Sead and Defending, Hec & Lacazette Effect

You have to laugh. Strikers always get the glory and the creative midfielder feted. In the playground, most wanted to be Cruyff, Muller, Keegan, George, Radford and so on. Nobody claimed the role of Norman Hunter, Frank McLintock or whoever.

Defending was a dirty word but it was at least mentioned. The defensive midfielder, the destroyer – the Storeys of this world; much admired on Saturdays, was only mimicked by the thug who, although useless at football, wanted to fit.

Ruud Krol or Johnny Rep, depending on my mood, since you’re wondering.

The same principles probably hold true today. That’s if health & safety regulations let children play football in the playground. If our youngest was anything to go by, the accident book was full of scrapes.

Playing football in the playground, he fell and got a nail through his hand at school after building works hadn’t been cleaned up properly. Duly called to take him to hospital to have it removed, I observed that while the school’s catholic ethos should not be ignored, crucifixion as a punishment was too harsh; could they use detention instead. Choose your audiences carefully, that’s all I can say.

Anyway, there is a point to all this. Sead Kolasinac’s transfer confirmed yesterday, brought forth a slew of YouTube reels, most of which were obsessed with showing a marauding left-footed attacker.

He’s a left back! Defending is his primary function in the team! Was it too much to ask for a few well-timed tackles, clearing headers and the odd ploughing through an opponent?

Why is there an obsession with showing attacking football all the time? I know Arsène treats defending as an optional extra at times but I’d like to see a defender, you know, defending in these show reels.

Anyway, I found one that showed a few tackles and it looks like Sead takes no prisoners. Fair play.

Talking Heads

The flip side of our failings at home and abroad is the constant transfer talk. We’ve seen that with Alexis already and now, Hector Bellerin.

Barcelona replaced Luis Enrique with Ernesto Valverde and he wasted no time in stepping up the talk. Bellerin’s family already returned to Spain, so surely the dutiful son will follow.

Bellerin previously stated his new five-year contract underlined his determination to stay at the club. He was, the chirpy Cockney Catalan said, happy here. Missing out on the Champions League, as well as being on the receiving end of supporter abuse at Crystal Palace might have changed his mind.

Footballers are very precious about the former even though Arsenal are not going to win the Champions League under Wenger. And they know we are slipping further behind the élite. The same élite we were supposedly going to compete with when we moved to the Emirates.

The same élite which is signing Kylian Mbappe. We’re talking to Lyon about Alexandre Lacazette apparently. Arsène and Ivan were visiting Jean-Michel Aulas’ ‘luxury villa’ at Cap Ferrat to do a deal on the striker. It’s presumably not the same Alexandre Lacazette who hinted he was willing for Atletico Madrid to serve their transfer ban and then move to them

Barren Nights

Talking of French strikers on the move – and no, there aren’t new roadblocks from the farmers around Calais – Olivier Giroud is going to tell Arsenal to ‘do one’ if he’s not given more playing time.

Giroud is no stranger to the club being linked with strikers. He famously claimed Suarez wasn’t a threat to his place in the side if he joined. The Uruguayan and he would form a good partnership, he felt. Gonzalo Higuain was a different story; Giroud admitted the Argentine would usurp him.

He probably didn’t expect to lose out to Danny Welbeck or Alexis but that’s life. His future isn’t on the Arsenal bench, that’s for certain.

“I will discuss with the coach but he is relying on me.

“It is true that I have had limited playing time but it was for a certain amount of time, it is true there were things against me. I will not settle for another year with such little playing time.

“I have will have to think carefully to consider it with my relatives and my advisers. It will be a decision that will be maturely thought about to have more more playing time.”

Signing Alexandre Lacazette will see him head to the exit door PDQ. Newcastle, rumoured to be interested at £22m, signed Tammy Abrahams on loan from Chelsea so a return to Ligue Un is likelier.

Whether Arsène agrees is another matter. The arrival of Lacazette may just be to cover Alexis’ goals when he leaves. One thing is for certain, we can’t go into next season with just Welbeck and Giroud; neither scores enough goals for us to get back to the point of being title challengers. It’s not a new problem though; just another one on the list that we’re slow to address.

’til Tomorrow.


88 thoughts on “Sead and Defending, Hec & Lacazette Effect

  1. Morning! I always loved a great defensive tackle almost as much as a fine shot or pin-point pass. Look how much everyone enjoyed Mert’s display at Wembley. Defending is just as much an art as any other part of the game. One of our biggest failings has been to not value that, a prime example being where we were regularly caught out on the counter with our ‘wing backs’ in the opposition half. At times it was like we didn’t actually have full backs at all. No wonder Wenger thought three at the back was a defensive formation – he usually plays with just the two defenders!

    View the game as merely another form of ‘entertainment’ and that’s what you get. The football version of the Harlem Globetrotters. Not a serious sporting side. Fingers crossed that the manager has finally, if reluctantly, taken that on board and will not relapse at the first sign of a set back.

  2. Giroud will never be a Sanchez. His name will never be first written on the team sheet.
    Nevertheless he can play an important role in Arsenal’s first squad.
    He can be a presence in the penalty area, his heading ability is second to none and his finishing, on occasion can be lethal.
    Give him the ball at his feet though and expect him to dribble and he is in trouble.
    And whether he is prepared to accept the role of “super sub” is debatable. Because he will only be used when game plan and circumstances allow. 😉

  3. Good afternoon YW The Barron Knights now that is a blast from the past ?. Me thinks only the ” British” bloggers here of a certain age ( Bob and Henry) will be able to remember them

  4. ras,

    Ras, re: Barron Knights one of my parents family friends used to date one of them back in the day. Some tenuous claim to fame eh?

  5. ras:
    Good afternoon YW The Barron Knightsnow that is a blast from the past ?. Me thinks only the ” British” bloggers here of a certain age ( Bob and Henry) will be able to remember them

    Salut Ras, mon ami, ça va

    If your reference to (Bob and Henry) referred to moi — then it is accurate — apart from two minor points.
    1) I am not British and
    2) C is probably the youngest on ACLF (circa 30 y.o.) et, j’ai plus de dix ans, plus ou moins. Je viens d’être vieux. 😀

  6. Good stuff Yogi, though I have to disagree with you, as a youngster and through my playing career, I NEVER wanted to be The Real Ronaldo, El Fenómeno, I actually wanted to be Gilberto Silva, Mauro Silva, Clodoaldo, Falcão (no not the striker the brilliant Brazilian DM), and Cerezo.

    Sead is actually a brilliant defender and the more you read or have watched actual matches, the more you see it. I did watch Schalke v Dortmund this year and he was absolutely brilliant and made the defensive play of the match. He also had a match were he recorded the most interceptions (12) during a single match for the whole of Europe. A defender that can most certainly defend and at only 23 has his best years ahead of him.

    I still don’t see Bellerin leaving, honestly, there is no reason for him to leave having just signed a 5 year contract. Giroud, well lets be honest, at 5 years he had his chance and simply wasn’t good enough so if he doesn’t want to sit on the bench, then he should go to Marseille.

  7. Good Post, Yogi, and it has taken a while for the coin to stop spinning for me, regarding entertaining football versus defending, at least occasionally.

    You see, I am a sucker for entertaining football – and in truth I loved the ‘old ‘ style AW teams, and frankly, my older Arsenal acquaintances have told me they loved the George Graham era for bloody minded defending and that it brought success. But in general they hated the style of football as it was so dour and if I understand them properly, it was boring.

    So, entertaining? Color me gold – boring? Color me outa here!

    But nothing in life is straightforward, and the latter day AW teams have served us a melange of exciting attacking play, only to lose — or, some really dour stuff that enabled us to sneak a draw or a win.

    So this is my position — entertainment, Oui certainement – but it must accompany winning football – so offer me entertaining, winning football and I am all yours! 😀

  8. ” We don’t want to join the Royal Navy
    We don’t want to go to Hong Kong.
    We wanna keep our haircuts baby,
    We wanna keep it long”

  9. HenryB,

    Morning mate!

    Entertaining winning futbol I am all for! I mean, it was instilled in me at a very young age following the Brasil and Arsenal and I never forgot it. Its playing freely but having players know their positions and roles. What I wouldn’t give for entertaining futbol with a solid backbone.

    I know most disagree, but I can watch Juve any day of the week!

  10. Jebus.
    I remember The Barron Knights – my mate Dave, his mum used to have cassettes in the car.

  11. Hi C,

    I have just googled the Barren Knights and they are a band touring the UK, and each look about 100 years old. Move over, Nicky. 😀

  12. What’s with these barren knights? I was brought up loyal to Duke Ellington, Count Basie and King Oliver. So there……… 😉

  13. You have it right C about wanting entertaining football with backbone.

    A team can entertain and still have a terrific defense – in fact without a steely resolve the entertaining bit does not work.

    Where would AW’s entertaining early century team be without Sol Cambell, Cole, Vieira and Gilberto and not to forget Mad Jens!!! 😀

  14. Great post Yogi

    I suspect Kalasinac is set to be our LWB. I really hope Arsene sticks with the 3 at the back formation. I don’t think the 343 formation is any sort of magic bullet but we have using the 433 and tweaking the system built around our central midfield technical skill and creativity for the entire Emirates era and that has not been the answer. I would be shear madness to go back to that system when have already been trying subtle variations without success for 13 years.

    Regarding Bellerin and Giroud. I hope that Giroud is not CF1. We have no chance to compete for title is he is our lead CF. If Giroud is not happy being an impact sub then he has to be sold.

    Bellerin is a bit more of a question mark. If we go back to 4 at the back then he is an easy first choice. However its a much different situation if we stick with 3 at the back. Hector would be competing with Ramsey and Ox for minutes and Hector was not the first choice for RWB last season when the other 2 were healthy and I don’t think he will be an automatic part of the starting 11 this season. It will be interesting to see how that one plays out.

  15. I thought one of those Barren guys looked a bit like you, Nicky.

    Altho, as I have never met you, it was how I imagined you would look. Hair slicked back, a huge lapelled jacket, drain pipe trousers and a big pair of Doc Martins. 😀

  16. C:

    So not my style nor of my era!who would have thought there were people older than Nicky and Bob 😉

    Well, C, I guess Methuselah and Yogi might be? 😀

  17. “my older Arsenal acquaintances have told me they loved the George Graham era for bloody minded defending and that it brought success. But in general they hated the style of football as it was so dour and if I understand them properly, it was boring.”

    I guess that they must have been asleep for the first half of his tenure then Henry!

    Before 92/93 Graham’s sides were a young vibrant attacking team that could also defend. The dour part came later when Graham tried to grind his way to success – which he still did with a cup double and European trophy.

    Anyone who thought that Rocastle, Merson, Limpar and their colleagues were boring seriously needs their heads (or memories) testing!

  18. HenryB,

    Exactly, its one of the mystery ‘s that nobody can seem to solve: why wouldn’t Arsene build a solid defense to allow his creative players to be free?

    The thing is, even the best Brasilian sides had a rock solid defense with the likes of Gilberto Silva, Didi, Lucio, Dunga, Cerezo, Mauro Silva, Clodoaldo, Falcão, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Carlos Alberto (RIP), Roque Junior, Pereira, Santos, Santos and the rest; and FFS if Brasil can understand the importance of defending to let your midfield and attackers be free, surely Arsene can…maybe….hopefully….possibly ;-(

  19. HenryB,

    They made humorous alternative versions of current pop songs back in the 70’s Henry. All a bit silly but remember this was the era of Benny Hill & Co! (actually I could see an Arsenal themed farce playing out to the BH theme tune).

  20. Some Spanish / radio personality for Barca has claimed Sanchez is set to join Citeh. Could you imagine if that happened, there would literally be no place for Arsene or Ivan to hide and no way of defending them and their actions.

    Its the silly season, crazier things have both been said and been done.

  21. C:

    Maybe! 😉

    Is nicky the oldest on ACLF?

    I do not know, C, but Ras seemed to think I was earlier on. What a cheek! 😀

  22. If Sanchez was going to press the issue, C, I suspect the only thing Arsenal (AW and Ivan) could legally do is to make him stay until his contract runs out, because it would be better to lose the transfer fee on him that to allow him to go to another Premier League club, and risk unleashing Armageddon.

    Can’t see that ever being allowed — but you never know.

  23. Wenger on Kolasinac:

    “He’s very compact as a player, very strong and determined in the challenges,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.

    “He’s good in the air as well, so overall I believe he has all the attributes to adapt to English football

    “The game here is very demanding physically on the commitment front and he has the ingredients to adapt to that.

    “What he will give us is the fact that he’s a player who can give assists, who can go forward, who can contribute good crosses.”

    “It’s very important that we have that as well, because we have Kieran Gibbs, we have Nacho Monreal and we have him.

    Interestingly, with two international left-backs on the books already, the boss hinted that he could continue to deploy Nacho Monreal as a third centre-back when the new season starts – a role he looked comfortable playing during the FA Cup final.

    “Nacho plays a lot now in central defence and in a three-man system I see him in there,” continued Wenger.

    “So overall, I think [Kolasinac] can contribute a lot to help us to be more dangerous going forward.”

    Hmmm, so we bought him for his attacking attributes, may play Nacho in the back three, and may also keep Gibbs.

    I’d rather we bought him for his defensive attributes, let Nacho compete with him for LB/LWB (we have enough CB’s) and sell Gibbs.

    But then I’ve not worked a day in football.

  24. I was hoping to see my friend Ras a couple of years back, on one of my trips to Le Midi, (South of France).
    Unfortunately it was too complicated as I was with others — but if I get the chance I will try to see him another time, and give him a bear hug, and recite some poetry, as he is a good guy! 😀

  25. HenryB,

    I think in this particular situation it might be better to lose the transfer fee especially on the back of last season sans the Final, Ivan and Arsene’s very public war, the fact that Arsene signed on and lastly the fact that he would have given Pep Sanchez to pair with Sane, Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, De Bruyne, Silva, Auguero. The #WengerOut would engulf the Goonerverse.

    Honestly it would be easily more damning than RvP.

  26. Totally, totally spot on, C.

    It would be a PR disaster to let him go this summer. Next year? Well, when he is out of contract he can do what the sod he likes!

    The Lacazette mood music might have some rhythm to it, as the reports of Ivan and AW being in France together indicate they were either chasing women, or trying to do some footie business.

    I never gave the Mbappe rumours any credence, of course, but I am disappointed (just a bit) that Manure seem set on getting Morata, whom we have been linked with on and off for ages now – he has the skills and the physique to do well in the EPL.

  27. C,

    If Bayern are truly interested then that would seem to be the obvious solution which would suit all parties. The issue may be that they are not willing to pay the required fee and would rather him run down his contract first. In which case I think that Stan, not caring in the slightest about any uproar, would sell to the highest bidder.

  28. HenryB,

    It would be a PR diaster and one that I think not even Nicky would be able to defend. 😉

    I do think that there is certainly something in the works with Lacazette because there has simply been more detailed information than normal when it comes to this whole situation but its clear Arsene and Ivan were doing some footie, not fetish style though it wouldn’t surprise me, business in France.

    The strange thing is that Morata was just in Milan photo’d but I guess the deal must have fallen to pieces. I wonder how much Manure are willing to spend especially since they had a 60m bid for him rejected with some stuff in Spain I read saying they want 90m given Mbappe hasn’t done nearly as much but is said to be 100m+. I never wanted Mbappe to be honest, I would much rather have Dembele either of Celtic or Dortmund I have to admit. actually for 100m+ we could get both of the Dembele’s or Lacazette and a Dembele and pair them with Sanchez and Ozil and we have a very formidable front 4

  29. andy1886,

    Bayern are known to do that, see Lewandowski (still can’t believe they got him on a free) so they are not afraid to wait which would actually work out for them because it would be another year on the legs of Robben and Riberry who they might offload next summer anyways. Its crazy to think that Stan would do it but I have seen and know people in the Colorado area so I know what he is capable of.

    Hopefully Sanchez stays and we sign a top striker to convince both he and Ozil to re-sign.

  30. Hello ACLFers from downtown Chicago – I am sat opposite the iconic ‘Cloud’ at a Starbucks (free wifi, don’t you judge me). Chicago drivers seem to be largely out of the NY school – use your horn for anything and everything.
    Hey ho.
    Anyone been here? I have a day left but not sure how to use it…

  31. Jonny,

    I’ve been several times (back again at the end of this month) but mostly for work so not much use really! I take it you’ve been on the pier?

    The Cubs are playing the Marlins this evening if you’re a baseball fan, looks like tickets are still available.

  32. Jonny
    A drink at the Signature room is pretty neat.
    95th floor and spectacular views.
    Some well to do, middle age ladies that would love your accent will be milling about.
    It is pricy but worth a stop.

  33. Deep dish pizza is horrid, in my opinion anyway. But I’m firmly in the thin crispy crust fan club. If you see a Anthony’s they have the best pizza. Once again just my opinion.

  34. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble. If Lacazette comes in it’s to replace Sanchez on the left.

  35. Jonny,

    Pilsen and the Fulton District is where I roam normally outside of old town Chicago district. Great food, relaxed but cool atmosphere.

  36. Pistol Fish,

    Don’t think so personally. Think Lacazette would be to play with Sanchez, Arsene has been looking for a CF and there aren’t many as clinical. Think it would be a move to convince Sanchez to stay.

  37. If we are being honest I would be surprised if Sanchez would want to stick around at Arsenal after he had a front row seat to what happened between Nov-April of this season and for 1/2 of each of the seasons that he has been in London. How can you be happy when several of our other players are willing to take extra long summer vacations and give up points in games 1-2 every season and our best player takes a 3 week vacation around Christmas. Alexis seems like the sort of player who really has a fire in his belly and his mindset is different then the culture that has developed on our team. This will be his last big contract and his last chance to be a difference maker on a team that shares his enthusiasm. I would be ecstatic but very surprised if he signed another contract.

  38. Thanks guys.
    Few things divide parts of the US like the great pizza debate.
    I think I am a thin crust kind of guy – but until I have tried the real DD thing I will reserve judgement.
    I’ve been to Signature Rooms – crazy views. I drank a $6 coke, used their internet for 2 hours and watched the sunset.
    I can’t do the Cubs game tonight – which is a pity – as apparently I am going ‘line dancing’ instead.

  39. Jonny,

    The whole pizza debate is like BBQ, depends where you live and where your from. NY pizza IMHO, is great either before or as your walking back to your car after a night of drinking but not my choice. Thin crust is always good if you have a GREAT crust but personally I prefer either DD or pan crust.

    Not sure if your into art or art districts but Chicago has a couple brilliant art districts with some brilliant portraits on every building and wall plus great food.

  40. I hope I am wrong about Sanchez, but he just had the best season of his career and his value and ability to get a really good contract on the open market will never be higher. The only good reasons to stay would be if he really wants to stay in London or Arsenal overwhelm his with the size of his next weekly wage.

  41. Jonny,

    Line Dancing? Good luck with that one, hope you have better coordination than most blokes (failing that one or two beers may actually help).

  42. Jonny,

    You have the Chicago Art Districts, Pilsen, West Loop aka “Restaurant Row” which has had a recent explosion and has gone from factories/markets/warehouses to a slew of restaurants and art galleries, and the Loop or Chicago Loop.

  43. @Henry B,
    You can always detect folk of my generation. We wear a choice of cardigans and drink lots of soup. 😉

  44. Bill,

    The one thing I will disagree with you on is its his last big contract; you should preface by saying in the PL. In the other top European leagues he could still get a big contract as his technical ability and quickness would still do well in other leagues. I mean to think that Ribery, Robben and a number of other top players are 30+ still on big wages because of their skills. The PL because its main focus is on power and pace with actual futboling ability not in the top 3 qualities is the reason why some think its his last big contract.

  45. Can’t see Mbappe leaving now with Jardim extending his contract. Can see him leaving next summer though.

  46. Jonny,

    No problem. For me those are the best districts and places to spend the day, the best thing for me is that kind of as the day changes, you get different styles of people and atmospheres but all enjoyable.

  47. Bill,

    With Sanchez, I think the biggest thing is to continue to show ambition and to do that you need to sign quality. Keeping him is massive and the signing of a CF would do wonders for that.

  48. C,


    To me it just seems like an attempt to make it as filling as possible. To much dough going on.
    Thin crust for me.

    As for Lacazette, I’d be willing to wager one of them pizzas he’s not going to be anything other than a straight swap. Giroud and Welbeck will be our CF’s.
    Welbeck to look promising early on and then get a long term injury in around game 5 and then it’s just Giroud.
    No chance Alexis stays, so for Lacazette to be CF we have to also buy a new LW.
    Not going to happen.

  49. Pistol Fish,

    The dough is good when done properly but you also get a nice healthy filling of everything else. Thin crust is great bu deep dish, some rolled up herbal and a good bourbon is never a bad night!

    Lacazette for me just makes sense, especially when you consider how Giroud was used this season; Arsene seemed to do everything possible to make him a CF2. Signing him would allow Welbeck to be played on the flank as well which seems to actually suit him more but it also allows for a front 3 of Welbeck/Sanchez/Lacazette as all 3 have and are capable of playing both as CF and as a winger. No way we go into this season with just Welbeck and Giroud, not even Arsene is that mad, is he? Given Welbeck’s injury record since arriving and the INCONSISTENCY of Giroud it actually makes sense.

  50. Reports in Turkey say Fenerbache, Arsenal and Ospina have all agreed a deal and it should be completed, including medical, next week.

  51. C,

    Nothing can be truly bad when bourbon is involved.

    I stand by my prediction although I do sincerely hope that yours is the correct one .

  52. Pistol Fish,

    Bourbon or rum is ALWAYS a good thing!

    Yea I hope my prediction is correct to because another season of Giroud and Welbeck would see Ozil, Sanchez and Bellerin leaving and replaced by Ramsey/Jack, Jenks/Debuchy and Lacazette.

  53. Jonny,

    Was just about to suggest the pizza, Jonny. Glad you survived Detroit! It has been 15 years since I lived on the South Side but I think one or two of my favorite old haunts is still operating. In Hyde Park not too far from Univ Chicago is one of the best bookstores in the States–Seminary Co-op; then you can go to the Medici or a further walk to Valois (esp for diner breakfast–poached eggs). One of the most interesting things I did was an architectural tour by boat.

  54. Jonny, have to agree with C about Pilsen. It was just coming up as a neighborhood and you could get surprisingly good Mexican food. That was a while ago but if C says still cool, that’s good news. Though you should go to the Southwest to get the best of that.

    A proper deep dish is wonderful but when done poorly is just a bit of a gooey mess. Oddly, the best deep dish Chicago style pizza I’ve had is in Berkeley, CA–Zachary’s. Had it in April. Good thin crust can be had many places but excellent deep dish can be rare so is a real treat. Hope you find a proper place in Chicago.

  55. Players do funny things, but it would be odd for Giroud to leave when we have just started playing 3 up front.

    Even if we keep Sanchez and bring in Lacazerette…if that is what his name is…Giroud is going to get more time with that formation.

  56. Limestonegunner,

    Pilsen has had quite the development over the past 2 years. Its amazing how well they have built it up but kept a lot of the same buildings so you get that warehouse, hole in the wall and big building vibe with so many top shops and places to eat.

  57. Then again, reports say Sczcney to Juve for 14-16m and Begovic just went for 10m yet we are going after Pickford. Sorry, its makes ABSOLUTELY no sense at all especially when Sczcney has talked about wanting the #1 shirt, is Arsenal through and through and the last 2 seasons was rated the #2 GK in Serie A only behind Buffon and ahead of the lad from Milan that EVERY club not named Bayern want. For me, stupudity at its finest especially since we have seemed to sort our back 4 whether its a 3 man back or 4 man back.

  58. I’d happily take our Chezzer back but it sounds like he likes the Italian life and I also think the challenges of the Premier league are a little different so it can be hard to judge.
    BUT if we get Pickford and let Chezzer go I’d still be fucking stoked – I think he is a bit of a special character. He has the kind of ‘at all costs’ mentality the sort that can inspire players around him and hold them accountable.
    Many of his ‘heart on sleeve’ performances, the few that I saw, seemed to lift the whole stadium and the team to a higher level.
    That’s something this team has missed and honestly he has it in spades.
    I’m not saying he is the better keeper but he has all the right attributes for sure – and seems way more more ‘driven’.
    I certainly know which one I’d back in a fight.

  59. C,

    Yup, the chap that Wenger sold to United and handed them the title on a plate. He wasn’t a mug, he did so knowingly which is probably worse!

  60. andy1886,

    Yup, made no sense then and doesn’t make sense now. He seems to enjoy selling our top goal scorers doesn’t he: Anelka, Adebayor, RvP, Sanchez, Henry. He talks about contracts and respecting them yet I would rather let them all leave on a free then sell them to rivals!

  61. I think Bob is right. Ospina must be on a handsome wage if his fee is 3million.

    In general, Arsenal have become pretty poor at selling the last 3-4 years. Can anyone imagine we will get anything like what we could have 2 years ago now for Jack, Theo, Gibbs? Perez will be a loss, Chambers.

  62. Evening,

    I must admit I really don’t get the ‘tapping up’ rules. Apparently Barcelona have made Hector their number one target and Arsenal will have a fight on their hands even though he only signed a new 6 year deal last season. One paper indicated that they were to contact Bellerin’s representatives to assess interest in a deal. He’s our player and surely any approach has to be made to the club first to gauge whether we want to sell him. The answer should simply be “no thanks” and that’s it. If Barcelona go anywhere near the player without permission it should be reported as tapping up.

  63. Interesting, Diego Costa has said Conte told him he doesn’t want the player at Chelsea anymore. Costa said:

    “Conte has sent a message saying that he does not want me.”

    “If they don’t want me there, I’ll have to search for a team.”

    “To go to Atleti would be nice but I have to think about it,” he said.

    “This is a World Cup year and I cannot be not playing for three or four months.

    “I thought I had a good season but it seems that we didn’t win after all.”

  64. C,

    Which means Chelsea are signing a new top-class striker (you know, like we’ve been trying to do for forever).

    Odds on it’s Lukaku.

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