Tag Archives: Arsenal

Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil & England

Granit Xhaka

This morning we wake to news that Granit Xhaka could be in line for punishment after his goal celebration against Serbia.

The Swiss international made the sign of the Albanian Eagle when scoring in the World Cup.

For those that do not know, Swiss born Xhaka’s parents fled war-torn Yugoslavia before Xhaka was born. His father was a political prisoner for 3-and-a-half years

Xhaka Sr’s crime had been to take part in demonstrations against the communist central government in Belgrade.

Xherdan Shaqira, born in Kosovo, also made the same sign when he scored his goal.

Reports are that both men face a two match ban for making a “political symbol” but what a load of tosh.

They are proud of their Albanian / Kosovan heritage, and made a hand sign in support of Albania, in support of their parents. If the Albanian Eagle is a political symbol, then so is every national flag.

It is a symbol of their country. Like the English rose or Scottish thistle.

Would it be different if they were playing for Albania? Making the hand sign when they scored? Probably not.

FIFA have to understand that in a multi-cultural game where players often have duel-nationality or duel-loyalties.

Xhaka is a proud Swissman. He is also a proud Albanian.

If they are banned, will FIFA also ban Muslim players who pray after scoring a goal?

Mesut Ozil

So Mesut Ozil was made scapegoat after Germany’s defeat against Mexico and was dropped to the bench for the game against Sweden.

Ozil in Germany is a bit like Raheem Sterling in England.

He gets a lot of negative press, much of it unjustified, just because he is a little different to many of his team mates.

He is often labelled as “Muslim” and “Turkish” and criticised for not being passionate to play for the country.

This is a player who has 91 caps for his country and was their best player at the last World Cup.

Whilst he gets a lot of criticism, Thomas Muller escapes all criticism. It is not hard to work out the difference between the two.

Germany struggled to create in their 2-1 victory over Sweden. The same defensive frailties they showed against Mexico were on display last night. Ozil can not be to blame for Germany being poor defensively.


Struggled to get into the World Cup, but the buzz returned when Germany nearly went out yesterday. Add in Argentina’s struggles and it has been a horrendous tournament for the Old Enemies.

I am a proud Englishman. Whether it be cricket, rugby or lawn bowls, I will support England.

However the national football team I have always struggled with. Like many I struggle to cheer on Harry Kane and Dele Alli, or Gary Neville and John Terry. But I will cheer on England.

I was out in Lille when England were in France in 2016. We drank the city dry. It is up there with the best of Arsenal Euro-always.

So at 13:00, I will be in my garden, BBQ on, beer in hand, backing the boys.

C’mon England.



Lucas Torreira set to cost Arsenal nothing

Arsenal are on the verge of agreeing the €30million deal of Lucas Torreira to Sampdoria. Most reports indicate that the deal is agreed between the clubs and the players representatives have agreed a contract in the region of €3million a year on a 5 year deal.

That means the total cost of the Torreira deal is €45million.

Due to the amortisation of the transfer fee over his 5 year contract, his transfer fee will increase club expenditure by €6million a year. Add this to his wages and the yearly increase in our accounts is €9million.

So how is he set to cost us nothing?

Let’s start with a quick conversion so that we do not have to deal in Euro’s (Brexit means Brexit). In pound sterling, the Torreira deal will cost £7.8m a year.

This summer, Arsenal have lost both Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere on a free transfer. The lack of fee for both is a frustration, but in terms of the accounts, they have no transfer fee being amortised.

According to Total Sportek, both Wilshere and Cazorla were on around £90,000 per week each. This works out at a combined £180,000 a week. You multiply this by 52 (how many weeks in a year) and it gives you £9.36million.

So having Wilshere and Cazorla on our books costs £1.56million a year more than the annual salary and amortised transfer fee of Lucas Torreira.

So it is not even costing the club nothing. Having Torreira instead of Wilshere and Cazorla actually saves the club money.

But we now have 1 player instead of two you complain.

That would be a valid argument if Santi Cazorla had played a game last year.

The Spaniard failed to make an appearance last season, and made just 8 league appearances before that. In 2016/17 it was just 15 league games. So 23 league appearances in 3 seasons.

In that same time, Wilshere has made just 13 league starts for Arsenal – 12 last season and 1 2 seasons prior with a loan spell at Bournemouth sandwiched in between. In fact, Wilshere has started just 22 games in the last 4 seasons at Arsenal.

So in Lucas Torreira, we are getting a player who has played in 71 Seira A games in the last 2 seasons. That is just 5 games missed. We are getting a player who will contribute more than the two departing players, for £1.56million less.

Of course, there are a couple of other factors to be considered, agents fees and signing on fees, but that would have bee the same with Jack Wilshere anyway.

How this majorly affects the club is that is free’s up a lot of money for further transfer.

In our last accounts, we showed a profit of nearly £50m. This means that we could have spent an additional £50m on amortised transfer fees, wages, etc and still be a well run football business.

By offsetting the costs of Torreira against the departing Cazorla and Wilshere, the result, as seen is, no change in Arsenal. That means that the surplus we currently have between revenue and expenditure remains the same. Therefore our budget is unaffected and Torreira costs us nothing.

That in turn leaves us more money in the pot to push forward for more players.

By my bag-of-a-fag-packet maths, bringing in Bernd Leno, Sokratis and Stephan Lichtsteiner have increased our yearly costs be ~£20-25m a year. That leaves us about £20m in the pot

We are heavily linked with Ever Banega. He would add further depth to the midfield and ensure we are well stocked in the middle of the park.

At 29 I imagine it would be a 3 year deal he is offered. This would cost us around £10m in wages and amortised transfer fee.

The remaining £10m could be spent on an attacking midfielder. Someone for £30m on a 5-year-£100k a week deal would cost us £11m.

Losing Wilshere and Carola and gaining Torreira free’s up the extra money within the budget to move for a 5th and 6th signing.

Some great things are happening at Arsenal.



Arsenal’s incredible squad turnover

RAUL SANLLEHI was appointed as Arsenal’s new Head of Football relations in November 2017 – officially joining the club from Barcelona at the beginning of 2018.

On his appointment, Ivan Gazidis said “Raul’s appointment is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level”.

The appointment followed the announcement of Sven Mislintat to head our player recruitment operations.

Sanllehi and Mislintat were bought in to spearhead Arsenal’s revival. To address the slide in on-pitch performances that saw Arsenal finish 5th in 2017 and ultimately 6th in 2018.

What the pair have done is walk into London with the world biggest brush and swept a lot of rubbish away.

It started in January 2017 when the club sold Francis Coquelin, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. They also released Mathieu Debuchy on a free transfer.

They also made a clinical decision when it came to Alexis Sanchez, moving him on to Manchester United and getting Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return. 5 out in January. It was the beginning of a massive cull.

It then hit April, and the biggest decision in the last 22 years of Arsenal was made. Arsene Wenger was told his services were no longer required at the club. Sacked. Encouraged to walk away. Mutual decision. Call it what you want to call, Arsenal would be going into the 2018/19 season with their first new manager this Millennium.

Before a new manager was appointed, the back room firings continued.

The season not over, and barely a week after Arsene Wenger’s big goodbye at the Emirates, Sanllehi and Mislintat informed a lot if his backroom staff that there time at Arsenal was over.

First team coaches Neil Banfield, Tony Colbert, , Gerry Peyton and Boro Primorac were let go; Head of Medical Services, Colin Lewin; Physiotherapists Andy Rolls and Ben Ashworth; Osteopath Dr Philippe Boixel and Travel Manager Paul Johnson also all left the club, with Vic Akers also retiring.

Most Recently, Jens Lehmann was told that his services will no longer be required.

And then the Premier Leaguer “released” players was, well, released.

On it contained Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla. Both expected departures. One playing missing on the list was Jack Wilshere, who was on the “retained” list.

It did not take long for Wilshere to announce he was leaving the club, announcing that after a meeting with new manager Unai Emery, both parties had felt it was time to go separate ways.

What is coming next will be one of the biggest turnovers of players that the club has seen in recent years.

Pretty much every senior player who was out on loan last season will be allowed to go.

This includes Lucas Perez, Joel Campbell, Carl Jenkinson, Chuba Akpom, Julio Pleguezuelo, Cohen Bramall and Ben Sheaf will all find their time at Arsenal is over.

With Bernd Leno coming in, one of Petr Cech or David Ospina will be gone, as well reserve goal keeper Emiliano Martínez.

Rumours are that Calum Chambers will be allowed to go to Fulham, whilst the axe is certainly floating above Danny Welbeck’s head.

You could actually make a very good Starting XI with the players who have left us over the last 12 months. One which would have probably played at least one game together in the Premier League.

What is for certain is those now leading the transformation of Arsenal have a plan.

Out has gone underperforming, injury prone players, in are coming players who can return us back to a competitive level.