Over the last few seasons, we’ve all been debating the Özil conundrum.
We all know he’s the highest paid player at the club, on a whopping £350,000 a week since signing the new deal in January 2018. This new deal ends in the summer of 2021, meaning that he is free to leave in a years time for nothing.
The massive pay rise was offered to him at a time when Arsenal’s historic mishandling of contracts once again came to a head, with both of our star players; Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez, were at a crossroads.
We either had to sell them before their current deals ran out (otherwise they could leave on a free) or offer them big big pay rises. At the time, and I still stand by this today, I said that we should have offered Alexis Sanchez mega money and kept him, and sold Özil while he still had some resale value. In the end, Arsene went the other way and look where we are now.
Alexis Sanchez recently said that after one training session with Manchester United, he came home and asked his agent whether he could rip up his contract and return to Arsenal. Whatever you want to say about Alexis Sanchez, he was for me the best player we’ve had at the club in the last 10 years. He was that good. And along with his phenomenal ability, he always gave 110% every single time he wore an Arsenal shirt.
Özil on the other hand was the exact opposite. He was a maverick, a luxury player who did well one week and disappeared the next. And ever since his new deal and pay rise to £350,000 a week, he has done nothing for the club.
Arsene Wenger projected that buying a player of Özil’s quality would have cost the club a lot more, justifying the increased wages. But I think it’s pretty obvious that the new deal has been a complete disaster.
But yesterday gave a glimmer of hope. Özil featured in the 3-2 friendly defeat to Aston Villa, and a lot of Arsenal fans went mental at the fact that Özil actually played a match for the club. But what does his future hold?
Should Özil be a first team player, contributing as much as we know he can? Should he be a squad player who can help the team in a few games, but primarily from the bench? Or should he be sold ASAP so we can free up funds for new signings?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section and cast your vote below!
Since Premier League football has returned from the pandemic, Arsenal have had their fair share of drama on and off the field – mainly involving players with a penchant for large, frizzy hairstyles.
First of all there was the drama with David Luiz. He hadn’t agreed a contract extension with Arsenal and while that was still up in the air by mid June, we saw Arsenal return to action against Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
David Luiz started the game on the bench, presumably because he or the club couldn’t agree terms. The whole situation was made more confusing when David Luiz, well, was David Luiz and came on for the injured Pablo Mari after 22 minutes. David Luiz then proceeded to show the world how he was possibly the world’s worst defender by being at fault for Manchester City’s first goal, and then deciding that wasn’t quite enough to ruin Arsenal’s changes so he thought that conceding a penalty and then getting sent off would really put the nail in the coffin.
After the game, Jamie Carragher famously said that would be Luiz’s last game for Arsenal, and at the time I was in complete agreement with him. How many mistakes does he need to make? And it’s obvious that he never seems to learn.
At that point, I thought there was no way back for the Brazilian defender. He once again destroyed an Arsenal match with two huge errors, he showed that his decision making was still horrendous and the weird interview was the icing on the cake. However, I’m not sure if David Luiz is some kind of psychological genius or something because despite seemingly doing everything to completely ruin any changes of staying at Arsenal, he agreed an extension only a week later.
Although he is a talent, and anyone can see that, he clearly has attitude problems and even previous coaches have come out and said that he needs to change. And while initially I thought we might struggle without him in the side, the fact is Dani Ceballos has really stepped up to the plate and taken his chance – and without Guendouzi in the side we have won 4 games on the bounce, and were unlucky not to beat Leicester this week.
With the young midfielder, we lost 2 games out of 2, but without him we’ve won 4 and drawn 1, losing zero. So for me, we wouldn’t miss him if he were to leave.
For me, he has a high resale value so we should look at selling him this summer before he shows more of his poor attitude and his asking price drops. He’s young, talented and still has lots of potential, but if Mikel Arteta has certain things he is not negotiable on, then I’m more than happy to support the manager and back whatever he decides to do with Guendouzi.
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Striker increases pressure on Arsenal before career “turning point.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shifts responsibility for contract negotiations with Arsenal to the direction of his Gunners superiors.
Aubameyang said he has “received no offer, but has been talking to the club for a few months”. Pierre-Emerick stated how this could be a turning point in his career and it will be a very difficult decision. The Arsenal striker tells all “It may be the most important decision in my career. But I haven’t decided yet.”
The 31 year old stricker switched from Borussia Dortmund to the Londoners in January 2018 for around £58 million. Since then, Aubameyang has scored 61 goals in 97 competitive matches and has also assisted 13 goals.
Aubameyang still has a contract with FC Arsenal until 2021. Negotiations for an extension have been underway for months – so far without any result. The Gunners want to extend, but Aubameyang seems rather undecided, flirting with a last big change in his career.
If Arsenal are to achieve a reasonable transfer fee, they have to sell the top star this summer, but at the latest, in the winter break of the coming season.
Or does Arsenal even waive a transfer? Reported that Arsenal FC aren’t willing to give up Aubameyang yet and, if necessary, keep the striker until the end of the contract – even if Aubameyang would not extend his contract.
However, it has also been said that the club has a “pain limit.” There is a willingness to talk about a transfer with an offer from £20m.
In 2018, the Premier League club spent £57.581 million for the services of the Gabonese striker. According to reports, Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta wants to personally convince the striker that his future lies in London.
The former Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan striker followed former BVB team mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the Emirates in the same January transfer window where they were unable to recreate their partnership from their time in Germany.
Aubameyang, who is one of the top earners of the Gunners with a weekly salary of £180,000 is to become the leader of a new young team that will again be regularly represented in the Champions League in the future.
Since joining the Gunners, the 31-year-old has scored 49 goals in 76 appearances for the North London side. The former Borussia Dortmund striker is currently two goals behind Jamie Vardy in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot and will be looking to better his total of 22 goals in a Premier League season that he set in the last campaign.
In January there were discussions between FC Barcelona and Aubameyang. However, the Catalans were not prepared to pay the transfer fee of just under £51 million at that time.
The situation has long been different in the era of the corona pandemic. Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea FC and Inter Milan should continue to monitor the situation of the striker very closely.
In the early 90’s, George Graham’s Arsenal were in full flow – we had the best defence in the country, lead by Tony Adams, and were a tough side that would be hard to beat. Our defence consisted of Mr Arsenal, alongside Steve Bould (or Martin Keown), Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn.
When Arsene Wenger arrived in 1996, he inherited the famous back four and a squad that included Andy Linighan, Ray Parlour, John Hartson, Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp – all players who were warriors on the pitch and wouldn’t take any nonsense from anyone!
He then added Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit, who were also players who had a presence and could fight on the pitch as well. We had success with these players, and more were added in the form of Marc Overmars, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, Ashley Cole, Lauren, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, all of whom were supremely talented but also warriors on the pitch and leaders of it.
But then we started the move to The Emirates and that’s when things changed.
Instead of playing incisive and devastating football, we started emulating the Barcelona style of play. And instead of buying ready-made winners, we started buying players who were more technically gifted on the ball – players like Cesc Fabregas, Alexander Hleb, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby, Samir Nasri and Santi Cazorla.
And I’m not complaining – with these types of players we played some really fantastic football which was a joy to watch. But the problem was Arsene was striving for beautiful, technical football in a league which just didn’t suit it.
We would win most of our games by running teams off the park with our excellent use of space, beautiful passing and lovely movement. We would score 3 or 4 goals a game most of the time, sweeping away the opposition – but this only worked against the lower teams in the league – and that is were the problem started.
Our style of play was based on a high level of technical ability, and against teams 5th and below it worked a treat. They didn’t know how to handle us and most of the time we would win. Our game relied on excellent offence and less emphasis on defence, which again is fine against most teams in the league, but not against the Top 4 sides.
Which is why we constantly finished 4th in the Premier League for a period of around 12 years. But the problem during those 12 years was that the teams below the Top 4, who had previously struggled to beat us, resorted to the only tactic that worked – being physical.
If you’re playing a team like Arsenal who move the ball so well and keep a high level of possession, then teams figured out that going toe-to-toe or even sitting back and hoping for the best just didn’t work. So teams started resorting to kicking us off the field, literally.
And the problem was, it worked.
And as more teams resorted to this “tactic”, the more the media portrayed Arsenal as a team of pansies, a team of players who didn’t “like it up them”. And this got worse and worse and worse, to the stage were it would be safe to say the treatment we received was close to assault.
The perception was that Arsenal players couldn’t handle the physical side of the game, and to get to them you just needed to “kick them off the park”. The ironic thing is this approach would probably work against any team, but for whatever reason, the media decided that Arsenal should be the team that deserved this focus, and once this narrative was set, it was hard to shake off.
In essence, Arsenal were effectively being punished for playing attractive football. We’ve had three players; Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo, who all suffered horrendous, career threatening injuries because of this false narrative. Abou Diaby and Eduardo were never the same again and their careers were ruined, and Aaron Ramsey took a long time to recover mentally from his ordeal.
And over the years, I remember horrific tackles on our players which were fortunate not to end in serious injury. In particular I remember really late challenges on Bacary Sagna, Theo Walcott, Ashley Cole, Edu, Jose Antonio Reyes and Robert Pires, and I’m sure there are many more.
Which other teams have suffered as many career threatening injuries like we have? I recall Liverpool having one when Djibril Cisse broke his leg against Blackburn, Luc Nilis suffering a broken leg while playing for Aston Villa, and Coventry City’s David Busst when they played Manchester United.
In terms of serious injuries caused by opponents, then we are well clear at the top of that table.
‘Stoke manager Tony Pulis absolutely despised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, hated the way he played.
‘All week I had never seen a manager so desperate to win a game of football, it was bordering on out of control.
‘I remember Pulis pacing up and down shouting random things — this bundle of nervous energy blurting random swear words, trying to burn off his own nervous energy.
‘And, of course, the upshot of all of that energy was that we went over the top and it cost Ramsey a year of his career.’
‘It seemed to me that was as a direct result of players reacting to their manager’s over enthusiasm and buying into that whole thing and carrying out his instructions and crossing the line.
‘But it just went too far. His desperation to beat Wenger and justify his way of playing football. It crossed the line and went too far.’
That is how teams approach games against Arsenal, and if you think that teams are just being “a little physical” then you’re wrong.
There is this perception, narrative, call it whatever you want, that it’s okay to give Arsenal players a little more of a kick, or a little more of a shove, now and then because “it’s just Arsenal” and they just whine and cry about being pushed around.
And that’s what lead to the inexcusable foul on Bernd Leno by Neal Muapay yesterday. If you push someone that is running on the ground, they’ll just fall over. Anyone with half a brain cell knows that if you push someone who is airborne, then they are going to struggle to land safely. Go on, try it yourself. Jump in the air, and get a friend to shove you. See how you land and see whether it’s a pleasant experience – because I can guarantee you it’s not.
And the worst thing about all of this is the victim blaming. Are you serious?!
When Aaron Ramsey had his leg smashed into 100 pieces, everyone was feeling sorry for Ryan Shawcross. And the same thing happened when Martin Taylor ended Eduardo’s career – it is an absolute farce!
And yesterday, people were feeling sorry for Muapay. The logic of the whole situation is completely ridiculous!
It’s like driving your car down the street, with your eyes closed, and then when you run over 4 or 5 people, claiming you “didn’t mean to hurt anyone”.
As a footballer, you know exactly what you’re doing at any given time. There is no excuse for reckless behaviour. The way people try and justify these things is completely unbelievable – Ryan Shawcross ran into Aaron Ramsey at full pelt with a 100% reckless and dangerous challenge. Martin Taylor’s foot was studs up, well off the ground. And yesterday, the ball wasn’t even available to win yet Neal Muapay thought it was appropriate to push an airborne goalkeeper.
Until the false narrative in the media ends, which won’t be any time soon, then Arsenal players will be suffering serious injuries at the hands of the opposition time and time again.
And one last thought, how many times have Arsenal players suffered really bad injuries against teams in Europe?