On Contract Rebels, FIFA Bans, Fire Sales & New Signings

It’s all kicked off this morning, with the futures of Arsenal’s contract rebels seemingly moving in different directions. Mesut Özil is set to put pen to paper on a new deal. No new talks were planned until everybody was back in London, according to the player last week, but this morning sees claims that “there have been more positive talks”.

The German was always more likely to sign than Alexis, with the delays brinkmanship on his part. There was noise about the pair of them colluding to extort as much money out of the club as possible but it’s looking more likely that Özil used the interest in Alexis to bolster his own position. Fair enough; Wenger held the club to ransom in different ways last season. The players are simply following his lead.

That and a lack of interest from any of Europe’s giants has rather forced Özil’s hand. Alexis may find his cards play out differently. Talk this morning of PSG and City both facing FIFA investigation with Monaco ready to lodge complaints about the ‘tapping up’ of Kylian Mbappe.

Arsène said he felt the player was staying in Monaco for one more season at least but the nouveau riche don’t take a blind bit of notice of what anyone wants. Mbappe is a new toy and they want him. A transfer ban looks likely if Monaco make good on their threat of reporting them.

Coincidentally, the pair are the only two reportedly interested in Alexis. What larks if both are hit with transfer bans before next summer. Even walking away on a free won’t allow him to join them. Did the bidding war just begin?

Mr Clean

Petr Cech was in party pooper mode after the win over Bayern. The players weren’t allowed to celebrate because, essentially, it’s not a proper trophy, this International Champions Cup. Has he seen our trophy cabinet in recent years? There’s the FA Cup and a lot of ‘not a proper trophy’ additions along side it.

Cech, who without his helmet looks like the world’s tallest accountant, is right; no celebrations unless ordered to on these occasions and it won’t be long before those orders come in. Make it look good for TV, lads; that’s if anyone knows which channel it’s on.

The tour party suffered a dose of the squitters in China but it was a stomach bug, not food poisoning. There’s a joke in there about the dogs doo-dahs just screaming to stay in, so I’ll oblige this morning.

All of which frivolity brings us to the thrust of today’s musings. The imminence of the coming season. I know what you’re thinking, it’s still three weeks away but there’s still an awful lot to resolve before then. Being on tour precluded the manager from meeting any prospective new signings and I still hold out hope we have a couple more to come.

Pretty Green

Alexis is the only player we would ‘replace’ with others coming in to improve the XI rather than providing depth. There are a few to move on; Debuchy, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Wilshere are the most prominent, with Calum Chambers linked to Palace.

I have mixed feelings about that. He did well at Middlesbrough and I’d be inclined to say a year on loan might do him the world of good. With Per Mertesacker retiring next summer, Chambers is a decent squad player to have and let’s not forget, he did well for England this summer as a centre back. Could he save us money in the transfer market?

We may need to; if Alexis walks, money will need diverting to a new marquee signing. Monaco may deal on Lemar if Mbappe is staying which would allow the club to sell the Chilean to PSG, as the current rumour suggests.

Otherwise, I’d still like to see something happening in the defensive midfield slot. If Arsène is seriously holding open the option of a flat back four, we need to find a purely defensive-minded player. Xhaka is that man, flourishing in the freedom the 3-4-3 gives him to play his natural game. With Wilshere likely to leave and Santi perma-crocked, we genuinely lack numbers. That needs addressing.

Finally, a gem from the media in the past twenty-four hours. John Cross’ position on Arsenal changes every five minutes, to the point that the Mirror genuinely doesn’t know if it’s coming going:

…while over at The Heil:

’til Tomorrow.

51 thoughts on “On Contract Rebels, FIFA Bans, Fire Sales & New Signings

  1. Morning YW
    To keep me in good cheer sorry to be dull but can I return to Arsetralian please
    My nom de plume if you will

  2. And finally
    Don’t you think Calum is just too nice?
    I fear he is classic English not good enough
    Gabriel any day

  3. Good morning (just) folks.

    Selling Chambers for £16 million and offering £40 million for Southampton’s van Djke makes no sense.

  4. Orson Kaert,

    VVD would play as a left centre back in a back 3 or 4.

    Kos apart , none of our other cbs are comfortable there , so he’s an option if available.

  5. If we cannot shift some of the dead wood through the football equivalent of ebay, there are a number of alternatives implied I think in Yogis post – a fire sale of slightly worn players at reduced prices….BOGOF offers (take a Gibbs and have a Debuchy free)……..maybe them up on the side of an A road with ‘for sale’ stencilled on them and their doors locked and keys in the ignition…..tow them out to sea and sink them with naval gunfire…

  6. Paulie Walnuts,

    Monreal? Or Kolasinac who can play both LB and CB. I’d keep Chambers with the BFG in his last season, Kos likely to struggle with injuries as he ages and Gabriel being somewhat inconsistent. Ultimately we could see Chambers, Mustafi and Holding as regulars in a back three although we’d need a left footed CD assuming that Kolasinac takes the LB berth from Monreal eventually.

  7. Thanks Yogi!

    So Ozil looks likely to sign and Sanchez, well some say he is going others say he is staying, guess we will find out in the coming weeks.

    Selling Chambers makes no sense, maybe loaning him to Palace for a year could happen but to start the season we need him especially since there has been no update from Arsene on how Gabriel is doing in his recovery.

  8. Afternoon,

    Calum seems to be developing nicely in the CB role with his loan spell and his performances for England. He may develop into a quality player in that spot and he already provides solid cover for our first choice CBs (especially with age becoming more of a factor for two of them). I can’t see the point selling him now when we will have to buy in at least one player in the CB role next season.

  9. Conte said the situation was clear for both the club and Costa in JANUARY, that’s wild given they were by far the best team in the PL and Costa was a major part of that.

    “I don’t to like to talk about players that don’t stay here, but the only thing I can tell you (is) in January, the Costa situation was very clear, for the club, for him and his agent,” the Chelsea boss said. “For me the situation is closed.”

  10. Check once a day to the news updates and beginning to think we are thrashing.

    It yet might all work out but I am tired of seeing new declarations of ‘selling internationals’ to find out it’s still Wilshere, Debuchy, Jenkinson and Gibbs we’re talking about…

    Yet what we are doing is actively pitching Chambers and Elneny?

    I am hoping the interest of PSG for Sanchez is real – because it could provide the best solution to that problem. PSG need a new forward and they have the funds – the deal removes Sanchez from the PL and we recoup something hopefully in the 50 million + range.

    Gunnerblog made a good vlog on the issue and then made another good point concerning the idea of hold-outs through the season and how the atmosphere could sour.

    My take is I am not sure Sanchez will be a happy camper. Gunnerblog made a better point, and used (potentially) Sanchez ,Ozil and Oxlade Chamberlain all with contracts unsigned to start the season. Everything will be fine if we find good form and maintain it.

    However what happens when we hit a speed bump, a downturn where one or all of them are off form? They won’t extend yet the team is struggling – who will be the whipping boys? That’s a recipe for a bad atmosphere to develop.

    As things stand, it looks like Ozil will extend. Regardless of him being my favorite player, what an utter piss take if we are so spineless we still offer him the stratospheric panic wages first proposed in the faltering season.

    If it hasn’t sunk in already – no one else will pay those wages .

  11. Hi C,

    What do you think of the supposed offer from Barça for us to buy Rafinha?

    Maybe they have offered him to other clubs too – but the cynic in me makes me think that it is more likely to be rubbish. But if it is true, I would like to hear your views on whether we should pursue an interest in the guy — he is currently injured so maybe they think he would add to our roster of injured players, to keep Santi and Jack company — uh, oh, someone has just said Jack is repaired and ready to go. I believe the second part of that but not sure about the ‘repaired’ bit. 🙂

  12. HenryB,

    I would take Rafinha right now, he is the younger brother of Bayern CM Thiago and is equally as talented but more versatile as he can also play on the flanks. He would certainly be an upgrade over what we have in midfield and would even more than that, he is young and the only reason he hasn’t gotten his chance at Barca is because Inesta is still there but even then he featured on the flanks for them and did well.

    I would take him, while he is injured now, I don’t think its anything serious and from what I have read will be back no later than early to mid Aug which is fine given the quoted 25m price for an extremely talented player. If I could take Thiago I would, everybody remembers the master class he put on throughout the year for Bayern last season, but taking his younger equally talented and equally effective brother would be idea.

  13. Damon,

    Naw, they don’t want Bellerin, they are trying to fund the purchase of Veratti right now and I think both Rafinha and Turan are the way they are thinking they can make that happen. They know if they sign Veratti to pair with Busquets and that front 3 plus Gomes, they will overtake Madrid (personally if they get Veratti they go back to being equal if not better than Veratti).

  14. Thanks for he post Yogi

    I agree that Ozil is likely to sign. From a practical and realistic standpoint its clearly a mistake to sign Ozil to long term ultra high dollar contract when he is almost 29 and his ability to be a consistent impact player clearly seems likes it has started to fade. Its also a mistake to pencil him in the line up as a forward for the next 3 years. However, I understand that losing both Ozil and Sanchez would reinforce the notion that we are not really a big club and we are a selling club. Resigning Ozil is a face saver. Hopefully Arsene will have the cojones to replace him in the regular starting line up if he continues to fade. He is not going to score or get involved in helping the defense so he needs to be among the league leaders in assists to have any sort of positive impact and I am not sure he is capable of doing that anymore.

  15. I agree with C and DFS. I don’t see any reason to sell Chambers. I would sending Holding on loan and keep Chambers with the squad. The other option would be to send both on loan. I wonder if Arsene plans to use Kolasinac as the left sided player in a back 3 and Bellerin at RWB and Ox as LWB. Nacho will make a very capable backup in the back 3 or LWB. Both Holding and Chambers need to be playing regularly to help them develop. If that is Arsene’s plan then we certainly do not have nearly enough minutes for either Holding or Chambers much less both.

    I also don’t really understand sellling Elneny. He is never going to be a dynamic impact player or part of the regular starting 11. However, he is versatile and very steady and does not make mistakes or hurt the team. He seems like the perfect player for the back end of the squad.

  16. I haven’t watched any of the Asian matches… – What formation has Wenger sent out h there? 3 or 4 at the back?

  17. Friday night pop quiz

    Which club has won Division 1, Division 2, Division 3, Division 3 (North or South) and Division 4?

  18. YW,

    Tend to disagree with a younger Giroud, much better and stands up in the big matches. With that said, I think Lacazette is a more natural goal scorer and I am glad to have him ahead of both Morata and Lukuka.

  19. van Dijk has been made to train alone after saying he wants to leave. Liverpool are no longer interested. Southampton manager Pelligrino says “he’s not right mentally”. It would seem that he’s on his way out of Southampton. Could he be Koscielny’s replacement?

  20. Cheers Yogi,

    We”ll need both Chambers and Holding if we want to go deep in the EL and fight for the league.


    If the board don’t have the stomach to renegotiate terms with Ozil they’re not fit for the gig.

    Yogi I’m not sure Wenger did hold the club to ransom ” in his own way” did he? It always seemed to me that Wenger had made up his mind to extend quite early in the season while the club sat on their hands unable to commit to a decision until Stan arrived for the cup final. You’re across more things AFC than I so maybe I’m missing something?

  21. Bill,

    Yup – put it perfectly “Resigning Ozil is a face saver”, because we still have not seemed to shake off the late season panic. Wenger appears motivated by how he is viewed (fan base) yet does not quite have his finger on that pulse. The majority simply want to see common sense at this point.

    Stylistically, I love Ozil but at times last season he seemed unhappy and disconnected from play (I felt the early season ‘trading positions’ scenario left him rudderless). I cannot say I want him to leave as such, and Gunnerblog has made point of players out of contract through the season is not a good idea – but…the idea we will extend as massive pay raise to him makes me pretty angry.

    At some point we need to re-assert our authority as a club (even if this was all of our making). You have Ozil’s waivering influence and his age to consider. He might well have decided he likes London, the club and, okay, he wants to see out the rest of his career here but boosting his wages to that level is not only absurd but sets the wrong precedent (for pay itself and manner of negotiation).


    “We”ll need both Chambers and Holding if we want to go deep in the EL and fight for the league”.

    This – Mertesaker is essentially gone, Kos needs achilles treatment after every game and Gabriel is also looking a little suspect injury wise.

    Even loans for the two should be binned (the idea of a Chambers sale has left a really dubious taste in the mouth). In fact Bielik has been so impressive during the Asian tour (he was spraying passes around like a midfield general from defense) that I thought the three should be looked a key component in Arsenal’s future defense – I do not like the idea of a Bielik loan either.

    I tend to agree with Bill on the idea of ‘kids’ in the team – but Chambers, Holding and Bielik have not been playing like kids, they’ve looked like fully fledged first team members.

    Elneny – absolutely, composed and endless workhorse and versatile. We do not yet have midfield sorted, he does not seem prone to injury, yet we were will to accept a bid on him yet are ‘holding out’ for the right fee for Wilshere?

  22. Jonny,

    To be fair to Morata, he was a driving force and scores the decisive goal against Madrid to get Juve to the CL Final in 2015 and scored 20 goals in all comps last season as Madrid’s CF2. He is quality for that there is no doubt but Lacazette is a more natural and complete finisher and his close control is brilliant so give me Lacazette over Morata.

  23. DFS-,

    I think Ozil much like Sanchez suffered from our lack of midfield control, we lacked the supply to our attack all to often and both players had to drop deeper to get possession and in doing so made both less effective(I know Sanchez was brilliant all season but his frustrations with Ramsey, Ox and Le Coq’s ability to pass was there for all to see) and its why I think getting that link player is MASSIVE if we have any chance of getting the best out of both players.

    I know most think I’m mad but if we don’t buy then Elneny should be first choice next to Xhaka in midfield with Ramsey being the super sub or rotating. Elneny might not be everybody’s cup of tea or the most overly dynamic(I think he has much more to offer but does what he is asked to do for the good of the team and team balance) but his ability to play quickly and make the right pass at the right time would give us what we have been missing since Santi got injured.

    I agree, the fact that Arsenal accepted a bid for him but are waiting for the right fee for Jack is nothing short of madness.

  24. Nope, Portsmouth. Wolves are one of five clubs who’ve won Div 1,2,3,4 but only Portsmouth threw in Div 3 South for good measure.

  25. C

    Ozil is still one of the most technically skilled and talented players in the world but I would argue that watching him the last 1 1/2 seasons that either those skills are starting to slip or that he just does have the same motivation that he did. He has made hundreds of millions of dollars and won lots of big trophies. All those years and high leverage minutes he has played takes its toll on his psyche and his body. His talent allows him to string together a few good games and only time will tell but I think its unlikely we will see any more really good seasons. He does not score very often, he does not defend and most frustrating of all he does not help us to transition from defense to attack and he does not help the midfield when they get bogged down or over run. The thing he does is hang around the final 1/3 and try to make something happen when he gets the ball in advanced positions. If he only does one thing then he better do that very very well or he is not an asset to the team. If he is making things happen in the final 1/3 and making those killer final passes then he should be creating assists. However, his ability to create assists has been steadily going downward. It stands to reason that if he is not among the league leader in assists then he probably is not making things happen with any sort of consistency.

    I think it would be a bad business and football decision to give Ozil a long term ultra high dollar contract at this point in his career. However, in the end I don’t really care how much of Stan’s money Arsene wants to spend. The only thing that really is important is that Arsene has to have the cojones to drop Ozil if his effectiveness continues to fade. I hope that makes sense.

  26. C and Bill –

    This will be the interesting thing to watch with Ozil.

    He somehow has to get back to his assist making best – and potentially he can.

    Yet the probem remains that ludicrous deal was offered as not only things were hitting an hysterical pitch, but as Ozil was having a poor season. That desperation should not have been carried this deep into the window. I’ll repeat a couple of things I said before.

    There was nothing to stop the club voiding the offers to Sanchez and Ozil as soon as the window opened citing their lack of interest to return to the table. Take power back and then re-write a lower contract with specific performance targets.

    Second – I asked before, when exactly can we expect to see the Huss Fahmy effect? I say this as his profile represents he is some sort of legal baller. I do not expect him to interject regarding the players themselves (in terms of buying or selling). But surely the Ozil contract is precisely the type of issue where one would hope he would inject himself to say ‘wait a minute, we should revisit this contract and amend it”.

    People would be impressed (even relieved) if the club announced a new Ozil deal but on down to earth terms- it would produce some positive PR in area which sorely needs it.

  27. YW,

    Hmm, according to t’internet Wolves won Div3 (North) in 1923/24……

    On Portsmouth I forgot that they won the fourth tier last season, also the fact that it’s now called League 2 doesn’t help either 🙂

  28. It truly is the silly season:

    PSG paying £196m for Neymar
    PSG also buying Alexis for £70m – Alexis in Paris to discuss deal (isn’t that tapping up unless we’ve given permission)
    Real Madrid paying £120m for Mbappe
    Swansea wanting £30m for Llorente
    Chelsea wanting £50m for Matic

    The papers are clearly bored now and are making things up.

  29. Hwy Guys,

    Listen love to read and hear what you guys say. Dont have the time to comment. Let.me just tell you guys fees things so you can all just chill the fuck out.

    Ozil agreed months ago.
    Sanchez is already given 350k. Going to sign after the last two signings of this transfer

  30. andy1886,

    Throw in the fact that Wolves have also won the FA and League Cup (Portsmouth have won the FA Cup but not the League Cup, both have won the Charity Shield) then I reckon that Wolves ultimately trump Pompey (you could even throw in their Texaco Cup in 1971 as well 😂).

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