Just Like New Signings As Cazorla & Ramsey Put Pen To Paper…

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As Arsène moves toward his 1,000th game against Chelsea…Actually, it isn’t Wenger’s 1,000th game; that came a couple of seasons back but apparently friendlies don’t count and even if they do, you get into the semantics of whether the short-form games played at Southampton (and in Austria, if I recall correctly) count as matches or are halves. Even this early in the post, I have strayed from the point; it doesn’t bode well for the remaining 800 or so words, does it?

I was about to ponder who he would have chosen for the occasion? He would have preferred a home game, that’s for sure. Somewhere where the occasion could be properly marked rather than being in seething hotbed of Neanderthal rage. It doesn’t stretch the imagination to believe that he would have preferred anyone but Jose Mourinho as his opposite number – no matter what the opposition – knowing the Portugeezer will enjoy nothing more than pooping on the party. Although part of me suspects he will enjoy Mourinho being there as the marked contrast of their careers, their footballing philosophies will bring the Chelsea manager’s shortcomings even more sharply into focus.

Ahead of the game, Wenger has given himself a little present or two. Following on from retaining the services of Rosicky and Mertesacker, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey have both committed themselves to the club for a longer term. In a week when the club’s cash reserves were once again bundled into the media spotlight, it is reassuring to see them exploiting the scope within the wages budget to reward the club’s top performing players. As much as we want to see the squad strengthened, it is vital that they do not take their corporate eyes off the ball as far as existing contracts are concerned. If the senior management at the club is to convince us that they are really crossing the Rubicon into the Promised Land of everlasting Premier League glory, we need to end the cycle whereby key players contracts are allowed to reach a point where the club’s hand is weakened.

I know that football contracts mean nothing. Managers get sacked, players are sold or force an exit; it’s the way of the world, it always has been and it always will be. The only thing that changes is who holds the power. It was the clubs, it is now the players and managers get caught somewhere in the middle. More towards the clubs end of things, I guess. However, there used to be a time when Arsenal were astute in contract negotiations, when players were committed to long deals and released when it suited us, not them. Fabregas’ departure changed that; I guess the door opened when Henry left for Barcelona but the young Spaniard did not so much barge through it as kick it down and splinter it in the process. That began a process where the club seemed to be in a weaker position, Flamini held the whip-hand at the time of his original departure. Alex Hleb likewise all the way through to Robin van Persie. The club was ineffective in retaining key players and when they should have kept them, a risible over-30s policy was in force and weakened the squad further. We know the reasons put forward for the whys but cash has not been as tight over the years as some claim.

This season has marked a change in the contract situation with a pro-activeness on the club’s part which has brought results. They might have been pro-active previously but the outcomes were different unless you were a squad player who gleefully accepted the riches that the “socialist” wage structure offered. As if anything if football could be called socialist. It has still not worked out well as yesterday’s discussion on Bacary Sagna indicated and to be fair to the club, whatever they do, someone will be critical of it such is the nature of the footballing beast.

Of course no discussion on the contract situation is complete without referring to the manager himself. Wenger, Ivan Gazidis, gleefully announced, would be signing a new deal soon. That was a few months ago and he has not committed himself to a deal. I think Jeremy Wilson called it correctly at the AST meeting earlier in the week when he suggested that Arsène was waiting to see how the season panned out before committing himself to another three or four years. Why not? He has earned the right and enough doubts were expressed last year to bring about the Frenchman’s wrath with the false suggestion a new deal had been agreed. To the chagrin of his most ardent supporters, may be he too had doubts about whether he could take the club to the next level, the one to which he aspired when the financial strength became apparent. A sheen is sprayed over the situation, one where he never doubts himself or his abilities. That suggests an insularity which his education and experience is completely at odds with.

Arsenal have improved so far this season. Remaining in contention – even if I don’t think we will win the title – at this stage is a marked improvement on last year. We might end up fourth again, fading away as one or two teams hit form, in which case Arsène may well question whether he can inspire the players to step up. The FA Cup is firmly in the club’s grasp, it genuinely is theirs to throw away with the weakness of the remaining semi-finalists. But we have been there before, against Birmingham at Wembley. There are signs that improved performance is in the air but we won’t know for sure until the final whistle after the final match of the season. And there are still weaknesses to be addressed in the squad itself; maybe Arsène doesn’t like the way football is going, particularly with the ease with which other clubs are able to flaunt the FFP regulations.

Of course it is speculation on my part and only Arsène truly knows what his thoughts are on the subject. Delays in signing new contracts are nothing new with him, he has met with other clubs in years gone by as well. It is his choice ultimately and if he decides to leave, at least he has left the club in a better shape than Ferguson did with United.

’til Tomorrow

180 thoughts on “Just Like New Signings As Cazorla & Ramsey Put Pen To Paper…

  1. Henry.

    I think Ivan has said several times that he expects Arsene to sign his new contract. I doubt Ivan would have done that if there was any doubt in his mind. What would Arsene think if he had actually told Ivan that he was unsure and then Ivan went public saying that Arsene will sign? That would not be good negotiating tactic for Ivan.

    I seriously doubt Arsene would retire now under any circumstances and I suspect that the possibility of a shock retirement is even less likely if he has been indicating all along that he plans to continue. I understand the idea of why he might be waiting until after the FA cup, but the reality is that the chance of him leaving is extremely small and with that in mind, when you think it through there is no real advantage to him or anyone to wait until after the FA cup. No?

  2. Northbank, 🙂

    Actually, I think our Arsene is more Germanic than French, (didn’t the discussions about Alsace Lorraine post the Franco Prussian war cause a bit of a hoo hah – or was it a little something about invading Poland? ) who knows, so perhaps the bossman is taking it out on that happy-go-lucky Polish/German Poldi. 🙂

  3. I don’t think Arsene is the sort of person that would string along Ivan and Stan making them think he would be here for another 2 years and then change his mind.

  4. MLF – I don’t think the budget is the issue – I certainly do not think it was last summer.

    I would say a bigger problem has been letting AW dictate price and pull out of deals for players that he rates VERY highly but whom he also finds are just a little overpriced.

    He should hand over the names of who he wants and leave the negotiating to others. They shouldn’t even have to tell him what they paid afterwards.

    I think we almost certainly missed out on some, if not all of; Mata, Hazard, Higuain and Draxler thanks to Wenger’s personal evaluations.

    We have to be a bit more flexible and face the reality: that thanks to oil money – big players come with inflated price tags – Mata and Hazard are worth FAR more now than they were then and I doubt Higuain’s value has decreased much either.

    Sometimes in order to win you have to be prepared to lose.

  5. Jonny

    Completely agree. Of course AW ought to have the ultimate say on priorities and players but his part in the deal should end when he persuades the player to join. His valuation ought to be a guide for the negotiating team but not the deciding factor.

  6. Jonny/YW – Agree completely.

    AW just hand his list in to that idiot Dick Law and see what comes back.

  7. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wenger decided to call it quits. Especially if he could go out with the FA Cup. He is at an age when he may decide to call it quits. From what I’ve read about him he lives and breathes football. He is watching football matches in his spare time. He does French TV football commentary on his time off. So it wouldn’t surprise me if he dies while working in some type of football related job.
    I guess it really hinges upon his relationship with his wife and family. If she wants to spend more time with him doing non-football things then maybe he would quit and devote some of their remaining time to her considering how much of his life he has devoted to himself. Maybe at some point a man comes to realize his own mortality and decides that he has enough money and wants to enjoy family time. Does he have grand-kids?
    Who knows what is in his head? He may be sticking it out to finally win that last trophy that the media has placed as a millstone around his neck. He may keep at it because he knows the ship’s finances have been righted due to his amazing stewardship and he may want to reap the benefits.
    But ultimately I look at his face and he seems much more perturbed and annoyed on match days that he did 15 years ago (albeit when he was winning trophies). He doesn’t seem to be enjoying the games like he once did – yeah I’m reading a lot in to his on field demeanor. I just don’t know if he’s doing it out of love or out of trying to get that ‘x years without a trophy’millstone off his back.
    Who knows what is going on at the home front? Maybe it is time for him to devote time to his family. He’s a smart man and if this is what his family wants maybe winning the FA Cup will give him the opportunity to do what is in his loved ones’ best interests rather than his own.
    But the good thing for us is that he doesn’t seem to have the outside interests that Fergy had: expensive plonk and horse breeding.

  8. @Jonny & Yogi

    I completely agree with the both of you in that regards. I think as we have seen and heard of the years that players were ready to join only for them to all say the same thing “It was a matter of the clubs agreeing to a fee that both parties agreed to,” generally for me that mean Arsene said it was 15M when it should have been higher. The strangest part for me is the fact that we keep giving big contacts to our fringe players.

    So this races my last part, is Arsene really ready to continue on in the new market with Arsenal and be ok not having complete and utter control?

  9. I thought i read somewhere that Draxler didn’t want to go to Bayern that he had an aversion to playing for das Evil Empire.

  10. Philmar – maybe, but money will cause most people to realign their priorities.

    TBH – Draxler must be on numerous club’s summer radars – I suspect that, even if we are still keen, we will end up out-priced by someone who is prepared to hit the release clause.

  11. Its not just Draxler not wanting to go to Bayern but also Schalke have said they will refuse to sell to Bayern because they don’t want o strengthen Bayern anymore than they already are plus they hate the fact that they are buying up all the best German players.

    Plus it would surprise me given that both Ribery and Robben have just signed new contracts plus Muller, Goetze, Kroos and Lewandowski.

  12. It is apparent to any that watch the reserve setup that none of the current CB’s are any where near ready to assume even a rotational mantle within the senior squad. At least that would be my determination, obviously Arsene likes Ajayi enough to have allowed him to train with the firsts on occasions this season. If we had to bring one in, then he would be the man. Hayden is being groomed as a DMC, though like Ginter he has experience playing in both the CB and DMC roles. The midfield at both senior and youth levels is stacked with quality. The club needs another different type of striker than Giroud or Sanogo, someone more fleet of foot would be a boost. Looking at the 25 players mentioned above it is apparent Arsenal have a strong squad, the caveat being the issues with staying healthy. In truth I think Arsenal are 2-3 quality players away from making a consistently strong challenge to those looking to win the EPL.

    Toral, Akpom and Gnabry all shone yesterday, though Traore of Barca stole the show. If these are the feeding grounds for both clubs (which of course they are) then both must have been delighted with the quality on display at an U19 level.

  13. A reported what 37M for Draxler? To much to pay for a player that whilst interesting and showing an up side has not done anywhere near enough to warrant a fee of that type. Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette and even Dimitri Payet or Yevhen Konoplyanka would offer just as much threat. All could be had for less than 37M, maybe even for the price or 2 and a bit.

  14. “So this races my last part, is Arsene really ready to continue on in the new market with Arsenal and be ok not having complete and utter control?”
    ———————————
    I think this is a very good point. Now that football has become a much bigger economic enterprise since 1998 we have witnessed a huge increase in support staff. i wonder if Arsene doesn’t exert too much control over the club. He is getting older and he probably should delegate more of his responsibilities. I think it would be good if a medical doctor with more power could say to him that certain players are at risk to long term injury if they were to play the next day. Maybe some of the load of looking for transfer targets and signing/negotiating contracts could be offloaded to others.
    I think the current squad has benefited from having Bould’s input on defensive alignment/set pieces. We have had periods of great defensive resolve and I no longer fret when we set back to defend a lead or set pieces. Wenger needs to delegate a bit more. i’d love to see someone have more power in signing players – Wenger can’t bring himself to overspend even if it is in the best interests of the team. We’ve dodged a bullet so far this year because Giroud’s health has held up. Finding a better 2nd striker than Nikky B or Sanogo would have been a huge plus for us this year. Giroud had looked tired at times and a fit/energized viable 2nd option would have made us a better team at those moments – and we’d have seen better from Olivier on other days when he would have been more rested.

  15. Henry

    Was she Germanic or did she like to be aligned with Uranus? 🙂 or both?

    I doubt very much that we will get Draxler. He’s what, 20 yrs old and they want how much?

    Watching that video of Romford Ray posted by Jonny shows how much the players must love the man. And it also shows how astute he has been in the transfer market. Do we really want him to be a manager who pays over the odds for someone like Torres or Andy Carroll? I’d rather he be cautious than waste money.

  16. Not sure what all the fuss about Draxler is all about.

    I watched him play against Real Madrid and on both occasions he looked pretty dire, and maybe we escaped an expensive boo boo.

    The other club allegedly interested in Drax is Manure.

  17. With respect MA, Arsene was happy to sanction c£30M – I haven’t seen enough of him to draw conclusion for myself, but if AW truly believes Draxler is worth that much at this age then he is, to my mind, worth the additional.

    It IS too much but not crazily so.

    That’s the reality of the market – £7M is not a huge amount extra, when you think we pay Bendy £2.5M every year. 😉

  18. I also agree with Jonny, and Yogi and Andy and Philmar and even Miami. Henry B also for the most part.

    I think we will win the FA cup so all the discussion about what might happen if we don’t is an interesting intellectual exercise and gives us something different to talk about, but not really important since it won’t happen.

  19. Northbank – Do we really want him to be a manager who pays over the odds for someone like Torres or Andy Carroll? I’d rather he be cautious than waste money.

    Nobody is asking for that. Just because people wantt himk to spend a bit extra (now that it sems we have it) is advocating wasting it. It is straw man argument. Just because there have been plenty of expensive failures does not mean any large sum will end that way. Most big transfers are usually worth their while, as the player is a proven performer (hence the price tag), or sometimes an undeniably outstanding talent.

    The Torres transfer is the one which has turned out to be a failure as he actually justified the price, but then failed to deliver. The Carrol transfer was plain stupid.

  20. @MA

    I completely agree with you about the CB position. At present none and even from what I have seen of Ajayi and Hayden are ready to step into the senior side in the next 2 years without a jump in really their whole game. That is why I think Ginter would actually be a great get. He has had experience(starting 33 matches this term in all competitions and 24 matches in all competitions last year), plus we have seen him play at a high level and his all around game would fit perfectly plus he would be able to learn from Mert and Arteta and becoming our 3rd choice CB. My question with Hayden is this, is he being groomed to be a CDM because presently we don’t have one at the youth level with Aneke loaned and no one else in the youth setup and will eventually be a CB for senior side, or is he actually being groomed to be a CDM for the future?

    Toral, Akpom and Gnabry were the players that stood out, but I was very very impressed with how cool, calm and collected Olsson and Zelalem were on the ball even when being pressured. Rarely did they get the ball taken from them and were constantly looking to play the pass that sprung one of our strikers.

  21. ” Do we really want him to be a manager who pays over the odds for someone like Torres or Andy Carroll?”

    Of course we don’t – no one is suggesting he should or indeed would do that.

    AW has an almost unparalleled record in identifying talent – I prefer to trust that and, now that we have the funds to do so, pay within reason what is required (if the demands are crazy – OBVIOUSLY you walk away shaking your head).

    There is just a feeling that the club is struggling to adapt to the realities of the market.

    Buyng Ozil has shown that we can do it but, this summer, I think – unless AW has another piece of magic up his sleeve – that we may have to do so again.

    To secure that final piece of the jigsaw (top-quality strikers ain’t cheap) might just take an un-Wengeresque act of bravado in the transfer market.

  22. I thought Zelalem looked great in possesion, but pretty poor without it. But for a 17 years old, the potential is huge.

  23. Jonny – It will be interesting to see (in the sumer) if the Ozil transfer was a flash in the pan, or a new approach to transfers.

  24. I agree with everyone.

    Arsene needs to delegate a little more if he`s bungling (not George Graham style) transfers. He`ll be cleaning the bogs next.

  25. For those that didn’t watch or even read reports about our Youth match yesterday, you should go find some highlights.

    Our youth yesterday played with a fluid, direct and with width(from our attacking players more than our fullbacks except when Bellerin got forward) that was reminenicent of how our senior side looked both with most of the possession and when our youth played on the counter. If our senior midfield and attackers played like that with our current defensive prowess we would be an extremely hard team to deal with and would be utilizing our attackers and midfielders in the way that best suits them.

  26. Andy

    If I think the risks of failure are enhanced if excessive money is spent on a player, then yes, I do. AW is renowned for getting players with talent on less and then developing that player to be world class.

  27. @Jonny

    The assumption that it is just another 7M may not mean anything to you in the event you were going to sanction a purchase. But, 7M is almost the figure Ginter can be obtained at it reports surfacing are true in that they want a reported 8M. Of course we don’t make the decisions, so it is up to Arsene and his team to identify targets and establish their market worth. In my opinion, 30M is to much for Draxler and certainly 37M is to much. Not a bit to much, but a whole lot to much. I have this dread fear that in the summer we’ll see Draxler and Grenier arrive, because Arsene loves his attacking midfielders.

  28. I think the Drax has scored a grand total of one goal in 16 league games this year. You can rationalize however you want but that is not very good. It might not be a big issue if we were looking for him to be a creative central midfielder. However, that is the one position we clearly don’t need to strengthen. His lack of scoring should send up a huge red flag if we really want him to be a winger or by some bit of nebulous Wengerian magic turn him into a striker. I really would love to see a world class striker and a goal scoring winger come in this summer but IMO we should look at someone other then Drax for both positions.

  29. @philmar

    That is exactly what I was getting at and I agree with everything in your post.

    Arsene can still have control of everything, but when it comes to finalizing a deal or a player’s “red zone”, allow the people that specialize in that area, to use their expertise.

  30. @C

    I think GA called it right on Zelalem (you know I’m a fan of the lad) but he was asked to play as the deepest lying midfielder in the formation and he struggled to close space when Barca had possession. He has been filling that role in the reserves this season and he has struggled for the most part. He has vision and ability with the ball at his feet but he seemed lazy in tracking runs. It is difficult to judge him when he is not playing in his preferred role, but with Hayden often called in to sit on the bench or attending senior training sessions it is the job he has been tasked with.

  31. Of the young chaps who turned out yesterday I would stick my neck out & say Akpom will make it. Hopefully it will be with us. He seems to have the drive & desire needed – at least at this stage of his career
    .
    Toral & Bellerin were also impressive but Zelalem & Olsson were disappointing.

    I think someone mentioned it earlier but we really don`t seem to produce any centre backs these days.

  32. Northbank – He is. But the footballing landscape change drastically change in the past 10 years and we need to change too. Not to the extent of some club, but still. Its true the risk of failure is greater with a larger sum, but by the same token the chance of success are enhanced with buying more proven players.

    For every Carroll there is a Hazzard and for every Torres their is a Suarez. I trust our manager with hte big bucks to get top quality players who will take us to the next level. I just think he may need somebody to give him a prod every now and again to maybe spend a bit more than his peronal valuation.

  33. C,

    I don’t think Ginter would like you calling him a ‘great get’, we will never get him if he reads ACLF.

    Jonny,

    I am not trying to gainsay you, but simply to mention how easily millions or tens of millions of pounds are bandied about when player evaluations come up.

    Like you, I have heard that AW/Arsenal had bid either £30m (or 30m Euros) for the Drax.
    But two or three weeks ago the managing director of Schalke said that there had been a very substantial amount bid for Draxler in January. He then intimated that the sum was £20m, and then said it was a good bid but not enough for Schalke to sell him.

    He did not say which club had made the only bid, so we can only surmise it was Arsenal – but from the German end it was clear there was only one bidder, and the amount was for £20m sterling – so logically, if it was Arsenal , then the amount was nowhere near the asking price of £37m, or even £30m, or it was not Arsenal, in which case we did not test their valuation.

  34. @PW

    I was pretty harsh on O’Connor and Ormonde-Ottewill as well, but then I remember both are just back from injury and they did struggle. O’Connor’s error for the first goal was terrible and he had been caught dallying not 2 minutes prior. That said, I did not hear a single call from his team mates with respect to a “Man-On” or some much to advise the player his space was being closed rapidly. That doesn’t hide the fact he did take to long to clear the ball.

    Zelalem and Olsson were terrific in possession when we were controlling the tempo and pressing up high the problem came when we were not first to the ball. Still, a lot of positives from yesterday’s defeat none more so than Toral, Akpom and Gnabry as mentioned above. I also thought Bellerin did very well and likewise Maitland Niles until he began to tire.

  35. On the Draxler talk, the potential is their there’s no doubt about it and the lad was out injured for quite a bit adn then played the moment the doctor cleared him from all the reports that I have read.

    You don’t break into the German national team at present(the abundance of attacking and midfield talent is unbelievable) if you are not a truly gifted player.

  36. Arsene has done a great job of identifying midfielders and getting the Kos, Sagna and BFG were brilliant. However, he has struggled a lot in recent years trying to find goal scorers. The recent list is Arshavin, Chamakh, Gervinho, Park, Podolski and Giroud.

    You could argue that Arshavin was important the first year he came but ultimately he was a disappointment. Nothing more needs be said about the next 3 on the list.

    We could argue about Podolski all day but anyone who lost his place in the side after a half year and has had to struggle mightily to win his place back and many of us expect him to be sold has to be considered a disappointment. We have about Giroud endlessly but the reality is that some of us were happy to see Sonogo start the FA cup and champions league games tells you that OG has not really cemented his place in the long term plans and most of us hope for a new CF.

    Bottom line is that Arsene has not done real well buying goal scorers. I suspect part of the problem is that he has never really justified spending the amounts it would take to buy a really good scorer and he has tried to find bargains and build his own superstars which has not worked for our goal scorers. Hopefully with his new found wealth he will finally be willing to spend what it takes to get the scorer we need.

  37. MA, and Paulie,

    I think you need to cut Gedion some slack. He has just come back from a longish injury lay off and was clearly not match fit.

  38. Well – like many – I am not convinced Draxler is the answer for this team, as we have an abundance of cetral midfielders but in a way that makes it all the more intriguing. That AW was prepared to spend even £20M is shocking to me as it is so out of character and for that reason I am thinking AW must believe he is very, very special indeed. His unusual size of his release clause would seem to verify this.

    The rumours in some quarters are that AW wants to turn him into a striker – who knows? But the whole thing is a funny old story and no mistake. Time will tell, but I maintain that nature of AW’s interest must have substance behind it.

    I certainly agree Draxler was not what was needed in January – he would have been a ‘bigger picture signing’.

  39. Henry B,

    I`m quite prepared to cut Gedion as much slack as necessary. It was a proper first watch for me & 75 minutes isn`t enough to make my mind up on a 17 year old`s long term prospects.

    Overall , our style of play was superb.

  40. @MA & Paulie

    I think the thing that we also have to realize with Zelalem and Olsson, is that like most attacking midfielders at that age(and some even at senior levels throughout futbol) is that they don’t like to track back and are still learning how to do the other things that midfielders at the top level must learn to do. They are such top class talents attacking that they for probably most of their youth days have been told to just attack and don’t worry to much about defending unless your pressing high up the pitch, this leads to them struggling to pick up runners and close down space when asked to play a deeper role.

    Zelalem has been asked to play that deeper role and sometimes even next to Hayden as the other pivot which isn’t his natural position but I think it is a position at the youth level that will allow him to develop not only defensively but also attacking wise.

  41. Unfortunately rating the young players is a flavor of the month exercise. Last summer Zelalem was the best. Now its Toral, for a while it was Eisfeld. The list of past great prospects is endless. The reality is that if one or 2 actually become long term members of the first team then we will have been lucky. It is a fun exercise to debate which might make it with Arsenal, but history has shown that its absolutely impossible to predict based on what they have done in the youth teams and its impossible to know which might become PL level players. Far and away the best predictor in the past has been how they do on loan spells.

  42. Jonny,

    I guess the Draxler story is another one of those ‘watch this space’ items. (I still find it difficult, even after Ozil’s signing, to get my head around Arsenal even being linked with players valued at that amount).

    The only reason I permit myself to watch Manure is if they are playing one of our competitors (to hex the pair of them}, or if we have an interest.

    I would like to see Joel Campbell play against them tonight – and destroy them!! 🙂

  43. @Bill

    I think your being a bit harsh to be fair there with the youth. Arsene has spoken much more about certain youth players than I have seen in soe time. Nobody has said that our youth players will certainly make it but also unless you have watched them all year you can’t say that they won’t. Zelalem has already impressed to be fair and Eisfeld was making his mark at Dortmund(getting senior appearances as well) prior to us snatching him up and now clubs in Germany are looking to bring him back. Gnabry…..well no need to even speak on that. Toral and Bellerin were players that Barca fought us tooth and nail to keep. So you can say what you want about the youth and naturally all the youth won’t make the cut at a top side but the PL isn’t the only top league in Europe.

  44. Bottom line is that Arsene has not done real well buying goal scorers. …other than Ade and Henry

  45. C.

    I don’t think its harsh at all. The main point of the comment was that in the past it has been very difficult to accurately predict which if any of the youth will make it as PL level players much less make it with Arsenal based on how they perform in the youth levels. It’s impossible to deny that point if you look at the last 10 years. No?

    Gnabry’s brief run is encouraging and I hope he can mature into a player who can make an impact with Arsenal in the next 5 years. We have seen successful brief cameo’s like his in the past and that does not always predict long term success. I think we have both said that we hope that Serge goes on loan next season.

  46. Miami

    I did not watch the game but that does not change anything. See my comment to C @ 6:35 which explains the point of that post.

  47. I’m hoping that the Morata stories are true. He looks very talented and is fast and mobile. However no doubt wants to stay at RM if he can.
    I don’t get the Draxler obsession at the moment. Hard to judge him when Schalke were destroyed by RM but he didn’t look that good, certainly not £30m + and not a striker. We desperately need a top rate striker.

  48. @Bill

    why do you care? you have no interest in Arsenal beyond the senior set up and any then it seems to be narrow, with players acquired with money being more representative of your vision of Arsenal than any development. You want Ox loaned out this year, indeed Gnabry as well. Two players that have given us depth. Your insistence that youth should not be given a chance unless they have completed loan, has also shifted as time has gone on to only include Bill acceptable clubs. Your vision seems very narrow, perhaps that is what your narrative is.

  49. @Sam

    I think the Morata rumors are in fraglie times at present to be honest. If they bring in a striker during the summer than yes the rumors will run rapant, but with Jese going down with a ACL tear and being out for at least the 1st half of next season, I doubt Madrid will willingly sell him.

  50. @C

    The caveat to that is that Morata at least in the media has stated a desire to leave.

  51. @Bill

    When I have spoken about Gnabry going out on loan, don’t forget that I also said that with the idea that Campbell will be brought into the senior side, Theo comes back fully fit and we bring in another winger/striker like Griezmann, Draxler, or somebody like that.

  52. @MA

    That is true but he has also spoke about because he doesn’t get the 1st team chances which he will surely get now that Jese is out injured for a good while. Funnily enough, Morata started yesterday and played very well with Bale and Ronaldo.

  53. @C

    I wouldn’t loan Gnabry at all now, he has the ability to be a solid addition as is from a squad depth point of view. We do actually need depth in the squad and at 18 years he has a long career in front of him.

  54. Miami @ 6:48

    That’s a good question that I have never thought about. It always frustrated me in the past when Arsene would talk about not buying players because he might kill a young player. If he actually believed that or was just using it as a rationalization for why he didn’t spend was always a matter of debate. No way to know for sure but I think Arsene believed like the rest of us that the generation of the academy youth from the prior decade was going to be mature together and be the next great thing. I read Mr. Birds blog and watched the Arsenal youth games that came on arsenal player back then. Even the media were totally on board after watching those players in the Carling cup games.

    After all of that I still can’t really answer your question other then to say that its a topic that has been a big part of the blog for a long time and it gives us something to talk about.

  55. @MA

    I don’t think that Morata has been loaned out but I think he was featured in the Madrid C team as a junior then their B team the year later and then now with the senior side.

    I would only loan Gnabry out if Campbell was brought in, Theo came back fully fit and we brought in another winger/striker and it didn’t look like Gnabry was going to be part of the rotation prior to the winter transfer window. He has done really well for us and he does add everything you pointed out and the future looks really really bright.

  56. People are really going to criticize Moyes if his lineup struggles, starts Giggs and Welbeck instead of Januzaj and Hernandez, Young.

    This should be a really interesting match to watch.

    Come on Olympiacos.

  57. Campbell and Valencia just knocked heads and Manure might have to make a sub if they can’t keep Valencia’s eye from swelling close.

  58. Campbell is playing as the CF infront of 5 midfielders.

    Valencia’s eye is completely closed shut so I wonder will Moyes let him stay on or make the sub.

  59. The ref is throwing out yellow cards left and right. He has given 3-4 yellows already in just 10′

  60. Campbell is dragging Jones all over the pitch, created a wonderful chance and the player he passed it to spurned the chance.

    Oylampiacos is not just sitting back and defending but really attacking Manure and causing them problems when they do.

  61. Thus far as a loan striker, Campbell has looked really well. Attacking Jones and Ferdinand at every chance both with his movement and with the dribble.

  62. @Bill

    Loking at the youth side right now we have 3 or 4 players who could step up from a squad rotation point of view in Eisfeld, Toral and Zelalem and Gnabry. Of these players Gnabry has already made the step and I don’t actually think it helps us to loan him unless we have some else to step in to the breech. That may be Campbell if he is given a chance, but then we also have to look at the fitness of Theo come the start of next season. It is interesting to note that all of those players are midfielders, which when looking senior set up is the position of most depth. Thus, for these players I believe a loan or indeed sale makes the most sense. Eisfeld could be the eventual replacement for Rosicky, but the formers contract is running down and the later just signed another years extension. These players are genuinely very good. I also think Bellerin and Akpom are close, but their size perhaps even that of Zelalem could do with more development. I’m not trying to over hype the youth, just evaluating what I have seen and garnered from their performances.

    The concern for us is that we don’t have players coming through right now in our positions of need like CB or striker. It is probably wishful thinking to think it would have been that easy. Squad size is important, even in the youth ranks because our historical issues with injuries are bad enough to warrant holding some of these potential young guys around. It is to easy to think we can build depth purely through buying in each window, it just doesn’t make an economic sense. Unlike City, we are not going to spend 80M on a club in NY to try and use that as infrastructure costs to hide their player salaries from FFP. I do think the intellectual properties sales they make to their owner however are almost genius.

  63. De Gea just made 2 absolutely briliiant saves to keep Manure in this tie. But they have been warned, Olympiacos’s pace on the wings Manure can’t deal with and time and time against Evra and Rafael are getting beat.

  64. Miami.

    Fair enough. We obviously differ on a lot of points regarding how we use the young players. Gnabry played a few games but I still believe he will not make regular appearances for the first team next season. Players of his age that have come thru in the past were rarely able to be consistent enough to be used in more then just brief cameo appearances. The fact that we now use central midfielders such as TR7 instead of him to fill in for Theo tells you that Arsene does not think he is ready to play in these high pressure games. He will have spent the vast majority of his time on the subs bench. I honestly don’t understand how that could help Serge or any young player like that more then if he plays regularly on loan. I did not think we should loan out Ox this season because we were so thin up front but he didn’t really provide any meaningful contribution the prior 2 seasons and I think he would have developed more quickly and been even more ready for this season if he had spent a season playing regularly on loan. That really seems like a win win for the team and he player. Joel Campbell has a much better chance to actually making the squad and playing regular minutes next season because of what he has done on loan. That seems straight forward to me.

  65. Not watching the game but looked at the score. Moyes must wonder how much different it might have been if this RVP had shown up for the rest of the season.

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