Alexis Returned To Training & The Sky Didn’t Fall In Shocker!

To the dismay of many outside of the Arsenal world, Alexis Sanchez returned to training yesterday and seemed to enjoy himself. He looked like he ran around a lot, kicked the ball a bit, headed it a couple of times and sat there like a pig in whatever pig’s sit in to make them happy.

In short, business as usual. As strike action goes, it was a little ‘lacking’. He didn’t force a move through man-flu nor did he suffer an, ahem, injury; yes, Fabregas and Flamini, I’m looking at you.

There’s a suggestion that Alexis will feature on Sunday which I find at once staggering and believable. I suspect he’s probably come back to training the closest of anyone to match fitness so a substitute role. What better way to bade the club farewell with a winning goal at Wembley…

There were others there who probably won’t be in months to come. It’s typical of the perversity surrounding the club at the moment. For years, there were real concerns that we weren’t signing players; now, we’re worried they aren’t selling them.

Arsène mentioned the other day that he thought the norm would be more and more players moving into the last year of their contracts. It’s a side-effect of the exorbitant transfer fees being paid this summer. There’s more to come; you know that, particularly if Kylian Mbappe moves to anywhere but a new apartment in Monaco.

On a Wing and a Prayer

The astronomical fees saw claims that Barcelona were contacting Europe’s elite clubs so that they could complain to UEFA about PSG breaking FFP rules. What larks. £196m for Neymar Jr? His dad’s Christmasses have all come at once. Atletico Madrid quoted a price of £170m for Antoine Griezmann, knowing it wouldn’t deter the Catalans.

It puts a new spin on their desire to land Mesut Özil if they can’t get Philippe Coutinho. £100m and thank you very much, squire. Perhaps Ivan should get on the phone and whip up some support for complaining to UEFA about Barcelona. You’d expect any complaint about Barcelona to receive a lot of backing.

It seems a long time ago that we looked with bemusement at Winston Bogarde’s decision to stay at Chelsea and see out his contract at Stamford Bridge, rather than playing week in, week out elsewhere. His was down to money; the same applies for Lucas Perez, Debuchy, Gibbs and Jenkinson. We may scratch our heads on the sidelines but football is their job, not a lifelong love affair. The object of the exercise for them is to earn enough to live off once retirement comes.

With a year to go on their current deals, there’s little incentive for them to take a pay cut and move on. That’s the short-term view which is prevalent in football. While it may see them better off for twelve months, there’s no guarantee that they will find a new club, particularly for someone like Debuchy. In fairness to him, he does seem to be actively looking to get on with life, Lucas Perez as well.

Squeals of Delight

The two English lads? I’m not so sure. Gibbs to West Brom fell through due to the combination of fees and wages. Albion didn’t want to pay over the top for both and why not? That’s the same objective for every deal. It’s left him with the option of Watford and, er, Watford, if the back pages are anything to go by.

At least he won’t have to change the satnav settings for training although a wistful tear might form in his eye as he passes the entrance for London Colney every day. He’d be the first volunteer to go and get the ball back if it went over the neighbour’s fence. “Do you mind if I stay for kickabout lads? That lot are crap…”

Carl Jenkinson meanwhile is attracting attention of three Serie A clubs: Verona, Sassuolo, and Calgliari. He’s excited because it means pizza and diet coke every night for dinner. No complaints from him about it being like living in a foreign country. No doubt photos of his childhood bedroom decked out in the appropriate colours will surface as the deal is finalised.

’til Tomorrow.

63 thoughts on “Alexis Returned To Training & The Sky Didn’t Fall In Shocker!

  1. Barcelona are so upset about Neymar leaving because it’s first time since Figo (?)left for Madrid that they are losing one of their top players. Of course it’s a lot of money, but the best players can’t be replaced as Arsenal know from past experience.

    Barcelona have been at the pinnacle in Europe for over ten years there’s only one way for them to go…downwards.

    If they can lob us £50 million for Ozil I’ll be over the moon. I don’t think they’re that stupid though.

  2. Pete the Thirst,

    Because it’s Barca suffering plenty of people will be thinking that what goes around comes around (or words to that effect). Much as I dislike them the greater issue of PSG flagrantly ignoring any financial regulations, perhaps even seeking to circumvent them with manufactured sponsorship agreements with entities beholden to their owners, needs to be addressed in the strongest possible terms. This is a step too far, they’ve gone beyond taking the piss and are spitting in the face of football IMO.

    UEFA need to grow a pair and make it clear that any breach will be punished with suspension from all competitions within their remit.

  3. Orson Kaert,

    I wouldn’t replace him directly at all. IMO one of our weaknesses is our indulgence with a pure #10, I’d rather play with a genuine attacking midfielder in the Lampard/Gerrard style giving us a threat from the centre as well as down the flanks.

  4. andy1886,

    Whether we go for a direct replacement or not, the same situation applies. No Champions League, a stale manager who seems to preside over a club happy to finish every season somewhere near the top of the table without actually competing for the Number One Spot.

  5. andy1886,

    Unfortunately I don’t see that happening, as UEFA will never go up against clubs like Barcelona. The recent fines and transfer window bans for illegal approaches to young players are a poor attempt to demonstrate their authority.

  6. consolsbob,

    Possibly – given a lack of other options. IMO a lot of the issues with Ramsey are simply because he doesn’t fit in with the system we employ. If he had the same role he has with Wales then I expect that we’d see something more akin to his return in 2013/14. A revolving door of partners, time out on the wing and numerous injuries also have to be taken into account. Fundamentally we know that he can play the role, despite his oft poor finishing we know that he can arrive late and score goals – the cup final being a recent occasion.

    Give the guy a decent run in the correct position and then we can make a true judgement. I’m sure there are better options out there but none at Arsenal. He isn’t a bad player, just one that has been poorly utilised.

  7. Wavey,

    Yeah, it’s pathetic. I can’t be the only one thinking that year on year this is becoming less of a sport and more of a circus. Absolutely the players have short careers but the idea that they don’t already earn sufficient for a very very comfortable life after the game is utter nonsense. Given the level of inequality across the globe it’s hard not to resent the way the game is going.

  8. Great post Yogi.

    I understand why players like Gibbs or Jenks do not want to take a pay cut. Assuming they are on $80K per week and the buying club wants them to drop to a more reasonable $40K per week. That would be a loss of over $2,000,000. Which of us would voluntarily give up that much money? Jenks and Gibbs are relatively young and they both can find someplace to play after their contract runs out next season. With no transfer fee they might be able to start of small scale bidding war and get a better wage offer. Debuchy is probably on a higher wage then either Jenks or Gibbs because he was an experienced well rated player when we bought him and he would probably have to take an even bigger pay cut. With the end of his career in site it makes even less sense for him to take a big pay cut since he needs to stockpile every nickel he can to fund his retirement.

  9. It appears that Barcelona have told Neymar that he can leave to join PSG but only if the €222 million fee is paid in full first.

    Neymar’s agent has announced that PSG have made him an offer of £650,000 per week tax free.

  10. Bill,

    Debuchy probably has more money in the bank than everyone on this website put together (including even YW). I can’t say that I feel terribly concerned for his future even if he never works another day in his life.

  11. andy1886,

    I think that’s my main issue with Ramsey, if we want someone for that role there must be better out there. The club still doesn’t effectively use a player who is only okay at a specific role.

    Bill,

    The club has managed to get themselves into this position and now have to decide whether, or not to bite the bullet. If we are unable to sell players the options are to pay up the players’ contracts and release them, to not include them as part of the squad but carry on paying them, or to just put up with them until their contracts are up. Given that many of these players will not play anything other than the odd League Cup game. why don’t we just pay up their contracts now and free up space in the squad to bring in players who can actually make a difference? One last option is to send them out on loan, so that at least a part of their salary is paid by another club. Would West Brom take Gibbs on loan if we were to pay towards his wages? It must be cheaper than just having him hang around and it frees up a squad position.

  12. Nice one, YW.

    As for the ‘pig’ thing — I would suggest — “as happy as a pig serenely wallerin’ in a mud hole and tellin’ jokes”

  13. If Ozil really were to leave the best option would be to use the money we get from his transfer fee to buy someone who could give us technical skill but also be a threat to score in the low to mid teens. Pedro was not a regular starter at Chelsea for part of the season and he only played about 2100 league minutes but he still had had 9 goals and 9 assists. I am confident Pedro would not have taken a mid season 3 week vacation because of a mystery illness and he would have easily had double digits in both goals and assists had he played more minutes. We can’t get Pedro but someone like that would be an major upgrade at that position. IMO. Ozil is a flair player and if his contribution in terms of creativity and assists continues to fade and he disappears regularly then he becomes a liability rather then an asset. May be I am misjudging him but its hard for me to imagine Mesut regaining the fire in his belly and becoming reenergized enough to reverse that trend. As Andy has pointed out many times, we could certainly gain a lot more tactical flexibility if Ozil left. If we don’t buy a new player, Welbeck or even Lucas Perez could score at least as many goals and both would certainly provide more in the way of energy and commitment and other intangibles.

  14. Wavey

    I agree with you completely. I was only looking at it from the players perspective when I made that comment. The club has to do something. Perhaps there will be a rash of loan spells announced before the deadline similar to the way we sent out Joel Campbell and Wilshere last season. We can subsidize the wages for our players similar to the way we did with Wojo to make it palatable for some club to take Gibbs, Jenks, Debuchy, Wilshere etc etc etc.

  15. I’m scartching my head when I am reading people here and elsewhere talk about Neymar deal. Absolutely its a massive loss for Barca as he is arguably the 3rd best player in the world, but give Barca 222m and they will rebuild and do so this summer. Veratti and one of Aubameyang or say Griezmann in the winter and they have replaced him and Veratti is arguably the best midfielder in the world.

  16. God day,

    Neymar to PSG. Ok, the first stone is set in motion. That sort of implies that PSG have their big name signing and Barca a shitload of money.

    I wonder how this will touch us. But now it’s on and the fever, heat and chaos that is part of TW is about to erupt.

    Oh, I like a good juicy transfer market😊.

  17. andy1886,

    ‘UEFA need to grow a pair and make it clear that any breach will be punished with suspension from all competitions within their remit.’

    Do you really think that will happen? A nice little backhander from the Al-Thani family will smooth the wheels of commerce. UEFA are bent.

    Let’s not forget that Qatar are sponsoring Barcelona, no moral compass there. And also the number of players they tapped up illegally from Arsenal and elsewhere clearly was overlooked by UEFA.

  18. C,

    When you sell your top players they are very hard to replace. Remember all the moolah Spurs got for Gareth Bale? They replaced him with 5 new players: Soldado, Lamela, Eriksen, Paulinho & Capoue. Only Eriksen was a success.

    United struggled to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, Arsenal – Henry, Van Persie, Fabregas etc.

    The top players can’t be replaced.

  19. Just a question – Is Neymar really that good? I’ve seen some good stuff but he certainly isn’t anywhere near the level Messi was at his best. In the current climate he may well be a €100m player but double that? Not for me.

  20. Pete the Thirst,

    Absolutely I agree, they’ll probably do nothing, but that’s the issue. They’re rotten and it will kill football as a sport eventually. It’ll become some sad entertainment spectacle like WWE.

  21. Pete the Thirst,

    The problem with your comparison with Spuds is that they aren’t even in the same breathe as Barca, think about all the players that openly speak about playing for Barca if they come calling.

    I’m not saying that it will be a direct as far as quality goes in replacing Neymar especially since he is, IMHO arguably the 3rd best player in the world BUT they have money and say they sign Aubameyang who will score goals and loads of them which would actually free up Suarez more to roam than he does now. Or say they grab Griezmann, not a direct replacement for quality but a top player in Europe.

    The other thing is that they will also be able to bring in say Veratti who when you watch him play is a Barca player but also the player they have been missing since Xavi left.

  22. Good stuff Yogi.

    I think the difference between players like Jack, Gibbs, Jenks and even Debuchy as compared to Perez is that Perez is actually trying to leave and is willing to take a pay cut to play as opposed to the others that seem quite comfortable not moving and just sitting essentially wasting their careers just collecting a check.

    So Sanchez is back in training and I do think that unless Citeh comes in with a big bid, he isn’t going anywhere. I have heard people say well Barca might be interested but they aren’t going to sign him at his age when they could sign say Aubameyang or the player they chased earlier, Dembele from Dortmund who would be a direct replacement for Neymar but is much younger and literally has everything to be one of the best players in Europe in the next 2-3 years but is already on his way.

  23. The strangest thing about the Neymar transfer is that he has asked because he wants to be the face of a club and wants to win the Ballon D’or but if that’s true he isn’t going to win it as long as Messi and Ronaldo are playing and even when they decline he has a better chance of doing it at Barca than at PSG.

  24. Neymar to PSG could set off a cascade effect. Sanchez likes to play L forward and while he is not as good as Neymar, Sanchez is still plenty good and he is a known quantity who has played in the Barca system and is certainly capable of 20 or more league goals and double digit assists. Additionally the fact that his fee is probably going to be lower then some other players decreases the risk and there would be much less concern about adaptation issues that might come with a younger player. Messi is only going to be around for so long and Barca need to win now and they can’t afford to break in a player who might struggle for a year or 2. Sanchez would be the perfect replacement and buying him would leave Barca with plenty of cash leftover to make other purchases.

  25. PSG would probably sell a couple of players to raise cash. Neymar at PSG might mean Julian Draxler would be available. My understanding is that he was mostly a disappointment which I think was predictable but a lot of people still rate him. The Drax would be a big name and a face saving move for Arsene if Sanchez left. I really hope Arsene is not tempted to make the Drax our Sanchez replacement. Di Maria might also be available if PSG buy Neymar.

  26. I think its an ego thing as you pointed out, about Neymar going to PSG. He may go on to score a lot of goals, because they could build the team to play to his strengths, also PSG may actually be thinking of winning the Champions League over the next two seasons, by bringing Neymar and adding to the team next season.

    The rivalry would be good, Barcelona would be pissed, Real might get cocky and relax, ManCity would feel underwhelmed and then Mourinho would look for more tires for his bus at United.

    In the best interest of entertaining Football, Neymar is going to PSG, stepping out of Messi’s shadow. All eyes would be on him and he would most likely be aiming to score tons of goals to prop himself for a shot at the Ballon D’or.

    This in my opinion is a better deal, than Mbappe moving to any club at the touted price quoted for him.

  27. C

    How do you know Perez is willing to take a pay cut. The fact that we like him does not automatically mean that his motivations are different then the other Arsenal players in a similar situation. If he really was so anxious to move and actually willing to compromise on his wage package and someone was interested in buying him then why haven’t we sold him yet? I don’t think he is in the plans and I suspect Arsene would be willing to sell if there was not some other impediment such as his wages. No?

  28. I agree with the comment from lari03 @ 4:50. Neymar moving would certainly add some intigue and interesting subplots to next season. I also agree completely about the folly of paying that sort of money for 18 year old Mbappe

  29. reckon the Neymar ridiculousness means that we’ll sell Sanchez. Can you see Stan the Lovely Trophy Hunter Man reading the news, seeing Neymar sold for £££££££££s and letting Wenger keep Sanchez so that he leaves next year for free?
    Talk about football having lost its soul though.

  30. ….and of course the only trophies Stan’s interested in hunting are beautiful, endangered species wild animals.
    I’m sure he’d get on well with Neymar’s dad. They both sound such lovely human beings.

  31. C

    The difference for Perez is I don’t think his contract is running our after this season so he can’t look forward to finding another club of his choosing on a free transfer. However, I doubt there is any chance he can get paycheck equal to what he can make at Arsenal. Assuming Arsene gave him a 4 year deal then he will be about 32 at the end of his Arsenal contract and certainly his best earning days will be over by then and he will be several million dollars wealthier if he finishes his current contract with Arsenal.

  32. Bill,

    Have you not been following the comments from both Arsene and Perez’s camp, they have lined up: Arsene set their price and Perez is trying to leave but thr price is too high not the wages. I think the problem is asking price from Arsenal is set at 15-18m both Arsene and his agent have said as much, so lets see what happens.

  33. Which would be more important to most of us. Being able to play regular football or having several million dollars extra for your family when you retire. I don’t know if Perez, Gibbs, Debuchy or Wilshere are married but any of us who is married would probably have a pretty good idea what our wives would say about those options. I know my wife would give me the final choice because that is the sort of person she is, but there is not much doubt I would make the choice that I thought was best for her especially if I had kids.

  34. None of us knows exactly the details. If I were Perez and he knew this contract will probably be his last then I would certainly be very reticent to accept the significant pay cut that he might need to move to a place where he can play regular football. We will see what happens

    You may well be right about Perez but part of my point is to play the devil’s advocate. We tend automatically assume players we like have good motivations while those we don’t like have distasteful motivations and that assumption is not always correct.

  35. C,

    PSG are making this move to keep Verratti and show they intend to win Ligue 1 and, more importantly, build a team to challenge for CL. Verratti was unhappy about last season and here they are trying to remedy the problems. My view anyway–I don’t the know Verratti will go anywhere this season.

  36. Bill,

    It’s a fair point. But I do think Arsenal have set a price that would basically recover our fee for him.

  37. JW wanted a loan to make sure he got regular football. Of course there were no wage implications for him. It was an easy choice, preferring to try to recapture his England place ahead of that for his club.

  38. Bill,

    Agreed. This thought occurred to me as well. At AFC Alexis has shown what he can do on the left, the place vacated by Neymar. Also, how much has Neymar’s new contract raised Alexis’ wage demands?

    And you are frightening me, Bill: please no Draxler as the big name replacement for Alexis!

  39. Martinez has joined Getafe on a season long loan meaning Ospina is staying and next summer Martinez will be sold to Getafe or Sevilla or Villarreal and won’t return to Arsenal.

  40. Limestonegunner,

    Agree Veratti is unhappy and they are trying to keep him but Verattie has made no suggestion that he wants to stay, quite the opposite he has made moves and publicly stated he wants to leave. It will be interesting to see what happens with Veratti now that he has Riola as his agent.

  41. Bill,

    I think there is a difference though mate, Perez was looking to play and play regularly and has made every attempt to leave including already trying to sign at Deportiva which clearly can’t pay him but he wants and is desperate to leave with the problem acknowledged by Arsenal, Arsene and Deportiva that the problem wasn’t wages but the actual transfer fee.

  42. Limestone

    If you were Perez or Debuchy would you accept a significant pay cut on the contract that will most likely be your final one.

  43. C

    May be you are right in this case. I don’t know. I don’t know the domestic situation for Perez but if I were him I would not take a significant pay cut. Despite what we have heard, I suspect that is part of the issue.

  44. Bill,

    No. But that might not be the only impediment. Not only on this deal but AFC is rumored to have rejected an offer for one or two players that was considered too low.

  45. Limestone

    The reason we can’t get a deal is probably multifactorial and we are just speculating. We just gave Deportivo $17M for Perez last season so in theory they should still be getting installments from us and they will have to pay back similar installments to get him back so it should not be that costly to them. The problem is the total cost of any transfer is both in the fee and wages I suspect that Deportivo would have to be paying him a significant amount more in wages now then they did when they had him before which makes the transfer fee even more difficult. Again that is all just speculation.

    I suspect the reason Elneny did not accept a transfer is at least partly related to wages. I know we want to believe that he loves Arsenal and wants to fight for his spot, but if Arsene is as vindictive as we sometimes think then how could Elneny believe he would break thru into a regular first team spot if Elneny scuttled Arsene’s sale. If Elneny really wants to build his career the best thing for him is to play regularly at another team and catch the eye of another big club.

  46. Its funny that Martinez is off to Getafe on a season long loan because all we have heard since last season after Martinez signed his new deal, through the summer and up until now was Martinez was going to be #2 to Cech and he was part of the reason Szczesny wasn’t kept yet now he is off to Getafe for the season. O yea the other thing was Ospina was supposed to be out and sold and everything was complete but the transfer fee(wages and all between player and club) but a fee with Arsenal couldn’t be agreed and now he is our #2.

    People can think what they think but personally I have quite a few questions about our GK’ing situation.

  47. Someone correct me if I am wrong but I think transfer fees are paid in 3 years installments so we probably still owe Deportivo about $10M for buying Perez so in reality buying him back for $17M would only cost them $7M in transfer fees. Deportivo was in the lower 1/3 of their table last year and I assume that they will be in another relegation battle. If they really wanted Perez back, I suspect they would find a way to make the deal work. Again its just speculation but the real issue may be that they need to get him for a smaller transfer fee in order to justify his higher wage.

  48. There is a lot of presumption regarding the transfers which are stalling.

    The players are being assigned blame and in some cases this might be true.

    However, regarding Perez for example, his manager was vocal last week that Deportivo had made an offer to Perez to return, play and then join the club as an executive – he stated it was a ten year+ contract. A bold claim if it were not true (and I am not aware Deportivo have denied any of this).

    Last week the agent was complaining Arsenal had left Deportivo high and dry and were not communicating.

    The one common factor with all this (Captain Obvious) is the club itself. We have had two months to work on all these transfers (and as I repeatedly note have employed the talents of Hass Fahmy to expedite).

    I would guess this is just as much, if not more, the inneffectual manner with which we conduct business as much as players content to sit and not play. I believe we need to shift a total of 7 to 8 players to comply. We have released some peripheral players (not sure they all can be counted as ‘squad’ members) so the figure is a little elastic.

    However, we have had some apparent interest to sell better grade players (Giroud, Oxlade Chamberlain, Walcott) and obviously have chosen not to so far (which surprises no one as Wenger hoards).

    The other fact- again with the obvious- is it has been my view from the first day of the window that the Sanchez scenario would cast a shadow over everything we do – in other words we would be paralyzed (outside of the Lacazette deal). That is a more feasible reflection of where we stand so far than simply assigning the blame to lazy players who do not want to move.

    The Elneny situation is also illustrative of a certain disingenuousness many parties pick up with Arsenal. How do people guage intention? We were willing to sell him for a modest fee, that ‘fell through’ and suddenly he’s a useful/flexible player?

    Perhaps Wenger dislikes Perez yet knows he could be an asset. So, until everything is resolved (i.e. Sanchez status) perhaps Wenger is just going to drag his heels on the final decision- its not as though anyone believes he cares about what a Perez/Elneny/Campbell think or feel regarding their relationship with him or the club.

  49. DFS

    It would be intesting to know the real reason for all the things that seem so strange. Clearly some of it is related to Arsene and the way he does business.

    The failed Elneny transfer is a strange one. If rumors are true Elneny scuttled the deal himself which does not make a lot of sense unless the buying club wanting him to take a pay cut. The other possibility is he was not given assurances of regular playing time and if he was going to sit on the bench he might as well do it at Arsenal and make more $. Clearly the best career move for him would be to play regularly somewhere and prove you are a top player. The idea that Mo wants to come back so he can fight for his spot sounds nice but its similar to the idea that Arsene turned down huge money moves to other big clubs because he loved Arsenal.

    Now it looks like Arsene is grooming Elneny as a utility man and players in that role are always most valuable as squad players and insurance policies in case of a rash of injuries which is probably not going to advance his career. Scuttling the deal also risks losing favor with Arsene which if our theories about Arsene playing favorites is true it hurts his chance of moving up the pecking order even more.

  50. DFS

    You might be right and Arsene is waiting to find out what happens with Sanchez before he makes any moves. Perez could be an asset as a squad player especially if we lose Sanchez. There will not be any high leverage minutes left over but you never know when we might have a run of injuries. Perez is also a good cup team player and he probably will get some minutes in the early rounds of the Europa league competition. I assume without having any evidence to back up my assumption we will probably go reasonably deep in that competition.

  51. There is no doubt that from an overall global perspective our transfer team is poorly managed and less effective then most other big teams. Arsene is captain of the ship and he deserves the blame for that and he rightfully gets the blame for most of what goes wrong. However, each situation is different and the reason for one transfer falling thru might be different and I am sure that In some cases the problem is a player who is not willing to see his weekly wages take a significant cut. As I said earlier I certainly don’t blame any player for taking that stand. Football careers are very short and giving up several million dollars that you might never get back is not something most of us would want for ourselves or our families. We accepted that the reason Roma did not want to keep Wojo was because of his wages. However, we liked Wojo and I don’t remember anyone blaming him.

  52. Bill,

    You’re right on a key point – we really do not know what is playing out behind the scenes. I agree regarding Elneny – how do we draw any conclusions?

    I think 10 million was too modest a fee (but it should have been through the roof) and I also believe that Elneny wanted to stay with Arsenal and fight for a role.

    However, how would we know if another club (other than Leicester) one more attractive to Elneny came in with a higher fee, if he might be on the chopping block again? I sense a lot of clubs never quite know where Arsenal/Wenger stands.

    But Bill – my rationale is that from the opening day of the window, I would have thought we had some key personelle (apart from Wenger) tasked with shifting some lesser lights of the squad with the proviso ‘just make a deal’.

    Actually, we have no choice in the matter, and this in itself little to do with decisions regarding the higher calibre players we could opt to shift if we were making decisive moves.

    I still hold some hope that with the flurry of activity we need to engage in over the next few weeks, some interesting deals will be made. It would be odd indeed (but not inconceivable) if Perez was on board next season.

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