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. WengerEagle

    ‘I have to say Neymar is a poverty player compared to messi. ‘


    He’s actually edged Messi as the best player in Europe this season for me, when Messi was out injured he was absolutely unstoppable.

    He hasn’t been as good in the last couple of months but Messi hasn’t been at his best either, Suarez has been the one carrying them with his goals.

    Messi is still clearly the GOAT but Neymar will be the outright best player in the world in a couple of years time IMO.

  2. Ughelligunner

    well luckily for me, i am not into speculation of players coming in or out because i know the team i support.

  3. Ughelligunner

    And i keep asking myself, if wenger is the negotiator, contract giver, manager and all, what does Gazidis, Dick law and the American economical analytical team do? Wenger is so under paid. 8m a year for all things Arsenal, and still manages to coach the team within champions league reach yearly? Wow.

  4. WengerEagle

    This is actually funny because I remember London Gunner telling me a year and a half ago that Neymar had overtaken Messi as the best player and I told him that was preposterous, Messi went on to have his best ever season and although Neymar had a great season, Messi was operating on a completely different level.

    Now it’s LG defending Messi’s corner and I’m the one bigging up Neymar. 😀

    I believe that Messi is already the best player of all time, it’s irrelevant to me if he fails to win the 2018 WC.

  5. Ughelligunner

    And by the way, this xhaka deal looks like every other arsenal deal. No pressure from other teams. No team quoting physical interest in the player. This will linger on till July i presume.

  6. London gunner

    Wenger eagle

    I know your a Neymar fan but compared to messi he is limited.

    It’s not even a fair comparison
    As messi is the best playmaker best dribbler and best goal scorer.

    Read that article it’s couple years old I posted it shows how messi is in a complete other world guys a Martian.

    Neymar is a very good cf but his play making skills aren’t great he takes a lot of bad touches and allot of his goals have been cleaning up rebounded shots from Suarez or tap ins on the far post.

    Neymar is in the top 5 players in the world though but the gap between number 1 messi and the next tier is mammoth imo.

    Messi has the most successful take on rate of a forward in world football

    His got phenomenal goals from outside the box stats which people don’t often think of him as a long distance shooter

    Also he has insane level of forward passing yet has the accuracy to match.

    Thing is with me I don’t just watch highlights which show all of neymars beautiful flair and skill I watch the whole games and messi makes far less mistakes than Neymar whose game is quite error prone.

  7. London gunner

    Another point is this relates to Suarez as well he is great but not as great as many perceive.

    Looking at a lot of the matches. You can watch full matches on fullmatchesandshows he makes so many mistakes and bollocks up time after time when supplied by messi

  8. WengerEagle


    Actually prefer Messi to Neymar and always have, just feel that Neymar has been slightly better this season overall. (Messi hasn’t quite been at his best, he’s still comfortably been better than everyone else though barring Neymar IMO). I have watched most Barcelona matches this season too, love watching them play so try to watch them whenever I can.

    It’s unfair to label Neymar limited as the guy can do literally anything with a football at his feet. He’s nowhere near Messi in terms of what he’s done in the game and he has a lot more to prove in terms of being an all-time great, Ronaldinho like a lot of great Brazilians fizzled out pretty quickly so the question is whether Neymar has the longevity unlike most of his Brazilian comrades. Time will tell.

    ‘Neymar is a very good cf but his play making skills aren’t great he takes a lot of bad touches and allot of his goals have been cleaning up rebounded shots from Suarez or tap ins on the far post.’

    Don’t agree with this at all, if anything a lot of Suarez’s goals have been tap-ins from Neymar’s good work. Watch back MSN’s goals this season if you disagree.

    ‘Thing is with me I don’t just watch highlights which show all of neymars beautiful flair and skill I watch the whole games and messi makes far less mistakes than Neymar whose game is quite error prone.’

    Agree that Messi gives the ball away less than Neymar does, the latter is still prone to sloppiness whereas Messi is just freakish in his ball-retention.

    Comfortably the two best players on the planet, imagine having both in the same team? And the best striker to go with it.

    If Barcelona had their 2011 midfield they’d flatten everyone.

  9. Wallace

    “Max Eberl confirmed on Tuesday on Borussia’s visit to Switzerland that a concrete offer for Granit Xhaka has been received. Which club has made the offer, the sports director didn’t say. An agreement is still pending.

    According to our information it is Arsenal who have offered at least 43 million euros plus bonuses. It is therefore likely to be only a matter of time before the transfer to the runner-up of the Premier League is confirmed.”

    – Rheinische Post yesterday

  10. Louis Almeida

    “If Barcelona had their 2011 midfield they’d flatten everyone.”

    I agree. Their midfield is actually the biggest problem now. Iniesta has declined immensely although he still has great days. Rakitic isn’t at the level of Xavi. All this puts more strain on Busquets who has to do more work. A lot of this people find this Barca more interesting because they are more direct and score copious amounts of goals but they do not control and construct games/attacks like they did in 2011. It can be why they sometimes struggle in bigger games.

  11. Cesc Appeal

    Agreed, Barcelona need a midfield restructure, their front line is just ridiculous, but I don’t think their middle is all that.

  12. Wallace

    my top 5…

    1 – Ozil
    2 – Monreal
    3 – Bellerin
    4 – Campbell
    5 – Elneny/Iwobi

    very slim pickings this year….

  13. Louis Almeida

    I really struggle to understand how Neymar is limited? He can do almost anything with a football, obviously not as good as Messi but he has more flair. Gives the ball away more, yes, but all dribblers do. His end product for a 23 year old is insane.

  14. WengerEagle


    For sure, should have rephrased that as if they had a prime Xavi+Iniesta they’d flatten everyone as Busquets is still as good and Iniesta still starts even though he’s not the same player he was.

    He’s still capable of magic, the 4-0 mauling Barcelona inflicted on Real at the Bernabeu this season he was the star of the show but like you say it’s all too infrequent now, he was doing that on a near weekly basis 3 years ago.

    Yeah Rakitic is a very good player but I can’t quite help but feel that he’s not that good at least as far as Barcelona standard goes. Makes their decision to sell Thiago Alcantara all the weirder.

    Thiago is definitely better than Rakitic IMO.

  15. Red&White4life

    “Paper talk” : Arsenal after Kante, Morata, Mahrez…

    Different summer, same old shit lol

  16. London gunner

    Wenger eagle

    Just check out messi through balls and the lofted curling pass over the back four.

    The thing is messi pulls of those world class passes per game. Neymars passing is nowhere near that level. (Which doesn’t mean I’m saying its bad)

    Another factor is messi achieved even more than Neymar has this season at a younger age. If you were to compare their stats by age messi would still be miles ahead.

    Neymar is still a top 5 player but the step up to number 1 aka messi is vast.

    Also I think I read by minutes played bale is better statistically than Neymar, Ronaldo and benzema

  17. London gunner

    I’d also add that Neymar probably isn’t the second best player in the world just yet.

    As Messi is the best Barcelona player and Suarez is fair to say the second best that leaves Neymar third.

  18. Cesc Appeal

    Best players for Arsenal, Bellerin and Monreal, no one else is really worth it, Ozil had a great half a season.

  19. WengerEagle


    ‘The thing is messi pulls of those world class passes per game. Neymars passing is nowhere near that level. (Which doesn’t mean I’m saying its bad)’

    Chances created wise this season Neymar is actually ahead of Messi in La Liga this and by some distance in the UCL. Check out his Whoscored page.

    Messi is definitely the better playmaker but Neymar has massively improved his passing this season compared to last.

    ‘Another factor is messi achieved even more than Neymar has this season at a younger age. If you were to compare their stats by age messi would still be miles ahead.’

    Goals-wise, certainly. But every other facet to their game, they are very similar at 23/24.

    You have to factor in that Messi has played for Barcelona all his life, Neymar came over to Spain at 21 having never played in Europe, it’s understandable that his first season wasn’t great.

    Last season at 22/23 he wasn’t far off what Messi was doing at that age.

    ‘Neymar is still a top 5 player but the step up to number 1 aka messi is vast.’

    Not as vast as you make out IMO but yes, Messi is clearly the best player in the world at his best.

  20. Red&White4life

    He’s not at his best anymore, he’s almost finished.

    But that would be enough for him for scoring 6 goals against us lol

  21. vicky

    I doubt Neymar can dribble as efficiently and magically as Messi can. And of course Messi’s finishing and through balls are of orgasmic level.

  22. Louis Almeida

    “Messi is in a aleague of his own. I have always felt it’s an insult to Messi for him to be even compared to CR7.”

    As someone who is half Portuguese, I can 100% agree with this! Ronaldo is a fantastic professional who has worked hard to master his craft and deserves all plaudits be he grafted so much. But in terms of natural talent, he can’t clean Messi’s boots.

  23. WengerEagle

    Ronaldo is a phenomenal goalscorer, arguably the best goalscorer of all time.

    But as far as being one of the best footballers ever, I wouldn’t even have him as a top 5 footballer in his own generation.

  24. vicky

    “I wouldn’t even have him as a top 5 footballer in his own generation.”

    Brazilian Ronaldo

    These 5 are top of the pick for me. Not sure whether Zidane and Fat Ronaldo should be termed players of current generation.

  25. Louis Almeida

    I actually think Neymar is a sensational dribbler. Maybe not as efficient as Messi but watching him in full flight is definitely magical for me. He just has that ingenuity about his game that the best Brazilians so. I mean Messi is the best of course but he could not have scored that goal Neymar did vs Villarreal. I should probably rephrase. I think there’s more imagination to what Neymar does, straight Joga Bonito style! Messi is more a functional dribbler, you just can’t stop him!

  26. WengerEagle

    Spot on Louis re Neymar and Messi as dribblers, Neymar has that Brazilian improvisation and flair, like Ronaldinho he is just magical with the ball at his feet and you never know what he’s going to do. He has more tricks up his sleeve than Messi does.

    In a way it’s nearly more impressive what Messi does though, he’s more predictable than Neymar is in that you know most of the time he is going to dribble centrally to try get on to his left peg but it’s still practically impossible to stop him, and the times when he choose to go on the outside and have a go with his right you get what happened with Boateng in the UCL SF.

    Neymar IMO couldn’t have scored Messi’s goal v Getafe just like Messi couldn’t score Neymar’s goal v Villarreal.

  27. vicky

    new post

    I just love what messi does in little spaces and his amazing change of direction, I find that more magical although neymar improvises more I agree.