Tag Archives: Gareth Bale

Mesut Ozil & Gareth Bale – The Tale of Two Fallen Stars

It was West Bromwich Albion away back in 2013 when I first heard it:

How does it feel to be Tottenham,
How does it feel to be small,
You sold Bale,
We signed Mesut Ozil, Mesut Ozil

It always saddened me that the rip-off West Ham Dimtri Payet song took over as the chant for Mesut Ozil. But that day in the course of the Hawthornes, we were bouncing.

On 1 September 2013, Real Madrid announced the signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham for a then world record fee of £85.1 million. A day later Arsenal Arsenal announced the club record signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5million.

It felt very much that Madrid had sold Arsenal their world class German creator to make space for the Welsh winger.

Tottenham had sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, which allowed Real Madrid to sell Mesut Ozil to Arsenal.

It was a glorious moment and one which made a mockery of Tottenham’s special relationship with Madrid.

7 years on and both players are at similar stages of their career.

No longer are they world beating stars. Neither is performing to their former world class standard, but both still earn world class salaries. No longer the first names on the teamsheet.

After 7 years, Real Madrid and Arsenal both want rid of Bale and Ozil.

Anyone who has watched the pair will know they are no where near their former glories. Anyone that thinks that they are still capable of playing to the high level they both previously performed at is deluded.

Mesut Ozil was bought for his assists, Gareth Bale bought for his goals. It is interesting that both players peaked in 2015/16 with an identical output; 19 assists for Ozil, 19 goals for Bale.

Neither player has reached that height since – although Bale did have a little renaissance in 2017/18.

From both contributing 19 goals or assists in 2015/16, Ozil and Bale contributed just 2 last season. Clearly neither are as influential on the pitch as they were 4 years ago.

Off the pitch both players have also declined.

Bale has caused a lot of problems in Madrid in recent years, reportedly preferring to be alone on the golf course than with his teammates. He has isolated himself from the team, a salutary character.

Whilst Ozil is still popular amongst his teammates, he separated himself from the Arsenal squad by refusing to take the pay cut. In doing so he became the outlier of the squad.

Both players have also become deeply unpopular with the fanbase. Neither Arsenal or Madrid fans will be upset if Bale or Ozil leave this summer, infact moves will be celebrated by many.

It will be seen as losing a highly paid, underperforming former great player. Someone who fans have never really connected with en-masse, never really bought into The Arsenal or Real Madrid. An individual talent more concerned with themselves than the team they play for.

It is interesting, therefore, that the move of Bale to Tottenham is being celebrated as some sort of coup.

Would the media be celebrating Mesut Ozil moving to Newcastle or Everton on loan? Both clubs would be hammered for signing an expensive player who no longer performs at the top of the game.

Bale and Ozil’s career since moving to and from North London and Madrid in 2013 have taken a similar path.

Very good performances, contributed to their clubs winning trophies, and then demise.

Both are now shadows of the players they previously were, whilst being the top earners at their clubs.

Maybe it is time for a new song?

How does it feel to be Tottenham,
How does it feel to be small,
You signed Bale,
We sold Mesut Ozil, Mesut Ozil

Keenos

5 Alternatives to Thomas Lemar

The Lemar saga keeps rolling, rolling, rolling on. Whilst I think the epical transfer will eventual happen, it might be worth looking at a few other potential targets that Arsenal could move for, if the Lemar deal ends up dead in the water.

Riyad Mahrez

Arsenal have long been linked with the Leicester City play maker. If Arsenal are looking at Lemar as an option who can play both out wide, and behind the striker – providing competition for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez – then Mahrez would be a decent option.

2015/16’s PFA Premier League player of the year would give the side another attacking option. He would be the closest ‘like for like’ to Lemar on this list.

I feel the only reason we are going for Lemar ahead of Mahrez is due to age. Lemar is 21 and has a very high potential ability bar. Mahrez is 26 and the finished article.

If the Lemar deal does fall through, Mahrez must be top of the list.

Jean Seri

The unknown-but-everyone-knows-about-him is predominantly a defensive midfielder. There has been talk that Arsene Wenger is targeting Lemar as a long term replacement for Santi Cazorla. That he will mould the Frenchman into a deep lying play maker.

If the Lemar deal does fall through, a move for Seri, whilst a different type of midfielder, will provide the reinforcements in the middle of the park.

Personally I think we should be targeting Seri and Lemar. They are completely different players. Lemar attacking, Seri defensive. By forcing Lemar to be deeper and defend, you lost a lot of his talent.

It should be Seri and Lemar, not Seri or Lemar.

Ross Barkley

Since Paul Gascoigne, there has been a long list of players labelled the next Gazza who have failed to ever fulfil their promise. Jack Wilshere is one, Ross Barkley another.

There has never been any doubting Barkley’s natural talent. The concern is his consistency. He has never quite put it together for a run of 10/15 games, let alone a season. If it ever does click that he is on the verge of wasting his talent, he could become a world class player. But at 24 in December, time is running out.

He has pace, power and ability abundant, but does he have it between the ears.

Gareth Bale

If Arsenal are looking to go big, could a bid for Real Madrid Galactico materialise?

A deal for Bale would only probably happen if Arsenal fail to sign Lemar AND end up losing Alexis Sanchez. The club could package up the £50m put aside for Lemar, add the £50 they get for Bale, to enable them to offer a world record transfer fee for the former Spurs player.

Suso

The former Liverpool youngster has revitalised his career in the last 18 months, becoming a key player for AC Milan last season.

With AC Milan’s new found money, Suso might find himself on the fringes of the future. Like Lemar, he can play in all 3 positions behind the striker, so would be a good, and potential cheap, 2nd choice. He would provide the back up needed for Ozil and Sanchez, as well as be able to play outwide if we change up the formation.

Keenos

 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s future set to change Arsenal’s transfer plans

It might just be posturing. Cristiano Ronaldo might just be flexing his muscles. Trying to get one big last contract out of Real Madrid.

Or it might be completely true. Ronaldo is fed up having been part of the Spanish version of HMRC’s witch hunt against footballers. Finds the £13m fine for unpaid tax to be excessive, and wants to pack up his bags and leave.

My personal bet is it is just posturing. Ronaldo wants Real Madrid to foot his tax bill. They pay, he stays. They don’t, he then has a decision to make. But if he does leave, what ramifications will it have for world football? The great players in the world leaving for a world record fee will have a ripple affect throughout the global game.

Chelsea, for example, will be quaking in their boots. Real Madrid were already targeting Eden Hazard this summer. Losing Ronaldo will just make them chase the Belgium international even more aggressively. Already set to lose Diego Costa, to lose Hazard as well will spell disaster for the English champions.

But what could Ronaldo’s move, probably to Manchester United, mean for Arsenal?

Closing doors

With Ronaldo leaving, Real Madrid will not want to lose any other of their Galácticos. Potential Arsenal targets like of Gareth Bale, Isco or James Rodriguez will be stopped from exiting the club.

Young start Marco Asensio, who has recently voiced his concern of a big name player coming in and taking his place, would also be told in no uncertain terms you aint going anywhere mate.

If Ronaldo leaves, there will be o further departures at Madrid.

Missed Targets

Kylian Mbappe.

Just a few weeks ago, Arsenal looked to have taken pole position in the race for the talented Frenchman. Since then, things have gone a little quiet, with Arsenal instead being linked with Alexandre Lacazette.

If Ronaldo joins Manchester United for anything above £100m, Real Madrid will then have the cash to immediately make a down payment to Monaco for Mbappe.

They have followed him since he was 14, and whilst the £100m price tag for an 18 year old with such little experience is high, selling Ronaldo and signing Mbappe balances the books.

I would not be surprised if a deal for Mbappe is done within days of Ronaldo leaving.

And what for Alexis Sanchez?

If Ronaldo does go, Arsenal might have a ready made Real Madrid replacement for him in Alexis Sanchez. Could losing Ronaldo force Madrid into entering the race for the former Barcelona man? It would not surprise me.

 

Ronaldo leaving Real Madrid could change the transfer plans of every top side in Europe.

Keenos