Footballas! Dontcha just love ’em?
It’s a mixed weekend for the club. Alexandre Lacazette is on the verge of joining with Arsenal and Lyon close to agreement. Even Ornstein of the BBC joined in, a moment for those who divine transfers by social media which signalled a ‘done deal’.
Even though he hasn’t even put pen to paper, some proclaim him the ‘worst signing eva’ while to others, he is the Messiah. Football; never knowingly understated.
Of course, Aulas postured more than a posturepedic bed, claiming it was far from the certainty everyone believes. The parrot on his shoulder shouted, “Pieces of nine”, as if to underline the Lyon president’s desire one more cent from the deal.
There is a belief that the deal will be complete early next week, perhaps even tomorrow and there’s no doubt, it strengthens the XI. A proven goalscorer, with European experience and one whose desire to represent his country will, you hope, spur him on to a great Arsenal career.
It is good news and while celebrations now risk being premature, from what I’ve seen – cue hyperbole – there is something of the Ian Wright’s about his finishing. We know there is a world of difference between English and French club football, there’s a world of difference between two clubs in the same division.
That’s the nature of transfers and inevitably, there are naysayers who will decry anyone who doesn’t cost £120m straight out of the womb. But if we’re asking the club to address weaknesses and they do so (on paper), it’s genuinely churlish to criticise.
When the dust settles, it raises questions about the future of Giroud and Theo Walcott, although the latter is tied into other contracts, I suspect. Giroud to Lyon seems unlikely but out of the Emirates? Almost certainly.
We’re Not That Sort Of Club
While that was going on, the Alexis saga rumbled on. I can’t work out whether he was paying homage to or taking the p*ss out of, Arsène’s own contract histrionics. Speaking ahead of the Confederations Cup final, he told the press he’d made up his mind but wouldn’t tell anyone the decision.
We can look at Wenger’s similar comments and be none the wiser. The indicators are all that he’s going but it’s by no means certain. The same could be said of Arsène until closer to the end of the season. Alexis has this match before his holidays begin and a month of pure speculation until things happen.
What those ‘things’ are is another matter. Arsène’s claims that they will hold Alexis to the last year of his contract is posturing. Wenger has *never* been that hardline before, particularly knowing it will cost him more in the long run. That’s essentially his dilemma. If Alexis walks for nothing next summer, there’s no extra cash to replace the hole it leaves in the squad.
So, while I would like the club to hold him to the course of his deal, I do not expect them to do so. We aren’t that ‘sort’ of club. A player who wants out knows that Arsenal will cave in. It’s a question of timing; Arsenal need a replacement to arrive before the departure is allowed. Thomas Lemar is, at the moment, that man but not certain.
The situation is complicated. A sale to Manchester City is untenable, just senseless. No matter who is signed, handing City a striker who can win them the title is just madness. Even if that is what the player wants, no amount of money can justify the action. It would be the longest resignation letter in the club’s history.
It will keep us occupied over the coming weeks, as will the situations of Mesut Özil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The former, I can’t see him leaving Arsenal. He is indulged by the manager and becomes the focal point of the side if Alexis leaves. That may suit him and bring the best out of his play. It may not; who knows.
By comparison, Ox’s contract kerfuffle is a recent event. It hasn’t been dragging on for months in the back pages, even though it is exactly the same. And this is where the Alexis situation begins to impact on other negotiations.
There is potentially £100m of transfer revenues who could walk away for nothing next summer. It isn’t just about Alexis, it’s about a cohesive plan for squad rebuilding. Two of the three may renew, none of them may renew. By now, Arsenal must have a strong indicator of where the land lies in each case.
And while they are individual cases, there has to be a general policy applied, be that not selling to Premier League clubs or accepting £15m less from an overseas club. All of them can strengthen other teams much to Arsenal’s detriment. We aren’t in a position where we can do that; we give enough gifts during a season as it is.
Anyway, the Lions won, there’s a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox and we are likely to sign the goalscorer we’ve been haranguing the club about for years. It’s not a bad start to the weekend, is it?