Tag Archives: Christopher Nkunku

Napoli, Christopher Nkunku and Sven Mislintat

Napoli

Tonight is the tough Europa League tie against Napoli.

The two sides faced each other in the Champions League back in 2013/14. Arsenal won the home game 2-0, Napoli the away game by the same scoreline.

Napoli are much improved since then and are comfortably the second best team in Italy behind Juventus.

Keeping a clean sheet will be just as important for Arsenal as scoring a goal tonight. A 0-0 is just a good a result as a 2-1 win with away goals still relevant in the Europa League (although no longer relevant in the Champions League).

Napoli have never beaten an English side away from home in Europe. There record reads P8 W0 D1 L7.

It will be a tough game tonight.

Christopher Nkunku

Arsenal target Christopher Nkunku has reportedly turned down a new contract with PSG.

The French youngster’s current deal runs out in 2020, opening the door for Arsenal to secure their man this summer for a reduced fee.

Back in January Arsenal were heavily linked with Nkunku for around £15million. Talk this morning is that it could take up to £30million to bring the versatile midfielder to London. This is vastly exaggerated taking into account his contract situation.

With Aaron Ramsey leaving in the summer, Arsenal are on the look out for someone who can replace his versatility and high energy game.

In January the club took Denis Suarez on loan from Barcelona with an option to buy him for £17.3 million at the end of the season. The Spaniard has struggled to break through at Arsenal and reports are the club have gone cold on moving for him in the summer.

This would leave Nkunku was the number one target to replace Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal – as long as the price is right.

The 21-year-old Frenchman will add something different to Ramsey going forward.

He is not quite as technical as Ramsey, but he is better at driving forward with the ball. He will certainly offer a different option if we are unable to pass our way through a team.

Nkunku’s versatility is also key.

This season he has played central midfield, behind the striker, on the wings and at right back for PSG. Being on the bench, he would offer Emery plenty of different options depending on the game situation.

This is one deal I expect us to get over the line this summer.

Sven Mislintat

Earlier this year “transfer guru” Sven Mislintat left Arsenal after just 14 months as Head of Recruitment.

Speculation was rife as to the reason for his departure.

Some said it was due to a falling out between himself and Raul Sanllehi, others said he felt marginalised due to Unai Emery’s growing influence. Some pointed to disagreements between himself and his scouts, whilst others talked about his frustration about transfer targets being over looked. Ultimately it was the most logical reason that was true.

Mislintat applied for Arsenal’s Technical Director role and was quickly rejected. Mislintat was unhappy, felt he was ready to step up to a more senior role, and resigned.

It happens all over the country in all industries.

An employee applies for an internal vacancy which will be a promotion, gets rejected, so looks for similar roles elsewhere.

The reason for the rejection was Mislintat lacked experience as a Technical Director – he had spent his entire career involved in scouting. It would have been a risk for a club the size of Arsenal to appoint someone who had no experience in such a big role.

Arsenal wanted someone who had done the job before, hence the approach for Spanish technical director Monchi.

Again you see this up and down the country in all industries.

Big companies often poach CEO’s, Managing Director’s or other high ranking staff from other companies rather than promote from within, unless the person within is only making a small promotion step.

Due to lack of experience, when Mislintat went out to the market, he probably found himself rejected by a lot of big clubs. The likes of Manchester United – also looking for a footballing director – were not interested. So he had to lower the standard of club he was targeting.

This had led him to take up the role of Sporting Director at VfB Stuggart.

Like many, due to lack of experience, Mislintat has had to take a role at a smaller club. A bit like someone taking a bigger role at a smaller company. The idea being that he then gains the experience at a smaller club, and then when a similar role at someone like Bayern Munich comes up, he will have the experience on his CV.

Stuttgart are currently in the Bundesliga relegation zone, which highlights just how low Mislintat has had to look to get the position he wants.

Keenos

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Guendouzi OUT, Rabiot, Nkunku + £42m IN

Matteo Guendouzi has been a fantastic signing.

Signed for just £7million last summer, it is easy to forget that he is just 18-year-old and had just 8 Ligue 1 appearances to his name.

The original plan would probably have been to use him at 6th choice central midfielder, behind Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Aaron Ramsey, Mo Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The World Cup and some injuries saw him got some early game time and he has not looked back.

His form has led to speculation that PSG are considering a bid this summer.

I have spoken before about how Liverpool have been able to build a title winning squad by buying low, selling high and reinvesting that in more players. Over the last 5 seasons, they have bought in over £200m more in player sales than Arsenal. This has enable them to sign Allisson, Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah.

When you compare that to Arsenal who have lost about £200m in player sales over that period due to contracts and underselling players – think Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Wojech Szczesny & Serge Gnabry – it leads us to the situation which we are now in. Liverpool 2nd, Arsenal 5th.

I have blogged previously that Arsenal will need to take a risk. Perhaps sell Lucas Torreira for big money and reinvest that on 3 or 4 players.

£60million for Matteo Guendouzi is huge money for a player with half a good season, and Arsenal should seriously consider it.

PSG have previously had problems filling their “home-grown” quota for the Champions League.

With the mega rich oil-financed club recruiting the worlds best players, this has often been at the detriment over French talent.

This has led to PSG signing the likes of Lassana Diarra, Hatem Ben Arfa, Benjamin Stambouli and Yohan Cabaye in recent years.

Despite France being current World Champions, very few of the national teams top players came from PSG.

With Adrien Rabiot, Christopher Nkunku and Lassana Diarra set to leave them in the summer, they will be left with just 4 senior French players in their squad.

This means they will need to go out to the market and recruit French, which in return will see premium price tags put on French players akin to what happens in England with English players.

Guendouzi would be an ideal signing for PSG.

He is one of the best young midfielders in world football. PSG would be signing him knowing that he has the potential to become a first team regular at the highest level – and not just to make up the numbers like Diarra, Ben Arfa et al.

He would be the perfect replacement for Rabiot.

Not only is Guendouzi French, he is Parisian.

Born in Poissy, an outer suburb of France, Guendouzi joined the PSG academy at the age of 6. He left Paris to join Lorient’s academy in 2014.

PSG fans will be wondering why they let such a talent out of their door at 15-years-old.

With the premium PSG will pay on French players, Guendouzi’s potential, and him being Paris-born. a fee in the region of £60million would not be too far from the truth – remember they spent £144million signing another Paris born teenager – Kylian Mbappe.

So should Arsenal take it? My heart might say no but my head says yes.

Let us paint a kick picture.

Arsenal sell Guendouzi for £60million. We then recruit two of the French central midfielders that PSG are set to lose this summer – Rabiot and Nkunku.

Rabiot is available on a free this summer and is a better player than Guendouzi.

They are very similar in the way they play (and look), but with Rabiot being 4-years Guendouzi’s senior, he is the more polished player. Closer to the finished article.

Guendouzi has the potential to be better than Rabiot, but we would be trading a player with a handful of appearances for someone with well over 200.

In January, Arsenal were also heavily linked with Christopher Nkunku for £18 million.

Were we to secure both Rabiot and Nkunku we would be improving our first XI and signing a talented youngster for the future. We would also be £42million up on the deal.

Sou would making the deal make sense?

Keenos

 

Manchester United “killed” the FA Cup, Pochettino fails again, Arsenal transfer news and Henry disappoints

FA Cup 4th round tonight as Arsenal face Manchester United.

There is a bed sheet going round on Twitter which states “Friday night TV, 4000 stolen tickets, The FA + Arsenal killing the FA Cup”.

Whilst I understand the sentiment and frustration of the fan, it is extremely misguided.

The FA have not done much to help the FA Cup. They have sold their soul to TV companies at home and abroad meaning that we now have Friday night and Monday night games. In the 3rd round, games were moved from 3pm to lunchtime despite not being on UK TV. This was to give foreign broadcasters a wider choice on who to show.

The rest of the banner is laughable.

Let’s take the tickets firstly.

Manchester United have not given 15% allocation for years. They have hidden behind health and safety and supported by the FA, so to talk about “stolen tickets” is a joke. Maybe they should petition their own club first to give away fans the right and proper ticket allocation?

Once Man U begins doing so, they might find other clubs doing the same to them.

Also he needs to question his fellow fans.

One of the problems at the Emirates is club level and executive boxes between upper and lower tier. This means that on FA Cup games, you could have away fans above and below Arsenal fans in the middle. This would be OK if fans could behave themselves, but they can not.

There have been numerous stories over the years of fans in club level being spat on, coins being thrown and, disgustingly, cups of urine dropped from the upper tier. If you can not behave yourself, do not expect to get a full ticket allocation.

As for killing the FA Cup, let me take your mind back to 1999.

Manchester United had just won the Champions League, completing a historic treble. They were due to take part in the inaugural World Team Championship. It take place between the 4th and 15th of January, meaning that they would miss FA Cup 3rd Round day.

Mancheaster United accepted an offer from the FA to not play in the cup.

The FA wanted United to play in the new tournament in Brazil – because they believe it could aid England’s 2006 World Cup bid. England lost their bid and Man U did not even make it out of their group.

It was that day the cup died.

Both Man U and the FA decided that the competition was low priority. That teams could just “skip” it to play elsewhere. So if United fans want someone to blame for “killing the FA Cup”, by all means blame the FA, but also blame your own club.

Manchester United are more to blame for the dying FA Cup than any other side.

In other news Tottenham confirmed it would be 11 years without a trophy last night as they crashed out of the League Cup to Chelsea.

I had to laugh during the game as the caption came up on the screen when Sky showed Maurico Pochettino and Maurizio Sarri.

Pochettino’s said “252nd game in charge of Spurs” whilst Sarri’s said “Still yet to win his first major honour”. It was the same captions in the first league.

This highlights the pro-Tottenham agenda within the media.

Yes, Sarri is still looking for his first major honour, but so is Pochettino. Why is it relevant to mention it about the Chelsea manager, but not the Tottenham? It is almost like the media are trying to hide the fact the Pochettino is in his 10th season as a manager, his 5th at Spurs, and has nothing to show for it.

As for those saying “he is only 46”. Well before Unai Emery is only 47-years-old. At 46 he had already won 3 Europa League’s with Sevilla and 7 trophies with PSG in France.

It is clear who the serial winner is…

Arsenal have been lined with PSG central midfielder Christopher Nkunku.

I would normally have written this off as his agent linking his client with Arsenal to get him in the British press – with the hope of a move to a Premier League club. However the move has been confirmed by David Ornstein.

A few have said “but what abut Ainsley Maitland-Niles”., and they do have a point.

On paper Nkunku and Maitland-Niles do seem similar. Central midfielders who are versatile, and the same age. But we should not see it as Nkunku replacing Maitland-Niles, but repalcing Ramsey.

Emery clearly likes playing 3 central midfielders. As it stands we have Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Mohamed Elneny and Maitland-Niles. We ideally need 6 if we are going to play 3, so we need to buy.

Rather than go for an ageing talent in Ever Banega, we are targeting a youngster with talent. This is the type of recruitment we need to get back to. Players under 25 who can develop, rather than on established players who command a high wage and have no sell on value.

And Nkunku would also be a replacement for Elneny.

We get Nkunku, we then have 4 central midfielders who are 22 or under – with Xhaka the elder statesman at just 26. It would then be an area of the park that we would not have to invest in for a couple of years.

Finally sad news from France.

Thierry Henry has been sacked by Monaco.

It does not come as much of a surprise. Monaco was a sinking ship having got into bed again with Jorge Mendes. They moved away from what had won them the league – signing and developing bright young talent – and returned to signing ageing has-beens.

It was a tough job for Henry to take. One that he was always likely to struggle at. He has not helped himself with some of his comments, however you can see his frustration with some of the overpaid senior players.

Some people are saying “thank god we didn’t employ Henry” but to judge him on his first job would not make sense.

Henry clearly loves the game, and has a lot to give. Monaco was just the wrong job.

He could do with going to a club filled with young talent, where he can develop that talent – both the bodies and mind. A bit like what Frank Lampard is doing at Derby. I hope he gets another chance.

Keenos