STONE COLD FRIDAY: Of Football Mercenaries And Renewed Resolve

“Why her?”. There’s a song about that, hell – even a movie. A sentiment that captures the thoughts in the Gooniverse about Alexis Sanchez moving to United. The thoughts of a jilted lover who has lost out to that playground bully who keeps taking our talent and giving Arsenal their hand-me-downs. Not that the alternative of Manchester City was an option that was palatable. It’s an indicator of our station in life, a clear message for Arsenal to “accept and move on”.

The thing is, we already knew that. At times it feels like Arsenal’s transfer policy is being handled by Frank Spencer, you know him, right? He from the TV show “Some Mothers Do Have Them”. Indeed, some clubs do have them. Officials who have displayed a level of breath-taking and spectacular incompetence, it’s amazing that their actions are not considered criminal. To their credit, they didn’t lie to Arsenal fans. We were told there will be transfer activity. Gabriel, Le Coq, Theo and Alexis leaving in the same season is a hell of a lot of activity. Hey, not all is a loss, we did get Alexandre Lacazette, right?

£450,000 a week in salary and image rights, a £30 million signing on fee, a chance to play for a manager who wins trophies. If Man City can baulk at Sanchez’s additional demands once Mourinho thrust his ugly snout into the mix, Arsenal never had a chance to keep the Chilean. Football mercenaries don’t get a better payday than that at 29. But then again, who here would raise their hand and pretend they wouldn’t sprint to the Arsenal exit door if such a deal was on offer? Hell, if it was me, I’d be asking who I have to bite the pillow for to get that deal.

It’s just a reminder how far away Arsenal is from the top table. Financially, we’re not even in the same league. We think we are, but both in financial muscle and footballistically as Wenger likes to say, we’re in the comfort zone provided by the long grass of mid-table mediocrity. Alexis’s agent, Fernando Felicevich knows this; all other clubs know this; as well as all Arsenal fans and rival fans around the world. Only, the corridors at Highbury House seem to be a setting somewhere in a parallel universe, club officials incapable of waking up and smelling the coffee.

Developing A New Resolve Is Insanity We Can’t Afford

You know what the Chinese sages say about insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Yup, we’re stuck on a special kind of stupid. “I won’t resign, I have a new resolve and commitment” is absolutely what you don’t want Arséne to say when asked if he will resign in response to the turmoil in the club. Yet there he is saying it. There is a dark irony if you consider the boiling frog syndrome. Throw one in boiling water and it jumps right out. Place it in cold water and slow burn your way to boiling point and the frog won’t have a chance because it can’t get out of its comfort zone.

Perhaps it’s time to send in the men in grey suits. Ivan and Arséne aren’t the only ones who need a sit down. Wiggy also needs a serious sit down with the grey suits. It’s surprising that for someone with an Economics degree, Arséne doesn’t recognize that he’s way past the point of diminishing returns. Like an addict living in denial, an “intervention” may be the only way to save Arsenal from itself. The problem is that no one seems to want to bell this cat. Well laid plans, Eh!

Is The Light At The End Of The Tunnel An Oncoming Train?

At Highbury House, they don’t think it is. Only they won’t get to know until the sound of the engine eclipses the dumbfounded “Oh bugger…” deer-in-the-headlights look just before impact. Perhaps it’s time to accept that the management and board structure at Arsenal is beyond salvage. Yet, we still have the rest of the season to play, a small matter of a semi-final return leg and the Europa league.

I’m trying to recall the last time Arsenal authoritatively won a game and I’m struggling. Certainly not in January. There’s little to be excited about, even if Wenger claims that we’re getting new shiny “big name” players before the circus leaves town in 12 days. Of course, Arsenal will argue they’re big names if you consider our mid-table station in life. A station nowhere near the top table of European football. Mourinho can’t even wait to drop kick Hennrikh Mkhitaryan out of the back door at Carrington for Arsenal to grab their scraps.

There is that irony of course, that for all of the madness of selling Alexis to a bigger club, Arsenal is doing the same to Dortmund with the pursuit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The jury’s still out on whether Arsenal in its current reincarnation is even bigger than the German club. As far as Dortmund’s Sporting Director is concerned, Wenger is disrespectful and should focus on getting his players to perform instead of throwing a fox amongst the Dortmund hens.

Chin Up Folks, It Could Be Worse

A raised chin is very attractive to another fist swinging your way. You’d hope that the Eagle’s visit to the Emirates tomorrow isn’t another sucker punch and is a chance to enjoy football again. It really is difficult to know what to expect from Arsenal following the performances in the last few weeks.

With the return of Koscielny and Monreal, you’d hope that the madness in defence would be tempered. A chance for the two to reorient themselves with Mustafi before the return leg of the League Cup semi-final. But you already know Wenger will dumfound all of us with his team selection tomorrow, right?

Have an encouraging weekend good people.

83 thoughts on “STONE COLD FRIDAY: Of Football Mercenaries And Renewed Resolve

  1. Ooobameyang & mikeytariyan..with lacazette and ozil should be a formidable front line. A top manager should have no excuse with that lot. Can Wenger get the full use out of them though??

    Still think we need to replace the speed on the wings theo and the ox gave us as well though.

  2. Wavey,

    43.02One player from the above quota of three who has been fielded in a UEFA club competition group stage match for another club in the current season may exceptionally be registered, provided that the player has not been fielded: the same competition for another club; or
    2.for another club that is currently in the same competition.

  3. Good morning all you merry Gooners.

    Two shiny new players in? In the same window? Ozil to sign a new contract, and Wilshire? Well I’m not gonna bet the farm on it.

    Sanchez going and Mkhitaryan coming? That’s a swap that needs to take place in the style of a fifties Checkpoint Charlie spy exchange. Moaniho will his best to wreak the deal to spite Wenger.

  4. Excellent post – yep it will take a season of absolute mediocrity to move Wenger along. He’ll still be hanging around next season for sure. Groan.

  5. Salut.

    The Men in grey suits should have been employed a long time ago.

    AW should have been sectioned under the PL Managers Conduct Code for showings signs of strange behaviour, unable to to tell the truth, and last but not least a s danger to himsel and those whom he works with.

    PEA and Mhki would be welcomed additions under different circumstances. However AFC are in troubled times. It is just sticking plasters and gaping wounds. If anything PEA should would have been brought the same time as Ozil. A PEA 2-3 seasons ago working in tandem with Ozil could have been special.

    Midfield, I repeat midfield is a huge concern. No balance, no players that complete each other and In turn bring any form of shape, equilibrium to the Team.

    In Reality Jack, Xhakia, Ramsey all see themselves as a number 10. AW has indulged hinsf not unlike Louis X1V. Only 1 can play in this role.

    Decisions on whom should stay and whom should go will not be dealt with as this is Arsenal.

    JW and AR have over a number of seasons been “systematically” injured. If you look at the days both lost to injury by both its staggering. JW in his to e at Arsenal has over 900 days of absence. AR is around 600.Staggering amounts of time Lost by both. This has been bad for Arsenal in playing terms.

  6. Ras,

    There are few jobs around where you get full sick pay for unlimited periods….and are repeatedly offered new and improved contracts.

    If it is true, as reported, that Wilshire is being asked to take a twenty percent pay cut with heavy incentive payments for games played etc. then a measure of sanity is at last emerging. The same terms must also be applied to Ramsey and eventually to all Arsenal players.

  7. you captured it right.Arsenal cant compete at the same financial level with chelsea,manccity and man the solution is accept that they will be loosigntheir better players to clubs who can pay more.It is just the way it is

  8. Orson Kaert,

    I can picture a lonely bridge somewhere off the M1 as Checkpoint C. The cold winter wind and rain spitting down, Sanchez and hthe Arsenal handler clowns at one end, Mourinho and his boys at the other end. Once the Arsenal doctor examines Mkhitaryan and the United Doctor gives Alexis a once over, they both nod and the two players approach each other in the darkness waiting to be welcomed home on the other side by the old spy masters.

  9. Uh oh, the oracle Ornstein has chimed in saying the whole deal could collapse because Mhkitarayan still isn’t convinced.

    I wonder if Sanchez is here tomorrow will Arsene really play him…..

  10. Happy Friday ACLF’s, well it is a nice bright Friday so there is that to cheer about.

    Good read YW, I half expected Wengers response him quitting to be “Ohhh Betty” in that Frank Spencer nasal tone!!!!

    Most of agree that he should have left seasons ago but heah ho we still have 18 months of this festering dog poo shit show.

    100% he will continue to play Iwobi when the boy should have been dropped weeks ago same with Xhaka because our squad has the depth of the shallow end of a kiddies pool.

    Whats weird is that Riess Nelson should have had more game time given how poo Iwobi has been of late but the only game time he gets is at right wing back?!

    We need to address our dysfunctional midfield, a flaw glaringly obvious to anyone with half a football brain, why we sell Coquelin and keep Elneny is a mystery to me, although both aren’t of the quality you would expect from arsenal of old.

    I hope someone is doing some-kind of medium to long term planning of our squad otherwise things will continue to unravel with other contracts in the short term.

    Truly the “Banter Era” as this period of Wenger’s reign is sardonically called.

  11. bwavre,

    The Manchester clubs no, we cannot. Chelsea have a similar income/turnover and wage bill (or had prior to our recent selling spree). No reason why we cannot compete with Chelsea, they have been living within their means for the last five years at least and are not taking handouts from Roman any more.

  12. silvergunner,

    So do I but Arsene in all his chest puffing glory said if available he would play….imagine that.

    The other thing is that Arsene has really hanged his hat on Mhkitarayan coming and if he doesn’t, I fear that Aubameyang might be the only player brought in.

  13. andy1886,

    The difference between them and us is their transfer policy, they look for the best players around Europe/World whilst we look for hand-me-downs or opportunistic signings there is little in the way of spotting a talent and getting there ahead of the rest of the pack anymore.

  14. C,

    sigh….. lets hope not given the number we have let leave this season both permanently and on loan that this isn’t the case, our playing squad is being systematically diluted into a midtable squad.

  15. Martin Keown criticising Sanchez for being mercenary is hysterical. What would you have done, Martin, if ManU had arrived at your doorstep with a truckload of gold bars? Sent it away? Don’t make me laugh. Football is a heartless business from top to bottom. Sanchez has spent his whole career watching big clubs send thousands of players to the knacker’s yard without a second thought. They would have sent him if he didn’t have god-given talent. He should get what he can, while he can. The idea that he should take less from Oil Sheiks is farcical.

  16. Freddo,

    You can’t blame him given the money that’s on offer, I think Man City have let one get away there, he is a top world class player, from a football point of view I sincerely hope it goes wrong for both parties,

  17. silvergunner,

    Sead is not injured.

    I agree, it would be really disappointing if we only brought in one player (though Aubameyang IMHO would be brilliant!!!) cause we need help in midfield especially but if not then going all out attack would be the answer. I wouldn’t mind Arsene talking to his mates at PSG and seeing if we could swap Sanchez for Lucas Moura and some cash.

  18. I heard Kevin Kilbane on radio show last night say Man City have spent 2 million in south London on academy’s, wonder what Arsenal have done in their own backyard

  19. Enjoyed this from F365, The Sanchez hating really is a load of puff about fuck all.

    Dirty Sanchez, the sequel
    ‘TURNCOAT’ reads the headline, with a sub-headline of ‘Sanchez has done the dirty on Pep’. It’s Neil Ashton, it’s The Sun, and it’s the hottest take in this coldest of months. Let’s go through each of the best paragraphs, shall we?

    ‘Alexis Sanchez has sacrificed everything to make this move. Morals. Principles. Trophies.’

    Trophies won by Manchester City last season: None

    Trophies won by Manchester United last season: Two. Apologies to the Community Shield.

    ‘He is turning his back on Pep Guardiola, and the old school gentleman’s agreement he struck with him last September, to join Manchester United instead. What a piece of work he is.’

    And what a piece of work that last line is. It is perfectly acceptable to disagree with Sanchez’s decision and his motives, but really? ‘What a piece of work’?

    ‘Manchester City, working with Pep again, was supposed to be about so much more than money.’

    To clarify, Sanchez was going to earn a wage at City. One around £300,000 a week, according to multiple reports. It was always at least a little bit about the money.

    ‘City have the coach, the squad, the cash, the lot, to make sure they are in the hunt for the big prizes every season. Everything is in place.’

    You can literally replace the word ‘City’ with ‘United’ and it would still make perfect sense.

    ‘Sanchez, with his heart set on working with Pep again and playing dreamy football with David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne, was up for it. Most would be. That was until Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis started an auction by punting Sanchez around Europe’s top clubs.’

    Blaming Arsenal here is a bold turn. How dare Gazidis do his job by trying to get the best possible financial deal for his club?

    ‘The Chilean forward put money before morals, although United were the only takers.’

    Honestly. ‘Money before morals’. Bloody do one.

    ‘Mourinho, on the verge of signing an extended contract through to 2021, is determined to get the beating of Pep over time. To do it he has out-manoeuvred City, catching them cold at a time when they were a little bit too confident that a deal for Sanchez was already in the bag. Nothing, especially in this sport, is certain.’

    Exactly. So what are you whining and moaning about?

    ‘As things stand it is one-up for United and it is not difficult to imagine Mourinho chuckling away with his assistant Rui Faria after pinching Sanchez from under Pep’s nose. It takes something out of the ordinary for City to walk away from a deal when it comes down to money. There is unlimited funding in place to make them great, but they took the moral high ground when the bidding war began.’

    To discuss City taking ‘the moral high ground’ when it comes to money is phenomenal. They literally broke the record for biggest single-window transfer spend at one point last summer. Was spending £221m in the summer part of them taking ‘the moral high ground’?

  20. If I was Giroud and his agent I would actually be pushing for a move to Dortmund because if Aubameyang comes, then that will push Giroud further down the pecking order and with the World Cup, Giroud NEEDS to play. I mean with Martial continuing to progress, Lacazette is Arsenal’s clear #1, and you still have Griezmann plus Mbappe and Koman as wingers. Giroud probably needs a move similar to Theo to even make a push for a World Cup spot.

  21. Orson Kaert</stron

    This new found pragmatism Orson should have come a lot easier. It's AW whom has called upon them at times when they have not been ready. The amount of times Ramsey has a "twitch".

    We can add, Santi and Rosicky

  22. Jonny,

    The thing is, both Manchester clubs spent a shit load and I’m not speaking directly about the article but for all the talk of Citeh’s spending, they fail to mention that they made 94,35 Mill. € last summer and if I’m not mistaken ended up with a smaller net loss than United.

    I think the one thing that people tend to over-look with Pep is that he wants young squads and right now he has the youngest in the PL so losing Sanchez might possibly annoy the shit out of him but I wouldn’t be surprised if Pep picks up somebody like Bailey or what if he gets Lucas Vasquez or Asensio from Madrid and everybody would forget about Sanchez to Citeh.

  23. Ras,

    True but didn’t recently he come out and say that he has to play? I think the other thing is that some of the young strikers/attackers that people were waiting to see how they performed this season, they are actually performing well and I know Lacazette isn’t banging in goals but his overall play I would venture to say is better than Giroud’s.

    I mean Mbappe, Martial, Lacazette, Griezmann, Dembele, Koman are more than likely locks and I could see Deschamps going with a stronger midfield with Kante, Matuidi, Pogba, Rabiot, Lemar, Fekir and possibly Bakayoko.

  24. Everyone is no doubt waiting for this long-winded transfer bollix to be completed – and that includes me — however, the idea that we are desperate to sign MkHit who does not really want to come to us does not appeal to me one little bit.

    IF that is the case I would be apt to tell him to go **** himself.

    However, I think it is more likely that the big mouthed barsteward representing him is asking for another €15m for …… well for what ….. doing f*ck all. Yeuk!!

  25. Salut, Ras, comment ça va.

    If it is the case that Olly is Didier’s golden boy, then I hope that if Arsenal sell him to a French club that the fee represents a golden value.

    At the moment we show all the business acumen of a rubber duck, and buy for a lot, and sell for a little, and that is being unkind on the skill sets of the rubber duck.

  26. Sorry, Isaac, I meant to thank you for another top class article today — anyway a belated thank you. 😀

  27. Mourinho has spoken:

    “Nothing new,” Mourinho said. “I think clearly everybody knows that we are there and especially when Arsenal manager speaks so clearly like he did there is no point in trying to hide or deny but not done at all.

    “So in this moment Mkhitaryan our player, Sanchez an Arsenal player and with a match tomorrow I want to switch off and focus on the most important thing, which is the match.”

    I don’t know [if it is dependent on Mkhitaryan]. Sometimes people thinks transfers involve a lot the managers in the negotiations, I think it depends on the profile of the club, the way we establish our jobs and in my case when it goes to the table of negotiations I like to be out, I am out and I will just calmly waiting for news, no more than that.

    “I will speak with you if one day we sign him, I can speak with you about him and what he can bring to our team. He’s an Arsenal player, he’s not my player, there’s no point in me speaking about something that may or may not happen. My involvement in the situation is just to say the reasons why I would like to have the player and no more than that, I’m out.`

  28. I Odumbe Kute,

    ….and as the scene fades we are left with the gloating Mourinho’s laughter as he dumps another unwanted Man U failure on the gullible old has been Arsene Wenger.

  29. “IF” we get Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan how do we fit all these players in to the team, will we go back to a traditional 4,4,2? is so who plays on the wing, well it would be nice for once to have those options as we don’t have them now.

  30. silvergunner,

    Not much different to hiow things have been – insofar as we have had an unbalanced squad for ages.
    AW never addresses squad needs just overstocks on certain types of footballers and the plays them out of position.
    More things change…

  31. In a hurry and off the top of my head –
    how about something like this?
    With a mobile interchangeable front three?

    Bellerin——Mustafi – Koz —–Sead

  32. Darius: Awesome post and really on point and as always extremely well written. Yogi is always the best but your input certainly is a wonderful addition.

    With regard to our ability to compete financially you only have to look at the last 3 PL title winners Chelsea x 2 and Leicester to dispel the idea that the teams like ours can’t compete for the top of the table. In this decade we have been in roughly the same postal zip code as Chelsea in terms of our spending and we have outspent Leicester by a large margin. Pep and Mourinho will both move on in a couple of years and we need to start making smart decisions and have a plan to rebuild the team. We can’t afford to make as many mistakes as ManU or Mancity and we have and we need to be a bit more focused on getting production from the money we do spend. The ongoing wage dump from last summer and this transfer window demonstrates just how many over paid underperforming assets Arsene had filled our squad with. Like Chelsea we also have to be smart about when to sell players. All of that requires we have people in our front office who have a coherent long term plan and there is no way that a single man like Arsene can do everything that he does for this club and do it all effectively. Giving all of that control to one person has lead into the mess we have now and hopefully things will be changing in the near future. The rumors about a low base wage with heavy incentives for Jack sounds like an outbreak of common sense but then the rumors of a long term high dollar deal for Ozil would even up score sheet for smart and dumb moves so we will see where it all goes.

  33. Jonny,

    That is EXACTLY the line-up I would go with especially since we are seeing more of Jack and Ozil doing the defensive work in midfield. I think the other thing is that Lacazette, and even watching Aubameyang at Dortmund, do is that they have been groomed similar to Sanchez to quickly win the ball back and they have no problem chasing back.

  34. Jonny,

    I actually think 4 at the back makes more sense for all of the personnel.

    I think the other thing is that, getting another pacey and quick CB would really help.

  35. Jonny,

    Yeah that would probably be the best option although I am of the opinion that the ozil actually works best from the flank from a defensive point of view, although if Kolasinac is fit i wouldn’t be adverse to Xhaka sitting down, Ainsley Maitland-Niles taking his place.

  36. Mkhitaryan would be a decent Ozil replacement but if we do resign Ozil then Mkhitaryan just adds another high wage low production player to the mix. I don’t think we can realistically put Wilshere Ozil and Mkhitaryan who all have relatively similar strengths and weaknesses in the same line up on a consistent basis.

    On the other hand, I really hope we get PEA. The concern is that coming to Arsenal has really hurt most players who have scored goals. Lacazette was one of the most prolific strikers in Europe last season and his huge drop in production has to raise some red flags about the way we play. If we do sign both Wilshere and Ozil and bring in Mkhitaryan it looks like we are preparing for another few years of wengerball. That said, we have to keep trying with regard to buying productive players because we desperately need more goal scoring firepower and may be somehow PEA will be able to thrive despite our system.

  37. Bill,

    Bill don’t you think that we are actually lacking creativity, lets be fair iwobi isn’t in the same league as Ozil ideally it should have been him that went on loan rather than Perez/Campbell, our transfer policy being driven by Wenger isn’t what it was…

  38. Bill,

    Ozil, Mhkitarayan and Jack aren’t really similar.

    Ozil is a final third creator and dictator who will press high up the pitch defensively to win the ball back but attacking wise we have nobody in his class.

    Jack is the midfield engine who links play and is more of a dribbler and driver but also puts himself about in midfield with little bursts of pace.

    Mhkitarayan is somewhere between a winger and a #10, really he is just an attacker.

    The only weaknesses they have is that they aren’t defensive first but then again look at other teams and neither is Citeh’s front 6 (De bruyne, Silva/Gundoghen, Sterling, Aguero/ Jesus. Sane), Liverpool’s, neither is really United’s when you look at Martial, Lukaku, Rashford, Lindegard, Mata, Pogba

  39. I’m puzzled by this whole Maitland-Niles thing. Whilst he has shown a coolness in possession and a propensity to get forward he is by no means a fullback, nor indeed a wingback. Central midfield may turn out to be his best position but Patrick Vierra he isn’t. To suggest him as a defensive midfielder, sitting in front of the defence, is a bridge to far. He needs to learn an awful lot more about tackling, positioning and discipline before being considered for such a crucial role.

  40. Orson Kaert,

    One of the things I NEVER will nor EVER will understand is people saying that Vieira was DM when in all actuality both Petit and Silva were the DM’s to Vieira the box-to-box. I HATE anybody who compares Maitland-Niles to Vieira because anybody who has seen or watched Maitland-Niles knows he is DM who actually prefers to sit and just break up play.

    For me, I think the thing is, Xhaka doesn’t have the legs to play in the formation that Jonny and I suggested and since Elneny will never get a run under Arsene, Maitland-Niles seems the only other option at the club. I do know and understand that he is still and will continue to learn but I think at this point unless we bring somebody else in, and since Elneny won’t get a run, Maitland-Niles is kind of the defacto DM back-up.

  41. Further to my earlier comment on the matter, I have just read the following report on the transfer of MkHit, and tho I have a lot of sympathy for anyone given the boot by Maureen, I would still pass on anyone who does not want to go to Arsenal for £200K per week. Boo-hoo,

    — Emotions got the better of Henrikh Mkhitaryan as the midfielder was forced to say his goodbyes to team-mates at Manchester United‘s training ground on Friday afternoon.
    Mkhitaryan, 28, is expected to complete a move to Arsenal in exchange for Alexis Sanchez in the coming days, with the Armenian dropping down the pecking order at Old Trafford this season.

    Mino Raiola has been working on finalising the deal with Arsenal for Mkhitaryan but it appears the midfielder would prefer to remain at United. The Daily Mail suggests he shed a tear at Carrington on Friday afternoon following his final training session with the Red Devils.

    I’m sure someone would like him at their club……..but not me.

  42. Silver

    No I don’t think we lack creativity now and we have had as much or more pure creativity in our squad for the entire Emirates era then almost any of our rivals. I am not saying that creativity is a bad thing but using that as the centerpiece of our strategy has brought us a mostly tippy tappy and if our objective is to compete for the top of the table it has not worked. If we really resign Wilshere, Ozil and bring in Mkhitaryan it looks like we are headed back in that direction. Will we ever learn our lesson and figure out that we might need to move in a different direction?

  43. C @ 3:37

    “Ozil, Mhkitarayan and Jack aren’t really similar.”

    If you drill down to the microscopic level then no players are really similar. They all do something a little different. However, at the macroscopic level all 3 are primarily technical creative players who don’t score and don’t add much on the defensive end. We have been trying to overwhelm our opposition with a a team full of players like that and we have been looking for a way to find the final tweak or twerk that suddenly changes everything for the entire decade but that has not worked.

  44. Jonny,

    Should we get Aubameyang & Mkhitaryan and keep Ozil then i would go to 442, looks amazing on paper but 100% WILL concede goals, will probably score more than it concedes too.

    I sincerely hope they getting a proper CM, not at the level of Elneny please (just not good enough)……..

    ————Auba, Laca
    Mhkitarayan —————Ozil
    —– Jack, AMN/Xhaka
    kolasinac, Kos, Mustafi, bellerin

  45. I would hate anyone to hate moi — but I am not convinced by a bald statement about such a young player being exclusively and definitively a DM when he has years ahead of him.

    What I do think, from what I have seen is a fast, strong, athletic player who is making a good fist of playing as a LB. But he is not a LB imho.

    I also think that he is one of the best supporting echelon defenders for our attack, with his speed and crossing and not least his ability to take on shots at goal when the opportunity arises.

    In addition, I have rarely, if ever, seen him play at DM and make it his own role. It’s too early to say.

    So……..excluding LB and the ancillary CB roles, and also not having seen him playing too much in a DM role, and seeing his great potential as an attack-minded, support player, I would see him as probably an AM/Winger.

    To balance that, he is too early into his footballing career for any of us to arrive at any firm conclusions as to his eventual best position in the team.

  46. Oh, dear, I can feel the hate mail building up, Bill, but not only do I think that the analogy between microscopic and macroscopic drill downs as regards defining the similarities, or otherwise, of players, extremely tendentious, at the very least, if anyone could understand how you would do such a thing.

    Look, Özil is a creative, provider for attackers, and an occasional goal-scorer.

    Jack is creative, and also a provider of assists, and an occasional goal scorer, but the other string to his bow is he is as hard as nails and can tackle with the best of them, and has a ‘warrior’-like personality. So different in a key area of his game — and no micro or macro views needed — we can all see that.

    MkHit? Who cares – the cry baby should go and play for someone else, but if forced into a definition of his attributes, I would say he is capable of scoring goals for fun, and some of them would be jaw-dropping — and neither Jack or Mesut (if he stays) are capable of that.

    Bill, where do you come up with your views on these matters? Macro? — micro? — spare me — fans see what they see out on the pitch — the rest is bollix!! 😀

  47. Remember how the Ramsey Ozil Cazorla axis was the final piece to the puzzle in 13/14. Next Le Coq was going to finally bring balance and make the whole system work. Last season it was moving Sanchez to CF and dropping slow footed Giroud that would change everything. Next it was Xhaka and his deep lying playmaking skill would allow Ozil to stay in the final 1/3 and thrive in his free form playmaking role upfront. This season the trio of Alexis Ozil Lacazette (AOL) and then add Wilshere (AWOL) and we were going to tear the league apart. Yeah right.

    I certainly admire the optimism and sticking to our ideas and hoping that the next tweak will finally work and this time it will be different. However, IMO, unless we want to continue in an endless loop of Wengerball we have to finally accept that the evidence against it is becoming too much to ignore.

  48. C,

    Formations are not the problem for Xhaka.

    He has a great left footed long, cross field pass — but passing within a 10 yard radius of a team mate – not so much — he is slow, cannot tackle, gives away the ball too much, and should never have been bought by Wenger. If AW is serious about team re-building we will soon see the back of him.

  49. The dolly wobbles are beginning to get to Manure and their manager!!

    Daily Express and Others:
    —- Manchester United want Sanchez yet Arsenal are demanding Mkhitaryan as part of any deal.
    Should, however, the deal collapse then that may leave United being forced to pay £35million to get the transfer over the line.

    And the Daily Mirror claim that may be too much for United, who may then turn their attentions to alternative targets.

    The Red Devils’ pursuit for Alexis Sanchez has been tricky from the start.
    Jose Mourinho’s side have successfully fended off Manchester City, as well as late interest from Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.

    Man Utd fans are worried the deal to sign Alexis Sanchez could fall through
    Mkhitaryan’s involvement in the deal has complicated things.

    The Armenia international supposedly bid farewell to his United team-mates today ahead of a move to north London. Yet his agent, Mino Raiola, is continuing to cause his current club some problems.

    Raiola wants the best deal possible for his client yet whether Arsenal meet his demands remains to be seen.

    Manchester United deal with Arsenal is reliant on Henrikh Mkhitaryan
    And the Mirror say United may reconsider signing Sanchez if they have to pay £35m to get the deal done.
    Any transfer collapse would likely anger Mourinho, who said today that United ‘were there’.
    “I think clearly everybody knows that we are there and especially when Arsenal manager speaks so clearly like he did.”

    Express Sport, however, understands it is only a matter of time before Sanchez leaves.

    Oh, dear.

  50. I would prefer to force Man U into paying much more than £30 million for Sanchez rather than accept the offer of their unwanted and underwhelming striker Mhiktaryan. If Mourino wants Sanchez let him pay in excess of £60 millio, a sum that we could invest in a much better player.

    Just ask C who we should buy. He knows you know.

  51. what do wenger sees in Man United reject mhikitaryan??? I even hear is a swap deal involving Sanchez with Arsenal paying money to get him?? what da fuck??? don’t be suprise if he becomes the highest paid player by wenger…. the club is in a total mess…. collect 35 million pounds from Manchester United, forget the crazy mhikitaryan and buy Celtics Dembele for 20 million instead.
    .Dembele is 8 yrs younger than the arrogant Man Utd fool

  52. C,

    Do you think Arsene is in control of this transfer activity, I know he says he is, but the reality imo is that these decisions are being made over his head, he has the tortured look about him again,

  53. what difference will it make
    even if micky tarian and aubergine come in it doesnt solve anything

    we’ll still be seeing the same stuff – just different personal.

    wenger hasnt got the best out of ozil in 3 years so all this micky tarian business doesnt tickle me.
    and weve already spunked 50 mil on the curtains for one striker whos about as much use as a cock flavoured lollipop, so buying another one is just 100mil wasted on firing blanks…

    so basically speaking….

    1..weve all been around long enough to know 9 out 10 transfers are bullshit and dont happen – its just smoke and mirrors so the club can bank the cash and say they tried..
    2.. even if they do happen – they might as well not have becuase were a worse team for it and we turn a 50mil players into a freebie overnight.

    a new manager – thats the news that excites me…everything else is just typical modern day, souless, rudderless, broken cannon stuff that could bore a glass eye to sleep.

  54. Buckagh,

    I think this is his last hooray as a major player other than providing a list since the Barca man doesn’t start until Feb 1 but I think Mislintat is running a large portion of it from a scouting perspective.

  55. Dukey,

    I’ll be at the SCG tomorrow
    Would love a 3-0 to close the door

    I would also be happy with 3 transfers
    Ozil extends

    I fear I am dreaming

    Probably on all fronts!!

  56. C,

    Chelski would be sniffing around too

    We need to keep mr handsome as the best substitute for put-it-in-the mixer goal in the world. Yes the world!

  57. Maybe the whole league are becoming feeders to one side of Manchester or the other.

    Made to bite the pillow by ManSour once too often and not needing the cash, we now choose to muck out for ManUre. A sort of grudging respect for those that came by their dominance ‘honestly’.

    Others will take the oil dollar over the Yankee. Usually they are better payers, times two, and cash is cash.

    Funny old game.

  58. Now it appears that Malcolm, the young midfielder we were “on the verge of signing”, is going to Spurs. Apparently we lost interest when Man U reject Mkhitaryan became available.

  59. It’s fairly widely accepted that Conte will be leaving Chelsea in the summer and whilst Real Madrid will likely be interested in him as Zidane’s replacement, I think he would be the ideal successor to Wenger. That is, of course, if our board succeed in finding their balls and sacking him.

  60. Damon,

    They are not regarded as in the same competition until 1st Feb, as they dropped down from CL. It allows for signings in the Jan window to be registered.

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