempt the likes of Van Persie with anything up to £200,000 a week, not to mention the vast fee they would have to pay Arsenal. So much so that it seems even their owners are keen for them to jettison another enormously costly attacker in the shape of Emmanuel Adebayor, on loan last season to a Spurs club now keen to keep him; but would they, you wonder, afford him? It seems they can.

In parenthesis, how close did City come to winning anything in Europe last season? They were summarily dismissed from the European Cup by Bayern Munich and couldn’t even cut the mustard in that dim superfluity the Europa Cup. Far be it from me to suggest that Van Persie wants to leave Arsenal simply for the money, but wherever he goes next, there is no guarantee of Europe success.

From another direction, Wenger and Arsenal have been under fire from that delightful oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who has 29% of the shares and for a long time now has been yearning to get on the board. That Arsenal’s hierarchy, of whom he is so critical don’t want him is understandable enough. Immensely wealthy he may be but this is the man who was imprisoned in Russia for four years, reduced from six, for alleged fraud – subsequently declared unjust by the Supreme Court of Uzbekistan  – and who was charged, though the charge was dropped, with carnal offence. And it does seem a trifle strange that among those he’s accused of making money out of the Gunners and putting nothing back is none other than David Dein, whose shares in the club were bought by Usmanov himself for £71 million?

No doubt Arsenal could do a lot with Usmanov’s vast fortune, but if their somewhat marginalised chairman Peter Hill Wood, once bridled at the thought of allowing the current chief shareholder, Stan Kroenke, on the board – only to be forced later to fly to the USA to beg him to come on board, how suitable a person would Usmanov be?

It certainly wasn’t Wenger’s fault that a year ago, he lost a recalcitrant Samir Nasri, a petulant figure in the recent Euros, and Clichy. It is probably true that Usmanov’s money might have kept both of them at The Emirates but, even then, Arsenal plainly decided that the game would not be worth the candle. Maybe Usmanov should try elsewhere in the Premiership. Goodness knows there are enough clubs which would be all too glad of his money. While you do wonder how long Manchester United can remain successfully in business given the colossal debt which the Glazers have burdened upon them.

Spurs, meanwhile, have replaced Harry Redknapp, despite all his success at White Hart Lane, with 34 year-old Andre Villas-Boas and I am at one with those who see it as a risk. What, after all, for all his success in the deeply different context at Porto, did he achieve at Chelsea, where his tactics came apart and his attitudes and policies alienated senior players? There could scarcely be a greater contrast between the hugely experienced, endlessly pragmatic Harry Redknapp, a consummate wheeler-dealer, though he detests the appellation, and young Villas Boas, whose treatment of the likes of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, both now up and away, was tactless at best, self defeating at worst; not to mention the exclusion of both Anelka and Alex from that Xmas party!

It seems that Luka Modric will soon be gone and since he is one of the few outstanding playmakers in Europe, the loss could be catastrophic.

Over at Chelsea, Roberto Di Matteo quickly worked wonders with morale and tactics, once Villas Boas had gone, and I was delighted to see him belatedly given his due by promotion to the full managership. Perhaps with a diplomatic gesture to his oligarch owner, Roman Abramovich, he is making hopeful noises about deploying Fernando Torres in the resilient Drogba’s powerful role. Frankly I shall believe it when I see it. Quite apart from the fact that these are two quite different phenomena, Torres’ rabbit killing goals in the Euros haven’t convinced me of his supposed revival. And now! Oscar.

By Brian Glanville


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  • Andrew Shaw

    This sick ghoul that masquerades in a body that used to belong to a certain Brian Glanville, a once respected football journalist, is at it again, not just in World Soccer but on Talksport too!! The comments, as ever these days, are delusional and more often than not just plain wrong. For the ghoul’s information, Manchester City are one of only six sides in the last fifteen years to have been eliminated from the Chimps League on ten points and but for a disgraceful series of refereeing decisions in Munich when we were all over them for 30 minutes and would have been 2-0 up, we would have qualified comfortably. So it was hardly the pitiful surrender that the ghoul appears to have witnessed. Now it would appear that ghouls are only allowed to watch the last thirty minutes of the Premier League season. And on that basis, City were lucky to win! My arse!!!! For the ghoul’s information there were a previous 37 whole matches and an hour of the QPR match that need to be taken into account and, if after it all we haven’t thrashed everyone out of sight because United simply never gave up, there isn’t much we can do if they also manage to amass 89 points. We didn’t win by luck. We won because we scored more goals than United, conceded fewer and kept on fighting for it until the very last minute of the last game. On Adebayor, of course they are keen to sell him. Which tree have you been living up for the last twelve months. I will give you that to put him on such high wages in the first place given his track record was foolhardy but he has made it quite clear that he doesn’t want to play for the club or Mancini so why are you blaming us for wanting to move him on. It seems eminently sensible to me, although sense and sensibilty are often lacking when senility sets in. And as for Robin van Persie, most City and United fans are praying that a) Arsenal reject our opening bids of up to 12 million b) we don’t offer anymore and c) either Juventus do or Wenger forces RVP to see out the last year of his contract. We see the fine season the man had but we also see 111 games in the previous 7 seasons. We see that prior to last season the most PL games he played was 27 and two non-consecutive seasons he managed a paltry 15 and 16 games apiece. And we do not think that we need to be paying upwards of 200 million for a player who in our humble opinion is injury prone. You have turned from a respected journalist into a ghastly ghoul Mr Glanville and sadly, having laughed patronisingly at City’s past failures, your approach now that we appear to be seated at the top table is bigoted, bitter and twisted. Unfortunately for you, we are a noisy lot and as Sir Alex admitted, this lot of noisy neighbours are not going anywhere anytime soon. And you can forget FFP. If FFP was applied across the board, the only two clubs in the competition would be Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Platini knows fine well that if he starts threatening major clubs with expulsion they will simply up sticks, take their ball and go and play on another pitch which would destroy EUFA, probably FIFA as well and bring down that buffoon, Platini, who seems to be doing his best to destroy football and who needs to be deposed before he succeeds or gets his hands on the FIFA job which will prove to be an unmitigated disaster. Not in my lifetime, I hear you murmur. I do concur.

  • Tim

    Good column as always from BG, but I worry that due to his experience he has been given the license to just write however he wants stylistically – the point of journalism is to convey information in a way that readers can access. Some of these sentences and paragraphs are just confused and don’t make sense – several-syllable words are used just for the sake of it…

    Nonetheless, I agree in principle with the content. Though the loss of Modric would not really be catastrophic at all if he were replaced with a like for like playmaker eg Moutinho. And I must agree with BG on AVB, ‘gazzawuzgotnothod’ I’m afraid you are in the wrong here. AVB was sacked after ‘only’ 8 months because he made such a mess of Chelsea. He was so arrogant that when his tactics went wrong he just continued with the same system… his treatment of the players was like a playground bully and his dealing with the press was God awful.

    Alas, he hasn’t learnt any of his lessons… now telling the world that if he were still at Chelsea he would have won the Champions League. May Tottenham sack him quickly… or I even fear for their long-term top-flight status…

  • gazzawuzgodnothod

    Yeah previous comment did not appear – whats up? cant take some critcism? You must have lost some of your powers of football judgement if you think Redknap’s surrender of the ‘gap’ could be termed success. Your idea of him being pragmatic is a joke – he was a cockney chancer, AVB has more trophies in his short career than all of Redtwats 40 odd years in the game. For all your experience you make yourself out to be a fool or just outrageously biased with the above comments about Spurs and the AVB Chelsea farce. If you are going to comment about the cockneys sacking you should put it into context of what Levy is trying to achieve with our Training facility (that Winger could only dream of) and the progressive coaching, youth development that we are aspiring to. Bitter ‘journalism’, sad.

  • gazzawuzgodnothod

    Just read your disgraceful article on AVB’s interview where he talked about his Spurs apointment as well as the Chelsea debacle. As such a long in the tooth hack with all your experience it’s really quite sad that you let your Woolich roots cloud your judgement of AVB’s words. How can you mae the comments you did when it was common knowledge that AVB was bought into Chelsea to undertake a long term project and then saced after 8 months? That conflict of job description and the criteria which lead to his dismissal make any judgement of AVB’s quality as a manager based on that appointement worthless. I’m sure you re bitter about the revolution happening at Spurs as the little quality at the library either call time on their careers (genuine best to JW if that is true) or just leave for more ambitious clubs. The pendulum swings man – the dominance of North London has eneded for you.

  • FrancoG

    Modric is an excellent player no doubt. When the going got tough for Spurs last season, Luka disappeared no doubt. He does not score enough goals. Spurs will cope without his services.

  • BobaJob

    Jacks Next!

  • Samuel Angol

    I am an Arsenal fan, and I am sad how since we last won the Premier League title in 2004 that we appear more interested in selling players at a profit than in winning trophies. Admittedly, the money swirling around at clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea has made it very difficult for us to compete for quality players. I agree wholeheartedly with Usmanov’s recent criticism of the board. Their buy-cheap-sell-at-a-profit transfer policy is threatening to turn Arsenal FC into a glorified feeder club for the richest sides in England and continental Europe. Arsenal need to stop appearing like a team in perpetual transition, and really consolidate their position as one of the top sides in the Premiership. It’s the least we fans deserve…

  • Mikael

    I can barely make it through a sentence in this article before losing the thread.
    We ain’t all british bro.