Well, there we have it. Yesterday’s gremlins were overpowered after promising to pay the ransom and get the site back to its usual high standards of slack-jawedness. More or less the performance levels that Arsenal put in yesterday.
It was a friendly and let’s not forget that. Some did as social media imploded in some quarters over the 3 – 0 defeat. Not enough praise for David Ospina taking out Pedro in my view and too much focus on players who may or may not make the grade. We’ll find that out in competitive matches, not friendlies.
Arsène claimed the players were tired and that’s why we lost. Fair enough, as long as they get rested and ready for Leicester. Next weekend’s Emirates shindig will give us more of an idea about the starting line-up for the opening weekend.
There are things to take away from the tour but as long as players are working toward match fitness, that’s all that matters.
And then the manager gets to tell Alexis that he’s staying. Wenger was incredulous about claims of PSG interest in Sanchez and I think people forget how close he is to their set-up. If PSG wanted Alexis, it would be quietly dealt with via the manager and presented as a fait accompli to the press.
Anyway, whilst the Parisians are wealthy, can they afford another £100m on transfer fees and associated costs having spent £200m in Neymar? Yes…
Personally, I think Alexis wants City, or Pep Guardiola if we’re honest, and will walk next summer. We’re still in a contractual pickle and that situation is unlikely to improve any time soon. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reportedly interests Chelsea and Liverpool. Although let’s be honest anything with a pulse interests Liverpool at the moment.
Which came first? The Ox or ‘Cott?
According to the media, Ox is more concerned with playing time than cash for his deal. I’m not sure any guarantee can be given. While he played well in Bellerin’s place, his versatility is such that it undermines his claim for a regular starting place. Rather than focus on central midfield, he plays right, left and anywhere but centre.
Arsène isn’t sure of his best position and 3 – 4 – 3 doesn’t give a fanfare and Monty Python animated pointing finger to a particular role for him. It’s something he has to come to terms with. Neither Conte or Klopp is looking at Ox for a central role and probably only Liverpool will offer him a guarantee of playing time. Football’s a competitive industry and only the elite players are certainties in the starting line-up.
However, Arsène shares some of that burden. Ox never made any secret of his desire for a central role and Wenger need to tell him whether he had a future there or not. Not least for his own mind and knowing whether he will sell or not. The Frenchman is reticent to sign players lest they ‘kill’ a career, seemingly preferring to keep players and killing their career himself.
Is Ox a central midfielder? Alongside a defensively minded player, it could work but in the same way question marks still exist over the Xhaka – Ramsey axis, I’m not convinced that Ox is the solution or worthy of usurping either from the XI.
Will that come with time? Maybe; however, when is he going to get the time to prove it worthwile as a long-term solution?
Ox isn’t a player I would sell immediately; there are others such as Gibbs, Jenkinson, etc., but nor is he a player for which you can turn down a £35m offer. He’s not indispensable but certainly less disposable than others. Gibbs, vaguely on that subject, isn’t joining West Brom.
Arsenal rejected a £10m offer from Albion, adding in a ‘Pulis tax’ but killing the deal in the process. Playing hardball on selling squad members doesn’t make the club better negotiators; £10m for either Gibbs or Jenkinson seems a good fee, particularly as we were prepared to let Debuchy walk to Nice.
Plenty of work to do in the next six weeks in both incoming and outgoing departments.