Good Golly, We’ll Miss Ollie, Mesut Speaks & Is Lemar Confidence Misplaced?

So football – of sorts – returns today with the first pre-season friendly. Alexandre Lacazette’s cameo will be of most interest to everyone watching. Someone, somewhere has jinxed his first appearance in the world-famous red and white black, grey and pink shirt by wondering how long it will be before his hamstring is banjaxed.

Arsène’s would rain hellfire and brimstone down on everyone for pushing him into doing his transfer business early during his post-match presser, that’s for sure. On his return to London, all deals would be put on ice, ready to be reignited at 10.55pm on 31st August. Or whenever the window shuts; there’s such flexibility as far as Arsenal are concerned that no-one’s really worried by the deadline. It’s a loose concept.

And yes, spell check, it’s grey not gray although international spellings are amusing as one Aussie hack found yesterday when he wrote about about Monaco’s Thomas Lamar. You just know he spelt that phonetically after asking one of his British counterparts about possible transfer business so that he could appear knowledgeable to his readers.

Anyway, no expectations of today’s game beyond coming through unscathed. The result doesn’t matter (particularly) as pre-season is no indicator of the real thing which is less than a month away. Speaking to the press, Arsène outlined that we will begin the season with a back three but that he reserved the right to change to a four if or when circumstances dictated.

It’s a question he will need to answer quicker than he made the change last season. Part of the reason for the fifth-placed finish was the delay in finding the cure to our ills. Just because you lose doesn’t mean a philosophical change is required but three months is too slow to adapt.

Lamar, Boss, Not Lemur

This time of year, the back pages are still full of transfer talk. Apparently, we’re “confident” of landing Lamar but nothing’s agreed yet. His ‘people’ are talking to Monaco and hoping to be persuade the French club that destroying a successful team is a great footballing philosophy. However, don’t be surprised if those talks end with a thumping new contract.

For a club which rarely leaked transfer information, we’ve become quite chatty recently. Wenger’s comments used to wait until the window was over but these days he talks about players willy-nilly. Especially those he might have signed. We have, I’m sure you’ll agree, the best ‘Nearly Signed XI’ of any club in the world.

Mesut Özil has nearly signed a new deal as well. He’s waiting until everyone’s back in London and then he’s going to talk to the club. The lack of interest in the back pages is probably driving that. At the money being bandied around, it’s not a surprise no-one is in for him and while my mood changes on Alexis on an almost daily basis, I do wonder if City have said to him, “not this summer but next”.

Özil said he hasn’t spoken to the Chilean but he doesn’t want Alexis to leave. The usual blathering about what a great player he is, a great guy, etc., came forth. In reality, Mesut is thinking, “You can’t leave me here on my own with this lot”. We shall see; Alexis is wrapped up in lurve with his new squeeze. Whether she’ll prefer London or Manchester may influence his decision. Has anyone told her it’s grim up north? Show her a picture of a bleak 1970s industrial landscape to prove it.

All’s Welbz That Ends Welbz?

Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud admitted that leaving Arsenal is a possibility. AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund joined the list of usual suspects who might be interested in signing him. Speaking to the press, Giroud said he asked to tour which serves two purposes.

Firstly, he can remind Arsène that he is our genuine ‘Plan B’ to Alexandre Lacazette and equally, he continues his pre-season regime. Being match sharp ensures that a switch to a new club is relatively clean; he’s fit and raring to go.

Giroud is, I think, still our second choice striker. It’s an easier case to make than for Danny Welbeck. Lacazette and the England international bring similar qualities to the side – pace, mainly, as Danny’s finishing is nowhere near as good – while Ollie offers something completely different.

While Welbz will feel aggrieved at losing his place in the side, not being the first off the bench may be more crushing. However, as he well knows, injuries and loss of form mean he is still in line to make 25+ appearances a season.  Whether he’s happy with that is another matter.

Which brings today’s shenanigans to a close. Just in time for kick-off as it happens.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.


74 thoughts on “Good Golly, We’ll Miss Ollie, Mesut Speaks & Is Lemar Confidence Misplaced?

  1. I am trying to read the post YW but must confess I am in stitches , The pic has just jogged so many memories from yester year.

    YW were you ever able to to take a blade of grass and squeeze it between your palms and make a noise? I confess I was hopeless to say the least.

  2. Michael,

    No, I believe the window for that passed. It’s only a limited timescale and means that he forgoes loyalty bonuses, etc. I believe – probably wrongly – that he has to pay a sum equivalent to the amount remaining on his contract so Alexis would owe something like £10m right now.

    It’s complicated for him because under the regulations he would have to pay £10m and then find a new club so it comes down to his finances. If he moves to a new club within days, he’s been tapped up and City face a ban. No-one would believe they haven’t tapped him up and it wouldn’t be tough to prove it so they are potentially up shit creek with the FA, etc.

    The biggest barrier is the ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ between the ECA members that they will not sign players from other clubs in those circumstances. Their fear, and why the agreement is intact despite being in place since the rules over contracts changed, is that they may lose their best players under similar circumstances.

  3. For those that aren’t watching, Reiss Nelson has been the standout. His pace and direct style are on full display. Willock has played well in midfield next to Le Coq.

  4. Arsenal are changing I think 6 or 7.

    Lacazette, Nacho, Ox, Maitland-NIles, Giroud, Elneny, Xhaka, Nketiah, Iwobi, Malen and Martinez on the pitch now.

  5. Good write up Yogi, the funny thing about the whole Lemus situation is that its his father that seems to be the one telling him to tell Arsene and Arsenal to “Fuck Off, Monaco is better” which you really can’t blame him. If Lemus does come then I think we will see one of Giroud or Ox heading out the door.

    Giroud, well I think he is a good Plan B, but Welbeck offers the physicality, problem for Welbeck is that his finishing is, err, um decent at best. Lacazette, Ozil and Sanchez and we have a real shot but for all the talk of Ozil not having a home, its looking more and more likely that nobody wants Sanchez either; seems to be the same thing bantered about, “Really quality player, who could help any club in Europe. Thanks but no thanks.”

  6. Afternoon all,

    I watched a few minutes of the first half and picked up the post match report on another site. Looks like we were dominant in possession, but the opponents camped out in their own area. Their goalie also pulled out some reasonable saves. Can’t believe Welbz missed the penalty, it was a pretty poor effort. I saw an article suggesting that Giroud is carrying a bit of timber, so it makes sense that he will want to get some pre-season minutes in if he has to find a new home this summer.Sounds like the final score flattered Sydney.
    So we arrange a buy back clause for Wellington, but not for Gnabry? Good effort.

  7. C

    I suspect the general view is that £50m – £60m is a reasonable amount for either player, but that plus their wages is a big amount to have to shell out. With 12 months left on their contracts why not wait until next summer?

  8. This I can’t wait to see, “Mertesacker with acrobatic opener after four minutes. 😎

  9. OK

    Can’t reply to comments either.

    I think it should have read ‘Mertesacker with acrobatic (for him) opener after four minutes’.

  10. Wavey

    Exactly, that’s why I don’t buy the whole: “Nobody is in for Ozil” thing nor do I buy the whole “Sanchez is leaving this summer” thing either. If anything, both players can go for free next summer and I’m sure that there are clubs that would take both players for free (Bayern has spoken about both). It is now up to Arsenal to get both players to the point they want to sign and stay.

  11. I’ve been pondering on the attributes of the two Ws Walcott and Welbeck.

    Neither is a natural central striker, both offer pace and are capable of beating a defender. Welbeck offers a bit more in the way of defensive endeavour but is not particularly effective. Walcott has been doing a bit more defending but again is not that good at it.

    Of the two Walcott is by far the better goal scorer and provider of assists. The only true difference between them is that while they play mostly on opposite sides of the pitch, Walcott has proved his worth as both a left and right winger.

    Keeping both is obviously Wenger’s chosen option but if a squad spot is needed my preference would be to let Welbeck go.

  12. Wavey, no the reply button isn’t working something about plug ins, all bollocks to me. 😎

    I must confess, I wouldn’t normally use Mertesaker and acrobatic in the same sentence.

  13. Not for nothing but it is interesting that Griezmann congratulated Lacazette on his first goal. I know the two are best of mates, maybe next summer we could use that to lure Griezmann here to play with his mate!

  14. Judging from today’s friendly in Sydney, I’d say DW and Theo have a lot of work to do on their finishing this preseason if they want to compete for places!

  15. For Griezmann to be attracted, C, at the minimum we’ll need to genuinely challenge for the PL for the first time in a decade or more and win AW’s first European trophy.

  16. I enjoyed the game, and was duly impressed by the youngsters who outshone some of the regulars.
    [I know its the first preseason game, yaka yaka.]

    Actually quite like the 3rd away kit.

    Walcott could not hit a cow’s ass with a ukulele as he demonstrated adequately today. Those around me kept yelling ‘Row Z’ — I wonder why? 🙂

    Lovely, simple, well taken tap-in by La Caz after great work by Nketia and finally Iwobi.

    What’s all this mis-spelling of Lemming?

  17. Henry

    Willock is quite a different player to both of his brothers who are both more attackers.

    Could certainly see Maitland-NIles and Willock making up the base of our U23’s this campaign.

  18. Yeah, reply still has some problems.

    C, I do believe no one else worth considering is in for Ozil this summer. That is to say none of: MU, Chelsea, City, Pool, Barca, PSG, Juventus, Bayern, RM are in for him. Inter, AC Milan, Atletico, Roma, Dortmund cannot afford his wages. Super high wage demands and a rather special role as creative number 10 limits his options.

  19. Bielik does look physically mature at 19. Another year or two on loan and he might be ready to contribute to the AFC squad at least in physical terms as a DM or CB in back 3.

  20. Lot of scrolling in this new theme on mobile view anyway–wish the comment box appeared after last comment or after commenting it loaded your view at the bottom of the page. Small gripes! At least the content from Yogi and commenters remains as strong as ever!

    Speaking of which, Yogi’s skepticism over Lemar deal reminded me that I really dislike the “Arsenal are confident” stories–those often end with complacency and our hopes dashed. Rather read that we are urgently working on the deal and eager to get the player than that we are confident. Matter of trust and expectations. We’ve been burned before and gives me a bad feeling.

    I hadn’t heard about the player’s dad discouraging him. That would be sad but predictable given more than a decade neither challenging for the PL or CL. Where did you see that C?

  21. Henry, my view on the third kit improved actually seeing the boys play in it. We’ve certainly had worse over the last decade. What was ludicrous and embarrassing was the awkward and overblown “kit launch event.” Yikes! Certainly put me off buying any Arsenal kits though I may buckle and purchase a home shirt without player name/number for Limestonegunnerinho who has outgrown his Alexis 3rd kit from 2014-15.

  22. LSG

    I think the notion that he is only a #10 is something that is rolled around the Goonerverse more than the futbol-verse, I think he is an attacker that has all the skill set of a #10 but has flourished and is much more mobile and willing to make those runs in and behind the striker or swap positions with Sanchez, etc. I think there might not be a long que for him this summer but if Bayern, or Juve or PSG had the chance to sign him on a free, they would surely jump on it especially the first two who are known for making brilliant deals like that.

    Bielik physically is there and I think he has always had that calm demeanor about him. I would imagine that a season long loan (Norwich is something that has been in the works and I wonder if Arsene is waiting as late as possible to give the final sign off) will allow him to develop both as a DM and CB.

  23. Looked up the story about Lemar’s dad. He’s worried he’ll be on the bench and not play enough to insure he gets into France WC team. Is that a fair concern? I think Lemar would play quite a lot for us.

  24. His father was quoted sometime in April as saying:

    “Today, Thomas is with the Ligue 1 leaders. There is no set plan for him. We are of the belief that logically the plan is playing time, which is what he has at Monaco. Sometimes there are financial parameters that do not fit into that, but I think that the aim is to do another year or two with Monaco. His ambition, his aim, is certainly to go a little further. In this situation, the player will have a say, but he is not always the only one to decide.”

    And since then I have seen reports stating that his father is still urging him to stay at Monaco to see what happens next season and then make the move. I can’t say its that bad of a thing, why not develop one more year at Monaco and then leave given you are coming off a Ligue 1 title, a deep run in the CL and the only loss thus far is Bernardo Silva but your club has done well to bring in recruits. As an Arsenal supporter naturally I would want him at Arsenal, but as somebody who just loves futbol, I would hate to see Monaco’s team torn apart after only 1 season together.

  25. Jonny

    That is nothing short of utter madness!

    I’m sorry, Walker is a really good athlete but lets be honest, he is probably at best the 3rd best RB/RWB in London behind Bellerin and Seamus Coleman.

  26. LSG

    I think it would depend on where he played and to be honest, I would play him next to Xhaka because of his defensive qualities and then his close control.

  27. LSG

    Fortunately, by the sound of it, I missed the Kit launch, as I always do, either because I do not notice such things, or if I do I cannot be assed. 🙂

    My father used to buy me kit as I was growing up, and enjoyed doing so, altho he always used to tell my mother it was rubbish, and not worth the money. It seems Limestonegunnerinho has a similar dad. 😀

    What has YW done to the site? Is he trying to tell us to sod off? 🙂

  28. C, I meant 10 as a shorthand for not being part of midfield 3 with lots of defensive responsibilities and not so much goal scoring to be a prolific wide forward. Mostly a creative attacking force but many teams have that or need more goals from forwards or want a CAM who will drop deeper to defend more. For the wages he wants plus a fair transfer feethere really are only those teams I mentioned. Of course there would be more interest for him on a free. There always seem to be as that would be a deal. There just isn’t the interest in the market this summer for Ozil. I think that is simply the case. And it strengthens our hand and makes more likely we can keep him. That’s good. But I hope we don’t go too long on the contract or too high on the wages. If we had to, we could replace Ozil with Mahrez and longer term get creativity and goals from Lemar etc… I prefer keeping Ozil for continuity but a 3 year rather than 4 year contract at 200/225k per week is more commensurate with his value and standing than 4 yrs at 250/275 per week, in my view.

    Sanchez is the more difficult one to replace.

  29. C,

    Yes, I know that he (Willock 3) is mooted as a defensive midfielder and played well defensively today, but. he also played well offensively today too, and at 17 he is too young to be pigeon-holed — I think he will perhaps start to shine as an attacking midfielder, myself — no pigeon-hole pressure you understand. 😀

  30. C,

    I thought Bielik looked very solid today, and I hope he does not go out on loan again, because there be dragons in that route. His shift at CB today was very good, but I think he could be the CM destroyer we have been looking for – and with skill.

    Never too young in football terms to play, if you are good enough, and he needs AW to give him a break in the first team squad — could bring big dividends.

    Are you having to keep filling in email/name etc after every comment? Bollix to that.

  31. Haha, Henry, yes, I guess I am like your dad that way. My recent emphasis is forgetting about the player on the shirt since these guys seem to come and go too much. It was a very hard lesson at 5yrs for little LSG when RvP left. His Arsenal consciousness was formed watching RvP as captain scoring amazing goals, playing with supreme skill and looking like an Arsenal legend in the making. I remember how difficult it was explaining to him that he had been sold to ManU nearly broke his junior gunner heart. He does seem nervous about Alexis but he has hardened his heart a little since then.

  32. LSG

    I can understand that as well as see your point. I think the thing that we must remember is that Ozil, like many ACM, are viewed almost COMPLETELY different in the PL as they are in the rest of Europe. Most don’t do nearly as much tracking back or defensive duties going backwards as they do pressing and sitting on the oppositions DM. I think the market as a whole has kind of dictated that ACM’s be in the 10 goals 15 assists range for a season which is generally where Ozil is. While Mahrez is a good player, I’m not as convinced as most on him and for all of that I would prefer say a Gotze or somebody of that ilk to replace Ozil. Contract wise, 3 years is a good deal as you proposed especially since Ozil isn’t a player that has ever relied on physical qualities so his diminishing isn’t going to happen plus for all the talk of him having down years, I will be really interested to see how he Lacazette and Sanchez get on because they have the makings of an unplayable front 3.

  33. Henry

    No, I agree with you on Willock, I was speaking more to the fact that his brothers are more wingers and attackers as opposed to the youngest Willock who is much more physical as well as more suited to a midfield berth and he is much more of a box-to-box player at this point in the U23’s. I think he is a player that can ultimately dictate his own position because not only can he and does he do the defensive work but also has the eye for a pass and ability and pace to play as a winger. No pigeon-holing, just enjoying!

  34. Henry

    Bielik is probably the most interesting of the youngsters for me because he came to us at 16 having already made senior appearances for his club as a DM and was good for us upon his arrival. I think ultimately he will turn into a DM that is more than capable as a CB but either way is going to be part destroyer part deep-lying playmaker.

    As far as Bielik on loan, I actually think a loan would do him in particular some good because physically, unlike most his age, he is ready to play week in and week out and as he showed in his brief loan spell, he can fit and boss any situation. The problem he has facing him at Arsenal is the fact that Mert stayed on for another year and that is why I think getting him a loan this season would do him some good and then come back next season still ONLY 20 years old.

    I agree with you though, if he is good enough then he is old enough.

  35. C,

    Your 4:20 and 4:22

    Perfect. Absolutely spot mi amigo. 😀

    [Don’t know why I am having such a problem with the blog site – so will sign off for now.]

  36. I guess Konta didn’t have too much to say about it after all. Congrats to Venus Williams, a classy player and pioneer in modern women’s tennis. Good luck in the Final–would be a fitting swan song.

  37. If you are still seeing differences to the comments section – and it requires you to sign in – close your browser window / tab and re-open. Sounds like a cached page is re-opening. I’ve just got back and it’s back to how it should be.

  38. It was fun seeing Lacazette score for us. Now it is up to Arsene Wenger to make the right choices squad wise, to give us the ability to compete for honors.

  39. Evening all,

    I’ve seen some highlights now. Lacazette put in the kind of shift I expected from him and hopefully in the way he will play in the PL this season. He likes to go hunting for the ball, has no problems bringing it forward and is good at timing his runs into the box to get on the end of things. There are times when that will work really well in a front pairing with Giroud if he’s around.

  40. Wavey,

    The good thing about Lacazette that I made mention of but ALL French futboling people talk about is his workrate and ability to not only be a #9 but drop and win the ball back and carry it forward. I think this will work even better and make both Sanchez and Ozil that much more dangerous because we saw when either of then would drop deeper to get the ball there was nobody left ahead that teams feared running in behind or capable of receiving the ball and turning and running or if one of them got it deep only having one player ahead that was on the move. Now you have say one of the 3 picking it up and the other two on their bike ready to break free. The other thing is Lacazette has that poacher in him and now you have him making the first run and say Sanchez coming in behind him or visa versa, thats deadly. The ony thing with Giroud is that if he does play, which Giroud are we going to get: the big strong man or the one that falls on his ass and complains.

    I’m less worried about the hold up play of Giroud because having watched Lacazette at Lyon and Sanchez, both are strong and have quick feet so if they are pressed, they both have the ability to knock it around the corner or if they aren’t pressed to turn and run at defenders.

  41. DFS-,

    Very well,

    Lacazette with an excellent cameo. Not just the goal, the track back, steal and incisive pass forward.

    He has a cool ‘all business’ demeanor about him and I think the rivalry with Sanchez (if he stays) will be productive to say the least. You just get this feeling he’ll adapt and prosper immediately…and yes, C, I think this will open up all sorts of opportunity for Ozil and Sanchez (lets just presume they are both here until anything concrete arises).

    Beilik lookeded solid and it was good to see Elneny at least on the pitch.

    The kit looked as cool as I said it did yesterday.

    Kyle Walker for 50 to 60 million? Yesterday C and I discussed some great deals, Costa (Juve) and Rodriguez (Bayern) for a fraction of the cost. You would have thought MC learnt their lesson after Sterling and Stones, I guess not.

    Great for Spurs who have a like for like replacement in Keiran Trippier who by the end of the season was starting games and excellent. In fact I would opt for Trippier over Walker as Keiran seems focused, very team/squad oriented and to have a really good head on his shoulders.

  42. Good morning earwigs. 🙂

    The Sydney match yesterday did make me wonder about the difference between Mbappe and say Nelson and Willock.

    Mbappe played first team football when he was just out of nappies (see, I do speak English UK) 🙂 and the result is that his talent has shown thru and his valuation has been set north of £100m – our youngsters show their heads like early spring poppies, and then disappear, sometimes literally, into the humdrum life of youngsters condemned to youth teams or loans.

    It would be fascinating to see at least one of these two given many more minutes of first team football to see if we have our own Mbappe, rather than spend millions buying some other clubs kids. They both have the talent, the skill and the pace.

    Guess it won’t happen.

  43. Yay!!

    I notice that the ‘blogwell’ welcome has disappeared, and the name and email sections are back in the usual sequence too.

    Was there a blog attack?

  44. barcelona have officially ended their pursuit of Hector Bellerin with the signing of semedo from Benfica….. well-done to Arsenal for not entertaining any bullshit….. if Walker is worth 50 million at 27 yrs, Bellerin at 21 yrs should be 60 million plus… Manchester City is really crazy

  45. Henry

    Nope, just trying solve the slow loading issue from the other day to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  46. Hi Yogi,

    But these observations and the killer question makes me sound as if I know something technical — when I actually know sweet FA. 😀

    Anyhoo — everything is back to normal

  47. Having thought that Sanchez would be out the door by now, I might have to revise my thinking. He gets the best of all worlds if he stays. He gets to see if Arsenal are competitive and, if not, jump ship while he’s still in his prime to whatever club he likes for a huge amount of dosh. I suspect he has great misgivings about Arsene, but why not hang around for a year and check out what happens with the exit pass in his back pocket.

  48. Ornstein is usually reliable – I am starting to believe the deal for the lemur is actually going to go through.
    “Arsenal close sealing Thomas Lemar signing. Deal worth up to £42m agreed. Medical & completion Sat, China Tour Mon”

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