When a club exudes vulnerability like Arsenal and the results on the pitch portend a spiral into stagnation, declining ambitions, and a seeming unwillingness or inability to turn things around, then clue in talk of mysterious Middle East takeover bids.
In the past, this would have fans jumping all over themselves saying, "Oh! Yeah, bring it on. That's what I'm talking about." But supporters over the years have been burned with so many stories of takeovers which mounted to little else but conjecture. The recent Telegraph article about a source quoting a £1.5bn bid for Arsenal, reduced ticket prices, and bags full of transfer cash was met with cynicism and outright dismissal. It was all noise and probably an Alisher Usmanov plant.
More pertinent to the side's immediate salvation is Daniel Taylor's Guardian article filed under exclusive (didn't know they did exclusives, which sounds more the stuff out of the Daily Mail or the Sun) which mentions that Arsene Wenger is mighty keen on bringing Ashley Williams, the 28 year old centre back at Swansea to the Emirates. Raising eyebrows is Wenger's disillusionment with his center back pairing of Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker. The former has disappointed with both his defensive capabilities and leadership attributes, qualities that Williams, the Swansea captain is said to possess in spades.
The Arsenal manager was in the January market for a centre back which was not what one gathered from the grapevine. David Villa, a striker being the strongest contender and Nacho Monreal the one transfer we managed was a last day desperation buy for a hapless Andre Dos Santos. More critically, Arsenal are still in strong contention for the fourth and final spot and undermining the two players tasked with stopping the attack might not be such a good idea.
Then again, a carefully planted leak to the media threatening job security might be exactly the motivation needed to get the moribund defence going. On cue, The Sun suggests that Barca is looking to Vermaelen to fill in for Carles Puyol who's lion mane has deflected about 70% of the shots away from goal but is nearing the end of his career.