Sell Aubameyang for £70m …. Deal or No Deal?

June 19, 2019

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, our 2018/19 golden boot winning striker turned 30 this week. There have been rumours that Man Utd are considering making a £70m bid for him. If we accepted such a bid, we would make a nett profit of around £14m, so not a massive return on our investment on the surface. But, in these times of austerity and with a rumoured transfer budget of a paltry £40m … what could we do with that extra £70m? … or even a £100m+ if we sell Xhaka as well. Seal a leaky defence? Buy a midfield maestro to replace Ramsey? Bring in proper wide attacking players? Maybe all of the those options?

This question was posed by blogger LBG a few days ago …

So let’s heat things up!
If we get an offer of 70m for a 30 year old Aubameyang from Manure, and an offer of 35m for Xhaka, I say sell them both and use the 100m to fill the gaps we actually have.

These are some of the responses it has drawn …

From Sue …

Atletico want Xhaka (you’re having a giraffe, right?!) albeit I’d quite happily drive him to the airport & bundle Mustafi in the car too & tell them it’s a bogof deal… oh happy days 😝

This from Els …

LBG – too risky for me to sell Auba and Xhaka. We already have too much business to do and too many first teamers to replace. We need to keep as much consistency as possible now. Other than that £105m for those too would be nice. I’d want to replace with a good few academy promotions and then some free transfers. Then we give all that money to Ramsey see if he’ll come back.

RC78 posted this …

I am happy to let both El Neny and Xhaka go but I d like to keep Auba unless we have an offer exceeding 50 Mln pounds for him.

From GoonerB …

LBG in answer to your question, if we were to get £35m for Xhaka and £70m+ for Auba I would take it. I love Auba but at 30 years old those figures are tempting and those funds could secure a key but expensive option elsewhere.

Aaron’s thoughts …

Sell Auba and Xhaka for $100+ million, in a New York second. I will be encouraged if we buy some CB’s and another strong DM. We do not want any injury prone hail mary’s or 35 year old cast off’s. Bring up someone exceptional, a 20-25 year gem that actually has a body that can take the EPL punishment.

It would appear from the above that there is an acceptance amongst some of the fanbase that we may have to do a ‘Liverpool’ and sell one gem (or maybe two) to buy different gems that could plug some gaping holes in the team … or do you think otherwise?

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Gabriel Martinelli … Be Excited … Be Very Excited

June 18, 2019

All the signs are that the Brazillian hot prospect Gabriel Martinelli will be announced as an Arsenal player in the next few days. He was 18 yesterday and is now eligible to sign a professional contract in the UK.

We should be excited for 2 reasons …

  1. He is a highly regarded emerging talent and was being courted by several top clubs.
  2. He points to a new way forward for Arsenal. A new more vibrant and energetic era for the club begins here.

The late season capitulation showed us that whatever it is that had seeped into the fabric of the club in recent years still persists. The only answer is to bring in new blood and to change the culture and that process is taking place this summer.

Martinelli was at Corinthians when Edu was Sporting Director and seems likely to be the first player brought in by our soon to be new Technical Director as part of further shakeups behind the scenes that have already seen Freddie Ljunberg swap jobs with Steve Bould. Francis Cagigao is highly regarded at the club and has also played a role in the transfer after having previously been a scout. He was responsible spotting players such as Lauren, Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin so we can see that his credentials are first rate.

Edu will be announced as the new Head of Recruitment when he takes up the post officially on 7th July. We are getting things right behind the scenes and this should enable us to be more effective at the sharp end with qualified and competent specialist management making the important decisions.

So why get excited about Martinelli?

A few facts:

  • He was born in Guarulhos, São Paulo
  • He signed his first professional contract on 4 November 2017 with Ituano FC
  • He was promoted to the first team for the 2019 Campeonato Paulista where he scored six goals during the competition, the club’s top goalscorer
  • He’s a predominantly right footed wide attacking player who can also play as a striker
  • He’s quick, and direct and loves to dribble.
  • He has trialled for Man Utd and Barcelona.
  • He’s rumoured to be joining for around £6m.
  • He’s seen as a replacement for Welbeck.
  • He scored 10 goals and had 6 assists in 31 games last season.

There is a new order that is emerging in the EPL. Most clubs that are being sold are being snapped up by owners who have agendas beyond football and are prepared to invest heavily in search of success. Arsenal may be in the bottom half of the league when it comes to funds available for transfers so we have to spend wisely.

Of course Martinelli is a risk, as are all young players.  Let’s hope we invest in some of the youth under our very noses already in our academy too …. the likes of Willock, Nelson, Bielik, Nketieh, Smith-Rowe and Sheaf could negate the need to look any further.


Keeping an Eye on Unai …..

June 18, 2019

It seems we Gooners have had a series of so-called ‘marmite’ figures to disagree over in recent years. There was the long standing saga of Arsène Wenger’s latter years, more recently the Mesut Özil debate, and now, after one season in charge, Unai Emery is already dividing the fan base.

Here are some views from respected bloggers in recent days…..

First Don McMahon

We’ll have a better idea at this time next season once we see what Emery does with his lineup and new players, the upcoming youth and academy talent in the coming season. I, for one, am optimistic that he’ll sort out the poor away form we displayed this season and once he’s stabilized the team, we’ll see his tactical and strategic skills as a manager.

….. and now Aaron

He develops no one, does tactics and strategy, but not a true risk taker, and if Europa is the level everyone wants here, that is what we have. Put him under the nowhere land management, dirtbag owner, and the Arsenal will be a mid-tier time until he sells, or dies. (a tad harsh …ed)

….. and this from jjgsol

I am convinced that the board took on UE because they regarded him as the cheapest option. He will need to be exceptional if he is able to improve our position. I hope that he succeeds, but feel that he won’t.

Should we at least give the man a full transfer window and another season before we judge him, or is the writing on the wall … is he condemned by his past record?


AFC : Arsenal Fans Conundrum

June 16, 2019

So, my 14 year old daughter follows Tom Holland, Zac Efron and Romeo Beckham on her Instagram. She also loves The Black Panther’s Letitia Wright and her favourite rapper is J Cole. And she tells me they are all Arsenal supporters.

So who else out there calls the great Arsenal their team? Well there is Daltry, Daisy, Dido and Diddy plus Hornby, Lydon, Jagger, Jay Z, Spike Lee and Fred (Fred Perry that is)

Then there are other football players who call themselves fans of Arsenal like Paul Pogba, Hulk, Puskas and the great Diego “hand of god” Maradona. Yes the fanbase is immense, from Brad Wiggins and Mo Farah to Fidel Castro and the late Bin Laden.

Some fans I hate like …………………

Piers Morgan @piersmorgan

Well done, Arsene Wenger. Thank goodness I stood by you when so many fickle fans were demanding your head on a plate. #Afc #TopOfTheLeague  

4:27 AM – Sep 29, 2013

And others I believe are just in it for themselves and the love of clickbait money

But it is Arsenal fan Nick Hornby that I respect greatly as he continues his love affair with Arsenal, from books to movies to ongoing articles on the great Arsenal FC………..

Nick Hornby. “For alarmingly large chunks of an average day, I am a moron.” “I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.”

For me, his article for ESPN summed up the 1st Emery season and how the many Arsenal fans rollercoasted their way through the season right through to the final cup game –

Wenger’s teams were flat-track bullies that tended to curl up and die against better, stronger opponents, and the crowd responded appropriately, with purring appreciation or despairing silence. But in those opening months of the Emery era, Arsenal, often inspired by the warrior-like Lucas Torreira, got stuck in. We came from behind to beat Tottenham and to draw with Liverpool, and the sleepy, stupefied Emirates roared its appreciation.

If you had asked any Arsenal fan on the night of April 1, after a 2-0 home win against Newcastle that lifted us to third in the league, whether Emery’s first season had been a success, they would all have answered in the affirmative. “We’re competitive again,” we said that night. “We have a very good chance of finishing in the top four and there may be a Cup to come, too. That’s all we wanted. To be in the running in April.”

As it turned out, we wanted more than that and we’d been kidding ourselves. What we specifically didn’t want was to collapse, in a wearyingly familiar fashion, when it mattered. Emery lost 10 games this year, three fewer defeats than in the season before, but four of the 10 came in April. If just one of them — and I’m looking at you, Arsenal 2, Crystal Palace 3 — had been converted into a win, we would have finished third. If the woeful 1-1 draw at home to Brighton had finished 2-1, we’d have come fourth. Fine margins, yes, but a Champions League place was presented to Emery on a plate and his team turned up its collective nose. Manchester United and Chelsea might not be so obliging next year, although both teams look to have at least as many problems as Arsenal as things stand.

In the end, it felt like the club suffers from some kind of hereditary disease, passed on from generation to generation. We used to blame Wenger and the kinds of players he liked, the technically gifted, physically unimposing attacking midfielders who seemed to occupy every position on the pitch. Torreira, Granit Xhaka and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are of a different build and complexion entirely, but it doesn’t make any difference, apparently. The post-Invincibles Arsenal team will always flake out on you when it matters, no matter who’s playing or coaching.

There is more to this article but thats where I like to stop and ask, do you agree with the Hornsbee statement – The post-Invincibles Arsenal team will always flake out on you when it matters, no matter who’s playing or coaching.

Can this conundrum be fixed in time for next season?

Written by VP from OZ


How important is it for Arsenal to retain experienced players?

June 15, 2019

Being worried about Arsenal’s continuity with so many players likely to be leaving is a valid concern.

On the technical playing side this does not worry me so much, and I think we need to go through a transition in that sense anyway accepting a season with the promotion of a number of academy players, in excess of what would be normal.

It is maybe not exactly ideal but the first goal is a need to get back to being one of the top 4 in the EPL again, which improves both the incoming revenue and the attractiveness of the club as a destination for top players, then we can focus on securing £60-£80m in their prime players to add to the squad again like our rivals. What I don’t want us to do is spend some of the valuable and limited current transfer funds on so-so players in positions where we have promising young players coming through.

I strongly believe that this crop of youngsters have the ability to take us forwards and, although there will be moments where the inexperience is exposed, I think they will become stronger and stronger as the season goes on if they know that the manager and fans have faith in them.

From a continuity perspective I feel what is more important is the senior leadership around these young players. More than anything they need proper mentors who can pull them up on attitude and application when needed but more often than not be that reassuring positive voice in their ear even when they make a mistake. Unfortunately GN5 in the departure of Cech, Ramsey and Wellbeck we have lost 3 players who are exactly that.

Mesut Ozil is 30 and has won the world cup and ECL so should be exactly that type of positive mentor for our young players. However, despite being a fine player technically he is more of an exasperated looking to the sky type player rather than a positive pat on the back type. I would now sacrifice his technical ability for some more positive players with greater leadership qualities, then look to the youngsters to develop and bring us that technical ability we will lose in him.

That is why I would look at players like Milner and Mata on a free and retain the likes of Kos and Monreal. They may not always be the 1st on the team sheet on may start to reduce the number of games they play but if you have Kos, Socratis, Milner, Mata in the side then you get that type of positive attitude and influence. We will still retain great technical ability in the side anyway.

I would also have a quiet word to Iwobi and Chambers and tell them that although they are young players still, they are now senior young players and need to step up and become mentors and leaders to those who are 5-6 years their junior. I still feel Chambers could become an excellent holding midfield player in the Gilberto mould, and Iwobi a great box to box CM. This is also their year to step up and prove they are top players that we don’t need to replace with external recruitment.

Personally I would be interested in Chilwell and maybe that young defender we are looking at (Andreason or something) as well as maybe Milner and Mata on a free, then look at Iwobi AMN, Chambers, Bielik, Holding, Bellerin, Willock, Smith-Rowe, Saka, Nelson, Douzi and Nketieh to all be senior squad players next year.

I would happily see Ozil, Micki, Elneny, Mustaffi, Lichtensteiner, and sadly corporal Jenks all depart to accommodate this and cleanse the squad and kick start a new and more positive dynasty.

Xhaka I am still in 2 minds about as I see some merit in him as a squad option, but don’t see him as a top class CM, so maybe it is better to let a player that could become that have his spot rather than thwart their progression.

Written by GoonerB


Arsenal Arsenal’s Future

June 11, 2019

I have written 735 posts for AA.

This could be the last, it depends upon you.

The fact of the matter is that Chas and I have kept this fine blog running for a few years now and we are both feeling the strain. I need to stress that the following is my viewpoint and not Chas’s, but I think he is likely to agree.

When AA started, many moons ago, there were a group of bloggers who chose to write an unbiased blog which allowed Gooners to express their opinion without fear of threats, bullying, abuse or profanity. Through a weeding out process and the banning of a number of bloggers (most of whom can be found on AFCTV or Le Grove) we created a great blog, a blog where no-one has ever earned a single penny. It is a labour of love

But …

Slowly but surely the founders of the blog stopped contributing.  Others got bored, and sadly, one passed. Finally, it was just chas and I.

We put many hours into the blog, Fortunately, this season we have been helped by some fine posts from LBG and, in particular, GN5, but we still have to format, add pics and a header, write tags and categories and then publish. Neither Chas nor myself are willing to continue to do this.

In essence without more input from you, the reader and commentor, the blog will close. These are the options:-

1. We close the blog for summer. Start again at the start of the season and operate on one or two posts a week,

2. Through summer we have one post a week and try for more in August.

3. Some of you get involved and help us run the blog. We can give you access to the AA WordPress account and publish posts yourself.

4. We, as a group, move to another blog. Perhaps TA’s Bergkampesque (I haven’t asked him!) or another Arsenal blog which we agree upon.

5. We close the blog and say Goodbye to each other.

There have been bloggers who have been with us for many years and written thousands of comments, you know who you are ,and it would be sad to lose the camaraderie which AA has built all over the world but everything dies and perhaps it is time for AA to move to the Great Blog Heaven in the Sky.

It is up to you. Are you prepared to commit to helping run the blog (GN5 has already offered his assistance), not for a day or two but for the season?

Blogging has added much to my life, I am an ex-pat Gooner and have no outlet to discuss my passion but I recognise that the numbers who blog has diminished enormously – we are running at less than 20% of the viewers we had a few years ago though we still attract more than Barnet do for a home game.

This post will stay up for a few days so as many as possible can give their opinion, then we will make a decision as to the future.

Up the Gunners

BR


How Was it For You?

June 5, 2019

No, not that … the season.

Were you satisfied?

Did you enjoy it?

Did it cement your affections towards The Arsenal?

Did it make you confident about the future of the Club?

I can only answer Yes, to one of the above. For me this was the first season when I felt alienated from my club. It could have been the departure of Mr. Wenger, who was a magical figure and a man I admired hugely. He single-handedly maintained our traditions and honour. During his tenure I didn’t think at all about management structure, transfer budgets and especially, The Brand. With him gone I fear my connection has weakened.

Don’t get me wrong – I will die a Gooner but this season there were times when I coudn’t be bothered to watch the games. They bored me. In fact, I hate to admit this, but sometimes I preferred watching Liverpool or City than us. The highlights on Arsenalist saved me some of the tedium.

Of course it is not always so, sometimes we played superb football and I enjoyed the introduction of the young players,; Iwobi, Guendouzi, Terriera, Holding and AMN. I enjoyed the Europa run and of course, the early season unbeaten run. The future could be good but we are miles behind the Top 2 .

Mr. Emery had a very hard job taking over from a Legend, he has done OK and statistically it was a season of progress but we have lost our identity.

How was last season for you?

written by BR