Arsene Wenger is…well, playing media games (to be politically correct – wait for our off-the-record column for my actual views).
I’m trying to be objective here, I really am. But after reading these statements by Arsene Wenger, I wonder how much bullshit I’ll have to wade through before getting an honest, straight-forward answer to my questions.
Wenger’s quotes are in below, and I’ve put in my thoughts on them in bold:
“It is not true that we have turned any offer down.
It has been confirmed through the media and by both clubs that Chelsea have made a bid which fell short of Arsenal’s demands.
Chelsea have had June, July, August. Everybody says Chelsea are interested in buying Ashley Cole but they have had three months now to buy him.
We are ready. From our part there’s no problem. Why don’t you ask Chelsea what the problem is? I don’t know.
The problem could be that you’re asking for too much money. And while that’s Arsenal’s prerogative, the problem then is money, which I’m sure you’d be aware of.
It’s also difficult for us. We have a player and we cannot really count on him. Is he with us or not?
We have to sort this situation out quite quickly. The numbers are not so important for Chelsea. They just bought a player.
This situation is not a money situation. We have not turned down an offer. The problem is not between us and Chelsea.
So what’s the problem? Is it that Chelsea are now screwing over Ashley Cole by not offering him enough money? That is highly doubtful considering that whatever they offer will be more than what Arsenal are giving him (or even ‘planned’ to give him).
He doesn’t need to ask for a transfer because we gave him permission to leave when he extended his contract at the end of last season.
He has permission to leave if a club come in and makes the right offer.
If that doesn’t happen the consequence will be that he will stay. If nobody gives us the right offer what can you do?”
So you have offers, but not the right offer?
This is reminiscent of Arsene Wenger’s famous “I didn’t see anything” approach to all things anti-Arsenal.
I wouldn’t be picking this apart if I hadn’t read about Wenger criticising Real Madrid for trying to unsettle Arsenal’s players (namely one Jose Antonio Reyes). It is quite childish of Arsenal and Wenger to point fingers at Madrid (and Chelsea) like this when they (Arsenal) have an equal role in the transfer taking so long.
Fact: Ashley Cole and Reyes want to leave, for different reasons.
Fact: Arsenal are within their rights to ask for as much money as they want.
Fact: Real Madrid and Chelsea are within their rights to offer as much money as they think they can get away with.
At the end of the day, the transfer game is about getting the best possible value for your club. And if Arsenal are planning to push the transfer fees high enough to discourage Chelsea and Real Madrid (both of whom have signed players over the weekend), they should also be prepared to start the next season without having sold either player.
And if that happens, is that really “the best value” for Arsenal?