Tag Archives: Arsène Wenger

Arsenal’s pursuit of Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe. Great player. Great performance at the weekend.

It led to a few Arsenal fans saying “we should have signed him last summer”.

Well we tried. And we went big.

We were rumoured to have offered £80m to Monaco last year. A huge sum for an 18 year old. The deal never went through and he joined PSG on loan for a year with an agreement that they will pay over twice that this summer – £166m.

Instead Arsenal signed Alexandre Lacazette and in January Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The pair cost Arsenal a combined fee of just over £100m.

So the money was there to go higher than £80m for Mbappe, but Arsenal didn’t.

Personally, I am more than happy in having Lacazette and Aubameyang instead.

Mbappe might turn out to be better than the pair (he arguably is already better than Lacazette, but not yet on Aubameyang’s level). But we got two instead of one, adding real depth to our striker force.

I honestly think that with the two of them, and Danny Welbeck as 3rd choice striker, Arsenal have the most strength in depth up top in the Premier League.

What a lot of people seem to forget with Mbappe is last summer was not the year we could have got him for a few hundred thousand. That was the year before when he was just 17 years old.

In the summer of 2016 we were very close to signing him. Arsene Wenger even met with his parents. In the end he decided to stay with Monaco – signing a new contract with the French club.

It reminds me a lot of the Ivan Rakitic to Arsenal story that broke recently.

At 16 years old, Rakitic has a trial with Arsenal. He also had interest from Juventus and Chelsea. He decided to remain with Basel as he did not want to be just another young talented kid at a high profile club.

Two years on and he joined Schalke, turning down offers from Barcelona and AC Milan. Again, his decision was based on playing first team football.

Mbappe has already broken into the Monaco first team. In 2016 he decided to stay with the club and play week in week out with them rather than join Arsenal.

At the time had he joined Arsenal he would have been behind Alexis Sanchez in the pecking order.

Role on a year and Arsenal had the £80m interest in him once more. A year older, Wenger now saw him as a Sanchez replacement; rather than a you player with potential.

Sanchez did not leave and Mbappe joined PSG on loan with a huge transfer set to be completed this summer.

“But he is a striker and better than Olivier Giroud” some moan.

You are wrong.

For Monaco he played outwide with Falco in the middle as a focal point. For France he players one side of Giroud (with Antoine Griezmann the other side) and for PSG he plays wide of Edison Cavani.

Mbappe would have come to Arsenal to replace Sanchez, not to play down the middle.

It should also be remembered that Mbappe is a Parisian. A PSG fan born in the French capital.

There is talk this summer that PSG might pull out of a deal to sign Mbappe. I would be very surprised as he is their future.

There will be yearly speculation about Neymar to Real Madrid. In Mbappe they have a Paris born player; the future of France.

If PSG do pull, I think it will be a battle of the Spanish clubs for his signature.

Barcelona need someone having missed out on Griezmann, and Real Madrid need a marque signing if they fail to land Neymar or Eden Hazard.

Mbappe is going to be a brilliant player – he reminds me a lot of Michael Owen’s break through in 1998.

Let’s focus on who we are buying this summer, not who we could have signed 2 years ago.

The future is bright at Arsenal. Let’s embrace it.



Everyone needs to let go of Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has left us. Gone. It is a new era at Arsenal. The future is bright. It is exciting. We have had record season ticket renewals. But some people just can not get over that he has left.

Whoever this is pretending to be a bot whilst they continue to slag off Wenger 6 weeks after he left needs to really evaluate their life.

The Tweet is absolute rubbish for two reasons

“It’s the World Cup no one is available”

It is a complete myth that Arsenal did not sign any players during (prior or just after) World Cups as Arsene Wenger was working for TV companies.

At the 2014 World cup, Arsenal signed Alexis Sanchez whilst Wenger was lying on a beach.

In fact, in 2014, Arsenal spent nearly £80m on players as in came:

Alexis Sanchez
Mathieu Debuchy
David Ospina
Calum Chambers
Danny Welbeck

4 years prior it was:

Marouane Chamakh
Laurent Koscielny
Sébastien Squillaci

Maybe not the most inspiring list of names in hindsight, but Chamakh was considered an exciting talent, and Squillaci went to the World Cup with France.

In 2006, Arsenal were moving into their new stadium and high loan repayments had begun. This caused the club to tighten its belt during that summer.

Regardless, we still signed Tomas Rosicky before the World cup had even started. He was one of the top players at that tournament. Alex Song was also signed.

2002 saw Arsenal secure the services of Gilberto Silva, an ever present in Brazil’s World Cup winning team. They also added Pascal Cygan to the squad.

So in the 4 World Cups from 2002 – 2014 Arsenal bought 11 players prior to, during or just after the World Cup – I have excluded dead line day signings like Julio Baptista and William Gallas. That works out at 3 players during my loose time period.

“announcing players mid tournament”

So the Tweeter has claimed how much better things are since Arsene Wenger has gone as we are actually announcing players mid tournament.

Have I missed something?

So far Arsenal have announced two signings.

Stephan Lichtsteiner
Bernd Leno

We do have deals for Sokratis and Lucas Torreira in place, but these have not yet been announced.

Of the two players we signed, one was a free transfer – Stephan Lichsteiner. The Second – Bernd Leno – has not gone to the World Cup.

Sokratis is expected to join in a matter of days, like Leno he has not gone to the World Cup. As for the Torreira, reports are he is not actually available and therefore will not be announced until after the World Cup.

Arsenal are doing some brilliant business this summer, if it all comes off. But lets not pretend that Arsenal did not sign the likes of Rosicky, Sanchez & Koscielny in World cup years.

The problem with some people is that they defined their support of Arsenal by the manager. Being “Wenger In” or “Wenger Out” literally became more important than supporting Arsenal.

Since Wenger has gone, people on both sides of the extreme have found themselves homeless, without an opinion. They are struggling.

Many built a huge social media following based on their blind faith following or continual criticism of Wenger. Since he left they have been shown up for having little knowledge of football, adding nothing to the debate.

Instead of moving forward, they are stuck in the past. Constantly bringing Wenger up in every conversation.

Move on lads, move on.


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.