Wednesday 25 April 2012

Manuel Almunia: Wenger’s worst signing

Over the years, my main emotion towards Manuel Almunia has always been sympathy. Here was a guy plucked out of obscurity and ended up becoming the first choice Arsenal goalkeeper. He’s never looked like someone who particularly wanted to be our Number 1 nor actually believed he should be the Number 1 but that’s where our great leader plonked him. Despite it being obvious he was completely out of his depth (and kind of knew it himself), he copped a huge amount of flak for his role in our direst of dire defending in the last few years.

But those feelings have changed after this

"I'm looking for a nice move next season," Almunia told Sky Sports News. "I want to start a new episode of my life."

The keeper insists Wenger is happy for him to move on once his deal runs out and won't stand in his way.

"It's a very respectful relationship and now I'm free, I can do what I like and he's happy with my work at Arsenal for ideas."

And asked if he will remain in England or move back to Spain, Almunia said: "I have got lazy to move too far, because life here in London is fantastic and I hope I can have a club to go to next season so I can stay."

Outrageous stuff.

For a start it reads like we’ve shackled him to the goalposts to make him stay. And, while I know he’s probably trying to be self-effacing and amusing by saying it, the idea of him knowing he’s too lazy to have bothered finding somewhere else to ply his trade after slipping from first to third-choice keeper in less than 12 months angers me beyond belief.

At least he can exit Arsenal in the summer as Number 1 in something: the A is for Arsenal Worst Ever Signings by Arsene Wenger Table.

Admittedly it’s something I’ve created in the past 24 hours but it doesn’t take long to come up with some viable candidates for top spot: Jeffers, Stepanovs, Squillaci, Chamakh and Park Chu-Young could all lay claim for a variety of reasons.

What makes Almunia stand out from the crowd is his longevity. It is one thing for Wenger to have taken a punt on a player only to shift him on after spending a year discovering he was not up to scratch.

But Almunia has managed to rack up more than 170 appearances for Arsenal. He took up one of the key positions in the team and contributed to years of awful defending that cost us silverware. His general inability made team-mates nervous. He rushed out when he should have waited and waited when he should have rushed out. He looked like a miserable git. He was made captain!

In all, he is a symbol of the downturn in Arsenal’s fortunes after the Invincibles. Wenger bought cheap, he got crap and, to make things worse, rather than admit he’d made a mistake and cutting his losses, he kept him in the team and gave him a contract so fat that it become impossible to get rid of him.

And one other thing annoys me royally – Almunia won just as much with Arsenal as Cesc Fabregas. Madness. At least I'll be glad to see the back of this Spaniard.


  1. Almunia is the ultimate symbol of how Wenger runs the squad these days. He never moves them on quickly when they show they're not up to scratch, he keeps them around and keeps playing them for years and years and years, so determined is he to prove everyone wrong. Wenger's strength of character has just turned into obstinancy and it's costing the club and it's slowly costing him his reputation. And to make it worse, we have to wait for contracts to run out, so ridiculously out of proportion to their worth are their wages. Look at Denilson - coming back this summer. Wenger will probably tell us he's LANS.

  2. How fxxking right,and there are more deadwood still clattering the proper depth of a quality squad and AW would still hang on with desperation and enormous waste just because the team and RVP managed to salvage the CL spot. Doubt it will ever change.

  3. Totally agreed! How the fuck Almoonia managed to rack-up so appearances for the Arsenal is unfathomable. Horrible, horrible so called goal-keeper. Cheap and nasty.

  4. bear in mind we waited a year to get chamakh on a free.

  5. Painfully true. Let's hope Wenger buys a quality Keeper to rival Szczesny and more quality midfielders to stop the rot that saw the entire team freeze after Arteta's injury at Wigan. For 7 season's we fall apart when the pressure is on, look good for a while and then don't.

  6. how about listing wengers best ever buys instead of taking the easy way out and bagging players

  7. I can not believe all the dribble people write about Manual Almunia, he is not as bad as many make out & is 100 times better than Fabianski who is useless - Almunia made more mistakes than a true top class keeper that is why he isn't one but he did also make some great saves.
    The save he made against samuel eto in the champs league final was quality, shame he messed up for the winner though lol think he is a good 2nd choice keeper

  8. What a load of fucking nonsense. Hindsight is a great thing isn't it, genius?

  9. I would like to put another slant on this - how about submitting Arsenal Captn Cesc Fabregas as a bad signing who left for Barcelona - set a bad example for professionalism/loyalty at the club and WAS instrumental in Barcelona missing the final of this years Champions League. He had at least two clear chances to put his new club ahead in the first leg and scooped both. I love the Arsenal and have learned - ever since Anelka threatened to leave - that as long as Arsene Wenger is the cheif we are in exceptionally good hands. At Least Almunia turns up for training and never wanted to up and leave for a would-be better side like the 'Spanish'. Arsenal FC are a work in progress and I have seen Wenger over the years stir the ship close to excellence. We have a debt like if you had a debt on a house but we manage to pay for the debt and still compete for the Premiership - 'A work in progress'.


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