Martinez Loaned As Ospina Stays, Jack & Lunacy

This morning’s headlines are all taken by Neymar’s move to PSG. Laurent Koscielny’s availablity for the Community Shield on Sunday almost flew under the radar. It’s not good news in my view. While it’s always nice to win at Wembley, the match is no indicator of success in the coming season.

I’d rather Koscielny didn’t play on Sunday and was available for Stoke City away which is a far more important match than facing Chelsea. While we need to take points off them to win the league next season – don’t laugh, it’s still a mathematical possibility – you get nothing but a nice drinks tray for winning the Community Shield.

There is a saving grace from the situation though. Kosicelny’s availability means Mustafi doesn’t have to be rushed back. Photos of him beating Alexis in a race yesterday underline how ill the little Chilean really has been…

On the transfer front, Emi Martinez has joined Getafe on a season-long loan so good luck to him in his development. The move happened with David Ospina’s decision to stay at the club this summer and fight for the Number One jersey. Or 33. Anyway, it’s all football-speak for the offer he wanted not materialising. Martinez has made a good choice to move and take a loan spell at club in a top flight. Getafe aren’t going to give him the European experience which might have been more preferable if he wants to genuinely be Arsenal’s main goalkeeper in the future but beggars can’t be choosers.

Ceching Out At The Top?

As for Ospina’s decision to stay, I can’t say I’m surprised. Cech is 35 and while goalkeepers play on for longer, they too suffer the burdens of time. Gianluigi Buffon may have rolled back the years but he played for a team which was as close to impregnable as they come. Juve faced probably four or five genuinely competitive matches during the course of a season; Arsenal’s is significantly higher.

We’ve seen goalkeepers decline before at the club. David Seaman’s vulnerability to long-range shots is painful to remember for club and country. Can Cech avoid a similar fate? The ‘romantic’ version of the future marks out that he sees the writing on the wall before anyone else; I’m not sure that’s always the case in reality.

Would I prefer to see us sign a younger goalkeeper such as Butland? Yes; from what I’ve seen, I prefer him to Ospina. Would a player like that put their career on hold for twelve months or more? No chance. Why would they? It doesn’t raise their profile at all and better to take over when Cech retires I would have thought.

Another man staying is Jack Wilshere. He’s apparently decided to stay and fight for his place at the club. Fair play to him but I’m not sure where he fits in with the 3-4-3. Unless Barcelona decide to flex their muscles and take Mesut Özil when they find they can’t afford Philippe Coutinho. Which is a  bizarre claim to make since they are insisting PSG pay them £196m up front.

Wilshere may be taking the view that he can’t find another club having returned from Bournemouth injured so a year at Arsenal might do him good. A Premier League substitute but regular in the domestic and European league cups.

Neymar Joking About FFP

PSG have an FFP issue; don’t let anyone tell you they don’t. Solving it is simple; selling a couple of players. Neymar adds £100m per year to their cost base. Their current wages / revenue ratio is hovering around 56%; it’s now 70% with the Brazilian and that’s before the £40m in amortisation.

One thing is for certain; PSG believe they can overcome the problem. They don’t see an issue with fines or squad reductions in the Champions League and expect a bounce from commercial contracts into which I’m sure they are hastily negotiating ‘Neymar Clauses’.

Is this a watershed moment for the football transfer market? Many, Arsène among them, would happily see it end and that point isn’t too far off, you sense. While this is unique since PSG are beyond wealthy, the release clause is almost certainly going to morph into something else. These were habitually sent at obscene levels to frigthen off buyers; it doesn’t work so will they become more realistic in value or explode? Messi’s, I seem to recall, is set at around £500m; how does that sit in the post-Neymar world?

The knock-on effects will be interesting. I don’t think it will affect what we buy and sell at; Mbappe had more impact and he hasn’t even left Monaco. Neymar is simply the financial muscle of a club being flexed. It’s shaken Barcelona but the ripples will be felt in Madrid as well. Anyone the Catalans try to sign now will include a  ‘Neymar tax’ in their valuation. Next summer is when you find out if there is any lingering effect on the levels of fees paid.

’til Tomorrow.

86 thoughts on “Martinez Loaned As Ospina Stays, Jack & Lunacy

  1. The Neymar situation could have a knock on effect on Wenger’s attempt to sign Lemar from Monaco. Already awash with cash, Barcelona are looking to sign Mbappe who has decided that he now wishes to leave Monaco.

    Monaco have repeatedly spurned Wenger’s advances as they are not in need of cash and, if they do sell Mbappe to Barca, will be in an even stronger position.

  2. jonny,

    Any morning when I can wake up, open the curtains and look out on the beautiful Norfolk countryside is definitely a good one. 😎

  3. Not sure that Neymar is even ‘that good’ – I’ll ask my son as he plays lots of fifa 17 on the zx spectrum

  4. The theme running through today’s post seems to be that Neymar has decided, Ospina has decided and Jack has decided. What happened to clubs taking the lead and deciding? If Ospina isn’t the future and Emi is then why hasn’t the club proactively sold him on? Even if we don’t get ‘value’ or have to subsidise his wages. Same goes for JW. It all smacks of a club that’s passive when it comes to building a winning side. I see Wenger was spouting the usual “if an opportunity comes up” nonsense. Clubs that want to win create opportunities, they don’t just sit idly by and hope something crops up.

    This TW is looking very much like others in the recent past. A decent (not top draw) signing to placate the customers just enough and little else other than an opportunistic budget buy (see the words “on a free” and Wenger’s radar clicks into gear). So much for change. In fact if we start the season badly I can so the oh so predictable trolley dash on the last day.

    Of course Wenger & Co are welcome to prove me wrong, but I’m not going to be holding my breath.

  5. Let’s not forget that there are 4 weeks left until the transfer window closes. When the Neymar deal lands it will cause a domino effect around Europe. What if Barcelona go for Hazard with a ridiculous fee? Chelsea could dangle a ridiculous fee in front or Arsene for Alexis. Will his or Stan’s resolve hold in the face of hard cash?

  6. curiously the spanish LA liga has rejected the transfer of Neymar to PSG saying it is against FFP….. when did the Spanish FA start doing the work of UEFA and FIFA?….. when Madrid bought bale and Ronaldo or Barça bought Neymar for insane amount, why didn’t they talk those times???? Bastards

  7. Pete the Thirst,

    Don’t we end up losing out when someone knocks over a domino in the transfer market? It usually means we end up selling a player we have been claiming we are going to hold on to and then find we haven’t time to buy someone decent because we didn’t have a plan B in place. Cue a trolley dash at the end of the window and the purchase of a couple more players, one a late 20’s player no one has ever heard of and the other a 19 year old who will get a couple of games and then be thrown under the bus. If that sounds very cynical it’s not meant to be, it’s just me recalling what has happened in previous transfer windows. I have seen nothing to show that we have approached this transfer window differently to any other. Sanchez is just the latest in a long line of stars who have managed to paralyse the club by running their contracts down and wanting to dictate where they go to next.

  8. “……you get nothing but a nice drinks tray for winning the Community Shield.”

    Whaaaat?
    I must disagree vehemently my good sir.
    Community Shield , or the Super Cup – as it is called in some other footballing nations, will give Arsenal a chance to win the treble before the season has even started in earnest.
    International Champions Cup, Emirates Cup , and The Super Cup would surely be viewed as Arsenal having a very successful 2017-18 season amongst Arsene’s supporters 🙂

  9. andy1886,

    Agree with all points.

    C has been questioning the goalkeeper situation all window. If anyone can explain the logic to me, feel free. I presume it is symptomatic of having little more than a hazy idea of what we are doing.

    As for Wilshere ‘deciding’ he is going to stay – personally, it feels so deflating.

    We had an opportunity to embrace fifth place, play in the Europa League as (valid) reason to embark on an ambitious rebuild. Not a question of throwing out the baby with the bathwater – but certainly a prime opportunity to re-invent and move a numer of players who have plateaued at Arsenal onto greener pastures.

    I might be a little naive but would guess the fans would be accepting of an overhaul if a strong direction for the future was taken, especially if the ‘new’ team looked competitive, I do not think the world would end if we did not make top four the next season.

    However, it appears all the usual suspects + Lacazette is essentially what we’ll have next season and not only does that not inspire confidence – it feels stale before the season has even started.

    As for a cascading effect across Europe if the Neywar deal is realized, I think it wishful thinking. If Barca sign Griezmann for example, that’s half the fee. I think the 200 million will pass through far fewer hands than people think, primarily because teams will want to replace like with like and quality options of this calibre are limited.

    It will be pure luck if we ‘happen’ into a positive trade as a consequence of the Neymar deal.

  10. “La Liga is positing that state-backed clubs that compete using ‘financial doping’ could destabilise professional football in Europe”.

    Errmm?? Pot, meet kettle…..

  11. Great post Yogi

    If Neymar moves to PSG then Alexis would be the perfect replacement for Barca although Pete’s idea of Hazard also makes sense. Messi is not getting younger so Barca has to win now and they can’t afford to use an inexperienced player from their academy or someone who if not might struggle with adaptation issues. Sanchez is a known quantity who has already done well in the Barca system so they would have a high level of confidence that he will be productive from day 1. Sanchez would also come at a lower transfer fee so they would have a lot of leftover cash to buy someone else.

    I suspect PSG they would be willing to sell Julian Draxler who has been disappointing so far. He would be the perfect Arsene signing. An over rated player who is brimming with talent and potential but for some reason has never matured into a consistently effective player. The Drax has a big name and he would allow Arsene to save face when he sells Alexis.

  12. A Man City supporting mate of mine is complaining on FB about the madness of the modern football transfer and spiralling transfer fees without a trace of self-awareness.
    The whole thing just leaves me cold.

  13. andy1886,

    Excellent points and well said. There was the brief promise of a proactive TW that showed urgency to build a winning side, but that momentum quickly disappeared as we fell back into the usual passive holding pattern. Lacazette wasn’t my first choice but it was a step forward that would have looked fine if part of a planned reinforcement in CM and adding a talent like Lemar.

  14. A royal (arsenal) afternoon to all those seen and unseen.

    Its nice Dave has come to his senses, hopefully he can tap up James rod….ffs, Bayern, 2 year loan, totally forgot.
    Martinez and arsenal have made the right choice, Emi really needs to catch up on some first team game time and if he can’t do that at getafe well…
    Dave will have more than enough matches as a cup keeper, which is why I’m pretty relaxed about transfers.

    Kicked from the golden trough, our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to elbow the lesser pigs out of the way. Retain a motivated Alexis and we’re shoe-ins for Europa. Job done even if no-one leaves or comes. But our schedule may need Jack to play 10-15, Gibbs the same etc…
    Of course personally I’d be more pro active but this is the supreme highness Lord “No horses” we’re talkin bout.

  15. I very much enjoyed DFS’ posts last night along with this morning. What has aggravated me as a supporter and watcher over the Kroenke era is the lack of a real coherent vision for the club and the team. Arsenal have rested everything on AW and tbh it is hard to see what his current vision really is. Everything has been paralyzed this summer apart from the opportunistic Lacazette deal by the Sanchez situation in just the same way the club has been in stasis over its dependence on AW and the vagaries associated with him. What really is lacking is an urgent proactive policy being pursued with expertise and energy collectively by a group of talented people in their appropriate roles. THere was so much on the agenda for this summer that it isn’t surprising only a small part has been accomplished so far. There is still a month but with the season opener so close, it is far from ideal.

  16. Oh and it’s great to see neymar potentially leave those scumbags, even if it’s for 500bn, a 4 year lease for the moon, ten unicorns and the patent for teleportation.

  17. “Here was so much on the agenda for this summer that it isn’t surprising only a small part has been accomplished so far. There is still a month but with the season opener so close, it is far from ideal”.

    Lines that could have been taken from any season in the last decade there, Limestone Cowboy. 😉

  18. Bill,

    “An over rated player who is brimming with talent and potential but for some reason has never matured into a consistently effective player”. What leads you to believe he will do so under the dead hand of Wenger’s coaching.

  19. Good stuff Yogi.

    The GK’ing situation has been a headscratcher since really Martinez signed a new contract somewhere in the middle of the season when it was widely reported (and continued throughout the early part of the summer) that he was going to be the #2 this season should Szczesny leave. Well then Szczesny is chased by Juve (which speaks to his quality, maturity since his loan and his consistency), Ospina is WIDELY reported to be on his way out with contract details agreed along with his joining but then Arsene and Arsenal raise his value so the deal collapses, then Martinez is still being bantered around as the #2 but then Ospina doesn’t leave, Szczesny is sold to Juve, Martinez is off to Getafe on a season long loan and we are back at Cech (who lets be honest can’t save penalties has shit distribution and you saw age catching up with him last season) and Ospina as our GK’s.

    Jack, Gibbs, Jenks and Debuchy still being Arsenal players doesn’t make any sense. I really do feel like Arsene and Arsenal have had really been on the 2 extremes of the window both good and bad. Good: Sead and Lacazette both look like they will be able to step in day 1 and improve the team; Bad: we can’t sell players for a myriad of reasons thus we can’t buy the quality players we need, o and the whole contract situations are a disaster.

  20. Personally, can’t see Barca going after Sanchez (been there done that) or Hazard (who has openly talked about a future with Zidane as his manager) but I could see them going after Dembele of Dortmund who is more of a like for like with Neymar plus he is already one of the best in the Bundesliga and in 2-3 years time will be one of the best in Europe full stop, or Griezmann or I could see them going after say Di Maria.

  21. Apparently Arsene has confirmed that Perez is set to leave this window because we have too much competition. He also said that Sanchez will accept that he will stay.

  22. So La Liga has refused to accept the funds from PSG for several reasons including they didn’t pay it in full as Barca wanted. Its not the first time La Liga has done this as they did the same with Manure trying to by Herrera in 2013 from what I have read.

  23. C,

    Don’t forget we are in desperate need of at least one CM of high quality and have been stymied in pursuit of Lemar by our usual slow dithering m.

  24. Orson

    I suspect the Drax will be like so many other players who appear to be very talented but for whatever reason never develop the ability to consistently provide end product and never live up to expectations. He would fit in perfectly with dozens and dozens of Arsenal players during the Emirates era. Over the years there has been a lot of comments about buying him with several people suggesting we should buy him with the expectation of turning him into a goal scoring CF similar to RVP.

  25. I am not expecting anything from Santi or JW this season. We can’t be planning for them to play significant roles and many games. Whatever we get from them will be a bonus.

    As an example of what Andy was talking about, the passivity on the Seri case. If that is the player we want and need, why was AFC waiting to find out about the result of Nice’s CL qualifier? Unless the player was adamant about not trading CL for Europa and would not agree until after the Ajax tie was decided, what possible advantage other than a small discount on the fee could there be to waiting? Seri has a buyout of 40m€ which isn’t that inflated in today’s market. Pay it. Get the player in during preseason. Make him an offer he won’t want to refuse. Now it gets more complicated and others might ramp up their interest.

  26. Bill,

    Please no Draxler. I really fear you might be right about AW trying to grab him from PSG. Exactly the sort of player AW likes and we’ve suffered at Arsenal.

  27. “We have a congestion of strikers – I don’t want to lose him but too much competition is not competition any more,” said Wenger.

    More noise from Wenger that makes no sense at all. If he really doesn’t want to lose him why didn’t he play him more last season? If we have a congestion of strikers now how is it that we didn’t last season when we bought Perez? On paper we may have a glut of CFs to choose from, but very few of them score many goals. Our three most prolific players are Sanchez (who I still expect to go), Giroud and Walcott. Much as I like Welbeck for his energy, he isn’t much of a goal scorer. We will never know if Perez would have been any better than any of those players, but he wasn’t given the chance, What still baffles me is that Iwobi was given game time ahead of him when Perez was clearly the more experienced player. If Sanchez does go we are surely a man down attacking wise and it looks like we are going to be left short as we won’t have time to replace him in the window, unless it’s with the usual bargain basket quality we usually get at the end of a window.

  28. Spot on Damon

    Damon:
    “La Liga is positing that state-backed clubs that compete using ‘financial doping’ could destabilise professional football in Europe”.

    Errmm?? Pot, meet kettle…..

  29. Bravo Colts 🙂

    Colts:
    Oh and it’s great to see neymar potentially leave those scumbags, even if it’s for 500bn,a 4 year lease for the moon, ten unicorns and the patent for teleportation.

  30. Limestonegunner,

    To be honest there is no reason whatsoever why we couldn’t complete the deal on the understanding that he would join after the qualifier. It’s not exactly unusual to have a player join at some predetermined date rather than at the time the deal is signed (with a possible injury related get out clause). But no, we have to take the slow and torturous scenic route before we get anything done. Maybe one for next year, or the year after as we seen to be linked to targets a year or two before we actually sign them.

  31. Limestonegunner,

    That and also Seri but the problem is, we can’t seem to sign them until we sell some and with Jack deciding to stay and the club not selling him or Debuchy, Jenks or Gibbs its becoming difficult.

  32. Limestonegunner,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I was talking with a friend a few days ago and we concluded the club gets too caught up in its own drama – too myopic i.e. the Arsenal world revolves around Sanchez. Even Mertesaker just said (whilst underlining Sanchez ability) it was not healthy for any team to revolve around one player.

    As for fan expectations, it was not fans who raised them for this window, but the club itself. It started back in December/New Year when Gazides (under pressure from handling Wenger’s season going off course again) informed one and all that there needed to be fundamental changes in the way the club did business. We were later reminded of the perennial ‘war chest’ available and ready to go…

    We know susuequently Wenger pushed back against the idea of a DOF but yet presumed Wenger knew the club/squad needed to be shaken up. We overshot on that front.

    I think stasis arose immediately after the FA Cup. Such was the relief we pulled off a trophy, semi-saved the season, the club switched off – probably felt they deserved a break (fair enough).

    When we did refocus it was all directed at Lacazette as we yet reeled from the Sanchez and Ozil panic. At least it spurred the deal to conclusion. However it seemed we had no capacity to focus in more than one direction…

    The one consolation is (as others have said) the window is far from closed so I hope some interesting twists and turns might yet happen. Unfortunately, I still think it will be external factors rather than our decisiveness which brings further deals – but if that is the case, it would be fine with me.

  33. I am not really concerned about our GK situation. Cech/Ospina still have a couple years of solid play, IMO. Sending Emi Martinez on loan is a superb idea and hopefully he can prove he deserves to be our long term GK while on loan. If he does not work out then we will have to move for someone like Butland or Fraser Forster.

    We talked a lot about Wojo and we have beat the subject to death. If we had a new manager things might have been different. However, I don’t think Wojo was ever a realistic option given his history with Arsene and the incredible high hopes we all had in 2010 and the huge wage package he was given which all served to increase the level of disappointment regarding what happened during those 5 years he was here. From Wojo’s point of view I can’t imagine why he would have wanted to come back and played for Arsene. If if I were Wojo and Arsene refused to sell me, I would have given Arsene a double barrel middle salute when he was not looking and held out for a higher unrealistic wage package and then left on the free after the current contract ran out.

  34. Wavey,

    To be frank it would be absurd if there has not been some communication between Arsenal and Manchester City.

    Someone could drive up in the morning for a discreet afternoon face to face and simply ask “Are you interested in Sanchez or not” and then we could state whether we were interested in selling or not – clear the air.

    I would pose this (or something similar) has happened and yes, both parties might allow for some whack contingencies/knock on effects of other deals to impose themselves…but my spidey sense tells me as things stand, there is no offer, Sanchez stays.

    If so, that will influence rest of the window. Which bugs the crap out of me because its woeful short-termism.

    It not simply that we can’t look more than a year ahead under this scenario, it’s the fact that the same problems multiply over the next 12 months, when we could find ourselves in a more fraught sutuation than now.

  35. Sanchez will stay, why not?…. he will just bide his time for a few months, then be free to talk to City and any other clubs in January and agree personal terms etc…

    He will also be in line to ‘trouser’ a sizeable portion of any original transfer fee that was proposed as the signing on fee!

    Everyone’s a winner……….. except AFC of course!

  36. Ian,

    Yeah, Arsene has put all his eggs in the basket marked ‘CL Qualification’. If he’s successful and Alexis makes that happen he can write off the £50m. If not it’s a double failure, a lose-lose and any other manager would have to face the music. Let’s be clear we are not refusing to sell him to City because they are a ‘rival’, they really are not. City will be challenging for the title and AFC will be trying to scrape into the last CL position. Selling Alexis to them will make not one jot of difference as to if we finish above City or not. We’re competing with the likes of Liverpool, Spurs and United for the minor places.

  37. C,

    I don’t see that squad numbers as any deterrent whatsoever. You just don’t register a player you cannot find an alternate club for. Is it going to change anything not to register some of the young players or surplus like Jenks? The only issue is wage restrictions and what counts against it. But for a team that prioritized competing on the pitch, these are sumountable problems that would in no way whatsoever pose an obstacle to improving your team.

  38. andy1886,

    Exactly right and just what I am talking about in terms of your excellent point that teams with ambition and resources make things happen. Some creativity and flexibility motivated by serious purpose will allow many apparent hurdles to be overcome.
    Other clubs manage, it seems.

    Lemar is another obvious example of this. It was clear to me that if he was a target, we needed to make an aggressive bid before Monaco sold 2-3 players to others. The Bakayoko injury and knee surgery put of his transfer and was a golden opportunity for a club with some urgency to force their deal through instead. What does AFC do? Play patty cake with multiple small incremental increasing bids until it was too late. Amazing stuff.

  39. C

    You may be right that Barca will not be interested in Sanchez but the future is now for Barca and with their midfield aging and less dynamic then in the past they need goals and assists from the Neymar position right now. I don’t think they can’t afford to replace Neymar with Dembele who is age 20 and only scored 8 goals in 42 appearance and in reality is still a developmental project. Dembele might come good in 2-3 years or he might never come good. Most of the heavily hyped prospects from Klopp’s title teams in Dortmund struggled when they left.

    The smart move for Barca would be to buy Sanchez because he is almost certainly going to be productive from day 1 and then they would have left over cash to also buy Dembele or someone like him and slowly work the latter into the line up and hope over the next 2-3 years he develops into a player who meets your expectations.

  40. I think the whole squad number, wage/outgoings issue is a wonderful smokescreen to hide behind. Not only is it an indictment of past overvaluation and mismanagement, it is being used as an excuse for not redressing genuine squad weaknesses. These problems can be remedied after getting your targets one way or another. The club just needs to believe that the most important task is putting together a team to win. But there’s the whole issue, isn’t it?!

  41. DFS-,

    Very fair points again. The inability to focus on more than one direction is, I think, directly related to the overdependance on AW.

    We may yet pull something out of the bag at the end but it means again shortchanging the preparation of the team for the first few league matches. At a minimum we need one top level CM and to keep Alexis and Ozil. One issue here is that AW has a big man management and team unity project ahead of these players haven’t signed new contracts or shown they will be committed.

  42. andy1886,

    I agree. We were relegated from CL and have a promotion fight on our hands. I might add Everton especially if they get a pacey striker to replace Lukaku. Somebody like Theo who could run behind the lines and stretch the space for all the creative passers they are stockpiling could help them.

  43. Bill,

    I agree that Alexis would be a very good option for Barca. The fact that AFC has developed his game as a left wide forward would allow him to slot in there quite nicely for a quick replacement. Unless they want to restructure the team, of course and build it to play differently.

  44. Arsene’s transfer and squad building strategy has always been confusing, poorly managed and ultimately less effective then our other big team rivals ever since David Dein left and Arsene took over complete control. I think it is impossible for Arsene to do a world class job of being both field manager and having complete control of the transfer apparatus and decisions at the same time. There is only so much time in each day and both should have been full time jobs. The problem is compounded because there has been no one in our organization who can offer counterbalancing opinions.

  45. Limestone

    Messi is the best player of his generation and easily the best in this century, IMO. He is not getting any younger so I don’t think you try to rebuild or change style of play or focus on building for the future while he is still around and can still help to carry the team.

  46. Bill,

    While Inesta is certainly aging, Busquets is only 29 years old and in a league like La Liga and in the CL where its more tactical than the power and pace of the PL, he could easily play another 4-5 seasons especially since his game is about futboling IQ and reading the game as opposed to athleticism. Couple that with the fact that they have actually bout in recent midfield additions like Gomes, Raktik, Denis Suarez coupled with the likes of Sergi Samper, their midfield is only missing a player like Veratti. The other thing is that if you haven’t noticed, they has been quite an outrage of bringing players back that left because they wanted to leave from both Xavi and Inesta.

    The other thing is, while Barca are wanting to win now, they also don’t bring in players simply for big money at Sanchez’s age, instead they would go after somebody like Dembele, Griezmann or even Aubameyang who are not only extremely talented but have room to continue to grow and would more importantly, fit into Barca, not every player simply slots in. I know most including you will think that I am crazy, but if I was set to spend 50-60m for a player I would actually go for one of those 3 as opposed to Sanchez.

    The other thing is that Sanchez hasn’t had a summer off in what 3-4 years and with the World Cup along with another Copa America he is destined to burn out and when he does, I would imagine it will be swiftly because of his style of play. For as much as barca might be in win now mode, they are also brilliant in the way that they buy players for the now and future so Dembele, Griezmann or Aubameyang make much more sense than say a Sanchez.

  47. Neymar’s representatives and Barca have confirmed that a payment in full of 222 million euros has been paid to Barca.

  48. Have to say, I think Alexis is a terrible option for Barca.
    Too much of an individualist, not happy fitting into a rigid system, loses the ball WAY too often.
    He may not realise it but he is at almost the perfect club for such indulgences.
    This is largely why he did not fit in the first time and nothing AW has done with him will have instilled discipline since.
    Quite the opposite.

  49. Jonny,

    Glad I’m not the only one that thinks he isn’t an option for them. Plus, people tend to forget that part of Sanchez leaving was that they brought in Turan, surely they could have kept Sanchez instead of Turan if they really wanted to.

    The other thing that is more tactical is that they like their wide players to start and stay wide and attack from outside and that includes Messi but they also only allow ONE person to roam and that is Messi and Sanchez is the player that sort of roams for us in that attacking 3.

  50. C:
    Neymar’s representatives and Barca have confirmed that a payment in full of 222 million euros has been paid to Barca.

    Woooooow it’s actually happening, yay. Take that you banana throwing phlegm launchers.

  51. Colts,

    The thing is, Barca with that kind of immediate cash they could actually get 2 top players like Veratti and Dembele, Griezman or Aubameyang.

  52. Or they could grab Mbappe wish cash which means Monaco would tell Arsene and Arsenal to fuck off when it comes to Lemar.

  53. C,

    Monaco have already told Arsene and Arsenal to fuck off when it comes to Lemar. They are used to dealing with serious teams who are actually going to bid sensible money for their players, not Wenger and his low balling.

  54. Wavey,

    So true, I do think that even though have told Arsenal to fuck off, there is too much smoke for there to be no talks at all. Something tells me there are continued talks but with the dithering we could lose out should Barca decide to grab Mbappe.

  55. I will say that the Martinez loan feels more like a reaction to Arsenal not being able to sell Ospina than an actual plan. For all the talk of him being #2 and the future and blah blah blah, if we were going to keep a GK not named Martinez as #2 than it would have made more sense to use Szczesny as our more ‘Cup G’ than Ospina especially with Cech. I men what happens if Cech continues his decline (and there was decline last season) that will leave us with Ospina who is a GK that even Gooners think is nothing more than at best a Cup GK.

    I know Bill will disagree and it doesn’t even matter now because Szczesny is a Juve player and the future of Juve GK, but it feels like a giant cock up as opposed to a real plan.

  56. C

    When Barca has had to replace critical players they go for experienced players with a very strong resumes especially with their forwards. Thierry Henry, Ibrahimovic, David Villa, Sanchez, Suarez, Neymar etc etc. They have not brought in any developmental U21 players like Dembele and stuck them into the first team and expected them to thrive. They can’t afford to do that and hope to compete with Real Madrid. They are a smart enough to realize that even the best talent evaluators in the world are not very accurate in predicting long term success for developmental players like Goetze, Draxler, Dembele, Ox etc etc and they have not really tried players like that upfront that I can think of in this decade. I think Alexis could give them the production they need from the Neymar position and certainly has the energy to play their high pressing game. However, you might be right about their lack of interest in Alexis. However, who ever is on their radar is almost certainly going to be a proven player such as Griezman or Hazard.

  57. C @ 8:35

    We disagree about the Wojo thing but I agree completely that very few things that we do seem to be part of a short or long term coherent plan.

  58. Bill,

    Couple things, you have to remember that when they brought in Sanchez he had really had only 1.5 good seasons at Udinese and largely made his name with his performances for Chile so hardly a strong resume. I think the other thing you have to remember is that they have also brought through Pedro and stuck him directly in from their academy as they have had to do with a couple other academy products wehn Suarez was out until winter. The other thing is that Barca have rarely brought in older players like Sanchez since the Henry, Ibra and Eto days. The only older player they have brought in was Villa and part of that was because he was the main man for Spain. I think the other thing you have to realize is that Dembele isn’t some developmental U21 player and is world’s better player at this point and prospect moving forward than Ox, its just facts. I think all to often you lump all of the younger players together just because of their age and I know you rarely if ever watch other leagues outside of watching CL matches but Dembele isn’t a normal talent, he is probably going to be a key part of the French national team and has been since he made the move to Dortmund, so hardly just some 20 year old. There has been strong arguements that Dembele and Mbappe are equally as talented just in different positions with Mbappe being more of a striker and Dembele being an out and out attacker actually more in the mold of Neymar but in goals and assists though he was asked more to create than score for Dortmund. The other thing is Sanchez, as I have mentioned before and Jonny mentioned, simply doesn’t fit or suit Barca, there is a reason they didn’t even want to keep him when they bought Neymar instead deciding to buy Turan; he simply doesn’t keep possession, loses possession and is more individualistic than they want. I think there is a better chance of Dembele, Griezman or Aubameyang than Hazard or Sanchez.

    When you consider that Dembele finished with 11 goals and 18 assists in all competitions playing as a winger is good for his first season but his talent is undeniable. I would venture to say that we will see either Dembele or Mbappe at Barca next season if they don’t chase Griezmann.

  59. Bill,

    And that is my problem with the who Szczesny thing and really the whole window since Sead and even though we brought Lacazette, there just doesn’t seem to be a true plan in place. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I know me and you disagree about both Szczesny and Elneny but the fact that we were willing to let them go but then keep Martinez and Jack doesn’t make much sense.

  60. If Perez leaves it will be interesting to see how he does next season. I know I will be branded a Wenger apologist for saying this but one of the few things Arsene has gotten consistently right for 13 years is knowing when its time to let a player move on. We have a perfect laboratory and 13 years of evidence from watching the progress of players who have left. Take for example Joel Campbell. I don’t see how anyone can possibly say that he should have gotten a lot more minutes with Arsenal when he can’t even get regular minutes on a club in Portugal. I can’t think of any one of the hundreds of players that Arsene has not used very much and subsequently let go that I wish we had back. Its hard for me to criticize him for underutilizing someone when his record has been very good. Arsene’s problem has nothing to do with making mistakes by under rating players. All of his mistakes have come when he has over rated players.

  61. C

    I don’t think Arsene would have wanted Wojo back and I doubt Wojo would have come back. No way to prove this but I suspect Arsene probably got 1 more double barrel middle finger salute from Wojo then he could take. Coming back to Arsenal was probably not the best thing for either Arsene or Wojo. I imagine the cigarette in the shower after a terrible game was one of many dressing room incidents.

    Time will tell about the Elneny thing. He will probably be this years Lukas Podolsky, Joel Campbell or Lucas Perez and a lot of people will be complaining about his lack of minutes. However I refer back to my comment at 9:02.

  62. Jonny,

    I am with you and C on this. I can’t see Sanchez back at Barca.

    There were reasons why he was sold in the first place – his record was good but he was not a fit, they did not believe in him. Perhaps they might reassess but age would now also be a factor.

    I have been saying for weeks if I was City I would not want him.

    There are simple and complicated reasons for this- but the overarching one is he is Sanchez in Sanchez world. Whilst his productivity is through the roof, I do not beleieve he adds anything to the team dynamic – he’s a black hole. It worked well for us as Wenger is not directing/specifying the attack, Sanchez picks up the slack and becomes the focus. Many fail ask who developed along side him, who has prospored in his orbit? No one.

    Further to that another issue is even if Sanchez had his best, most high profile year, he did not drag the team anywhere did he? We still came fifth.

  63. Jonny,

    Re Sanchez –

    “He may not realise it but he is at almost the perfect club for such indulgences”.

    I had to return and quote line because that post was so on point.

  64. DFS-,

    While I wouldn’t entirely disagree I would temper that assessment by pointing out that under Wenger discipline and a team ethic are rare for any player. We have full backs that are constantly caught out of position, attackers that can sulk and not pull their weight, and midfielders who seem to play wherever they want to. In short we are more often than not a team of individuals who as a team are less than the sum of the individual parts.

  65. C:
    Colts,

    The thing is, Barca with that kind of immediate cash they could actually get 2 top players like Veratti and Dembele, Griezman orAubameyang.

    I mean, Yeah, it’s enough cash to buy a spacecraft. It just feels like a watershed moment given that Neymar is probably only behind messi and cronny in terms of profile. With messi getting older it won’t be long before the decline comes, delicious.

  66. DFS-,

    I agree, i cant see Sanchez back at Barcelona for the reasons stated and with him being indulged here. I’d say though that Theo and the device have been caught in his orbit. Don’t think I’ve ever seen Theo defend so much and I remember when Sanchez first got here the device whenever he got minutes tried his best to emulate him having his best season to date. Granted his positives haven’t impacted as much as we would have liked due to club culture but hopefully players like Nelson etc… Can benefit to some degree.

  67. Lots of really good comment and analysis over the last few days.

    All wasted of course.

    We all know what is going to be the outcome of the summer.

    Really, gentlemen, find something worthwhile to use your intelligence on.

  68. Colts,

    Interesting you mention Sanchez as an influence on Walcott.

    I had specific thoughts on Theo (and the same might apply to The Ox)

    He started the 17/18 campaign on a tear and I have always presumed it was the mental game that had been worked on after the All Blacks psychologist Ceri Evans joined us (late 16).

    Ditto Oxlade Chamberlain who seemed to find a determination and focus he’s been lacking.

    By the by, I completely agree with Theo’s defensive game – he really did up it.

  69. Thinking about it more I agree with Jonny, C and DFS and suspect the idea of Sanchez to Barca may not be a realistic possibility. They already offloaded him once so they probably will not go after him again. They do need immediate production from the Neymar position or they risk falling further behind Madrid.

    Sanchez is productive and that trumps everything else on a team like ours that has a shortage of impact players. He is a wild card and losses the ball a lot but he makes a team like ours which has been relatively easy to defend against less predictable and more difficult to defend against. Same thing with Ox running down the wing with the ball at his feet.

  70. Jonny,

    If Sanchez had a problem when he played at Barca it was that he was too much of a team player and spent all of his time trying to make Messi look good (he was usually sensational when Messi was injured). Then he came to Arsenal and found that he had to be the creator/scorer on a team with static players like Giroud up front. No wonder he makes lots of bad passes. I think he would be sensational back at Barca, who surely won’t go for another Neymar-type dribbler. They want another top-like player integrated into their style who will work his arse off and accept that Messi is the only luxury player. Barca can’t believe their luck getting rid of Neymar for such a ridiculous sum of money.

  71. If there is ANY truth that Barca are interested in buying Dybala and teaming him up with Messi and Suarez, that would make Barca equally as dangerous and maybe a better side defensively because Dybala does loads of defensive work and has that nasty streak about him.

  72. Bill,

    But I do think the idea/possibility of Sanchez back to Barca it an interesting take.

    I have no clue, absolutely none as regards how Barcelona will proceed so it should make for some really interesting watching.

    C,

    Dybala would be an interesting option.

  73. C,

    I love Dybala. He’d be a great option. Alexis may be an individualist but no more than Neymar. Neymar is just a bit better, I think.

  74. C

    I don’t think Barca has moved anyone from their academy into a regular starting spot since Pedro and that was around 2010. I am sure I am forgetting someone but I can’t think of any talented unproven developmental prospects they have bought in the last several years. You can’t compete with Madrid without having proven players as your regular starters.

    The one thing we can be sure of is that Barca has always replaced their critical players with another player who is a proven producer. Sanchez certainly fits that description as well as any of the other players that have been mentioned. Barca is also not averse to bringing in someone close to 30 knowing they will buy someone else when they need a new player in a couple years. The future is now for Barca and you don’t tell Messi that we are going to replace Neymar with someone who we think might turn out to be really good in 2-3 years. Potential does not equal production

    The thing against Sanchez is they already sold him once

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