On Ramsey, Wilshere, Welbz and This Morning’s Transfer Talk

This morning sees the first test of the ‘new’ Arsenal emerge with reports that the club offered Aaron Ramsey a new five-year deal. Every report declares it’s ‘sign or be sold’, which is a hefty declaration for the club to make. And this has been dropped by the club into the media, not Ramsey’s agent; the angle of the story is wrong for that.

A lot of people view Ramsey as the new captain which is a surprise: the armband, robbed of its’ traditional role by Arsène’s philosophy of having eleven leaders on the pitch, is a poisoned chalice. Since Thierry Henry succeeded Patrick Vieira, successive captains were sold, retired, or suffered horrendous injuries. Ramsey’s done the latter, is too young to hang up his boots, so it’s only the former left.

That’s a good basis for talks…

It’s quite right that there is a time limit put on negotiations. Too often in the past, we’ve left things to hang and paid over the odds. Not just in Mesut Ozil’s case – more on that later – but also, for example, Theo Walcott. Tortuous negotiations every time with diminishing returns.

The situation must be avoided with Ramsey. Understandably, he won’t rush to sign his last big contract. Next time around, he’s looking at a deal to see out his playing days and at 31, 32, it’s unlikely to be at Arsenal without a coaching contract at the same time.

Initial reports claim Unai Emery wants to build his side around Ramsey. That’s a positive since he’s got to persuade players of their futures in negotiations. Pay will be an issue; making the Wales international the key to the side means a heftier pay packet thanks to Ozil’s deal. The Times maintains that was a divisive issue in the second half of the season, a claim never contradicted.

English to the British Core

For what it’s worth, if Ramsey is the basis for the side, then retaining him is vital. If that means paying more than the club wants, that’s the hole they dug for themselves.

Another test for the club is Jack Wilshere, but this time for the coach. Terms are agreed, just the issue of where Jack fits into the scheme of things.

Don’t ask me, I haven’t a scooby. He should be at the heartbeat of the side and we know injuries deprived him of that role. If I’m honest, I can’t ever see him being that ‘king’. This is where Emery’s football philosophy and man-management kick in. Wilshere lost out on a World Cup place this summer but will only be 29 next time around.

Theoretically, he could be at Qatar and Morocco – yes, US soccer chums, your president is making the wrong kind of waves again, this time with FIFA. But Wilshere needs to play as much as possible – every week seems overly optimistic given his history – and is he going to get that at Arsenal? And is being a squad player at Arsenal better for his career than playing every week for, say, Southampton or Crystal Palace?

Which is the second fire to put out? The third is Mesut Özil. Was last season down to contract uncertainty? Did his salary distract or inject complacency? I harbour the hope that a good World Cup along with the change of coach will reinvigorate him to reproducing the form of a previous couple of seasons.

Floating along in the background is Danny Welbeck’s future. There’s an interesting interview doing the rounds about how he managed the psychological impact of the injuries he’s suffered. No mention of his contract which is, he says, a post-World Cup issue.

All’s Welbz That Ends…Well

And as with Wilshere, the question going through his mind must be where he fits in. Aubameyang and Lacazette are ahead of him in the starting line-up, so too Mkhitaryan for one of the wide roles.

Which leaves Welbeck on the bench, in the cups, and basically cover. Is that what he wants? It’s certainly not going to improve his England chances, which despite being top-scorer in the World Cup 23-man squad, remain slim.

Previously, he claimed he wanted to be a central striker. He’s not prolific enough to make that happen although he may argue he’s never been given a run to prove it or to grow into it.  I think his debut came against Manchester City when he spurned a glorious opportunity to score what would have been the decisive goal. It sums him up; a good to have, but not a must-have.

In all honesty, if he’s not signing the deal put in front of him then his sale is a no-brainer. Emery will like him because he works hard for the team but for a striker, is that enough? For me, no.

Incoming this morning is Stephan of Lichtenstein, Sokratis and a young Turk, this time Yacine Adli who is set to follow Unai Emery from PSG and is ready to be the first signing of the Emery era. Makes a difference in perception, I suspect, that it’s a 17-year=old which sends a signal of a vibrancy and future planning. It also rams home the message that Stephan of Liechtenstein is a squad player, nothing more.

’til Tomorrow.

54 thoughts on “On Ramsey, Wilshere, Welbz and This Morning’s Transfer Talk

  1. Great post YW, loads of info in there, when there isn’t masses going on, really

    I know I’ve said it before, but I think the desperation of throwing mental money at Ozil is yet to fully come home to roost.

  2. In all of this, there is one reason: Wenger and Gazidis colluding with Wenger.
    Ozil should have been sold , the year after he arrived, as his pattern of flashing brilliance and disappearing act was well noticed even then. It was Wenger, who resisted this, and the result was to chuck in bucket loads of money towards Ozil, and the dissatisfaction all around the dressing room. We could still sell him, but the hefty pay packet means , it will be difficult.

    About Ramsey. If Emery feels he needs Ramsey, that Ramsey sold be given a strict time span to sign or be prepared to go.
    Wilshere, was injured in that last international, and rightly was excluded. Emery could give him a chance to sign the contract. If he does not, letting him go to Juve who wanted him is a good option. No club will have him the kind of money he expects when his injury history is that bad.

    Lastly, Welbeck. It was well known why he was not even on the bench in Man U. He was and has been a bad finisher. Works hard, but cannot hit a barn door. Wenger then was happily refereeing a Vatican football match, and heard the fans fuming to get a striker, and bought Welbeck at the 11th hour. He should be sold.

  3. The talk of Ramsey as captain is down to the paucity of options. Where can that cap be hung? For me Monreal is the only one in the side that shows captain qualities. Kos is out for at least half a season, possibly a lot longer, he can’t remain captain surely?

  4. Zidane just announced that he’s leaving Real Madrid. Fed up or not that is the real example of leaving on a high.

  5. Good piece.
    (Great still too. Quite the racy image early-50s.)

    The Ozil money?
    In my mind you pay for talent. Mesut is a unique talent, when surrounded by like-leveled types. In all his time at the club, it may be just now that the attack can begin to tap the best of his abilities. Yet, Ozil has an Arsenal assist rate and chances created– still among the top across Europe– with what could best be termed a ‘middling strike force’ on offer the last few seasons. (The caveat of Alexis’ totals and style being deceptively exclusive. Stunting most everyone else.)

    The return on the Ozil money.
    If the club are to aspire again to be great? It’s necessary to have a player who can make those around him better– in-turn, reflecting well on Ozil. It will be on Unai Emery to create the conditions to now draw the best from Ozil–and moot the enormity of his pay.

    The Laca/Mkhi/Auba/Ozil (LMAO) foursome could flourish– given a group behind them to free up their abilities.

    jw1

  6. Great post yogi. Its filled with talking points.

    I agree that jack and Welbeck will be a squad players if they sign. If that is what they want then so be it.

    I know he divides opinions but I like the idea of a big role for Ramsey. I think he could be really good in the #10 role in the right situation. He could be the focal point of our high energy pressing on the attacking end of the pitch and his effectiveness could be exponentially increased if we attack at a high tempo.

    I agree with Damon regarding Ozil’s contract. I hope that was the last remnant of Arsene’s influence because I am very worried if our new guys made the decision. I would have been shocked if it had not been a divisive issue for the rest the of the squad. I am sure none of them was surprised that mesut’s cloak of invisibility was used a lot more often and the sick leave started to pile up after the contract was signed.

  7. Damon:
    Our dearly departed is the early favourite to be Zidane’s successor

    I hope they hire him. Someone else needs to win the champions league once in a while.

  8. Good stuff Yogi.

    I always find it interesting that people say give the armband and pay Ramsey but fail to remember that he is generally injured for a 1/3 of the season and is wildly inconsistent. His late season swoons tend to cover up the rest of the season for so many. Funny how people point to Ramsey scoring FA Cup Final goals but in back to back seasons it was Ozil who was praised in both the semi-finals and Finals for hos performance….food for thought.

    On Ozil, isn’t it interesting that even with a bang average attack prior to this season he is still amongst the tops ij Europe in chances created and assists which you judge ACM/#10’s by. We saw immediately the impact that Lacazette and Aubameyang will have playing with him and I would suspect given a more solid defensive midfield and better attack we will see the best. Unlike a player like Ramsey whose work rate is key to his style and will go as he ages, Ozil plays with a wand of a left foot and between the ears and that will never leave him.

  9. Here’s another question for those saying through loads of money and 5 years at Ramsey: If a player struggles with hamstring and muscle injuries playing in Arsene’s ‘semi-press’ system, wouldn’t he be even more likely to get injured playing in a system that demands high pressing and playing at pace? Why not bring in a quality player like Seri, Praet, Weigel, Raboit, Lemina, who has flourish flourished in high pressing systems and understand the need to boss thr midfield.

  10. jw1

    Ozil finished 11th= in PL assists last season. Which isn’t bad until you consider the other 11th= was Ramsey, plus Gross from Brighton and Burnley’s Gudmondsson. Mkhitaryan was 10th.

    Now, I think for the money we pay him, we should expect him to be far higher up that list. Football is a team sport and the only players on that kind of money should be the ones who lift a side when the going is bad. Could Ozil ever do that? I don’t think so and as for us getting value for money, Gazidis feared the sack so much, he couldn’t let Ozil walk away.

    I genuinely don’t think there was any interest from anyone else in paying him even close to what we are; he knew we were over a barrel and took full advantage. Now it seems we’ll repent at leisure unless Emery can reinvigorate him.

    > “It’s necessary to have a player who can make those around him better– in-turn, reflecting well on Ozil”

    To some extent, I agree. However, that presupposes Ozil is the fulcrum of the side and I would be reluctant to invest myself for a player in that position whose performances aren’t consistently good in big matches. Ozil has to prove himself worthy of that role as well.

  11. I wonder who Real have lined up as their next manager! I wonder if Unai is kicking himself thinking he should of waited instead of taking the Arsenal job! I know which job I’d rather have!

    Looking forward to the world cup and what it holds for our pre-season. Hoping all our player’s at the world cup do well and come back injury free.

    Can’t wait to see what the new manager does with this squad of player’s.

    Ozil’s and Sanchez’s salary upset the dressing room and this was Wenger’s un-doing. Now there is only Ozil left and we won’t be able to offload him. So how can we capitialize on a player who is notorious for not pulling his weight or putting a shift in?

    As for Welbz, Ramsey and Wilshere, they can all be sold if they don’t like the contracts put in front of them. I have a feeling they will all sign as they will be nobody’s outside of Arsenal.

  12. I don’t see Ramsey as captain material, for me he is a selfish player, with questionable decision making, and seldom goes a long time without an injury break. I could see either Nacho or Xhaka in that role though.

  13. @YW: ”
    Ozil finished 11th= in PL assists last season. Which isn’t bad until you consider the other 11th= was Ramsey, plus Gross from Brighton and Burnley’s Gudmondsson. Mkhitaryan was 10th.

    Now, I think for the money we pay him, we should expect him to be far higher up that list. Football is a team sport and the only players on that kind of money should be the ones who lift a side when the going is bad. Could Ozil ever do that? I don’t think so and as for us getting value for money, Gazidis feared the sack so much, he couldn’t let Ozil walk away.

    I genuinely don’t think there was any interest from anyone else in paying him even close to what we are; he knew we were over a barrel and took full advantage”

    Agree 100%. In our opinion, Emery will not be able to improve his attitude and work ethic. He should go.

  14. Bill: I hope they hire him. Someone else needs to win the champions league once in a while.

    Very good Bill. If Arsene gets the RM job, I wonder what the odds on a Last 16 exit will be?!

  15. I agree that Ramsey is not a great fit for the captain’s armband. I am surprised that we would even consider the idea of Xhaka. The captain does not have to be the worlds best player but I think he should have consistent positive influence. Xhaka has been a negative influence for most of the last 2 years and the only reason he should be captain is if the #1 criteria was being a $35M gigantic disappointment.

    I think Nacho is easily the best choice.

  16. Stu: Very good Bill. If Arsene gets the RM job, I wonder what the odds on a Last 16 exit will be?!

    66 to 1

  17. Ozil could be sold to a Chinese league side, No ? They’ve got bucket loads to spend on marquee players.

  18. I’d personally give Ozil one more season….

    Excited for Yacine Adli signing! With my mother being French and residing near Carcassone in France, i watch a fair bit of French football! He’s very young but extremely talented and a better beard than me already.

    Sven again, working is links. And also read Dembele saying he speaks to Sven most days….

    I’m quite excited for the new season, i’m not expecting anything major, i’d take being competitive for top 4 and not getting smashed by Liverpool at Anfield….

  19. YW,

    Very good points. All true.
    My reservation from a perspective of circumstances.
    I’ll rebut with aspects from this past season that make Ozil’s 8 assists not-so-pedestrian:

    Had Alexis not pouted and acted a professional.
    Had Lacazette’s knee not hampered him (though as a professional he complained not).
    Had Ramsey not had his annual Hamstring Holiday.
    Had Welbeck’s shins been more accurate.
    Had David DeGea not been a goalkeeping god.

    Mesut created 74 chances. Rewarded with 8 assists.
    With any or all of those above finishing marginally better– Ozil with perhaps 12 assists?
    Finishing well? Possibly doubling those 8 assists?

    Really looking forward to a full season– of Ozil setting up attackers who can find the back of the net. A group who intuitively find one another opportunities.

    This could be really good.
    Could help to justify the Ozil money.

    jw1

  20. Over the next 3 years I suspect the Ozil contract will become the most expensive in the history of world football in terms of goals and assists per dollar spent.

    Pochettino to Real Madrid rumour is heating up. I think it would be incredibly ironic if Poch went to Madrid and Arsene took over Spurs. He would not have to leave his home and he would have the ultimate chance to give all of the impatient Arsenal fans another double barrel middle finger salute.

  21. C,

    I thought Ozil was terrific earlier in the season but not after he signed. So I didn’t really see his role in this new attack on evidence after the signings of Auba and Mkh. Of course he is talented and will probably combine fairly well with Auba and anyone else. The problem really is just how we mortgaged so much on a player whose impact can be unpredictable and doesn’t always play at the level of his potential. We sacrifice defensive work to provide him a free role. In a high press, we may see him less effective as well. So to justify his position and his super high wages, which he was able to extort from AFC as he ran his contract down and the club sold Alexis (pulling a Thro basically), he needs to create and score more than he did in the second half of the season. We’ll see how he does under the new coach and tactics but being skeptical and a bit regretful about the contract level is reasonable given his performance after signing it.

    And this is no Ramsey who equally doesn’t match his potential in performance. This was his best season in a while and he still missed too much of it. I would frankly not build a team around him because he doesn’t play enough. He is productive even though he also sacrifices defensive solidity with incessant runs forward. So we need other midfield options and not to count on him for more than 30 games basically.

  22. C,

    This is a real concern. He was rested midweek but stil got these muscular injuries. High press? His body could break down by late October/November. Need more options to cover for this and prepare tactically.

  23. I wonder if Emery would have been a top candidate for RM.

    Right now there is Enrique, prob Conte, Sarri and Wenger our of jobs. Allegri might want to leave for RM. Perez historically has liked AW. Can’t see it as likely but a small chance.

  24. jw1
    We scored more goals then anyone expected this season and our finishers actually did quite well so you can’t blame them for Mesut’s lack of productivity this season. Ramsey had the same number of assists in 300 fewer minutes passing the ball to the same players. Brighton and Burnley had some of the worst finishers in the league and they each scored less the 1/2 of the number of goals as we did and yet each of those teams had a player whose assist totals matched Mesut. The problem is twofold. Mesut is on the downward part of his career arc and he does not have anything left to prove in his career so there is no reason for him to work harder in order to compensate

  25. Limestonegunner,

    Again the build the team around Auba and Ramsey thing has been taken out of context…He said that in his system, the position occupied by Ramsey aka the energetic box to box midfielder is hugely important as it’s the pivot between attack and defence, and Auba up top is obviously the pace and finishing. He didn’t as far as i’m aware actually say i’m building it around Ramsey, more that it’s the position a team of his style is built round?

    Personally, i don’t think he’s worth it. But i with some good youth being purchased by Sven, we’re apparently building for the future.

    We will never be City, Man u or chelsea let’s face it….City ru away with league and still there spending 120million in the next week on Jorginho and Marhez of which they need neither. I see Prem league becoming Spanish style soon with City and Man U spending 200m every summer to compete with each other whilst Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and pool scrap for 4th

  26. I also see Liverpool spending a lot this summer….the champs league failure will play heavily on Klopp and he’s now entering season 4 with no trophy as of yet.

    I pick City again for the league. Too much money and pep there is a guarentee’d win, especially as Jose is too tactically defensive now imo.

  27. C and Limestone

    The point about Ramsey’s injury history is certainly valid and we have to plan on his missing 10-12 games preseason. The good thing about having Mkhitaryan, ozil and potentially Jack around us we are heavily over loaded in that position so we have more then enough back up.

    I am not a fan of Mkhitaryan or Ozil forwards because of the opportunity cost of a forward who does not score. However I think Mkhitaryan might thrive the #10 role if Ramsey does not work out or is never healthy.

  28. Man City can probably win the league again without spending anything. However, Strange as it sounds I think Man City needs to buy 1 more scorer if their goal is to compete with Madrid, Barca, Bayern etc. Aguero is always an injury risk and its unlikely he can make it thru a full season. Their form dipped in the second half of the season when Aguero went down with injury. Jesus is good but not Aguero. I think Sterling is over rated and he was never going to maintain the pace he had early in the season.

  29. MesutsLeftFoot,

    I didn’t say Emery said that. I said, I wouldn’t rely on Ramsey to be the heart of midfield because he cannot be counted to play enough. This is a problem we have had in the past with AW gambling on players being good enough or fit enough without providing enough cover and options of quality. This is for those championing Ramsey as central to our team. I’m not against keeping him but only if we aren’t prepared to bolster the team adequately to compete even when he is predictably out injured. My remark wasn’t about Emery’s intentions.

  30. Bill,

    I think Mkh can play 10 or 8. I like him creating and not being expected to score too much. Same with Iwobi.

  31. Bill,

    That might be why they are interested in Mahrez but what they could do is entice Lewandowski and sell Aguero?

  32. Limestone

    Aguero scored 21 goals in 22 league games last season. They are still very very good but not nearly as dangerous without him. Mahrez is a nice player but not that much better then Sterling and they already have Sane. Lewandowski is the more the type of player they really need to replace Aguero’s productivity. IMO.

    I think we all liked some of what I saw from Mkhitaryan but he only scored 2 goals in about 800 minutes for us and which is clearly suboptimal for a forward. I think Mkh could do well in central midfield. I also agree completely that Iwobe’s skill set would also fit much better in central midfield and I think we should send him on loan and let him learn to play as an attack minded central midfielder.

  33. Bill,

    That’s a lot of comparisons to other folks.
    What I’m describing is only 8 finishes on 74 chances.
    Arsenal’s conversion rate last season was 17.5% — which should have tallied him 12 assists on 74 chances. And– as I’d stated? had it been ‘just above-average’– perhaps he gets 16 assists.
    Then we likely aren’t even discussing this.

    Is that Ozil’s fault?

    jw1

  34. Jw1

    Ozil’s assist totals have dropped precipitously over the last 2 1/2 and during that time the quality of our finshers has not gotten worse. You could argue that just by happenstance players are not finishing as well when he passes them the ball but a run of bad luck does last 2 1/2 seasons. Not all chances created are equal and the only logical explanation is the passes which are being credited as a chance created are no longer the same high percentage chances he was able to create 4-5 years ago. Father Time takes no prisoners and the things that were easier at one point don’t work as well when players start to hit the downside of their career arc.

  35. Bill,

    “We scored more goals then anyone expected this season…”

    A generality which doesn’t match the reality.
    Over 38% — over 1-in-3 goals?
    That 28 of Arsenal’s 74 goals were scored in just 6 matches.
    Everton x2 (10)
    Burnley (5)
    Southampton (5)
    West Ham (4)
    Crystal Palace (4)

    Albeit, those six were fun to watch. Not many other teams had outbursts of that type as frequently.
    Otherwise? Giving us 46 GF / 44 GA for +2 in the other 32.

    jw1

  36. Jw1.

    I agree that concentrating our goal scoring in a few games can paper over the cracks and make us look better then we really were. However that has nothing to do with Ozils assist total. He was only credited with an assist on 8/74 of our goals which is a very low number and low percentage for someone who is supposed to be our creator in chief and is given a free role to float wherever he wants and touches the ball as often as he does in the final 1/3. He does not defend or score and his only job is create in the final 1/3 and he is no longer doing that efficiently.

  37. ive got 8 pints of milk in my fridge
    does that mean i own a cow?

    games played, won, drawn, lost, goals for and against, points.

    theyre the only stats that matter. everything else is subjective and can be used to spin whatever story at whatever time

    ozils underperforming – no matter the amount of time the sweat glistened off his brow at 9 degrees left of the baboons ball sack.

    but hes not the only one – its just he gets a rough ride more than others becuase hes supposed to be our main geezer who runs the show – but hes been struggling to run a bath recently.

    we’ll have to see what emery does with him becuase theres no doubt he regressed under wenger.

  38. JonJon:
    ive got 8 pints of milk in my fridge
    does that mean i own a cow?

    games played, won, drawn, lost, goals for and against, points.

    theyre the only stats that matter. everything else is subjective and can be used to spin whatever story at whatever time

    ozils underperforming – no matter the amount of time the sweat glistened off his brow at 9 degrees left of the baboons ball sack.

    but hes not the only one – its just he getsa rough ride more than others becuase hes supposed to be our main geezer who runs the show – but hes been struggling to run a bath recently.

    we’ll have to see what emery does with him becuase theres no doubt he regressed under wenger.

    Remark of the day so far …!!!

  39. Limestonegunner,

    I agrew that Ozil’s performance were less consistent after he signed but I think we could see the best yet. I do wonder if he tuned out Arsene and was affected by what was going on and the overall lack of consistency and defensive solidarity. I do think under a new man with new tactics we could could see our attack flourish.

    I agree with you about Ramsey and the problem is, he is best in a box to box role but he offers little defensively coupled with injuries and it would be suicidal to build a team around him because he is also inconsistent.

    I have never said build around one player but a core of players eho compliment each other.

  40. >Bottle it yourself?
    >Sounds possible

    Just don’t pull the udder in public. I still can’t go back into Tesco…

  41. Another major problem is that, our leaky defense gave up 50plus goals and often times early in matches so we are playing against packed defenses

  42. OK.
    Those who were using stats to promote/demote Mesut Ozil here?
    Might find interest in a Dec 2017 article– that covers his Arsenal career to that point.
    https://www.planetfootball.com/in-depth/mesut-ozil-creating-chances-faster-rate-pl-player/

    Others with, um, more straightforward interests:
    “games played, won, drawn, lost, goals for and against, points.”
    https://www.premierleague.com/tables
    Have a stare at the final PL table.
    (Tomorrow’s a work day. Set an alarm.)

    jw1

  43. YW,

    Actually the point YW.
    That there are cases pro/con with Ozil.

    Where most see him lacking is in his ability to ‘take over’ and win games by himself. There are few players who are truly irrepressible forces (Messi, Ronaldo, this season Salah). Ozil isn’t.

    Where I stand, on his side? Is in terms of his being a unique talent. Surround him with those whose talents he can emphasize– and his own talent is obvious. When a team wishes to play him out of a game– they can. The choice though is giving up something else defensively.

    Possibly, for the first time since his arrival from Real? He may be teamed with a group that he can compliment with his skillset. Or on those days when the opponent decides to quash his ability to affect play — the LMA (of LMAO) have the space to perform and score themselves.

    Been awhile since Arsenal’s attack could stare down a defense and say:
    ‘Pick your poison’.

    jw1

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