Per-fect, Lemar Bid While Alexis Gives Özil A Free Pass

Arsène’s claim to be the inventor of breaking news of transfers in a ‘creative’ way gave us an insight into the man. Asking the press to turn up to meet a new player and then some of them doing just that, moves the dial on the wackiness amp to eleven. Have we ever tried to sign James Milner?

He’s bracing himself for a new round of contract talks with Granit Xhaka announcing his nuptials to the world. Congratulations to the happy couple but Arsène will have noticed that the midfielder is so strapped for cash that he couldn’t afford socks or trousers which were long enough for him.

Huss Fahmy has a busy few weeks ahead. Not that there’s anything more to do on the Alexis front; the Chilean press – apparently their equivalent of the Heil – claim he’s asked his friends, family and Chilean team-mates whether he should stay at Arsenal or go to Manchester City. Even those playing for other clubs who are interested in signing him think his destiny lies at the Etihad.

His ‘demands’ for £400k per week seem more designed to get Arsenal to walk away and sell him, than a genuine request. A sort of “well, if they’re mad enough to pay it” stance as a fall back position in case the club make him see out the final year of his contract.

It shifts focus onto cash as the reason for leaving, not the failure to win honours which was initially floated. It’s a winner for Arsenal in the PR war and knowing the storm which will follow, it’s a strong opening salvo. Amid all this, Mesut Özil quietly floats by, letting the Chilean take the flak while his own contract position remains unresolved. It’s a free pass.

And The State Of Play With Mesut’s Contract Is..?

The consensus is that the German will stay but there’s little evidence of that in the public domain. Maybe there is behind the scenes and let’s face it, that’s where it really matters. While everyone is resigned to Alexis leaving, I think there would be some surprise if Özil did.

He’s had a new driveway built or bought a £30m house – something like that – which meant everyone let him off the hook as far as his contract is concerned. I don’t blame him for trying to fleece every penny he can; most of us, if we lost the passion of the supporter, would do the same. However, he is doing no more or less than Alexis in this situation.

Let’s face it, the noise on Sanchez’s situation is unattributed sources in the media. While there is undoubtedly a large element of briefing – both sides in the negotiations do it – it’s easy to make up a story or two when no-one can disprove the unnamed source.

Should Özil go next summer, it’s huts, financially and in footballing terms. Losing one of your star players on a free transfer is careless but two? A damning indictment of the club on just about every level you can think of. It’s a terrible mess but Wenger took the same approach so expecting any different from players is futile.

The question is whether Arsenal should play hardball with Özil? Sign or we sell! There’s an element of cutting off your nose to spite your face with that stance but in the long-term, it’s better financially, offering some mitigation of the impact of Alexis walking. In a footballing sense, we’ll be hurt but Sanchez is more costly at the moment. However, a hatful of goals from Lacazette changes, or at the very least, diminishes that.

Lemar Is Per-fect Example

Reports this morning that the club has made a second bid in the expectation that it will be rejected. This is a player which the media claimed was worth €80m so we bid €45m. A lot of money but Monaco constantly struggled to meet financial rules; a shift in their business model doesn’t alter the fact that they are still heavily reliant upon player sales to turn even a small profit, much the same as us before the new broadcast revenues arrived.

The belief at Arsenal is that this will open a door for talks to begin. Lemar arriving feels like an exit door opening through which, logically it is assumed, Alexis will charge. But will it Özil instead?

Monaco offers a lesson for Arsenal to learn. Heavy investment in the academy as well as the scouting network reaped rewards and that’s something we have to emulate. The reshaping of the club’s coaching continued with the appointment of Per Mertesacker as the head of the academy. It’s the first time in living memory that the Arsenal captaincy hasn’t been a poisoned chalice. The BFG breaking that cycle is as fitting as it is welcomed.

The club has always used former players when it comes to coaching youngsters. Per in the senior role continues that but also brings a bit more club loyalty than an outsider can. Is it the first step into an Ajax-esque world? If we get more ‘club men’ in the boardroom, then it’s no bad thing.

Finally, a new playlist is set to land on Dad’s Jukebox, with Primal Scream’s influences the latest in the Jukebox Classics series. How do you want your rock served? With a roll or punked out…

’til Tomorrow.

31 thoughts on “Per-fect, Lemar Bid While Alexis Gives Özil A Free Pass

  1. Birdkamp,

    The thing with Lukuka is that because of his power, he can sort of ‘hide’ his poor touches because he simply moves defenders out of the way especially when he gets going.

    Lacazette’s technique is superb, I remember the first time I watched him when he came through as a winger under Puel, you could see how quickly he not only controlled a difficult ball but then could turn all in one movement. The other thing is how good his feet are, he rarely, like Aguero, is off balance and his eye for a pass is as impressive as his goal scoring. Its why I think keeping Ozil and Sanchez to play along with him would certainly see our attack be feared and as dynamic as any in the PL.

  2. C,

    The front line looks impressive, but we still need that midfielder play maker to replace Cazorla as it looks like his career at Arsenal is over. Of the players available to us already you would think that Ozil should be able to drop into that role, but he just isn’t disciplined enough and if he goes missing during a match we would really be hamstrung. I know Ozil can be a great player, but I can see a number of formations where he just doesn’t fit. I agree with YW that it may even make sense to make some money on Ozil this summer rather than let both he and Alexis run down their contracts next summer. We just have to find someone who wants Ozil.

  3. YW,

    If we were able to sign Lemar it would be great f*ck you to players trying to hold us to ransom over contracts and would send a message to others that they are not in the driving seat. Still a disgrace that we allowed ourselves to get into this position in the first place though.

  4. Wavey,

    They are different types of players and different types of midfielders, they sort of need each other. Santi dictator of tempo and link, Ozil is the attacking 3rd orchestrator. The thing is, if you go back and watch thr team when we switched to the 343, Ozil was actually doing more of the Santi role and dropping deeper. I never understood the notion of Ozil being able to drop in, its like Barca with Inesta and Xavi. Finding a replacement for Santi is vital and there a number in La Liga alone I would have including Fornals, Aiser and Sergi Samper. The problem is, Arsene loves Ramsey so we won’t be seeing that player bought. Personally, Elneny is the closest thing to Santi we have and would do the job but Arsene seems to hate him.

  5. Another promising young talent leave, this time its Hinds joining former Arsenal youth manager Jonkers at Wolfsburg. Good luck and I know you will prove yourself.

  6. C,

    And if we get that Santi replacement I don’t see why we really need Ozil. I understand that he is a great player, I just don’t think he really need him if Alexis is staying. I’d rather we have a more aggressive left sided player (Lemar/Perez/Welbeck) as part of a front three with Lacazette and Alexis. I’d rather we take the money now when we don’t desperately need Ozil. It may seem that we are getting rid of a great player, but I cannot see the point in hanging on to him and letting him go on a free when losing him now doesn’t seem like it would hugely hurt the team.

  7. Yogi,

    Have you paid your blog subscriptions? It has been difficult to get on the blog today. 😀

  8. HenryB,

    You’re not alone, even by Norfolk standards access to ACLF is slow….. but while I’m connected….it’s my belief that that if we buy Lemar then it will mean that Sanchez will be leaving. There’s no doubt he’s a great player but can the club allow itself to be held to ransom by him with his ludicrous demand for an ever increasing wage?

  9. Ozil is a luxury player not too many teams can afford. Who would want him? Surely the club now have him over a barrel. This time last year almost everyone was saying pay both him and Sanchez whatever they wanted. To me it looks like Wenger was right when he said back then that 18 months is a long time in a footballers life.

  10. Wavey,


    As I noted the other day, as soon as the transfer window opened, the position should have been taken as neither player had clarified their intentions, any offer of extension Arsenal had made was now withdrawn.

    Nothing to lose but leverage to gain. Arsenal were aware by that point whether or not any club had made a legitimate bid for either player an it appears no one had.

    Ironically, without much forethought the club finds itself in a very strong position where almost any outcome can be used to the clubs advantage – if they grasp the situation fully.

    I am just getting more and more leery things are dependent on which way the Sanchez domino falls, and this in turn is curtailing the sales which we should be making. I would go strong on selling around four players (perhaps more) to generate further income which could balance the books regarding other purchases.

    For the remainder of the window I think it important to diminish Sanchez and Ozil in a philosophical and financial sense. Neither has to be of bearing regarding other transfer activities. If they become so – fine, adapt at that point.

    The same applies looking ahead to the team we field next campaign.

  11. DFS-,


    Let’s look to bring cover in for Sanchez whether he stays or not. He’ll be close to 30 by the end of the season and storming off training grounds and his gesturing to players on field really leave me cold. I’d be happy for the club to fork out 60mil for Lemar. Cash in on Bellerin if he really wants out and clear out 4 or more.

    On Ozil quickly, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he walked on a free next summer. The 20% increase + bonuses some are suggesting seems like good business for both parties.

    No one seems to be coming in for anyone else as yet which may make for a very busy end to the window for the club.

  12. Wailesy,

    Losing one or other player on a free next season wouldn’t be too bad, although I’m exactly loving the idea that Sanchez could go to City of a free. Losing both players on free transfers next summer is criminal and it will be one of the worst examples of contract mismanagement we will ever see if it happens. At least one of their positions has to be sorted this summer with either a new contract being signed, or the player being shipped out. Ozil is now going on about how he’s looking forward to next season with Lacazette, but appears to be no closer to signing up again. We haven’t taken the initiative back because both are able to walk away next summer.

  13. Morning all
    YW… bloody last!
    I was cussing at my tablet and thinking of launching it at a wall yesterday-glad it was your dodgy set up 😉…….you realise how much you miss something when you can’t access it….think regular match time Alexis……

  14. Wailesy,

    “He’ll be close to 30 by the end of the season and storming off training grounds and his gesturing to players on field really leave me cold. I’d be happy for the club to fork out 60mil for Lemar. Cash in on Bellerin if he really wants out and clear out 4 or more”.

    My thoughts exactly.

    Okay, if it comes to pass one or both of Sanchez and Ozil are still on board, fine (what I think being of little consequence). Ozil will need to raise his game to stay relevant as then he’ll have suitors.

    Sanchez will lose some of the histrionics as he will need to keep Lacazette in his shadow.

    So around 2 to three good sales and we should have cash to cover Lemar.

    Bellerin is a little tougher because this is one position we have failed to cover/improve but philosophically I am with you, and we have enough in defense already to cover to a degree and take a punt on someone else.

    End of season I had effing had it with Arsenall. Ironically it’s the very machinations of this transfer window (the woe is us window) that have re-ignited some excitement because we can have a radical shift in the team – if, if, if we stay a certain course.


    I’m actively trying to disregard my thoughts on Wenger and the board behind him. The club should never have been in this position (as YW has pointed out repeatedly) – half the squad is in transfer/contract flux.

    Everyone can now see allowing Wenger so much control on and off the pitch has led to profound weakness and neglect in key areas.

    My guess is Wenger is currently running on adrenaline fueled panic (age, the desperate need to keep credibility) and the board will do anything to back him as they do not want to be exposed as complicit and utterly ineffectual.

    I’ll take it whichever way it comes – alter the squad positvely and dramatically and I think 99% of the fan base will be back on board, excited to face the season.

  15. Wavey,


    The inability of the board to tie both of them down 2 seasons ago having finishing 2nd is disgraceful.

    I’m excited with Fahmy coming in. He may prove to be the difference with our past contract failings.

    There’s nothing like the hope a new season brings!

  16. consolsbob,

    Yeah they either sign promptly, or sell them I personally don’t care where they go if Sanchez goes to city City for 70 million fair enough as long as we kick the shit out of him, legally of course when we play them , if we are doing our job properly it shouldn’t matter to us what he does against other clubs. Ozils options are more limited, but who can blame them for this behaviour when Wenger did exactly the same

  17. Afternoon all,

    Bit late today due to sister-in-law’s 40th birthday celebrations yesterday. Post is on its way now.

  18. Wailesy,

    Yes, it’s good to note at least some improvement in back room support staff.

    This past season so clouded my view of Arsenal it was hard to be objective. However if we view the long game (not like we have a choice) change will come and what excites me is it feels as though this summer is going to result in positive change whatever the outcome.


    As the mid to late season shitfest of panic is starting to recede further in the rear view mirror, it strikes more and more fans the idea of any player holding the club to ransom is farcical.

    No matter the justification in the short term (there is none in my book) it sets a woeful precedent for the future

  19. Quite a few folk keep saying that “Ozil needs to raise his game” or “Ozil is a luxury Arsenal cannot afford”.
    It seems to me though, that so often he thinks and acts so far ahead of his colleagues on the field of play, that they are unable to take advantage of the moves he has in mind. 😉

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