Contract Extensions All Round – Make Mine A Single

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A very good afternoon to you all – I’ve been away for a few days, and very nice it was too.

I saw Patrick Vieira training today on the box – only he appeared to be wearing a strange black and white shirt. Evidently, it’s going to take some time to get used to his departure, but onwards and upwards we shall go.

But before we can go onwards, or upwards even, we’ll need a few new faces to replace those who have gone. Of which there are, as yet, no sign.

There has been plenty of talk (maybe too much talk, as Bono might have said), that it’s merely a matter of time before Baptiste comes on board, but now we’re hearing that our underachieving chums up the road have lodged a higher bid of €20m. The cynic in me suggests that it’s a ploy to make us cough up more, but funnier things have happened, I suppose. Would he go somewhere where he won’t play European football?

Wenger’s not been dilly-dallying though, of that we can be sure. He’s tied Reyes and Clichy down to mammoth new deals, and even our erstwhile public enemy number one (number three) has agreed a one-year extension to his deal, which will pay him some £70,000 a week, or put another way, £10,000 a week more than we refused to pay him before. How about that then? How does that one work?

It’s only a one-year extension, and a lot’s been said about that, with talk that he may be sold (or ask to leave) next summer, at which point we’d still get a good salary for him and he’d be in a strong position to earn as much money as he could possibly ever want. Again though, a year’s a long time in football, and he could just as easily be as happy as punch come 2006 as he could be miserable and desperate to leave.

Just saw Chelski’s new £21m acquisition waltz into their ground with Arsenal’s top goalscorer and a former Spuds defender Mitch Thomas (his agent) in tow. There’s something wrong with that mental image, I tell you.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 40 Comments

  1. uncle fester

    I think its Seville trying to tell the Arse to get a move on if we are going to sign the beast do it they should stop arseing around,personally i couldn’t give a toss about SWP afterall his daddy told him to go to Chavski thank you very much Wrighty.Well Cole signs on go behind your employers back get caught and end up with more money then you originally asked for it doesn’t pay to be honest i might try that will get sack.I dont think of Paddy he has gone its time to move on things improving in Goonerville.

  2. wengerball

    Money talks LOUD – can’t be any other reason. SWP’s gone to sit on the bench behind, Robben, Duff and Cole with the occasional foray out in the Carling Cup and Wigan.
    Doesn’t help that www said he would have joined chelsea if he was playing today.
    I reckon wenger’s gona take a long hard look at Cole and then decide to flog him to Real for £12m next season.

  3. uncle fester

    YEP i agree AW will look at Cole and he could be on his way next year especially as Clichy as signed on also money talks if SWP does not play that often its his problem he knows what he is letting himself in for the smell of the filthy lucre won him over.

  4. TAJ

    Arsenal need a World Class Winger!!!!!! Get Joaquin!!!!!

  5. Gerry Gooner

    I think we’re all going to be disappointed this summer- I reckon Baptiste is the only player Arsene will sign (Cristanvaal and Baby Song don’t count as far as I’m cocerned) despite allegedly having more money. He may not replace Vieira at all which seems to be the impression he’s giving. In fact unless we sign a 25 yrs + midfielder in the region of $10million + we won’t be replacing him. Its a shame coswe were all told that there was at least 25 million to spend- he’s spent 8= 10 million on Hleb so that leaves 15 + the Vieira sale- I believe we need this and more to be spent on players if we are to have a hope of even getting second place next season. Financially it makes good sense to have sold Vieira and yes he’s not what he was BUT surely Wenger has a plan in the pipeline. This MUST be a short term plan- not another 21/ 22 year old we have to wait on to develop.
    As for Cole- well it says it all when he only signs a 1 year extension- if Clichy is up to it we should let him go next year. However selling him after having sold Vieira merely confims what we all really know- we are not a ‘massive’ club but a big one punching outside its weight all these years.
    Delighted Henry is captain. Nuff moaning from me.

  6. Roger the Dodger

    We will sign Baptista in January Window. We can talk to him as he will only have 6mths left to his contract.

    For someone with only one year left to his contract he is very expensive.
    That’s why we only got €20 mil. for Vieira, as he had 2 yrs left on his contract.

    As Baptista himself has said, one more year and he gets his residency in spain, an move to any new club on a free. last thinf Seville would want him to do is go to their rivals.

  7. Roger the Dodger

    My Spelling is not so good

    I ment Baptiste

  8. Boz

    Can anyone tell me where exactly the team will be training in Austria this week? I know there’s a game in Wiez on Wednesday, but where are the players based for training? Thanks for the info.
    Anyone going over?

  9. Tom Gooner

    I think we’ll get Baptista this week, and agree with the earlier comment about Seville just trying to maximise the fee they receive. WHY would he go to the scum?! If he does, i’ll start supporting them – im THAT sure a brazilian world cup hopeful wont go to a club without european football. And let’s stop speculating over Ash – the fact is he’s our main shining light in the England team now Sol’s place is looking sold to the Pike Face from Chavski, and i’m getting pretty woried that our starting eleven won’t have one englishman in come our first game at ‘The Perry’.

  10. loonygoon

    I agree,why the hell havent we looked at bringing in a keeper to rival jens. I reckon robert greene of norwich could b a good bet,especially with world cup coming up hes gonna want 2 get recognised.with manure gettin van der sar,n chavski having 2 pretty ‘decent’ keeps,if nethin happnd to jens we wud b screwed.I still reckon owen would b a quality signing,but he’d rather go to shopping list: rob greene, may as well take christanval as backup(f*ck off pascal),gattusso could fill pv’s boots nicely, and one of baptiste or owen.what does ne1 think?also where is hleb gonna play?is he right mid or centre?i dont know much about him to be honest. if right mid what happens 2 freddie?All this aside,i fully trust sir arsene to put things right.

  11. gunningforglory

    I read ballack may be heading to united for 12 million, surely good value for money of Arsene can get him aboard. Proven midfield general of international quality. He would surely command a starting role and with him and gilberto in the middle of the park we would have no problems there, with flamini and fabregas as backup.

  12. San Francisco

    I think AW will wait to see if Hleb/Frabregas can fill the PV role, that is, no big signing of a center-mid at least until January. I think we will get the Beast, Owen or another proven stiker this summer. After that, we wait ’til January and see how things are looking. I also think, within the next year Campbell will be going by-by, flog ‘im while he’s still worth a few bob.

  13. Benni

    Lets have a poke at the starting line up….

    Lehmann (need to strengthen)

    Lauren (need to strengthen)
    Senderos (I reckon Sol will be sold soon….)

    Lundberg (need to strengthen)

    Henry (captain)

    gk – ???? (almunia is hurt already)
    Van Persie

    Looks rather thin……
    Tough to even ensure 2nd place as chelski, with SWP and Del horno and maybe Essien would be too damn rich and powerful that even their 2nd 11 can qulaify for champions league

  14. Benni

    Oh yeah…need to buy 1) striker – baptiste would be good and bring in size 2) stong DMC – support for gilberto and 3)winger – competition for pires/lundberg.

    Hleb will likely feature in centre changing our previous lack of creativity up the middle and obvious tendency to attack from left side.

  15. Geoff

    I have just returned from two weeks abroad where i avoided all football news, I was fully expecting that arsenal would moreorless have completed all their summer signings & I could look forward to the new season when I got back so you can imagine my shock when I return home to find vieira has finally gone & we have signed no-one apart from hleb which was done before I went.

    As bongo will confirm I am a pessimist at the best of times so I am nearly suicidal now. We have lost our captain been outbid by the spuds for baptista & neither henry or gilberto have signed new deals yet…..WHAT IS GOING ON?????

    I have always trusted wenger but in the earlier days it was easier to do so, simple because when he arrived no-one knew who he was so there were no real expectations at all. The success he has provided has changed all that, now all gunners fans want more.

    Its good to bring in the youngsters both from the youth team & by buying the best but a club like arsenal also needs established players (that does not have to mean big names) but they do need to be proven otherwise you will not compete with chelsea, man utd or even liverpool. Wenger has stated the reason we lost the title was due to a lack of height & experience, so from that I fail to see where selling Vieira helps as he is both tall & has tons of experience, especially for such a rubbish price. we signed hleb who is unproven for 10 million & seville want more than 14 million for the beast even though he is not a regular international, hell lyon want 31 million for essien who is unproven in a top league. As arsenal lack transfer funds anyway what is 14 million going to buy us if it even goes back into the team.

    Wenger will have my faith & support until sept 1st when the transfer window closes, if at that point we have not seriously strengthened the team & squad I will have no faith at all of a decent season. The team was not good enough last year (thats a fact) but selling vieira (who may have been fairly poor by his standards, but was still better than 95% of other midfielders in the world) will not help us only our rivals. I for one hope wenger had planned for this & has a masterplan that he supposedly spoke about.

    One final thought does anyone remember last summer when arsenal nearly sold vieira, henry came out & said if arsenal had sold vieira he would have to consider his own position & that was direct from henry not paper talk.

  16. Farnborough Gunner

    Geoff – I agree that the lack of buying is grim news. But I don’t hold Wenger responsible. The club simply don’t have the funds, despite the big talk a few months back about funds being available. Having said that I can’t believe how long the Baptiste saga has run for – we should either buy him or tell Seville their price is too high and walk away; instead we face the prospect of being gazumped by Spurs!

    Regarding the departure of Vieira, the amount of fall out – e.g. Henry being unsettled- depends on who we buy (or even IF we buy). If the money from the sale of Vieira contributes funds an overall strengthening of the squad it will be seen as shrewd business. If we just end up losing a senior player but not gaining anyone significant, it will raise all sorts of questions about the club’s ambition and ability to really compete with the Chavs & Mancs. In that case I doubt if Wenger would stick around for too long either.

    Unless a few big signings suddenly materialise I think maybe we need to accept that next season is a transition year and we will not be able to compete with Chelsea at least in the Premiership. So many areas of the team need strengthening, or more backup, and I don’t see this now being addressed in the next few weeks.

  17. vivb

    Juventus offered Vieira a 5 year £80,000 a week contract which sees him to 34. At Arsenal he would have got a one year extension at the end of his contract. He would not have been able to resist that deal, and AW would not have matched it so better we sold him than had another distracting soap-opera for the next 4 weeks.

    Remember Vieira broke into the first team at 21 so Flamini and Fabregas are more than squad players this season.

  18. Lee.

    I think we all need to be a bit more realistic here & start to understand AW opinion on word class players, cos I’m now convinced when he talk of them in buying terms he speaks of potential.
    I have been sitting here doing some calculations & @ the end of last year we were supposed to have had £25m to play with, now £10m went on Helb £6m (so far) has come-in on the PV deal. Now let’s suppose we get Baptiste for what is now looking like £15m that leaves us with a grand total of £6m to play with.
    I don’t know about you lot but I can’t remember when I last see a world class player moving for £6m.
    Sorry to be a pessimist boy’s but I only hope some of our youngsters really come of age this year, cos that’s our only hope of winning back the title?
    But with that said my hopes are still high for the long term,
    (1)AW has bought well in the last couple of years on young talent.
    (2)When we move to Emirates Stadium next year we will be “hopefully” cash rich.

  19. Farnborough Gunner

    Does anyone know who our second choice keeper is currently, while Almunia is injured?

  20. Farnborough Gunner

    Buying SWP is not as much of a benefit to Chelsea as it may seem at first, as he is likely to spend most of the season on the bench.

    The real benefits to Chelsea are added strength in depth and preventing SWP from playing for their rivals, Arsenal.

    It is also not such a good move for SWP. It may be lucrative to him and he may be at a club that wins trophies, but if he is not in the team regularly he won’t really be part of it. Also, lack of firt team appearances can only harm his chances of being in the England squad next summer. He is likely to have plenty of time to count his money as he will not be playing much football.

  21. GEEMAN

    The team that lost the league to chelsea last year also went a whole season unbeaten. the difference between the unbeaten season and last season was confidence. I dont really agree with the view that unless we have proven experienced players then we are never going to win the champions league because Porto won without house hold names in their team and to the same extent so did liverpool last year. whats more important is we have the players with the ability, hunger and desire to well for the team, something viera has only shown in spurts for the last 2yrs. I can remember CESC competing and winning the midfield battles against players such as Roy Keane, Makelele, Stevie G etc. This player has massive potential and we should not ignore the possibility that Wenger saw this and decided that he could take the gamble he made. I remember Anelka comming through signalled the decline of Ian Wright who was still a potent striker at the time. Only time will tell if it was a wise decision for wenger or a mistake. what i cant stand are some of the comments comming from those of you who play your football on Champ Manager. Big Names dont always buy success, ask Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Newcastle, Lazio. Remember Ajax won the Champions League with highly rated youngsters who were virtual unknowns across europe.

  22. vivb

    Real Madrid haven’t won anything for 2 years with an all star team.

    We need a hungry team which doesn’t fear failure which many of the established older players have done in the past.

    Keeping Vieira simply restricts the opportunities for the younger players to shine as long as someone takes leadership in the dressing room. I think that is what we fear is missing especially as sides like to physically intidate us, Gilberto is now the midfield enforcer and is very quiet.

  23. San Francisco

    Another interesting thing to ponder is the potential of Toure in the mid-field, supposedly his preferred position. I wonder if he is any good?

  24. halfNice

    I hear Baptiste is again saying he wants to stay in Spain. Could someone tell him that this whole thing is getting boring?!

  25. thumpus

    toure as the defensive midfielder with cesc longside him is something i would like arsene to try out,
    1) he is built like a brick shit house and i cant see him being bullied or shying away from too many tackles
    2) he makes good bursts forward from time to time and has a wicked shot on him
    3) finally and most importantly, he will never stop trying, he will never give up, he will never sulk or pass on the blame if something goes wrong and he is as honest as the day is long. all we need is 10 more like him and were going places.

  26. Rigsby

    Its official. Check out the online edition of the gaurdian. The beast is staying put

  27. vivb

    Toure’s distibution is too poor.

    Baptista would prefer a move to Barca, he wasn’t going to move before he got his passport. he can have a Bosman next season when Barca might be interested. I wouldn’t be surprised if agreement has been reached for us to buy him in January (the last chance Seville have of getting a fee for him).

    Ballack or Niemi anyone?

  28. Farnborough Gunner

    I’ve decided Baptista would be an ideal replacement for Vieira – the saga of whether he will join Arsenal this summer reminds me so much of the Vieira/Real Madrid sagas of previous years 🙂

  29. Geoff

    In the article by Baptista he says about getting his papers ready to get an EU passport in august, assuming that means this coming august then there is the strong possibility that he will get his passport then join arsenal before the sept deadline!!

    He says he spoke to wenger about this & lets face it the conversation between them happened as both have admitted it. You can safely assume that arsenal would have given up a while ago if he had said he was not interested (therefore he obviously is happy to join us). No-one can say anything official including seville as it could stop him getting the passport so I feel this saga could run right to transfer deadline day.

  30. Vince

    I’m also getting bored with this beast stuff…..personally I would tell them, Sevilla and beast it’s now or never, I’m reaaly not bothered.

    The Toure thing is interesting though. What you see is what you get with him….he would run through a brick wall if he had to…I like that!

  31. vivb

    Spurs admitted in the ES that their bid for Baptista had no hope of success it was just to show they can compete with the big boys ….what a bunch of wankers

  32. Geoff

    So as baptista is now making clear he wants to stay in spain what will wenger do now? baptista was obviously his main target especially as he can play defensive midfield or as a striker therefore covering two positions.

    I cant stand the thought of going for Guti he really is a second rate player that could not even get in a very average madrid side over the last couple of years. It seems time is running out for making signings before the new season & in anycase new players really need pre season at their new clubs to settle in properly.

    Everyday that passes I pray wenger has a plan cos I truly do not believe he wanted to leave it this late before signing players. I cant understand anyone wanting Toure in midfield yes he has bags of enthusiasm can run & tackle, but his passing is poor & when he been played in midfield in the past has just run around like a headless chicken, we really need much more than that.

    When you look at last season our best midfield combination was actually Gilberto & cesc who were murdering teams at the start of the season before gilberto got injured & vieira came back, however you do have to wonder if cesc can last the whole season.

  33. adbags

    If we get Baptiste, well and good, but I think that Wenger is very confident in the ability of Fabregas. As was said earlier, the best combination in the middle of the park last season was Cesc and Gilberto. Cesc will hold up and when he’s not there we’ve got Flamini who is a class act in himself. My biggest worry is lack of depth but if we have are fully fit I think we’ll definately be challenging for honours. Reyes, Van Persie, Cesc, Flamini, Senderos etc have all shown they have what it takes and with another season under their belt I’m confident they’ll all step up.

    anyway as alan hansen once said “you can’t win anything with kids.”

  34. wengerball

    If the bap stays at Seville, does that mean Arsene’s strategy for life without PV4 is b*ggered?
    I hope not because Guti (who regretfully probably will come now) can’t fill Pat’s size 15 nikes and is nothing more than a stop-gap.
    I’m with geoff – praying le Boss has something up his sleeve none of us has seen but, knowing him, it will probabaly just be total faith in the young ‘uns.

  35. Vince

    Gutti to replace Paddy… way! It’s already been said, our best combo last season was Cesc and Gilberto so not a massive problem but we need more depth for sure, lets trust the man.

    We all pretty much seem to agree on this one, I wonder if Sir Wenger reads this site!

  36. halfNice

    How often did Gilberto and Cesc play together last season? Not often, I think. I suspect that they will make a very good team, but I can’t remember having seen it yet.

  37. wengerball

    I think missing out on javier mascherano from River Plate was a huge mistake.
    I’d love to see Ballack come but he is the same age as PV4 (albeit a very different player and at the height of his powers). Mascherano would have been a cornerstone for the future.
    Now Diarra is ruled out by le boss, Essien is way too pricey and in love with the chelski’s rouble anyway I don’t see any direct replacements.
    I reckon we are going to completely change the way the midfield operates to accomodate cesc who never sat well alongside viera.

  38. Geoff

    I dont particularly think we need a direct replacement for vieira, what we need is new players so wenger can change this system somewhat!! Hleb has been brought in but will be a total waste of money if wenger does not provide him with a proper striker to supply. Vieira going is no bad thing if we bring new players in, but with time running out now its looking less & less likely.

    The biggest disappointment for me is that wenger having complained about a lack of height, experience & squad size has done absolutely nothing to rectify any of it so far & when you listen to his recent interviews does not seem to be doing anything about it. I just cannot see how next season can be better than this past season if the team & squad is no better & in some ways is even worse having lost edu & vieira.

  39. wengerball

    When PV4 went to Juve – I looked at their squad, which is awesome. If you look at their front line of Ibrahimovic, del Pierro, Mutu and Trezeguet – that seems like a quartet to reckon with. Apart from the matchless TH14, there’s ageing DB10, shaky Reyes and temperemental, unproven, rape-accusation-mired RvP – doesn’t have the same ring about it, does it?
    I know it’s controversial, but I would feel a lot happier with Owen or another proven 20+ goals a season name added to that mix.
    If the bap, owen or someone else doesn’t come Le boss must be banking on Quincy seriously making an impact on the first team this season?

  40. Farnborough Gunner

    The goalkeeping situation at Arsenal is a risk- Lehman, Almunia and ????

    Lehman has a euro ban to serve, so we will be dependent on Almunia, presumably with some kid on the bench, or even starting if Alumia is injured.

    We have lost Taylor (and Stack, although he has been out on loan/bail for while). They are both good keepers and Taylor has big match experience. But we have not bought anyone in to replace them – and goalkeeper was an area that needed strengthening anyway.

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