On Suarez, January and Transfer Porky Pies

The madness is over and we can now focus on the remaining months of this season. Just two competitions to focus on, two targets to achieve. Did the January transfer window do anything to help that? Overall, you have to say not.

And nor do I think there was any expectation within the club that it would.

Raul Sanllehi made it clear he views the window as a band aid, an opportunity to bring in emergency cover until proper surgery can take place in the summer. He strikes me as a traditional kind of football man and that’s a traditional football thought.

He also knew we didn’t have pot to do the business in. One thing we learned this winter was exactly how desperate Ivan and Arsene were a year ago. Their opportunistic splurge on Aubameyang was driven by fear of how the campaign was panning out. And the panning they received because of it. That spend, coupled with the deal which brought Mkhitaryan to the club and Mesut Ozil’s new contract, are the fundamentals which cause us FFP issues now.

It left us struggling to get loan deals completed when a club of Arsenal’s wealth ought to be buying players. There’s no little irony in FFP constraining the club. This was Arsene and Ivan’s grand plan to stop financial doping in football. Instead, it’s the shackles around us as others continue to spend quite freely.

Which is the background, not the excuse. I don’t think Unai Emery will be particularly happy with how the month turned out off the pitch. Serious injuries to the defence robbed him of key players but there is also a frequency to injuries which suggest short-term reinforcements were needed. They didn’t arrive; we’ll see if that is costly.

Don’t Believe The Hype. Or The Stats

Signing Denis Suarez underwhelmed many and that suggests quite a few are still to come to terms with our reduced status. We may think Arsenal are the greatest team the world has ever seen but anyone wanting Champions League football will give us a wide berth until the end of the season at the earliest.

Emery knows the player who has sunk at Barcelona. Not that there is necessarily any shame or anything to be concerned by about that. The list of failures at the Camp Nou who were successes elsewhere is far long than the list of successes at Barcelona.

I don’t know enough about Suarez to be concerned or thrilled by his statistics. We don’t need necessarily another attacking midfielder. We need a hard working player who is capable of recycling possession and protecting the back four or a wide player. Too much of our midfield play is drifting inside rather than creating genuine width. If the full-backs are not overlapping we’re playing the width of the penalty area and that’s it.

For me, Suarez’s career rests on his time at Arsenal, not what has gone before. Occasional matches on Sky or glimpses in highlights isn’t the way to assess a player nor is their FIFA rating relevant. It genuinely isn’t.

The transfer window isn’t just about signings. It’s been a good window for young players. Seeing Nketiah and Smith Rowe move to Germany on loan is exciting. Along with Reiss Nelson, Smith Rowe is one for next season. I’d hope they both feature more regularly as they have the potential to succeed at Arsenal.

I’ve said before that I’m not convinced by Nketiah. At this point in the original post, I launched into a bit about how good a spell with Augsburg would be for him but he didn’t sign, did he? Why didn’t I notice that? Well, I’d lost the will to live with the transfer window for starters. January is such an unexciting time for deals. That Sky don’t have fans shoving dildos in reporters ears anymore makes it even duller. Not that I’d encourage popping into your local Ann Summers to buy such devices to poke in the ear of television presenters. That’s a lifestyle choice for you to make.

Unconvincing Tales

Of course, we had the usual flights of fancy and not just at Arsenal. Sunderland proved they’ve learned nothing from previous years by paying double the Suarez loan fee for Will Grigg. £4m for a League One club to sign a Championship player; it’s just madness.

Not as mad as Juventus wanting to sign Gary Cahill. That’s just pure fiction, I’m sure. Still, if it soothed Gazza’s ego, there’s no harm in it.

However, the Arsenal angle on this is Mesut Ozil turning down Paris St-Germain. If it is true that he turned down a loan move because he didn’t “feel ready”, then consider me dumbstruck. Is he scared of the responsibility and pressure that being Neymar’s replacement brings? Is he worried a bad spell will make him seem damaged goods in footballing terms? Were the story true, it raises some genuine questions about his career.

That said, he’s here now so it’s down to Ozil to turn up and perform. If he isn’t in Sunday’s line-up, then the wisdom in giving him a £300k per week contract is further questioned. That’s the sort of game where he should be gliding up and down the pitch to make the most of what is going to be limited possession.

Those are thoughts for another day.

’til Tomorrow.

50 thoughts on “On Suarez, January and Transfer Porky Pies

  1. ferkov says:

    Blindsided everyone there YW.
    Missed a day. I believe you were at the arms on Tuesday, it’s possible your brain slowed down so much watching that, that you missed Thursday altogether.
    Did Eddie go ?
    I read last night that we’d pulled him out. Something to do with not signing Nkuku, who’s a winger, so I stopped reading.

    I think Twitter got it wrong ,but Their photos of Denis Suarez IS Rambo. Unless he shaves mid session.

  2. theskywalker says:

    Eddie is the third striker, and should get some game time at least in EL fixtures. Hope Suarez develops well. Alexis Sanchez was in a similar situation , warming Barca bench until Wenger took him. Let us keep faith with the coach.

  3. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Is anyone still dumb enough to “question” the Ozil contract?

    Ivan and Wenger panicked into giving a player hugely in decline a contract that he did not deserve even at his peak, never mind what’s left of him now.

    We were mugged. Simple.

  4. theskywalker says:

    @Alex
    I have heard Ivan the Terrible. saying that he responded to the pressure from certain bunch of fans who met him in his yearly meet up, and begged him to do everything to keep Sanchez and Ozil. Ivan and Wenger never accepted their mistakes.

  5. YW says:

    That’s tosh. Ivan never did anything fan groups wanted or AW would have gone in 2014. He made a fucking bad call on the deal because he was scared of fan reaction. I’m convinced he did a runner to Milan because he knew he would get grief for the FFP fuck up.

  6. theskywalker says:

    @YW
    That was the version of Ivan, anyway. It is true that a bunch of fans met him and wanted him to prevent Sanchez and Ozil from leaving. Some Arsenal legends too sired the same. That was his excuse.

  7. theskywalker says:

    Correction: Some Arsenal legends too shared the same view.

  8. theskywalker says:

    Coming back to Eddie. I remember Ferguson , the manager at Pittodrie in Aberdeen ( I was working in Aberdeen then), having got Gordon Strachan, failed to find game time for him for uite some time. Injuries at one time, forced Fergie to include Strachan in the first team and the rest is history. Eddie needs game time.

  9. consolsbob says:

    I suspect that the Ozil to PSG story has some basis. It fits with what we have seen of the player.

    He shirks responsibility and was sheltered by Arsene in his own little pampered world. PSG would demand performances and that would expose him for the dilettante that he has become.

    I would give him a free. Deadweight and very expensive.

  10. Pete the Thirst says:

    We’re now in the crazy situation where we’re counting the days until the end of Ozil’s contract. A fag packet calculation 880 days remaining…at £50k a day…

    He ain’t going nowhere.

    He does very little even when he gets on the pitch, but gets the plaudits of a deluded section the Arsenal support for a flick or a step over. The truth is he was never good enough.

  11. YW says:

    Skywalker

    I don’t doubt the fans met with him, they used to on a regular basis. However, on the playing side, I am certain he paid no heed and deferred more to Wenger and staff than anything fans think.

  12. C says:

    Smith-Rowe going to Leizpig is brilliant business for all parties. Shame Nketiah was able to go but very much understood.

    Silva, I think can have a similiar impact to Santi. He is good business, isn’t going to score goals or have loads of assists but is that sort of hard working technical nside midfielder/winger that seems to be made in Spain. If we do a midfield diamond, I could see him playing on the inside right or left and be brilliant.

  13. YW says:

    Bob

    The loan deal was reported as him continuing to receive his current wages so it wasn’t rejected for financial reasons. As we agree, it reflects badly on him that he didn’t go if true.

    I certainly won’t be upset if he goes in the summer but I will if we don’t replace him!

  14. Wavey says:

    Afternoon all,

    I went to the Cardiff game on Tuesday, my first game in yonks. Not much a spectacle unfortunately. It was great to see the mates again and Lacazette’s goal was a peach.

    I must admit that I did think at the time that it would’ve been insane to lose both Sanchez and Ozil, but I think we got rid of the wrong player. Sanchez upset the dressing room but at least he would do things on the pitch, Ozil just doesn’t seem to have any interest at all. Maybe Sanchez would’ve downed tools if we’d kept him until the summer, but I think we would have had more out him than we are getting out of Ozil. Players not giving it their all when they are at the end of a contract and looking to leave is one thing, but Ozil has the huge deal he was after and still can’t be arsed.

  15. consolsbob says:

    YW,

    Yep. All reflects very badly on him along with Gazidis and Wenger.

    A mutually supportive tripod that hasn’t fallen over although two legs have been removed. There’s a conundrum. Deep foundations, obviously.

  16. theskywalker says:

    @YW
    I agree with you. But our club has a section of fans for who Wenger could do no wrong. A few Arsal legends join them often.
    Even these days, I meet a few of these fans in the home game, where they keep muttering about losing Wenger. They were the ones howling about losing Sanchez and Ozil , when Jose was prattling about getting both of them. Ozil has been particularly close toJose; my suspicion and it is shared by a few others was that it was Sanchez that Jose wanted, and that on Ozil’s insistence Jose was saying about how good it would be to get Ozil too, which made Wenger panicky and resulted in that whopping cash burden that Ozil engineered.. This sounds outrageous, but Ozil is one crafty operator supported by his Turkish agent. He will go nowhere, an albatross.

  17. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    YW:
    Bob

    The loan deal was reported as him continuing to receive his current wages so it wasn’t rejected for financial reasons. As we agree, it reflects badly on him that he didn’t go if true.

    I certainly won’t be upset if he goes in the summer but I will if we don’t replace him!

    There is no reason for Ozil to think he will be anymore effective at PSG there then he is here and there is no monetary incentive. At this point in his career there is nothing for him to gain by moving so why pack up and leave your family and move to France for a few months?

    We already have Mkhitaryan and if we keep Dennis Suarez then we have more then enough replacements.

  18. Paulie Walnuts says:

    The only sure fire way to get rid of Ozil is to completely ignore him selection wise. Just don’t play him. He’s so poor these days that it’s really not a case of cutting our nose off to spite our face.

    In fact , I’d go further & make him train with the kids , chuck his clothes in the shower & piss in his shoes. Anything to get him to clear off in the summer.

  19. C says:

    Interesting comments by Emery that he says Suarez was brought in to play as a winger on the right or left. I wonder if he envisions a front 3 of Suarez/Lacazette/Aubameyang with Suarez able to drop into midfield to help there.

    Or maybe going back to what Emery likes in the past of that 4231 with the wingers tucking in more allowing for the FB’s to bomb forward with 2 sitting pivots.

  20. Bill says:

    theskywalker:
    Coming back to Eddie.I remember Ferguson , the managerat Pittodrie in Aberdeen ( I was working in Aberdeen then), having got Gordon Strachan, failed to find game time for him for uite some time.Injuries at one time, forced Fergie to include Strachan in the first team and the rest is history.Eddie needs game time.

    We can’t afford go into any important game without both pea and Lacazette in the line up. We probably would have dropped points against Cardiff if we did not have both on the pitch. Realistically there are no minutes for Eddie if we hope to compete for 4th and/or win the EL.

    I don’t see any reason to think Eddie is going to be any better then Bendtner, Akpom, Sanogo or Afobe.

  21. theskywalker says:

    @Bill
    Have you read what I wrote there? I did not say Eddie should replace the 2 strikers. Read again. The list you give is your opinion. Emery knows that Eddie needs game time, and he is not going to ask your opinion.

  22. Pete the Thirst says:

    Those are very 1970s tactics Paulie, but if they work…

    The last time I p!ssed in somebody’s shoe was 2001 I think. A vintage year.

    Paulie Walnuts:
    The only sure fire way to get rid of Ozil is to completely ignore him selection wise. Just don’t play him. He’s so poor these days that it’s really not a case of cutting our nose off to spite our face.

    In fact ,I’d go further & make him train with the kids , chuck his clothes in the shower & piss in his shoes. Anything to get him to clear off in the summer.

  23. Blue Yonder says:

    From what little I know of Suarez, he seems like a player with a lot of skills and the moves to go with them but not a particularly physical player. In short, the type of player that Arsenal usually bring in, whereas what the team really lacks is more steel. Still, Emery has managed him and presumably wanted him so we’ll have to see.
    Will he play at City? Usually new players are eased in gradually but City would seem a match where his talents could show to good effect.

  24. Blue Yonder says:

    At first glance, we are in for a beating on Sunday but for some unfathomable reason I’m optimistic. This, because City have produced some unaccountably poor performances and surprise results against teams they would have put to the sword last season.
    I’m not taking any guesses on whether Ozil appears, starts but gets hooked, subs, etc, etc. because – does it matter?

  25. Saa says:

    Never forget this deadline day lol…

    Attachment

  26. lari03 says:

    Hello everyone, I think Emery has no excuse any longer, he must begin to deploy the 4-2-3-1 which he prefers.
    Suarez was his choice and the exclusion of defensive reinforcements, with Emery’s comments means he has what he needs to push for the minimum target of Champions League qualification.

    No more excuses.

  27. ferkov says:

    lari03,

    Sounds like you are relishing his failure.
    I hadn’t really noticed him making excuses. He did mention quite early on that Wenger had left him a note saying , we’ve spent all the money , ask Mesut, but apart from that he’s just got on with it.
    A shit load of injuries and he still doesn’t whinge. How uncomfortable can he make us feel?

  28. thrillbo says:

    So i hear we signed Suarez from barca… Is he going to be leading our dive team? I think Laca needs training in how to be a diving cheating scum like that wayne the brain rooney fellow. He could (should ?) have won 3 penalties in that game, all against the same dopey defender haha.

    For real though, this seems like a wenger signing but lets hope he proves us wrong. This guy looks like a little boy, the kind that Manchester United has been gobbling up for nearly 15 years now.

    The entire season I have been waiting for this winter period. We crumble here every year, our defenders cant stay fit for more than a couple matches, goals dry up, ozil goes into hibernation playing fortnite (dude gets paid more then a thousand , per hour. per HOUR.). These are the matches with Djourou and Squillachi playing makeshift center backs…. I was hopeful given the earlieri run that maybe we wouldnt crumble. Sure enough we are missing half of our central defenders again.

    We need to let Lacazette lead the team and will us to victory. He is a god damn animal. That goal was that of a pissed off bull dog. If only the whole team shared his same passion and engine. He presses, touch is (usually) lazer sharp, wins headers. It has been great watching him do everything this year. I often wonder if maybe we put Laca as #10 and let Auba hang out up top on his own? Who knows, quien sabe. have a good day all, cheers!

  29. lari03 says:

    ferkov,

    Not really, it doesn’t seem wise to neglect the defence is all.

  30. Jonnygunner says:

    ferkov:
    lari03,

    Sounds like you are relishing his failure.
    I hadn’t really noticed him making excuses. He did mention quite early on that Wenger had left him a note saying , we’ve spent all the money , ask Mesut, but apart from that he’s just got on with it.
    A shit load of injuries and he still doesn’t whinge.How uncomfortable can he make us feel?

    Spot on

    ferkov:
    lari03,

    Sounds like you are relishing his failure.
    I hadn’t really noticed him making excuses. He did mention quite early on that Wenger had left him a note saying , we’ve spent all the money , ask Mesut, but apart from that he’s just got on with it.
    A shit load of injuries and he still doesn’t whinge.How uncomfortable can he make us feel?

  31. lari03 says:

    Ferkov,

    Perhaps I should be more specific, Emery asked for 3 players, the club only got 1. The rumours about the Betis right back was not as pronounced as Carrasco, Perisic or Nkunku.

    It therefore means the coach is satisfied with his options. The basic target is to achieve Champions League football by September. At least the details of the proposed Perisic loan deal implied that the club was looking for swift short term solutions.

    The tactical lessons need to bear fruit now. I perceive there is a funny resemblance between this season and the season Leicester won the league in terms of the top 4 qualification, because City has stumbled unusually, Chelsea are unsettled and Man Utd will definitely stumble because they have yet to face top 6 opposition in the 2nd half of the season.

    After City, we have Tottenham and Man Utd, we should target a consistent run of wins to finish strong.

    I don’t want to sound negative or to pass negativity across, because we should be patient, but its difficult for fans to process all that’s going on behind the scenes with Sven leaving and the inconsistent attacking rhythm, plus the fact that the club is now privately owned, it’s like a lot is changing so fast and there’s a need for the most important part of the entire operation to be presentable. We need to see a team playing at his best.

    It’s not about being entitled fans, its that we need to compete at our level, which is why I said no more excuses.

  32. Bill says:

    theskywalker:
    @Bill
    Have you read what I wrote there? I did not say Eddie should replace the 2 strikers.Read again.The list you give is your opinion.Emery knows that Eddie needs game time, and he is not going to ask your opinion.

    Skywalker

    What is the rush with Eddie? He is not even 20 years old. After 10 years it’s becone clear that giving U21 players like Eddie who are not ready for the high leverage minutea those few cameo appearances here and there can cost us points and it has not helped the players development. Doing what you suggest has been a lose/lose.

    If we want to finish 4th we need pea and Lacazette playing in every league game and if we miss out on 4th then we have to win the Europa league so that does not leave very minutes where we can afford to use an inexperienced player like Eddie.

  33. Alex Ice Cream says:

    I am also underwhelmed by Emery thus far. Don’t tell me that there reason that we got outplayed by Cardiff at home in the first half was because of a weak squad.

    We had 1 player in the first half – Guendouzi and 2 in the second Guendouzi and Laca.

    Its amazing to say it but I think Guendouzi is perhaps our best player. If Emery plays Xhaka instead of Douzy then he will go down in my estimation.

  34. YW says:

    Bill

    Ozil is single – getting married in the summer I think Emery said – so he has no family to think of as such.

    > At this point in his career there is nothing for him to gain by moving

    A damning indictment of Ozil if ever there was one. He knows the manager doesn’t rate him and it’s damaging the brand. My guess is he would be arsed if he thought the team had a chance of winning the Champions League.

    > We already have Mkhitaryan

    I’m hoping he’ll do one in the summer as well. That removes all the highly-paid slackers from the payroll then.

  35. YW says:

    Wavey

    > I must admit that I did think at the time that it would’ve been insane to lose both Sanchez and Ozil, but I think we got rid of the wrong player.

    We all thought losing both would be madness but look at how wrong we were. Would I prefer Sanchez to Ozil? Yes, because at least he tried. A little bit too egotistical in trying to win games on his own but I’ll take that over the wastrel Ozil has developed into.

  36. Blue Yonder says:

    I saw some stats recently that showed Terreira and Guendouzi are among the top 8 players in the EPL in terms of being fouled. The former was 3rd and the latter 6th if memory serves. They are also our most energetic (plus Lacazette) so it fits. It also suggests the rest are not worth fouling as they aren’t much of a threat. Pretty damning, if true.

  37. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Mikhitaryan and Ozil on £500k a week.

    They are both the same – mentally weak, physically lightweight waster has-beens. In Mikhi’s case he was never even good enough to be a has-been.

    What did anyone ever see in him apart from 1 decent season at Dortmund? I have said it before but when you take his wages into account I think he is the worst signing that I can remember.

  38. Bill says:

    YW @ 9:30am

    I am sure you remember what it was like when you were young and in love and about to get married. Would you have wanted to get transferred to France when there was no financial incentive and not much chance of any significant long term career enhancement. I am not defending Mesut but I understand why he would refuse a move that he didn’t want.

    I am with you on Mkhitaryan moving on but he won’t be much easier to move then Ozil. Both he and Suarez are like for like replacements.

    Regarding Sanchez vs Ozil I am always a fan of the player who has the potential to score more goals and i think it was very obvious that Ozil’s was on the rapid part of the downhill side of his career arc when he signed the new contract. Unfortunately for us Arsene was always obscessed with technical skill and midfield creativity and he was desperate to get back to the CL because he knew his job was on the line so he and Ivan were willing to pay Ozil and trade for another overpriced player it’s almost the exact same skill set in Mkhitaryan

  39. C says:

    I really like Jimenez of Wolves as a CF, think he is right up there with Lacazette as one of the most underrated CF’s in the PL.

  40. YW says:

    Bill

    > Would you have wanted to get transferred to France when there was no financial incentive and not much chance of any significant long term career enhancement.

    Yup, like a shot. If your career’s fucked, a change is as good as a rest.

  41. C says:

    Bill,

    Suarez isn’t a like for like with Ozil, more like for like with Mhkitaryan and Iwobi. He also, at Barca and Villareal, he plays more in that midfield link role or the role Santi use to play for us. He actually was at his best in a midfield 3 or 4 playing that right inaide midfield role right ahead of a DM.

  42. C says:

    Also, well done to former Arsenal youth product Glen Kamara who has become a fantastic player and has just moved to Rangers. He was wanted by both Rangers and Celtic

  43. Bill says:

    YW

    To each his own. If you look at how much Ozil has faded between ages 28-30 then imagine what he will be like at 33 when this contract is finished. This will be the last big contract of his career and i suspect most of us think differently when you are a couple years from retirement. If I knew I was a couple years from retirement I wouldn’t take an undesirable transfer that had no financial benefit just for the potential of career benefit. However to each his own

  44. LSG says:

    I would expect that Ozil will at best be on the bench v City. It is an away match to a top side, which isn’t his forte nor is it a scenario Emery seems to trust him to start. Tactically I don’t think maintaining possession is the answer or a priority for Emery. I think we will see Ramsey playing to press with Aubameyang and maybe even Lacazette. I don’t see any place in that approach for Ozil but he might come off the bench. And Ramsey seemed like he was being kept fresh for the weekend.

    The more interesting questions, I think, are what will Emery do in midfield and defense? I think I would put Mustafi at RB if we play a 4. With Kos and Monreal at CB and Kola wide. I wonder if Emery will go for a 3 CB of Mustafi, Kos, Monreal and Jenks and Kola as wingbacks. I wouldn’t try that.

    Midfield is interesting too. I would drop Xhaka and play Torreira deep with Iwobi and Guendouzi begins Ramsey. But Emery seems to rely on Xhaka.

  45. C says:

    Futbol is a funny old game, Bournemotmuth completely put Chelsea to the sword and yet, Cardiff are outworking and outplaying them and are rightly up 2-0.

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