If Celtic fans want to tell me once again that they won’t miss Kieran Tierney, I’ll be here all day. I double-checked the line-ups when I saw the result, just to make sure we didn’t push a sneaky player-exchange for Shkodran Mustafi.
Mustafi is one of those whose name continually comes up when talk of sales arises. Of course, it comes as no surprise when the head coach makes it clear the player has no future at the club, as Unai did.
“I spoke with him when we finished last season,” he said before the trip to Newcastle. “I spoke with him when we started pre-season and I spoke with him also two weeks ago saying maybe there was the possibility he can leave.”
Even in non-footballing terms, that’s a P45 in the post, right there. Mustafi doesn’t have to leave; he can sit and reject every move but there’s a consequence: he won’t play unless there’s a massive injury crisis combined with a raft of suspensions.
This is Arsenal so those circumstances cannot be ruled out.
However, three separate conversations and still here? Mustafi is either stubborn or needs a new agent; his current one may be slacking.
Although if he entices a fee of €30m for Arsenal’s benefit, I take that back and doff my cap in not so silent admiration. I’d admit then that the man could sell ice to Eskimos. Or Innuits, I’m never sure what’s the PC ending to that phrase.
The German is one of a cluster of players but a rarity; he doesn’t divide opinion: everyone thinks he should be sold.
I’ll touch on the others shortly. Don’t worry; I need caffeine to continue with the rest…
It’s Football, Only Football
Wherever I start on these three, there are those who will defend them. Vociferously, that’s for sure. And with Mesut Ozil and Saed Kolasinac, the added nuance of their domestic situations interferes with any conversation on their futures.
Let’s make this clear: the despicable situation they find themselves in has nothing to do with my line of thinking. Nobody, footballer or otherwise, should find themselves in the same nightmare.
This is all for footballing reasons.
With Kolasinac, it’s not hard to make a case for either he or Nacho Monreal to be sold following the signing of Kieran Tierney. For me, the Spaniard remains, despite being a footballing OAP. Almost.
His versatility keeps him at the club, especially if we manage to offload Mustafi. We may need a centre-back even with Sokratis, Chambers, Holding and Luiz on the books.
Kolasinac is useful when you need a battering ram on the left but his delivery – end product, if you like – is woefully inconsistent. Usually in the same match.
For Mustafi and Kolasinac, there’s no reason for them not to be sold in August. For most people, selling the former makes this a 10/10 window. Getting a fee takes it one higher.
What of Mesut Ozil? Almost everything which can be said about him on a football has been written or spoken.
He is talented, technically gifted to the point of being world-class on his day; infuriating, too easily forced to the periphery of the game too often. I don’t think he’s lazy nor do I think his appetite for the game is dulled by his salary.
I don’t why he is inconsistent or doesn’t perform away from home. Let’s be honest though, we’ve been rubbish for several seasons and rather than him inspiring players, they dragged him down to their level.
It’s Now or Nev…Sorry, January
It happens and I think this is the time for a parting of the ways, which I said earlier this summer before the current madness engulfed him and Kola.
The press tells us he’s not interested in a move to the MLS. In the next breath, his agent, we’re told, is meeting DC United, having spoken to them regularly in recent years. Of course he’s interested in a move to the USA. It’s a retirement home and that suits his laconic style.
And let’s be honest, if his agent was meeting Bayern Munich, it would happen in Europe. There are plenty of cities where meetings could be held that throw the newshounds off the scent.
Timing clouds the issue. DC United lose Wayne Rooney in January; the timing suits us. It gives us time to see how Dani Ceballos settles, is Joe Willock really ready (yes). Any doubts and we keep Ozil unti the summer.
There is no way, however, he and Kola aren’t thinking of leaving London. Mrs K reportedly returned to Germany, according to the media. It highlights that the current situation cannot be ignored.
But if you think Arsenal should cynically exploit it, have a word with yourself.
Which brings us to Granit Xhaka. The millennial Steve Williams; in equal measure snarky, miserable and technically brilliant.
There is just one difference; Willow didn’t let the pace of the game pass him by. Xhaka…?
I thought he was poor at Newcastle, but Mkhitaryan was worse. Others think he and Mkhi did well; football and opinions, eh.
However, Torreira is a better defensive option. Xhaka isn’t a defensive midfielder; he wasn’t at Monchengladbach nor for the Swiss international side, on the occasions I’ve seen him. I do think he is in the XI more for leadership than anything else.
C’mere, There’s One More…
I mentioned Mkhitaryan earlier, which reminded me he was still here. Is he a ‘one-season wonder’? It’s interesting that in both his final seasons with Shakhtar and Dortmund that he hit 20+ goals. In between, he’s struggling to scrape half those totals.
I’d be happy if he scored 15 a season. In fact, I’d be clamouring for him to be in the side but let’s be honest, his form since moving to England is little short of wretched.
His miss at Newcastle pointed to a player shorn of confidence but the pass in setting Aubameyang free of the Barcodes defence was sublime. Definitely a Jekyll and Hyde player; sadly it’s more of the hideous monster performances than anything else.
Like Mustafi, I think a move will see confidence restored and is very necessary. Both will probably need to accept a salary drop; are they prepared to do so or is money more important than playing every week? That’s modern football’s dilemma. Winston Bogarde is no longer an unusual case.
Whether the club manages to sell any of the quartet which morphed into a quintet remains to be seen. European transfer windows close at the end of the month; in footballing terms, that’s a lifetime away.
But freeing up those funds from the wage bill and receiving fees allow us to spend in January. We may need to if the fickle finger of fate points bad luck in our direction.