Joe Strummer and Mick Jones nailed it: this indecision’s bugging me. To be honest, melodramas with prima donna footballers tire me. There’s humour to be found in most situations but when they drag on and on and on and on and on and on…
We lurch from one crisis to another, with mismanagement that is the trademark of Arsenal Football Club; the Arsenal Way 2.0, if you like. I believe the whole situation could be resolved quickly if there were willingness on the part of both club and player to do so: a quick shout of, “1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a thumb war!!”, and it’s a winner takes all, best of three contract decider.
Knowing Arsenal, we’d become embroiled in six months of negotiations about the rules.
This morning sees contradictory rumours about his future. The Mirror, as is usual, doesn’t know whether it’s coming or going with someone called “Football Spy” claiming we won’t sell while the equally unreliable Steve Stammers asserts we will for £80m.
That’s a fee which, for me, shifts the ground. It’s the sort of money which allows us to sign a replacement and kick on without him. Lacazette is being pushed as that; well, that means we haven’t strengthened our squad so what the hell have the club been doing? The squad leaves for Australia soon and we can guarantee that there are no new signings until they come back.
I don’t subscribe to the view Lacazette is replacing Alexis, before you ask. I think he is the striker we’ve been craving for sometime. Lemar, on the other hand, is most definitely Alexis’ heir. Reports that we’re hopeful of getting a deal done remain speculation at present. We’ll see how ill-informed it is by the time the window closes.
Wishing On A Star
Martin Keown’s view suggests that the close bond never formed with Sanchez on Wenger’s part. Certainly, last season’s public criticism of the player supports that view. It lends itself to playing hardball with the Chilean and Team Alexis:
Sanchez will be the one now which everyone talks about – and let’s see how Arsene Wenger handles that. He [Wenger] has his contract [extension], and I don’t think Wenger will be in any rush, he will want to keep the player.
The question is whether Alexis wants to stay. The absence of any public affirmation of love for club is widely interpreted as a lack of attachment. I don’t think he is a player who gets attached to the clubs; he loves Chile and his pueblo but a career which has needed him to fight to the top lacks room for sentiment.
I’d agree with Keown that he won’t “go on strike”, mainly because he can’t sit still for five minutes. However, Keown’s belief that Wenger is thinking of leaving in two years has to be challenged. Right now, I don’t think that’s entered into his thinking for the same reason he renewed; he believes in himself and has nothing else in life but football. Unless he can set himself as a director of a football club somewhere, he’s not going to willingly leave Arsenal.
That’s not the issue here. £80m, in my view, is the best fee we’re likely to receive for Alexis and should not be rejected. Sanchez is a fabulous player but unless he is committed to the club, we need to be taking that money and investing in the squad.
I believe he will be staying unless we land a replacement. Mahrez is a squad-level solution, perhaps with Lemar as the latter adjusts to the pace of English football?
Ö-zil, What Can The Matter Be?
Which brings us to others aboard the good ship Lolly’s Popped. Mesut Özil’s free pass, to my irritation I confess, continues. I can’t remember the last time his commitment to Arsenal was questioned yet he is in the same boat. Silence is not golden, mein herr. When you think the shabby rolling contracts we offered Dennis Bergkamp toward the end of his career and his acceptance, this stand-off has some sort of karmic feeling about it.
But I can guarantee that this pair won’t be held in anything like the same esteem when their playing days are over. The same stain which blots Cesc and Van Persie’s copybook is flying through looking for a new resting place.
What an absolute clusterf*ck Arsenal’s contract situation is. Huss Fahmy was brought on board to “help” with that; good luck, Hoss, you’re going to need it.
Finally, there’s a stonking playlist at Dad’s Jukebox with the songs Primal Scream covered; a wide variety of ballsy tunes to blast into the airwaves.