On Cold Snaps, Özil’s Contract and Ollie’s Future

In the grip of the coldest snap in seven years (© the Hacks), Arsenal’s squad is going to find out exactly what cold means when they travel to Östersunds for the first leg of the Round of 32 in the Europa League. It’s no Bavaria and certainly not in Barcelona; just bloody cold apparently.

Bizarrely, the club was formed after Arsène joined Arsenal which takes the whole 21 years at the club to a new level of ‘how many times will we hear that fact’ before and during the tie itself.

And with ‘..‘ over the ‘O’ in both town and club name, there will be a bad case of diaeresis if Mesut Özil features. You’d better have Imodium to hand.

At which point, you’re expecting a crap link into Mesut Özil’s contract talk; you got one.

The story goes that he wants £300,000 per week, we’d offered £235,000 but have now gone north of that. The salary is almost irrelevant, to be honest. How do you attach value to that level of wage? You can’t as such. The only thing you can consider is whether we would be better served by two £150,000 per week players in the squad or one Mesut Özil?

The answer to that is down to personal opinion. He’s not a leader of men and is a player who can be isolated with relative ease in big games – so it seems – although both the FA Cup semi-final and final undermined that to some extent as he played a starring role in both. Which begs the question why it happens frequently in the Premier League. Probably because there are more games in the Premier League is the answer, both facetiously and truthfully.

So, is one Özil worth more than two lesser players? It depends on who they are and what role they fulfil.

It’s Only Banter

Özil, like so many of the squad, is a lightning rod for discontent. Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny…the only one who gets a free pass, it seems, is Nacho Monreal and even that’s a fairly recent phenomenon.

From Arsenal’s point of view, the economics of it make some sense. On the assumption that the £300k is a rolled up figure including bonuses and signing-on fees,  it’s cheaper than buying two players and paying them £150k per week over four years. There’s no fee outlay in Özil’s case which makes the difference.

The PR side makes it an even better deal. We don’t have the nuclear scenario of losing our two best players for free in the same summer, or for negligible fees in the same year.

That assumes he will ‘sign da ting’.

A full Premier League programme this midweek will no doubt see Arsène revisit his ‘they get more rest than us’ routine. I thought he delivered the observation with comic timing par excellence as he rotated the entire XI for BATE – or maybe they were BANTER – Borisov. Nobody pulled him up on it, instead nodding sagely at his words.

Mind you, after the performance we turned in at Southampton, is there any benefit from resting players? West Ham will be buoyed by their win over Chelsea and tiredness won’t be a factor for them, I bet.

Wenger has to deal with Aaron Ramsey’s injury and most of us expect Jack Wilshere to come in…Francis Coquelin it is then, with Elneny to replace Granit Xhaka, just to light the fuse. While you might argue there are question marks over Jack’s fitness – and I won’t argue with that – he’s served his time in the Europa League and his cameo on Sunday suggests he’s ready for the first XI.

Ollie’s Hat-Trick

Arsène’s press conference this morning is all but over and I cogitate more on the West Ham game tomorrow. His point re Olivier Giroud is interesting, if not reassuring for the player. On the one hand, he denied that Giroud was a substitute now,

“No, he’s not a sub for me. He’s a very good player. I have plenty of good strikers but I cannot play them all together.

“I speak to all my players. It’s very hard to discuss what we speak about openly. You know enough already, you know?

“He’s a very important player. I have great respect. I am a great admirer of Giroud.

“Look how many French caps he has won here. He has not wasted his time.”

And I don’t think anyone thought he had. For Giroud, the issue is he wants more French caps, particularly as next summer will be his last World Cup and quite possibly his last major tournament for Les Bleus. ‘Sources close to the player’ said at the weekend that the striker wanted a loan deal in January. Arsène pooh-poohed that idea but didn’t offer him any assurances over his long-term future either,

“Personally, I want him to stay at the club until the end of the season then we will see.”

It’s hardly a ringing endorsement, is it?

I’m intrigued though. Where will we find the money to replace him if he leaves next June when most of our budget will be spent replacing Alexis…

Finally, there’s a new post on Dad’s Jukebox about the letter ‘W’.

’til Tomorrow.

51 thoughts on “On Cold Snaps, Özil’s Contract and Ollie’s Future

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    If Sanchez leaves in January, and after his poor showing on Sunday I won’t be that sorry to see him go, his wages can be used to fund Ozil’s salary upgrade. Using either Walcott or Welbeck as the Chilean’s replacement for the rest of the season shouldn’t impact that much on our top six challenge. His participation in the cups and Europa League teams would have been minimal at most.

  2. Pete the Thirst says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Problem is Orson that despite his seemingly shite form, Alexis is still our best player, by a long stretch. Maybe a solution would be to sell him and play Giroud and Lacazette up front together with one wide player. Worked well in the past, but not very fashionable now.

  3. Michael Rowley says:

    Orson Kaert,

    He should of been out the door last summer, Arsenal used to do things with a touch of class, now its total farce.

  4. Jonny says:

    One distinction you seem to be looking straight past here, YW, is that it would not be as simple as two players on a 150,000 vs one on 300,000.
    The small matter of the transfer fees for such players would have to be considered and boy, would they be considerable.
    I am not saying Ozil is worth 300,000 a week but he does not come with a £50M+ price tag before you even start paying his wages.

  5. Orson Kaert says:

    Pete the Thirst,

    Is he our best player? He frequently loses possession, he tackles back far less often than Ozil and his twisting and turning when in possession only serves to slow down our attacks.

    We are often told that form is temporary, class is permanent. In Sanchez’s case his form so far this season has been poor and is in danger of becoming his norm.

  6. C says:

    Good stuff Yogi.

    I think the thing that even my good friend Bill is overlooking is the fact that Sanchez is a player who runs a lot and with intensity he plays with, he might be hitting the wall and runnung down his body. Ozil is different because he is a player who relies in futboling IQ and a brilliant left foot, less physical work and its why players like Pirlo, Bergkamp, Xavi, Inesta anD Ozil can not only play but have a impact on matches far longer than others like Sanchez, Ronaldo, etc who rely on their physical gifts.

    Please please please no Le Coq

  7. C says:

    Jonny,

    Spot on mate, everybody focuses on the wages but faila to forget that we would still have to pay the fee.

  8. Dukey says:

    I have an interesting theory regarding our poor away form.

  9. Dukey says:

    Does anyone think that maybe the on board coach camaraderie or lack there off could be curt railing us??

  10. YW says:

    That’s why I said he’s cheaper than two £150k players, Jonny.

  11. andy1886 says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Yup, he’s our best player BUT one that has already decided that he’s off in a few months and that makes a huge difference. It happens when players run their contracts down, we should have sold both of them last summer. The fact that we had a big bid even though he was down to his last year says it all, Ozil by contrast attracted little if any interest. I’d say that Pep knows what he’s talking about.

    My lack of enthusiasm for Ozil doesn’t mean that I think that he’s not a very good player, it’s that I don’t like the way that we play with what is now called a ‘#10’ (back in the day the #10 was your second striker). It’s all part of the pass, pass, pass, yawn style that AW likes. Shame that his most successful teams played an entirely different style of pace and power, and that’s what I’d like us to go back to (and Ozil doesn’t fit if we do).

  12. lari03 says:

    If Sanchez goes, a creative wide player needs to be drafted into the squad and Lemar is definitely not the answer. It means we have lost Ox and Sanchez within a year and we need players who are productive wingers. It should not be difficult for Sven to find replacements.

    Going to a 3-5-2 is the best way we can accommodate Giroud and Lacazette.
    Without Sanchez we could still have Coquelin sitting in front of the back 3 with Jack or Ramsey playing the box to box role and Ozil creating from central, and Debuchy instead of Bellerin. Xhaka should star in the Ozil position for a change, because it seems that is where he might make the least mistakes.

    I personally keep repeating that Bellerin is not the best wingback option for us on the right because his passing, decision making, and crosses of late show a lack of attacking potency. Walcott might be a better option attacking option on the right,the disadvantage is that he cannot defend but his crosses and goals are now obviously missed in the premier league.

  13. andy1886 says:

    RedSky,

    Classier than the current ‘rob the punters blind’ snake oil salesmen that we have running the club now…

  14. lari03 says:

    It is responsible for insipid displays such as we saw against Southampton.

    Dukey:
    Does anyone think that maybe the on board coach camaraderie or lack there off could be curtailing us??

  15. lari03 says:

    The problem is Wenger does not buy the idea of a sitting DM and so he introduced LeCoq and he was effective initially, and then he was instructed to rove further and he lost his mojo.

  16. C says:

    andy1886,

    Ozil hasn’t been our de facto #10 since we switched to a back 3, he has actually played in a front 3 that is able to move ans swap positions or either as a 2 behind the striker alongside Sanchez.

    To say that OZil couldn’t play in a side with power and pace I think is incorrect, sorry but I really do. I think part of the problem and not just for Ozil but Arsenal in general is the fact that most of the players simply don’t fit together. The other thing is that it simply wasn’t down to power and pace in Arsene’s best sides, it was the fact that he had the base that allowed players like Pires, Henry, Bergkamp, and Freddie to run free. Pires wasn’t a player who tracked back or was overly physical, many people have said that, but he also had Vieira and Gilberto sitting there in midfield and not only provided that bit in attack but they bossed midfields defensively.

    The fact that our midfield pair rarely instill confidence defensively or that platform is just as big a difference between Arsene’s best teams and every other team he has had.

  17. andy1886 says:

    C,

    I hear what you say, but where would he have fitted in those sides? Pires would be the nearest physically as you say but I don’t really see them as similar players. Pires was very quick, had a better eye for goal, and was more incisive with the ball at his feet (dribbling or running with the ball). DB10 was a great passer but far more robust, some might say aggressive, than Ozil and I suspect that we’d miss that if we swapped them over.

    Where I do absolutely agree is that we used to have a solid base to work from and quite frankly the change from the Adams/Keown and Campbell/Cole eras to what we have now is just laughable really. AW really cannot coach defence and I’d argue that he’s pretty poor at spotting good defenders (or DM’s) too. The current City side are probably the only side I can think of that have won or will win the title with an average defence. And Arsene is no Pep either.

  18. C says:

    andy1886,

    I’m not saying that Ozil would have fit perfectly but I do think that he would have fit, he might not have been as robust or nearly as aggressive as Bergkamp (quite frankly I hate the comparisions given Bergkamp was a striker who was brilliant as a passer which is different than Ozil) but I think he would have fit because he is a smart player and to think Ozil wouldn’t have enjoyed playing with Henry and Pires and visa versa doesn’t make sense. I know people will say, “well Vieira wouldn’t have put up with Ozil” but people forget that Ozil played in a German side and also in a Madrid side where winning was demanded not to mention he played for Mourinho.

    Not just the defenders but the central pairing, whether it was Petit and Vieira or Gilberto and Vieira. They did their jobs and not only did their jobs but were disciplined in doing so; that base is what we have missed. I’m not saying they were perfect but there were few better than Gilberto at breaking up potential counters, he just sat and did his job; we sorely are lacking that midfield base and your right, Arsene can’t spot DM’s and he can’t coach them or defenders. Yea Citeh don’t have the best defenders but I think they have arguably one of the best DM’s in Europe in Fernandinho who is brilliant.

    Isn’t it funny how people talk about Pep might not work in the PL with his style yet he has managed to make average defenders into a cohesive unit, and plays a possession style that is ripping teams to pieces. Possession futbol can work but you also have to have a manager and players that can play that style and not lose the ball.

  19. Welsh Corgi Cardigan says:

    Hello,
    It can easily be 20-25 degress below zero in Östersund in February.

    As YW said “Cold Snaps”, very cold indeed and quite charming. If any of you are thinking of going to the game I can most certainly recommend it as spending time in Östersund in winter is very charming.

  20. Pete the Thirst says:

    andy1886,

    ‘The current City side are probably the only side I can think of that have won or will win the title with an average defence. And Arsene is no Pep either.’

    Good point Andy. City’s defence is comical, but they defend well from the front. It’s a shame Ozil, Xhaka & Ramsey don’t take note. It’s classic Ajax pressure football. I suspect they will be undone by a more direct style of play that puts the centre backs under pressure. In fact I’m surprised no coach has tried it yet…over to you Fat Sam.

  21. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi.

    I really struggle to understand how we can be in favor of paying Ozil $300,000/week after watching him play for the last 2 years. I know stats are not everything but so far this season he has not given us anywhere near the production we need from one of our critical players. Not even C can deny that his production has clearly dipped in the last 2 years and next year will be his age 30 season and he isn’t getting any younger. Our current wage structure is already terribly mismanaged and last summer Arsene had to dump some potentially useful high wage players. Think of what sort of anchor Ozil’s wage would be 1-2 years from now when his ability to have a consistent positive influence on the game has faded even further. I understand the negative PR aspect of losing your 2 biggest reputation players in the same season but unless money is no object resigning Ozil to a huge new long term contract just to avoid a PR kerfuffle would be a big mistake for Arsenal football club

  22. Bill says:

    Whoever is the manager in 2019 is going to have issues with our poorly constructed wage distribution and no matter if its Arsene or someone else he will probably be forced to move some potentially useful players to trim wages becasue there will be no team in the world that will want to take on Ozil’s wage when he is entering his age 32 season.

  23. Bill says:

    With regard to Giroud he is our second leading scorer in league games and he is scoring a goal every 60 minutes. He is also our leading scorer on the entire squad if you count all competitions. Unlike his higher profile teammates he has been productive again this season. I have never been a Giroud fan but like him or not we need him.

  24. Orson Kaert says:

    Here’s a little winter warmer for you all, according to Spanish outlet El Gol, Arsenal have ageed a £35 million deal to take Nzonzi, the former Blackburn man to the Emirates in the January transfer window.

  25. Bill says:

    I don’t have any problem with the high wages the players are getting. Money is pouring into football at an obscene rate and the money has to go somewhere. I would rather have it go into the players pockets instead of the owners. I don’t have any issue with paying $300,000K per week to a world class attacking player who is truly productive and someone we can expect to be a difference maker on a reasonably consistent basis.

  26. Jonny says:

    YW:
    That’s why I said he’s cheaper than two £150k players, Jonny.

    Sure, but at 300K he would cost the club £64M on a 4 year contract – so the reality is and a more accurate appraisal – is that it would be less than one £150K player.

  27. Jonny says:

    Not that I am endorsing that is how the money should be spent mind…
    I am somewhat undecided on the subject.
    I think Ozil is a truly incredible player but not necessarily the right player for the team.
    That said – do think I AW will find a better/more suitable player – for a similar amount?
    Not really, no.

  28. consolsbob says:

    £300k a week for Ozil?

    No. not even a mere £200k.

  29. andy1886 says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Nzonzi? Not impressed (I believe that C would disagree 😉). Not exactly competing for the best, that said I wouldn’t trust AW to spend my son’s pocket money let alone thirty-odd million pounds.

  30. Bill says:

    Jonny

    We shouldn’t just shrug our shoulders and say that we can’t find anyone with a better prospect to help the team in the next 4 years so we might as well just keep Özil. Hopefully our new director of scouting and the guy we hired from Barca will have a positive effect in our ability to evaluate players and convince the ones we want to come to Arsenal. $64M debt to Özil over 4 years would certainly represent a significant headwind those guys would have to fight if they want to improve our squad.

  31. HenryB says:

    Evening All,

    The average wage/salary in the UK is around £24K a year.

    Isn’t it amazing that in a very short period of time we all talk about £150K per week, or £300K a week, as if it is relative peanuts. Bollix — many would settle for half of the seemingly (sorry Orsey) cheapskate £150K per week as the annual salary.

    Where is Jezzer ‘Everyone Will get £75K a Week’ Corbyn, or Donald ‘Pussy For All’ Trump when you need them?

    Meanwhile, back in football La La Land, apparently we are in for NZonzi and Benzema (too many ‘Z’ for my liking — and presumably 2 leaving — top notch recruits, or pensioners looking for one last big payday? C, where are you? 😀

  32. HenryB says:

    Andy,

    Your son gets ‘pocket money’? I thought you said you were a grandad? 😀

    Like you, I am not sure about NZonzi either — he is a pretty good player — but can’t we reach higher?

  33. YW says:

    Not sure what you’re getting at Jonny, tbh!

    We’re saying exactly the same thing 🙂

  34. HenryB says:

    I suspect that Yogi, in his excellent Post, knew that the BOGOFF deal to replace Özil (watch the umlaut) was a sprat to catch a mackerel — as Özil only holds down one place in the team, and two Özil type recruits don’t ……… well you know the math. 😀

    So the equation regarding 1 * £300K per wk v 2* £150K per wk + signing on fees + transfer fees is a bit of a red herring. It’s a bit fishy ….. if nothing else. 😀

  35. Orson Kaert says:

    andy1886,

    Andy I think that’s where we are nowadays, not shopping at Fortnum and Mason, more Lidl and Aldi.

    Wenger has never been keen on buying in January, he always says its difficult to find players of sufficient value to improve the squad.

  36. Bill says:

    Orson.

    I would take almost anyone who would replace xhaka.

    Hopefully our 2 recently hired high profile front office guys will improve our effectiveness in the transfer market and help to improve the logic in our squad building decisions.

  37. Orson Kaert says:

    Bill,

    One of those two doesn’t start work until after the end of the January transfer window so he won’t be much use.

  38. Bill says:

    Hope springs eternal but I am hoping that hiring those 2 signal a real intent to start moving the club in the right direction and preparing for a clean break from the Wenger era.

    I also hope that Arsène gets a statue in front of the Emirates. He certainly deserves it.

  39. andy1886 says:

    HenryB,

    Yup, but that’s my daughter’s boy. My son is still at school (just about) so I have to give him a little cash to get him out of the house every now and then. Believe me, it’s worth it 😆

  40. andy1886 says:

    Orson Kaert,

    How the mighty have fallen eh? Just think, last time we finished fifth Bruce Rioch had just signed DB10 (for a British record fee I believe) and David Platt. Now we are rummaging around in the bargain bin again.

  41. Orson Kaert says:

    andy1886,

    The really annoying thing is that despite a long season ticket waiting list, regularly selling every available seat plus record income from sponsorship and the huge TV broadcast deal we still do not compete for the best players.

    I accept that prices and wages have gone through the roof recently, but for whatever reason Wenger sticks to his valuation of players hence we end up with second best.

  42. Dukey says:

    Go on the Burnley…how refreshing..

  43. andy1886 says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Yup, we’re low risk, steady growth (income wise). Never mind this wacky idea of investing in trying to win the league and being able to get better deals from sponsors as a result, we’re strictly second tier with no ambition to play for high stakes with the big boys.

  44. Orson Kaert says:

    More winter warmer news. Nzonzi could be just the man for us, in November 2011 he received a three match ban for deliberately elbowing, in the face, Ryan Shawcross. Way to go Stevie baby!

    Incidentally, Nzonzi’s contract with Sevilla contains a £21.5 million buy out clause. So why are we offering £31.5 million?

  45. Freddo says:

    Sanchez loses the ball a lot because he is our main creative player AND he is double or triple teamed. Opponents know that if they shut him down the rest are pretty toothless. No wonder he wants out. He knows that, at City, he will have heaps more time and space.

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