Arsène’s claim to be the inventor of breaking news of transfers in a ‘creative’ way gave us an insight into the man. Asking the press to turn up to meet a new player and then some of them doing just that, moves the dial on the wackiness amp to eleven. Have we ever tried to sign James Milner?
He’s bracing himself for a new round of contract talks with Granit Xhaka announcing his nuptials to the world. Congratulations to the happy couple but Arsène will have noticed that the midfielder is so strapped for cash that he couldn’t afford socks or trousers which were long enough for him.
Huss Fahmy has a busy few weeks ahead. Not that there’s anything more to do on the Alexis front; the Chilean press – apparently their equivalent of the Heil – claim he’s asked his friends, family and Chilean team-mates whether he should stay at Arsenal or go to Manchester City. Even those playing for other clubs who are interested in signing him think his destiny lies at the Etihad.
His ‘demands’ for £400k per week seem more designed to get Arsenal to walk away and sell him, than a genuine request. A sort of “well, if they’re mad enough to pay it” stance as a fall back position in case the club make him see out the final year of his contract.
It shifts focus onto cash as the reason for leaving, not the failure to win honours which was initially floated. It’s a winner for Arsenal in the PR war and knowing the storm which will follow, it’s a strong opening salvo. Amid all this, Mesut Özil quietly floats by, letting the Chilean take the flak while his own contract position remains unresolved. It’s a free pass.
And The State Of Play With Mesut’s Contract Is..?
The consensus is that the German will stay but there’s little evidence of that in the public domain. Maybe there is behind the scenes and let’s face it, that’s where it really matters. While everyone is resigned to Alexis leaving, I think there would be some surprise if Özil did.
He’s had a new driveway built or bought a £30m house – something like that – which meant everyone let him off the hook as far as his contract is concerned. I don’t blame him for trying to fleece every penny he can; most of us, if we lost the passion of the supporter, would do the same. However, he is doing no more or less than Alexis in this situation.
Let’s face it, the noise on Sanchez’s situation is unattributed sources in the media. While there is undoubtedly a large element of briefing – both sides in the negotiations do it – it’s easy to make up a story or two when no-one can disprove the unnamed source.
Should Özil go next summer, it’s huts, financially and in footballing terms. Losing one of your star players on a free transfer is careless but two? A damning indictment of the club on just about every level you can think of. It’s a terrible mess but Wenger took the same approach so expecting any different from players is futile.
The question is whether Arsenal should play hardball with Özil? Sign or we sell! There’s an element of cutting off your nose to spite your face with that stance but in the long-term, it’s better financially, offering some mitigation of the impact of Alexis walking. In a footballing sense, we’ll be hurt but Sanchez is more costly at the moment. However, a hatful of goals from Lacazette changes, or at the very least, diminishes that.
Lemar Is Per-fect Example
Reports this morning that the club has made a second bid in the expectation that it will be rejected. This is a player which the media claimed was worth €80m so we bid €45m. A lot of money but Monaco constantly struggled to meet financial rules; a shift in their business model doesn’t alter the fact that they are still heavily reliant upon player sales to turn even a small profit, much the same as us before the new broadcast revenues arrived.
The belief at Arsenal is that this will open a door for talks to begin. Lemar arriving feels like an exit door opening through which, logically it is assumed, Alexis will charge. But will it Özil instead?
Monaco offers a lesson for Arsenal to learn. Heavy investment in the academy as well as the scouting network reaped rewards and that’s something we have to emulate. The reshaping of the club’s coaching continued with the appointment of Per Mertesacker as the head of the academy. It’s the first time in living memory that the Arsenal captaincy hasn’t been a poisoned chalice. The BFG breaking that cycle is as fitting as it is welcomed.
The club has always used former players when it comes to coaching youngsters. Per in the senior role continues that but also brings a bit more club loyalty than an outsider can. Is it the first step into an Ajax-esque world? If we get more ‘club men’ in the boardroom, then it’s no bad thing.
Finally, a new playlist is set to land on Dad’s Jukebox, with Primal Scream’s influences the latest in the Jukebox Classics series. How do you want your rock served? With a roll or punked out…