Morning chums. There’s no ‘p’ there because that’s already been taken. Firstly by Jean-Michel Aulas, who claims that we want to keep Giroud and then re-emphasized that with a declaration of Alexandre Lacazette’s intention to stay.
That’s about 12 hours after he’d said that the player could leave. And around 12 hours previously, he denied Arsenal had bid for Lacazette. Which was a day or two after he confirmed they had.
Anyway, Lacazette isn’t leaving. Quite where isn’t entirely clear. We presume he means Lyon but this is a club president who is desperate for PSG to lodge a bid because (a) it means he gets more cash, and, (b) they are French. French clubs should buy French players is his motto, conveniently overlooking that half of his squad isn’t French. And PSG intend to buy a French striker this summer. Just not his French striker.
Aulas is Barry Fry, Ken Bates and David Sullivan rolled into a French one, and equally tedious. Then again, he’s not the only incredibly dull European president but enough of picking on the French today.
Summer wouldn’t be summer without Barcelona poking their oar in somewhere it isn’t wanted. Riyad Mahrez told them he is going to join Arsenal as the Catalans were too slow in making an offer for his services. In retaliation, Barcelona told Hector Bellerin that he had ten days (nine left and counting) to tell Arsenal he is ‘doing one’.
Lemar Catch 9.20am Flight
Conveniently, Spain are in the Under-21 final against Germany on Friday, which is the halfway point in that timescale. So, return home Saturday, celebrations and official duties Sunday, back with the family Monday and Tuesday. It leaves the full back three days. If there were sound and visual effects on this post, it would be ‘DER-DER-DER’ with juddering camera angles switching between protangonists of this 1970s sitcom.
On Wednesday, they look elsewhere for a full back. Apparently.
The rest of the stories doing the rounds relate to Alexis Sanchez. And Mesut Özil, of course. Curiously, nobody is making overtures for the German international which suggests he is staying whether he likes it or not.
Or, that his prospective employers are being very discreet. This is ‘transferland’ and discreet is not in the vocabulary. Well, it is now, obviously, but that’s because I made it up. The word, not the place; that’s very real, yes indeedy.
The claims this morning are that the pair have been offer 20% pay-rises, taking salaries over £250k per week. It’s short of what Alexis has told others he wants and is performance-related if the hacks are correct. With a plethora of contracts being renegotiated, this is going to be a common theme.
Arsenal, it’s claimed, want to make it dependent upon returning to the Champions League. No response from either agent yet but let’s be honest, it begs for a contract clause to be inserted which requires the club to sign at least 3 first team players with a market value of £40m or more.
I’m all for performance-related pay but Arsenal must do their bit as well. It’s no good putting the onus on players if they don’t invest in strengthening the squad.
Old Hands, Old Faces
They may be doing just that. Reports this morning claim the club is confident of landing Thomas Lemar in a £30m deal. The “starlet” is set to arrive early next week. Handy that the transfer window opens on Saturday really, isn’t it?
AC Milan think so. They and Marseille are slugging it out over who is going to be rejected by Laurent Koscielny first. According to the French media, the central defender is also wanted by Manchester City – isn’t everyone? – and Chinese Super League clubs – isn’t everyone? – this summer.
Not that I am putting 2 + 2 together and getting 5, but John Terry has yet to sign for anyone.
It’s the sort of lunacy that would surprise no-one in the slightest; it’s football, after all.