The headline intimated – nay, insinuated – that Arsenal’s transfer dealings suffered from constipation. It’s a little early in the summer for to be bunged up but what else sells? What else gets everyone talking in the hot months?
Arsenal’s problems can be laid squarely at one man’s door. Any delays in transfer business are all the fault of Mesut Özil. That’s not just me blaming him, there’s a good reason for it. All the club’s top brass were presumably in Istanbul, taking in the sights and generally enjoying the city, as well as Özil’s wedding. Thus, no-one was free to carry out negotiations. When they all get back to London next week, it will be fine.
You see, it was genuinely Mesut’s fault…
I jest, of course. I wish the Özils all the best for their life together in whichever city they call their home.
The headline I referred to at the top of the article concerned David Ospina. His loan at Napoli ended without the Italian club triggering the automatic purchase clause. In a true Spinal Tap moment, he made 24 appearances with 25 forcing them to buy him for £4m. Arsenal knocking Napoli out of the Europa League contributed to that. Did we make more than £4m profit from the matches after that?
Talk of being knocked out is quite appropriate as far as Dave the Cardboard Box is concerned. Ospina suffered a serious bang to the bonce in a Serie A match during March – against Empoli, I think – but played on. Napoli drew a fair amount of justified criticism for not following concussion protocols.
A Chilwell Runs Through Your Bones
The Jeff Astle Foundation raised the profile of the issue in the English game a long time ago and continues to do so. England’s senior men’s team doesn’t appear to be taking the message as seriously as it should if last night is anything to go by.
Poleaxed by a flailing Dutch arm in an aerial duel, Ben Chilwell found himself hitting the turf at a rapid rate of knots. It was more than a simple knock on the noggin; it was a hard, direct bounce off the pitch with his head. Yet even after a few minutes delay, the doctor still let him play on. I think I’m right in say NFL protocols make it mandatory for players to leave the pitch and be assessed away from the action.
Football needs to go as far, if not further. Players who suffer head injuries must automatically be withdrawn and a temporary substitution allowed. An independent doctor should assess the player to decide whether he plays or is substituted. If the player cannot return, the substitute is permanent and counts as one of the three permitted. If all three are all already used, the temporary sub is withdrawn leaving the team to finish the game with ten men.
It says much about football’s mentality that you already think a coach or manager will pull a fast one with such injuries. I don’t think they will. Some, of course, will but the majority won’t.
I know professional sport is about winning but it’s a farcical situation where a player’s health is secondary to that.