Football fans are notoriously fickle. It is commonplace to observe supporters lustily cheering their club and within a week, a day or an hour many of these same fans are booing and slagging the very team they claim to support. Players who are reviled suddenly become heroes and vice versa.
Perhaps the most fickle form of fan behavior is hero worship. Lucky is the Arsenal footballer whose hero status lasts long enough to merit a statue outside the new stadium or a special place in the (very excellent) Arsenal Museum. In this the era of instant gratification, I have observed many newly-crowned heroes become footballers with feet of clay in a matter of weeks, even days. For example, not many years ago Adebayor, Fabregas, Nasri, and Van Persie were the toast of Emirates until they sought pastures new. Almost overnight they were transformed from deity to demons.
Clearly recent history has not been kind to those who became overnight heroes at Arsenal. But that has not deterred the usual suspects in the Arsenalsphere who in recent weeks have accorded hero-status to general manager Raul Sanllehi who is now being dubbed as Don Raul. According to news reports, whenever Raul goes public among Arsenal fans he is in demand for photo opportunities and his praises are being sung loudly in football grounds. He is now the continuous beneficiary of megabytes of favorable articles and tweets in both social and mainstream media. Don Raul is being venerated as some sort of savior of the football club because he was very active in the last transfer market, buying and selling players almost at will.
Not surprisingly all this sound and fury is based on wishful thinking rather than hard concrete facts. A quick perusal of the Transfermarkt website reveals Arsenal was far from being the winner of the summer 2019 transfer sweepstakes.
|1||Man City||£151.20m||30||£62.10m||21||-99,00m £|
|2||Man Utd||£143.10m||9||£62.55m||9||-89,50m £|
The winner by any measure was City on both a gross and net basis. Not far behind was Man Utd, a club with infinitely more income than Arsenal. But seemingly Raul and the ownership have decided to join the big boys with net spending of £98.85 million, pretty much equivalent to City. Apparently this has triggered an orgasm among those supporters who measure success by money spent rather than by achievements on the field. These fans now seem happy we are now competing with United who since their last title in 2012 and despite massive spending annually more often than not have ended up in the Europa League with the occasional flurry in the champions league.
At least Raul has succeeded in destroying Wenger’s preferred strategy of signing a few quality players annually to limit the disruption and lack of continuity caused by having to integrate more than three new players into first team annually. Instead Arsenal signed 15 and dispatched 19. Among those gone are top-top quality veterans like Ramsey, who was allowed to go on a free or the likes of Koscielny and Monreal, who both decided that it was better to return home than continue with this new regime. Bye-bye to the continuity and automatism that once characterized the Arsenal-Way. No wonder the transfer addicts are jizzing.
Given the historical fickleness of the Arsenal fanbase, if I was Raul, now would be the time to update my resume while exulting in the adoration from the fans. As always, give it a few bad results and love can easily turn into hate. Uneasy is the head that wear the crown.
Daddy Raul Montana AKA Finchy
Gunner Gavin Blog
FIFTEEN??? I must admit I thought it was closer to eleven.
So Don Raul has been generous with the Arsenal Amex, spending like there is no tomorrow. I wonder if much is left in the old war chest for more signings in January or next summer?
Let’s play devils advocate and imagine that David Luiz does what David Luiz does once again. Let’s also imagine that the inexperienced saviours-de-jour Holding and Chambers have a few moments. Is is not likely that the baying masses will start to bay for more bloodletting alongside the necessity for the Don to whip out his Amex member?
As you say Shotta, Arsenal do not have the revenue to spend like ManU. Where will the baying masses turn their attention to? Ozil’s wages? Xhaka mistimed tackles?
Sooner or later the baying masses may have to question the instability created by 15 signings in less than 18 months.
This is all a mighty big if. It would require the unlikely prospect of Emery adopting lacklustre tactics and team selections. It would also require a porous midfield and defence. Possibly a forward line bereft of creativity too. All highly unlikely. Right?
Also, would the Don sit back and accept criticism for buying expensive forwards when we need experienced, proven defenders now? Or would he be ruthless enough to put a horses head in Emery’s bed?
Unprecedented times ahead. I too will sit on the fence. I won’t canonise Raul, Emery, Ceballos or any other mofo until the have earned it. Enough of this predictive earning shite.
As you point out, what strikes me about Don Raul’s summer transfer activity is how unsustainable it is. Arsenal cannot sustain Manchester levels of spending, neither can the club afford the instability of constantly buying and selling players. But the general manager and owner are undertaking a similar failed strategy as Manchester United undertook since their last title in 2013. Yet nobody in the lamestream media (fully expected) or the 1000s of Arsenal bloggers have the balls to step up and expose the nonsense.
I disagree with the last part. Raul has created and, as seen by the spate of articles or puff pieces, is actively cultivating his image. Before he takes the blame, it will be a player (See Ramsey and Ozil last season, and Kos and Mustafi this), or a member of staff who will be maligned, and made to walk the plank. Raul is going to keep milking Arsenal for the next 10 years. He’s just got to keep Baby Kroenke happy.
So you are saying Raul will last as long as Ed Woodward of United? Good lord. Which means Arsenal could fall to as low as 9th just like United post Ferguson? You have a point. As long as the fickle lemmings keep running behind pied piper, Don Raul, we face a bleak future.
Think about it. It’s already decided that this window was a success, that getting rid of Wenger’s players was necessary and that everything’s great to this point. Now if we don’t do well, Emery will take the flak, and if any subsequent business is deemed poor, it was made clear Edu is taking over responsibility. If it goes well, Raul’s chums in the media will throw more praise at the man. They’ve already claimed he was the reason for La Masia’s integration into the Barcelona team and their most successful period.
You all remember me laughing HARD after Utd spent £100M on three LBs a few years when that sum would buy a few great players, when they needed senior CBs.
These Laundrymen must me doing something right for their employers to stay in the job for such spells in spite of such strangeness.
A penny or more for the thoughts of George Graham as he looks on. Must be jealous.
Raul and Unai (& “Ramsey and Ozil can’t play together” Gavin!) are hawking their Neymar model on and through AFC.
We knew, we anticipated, its an easy observation (beyond PR consultants consulting on behalf of…).
Therefore it’s also worth recalling that it was Ozil who led the German attack as it skewered Neymar’s Brazil in one of the most staggering results in the history of Football.
Always helps to keep the eye on the ball when discussing the Football.