On Mahrez, Golokin & Gentleman Jack

The weather today matches my mood perfectly. Overcast with rays of sunshine poking through. As much as Gentleman Jack might be fine sippin’ whiskey, it has as Billy Connolly said, given me a tongue transplant this morning.

Arsenal’s transfer activity isn’t splashed across the back pages. Instead, it’s relegated where clubs placed small ads looking for a physio. You remember, next to the Aussie pools predictions.

And I have no issue with that. The only time transfer gossip matters is when something happens, as in we sign or sell a player. It’s interesting to see who is strengthening their squad and how but knowing we are in the Europa League next season, means PSG, Bayern, etc., are of little bar their interest in Alexis.

Ian Wright gave a good suggestion: Lewandowski for Sanchez. Works for me. It’s a massive kids game, isn’t it? And why not indulge. If you’re going to get bent out of shape, do it when the players return for pre-season training when it becomes clear we’re only adding a left back in time to strengthen the squad for next season.

Riyad Mahrez fluttered his eyelids in everyone’s direction recently with an outright “Coo-ee, over here boys” to the plethora of clubs who are reportedly interested in signing him. As the Algerian admitted, there’s a world of difference between an offer and speculation.

Something got lost in translation – or he needs to remind his Mr20% who the boss is – when he apparently told Algerian TV that he still doesn’t know which club’s were interested in him last summer.

I’ve said before I think the only way we will sign him is if Sanchez goes. Mahrez on the left and shiny new central striker who is a consistent goalscorer; one out, two in.

Cheap Pun Time

I was bleary-eyed this morning and thought we were signing Golovkin from CSKA Moscow, which would have added some punch to the midfield, but no, it’s Golokin. I can’t say I remember seeing him play for club or country. I’m sure there’s a YouTube reel to look at which makes him look like the lovechild of Cruyff and Arshavin.

Some think he won’t qualify for a work permit, which is typically Arsenal, and faces a season on loan. With current political tensions between Russia and everyone else, it would come as no surprise if the Home Office believe “the Commies” need to be putin their place, and turn down Golokin’s Work Permit application.

Others content themselves believing we’re ready to spend £100m on Mbappe. Real Madrid, absent a ‘Galactico’ signing for in recent years seems more attractive as a destination. Spanish media reports claim Morata to United is a done deal, which leaves a gap in the Madrid squad.

James Rodriguez offers a salutary lesson for Mbappe if he fancies the Bernabeu move. A good season, enhanced by a good World Cup for his country, meant he left Monaco and now he’s on the scrap heap having failed to deliver. There is a ruthlessness about the club which we do not possess at present.

Arsenal are linked with Hamez as a Sanchez replacement or one of the replacements, but it’s hard to see him being a genuine target. He is not prolific enough in front of goal and creative midfielders are ten-a-penny in our squad. Rodriguez isn’t robust enough to replace Aaron Ramsey. In any case, having found a formation which suits the Welshman, why replace him now?

Art of Football, by the way, has a cracking new design from the FA Cup final. More details here.

Dad’s Jukebox

Not much is happening really so content yourself with a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox this afternoon. Keep an eye on the comments section for more details.

’til Tomorrow.

74 thoughts on “On Mahrez, Golokin & Gentleman Jack

  1. A plethora of creative midfielders, YW?

    I think that we actually need one.

    Santi was the creative pivot. Who does the job now? Lots of them can endlessly pass sideways, I admit.

  2. We have plenty of creative midfielders: Wilshere, Iwobi, Cazorla, Ozil. That we can’t get them to perform consistently is, I think, the fundamental problem. That manifests, as you say, in sideways passing.

  3. That was a question I had as well, Bob. If you count Cazorla, JW maybe. I wouldn’t. Just Ozil really?

  4. I said Gnabry needed to be given time because the lad has all the talents and I would rather have him then Ox. Liverpool are chasing the Ox and Gnabry has officially signed for Bayern Munich today.

  5. Santi and Ozil are two different midfielders. They can work together like Xavi and Inesta, problem is Santi can’t reallt stay fit as he ages so it requires Ozil to drop deeper and be something he isn”t, a link sort of midfielder as opposed to a more ACM.

  6. do you see where Bayern Munich are wiser than all Arsenal officials put together? they intentionally let Bremen purchase Gnarbry from Arsenal and bought him a year later for 8million naira and here we are chasing mahrez at 25 to 30 million for higher wages….. are Arsenal officials not insane

  7. Buffon said:

    “I am ready to retire with Donnarumma here and Szczesny at Juventus. I know I won’t last forever. The group is much more important than any single player. I’d like to coach Italy national team one day, it is not as stressful as coaching a club and after so many years in the pitch I will be looking for something more relaxing.”

    “There was way too much optimism for the final against Real Madrid. We were playing against an amazing club whose worse player has won more important games than me. I’ve lost and I’ve won many competitions during my career but one has always to look forward. The next one could be my last year as a professional footballer and I want to have a leading role.” As for other fans celebrating Juve’s defeat in Champions League, Buffon said: “I am proud not to be like them.”

    Sounds like Buffon has just confirmed the Szczesny to Juve business.

  8. C,

    Werder Bremen does a fantastic job acting as the audition for Gnabry. Doubt that Bayern would have managed to buy him so cheaply direct from us. Not sure how much playing time he will get there, but I think a few of us predicted something like this would happen.

  9. Mahrez and James Rodriguez, nope don’t want either of them and both sound like a drop in quality for Ozil and Sanchez.

    Not for nothing but both Szczesny and Gnabry were unwanted by Arsene but both wanted by Juve and Bayern (Gnabry signed). Guess Ivan got it, we didn’t want to be like the big clubs, just be feeders for them.

  10. Wavey,

    Yup, except there was already talk before he left us Bayern wanted him. He is quality and I always found it funny people judged him over his loan forgetting he had a long term injury that kept him out 6-8 months so obviously he wasn’t fit on loan, but then those same People talk about giving Ramsey, Jack and Welbeck time because of their long term injuries. He might actually play quite a bit given Ribery and Robben are getting older and they have been looking for a quality winger.

  11. Great post Yogi

    I would not be surprised if Arsene bought another couple of technically strong central midfielders and did nothing to strengthen our forward line. After the 15/16 season it was clear to everyone that we needed to upgrade our forwards but in 2016 Arsene spent $40M on technical midfielders and the only forward was an end of the wing $17M punt on Perez who was never really in his plans.

  12. Wavey:

    Its far to early to suggest that we Gnabry is going to be a difference maker at any big team. Time will tell but I suspect he will end up buried at the back end of the squad. Serge may end up being the first player that we have regretted letting get away during the Emirates era but there have been literally dozens and dozens and dozens of players that we thought had a chance to be the next big thing and if we had kept all of those players then we would have a squad filled with Benik Afobe’s and Ryo Myachi’s and we would probably have been relegated long ago.

  13. I wish we had kept Gnabry and sent Iwobe on loan last season. However, the problem there have been hundreds of players coming thru our youth system and to be fair if letting Gnabry get away is the first mistake we made of that type in 13 years then our record is still very very good.

  14. Hi C, 🙂

    Now this is not to say our views digress exactly, but your comment re Chezzer and Gnabry reminded of the old adage [all adages seems to be old – well except for the modern adage that those who complain about ‘Fake News’ are the biggest culprits for expounding fake news – that’s mine – and you will read on blogs in 50 years time – what do you mean? that’s not fake news!] 😀

    Anyhoo – back to the ”old adage’ I was referring to – ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ or, ‘you’ll miss me when I am gone’ and that I think could encompass your reminiscences of the wonder of Chezzer and GGnabry.

    I could see merit in Chezzer staying with us, and even Gnabry to a lesser degree, but neither set the place alight when they were with us, and to some extent that sentiment hints at all of us are prepared to accept OK-ish players, when we should say ‘bollix to that – we only want the best – not the second best’. You read me? 🙂

  15. we have talked about this before but the easy answer to deciding which younger players to keep is to keep them all but stockpile them on loan until we have a better idea of which ones might actually have a chance to help our first team.

  16. YW,

    A nice post-bladdered Post, but I have to help out here – the Golvkin/Golokin issue was discussed yesterday on your very own, inestimable Blogsite, by the soon to be Arsenal Chief Scout, aka C.

    Do keep up as he can be a bit of a wild child! 😀

    And then, as you are keen to ensure your pun-ing is top notch, there is a type on a very good effort – “the Home Office believe “the Commies” need to be putin their place” – a sexy capital ‘P’ would have rammed home the cheeky reference, for those inclined to whizz thru your work of love in a far too casual way. Just sayin’ 😀

  17. To come out of the transfer window with a stronger, improved squad is presumably the objective for a club of our stature. For me, Mahrez for Sanchez doesn’t do that.

    A proven PL striker with attitude = Diego Costa.

    I wonder if the bridges can be repaired. Have a go Arsene.

  18. HenryB,

    Hey mate,

    I actually have been steadfast in my suppprt for both, just ask Bill 😉 .Szczesny won the Golden Gloves then the following season the back 4 in front of him was shaky and he had a couple questionable matches then the cigarette situation and he was off. The thing with him is that maturity us key and wasn’t the whole point of the loan system to see what we have and can he develop?

    With Gnabry it wasn’t a question of talent, if you remember he burst onto the scene at the end of the season when we needed a winger and he put in some really good performances. Then he got injured and was out for the whole of the season, went on loan to WBA and Pulis and struggled because he wasn’t fit; ofcourse he wasn’t he had been out a whole season, but was pushed out with many even on here saying, ‘another wasted talent’ without taking into account his absense (funny because many of those same people said give Jack, Ramsey, Welbeck and Ox time after their long layoffs). He went to the Olympics and was unplayable. Bayern chased him, surely thats a sign of his quality.

    While many may have questioned, I was steadfast and I think even said something like: i would rather have Gnabry than Ox who we are STILL waiting to develop and show end product. I know some think he is going to rot on the end of their squad, but he will get his chance (Robben and Ribery don’t stay fit and Ancelotti has talked about getting younger there). Time will tell but since day one I backed both.

  19. Good points, C, but I am only ‘judging’ Gnabry by what I saw of him playing for Arsenal, and the same for Chezzer.

    As I said, I would have been happy to keep them both as back up, but that particular horse has bolted – just time to say goodbye.

    My other point is we should, as a club, go for the top talent – and neither of them are that.
    They are OK but fans of other clubs are unlikely to think they are top talent – altho that might change in the future. In the meantime, I hope we would buy better than that – tho I doubt that too, which brings me back to lowering our sights to what is possible rather than dining at the top table.

    In the case of those two it is now all moot, as one has gone, and the other is on the way to Juve (as back up?)

  20. HenryB,

    The problem I have is if Szczensy was just ‘OK’ then Juve wouldn’t want him as the heir apparent. The other problem I have is that if we are really in for Pickford or Butland, are we really accepting letting Szczesny go then spending 20m+ on a GK when its CRYSTAL CLEAR that money could and should be spent elsewhere.

  21. Bill,


    Got agree with C that Gnabry had started to show some quality before his injury and never got a look in afterwards. He didn’t get much of a chance at WBA and clearly didn’t get along with Pulis. We should have arranged a loan deal with Werder Bremen on the basis that we agree discussions over a permanent deal at the end of loan period rather than sell him straight away.

    I thought Chezzer had a lot of potential, but needed to get the rough edges knocked off. It seemed to make sense to send him out on loan for a couple of seasons and bring him back to contest the spot with Cech as the older player started to fade. He seems to have put himself in the frame gor a move to Juve with his performances at Roma, but why should we let him go. It seems that a proper sit down with Wenger would probably sort things out, but the manager appears too stubborn to give him a way back in. Anotger player passionate about Arsenal, but not so keen on the manager.

  22. Hi Wavey,

    As I understood it – Gnabry ran down his contract and left on a free. [I might be mistaken]

    The question is that during his time at Arsenal he only flickered for a brief time, and never really made a move towards the first team. If Wenger had extended his contract after his injuries, and his poor performances at West Brom, he would be accused of adding another sick note to the list with Sanogo, Rosicky, Debuchy, Diaby etc A no-win position to be in.

  23. Slightly off topic but I would like to hear comments on today’s news that at 30, Fabregas has been told to seek another club during the close season and Arsenal fans are said to want him back at the Ems. 😉

  24. Hi Nicky,

    Fabregas can just keep looking somewhere else.

    He is the player who said he would never join any other club in England when he agitated to move to Barça because of his DNA bollocks.

    Others might forgive or forget – but not me!

  25. @Henry B,
    I thought when he returned to London from Barcelona, we didn’t want him so he joined Chelsea. 😉

  26. Wavey

    We couldn’t give both Iwobe and Gnabry minutes last season. I am sure Arsene would have kept gnabry if he would have been William big to go on loan. Arsene made the choice to keep iwobe. I wish he had kept gnabry instead. If you go back in the archives I guarantee the number of young players that have been touted as being talented and having a great future is well over triple digits. It was inevitable that eventually one was going to work out. We can’t really pat ourselves on the back for being right 1 out of every 100 times.

  27. Here’s a question, what exactly has Ox done to be given as many mins and heap thr praise he gets? End product, fancy Gnabry and Iwobi. I guess the point I’m making is that for all the talk of Gnabry and Szczesny not lighting it up or not being good enough, what exactly has Ox done, or Ramsey, Jack.

    To me it feels like Szczesny was sent on loan became athe best GK in a league that rates GK onpy behind a legend yet doesn’t seemed to be welcomed back when he was a main cog in his clubs title charge. Yet we have players likr Ramsey, Ox, Giroud, Iwobi, Jack, Gibbs, Theo all on our books who have in some cases had 1 good season but otherwise are WIDLY inconsistent. Then you have a GK who isn’t welcomed back yet people want a GK from Sunderland for 30m who is 23 years old for a big club like Arsenal. Fuck me that makes NO. Sense to me.

  28. nicky:
    @Henry B,
    I thought when he returned to London from Barcelona, we didn’t want him so he joined Chelsea.

    Not that I am twitter and bisted but I don’t care, Nicky! 😀

  29. C, @ 6:32

    I think that is called talking to yourself. 🙂

    I for one never mentioned anyone other player, and that includes the OX or any new goalkeeper.

    So if you are not talking to yourself ……. it ain’t me either.

  30. Kos said of interest from Marseille:

    I have a contract with Arsenal, I even signed an extension last November until 2020. I feel very good there.

    ‘I have always said that I was a Marseille fan when I was younger. When a mythical club like Marseille contact you, it is good.

    ‘But will I sign for them? I have no idea at all

  31. Dembele of Celtic is on the move according to the player, I will be interested to see where he lands. Would love him at Arsenal to be our CF1.

  32. HenryB,

    He had a year left I think and we sold him to Bremen for £5m with no buy back or sell on clause. He had just been player of the tournament in a major event and was looking like he was back to the high quality he had shown before his major injury. As C said, Bayern had been sniffing around. Seems like we cocked it up. I’m not revising my view after the event either, both C and I (and a number of others) thought it as a bad deal last summer.

  33. C,

    My concern is that he has mostly looked good playing in a significantly weaker league. I thought that Jansen looked good, but he has proved to be pretty average when he has played in the PL. Glad we didn’t buy him, but I was suggesting we buy him and a top striker as well.

  34. C

    You have been a Wojo fan for about 8 years and you have been in favor of using him as our 1st choice GK for about that amount of time. Assuming he has finally come good then you would have been wrong about wanting him as our
    GK for 7 of the last 8 years. We actually gave Wojo 5 years as the #1 and those were clearly a mistake. It’s fine to say that he had potential and was talented and we just had to be patient but the club went thru 5 years of mistakes and inconsistency while we waited for him. We should have bought an experienced GK in 2010 and sent Wojo on loan for 7 years. Same argument with Ox. He has been on the cusp of greatness for the last 5 years and he has taken up a high leverage squad spot and tons of important minutes for all of those years.

    The years have proven beyond any doubt that most of the time its been a mistake to put a U21 player into an important squad position. That’s why I have been such a skeptic about all of hundreds the U21 players that you have been excited about over all of these years. Eventually there is going to be one like Gnabry that gets away because you don’t give him enough chances however, 90 – 95% of the time the U21 players that you do give those minutes don’t work out very well. If you are going to make an assumption then I would suggest that putting your money on the assumption that has proven to be correct 90-95% of the time is a better bet then hoping that the next player you think has a bright future turns out to be the one is 1 in 25 that does works out.

    I hope that makes sense.

  35. Bill,

    Just interpreted your comment. I recall now that Gnabry didn’t want to sign a new deal as he wasn’t guaranteed playing time. So why was there no sell-on deal, or more importantly buyback option? Gnabry even said in January that he hadn’t ruled out a return to Arsenal. So why hadn’t we formalised it? Looks like the deal we did last summer gave Bayern a free run at him this summer.

  36. Wavey,

    I agree about a weaker league but then you look at what he did against Barca, I think at such a young age he is certainly a player that knows how to finish. I could careless about his hold up play right now because lets be honest, we don’t nees that given Sanchez, Ozil, Xhaka and our FB’s do most of the heavy lifting in possession.

  37. Wavey

    Regarding Gnabry, how many players have we seen that had a good first year but never replicated that success. The other issue is being a good players on relegation threatened team and actually being a good player on a big team like Bayern or Arsenal are 2 very different things. It looks like we made a mistake right now but time will tell how it all plays out.

    Over the years there have been many many players that we have said it was a mistake to let go but that opinion has been wrong in every single case before now. Saying “I told you so” in the does not make a lot of sense when that consensus opinion was wrong the previous 49 times. 1 out of 50 is not a great batting average.

  38. How the hell did this Solanke kid end up on a free to Liverpool?

    He looks pretty damn decent for a freebie (prob rising the £3M on tribunal).

    Chelsea seem pretty damn pissed off.

  39. Bill,

    Gotta correct you on one thing, I never thought he should have had the number shirt early in his career, he was too raw and immature plus the fact our back 4 couldn’t stop me and you from getting a quality chance didn’t help the matters. If the whole point of the loan system is to help a player develop, then his loan to Roma was PERFECT! He went from being a very talented GK to the 2nd rated GK in Italy onoy behind the best GK in the world and arguably in futboling history. We wanted consistency, maturity, and all that yet 14 clean sheets last season speaks volumes, 10-12 thr season before that, one bad season at Arsenal before that and before that he won thr PL Golden Gloves; that sounds like a GK finding consistency to me. People praise Courtious but fail to remember just how poor he was last season as Chelsea fell apart.

    The othet thing worth noting is that for all the talk of our players not being wanted by big clubs, we have a GK on our books that is JUST NOW entering his GKing prime, has openly talked about wanting the #1 shirt at Arsenal and is Arsenal through and through; isn’t that exactly the type of quality and player we want, I know I do. Plus, whose scouting and management do you trust more to find ans pick players: Arsene and the Arsenal scouting department or Juve and their scouting department? If there is any question then think about this: Juve was in the CL Final this season with a completely different midfield and attack then when they were in thr CL Final 2 seasons ago….I think they know quality when they see it. O yea, in that time we have regressed (still loving the FA Cup Final though) and Arsene is still talking about Giroud and Welbeck being good enough to lead our line.

    Yup, the Arsenal track record over the past 10 years has been spot on. 😉

  40. Bill,

    And a buyback clause would have provided the best of both worlds. If the question is why put one in his deal and none of the others? The answer is that it makes sense to put buyback/first refusal clauses in any sale of an academy player who has flirted with playing for the first team. If he was perceived to be good enough to get some games at first team level, it must be worth maintaining some skin in the game if we sell the player.

  41. Bill,

    Wenger offered Gnabry a new contract before he left, so it makes absolutely no sense that we didn’t have a buyback clause, or first refusal. Wenger is always too soft on players who decide they want to leave.

  42. Wavey

    Can you think of any player in the last 10 years where the selling team eventually did take advantage of a buy back clause. For example, If there was ever a case where the selling team would have wanted a back back clause it would have been ManU with the option to buy back Pogba. I am not really sure that actual buy back clauses are not mythical.

    I will stand corrected if you can think of a case where a buy back clause was used.

  43. Serbia absolutely pummelling Wales in the World Cup Qualifier. Wales are leading 1-0 though as the Serb goalie had a moment of madness and fouled Ramsey outside the area. From the resulting free kick a Serb defender yanked Sam Vokes by his shirt and conceded a penalty. Ramsey duly converted it.

  44. Congratulations to New U20 World Champions …. ENGLAND!!!!

    C’mon you Colonials, give a cheer for your home nation. 😀

  45. Wavey

    I thought Morata back to Real was a loan but if it was a buy back then I stand corrected. If that is the case then we should have put some sort of buy back clause on Gnabry. I would certainly trade him for Iwobe in a heart beat.

  46. Orson Kaert,

    Gnabry did qualify as home-grown.

    Surprised that Wales held out for so long. The Serbs have been battering their defence all game. Ramsey very close to restoring tge lead though.

  47. Bill,

    You should probably do a bit of research mate, buy back clauses have been used and exercised quite a bit throughout Europe outside of the PL. Barca, Madrid and Bayern are famous for it.

  48. Wavey,

    I’ve been watching Matic, I’ve never really rated him but he’s having a good game. I hear his two younger brothers are pretty good too, Pneu and Auto.

  49. I believe their great, great grandfather played for Serbia before WW1, his name was Sche.

  50. C

    Fair enough. I focus on the PL and I can’t think of any times where it has been used by a PL team. However, clearly in retrospect we should have had a buy back clause for Gnabry.

  51. Bill,

    So very true but clubs buy back players quite a bit but you also see clubs like Chelsea selling players and then buying them back, for instance Matic who they sold to Benfica and then 3 years later brought him back.

  52. Time to call it a day, apparently there are 121 words ending in matic. Including Enig.

    Good night children, everywhere.

  53. Bill:

    Can you think of any player in the last 10 years where the selling team eventually did take advantage of a buy back clause. For example,If there was ever a case where the selling team would have wanted a back back clause it would have been ManU with the option to buy back Pogba. I am not really sure that actual buy back clauses are not mythical.

    I will stand corrected if you can think of a case where a buy back clause was used.


    Pogba was a young player who was unhappy that he was not getting games/minutes and did not accept a contract extension – so he went for free! Buy back only works where a club sells a player still in contract and insists on a buy-back clause.

    Very common to have the clause – like Arsenal had for Fabregas – not so common to actually buy the player back. Usually only invoked if the player does very well, the original selling club buys back at an agreed price stated in the contract and then sells on again at a big profit.

    Like Real –> Juventus –> Real –> Manure

  54. Whilst congratulating the England U20s on their magnificent achievement in winning the World Cup, it is worth noting that only one Arsenal player made the squad Maitland-Niles.

    At the same time the senior England squad that drew with Scotland contained, again, just one Arsenal player Oxlade-Chamberlain.

    Neither of the two were in the starting line-ups.

    Obviously our foreign owner and manager have no natural interest in the fate of England teams and that must be why our Academy is stuffed with overseas hopefuls.

    No doubt that even at this moment Wenger and his minions are scouting more young foreign players in the hope of finding a future gem. But this will do nothing to improve the success rate for our National side.

    Next season will see Arsenal without a single English player with a regular starting spot in the first team.

  55. Good grief, Orse,

    Back from your holiday and refreshed to continue your mission to depress the rest of us. Thank you so much! 🙂

    Actually, your fake news about our Academy being stuffed with overseas ‘hopefuls’, is bollix.
    A quick look at the Academy roster shows that at least 80% of the youth players are English/British.

    I await with bated breath your next piece of dire ‘news’. 🙂

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