Apologies for the long absence, all I can say to you is I've been busy. That, of course, is something that Arsenal are rarely in the transfer front! Sorry, lousy gag.
However, I've been reliably informed that we will hear some news regarding the possible signing of Paulo Henrique Ganso from Santos.
The 22-year-old Brazil international playmaker will cost around £14 million to sign, apparently, but it's hard to see Arsenal making a move for a player partly owned by a third party. With an agency called DIS owning 45% of Ganso's economic rights, it sounds like Carlos Tevez all over again. No matter how good he is, Ganso will arrive at his next club with a certain amount of excess baggage!
This kind of arrangement may work for the agent but it seems to me that it doesn't work for big clubs, as Manchester United found out to their cost. Smaller clubs may benefit in the short term by bringing players in that they normally couldn't afford, as West Ham did with Tevez and his Argentinian international teammate Javier Mascherano. Tevez kept West Ham in the Premier League almost single-handedly, but the club ended up being fined £5.5m over issues regarding third-party ownership and could have faced a points deduction or even relegation.
As well as administrative issues, third-party ownership of a player seems to result in the agent engineering as many lucrative moves as possible for his client. Suddenly the player seems to only care about money, and a tightly-run ship like Arsenal can ill-afford to have another mercenary onboard.
Talking of mercenaries leads nicely on to Robin van Persie. I want to say quite clearly, at this point, that I do not regard our skipper in that light. However, I believe the Holland international is ambitious and wants to win trophies. I cannot condemn him for that and I believe he is doing the right thing by putting pressure on the club to bolster the squad. If the right defensive reinforcements brought in, I believe Robin will stay. Perhaps I'm being naive, but that is what I truly believe.
David Dein, our former vice-chairman, has a lot more experience of the situations than I do and he seems to think the writing is on the wall as far as van Persie's future is concerned. He believes a couple of clubs will be in contact shortly to iron out the details of a possible move. We can only hope that this is not true, but sadly the club only have themselves to blame.
Now we have a situation where two top players (Theo Walcott being the other one) could be on the way out for cut-price fees given their contractual positions. Why oh why does the club let this happen every year? Last year, Samir Nasri had just one year remaining on his current deal, so the club quite wisely decided to cash in while they still could by selling him to Manchester City. This would have represented good business had the club not also sold Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona. I'm not quite sure why we had to sell Cesc in the summer, as he had much longer to run on his contract. I was also disappointed by the amount of money we received for one of the best midfielders in the world. To me, £35 million plus a possible £5 million in add-ons did not seem to be enough. Just two years before, Manchester United received £80 million from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo, and although the transfer market and world economy might have been depressed by 2011 no one can tell me that Fabregas was only worth half a Ronaldo.
Still, we can't moan about the £25 million we receive for Nasri, who had just one year remaining on his deal. Hopefully, we'll get around £35 million for van Persie should he leave. Perhaps we can get around £25 million for Theo Walcott should he follow suit.
The question is when will this £60 million worth of talent leave and, more importantly, when will we be able to spend the money on replacements? My answer to those questions is pessimistic. I think we will sell van Persie and Walcott in late August. That means will sit on the money until January or the following summer before bringing in replacements.
If David Dein were at the club still, I feel sure this would not happen. Dein told Sky Sports that whatever happens he hopes "it happens quickly". He doesn't want to see us "haemorrhaging" like we did last year.
Perhaps the club believe that in Podolski and Giroud we already have replacements for the aforementioned possible departures. I will be very disappointed if that is indeed the case but not surprised. New signings from other leagues need longer to bed in them players from other Premier League clubs, so without Walcott and van Persie our squad will be significantly weaker without additional purchases.
Let's hope the club can do the right thing this year or, if they can't, the least they can do is bring David Dein back so he can run the club like it ought to be run.