Arsène On Contracts & Mahrez But Do The Sums Add Up?

The Champions League final this evening almost brought forth a “…and we’re not in it” post. Almost but not quite. I think I’ll save that one for next season’s Europa League.

Arsène gave a contractual obligation interview to beIN sport in which he talked transfers. Yes, the man who never talks about them, chatted evasively about Riyad Mahrez.

“Have we made a bid for him?. No. Not yet”, he let slip. Quickly recovering his poise, Wenger continued, “Not yet means it could happen, it could not happen”. Oh, you tease.

My belief is we will only bid for the Leicester player if Alexis leaves. That, according to the ITK’s, is nailed on. Bayern believe he’s their man, with Arturo Vidal working a number on his compatriot at the Confederations Cup shindig.

Not so, others claim. He is going to force a move to Chelsea or Manchester City, much to Arsenal’s disgust. We’ve got our Arsenal back; all the star players want to leave and go somewhere else to win medals. Apparently.

Arsène did his usual contract spiel, forgetting that contracts mean one thing to him and something quite different to the rest of football. He declared that the pair would remain at Arsenal this summer with the aim to renew their deals.

Cue the idealistic Wenger:

They are not going to leave?

AW: No. You know, you cannot weaken the club and weaken the team. We want to strengthen the team…unless you find a player of the same calibre and they absolutely want to leave. I believe that at the moment we are not on that front. We are just focused on keeping the team together and see how to strengthen the team.

It’s not exactly how Arsenal operate though.

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

The key phrase is “absolutely want to leave”. Agents and players know how to end deals and Mahrez certainly isn’t a like-for-like replacement. We would need to invest heavily in  a striker as well as the Algerian.

While Mahrez may pick up the slack in terms of assists, Olivier Giroud, currently the underdog’s poster boy, and Danny Welbeck won’t get their share of goals while picking up the slack left by Sanchez’s departure.

Rumour control has a £22m bid winging its way to the Emirates from Tyneside for the French international. I’d accept that bid but only if Sanchez isn’t going. Two new strikers is too much to ask Arsène to recruit; I can’t shake the feeling that one might be, as well.

Meanwhile, Wojciech Szczesny is being hawked around Italy like a truckle of Parmesan cheese close to the expiry of its use-by date. The Pole, previously linked with a stay at Roma or a move to Napoli, is now on the verge of a move to Juventus, according to reports.

Torino are not taking their interest in Joe Hart. To paraphrase the club president, “No wonder England don’t win anything if he makes that many cock-ups”.

The Pole isn’t good enough for Arsenal is the theme here. Or more likely, his attitude isn’t liked by Arsène; fair enough but two seasons at Roma saw him blossom as a goalkeeper and with Ospina leaving, we lack experience on the bench.

Emi Martinez was previously called “the future of the club” but the definition of “future” is not right now. He may be highly rated but one injury to Cech and we are left with him and Matt Macey; it doesn’t inspire confidence, on paper at least.

Thank god football isn’t played on paper.

This Indecision’s Bugging Me

Arsène, in terms of Özil and Sanchez, reverted to Canute mode. He is swimming against the tide of everything known about the modern game. If one or both want to leave, they are gone.

This summer has an edge to it; Arsène needs a very good transfer window, which means bringing players in for the start of pre-season training to be ready for the new season.

Having asserted his authority at the club with a new contract, Wenger needs to reinvigorate the crowd so that people can believe anything is possible. There is no virtue in waiting until 31st August to sign a player; we’ve seen for the past two seasons the damage bad pre-season preparations have on the opening day.

If he can’t get the summer right, is there any reason to believe the season will be better than anything in the past decade? We shall see but having been out of the transfer loop while Wenger’s contract situation was resolved, we’re now front and centre of every transfer rumour going.

Business as usual, it is.

’til Tomorrow.

64 thoughts on “Arsène On Contracts & Mahrez But Do The Sums Add Up?

  1. Good morning, YW. Me neither Henry B. I used to be but I question his mentality. We need fighters. I prefer someone like Lemar from Monaco.

  2. No to Mahrez, yes to Lucas Moura who coukd be poached to hekp PsG offset their books for Aubameyang.

  3. “Arsène, in terms of Özil and Sanchez, reverted to Canute mode. He is swimming against the tide of everything known about the modern game. If one or both want to leave, they are gone.”

    I think it’s important to understand player contract law to appreciate the position Wenger and Arsenal are in. As with van Persie and Fabragas, once a player is in an unprotected period of contract, 3 years after last contract was signed if under 28 or 2 years if signed after 28, then provided the player tells the club he will leave with 15 days of the final game of the season (FA Cup final) then he is free to go to a club of the player’s choosing. That’s how we got Cech in fact.

    That Wenger is insisting they won’t be sold is a bit of a play on UK contract law, which no club would really wish to test simply because it would invariably loosen player contracts still further, but essentially to up the ‘compensation’, for which read transfer fee, that the player would command.

  4. Amos,

    Quite apart from the legal position Arsene knows very well that it would be foolhardy to keep a player that is determined to leave. There own performance would suffer, mysterious ‘injuries’ keep them out of the side, plus dissatisfaction can be contagious and damaging to morale.

    Bottom line is if they want to go they will.

    That said there needs to be a buyer prepared to pay an acceptable price and one that is attractive to the player. In Alexis’ case no problem. Ozil? From what we hear there has been little interest from the biggest clubs, only from Turkey. I think that it’s very possible he will sign on again and Arsenal will paint it as a major coup when in reality it has far more to do with the player’s own limited options.

  5. Mahrez is a luxury player like Ozil, nice to add but not necessary.

    When the going gets tough, they will go missing.

    We need mentality strong players.

  6. Sczvney to Juve is a sign of his quality especially when you consider that it means they think and know he is good enough yo replace possibly the greatest GK ever. Losing him is a massive mistake.

    For all those that complain about him need to remember Van der Saar was thought to have lost it before resurrecting his career at Fulham befoe his move to Manure after maturing.

  7. How backwards is Arsenal: Giroud clearly CF2 so we give him a new deal because well nobody seems to want him but Marseille yet juve want Sczcney but he isn’t deemed good enough for Arsenal haha and we all wonder why Arsenal struggle.

  8. I think Nuve will do a bit of a number tonight. Probably a bit dull to watch, two break away goals being the highlights. 2:0

  9. I see Sczcney’s agent has denied there is an agreement in place and a decision won’t be made until after he has spoken to Arsene.

  10. Damon,

    They aren’t as dull as you may think. They are very attacking but the team as a whole defends. I mean Allegri even haa Dybala and Higuain defending and pressing and doing the dirty work.

  11. C,

    If I were allegro I’d keep it tight tonight and suffocate them. I think Juve have enough up front, and I dont like Madrid defensively, to create enough. I’m not saying they’re boring but I’d go that way if it were me. The one team bar maybe Barca you don’t want to get into a slugging match is Real. They’ve got sluggers!!

  12. Hiya, C,

    If the Chezzer delay is only because of tying up the loose ends of the personal contract, I think Arsenal are really soft touches when they are selling players.

    The transfer fee for him appears to be about £13m — and in this day and age you cannot buy a mascot for so little money. Ridiculous.

  13. Great post Yogi

    Mahrez is going to be 27 years old and has 1 good season on his resume and the other seasons are all average or worse. The evidence argues that he had one year where he played over his head but his real production will probably be a lot closer to what he did this season. To expect him to replicate anything close to that the one good season and be a real impact player for us is foolish thinking. At best we can hope he will turn out to be another decent squad player on a team filled with a bunch of decent squad players.

  14. Henry

    There is no reason to suspect that Buffon is going to retire before the end of this decade. If Juve are really keen to buy Wojo then they would have no reason to over pay for a back up GK and the only reason we would sell to Juve for $14M is no one else has made a better offer.

  15. Which of us would retire if we were Gigi Buffon and still playing at this level and winning lots of trophies and getting a huge weekly paycheck?

  16. C,

    Completely agree. This is not a good move. If he is willing to understudy/compete with Buffon, why not not at Arsenal with Cech for a season.

  17. Damon,

    If you’ve been watching Juve, you have to have been excited by their 3-0 demolition of Barca and crushing of a Monaco which involved excellent attacking play. THr pattern may not be quite as open and exciting as our FA cup final but anytime Dybala gets on the ball is to me very exciting. Wonderful player. I hope he has a great game as that will liven things up.

  18. For Juve a key certainly will be not to concede early and then try to chase the game for 60-80 minutes.

  19. The Mahrez and Arda Turan rumors, if there is anything to them, strike me as replacement signings for Alexis and Ozil reminiscent of Giroud, Podolski the summer RvP was sold. This is most unfortunate. Instead we need a big striker signing. The Mbappe bid, if it is accurate, seems more like a PR exercise since Monaco already is reported to have rejected a larger bid from Real.

  20. Bill,

    That’s what I meant really, and like LSG says there seems no reason for us to sell him.

    I have watched a few of his games (we get French, Italian, German and Spanish league games) and he has played pretty well when I have seen him. I am not surprised other clubs want him – but I thought he had a couple of years left on his contract.

    C, where are you — we need an update on Chezzer’s contract! 🙂

  21. If Sanchez does go, LSG, then I agree, neither Mahrez nor Ardan are the right replacements.

    There has to be a direct goal scoring CF out there somewhere to buy?

  22. Damon,

    They do have sluggers but I think Manzudiac is going to be a massive problem coming off the flank attacking the back post. I’m sure Juve wil keep it tight they always do but I fancy Juve is up for it and Madrid defensively leave much to be desired.

  23. Limestonegunner:
    The Mahrez and Arda Turan rumors, if there is anything to them, strike me as replacement signings for Alexis and Ozil reminiscent of Giroud, Podolski the summer RvP was sold.This is most unfortunate.Instead we need a big striker signing.The Mbappe bid, if it is accurate, seems more like a PR exercise since Monaco already is reported to have rejected a larger bid from Real.

    I agree.

  24. HenryB,

    It is ridiculous if that price is true especially since Begovic just went for 10m and Pickford is being quoted around 25-30m.

    I would actually keep Sczcney and let him battle Cech as I am not a fan of Cech’s distribution and actually prefer Sczcney next season and making Cech the Cup GK

  25. C,

    (and HenryB) Judging from his success for Roma for 2 seasons and Juve’s interest, I am working if it is attitude and a personal issue now for AW–he has a negative opinion of him and just doesn’t want him back or believe in him after the incidents that led to his departure? Trust is gone maybe.

  26. Limestonegunner,

    Exactly my point. Its funny people for years have complained that we don’t keep quality and that nobody really wants our players but Juve, a club that knows how to pick them, wants Sczcney to replace Buffon and Arsenal are freely letting it happen for pennies if the reports are true. Cech is at the end of his career and Sczcney is just now entering his GK prime at 28 years old having gotten thr experience to fight for a title and grow in both maturity and consistency.

  27. HenryB,

    If I’m not mistaken he has one year left but Sczcney has talked about wanting the Arsenal #1 shirt. I think he wants to stay but I wonder if the whole cigarette situation is still being held against him

  28. You have probably seen the report regarding transfers and AW’s view on the subject, but here it is again – it sounds just like the same story he says every year.

    Wenger has already confirmed his intention to trim his squad with the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin all likely to depart.

    Despite that probable upheaval, Wenger insists he will not bring in a raft of reinforcements and warned any new additions would not necessarily be for big money.

    ‘Between a maximum of two or three,’ he told BeIN sports when asked how many signings he was likely to make.

    ‘We cannot spend as much as many other clubs because some clubs have external resources that allow them to be basically unlimited.

    ‘We can spend money because we have managed well the club. Lets not forget the amount of money spent is not a guarantee of success.

    ‘We have to be clear what we understand as a big signing. Is Holding a big signing for you or not.
    ‘When you buy a player for £40m, everybody will have at the start a positive judgement. When you buy him for £2m, he cant be good.

    ‘That means a big signing is not necessarily linked with the amount of money spent.’

    Arsenal have been linked with a move for Kylian Mpabbe, whom Monaco are said to have rejected an £87 million bid for on Friday, while his international teammate Alexandre Lacazette is being considered as an alternative after his dream move to Atletico Madrid fell through following confirmation of the Spanish club’s transfer ban.

    Let’s face it – AW seems to think the current squad/first team just needs a tweak of 2, maximum 3 players, to be challenging for the title — it is already disappointing to think he believes that. [Where are these transfer changes Kroenke and co said were coming?

  29. Limestonegunner,

    I think that most certainly is playing a role which I find funny because Arsene has continued to show trust in Giroud after his rather public affair and how badly it affected him and the team. The real shame would be to lose him because Cech for me hasn’t done enough to be guaranteed the #1 shirt next season.

  30. HenryB,

    If Holding was a big player why did he not play him until the end of the season when we moved to an extra CB and had injuries? A big signing is a player you count on to start in your team to help you win that season or at least two of challenge for the big titles,

  31. That’s to say, I find this very unconvincing logic and like you, Henry, have to question whether we are seeing much yet to break the pattern. But let’s see what we can manage. It is just a classic case of learning the lesson, if at all, when it is too late to remedy that successfully. The sorts of changes that were needed, thorough going improvements, should have been implemented at least 4 years ago when we knew about the Puna deal and improved tv money. Wasted opportunities. A summer buying just Cech? Fate was sealed there.

  32. I tend to agree with you, LSG.

    It is all of a piece, because, Arsene is committed to his vision of the game and how his teams should play within it, and I do not fault him for having that conviction, but when a clear repetitive pattern emerges, without achieving what he set out to do, then one has to question the logic of the conviction – or the vision.

    It does not change my opinion that he is the greatest manager Arsenal have ever had, but I think he is in danger of losing his legacy by obstinately refusing to change his transfer tactics.

    I think those on the BoD who hold him in high regard, yet wanted change in a number of areas were trying to tell him, but without success it seems.

  33. HenryB,

    Well, he’s decided to stay so I hope we will have realized he has to find some different approaches if find he wants to improve the performances and results of AFC.

  34. C & Henry:

    Something just is not adding up with the Wojo situation. Roma needs a GK. If they really liked him why would they not make a reasonable bid for him and why would they let him go to their #1 rival for $13M. Arsene obviously would like to get the biggest transfer fee possible so the logical assumption is the Juve bid is the best he has gotten. Why has no other team in the world bid more then $13M. I know we want to believe in our home grown players and we have developed an emotional attachment to some of them but the logical explanation is that we rate wojo a lot higher then the rest of world football

  35. Arsene gave Wojo 5 full years and with the exception of one season the 5 years were every bit as unconvincing and inconsistent as the Almunia era. Why would Arsene be expected to trust Wojo? Wojo knows that Arsene is set to be manager for a while. Why would wojo want to come back and play for Arsene especially when he sees Peter Cech in front of him?

  36. Bill,

    Wages may be too high for many clubs to pay for GK. His performances were strong and many rated him the best this season in Serie A. Juve gave the most resources to afford high wages in the league. I think attitude and reputation are playing a role. Plus we don’t know if all the clubs are done making offers for players and his status at Arsenal really hasn’t been been resolved.

  37. Szczesny is not being bought by a Premiership club, hence the transfer fee is much lower.

  38. Bill,

    I think he was/is more talented than Almunia and was better at commanding his area and was much younger when he played for us than Almunia. I always thought it was a mistake to start him so young and we needed a veteran keeper to bridge to him later. But happily WS sorted himself out and has shown that his potential and talent could be fulfilled as he developed elsewhere and has grown into a more mature player. He’s probably also received some good coaching. It’s worth bringing him back to compete again Cech who is getting a bit slower.

  39. Thanks LSG, just had a look at the line ups for the CL final, they seem pretty evenly matched.

  40. Limestonegunner,

    I have to agree – Szcz was significantly better than Almunia. Initially he made one or two errors as all young players do but latterly it was his attitude that seemed to be the issue, not his talent.

    In addition the way Arsene plays the game is additionally hard on keepers, especially young keepers. Without a well drilled defence and with an emphasis on attacking football the number one thing your keeper needs is the ability to organise and command his area. Something that a more mature player with an air of authority would find easier than a young rookie.

  41. I can’t see why Szczesny would want to return to Arsenal. He had a more than a few chances here and wasted most of them. Since being out on loan the coaching he has had is obviously superior to that he got at Arsenal. Here he would be only a number two for at least the next season. Whether at Juventus or not he has a better future in Italy.

  42. LImestone

    I understand your point of view but if Wojo was really that good then why has Roma not seemed to be interested in keeping him on a permanent deal for the last 2 years? If the rumors we hear are true then it seems like there is no club in world football interested in spending any money to bring him in as their #1 GK. Either we over rate him or the team he has played with for the last 2 seasons and rest of world football under rates him.

  43. Bill,

    I think his wage demands might be very high. Serie A teams can’t afford top club PL wages except for Juve, I think. Weren’t his wages subsidized by Arsenal while on loan? This could be part of it. If Juve want him he is good. Best scouting among the top clubs over the last 5 years, I think.

  44. The ball was played between 4 players without touching the ground? Fantastic team goal and individual finish.

  45. andy1886,

    Sad for Buffon, not at his best. Score line a bit harsh with two deflected goals. But Juve sleeping on the 3rd. Ramos is an awful cheat–harsh on Cuadrado. But most disappointing was Dybala–terribly ineffective second half and got subbed when Juve chasing the game.

  46. Limestonegunner:

    I think his wage demands might be very high.Serie A teams can’t afford top club PL wages except for Juve, I think.Weren’t his wages subsidized by Arsenal while on loan?This could be part of it.If Juve want him he is good.Best scouting among the top clubs over the last 5 years, I think.

    Interesting theory. No doubt that English teams have to over pay a bit for English players. Are there actually any figures to support the idea that wages and transfer fees are all significantly higher across the board in England. If that were true then every club in the world would be trying to sell its players to English teams because they would get higher fees. All the players would want to be sold to England if the wages are really significantly higher.

  47. Spanish teams certainly dominate world football these days. It’s not a coincidence that the 2 best teams in the world in this decade are the teams who have the 2 best goal scoring players in the world. Surround them solid defense and a healthy dose of secondary firepower and you have the winning formula.

    I bet Real has never regretted cashing in when they sold us Ozil.

  48. We might be able to get Gareth Bale for significantly less then Real paid for him. He would be a better option then Mahrez for a potential Sanchez replacement.

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