The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty


Arseblog has a lot to say today about Kolo Toure. He may have a point; but I’ll play counteraction for the sake of argument and Devil’s advocacy. He appears to be arguing that Kolo wanting to leave has a great deal to do with his agent, because why would a player want to leave a club just over a dispute with another player? Isn’t this about City’s pay offer?

Well, I don’t know Kolo’s agent and I don’t know what sort of back-channels money has been offered; I do know that I’ve been saying to Sean from about 3 weeks into this season that Kolo was being forced out of the club and I’m not surprised that he wants to leave and I’m willing to bet the Gallas situation does have a substantial amount to do with it. Simply put, look at Arsene’s track record in regard to Gallas- the way he’s backed him to the hilt until he was almost forced by circumstances to drop him as captain, which he followed up by retaining him as an almost undroppable member of the squad and de facto captain in the wake of Cesc’s injury. Kolo’s had a rough year, but he’s been no worse than Gallas; still, he’s seen Gallas force him out of his slot despite his long service to the club the same way Gallas forced Gilberto out of the captain’s slot despite the Brazilian’s long service, and in both cases the argument has been strong that the wrong man was preferred. The common factor is Gallas and Wenger’s regard for/fascination with the Frenchman. From Toure’s perspective, why should he stay and fight when he has some reasonable grounds to suppose that the game is rigged? Maybe Gallas’s time at the club is marked, and I certainly hope so- but for the moment he’s clearly undroppable and he may well be retained beyond this year unless Wenger’s public comments in regards to his future have been outright lies. Toure may well be thinking this is his best chance to catch on with a team that can compete at the highest level before he ends up buried for good behind one of Arsene’s favorites.

Part of the issue with the youth movement and the intrusion of Gallas like a cuckoo in the nest in recent years has been the encouragement of a mercenary attitude at Arsenal. Young players are players who don’t have money in the bank yet, don’t have a track record to fall back on, don’t have veteran money coming in the post by the week. They’re players who need to prove, right now, that they deserve big money because they’re close enough to the big time to taste it but not close enough to spend it. Sometimes that’s good and you get 100% effort as with a Theo Walcott; sometimes you have Niklas Bendtner and Lassana Diarra and David Bentley and Jermaine Pennant before them, all screaming to get out of the club because they had a point to prove. It’s all well and good to stand on a justified morality about such players and say they should wait their turn, but the reality is that many of them won’t and a practical club will recognize that instead of encouraging it by pitting the most desperate sort of players against each other. Having someone like Gallas around only encourages this: for all his talent, somewhat masked at Arsenal by useless coaching, Gallas has a track record of acting like a totally self-absorbed cretin. If he has been complaining about not being able to play with Toure, even if he’s right (and he probably is), for him to be saying it is a backstabbing maneuver: a captain and later recently deposed ex-captain demanding the benching of a fellow player for his own benefit. How on earth can Toure not see that as Gallas scapegoating him for all the defensive woes this season, and his subsequent benching as the manager’s endorsement of that “explanation”?

Part of the issue at the club right now is that none of these players seem to respect or trust each other; and the ongoing lockerroom games being played don’t help- they just encourage the perception that between the Gallas-loses-captaincy stupidity, the boardroom fuckry and the inability of the team to solve glaring issues that control is being lost at all levels. This is the second major controversy to feature Gallas this year, after all his press quotes. It’s the 4th in two years after the Silva/Gallas captain fracas and the Birmingham game last year.

Ask yourself for a second if there was ever an issue with Toure before Gallas got to this club. Ask who’s being forced out now, and who has the stronger track record with the club. Ask yourself why that is. Those answers will tell you a lot about why I’m worried about where the club is heading right now.


January 2, 2009 - Posted by | The Arsenal


  1. Transfer request “firmly” rejected apparently. Kolo being forced out? Don’think so. And let me introduce you to his agent. Step forward Joanthan Barnett, a large blob of slime who’s done his best to dump on Arsenal on a regular basis. Engineering a move for his client to the biggest spenders on the block would undoubtedly make him an even smugger and more self-satisfied piece of s**t than when he was breaking FA rules to get Cashley to Chelski. And don’t you think Kolo’s slightly tubbier frame and slower pace might have something to do with Arsene’s team selections this season? A bout of malaria doesn’t help. I love Kolo to bits. He’s a proper Arsenal man and I look forward to the day when he’s back to his commanding best at the heart of our defence – minus Gallas who hopefully by then will have been transferred right up his own arsehole.

    Comment by gunner31 | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. The counterpoint is, publicly accepting a transfer request would be the first way to ensure that the price you’d receive for a player would be severely reduced. Publicly denying it would be one way to ensure that people are aware that he’s looking for a transfer, while maintaining some semblance of negotiating leverage. He may or may not be maintained in this window, but I’ll be surprised if he begins next season with the club- sadly.

    I definitely agree that Kolo’s health and fitness have been issues this year; it’s just that I’m not sure they’re worse issues than Silvestre’s uselessness and Gallas being eveything he is, and is not.

    Thanks for the info on the agent- that’s probably a good part of the story, then.

    Thanks for reading!

    Comment by theshipbesinking | January 3, 2009 | Reply

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