Arsène: Wrap It Up, I’ll Take It

As expected, Arsenal confirmed Arsène’s contract extension yesterday. Two more years and pleas for unity in the fanbase. The most optimistic of fans joined the crusade for another ‘summer of love’, which on the face of it, is not an unreasonable request.

These are not the most reasonable of times. You only have to look at the politics of the world today to know that. Fascism is on the rise, with a divisive, ‘Sod you, Jack, I’m alright’, pervading the atmosphere. We live in an era where hostility is the default mode.

The pleas for becoming friends again will likely fall on deaf ears. In some cases, it’s a personal antagonism but for the majority, it will be a repeat of the cycle of mediocrity over which Arsène presided in the Premier League and Europe.

FA Cup wins are great; I love the competition but we’ve been here before. Hoisting the FA Cup in May, new contract; you know how the story goes.

The manner of victory over Chelsea offers a hope for the future which didn’t exist in March. In every aspect, Arsenal were the better side at Wembley but repeating that performance level over 38 games – even 28 – is tough. We were similarly dominant against Aston Villa but the following season didn’t end well.

Yes, we finished second but we were runners-up because Tottenham collapsed. The warning signs were there; the warning signs were not heeded. Arguably, with the most complete squad at his disposal, Wenger managed fifth. You can point to Mourinho targeting the Europa League but I’m far from convinced United would have finished higher than us.

Some argue the absence of Santi Cazorla stymied us; I disagree. We missed him, that’s for sure, but his absence was not the reason for the dismal winter and spring.

Hope Springs Eternal

Arsène maintains the defeats against Bayern were the turning point. I’d contend consecutive defeats against Watford and Chelsea caused more damage. At that point, we knew the title was gone. Bayern just confirmed we were out of our depth.

It’s that mentality, the habitual collapses, which Wenger has to turn around. There are no obvious signs of how he will do that. Reports suggests that Gerry Peyton and Tony Colbert are to be thrown under a bus. Should there be more? A new second-in-command? Someone to challenge Arsène? That, I think, is a step too far.

His first test is Alexis and Mesut Özil. We’re repeatedly told they signed because of Arsène; if they leave, he holds similar responsibility. If they are to leave, Arsenal must have the replacements already.

It’s no good letting them run down their contracts or selling them without a scooby doo who will replace them. We used to operate that way. We can’t any more. Hint: If Riyad Mahrez arrives, Alexis is off.

It may be that a summer with national team does Alexis the world of good. He comes back, fully committed and raring to go. If Chile reach the Confederations Cup final on 2nd July, he won’t be back until the start of August.

The season starts on the 12th; he won’t be ready, just like last season and the season before. We’ve lost at home on the opening day for the past two years; is anyone (everyone) confident we’ll break that cycle this time around? We might lose away, just for a change.

The pressure on Arsène is enormous this summer. City are doing what City do best: paying over the odds because (a) everyone knows they are stinking rich, and, (b) like PSG, they spend more on transfers than the GDP of Third World nations.

PR Wins Bring More Than Three Points

It’s decisive though; PR is their strong point. Melding a team from a talented squad a flaw they share with Arsenal. To their supporters, it looks like they are dealing with issues, and that is half the battle.

Arsenal were never going to act that quickly, even without the protracted saga of Arsène’s contract. Henry Onkeyuru is a target; £6.8m fee agreed, medical to come and then, by the looks of it, the mother of all fights to get him a work permit; he’d better be a special talent.

He isn’t though, convincing as an immediate solution to our problems and I don’t think the club want him to be thought of that way either. Arsène recently commented that the squad was top heavy – probably called it “super heavy” – and he’s not wrong.

Below is my list of ‘out’s’ and how it looks like they will be replaced:

Out: In:
David Ospina Wojciech Szczęsny (from loan)
Carl Jenkinson Calum Chambers (from loan)
Kieran Gibbs Sead Kolasinac
Mathieu Debuchy Calum Chambers (from loan)
Jack Wilshere
Chuba Akpom
Joel Campbell Henry Onkeyuru
Lucas Pérez  
Olivier Giroud  
Theo Walcott
Yaya Sanogo

The bold and red are positions where we must sign upgrades. Arsène is never going to publicly say six or so are for sale; it’s too unsettling but the platitudes about keeping the squad together are more about making players feel wanted than the reality we face.

It’s going to be a busy summer for Wenger and I feel, an important one. If he gets it right, he may convince people he still has his mojo. If he gets it wrong, you know the situation is going to quickly descend into farce.

Up In Smoke

It was left to Ivan, the club’s resident spin doctor to let us know why the board felt Arsène was the best man for the job:

“When you look at the world of football, and you think about the great candidates that there are – and there are many great coaching candidates in the world and Arsenal is a club that all of them would want to work for because of the things we represent in football – but when you look around and make that assessment, you don’t find any better candidates than Arsène Wenger.”

That boy has a faster spin cycle than my washing machine.

If there are no better candidates than Arsène, you’re not looking hard enough, Ivan. Why not just come out and say it: “Stan told us Arsène is staying and if we didn’t like, we should make sure the door didn’t hit us on the arse on the way out”.

John W Henry may have been right after all:

Finally, there’s a new post on Dad’s Jukebox this morning. Check the comments section for when it is live.

’til Tomorrow.

77 thoughts on “Arsène: Wrap It Up, I’ll Take It

  1. We have had a more successful season than 3 of the top 4, so did man utd, im fed up with hearing how great pep is and man city, stick to reality, man city won nothing, they spent a fortune and won nothing, they have so jm told the greatest coach the world has ever seen and they won nothing, they have a director of football and won nothing, they attract the best players due to being able to pay ludicrous wages and guess what, they won nothing everyones an expert it would appear these days on how to do someone elses job, get behind the team, that includes the manager and staff. Arsenals results do not maketh the man.

  2. Quite a list of outgoings YW.

    Can’t see both Giroud and Walcott leaving. Would other clubs match their wages?

    If we have 5/6 homegrowns leaving does it leave us in a spot with the FA, or are they just making the rules up as they go along?

  3. Athletico’s transfer ban appeal has been rejected and they are unable to register players until Jan. 2018.

    Go Arsene, go bring me Lacazette now!!!!!!

  4. Namaste

    Wenger said he loves Arsenal, I’d imagine he told his wife similar: “my affection for you is top top quality”.
    For all the good he has done, refusing to let go when the universe presented him a perfect opportunity shows his true colours.
    My respect for him as a manager died years ago, and today my respect for him as a man died.

    Unfortunately our demoted status means the players highlighted that should have moved on some time ago have finally found their level.

  5. Ornstein is reporting that the Henry Onyekuru stuff isn’t true:

    “The Nigerian striker [link], I’m told, is not a true story,” he said. “I don’t think that is happening.

    “I don’t know whether that’s emanated from his club or agents around him but as things stand that is not happening.”

  6. Morning YW and all others. If PSG do sign Aubameyang we should go all out for Cavani, even with his wastefulness in front of goal would be an upgrade on both Giroud and Welbeck

    My list would be

    1 Debuchy
    2 Ospina
    3 Gibbs (home grown)
    4 Jenkinson (home grown)
    5 Perez
    6 Giroud
    7 Sanogo
    8 Jon Toral (homegrown)
    9 Wilshere (homegrown)
    10 Campbell
    11 Asano

    1 Szczęsny (homegrown)
    2 Chambers (homegrown)
    3 Kolasinac
    4 Onyekuru (although this might be BS as Ornstein suggests)
    5 Cavani/Lacazette
    6 Top Quality CM

  7. silvergunner,

    I always find it funny when people say that Cavani is wasteful in front of goal, can you name any striker not named Messi or Ronaldo that doesn’t miss quite a number of chances during a match? I mean Lewandowski, Aubameyang, Higuain, Kane, Ibra, Suarez, Neymar, Mueller, and a number of the other “top” CF’s all miss a number of chances during a match. I would gladly take Cavani as he is still in ridiculous physical shape but to be honest, I would prefer Lacazette and if we are chasing somebody from PSG, I would make a cheeky bid Lucas Moura.

  8. The obscenity which has clouded football transfers is upon us.
    It’s worth repeating Yogi’s wise counsel……
    ” The pressure on Arsene Wenger this Summer is enormous. City (Chelsea and Man United are my additions) are doing what they do best : paying over the odds because they are stinking rich and they pay more on transfers than the GDP of many third world nations.”
    There can be little doubt that in a number of positions, the team needs strengthening.
    But how to achieve this when we can be easily outbid by our “sugar daddy” rivals?
    Do we even want a benefactor of our own?
    Or do we continue to scour the world with great secrecy for players whose valuation is close to our own?
    Spare a thought for our manager this Summer as his coat is cut according to its cloth. 😉

  9. nicky,

    I know you dislike the way that “sugar daddy’s” have gone about their business, but lets not also forget that we paid 15m+ for Theo, Ox and Chambers which is definitely over the odds for players under 20 years old.

  10. nicky,

    How’s the sea water in Guernsey? Salty?

    You probably recall a time where footballers were owned by football clubs? Like a farmer owning a cow. Was it Johnny Haynes that broke that? Anyway it’s clearly gone too far the other way now with average players like Theo Walcott earning £5M a season for doing not very much.

    …but, Wenger has a very large war-chest so his coat should be a very large and expensive one. I expect that will be bolstered shortly by a number of transfers.

  11. Silver, you would score 35 in the French League playing for PSG.

    The times I’ve seen him play he reminds me of a faster version of Giroud, but his finishing is worse.

    Pete the Thirst,

    Fair enough but any “Carthorse” that scores 35 in 36 is going to improve our bunch imho.

  12. Great post Yogi

    The games against Munich provided an exclamation point and the Feb-March time frame was some of our worst football of this century but the season really fell apart starting on Nov 1. We went from 1 point ahead of Chelsea on Oct 31 to 12 points behind in mid December. I don’t think there has ever been a PL team that has come back from double digits behind to win the league. We had officially dropped out of the title race long before those games with Munich.

  13. Pete the Thirst,

    hahaha I wish i could, yes he is a faster version of Giroud but i would say his finishing is on par with Giroud’s. Someone will be getting a fantastic striker granted he is a bit Andy Cole like is his finishing but he is still better than most number 9’s out there.

  14. C,

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but not happening (lacazette deal). Arsenal have tried to buy from Lyon before, but never succeeded. Personally I think its the Lyon owner who wont sell his stars to clubs lower or at the same level as them and to him Lyon is probably at least on par with Arsenal. Remember they ruled the Ligue 1 for about 10 years

  15. Raven,

    I think part of the struggles with Lyon isn’t that they don’t sell to clubs they feel are on par or lower (remember they sold N’Jie to Spuds and Lovren to Southampton), but I think they know the value of some of their players and aren’t afraid to hold them until their valuation is met. The other thing is I think Arsenal just aren’t very good with the whole transfer business.

  16. silvergunner,

    Pete the Thirst,

    I would have to disagree with the both of you comparing Cavani’s finishing to that of Giroud, while he does miss his fareshare of chances, he is a much better finisher than Giroud could ever imagine being. The other thing is that he also is so much better doing the rest of the things you want from your striker not to mention his movement and hold up play are much better. Put Giroud on PSG and he doesn’t get 35 goals (if you watch some of Cavani’s goals, they are finishes that Giroud would dream about making a strike like that), put Cavani on Arsenal and I would put a hefty bet that he goes and gets us 20 goals playing alongside Ozil and Sanchez.

  17. C @ 3:54

    What evidence do you have which suggests that playing with Ozil and Sanchez helps players to become better goal scorers? The overwhelming preponderance of evidence suggests the opposite.

  18. Yogi

    For the most part I agree with your list of incoming and outgoing players. No secret I am not a big fan of Wojo but we have talked about that.

    The bigger issue is that selling Giroud and Walcott leaves us with only 1 player on the entire roster who has ever scored in double figures in a PL season. I realize the idea is to replace them with better players but we are already short of firepower so we should probably keep the players we have that are capable of scoring at least until we know that any replacements will work out.

  19. I also think that there is a notion with Cavani that he misses a shit ton of chances, and while again us he surely did miss chances, I don’t think he is as wasteful as he is made out to be because I have seen the likes of Kane, Lukuaku, Aguero, Benzema, Lewandowski miss some absolute sitters quite a few times.

  20. The player we really need to offload is Ozil. It might be hard to sell him, However, after watching the way he has played, its pretty clear that his ability to influence the game on any sort of consistent basis over the course of a long season has clearly faded in the last 2 seasons. Father Time takes no prisoners. I don’t think there is any way that you could argue that giving him a long term ultra high wage contract in his age 30 season is in the best interest of the club.

  21. Bill,

    Its about the chances that they will get and lets be completely honest here, its quite hard to judge our current CF’s because how many other top clubs would take them? I think if we are to judge them then Giroud’s best goal scoring seasons have come with Ozil he went from 11 goals to 16, 14, 16 in the PL (he scored 21 when Montpellier won the league and 21 in ligue 2), Ramsey’s best goal scoring season came playing with Ozil. The other thing is, I would venture to say that we also saw the impact that having a mobile striker could have playing with them, first early in the season when Theo was scoring and then with Welbeck (though he missed a number of chances). I would venture to say that give them an actual quality CF and that CF would score 20 goals.

  22. Bill,

    The problem with holding onto Giroud and Theo is that because both are still here, Arsene won’t bring in another striker and with Giroud signing a new deal this year, I can’t see him leaving as much as I want him too.

    To be fair, if you take a look at the last 2 seasons with Sanchez, he has faded quite a bit too my friend. For instance, this season from the week of Everton and Citeh losses, Sanchez was in poor form himself and that is when everybody really started to notice just how much he gives the ball away. I don’t think either are the sort of players that can hold form for a whole season (please name me ANY PLAYER IN WORLD FUTBOL that can) and both tend to fade for different reasons: Sanchez because he simply can’t keep that pace for a whole season and Ozil because of his natural style and relying on others to finish off moves.

  23. C,

    I also think Giroud would never have the same goal return, I just want us to get a proper number 9 personally I would prefer Cavani to Lacazette but either would be great.

    On Walcott I think he should stay he is a very good squad player, after not playing many games his goal return this season has been excellent.

  24. silvergunner,

    I am with you, I want a proper #9 and even if the intention is to let Sanchez be out #9, then get in a proper goal scoring winger. I would take either Lacazette or Cavani, Cavani would probably be better in the short term but I think Lacazette would be a great option in the short term as well as the long term.

    I don’t want to sell Theo as like it or not he is the 2nd leading goal scorer at the club this season and that is with him basically being phased out for Giroud from the middle of the season on (strange how you bench a winger for going a couple of matches without scoring but then scores 8 in 10 matches while your CF in that same time gets 5 in 10).

  25. nicky,

    Nicky, never let the actual facts get in the way of a good story (you could give Ivan tips on spin). If Chelsea are spending the GDP of a small country to win two titles in three years why haven’t AFC who have spent even more over the last half decade got even close?

  26. @ C & Pete the Thirst,
    The point I was trying to make was that we simply cannot compete with those clubs who are owned by “sugar daddies” who are willing to spend millions in order to buy success.
    Arsenal’s policy of self-sufficiency is to be admired although it does put the Club at a disadvantage in the transfer stakes.
    (Pete, the only water I know about goes in my Grouse!) 😉

  27. nicky,

    When you spend £100m in a transfer window and make the team worse I would suggest that the problem isn’t money, it’s buying badly or failing to get the most from your resources.

  28. @Andy 1886,
    Are you really saying that ArsenalFC with its self sufficient mode, have spent more than Abramovitch has pumped in to Chelsea over the past 5 years? No porkies, mind. 😉

  29. I punched a headline on NewsNow without looking at the Blogsite and ended up on Le Groan.

    Bollocks to all that whingeing — so I came back here for some light relief — and was delighted that it was still ‘let’s duff up the oldest ninety year old in the blogworld.’

    How very dare Nicky be so supportive and forward looking. Anymore of that free thinking ‘say it as he sees it’ stuff, and Andy will have to start petitioning for his debagging!

    Just kidding, Nicky, Nacky, Noo. [Altho, they would already have done so by now on Le Groan] 😀

  30. nicky,

    Feel free to check Nicky, there are numerous sites that list transfer dealings for all PL clubs. According to Ivan we spent over £100m last summer for example and got a pretty poor return on our investment.

  31. HenryB,

    Just pointing out factual inaccuracies Henry but without the rather more colourful language that you might find elsewhere!

  32. HenryB,

    I’m not saying everything is awful of course but I am saying that claiming it’s all about money is a simplistic and often erroneous argument. Mee, Graham and Wenger all won titles on lesser budgets than several of their rivals.

  33. Andy,

    I have not had the time to read all the comments, so forgive me if it has already been said, but what is the point you are making re the £100m transfers?

  34. @Andy 1886,
    Are you saying that the £100m we spent last Summer exceeded the sum pumped into Chelsea by Abramavitch? If so, that sure amazes me. 😉

  35. The other difference, Andy, is that I think you are not malicious. 😀

    What has happened with AW’s contract has happened, and it is best to anticipate the best otherwise it can be difficult.

    AW should, in my mind, have bitten the bullet, whether that was fair, or not, and gone to PSG or wherever, because the split in the fans might become quite serious over the next two years, especially if the promised investment and changes do not produce a more sustained tilt at the title, and consideration of the well being of members of the Arsenal loving public should always over-ride any other consideration, given the reports of increasing verbal and physical violence between the fans.

  36. Hope you have your bags on, Nicky? 🙂

    Who did we buy last summer? Xhaka, Mustafi, Perez, Holding, Asumo that’s probably the £100m.

    The first two are OK-ish, but not in the top echelon, Perez was bought as cover for a broken Welbeck and/or Giro (none of them top notch in the football world, and Holding and Asumo are promising and cheap for the future.

    Chelsea bought Batshui £33m, Kanté £31m, Luis £30m, Alonzo £20m, that’s about £114m not a bad bunch?

    Manure bought Pogba £90m +, Mhkitarian £36m, Zlatan £huge Salary.

    Who knows what it all means, not a dumbo like me! 😀

  37. Thanks Yogi for the write up and for the helpful list. My only quibbles are that I would keep one of OG, Theo, and Perez at least. We need a top striker who is mobile. DW is a good backup and versatile forward. But we should keep OG perhaps as a good bench option for different strategies and situations. I’d be fine selling Theo and Perez since we don’t use the latter and Theo really doesn’t suit this formation.

    Another small quibble is that I think unless Ox re-signs and wants to keep playing there, we need a RB/RWB back up to Bellerin. I don’t think Chambers can play there–certainly not at RWB.

    More entertaining was Ivan Gazidis’ explanation for why the contract offered in the Fall wasn’t agreed upon and announced earlier–apparently the club and Wenger each had to have a “deep discussion”.

  38. The reports on Aubameyang’s potential transfer to PSG (has it been finalized and announced?) suggest that top strikers could be affordable for Arsenal. The numbers are 61m BP and signing bonus of 5m with wage 168k/week. That is not outrageous or unaffordable for one of Europe’s best and most clinical strikers. He’d be a great player with us. Did we make a bid? Why not? Now, of course, Europa might not be attractive. But that is exactly the sort of signing that might convince Ozil and Alexis to sign new contracts for massive wages at Arsenal. They might have some belief that the club intends to do more than get back into the top 4. You might say well PSG would just offer more wages. So what–force them to go higher. If we are offering 250k to Ozil, we can certainly go higher than 168k too. At least be part of the negotiations, try to force something good to come out of it. Let big players know that we are ambitious.

  39. nicky,

    Of course not,but what they spent ten or fifteen years ago is irrelevant now. We are not poor little Arsenal, we have comparable resources but are doing no better than when we supposedly had none. I recall that at the last contract renewal you said that Arsene now had to deliver, sadly he hasn’t. Comparisons with Spurs are no longer flattering.

  40. Henry B, I don’t think that I have seen so much fan upset regarding a team that has remained in the top ten and mostly higher for many years. Arsenal play an attractive form of football which is second to none. Interestingly, they play this brand of football without sinking zillions of pounds into players who do not match the fee paid as described earlier on this blog.

    Next season Arsenal may not win the league, but I am assured that they will entertain me with an interesting brand of football coached by a Manager who does nothing but win football matches.

  41. ive not really posted anything worth reading for a while – ive got lots to say on this topic . im quite sure if i thought it through i could write something reasonable and interesting. i could easily hit 2000 words.

    but 2 will do

    fucking bollox

  42. @Two Owls,
    At last a (not ) lone voice crying in the wilderness. Please join me on ACLF as I thought I was on my own all these years. Now I have you and all your tribe, squaws and all. 😉

  43. Two Owls,

    So now top 10 is the target minimum! Not bad for one of the richest clubs in the world with (still) the second largest stadium in the country and a top manager. Or as Ivan Gazidis called him a “world class manager” in his recent statement.

    I’ll enjoy Arsenal matches even in the Europa group games. But surely there need to be some expectations and standards commensurate with the size and wealth of the club.

  44. Btw, Two Owls, I hope all is well with you out in BC (I think it was). Watch out. Jonny is on his way in your direction and mayhem and chaos seem to follow in his wake!

  45. Two Owls,

    Hi, Two Owls 🙂

    Sshh — don’t tell anyone ………… I am in overall agreement with you — altho, actually that will not come as a surprise to anyone on ACLF – except Nicky, Nacky it seems. 😀

  46. Hi, C,

    I am really sad — you are supposed to be my friend and you never asked me how I was! 🙁

    But I’m fine thank you.

  47. Sad days but entirely unsurprising. 2 more years but this time the decline will come much more quickly – especially if/when Sanchez leaves.

    We all know that we have no chance with Wenger in charge .

  48. C @ 4:21

    Comparing the season that Sanchez and Ozil had is a very strange way to try and defend Ozil. Sanchez would be in the discussion for best player in the PL this season while ozil is not even in the top 4 on our team. The other issue is Ozil has not gotten himself ready to play in the first 2 games of any of the last 3 season and this year he took a 3 week holiday around the Christmas/New Years. Instead of coming back rested from his mid season break rested and ready to rumble, he came back in the worst form of his career. Statistically he has had probably the worst 1 1/2 seasons of his career and I think it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that age is probably catching up with him. The most important point is that with Mesut moving into his 30’s soon a long term ultra high money contract is a bad idea

  49. Nicky and Two Owls.

    I think Chelsea has been 5th in net spending in the last 5 years and we are 3rd. Only the 2 Manchester clubs have spent more then us.

    In 2011/12 Chelsea had an aging club that was rapidly going downhill with players like Drogba Lampard Anelka Moulada, Ivavovic, Essien all well past their prime etc etc etc. Since then they completely rebuilt their team and have won 2 league titles. The truly amazing thing is they did all of that with a lower net amount of money spent then we have during the same time period.

  50. The PL winner in each of the last 3 season has spent less then we have in the last 5 years and this year we finish behind 3 teams that spent less then we did. Money is certainly important but we have been spending a lot of money and the best you can say is that we have been stagnant in this decade. Most would say we are actually going backwards the last couple of seasons.

    I have heard people suggest that ManU and ManCity outspent us and did not win anything as justification for our underperformance. However, that is a very poor argument. IMO. We have no control over what Man City does and they have no control over how we play against the rest of the league. Just because someone else underperforms does not give us an excuse for doing the same. We should count ourselves very lucky that the Manchester clubs did underperform or we would have been even further down the table and we would not have won the FA cup.

  51. Agree on Ozil Bill. I wanted to sell him at the end of last season. He is a half a season player and rarely does it when it really counts. You can do much better with 250k a week than him.

  52. C

    All of the goal scorers not named Sanchez who have come to Arsenal in this decade have seen their scoring production go down. I remember how excited you were when Danny Welbeck arrived with the theory that moving to CF and getting to play with our creative players would really send his career to a different level. That certainly did not work out the way we had hoped. I understand the theory that playing with our great creative players should make a goal scorer more effective but the reality has been the opposite.

  53. Not competing due to restricted funds is one of many myths that Wenger hides behind. He has shown that he is actually a better manager without money.

    Spurs have half the wage bill that we have and are better than us. I have not uttered those words in over 20 years.

  54. 250k a week is £13 million a year which is £52m for Ozil over the 4 years.

    Just not worth it.

  55. Please post the full Transfer Market stats rather than misleading half stats.

    Citing spending without citing sales of players is deliberately misleading…’the net spends’, are posted on transfer spending sites as a matter of course.

    These stats have all been posted before this past season and are a click away.

    In UK Pounds…

    Only City (1st) and United (2nd) outspent Arsenal.

    Arsenal (3rd) spent 90 million and sold 9 million… net spend 90 million.

    Spurs (9th) spent 70 million and sold 45 million…net spend 25 million.

    Chelsea (12th) spent 112 million and sold 92 million…net spend 21 million.

    Liverpool (19th) spent 68 million and sold 72 million… net profit 5 million.

    Which meant the likes of Stoke, Middlesborough, West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace all outspent Spurs leaving aside the additional clubs that outspent Chelsea and Liverpool.

  56. According to a report in France, L’Equipe, Arsenal have made an £87 million offer for Mbappe.

  57. Safe in the knowledge that both Man City and Real Madrid have both made similar offers for the same player, who has expressed a wish to play Champions League football next season, Wenger can say at least he tried.

  58. Orson Kaert,

    I noticed that – and it makes little sense if true. MBappe has said that his dream is to play for Zidane at RM who are also linked. Probably just paper talk that the club isn’t going to rush to deny because as you suggest it makes it look like we are ‘trying’ for the best players.

    On the plus side Giroud is supposedly considering his options. If he’s shipped out then the likelyhood of a striker coming in will be much higher so we can but hope.

  59. Morning, Orson

    I thought you were scaling Mount Kilimanjaro today?

    Are the French sports pages as ‘reliable’ as the British papers? When we played Monaco in the CL I never really noticed Mbappe, but je ne sais pas. 🙂

  60. Alexis to sign a new contract? Inconceivable. Hang around with a dud manager who’s blown smoke up his arse for three years in a team that can only come fifth (even with the best player in the world – him) or go to a European powerhouse like Bayern for the last few good years he’s got left. If he resigns, he should be psychiatric-ally assessed.

  61. Though I’m sure that, with his arse finally on the line, Arsene is now going to whip out the cheque book and spend like a drunken sailor. This will be interesting.

  62. HenryB,

    Leaving for the airport in an hour. Kilimanjaro? Nah! Done that. I did consider snowboarding to the South Pole and back, but EasyJet don’t operate to Antarctica yet.

    Monaco Vice President Vadim Vasilyev says they want to keep Mbappe for one more year, but will sell him eventually. Up yer offer Arsene! But don’t try the £1 extra trick again.

  63. Orson, 😀

    I am surprised you have not put swimming from Norfolk to the Pole on your schedule!

    It’s not going to happen with Mbappe — Manure have switched their target from Greizmann to …….. Mbappe as ‘cover’ for Ibrahimovich.

  64. “It’s that mentality, the habitual collapses, which Wenger has to turn around.”

    The mentality that might perhaps change is the assumption that a failure to win any trophy must invariably involve a ‘collapse’ at some point. Ergo Tottenham’s failure to win the FA Cup this season was due to their ‘collapse’ in the semi-final rather than a defeat to a team who performed better on the day.

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