Why We Really Hate Alexander Hleb…

It all started before last season even ended just before a massive Champions League encounter with AC Milan. Hleb and his agent met with Inter Milan, reportedly for ‘ice cream’ in one of the most pathetic cover-ups in football.

And in a complete act of cowardice, he stupidly punched Graeme Murty and got a 3 game ban, missing the last 3 games of the season.

Then the poor soul told us how much of a burden it is living in London, and how it’s too busy and chaotic. Can someone pass me the Kleenex?

Since then he’s successfully manufactured a move away from Arsenal and signed for Barcelona for £11.9 million.

And only a retard would think life in Barcelona would be quieter than at Arsenal! But that’s neither here nor there, because unfortunately the idiot doesn’t stop there does he?

Within hours of officially joining Barcelona, he declares how much Cesc Fabregas loves the catalan club and could move over someday. We all know this, but Hleb felt it necessary to publicly announce it and get the press all over it.

But are these the real reasons we hate Alexander Hleb?

Sure, he’s a complete cunt and yes he never shoots. But he was quality player.

I think the thing that really pisses me off is that the smug little bastard has joined a top quality club. Arsenal fans talk about players leaving Arsenal and never reaching the same level of success but you can’t honestly say that about Hleb or Flamini can you? After all, they never won anything with us and they are reaching their peak.

Only a bitter fan would say Hleb’s career is over – the guy is playing for one of the biggest clubs in Spain. And Flamini might be in the UEFA Cup next season but AC Milan are too good not to be in the Champions League in the next few years, especially if they can afford to bank roll players like Kaka and Ronaldinho.

And that’s the real problem.

It’s what he represents.

Which is we’re just not losing players who are 30 plus anymore and given their best years to the club. Petit, Vieira, Overmars, Henry, Lehmann, Gilberto, Freddie, Bobby and the others were over the hill, but players like Adebayor who are looking for leave are not.

Hell, I’ll say it. Ashley Cole was a fantastic player for us until the Chelsea debacle. And he left us at only 25. We’re not offloading players to lesser sides, they’re leaving for the likes of AC Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea.

Sure, we’re not the only club to do this, but at least when Beckham left United they got £25 million for him, and when Robben left Chelsea they got £24 million. For Cole, Hleb and Flamini we got £16.9 million and a cry baby.

Great business.

A Look Back… At The Invincibles Season

As the official Arsenal website crowns Thierry Henry as Arsenal’s greatest ever player via an online poll, it’s easy to look back at the last time Arsenal were greeted with Premier League success.

The invincibles season.

Looking back the squad we had then it was simply immense. There’s just no other word for it.

I know some of you look at the squads of Chelsea and Manchester United and think they’re on another level. But in 2004 when we lifted the Premier League trophy the same could be said about us.

The first team was outstanding and the players who would come in if we suffered injuries were just as good. So Arsene’s arguement that bringing in new players will effectively ‘kill’ off young talent is slightly flawed. Our squad back then was filled with talented players.

Our starting line up would consist of; Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Ashley Cole, Freddie, Vieira, Gilberto, Pires, Bergkamp and Henry. But we also had Wiltord, Edu, Kanu, Reyes (in January), Clichy, Parlour, Keown and Cygan waiting in the wings when required.

We also had the likes of Bentley, Pennant, Fabregas and Senderos making an impression in the reserves during that season.

Strength and depth are vital in today’s game and with Gilberto, Flamini and Hleb departing (as well as the aging Lehmann and Diarra in January) then our squad does seem to be a little thin at the moment.

Obviously, Gilberto and Lehmann could be considered over the hill but Flamini is a loss which ever way you look at it. Hleb was either loved or hated and while £11.9 million isn’t a bad return it’s still an experienced player leaving the club. People will say he never scored enough goals or made enough assists (although Hleb fans will point to his pre-assist rate) and he didn’t give enough to the first team but you wouldn’t really kick him out of the squad would you?

I realise that players want to play every week and that puts pressure on the manager but success almost suppresses this problem. Wenger didn’t have a problem rotating the invincibles squad simply because we were winning things. It’s the same with Manchester United at the moment. They have to drop either Anderson, Scholes, Giggs, Hargreaves or Carrick in every game but you don’t hear a peep out of them when they’re on the bench.

Everyone has high hopes for Samir Nasri but you have to give the kid a chance to get used to life in England, and the same can be said about Carlos Vela. And then there’s Aaron Ramsey – the Premier League is another step up and he will need time.

The jury is still out among Arsenal fans as to who should partner Fabregas at the heart of our midfield; some people are pointing to signing an established player, such as Xabi Alonso from Liverpool or Gareth Barry from Aston Villa, while others think it’s time for Denilson or Diaby to step up and prove their credentials.

What do I think?

I would be surprised if Arsene brought in Alonso or Barry to be perfectly honest. All the noises coming from Arsene are about giving youth a chance and that simply comes in the form of either Denilson or Diaby. No-one would have predicted Flamini being a major player last season, especially considering the outstanding form of Gilberto in the previous campaign.

We’ve been linked with so many players this summer, such as Santa Cruz, Arse Shaving, Eto’o and Huntelaar, but I just put that down to silly season in the press.

I truly think Arsene might have concluded his transfer dealings this summer.

With Adebayor looking almost certain to stay I would be completely shocked if we brought in another forward now. To be honest, even if Adebayor did leave I don’t think Arsene would have replaced him. Arsenal create so many chances, possibly the most in the league, and when Eduardo does return we will have 4 top quality players who can play up front – Bendtner, Eduardo, Van Persie and Theo Walcott.

But there’s till a while until the transfer window closes on August 31st so we could always get another last minute transfer like when Gallas joined us in the 11th hour two years ago.

Let’s All Get Excited About Samir Nasri! (With Video)

Finally, we have official confirmation that Samir Nasri has joined Arsenal for an undisclosed fee.

I haven’t really mentioned anything about him since you don’t know what can happen with transfer dealings these days but now he’s finally arrived here’s a video compilation of the kid in action to whet your appetite!

And what a fantastic compiltion it is as well. Although you’ve probably already seen it if you’re a regular user of YouTube.

Another great thing is apart from the fact he seems like a very skillful player, the guy actually shoots too!

Nasri said on his arrival at Arsenal:

“This is a very important step in my life as a footballer because Arsenal is a massive club.

“Arsene has a great reputation and he is one of the best managers in the world. He has proved that he puts a lot of confidence in the young players and he gives them a chance.

“It was very important for me to have such a great manager to work with and I’m really looking forward to working with both Arsene Wenger and all my new team-mates.

“I can play in the centre or on the wing. During my career, I have played behind one or two strikers or on the left, or the right hand side.”

I’m already excited about this guy!

It’s also been confirmed that the little Frenchman will be wearing the number 8 shirt, taking over from Freddie as the last person to wear it. Let’s hope the kid has the same sort of impact the Swede had when he joined the club.

Videos

Samir Nasri #22 Compilation [watch video]

Why Don’t Arsenal Go For Kaka & Ronaldinho?

With Alexander Hleb looking almost certain to join Barcelona and apparently Arsenal ‘offering’ Emmanuel Adebayor to AC Milan then why not try and prise the two Brazilians Kaka and Ronaldinho?

Obviously it sounds completely absurb but hear me out for a second.

Kaka is probably worth something crazy like £50 million (which would beat the world’s most expensive transfer of Zidane for £46 million) but with their debts from only qualifying for the UEFA Cup let’s face it AC Milan could do with the money. You can tell they’re hard up when they poach Flamini from us on a free.

Buying Kaka outright is out of the question but it becomes a different proposition when Adebayor is involved. The Togan is valued by Arsenal at around £36 million, so even if we drop our price to say £30 million then Kaka could technically be purchased for about £20 million if we did a swap deal plus cash.

And he really would be the perfect player for Arsenal. He plays all his football on the ground, is technically outstanding, has a fantastic engine and his pace is phenomenal.

Seriously, will we get a better chance of signing a truly world-class player again?

Arsenal have something Milan want so why not try and use that to our advantage? Hell, throw in Hleb and Eboue as part of the deal as well!

Unfortunately all wishful thinking, but we can dream can’t we?

And then we come to Ronaldinho.

I haven’t been following him as much as I usually do (the restraining order put a stop to that) but the impression I’m getting is that the player is all washed up and keeps on picking up injuries. He was at his peak from around 2003-2006 and since then has come off the boil. Apparently he’s been partying hard and we all know that in the 2006 World Cup he was anonymous.

But if anyone can get the best out of him it’s Arsene Wenger.

And a new challenge in a new league could just be what Ronaldino needs. You never really lose that kind of quality and although he is 28 years old surely he’s worth a punt. And I’m sure Arsenal’s valuation of Hleb is higher than Barcelona’s asking price for Ronaldinho (if there indeed is one).

His value has obviously shot right down since Barcelona have publicly announced that they want him to leave, but the main problem (as with Kaka probably) would be the outrageous wage demands.

You might baulk at the possibility of Kaka and Ronaldinho joining Arsenal but it’s no more far-fetched as the rest of the b*llocks half these websites are posting. If you’re going to start a rumour at least make it interesting…

Who’s Having The Last Laugh Now Arsene?

I’m sure you’ve all read the so called interview with Arsene Wenger, where he states that he intends to continue selling Arsenal’s prized assets in order to make a profit in the transfer market. This is apparently because of the costs involved in the Emirates Stadium.

While it’s highly unlikely Arsene actually said these things, it would be fair to say that Wenger’s policy in the transfer market much more prudent that most, especially when we’re talking about the top four clubs in the Premier League.

Every single summer we’re linked to players who are valued at over £20 million plus, but the real Arsenal fans know these rumours are just hot air. Partly because of our specific transfer policy and also because Arsene has always said it’s better to work with players who are hungry for success and have something to prove.

We say it time and time again but look at Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Gilberto Silva et al – when Arsene introduced these players to the first team they had won nothing (except World Cup Winners Gilberto and Titi).

The policy never changes.

And the players that have come in afterwards are of the same ilk. Alexander Hleb, Tomas Rosicky, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Theo Walcott – quality players with massive potential who have yet to win any major honours.

And now we’ve got Samir Nasri.

But after 4 seasons in the Premier League wilderness the big question now is are we being left behind?

It does seem like the transfer policy gets tighter and tigher as the seasons and years go by.

When Arsene first arrived he brought in players like Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit to lift the team to another level and we achieved the double in that season. He then brought in Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg to strengthen the side even further the season after.

Don’t forget an injury-prone Overmars was £5.5 million and Henry was £10.5 million, which 10 years ago was a significant sum of money. Especially when you consider in roughly the same period Manchester United bought Andy Cole for £7 million, Dwight York for £12.6 million and Teddy Sheringham for £3.5 million, while Chelsea purchased Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Di Matteo for £4.5 million and £7 million respectively.

So it wasn’t as if we couldn’t compete on a similar level.

But today it seems like the gap is bigger than ever.

Manchester United spent a staggering £33 million on Rio Ferdinand in 2002, and only last year spent a combined £31 million on Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick. We know what Chelsea’s transfer budget is like and Liverpool spend big amounts too, like they did for Fernando Torres who was £20 million.

Arsenal just can’t compete with that.

We always point to how players who have left the club never reach the same levels of success they did with Arsenal. Vieira, Pires, Henry, Freddie and Edu are just a few examples of ex-players who fit that mould.

But is that really the case?

Because since they’ve departed we’ve hardly been racking up the trophies.

So when Myles says Arsene Wenger is the greatest spin-doctor football has ever seen you can’t really disagree with that. He has been selling us the future for the last 4 seasons and the bottom line is we have to yet again qualify for the Champions League.

It’s funny, because over the last few years I’ve always said that Liverpool don’t have a chance in hell of winning the Premier League. They rotate too much, drop to many points against the lower sides and play one-dimensional football. Don’t get me wrong, they are a decent side but when compared too Manchester United or Chelsea they don’t seem to have that something extra.

And I used to think Liverpool fans were delusional when they said they could win the league.

But maybe I’m the delusional one.

We would slate football pundits like Alan Hansen for writing off Arsenal’s title credentials but he wasn’t wrong in the end. It’s easy to see Arsenal through Wenger’s reality but the fact is my belief and hope is wearing thin.

I wrote a piece in April which expressed the soul crushing end to the season with a month of football to play. It talked about the massive desire from the team, the run of bad luck since Eduardo’s injury and Wenger’s unique vision on how football should be played.

I painted Arsene and Arsenal as some kind of victim and that’s how I felt at the time. It was as if we couldn’t have done anything to prevent the demise of our title challenge but looking back on it all the bottom line is Arsene could have – brining in some experience in the January transfer window could have made all the difference. It’s obviously easy to look at things in hindsight but a complete squad is essential in today’s game.

And ours just isn’t good enough right now.

A youth policy like Arsene’s used to have a future years ago but nowadays with big clubs buying established and experienced world-class talent the gap is just going to get bigger ang bigger.

Chelsea have brought in Deco, who despite his age is such a quality player. And what if they manage to prise Kaka away from AC Milan? No amount of youngsters in the world could compete against that team.