On Bad Boys, Bad Wages and Other Transfer Talk

So, the squad is off to Oz. Let’s hope it all goes a lot better than the last tour down under. John Spurling’s excellent, Rebels for the Cause, covers off the drinking which led to Malcolm MacDonald and Alan Hudson being sent home early. The Canberra Times reported on the interview, with Terry Neill answering questions on the incident with a straight bat.

His reluctance to talk ended when he got home. Just as MacDonald and Hudson sold their tale to the tabloids, so too did Neill. Interestingly, there’s no mention of George Armstrong, who (apparently) begged to be sent home. Terry Neill decided to punish him by making him stay with the tour party.

I’m sure that the professional athletes in our squad today, will not indulge in those antics – and others which I can’t tell of – and the most telling about the trip is those who haven’t made the trip. Wojciech Szczesny is still heavily linked with Juventus but at the moment, the Italians are trying to do a deal on the cheap. Arsenal are having none of it, and certainly not for the €9m being touted.

Others such as Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy, are, well, what are they doing. Interest in Gibbs from Watford waned at his wage demands and there’s been pressure little interest in the other two, publicly at least. Meanwhile, Lucas Perez remains on the verge of a return to Spain.

While his inclusion in the tour party means nothing in the context of the season, it’s interesting that David Ospina travelled. The Colombian is frequently linked with moves to Turkey but nothing has come of them thus far. Is he staying at the club which puts the notion of Emi Martinez as the back-up goalkeeper on the backburner.

HEADS

Joel Campbell is another skirting under the radar. Away with Costa Rica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he is one of the eleven whose contracts expire next summer, and another whose future lies away from the Emirates.

There are too many of these ‘characters’ in the squad. Arsenal’s ability to move these on will impact on complying with PL wage regulations. It’s not only about Sanchez and Özil, but Ox and Ramsey, whose Mr20%‘s are in talks with the club. It’s the same for most clubs. Only a £7m increase in wages is permitted unless other revenue streams, excluding tv deals, rise. Dropping into the Europa League will hit us hard with our non-broadcast revenues surely falling, unless we have some big deals in the pipeline.

United shifted Rooney on a free to release his wage spend for others. We need to look at doing the same with some of ours. Those are ‘dead’ wages as far as we’re concerned, and if that doesn’t focus minds of the Transfer Window Action Team, nothing will.

Wednesday sees the point of no return passed with the abysmal away kits launched in Sydney. It’s almost as if Puma decided to test everyone’s patience and entice Arsenal into breaking the contract. I wonder what penalties we’re suffering on that with respect to not being in the Champions League?

In other news, no-one is signing this week nor is anyone on the tour leaving before we get to China. Not yet, anyway. Everton still want Giroud, with £75m burning a hole in their pockets; that’s if you believe what you read in the papers…

Anyway, that’s it for today save to remind of the stonking playlist over at Dad’s Jukebox.

’til Tomorrow.

 

85 thoughts on “On Bad Boys, Bad Wages and Other Transfer Talk

  1. Sounds like the club has been lax in managing the players/wage constraints and did loans when a few sales were needed.

  2. I am not sure how well the previous tour you mentioned registered with me at the time – I’ll plead youth and a lack of internet connection (!)and interesting to read and reflect on changing cultures in the game.

    I’m still ‘keen’ to see some players moved on – Debuchy, Campbell, and would agree that maybe we need to follow Utds rumoured approach – letting Rooney go on a free and subsidising the wages at the new club….Others like Gibbs, Walcott and Giroud and maybe Wilshere should bring is cash and/or be subsidised but for a variety of reasons (theirs or ours) should go…

  3. Perhaps if we sell Alexis to City, we should do so only on condition they take a couple of players with him! You can have Sanchez for 70m but only if you take Debuchy and Gibbs as well!

  4. I believe it’s more likely that Arsenal prefer not to sell Alexis to City, rather than they won’t. Should PSG, Bayern or whoever else not make a bid he’ll end up moving north as the club aren’t prepared to take the hit & lose the fee.
    The mess the club have made over contract renewals is plainly ridiculous but we’ll now see just how sought after some of our pampered princes really are.

  5. When I saw the official PR blurb concerning who was ‘dropped’ for the Far East Tour I was deflated.

    Peripheral players (Gibbs, Debuchy and Jenkinson)) who aren’t featured and two (Szczesny and Perez) who are already isolated.

    Let’s throw in Campbell (leaving my personal opinion on three out of the discussion) and that makes six players about whom there is little or no argument should no longer be on our books (for valid or invalid reasons).

    Six players which someone (anyone?) should have been working their butt off from seasons end, to ensure they were taken by a club for anything equating to a fair price, a ‘good enough” deal.

    That’s just for starters.

    We have a number of first team regulars and irregulars with contracts issues. We have a few perma-crocked and a handful of players who at least appear to have generated some interest from other clubs.

    A number of posters here and elsewhere are enthused concerning the potential this window has thrown up. It’s been a rational, measured dialogue, tempered with the idea we need to take a clear direction with outgoing players as well as incoming.

    The idea our ‘activity’ might start to peter out is really unsettling.

  6. Thanks again Yogi.

    Of the ones that were left Sczcesny being allowed to leave is the biggest mistake of them all. Its strange that Manure were able to move Rooney but we can’t get rid of Debuchy, Jenks and Gibbs.

    I also thought it was interesting that Perez is quite popular in La Liga and is wanted by several clubs. Giroud, well I would send him off if Marseille are really offering 20-25m. I know some have said 50m is good value for Sanchez given he could potentially walk for free next summer; well wouldn’t 25m plus his wages off the books be good value for a 30 year old back-up striker who is probably making quite a lot of money who will presumably be CF3 good value?

  7. DFS-,

    No need to feel unsettled, there’s ages to go before the transfer window slams shut, plenty of time for Wenger’s annual trolley dash.

    Do it the British way, keep calm and carry on! 😎

  8. C,

    I agree that the Rooney move is a bit strange, it’s been clear for the last two seasons that his time as a starting player for Man U was at an end and with the appointment of Moaniho the exit door beckoned. No doubt Everton will make a small fortune flogging Rooney shirts but I can’t see him making much of an impact for the club on the pitch.

  9. It does seem that the only way to move certain unwanted players is to let them go on free transfers. This will at least get their wages off the books.

    I suspect that we will keep one of either Jenkinson or Debuchy, probably the former, as cover at right back particularly as there seems to be some unwelcome interest from Barcelona in Bellerin.

    Does anyone know if we have a good young right back on the books?

  10. Still no squad number for Lacazette. Waiting for Perez to vacate the number nine shirt? I do hope the kit man has a big felt tip pen so he can quickly scrawl a number on a shirt for our record (to date) signing.

  11. Good to see some of the youth in the squad, worth noting them for those that know nothing about them:

    Bramall – too raw to make an impact in the next 2 seasons but blistering pace and has made quite the improvement at LB but still a long ways to go.

    Bielik – This boy is special, came to us as a bossing DM but has slowly developed into a DM that is just as comfortable playing CB. Last season on loan he was raved about and the supporters questioned why he wasn’t starting given the impact he made defensively. Will probably go on loan this season but I think he will come good and we could see him take over the CB4 after next summer.

    Mailand-NIles – Think he will go on loan but anybody who has seen him in his senior appearances knows what your getting with him: really good reader of the game from that DM/CM position, excellent range of passing, a bit small but makes up for it with being wiry strong, quick feet in midfield and rarely if ever losses the ball no matter the level he is playing at. I could see him going on loan this season with an eye on him being a regular in the match day squad after next summer for Le Coq (I would stick my neck out on the line and say I would prefer Maitland-NIles this season but don’t see Arsene doing that).

    Donyell Malen – Came to from Ajax (who fought hard to keep him) and the forward hasn’t disappointed. Quick, strong, technically really good with quick feet, lethal and a joy to watch. Capable of playing as a CF, winger or #10; he just knows how to play and doesn’t rely on just his pace and quickness but really strong in shielding and when he is on the ball, able to make that yard of space that he needs to do what he wants to do. Only 18 so I’m thinking either a loan move to the Championship or playing in the U23’s next season.

    Reis Nelson – Primarily a RW but capable of playing LW or as a #10, his best attribute for me is that at 18 he plays with a maturity and confidence that is beyond with age and that isn’t taking anything away from his immense talent that he has flashed for both Arsenal and England. Good with both feet, he isn’t just pure pace but physically he is really well built and strong but brings that technical attacking flair you expect to see in an Arsenal winger coming through. The other thing is that as a winger he not only creates but scores goals. He will stay and play in the U23’s this season but I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name pop up along with Malen in the CC.

    Eddie Nketiah – A striker who is only 18 years old, he is interesting because he is both target man or capable of playing on the shoulder. Really confident with the ball at his feet and has impressed thus far with his eye for goal. He will be playing as our #9 in the U23’s at Arsenal and while he might be 2 year away from even being considered just because of how raw he is. The unique thing about him is that he is the rare young attacker that is quite strong and does the defensive work tirelessly.

    Joe Willock – He is really similiar to his brother, Chris who just joined Benifca, winger / midfielder who is equally as capable on the flanks. Good range of passing but his strength is in his dribbling and decision making in the Final 3rd. While Chris has the rare pace that literally over 5 yards he will easily seperate from you, Joe has plenty of pace but matches it with more power.

    Of the ones coming, Bielik and Maitland-Niles are the ones I think will be off on loan next season while the others will surely be playing in the U23’s.

  12. Orson Kaert,

    Yea its strange but I wonder how Koeman will use him. With Barkley seemingly done at Everton, I could see Koeman allowing Rooney to play in that position behind the striker Sandro with Schneiderlin and Gueye but then it doesn’t explain why he bought Davy Klaassen then. I actually think Koeman will use Sandro and Rooney together up top and allow Rooney to sort of float around. The thing with Rooney is that at 31 you would think he still has 2-3 years left at a club like Everton but you just don’t know about his fitness and how motivated he is.

    Koeman is a ruthless manager, just ask Barkley who he gave an ultimatum to sign and now Koeman has brought in Davy Klaassen and Rooney, I don’t think Koeman is the type to make this deal without being confident of getting something out of Rooney.

  13. C:
    Good to see some of the youth in the squad, worth noting them for those that know nothing about them:

    Bramall – too raw to make an impact in the next 2 seasons but blistering pace and has made quite the improvement at LB but still a long ways to go.

    Bielik – This boy is special, came to us as a bossing DM but has slowly developed into a DM that is just as comfortable playing CB. Last season on loan he was raved about and the supporters questioned why he wasn’t starting given the impact he made defensively. Will probably go on loan this season but I think he will come good and we could see him take over the CB4 after next summer.

    Mailand-NIles – Think he will go on loan but anybody who has seen him in his senior appearances knows what your getting with him: really good reader of the game from that DM/CM position, excellent range of passing, a bit small but makes up for it with being wiry strong, quick feet in midfield and rarely if ever losses the ball no matter the level he is playing at. I could see him going on loan this season with an eye on him being a regular in the match day squad after next summer for Le Coq (I would stick my neck out on the line and say I would prefer Maitland-NIles this season but don’t see Arsene doing that).

    Donyell Malen – Came to from Ajax (who fought hard to keep him) and the forward hasn’t disappointed.Quick, strong, technically really good with quick feet, lethal and a joy to watch.Capable of playing as a CF, winger or #10; he just knows how to play and doesn’t rely on just his pace and quickness but really strong in shielding and when he is on the ball, able to make that yard of space that he needs to do what he wants to do.Only 18 so I’m thinking either a loan move to the Championship or playing in the U23’s next season.

    Reis Nelson – Primarily a RW but capable of playing LW or as a #10, his best attribute for me is that at 18 he plays with a maturity and confidence that is beyond with age and that isn’t taking anything away from his immense talent that he has flashed for both Arsenal and England.Good with both feet, he isn’t just pure pace but physically he is really well built and strong but brings that technical attacking flair you expect to see in an Arsenal winger coming through. The other thing is that as a winger he not only creates but scores goals. He will stay and play in the U23’s this season but I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name pop up along with Malen in the CC.

    Eddie Nketiah – A striker who is only 18 years old, he is interesting because he is both target man or capable of playing on the shoulder. Really confident with the ball at his feet and has impressed thus far with his eye for goal. He will be playing as our #9 in the U23’s at Arsenal and while he might be 2 year away from even being considered just because of how raw he is. The unique thing about him is that he is the rare young attacker that is quite strong and does the defensive work tirelessly.

    Joe Willock – He is really similiar to his brother, Chris who just joined Benifca, winger / midfielder who is equally as capable on the flanks. Good range of passing but his strength is in his dribbling and decision making in the Final 3rd. While Chris has the rare pace that literally over 5 yards he will easily seperate from you, Joe has plenty of pace but matches it with more power.

    Of the ones coming, Bielik and Maitland-Niles are the ones I think will be off on loan next season while the others will surely be playing in the U23’s.

    Thanks, good read.

  14. Orson Kaert,

    Perhaps we should pay up Santi’s contract now to avoid the ridiculous situation we get into where we keep thinking he will be fit at some point and then he has a set back. It seems unlikely that Santi will ever play for Arsenal again, so why not give him the chance to recuperate properly away from the game rather than chasing some fantasy date at which he is expected to return?

  15. Orson Kaert,

    ” Plenty of time for Wenger’s annual trolly dash….”

    Ha! That’s as maybe.

    The problem being I underlined the outgoing, not the incoming and to date there does not appear a single concrete deal in place. As YW and others have pointed out, this is not opinion, we now need to shrink our squad to comply.

    Rooney at Everton?

    The first time I hear of the possibity I thought it a mistake. Rooney’s decline has been precipitous (not saying he won’t ever score a great goal again) but his recent tenure seems to be driven by a half-baked establishment notion he is somehow owed or entitled.

    All well and good at United- Everton is another matter.

    There are obvious reason for many here to follow with interest the attempt to progress Everton to be rival contenders. After all the good work, to pander to Rooney, who inevitabley will suck the oxygen out of the room seems like a ludicrous step backwards.

    I can’t believe the collective heads at Everton thought this a good idea.

  16. Another very interesting follow is Barca’s chase for Paulinho. Now I know most remember him as the player that flopped at Spuds but fail to remember his injury and then falling out. Its interesting that Barca want him as he has re-found form in China but also for the Basilian national team.

  17. Great post yogi

    I was in the mountains camping and out of internet range. I have not even had a chance to catch up. Great news about Lacezzette. We have needed a CF upgrade for 4 years and its about time Arsene did something positive with regards to arguably the single most influential position on the pitch. Since RVP left he has bought tried Gervinho at CF and bought Giroud, Podolski, Sanogo and Welbeck and of that incredibly uninspiring group Giroud has been the best of the bunch and everyone dislikes him. We have brought Chamack, Giroud, Gervinho and Sanogo from France in this decade and not one has come even close to matching the expected level of production. Hopefully Lacazette will be different.

  18. Is Bakayoko about to sign for Manure, well it certainly looks like it as reports say a fee has been agreed. How pissed would Conte be if Chelsea were favorites for BOTH Bakayoko and Lukuka and deals for them looked to be finalizing ONLY for Mourinho and Manure to step in and sign both players.

    If this does happen, I could most certainly see Conte telling Chelsea to fuck off he’s leaving.

  19. If we need to really need to dump wages then we should definitely sell Wojo. If he is really that good then why does not anyone want him? Roma will need a GK and supposedly they loved him but they are not interesting. Apparantly his wages are to high for Roma. We don’t need to be spending world class wages on someone who will probably end up as a back up GK at least for a couple seasons. The only other players who seem to have any interest right now are Giroud and Perez and we could certainly sell either of them. Based on what he did last season, I think Giroud would be an excellent impact sub but if we need to dump wages and someone is interested we can do without him and we can certainly do without Perez. Joel Campbell can fill that spot on the roster.

  20. Again if we really have a wage issue then we have to consider the utter stupidity it would be to give Ozil the ultra high dollar long term contract that he wants. He already seems to be in the declining part of his career arc. What a mistake it would be to have that contract on our books next year and it will look even worse in 2-3 years when he is even less motivated then he is now.

  21. C

    Thanks for the update. What about Jeff? What are the real odds that any of those players ever becomes a part of the regular first team rotation for Arsenal?

  22. Bill,

    Juve are chasing Sczcesny, that’s a pretty good team.

    Of the players that could become part of the regular, my money would probably be on Maitland-Niles and Bielik. Maitland-Niles could easily replace Le Coq next summer as back-up to Xhaka in that DM role but do so more in the Le Coq role minus the limitations. Bielik could easily step in our CB situation especially with Kos’ achilles and age catching up to him. With our CB situation looking likely to be Mustafi, Holding, Gabriel, Chambers next summer; I could see Bielik (depending on his loan spell this season and if its successful) battling for mins in the Cups and given our injury history, could see mins. Malen, Nelson and Nketiah shouldn’t even be considered for 3-4 years unless they develop faster as all are only just turned 18 this year and still so raw. Bramall, well with the signing of Sead, he will essentially be a LB2 and hopefully he develops more than Gibbs has.

  23. The problem that seems to be Arsenal’s wage structure is a continuation of the issues that we have had since the early Emirates era when Arsene introduced the socialistic wage structure that was such a mess. Its another example of why their should be a director of football who handles that part of the football operation. Arsene’s refusal to consider working with a director of football just demonstrates how much important having control of the club is to him. How can Arsene possibly manage daily training sessions and do all of the things that a field manager needs to do an yet still have time to do a good job of managing transfers and player wages and everything else he does. There are only 24 hours in every day and even Arsene has to sleep occasionally.

  24. C

    Juve only seem to be interested in Wojo if they can get him on the cheap and with Buffon’s age they seem to need him more then we do. It does not make sense that no one else is interested. The only explanation is that the rest of the world does not rate him as highly as we do or his wages are out of touch with reality. If the latter is true then it is another example of how poorly Arsene has managed the clubs wages.

  25. Orson,

    With regard to your question re upcoming right backs, there is a promising youth talent called Tafari Moore, who has a chance of being very useful. Of course if we keep him, Chambers was a right back before we got our hands on him – but I will eat another 32 oz prime steak if Debuchy or Cpl Jenkinson are still at Arsenal when the window slams shut.

    Oddly enough, altho he seems keen to leave us, the Ox played well in the right back/winger role in Belli Buttons absence injured last season.

    So some good options available.

  26. The wage crunch is a function of two things: 1) handing out repeated long term wage increasing deals to players who are not fit often and haven’t developed enough to start regularly even when fit, especially the British core, and failing to sell them when this was apparent and they still had value/2+ years on their contracts; 2) failure to increase commercial revenues at a rate similar to our rivals (a function of a weak, perhaps uncreative team and the inherent limitation of trying to promote consistent participation rather than genuine sporting success to kit suppliers, sponsors and potential commercial partners.)

    That’s AW and the club hierarchy underperforming, miscalculating, and the high costs of opportunities lost due to a lack of ambition and vision in both sporting and business terms. That’s how I see it. New strategies need to be developed and if we cannot sell well we have to cut loose players by paying off contracts with creative accounting to reduce the wage bill.

    Were we busy in the Spring figuring this out? Something a director of football could certainly have been working hard on… Another cost of the AW contract saga?

  27. Hi C,

    Loved your list namin’ and explainin’ some of the talent coming thru – altho after seeing that Akpom, Toral, Crowley and Zelalem seem likely to be let go – nothing is guaranteed in football today – and no contract offered to Gnabry either, and yet, he is making a name for himself in Deutscheland.

    I wonder if the Willock family are just using Arsenal for coaching stepping stones before taking off to pastures new, as two of the three brother we had have done. Good players all of them – but not worth giving new contract to the first two, it seems.

  28. Bill,

    Juve are the team that’s chasing him but they also have been known to get deals like this done for the price closer to what they want then what the seller wants and has done so since their return to Serie A after the scandal. There is another part of this whole situation that hasn’t been discussed and that was the fact that they JUST sold Neto (Buffon’s back-up) which is the extra cash they have been looking for in-order to offer more cash. I’m not sure about his wages but I doubt that they are out of touch; with the rest of the world, well you have to take a realistic look at the clubs that would be chasing him and none of them need a GK because they all have GK’s that are about his age and in his realm of talent so maybe its not as much as the rest of the world don’t want him as much as they already have GK’s. I’m not sold on just handing Cech the #1 shirt next season personally and none of the other options fill me with overwhelming confidence.

    At the end of the day for me it comes down to this: Juve are chasing our GK who is still 2 years from when most GK’s enter their prime and have sold their current back-up to fund the move and haven’t chased any other GK. Add to that he was the 2nd rated GK in Italy the past 2 seasons and I know most Arsenal supporters are still mad at him for smoking in the shower; but lets look at the player and the man in the present and over his past 2 seasons of developing as opposed to what he did when he was 20-24 years old. I mean if that is the case than for those that want Aubameyang: he was told and fined I think 3 separate times at least over 2 or 3 years(most recently at the end of this season against Schalke) for putting on a Spiderman and Batman mask during a match after scoring a goal.

  29. HenryB,

    I saw the rumors of Zelalem being let go, I would actually be ashamed if they were to let him go now as he has just had surgery on his knee after tearing his ACL in May. Crowley, for all his talents, seemed to enjoy the life off the pitch more than on it and even for a youth was terribly inconsistent. Toral, well you know how I feel about him and I think if we were to let him go, I could see him going back to Spain and having a long career for a side like Valencia or Sevilla. Akpom, he was never able to come close to it; I know people will compare him to Afobe but the big difference for me is that Afobe suffered because of injury while Akpom has suffered from simply not translating. Real shame though and you’re right, tough to guarantee anything especially when you look not only at Gnabry but then a player like Özyakup who wasn’t thought of to be good enough for Arsenal but now is a center part for both club and country and has been linked with moves to some major club in Europe.

    The more and more you follow the Willock family and their dealings with Arsenal, it surely does look like that. Shame really because the first two were certainly not afraid to make the leap from Arsenal to another major player in Europe.

  30. HenryB,

    With overtures from Liverpuddle pending I can’t see the Ox being around next season, as a wing back in the fag-end of last season he was adequate but I don’t see him as a regular in that position, or any other for that matter.

  31. Incredible to think that Crocodile Dundee was released thirty-one year’s ago. Not a bad film made better by the inclusion of the tasty Linda Kozwalski.

  32. Debuchy looks like he is heading out on a free this summer. Somewhat unlucky with his injury nearly at the start of his Arsenal career – but events have thrown up Bellerin who matured rapidly, so no way back for him.

  33. SKy is reporting that Conte and Costa have had a massive falling out and there is literally no way back for Costa. They latest rumor has Athletico in for him with Costa going on loan for half a season.

  34. C,

    Oddly enough, we were linked quite strongly with a bid to bring Özyakup back to Arsenal.

    It was probably either his agent or the press making more of it than necessary, and it has all gone quiet again. If he returned to the Arsenal it would be a bit Pogba-esque, tho not for the same sort of transfer fee, thankfully. I guess all clubs make similar mistakes from time to time.

  35. HenryB,

    Yea we were linked with him quite a few times as were a number of other clubs. Besiktas also have said clubs were in for him.

    It would be interesting as he has become quite a player (he played really well against us in the CL).

  36. I agree with C. Of all the players one their final year, I think WS has the best chance to help Arsenal. While a GK isn’t my highest priority, I think if Ospina wants to leave, we would improve by bringing back WS to compete with Cech whom I wouldn’t hand the starting position until he out performs WS in pre-season training. plus he is a homegrown player which helps. Perhaps his wages are too high. I’d rather cut Debuchy, Gibbs, JW, Ospina, Jenks, Campbell wages than WS.

  37. LSG,

    I am notat all convinced that Chezzer’s seemingly imminent departure is down to playing talent, he is a good GK but seems to have blotted his copy book somehow.

    We all know about his fag in the shower – quite a good trick if you ask me – but it seems a pretty lame reason if that is all it is. It’s an oddity really – and I will be sorry to see him go as he was definitely a Gooner and was good for a laugh with his trolling of the Spuds.

  38. Limestonegunner,

    Exactly, even if Szczesny is going to be a back-up, why not let him battle with Cech for the #1 shirt and worst case scenario Cech (for all those that adore him 😉 ) is GK2. I think there is no reason at all to have Debuchy, Gibbs, Jack, Ospina, Jenks or even Campbell in the squad. All are replaceable:

    Debuchy and Jenks – Gabriel has shown he is much better defensively than both players at RB and while he might not offer that much going forward he gives us defensively solidarity. We also have Mustafi who can play RB (as he does for Germany) as well as Chambers in certain situations.

    Gibbs – Sead and Nacho, enough said.

    Jack – Isn’t this his final season or 2nd to last plus his fitness issues.

    Ospina – Szczesny is better

  39. Speaking of odd decisions – we were linked big time with Dick van Dyke, or was it Virgil van Dijk when Celtic wanted to off-load him, and a fee around the £10m mark was mooted, but eventually S/Hampton bought him for a mere £13m.

    If rumours are to be believed, the decision by Per to run his career down and take an administrative job at Arsenal in 2018, means we are looking for a new CH, and as Southampton have put the black spot on Klopp for trying to poach him, we only have to compete with Chelsea and Man Citeh for his signature and erm £70m — OK, so on to the next rumour – that one is not going to fly.

  40. Limestone

    Perhaps you are right about Wojo. However, if Roma cant afford his wages then it does not make a lot of sense for us to have 2 GK on world class wages and I don’t see Cech leaving for a couple of years.

    I agree about the director of football. Arsene might actually be a better field manager if he was able to concentrate on that part of his job instead of having to divide his time with extricating the club from whatever wage morass he has gotten us into.

  41. Henry

    Almost none of the heavily hyped players that have gone away over the last 13 years has ever made much of a name for themselves even in smaller leagues or in lower table team in England. You have to conclude that it has nothing to do with being at Arsenal because you would expect at least a few of them to thrive when they move on. Gnabry seems to be an exception to what has been a very easily predictable pattern. At some point we just have to accept that we greatly over rate our players as they move thru the ranks.

  42. C,

    Athletico Madrid are subject to a transfer ban, which I believe includes loanees, so Costa can’t play for them until January, I still think we should offer to take him on a six month loan and offer to pay half his wages with Athletico paying the other half until he moves to them permanently when their ban is completed.

  43. Limestone

    I think the biggest reason we have not been able to increase our commercial revenue is related to the fact that we have not won or competed for a major trophy since 2008. By far the biggest news that comes out of Arsenal in this decade has been the should Arsene stay or should he go. That is not really the positive sort of news that makes us attractive to companies that pay huge money for commercial contracts.

  44. Bill,

    That’s a good point, Bill, but there have been a couple of players who spring to mind — Ashley Cole was an Arsenal kid who despite being disliked by many, was for a time the best left back in Europe.

    Then there was Anelka — and Cesc — and Andy Cole — and Adebayor — and then I am struggling. 😀

  45. Our strategy with our youth academy has been disjointed which is another issue with Arsene. We have produced dozens and dozens of players who are heavily hyped but we not built any of our own impact players since Fabregas. The best we have been able to do is build players like Gibbs who hang around the fringes of the squad for years and then we can’t sell them because they are not productive enough to justify the high wages we give them. We let players like Gnabry or Toral get away for free when we could have at least gotten a bit of money for them. We should have sold Afobe and Akron when they were highly still highly hyped. We should have sold a player like Wilshere and Gibbs years ago when they were worth some money but Arsene over rated them and did not have the stomach to do that.

  46. The performance demands of the league and fans overbearing calls for new signings are not virtues that characterises the patience needed for academy products and youngsters to develop and come through.
    Arsenal is one club that offers that opportunity, and Wenger has always been true to that.

    Fans may complain about released youngsters doing well elsewhere, like was noted with Gnabry and Ozyakup here, but the question is are you willing to give them that opportunity to make the mistakes that comes with the development package?

    Gazidis noted in his interview that the youth culture has hurt the club at times but they would still press on with it.

    Two things looks to be mutually exclusive…..buying players and feeding the first team with academy products. To be a top club, it’s either of the two. However, occasionally it works out that a few products make it and become a mainstay the first team.

    Finding a blend often mean that only a handle of youngsters will come through. If we really want the Toral, Crowley, Zelalem, Willock, Nketiah etc to make it at the club, we must be ready to get hurt as Ivan noted.

  47. C:
    HenryB,

    I’m sure Chelsea are out of the running given they just signed Rudiger from Roma.

    You are probably right, oh transfer master — but you never know — if we are even after him — the Chavs might buy him to spite us. Paranoid? Moi? Bien sûr. Of course. 🙂

  48. Bill,

    By contrast to your earlier comment — this isn’t quite right.

    Wilshere and Gibbs have both been chronically injured far too often, but both had it in them to become very good indeed, and AW did not release either of them for two obvious reasons.

    First, it is easy with hindsight to say they were ‘always’ getting injured, but at the time the hope must have been that both would recover and move on to greater things, and that would benefit Arsenal. Time has shown that was not to be.

    Secondly, because of that self same injury record, no other club would buy them for decent money because the risk of doing so would be too high.

    I do not wish to be rude, but too many fans are masterful in their condemnation after the event.

    Me, too, sometimes, sadly.

  49. HenryB,

    I agree and have speculated that there was something personal: personality and attitudinal that doesn’t jibe with AW.

  50. Oludotun,

    I have often suggested that to break into the ‘big time’ in terms of sponsorship deals to increase our revenue streams we would need to land one of the big prizes of the EPL or the CL.

    So I completely agree with you.

    Unfortunately we have not quite achieved that level, but the idea of recruiting, coaching and taking a chance with youth players has already been done by one of the most avaricious clubs in any league – Man Utd.

    They were pretty much a nothing club back in the 80s and 90s, but suddenly let loose Beckham, Scholes, etc nicely combined with some top buys in key positions, and despite even respected (?) pundits saying you can’t win anything with kids — they did — and that club went from very ordinary to being top earners, as they switched to investing heavily in top, top players.

    Maybe it is not to late for us to do that too — tho the Arsenal fans would not have the patience after such a long time, in comparative terms, not supping off the top table.

    We now have to compete by matching money with the other top English and Continental clubs for the best talent , and I suspect we will continue to lose out against them.

  51. You will be disappointed, C, to learn that Celtic are prepared to sell Dembele – to Marseille.

    Bum.

  52. HenryB,

    I saw that adn didn’t want to make mention of it because of how disappointed I am.

    I would easily sell Giroud and Theo to fund a move for Dembele.

  53. I notice that Lacazette is listed as 5′ 9″.
    If Giroud is replaced by Lacazette in the forward line does that create a situation where Welbeck will play more inside to take advantage of highballs and the 3-4-3 functions more like a 3-5-2? Or will we play some other scheme to compensate for the loss of a big CF? I know Giroud was becoming a plan B but it was a very useful plan B.

    Does this also mean less big men in the defense when we are under pressure?

    How does playing Lacazette instead of Giroud affect the midfield?

    I’m not a football coach. Just interested in the changes in game strategy and tactics with a new and much different player.

    Also if Ox leaves doesn’t it make sense to keep Campbell?

    And is Jon Toral going to be sold or loaned with the expectoration of a permanent deal? I would have liked to see him given an opportunity in the PL.

  54. We sem to be accumulating a fine collection of deadwood once again…years ago we had a rather large collection of immovable salaries: Bendtner, Arshavin, Squillacci, Podolski, Eboue, Vela and others. People here seemed to inflate their transfer value but we were never going to get those values because the lesser clubs they were to be sent to obviously couldn’t assume their inflated Arsenal salaries.
    Those deadwood days are back!
    Mark my words…Sanchez will go to the highest bidder even if it be it Citeh or Chelsea. Stan is not a fan of the game so selling to a rival means nothing to him. He won’t forgo a few million pounds in transfer fees to accept a smaller offer from a team outside of the PL. Wenger may be the one negotiating the sale but he knows what Stan feels and Wenger is loyal employee.
    Ozil? I suspect he isn’t going anywhere. My guess is he knows he can command a higher salary if he leaves on a Bosman next year. His new club won’t have to pay a transfer fee and can use more money towards his salary. I think he’ll take the risk of playing out his current salary or signing a new ridiculously exorbitant one with us. it is a World Cup year so after a few subpar years he’ll be motivated to perform this year to increase his salary. There are few suitors right now so his stance is he’ll ask for high wages and if he gets them then fine – he stays at a club with a manager that doesn’t ask too much from him. If he doesn’t get it he gets one more season to prove other clubs he is worth the high wages he desires.
    I can’t see Wenger finding a club that will meet Ozil’s demands. i think Ozil will be happy playing out his final year since it gives him the chance to rehabilitate his reputation and sign a Bosman contract with a ‘signing bonus’.

  55. Bill,

    That’s exactly what I meant and should have said so more directly. If you don’t challenge and never win big trophies, you don’t grow commercially.

  56. i think we’ll need Giroud. He is of value when the opponent has parked the bus. He as the ability to unlock massed defenses with his clever deft passes/flicks. His height is important for crosses in to the box which would be important when chasing a game against a parked bus. His lack of speed is less visible when he comes on against tired opponents.
    I think Giroud will be motivated this year as it is his last chance at the World Cup and Olivier loves an adoring crowd. Lacazette could be his major competition so his motivation could be staring him in the face each day. He has an important role he can play and he’d be motivated. Hate to see him go on a couple of torrid runs with another EPL club…and there’s no other league that he’d go to.

  57. Limestonegunner,

    To me its just strange and as somebody pointed out earlier, if we are having problems with the homegrown rule, wouldn’t it be wise to keep a GK that the more you think about it, makes more sense to keep then to sell.

  58. C,

    Yes. I can think of other places to cut wages as well. But if Ospina doesn’t leave, we may have to sell him since WS may not want another loan?

  59. The goalkeeping situation is not open to any of us, except you have insider information as to what is really going on.
    I would love to have Szczesny back in the team, he’ll be a worthy competition for Cech – will likely take the No 1 spot.

    However,
    1. Is Szczesny willing to come back to Arsenal?
    2. Is he being welcomed back at the club after the last chapters of his stay?

    It’s all about question 1 really, if he wants to come back, I’m sure Wenger will welcome him. When Szczesny was quite young, he gave him the opportunity, how much more now that he’s experienced.

    Ospina is a good GK and should move to another team for starting place because of the world cup.
    I also believe Martin needs to be given more opportunities….

    Was Szczesny back for preseason training before the team travelled out?

  60. Limestonegunner,

    There are plenty as we have said, if we can’t sell Ospina then why don’t we loan him out. I have failed to understand why that can’t be an option with say the possibility of it becoming permanent.

  61. The Szczesny situation amply illustrates incompetence on Wenger’s and the club’s behalf.

    Szczesny had a few clownish moments but most GK’s do have periodic gaffs.

    However as one Arsenal blogger broke down several weeks ago, Szczesny’s Arsenal first team record is virtually a mirror image of David de Gea’s. Except, until recently Manu U had a fee of 60 million attached if RM really did want him – and Arsenal are touting Szczesny for a fraction of that.

    But, if you now compare the last two years, Szczesny’s Italian performances have improved and he has been a more consistent than de Gea. Statistically he is now the better keeper.

    So this is one area where we have a top quality player on our books who (again) has been isolated for a spurious reason. Cech’s game was in slow decline when he arrived – so there should be no debate about Szczesny’s return. It makes economic and sense and improves the team.

    And, just a reminder that Szczesny, post-Christmas was asked to update his Arsenal status and admitted no one from the club had had any contact with him the whole season (not that he was apparently bothered as he was opting to leave it in Wenger’s hands as ‘Wenger knew best’…poor fool).

    I think that bears comparison with Oxlade Chamberlain situation. Both thought to be club stalwarts over a span of years, yet through this past season and into the off season, no one had reportedly made any effort to discuss The Ox’s contract situation.

    No complicated explanations here.

    It is simply the result of the club overwhelmed by their own lack of conviction and direction under Wenger, then layered with small mindedness where you alienate certain players yet refuse to release them.

    Campbell, as just one example had active suitors years ago before his ill-fated spell in the first team. Someone please explain the entire Campbell Arsenal arc …a fiasco which has now spanned six years?

  62. C,

    Thanks, C, totally with you on the Szczesny front – and whats more the majority of fans want him back so it would improve the atmosphere at no cost – a win win.

  63. DFS-,

    I don’t want him back, so that makes two/one in his favour, now you need to ask the rest of the Arsenal faithful before making a statement like “the majority of fans want him back”.

  64. DFS-,

    Exactly, if he improves the team then keep him as he has talked about wanting the #1 shirt for Arsenal. I am also with you that Cech shouldn’t be handed the #1, plus I have seen better distribution in the U8’s.

  65. Orson Kaert,

    Orson,

    Spare me the attitude – its obvious, petty and starting to grind.

    Where are numerous/notable parties lobbying for Szczesny should be sold? Perhaps you can provide links to the forums/posts where the majority view is sell Szczesny, then I’ll adjust my opinion.

    If you check most Arsenal forums the majority opinion appears to be it makes sense to bring Szczesny back to the club.

  66. C,

    Distribution is one key fact.

    Cech can’t direct kicks, is nervous with the ball at his feet and often puts the ball straight into touch (it has never been a strong point).

  67. DFS-,

    I have never said anything about numbers of fans either calling for Szczesny to be re-signed or sold. I have only ever stated my own opinion, which is that he is not good enough for Arsenal.

    I certainly haven’t made sweeping and unsubstantiated claims that “the majority of fans want him back”. That may be your view of the matter and you are quite free to express it, however much it “grinds” with other people.

  68. C,

    I’m sorry to ser Szcz going imo he is the victim of another of Wengers vendettas, he has matured and is a far better keeper than Ospina whom I would drive to Turkey if necessary to get rid of

  69. Buckagh,

    That’s the point a few of us have been making.

    Some silly moments aside, Szczesny has matched de Gea and now surpassed him.

    “…the victim of another of Wengers vendettas”…thats the other issue – lesser keepers commanding bgger fees?

    It looks as though all Arsene wanted to do is get rid of him. We are potentially losing two (one world class) keepers to be replaced by whom?

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