‘Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose?’
Having last week written that no-one knew anything about the Vardy situation, and about the media speculation regarding other options, it appears everything has changed.
Mr. Vardy has declined the greatest career move he’ll ever be offered, in terms of prestige, financial return and consistent competitive level, due to a mixture of concerns about adaptation and enjoying his current team and colleagues. I’m not sure whether to also suggest loyalty to those who gave him opportunity, because by staying in the Midlands he has denied his two previous clubs an absolute fortune in sell on fees!
Accordingly, Arsenal have stepped up their pursuits of about 30 strikers (according to the press), and there have been dubious reports about personal terms being agreed with the explosive but still raw Romelu Lukaku. Not to mention also being linked with Lacazette, Slimani and Gabriel Barbosa this morning alone.
One thing we do know has changed is that our government in the UK now has a mandate to leave the European Union.
I personally hold the belief that the most neglected and disenfranchised in English society have been manipulated into giving more power to the exact people who have been shafting them, at the expense of the EU employment and human rights legislation that has protected them. Because, hey, as almost every period of human history in every country in the world shows, people love to be angry at things they don’t understand, and love to blame others for their problems. People also, quite understandably, hate the idea of being controlled by people they can’t see, recognise and relate to. I entirely understand arguments about sovereignty, but, ultimately, I personally trust EU technocrats with bizarrely obsessive focus on manufacturing standards of pillows a hell of a lot more than popularist short-term thinking politicians, in many cases out to feather their own nests.
I’m sure this view makes me appear one of the elitist types that people felt such anger towards, but both my family background and lifelong ‘genteel poverty’ would suggest otherwise.
Anyway, this is a football site, so all people really want to know is how this affects the transfer market and our current players. The implication is that it’s a massive game changer, particularly in irresponsible articles from both sides of the debate. We’ve been shown lists of all of the players who would have been refused work permits without EU membership, and certainly the implication is that the La Masia will be blowing raspberries and pulling faces at Arsene all of a sudden.
But ultimately, as with a post referendum UK as a whole, no one’s got a clue how it will work. While a straightforward two-fingers up and taking our ball home approach to Europe would end up fulfilling Greg Dyke’s little England sporting wet dream, ultimately there will be a lengthy negotiation period to define what happens next.
In the grand scheme of things, football clubs are small fry, and you can be sure as hell big businesses (and lots of small ones) will be fighting tooth and nail to maintain a certain amount of free movement of labour.
You can also guarantee that whoever replaces Cameron as PM (because it won’t be Farage or any of his ‘rivers of blood’-esque cronies) will be desperately trying to manage the situation to keep both sides happy. A 48%-52% outcome is hardly overwhelming whichever way round it is, and there is the broader issue of not allowing the union with Scotland to collapse.
Essentially, a U.K. Government agreeing to implement the kind of legislation changes that would cause major issues in the transfer market would essentially be hastening the break-up of the U.K. as an entity. Which would be all kinds of insane. Unless you are Scottish.
Now of course, not all reading this, and certainly not all Arsenal fans, would agree with my position or analysis. And that’s fine. Vive la difference. If we support the same club, that is already a common ground to be built upon. Right now the UK is the most divided it’s been since the dying days of Thatcher’s iron rule in the late 80s, so as the moral vacuum that is Boris Johnson said quite rightly this morning, it’s time to build bridges.
Of course, the fact they Arsenal are one of the most multi-cultural clubs in the world, based in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, with one of the longest histories of a multi-cultural fan base – which is now truly global, with a global playing and coaching staff and a history of trying to recruit from overseas (only to be shafted by the home office) since the 1920’s does rather suggest that my views are fairly representative of the club…
So once all the fear and loathing dies down, where are we at? And what have we seen over the last week?
Large parts of England and Wales have decided they don’t like foreigners very much, but the biggest cities and places with famously liberal and educated populations are rather more keen.
The political right have mobilised the justifiably disaffected and frustrated and against the intelligentsia, the liberals and the business community, whilst avoiding taking any responsibility themselves.
Most of the rest of Europe (and perhaps the world) is currently thinking of the UK as having a small-minded island mentality.
The Conservative party have successfully killed their ‘king’ allowing for the next bun-fight for power to begin. The labour party is consumed by self-loathing and factionism and are too busy having an internal revolution to manage an external one, and the Liberal Democrats are trying to get anyone to pay them any attention at all, whilst being too polite to really demand it.
No-one really knows what’s going to happen next, how it will all work or how long it will take.
Football wise, Lionel Messi still can’t win anything with Argentina despite being consistently brilliant (and has now retired from international football after looking like the world’s most haunted man last night), and Sanchez has been getting lots of love for his ability to run around at 100mph despite not being able to walk.
Arsenal players can’t score penalties. Even if they are newly signed or German.
Giroud is more appreciated by teammates than fans.
Arsenal haven’t signed a striker, despite meeting a contractual release clause for a top domestic option and despite being linked with pretty much every centre-forward that anyone has ever heard of.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…