Arsenal legend signs up for new Indian Soccer League

It has just been announced that six teams from India will be starting a new football League, primarily in the West Bengal area, and they are going to have a cricket-style auction of the some top-class veterans including the ex-Arsenal star Robert Pires.

Bhaswar Goswami, the executive director of Celebrity Management Group announced that he has signed up for an initial 30 year deal with the Indian Football Association and are expecting to expand the League every year in the manner of the MLS in America.

Other than Pires, Fabio Cannavaro, Jay-Jay Okocha, Robbie Fowler, Maniche, Juan Pablo Sorín, Fernando Morientes and Hernán Crespo have all put pen to paper to be included in the opening auction to be held at the end of next month. The competition itself will run for just two months.

Pires is looking forward to a new experience and a possibly ground-breaking move in one of the largest countries in the world. “Since I had nothing in Europe, why not try something completely unknown? I’ve never been over there,” Pires told L’Equipe.

“I am proud to be the first Frenchman to go and play there. And eight weeks is nothing.”

Pires also admitted he will be paid a minimum of €395,000 [£326,000] for seven weeks. “If my club president likes me, it could be €790,000 [£652,000]. It is a lot of money. I’m not going to complain about that am I? But I’m not going there as a tourist. It’s a new adventure.”

Great work if you can get it! Goswani is very sure that it will be a great success. He said: “We have signed seven icon players for the auction and each of the six teams will have one such player with a $600,000 salary cap,”

“We have started with six teams this year, all in the state of West Bengal but have already been approached to expand the league to other parts of the country.

“Every team will have $2.5m (£1.63m) to spend in the first year. They will have a maximum of four foreigners and a compulsory six under-21 Indian players in their squad.”

“The league is modelled on Major League Soccer and of course IPL,”

“We saw the hype and buzz around the players’ auction in IPL and feel it can be an equal success. It’s a brilliant concept. We expect owners to make profit much earlier than the IPL franchises.

“We are also in the process of finalising television rights for live broadcast across south-east Asia.”

“I think we made the right start by launching it in West Bengal. It’s a soccer-crazy state where 100,000 people throng to watch the local derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

“It will be a massive boost for local players to share the dressing room and field with some of the players they grew up idolising.”

It is about time that a country with 60 million inhabitants started making inroads into football, and hopefully in the future we will see Indians taking as much interest in football as they do in cricket.

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32 thoughts on “Arsenal legend signs up for new Indian Soccer League

  1. Aaron

    There goes the next most likeliest Arsenal transfer while Kroenke is town.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  2. AV

    Finally a chance to meet the Arsenal legend…..I live in West Bengal…!! :D

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  3. Travis Bickle

    Off topic here, but I am still angry after the Swansea game. And so a thought came to me.

    I love Arsenal with all my heart, but I think having a poor season may be the trigger that is needed to wake some people up, inside the organisation. It pains me to say it, because these are extreme lengths to go to, to make people who should be smarter to realise something is wrong. I think finishing outside of the top 4 and behind Tottenham could be what is needed to wake people up! Arsenal is losing it’s credibility. Arsenal is seen by players as a stepping stone to greater things, rather than the greatest thing. It was once seen as a hotbed of quality talent, which played with no doubt the most beautiful, devastating attacking football. If you watch youtube videos in succession by year, its easy to notice that the confidence and penetration is slowing. The quality is thinning and loyalty is becoming a question.

    Back in the day when Henry, Viera, Pires, Bergkamp etc. were playing I had complete confidence and excitement before every game. It wasn’t a question of whether we would win, but by how many goals. Last season there was a small doubt of whether we would beat teams such as Man utd and Chelsea and it was hit and miss. This season I doubt before matches, if we can beat Aston Villa….When was the last time we ever beat anyone by a scoreline higher than 3-0. We used to beat teams 6-0, 7-0. This season we haven’t come close to scoring 6 in a match.

    Look at the players we are signing now. Arteta 29, Benyouan 31, Chamakhe 26, Park 26, none of these players are exciting young players. We complain that our transfer policy hasn’t changed, well in my eyes it has. We used to sign players who were young exciting prospects. It would be rare for us to sign a player over the age of 23. We would sign players who were between the ages of 20 – 23 who would go straight into the first team, now we sign 18 year olds and say wait in 2 years they will be good, yes thats all good, but we never address the problems in the team we have in the present day.

    We are no where near the status in England we were in the late 90′s to early 2000′s. The Swansea game is a prime example of this. No newly promoted team would have the guts to play attacking football against Arsenal in those days, and if they did they would lose massively. It shows that these teams believe they can win against us.

    I’ll use Newcastle as my example. They were relegated we all know, this was the shock the fans and organisation needed. They hired and fired managers, spent huge sums of money on poor players and offered high wages. Now they have built a stable squad with exciting players young and old. There mentality has changed because it needed too.

    I want my old Arsenal back….I’m sorry for my rant, but this season has raised for the first time, some serious questions in my head. I will always support Arsenal, even if it is becoming unrecognisable.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

  4. Lol

    Referring to the last post, come on people, do you really want some russian turn us into big spenders? Chelsea and man city are pathetic and we know it, I’d rather struggle for a top four than buy a title

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 13

  5. Chinmay

    I totally agree with travis’ comments here. I ws jumping like anything when we beat wigan(?) 4-0. Back in the day, we’d merely have shrugged them off and gotten straight into the next fixture. Something is amiss.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. Chinmay

    When i say totally, i meant selectively. U can’t criticise the transfers. Its a thing where u’re damned if u do one thing and damned if u don’t do it.
    Lol- united is not buying trophies and that’s competition of our pedigree. Mind you, i still am a most loyal gooner and not the ‘wenger out’ brigade, but what we need is improvisation, not windfalls.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  7. gunner

    wtf ? Am i reading a fairytale ??? Woah,perhaps maybe i will live 2 see us play in worldcup(lol it was my wish).for a country whos abysmal and ranked some 154th in world rankings,this is quite a shock !!! Thanks 4 d news admin…

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  8. gunned up

    i could millionaire if i bet against arsenal…WHAT do u say???but i am confident that arsenal is not a joke…maybe now arsenal is not top class but wait…pires should cme back home to train our wingers

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. sweeper

    yh travis is spot on, almost all the players have lost the balls to step up n make a play or join into a play, i’m not talking bout taking risks cause these days we try risky passes that arent incisive anyway. i mean a player steping up n trying to play atleast a 1-2 to beat a man is very rare at arsenal these days.

    We were known for how players just seem to spawn at the right place at the right time to keep play going. These days we try too hard to hold formation at the cost of making incisive movements n it sucks. we all know that our players are capable of more cause weve seen them do it before, even when cesc was injured. someone has to tell the team to step it up n play their own game, try to beat players, put someone through on goal, confuse entire back lines. we lack that “wit” in our play that moment of decpetion that opens everything up.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  10. SVGunner

    If what Arsenal are setting their standard at winning 4-0 every game, they are going to be sorely disappointed. Even Man City, with all the money that they are spending do not do this. How can we forget so quickly what we have done recently ? Hauling ourselves up from 17th to now sitting fifth. We have taken a blip, sure, and investment is needed, but not a complete wash out and rebuild. Every team has its ups and downs.

    And, btw, I think some people are confused by the maths of our situation. Our well publicised yearly transfer budget is about 30 million, which is, as AW says, very healthy because we make it ourselves and are not reliant on debt fuelled investment from external sources. But this is not the budget that the fans are dreaming of. A decent signing on a 4 year deal costs about £26m. That is 10m for the player and then about £14.5m in total salary costs (70000/week). As you can see, that is about our entire transfer budget, so the signing of Gervinho, for example, was about the extent of our yearly allowance. Eden Hazard was £25m plus his prima donna wages so was obviously never going to happen, in retrospect.

    Even if we sell five players, we still wouldn’t be able to buy the players our fans want because the players we sell will be on a far lower wage to those we bring in, due to the wage inflation since our players last signed a new contract.
    E.g, if we sell say Arshavin, Theo, Diaby, Squillaci and Almunia, thats about 60000/week for each week of the two years left on their contract (for each player). Thats £31.2m saved. Plus, for arguments sake, 10m for Arshavin, 15m for theo, 5 for diaby, 2 for Squillaci and Almunia out free. Thats another £32m, so 63m in total. With this money, you now need to buy two decent wingers, one central midfield player, one of, if not both, of a CB and GK. Don’t forget, they cant be crap or it defeats the point. So, the players that we would be looking at for the wings, Hazard/Gotze are about £25m each plus at least 80000 if we want to pry them away from Real/City etc. That is £41m on a 4 year contract EACH (£82m in total). Clearly not workable, even if it was possible to conclude so many high profile deals in one summer.

    Considering this, I think we did quite well this Summer considering that we already had gaps to fill in (CB/Left Back) and then also had to deal with Cesc/$amir leaving. Of course, we had the money from those sales (about £80m in total, including wages). That money went into the signings of Arteta/Mertesacker/Santos/Park and the aforementioned Gervinho. I hope that, you can see where our money is going and that it is, contrary to popular belief, not sitting in the bank but actually being spent. Also I hope that you see that, though we may not like to believe it, the money we have spent so far is not too far away from our actual spending limit.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  11. Travis Bickle

    A couple of comments have cropped up since my small novel. Both have been referring to the money we spend. If this is a response to my comment I would like to point out, I didn’t mention anything about how much or little we should or don’t spend.

    As an Arsenal fan it has always been a proud thing to be able to say things like, when we played Juventus in the Champions league:”Juventus’ back line cost a total of 74mil, and Arsenal who had kept a clean sheet run of 4 consecutive games, cost 5 mil.”

    We lost 3 KEY players in one season, what does that tell you?
    If Man Utd. lost Evra, Nani,and Fletcher in one season, people would be asking why?

    I agree that we don’t need to spend 30mil on one player, and I love that we don’t. My point is, among others, that the type of players we have signed (with the exception of Gervinho) are not what I class as an “Arsenal” player. @sweeper makes the good point about playing one two’s, our game has changed from fluid, fast devastating attacking football, to possession with no penetration.

    I trust Wenger, but I’m worried. @SVGunner seems happy with how things are going. For me that sums it all, we are settling for average. 5th is good because we were in 18th…..when has Arsenal ever been in 18th before this season?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  12. Bolly

    @Lol – at last someone sensible speaks, well said sir. If and it’s a big if, if the fair play rules are applied correctly then City and Chelsea and perhaps to a very slightly lesser extent ManU, will be effed. Even spuds could have a problem. Yes we need change at our great club but as I’ve said before, through evolution not revolution. People abroad calling for protests and boycotting games need to understand the mentality of the match going supporter. We live our working week for matchday and that day starts early and takes in all day from meeting at the pub, travelling, singing, shouting and yes whinging and moaning when we loose. But the one thing we cannot do is miss the best day of the week, win or loose. I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe it does need a change of manager and it’s the first time I’ve ever said that. Calls for the board to be got rid off just do not know how a football club works. We showed the Premier league how good football should be played and now others like Swansea, Norwich and some others are copying us.
    But, we now need to change but I’m stumped how!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. toby

    people keep mentioning that we climbed from 17th to 5th, yes that was a good achievement but the fixtures were very kind in that time and we never looked convincing either. scraping games by the odd goal and only vp scoring, yes we looked more stable but performances where still poor and games could of easily gone differently. in short even when we were winning it didnt look or feel rite.
    i thought like many this team had shaken of the ghosts but again the wheels fall off.

    henry pissed me off too! the arsenal away fans have more rite than any1 to say how they feel and they deserved better than the last 2 away games. henry needs to remember while its nice to have him back he walked away from this team and us fans when it got tough so hes got no rite to start piping up!!! we love you henry but us gooners have been through hell since you left us and the away fans have got every rite to have a rant if the team doesnt perform! you no the levels you set henry when you were here so you of people should no these performances are not exceptable in our jersey!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. toby

    @bolly

    no one is suggesting that we become the new city, wengers way is great but we are now learning it can only do 90% and the rest has to be bought. even wenger has admitted this in his pre season plans to get in exceptional players like benzema to ice the cake, it was part of his four part plan that included keeping hold of nasri but the board wouldnt back wenger with the players wages to keep or sign talent. weve been here before at the start of the season have we all forgot how the board screwed wenger and sent im into the transfer market with an unloaded gun.

    WE DONT WANT TO BE THE NEW CITY WE JUST WANT THE 2 OR 3 CLASS SIGNINGS WE HAVE LACKED FOR SEVERAL SEASONS THAT HAVE STOPPED US SHORT EVERYTIME. ARE WE NOT EVEN ENTITLED TO EXPECT THAT AFTER SELLING NASRI AND FAB WE SHOULDNT GET ATLEAST ONE REPLACEMENT OF SIMILAR CALIBURE!
    HOW CAN WE SELL A PLAYER FOR 30 MILLION BUT THEN NOT BE PREPARED TO SPEND THAT ON A PLAYER. ITS NOT THE ACTIONS OF A TEAM THAT HAS ANY AMBITION AT ALL! ITS THE ACTIONS OF PROFFERTERING AND NOTHING ELSE. ITS NO LONGER ARSENAL ITS BLOODY AJAX!!!!!!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  15. John 3:16

    Our 5 biggest problems at the moment are

    5. No pace to our passing game.

    4. Lack of movement in the midfield and forward areas.

    3. Indecision in defence.

    2. Culture of complacency among the players during our long trophy drought.

    1. Playing a Fabregas system, without Cesc Fabregas.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. SVGunner

    Agree almost entirely with @John 3:16…spot on. This needs to be remedied quickly. However, perhaps the ‘Cesc system’ will work better when Wilshere returns, however he may also increase the speed of our passing play.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. LordZeus11

    Players Arsenal should sell:
    Fabianski(proven terrible keeper maybe just release him)
    Denilson(A top talent at 18,progressed a bit but then went backwards, shame)
    Chamakh(not good enough for Arsenal)
    Park(Although he hasnt played enough for us to judge there is an obvious reason for that)
    Squillaci(shit)
    Bentdner(The most frustrating player in the PL)
    Arshavin(A year and a half of gold,and a year and half of pure crap,cash while he has atleast some kind of reputation)

    Players Arsenal should buy (realistic quality targets)
    Thiago-FC Barcelona
    Matias Saurez-Anderlecht
    Gotze/Hazard-Dortmund/Lille
    Adam Johnson-Man City(a loan deal would be very possible)
    Affellay-FC Barcelona
    Vertonghen-Ajax

    These are realistic possible signings (Gotze and Hazard the most far fetched) which would revolustionize our club and push it hugely in the right direction. 1 good transfer window and we are back to winning ways, Wenger’s transfer policy is the only thing i fault of his management.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  18. Gunblast

    Even if we win against M united ..we will never be the same agains…That with big IF…we are not we used to be..even mid table team easyly want to play us and collect point…Thanks Wenger for everything..

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. John 3:16

    We need to buy Aly Cissokho £8m, Chris Samba £10m and Eden Hazard for £25m + Squillaci, Arshavin and Chamakh!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. ArsenaLova

    Een pires at this age is perhaps millions better than arshavin n walcockcrap combine! pires use hes brain.he ddnt use hes knee to think.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  21. SA gooner

    How can you say India has only 60million people, I think it’s only beaten by China population wise.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  22. James

    Country of 60 million? Dude.. India’s population is a little more than 1 billion..

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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