Saturday, 13 January 2018

Reaction To Coquelin Transfer Is Evidence Some Arsenal Fans Have Lost It

With his recent transfer to Valencia, I am 100% certain many now know a lot about Francis Coquelin.

He joined Arsenal at the age of 17 after been scouted by Gilles Grimandi. 2 years later he alongside Alexandre Lacazette & Antoine Griezmann won the U19 Euros Championship for France with Francis playing 84 minutes in the final game and Lacazette scoring the winning goal. Francis was also a member of the Arsenal 2009 FA Youth Cup winning squad.

As Francis himself commented in his goodbye message to fans, he came as a boy and Arsenal was part of his growing up to be a man. He considered Arsenal his second family.

I remember when I first watched Francis in the 6 nil League Cup defeat of Sheffield United. I heard great things about him that night – his versatility and the fact he was very much one for the future. He played at right back as a substitute. His all round play was good. He was confident and you could see he was enjoying himself.  He featured many times in positions he didn’t prefer just to do a job for his club and manager and this perhaps contributed to his delay in nailing down more starts for the first team. It is a measure of the lad’s level headedness that till today, he is not one for a social media circus. 

Like almost all the French players I have watched, he is technically gifted as a footballer and the comfort level on the ball is something you don’t see often with footballers trained in England.

Yes he didn’t turn out to be a world-class footballer. But world-class teams don’t have 11 World Class Players; there are many non world-class players in the Barcelona and Real Madrid squads. Also you don’t need to be world class to win trophies in your playing career. After all Jamie Carragher & Djimi Traore won the UEFA Champions League.

Also not all promising players fulfill their potential. Only Jack Wilshere has had a comparatively better career than Francis Coquelin at senior level amongst the Arsenal 2009 FA Youth Cup winning squad.  

Similarly with the French side that won the U19 Euros. Only Griezmann and Lacazette have done better than Coquelin. If you look at the England squad that went to that Euros, only Nathaniel Clyne could be said to have anything close to the career Francis has had at Arsenal. And Francis has won more trophies than Clyne.

While many are happy to jump on the ‘he didn’t progress’ bandwagon, I dare say he has been unlucky. He has had to wait his turn behind players like Diaby (before his injury), Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Rosicky, Nasri, Eboue, Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Benayoun and then Ozil and Cazorla before he got his opportunity in 2015 due to key injuries.

Apart from the Class of 92 at United, how many Academy Players have top clubs like Liverpool, United, and Chelsea produced? So Francis not developing into a top player isn’t the capital crime many want to turn it into. Just like Francis got his opportunity by chance, a player like Marcus Rashford got his opportunity the same way.

Everybody in United was raving about James Wilson who was going to be the new Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Van Persie combined into one person. But Wilson is now playing in the championship and Jose is gradually changing young Marcus’ game into a variation of his surname (THRASHford)

Another bandwagon that many jumped on is the low fee supposedly paid by Valencia to Arsenal despite the over inflated price in the market and the fact that Coquelin had a long term contract that was only renewed 12 months ago.

At something like £45k per week, handing Coquelin a contract extension was a no brainer. He does more than enough for £45k. Not renewing his contract at a time when his very good partnership with Santi Cazorla was still a thing would have been poor management. At the time Francis’ contract extension was announced, it was thought Santi was only out for the short term.

Deciding to sell him 12 months after extending his contract is what any business will do. Individuals wake up one morning craving a ‘Grande Macchiato Skinny Latte’ (If there is anything like that) and go to bed drinking some dross in a can. Businesses change strategic direction and reverse operating plans. Why should a club not change its decision when the facts change?

Coquelin wasn’t getting game time again because of competition. His partnership with others hasn’t quite worked out as it did with Cazorla. So the boss has let him go for the sake of his own career. Why is that such a hard thing to comprehend?

On the transfer fee, people accuse Stan Kroenke and the Board of Arsenal of not wanting to spend money. How can you then turn around and accuse them of throwing money away by selling a player at a lower fee than his transfer value? If they don’t like spending money, they are unlikely to be throwing it away.

Arsenal have gained something of a reputation for not paying above their own valuation of a player in the transfer market, why is this perception no longer true when it comes to selling a player? Why should Arsenal sell a player below its transfer value?

2 years ago, Nzonzi was £7m to the same Valencia. This season Konoplyanka left Athletico Madrid for Schalke for £11m. These are players that can be considered considerably better than Francis.

It might interest the moaners to realize that Valencia apparently paid Arsenal more than the players’ market value, contrary to their over inflated opinion.  


It is very arrogant for ANY Arsenal fan to believe they know more about player valuation than the professionals working inside the club.

Even if Arsenal sell Coquelin cheaply. So what!

To help him get a decent sign - on bonus and wage at Valencia. He deserves every penny. He helped the club recruit his good friend Alexandre Lacazette and served Arsenal loyally for almost 10 years. I don’t understand demanding loyalty and not reciprocating.

By the way, valuations are not about opinions. So please take a step back on this one and don’t plead that bullshit about the right to an opinion.

If Arsenal have a sell on clause, they might potentially be getting something out of the 80m euros buy out clause Valencia has slapped on Coquelin. Hopefully when Real Madrid, Barcelona or PSG pay that money in 18 months time, 25% of that will come into Arsenal’s pockets.



Sunday, 24 December 2017

Emmanuel Eboue – Sad Case. Challenging To Solve

I woke up to the story of Emmanuel Eboue’s present challenges on the Mirror Newspaper Twitter feed on Sunday morning.

It was so sad.

Talented professional at age 34 is sofa - surfing at his friend’s.

Dad no longer has access to his kids.

One time millionaire with the world at his feet loses everything.

Man losses everything to his Ex - wife.

A man approaching his middle age, suffering from mental health issues / depression.

It is very sad. And I dare say, it is something many might probably be able to relate with. Not that we’ve all made millions and now lost the money but we probably might be able to relate to a time when we were flush and are now skint.

We all also know one person or the other who might have fallen on bad times and is now surviving due to the generosity of friends and family.

We also know many families that have split for whatever reason and the split has led to one partner having to probably start all over again financially.  

What is perhaps even sadder for Eboue is that he has had a few issues in the last 15 months. His FIFA ban for a year due to unpaid agent’s fees. An aborted transfer due to ‘failed’ medical’, his mental health issues and others that might thankfully not be in the public space.

From everything you read about him, Eboue appears to be a genuinely nice guy. No doubt one who kids around a lot and one who potentially embarrasses his teammates in a very nice way.

It would appear he was never the politically correct or prim and proper type. Thierry Henry apparently told him in a nice way to comport himself at Buckingham Palace when the Arsenal Team went to visit the Queen. Did Eboue listen? Did he hell!

He apparently made the Queen laugh by requesting that Her Majesty allow him work for her by tending her famous corgis.

What a jolly man.

He also had a very vulnerable side, as he appears to have cried after he was booed at the Emirates and he told Arsenal he no longer wanted to play football again. He was so deeply affected by that occurrence that many years later, he showed his young son the video of what happened to him.

Emmanuel’s path to Arsenal followed a well-worn path. Asec Mimosas to Beveren in Belgium and then to Arsenal.  He had many good times as a player both for Arsenal and for his national team.  He definitely lived his dream and didn’t do too shabbily after he left Arsenal for Turkey. His departure was the start of his problems apparently.

Images online show many happy times with his Ex too. But sadly all of this is now in the past.

As recently as a year ago, Eboue was very grateful to his spouse for her support but the same spouse is now the butt of all criticism for Eboue’s fate.

In the Mirror interview / video, he didn’t specifically lay into his Ex. It appears his ire is mostly with the justice system in the UK. It is however unprecedented that any court in the UK will render a man homeless. There is a lot we don’t know and might never know. Is the court aware there are properties elsewhere? Turkey, Cote D’Ivoire? Is there any connection to the agents’ fees that Eboue didn’t pay?

How has the Eboue’s mental health issues been treated?  With medication or with therapy?

If with medication, is that perhaps why his last medical found “abnormal blood values”? Is that curtains for his football career?

I have seen many on Social Media appeal to Arsenal to give him a role. I hope the club can help him one way or the other. Helping him doesn’t necessarily mean giving him a job.

I suspect the club is in a sort of a difficult position here. If Eboue is not legally allowed access to his son, why will Arsenal where his son plays employ him knowing he might have access to his son through his employment?

It appears long before now, at least more than 12 months before the interview in the Mirror, not many of Eboue’s old Ivory Coast / African mates have helped. It appears only Lomano Lua Lua and his ‘confidante’ (the lady in the background during his interview) have helped out.

I wonder if this suggests there are things in the background many do not know. After all none of us can claim to know Emmanuel Eboue more than Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure.

If I had a magic wand, I will make his life better and his pains go away. But I know that there is never a silver bullet to a complicated life issue.


There are kids, family, money, health & legal issues involved here. I think the issue King Solomon in all his wisdom had to deal with was mild in comparison. 

Monday, 18 December 2017

Why Arsenal Fans Should Never Be Allowed To Run Arsenal Football Club

Of course its never going to happen not with the garbage you see many post on the internet.

But just imagine. If Arsenal fans were running the club, the following Managers would have managed Arsenal in the last 10 years:

·      Owen Coyle

·      Sam Allardyce

·      Tony Pulis

·      Gary Monk

·     Jurgen Klopp – the one who almost relegated Dortmund is even better than the Liverpool version that has won sweet FA

·     Jose Mourinho – the one that has spent £600m so Man U can play like a very expensive Tony Pulis side

·     Ronald Koeman

·     Slaven Bilic

·     Thomas Tuchel

·     David Moyes

·     Harry Redknapp

     Mauricio Pochettino – the one that is only good at putting pressure. The self styled Council Bedsit tenant who scoffs at a modest townhouse

·    GuarDOUGHola – the one who only goes to clubs where they can outspend their rivals


And if you are not impressed with that managerial shortlist. You have to be with the player version.

Left to some know it all fans. These fans that have a solution to every one of life’s problems. The following players will now be playing for Arsenal:

·    Messi, Neymar & every other super star going – according to some of these pretend fans as I like to call them, Arsenal can buy any player they want. Kroenke has more money than Croesus and there is a money-printing machine in Arsenal’s boardroom

·     Christopher Samba

·     Winston Reid

·     Christian Benteke

·     Ali Habsi

·     Scott Parker

·     Super Mario Ballotelli

In case you think the above is made up, please read this article and be aware that there are many Arsenal fans who actually buy into the views of the (non) person that is the subject of the article 

Again if these self styled super fans have their way, the current squad will be decimated.

·  Aaron Ramsey would have been binned instead of scoring the goals that won Arsenal 2 FA Cups (that important trophy when Man U win it)

·  Giroud would have been escorted off the premises instead of being the proud winner of the 2017 Puskas Goal Award, joining the 100 goals club at Arsenal and surpassing Eric Cantona’s goal records

·   Theo Walcott would have had his Arsenal contract revoked despite having a goals to minutes’ ratio that is up there with the very best in the game and closing in on the all time appearance record under Arsene Wenger

·   Nacho Monreal would have been surreptiously returned to Spain in embarrassment despite his versatility and several record-breaking performance in several roles for the Arsenal Team

·   Hector Bellerin will now be a sailor learning to cross the Atlantic if only Arsenal & Arsene had listened to Arsenal fans after Hector’s performance at Dortmund

·   Arsenal would have had to demand a refund from Real Madrid for Ozil because the Arsenal fans are unhappy that a super creator like Ozil is not patrolling the length and width of the pitch, clattering everybody & eye gouging anybody who stands in his way like a cojoneless Troy Deeney

· Sanchez would now be the President of N5, although at this moment, many will be up in arms and actively seeking to impeach him.

You get the picture.

It has come to the stage where Arsenal, Arsene, the boys winning is not enough. Our opponents are always shite when we win.

Many disgruntled fans made it clear last season that even if Wenger won the League, they still want him gone. Unreasonable in my opinion.

Winning the league is the only thing that matters. On that score Guardiola should have been fired last season. He had enough opportunity to change all the right backs and left backs. He chose not to. He had unlimited money to spend. He had considerable time to prepare for his first season. He didn’t. All of a sudden now, he is a genius. With all the noise about GuarDOUGHola you will think he can switch his genius button off and on as he pleases. 

Same with Jose Mourinho. He ought to be condemned to the dustbin of history. He had all the time to prepare for a title challenge at United. He came 6th. He took Man U backwards. A team that missed Top 4 by whiskers. After spending almost a billion in the last few years, United are on course again to have another limp performance in this year’s league.

My suggestion to the fans that think they have the solution to all of the  world’s problems let alone that of the Arsenal is: GET A GRIP!

·  Arsene or someone who reports to him reads the health report of the players. Arsene knows when that player is at his optimum. Please confirm you have read such reports before moaning about substitutions or the starting 11

·  Arsene and the rest of the coaching crew see different combinations of players in defence, midfield and attack in training every day. You only see it for 90 minutes or less and you want everybody to take your word that certain combinations work better than the manager’s choice. Pfffft

· Arsene, Gazidis, Law etc. have significant experience in player transfers, contract negotiations etc. but you that can’t make head or tail out of your mobile phone contract is sounding off on social media, jumping up and down and directing Arsenal on what to do. Unbelievable

Like my previous advice on pundits who know nothing and don’t have the humility to let people know that they are bereft of ideas on certain issues,

Give the ‘KNOW IT ALLs’ a wide berth. They are frauds