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Vardy approach reeks of desperation

As Arsene Wenger enters the final year of his contract, he has reacted predictably to the mounting pressure he was put under last season by making two unusually early entries into the transfer market. Going into next season with the same toxic atmosphere is not an attractive proposition for a manager that badly needs to get off to a good start. Wenger is therefore banking on early signings changing the mindset of a large proportion of Arsenal’s fan base well in advance.

Another reason for his panicked state of mind is that Ozil and Sanchez have still not signed their contracts and Wenger desperately needs them to put pen to paper. If neither signs a new deal this summer, it would hardly be a ringing endorsement of Wenger’s management going into next season, and Arsenal would have to sell both players within the next 12-14 months.

Approaching Vardy seems a somewhat desperate act on the part of Wenger. Whether a brainless solution to a connundrum Wenger is at a loss to remedy or a despairing final throw of the dice designed to appease supporters and placate doubters in his squad before throwing the towel in, the decision is seemingly based on a knee-jerk response rather than a proactive tactical strategy.

Personally, I don’t see how Vardy fits into Arsenal’s system and I don’t see Wenger adapting his system to incorporate Vardy. As we all know, Wenger doesn’t do tactics. He incorporates a system of play that lives and dies by the functionality of the players within it. There may be a couple of games a season where Wenger demands a different approach (Bayern/Barca), but it inevitably fails when the players succumb to mental fatigue.

Are we supposed to believe that the perpetually inflexible Wenger will suddenly adapt Arsenal’s entire system to suit Vardy or that the Englishman will play merry-go-round with Giroud depending on the opposition? I doubt it. The system will stay the same and Vardy will have to adapt, probably out of position on a flank, hanging off the shoulder of the last man.

However, we’ve seen signs that, even within a system built around Vardy’s undeniable counter-attacking strengths, he was not nearly as potent when teams started to adapt to Leicester’s style of play. Towards the end of last season, Leicester faced more defensive opposition, which had a negative impact on their ability to score goals. The Foxes mutated from being a devastating counter-side team to one that relied on its defence to squeeze out wins.

Vardy increasingly became a spectator on the pitch, scoring just 4 goals in open play from his final 10 games. For England recently, against deep-lying Portugal, Vardy only managed 8 touches in 66 minutes. His pass completion rate is a laughable 64.3% - statistically one of the worst of any player in the Premier League. For a laptop manager that has spent 10 years making robotic decisions based on statistics and moulding players into a system constructed on the principles of pass and move, siging Vardy would be a mind-boggling paradox.

Chucking long balls over the top won’t work because opposition teams already know that defending deep and counter-attacking Arsenal is the most effective method of securing a result. And if Arsenal sit back, that does not compel other teams to attack, you just end up with a tedious stalemate.

One would also have to question whether Vardy - at 29 years of age - has the technique or intelligence to adapt to a possession-based style of football. While it’s true that Vardy has a work rate and aggression that is completely absent in a player like Walcott, for example, he already possessed those characteristics in 2014-15 yet only scored five goals. It's therefore logical to conclude that work rate and aggression were only a minor factor in Vardy's prolific goalscoring record last season, more important was to implement a system tailor-made to his technical and physical attributes.

Besides, the deal is not done yet. Embarrassingly, Vardy - who was playing Conference football four years ago - has requested time to think over his decision. He clearly has nothing to lose in terms of attracting attention going into the Euros and Liverpool are also rumoured to be interested. It’s possible Vardy is prepared to wait to see if Liverpool can secure funds by offloading Christian Benteke to West Ham, assuming Jurgen Klopp can entice him with higher wages than Arsenal are willing to pay.

I don’t know much about Granit Xhaka – signed for approximately £30m from Borussia Monchengladbach. On paper, he is exactly what Arsenal need – a robust deep-lying creative midfielder. However, his disciplinary record is horrendous, which raises obvious question marks over his temperament and ability to read the game. He may need taming in a league as fast, cynical and heated as the PL.

In other news, Jose Mourinho has made his first signing as Man Utd manager, the hot-headed but powerful and technically proficient centre-back Eric Bailly. The 6’2” African is just 22 but was an ever-present in the Villarreal defence last season. Pep Guardiola has also signed his first player for Man City, £20m midfield general Ilkay Gundogan, and has now sets his sights on prolific 26-year-old Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Jurgen Klopp is apparently interested in taking ex-Arsenal centre-back Thomas Vermaelen to Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Everton have wasted little time flexing their new-found financial muscle, prizing manager Ronald Koeman away from Southampton for £5m. Koeman’s 9th managerial role, the Dutchman’s 54% win percentage towers over former manager Roberto Martinez at 39% and is better than Arsene Wenger’s too. One might put this down as yet another opportunity lost.


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Reader Comments (37)

I think we'll struggle to come fourth next season.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

Well-written article. I wonder why some supporters decided to steady the ship as the season was coming to a close. All this is part of Wenger's crafty masterplan to get the supporters behind him in order to allow him to stay here longer and continue feeding on his massive wages.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergrimsy b

It makes little difference how many and whom Wenger signs in this transfer window. For as long as he is there (mis)directing operations on and off the pitch the club will continue to slide down the slippery slope. Heaven only knows how we will fare next season, against the sides that have new, credible managers already in place. I think Jose, Pep and co will tear Wenger a new one.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDB10

Negative pants.


I prefer to go commando, especially in the summer.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLiam

What an absolute load of tosh. Vardy could be just what we need especially away from home and against teams that play a high line and like to press. Ozil will have someone making run after run after run and one of Xhaka's strengths is his ability to hit 30 or 40 metre passes from deep.

Don't under estimated Vardy's ability in a crowded final third. His first five yards are electric and he can leave defenders flat footed. He's pretty adept at winning penalties in these areas. He is no means elite but he'll offer different attributes to Giroud. Put Mikhtaryan alongside him and we have a nightmare front four to play against

Xhaka has had disciplinary issues and will need to be careful about that. However we've needed a player like him for years. He's combative, doesn't take a backward step and at 23 he's captained his club and country a lad with leadership skills that we really need. Added to that he's a proper footballer with a huge range of passes.


Teams don't play a high line against Arsenal, they sit back and allow them to pass it sideways or down the channels before hitting them on the break. And they'll be even less inclined to play a high line with Vardy in the team.

You can't accelerate past players when there's no space behind them, and Vardy's dribbling stats are on a par with Calum Chambers. This isn't Football Manager, where you create a system and opposition players and managers do nothing to counteract them.

I think both players are decent, but Vardy is very high risk and prone to failure, mostly down to Wenger being a tactical imbecile than any perceived faults in the actual player.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered Commentertunny.griff

I don't feel any sense of desperation coming from the Wenger camp over the signing of
Mr Vardy. The only desperation seems to come from either the "why hasn't he signed yet" or the "fuck him" he doesn't deserve it brigade.

Please, do we know anything about transfers? Yes we do... they take time. Vardy and the club have said nothing to dispel his imminent arrival, so you can confidently predict he is Arsenal bound and we might as well enjoy and embrace.

The alternative would be to moan and that is rather unattractive.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDennis

On the money again AT.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterREDORDEAD

Great article AT. You know what makes me laugh? Every time Wenker is in for a player, our brainless mug fans instantly elevate that player to God-like status. They once did it with Giroud...until they all realised he's garbage and is regularly booed by his own countrymen!

Vardy? What a small time club. Desperately waiting on a decision from a guy who was at Fleetwood a few years ago. Can you imagine Fergie, Pep or Jose desperately waiting to see if errrr I dunno...Dwight Gayle, Troy Deeney or Andy Carroll would join them? LOL. No. Because they'd never be in for such mediocre players in the first place!

Vardy is 29 and has had one good season in his whole career.

If Wenker was serious about signing a top striker he would go and pay the money for Higuain. Or bid for Aubameyang. Or go for the much younger with more big game experience, Morata. There's also Icardi at Inter. Problem is all those guys are top players who will question Lord Wenker's Loser management, his inability to have won a title in over a decade (!), his laughable annual CL failure etc.

Vardy is a nobody in European football. So signing him is an easy coward's way out, as he can just farm Vardy out wide right and keep his previous gimp Giroud up front, so he can continue to demonstrate the finesse of a spasticated donkey tied to a lamp-post. Laughable and transparent.

A serious manager with all that cash available just buys Higuain who has a release clause of £50m. Pay it and be done. But oh no...lets go after this chav mediocrity.

Funniest thing is, in his usual typical arrogance, Wenker thought it would be a quick easy deal to appease the peasantry... but what's this? Even Vardy has second thoughts about being managed by our great Specialist In Failure! LOL


Even funnier is how Wenger dithered over Higuain before letting him slip through his fingers in 2013 to join the mighty Napoli. A striker who has now scored 71 goals in 104 games.

His record of 36 goals in 35 games last season is the best of any Serie A striker since 1929. And he only would have cost £30m - money we all know Wenger left sitting idle in the bank.

June 8, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRaskolnikov

I beg to differ regarding all teams leaving no space behind them. There will be plenty of teams away from home who will leave space behind when we play them. The likes of Liverpool, Spurs and Man City will play with a high line and try to press us as this is the way they play.

Also we may alter our tactics more this season coming, staying compact and we use the counter attack. We've done it before and it may become a more regular thing.

Vardy is capable of playing against teams that play deep. Is he perfect? Absolutely not, but that first few yards in and around the box will worry defenders and as I've said he gets a lot of penalties.

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commentertunny.griff

This is the ideal situation for Wenger. When Vardy eventually says thanks, but no thanks Wenger can say we tried and that all of the top strikers have moved/are not available.

Wenger is behaving like an African leader who doesnt want to quit when things are still running good for you. I can see that our buying will be the same like last year where we show interest in lots but get no single star. We really need a marksman like Higuain but Wenker is embarrassed by Vardy's toying, like Vardy's inserting a dildo to Wenger's butthole.

I did think at the time that the Vardy signing was too good to be true and so it turned out, but I gave it credibility because it was on the BBC. The jokes have already started coming in:

Man United-Ibra + Martial
Man City -Aguero + Aubameyang
Chelsea -Costa + Morata
Liverpool – Higuain + Sturridge
Arsenal-Sanogoal +Giroud

Boom boom!

To hell with Vardy if that’s all we’re adding to the team in search of goals, why? Because there’s clearly much better on the market and only a lack of ambition would stop us getting them.

Vardy is embarrassing Wenger and its shows how much trouble we are in with Wenger in charge. It's only Wenger who is stopping us from doing so. Another reason the cunt has to go. Not only do we have a loser defeatist attitude on the pitch, but also how Wenker does in transfers as well and easily he can jerk off his fanatics, the AKBs.

IMO we only need 2 more most needed players in mould of:

Higuain for ST, and Koulibaly for CB, and with Xhaka already in, I think we've got a decent squad that can win with their own thrive not in spite of Le Wenker.


Bellerin KOULIBALY Koscielny Monreal

Coquelin Xhaka

Sanchez Ozil Cazorla


Only the problem, Wenker won't pay the inflated price for Higuian 60m pounds and Koulibaly for 30m pounds. With our TV money 100m pound incoming, if Wenker not so tightwad the 120m pounds with Xhaka spent in total for that three players are worthy for the money sacrifice. But we know how Wenker will hold on tight to his own club money, right?

Wenger Out.

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterForeign Gooner

Arsenal majority fans are not normal and their confused state has been exacerbated by Wenger. Arsenal have been accumulating over several seasons a lot of young players who are clearly not going to make the grade at the club. Some are supposedly members of the first team squad and are therefore on quite expensive wages. Others are not even likely to play for our Under 21 team and we are often financing them when they play on loan elsewhere.

Wenger appears reluctant to offload many of these players, and apart from them having limited or no prospect of playing in first team are costing us a lot of money in wages.

Here is a list of players who are clearly surplus to requirements:

GK Szczesny Martinez
DF Jenkinson Chambers Hayden Gibbs
MF Ramsey Wilshere Oxlade-Chamb Zelalem Crowley
FW Walcott Giroud Sanogo Gnabry Akpom Wellington Silva.

Frankly it would make sense to have a major clear-out even if it means taking a financial loss on some of these players. I am all for ‘speculating to accumulate’, but there must come a point when someone at the club even if it is not our manager makes the decision to clear out the dross.

I am sure that we could generate at least £60 million from the sale of these players not to mention a considerable reduction in wages. With that money we could bring in a couple of good quality new players for our first team players, like I said previous in Higuain and Koulibaly. So £120 million covered by that £60 million equals that we only spend £60 million and it's logic to any fool. But we know who's holding us back, the Great Master of Puppets, the Leader of AKBs, the old senile deluded Ase'ne Wenker.

Once again, Wenger Out.

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterForeign Gooner

I reckon we could get the following funds for these players who are at the fringes of our club.

£25m for Theo
(Liverpool paid £25m for Lallana, and imo Theo is a comparable talent)

£25m for Wilshere (Pep Man City is interested, tell him about his potential, and talents)

£14m for Donkey Giroud (Minimum market value for the donkey, IMO)

£12m for Gibbs (Liverpool interested, their valuation apparently)

£5m for Hayden and Akpom (with buyback clauses)(Hull interested)

£4m for Ospina (Bestiktas interested)

£1m for Wellington Silva

£1m for Gnabry (Newcastle, Crystal Palace interested)

£2m for Debuchy

£1m for Martinez

2 Packets of Haribo Starmix Candy for Sanogo

Total sales – £90m

That’s from fringe players. Don’t you think £90m could possibly buy us a WC striker like Higuain and Koulibaly? I think it might be enough for Napoli to accept.

As for Higuain’s wages, we can probably even afford the wages now with the gaps left by Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky for £200k/week, but even more so if we sold our fringe players.

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterForeign Gooner

"However, his disciplinary record is horrendous, which raises obvious question marks over his temperament and ability to read the game"

I wouldn't mind a player like that, we use to have someone with an equally horrendous disciplinary record in Vieira and that certainly didn't impact his ability to the read the game. Keane at Utd also springs to mind.

Whether his has the ability to go with it obviously remains to be seen but I like a player with a bit of grit.


From what I've read he's a fine signing, but he'll have to improve his discipline. Red and yellow cards accumulate and tend to hurt players towards the end of the season when you need them most.

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterhenry8

Wise words from AT, Rasko, Foreign.

Concur re JV: sure it's nice to be linked with an outfield player now and then, but JV is not a top, top striker, by any means. In fact everything about Arsenal has long since descended into mediocrity - tactics, ambition, squad depth, AW's reputation and so on.

The only exceptional things about the club these days are the entry prices and Wenger's salary.

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarinersmullet

With Wenger in charge there is no light at the end of the tunnel. If Vardy has an ounce of intelligence, he'll keep well away!!.


Just a small point. I have noticed you have a habit of putting full stops after an exclamation mark. This is not necessary, the exclamation mark denotes the end of a sentence ;)

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

"Red and yellow cards accumulate and tend to hurt players towards the end of the season when you need them most."

Good point. But unless something mental happens next year, Arsenal will be long out the race by then, so won't matter...

June 10, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjohn cheese

AT and Raskolnikov ... you made my day. You made me laugh about Arsenal FC! So rare in last 10-12 years. Must be underlined. It is ref. Wanker's laughable annual CL failure.

Can you believe that the 'Manager of the Decade', '50 years in football', has never won Ch.League? But R. DiMatteo and Z. Zidane (in his 1st year at serious job) did. It is pathetic and depressing to watch, listen and read about our TOF, AKB tactical imbecile and specialist in failure.

Kroenke, the Board, Gazidis, Wanker, all OUT! Everything for Arsenal FC, nothing for Arsène FC!
All the best to you AT and to your readers. Bekin

P.S. Some appropriate quotes from the Great, but unfortunately late, Johan Cruyff:

1. Quality without results is pointless (our Wanker). Results without quality is boring (Mouurinhpoo).
2. Why couldn’t you beat a richer club? I’ve never seen a bag of money score a goal.
3. Money should be on the pitch (in players), not in the bank (our Wanker bis).
And finally:
4. Playing football is very simple, but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is (our Wanker)



Can I assume you think Arsene Wenger is a wanker?

June 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBekin

Thanks AT.

June 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Can anyone give me one good reason why top players (or any player for that matter) should sign for Arsenal whilst Wenger remains in charge?


No matter how bad they are, they'll never have to leave until their contract expires?

June 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Oh yeh, that's right, money!!

June 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Hello AT, nice to read you again. As you already answered to one of my previous posts, stating that because his missus had left him, may be the only thing left to Our Glorious Leader is to become a Wanker or a wanker (;-) .

But I am not concerned about his private life. What I am concerned is Arsenal FC and kind of 'masturbation' football our team is playing last 10 years ... meaning, a lot of self-centered activity, without end product => goals, victories, results, meaningful trophies.

For many years now, I am in admiration for all Arsenal FC real fans who continue to write (yourself included), post, answer, debate about Monsieur Fraud and the situation in our beloved club.

When you think what Arsenal FC had stood for and how it is perceived today, one must wonder where you and your readers/posters find the enthusiasm to continue fighting the battle ... myself being one of them (:-( ! Once Gooner, always Gooner.

Hope for better days.

Best regards to you and to your readers. Bekin


Hi Bekin. I suppose I find the enthusiasm by only writing three or four posts a month.

June 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBekin


Reg Vardy and Wilshit in the same team...at the same nightclubs. Holy moly, there are some tabloid inches if ever you needed any.

Vardy has shot his bolt and wherever he winds up next season, he'll do well to break into double figures. Why would Vardy want to join Arsene? Obviously the cash would be good... especially as I hear his new lady loves putting it about and those three chavvies from three dads are going to cost.

As for Granit Xaka (sic). Like you, I know nothing about him. However, to question his discipline and link that to poor positional play is a bit tenuous. Vieria? Maybe Xhaka Khan is just a nasty piece of work... or maybe just a bit rubbish. Either way, give it two games and Wenger will sort him out.

As a side note, the Euro Championship to date, simply crap. The highlight is watching the England hoolies getting their arses served to them by the professional Russian Ultras. Apparently, they carry MMA gloves and gum shields with them... that's preparation you can't ignore.

Are Arsenal still waiting on a response from Vardy? Wow, has it come to the point where a player who played non-league football until he was 26 is able to leave us hanging for a month? This is embarrassing.

Gunnersaurus... your highlight of the Euros has been the hooliganism? You're obviously a classy bloke. As your delightfully witty plays on the names of Vardy and Wilshire show. Please get your carer to review your comments before posting in future please.

<Edited version>
As for Granit Xhaka. Like you, I know nothing about him.

June 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGunnergettheresomeday


1. Why do you assume I am a bloke?
2. I would have thought that most people would have realised my comment about the 'highlight' being violence, was tongue in cheek. Clearly not.
3. Why do you care about my puns?
4. If by carer, you mean my butler, Braithwaite...he's always too busy butlering to proofread my posts.
5. Mind your own business.
6. Do not under any circumstance now reply to me using a numerical list.


A. Ok
B. Lol
C. Please get Braithwaite to irony check your posts in future. If PG Wodehouse is correct then butlers are usually an excellent judge of such things.
D. Mind my own business? You posted on a public forum. If this comment is supposed to be ironic, you're getting better.
E. Reg Vardy was crap last night. I wish UEFA would do everyone a favour and kick every team in Group B out of the competition.

June 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGunnergettheresomeday

Hi AT, may I ask of your opinion on the referendum on 23rd June.



June 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

Hi AT, please try doing a review of these arsenal blogs again.


I very much doubt they've changed since the last time.

June 21, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergrimsy b

Hahahahahaha not even wanking Vardy wants to join. Imagine how difficult it will be to sign a real world-class star like Higuain or Morata when they see this debacle.


Nobody with any sense wants to be infected by Wenger's loser mentality - even Vardy.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDanish Gooner

Best decision Vardy will make in his entire life. Another kick in the teeth for Wenger. As you said, why destroy a winning mentality for the sake of a few extra quid. Speaks volumes for where the club now stands and where it will continue to go as long as Wenger stays around.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

Hi AT, do you think Wenger actually makes players worse?


Wenger used to make attacking players better and defenders worse, now any player that stays for a lengthy period usually slides into mediocrity.

He imbibes a weak mentality into all his players - but a lot of that is also down to the character of the players he buys.

June 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

Hi AT, will you do an article on your opinion on the referendum result? I'd like to see your opinions on it.


Why on earth would you be interested in that?

June 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

AT, I'm looking to buy a new 4x4. Can you please review all options in the £60k - £75k price range and advise which I should buy?




June 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGunnergettheresomeday

This may be a bit off topic.

Yet another superb performance last night from the England football team. I’ve had time to reflect on the game and thought I’d give my unbiased thoughts. I’m sure you’ll agree this is some of the most insightful analysis you’ll see. Marks out of 10.

Joe Hart / 2
Knows all the words to the National anthem.

Kyle Walker / 3
Looks like he’d be more at home selling weed on a council estate. Can’t cross the ball for sh*t.

Gary Cahill / 3
Not sure if he was playing, if he was, he’s the one with the pigeon chest.

Chris Smalling / 3
England’s very own action man doll. An action man made up of broken parts from the local hospice charity shop. A slo mo replay did show he has a penis though.

Danny Rose / 3
Am unable to decide if he’s an abnormally tall midget or an abnormally short normal person. Can’t cross the ball for sh*t

Eric Dyer / 3
The team’s pinup boy, albeit in a slightly feminine way. Slo mo replays show he may not have a penis, perhaps he’s an hermaphrodite?*
*this is just a question, so not libellous

Dele Alli / 2
Looks like a burns victim without the burns. Certainly played like a burns victim.

Wayne Rooney / 1
Blowing smoke out his arse all game. You’d think his team mates would’ve told him they were the ones playing in white. His face was a fascinating crimson hue when he was subbed, the highlight of his performance.

Raheem Sterling / 3
Wore a pained expression throughout, like he was being continually bummed by some phantom bummer. Crap Bart Simpson hairdo.

Daniel Sturridge / 2
A larger version of Raheem Sterling

Harry Kane / 2
Clearly with a nose like that he should be cutting cheese. Also he’s got weird nostrils and his mouth looks like a cat’s bumhole. Total gash all night.


Jack Wilshere / 3
The parting in his hair is spectacular.

Jamie Vardy / 3
Harold Steptoe on speed, with a sun tan.

Marcus Rashford / 3
Could’ve made the difference had he been on longer.

June 28, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjohn cheese

Hi AT, well we wanted out of Europe now we are 😉

June 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

So Wenger's being tipped for the England job. You would've thought they'd want to improve on qualifying from the group stage and being knocked out in the last 16, wouldn't you?


Let's hope he gets it.

June 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterhenry8

Mertesacker out for at least five months. Not all doom and gloom then!!

July 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham

What a disgrace, just eight days to go until our opening league game and we haven't got the quality CB or Striker we need. I have a horrible feeling Akpom will be our striker 'signing'.

How can Wenger be make the same stupid mistakes in the transfer market year after year? Hopefully he fucks off asap. As for Kroenke, I don't think he'll care how much is spent as long as he gets a nice big profit.

August 6, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChirs J

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