On Transfer Rumours, New Contracts and World Cups

It’s been a productive few weeks for the club since the end of the season. New head coach, new right-back, and we all assume, Sokratis and Leno. With positive noises over Torreira and Soyuncu, the Arsenal Transfer Window Action Team has been busy.

With the World Cup on, there’s bound to be a bit of a lull. It won’t stop speculation over players but the contracts team made another brief foray into the limelight. A week or so after pinning Ainsley Maitland-Niles to a long-term deal, Granit Xhaka penned a new deal as well.

It’s good news on both counts. Maitland-Niles proved a versatile member of the squad when needed and under Emery, it will be interesting to see him develop as a holding midfielder. The pairing for cup competitions seems set at Elneny and Maitland-Niles, as well as filling in for injuries and expected suspensions.

For his development, that is far better than filling in at full-back. There’s nothing wrong in playing out of position – Bergkamp played as a full-back for Ajax as part of their development policy – but with us, it always seemed to be masking the deficiencies of our transfer business.

That may still continue given the restrictions on our transfer budget, at least for a season or two.

Granit Xhaka’s deal is interesting. He’s a marmite footballer but winning people over slowly but surely. Even the disciplinary concerns are diminishing. Last season, he started 37 of the 38 Premier League games which for a player who was previously a red card magnet.

He still walks a tightrope, but each yellow card isn’t automatically considered a red-in-waiting. Even then, there are still triggers during the season for accumulated bookings and he didn’t trigger them. Xhaka has matured as an Arsenal player, and it will be interesting to see how Unai Emery uses him.

Xhaka Signs On, With Pen in Hand

It’s interesting that Emery still considers the Swiss international young enough to learn the ropes:

“I’m delighted that Granit has extended his contract with us. He’s an important member of the squad and is still young so will be able to develop even more.

“I hope he has a successful World Cup with Switzerland and comes back fit and ready for the new season.”

At 25, he’s still a couple of years off what many consider his peak. Presumably this contract takes him through that period and an increasingly important role in the Emery era.

Tying down to midfielders turns the spotlight on the British fragments. It’s no longer a British core, there are so few of them left. Indeed, we seem to be approaching a ‘Highlander’ moment where there will be only one with Jack Wilshere’s impending departure.

Aaron Ramsey, already marked down as a future Arsenal captain, is heading for sainthood after he rescued a family of ducks from an empty swimming pool and carrying them to safety. Sign da ting and his position as deity for all denominations is surely confirmed.

Elsewhere, there’s more talk of David Ospina moving to Turkey. It’s like the first cuckoo of spring, Ospina to Turkey is a perennial rumour. I’m not going to stick my neck out on this one and nor is Ospina. He can’t; he possesses the shortest neck in sport since Gladstone Small.

World Cup Round-Up

Obviously, you expect me to start with Ronaldo and I’m not. There’s a far more serious issue which came to light in Iran’s win over Morocco. A clearly concussed player found himself on the receiving end of the hardest slaps since Tommy Hearns sent Roberto Duran slumping face-first into the Las Vegas canvas.

Immediate calls for ‘concussion bins’ and protocols which replicated rugby union’s approach to the subject, were rejected. FIFA claimed managers would take advantage of them, insinuating that the coaches are corrupt and manipulative individuals. Simple solution: hire independent doctors and if they declare concussion, send the players to the bin.

Any cases that they are unsure about must lead to a mandatory substitution. Make it one of the three permitted in the game and managers will think twice about trying to manipulate the system.

If nothing else, FIFA could do with reading this piece on the ‘Justice for Jeff’ campaign a few years back. The Jeff Astle Foundation home page is here for updates.

On the pitch, Uruguay needed a late own goal to beat Egypt (deservedly) while Iran’s win put the cat among the pigeons with their last-gasp winner. Not as big as the lion the Uruguayan referee for France’s benefit moments ago.

Which leaves us with Ronaldo. Fantastic player, irrespective of what you think of his ego. To score a hat-trick in this match is phenomenal, particularly in the two situations where his nerve had to hold. Nacho got the best goal of the World Cup, close the votes now.

Whoops-a-Daisy, David de Gea-sy

And what of David de Gea. This is the goalkeeper who made a million saves against us at the Emirates and not only does he flap at the ball for Ronaldo’s second, he leaves one side of the goal utterly exposed for the free-kick. More of that de Gea in the Premier League if you don’t mind and less of the one which robbed us of at least a point.

’til Tomorrow.

25 thoughts on “On Transfer Rumours, New Contracts and World Cups

  1. Michael says:

    Everyone knows Ronaldo is good, his self promotion is cringeworthy imo of course.

  2. Freddo says:

    Looked to me like the Australian player brushed the ball when making his tackle. So the ref made the right decision to refuse a penalty. Then the VAR boys rode over the hill and, before you know, bingo, it’s a penalty. Wonder if that would have happened to a big team.

  3. C says:

    Xhaka is a talented player and I think he was exposed by the fact that his midfield partner in most matches was focused more on self then team. I think with a partner who is more sound defensively but also does the link play, leg work and inbetween stuff while Xhaka does the tempo setting and passing, we will see the player who Bayern chased when he was playing ij Germany. The other thing is, Emery teaches positioning and that will only help Xhaka develop even more.

    Itz looking more and more like Xhaka Torriera are first choice with Elneny Maitland-Niles but they have shown their ability to perform in the PL and the most exciting thing ia that all 4 have room to develop. What will be interesting is to see what happens with Ramsey and Iwobi, I think one will stay and the other could be sold.

  4. Dukey says:

    With xhaka and torriera there is now even more no need for elneny.

  5. Thethreewisemen says:

    Mirror reports that JW asked for guaranteed start , which Emery did not give, but wanted him to stay. Now, JW wants to leave. Good, as no coach/manager guarantee starts which is not based on performance, and JW has not performed well , as otherwise, he would be in the England squad now in Russia. He goes free after spending months on the treatment table, probably to WestHam.

  6. Borges Spinelli says:

    Dukey,

    There are enough games to accommodate said quartet. EPL, League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League amount to at least 70 games.

    Elneny has shown enough to warrant his place in the squad.

    If anyone needs axeing at this juncture, it’s a straight choice between Iwobi and Welbeck. Luckily for both, the WC is an excellent opportunity to showcase themselves to would be suitors. Either of ’em would fetch £30m (33m euros). Add that to savings on Wilshere and Jenkinson’ s salaries and a new potent £40-45m wide forward can be brought in.

  7. Borges Spinelli says:

    Thethreewisemen,

    Let the boy leave. He’s been of little use to the team since the fall of 2011/12 season. If media reports are to be believed, the audacity of him to seek guarantees reeks of delusions of grandeur. At best Wilshere is a markedly average player – yet expects assurances reserved for those of proven world class caliber.

  8. JonJon says:

    its not guaranteed starts wilshire wants – its guaranteed games.

    his contract is performance related dues to his injury record- IE he gets paid more if he plays – so hes asking for guaranteed gametime to ensure he gets a wage that doesnt resemble someone whos just been promoted from the academy.

    and after missing the world cup he wants to make the next euros so he needs to play.

    if he doesnt get the games its pointless him staying

    he doesnt want to leave, hes willing to accept the contract, but he wants guarantees hes not killing his career in doing so.

  9. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    Xhaka played better in the last 1/3 of the season however he did the same thing the prior season when we won our last 8 league games and it didn’t carry over to this season. Like it or not he isn’t a good defensive player and his lack of mobility means the only place he can play is the deepest central midfielder which is a critical defensive position. His defensive liabilities mean the other central midfielders, fullbacks and centerbacks have to compensate for him and that puts us at a disadvantage. I am sure part of the reason Ozil was moved to wide forward was because a central midfield with Ozil and Xhaka was a very weak defensive combination and now we are considering rebuilding that combination. There certainly has to be some concern regarding the ability of that central midfield to be effective in pressing and winning the ball back. No matter who the other central midfielder is he can’t press effectively if 2/3 of the central midfield are not as good as it.

  10. Bill says:

    Borges Spinelli

    I think your estimate of transfer fee we could get for Welbeck or Iwobe is quite high. If there is really any team in the world willing to give us $30M for either of those players we should take that deal in a heart beat. Unfortunately no big team is going to want either player and their lack of productivity means it will be hard to find a smaller team willing to pay that sort of fee for unfulfilled potential

  11. Bill says:

    Borges.

    I do like your idea of bringing in a new potent wide forward. Probably not going to happen this year but it’s going to be an important addition if we hope to compete for the top of table and compete in the CL.

  12. Bill says:

    Really a good game between Denmark and Peru. Kasper Schmeichel has been brilliant in goal for Denmark. May be we could buy him.

  13. Borges Spinelli says:

    JonJon,

    I sure hope you are right.

    PS: it’s been a while, Mr J. I have a good feeling about our upcoming season. So many excellent moves, behind the scene, are being by those at the helm of Arsenal. I genuinely believe that we will either make 4 and/or lift a trophy of sorts. More importantly, will be the shift in tactics and match preparation which has left us painfully predictable for the past 7-8 seasons.

  14. NM says:

    Agree with you about concussion protocols and an independent Doctor, but I thought the Moroccan Doctors did a good job of keeping a concussed player, who clearly wanted to red-enter the game, off the field.

  15. Borges Spinelli says:

    Bill,

    The transfer fee estimation is predicated on the (hopeful) view that Iwobi and Welbeck will do enough in Russia to attract mid-table Premiership clubs, silly enough to blow their inflated TV revenue on them. Given the mind blowing sums British players go for these days. Fingers crossed.

    The need for pacy winger to help shoulder the goal burden on Aubameyang and Lacazette is a necessity. As you say though, funding such acquisition, in this transfer window, might be cumbersome because we haven’t many players of real value to sell on.

  16. Borges Spinelli says:

    Bill,

    Schmeichel Sr wouldn’t have any son of his playing for us lol.

  17. Bill says:

    I doubt that any midtable team would want to pay $30M for Welbeck. He has been around for about 10 years and played for 2 of the biggest teams in the league and never scored in double figures. If they are going to spend that much money I think they would want someone who has a better chance to be a long term legitimate goal threat. Iwobe has been unproductive and is a bet on long term potential and even for a big team that is a lot of money to spend for potential.

  18. Bill says:

    I don’t know what the predicted line up is for England but is Welbeck expected to play much in this tournament?

  19. Bill says:

    Hard for Iwobe to get involved when Nigeria is struggling to make anything happen.

  20. Dukey says:

    Not a good day for the Aussies.. Beaten in the football, cricket and rugby….tears will be shed over there.

  21. Freddo says:

    Dukey,

    We will rise again from the ashes, stronger than before!

  22. Bill says:

    Go Mexico 🇲🇽. Tough game against Germany tomorrow. El Tri is my second favorite team after England in the tournament. Iceland is fun also.

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