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Remember Titi's words, Ade


I remember when Patrick Vieira first started to get linked with a move away from Arsenal. It seemed to happen every summer and the silence from our incredible midfielder was always deafening. I prayed that Paddy would stay with us, the boy who became a man at Highbury.

So dominant was our Number Four, that the prospect of him ever leaving was unthinkable. He was everything the club in the Arsene Wenger era stood for. Dynamic, competitive, skilful, athletic and the envy of clubs all over the world.

I’ll never forget the afternoon in 2004 when I was called by a friend and asked if I’d heard the news. The Vieira transfer saga with Real Madrid was going on again and I was expecting the worst. “Vieira’s staying.” I couldn’t believe it. We were, indisputably, able to resist the overtures of the biggest clubs in the world. Or so I thought.

And yet, once Vieira left, even Thierry Henry’s departure did not break my spirit in the way I expected it might. Once a player starts to flirt with other clubs, or fail to pledge absolute and unequivocal allegiance, they should leave, as far as I’m concerned. The bond is broken.

As others have noted in the last seven days, it will be a bit awkward for Emmanuel Adebayor if he DOES stay now. Having mentioned needing to save for his retirement, helping everyone by leaving (most of all himself) and how he couldn’t possibly ignore the overtures of AC Milan or Barcelona, who now look more likely to sign him, how can he possibly remain a Gunner?

I watched last season’s 3-1 victory against T**ttenh** recently. A few things stood out. Adebayor’s workrate is there for all to see. He scored one with his head and that magical turn and volley that won the Match of the Day 'Goal of the Season' award. Yep, he missed a sitter as well when we were 1-0 down, but more than made up for it.

His link play was also impressive, his ability to hold the ball up and bring others into the game. Can we really afford to let him go at this stage of the team’s development? I’m not so sure.

Flamini too, was awesome in that game. He broke up almost every attack, niggling at the T**ttenh** midfield and forward line – and he needed to, because we hadn’t got into our stride. I’m a big fan of Abou Diaby and think he could be a new Vieira, but out wide, as was the case in that derby, he was a man lost and was taken off – but if his progress next year is as great as Flamini’s last season, we won’t go far wrong. We have to hope. Flamini is going to prove quite a loss.

I caught a glimpse of a Thierry Henry interview as well this weekend. One sentence stuck in my head:

“Whenever you leave Arsenal, you don’t really leave Arsenal.”

Adebayor may do well to think about that over the next few days. If he wants to have any hope of regaining the love of the fans who forgave his misses and adored his spirit last season, he's got some making up to do. 


Fantasy Arsene Wenger

What better way to start this blog than to swap shoes with M. Arsene Wenger for a day?

Just returned from sponsorship duties at Euro 2008, he's come back to the office to check out a few things before getting a weekend of rest ahead of the new season.

He's already lost his ball-winning midfielder to AC Milan, his mercurial winger looks set to be on his way to Spain or Germany and the last week has been dominated by stories of the leading goalscorer and his agent claiming he wants to leave/doesn't want to leave/wants Arsenal to show how much they want him/insert own point of view here.

So what is M. Wenger to do, knowing that the natives are getting restless after three trophyless seasons, losing his Managing Director which leaves the board conspicuously short of 'fixers', house prices are going down, threatening the repayment of the Emirates Stadium loan and cash is in short supply. Oh, and even the Arsenal Ladies have been hit by a double defection to Chelsea. What is it with Arsenal and contracts??

It sounds like just another year as a Gooner, doesn't it? Disillusionment, star players going, and the club punching above its weight before finally succumbing to a lack of strength in depth and winning praise for it's magical football but not for trophies won.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

So I've swapped shoes with M Wenger today and made a list of what I'm going to do.

Friday, July 4 2008


Adebayor for £32m to Barcelona, with a sell-on clause if possible.

Hleb for £11m to Barcelona.

Emmanuel Eboue to Villareal (or anyone who will have him) for £4m.

Philippe Senderos to Werder Bremen for £3m (ok, this really is stretching it!).

Total: £50m


Samir Nasri from Maseille for £12m

Amaury Bischoff from Werder Bremen for free

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from Ajax for £19m

Vincent Kompany from SV Hamburg for £10m

Total: £41m

I reckon, with Theo Walcott starting to show his form last season, Carlos Vela coming back, Nicklas Bentdner a year more experienced and RVP hopefully staying fit for more than half the season, things could be very interesting.

If only M. Wenger would sign a decent goalkeeper. Then again, there's only so much one can dream.


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