Next Summer’s Problems As Arsenal Sink Into KSE’s Mediocrity

In this morning’s edition of The Times, Henry Winter talks about events at clubs with worse owners than Stan Kroenke. I know you’re thinking that they don’t come worse than the American and judging by yesterday’s Guardian opinion piece, you’re not alone.

Kroenke’s ‘crimes’ are against sporting integrity; he doesn’t want to be the best on the pitch, just in the bank. For that reason, he is the worst type of club owner. A respectable veneer masks the erosion of the sporting ethos; he’s freely admitted that “If you want to win Championships then you would never get involved.”

There are others, such as Leeds, Blackpool and Orient, whose owners commit more heinous crimes against their football clubs and the FA must enforce their rules more readily in these cases. How a convicted tax fraudster can take control of a club is beyond my understanding.

Kroenke by that benchmark, is an angel, albeit not a benevolent one. His non-competitive ethos permeates the club, underpinned by a complicit board. The delusional nature of Ivan’s email is baffling; a letter never sent is how that should exist, not one which believes the start to the season dictated the view of the club’s transfer business.

In a fairy tale, he’d be the evil which robbed the land of any life; the landscape would be a charred mess.

Wrapping it all up in one package was Ornstein’s summary of the summer:

Our Motto: Blotto

There are some corkers in there;  Arsène waiting to the last days to try and address the central midfield issue, as well as the inexact science of shifting players on are two which stand out. The most laughable of all is the claim that “Kroenke is desperate and hungrier than ever to win trophies”; as if.

But it’s clear we’re storing up problems for next summer. Everything about this summer struck me as saving money for next year, to compensate for the lack of Champions League revenues. The remaining £30-40m isn’t much; I doubt it’s even the fee for a decent central midfielder.

However, that’s minor compared to the other reasons to be fearful. We know Sanchez and Özil are leaving, as well as Mertesacker and probably Santi Cazorla. The latter two are squad players although the mercurial Spaniard might be the panacea for our ills if he remained fit. Maybe not; it’s easy to cast a missing player as that.

The bigger issue is how we deal with the 2019 contract renegotiations. There’s a suggestion that we’ll begin talks this winter with players such as Ramsey and Walcott. My guess is the former will be the tougher of the two. At the moment, I am ambivalent toward the latter; the former, I believe we should keep but that’s not a universally popular view. As for Theo, you can find good odds for his new club on NZ betting sites.

There are significant question marks over the future of Jack Wilshere as well. He rejected a £90k per week offer from Birmingham City this summer. That had more to do with next year’s World Cup but next summer, he will make his own deal elsewhere. There’s little sign he’s going to force his way into the starting line-up and that hurts his England claims. Miss out on Russia 2018 and there will be no consoling him.

The World Cup will be a watershed. Bellerin wanted to leave after a summer with the Spanish Under-21s; what’s he going to be like after six weeks with the senior squad? Mustafi also wants out and the club want to move him on;  the defence is fast being decimated.

Changing Yet Changeless As Canal-Water

We are showing no signs of remaining in the semi-permanent weakened state we’ve been in since moving to the Emirates. Cech and Nacho are also due new deals and while I’m loathe to suggest he should be released, he’ll be 37 when his contract expires. Should he be #1 at that point?

To date Stan hasn’t put money into the club but it’s hard to see how we can replace the assets who are set to leave with the same or most cases, better models when the money and the will to spend it isn’t there.

Add into this mix Wenger’s own situation and the prospect of a disastrous spell ahead. Having left his decision on his future to the last possible minute last time around, will he do likewise this time as well, irrespective of the problems it causes us on the pitch and in the dressing room?

A further renewal of his contract is unthinkable to this blogger but this is Wenger and Arsenal; he’s renewing simply because the board are too timid to try to appoint anyone else, especially when that person has to clear up Wenger’s mess. Ferguson left United as champions but with a squad which needed a complete overhaul. They got the appointment wrong and are only just recovering thanks to a manager who loves spending and a board which backs him.

Wenger is leaving Arsenal as chumpions, with fewer funds and an owner disinclined to sign off on the major spending which needs to happen. Kroenke Sport Enterprises: our motto is ‘meh’.

Do have an unusual day, won’t you?

’til Tomorrow

76 thoughts on “Next Summer’s Problems As Arsenal Sink Into KSE’s Mediocrity

  1. Meh indeed.

    So if we had to shift players to keep within the wage bill limits how exactly are we proposing to a) extend the contracts of existing players who will of course want a significant rise to stay, and b) afford the wages of replacements who will also want a significant package?

    It all points towards making do with lesser players a la George Graham’s post ’92 sides only it’s unlikely we’ll win any trophies this time.

  2. Good post YW

    There is a large slice of me that hopes he does renew, simply so that I don’t have to endure all the Wengerites saying “see what you’ve done?” He should ride this shit out and take us mid table, which is where we’re headed rapidly.

  3. Points to rank mismanagement through the whole club. It all seems to have got too much for Arsene: juggling the day to day management of the team; the contract negotiations; war with Gazidis; squeezing in commentary duties for BEIN; fashion shoots…

    As Roy Castle said: ‘Delegation’s what you need’

  4. When Ozil walks we’ll need Ramsey as our #10. Wenger will play him there in the hope that he’ll stay, then of course he’ll walk too the following summer. That’s assuming that Wenger signs on again for more of the same. The one thing that may convince players to stay other than buckets full of cash is the prospect of playing for a new modern manager So in true AFC style the sensible prediction is that AW will stay and our better players will not.

    Expect the manager to spend a lot of time talking up the young players this season. That would be the cheap and easy option. January could also be the time we sign several bargain basement projects with season 2018-19 in mind. AW has had his flirtation with big signings and royally screwed it up. I’d put money on him reverting to type and we’ll see some form of project youth mk2 despite us being one of the wealthiest clubs on the planet.

  5. Good morning folks, I read one report that said Arsenal were “agonising” over a new contract for Cazorla, a player who has not appeared on the pitch for at least one season and is not expected to appear before next April, why would we even contemplate offering him a contract renewal. By the time his present contract expires he will be thirty-three, will not have played more than a handful of games in two seasons and will have well and truly entered the twilight years of his playing career.

  6. Damon,

    Good point, let him reap what he has sown. It seems that Ivan’s ambition has changed from being like Bayern to mimicking Leicester. He may get his wish as we scrap for mid-table mediocrity.

    What I’d like to see is what would happen if there was a salary cap and no transfer market similar to the NFL. With clubs all on an equal footing I’d put money on Wenger going down faster than a cheap whore on the Titanic.

  7. There is a long list of players with contracts expiring next summer yet not a single one of them is a “must sign” guy. The strongest (least weak) case for an extension is Ramsey. An extension will mean a pay raise that he hasn’t earned.

    Why would we even consider extending Theo? He’s an overpaid squad player we can’t sell because no one wants his wages. He’ll be 30 when his contract runs out. His game is based entirely on speed and he’ll have limited value when his contract runs out. No harm in using him for squad depth and then letting him walk away to finish his career at a team in the lower half of the table.

  8. Good stuff as ever YW,

    One thing for certain is that we`re not rudderless. Arsene`s at the helm & he`ll steer us into calm , serene waters …oh , hang on there`s Niagra Falls in the distance !

  9. andy1886,
    Good Morning all I see The Fosdyke Saga continues to run unabated.

    I think you are spot on there. Ramsey is to be the next numero 10. AW will bestow upon him that mantle after Ozil has gone.

  10. Thanks Yogi!

    Isn’t it a shame that just when you think the news and Arsenal couldn’t get any worst PR, bam their unofficial media mouth hits the world with this and it all just becomes so much worst.

    Arsene riding this out I think would make shit so much worst, I mean I think we can sort of turn this around this season but if Arsenal can’t then I think things will be soo soo very much worst Goonersphere and at the Emirates than last season and maybe some of those players don’t even want to re-sign.

    Fuck, we could legimately be faced with counting on an aging and inconsistent Giroud and Ramsey as our core players😅

  11. Mid-table? You should worry about getting stuck in a relegation battle! With the holes in our current squad, factor in the usual long list of injuries and the spectacular after-January collapse, and you’ll see where we are headed!

  12. Ras,

    Actually I wouldn’t mind that. At least having a more dynamic #10 in the Gerrard/Lampard style would be trying something different from all this thread the eye of a needle passing stuff. I’ve said before I’d try that behind a front two of Giroud/Lacazette. Take two of three from Le Coq, Elneny and Xhaka in the middle and play wing backs as part of a 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 depending on if we are attacking or defending.

  13. Anyone who hopes or believes that this is Arsene’s last contract should be worried.

    I can’t see him giving it up. Especially if the stories that he talked to PSG this summer. He knows he got a job for life here. Sadly, it will mean that a section of the fan base will start to wish him ill health. Even sadder will be his disciples who will say that he “fought on despite the illness, but ultimately, it’s what made him a shit manager at the end”

    Can see him here into 2020 and beyond already.

  14. Damon,

    Given that he has long standing contacts at PSG it would be surprising if he didn’t talk to them occasionally. That doesn’t mean he talked about the manager’s role there, in fact I’d be shocked if they even considered him. Why would ambitious PSG who’s aim is to win the CL give the job to a manager who arguably has the least successful record in Europe of all time?

    It’s just more spin to convince gullible fools that Wenger is a manager in demand. He isn’t.

  15. It is increasingly clear that the real problem was not so much this summer’s shambolic attempts at business but the looming black shadow of next summer.
    Regardless of how much each of us might individually yearn for the departure of the incompetent incumbent, we had better pray for a turn around in results and right quick too.
    So grave is the fermenting situation, it has now become a cold imperative that we get back into the Champions League. Otherwise, we will see a club exodus and inability to attract signings, the likes of which we have never seen before.
    It could be a bloodbath.
    Some of you might be prepared to welcome that in order to elicit change – if so I think you need to think again. The ownership model is here to stay and given the changing landscape of transfer fees and wages, this could be a fall the likes of we might be unable to recover for a very long time.
    This season top 4, for us more than any other club, really is the biggest ‘trophy’ in town.

  16. I said it last week – we need at least two of Kroenke, Gazidis and Wenger to go. Until that happens, the club will go backwards, good players will leave/not join, performances and final league position will deteriorate. The recent FA Cup successes are but fresh wallpaper over a wall full of cracks.

    We mock Liverpool for their lack of PL success, but we are heading into that abyss. Arguably they have already replaced us on the fringe of the top table. Although we won’t pick up a CL trophy during our own drought of PL success.

    Assuming Wenger sees out the current contract and then leaves, I wouldn’t back us for a PL title before 2020/21. That is assuming the owner (Stan or otherwise) spends to overhaul the squad in summer 2019, appoints the right person as Wenger’s eventual successor and gives him time.

    That’s a 17 year stretch, minimum.

  17. Stu,

    Which given that the longest gap (so far) between titles since our first in 1931 is eighteen years is pretty appalling stuff.

  18. andy1886,

    I seem to recall a statement from someone at PSG that whilst Wenger was on their list of potential managers, who was not on the short list and in fact nowhere near the top half, so yes, he might have spoken to them and enquired if they were interested in his services, but I suspect the answer would have been diplomatically negative.

    Wenger has a fairly long history of claiming that big clubs like Real have wanted him around the times when his contract was up for renewal.

    He wouldn’t have lasted 1 season at Real or Barca, so he’s stayed because its a comfortable gig where there are some tackies who seem to think he’s some sort of deity and there’s zip chance of him getting booted out on his arsenal.

    The price of ridding the club of Wenger and Kroenke might well be relegation, like Forest, Huddersfield, Coventry, Blackburn, and others, but that’s a price that might be acceptable for some but not others.

    Whatever happens, it won’t be within our control.

    However, if we are to flirt with relegation or actual relegation, I agree that Wenger must be the one at the helm so the decline can’t be shoveled onto someone else and have the Wenger accolytes dribble up “see, thats what you wished for”.

  19. The sooner IG, SK and AW f*ck off out of Arsenal the better!!!

    …and that’s all I’ve got to say on the subject!!!

  20. andy1886,

    Exactly Andy. 17 years+ should not be acceptable to a club the size and stature of Arsenal. To think we have not been and will not be competitive in the league for most of that time and still have the same manager, is beyond belief. Wenger should have been given to July 2014 at most – sufficiently after the alleged impact of the new stadium, to build a PL challenging squad and make a proper go at it. He didn’t. He failed. His head should have rolled 3 summers ago.

    Even when all the other “big” teams imploded in 2015/16, he couldn’t deliver. We beat Leicester twice that season and still looked third best, behind them and the rabble up the road.

    Grrrr!

  21. The good thing is that we will see the likes of Nelson, Willock and Nketiah playing and featuring more especially in the Europa league. I know most will disagree but I actually think that Nelson can give us what Ox was giving us as but with more defensive work.

  22. Stu,

    Yup. And the money argument will be trotted out but the facts are that AFC have won titles many times before with fewer resources than many others. Look at 1989 for example, we had less cash than the likes of Liverpool, ManU, Everton, Spurs (who had bought the likes of Waddle and Gacoigne for huge fees) and possibly Villa yet still managed to win the league.

    A great manager wins despite the odds. Wenger’s titles have always come when he’s had the best players.

  23. The squad is actually ok, it is too big and needs culling. We sold players so there was a logic in that.

    We needed better strikers and we got one in the transfer window, untested, but great.

    Ox is a liability who has never fitted into the team. He has gone. Thumbs up.

    At crucial times ion the last few seasons, when we needed quality, we a have looked like the Ozil, Sanchez and Cech club and they are still at the club this season.

    The question really is why does it all feel so shit? Most of which is answered in this post.

    The only things that could change the outlook is if the manager changes and this won’t happen because he has the full support of the owner. So we slide into the mediocrity that is coming and we don’t have the money that ManUre stumped up to get us out.

  24. consolsbob,

    I’m with you CB. The only thing CL qualification gives us is an appreciating asset for Stan to hold on to and the chance of being spanked by one of the big boys come February.

    I genuinely believe that we’ll become a perennial Europa League team. Stan isn’t going to invest enough to get us back into the top four and Wenger isn’t good enough to coach us back there without big funds. The only chance we’d have is if at least two of the top sides have a complete melt down the way they did when Leicester won the title.

    As I mentioned previously we’re heading for a mid-nineties type side featuring the equivalents of Morrow, Hillier and Selley.

  25. I think the biggest indictment has to be the fact that Gibbs said Pulis will help him develop as a player more than Arsene in areas of his game that needed it that he wasn’t getting. Who would of thought that Pulis can help a player develop more than Arsene.

  26. On a functional level, that does rather mean that you are no longer supporting the club to do as well as possible.

    I am not sure I can do that – even though I am fully aware of, and appreciate the bigger picture.

    This looks to me like a very real “be careful what you wish for” moment.

  27. Great post yogi

    That article you copied really points out just how our day to day and month to month management of the club has completely devolved into a shambolic mess. I am certainly not a fan of Stan Kronke but he is not involved in the day to day management of the club. That is Arsene’s job and he has totally screwed it up. Stan has not held back money from Arsene. Stan let Arsene spend over $100M in 2016 and look what Arsene brought us for that expenditure. Chelsea had an aging and useless squad around 2011/12 and look what they have been able to do with a lower net spend then we have had since 2012. The difference was they had a plan. We on the other hand lurched from crisis to crisis with no long term plan and the lack of a long term plan is not Stan’s fault. Ultimately the buck does have to stop with Stan and his real fault has been making Arsene the captain of the ship.

  28. Ivan appointed to UEFA role as a executive committee as one of two representatives from the European Club Association.

  29. Ultimately Stan is in charge of the football club and the crap rolls uphill. I am as concerned as anyone about the long term implications of having Stan Kronke as our owner. I don’t see us ever moving into the top echelon of world football clubs under his ownership.

    However, to me the only thing you want your owner to do is make sure there is money available for transfers and player wages and then stay out of the way and let your football people make the decisions. Clearly that is what Stan has done for most of this decade. His mistake was not having the right football people in our organization and not diversifying the football related decision making apparatus of the club. IMO.

  30. Jonny,

    No, not at all. I have never been interested in a ‘top 4’ finish, unless we were !1st or at least in close pursuit of it.

    I have supported Arsenal long enough to experience poor sides and sides that did finish mid table. Never bothered me, The club was everything.

    It isn’t now. It is not the club that it once was, just a rich man’s cash cow. No ambition, no interest in winning. Not a proper football club. Why should I care about a balance sheet? Or a manger with more ego than true care about the club. No one there cares.

    It’s about more than ‘saving our place ‘ as a ‘big club’, we have always been that but it should mean more than just money.

  31. Wargwarn

    The battle continues, gripping stuff those ornsteins. Whatever is happening behind the scenes it’s certainly isn’t Victoria Concordia cresit.
    We’re not in the sunken place yet, perhaps a Tuchel away from competing. For all his madness he fits the system that appears to be trying to oust Mr no horses. He’d be the perfect “moneyball” manager. Knows how to work to a limited budget, integrate youth, is tactically astute etc…
    still a fan of the wizard but given age and lack of physicality I view him more as the type of luxury you’d need to win major titles. Make no mistake, put a team worthy of his vision around him and he’ll unlock any defence “the constant trouble maker”.
    that said I’d sell and put Ramsey there.
    His energy in that position would be something else plus his goals would balance out the lack of assists.

    Butland
    coquelin van dijk holding/chambers sead
    Goretska/xhaka rabiot
    Ramsey
    Moura/Nelson lacazette lemar/iwobe

    Manager: Tuchel.

    Make it happen Josh, you can do it.

  32. I’d be happy with Tuchel as an option.
    If we’re to keep Ramsey, playing him in Ozil’s position ahead of a solid defensive base is the only position that makes sense.

  33. Bob,

    I agree. I have often said to people to be met with looks of incredulity that I preferred the situation where we were poor- top 6 at best, used to get caned by Lpoo and would struggle to beat Spurs. At least people cared then, there was meaning and purpose and a real sense of identity. It was fun. Celebrating goals in the North Bank was like nothing else.

    Now I am utterly indifferent, which just a few years ago was inconceivable. I think the real change came when we moved stadiums. Arsenal is Highbury. End of. The club that we have supported all these years is inextricably linked to the old stadium. Having moved away, Arsenal is now a different club.

    I hear all the talk of the need for the new stadium but nothing can make up for the loss of Highbury. I don’t miss going to matches as much as I miss going to Highbury with all the memories and great players.

  34. Mike

    Relegation? I was talking about this today. Look at Chelsea under Mourinho just 2 years ago. This was a team that won the title at a canter; a far better team than ours with a better manager and look where they were when Mourinho was sacked.

    Make no mistake, if people thought that last season was bad then they are in for a shock. Wenger has defied gravity for far too long. A manager as inept as he now is should have been found out and disposed of years ago. We could easily become (are?) a mid-table side or worse. Top 4? Zero chance, none, nada.

    There are rumours that the players are no longer playing for Wenger but at the moment that’s all they are. Maybe the players can do us all a favour and get Wenger sacked. Clutching at even imaginary straws…

  35. C,

    Hello C you don’t give up on Coq and El Neny do you?

    Both are at best bench warmers for Arsenal. I would put El Neny higher than Le Coq.

    Swansea have managed to get Sanches on a seasons loan. West Brom signed a player from PSG whose name slips me. Both IMHO would have been perfect for Arsenal.

  36. C,

    I wouldn’t 😉
    elneny for me is Ramsey with better possession and discipline. Doesn’t read the game well, can’t tackle and chases a lot like Francis. Its why I’d move him to right back, he needs the game in front of him.
    for what we’re up against in the pl alone, they’re to light weight and not technically astute enough to be starters in mid field for a club chasing the elite.

  37. My guess is that Arsene’s dedication to strict self sufficiency and his ability to keep us meeting our minimum goal of top 4 spot for all of these years is why Stan has and probably will stay loyal to him. Arsene has been the safe option. Stan or someone who is above Arsene in the pecking order is going to have to demand better results and I am just not sure I see that happening.

  38. C

    Le Coq and Xhaka were in the midfield protecting Ozil when we played Man City and Everton last December and I think all 3 started at least one of the games against Bayern Munich and it was a disaster.

  39. We have been building our team around Ozil and compensating for him for the last 5 seasons. It might have been worth it at one point when he could still consistently make strongly positive game changing contributions but not anymore. If he is only able to be effective when we have the exact right players and the exact right system and he is not able to adapt to anything different then what happens when one of those players he needs gets injured or loses form for any reason.

  40. On Ramsey. He should never again play as one of the two CMs.

    I went to the Wales game on Saturday and am sat here watching the game against Moldova, and he must be played as a n10 going forward.

    Whether he should start ahead of Ozil is up for debate. Personally if we revert back to a 4 2 3 1 I’d give him a shot.

  41. Ras,

    Don’t get me wrong, I would rather have Sanches and Krychowiak but Le Coq and Elneny is what we have so mine as well use them. I rate Elneny more than Le Coq and if I’m honest I would be interested to see how Chambers would do.

    The window is closed and at this point its about doinh with what we have.

  42. Colts,

    I mean I rate Elneny ahead of Le Coq, he might noy be the destroyer but he is a reader and gets plenty of interceptions and while he doesn’t tackle, he nicks the ball away from players.

    I would love to see Xhaka/Elneny/Ozil get a run out but we all know that won’t happen. Elneny pressing and closing down space but as you said is disciplined in his duties allowing Xhaka to sit deep and not press.

  43. Bill,

    I strongly disagree we built our team around Ozil, I mean FFS if that was the case then Giroud would not be the main striker and we would be playing with 2 disciplined pivots like Germany did and Madrid does not Ramsey bombing forward giving NO FUCKS about defending.

  44. C,

    Let’s be fair, every single midfielder Wenger has used in the last five years has had the same tendency – it can’t be a coincidence. Song went gung-ho, even Le Coq and Flamini got caught out of position loitering in the penalty area as we got hit on the counter once again.

    I think that it’s a fair assumption that Ramsey is told to play that way. Yes he could ignore Wenger but then he’d just get benched and we’d have the same thing all over again with one of our other options.

  45. Great assist by woodburn for Wales. He looks class. Will be highly amusing if he keeps Ox out of the Liverpool side.

  46. andy1886,

    Completely agree about our midfielders all at some point doing that and surely Arsene has told one of them too whether it was Le Coq playing next to Xhaka or Song playing next to Arteta.

    I think the difference with Ramsey is that he plays like that whether its for Wales Or Arsenal, whether he plays centrally or on the right to help ‘defensively’, just the type of player he is. I think Dixon summed him up best when he said something lile Ramsey isn’t that good of an actual midfielder and doing the things you want from a pivot like passing, dictating, being disciplined, etc., he is good at late runs.

  47. C

    For the last 5 seasons we have given Ozil free reign to sit in the final 1/3 and go where ever he wants and do whatever he wants and not have to defend or do anything he did not feel like doing. For part of those 5 years it might have been worth it to make those compromises because there was a reasonable chance that he might do something special, but not anymore.

  48. Bill,

    True but you could say the same about Ramsey, actually he said Arsene gave him free reign as long aa he got back into position. Actually you could make that case for really all our attackers but of those, for me, only 3 can make the impossible happen: Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette. Ozil waa superb for Germany over 2 matches in 4 days, the question for me isn’t Ozil but how come Arsene can’t get the beat out of him and quite honestly most if not all our players. I mean beyond the sheer assists and goals which I know you love, why does Low keep handing the keys to Ozil(who was voted German player of tournament for the Euros and a key cog in them winning the World Cup) and Low has no problem dropping players especially when you consider the abundance of attacking talent Germany has?

  49. C

    We have talked about his before. You dismiss it when someone you don’t rate like Ramsey plays well in international games but you make a big deal when someone you do rate like Ozil plays well against overmatched teams like Norway. Ozil had a great game when Arsenal beat Ludogrets 6-0 and he had a great game against Norway when Germany won 6-0. Admittedly he can look great when his team is rampant against weak opponents but so does everybody else on the squad. However, in his last 2 major international competitions Ozil has played for Germany he played 7 games in World Cup 2014 and had 1 goal and 1 assist and he had 1 goal and 1 assist in 6 games during Euro 2016. He has certainly been underwhelming even for Germany against stronger competition in the last few years.

  50. According to you Ozil was brilliant playing for Arsene for the first couple of seasons and everyone would agree that he was brilliant in the first half of the 15/16 season so Arsene clearly was getting the best out of him at one point. However, everything seemed to change starting in the second half of the 15/16 season and Ozil has not been the same player since then. Arsene Wenger is the same so logic would suggest that it was Ozil who changed. I am not a fan of Arsene either but its a very big stretch of the imagination to blame Ozil’s underwhelming form for the last 1 1/2 seasons on Arsene.

  51. I am not a fan of Arsene but I think we blame him in order to find excuses for a players poor form. Remember how everyone blamed Arsene for Ramsey’s poor form when Arsene was playing him playing wide right. We blame Arsene for playing Bellerin on the left wing when in reality we don’t want to admit that he has just as bad when he played on the right side for the last year. In Ozil’s case Arsene has been playing him in his preferred position and giving him every chance to succeed by allowing him to roam freely wherever he wants in the attacking end and not expecting him to play defense and yet we still try to blame Arsene for Ozil’s underwhelming form during the last 1 1/2 seasons.

  52. From my perspective, the reason why Ramsey is a very inferior option to Ozil is based on the differences between their vision, mental speed, and skill set.

    Ramsey wishes he was Ozil. The opposite is not true.

    Ozil’s vision and speed of thought is sometimes only apparent when watching replays.

    Ramsey does far too much stopping and turning round in circles, thus allowing opposition players to shut off channels and close potential pass recipients down, whilst Ozil distributes accurately at speed on the move.

    Ozil’s ball control comes naturally, Ramsey seems to think he’s Pele and tries all manner of eye-catching tricks and back heels, most of which don’t come off.

    Ozil pulls tricks only when needed, and most of the time you’ll only notice them on replays.

    Ozil is the closest player in terms of skill that we’ve had since Bergkamp.

    Any manager with half a brain would utilize and motivate him in the manner we’ve seen at Real and for Germany.

    I’m absolutely gobsmacked at the flack Ozil gets and that ANYONE would consider Ramsey an alternative.

    Its like comparing a Rolls Royce to a kiddies tricycle.

  53. Cannot speak for others but I was not remotely comparing them – my point was that if you keep Ramsey he has to play in Ozil’s position.
    Personally, on that basis, I’d have sold Ramsey season’s ago rather than shoehorning him into the team.
    Of course, Ramsey is no Ozil but he could still prove very effective in the right position and system. this being AW he has singularly failed to get the best from either.

  54. Morning,

    the knock-on effects of these contract cock-ups are going to be felt for some time and will lead the club to make decisions regarding other players that they normally wouldn’t. Given the free transfer exodus next summer, the club are apparently going to be discussing contract renewals with the players who have contracts expiring in summer 2019 sooner rather than later. This clearly makes sense for the players you want to keep, as you would ideally sell those who don’t want to stay. That could mean a huge exodus last summer, so we are likely to be giving contract renewals to players we really shouldn’t simply to avoid reducing the number of experienced players dramatically. This will mean players like Ramsey, Cech, Walcott and Welbeck will all be given new contracts as a matter of course (probably with pay rises to convince them to sign) when there are some players in that group who we should be looking for upgrades on. For example, we are likely to give Cech a brand new contract because we do not have a single back up option who is anywhere near good enough to step into the number one spot when his contract is up at the end of next season. As we will be spending all of our resources replacing players like Alexis, Ozil and Ox next summer with very little transfer funds coming through the door, there will be no funds available to bring in a top class GK. So the only option is to sign Peter up again. That means players like Walcott and Welbeck also stay, neither of whom has shown anything like the potential hoped but numbers and limited resources mean they have to stay as well.

  55. Wavey,

    All part of our decline into mediocrity I’m afraid. Given the state that we are in I’m convinced that Europa League qualification will be the new target and we’ll cut our cloth to suit which means players like Welbeck will be the level we are at. I would be surprised if we sign another Ozil or Alexis any time soon and Wenger’s claim that we will be back in for Lemar is laughable.

    The cost to be reasonably confident that we would make top 4 is too high compared to the possible rewards (estimated around £30m p.a. extra). Plus we save by not paying CL rate wages and bonuses. It’s a business model that will appeal to Kroenke.

  56. Just watched Chile v Bolivia (0-1). How on earth does FIFA allow football games at 12,000 feet. That is nuts. Someone will drop dead one of these days, and the ball fizzes around like a tracer bullet. Nobody can trap it.

  57. MikeSA,

    “Ozil is the closest player in terms of skill that we’ve had since Bergkamp.”

    … not fit to lace Dennis’ boots …

    I feel that Fabragas was a far better player for Arsenal. Created, scored, and didn’t go hiding on the wing. Another Wenger mistake not taking Cesc back.

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