Tag Archives: Liverpool

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Liverpool & Rwanda Partnership

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Brilliant interview on the clubs official site about why Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang chose to play for Gabon.

He was born in France to a Gabonese father and Spanish mother, meaning he had his pick of international teams. He was also previously invited to play for Italy U19s, and actually played for France at U21 level.

At the age of 19, Aubameyang was selected for the Gabon national team, and has gone on to win 56 caps, scoring 23 goals.

“I was very young when I decided [to play for Gabon],” Aubameyang told Arsenal Player. “Players often take their time to consider their options and make the right choice.

“For me, the choice was clear. I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. He was captain of the national side in the past.

“I could well have chosen to play for Spain or France. I played for the French under-21 team, but I realised very quickly that in my heart I wanted to emulate my father.

“I do think that I’m a footballer now because [my father] played the game. I remember I loved it when I first went to see him play at the stadium. The fact he was capped so many times for Gabon, of course it made me want to represent the country’s colours.

“There are some similarities in the way we play. My dad was an attacker at the start of his career – he was very fast. Then, when he went to Laval, he changed position, moving further back.

“My father was very strong physically – I’d say I’m less so. I don’t think I’ve been capped as many times for Gabon. So for now he’s still the best, in my eyes at least.”

In the current era where you get players like Diego Costa playing for Spain, it is refreshing to see someone play for the country that he has at heart, rather than the one that could lead to greatest success or international exposure.

Hey Big Spenders

Liverpool have gone at it hard, hard as a mother f***er.

They had already agreed a deal to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzeg after they triggered his £48m release clause last summer. Due to the German outfits qualification for the Europa League, the deal is actually going to cost them £62 million in total.

Also joining the club is Monaco utility man Fabinho. A £39m deal for the Brazilian was completed almost as quickly as interest in him was announced on Monday.

There is also talk of a £62m deal for Nabil Fekir being close.

That will take their summer spending to £163m and we are not even in June yet!

It has led to a lot of Arsenal fans asking how are they spending so big?” and “why are Arsenal not competing for those players?” Let’s break it down.

Firstly, Liverpool have not spent big this summer. Keita was agreed last summer and Fekir has not yet bit done. Fabinho is the only player they have signed.

Saying that, I imagine the Keita deal will drop into this years accounts, and if the Fekir deal is completed, that will be a huge chunk of cash spent. But it is money that they needed to spend.

Fabinho coming in replaces Emre Can who is set to leave on a free transfer. Fekir will be a replacement for Phillipe Coutinho who left in January. It means that Keita is the only real addition from where they were at the beginning of last season.

And Keita, whilst perhaps most exciting of the 3 midfielders, is perhaps the one they needed least. He is very similar in style to Georginio Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who they spent a combined £60m on.

Add in Jordan Henderson, Liverpool would have midfield options that have cost around £250m. And none of them are as good as Aaron Ramsey – highlighting how important it is that Arsenal secure the Welshman to a new contract.

So how have the afforded it?

It must be remembered in recent years they have only had 2 years in the Champions League. The money from this is not the main motivator for the big spending. Pretty much all of their new signings – from Virgil van Dijk, to Fabinho and Fekir – have been financed by the sale of Phillipe Coutinho.

Liverpool got £146m when they sold the Brazilian to Barcelona in January.

van Dijk, Fabinho and Fekir will cost ~£176m between them, which is pretty much all the Coutinho money plus a little bit more.

Liverpool spent over £150m last year. This years dealings will take them beyond £300m in 3 transfer windows. It will be interesting to see if the press stop pretending that they are not big spenders.


It has recently been announced to some controversy that Arsenal have a greed a £10m-a-year 3-year deal with The Rwanda Development Board to become Arsenal’s first ever sleeve sponsor.

The 1994 Rwandan genocide, which saw 800,000 Tutsi murdered, is still very much in people’s mind. With over a third of the country in poverty, the deal has led to questions as to whether the £30m can be used better elsewhere, and unfounded rumours that it has been paid for through financial aid.

There is also controversy surrounding President Paul Kagame being an Arsenal fan.

One of the key reasons behind the sponsorship deal was to raise awareness of Rwanda, to make people think of it as a tourist destination, rather than for the horrendous acts that happened 24 years ago.

In Rwanda, tourism is the number one export.

It is currently the second fastest growing economy in Africa with a booming tourism sector that has seen the number of visitors double in the last decade. The country’s national parks are attracting record number of tourists due to growing numbers of wildlife including black rhino, lions, zebra, chimpanzees and the famous mountain gorillas.

Rwanda is also attracting new hotels and lodges across the country, making it easier to experience longer, unique and memorable vacations.

They are currently attempting to double their revenue from tourism to $800m over the next 6 years, and the link up with Arsenal will be seen as an important partnership, with one expert estimating that the £30m investment could help to bring in £300m of new revenue.

It is a case of speculate to accumulate. If the initial outlay does drive additional tourism revenue to Rwanda, that will benefit the entire nation and her citizens.

An interesting little comparison (for me anyway) to make is Germany.

We have the Holocaust. The Genocide of millions of Jews. The World War ended in 1945. In 1954, just 9 years later, Germany were World Cup winners.

Also look at South Africa. Apartheid ended in the early 90s, with the first democratic election held in 1994. In 1995, they won the Rugby World Cup on home soil.

Football, and sport in general, can play a huge part for a countries rehabilitation.

Whether it be through promoting themselves as revolutionised, like it did with South Africa, or driving tourism to the country like Rwanda are doing, the benefits fair out way the cost.

If you have criticised the deal, let me ask you a question:

Since the deal was announced, have you Google Rwanda? Have you looked into it as a holiday destination?

If you have, even if you have just read about the country on Wikiepdia, it shows that it was £30m well spent.



Plenty for Arsenal to celebrate on quiet weekend

Not much happening with Arsenal over the bank holiday weekend. Usually that means something will occur about 8 minutes after publishing this blog.

Whilst not much has happened over the weekend in regards to Arsenal, there has still been plenty to enjoy and celebrate.

On Saturday night Liverpool lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League Final.

Not just is the result a joy to behold – any Arsenal fan who wanted Liverpool to win needs to take a look at themselves – the fall out has been equally excellent.

The petition set up by Liverpool fans to get Sergio Ramos bans is embarrassing.

Not only was someone sad enough to set it up, over 300,000 people have signed it.

Is that really what modern football is? Petitions and cry-arising?

Ten we have Jürgen Klopp.

He lost his 6 final in a row, but all is forgiven because he sang a song about Real Madrid and wore a baseball backwards.

I have found the press response to Klopp interesting.

The German is now 6 years without a trophy. The year before He took over at Liverpool, they finished 6th.

In the 3 seasons he has overseen the club, they have finished 8th, 4th and 4th. And lost 3 finals. Yet the press defend him and his failures.

1 League Cup won in 12 years. For a club of Liverpool’s size, history and previous success, that is a decade of failure.

Nearly as big a failure as Spurs winning just 1 League Cup in 19 years – and Mauricio Pochettino trophyless in a 10 year managerial career.

Interesting how do Klopp and Pochettino, failing to win trophies and finishing top 4 is seen as a success.

Meanwhile the press have criticised Arsenal’s appoint of Unai Emery. A serial winner.

Liverpool fans showed their well documented classlessness in fall out of the defeat.

Death threats aimed at goal keeper Loris Karius and his family are not banter. They are a criminal act. The press will not criticise Liverpool’s fans for fear of boycotts. Liverpool will play the victim as they do so well.

The second cause for enjoyment this weekend was Fulham’s victory over Aston Villa in the play off final.

Anyone that has done Fulham away will know that it is one of the greatest away days.

Whether you go on one of the many booze boats that will be run on the day of the game, or drink somewhere in Fulham, it is always a top day.

Welcome back Fulham.

Enjoy the rest of your bank holiday weekend, and hopefully next week brings some more Arsenal news.


Arsenal need to learn Champions League lessons

There is a lot that Arsenal can learn from Tuesday nights Champions League games ahead of tonight’s tie against CSKA Moscow.

The ultimate lesson is do not try and defend the lead.

Barcelona went to Rome with a 4-1 lead from the home league. They were in a similar situation as Arsenal face tonight. A 3 goal lead, but with the opponents having a crucial away goal.

Whilst Barcelona had the majority of the possession, they did little with it. Pass, pass, pass. Sideways, sideways, sideways. 57% of the possession resulting in just 9 shots.

Manchester City did similar with a 4-0 lead over Basel.

They were leading 4-0 from the away leg, but lost the home leg 2-1. Despite having 78% of the possession, and going 1-0 up, they were just not interested in scoring.

Liverpool in the first half against Manchester City on Tuesday was a similar story. They were defending deep, looking to hold on to what they had rather than increase their lead.

It was only in the second half when Liverpool decided to attack that the momentum of the tie changed. What was looking like being an incredible Manchester City come back ended up with Liverpool leaving the Manchester Commonwealth Games Stadium having won both the battle and the war.

Tonight Arsenal need to be aggressive. They need to come out and play their normal game. To attack. To not let CSKA Moscow get back in the game.

As we saw on Tuesday with both Barcelona and Manchester City, the first goal can change the complexion of the tie.

Manchester City scored in the first 3 minutes. This forced Liverpool even deeper. Had City’s second “goal” not been wrongly disallowed, I am sure they would have gone on to win the game.

Roma were similar. They scored in the 6th minute. And when Daniele De Rossi scored the second goal, Barcelona players looked scared.

In 90 minutes, it is the equivalent of being 2-0 up. You’re in control. Should cruise to the end. A few substitutes come on. Starting to relax. Then it is 2-1. It is hard to then get back on the front foot, get the mentality right, and often it ends up 2-2.

This is the same for Arsenal. At 4-1, we should get through, but we need to show the right attitude. We need to get on the front foot and ensure that we are dictating the game and being a threat. Just a single Arsenal goal in Moscow will change the tie, as it takes out the away goals. But to get that goal, Arsenal need to attack.

We saw is against Ostersunds.

A poor attitude led to sloppy defending which led to the Swedish minnows going 2-0 up after 23 minutes. Arsenal started the goal with the wrong attitude, thinking they could just pass their opponents off the pitch, and nearly ended up paying.

Against AC Milan, leading 2-0 from the away leg, Arsenal conceded first at home. Hakan Calhanoglu scoring from 30 yards looked to change the tie. Luckily Arsenal shook themselves down and responded quickly.

If we go 1-0 down tonight, we could be in for a long 90 minutes as the natural response will be to defend deeper.

Arsenal need to learn the lessons from the Champions League and come out attacking.

Be aggressive and we go through.