Ozil angling for major club attention | What does a football director bring?

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Wenger dropped conversation around Olivier Giroud being our first team striker next season. In the interview, he states that he’ll be the first team striker next summer, but he has strong and weak moments… I guess, like not scoring in 20 odd games.

For me, Wenger should be looking at Olivier, realise he’s now 29 years old and he should be ruthless. Is he good enough to lead our line? No. What would happen to our title challenge if a new striker was injured for 9 months? It’d falter. Wenger should be shipping him on. He’s not getting any younger, he’s unlikely to find world class form and he’s a big reason we’re not top of the league.

Our manager isn’t ruthless enough for that sort of carry on. One more season… seems to be the mantra. He should be taking a machete to that squad this summer. He doesn’t need to spend hundreds of millions to replace our failing players. He needs to look at what the forward line lacked and replace it. Is there much point in us having a lumbering striker who lacks mobility and finishing grace? I’m not so sure. Maybe we find a younger version. Someone who has power, height and potential and we sign someone who is established. But point is, if you can’t score 30 goals with Mesut in the side, there’s no point you being at Arsenal.

Arsenal lagging on the Xhaka signing. Everyone knows he’s coming, but we’re still messing around announcing it. We really do know how to spoil the party. At least there’s one name down. I’d love to know where the others are coming from?

A few asked why I’m so insistent on Santi being replaced. For me, he’s struggled with fatigue quite a bit over the last few seasons, he’s just had a major injury and he’s super integral to our team. He doesn’t need to be moved on, but surely we need to be thinking about having someone in the side who can at least replicate his importance… or grow into it. For me, our title died with his injury… it was apparent at the start of last summer we had no one who could do what he could do. So we really need to find a replacement this summer.

The Mesut Ozil panto continues to roll on…

“I still have two years contract with Arsenal, as you know, and we will be in talks with the club and we’ll see what happens in the future”

“But as I said, now I’m concentrating on Euro 2016 in France, which is very important for me and my team after the last World Cup. Then later on, I will see what I do with Arsenal.”

Seems like he and Sanchez are both either angling for mega money, or they’re desperately trying to get away from a club they know won’t compete under Arsene Wenger. When you’re super rich, cash isn’t an issue in your life, winning things is.

Playing in a super basic setup, with a lot of drossy players can’t be that exciting even if you have a huge pay cheque dropping every couple of weeks. It’d be a big blow to Wenger to lose those two players. Sanchez is electric and a crowd pleaser, Ozil is a pass master, he keeps the football hipsters involved. I wouldn’t really be that upset if they moved on… providing we brought in outstanding replacements.

Sanchez has many flaws in his game we know Wenger can’t rectify… because Pep couldn’t. Ozil tails off horrendously for at least half a season every season. He wasn’t interested during the back end of the year. Praise him all you want for his sublime passing… he didn’t do a good job in the last half of the year. He didn’t really add goals to his game. He didn’t lead.

Who is out there that could replace him? Not many. But look, if players want out, send them packing. Just make sure we’re not left with our pants down like we so often have been in the past.

Finally, a fascinating article from Sid Lowe on Monchi of Sevilla. He’s their sporting director. He turned the club into a profit making force that wins trophies, some of the stellar lines…

“No one takes a ‘what great economic results’ banner to the stadium,”

Love that. I’m sure I’ve seen that banner at Arsenal, along with ‘Substandard camembert will not be tolerated.’

He also gets into his approach to scouting players.

“Sixteen people cover a series of leagues. For the first five months we watch a lot of football but with no particular aim: we’re just accumulating data. Every month we produce an ideal XI for each league. Then in December we start watching players who appeared regularly in different contexts – home, away, international – to build the broadest possible profile.”

You wonder how the Arsenal approach works? Is it weak scouting, or is it weak activation on the reccomendations from Wenger? I think maybe a mix of both. I know that Steve Rowley isn’t exactly the man he used to be. Man of yesteryear, not exactly a data beast like so many of the younger ones are who are coming through. Perhaps he should have been moved on a few years ago.

This bit about negotiations is also interesting.

“The guy selling a Seat Leon will claim it’s a better model,” Monchi says. “Kanouté wasn’t the first option; we were going after Fred, the Brazilian. We wanted [Kevin-Prince] Boateng before Keita. And if a player says: ‘Chelsea want me,’ I say: ‘What are you talking to me for, then?’ But if Swansea or Spurs want you, let’s talk. I sell the city, the club: a serious club that pays as promised, which sounds trivial but isn’t.”

Love the bit about Spurs. Also love the idea of having back-ups. We don’t land Suarez, we have no one. We don’t land Benzema, we go with no one. So many times over the years we’ve gone for the eggs in one basket approach. Which shows you there’s something fundamentally corrupt in our approach. We never have a plan b, and look, there can’t be such thing as no plan b in a world jam packed with footballers.

This isn’t the approach of some tin pot club either, it’s the approach of a club that’s winning European competitions. We have more resource than them, better facilities in a more widely adored City. We should be finding these sort of options on a more regular basis.

You also wonder how good his relations are in the game. Is being more of a football man a benefit because you get access to better players? It’ll be very interesting to see whether Arsenal load up with a football director figure when Wenger leaves, because it makes total sense to me. A manager cannot be good at everything and the power of opinion resting in one persons hands isn’t a smart way to grow a successful business. You need to have a multitude of expertise and opinions weighing in because football is about specialists nowadays… not personalities.

Anyway, good times. Have a great day!

784 Responses to “Ozil angling for major club attention | What does a football director bring?”

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  1. Bankz

    I return with a bang for my TRO4FY!
    Last season was a mess and I don’t care for the fact we finished 2nd after 11yrs.
    The league was gifted to us and Wenger and we threw it away.

    Wenger waited over a decade for a season like this when all the BIG GUNS would have an off season,so he can win on the cheap and he still managed to fuck it over.

  2. MrT

    I don’t mind Sanchez leaving but Ozil. Who is going to replace him? Sanchez seems a little bit scattered honestly

  3. psymon001

    Isco would be a dream signing. Still not starting week in week put for Madrid. Not getting my hopes up though…

  4. salparadisenyc

    Last thing we need to be doing is selling Sanchez, Ozil, Koz or Cech.
    We get Xhaka and a CF in thats a solid spine.

    Giroud for me is expendable, if were willing to turn it around on Lewandowski, Higuain, Lukaku etc. The kind of move Wenger will absolutely not make.

  5. Danny

    I take it for granted that Ozil and Alexis will leave and who can blame them? Wenger is a crap manager now. Losing at home to W.Ham and Swansea plus Watford in the cup and Olympiacos – shit, forget it.

  6. Emiratesstroller

    I think that everyone knows by now that statements about Arsenal’s potential
    transfer budget made in May just before season tickets are renewed on 1st June should be taken with a ‘pinch of salt’.

    There is frankly little chance that Arsenal will spend more than £80 million this summer UNLESS we are making significant sales as well.

    Wenger has suggested already that he is likely to make perhaps 2-3 new
    acquisitions this summer and frankly I BELIEVE him. I don’t think that there
    is much likelihood of more UNLESS Arsenal are forced to sell SANCHEZ and/or OZIL.

    So the question is where do you spend the money?

    I think that it is clear that Xhaka is coming to Arsenal. That is likely to cost
    between £30-35 million.

    My gut feeling is that there will be no material change to our defence this
    summer unless it is a low budget squad signing.

    So the balance of the money, which we are likely spend is going to be on offensive positions specifically a striker to compete with Giroud and/or a winger to replace either Walcott or Ox.

    My dilemma is that I don’t think that Wenger is going to spend £30 million +
    on more than two players this summer. At least one player will be a relatively
    low budget player. So the question is do you spend the bulk of money on a
    World Class Winger or an average Striker like Morata?

  7. Jeff

    Pedro,

    I’m not at all as sure as you that Xhaka is coming. Experience shows that where a high profile link goes on and on (like Higuain, Draxler and Suarez), it usually just fizzles out.

  8. Emiratesstroller

    Jeff

    The season ended on Sunday and the transfer window opens officially on 1st July so I would not expect Arsenal to start negotiating with Borussia until this week at earliest.

    Also you have to consider whether Arsenal need/want to complete the transfer before 31st May which is end of their current financial year.

  9. Jamie

    I’m not sure it matters when the agreement between clubs/player is made. The transfer doesn’t go through until the July 1st, so I assume neither does the money.

    Get the negotiations completed early and contracts signed before any prices sky-rocket during the Euros.

    Of course, Wenger loves the deadline day bargains.

  10. slade

    “My dilemma is that I don’t think that Wenger is going to spend £30 million +
    on more than two players this summer. At least one player will be a relatively
    low budget player. So the question is do you spend the bulk of money on a
    World Class Winger or an average Striker like Morata?”

    If Wenger is “ambitious” as you have stated many, many times, then why not spend 30 million + on 3 players?

  11. Cesc Appeal

    Monchengladbach confirm ‘concrete’ offer for Xhaka received and agreement is close according to ESPN.

  12. Emiratesstroller

    slade

    I used the word ambitious in a different context and not about his transfer business.

    As I have said I don’t see him going out this summer and spending £30 million + on three players.

    Realistically there are very few clubs who would do.

  13. Cesc Appeal

    Equally there are very few clubs who would have sat on their hands all through a summer transfer window with obvious gaps in their squad and a large transfer budget.

    But we did that.

  14. DM

    Bankz?! Where have you been dude?

    Congrats to all. I wont tell you my excuse – don’t worry though, I do have one! 🙂

  15. STV

    This has been going on 8 years and the Manager and his team don’t change a bit. You got to give it to Wenger such an insane level of stubborness and stupidity over long periods of time, still going on as if nothing happened.

  16. Joe

    Cesc

    It’s probably Chelsea or city who have moved on him while wenger waits for his Y/E to make the reports look better.

    While real football clubs worry about the actual football

  17. bennydevito

    Guess who’s back?
    Back again
    Bankz is back tell DM
    Guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back….

    Haha!

    Where you been Bankz? Even DM has backed off with no credible rival… No N5 either….Mr T has been giving it a good go though.

    Evening Grovers,

    Good post Pedro.

    I’m not going to be getting into who we should and shouldn’t sign because we do it every year and end up like the naughty kid at Christmas with a lump of fucking coal.

    I ain’t going.

    However I actually do feel Lukaku would be a good shout around the £30m mark. Maybe we could offer Everton a cool £60m for Lukaku and Stones?

    Aaargh! I said I wouldn’t get into this!!!

  18. Joe

    Bayern being a perfect example of a properly run football club. The new manager isn’t even there yet and announced two new signings

  19. STV

    Jeff probably. Even if everything fell to right place there’s always Wenger who comes in the way. The transfers have to pass through the biggest obstacle. There were reports then indicating he personally blocked Higuain and Dybala deals after initially showing much interest. Nothing is certain I think too.

  20. slade

    Used ambitious in a different context?
    Correct me if I am wrong, the man’s title is football manager. He is in charge of a football team. The ambitions of a football manager are not contextual-that is your subjective opinion. By definition a football manager should be ambitious. Period. That ambition should extend to every facet of his/her duties as a football manager.

    It is you who contextualizes the ambition (or non-ambition) of Wenger to fit your narrative.

  21. BacaryisGod

    What Arsene said about Giroud is fine. He’s first-choice right now and we are going to buy a new striker. After that, they’ll be fighting for the starting place. The real question will be where Arsene is looking for that top striker. We know it won’t be Lukaku as you can currently get 40-1 on him coming and we’re behind about 10 other teams in the odds there (including 1-1 for him going back to Chelsea).

    The Cazorla discussion is a non-issue. If Xhaka comes in, we’ll have Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla, Coquelin, Elneny and Xhaka competing for the two central midfield spots behind Ozil, with Wilshere, Ramsey and Cazorla all capable of filling in for the German. These positions are where we’re most loaded and that’s ignoring the potential of Ox being moved to central midfield. It’s easy to say we’re losing three players and they should all be replaced but they played a combined 12 games (all Flamini) so for me it’s better to just bring in Xhaka and strengthen elsewhere in the squad.

  22. Joe

    Wengers ambition on the finances side tells me he is invested in the money side of things. It has to benefit him financially.

    And the last decade shows it financial ambition trumps his footballing ambition

    A manager who is football ambitious doesn’t go a summer and not buy a outfield player when you finished 12 points behind the leaders

    It’s so obvious he has something to gain financially and that’s more important to him

  23. BacaryisGod

    Here’s where Arsene is going to mess up frankly. We’re badly needing a more commanding partner for Koscielny. Mertesacker is creaking, Chambers too raw and Gabriel is still too erratic. I think Arsene is going to stick with these 4 next season but this is where we’ll be found wanting in key matches.

    He may tinker in the full-back positions (eg. Jenks in as back-up and shipping out Debuchy) but it looks like we’ll be mostly unchanged. It’s highly likely that we’ll be seeing Theo leave and that we’ll find a wide replacement for him and other than the new CF, that’ll be about it.

    However, even if Ozil and Alexis don’t renew, I can’t see us selling either of them this summer.

  24. Joe

    Wilshere, injured all the time and improved. Why keep him?

    Ramsey, crap should be sold.

    Cazorla, old Needs to be replaced

    Coquelin, like him

    Elneny average.

  25. Jeff

    STV/Emirates,

    I’m only going by experience. It’s not exactly Wenger’s début at this sort of thing and we know a deal can be scuppered at any time. There is absolutely no point in paying any credence to any link or report until the player is actually posing for photos holding or wearing the shirt.

  26. BacaryisGod

    Finally, let’s not just compare ourselves with Bayern. If Xhaka signs shortly, he’ll be the first major signing for any Premier League side this summer.

  27. Sixx Pac

    If Arsenal sell Mesut then we might as well just fold as a club tbh. I think he’s the most attractive thing about the club at the moment and it would send a horrible signal to our potential targets.

    The Xhaka deal is clearly done. It quite early so there is no need to announce the signing just yet. I think it will be announced soon though.

  28. Bamford10

    Emirates

    Let me help you: one, if we were to sign a Mahrez and a Janssen — the latter is absolutely mediocre, btw — we would do nothing next season. Nothing.

    Whether Janssen leads the line or Giroud leads the line, any XI with either of those two leading the line will do nothing of note.

    You seem to imagine that because Janssen scored x number of goals in the Eredivisie this year that we can simply add that tally to our total next year.

    Could your analysis get any more simplistic and wrong-headed? Jozy fucking Altidore scored loads of goals for AZ Alkmaar. If we had signed him, could we have simply slotted him in and added his Eredivisie goal tally to our total tally?

    No.

    As for Morata, he’s often played wide or as a second striker, and he hasn’t always gotten as much playing time for Juventus as he would for us. You can’t look at his 10 goals without any context. You have to look at where he was played, in what formation, what kind of goals he scored, what kinds of matches he scored them in, against what competition, etc.

    Your analysis is far too simplistic.

    Further, I’d say we need a better CF more than we need a better wide right player, though in truth we need both.

    No question, though, we will do nothing of note if either Giroud or Janssen (egats!) is leading the line. Nothing.

  29. BacaryisGod

    Joe-

    Santi is 31. He’s got at least two more years playing at a top level and will be a valuable part of the team even if he doesn’t play every game.

    Wilshere is a luxury but well worth the risk. He’s still only 24.

    Ramsey is frustrating, but anyone who saw him during that purple patch a couple of seasons ago knows he’s capable of greatness. We should see if he can show it next season and if not, he can be moved on. He’s still 25 and entering his peak years.

    I like Coquelin too.

    Elneny is promising and fitted in much more quickly than anyone expected. He’ll get better too.

    Xhaka could be a beast and the player we build our team around.

    Look at Man City for example in those two CM positions:

    Fernando, Fernandinho, YaYa Toure, Delph.

    At a pinch you could put Nasri in there but he hasn’t been used in CM by City for years.

  30. STV

    Janssen is a very good player and will be a great cover for Welbeck and one for the future, but not nesseserly required right now. What we need though is someone who can replace Giroud our main striker. We need no ordinary striker but a proven goal scorer.

    I’d go for any of these 3 Higuain Dybala Aubemeyang. We can even consider bidding for Griezmann and him alternating positions along the front 3.

  31. Cesc Appeal

    The problem is, you have to stop looking at our team as names, I said last year, the problem is illusory depth (because of injuries) but also, when looking at our midfield, its all well and good talking about names, but what about balance. How many of those players together effect a balance that could be described as a great partnership?

    Most of them seems to be three man middle material, Xhaka will be a great acquisition, but who partners him, because of Ozil we will always play a 4-2-3-1 or similar, so you have Xhaka and then a partner, the most balanced is probably Elneny, which is a terribly sad indictment on our central situation.

    Wilshere? Too injury prone, weak on the ball as well and seems to drop us in the shit losing possession and then worse, he falls over.

    Ramsey? Just don’t know what he is, or what he wants to be, goes full I Am Legend most games and cannot even get the basics right.

    Caz? Probably the most technically able player in our side, wonderful in possession, but no presence at all, poor stamina and no physicality.

    Elneny? Decent, average, steady type of squad player. But I certainly wouldn’t feel great about seeing him as a starting CM next year.

    Coq? Good in terms of defence, not really a refined player, not great in possession, the reason why Caz was put into CM and Ramsey into RM, to bth offset his weaknesses but then also make sure Ramsey could overload the middle and cover for Caz’s physical weaknesses.

    Xhaka is great, but I don’t see who is the ideal partner in a two man middle, a three man middle and we’d be fine. But are you going to bench Ozil?

  32. BacaryisGod

    Wow, that’s on the negative side, Cesc!

    We know Santi and Coq were an excellent partnership and both of them could partner with Xhaka (Coq for a more defensive look and Cazorla for an attacking one). I already said that Wilshere is a luxury but he was looking very good in the last couple of games and is worth keeping . He might just have a storming Euros and come into next season with a head of steam.

    If Xhaka is as good as we hope he is, then both Wilshere and Ramsey could shine alongside him. Elneny is a similar player to Ramsey so perhaps it’s Ramsey who’ll be the odd man out next season.

  33. Marc

    Cesc

    So we shouldn’t sign a good / very good player because our other players aren’t good enough?

    You’re in a tailspin mate and need to stop being so fucking miserable. It’s like the bit in Fever Pitch where the main character is complaining we scored a goal at Anfield when we need to win 0 – 2.

    I think we’ll see two decent / marquee signings this summer plus one other with maybe a kid or two. It won’t solve all of the problems and we’ll still hit the same issues until we have some fresh ideas at the top but it’s better than fuck all. It’s all about making the best of a poor situation for the next season or couple. Half the commenters on here have no idea what being a fan is about.

  34. Redtruth

    Marc

    A fan is is someone who expects and demands to win trophies and not settling for making the best of a poor situation as you do…you fairy

  35. vicky

    A few posters on Le Grove including Pedro write Santi off at the start of every season and yet he always performs way better than any other midfielder at our club. If we sign Xhaka, I will like to see him along side Santi.

  36. Marc

    Redtruth

    So what should the fans of Huddersfield do? What should the fans of Fleetwood do?

    All fans should demand the club competes to the best level it can, something we are not doing but too many on here act as if we have a god given right to be at the top. Life doesn’t work like that.

  37. Childish Gambino

    i’d buy Deulofeu from Everton. He’s more talented than Theo or Ox and can actually cross. £12.5M should be able to buy him.

  38. vicky

    Also a bit premature to write off Elneny too. May be he will turn out to be just a decent/average player but in the little time he has played, he has done well. He just has to beef up his defensive game a bit, he can pass, he has got stamina, makes himself available for passes even in attacking third , can shoot well. Ramsey has been bang average for so many years and yet people have time for him, not for Elneny ?

  39. Thanos

    The 4 signings we should do are Xhaka Kante- stones and lukaku/ higuian either of those 2 upfront, stones is young and learning but still better than everyone bar kos

  40. Cesc Appeal

    Marc

    Yeah, that is exactly what I said, ffs.

    Did you miss the ‘Xhaka is a great signing’ bit, or chose not to read it, probably the latter, Xhaka is a great signing, but doesn’t solve our midfield problem, because we don’t have a partner for him.

  41. Cesc Appeal

    No one is writing anyone off, what is it with some people, either you’re saying a player is great, or shit.

    Did you miss the fucking break down over the players qualities next to their weaknesses.

  42. vicky

    Cesc why so worked up ?

    “Elneny? Decent, average, steady type of squad player.”

    if you term him squad player already , you are writing him off.

  43. Childish Gambino

    In an okay setting, my team for next season willl be:

    GK: Cech,Ospina
    DF: Bellerin, Stones, Kos, Monreal (Cham,Per,Gab, NewLB)
    CM/DM: Coq, ELneny, Kante, Santi
    AM: Ozil, wilshere,Ramsey
    RW: Deulofeu, Sissoko, Campbell
    LW: Alexis,Iwobi
    CF: Morata,Giroud, Welbeck

    INS: Sissoko (£10M), Deulofeu (£15M), Morata (£35M), Kante (£25M), Stones (£32M)
    OUTS: Walcott (15M), AOC (12.5M), Gibbs (6.5M), Sanogo (2.5M), Jenks (4M), Debuchy (3.5M)
    Wage bill off: arterta (80k), Rosicky (65k), Flamini (50k)

  44. reality check

    Is xhaka a major signing… really?
    Is it the same as if we bought toni kroos? Are we happy with Wenger for 3 more years.

    There’s no way Wenger spends outside his comfort zone and leaves the very next season. Its like a gift and a curse. You want signings (gift) but that means wenger will stay for longer (curse).

    Still, we have no say. Even the Wenger supporters. You have no say at your own club. You may agree with and support wenger. But he isn’t in need of your agreement or support. I mean this is a pathetic situation. If every single Wenger supporter became an WOB tomorrow
    It’d make absolutely no difference to Wenger his plans or the board..

    AKBs and WOB… We’re as irrelevant as each other.

  45. Cesc Appeal

    Vicky

    Why is it? Because we don’t need squad players, because handy players off the bench are ‘write offs?’

    If you want to play the wait and see game with a player again, fine, I don’t want to do that, I’ve harped on about our central midfield for season after season and it was brutally exposed this year, I’m done with gambles and waiting.

    If you want to fine. Don’t complain about it next season though.

  46. vicky

    Cesc

    I am not even suggesting Elneny is the next Yaya Toure. All I am saying is probably we are judging him too soon.

    Also I get the excitement about Xhaka signing but Ozil and Di Maria were and still are bigger names in the game than Xhaka and the two didn’t really set premium league alight. So, to say he is the big hope and solution to our midfield problems even before him playing a minute for us is jumping the gun while at the same time deeming Santi and Elneny not even good enough to partner him. Who knows how will things turn out ?

  47. Alex Cutter

    ” he always performs way better than any other midfielder at our club.”

    Talk about damning with faint praise.

  48. Cesc Appeal

    Vicky

    Where did I say Xhaka is the solution…this entire conversation started with me saying he wasn’t.

  49. vicky

    Cesc, if I read your post correctly your main argument was while Xhaka is great, we don’t have a good partner for him. So, obviously you infer he is a right fit while you’re not sure about others like Santi, Jack, Elneny etc. Anyways, let’s leave it at that. We will see how it pans out.

  50. Honest Bill

    Reliable Sauce

    Glad i’m not the only one who noticed that…

    On a slightly less ridiculous note: You guys don’t believe we’re actually signing this Xhaka, do you?

  51. Marko

    Xhaka is great, but I don’t see who is the ideal partner in a two man middle, a three man middle and we’d be fine. But are you going to bench Ozil?

    Kante or Danilo of Porto. Hypothetical anyway all this stuff with Wenger cause signings and whatnot you don’t forget his favourites and no matter how bad Ramsey or Wilshere are they gotta play or how perfect Xhaka would be with Danilo or Kante we’ve gotta play Cazorla. I mean we should be signing Mihktaryan but he’ll still play Ramsey, Cazorla and Ozil somehow. Honestly 3 players and Giroud being kept on along with Walcott and one of Ramsey or Wilshere isn’t gonna cut it. This summer is as much about convincing Sanchez and Ozil that we mean business as it is about addressing squad issues

  52. Cesc Appeal

    Marko

    This is what I’m saying, listing the options we have in central midfield is fantastic as a set of names, but what about balance on the pitch?

    Ramsey, Coq, Caz as a three man middle with a wide playmaker in a 4-3-3 would probably be quite nice, or Wilshere or Elneny in there instead of Ramsey, but take on of them out, not so sure.

  53. Marko

    Also a few days after having a double bid rejected by Bournemouth for Wilson and Ritchie west ham have had a 31 million pound bid rejected for Lacazette. All kicking off.

    Also I personally don’t think the Xhaka bid is as concrete. Apparently we’re also looking at Kante for 20 million according to reports in France. Looks to me like Wenger is dithering and can’t decide between one or the other when we need both. Could go either way if we’re honest

  54. champagne charlie

    Don’t get the elneny quips, played a dozen matches for us and been best on the pitch vs Barca, broke passing records, and fitted seamlessly in a 3 month period eclipsing every other available option in that time. Give it a rest. The lad is 23 and has at the very least shown himself to be a solid option who we can sensibly hope to get much better with time.

    Xhaka and Cazorla is the first choice pivot I think we’ll see next season if they click.
    Elneny and Jack would be the second best option.
    Coquelin and Ramsey the squad players. Jack and Rambo being interchangeable.

  55. Marko

    You gotta play Ozil CA. For all his faults the guy had 19 assists in the league and created the most chances in the league. Finally address the striker position and add someone like Gotze or Mikhataryan and you watch him go. Rotate Cazorla and Ramsey sell Wilshere.

  56. Marko

    Apparently he does CA. Probably looked like a good thing when they first signed him but now it looks silly. He’d be a great signing. Was kind of meh about him for most of the season but fact is he’s incredibly fit so fast that we wouldn’t have to worry about being caught on the counter so much and is actually a little nipper with the tackles. At 20 million and early 20’s it makes sense

  57. Sancho Monzorla

    Like Cesc Appeal says, signing Xhaka is good and all but it’s like ignoring the hole in a sinking rowboat and instead trying to shovel the water out to stay afloat. There really doesn’t seem to be a player on our books that would fit alongside him, I think Kante would be great but we all know there’s no way Arsene will sign the both of them.

    If Wenger had any balls he would try to sell two out of Jack, Ramsey, Chamberlain, players who would still fetch a nice sum with that English premium but are obviously pointless players to keep around.

    Also need another CB, an attacking mid, and a striker. Would love Mhkitaryan. No clue who would be good for CB, cause obviously Wenger will not spend 30m on Stones. No idea who is available and affordable for striker either. Higuain would be a decent shout, someone who would definitely produce until a younger striker with good pedigree becomes available on the market. Michy if others on here are right. Even Welbeck if healthy I think would have been okay. Anyone but Giroud or Wally. Please sell Walcott, please.

    Cech
    Bellerin – (New CB) – Kos – Monreal
    Kante – Xhaka
    Mhkitaryan – Ozil – Sanchez
    Higuain

  58. BillikenGooner

    At least it’s been cleared up about our striker position early in the summer.

    Giroud it is.
    Add in his comments on “few quality players” and his penchant for not buying direct competition means it’s the return of Sanogo or another unknown back up buy, while Welbeck tries to get healthy.

  59. Cesc Appeal

    Marko

    Really? £20 Million is a total steal.

    Yeah, I was not saying don’t play Ozil, my opinion is that when you have Ozil in the team, and you then have Caz playing CM, whilst that is a technically excellent set up, its very light on physicality, work rate and presence.

    Signing Xhaka adds a big presence to the middle, but he isn’t the fastest and you almost need that sort of Veratti, Matuidi, Kante sort of high energy player getting stuck in beside him.

    If Ramsey could only pull his head out of his arse and just do the basics of football whilst still bringing that energy to the side, I think a Xhaka, Ramsey base would be great, but you know Ramsey has no discipline at all, his possession play is slow and often sloppy and he is interested only in himself.

    Unfortunate.

  60. Cesc Appeal

    Boos for Van Gaal before his speech.

    Just cannot see him surviving, be fantastic for the other top teams if he does, but surely not, FA Cup or not.

  61. Cesc Appeal

    On a completely unrelated topic, Tom Hiddlestone for James Bond…what do people think about that, not sure he fits at all, more like the non-hands on villain.

  62. reality check

    Red

    Loads of WOBs still go to games, still re-new their seasons tickets.. You’d know that if you actually went to games.

    I can’t think of a more recognised WOB than the Mr DT guy with the banner and he still goes to all the games.

  63. Dissenter

    Kante has a release clause. He insisted on it before he agreed to sign for Leicester.
    20 million for Kante is a very good bargain. Personally, I’ll take Kante over Xhaka every single day. Kante is a beasts who hardly loses one-on-one, holds the ball very well and connects the defence and offence very well.

    He’s better that Xhaka

  64. Dissenter

    I’ll play Kante ahead of Cazorla everyday. The only way you win the ball off Kante is to foul him very badly. He’s very good.

  65. Marko

    Would love Mustafi too. Had a couple injuries this season but he’s rock solid. Howedes age wise isn’t ideal but he’s still a decent shout. Eric Bailly of Villarreal too looks a proper prospect. Very touchy that area. But for me we need to think long term past Mertesacker and bring in someone and let him duke it out with Gabriel. Who is still a worthwhile player. More a potential Kos replacement than Mertes for me

  66. Cesc Appeal

    Dissenter

    Have both, £50 Million for a total midfield restructure, nothing really when you think of what you’re adding.

    Show one of Ramsey or Wilshere the door, had enough time now, may well go on to be successful elsewhere, but we can’t hold onto them simply in fear of that when they continually let us down.

  67. grooveydaddy

    lol CA

    I had no idea who Tom Hiddlestone is.

    Actually thought it was a typo, and you meant Tom Huddlestone. Thinking to myself, ‘why the f*ck would he be playing Bond…’

  68. WengerEagle

    Xhaka and Kante are very different players, not worth comparing IMO.

    I prefer Xhaka personally as I think that he’s as close as you can get to a 23 year old Xabi Alonso in the modern game and I adored Alonso as a player, absolute boss.

    Kante is much more all-action, he’s a ball-carrier and is much more comfortable further up the pitch, reminds me of Vidal in his style of play. Vidal has more to his attacking game and Kante has more to his defensive game, but they play similarly.

    Ideally we’d just sign both, Xhaka is much more gifted on the ball than Kante is though, passing-wise he’s at a completely different level to Kante, he sits in front of the defence and dictates the pace of the game.

    They’re built to play alongside each other, you wouldn’t have a CM pairing of Kante-Vidal just like you wouldn’t have a CM pairing of Alonso/Xhaka.

  69. Marko

    Don’t really have a foggy on who the next bond should be. That franchise I swear. For every skyfall or casino royale you’ve got spectre and quantum of solace. I did always think Clive Owen would be decent. Maybe Matt Boomer

  70. Cesc Appeal

    WE

    Kante reminds me of Matuidi a bit, all action, all over the pitch, carries the ball, gets stuck in, as you say Xhaka and Kante as a midfield pairing would be pretty great, Kante providing the legs, ball carrying, high work rate, and Xhaka being the rock, leader, tempo setter and distributor in the centre.

    Groovey

    Not a fan of the decision myself, if indeed the rumours are true, doesn’t fit the part at all.

  71. Marko

    Andre Gomes is another decent shout. Prospect wise he’s destined for the very top. Ball skills and fitness is top notch. Could be a decent box to box midfielder for someone.

  72. Cesc Appeal

    Marko

    Agreed, Casino Royale was a fantastic film, Skyfall was decent, Spectre was not good at all in my opinion and Quantum was dire.

    Tom Hardy would have made a good Bond I think, Fassbender, if only a bit younger would have been perfect.

  73. WengerEagle

    Don’t know much about Gomes, seen he scored an absolute beaut of a 30 yard curler vs Real Madrid a couple of weeks back.

    Portuguese apparently, I’ll keep an eye out for him at the Euros.

    Sad seeing Bernardo Silva get injured just before the Euros, classy little guy. Very good for Monaco.

  74. Cesc Appeal

    I would prefer Idris to Tom Hiddlestone, really cannot see what they are thinking with that one, I mean if he pulls it off, credit to him he will have done a great job, because right now, I don’t look at him and think he’s any sort of lothario, I don’t believe he could kick my arse if he wanted to and I just don’t see the Bond charisma and presence in him.

    He’s a fantastic actor, but wrong call in my opinion.

  75. Cesc Appeal

    WE

    I said the exact same thing a few days ago, it would be like Motta and Matuidi, literally the exact same thing, just missing Veratti 😉

    I would gladly sell one of Ramsey or Wilshere to see that happen, I think that would be a great midfield, teams would struggle to stop us imposing our will on a game, or get any kind of space in the middle.

  76. Redtruth

    reality

    Those attending games are not WOB supporters but wavering closet AKB’s who are easily appeased when the club string a few results together….

  77. WengerEagle

    Cesc

    The frustrating thing is, Wilshere without the injuries could well have developed into a Veratti kind of player, at his best he’s not far off him IMO but it’s all too infrequent.

    I’d just cut my losses with Jack at this stage, he’s no longer a kid and his injury situation is getting worse, not better.

    At what point do we just say enough is enough? I don’t want him taking up a squad place and a decent chunk out of the wagebill if he’s just going to be another Diaby.

  78. WengerEagle

    Marble

    You live in London don’t you?

    You’re in no place to criticize anyone about their lack of protesting, why don’t you actually get up off your arse and do something?

  79. Cesc Appeal

    WE

    Agreed.

    Also, Wenger doesn’t give him a defined role, you could see him being that terrier like player in the centre, harassing players and driving play, but Wenger just sort of lets him float around, then as you say, continually injured.

    Wilshere is lucky that he has the potential card, that is what keeps him around, but every year that gets a weaker hand, every year he seems to crop up right at the end of the season and people start to say ‘well if he can stay fit for a whole season,’ and invariably he’s missing for at least half the campaign.

    That is the question, when do you say enough and cash in whilst the passport and potential can still net you a nice price.

    Ramsey for all his weaknesses, whilst also injury prone, is at least available for the majority of Arsenal’s games.

  80. Bamford10

    Marko

    “Xhaka is great, but I don’t see who is the ideal partner in a two man middle, a three man middle and we’d be fine.”

    To me the two best options to play alongside Xhaka are Jack or Elneny. Then it’s just a question of who you play in front of them. Given our current personnel, that might be something like this:

    _________Cech
    Bell___CB___Kosc___Monr
    ____Xhaka____Jack
    _________Ozil
    Ramsey__Giroud___Alexis

    When I look at the above, I see CF and RW as the biggest weaknesses, though I’m not a big fan of Ozil’s.

    Improve at CF and RW and we look something like:

    #1
    _________Cech
    Bell___CB___Kosc___Monr
    ____Xhaka____Jack
    _________Ozil
    Mahrez__Higuain___Alexis

    or:

    #2
    _________Cech
    Bell___CB___Kosc___Monr
    ____Xhaka____Jack
    _________Ozil
    Mkhit___Morata____Alexis

    or:

    #3
    _________Cech
    Bell___CB___Kosc___Monr
    ____Xhaka____Jack
    _________Ozil
    Mkhit___Lukaku____Alexis

    I like #2 for a couple of reasons, one being that I don’t think we’re ever going to sign either Mahrez or Higuain, the other being that I prefer Morata to Lukaku.

  81. Emiratesstroller

    CA has rightly pointed out the deficiencies this season in our midfield, which has been a lack of variety and balance. Also I added in earlier posts the lack of goals in our midfield which had fallen from 30 goals two seasons ago to 22 goals last season down to just 12 goals this season.

    As usual Bamford 10 fails to grasp the fact that our goalscoring failings are not just down to Giroud who has in fact scored more goals this season than last year.

    The point I made was that unless you find a striker who will score at least 10 goals more than Giroud you are not going to correct the deficiencies in current team.

    He argues that Morata can play also on wing! So what the point I made is that
    Morata is not a prolific goalscorer. He managed just 8 this season in Serie A
    and that is less than half what Mahrez scored in EPL.

    Why would you want to spend £35 million + on such a player? My argument was that Arsenal should find a player on either right or left wing who can add
    goals to starting X1 to what both Giroud and Sanchez offer.

    Players like Mihityayan and even Goetze will cost significantly less than Morata and probably score a similar or even larger number of goals.

    The case I made about Janssen is that he is a prolific goalscorer albeit in Dutch
    League. He would be a SPECULATION but cost considerably less than Morata
    and many of the other very average strikers who have been touted on Le Grove.

    The reality is that there are very few Strikers in Europe who are scoring consistently 25+ goals a season. Once they have achieved that level they are either
    unsaleable, will cost what we will not pay or like Ibrahimovic who will be 35 next season offer very limited if any value and will cost us an outrageous wage
    bill.

  82. Bamford10

    Just dreaming a little:

    #4
    _________Cech
    Bell___CB___Kosc___Monr
    ____Xhaka____Jack
    _________Isco
    Mkhit___Morata____Alexis

    #5
    _________Cech
    Bell___CB___Kosc___Monr
    ____Xhaka____Jack
    _________Isco
    Mahrez___Morata___Mkhit

  83. WengerEagle

    Cesc

    Yeah Wenger gives him a bit too much freedom as he does with all his pet projects, same goes for Ramsey. Still remember that traumatic 6-3 battering that we took off City a couple of seasons back with a Jack-Ramsey CM.

    Yeah the potential card is certainly wearing thin, I feel worse for Jack because he is obviously talented whereas Wally has always been a complete joke of a footballer that was never going to become a quality player. Like Walcott though, Jack will still be talked about as a potentially brilliant player when he’s 27, have a feeling that Oxlade Chamberlain will also follow suit, he’s 23 in August.

    I actually like Ramsey, he needs to get back to his 2013/14 level though or else he should be a squad option.

    Don’t like him out on the right, our options out there are so shit though he’s our best shout right now.

  84. Bamford10

    OK, Marble, then I’ll be more realistic. Say hello to next season’s starting XI on day one:

    __________Cech
    Bell__Gabr__Kosc__Monr
    ____Elneny____Jack
    __________Ozil
    Ramsey__Giroud___Alexis

  85. Cesc Appeal

    WE

    Ramsey just needs to do the basics and then utilise that energy of his properly, sadly though I just don’t see the players getting any direction, because they make the same mistakes weekly.

    I really think Ramsey and Wilshere under someone like Simeone would be completely different players.

    Agreed on Walcott, said it so many times, he is just synonymous with everything wrong with Wenger over these past ten years, no direction to the player, doesn’t know what he wants him to be, injured, average, persisted out of loyalty and idealising the player, overpaid, overrated and not held accountable.

  86. WengerEagle

    I don’t think that they are.

    Hardy in particular is outstanding.

    I’ve only seen Idris in The Wire, Luther and a cameo in The Office. Loved him in all three.

    Haven’t got around to watching Beasts of No Nation, supposed to be quality.

  87. Bamford10

    By the way, Emirates looks at the XI above and thinks it is not Giroud that is the weakest link above but instead Ramsey, Ozil & Alexis.

    Don’t get me wrong: each of them has his weaknesses, but there is absolutely no question that Giroud is the weakest link there.

    And no, Emirates, looking at goal tallies alone does not settle this question.

    We will do absolutely nothing of note with an immobile oaf like Giroud as our CF, nor will Vincent Janssen get us where we need to be either.

    Sorry.

  88. WengerEagle

    Cesc

    If anyone can get the best out of decent but not world class players (where Ramsey is at his best IMO) it’s Simeone.

    None of Filipe Luis, Juanfran, Godin or Miranda were up to much before Simeone showed up, he turned them into the best defensive unit in Europe.

    Griezmann has come on leaps and bounds under him, he has Torres playing again and he has brought through the likes of Gimenez, Koke and Saul.

  89. Relieable Sauce

    WE

    Tbf I havent seen much of Elba and he does look a good fit for Action films.
    I do rate Hardy in some ways but I find him quite hammy a lot of the time.

  90. Cesc Appeal

    WE

    Absolutely, all that energy as well, Simeone would maximise Ramsey’s effect on the field.

    Office US is great, gutted they took it off of Netflix!

  91. Redtruth

    Bamford

    You still persisting in a keeper who precided over 7 league defeats, a record European defeat, shipped in 3 against Sheffield Wednesday and someone who is not a commanding figure in goal…lol

  92. Marko

    Apparently we’re being linked to Denis Suarez of Villarreal. He’s a super little player.

    Also one of these days Bam you’re going to have to explain why you rate Jack so much. And imo Xhaka is as much a replacement for the likes of Ramsey and Wilshere than Coquelin or Elneny

  93. Redtruth

    WengerEagle

    Trust me, if there were 60, 000 Redtruth’s supporting Arsenal the ground would be empty, alas we have 60,000 WengerEagle’s supporting Arsenal instead…

  94. Relieable Sauce

    I think the blogger and some posters should at least accept that Cech has not been good this season and may even have cost us some points, rather than earned/saved us the fabled 12-15 Terry suggested – and to which the flip-floppers and wengerites duly agreed.

    First league game his mistakes cost us 3 points and he was also at fault vs Swansea when any remaining title hope was extinguished.

    We all get things wrong, denying it wont make it right. I still think Cech is an improvement on what we had but less not dress it up as anything more than an average season.

  95. Sancho Monzorla

    Marko

    I think Jack when healthy and at his best offers something that no one else in the team can, which is to drive the ball forward with his aggression. His passing and ball retention have fallen way off over the past few years, but at his best he really is good on the ball and he’s good at the one-twos that Arsenal seem to thrive on when they are clicking.

    He’s just a permacrock and not that bright, ultimately, which is the problem. We all had the highest hopes for Jack but I don’t think he’s ever fulfilling that promise. He’s still bring in about 25m+ based on his name alone, would bite at that regardless of who offers.

    If he’s able to stay healthy, Jack would no doubt be a completely different player under a manager like Pep. But he’s done at Arsenal.

  96. Redtruth

    Relieable

    An improvement…lol
    Less points this season is no improvement especially when you factor in that this has been the poorest Premier league in living memory.

  97. Redtruth

    Sancho

    We’ve all seen Messi perform for Argentina and flop in big tournaments so that negates your dumb assertions regarding my eye for a player.

  98. Relieable Sauce

    I’m looking forward to Reds Euro Fantasy Team most of all…and WE-ROP-Dream10-Bamford10-CA-UCoq-Vicky-Ito-qna-Ishola70-Champagne Charlie to name just a few, theres plenty of other posters I cant recall as well – or be bothered to add.

  99. Troy McClure

    Cazorla would have been fine this season if either Wilshere or Rosicky had been able to contribute something. Both were viable back-ups for him in matches vs. lower level teams. But without that, Santi had to play every match, and he just can’t do it with his build and now his age.
    As far as signing one of Higuain, Aubemeyang, Dybala or Griezmann? I’d love it, but there is no way in hell that Wenger will spend that kind of money on one striker when he has so many other open needs. Realistically we will get a top young player from a smaller league, or someone from a second tier club in one of the big leagues. Think Holland, Ukraine, Portugal, or teams like Sevilla, Valencia, Lyon, Monaco, Leverkusen, Schalke.

  100. TitsMcGee

    A few things here.

    Does it really matter at this stage who we sign? Does anybody really think we are 2-3 players away under this joke?

    A finished article at striker should be first priority.

    I don’t think Wenger benefits financially by our results OTHER than him keeping his £8 million pay package. I.e He keeps expectations low by not doing enough in the TW so as not to put the cross-hairs on his back.

    Elneny is an okay player. The problem with that is we have enough of those. You don’t win the EPL/UCL with okay players under Wenger. He’s not that type of manager. He’s not a miracle worker.

  101. TitsMcGee

    Also Wenger coming out a pledging allegiance to Giroud 3 months in advance is such a cowardly move. This is a business or at least it should be. There is no room for childish emotions and undying faith in failed players.

    He treats AFC like it’s a football academy rather than a club trying to win it’s own league.

    It really is an amazing (terrible ) situation we find ourselves in. Can you think of any other sports franchise in any of the major sports leagues ( NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL etc) that aren’t trying their hardest to be good/win their respective titles /trophies. There are teams that aren’t very good but I can’t think of one that has accepted mediocrity and just given up on winning. Not one.

    How have Arsenal /our fans come to this?