The victory for Alexis Sanchez is complete. Arsenal, or more accurately, Arsène Wenger, refuses to sell him to a rival. If that’s the criteria, he’ll be joining Manchester City this summer.
The Heil reckons that he won’t be allowed to move to the north-west this summer unless we need the money to fund the purchase of Kylian Mbappe which, bizarrely, we’re being linked with doing yet again.
I wouldn’t get too excited about that prospect; it’s Steve Stammers making the claims and a more uber-positive journalist you couldn’t wish to find. Or is you wished you couldn’t find, I always get the mixed up.
Stammers claims Wenger spoke to Papa Mbappe – please let him have a sister called Nicole – in an attempt to persuade him that young Kylian might not be a first team regular at Real (possible but at £100m+ unlikely) but he would be at Arsenal (very true).
So, in Stammers’ world, we’re lodging a £125m bid for Mbappe and because we’re spending money like it’s going out of fashion in cash-strapped Monaco, offering £30m for Thomas Lemar as well.
You have to wonder if it wouldn’t be more efficient to purchase the club and rename it Arsenal ‘B’ team? There’s no danger of us meeting in the Champions League, is there?
And, of course, the name of Arsène Wenger will be revered. He is the man who can persuade the most expensive signing in the world to ignore the best club in the world (at the moment). He’s the man who persuaded the most expensive signing in the world to forgo Champions League football for Europa League football.
You wouldn’t put it past him doing it either. After all, Wenger persuaded the squad to forgo Champions League football for the Europa League.
One Suarez Does Not A Summer Make
Maybe I’m being harsh on Stammers this time but logic blows holes in the story. It sounds more like an attempt to put pressure on Lyon in the Lacazette negotiations. As if Aulas would fall for the oldest trick in the book.
There’s also a danger that this summer could collapse in on Arsenal. Don’t say it won’t happen because we’ve been here before. For Lacazette, read Higuain; for Mbappe, read Suarez. A £125m+£1 bid, anyone?
Around the money, there’s an interesting article in The Times this morning about escalating transfer fees here.
And while all the fuss surrounding Alexis creates a storm in a teacup, Mesut Özil sits pulling the petals off flowers, weeping softly, “They love me, they love me not…” Originally, I was going to create a malevolence about the German international by having him pulling the legs off spiders while weeping but he’s just too bloody nice.
Contract rebellion is the new black at Arsenal these days with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the latest to refuse the initial offering from the club. Money is not his primary motivation according to The Times; Ox is more concerned about where he fits into the team. At the tail-end of last season, on either flank was the answer.
Hector Bellerin, taken out of the firing line after Selhurst Park, saw a rejuvenated Ox emerge as genuine competition for the right wing back role yet he gained a cup winners medal with an excellent performance on the left. The latter road is closed with Sead Kolasinac signing so what now for the England international?
All I Want For Christmas Is 90 Minutes
Wenger observed Ox must learn before competing for his preferred central midfield role yet there’s no sign of him usurping Aaron Ramsey from that role, nor would I necessarily place him ahead of a fit Santi Cazorla.
While I sympathise with Ox’s desire to be a regular in the starting line-up, he faces the same problem at every club if he is determined to play centrally. His versatility is a cross to bear and while young, his pace marks him out for the flanks. A central midfield berth is the hardest to nail down, particularly at Arsenal.
According to the article, Ox is “cautious regarding promises about a starting role” at the club. I can’t say I blame him. One of Wenger’s strength is saying what people want to hear but after a while, failing to deliver is biting him on the backside.
Ox, like Jack Wilshere, contributes to his situation with past performances and fitness issues but in the past two seasons, it’s hard to argue he doesn’t deserve more match time.
It would be no surprise to see him see out his contract and judge how he’s been treated this coming season. However, if he is cautious, he’ll talk to Theo Walcott. His England colleague – or former England colleague – knows all about the contradiction between what is said in contract negotiations and the reality afterwards. Central striking role? You’re having a laugh.
There’s no quick and easy answer for Ox. Hector Bellerin is the first-choice right wing back. If we move to a flat back four, Ox stands a better shot in right midfield. But that leaves us defensively vulnerable as the first quarter of this year proved.
I’m A Squad Player, Get Me Outta Here!
Elsewhere, the club is desperate to entice Watford back to the negotiating table. Reducing the fee for Kieran Gibbs to £8m is a step in the right direction.
French media reports of a €28m Marseille bid for Olivier Giroud create a quandary. He’s not a starter but a useful Plan C. Welbz is Plan B while Lacazette/Mbappe, A. €28m for a 30-year-old player is a good return and one the club will find hard to reject.
That’s it for today. Just a reminder that Dad’s Jukebox is taking you back to 2002 in all it’s unabashed glory.