Tag Archives: Gabriel Martinelli

The Pub, The Arsenal, Saka, Martinelli & Aubameyang contracts

Who is off to the pub today?

I’m giving it a miss.

Nothing to do with my worries about Covid19 (I have no worries) and more to do with me not being bothered to wander round the streets of London looking for a boozer that is allowing people in.

Many pubs will remain shut, and those that are open will be at around 70% capacity. And that is actual capacity, not football day capacity where there can be hundreds in a pub which has a capacity of less than 100.

If you’ve booked your table for 2 hours, fair play. If you haven’t, go and get a few cans and sit in Finsbury Park, Highbury Fields or whatever open space is closes to your house.

Personally, I will be in my garden. The garden bar will be open. BBQ on. The game on my outdoors TV. And at £12 for 15 bottles of Amstel, plenty of money will be saved by all.

Out of nowhere yesterday Arsenal announced a new deal for Gabriel Martinelli. It came out of nowhere.

“Pay parity with Saka” a mate mentioned. And that’s probably true.

In Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, Arsenal have two of the most exciting teenage attacking talents in Europe.

It makes complete sense to ensure both players are on similar money, with similar length contracts. These two are our future.

Hopefully within the next week new contracts for the future is followed up with a new contract for the present. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Reports began to leak that Aubameyang is on the verge of agreeing a 3-year deal with a salary “up to £250k”.

This would represent a 2 year extension, with his current deal having 1 year to run.

It will be an interesting deal when it comes down to the money.

Not too long ago the squad agreed a 12.5% temporary reduction in wages for the 2020/21 season. The reduction would be halved if Arsenal make the Europa League.

Aubameyang’s new deal will surely take into account the squad agreement.

So if it is agreed he is to be on £250k a week, he would immediately take the 12.5% reduction, which would take him down to about £220k.

That would be the sensible action to do to ensure squad happiness.

It would be wrong if Arsenal have asked players to take a reduction, and then give Aubameyang a big new deal with no reduction.

You would be annoyed if you were a player sitting there on £100k a week, now earning £12.5k less, then seeing a teammate, who was already paid more than you, receive an extra £70k a week.

Arsenal will have to be clever with the deal, negotiating incentives with Aubameyang. A pay rise in 12 months time. Even a nice signing on fee or end of contract loyalty bonus making up the missing salary.

Today it is Wolves away.

A tough game but 3 points is essential.

Get to together with your mates. Have some beer. Watch The Arsenal. Stay alert. Stay safe.

Keenos

Arteta rotates The Youth

“Why is he not playing Martinelli” was tweeted countless times on Saturday.

“Saka on the bench, it’s a disgrace” was another.

Following the starting XI announcement, everyone had an opinion on who was playing, who shouldn’t and who was not in the squad. It is only natural.

This then led to the rumour mill kicking off. “Is Arteta teaching Martinelli a lesson”. This all follows up on Matteo Guendouzi being “dropped” following an alleged incident in Dubai.

The truth is, defence aside, Arsenal have very few injury worries.

Prior to Everton, only Kieran Tierney, Calum Chambers and Cedric Soares were on the walking wounded list.

Of the 26 players to have played in the Premier League for Arsenal this season, 21 were fit and ready to go (2 injured, 3 sold or out on loan). With a match day squad of 18, 3 players were always going to miss out.

Games are coming thick and fast at the moment. We are playing twice a week for the forceable (although we have the weekend off with no game v Man City – although we then play Portsmouth in the FA Cup on Monday).

Arteta needs to rest and rotate. To keep players fresh. To keep them injury free.

Take Bukayo Saka.

Saka is an 18-year-old kid in his first full season of mens football. He had started 6 games in a row for Arteta. It has pretty much been a game every 3 or 4 days for him, winter break aside.

Before Everton, he had played Sunday & Thursday. 90 minutes against both Newcastle and Olympiakos. It was only natural that with Saed Kolasinac returning, Arteta would take the opportunity to Saka a break.

Think of the challenge that injured Kolasinac. Had that happened to Saka, and he be out for the season, many of those moaning that he did not start would then moan that he was being over played.

Arsenal have a lot of very talented youngsters. They can not all play at once. They can not all be in the squad at once.

Up front is a perfect example of this.

We have senior players in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe. These are backed up by Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah.

That is 7 attacking players, all of whom were fit against Everton.

With 3 starting, it would be ludicrous to have 4 on the bench. By the time you pick a goal keeper that leaves just 2 places on the bench left for defenders and central midfielders.

Most teams usually go with 2-2-2 on the bench.

Two defenders (one central, one full back). 2 central midfielders, and two attacking players.

Once Arteta had gone with Nketiah upfront, Lacazette was always going to be on the bench. This left space for one more attacking player on the bench.

With Saka in the squad as left back and left winger, it was a straight choice between Martinelli and Nelson.

On this occasion Arteta went for Nelson.

And you can fully understand the Spaniards thinking by picking Nelson.

Nelson provides something that no one else does. He is a right footed winger who gets chalk on his boots.

Martinelli, meanwhile, creates little and is better suited down the middle. In Aubameyang and Lacazette, Arteta had two other striking options in his squad alongside Nketiah. Nelson simply gives more balance to the match day squad.

Also missing out were Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock, and again it is completely understandable.

The defensive options on the bench against Everton were Sokratis and Saka.

If Bellerin went down injured, Mustafi would shift to right back, and Sokratis would come into the middle (or vice versa). And if Kolasinac got injured, Saka would come on.

That left no space for Maitland-Niles as a defensive option.

Moving into midfield, Arteta went for Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi on the bench. His more senior pair.

Had he gone for Willock or Maitland-Niles, we would have had the same stories as post-Dubai. That Guendouzi had been dropped for attitude problems.

Instead it is Maitland-Niles not in the squad, and rumours circulating about Arteta being unhappy with attitude.

Willock also lost out, with Dani Ceballos starting for his 2nd Premier League game in a row.

Whenever a player is left out, stories will circulate as to why. Usually the simplest answer the truest. That the manager is simply rotating and resting.

Expect more changes for Thursday against Olympiakos, and more again for the FA Cup game against Portsmouth.

Keenos

A lot has happened in a week at The Arsenal

A lot has happened in the week I have been off.

Firstly we had Laurent Koscielny going William Gallas on us.

I always liked Koscielny. He seemed to hold himself well and was a good role model, a good captain. He seemed to understand what it means to play for The Arsenal. That is why it came as a shock when he refused to fly out to America on the pre-season tour.

With Arsenal chasing central defenders this summer, it was felt that it was important to keep hold of Koscielny for one more season.

With William Saliba set to sign and be loaned straight back to St Etienne, a second senior central defender would likely be purchased, with Shkodran Mustafi making way. Koscielny would then be kept as experience cover to the new signing, Sokratis and Rob Holding; with Saliba joining Arsenal in a year to replace his senior compatriot.

Koscielny’s actions were disappointing and will have ramifications to Arsenal’s transfer targets this summer.

It is likely that we will now lose the Frenchman and that will result in Mustafi remaining. That will mean less funds raised to buy a top central defender and could see us scrap those plans and going into the new season with Mustafi, Holding and Sokratis as our central defensive options.

Koscielny has tarnished his Arsenal legacy.

We then have the “will they won’t they” signings of Saliba and Kieran Tierney.

Both deals were reportedly very close not to long ago, but both have stalled.

Tottenham have reportedly come in for Saliba, despite a deal being agreed with Arsenal and “in the hands of the lawyers” according to David Ornstein. According to top soccer betting sites, Arsenal are still favourites for the deal

On Ornstein; he is not longer as reliable as he once was with his source within the club having left (reportedly Ivan himself). Recently he has taken to reporting what others like Sky’s Kaveh Solhekol has already broke. Take what he says these days with the same pinch of salt you would others.

Tierney deal is dragging along. Arsenal had a second bid rejected due to the structure of the deal.

Arsenal have a right to be cautious, with the Scotsman still recovering from a double hernia. £25million upfront would secure the man, but he would be unable to pass a medical. It would be a risk, which is why Arsenal are trying to do a deal where Celtic will get their £25million based on appearances.

I still think Arsenal will get the deal over the line.

You then had the fake bid for Nicolas Pepe.

Arsenal reportedly bid £72million for the Ivorian, an offer which was quickly debunked by many. Whilst I have no doubt Arsenal did not make an offer for the Lille winger, he should certainly be on our radar.

Younger and better than Wilfried Zaha, I would rather Arsenal spent £60million on Pepe than his national team mate.

Yesterday we had the launch of the #WeCareDoYou campaign by many prominent Arsenal groups.

The strongly written letter to Stan Kroenke got the attention it deserved and was picked up by every major media outlet.

With nearly 100,000 Arsenal fans backing the letter, it carries a clear and conscience undertone. We are not happy.

I have a few on Kroenke which anyone that follows me on Twitter will know. The letter is not asking him to pump billions in, nor is it spreading any fake news about him taking money out. It is calling on him to show that he cares, and lead Arsenal back on the right track.

Our identity as a club has ebbed away over the last few years. Some of it due to Kroenke’s leadership, other due to the previous custodians. Much to do with how Ivan Gazidis ran the club.

You can probably track Arsenal’s identity demise back to 2002 when Arsenal changed the badge of marketing and copywrite reasons. Since then the club has been a mess.

Now not everything that has gone wrong is Kroenke’s fault, but as sole owner of Arsenal he now has the final say in where the club is going. And the club needs to get back on course.

It will take a while, you do not turn a cruise liner on a six pence. But the letter is the start, and hopefully Kroenke (and perhaps more importantly Raul Sanllehi) does listen, does take things into account, and does show that he cares.

Finally Arsenal played last night, beating Colorado Rapids 3-0 with Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka getting on the score sheet.

I am not going to pretend to have watched the game, but there is a good write up on Jorge Bird’s Arsenal Youth Blog.

Arsenal’s 1st senior pre-season contained a youthful looking line up. Hopefully with another year in the Europa League we will see many of those players develop.

On Thursday Arsenal face Bayern Munich.

Keenos