Tag Archives: Isco

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.


Arsenal target Real Madrid Galactico

Back in 2013, I predicted early in the summer transfer window that Arsenal were going to sign Mesut Ozil.

It had nothing to do with being “in the know” (ITK) or having any sort of inside knowledge, it was just an educated guess.

With a squad already containing Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria playing behind Karim Benzema up top, Madrid had already invested €30M in 21 year old Spanish talent Isco. When I made the prediction over Ozil, they were making it clear Gareth Bale was going to be their Galatico signing of 2013.

What I foresaw was the Bale joining would leave 5 players – Ozil, Ronaldo, di Maria, Isco and Bale – fighting it out for 3 places. Players of that calibre do not sit on the bench. 5 into 3 does not go.

You could immediately strike a line through the recently signed Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo. Isxo would be happy to site behind Bale (et al) in the pecking order and Cristiano Ronaldo was, well, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Logic dictated that either Ozil or di Maria was likely to be the one cast aside. I tossed a coin and it came up Ozil. Incidentally it than transpired that both di Maria and Ozil were offered around Europe and di Maria left the next season to make way for James Rodriguez.

I looked at the sides who could afford Mesut Ozil around Europe. Italian teams could not afford him, Bayern Munich had just spent big on Mario Gotze. That left England.

Manchester Cuity already had David Silva, Samir Nasri & Yaya Toure. Chelsea had Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and had just signed Andre Schurle and Willian. Manchester United had just parted ways with Sir Alex Ferguson, replacing him with David Moyes.

This left his most natural destination as Arsenal, if we were willing to fork out the money.

This season, I see a similar situation transpiring at Real Madrid.

Over the course of the season, Gareth Bale has lost his place in the Real Madrid side to the now fully developed Isco. Injury to Bale gave Isco his chance and he has taken it. He has now developed into one of Madrid’s stand out players. This leaves Bale in a situation that, upon regaining his fitness, he finds himself behind Isco, James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo for a starting place.

With Real Madrid’s transfer ban set to expire on 1st July, they will look to move for a big name, marquee player straight away. That player will likely be a forward. Probably Eden Hazard? It will leave them in a situation similar to that in 2013, where they will have to get rid of either Isco or Gareth Bale to make space for a new player.

Gareth Bale has already been heavily linked with Manchester United. It is supposedly his favoured destination. But with Manchester United also heavily linked with Antoine Griezmann – their number one target – and looking to secure Ivan Perisic in the next few days, the squad places for Bale look limited. Add in Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, I struggle to see where Bale would fit if they get Griezmann.

Obviously all bets are off in Atletico Madrid keep Griezmann – likely due to their transfer ban. Bale will then become Manchester United’s primary target.

With Manchester United off the table, that would still leave Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich as interested parties – I still do not believe Italian teams can afford his transfer cost and wages.

Man City have just spent big on Bernard Silva. With Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero and Leeroy Sane in their squad, it would leave them in a situation like Real Madrid. They would have to sell one of their current established players to make space for Bale. I can not see it happening.

Chelsea could do a deal to bring Bale back to London with Eden Hazard going the other way. It is a deal I could see happening.

Over in Germany, Bayern Munich are looking for a long term replacement for Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. They have recently invested time and money in Douglas Costa and Kinsley Coman, but a senior, proven forward would still be essential.

There first choice would be Alexis Sanchez.

If Sanchez does go to Bayern Munich, another door closes on Bale. But as another door closes, one will open. And that door is at Arsenal.

If Sanchez ends up in Germany next season, Arsenal need to make a big name signing to replace him. Like in 2013 when all the cards fell in place leading Ozil to join Arsenal from Madrid, the could happen again with Gareth Bale.

With Aaron Ramsey already at the club, and Bale already having lived in London for a few years, a move to Arsenal would interest him.

Arsenal can afford the transfer fee, and afford the wages. And what a statement that would make. One of the best players in the world, and someone who used to star for your rivals.

Could Arsenal end up with Gareth Bale in 2017/18? It could happen.

Of course, one thing that could stop it happening is if Real Madrid decide not to sell him. If that happens, it would mean that Isco could be the one that is moved on. If Bale stays, simply re-read the above but change the name ‘Bale’ for ‘Isco’.

Arsenal would make a huge statement if they signed either rIsco or Bale for Real Madrid, even if either Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil left the club.

It is going to be an exciting summer (hopefully) for Arsenal.


Serious investment required if Arsenal stick to 3-4-2-1

In the last few weeks we have changed to 3-4-2-1 with fairly impressive results. The high profile defeat to Spurs being the only humungous blot on the copy book. Victories over Middlesbrough, Manchester City, Leicester City and Manchester United have led us to 4 wins from 5 games.

The key question now is do we continue with this formation into 2017/18 and plan our transfers around it, and if so, who would we need to add to the squad?

In the current formation, we play a very high line. Therefore we need a goal keeper who is kick off the line who can play as a sweeper in the same way as Hugo Lloris or Manuel Neuer perform the role for their perspective clubs. Petr Cech is slow off his line, and with his recent poor form, moving forward he is certainly not the future.

A new goal keeper, or Wojciech Szczesny has to be on the list this summer.

At right wing back, we look fairly well set. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has impressed, and in reserve we also have Hector Bellerin, an attacking full back who suits a wing back role perfectly.

Moving through the back line, Shkodran Mustafi is a naturally right sides centre back. With Calum Chambers as his understudy, we look well set. Laurent Koscielny will be the linchpin that holds the middle of the park together, with Rob Holding and Gabriel also in the frame. Add in Per Metesacker and we have plenty of options.

The left hand side of the 3 is another story, however. Recently both Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal has looked OK there, but it is certainly a weakness. If we were to continue with 3-4-2-1, someone over and above Monreal is needed. Sead Kolasinac could be the answer here.

Kolasinac is naturally a left back, but has played centre back in the past for German side Schalke. At 6ft and left footed, could he come in and be the left sided centre back we need? With Nacho Monreal then backing him up?

The left sided problems continue when we look at left wing back. Monreal is too defensive to play wing back – hence his recent successful move to left centre back, whilst Kieran Gibbs is simply not good enough. If Kolasinac was to play centre back, we would then need to go and sign a left wing back.

Ricardo Rodriguez was heavily linked last summer, but my bet would be Jordi Alba. The Spaniard has recently found himself out of favour at Barcelona and would fit in to the left wing back role at Arsenal. Providing his back up would be Nacho Monreal who would also double up covering left centre back.

The middle of the park actually looks fairly solid with Granit Xhaka and the revitalised Aaron Ramsey. 3 at the back has given Ramsey the chance to get further forward. He is less of a liability in the opponents 3rd of the field than Arsenal’s.

It would be preferable, however, if we also signed someone a bit more defensively minded than Xhaka who can be rotated in for the tougher games where we need a bit more of a defensive shield. Someone who is physical but can also cover a lot of ground. Basically a better Coquelin.

No names spring to mind, however a strong central midfielder is a must. Add Mohammed Elneny into the mix alongside a returning Jack Wilshere and it would leave us with 5 solid players for 2 positions. The formation change does however signal the end of Santi Cazorla’s Arsenal career, and Francis Coquelin is simply not good enough.

We play with a narrow 2 behind the striker, rather than a wide two. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have excelled since the change. Your two best players playing close to each other has left teams chasing shadows. They can not isolate one when they have the ball as the other is always close by.

Both players have played a lot of their career out wide, so have also been able to help the wing backs out when the ball is in the wider positions. Where we are perhaps short is in their back up.

Alex Iwobi has fallen out of favour after a good start to his Arsenal career, whilst Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere could do a job behind a striker, but would also be needed in the middle of the park. Signing a player of the calibre of Isco would give Arsenal 3 brilliant options in the 2 positions, whilst also freeing Sanchez up to potentially return up top. The aforementioned Iwobi completes the options.

We are still in need for a new striker. Olivier Grioud is simply too immobile to play in the formation, whilst Danny Welbeck has all the physical attributes but is simply not a consistent goal scorer. Up top we need someone who has the physicality to play on his own, the pace to run in behind, the work rate to close down, and a sharp finisher. Not too much then!

Kylian Mbappe would tick a lot of boxes, but at £85m+, it is crazy money for an 18 year old who has been a first team regular for barley 6 months. If we are looking to spend that big, it potentially brings the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mauro Icardi into the frame. Any of these 3 would cost a big chunk of cash, but would also be a dramatic improvement on what we already have.

Arsenal would also have Alexis Sanchez as an option, and then Danny Welbeck and Yaya Sanogo (I jest) as back up.

A permanent move to 3-2-4-1 leaves us needing 6 new signings. 4 of which would be 1st team player. Just typing and speaking out loud as I type, that feels like too many players for the starting XI.

It is also hard to see how the likes of Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud would fit into the new formation. Walcott and Giroud have already struggled for game time (are they injured), whilst Cazorla would get over run in a midfield two.

If we do stick to 3-4-2-1, some serious investment would be needed in the summer. And hopefully it is invested better than last summer.