24 July 2013

No. Say it ain't so. Gonzalo signed for Napoli.

To all appearances, Gonzalo Higuain has arrived in Italy to confirm a deal with Napoli. I'm crushed. Apparently, Arsène hasn't been waking up each morning to read my incoherent rantings. I've been pushing for us to sign Higuain for weeks now and even said we should go into the low 30's to get him. Now, sources everywhere are reporting that he's signed for Napoli at somewhere in the low- to mid-30's [long, long series of expletives deleted].

Dammit. Dammitdammitdammitdammit. We're all but screwed now, at least as far as strikers are concerned. With Higuain apparently off the market (I'm holding onto my last shred of hope. Until it's official, there's still a chance, isn't there?), who's left? Suarez, Rooney, Torres? Whoever's left, the market just got tighter than my sphincter after hearing the news and seeing footage of what looks like Higuain in an Italian airport. Looks like. Hope springs eternal, doesn't it?

I don't think we have to worry much about Real Madrid going for Suarez. I still think they'd prefer Gareth Bale. The risk there is that, should Spurs sell Bale, they'll get something like a bazillion pounds for him and will turn right around to invest that in a new attacker. With only a few players left on the market, we're contending with oily Chelsea and a potentially filthy-rich Spurs, not to mention Man U, PSG, Bayern,Anzhi Makhachkalaand all the rest for two or three top-quality players.

I mentioned this earlier in the week, and it seems to have happened: we've spent so much time hoarding our money and buying on the cheap that we don't know how to conduct high-stakes negotiations. Picture us sitting at a poker table along with Real Madrid, Napoli, and whoever else you care to include. As the pile of chips at the center of the table grows larger and larger, we realize that we don't know how to bluff or bid or call someone on their bluff. The beads of sweat start trickle—at first, at the temples and down along the cheek to the point that you can feel it slither over each individual whisker. Then, it's trickling down your back, soaking through your briefs, and tickling your ass-crack. The fidgets start, and all of your tells start to appear as we see that we're holding a pair of sevens, a jack, a three, and appropriately, a suicide-king.

Despair sets in. We fold. Napoli lays down its hand: a pair of eights, a pair of fours, an ace. Had we known what we were doing, had we brought more confidence or a pair of brass-balls, we could have bluffed past that.

I gotta admit, I'm crushed. Assuming this is true, that is. I still cling desperately to some blind hope that all of this has been an exercise in what I dubbed Wenger's Law, the idea that there is an inverse relationship between how many headlines link us to a player and how likely we are to sign him. At this point, I'm finding what little comfort I can in the idea that, maybe, just maybe everything we've read about Jovetic, Higuain, and, yes, even Suarez has been all part of Arsène's master-plan, and the next thing we know, we're reading of a shock-move for a striker no one anywhere has linked us with. El Shaarawy, maybe?

I don't know what to do, say, or hope for at this point, to be honest. Even now, given a choice between signing Suarez and signing no one, I don't know if I can bring myself to plump for Suarez. I'm at a loss. On one hand, I knew Napoli were interested and involved, but I kept telling myself we were finally ready to make a bold move and weren't going to let them stop us.

What's left for us? Can we bring back Arshavin? After all, part of his drop in form was attributable to playing somewhat out of position. If we put him back as a forward, rather than an attacking midfielder, he'd be sure to reclaim his form. I'm grasping at straws, I admit, but I'm struggling to find some way, any way, to reassure myself that it's not too late for us to do something dramatic.

I'm just...I don't know. I don't know what to say. I gotta go outside, the better to scream at the heavens.