The Great Arsenal Sale: Can Raul Really Outsmart The Market?

Is this the start of a new week or does the bank holiday mean that Tuesday is the new Monday? It’s hellishly early for me, whatever the answer to that question is.

Liverpool is yesterday’s result and navel-gazing must end. Well, it wasn’t yesterday’s result obviously; that was Tottenham losing at home to the Barcodes with a squad that their self-anointed head coach decreed lacked unity and desire.

Whatever else you think of them – and most of it isn’t publishable in polite society – they are the gift which keeps on giving.

In the lead up to the weekend’s north London derby, the major European leagues end their summer madness. The transfer window finally closes.

Already, we see the signs of appeasing fans surfacing. Mohammed Elneny received an offer from Turkey this morning which essentially gave him a 50% pay cut in return for first-team football.

Or to put it another way, if he doesn’t fulfil a coach’s need, a 50% pay cut and not improve his playing career.

It was nothing more than a PR stunt by Galatasaray. They make loads of these offers through the Turkish press, appeasing supporters by looking busy.

Galatasaray execs pray he won’t accept. They perfected the “Dagnabbit, we tried” story and are completely unprepared for the “WTF? He accepted??” line.

They aren’t ready to be dropped in the cart by having to sign someone.

Even in our current reduced circumstances, most must take a pay cut when they leave Arsenal. But clubs must be realistic as well. That’s realistic in a ‘real world’ sense not a ‘football world’ sense.

Crystal Palace, a few years back, tried to sign Carl Jenkinson. It fell through and their manager – Sam Allardyce, I believe – made it clear in the press that it was down to greed.

Tricky Decisions

In January 2017, Jenks made it clear that it wasn’t that black-and-white. Palace offered a small pay rise but wanted him to take a 40% pay cut if they were relegated.

No sense that the entire deal was worth the same overall; just that he had to suffer the pain to a greater degree than the club. Not only that, not all squad members had that clause. Jenkinson unsurprisingly refused their generosity.

Jenkinson said in that interview he wouldn’t run his contract down without playing. He was true to his word – just – and finally left this summer. But what of Elneny and Shkodran Mustafi?

These guys are, or were, regular internationals. They played at the highest level and still do. Personal pride must drive them on and, certainly in Elneny’s case, a desire to keep his place in the national team.

Can they ‘afford’ to sit it out at Arsenal?

There’s a feeling the club is exasperated by the situation. Some found Unai Emery’s decision to speak out about the pair specifically distasteful. A side to the ‘new Arsenal’ they didn’t like. Yet all he was doing was speaking the lingua franca of the Premier League.

He couched the message in personal terms. The Spaniard made it clear that they “know their situation in the squad”; they are not “protagonists” and won’t even get a game in the Carabao Cup.

Emery thought it better for them to move on and “be happy”. He had after all spoken “with them a lot of times last year and in this pre-season” because “last year when they did not play, they were not happy.”

A tarted-up way of saying “do one”.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Is a move necessary for their self-esteem? Friends and teammates look at them with pity; there but for the grace of God.

It must surely be better for their confidence, self-belief and every other bit of their psychology to walk away; to take the hint. There is a time to try to fight back, to try to win a manager over. But that public an execution? It’s over; your number is up.

Players are, however, no longer serfs and Raul is going to have to earn his corn. He’s got to balance the need for a fee with the need to free up the wage bill.

If he’s really going to outsmart the market, now’s a good time to do that.

Of course, Elneny and Mustafi are the only ones who could leave. They are just the most obvious targets. Others such as Kolasinac, Monreal and Mkhitaryan must wonder if they are in a similar boat.

The usual stories from the Basque country surfaced recently. Bilbao or Sociedad always want Nacho but they aren’t willing to pay the price. It’s a summer ritual much like the Turkish one.

There’s a case for selling and keeping both; let’s be clear though, only one can leave. Monreal, with his experience and versatility, is ideal for Emery as he tries to tighten the defence. A left-back or left-sided central defender in a three? Gold dust, albeit tinged by age.

Kolasinac is the archetypal Emery full-back cum wing-back; bombing on down the flank with no defensive cares in the world. External circumstances may make him more likely to depart.

Which brings us to a troublesome midfield trio: Xhaka, Ozil and Mkhitaryan.

The German is the easiest to deal with. If he leaves, it’s a January move to DC United when they lose Wayne Rooney.

Crazy Horses

The Turkish clubs can’t afford him unless he leaves on a free. Arsenal can’t afford to release him on a free unless he writes off all commitments due under his contract.

Sadly, no other European club views him as worth the salary he earns at Arsenal. It’s the same as Alexis at United; they must pay Inter half his wages if that deal is to go through.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is in a similar boat. His wages are big, a result of Arsenal’s desperation to make a big-name signing. As it turned out, only his surname met that billing. I’m not sure we got the better of shifting Alexis by taking ‘Mkhi’.

The folly of turning down £60m for Alexis from Manchester City increases with time.

Which leaves Granit Xhaka. What to do with a problem like Granit? He has the technical ability to thrive in England; just not in the defensive role in which Arsenal insist on using him.

When the club has a specialist defensive midfielder in Lucas Torreira, including Xhaka on ability is all the more baffling.

I understand the leadership angle and with the trio of Ceballos, Guendouzi and Willock, there’s a case for Xhaka to be made. However, Anfield undermined that.

Do they need Xhaka to guide them? Can Luiz do that from the centre of defence? OK, he didn’t cover himself in glory either.

While I’m not a fan of his, I would hold onto him for the rest of the season but as a squad member. The Europa League, FA and Carabao cups captain; in the Premier League, it is Torreira every time for me.

So, that’s the squad decimated. Watch this space for the complaints when injuries strike. Who’d be a football manager/coach/administrator?

‘til Tomorrow.

20 thoughts on “The Great Arsenal Sale: Can Raul Really Outsmart The Market?

  1. Lari03 says:

    Good morning.

    I share your thoughts on Xhaka. I think Chambers should also play DM rotating with Torreira. And when Bellerin returns to RB, Maitland Niles could also return to playing in the middle.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Ferkov says:

    AMN has certainly had his defensive antennae tuned over the past year. He’s less prone to leaving his man on too long a leash this year than last. Could be a force at cdm .
    That’s assuming Hector comes back with full powers reinstated. Surgeons and moreso physios have a much better record in recent years, but it’s never a Given.
    Be interesting to see Chambers there for Arsenal. Rave reviews at Fulham….. diffrent strokes Willis.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Damon says:

    Morning

    Agree with all of that YW, will be interesting to see who leaves in the next week

    For those interested, cricket… bloody hell!! Jon Jon, you’re a very lucky man to have been there, I hope you enjoyed every second of that!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. Lari03 says:

    Ferkov,

    I was thinking about the Liverpool midfield and if we had Torreira, Maitland Niles and Willock then it would create an Arsenal midfield resembling the Liverpool midfield, even though it has been opined that their midfield is their weakest link.

    Increasing pace and passing options could bode well for our team in the long run. Leaving the opportunity to rotate with Guendouzi, Xhaka and Smith-Rowe if he comes into the senior team as back up to Ceballos.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. Ferkov says:

    Lari03,

    Creatively,their midfield may be they’re weakest link, but athletically they are a force, and they are very well drilled at the repossession game. They have 2 years on us in those stakes, and that told. They are robust in the tackle, but rarely singlehanded either, so have someone there to clear away the dispossessed ball. I agree, Terrier, AMN and probably the future Willock could match that intensity and physicality, and outgun them in creativity. Still interested to see what Chambers can offer us.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    Its become pretty clear over the years that not many players are willing to take a significant pay cut to move to another team where they might get more minutes. Myself I do not blame them. Football careers are short and the players have to make as much money as they can while they are able. There is no shortage of players who can ping hundreds of 10 yard sideways passes around the midfield and no other team is going to be foolish enough to give a player like Elneny another big contract. I understand he might lose his place in the international team but that does not outweigh millions of dollars in lost wages. Why would anyone voluntarily give up millions of dollars? The fact that we gave players like Elneny Mustafi Mkhitaryan and Ozil their big contracts is just another example of how poorly the club was managed under the Wenger/Gazidis regime.

    Regarding Xhaka I have never been a fan and I hope we can move him but we need to buy someone better. Unfortunately, I am not sure that Emery is as convinced as we are that Torriera is a better option as the deepest central midfielder. He had an underwhelming first season in England and he certainly wasn’t the defensive player we had hoped. He has also lost his place in the starting 11 in the Uruguay squad. He only started 1 of the 7 games last with Uruguay last summer and was an unused sub in a couple of the games including the Copa America tournament. There has to be a reason for that. Perhaps we over rate him. I think Raul and edu still need to spend some money in the next couple of transfer windows to rebuild the midfield.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. jonnygunner says:

    YW:
    The Mail claim a lot of things. Most of ‘em aren’t true

    And Nacho….he’s off too…..according to the Mail………

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. Las says:

    Good day.
    Great post YW, I could not agree more.
    Our problem is right now that our world-class midfielders are not really world-class (if they ever really were) and what is more, they are a liability.
    In the latter part of his reign, AW just lost his magic touch and he was not able to find unpolished diamonds like Henry, Overmars or Fabregas. Many of his miscue/slip-ups cost a lot to us, however bad luck also was involved. Eduardo, Ramsey or Cazorla could have been a real hit if they could avoid their terrible injury. But his late decisions going for Sanchez-then-Mikhy, Özil, Xhaka were driven by desperation. Unfortunately.
    (btw. PEA and Laca were great acquisitions though)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. Ferkov says:

    Bill,

    A strong bid for Terrier was completely knocked back tho, allegedly. And that’s from the torygraph

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  10. Bill says:

    Ferkov:
    Bill,

    A strong bid for Terrier was completely knocked back tho, allegedly. And that’s from the torygraph

    I hope that is true. The Copa America was finished 2 months ago and Torriera only started one game during the tournament so he did not play very many minutes during the summer and he certainly should be fit by now. I don’t understand why Emery would leave him out of the starting line up in a big game like Liverpool where he knew we needed the strongest defensive team he could put on the pitch.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    Ferkov:
    Lari03,

    Creatively,their midfield may be they’re weakest link, but athletically they are a force, and they are very well drilled at the repossession game. They have 2 years on us in those stakes, and that told. They are robust in the tackle, but rarely singlehanded either, so have someone there to clear away the dispossessed ball. I agree, Terrier, AMN and probably the future Willock could match that intensity and physicality, and outgun them in creativity. Still interested to see what Chambers can offer us.

    So this is why we needed to change the tactics for that game. IMO the manager got it wrong. We did it against Chelsea two season’s ago. Just go and park the bus. Play out a draw. Would that have been so difficult? No, but at AFC it’s about attack, attack, attack! We’re not Manure! We haven’t won a league title in how long? Yes we can compete, as long as the tactics suit the opposition.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  12. HenryNorrisDialSquare says:

    I’d like to see a midfield of Terrier, AMN, Willock and rotate Chamber’s for any of the three. But that’s all dependent on Bellerin coming back as good as he was. Also who cover’s for Bellerin if he gets injured? I’d rather we have a better defensive option than using AMN out of position. Unfortunately I don’t think the manager has this kind of foresight.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  13. Ferkov says:

    We should apply next time.
    I’ve got a degree in bullshit. That’s good for press conferences for a start.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  14. jonnygunner says:

    Ferkov:
    We should apply next time.
    I’ve got a degree in bullshit. That’s good for press conferences for a start.

    I concur with that Ferkov-you’ve got my vote

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  15. Ferkov says:

    Right . Pressures on Meeester Emery.
    Where’s Yogi?
    On holidays here. Need a wordsmith fix

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: