A Fine Bromance, Lemar, Mahrez & Overseas Limits. Oh & Sky Can Do One

Being a blogger about Arsenal, I ponder the great questions in life. Sometimes events of such magnitude occur during the course of a day that I ruminate for hours on end on about possible outcomes. Sometimes, barely seconds.

However, I still can’t come up with an answer to why Danny Welbeck brings a packed lunch to work? Not only that, is he really such a nice bloke that he made a special meal for Alexandre Lacazette?

A fine bromance. Danny makes Alex feel special with a lunch for two

The summer window is always a bit ‘Oliver’; Please, sir, can we have some more? There are many factors, not least of which is Alexis. To be honest, there is so much crap flying around that believing any of it is daft.

Take Thomas Lemar. And Arsenal want to, it seems. The English press claim that it will cost £80m while L’Equipe, who you’d think are a little closer to the action, claim we’ve just had a bid of €45m rejected. There’s a disparity of values which is too much for a simply typo, which leads to a certain cynicism about whether anything is going on in this instance.

Riyad Mahrez is about to tell Arsenal that if they don’t bid for him soon, he’s staying put. And at £50m, Leicester are quite welcome to him.

Perspective was in short supply on valuations. The talk of Mbappe for €120m distorted the market and there is some context appearing now. Lukaku to United for £75m represents, to my mind at least, a better yardstick to measure Lacazette’s fee and the valuations of Alexis, by. And for United, it’s a good buy, I think. If it gets rid of Rooney for a free, it’s got to be seen as excellent.

The Inescapable Logic

While there are incomings, the outgoings need to happen as well. Headlines scream that we’ve got to sell some of the overseas squad players because we’ve reached the 17 non-native player limit. So we’re complying with regulations but we have to sell? The logic escapes me. It doesn’t; I know the press want us to sign others – as we do.

And to be honest, I’m not sure that we have the ‘overseas’ players who can afford to hang around. Lucas Perez – reportedly of interest to former club, Deportivo La Coruna – and Mathieu Debuchy are both of the age where they will be easily forgotten about if they languish in the training ground, out of the matchday squad. The only people who remember them, it seems, are payroll.

Joel Campbell and one of, if not both, Szczesny or Ospina; that’s four or five going. None of them, Debuchy aside, is close to retirement, so there is plenty of football left in them. Is the wealth they accumulate staying at Arsenal really worth that much, to the detriment of their career? It’s not just overseas players; Jenkinson, Gibbs and Wilshere are in the same boat. How important is first team football?

There are plenty of changes to come, you feel, with pride having to be swallowed. Off the pitch, is there room for more change without some leaving? As well as Jens, Sal Bibbo joined as goalkeeping coach. Me neither but anything which injects fresh thinking into the training sessions has to be welcomed.

TV Times

Which is more than can be said for the news that the opening game of the season against Leicester City has been moved to a Friday night. Gee, Sky, thanks. A dozen matches were shifted for the broadcasters without the north London derby or Manchester United, so there’s another two. Everton must move while there are kick-off times to be confirmed for the trips to City and Burnley

Europa League football is a bind but television is becoming more of an obstacle for travelling fans; home ones as well. I know some who are already scouting hotels for the opening game now it is Friday night. The rail network isn’t fit for purpose with the kind of flexibility needed. I’d hate for English football to lose the extra edge visiting supporters give to the atmosphere but nobody in football is concerned enough to put some geographical limits on these changed kick-offs.

Is it beyond the wit of the Premier League to say Friday night matches and Sunday noon kick-offs can only take place between clubs within 50 miles of the home side’s ground? Apparently so. I know this is ‘old fart’ territory but life was simpler in the times of ‘3pm Saturday’ kick-offs.

Enough of this wistful thinking. The sun is trying to shine so I’m going to give it some encouragement.

’til Tomorrow.

40 thoughts on “A Fine Bromance, Lemar, Mahrez & Overseas Limits. Oh & Sky Can Do One

  1. Can we just go back thirty years, dump Sky and silly wages, silly ticket prices, transfer windows and all the other nonsense that modern football embraces? I’ve always hated Sunday football, never bother with Monday matches and doubt that Friday will draw big viewing numbers either. Television will bleed the game dry, alienate fans and then do a runner as soon as the audiences (and subscriptions) dry up. Can’t happen soon enough IMO.

  2. To be fair if the players cannot afford to buy lunch out (Danny) and are having to wear holey jeans (Alex) we need to be paying them more. Where do I buy my black and pink matchday shirt with Laczette on…I’d also be adding a number of the home grown players that need to move on to the list provided, so lots of ‘outs’ to be managed.

    I’ve decided to be enthused about next season from now on – this is OUR year.

  3. Be enthused DALM; I’ll wait a bit before getting carried away. Well, unless the cause of being carried away is alcohol in which case I’ll be carried away quite soon, I should think.

  4. Good stuff Yogi!

    I get staying and collecting a check, but the fact that they are content just sitting and collecting a check and not lowering their wage demands a little to get first team futbol doesn’t make sense to me. I mean, if they are able to lower their wages and and play regularly, they would then get rewarded with quality wages.

    The Lukuka situation is strange because Manure have apparently agreed a fee but he hasn’t moved.

  5. I do wonder about the “career” aspect, some of these guys aren’t going to even play for their countries. Therefore it may be considered purely as a job, a mighty fine paying one to boot at our place. 50k or more a week doing feck all or 25k a week working hmmm.

  6. C:
    Mert will become academy manager starting in the summer of 2018

    Nice, if his legs worked as fast as his brain he would have been one hell of a player. Seems to have his morals in the right place also, great news. With Jenz here also i hope the long term plan is to target whatever German talent Munich fail to pick up.

    Danny, hopefully is “vegan”…

  7. Colts,

    Even with him being REALLY slow, he was still a hell of a player. He futbol IQ and presense will see him do well and the youngsters will be better for it! Wouldn’t mind picking up the German players Bayern don’t, hell would be even better if Lowe took-over too!

  8. C,

    Indeed he was. Wouldn’t mind Lowe taking over, but one thing at a time tho eh 😉
    Still got two years to go unless this year goes completely tits up.

  9. Colts,

    I know, 2 years until that time and I hope this season doesn’t go tits up. If we can keep Sanchez and Ozil (looking likely to stay) I think we could have a real go at it!

  10. Ozil has chimed in on Lacazette:

    ‘I am really looking forward to it. He is a very good striker who has scored many goals in Ligue 1, not just this season but in previous seasons too. We are really happy to have such a class striker here with us,’ Ozil said on Arsenal Player.

    ‘From what I have heard he is meant to be very good, always hungry for goals and ice-cold when he gets into a scoring position. My friends who follow the French league know him well and have told me that I will definitely have fun with him on the pitch.

    ‘I hope that he will be able to take us further with his goals. I am sure he is happy to be here and to be able to play with us, and we are pleased to be able to assist him and help him to score as many goals as possible.’

  11. Afternoon,

    great news about Per moving into management after this season. Hopefully not another ‘yes’ man though.

    Jose and Conte really seem to be struggling to get players on board so far in this window. The press is full of stories about Conte throwing his toys out of the pram, but he’s been a manager for long enough to know that transfer windows can be difficult. Unless Chelsea are just flatly refusing to go for his targets you would think that he will get his players in eventually. It’s interesting that the press are saying that terms have been agreed on a Lukaku transfer, but Everton are denying it.

  12. Good afternoon All. Welbeck and Lacazette both are of parents whom come from the West Indies. It was merely Messr Welbeck introducing Messr Lacazette to culinary wonders and delights of the English Speaking Islands that differs very much from the French Creole cuisine culinary delights.

  13. The problem with staying is that when their contract ends, they are unemployed with a substantial drop in pay and conditions for most. Some will drop out of the game altogether and do what with their lives?

  14. YW,

    Exactly, so I don’t understand why the likes of Gibbs and Jenks just sit on the bench or more often than not, not even make the match day squad but then won’t lower their demands a bit to move.

  15. Lacazette signing compared to say the amount spent on Lukuka is quite a bargain for a player that is really good at scoring goals. I think the other thing is that he can operate in tight spaces and can also help create goals which is the plus over Lukuka.

  16. C:

    I know, 2 years until that timeand I hope this season doesn’t go tits up.If we can keepSanchez and Ozil (looking likely to stay) I think we could have a real go at it!

    Me too, I like the back three and signings so far, caveats aside we’re lookin strong and more importantly, focussed. The wiz definitely with those comments appears to be staying. Alexis, well I’d prefer if we was to get Lemar it would be to play on the opposite flank to Sanchez. That would be the stuff of fantasy perhaps, tho Alexander and Lemar would be a fair enough replacement.

  17. Good afternoon folks, I’m quite happy with both Sky and BT Sport. For a reasonable monthly sum I get to watch a huge range of sports live in the comfort of my own sitting room. OK some of the (most actually) commentators and pundits are execrable but my TV has a mute button so I can put up with them.

    I get to see most Arsenal games live and those not shown are at least included in highlight programmes.

    When either of the satellite broadcasters show games live they do show the whole match uninterrupted. Right now my wife is watching Wimbledon on Auntie Beeb, but because the coverage is split between BBC 1 and BBC 2 as well as on the red button, the coverage is fractured and recording is made almost impossible.

    The broadcasters are not solely responsible for the scheduling, the clubs and the police are happy that weekend games are spread over the four days and about six starting slots as it makes crowd control so much easier.

    I also believe that clubs will be happy to see fewer away fans attending games as it will significantly reduce policing costs and the chances of violence between opposing fans. It may also hasten the reintroduction of standing areas.

  18. C:

    Exactly, so I don’t understand why the likes of Gibbs and Jenks just sit on the bench or more often than not, not even make the match day squad but then won’t lower their demands a bit to move.

    Mula, cheese, cheddar, notes, change, stacks, bills, wonga, fiat….
    Subdues the passion for the game,
    While our structure fans the flame.

    Probably saving up for a flat on mars 😉

  19. Funny Yogi,

    I can see Friday night games causing a few problems for away fans (always dependant on the result)

    Over in NZ getting pumped up for the lions decider tonight! Was reading a BBC article on what makes an all black. Their culture of “no dickheads” is one I wish Arsenal would adopt.

  20. Latest news on Sky Sports is that Chelsea have matched United’s bid for Lukaku. I guess its down to personal terms then.

  21. Wavey, BBC are saying that Chelsea have matched the fee but will not pay his agent’s demands. Will be interesting to see which way it goes.

  22. Morning Fellas,

    Andy, as I understand it, not that I could give a damn to be honest, Chelsea have, as you say, agreed to match Manure’s bid for Lukaku, but have refused to meet the agents fee – after Raiola’s ridiculous agent’s fee of £40m for Pogba who can blame them.

    Utd are in a world of their own when giving in to this sort of blackmail, but then they can afford it.

  23. Just reading papers, what’s funny is how few people have actually watched Lukaku – which is something you can do in just a few minutes. He isn’t what people expect him to be.

    I’ve seen him compared to Drogba, which is nonsense. He is wretched with his back to goal, doesn’t link up very well, and the problems with his first touch are well documented. So not Drogba at all.

    Lukaku hurts teams most when he’s got the ball at his feet and has space to run into, and he pulls wide to do this. He also has very good penalty box instincts, which explains the goals.

    Have said for years that he wouldn’t work for the way we want to play. But if you sit deep and give him space to attack on the break, like Man U are going to do, he’ll be dangerous. Not worth anywhere near what teams are paying for him, but he’ll be more valuable to a Mourinho side than us.

  24. HenryB,

    An interesting situation. What is in the player’s best interest is meant to be important. If Chelsea offers the player a better deal and matches United’s bid, Lukaku should move to Chelsea. How does the agent get around that, as he can’t be acting in the player’s best interests if he is just trying to get his fee paid?

  25. Birdkamp,

    Lukaku is a contradiction.

    He’s a stellar goal scorer with all the stats to back it up, but so one dimensional – not backed by other skills or even good team work. The majority of Everton fans seem happy with the departure and happier with the fee – that says so much – even if it’s a 25 to 30 goal hole they need to fill.

    His first touch can be dreadful, his passing errant, he’s unaware or ignores team mates and, when he’s off, he just does a Theo and evaporates from games. Worse still he gives the impression he does not care and that’s why fans, in spite of the goals, do not warm to him.

    Which is why I think Chelsea would have been the better fit – and you are right, he is not Drogba Redux.

    Although they seem to be having an odd window, I think Chelsea is the more established, structured team with a number of characters. Just with Hazard alone they have a key personality to focus on and drive the team.

    Whether or not Pogba (for all his passing stats) steps up and truly leads Man United, for now they remain a team in transition without dominating characters. Zlatan filled that brief last year…they need a talisman…and while Lukaku will score goals, I am not sure he’ll be talisman driving the attack on a weekly basis.

    Different teams different needs, but I would never take Lukaku over Lacazette at Arsenal.

    I also thing the remarks about the agents fees etc. underline what is happening. Obviously, Mourinho rejected him at Chelsea (so he is having to eat his words) but I think it just shows how deperate United are and will pay over the odds because they seem oddly ineffectual at securing their first targets.

    It will be interesting to watch United because for spells last year I believe Mourinho was on shakier ground than imagined. If things do not click from the off, and in simple terms look more exciting than last season, I think he’ll come under pressure.

  26. Birdkamp,


    The thing with Lukuka for me is that he has never seemed to be able to ‘put it all together’. Its as though he overthinks it and then his touch goes to shit but would I take him playing with Sanchez and Ozil, certainly but with that said, I would take Lacazettr over him 10/10 as I have said for the past 4 years.

    The other difference for me with Lukuka is that he has that ‘Yaya Toure’ about him, capable of cruising through a match but when he decides to GO, he goes and there is no stopping him because of his pace and power.

    The way we play, Lacazette is perfect for because he can not only operate due to being a former winger, but excels in tight spaces playing quick 1-2’s and the ability in the box to find his own half yard of space and score with little back lift. The other thing about Lacazette that doesn’t get talked about is wis work rate defensively, he will press and be a pest which will be fun to watch especially if Sanchez stays.

  27. C,


    With Mourinho it was about getting through that first season. I think he’s on the wane, but he found a back door into the CL and that will earn him a few months of grace. Had it not been for that, a slow start to 17-18 would have done for him.

    In his normal three-year cycles, this is usually the season when things come together. I think Man U are miles off, and definitely below us, but I’ve been wrong before.

    On Lukaku, I agree, I’ve never seen a relatively prolific striker divide opinion like he does. Just because I think he’s at his best when he can isolate defenders – as he did with Nacho a few years back – I think Mourinho is the manager for him. Man U will be dreadful to watch next year.

    Also, with Mourinho he’ll be encouraged to stay high up the pitch and won’t have to funnel back very often.

    C, I think Yaya is a lot more refined than Lukaku, but there is a similarity once they’ve got some momentum. I kind of see him as a bit like Robben a few years ago, but replacing finesse with power.

    Lacazette’s technique is something that not many people have spoken about. Seen him threading some impossible passes and getting the ball under his spell in a flash in the area. Been out of the loop for the last season or so, but watched a few videos of him and Aguero was the easiest comparison – technique and centre of gravity especially.

  28. Birdkamp,


    the more I see of Lacazette the more I think that he was originally targeted as a replacement for Alexis. He likes to go deep to get the ball and bring it forward himself in the same way that Alexis does and he is very hard to knock off the ball when in possession. He appears to be much more accurate in his passing than Alexis is and he knows when to release the ball. He heavily favours his right foot, but does play some nice little flicks off his left. He can also score some deft goals with his left foot rather than just using it as a swinger. It’s interesting that he doesn’t seem to have a ‘through the laces’ shot, but doesn’t appear to need one as he places his shots well.
    What was clear to me was that Lacazette likes to create chances for others as well and it demonstrates how poor the rest of the Lyon team were that they squandered so many chances he created. Nine assists all season is incredibly low, given the number of balls he appeared to put on a plate for players.
    With Lacazette at the club and Alexis appearing to be staying we will have two players in forward positions who love to hunt for the ball. If we were to play Welbeck, or Perez (if he stays) in the 3rd forward spot on the left we will have a front line who really hassle defenders on the ball and will make it really tough for teams who like to play possession football.
    Not sure we need to be paying over the odds for Lemar if Alexis is staying, but I can see that it would make sense if Alexis goes. I was never a fan of his music any way.

  29. C,

    Absolutely – Lacazette for me. It will be interesting to see if Lukaku develops a ’rounder’ game at MU, but my money is he will likely remain pretty much as we know him.

    Its interesting to hear abour Lukaku’s out of control party last week in LA – obviously this deal was done and dusted before Chelsea twigged.

  30. Wavey,

    My thinking as well.

    In fact, I believe all summer’s business has been driven by the idea of Sanchez leaving.

    It started with Mbappe – whether or not Arsenal put 100 million real dollars on the table is not important, Wenger wanted to seem relevent, to paint a bigger potential picture than Sanchez.

    Realistc focus then was placed on Lacazette and my guess is at least one other serious player – perhaps Mahrez was considered – but it could have always been for Lemar. The idea being bringing at least two key players would soften the blow of Sanchez leaving.

    I guess we now have policy made up on the fly, as Sanchez and Ozil appear to have failed to attract any key suitors.

    It has to be one of two options – either the club already knows Sanchez is leaving (and there were some rumblings this weeks Sanchez made it clear he wants a City move – who knows?)…or…

    Sanchez sees out his contract, we bring in Lacazette and another key player and then really see some aggressive selling.

    Again it might be Wenger needs to be seen as aggressive in the market to set a smokescreen against disappointment but as long as we evolve in a demonstartive way I do not care to be honest.

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