Something is going on at Arsenal.
Behind the scenes there is plotting and planning on a scale that has not been seen at the club for over a decade.
Of course I have no proof of this: it’s pure speculation just like 99.9% of what you read in the newspapers and in the Arsenal blogosphere (all sound and fury signifying nothing, to quote old Bill Shakespeare).
But call it a feeling in my water, a tingle from the old war wound, the way the tea leaves are lying at the bottom of my cup: to my mind there’s no doubt – Arsene is up to something.
I really think he is going to pull a transfer rabbit out of the hat – something to surprise and delight the Arsenal faithful and to stick two metaphorical fingers up at his critics.
What could it be?
A secret move for the N17 MonkeyMan himself? He would be an ideal replacement for either Clichy or Nasri. It would be the greatest coup since we landed Big Sol.
Or a marquee signing like Ibrahimovic or Falcao? I know the conventional wisdom is that we don’t ‘do’ marquee signings, but I wouldn’t rule it out this summer.
Maybe it could be a big triple announcement of quality players like Gervinho, Cahill and Mata.
Whatever it is, something’s brewing and I am eager to see it.
So far all the press coverage has been about some of our young, overpaid players who, having failed to deliver when the chips were down, now want to move away for money, glory, or both.
Brats leaving a sinking ship?
Not really, because the good ship Arsenal is a tough old bird and she has weathered bigger storms than this. She will still be afloat long after those players’ careers have sunk into obscurity.
But the concerted media onslaught to incorrectly suggest that we are a club in crisis and facing an exodus takes a hard toll on us supporters, who so far have had a rough summer.
First we got a glimpse of the new away kit. When I saw that strange pattern and colour I thought it was a pigment of my imagination. But no. It really was our away strip.
Then there was the re-ignition of the Cesc-to-Barcelona saga, with all its tedious, morale-sapping predictability.
Then Samir Nasri got kidnapped by that odious scumbucket Patrice Evra on the Riviera (if you don’t believe me, just consider that an anagram of Evra’s name is “Rare Captive”, which is exactly what he had in Sami). Evra proceeded to pour poison in his ear and suggest he should leave Arsenal if he wanted to win things.
Then we had to look on as other clubs (Liverpool, Man United and Man City) appeared to be acting fast and decisively in the transfer window.
Meanwhile at Arsenal… nothing.
I can understand fans’ frustration with the radio silence coming out of our club, but we ought to have more faith. Arsene Wenger has repeatedly said he will be active in the market this summer and I believe he will be. He has known for a very long time that Clichy was leaving – do you really think he has not planned a replacement?
He clearly wants Nasri to stay – but not at any cost. If Samir leaves I would be disappointed, but not devastated. As many have said before me, he had a good half a season and was poor when it really mattered at the business end of things. He’s a quality player, but not as good as he appears to think he is. In fact I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if a move away turned out to be a disaster for him and he was back playing in France in two years time.
If we can get £20m+ for a player with one year left on his contract then that’s pretty good business in my book.
In the mean time I’m prepared to wait it out and let Arsene and Ivan Gazidis do things in their own way: quietly, purposefully and intelligently. I am sure they are doing it – it just remains to be seen what ‘it’ is.
But if you are of the “we won’t sign anyone, we never do” persuasion, get your napkin, knife and fork out and prepare for a big helping of humble pie.