Tours, Alexis and Renewals – Just Another Arsenal Saturday

The final match of the Australian tour takes place this morning/afternoon/evening/tonight depending on where you are in the world. Another Saturday, another kick-off to suit the television companies rather than 3pm. Modern football, eh?

Back in the day, you were lucky if a match like this warranted any attention. Unless you were ‘in the know’, the likelihood is that the first you knew about it was the single line in the results section. Sometimes papers sent hacks to cover or relied on a local paper to provide them with a report.

Even the Heil would use material ‘honourably’ rather than regurgitating material shamelessly from other sites. Yeah, Fleet Street and honourable; a contradiction in terms if ever there was one.

Now, we have live coverage and don’t need to rely on the Chinese whispers which embellish Alex Lacazette’s goal from a ‘tap in’ to a thirty-yard screamer by the time it reaches these shores.

By the time you read this, the team will be know – hell, the match will have already been played in some cases – but I guess the subs introduced with twenty minutes to go on Thursday will start and others enter the fray on the seventy minute mark.

Again, it’s about fitness, first and foremost. Slating a player’s performance in these games is just you seeking confirmation bias or trolling. It’s not a competitive match, so don’t judge it as such. Fine words which fly out the window if we lose…

Don’t Leave Me This Way

The match is, as ever, overshadowed by Alexis Sanchez’s contract situation. Headlines tell us Arsène is sexting Alexis to persuade him to stay, leaving out “next season” so that you read the story. And I guess that while the objective is to get him to sign a new deal, it’s a stepped approach. If he’s here at the end of the summer, Wenger has the season to change his mind, or four months at least.

However, I don’t think he will be. Despite the manager’s tough talk, Arsenal will sell if they can land a replacement and Thomas Lemar is identified as that man. Will Monaco sell? The media believe not with Mbappe, Silva and Bakayoko all leaving. It sounds more like a negotiating posture for the home market rather than a discernible strategy for team strengthening.

Financially, Arsenal won’t allow players to walk for nothing, not when they can claim £40-60m for them. It will be a surprise if Stan hasn’t intervened and told the club to take the cash. A deadline of a return to London following tours and holidays to sort it out?

Wenger declared,

“There is not a lot to resolve with the player. I have spoken through text and it was very positive. My thoughts are always positive.’  

A masterclass of how to say nothing in a positive manner in thirty words or less.

I still think he is leaving. If he stays and leaves on a free, as Martin Keown observed, there’s no danger he won’t try or give his all; it’s not in his nature nor will there be a Cesc-esque ‘injury’ to see out the final weeks at the club.

Sign Of The Times

It’s a genuinely tough situation for Arsenal to deal with. It’s a lot of money to walk away from but strengthening Manchester City will go down like a lead balloon – rightly so, in my view – and the player will find himself referred to as the latest Nasri / van Persie.

Losing a player of that calibre is always going to hurt and no matter how it is positioned, it’s an indictment of Arsène’s reign while we enjoyed Sanchez at the club. Noticeably, the ‘anti-Sanchez’ rhetoric is increasing in volume, ready to deflect attention from the manager. Stats about ceding possession, etc., are bandied around, determinedly ignoring his record of a goal every other game. And always prefaced by knowing how great a player is…

Wenger went on to talk about his contract, reiterating the negative impact it had on last season but for me, that’s done and dusted. That season is over and nothing about it will change nor will it diminish the pleasure in beating Chelsea so comprehensively at Wembley be dimmed.

The Arsenal board, ill-prepared for replacing him this time around, renewed. In two year’s time, they will be in the same boat and do the same, scared of change. I’d guess the renewal won’t be hanging around for so long. Small changes, tinkering on edges happened. Are they enough to make the big change in the team’s performances? We shall see.

Later today, a new record of the week on Dad’s Jukebox but until then, enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

66 thoughts on “Tours, Alexis and Renewals – Just Another Arsenal Saturday

  1. Morning all,

    Just the usual non-comment from Wenger suggesting he thinks the player is staying. He can’t really think that given experiences with Cesc, Madrid and RVP.
    I can’t really see the ring-tailed one joining us this summer given the expected exodus from Monaco already. He seems to be the one they are digging their heels in on the most. At some point the number of departing players does too much damage to the team’s aspirations for the new season.

    The game is live in Arsenal player if you register. Lots of perspiration, but not much inspiration so far.

  2. Bit of a heavy pass from Ramsey to Giroud given how close he was. A more delicate touch would have given Giroud a decent crack at goal. Not really stringing much together at all so far.

  3. The idea that anything could still possibly be fluid or undecided regarding Sanchez from the club’s perspective is an utter farce. There was one question to be asked and answered which could have been clarified in an email (and how would we know it hasn’t and this is a string along?)

    Is Kroenke willing to let Wenger hold Sanchez to his contract and potentially lose 40-60 million at the end of the season? The joke being – why the hell does it matter?

    If Sanchez and Ozil stay for just one more season, they do not receive pay raises and the club saves over 13+ million in payroll increase for one year – which at least softens the blow.

    Next season, we could outperform expectations and maybe one or both want to sign for a sensible pay increase.

    In the interim we conduct ourselves as though Sanchez was leaving (which I believe at least got us focused to secure Lacazette first) and do everything to secure Tomas Lemar (although today this now looks shaky as we have dicked Monaco around).

    The reason for Lemar now – why let him go elsewhere, or, why inevitably pay 20 to 30% more if we drop the transfer back 12 months?

    If we had decided our core transfer targets after Kolasinac (on a bloody free FFS) were Lacazette and Lemar they cost us around 105 million, how do we drop the net spend?

    Sell!! We have half a dozen players we should be able to shift…20m for Giroud, 10m for Wilshere, let’s be conservative as hell and say 15m for Perez, 5m for Gibbs, 5m for Campbell.

    That’s 55 million for five players and with the 12 million in pay increases saved from Sanchez and Ozil (and wages for the above players as we need to trim the squad size anyway), that is at least 67 million to balance the spend.

    That is not even contemplating moving on the likes of Oxlade Chamberlain or Walcott that could potentially bring another 25 million.

    This isn’t rocket surgery or fourth dimensional chess. You can smell what this is. Whereas the fans seem to be pragmatic (and already excited about Lacazette and…..) Wenger and company are still caught up in their late season panic, in the idea the fans will lose their shit if Sanchez goes whereas most will be fatalistic and except it, in particular if we secure other quality players.

    The above shows a net spend of around 38 million with Sanchez still on our books and an additional three high quality players on board to start the season. There is no drama other than the one Wenger is muddled and mired in….and if those latest reports from Monaco are true, it sounds like they are on the brink of refusing a Lemar deal.

  4. Lovely goal from Giroud. Nice play between Lacazette and Monreal. The ball from Monreal looked to be slightly behind him, but it was a great touch.

  5. DFS-,

    I’d keep Giroud if he wants to stay. Always felt he was a very good second striker to have and that’s where we should be using him now.

    Route one, Monreal over the top to Ramsey who love the keeper. Very nice goal, 2-0.

  6. Good morning folks, the Mbappe situation is intriguing, Real want to buy the United ‘keeper de Gea, but reports suggest they don’t have the cash available, if they don’t have enough spondoolicks to buy de Gea then they certainly can’t afford Mbappe.

    To my mind Real’s priority is a ‘keeper and have been chasing de Gea for a couple of seasons and the player has openly stated that he would like to join the Spanish giants.

    If Real do get de Gea they won’t be in a position to sign Mbappe which will leave Arsenal as the most likely destination should Monaco decide to cash in and with Real out of the picture the price might fall a little.

  7. Liking Lacazette looking for his team mates. Seems to be linking up well with Giroud. He could work really well with Alexis if the Chilean is here next season.

  8. Hi Wavey,

    I was going to add a comment or two during the half, but yours were too good to interfere – especially about Rambo loving the keeper!

  9. Yogi it’s worth remembering that the match is being played in Australia, for it to kick off at your favoured time of 3pm BST, it would make it a one in the morning start down under. Perhaps you miss read the venue as Austria. 😎

  10. Good goal from Western Sydney after we blocked the initial free kick. Always difficult to defend those, especially when they land back at the feet of the original free kick taker.

  11. Actually I have nothing against Miss Read, it should have read mis-read. Huh that’s the English language for you.

  12. Elneny was really unlucky with a curling shot coming back off the bar earlier.

    I think we are playing with the strangest back 3 I have ever seen. Can’t imagine many would have bet on Kos, Elneny and Monreal as our 3 CBs.

  13. Iwobi is fairly lively on the right. Trying to get himself in the mix for that spot with Walcott and Ox maybe.

  14. Arsenal were very wise not to play a friendly against Melbourne Victory, a team coached by Kevin Muscat which is, not surprisingly, happy to mark up opponents, particularly overpaid footballers from Northern climes.

  15. Would have liked to see Lacazette play the game out with Welbeck and Walcott on. He was playing in a deeper role behind Giroud. Would like to have seen him playing through the middle with Welbeck left and Walcott right.

  16. Maybe too many youngsters playing in this second eleven. Perhaps could have mixed up the two groups of players a bit more.

  17. LeCoq putting a fairly industrial challenge in when it wasn’t really needed. In a nothing area of the pitch though, so no harm done.

  18. Willock with a neat run and looked to be about to have a crack at it. Cynical tug from behind and a free kick.

  19. Nketiah had a great chance to stick one on target, but just took too long and it was easily blocked.

    Got another free kick.

  20. Poor free kick from Ozil, but gets it back and puts a ball straight on Per’s head. Straight at the keeper though.

  21. Some great passing down the left with our new LB fully involved. Walcott was on the end of it to get a shot on target, but well saved.

    Nketiah hits the woodwork as well, really unlucky.

  22. Ozil with a clever through ball to Walcott, but the goalie was out well. Nketiah then goes through and should have scored.

    3-1 is the final score, but it could easily have been 6 or 7.

  23. Really liked Willock and Nketiah in the second half. They need loan deals, but also have to ensure they don’t get to leave the club cheaply.

  24. Wavey,

    I don’t mind Giroud staying either.

    As I said we have alternatives and I did not bring Sszczesny or Ospina into that mix of 5 players.

    The point is we could commit to a plan of action without either a high (net) outlay or feeling really short changed if we let Sanchez go on a free. Personally, if I have specific opinions on certain players and their status, the idea of things going one way or another does not phase me because there are positves whichever way this plays out.

  25. Wavey,

    “Would have liked to see Lacazette play the game out with Welbeck and Walcott on…”

    Agreed, friendly pre-season game maybe, but I’d take the opportunity to work on some more concrete ideas to take forward.

    Lacazette is looking like a great team player. Once again great to see Elneny smiling and having fun, and Bielik looks like a first team member already.

    Kolasinac also impresses as well. For a big unit he is really mobile and aware, has a lovely touch and seemed to be looking to drive play forward at all times.

  26. Great post Yogi

    I hope we can keep Sanchez but I doubt very much he will sign a new contract. I suspect he will be moved near the end of the transfer window.

  27. DFS

    Well said.


    Thanks for the commentary.


    I wonder why Real does not have any interest in Wojo? He would certainly cost them a lot less then De Gea and the money they saved could go towards MBappe.

  28. Man City and Liverpool both need an upgrade at GK and Wojo would cost about 1/3 the amount Everton spent for Jordan Pickford. I understand why Arsene would be reluctant to sell Sanchez to an English team but he would not have the same concerns regarding Wojo.

  29. Bill,

    Madrid want De Gea not only because he’s quality but he is also Spain’s #1 and I know you don’t really get into or believe in that but every top club in all of Europe’s major top countries all generally try to have their #1 GK at one of it not tje biggest club. Buffon on Juve, Nueur at Bayern, Hart at Citeh(until recently), think Casillas at Madrid and now they want De Gea.

  30. Bill,

    Thank you!

    To be completely honest, the idea Wenger was ‘communicating’, chasing Sanchez via text set me off as it simply feels absurd at this point.

  31. Yogi, I know it’s summer and some like it hot but are you into gender bending movies?
    Marilyn, Tony and Jack. Great film.

  32. Sorry C. Venus down a set and double faults for a break right away in 2nd. Not looking good.

  33. At the umpteenth attempt I’ve finally succeeded in signing in to Arsenal player and have been able to watch the goals from the second Sydney game.

    Three good goals one, by Ramsey, very good. Unfortunately, and typically, his stupid back pass resulted in a goal for the opposition. Once again it highlights his inability to defend effectively.

    Now it’s on to China where Bayern Munich await.

  34. watched the highlights of the game, it seems wenger want to turn mo elneny into a central defender as part of the 3….lovely goal by Giroud and Ramsey…. Monreal showing his inner ozil assist skills…. Giroud is really threatened by the arrival of lacazette but if he stays, he will be more motivated to fight for his place

  35. Sanchez want to leave, he Said in an interview in Chile that he want to play in the champions league and seems only Manchester City is interested in him… am surprised Chelsea are not interested despite Diego Costa leaving

  36. captain senderos,

    Yes, widely reported now.

    That we are at this level of brinkmanship so late in the day will likely mean it dampens our activity, dilutes our intent (if we truly had any serious plans) – something I have underlined repeatedly. Why do we find ourself in this position?

    As if this was not indicative of yet another episode of weak , even odd management for whatever reason Wenger has now stated there was in fact no offer ever made for Mbappe.

    I’ve had already noted I never believed we had put an offer on the table which Monanco had any reason to take seriously- but this takes the cake.

    So for weeks Wenger and the club have played some juvenile, disingenuous game (again, Benzema revisited) with the press and fans for no other reason than it appears Wenger was desperate to appear relevant.

    When exactly can we expect ‘the Huss Fahmy effect’ to materialize?

  37. DFS-,

    Huss Fahmy effect?

    If the media and blogettas were always concorting stories about Arsenal submitting a bid for Mbappe, should Wenger start parading himself in the same manner? Always in the media talking.

    He has come forth with a response in his own time. A man shouldn’t make your decisions to change on every comment passed at him or else he’ll never amount to anything. Wenger is who he is because he stands firm…

    “You will never reach your
    destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks” – Winston Churchill

  38. mancity pay 50mil for a second rate full back
    chelsea pay 40 mil for a bloke whos just had a knee operation so who knows how he passed the medical.

    if we accept anything less than 70 mil for sanchez we are tools…

    they pay up or we hold him to his contract and stick him in the reserves – see how many clubs want to give a 30 year old a 300k a week contract when he hasnt kicked a competitive domestic ball for over a year..

    fuck them and fuck him. time to get ruthless and make examples of contract rebels.

  39. Oludotun,

    As early as March Wenger himself discussed Kylian Mbappe (on record in French), noting his interest and how Mbappe reminded him of a young Thierry Henry, the problem being naturally all the big clubs had their eyes on him.

    In April Robert Pires further claimed Arsenal were on the verge of signing Mbappe (bwin interview).

    In May, it was reported (post leak? ) Wenger had visited, spoken with Mbappe and his father, expressed his interest in Kylian and how he thought it a bad idea for him to sign for Real Madrid. One month ago an unnamed Arsenal source (direct from the Emirates) noted Wenger knew he had to be seen as trying.

    Somehow, one month ago, the football press were further leaked the idea an Arsenal bid was upped from around 100 million to 125 million. I didn’t, but several key Arsenal media figures (such as Arseblog) took the idea seriously and debated the possibility…yet again).

    And, let’s remind ourselves how Arsenal used a naïve Perry Groves to go to the media with a cock and bull story of Viera was returning to The Emirates, when the heat was on concerning a DOF.

    I would think in the span of 5 months, during any of numerous interviews given, Wenger could have taken a few seconds to state… “ Arsenal have not bid for Mbappe”.

    But, I suppose that’s just me.

  40. Alexis is making it very clear that he wants to go, but isn’t demanding an exit because he knows that he can go on a free next summer. If we take an offer this summer he will go and it seems fairly clear he will dictate where he goes to. He is pretty much doing a RVP, effectively stating that he is not going to sign a new deal. A clever bit of passive aggression in his bargaining tactics which should make it very clear to the club that they stand to lose a hefty transfer fee if we don’t let him go now. I can’t see it panning out any other way than the way it did with RVP. And if Alexis says the place he wants to go is City, that will be his destination.
    Wenger’s comments on the subject are either disengenious to the fans, or he’s deluding himself. If it’s the latter, it is disturbing that a manager of a club of this size can continue to be so naive in his dealings with player contracts. Those responsibilities need to be taken from him, because he is damaging the club with this ridiculous blind faith in players.

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