When I first saw the headlines, I thought it was our ol' pal Arsène Wenger trying his hand at the latest summer fad: the unsettling of a rival team's player. While the concept is not new at all, it's enjoying quite an uptick in popularity lately. Complete with GoPros and broken clavicles, everybody wants a piece of the action.
At the extreme end of the scale, you have likes of José Mourinho, who dive off cliffs in just a wing-suit and disco pants to skim trees and rocks at a million miles an hour while casually putting the pressure on rival managers and players. In the middle ground, you have the bungee jumping, skydiving crowd doing everything that's expected and thinking they're cool. I'm looking at you, Spanish tabloids. And then, there's Arsène.
Arsène strikes me as the zorbing type. All padded and safe from harm, he's careful not to cause too much trouble for others. But it turns out that I misjudged the man. Enormously misjudged. He is, in fact, an extreme home shopper.
"I have heard like you, because I watched the game last night, that Juan Mata could be on the market. I don't know. There's anyway a reluctance* in England to sell to each other."
-Arsène Wenger; source: the absolutely gorgeous** arsenal.com
* yes Monsieur, only Arsenal are silly enough to sell their best players to the Manchesters
** not for the first time, ya gotta step up your game, chelseafc.com
"Yes, I like him."
"[Juan Mata's father was] No[t]. I don't know. Maybe [a guest of the club for the Fenerbahçe match]."
-the part of the interview not carried by the official Arsenal website; source: AFP via Google News
Always on the lookout for the best deal on the latest ab roller, overcoat EZ zipper, or further improved ShamWow, one can only image his glee when Juan Mata's name popped up on his screen. "Cut through Premier League defenses like butter!" shouted pseudo Billy Mays. "Supercharge your attack with the handsomest face-beard hobbit wizard in England!"
Wenger sat transfixed. He didn't know what to do. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, for a low-low payment of just $9.99!* He tried to reach for the phone, but the teevee screamed "BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!" Arsène begrudgingly turned, unable to pass up the lure of an even better deal. "Call now and we'll double your offer; you'll get two Matas and we'll even throw in this free limited edition Eden Hazard, too!"
He turned to the heavens, arms spread wide, and drank it all in. This was it. This was his moment. The deal of the century. And he, Arsène Wenger, he was about to make it. He reached for the phone...