More On Özil – The Fightback Begins, Usmanov Share Sale & Transfer Rumours Abound

The fallout from  Mesut Özil’s retirement statement began yesterday with the response depending on political hue or personal beliefs.

Uli Hoeness waded in like any good chairman would and deflected attention away from the sub-par performances of his Bayern Munich. That was the theory. What really happened was his personal feelings about Özil surfaced and they weren’t very pleasant. Prejudiced, one might say.

Anyway, politicians waded in. Someone commented that because Özil is a multi-millionaire living in London, his views on integration didn’t count, which completely missed the point. The DFB said it wasn’t their fault and in any case, they do lots of good work in lily-livered copout that any FA around the world will admire. No-one else does…

As the storm swirled, Mesut Özil smiled dutifully for the cameras and basked in the support of his team-mates. And the Arsenal fanbase, by and large. However, those who conveniently packaged all critics of Özil’s Arsenal performances as racist overplayed their hand. Not all critics are racist; some people expect more from a player earning £300k per week.

And you will see more from him this season, if only because he doesn’t know where the land lies with Unai Emery. Arsène indulged him because that was Arsène’s style; he indulged everyone in his paternalistic approach. Until they let him down and then he cut them adrift. Unless it was a favourite of his and then they got injured. A lot.

But this is new Arsenal and slates are wiped clean. The mistakes of the past are about to be undone, with a new, vibrant style on the pitch. We’re 24-48 hours from seeing that. By the end of the pre-season, we will see the ideas in their full majesty. Or whatever the opposite is if the players can’t grasp them.

Usmanov Shares For Sale

While all this is going on, the Financial Times reports Alisher Usmanov is prepared to sell his shares in the club. Previously, it was anyone but Kroenke. The reality as “a person close to Mr Usmanov” claims it’s a “difficult sale” without a seat on the board or any influence whatsoever at the club.

Usmanov’s mantra is that he is a ‘man of the people’ or a ‘man of small shareholders’. It’s self-proclaimed, of course. He tried unsuccessfully to buy Kroenke out and reject Kroenke’s £525m offer last year. Now, KSE are the only buyers unless they are persuaded by someone to sell their shares.

Which is a worrying time for the club. If KSE buys the club, transparency becomes a thing of the past. The plurality of ownership that is a fresh memory also becomes a distant memory.

The report suggests there is an “impasse in the boardroom” which is far from the truth; the removal of Wenger unlocked the power within the club for Ivan, and I suspect, Junior.

Rumours abounded previously about a Nigerian magnate being interested – his name escapes me – but from memory, he disappeared from the scene due to pressing business investment needs in his (concrete? sugar?) plant. Anyway, perhaps his interest will reignite with Usmanov’s shares coming up for sale?

However, without Kroenke’s shares, is there a point to buying Usmanov’s shares? The FT article is more a plant to flush out any interest without making contact directly.

Whether anyone is prepared to play the waiting game is the question. Usmanov has been around the scene for the best part of a decade and progressed not one jot bar the acquisition of Farhad Moshiri’s shares. For a man used to getting what he wants, that must be hellishly frustrating.

Who’s That Heading Out The Opening Door?

On the transfer front, Danny Welbeck is available for £15m and plucked out of thin air, Leicester City are suitors. Or ought to be, so the story goes.

It can only be a matter of time before Lazio come knocking for him. They’ve looked at – and seemingly passed up on – Joel Campbell. Now, they are looking at a £6m bid for Lucas Perez. Welbz at £10m is probably better value given his history although money may be an issue.

Alex Iwobi meanwhile, is set for a new contract which will take him to 2022. Which will make as many happy as it will upset. There’s a theme. A lot of players are suffering the hangover of being associated with the previous regime. Until the new season begins and things are going well, it will remain that.

’til Tomorrow.

49 thoughts on “More On Özil – The Fightback Begins, Usmanov Share Sale & Transfer Rumours Abound

  1. I’m not sure I could take much more self-flagellation from the Ozil front. Today I have removed my hair shirt and I’m ready for the new season!

    I believe Iwobi should be given a chance. His form has dropped off over the past season, but he clearly has talent and is one of the few midfielders we have that can beat a player with the ball rather than pass and move.

  2. Messr Özil was rewarded with a new contract not based on his performances on the pitch for AFC but because his contracts team took advantage of a situation. i.e. as andy1886 stated:

    “Mike, as far as I can recall Ozil didn’t exactly have clubs beating a path to his door either. Without the perceived PR disaster that losing both Ozil and Sanchez would have been for the club that deal would never have happened.”

  3. I am pleased however that he has retired from international football. Because there will be no excuses when he plays crap for AFC. Let’s hope AFC benefit from his early international retirement.

  4. I haven’t been blown away by Iwobi’s recent form but if there’s one player in the squad who has stagnated but is young enough and talented enough to be a likely candidate to make a dramatic improvement under Emery, I guess it would be Iwobi.

  5. I repeat at no point have I condoned the actions of the club in giving mercenary player’s like Messr Özil ridiculous contracts. What I take umbrage to is the fact that since getting his big pay day, he’s done little of value on the pitch. Let me spell it out for you, if you were to get a pay rise in your current occupation, it would be because your employer is rewarding you for going above and beyond what it is you are paid to do. Also external factors may play a part in any financial remuneration, i.e. market rates etc.

    Now since getting your pay rise, lets say your performance in your occupation (let’s imagine your employer is using KPI’s to measure your performance) goes below that of a co-worker who is doing the same job as you but on half the money. What do you think your employer will do? My guess is they would put you on some sort of performance management plan to get you back up to the high standards you set which earned you a pay rise in the first place. But imagine you had a contract that didn’t allow them to do that. You are in fact now sitting pretty and you can spend your time on social media, lauding all of the cash you’ve earned because of some complete idiot’s mis-management. But it doesn’t mean the fans have to like it! Get it!? I doubt it!

  6. I have no problem in us the fans criticising Ozil ,which he richly deserves. But, Hoeness the Bayern head singling him out while , except Kroos, possibly Hummels, no other member of the team worked hard enough and if he had collectively called them as crap, he is justified in his comments. France has younger team members like MBappe, Pogba , Griezmann .. and they are very difficult to beat, which this German fool does not want to recognise. Germany will take several years to rebuild the team.

  7. This is the first time I’m gonna comment here and I must say as Nigerian that I am disappointed in how you covered the previous interest Aliko Dangote (The richest Blackman in the world) as “a Nigerian magnate”.
    Now my question to you is that if Dangote was an European or an American, would you still write ” an American or European magnate” or you will go the length to write out his name?
    Racism exist in different forms and maybe unconsciously you didn’t know you ve just showed it.

  8. Excited for the season and to see what happens. Iwobi is a talented boy that has stagnated through lack of direction and the overall stagnation of the club. Slate wiped clean, time to see how the new season shakes out.

  9. Victor

    You’re an idiot.

    Seek out a problem and ye shall find it, even where it doesn’t exist. Once said a wise man. Me.

    If Dangate was European or US, he’d have got the same treatment because frankly, I can’t be arsed to look up the name of everyone who supposedly wants to buy Arsenal shares.

    Racism? No. Bone-idle disinterest? Yup.

  10. I think Wenger is actually the one that broke Ozil. Back a few years ago, Ozil was taking the Premier League by storm and almost broke the record for assists. Instead of being happy that his #10 is getting assists and creating chances, Wenger calls him out and wants him to score more goals. Instead of keeping Giroud upfront, who Ozil worked with extremely well, he tried to do the whole “false 9” thing with Alexis who ended up taking the same area of the field that Ozil would ply his trade in. Ozil improved his goal-scoring stats but it completely changed the way that he was trying to play. Wenger did the same thing with Coquelin. Instead of letting him sit back and be a destroyer ala Kante he tried to make the guy into more of a box-to-box midfielder which he had no business being.

  11. I’m not gonna call you names cos I was not raised to do such. But you calling me an idiot has shown the kinda person you are in reality. Enjoy your day mate

  12. I am also interested to see what Emery does with Chambers, will he convert him to a sitting midfielder and hopes he can bring the best out of him their.

  13. Great post Yogi

    I think the World Cup showed again that what we have seen from Mesut Ozil in the last 2 1/2 seasons is probably what we will get.

    Everyone who reads the blog knows that I was called for Arsene to leave for more years then any of us but the idea that he somehow destroys individual players is just as misguided as the idea that being around him somehow made players great in the early years of his reign. No doubt that arsene hurt the team as a whole but an individual players form is and should be their own responsibility. If Arsene really damaged players then they would get better when they left and played for a new manager. If anything the opposite has more often been true. I can’t think of a single one of the hundreds of youth players that has left Arsenal who has significantly improved after he left.

  14. YW,

    Reminds me of the Father Ted episode.

    ‘I hear you’re a racist now Father’. ‘How did you get interested in that type of thing?’

  15. Victor,

    When you have to look so hard to tenuously link a football blog of this calibre to racism…you’re scraping the barrel my friend.
    Or are you just looking for a scrap with someone,anyone?Have a little look on your shoulder…I think there’s something on it….

  16. MikeSA:
    I haven’t been blown away by Iwobi’s recent form but if there’s one player in the squad who has stagnated but is young enough and talented enough to be a likely candidate to make a dramatic improvement under Emery, I guess it would be Iwobi.

    MikeSA

    A forward needs to be able to produce end product in the final 1/3 to be effective. Over the long term he needs to score goals. Emery is not a magician and Iwobe is not going to suddenly develop the ability to produce end product or score goals because of something Emery does. I think Iwobe has some potential to be useful as a central midfielder but that is not where he plays.

  17. Arsene built teams that were less then the sum of their parts but I don’t think he made players worse as individual players. A manager can build a team that is more then the sum of its parts and playing on a team like that can make a player look better. Hopefully that is what Emery can do. However, I don’t think he can really improve individual players. I don’t think many of Emery’s players from his Sevilla teams went on to be difference making players on other teams so he did not really improve the players.

  18. Pep spends a lot of money and buys lots of really good players but I think the thing that makes Pep great is can build teams that are better then the sum of their parts. I don’t think he actually made Sterling any better as a player but Sterling looks better then he really is when he plays for Pep’s team. I don’t think Le Coq was ever that good but he just happened to come into the team during one of our best 1/2 seasons runs of form in this decade and Le Coq played over his head.

  19. First post here and have to say the whole issue of racism is a bit of a minefield. What people say is usually an indicator but what they do is sometimes a clearer one. E.G., the German FA say they aren’t racist but how many players of color do they have on their squad? On the other hand, it’s often an easy shield to hide behind. And I’ve long believed that racism has many faces, not all of them white.
    Let’s hope this gets shunted to the sidelines once the season begins. It’s an interesting time for the Gunners and, for the first time in years, I’m keen to see how Arsenal do against the big clubs.

  20. Bill: MikeSA

    A forward needs to be able to produce end product in the final 1/3 to be effective. Over the long term he needs to score goals. Emery is not a magician and Iwobe is not going to suddenly develop the ability to produce end product or score goals because of something Emery does. I think Iwobe has some potential to be useful as a central midfielder but that is not where he plays.

    So according to you coaching never helped anybody?

    All good players just arrived in a cloud of dust?

    No development, nothing helps?

    Why on earth do we even need a coach then?

    Honestly Bill, sometimes you’re a little too black and white with zero grey.

  21. MikeSA

    A manager has time to work with individual players to develop their skill and technique. I am reasonably certain that iwobe has been working with multiple coaches who have spent time with him working 1 on 1 and as part of the team since the first day he joined the academy and Emery is unlikely to be able to teach him something new. Iwobe is what he is and that is not likely to change.

    Think about all of the hundreds of players who have come thru our academy and left. Is there even 1 who really improved and developed into a much better player after he left?

  22. Scoring goals and producing end product is the most valuable and difficult single skill for any player to develop. That’s why good goal scorers are so rare. Compare that to all of the good midfielders. Buying goal scorers is also by far the most expensive type of player. If you could teach players like Iwobe to score goals and provide end product in the final 1/3 then every big team in the world would be hiring the worlds best coaches and building their own players. However when was the last time a big team developed its own forwards? They all have to spend hundreds of millions to buy them. I dont think that specific skill set is something that you can teach.

  23. I am reasonably certain that Barca has some the best youth coaches in world football and I also am confident that Barca has had a couple dozen forwards with as much “talent” as Iwobe come thru La Masia in this decade. Despite all of that great coaching I can’t think of a single forward from La Masia that has made an impact in this decade. Its obviously a skill that is almost impossible to teach.

  24. Bill,

    I think Pep is a pragmatist, Sterling is indeed not good enough and is probably why Pep wanted Sanchez and why he finally got Mahrez.I also dont remember any great player in any position to come out of La Masia

  25. Bill:
    Scoring goals and producing end product is the most valuable and difficult single skill for any player to develop. That’s why good goal scorers are so rare. Compare that to all of the good midfielders. Buying goal scorers is also by far the most expensive type of player. If you could teach players like Iwobe to score goals and provide end product in the final 1/3 then every big team in the world would be hiring the worlds best coaches and building their own players. However when was the last time a big team developed its own forwards? They all have to spend hundreds of millions to buy them.I dont think that specific skill set is something that you can teach.

    But some team DID develop every single one of them, did they not?

    They didn’t miraculously materialise out of thin air.

    Yes, like anything there has to be a base of talent to develop, and some have more talent than others.

    Some things are more difficult than others.

    For example, for me the guitar was easier to learn than the piano, but the piano was easier to master than the guitar.

    There are many aspects of striking that can be coached and improved upon: focusing on where you want the ball to go instead of focusing on the keeper; developing dexterity with both feet; practicing bending runs and timing; practicing timing of jumps for headers; practising volleys; curling the ball; learning to how to move off the ball; utilise space; ghost off an opponent; etc etc.

    I happen to know this, I’ve done it.

    I’m not particularly brilliant btw, was just fairly good amateur level, but I was never a budding Pele, I was fairly quick, but I had to work exceptionally hard to get into the first team of the varsity I played for, it didn’t come naturally for me, and yes, I did score a lot of goals.

    But it is possible, and good coaching and determination does work.

    By all accounts, the coaching under Wenger was extremely restricted, with Dixon amongst others revealing how Bould, for example, was not allowed to work with the defence and coach them properly.

    So yes, I actually very definitely DO think that Wenger fucked up several of the players’ progression, and that under Emery there might well be improvements.

  26. MikeSA.

    The first line of my comment at 6:17 is supposed to say a manager does not have time to work with individual players on a regular basis to help them develop their individual skills. You probably figured that out. I need to take time to proofread.

  27. Bill:
    MikeSA.

    The first line of my comment at 6:17 is supposed to say a manager does not have time to work with individual players on a regular basis to help them develop their individual skills. You probably figured that out. I need to take time to proofread.

    No issue Bill, thats fine, but the manager is the person who does or doesn’t select, motivate, and guide the coaching staff as to what to do when and with whom.

    That management is crucial in ensuring a player gets the correct coaching and is worked by coaches who can connect with the player.

    Thats why a manager makes such a difference. (My Godson has been coaching at one of the Arsenal Academies in the Middle East btw, and you’ll be surprised that even at that level the coaches are provided with detailed instructions on what to do when with whom if they have a good manager in charge).

    Imagine Wenger had allowed Bould to work on Bellerin’s positional play like Dixon wanted.

    Bellerin hit a wall, he lacked guidance and coaching because Wenger actively prevented it.

    Keown recalled being prevented showing one of our defenders some video footage of some positional mistakes he was making because Wenger had some batshit crazy idea it would destroy his confidence.

    Thats why a management change could very well make a huge difference to many players.

  28. There also has to be process and deliberation for coaches to feed back to their seniors and to the management on progress, development, ideas, planning on whether to change some schedules or routines etc etc.

    Its structured, controlled, and continually reviewed, just like in any business’ cycle of continual ongoing improvement.

    From what we seem to have heard there was very little structure and planning of that ilk with Wenger.

    Emery seems to be very structured and very methodical.

  29. If managers don’t help or influence then why are they constantly hired and fired and why is are tactics so important? For instant, people wanted Simeone because he coaches up defense and is a stickler for doing things his way….doesn’t that mean he is actually coaching up players and making a difference?

  30. C

    Coaches do make a difference in terms of team performance. Arsene’s teams consistently underperformed and were less the sum of the their parts while Simeone’s teams are typically the opposite. Managers can improve a team. No one disputes that. That is completely different then the idea that somehow a managers influence can somehow turn a player like Alex Iwobe into a much better individual player and teach him to consistently produce end product.

  31. MikeSA

    I think comparing your own experience to what must be happening at the professional level is probably misguided. I understand the theory behind everything you say and 10 years ago I would have agreed with you because it seems like some of it makes sense. However we have a very large sample size of actual data in this decade and the reality of what we have been seeing does not match the theory and when that happens you have to accept that the theory is probably wrong.

    I also understand your theory that Arsene was somehow holding back our players especially the younger ones like Iwobe. However, if that was really true then a those players would get better when they left Arsenal and that has almost never happened. Again when the facts don’t line up with the theory then we have to accept that the theory is probably wrong. No?

  32. If building your own star players out of raw material like Alex Iwobe was simply a matter of better coaching and better direction and instruction from the manager then why aren’t teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid Man City or Bayern Munich doing it? They certainly have the resources to hire whichever coaches coaches and managers they want.

  33. MikeSA

    I think the evidence suggests that developing star players is a mostly random event and unrepeatable event. The big teams scout the entire world take advantage by purchasing the best players whenever and wherever one of those random events occurs. There is certainly no evidence to suggest that any club in the world has figured out how to repeatedly develop top players. If there was a way to do it consistently then the big clubs with their ability to buy the best youth prospects and to hire the best coaches would be doing it regularly. No?

  34. Barcelona just bought Malcom. Last year they bought Dembele. They are cornering the market on heavily hyped young wide forwards. The more players like that they buy the better their chance that at least one of them will turn out to be good enough to help them compete against Real Madrid.

  35. Bill:
    MikeSA

    I think the evidence suggests that developing star players is a mostly random event and unrepeatable event. The big teams scout the entire world take advantage by purchasing the best players whenever and wherever one of those random events occurs. There is certainly no evidence to suggest that any club in the world has figured out how to repeatedly develop top players. If there was a way to do it consistently then the big clubs with their ability to buy the best youth prospects and to hire the best coaches would be doing it regularly. No?

    Nobody is suggesting it’s easy or formulaic, but it does happen.

    The fact that what I experienced resonates with what my Godson relates, just way more advanced, suggests that your idea that there is no relation in methodologies and techniques suggests completely otherwise, in fact, it has clearly evolved way beyond my outdated and unsophisticated experience.

    The famous Ajax school, de Toekomste, which produced many many great players, including Cruyff, Kroll, Bergkamp, the De Boer brothers, Rikkaard, David’s, Kluivert, van der Meyde, Reiziger, Seedorf, van der Saar, Benayoun, Alderweireld, Babel, Blind, Heitinga, both de Jongs, Sneider, Stekelenberg, van der Vaard, Vertongen, Vermaelen, van der Wiel, etc etc etc

    I recall in the ’70’s that they were taking kids in at 6 years old, nurturing them , schooling them, with 70% of those kids going on to become professional footballers with those that didn’t make it still leaving with a sound education to follow the career of their choice.

    So no, I’m not sprouting some ethereal theory of puffy clouds and flowers, this is way more organized and sophisticated than you seem to think, and has been for some time.

    Plenty of very good footballers do get produced by academies, Southampton springs to mind.

    Do they all produce the next Messi, Cronaldo, Maradonna, Pele, every season or decade?

    No, but those are generational players, outliers to a massive degree, so that really isn’t the point.

    What the good academies do is regularly produce very good footballers.

    Btw, ANY footballer who plays at professional level, even in the lower leagues, would make you and I in our younger days look like complete klutzes, so the idea that everything is just a complete fluke and freak of nature is simply inaccurate.

  36. Bill

    In terms of coaching, I have no doubt that a player like Iwobi would improve dramatically under better management.

    He has the raw talent, but everyone needs guidance and direction, and if it isn’t channeled correctly, you get to see stagnation.

    Of course some players stagnate or fail to reach their full potential because of personal flaws r injury: Pennant, Gascoigne, Best, Wilshere, Whiteside, etc, so yes, there is an element of it being a crapshoot in there too, but there are fruits to this labour, otherwise they wouldn’t try at all.

  37. Let’s look at an example closer to home.

    Thierry Henry stagnated at Juve after leaving Monaco.

    Wenger brought him to Arsenal and he initially struggled to adapt.

    Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t Wenger who ignited Henry and got him on his superstar trajectory, it was Keown who took him to watch Ian Wright playing for West Ham at that stage and pointed out Wright’s movement off the ball, the timing of his runs etc., so whilst it might have been a little unconventional and not quite what everybody thinks it was, Henry received the right guidance and coaching that helped him move from stagnation to superstar.

    So yes, that was in spite of the management at the time, but it illustrates that the right decisions for a specific player, can work out.

  38. On a completely different topic I see Dangote has reaffirmed his interest in acquiring Arsenal once his new refinery project is up and running.

    From what I recall he made most of his money from cement and milling, so this is quite a departure from his normal operations, so we’ll have to see how it all pans out.

    Personally I’d be very happy if he does get involved because he’s an avid and genuine Arsenal fan, and no mug.

    He made his money the hard way, not by inheritance or marrying into it …cough Stan……cough cough

  39. ……Newsflash Newsflash……..Breaking News…..Ivan is no More….Milan bound? He will be going to Milan September .

  40. It looks like we were all so crap at picking the World Cup winner, that there isn’t a winning loser lol.

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