Adios Nacho, Ciao Mo and Days in Europa

Jim Steinman reckoned two out of three ain’t bad; this morning sees two Arsenal players leaving and whilst they aren’t bad deals, one isn’t necessarily good.

Mohamed Elneny is now a Besiktas player or for the rest of this season. The Egypt international signed a loan deal and I hope it goes well for him. As midfielders go, he isn’t bad; he just isn’t what we need, or indeed needed at the time.

Unai Emery didn’t fancy him as part of his trio on the pitch. He played more minutes of international football last season than he did in the Premier League; 50% more, just to emphasise the point.

And so he goes. For once the speculation out of the Super Lig has substance.

The (un)surprising move was Nacho Monreal’s departure, one about which I have serious misgivings. Our left-back options are Kolasinac and Tierney. There’s a lot of hope for the latter but the former is very hit and miss. His barrelling runs down the left destroy everything in his path, including his defensive sense.

While the Bosnian is inconsistent, he can’t be all bad. You don’t make the Bundesliga team of the season by being rubbish. We need, however, the good Kolasinac turn up all the while Tierney is recovering.

The decision to sell the Spaniard takes into account formations. Will we revert to a back three, to accommodate Rob Holding? Kolasinac’s better with the security of a left-sided centre-back behind/beside him.

I remember his debut; #2 son and I sat through a numbing performance against Stoke which a Podolski thunderbolt made bearable.

Since then, Monreal has been a consistent performer which was something of a rarity in recent years. Reliable left-backs is something we’re used to; we’re waving goodbye to one too soon in my view.

Mustafi Stays!

That’s what we read into the situation. There are still two days to go until the window closes but nothing says you’re not wanted more than Chris Smalling signing for Roma on loan. Chris Smalling is rated more highly than Mustafi.

Therein is the player and Arsenal’s problem. A year out of the limelight may do his reputation some good but both club and Mustafi know his value is waning.

It’s a situation which decreases his desire to move; the paycuts on offer will be significant and why leave a home where he is settled? Even if he is unwanted.

There is no simple answer to the problem of a tarnished reputation. Mustafi remains stuck to Arsenal more strongly than any superglue or Gorilla tape you can imagine.

And for both parties, that’s no-win.

Days In Europa

The dream of drawing Celtic in the Europa League and crushing their dreams into the sand must wait. We ended up with Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vittoria Guimaraes.

It’s a bog-standard group; Eintracht are a dangerous obstacle but in all honesty, not a stumbling block if we apply ourselves properly.

European football’s absurdity is highlighted by Celtic. They are drawn in the same group as Cluj, the team which knocked them out of the Champions League. It doesn’t bother me that they are in the same group, just that either is in the Europa League.

The latest proposal from the European clubs is to do away with the qualifying rounds and have a 96-team Champions League, divided into sixteen groups of six. There would be six English clubs in the initial group stage.

A sprawling group phase gives way to a knockout round which will be equally ludicrous. I lost the will to live with the initial idea and things didn’t improve as I read further. No team gets knocked out of Europe at this stage; the top two go through to the Champions League while the next and bottom two to the Europa League 1 and Europa League 2.

Essentially, the 96-team phase is a lucrative qualifying round, the very thing they said was being done away with.

As far as this season’s Europa League goes, I don’t see any teams to fear in the draw. Even looking at the Champions League, we can beat anyone.

Anyone except the Premier League teams; we never do that.

Should Unai Emery be worried that we are second-favourites to win? Probably; our ability to screw things up is legendary.

Still, you’ve got to be in it to win it, as they say.

’til Tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “Adios Nacho, Ciao Mo and Days in Europa

  1. Stu says:

    I’m disappointed that we have sold Nacho at this time. Yes, he is past his best. Yes, we do have Tierney who will replace him. Yes, it brings in some money and reduces the wage bill. Yes, it is better for him to move this summer; at 33 and not next year. But none of that is in the best interests of the match day team at this time.

    Tierney may not be fit and then settled into PL football until the new year. Kolasinac is weak defensively. Our back 4/5/3 (I cannot keep up with it) is unsettled through injuries, signings, returners and incompetence.

    I’d have kept Nacho until the January window, then let him go with our blessings.

    Let’s hope his sale doesn’t come back to haunt us.

  2. Michael says:

    I’m sorry to see Nacho leaving for peanuts, I liked him, a consistent player not the best, but a long way from bad. I wonder if the 2 year deal was what he was looking for. Still would have been good if he was available for tomorrow, but que sera.
    Utd not winning gives me a good start for the weekend. 🙂

  3. Steve says:

    I feel the right thing is being done by Arsenal Management. It’s an emotional thing to part with a good professional and a good servant to our club. But decisions have to be taken. If we had done this in years past, we would have been better for it.
    If we play three at the back, the Kola problem is solved, Holding will be accommodated. So what is there to worry about.

  4. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Sad to see Nacho leave (& it’s probably at least 6 months too soon ) but it’s a good move for him & we’ve certainly had his best years.

    Infact, there was a time when he was pretty much on his own in being competitive in the team & he certainly inspired others.

    I also agree with the doubts about Kolasinac. Defending properly is a Charade for him & the quicker Tierney gets fit the better.

  5. Woolwich Freddie says:

    Not happy about this. With the exception of last season, Nacho’s been our most consistent performer since Sagna left. Kolasinac, along with Xhaka, was one of the few surplus players who could have commanded a fee and now we have to keep him. Signing an injured player and selling his cover just smacks of the bad old Arsenal we were supposed to be banishing this transfer window. I personally despise five at the back and we will now probably have to watch it to accommodate Kolasinac.

  6. jonnygunner says:

    I feel the right thing is being done by Arsenal Management. It’s an emotional thing to part with a good professional and a good servant to our club. But decisions have to be taken. If we had done this in years past, we would have been better for it.
    If we play three at the back, the Kola problem is solved, Holding will be accommodated. So what is there to worry about.

    I completely agree Steve.
    He is a very committed and loyal servant,but I would say at least one season beyond his best.

  7. C says:


    Isn’t it funny how Arsenal are taking heat for losing to European Champions and 2nd in the PL Liverpool but we have now seen Spuds lose to Newcastle, Chelsea get another draw and Manure look meh again against a 10 man Southampton side.

  8. Ferkov says:


    Aye C there’s a lot of jokers in the pack. All part of the feeding frenzy. See mugsmashers gaveNew Stoke a good dose of whoopass. Look forward hearing the experts rip the Trolls tactics apart.

  9. Blue Yonder says:

    Pretty much agree with all the comments on Nacho: good club servant, dependable, past his best.
    Do not see the need to move Elneny, even if it’s on loan. He isn’t a starter but so what? While he never enthralls, he never costs the team. He’s a useful role player and what’s wrong with that?
    It isn’t so long ago that Arsenal were desparately short on depth. We won’t be far from that again if/when the injury bug hits.
    In the meantime, the players we really need to move aren’t garnering any interest.
    Just don’t see where these two moves do much for the club.

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