Column: Arsenal are transfer experts, angry fans need to calm down

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Graham Dougan was a youth prospect at Arsenal in the 1970s but never quite made the grade, making his career in the upper echelons of the old division two. He was also a Scottish U25 international. He is a regular pundit on TV in Malta and Luxembourg, and an after-dinner speaker of some repute.

He’ll write a column exclusively for the site and we hope you’ll enjoy his keen insight. This week he looks at current transfer speculation surrounding the club this month.

To many the potential sale of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United is further evidence that Arsenal are very much in the ‘make it up as they go along’ bracket when it comes to transfers.

‘Do they have a coherent strategy?’, I hear people cry. Social media is awash with complaints and outrage as the Gunners prepare to do some real business between now and the end of the January window. You can barely keep up with all the engaging banter on the excellent Twitter website which you can get for free on your phone and personal computer.

Yet many of these casting aspergers at the great Arsenal need to ask themselves one very simple question: Am I a football club?

If the answer is no then they are in no position to criticise or make judgement about how it goes about its business. For example, I wouldn’t dare tell Nigel Mansell how to take a corner at Brahm’s Hatch. If I saw a mighty cat chasing down a zebra on the Serengeti I would not presume to advise him on his technique, not least because I do not have the torque in my jaws to take down the stripy horse bastard even if I were to catch it.

Fans and pundits alike need to realise that transfers are not like they used to be. In the old days two managers would meet at a service station, haggle out a price, the buyer would hand over a wad of cash to his counterpart, and they’d go to a local hostelry and drink pints of bitter and brandy before getting into their Rolls Royces and driving home three sheets to wind. Simpler times!

Nowadays, you have players and agents and managers and hangers-on and Instagram rights and these deals are incredibly complicated. You need a team of people, like lawyers and attorneys and legal experts and hostage negotiators. With all these vested interests, it’s little wonder that deals that look done and busted one minute somehow fall apart the next.

Some will say that if you don’t have good enough people, or aren’t decisive enough, or don’t make decisions quickly enough, or prevaricate over potential recruits for too long, or aren’t any good at getting deals done then you put yourself at a disadvantage, but that’s nonsense.

It’s not as if Arsenal don’t do any transfers at all. Just this month they sold Francois Coquelin to Valencia, and given the way things are in Catalunya at this moment in time, that shows great expertise in finance and political maneuvering before the peseta becomes worthless due to civil strife.

They also appear to be selling Theo Walcott to Everton where Sam Allardyce will hope to revive a career that hasn’t lived up to its early promise. I’m one of those who thought Walcott was going to be a boy wonder, and not just because I could imagine him in tight fitting Lycra beside Batman. He had pace, he was quick, he could run really fast, his speed was astonishing and he was so, so incredibly rapid. Ultimately though, it didn’t go the way everyone, myself included, expected.

Playing Devil’s Avocado he did score over one hundred goals for Arsenal, and like a line of unspecified white powder at a party it’s not to be sniffed at (unless it’s your party and you know the provenance of said substance). But £20m – which back in my day would buy you 14 Trevor Francises and enough left over for a dozen Malcom MacDonalds – is a great amount of a money for a player who is now very much in the late August/early September of his career.

How then can Arsenal be criticised for the way they do their transfer business? Sure, they’re about to sell their most productive player over the last three and a half seasons to a hated rival and to a manager who Arsene Wenger hates so much he would probably give him a rare disease based on his own DNA just so he could then deny him a bone marrow transplant that would save his life.

But that happens in football all the time. Fans are just blinded by allegiance to their own team to realise that this is nothing out of ordinary. There are countless examples of this happening, such as Robin van Persie, so let’s not pretend these circumstances are abnormal. And if they swap Sanchez for the talented but brittle Eritrean winger Henfold Myktharanian, then they’ve got a good deal because anyone who gets away from the poison of Jose Mourinho can only flourish or die, but it’s much more likely to be the former.

So, my message to Arsenal fans is simple: Let the club carry out their well thought out plans in which they improvise solutions to problems they don’t even know they have yet. And remember, worse things happen at sea, so don’t go in any boats or rubber dinghies until February.

Your pal, GD.

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Canon Fodder

‘Casting aspergers’? Are we now on the Autistic Spectrum?

Shlivo

Devil’s Avocado?
Brahms Hatch?

GraeB

You were clearly born after Doog’s heyday when Farty Towels ruled.

Exiledgooner

Some quality malapropisms from the Scottish maestro, and a thought provoking article. I only hope that Graham releases a book sharing his thoughts on current affairs, how to dress appropriately for our age while still standing out from the crowd, and sharing his wisdom for to teach us all how to live better lives. Religions have started with less.

vin_unleaded

*Googles “malapropisms”.

Ah, now I fully underhand.

Arsene McLovin

Somehow this reminded me of Rambling Pete. Where is he??? Miss his wonderful rambles

Mayor McCheese

I like “Devil’s avocado.” I believe I’ll be referring to my scrotum as such from now on.

Craggy McEddy

You’ve got a green bawbag?

Exiledgooner

I understand that there is now a cream sold that can clear that right up.

Mayor McCheese

True, it does sound like an Elizabethan venereal disease.

Dobbi

He’s not a Wenger out so he won’t make it.

Hank1979

more from graham please. this man i could read all day

goongot

“He had pace, he was quick, he could run really fast, his speed was astonishing and he was so, so incredibly rapid. ”

This is how i feel my engineering papers

Original Paul

“Engineering papers” ? I have no idea what you mean but 19 others do! Help me on this?

DB10

He is referring to the answers that he wrote in his engineering exams.
Also, *feel= fill

goongot

Feel = malapropisms.

DanJGooner

This ‘guy’s’ column was never funny in the first place

Charliegeorge

Cheer up, misery guts…

A Different George

Are you one of the guys who took it seriously the first few times?

pedro

You should demand a full refund.

bobbyp

I really like this column and this was the funniest yet!
Am I a football club?,,,,excellent.

mrtanmay

exactly what was needed at the moment… brilliant read

onenil

You got to laugh!
No really, laugh or he’ll cripple you with an old fashioned reducer.

Flaps McGinty, Jr.

is this a spoof column?

btw

Well played.
Or not?

pharquhar

?that was a bit of a tickler……

Stonroy

This is a terrible article. Basically you’re saying don’t question anybody who has more experience than you in these matters…. the whole point is to question these people, their motives, their desire to win. When did supporters become voiceless monkeys clapping and cheering at whatever is served up for them?

Zenithreptile

You’re onto it

GraeB

Stonroy – are you a good friend of Shlivo above?

Irony isn’t just supporting West Ham you know!

pedro

This is a terrible comment. Anyone with the slightest understanding of monkeys know they aren’t limited to clapping and cheering, they also smoke cigars when they are being thoughtful and fling poop when they’re angry. For shame.

Alexit

They can peel off banana skin too if I am Not mistaken

gooner1981

Brilliant piece. I love playing the devil’s avocado!
As for Walcott, “He had pace, he was quick, he could run really fast, his speed was astonishing and he was so, so incredibly rapid. ” It’s a shame he wasn’t fleet-footed. Would have made all the difference

Duderanch

He is also quite consistent, if only just in patches. At least he said so himself!

Brendan from cold as hell NY

more of this please. Nice to have some levity and calmness amidst all of the hysteria. Sir Alex retired with Man U at the top of the league, and it still took several years to get the team back to UCL. Arsenal are further away from the top and just this season starting to make structural changes. This is transformation in progress. It takes time… alot of time. we’re in for a long road here. not quite at rock bottom. Hang on folks

Alexit

I hope the structural change and transformation in progress include replacing the manager not because of hate, but purely ambition.

James Burleigh

Great read, finally a voice of sanity out there

MikeSA

I suspect some of the “white stuff” might have been consumed during the production of this piece.

Lots of amusing turns of phrase but little to no logic applied.

I might not be a football club, managed a gazillion games or made a trillion truly abysmal substitutions, but despite not being a singer, I can hear when someone hits a bum note.

By the same token I can tell when a manager and club haven’t got the faintest f’n clue what they’re doing.

Jack WilXhaka

Cheer up mate! It’s never that serious

Original Paul

Thanks for the back to earth input Mike. By the way I can’t make it to your party…;-)

KingClovis

I appreciate the “alternative” viewpoint offered, but this is just awful.

Sean Williams

Tongue in cheek article I hope. Arsenal are rubbish because they did not strengthen enough last summer. Wenger was deluded, is deluded and the team not as good enough. Transfer policy diluted and deluded as can be. United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham are way above us football wise. Why…they have better football and transfer policies? Wenger acts like he is a holy man. Deludio

A Different George

Tongue in cheek post, I hope.

Tom Gun

Don’t understand the praise for this article. It’s absolute garbage and not remotely funny. I love the daily blog and Tim Stillman is excellent but this is worse than that Gentleman’s weekly crap. Also, why has no-one proof read it? How many spelling/grammar mistakes and how many times were words missed out:
“If the answer is no then they are no position to criticise of make judgement about how it goes about its business.”
“I wouldn’t dare tell Nigel Mansell how take a corner”
“They also appear to selling Theo Walcott”

Just. Awful.

Tomek

Sigh. You just don’t get it do you.

Brendan from cold as hell NY

Dude, please lighten up. You need a hug bro. Tough times for AFC, tougher times ahead, I expect. Take a piece of advice from the author and calm down. BTW – Arsenal Gent is one of my favs. Football is entertainment. Try to be entertained, will you?

WellArsed

Huh?!, I love the Arsenal Gent’s columns: clever, sustained humour with an underlying message. Totally unlike all the rest of the shite you can find on any sports blog anywhere.

Yesman

This guy is coming from the era of Nigel Mansell, with the time machine, driven by Nigel Mansell, who stubbornly rejects advices of how to take a corner, so he appears to get out of machine, but he realises he is in no position to make judgement or criticise, so hopefully he continues from here to eternity, with Nigel Mansell and this was his last column during this century.

Alexit

It’s like telling Mike Dean that it was not a penalty

SFGiants

Has your sense of humor been surgically removed.

Ben

Great read. I’m a liitle closer to completely understanding the logic behind our unpredictable club policies now.

richardanus

“torque in my jaws…” haw haw haw

Next, if Arsene Wenger were a poker player he’d be fucken skint.

Gunnerer

He writes really well especially the humour part. Its whimsical and makes you laugh, mainly because your brain feels its a joke. The funniniess in particular is really comical

Alan

Now I’m worried because Arsenal frustrate the hell out of me when it comes to buying or pretending to buy players, plus I actually do work at sea so I’m doomed !!

BenG

Thank you Arseblog. I needed this. I also love the dumb shit comments. I love you dumb shits.

catbiscuits

I chuckled, for what it’s worth

Arsenal Pakistan!

Am I a football club?
Haha these are too good, blogs. Make this aseason more a regular feature! And you know you’ve written satire well when so many people fail to realize it.

President Eckener

I’m sure Graham has a satire at his house, he’s an excellent writer as well as a true Scotsman.

Twisted cuntloks

great read, loved it…

Christopher Dougan

Good Solid Name there Graham

ron

Excellent, thought-provoking article. Is there a website or helpline which can help
me find out if I am a football club or not?

MMM

i love you Graham

Highbury

Brilliant.

S campbell

Not quite sure what to think about this piece even with the acknowledgment of sarcasm from a veiled wind up merchant.

We are at a ‘laugh or cry’ stage with the club though so I’ll take this over more factual, honest and depressing articles for the time being…

Samgunz

Very funny and generally agree all over, you guys might not believe this but I think sanchez is also in the august/september stage of his career, he will have one good season, then that pace is gonna drop like 30%, and in the prem he needs it.

GHunner

As hilarious as the article is, he might be onto something there. We’re gradually reshaping the team and selling people who never thought they could be sold.

john

“How then can Arsenal be criticised for the way they do their transfer business?”

The Thomas Lemar saga in the summer, we were bidding in the region of £50m all summer and on the last day offered £92m. Screams incompetence.

dukeigthorn

Just flying right over your head there eh?
Wooooosh.

Yesman

“So, my message to Arsenal fans is simple: Let the club carry out their well thought out plans ….”

Oh, well, some say the best sarcasm comes out of unintentional truth. It did, because you can’t be serious mate.

Jack WilXhaka

Nice read. Makes one dearly miss “Rumbling Pete”. Bring him back!

Following the comments, can’t believe how “angry” we’ve become here. Well done the sad brigade for your effort to turn this wonderful site into a moaning and groaning shrine. I thought such high (negative) energy belongs at le_grove.

Keep the cheerful guest posts coming Bloggs!

Temi

Omg, was just thinking this exact same thing. I miss Rambling Pete! Where’s he when you need him? I’m so with you on this…Graham’s great but Pete is legend!

A Different George

Sometimes, on one his excursions, Pete did rumble.

Jimbo Jones

Le Grove is a place full of joy and moonshine right now. The changes happening now is just what the folks there has been hoping for many years. In fairness its been a far more positive comments section than here for quite a while; I guess as they had considered the turgid football served up as a more permanent state of affairs for a long time whilst many other fans have continued to hope.

Anyway its quite the turnup for the books. Seriously, take a look at todays post….. le-grove.co.uk

WellArsed

“a manager who Arsene Wenger hates so much he would probably give him a rare disease based on his own DNA just so he could then deny him a bone marrow transplant that would save his life”

Nice imagery, but somehow Blog’s recent “wouldn’t sell him the steam off his piss” seems so much more succinct. However this shakes out, if Sanchez goes to Man United, Mourinho’s gloating is going to be hard to stomach.

George

Thanks Graham. Finally an intelligent piece on the subject. Very hard to come by these days!

What could possibly go wrong?

Well said, and I for one will be waiting to see the sparkling results when our well honed strategy comes to fruition. City will look ridiculous when we overhaul them in the last third of the season. Just one tiny bit of feedback though, you really need to listen more to your co-presenter on Maltese TV. He was right, it WAS offside and you were totally wrong to throw that drink over him.

Alexit

I hope that Wenger sees out his 2 years contract & move on to a higher position within Arsenal. Wenger did well for the last 20 years and I was really grateful for what he has done. But extending him for another 2 years really disheartened me & pretty much explained the club ambition. Should have snatched Klopp 2 years ago instead of extending his contract. See Liverpool now. With all due respect, Wenger has done a lot to the club but doesn’t mean that we are so in debt to him until we we don’t have the right to… Read more »

Stephen

Show some respect guys. Dougan was a legend for the Scottish U25 team. Literary.

Carlo

Would not wish to cast aspergers on anyone tbh ..

Ausdrexler

the bone marrow thing. Classic.

Glasgow Gooner

Am i Alexis Sanchez? Well, we’re both shit on the piano

Nemo

Given that Mr. Dougan begins with “if you’re not a football club, you don’t really know how it works”, it strikes me that we’re asked to take a man who once played for Arsenal youth teams in the 70’s as an expert on the issue. It would help to know how he knows what he knows, so we can believe his insights. Meanwhile, Mr. Dougan does himself no favours: his first proof that Arsenal are savvy is that they have successfully completed a transfer involving the nation of Spain, which you would think is about to blow up their banks… Read more »

GraeB

You perhaps expect “League of Gentlemen” to back up calls for revised Planning applications too?

pajanee

Cech…musta kozzer nacho …hector niles wilshire kolas……ramsey lakaz ozil

Kevo

Eritrean or Armenian?

Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

Bravo! Finally, an “outside the box” take on our transfer policy. Amazing.