It’s a brave man who openly defies the word of God, especially when it comes directly from the Divine Being himself.
So no-one can fault Jan Vertonghen for courage.
Apparently when considering his future, the Belgian-born Ajax defender sought – and gained – an audience with the Almighty to ask whether a move to Arsenal or Teetering Horseparts would be the better option.
The Holy Dennis told him, emphatically, that he should not go to the Godless lands of N17. But once he had got up off his knees, we all now know that fearless, Godless Jan chose not to heed that advice.
And what happens to people who ignore the word of God? The Bible has the answer:
“…since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.”
Just turning out in that awful shirt with a skinny chicken balanced on a basketball is almost a perfect definition of “being filled with every kind of wickedness.”
Not that I’ve got anything against Vertonghen in particular, other than his choice of club. He seems a decent enough defender, though not in the same class as our own Lion of Flanders.
But I am interested in his need – and that of other players before him – to make a big issue of the fact that “Arsenal wanted to sign me and I turned them down.”
Kevin Mirallas, now at Everton, said something similar at the tail end of the summer transfer window.
I don’t doubt that in their egotistical heads these players believe Arsenal wanted them, so they are not actually lying. But they are misleading themselves – or have been misled by their selling clubs and agents – if they think they were a priority for London’s top club.
It’s the same problem that plagues the news wires all during the summer and winter transfer windows: players, clubs and agents fall over themselves to suggest that Arsenal is “after” certain individuals.
Some of the reports are downright fabrication, often from agents trying to put their players in the shop window. For them, the idea of being linked with a club like Arsenal adds noughts to their player’s value.
But I am equally sure that many of the reports of Arsenal’s interest have a grain of truth to them.
As a club competing at the highest level for the biggest prizes, you would hardly expect us to have just two or three targets and leave it at that. Such an approach would leave us exposed to the whims of players, the machinations of greedy agents and the vagaries of an open market.
Instead, I would imagine we “enquire” about dozens of players. In some cases we may approach a club simply to find out whether, in the future, the club would consider selling a particular footballer; other times we may want to know about length of contract and so on.
The vast majority of these players will never come to THOF, but our club needs to keep across their availability in case other deals fall through or unexpected departures and injuries blight us.
Arsene Wenger’s knowledge of players is legendary and I would bet he has dialogue with other managers about players on a frequent basis.
With the classier outfits these discussions stay secret, but there are plenty of classless people in football, which means many of our vague enquiries are leaked as news stories that we are definitely trying to buy player X or Y.
Returning to the Belgian Blasphemer, you have to ask yourself why on earth we would have made a serious attempt to sign him. We already have three of the best centre backs in the Premier League and our fourth choice (Djourou) is greatly under-rated by many fans who only remember his poor showings at full back last year (if you doubt me, go back and read some of the match reports when he was playing regularly at centre back. I did, and he gets a lot of rave reviews).
Perhaps we wanted Vertonghen as an alternative to Djourou as fourth choice, but that seems unlikely.
Far more probable is that we were keeping tabs on him in case one of our first choice CBs suffered a major injury in pre- and early season.
But with Laurent Koscielny – arguably the best CB in the league last year – currently unable to get a starting spot, Vertonghen – if he was ours – would not even get on the bench.
One last theory (which I kind of like) is that maybe we were making enquiries about him just to annoy the Spuds and to help push up the price they would end up paying for him.
Either way, I do not believe for a moment that we were seriously after Vertonghen, so the idea of him “turning down” Arsenal is all in his head.
Regular readers will know that the sensationalist and often inaccurate reporting of our club’s affairs is one of my big bugbears. The succession of stories claiming as fact that we are trying to sign this or that player fall into this category.
It wouldn’t really matter except that some people – including some Arsenal fans – use these essentially false stories as sticks with which to beat the management and Board.
It never ceases to amaze me how people can whip themselves into such a lather of fury about a supposed non-signing that has been nothing but a fiction all along.
Whip… “We haven’t signed Llorente…” whip… “what does that clown Dick Laws actually do?” whip… “we have no ambition” whip… “we’ll be lucky to finish in the top half this year.”
I suppose it’s a kind of sado-masochism: fifty shades of twat.
Anyway, my point is: please, please don’t always believe what you read even – maybe especially – if it comes from the mouths of footballers who have no reason to wish well of Arsenal.