On Gibbs and Giroud, Cazorla and Wilshere

You forget that international football is taking place at these times. Oliver Giroud grabbed a hat-trick against an Albanian car factory XI the other day and that made him the best striker in Europe.

The Frenchman insists he’s not leaving north London despite rumours of a £22m bid from Marseille and / or Newcastle.

“I am not insensitive to the approaches of the French clubs and especially that of Marseille. But my future is in the Premier League. I still have titles to win.

“After the FA Cup, we will go for the league title. That’s my goal.”

It may be but with £165m as a ‘war chest’ and instructions to spend it all, Arsène must be looking at a new centre forward. As if (a) he’s been given that much, and, (b) Stan wants him to spend it. How stupid have you got to be to believe these numbers bandied around.

Do you not recall the great war chests of the past? The summer where we signed just Petr Cech? Of course you do, we’re still suffering the after-effects of that now.

£22m for Giroud is, in my view, good money. We won’t receive that kind of offer again – if indeed we already have – and while I understand the reluctance of sum to lose the striker, if Arsène does strengthen the frontline, Giroud becomes a luxury.

He is to some extent already; barren spells running for ten or more games is not the record of a title-winning striker. It was pointed out to me Alan Smith went 18 without scoring in 1988; we didn’t win the title that year either.

Whether Arsène will contemplate Giroud’s sale depends a lot on what happens with Alexis. Much of our summer business does.

HEADLINE

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (reportedly) is set to sign a new deal, encouraged by his return to the side at Wembley, no doubt. It underlined how important his versatility is in the 3-4-2-1 formation.

That’s if Arsène continues with it. He was dismissive of three at the back previously, declaring it’s nothing new. It might not be but for Arsenal, it was effective most of the time.

Much of that was down to the emergence of Rob Holding. There’s a suggestion that we’re keen on giving him a new deal off the back of his performances at the tail-end of the season. Sign him up; he proved an integral part of the defence and it will be interesting to see how the trio of Mustafi, Koscielny and Holding fared.

Per Mertesacker’s Wembley performance threw the cat among the pigeons, not only in defensive play but leadership. Can Koscielny rise to that? Is he capable of it?

Sead Kolasinac’s arrival frees up Nacho Monreal when injuries strike and hastens Kieran Gibbs departure. £15m to Tyneside, and maybe we’ll throw Yaya Sanogo in for nothing as well.

Elsewhere, Santi Cazorla told Cadena Ser he thought about quitting but is ploughing on following surgery. His and Jack Wilshere’s futures are up in the air through injury and lack of opportunities. The latter is likeliest to move on but that depends, you suspect, on Mesut Özil.

Resolving his and Alexis’ futures are the priority this summer. They shape transfer business and how we get to the point of becoming title challengers. I don’t for one minute believe Arsène has given Stan his word he will quit next summer if we aren’t in the running for the title.

HEADLINE

Alex Iwobi’s ‘super, great, smashing’ performance for Nigeria, brought him in front of the press where he offered the view:

“There won’t be a single player in our dressing room next season who will not fight for him. We’d run through brick walls for the boss.”

It seems much got lost between Lagos and London; surely the players ran into brick walls last season?

Finally, The Sun is causing outrage with today’s front page. It’s a paper which been an affront to human decency since its’ inception, continues to plumb new depths. Just don’t buy it.

That’s not because of the Arsenal shirt. Like the Heil, that is used to create the image of the ‘friendly, neighbourhood jihadi’ so they can push their vile agenda of hating anything or anyone who isn’t as right wing, racist and despicable as they are.

Murdoch and Mail editor Dacre – as well as owner Rothermere – lust for power. The latter duo are the worst kind of hypocrites. The former hates the EU but for years has gratefully received their money for his shooting estate in Scotland while the latter, despite being a member of the aristocracy and owner of a UK paper, is a French resident for tax purposes.

Yet this trio shape our country? Wake up, Britain!

’til Tomorrow.

84 thoughts on “On Gibbs and Giroud, Cazorla and Wilshere

  1. @Bill

    First mate, Citeh have loads more technical skill in Silva, Sane, De Bruyne, Aguero, Yaya, Sterling. Yes Ozil is one of the most technical players in the world but Ramsey, nope. As far as with world futbol, mate you have lost the plot. We can’t match Bayer , PSG, Barca, Madrid, Athletico, Juve. For instance, on pure technical ability Ramsey isn’t even in the discussion with Thiago or the newly retired Xabi of Bayern, Veratti, Thiago Motta of PSG, Modric, Kroos or Casermo of Madrid, Koke of Athletico, Gomes, Raktik or Inesta ot Barca, nor Pjanic of Juve.

    Yes Spain won with defence but its because of their pressing which starts with their midfield and the fact their opposition couldn’t get the ball because of just how good their midfield was.

  2. “It was pointed out to me Alan Smith went 18 without scoring in 1988; we didn’t win the title that year either.”

    Now that really is scraping the bottom of the barrel when manufacturing and argument on behalf of Giroud. I take it they didn’t mention that Smiffy won the Golden Boot for top league scorer in both our title winning sides of ’89 and ’91? Not something that anyone is ever going to write about Olivier. Twenty plus million? I’d bite their hands off. Keeping him is Arsene’s excuse for not investing in a top CF. As usual it’s an argument that makes no sense.

    On ‘other matters’ I couldn’t agree more. Scumbags that incite racial hatred and division aren’t the exclusive domain of the terrorist organisations. And governments that prioritise tax cuts to the wealthiest over funding the emergency services have no right to claim the moral high ground when it comes to the security and welfare of it’s citizens.

  3. Selling Giroud would be madness – best strike rate in the PL this season after Kane, crucial goals as a sub (not to mention a brilliant assist to win the FA Cup). He is among the best around in the category of “centre forward with physical presence, excellent feet, and scoring crucial goals”. We do need an alternative top quality centre forward with real pace, offering what OG, and for the moment Danny isn’t that man…

  4. The problem with Ozil, imo, is that we simply haven’t employed the right players to take advantage of his remarkable ability to read a game plan well in advance of the actual play.
    As for Giroud, the best attacking header of a ball we’ve had for many decades,
    an alleged offer of £22m would be difficult to resist. 😉

  5. “Offering what OG doesn’t” that should have read

    Perhaps more importantly how can we get Rambo and Xhaka playing like they did in the last couple of games of the season, from the start and throughout next season! Rambo in particular was tragic for much of the season, appalling first touch and just not at the races, then suddenly transformed in the 14km all purpose dynamo we feared he no longer was…

  6. £22m for Giroud, I would have accepted in world record time! I also think that its quite telling that our supposed CF1 is being chased by Newcastle (recently promoted) and Marseille (finished 5th some 33 points behind the champs). Says a lot about our CF position. If Giroud stays, we don’t get a new CF.

    Ox, well I think he needs to continue to develop. The question is, where does he play, midfield or on the flanks. The problem on the flanks is that he offers very little when it comes to end product, problem with him centrally is that his passing and dribbling is inconsistent. Though I would n’t have a problem with him staying but we still need players with end product.

  7. nicky,

    Been saying that same thing about Ozil. Kind of hard to get the best out of him when Giroud is Giroud and Welbeck isn’t a finisher yet. Maybe just maybe purchasing an actual consistent goal scorer might help Ozil and Sanchez some.

  8. Sky are reporting that Juve have agreed a deal around €16m (around £14m) with Arsenal for Sczcney. Buffon’s contract runs through 2018 and since he has stated that he is going to retire at the end of his current contract, signing Sczcney now makes perfect sense and would be a MASSIVE loss to Arsenal.

    For all the talk of it, if Juve want Sczcney then it speaks to his quality especially when you consider that they have been to the CL final with essentially 2 completely different midfields and attacks and they know how to pick players and spot talent. Think about this, in 2015 when they lost to Barca they started: Buffon, Lichsteiner, Barzagli, Bonucci, Evra, Pirlo, Marchisio, Pogba, Tevez, Morata; then in 2017 they started: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alves, Pjanic, Khederia, Sandro, Dybala, Higuain, Mandzukic.

  9. Ram-Xhakle,

    Sorry, have to disagree. Giroud’s ‘strike rate’ is high this season simply because he has to make that extra effort when second choice. When an automatic first choice his stats are pretty average overall and poor for a team with title pretensions. His best season produced just sixteen league goals. Nowhere near good enough I’m afraid. As for He is among the best around in the category of “centre forward with physical presence” I almost choked!! For a big guy he spends far to much time throwing himself to the floor at the slightest contact and pulling those stupid faces when he doesn’t get the decision.

    Get rid while he still has some resale value I say.

  10. The fact that Giroud regularly makes the French International squad must say something about the quality of French strikers in general.

    Sixteen million represents good value for Marseille.

  11. Ram-Xhakle,

    The main issue is that Wenger will not buy a CF whilst Giroud is at the club. He has dropped down the pecking order at Arsenal because he has never managed the 20 league goals a season needed for a team aspiring to win the title. If we were to get a top CF in and keep Giroud as number two CF it would make sense, but Wenger would not contemplate it. Instead we have often played Alexis as the CF when we really need to be play a front three with Alexis on the left. Welbeck or Giroud has to go this summer for a new CF to come in. Whilst Giroud does score goals when he is in the groove, he doesn’t hassle defenders the way Welbeck can. Welbeck was impressive in shaking up Chelsea’s defence in the FA Cup and I accept that Giroud provided the assist for the winner, but it’s not a natural part of his game.

  12. Afternoon YW.
    Well the sun really knows how to poss people off, who the he’ll cares what football shirt that idiot was wearing. Really nonsensical headline.
    Rumours that Newcastle are going for Gibbs and also ligue 1 interest in Giroud are music to my ears we can surely do better, Joel Campbell looks like he is off to Turkey, Sanogo is also not renueing his contract citing injury issues. But still no news on any possible debuchy takers perhaps a move back to Newcastle now they have regained promotion?

  13. Orson Kaert,

    No I think that its more to do with the manager than it is French strikers. It doesn’t make sense why Gameiro doesn’t make the French squad, I have seen stuff about Deschamps not being a fan of Lacazette for whatever reason.

  14. Ivan and Arsene were spotted in Nice together and people are all speculating that because its close to Monaco that it possibly has to do with Mbappe but I doubt it.

  15. @ 30+ now, giroud has passed it, don’t see reason why he’s just occupying space, he’s in d team now for d love of d money, Marseilles can’t pay him wot arsenal offers, my candid opinion . Sell him!!!

  16. C

    I believe international transfers go through on 1st July officially so it might be then. I guess it depends on how mutinous the atmosphere is by that time!

  17. YW,

    I would be okay with it except every other club in Europe has been announcing transfer, hell even PSG and Madrid announced that Pepe has left Madrid and they are probably still drunk after the CL Final.

    Mutinous, guess that depends on the transfer business done by those around us!

  18. C,

    No surprise at all. His contract up and I doubt even Wenger is pig-headed enough to re-sign a players who has only scored one goal in a competitive match for the first team. I think the lad was thrown in the deep end by Wenger after being hyped up by the manager when the club signed him up on a free, but he was never really good enough for Arsenal. Good luck to him. He needs to find his level.

  19. Wavey,

    I agree that he was thrown in the deep end and then got injured and Arsene kept throwing him out. I think he was never kind of “coached” and the awkwardness and lack of coordination has hurt him but he needs to be managed and that’s not what you get at Arsenal. I wish him all the luck and hope he has a long career.

  20. Tell me more about this Mbappe. I am completely in the woods about the quality of this player. I am not even aware if I have seen him play. I have heard astronomical figures bandied about with regard to this player.

  21. Wavey,

    Yep, I was never a fan but not because I had anything against him but because his signing was symptomatic of what was wrong with Wenger in the transfer market. And that comment about him possibly becoming a £50m player didn’t help (how stupid does that look now Arsene?).

    Sadly the much vaunted ‘change’ seems to be in short supply with Arsene repeating more or less the same nonsense about cheap signings as he did that time. Sure Holding is looking like a great buy, but how many crap ones does he conveniently forget about? The best players usually cost the highest fees because they are the best, it’s not rocket science.

    Anyway, good luck to Yaya, at least he has had a decent payday over the last four years which although it doesn’t compensate for his injury problems should keep the wolf from the door for a few years yet.

  22. Please keep your left wing Guardian politics out of your football blogs. Your writing on football is usually excellent but we are really not interested in your left wing views, please keep them to yourself or post them on the Guardian/BBC/Channel 4 websites where they belong.

  23. Steve,

    As it’s YW’s blog he’s perfectly entitled to post whatever he wants. As far as I am aware nothing that he has written contains any factual inaccuracies and if you are an Arsenal supporter why wouldn’t you deplore these rags for attempting to tarnish the club by association with terrorists? Or in the case of the Sun their vile treatment of the victims of Hillsborough?

    It’s an open forum, feel free to respond with a reasoned argument and we can debate it if you feel so strongly.

  24. Great post Yogi

    It’s unfortunate that it sounds more and more like Cazorla has reached the end of the road. I have been campaigning for us to use him in the “Rosicky role” but that won’t work if he can never play. He would have a lot to offer near the back end of the squad. Keeping Mert hanging around certainly paid huge dividends. We certainly can not put Santi or Jack W in important squad spots because of their injury history but I doubt we will get any sort of transfer fee for Santi so may be we keep him around but not put him on the 25 man squad list until we get a better idea of whether or not he is ever going to play again. Myself I would sell Jack if anyone gives us a decent offer.

    Regarding Giroud, I have been campaigning for getting a better CF for the last 4 years and we can’t go into a season with Giroud or Welbeck as our #1 CF. Danny Welbeck scored 2 league goals in 750 minutes. Using him might work for a few games but over the course of the season we can’t expect to compete for the top 4 if we start a CF who is perhaps the least efficient striker on any big team in world football. The problem with selling Giroud Is the fact that we have to accept that our current squad only has 3 players who are a threat to score in double figures in a league season and 2 of those are Giroud and Walcott. I am reasonably certain Theo is not in the plans for next season. I would gladly accept the money of anyone who would buy Giroud right now if we had a better option but the way the squad is currently constructed we don’t. Arsene cut Giroud’s minutes way back this season and that seemed to help because OG was excellent as an impact sub. We are never going to compete for the PL with Giroud as our starting CF but impact sub can be an influential position and I would suggest keeping Giroud and using him in that role.

  25. Steve,

    His blog therefore his political views which imo on this occasion go hand in hand with football. I for one agree that they needed airing in this forum.

    #boycotthesun

  26. Steve,

    Personally I’m all for freedom of speech even if I do not agree what is sometimes said. I wouldn’t have much truck with all that outdated ‘BBC bunch of lefties’ nonsense either. That would be the same BBC whose own Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg was censured for breaching impartiality and accuracy guidelines when deliberately misrepresenting a reply from Jeremy Corbyn about the Paris attacks last November. She’s still in post by the way.

  27. Gazidis and Wenger enjoying a couple of days in Nice on expenses eh? Nice work if you can get it. 😀

  28. C @ 10:27

    Citeh have lots of technical players now but my point was not about just one year. Over the course of the entire Emirates era we have placed far more emphasis on technical skill and midfield creativity then any other team in England from the first team all the way down to the 10 year old players. I don’t know the numbers but I have no doubt that in the last 13 years we have a substantial lead over any other team in ball possession, passes completed, passing percentage, touches and passes in the attacking 1/2 and every other stat which implies technical skill and it has not really given us much success in either England or in Europe.

    As you point out Pep is another devotee of technical skill and it will be interesting to see how his philosophy plays out during his time in England. He will certainly have enough funds but Manchester is not as desirable as Barca or Bayern to the really top attacking players so I suspect that his tactical philosophy will not bring anywhere near the level of success in England that he had in Barca and Bayern, but time will tell.

  29. Always figured that as a rule of thumb the BBC comes down (slightly) on the side of whoever is in power at the time. To reflect the zeitgeist or whatever.

    Seems like YW upset someone with pretty hard right views. I wonder how he’ll sleep tonight.

  30. Or you could stop speaking on behalf of other people and attempting to dictate the parameters of acceptable content.

    It’s his blog – don’t like the words? Well you know what to do…

    Steve:
    Please keep your left wing Guardian politics out of your football blogs. Your writing on football is usually excellent but we are really not interested in your left wing views, please keep them to yourself or post them on the Guardian/BBC/Channel 4 websites where they belong.

  31. Bill,

    We have put a premium on finding technical players but the problem is you have to manage them and develop them and that is the failing especially when you consider throughout the club. Sure we have had Cesc, Mozart, Ozil, Sanchez, RvP; but if you really look, we don’t have as many technical players in the first team as you might be led to believe and that has really been through the years. There is a MASSIVE difference between keeping possession and being technical or tactical and therein lies another problem. NOBODY in their right mind would call Ramsey, Ox, Song, Flamini, Theo, Bendtner, Le Coq, Gibbs, Chamakh, Verm, Kos and the list of players technical players; do they have some technique, ofcourse they do ALL players at this level have some technical ability but technical players, far from. I just did some quick checking and yes we are probably in the top 4 of passes but so are Citeh since 09/10, Manure have been there since 06/07 along with us, as has Chelsea.

    You can’t say thought that other clubs haven’t had an abundance of techinical players, I mean look at Fergie’s sides especially during the Ronaldo/Tevez/Rooney squad: Ferdinand is the very definition of a technical CB, Ronaldo, Anderson, Berbatov, Giggs, Rooney, Carrick, Nani, Scholes, Tevez. I will say it will be interesting to see what and how Pep goes about his business in the PL but I do think that he can succeed because he understands you just don’t put out technical players and tell them to play like Arsene does, you have to give them a sort of blueprint or style of play to get the best out of them. Its funny that this notion of technical players doesn’t work yet you look at all the best clubs in Europe and they are busting from the seams with technical players.

    Common misconception you seem to enjoy making is that technical players doesn’t mean possession players, Ronaldo is one of the best technical players in world futbol and in no way shape or form is he a possession player. Kroos is a technical player but not a possession player.

  32. Bill,

    This has been said many times before: AW’s greatest sides pre-Emirates had absurd technical ability. Vieira and Petit had it all. Vieira especially – he could dribble and control the ball like few cms I’ve seen.

    The league winners in ’98, ’02 and ’04 were easily more technical than this current side. Ramsey has been very good since the formation switch but would look gauche in one of AW’s older sides.

    Where AW changed was in turning to distance runners instead of muscular players. I think he saw the stats about players getting through more kms per match and wanted to adapt.

  33. Here’s the rub – you do not have to be left leaning to recognise that The Sun and The Daily Mail are beneath contempt.
    I know plenty of Conservatives who loathe the present direction of the party (which is anything but classic Conservatism) and loathe the nature of those particular rags and their total absence of moral practices.
    Their is no cognitive dissonance in recognising these things and being a Tory – at least that’s what we were told in those increasingly distant days of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’.

  34. @YW can’t stand the Sun but to be fair I did say ‘looks like he’s wearing an Arsenal shirt’ when I saw a picture. I fully expect the usual suspects (Spurs / Man Utd) to be using this as a chant against us next season.

    I remember after the London tube bombings 2005 a number of northern clubs (Leeds definitely) chanted ‘town full of bombers’ when they visited London teams. They conveniently forgot that 3 of the bombers came from the Leeds area.

    I know the Borough Market area very well, and it was clearly chosen for it’s popularity amongst tourists. Sad.

  35. Are we seeing a rise in players dying or nearly dying from a sudden collapse or is it just there are more footballers and it is more reported?
    I hope the governing bodies and the clubs are looking at ways of addressing this – some kind of improved regular testing and better monitoring for cardio abnormalities would be most welcomed.

  36. very sad to hear that cheick tiote of former Newcastle slumped and died today…. how can a fit player suddenly collapse… hope it is not the Ramadan fasting that made him weak

  37. For whatever reason I think Citeh has massively underperformed in the CL. They have always had continental managers throughout this decade so I don’t think you can blame it on their “English mentality”. I think they have also underperformed in the league. Fergie’s teams over performed in the CL and the league based on the talent in their squad before he retired and Chelsea clearly over performed in the CL by winning in 2012. However, overall there has not been any really excellent teams in England in this decade and certainly none that you say are a good bet to win the CL or even go that deep. I don’t think the English football mentality has really changed dramatically but England had some of the best teams in the world between 2000- 2010. However football is cyclical and right now English teams are on a down cycle. Arsenal has been the second most consistent team in the league since 2010 after Citeh which says everything you need to know about how relatively weak the top of the table PL teams have been since 2010.

  38. Birdkamp

    At the start of the Emirates era Arsene went from having technical skill as a part of the formula to building teams whose main feature and dominant trait was technical skill and creativity.

    Obviously the biggest single difference between Arsene’s pre 2004 teams and the Emirates era is the team defense. I think we had the best team defense in the league in all 3 of our Arsene’s title winning seasons. His philosophy that defense would take care of itself if you had the proper quality and technical skill in the side was completely flawed.

    The other problem is that I think Arsene believed really believed that if your midfield controlled the game and you had enough creativity then goal scoring would take of itself. That has not worked. His reluctance to bring in a critical mass of proper goal scoring forwards in this decade is unexplainable. Creative technical players can only be as effective if they have decent players to turn their passes into goals scored. The ratio of money that Arsene has spent for creative players vs scorers in the Emirates era is clearly a misguided philosophical ethos, IMO.

  39. Jonny,

    Very sad. My guess is that as footballers become ever more highly tuned athletes the strain they put on their bodies makes them more at risk. Better screening will of course help but ultimately the human body can only take so much. RIP Cheick.

  40. In other news it seems that Liverpool despite their smaller budget CAN compete with the so-called ‘Oil Clubs’:

    BBC Sport: “Liverpool are poised to win the race to sign Southampton’s £50m-rated Netherlands defender Virgil van Dijk after it emerged he wants to move to Anfield if he leaves St Mary’s.

    The 25-year-old is one of the hottest properties on the transfer market.

    Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has made his signing a top priority.

    The Reds refused to comment on renewed speculation but it is expected they will intensify efforts to reach a deal with both Southampton and the player.

    Chelsea and Manchester City have both been heavily linked with the defender, who joined Southampton from Celtic for £13m in September 2015.”

    Maybe this ‘can’t compete’ stuff only applies to the Arsenal?

  41. Bill,

    Nope. They just got smaller. Flamini is a handy example – he came in 2004 at a time when AW was just starting to look at distance covered. Some journalist said we looked at his running stats at OM before we signed him. Can drag it up if you want. There was never anything remotely technical about Flamini; the emphasis simply switched from fast twitch to slow.

    I guess if two players of equal technique stand next to each other, people would be more likely to call the smaller one the more technical of the two.

  42. C,

    Lots of other links to Liverpool too. He’s almost certainly going somewhere but for me if we wanted him we would have done a deal before now. How about a swap for Giroud? 😜

  43. I love you, C!!

    In a very heterosexual way, of course — but whenever I get down – you come up with a rumour that I find very uplifting — talks with Lacazette — lovely!! 😀

    Who is this nice, Nice, Ivorian footballer Seri (?) Any good? I saw somewhere that we might be interested – how about you?

    By the way, I lavished one of my best stories on you, yesterday, which made me drunk typing it, and no response from you. 😀

  44. Oh, and that’s the other good guy — Andy, the pessimist — he would make the ‘end of the world is nigh’ sound enticing! Even Marxism for the UK is a bit lip smacking, a la Andy – luckily I don’t have to stay! 😀

    Trouble is Trump! 🙄

  45. Birdkamp

    Flamini’s technical skill certainly did not match up with a lot of his teammates but he was effective in 07/08 because he gave the team something they lack which is what Le Coq gave us when he came back in 14/15. Flamini was only 1 player but he was on the pitch with Fabregas, Denison, Rosicky, Hleb, Sagna in that season. Trying to make the case that Arsene was not building his strategy around technical quality when that is your critical group of players does not really hold water.

    You win football games by scoring goals and preventing the other team from scoring. No one would argue that in the Emirates era Arsenal has emphasized technical skill more then any other team and yet we have only been higher then 3rd in goals scored in the league in 1 out of those 13 seasons. Despite our advantage in technical skill we have been consistently out scored by teams that have better forwards. At the other end of the pitch, its very clear that technical skill has not every effective in preventing the other team from scoring. I don’t think we have ever been higher then 3rd in the table in goals conceded in any season since 2004.

    The point is that technical skill is certainly a piece of the puzzle but our philosophy of putting together the most technically adept and creative midfield and then building the rest of the team around the midfield has proven to be flawed.

  46. HenryB,

    No need to worry – there is no Marxist Boogeyman – it’s all a story to scare the children with. That’s why it’s in comics and not serious publications 😉😜

  47. andy1886,

    Yea I saw the links to Liverpool too. I would gladly swap giroud for Lacazette. Part of me feels Arsene sees Giroud starting for France and judges him off that hence a deal not being done even last summer. Its strange but Lacazette is definitely moving this summer hopefully its to us.

  48. HenryB,

    I only took it in a heterosexual way mate 😉 the feeling is mutual.

    Lacazette, the reports popped up in France first and its certainly one that I think has something to it, the biggest question is can he be convinced with no CL futbol but then again, maybe if we keep Sanchez he would fancy playing with him and Ozil not to mention Xhaka who loves a long ball over the top for a striker like Lacazette to run onto!

    The lad from Nice is very much the type of player we need to replace Santi in the mold of Kante, Gueye, Ndidi and even Matuidi. The other thing is that he has played a number of midfield roles for Nice and has goals in him. There are others I might take ahead of him but he does have what we need to complete our midfield.

    I saw the post while but I was a bit too drunk to respond!

  49. Jonny,

    Yup and has added much to his game and while short in stature, is actually rather strong while still possessing the qualities that made him an effective winger when he first made the leap to the first team.

  50. Hazard has been ruled out for 3 months and will miss the start of the season after having ankle surgery.

  51. The Telegraph say Wenger hopes to make 2 major signings & hopes to persuade Mbappé that Arsenal would be best for his immediate development…

  52. Also say its unclear whether Wenger’s trip to Nice was connected to Mbappé as #Arsenal are also interested in Thomas Lemar.

  53. Bill,

    I don’t think this side is particularly technical. It has a few things going for it when it clicks, as it did at the beginning and end of the season. But technical prowess isn’t near the top of the list. It definitely doesn’t look like the product of a strategy to buy only highly technical players.

  54. C, before the formation change added extra protection we kept getting undone losing possession when we had five or six players ahead of the ball, including both fbs.

    I know AOC catches a lot of flak, but Alexis and Ramsey were huge culprits too. I’d keep them all, even Ramsey (the last ten games won me over) and especially Alexis. But we had to fix the formation because the players didn’t have the touch or passing ability to play attacking football!

  55. Alexis is a magician, easily our best player this season. But in one move his technique can be impeccable, and in the next he’ll misplace a five-yard pass or run into a defender when there are options.

    This is fine. We can live with that and still be a great team, but something had to change. 3-4-3 has meant we can be careless or awkward and not concede every time.

  56. Birdkamp,

    I tens to agree with most of that. Personally I’m still not sold on either Ramsey or Ox centrally because of their lack of technical ability and abolity to pass to be honest. Sanchez is maddening with possession just as capable of magic as losing it but he is the type of player you live with the good and bad.

    Yes the formation change helped but to be completely honest, all it did was really hide Ramsey who saw less of the ball in midfield and Ox who couldn’t hurt us centrally. Funnily enough the one player that I thought technically can play in any system is Elneny. I would keep them but neither Ramsey nor Ox would be first choice and I would most certainpy be bringing in a CM to pair with Xhaka.

  57. The other reason why I wany Sczcney is because his distribution is world’s better than Cech who struggled all season long to find a red and white shirt no matter the situation.

  58. andy1886,

    Absolutely right. There is no statistic that measures how many games Giroud costs the team because, with him starting, Arsenal are basically playing with 10 1/2 men and the opposing centre-backs aren’t effectively pinned down and instead pressure the mid-field. It would be an ugly statistic. I’d give Giroud away, just to get his wages off the books.

  59. freddo,

    I am a big Giroud critic but he does have his merits as a squad player as he has proven this season.

    Virgil Van Dijk £50m is a the going rate for one of the best center backs in the league, fair play to liverpool if they pull it off imo, he will definitely make them better defensively he can play that high line i know Klopp wants to play.

  60. I honestly might be in the minority but I actually prefer not to sign Mbappe and think the whole chase, if reports are true of us actually chasing him, is pointless. If you ask me the better purchase would be Dembele of Celtic; he is 6’0″, strong, quick, plenty of pace and very good both on the turn and in his link play and really does enjoy scoring goals against EVERYBODY. Or we could have a chat with Lyon and send them say Giroud plus 50m or 80-85m for Lacazette and Tolisso. Sorry for me while Mbappe certainly is an extremely talented player whose future looks as bright as the sun on a clear day, unless Arsene and Arsenal are prepared to build a whole squad, Mbappe would use Arsenal as a stepping stone.

    The other thing is Arsene is doing all this talking about Mbappe going to a club where he can be the “main man”, either Arsene is just talking to hear himself (which isn’t a rare thing) or Sanchez is off and Arsene hopes Mbappe can give us what Sanchez can do. How about we focus on a CF unless the other option is Sanchez is going to be moved to CF.

  61. Well some good news, we’re of the mark and Kolasinac will almost certainly be an upgrade over Gibbs. I expect Nacho to remain first choice next season but after that we might see a changing of the guard.

  62. andy1886,

    Yup that is what I’m thinking too. Nacho has already said he wants to stay for atleast for another 2 years (he said he has 2 years with a option for a 3rd). Nacho will start and Sead will battle with him until the switch is made.

  63. The most notable attributes that I saw from Sead are: his physique and while he is extremely physical, he is blessed with absurd quickness and plenty of pace, defensively he is rock solid and doesn’t rely on his pace defensively but uses it when he needs to, attacking wise he is kind of unpredictable but capable of making a surging overlap or a powerful run through the channel, probably the best quality for me is that he is not just relentless in attack but a relentless and smart defender who plays for the badge.

    I’ll say this, he is the perfect long term replacement for Nacho and if we are able to keep Sanchez, the relentless nature of both Sead and Sanchez on the same flank would make any supporter stand up and would give any club in the PL problems.

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