Tag Archives: Lukas Podolski

Will Alexandre Lacazette break The Curse of The Arsenal Number 9

Alexandre Lacazette will take The Arsenal number 9 shirt. Will he be the man to finally break the curse?

1996/97

Paul Merson

In Arsene Wenger’s first season at the club, Paul Merson played 40 games in all competitions. At the end of the season, Merson was sold to Middlesbrough for £5 million.

There are no reports of a falling out between him and the club, the move was purely money orientated. The club had offered the midfielder a new 2 year deal, but he had rejected it with Middlesbrough offering to double his money (this was the days before tapping up was so newsworthy). Merson was happy to go from the 3rd placed team in the Premier League to a First Division club.

Merson, who had a history of drink, drugs, gambling and Baccarat squeeze online tips, clearly needed the money, so left for the North-West. Arsene Wenger’s 1st Number 9 lasted 1 season.

1997/98 – 1998/99

Nicolas Anelka

And so the curse begins properly. Whilst with Paul Merson, there were financial reasons for him to leave after just one season, the saga that surrounded Nicolas Anelka’s time at the club may well be what put the curse on the Number 9 shirt.

Signed as a 17 year old from PSG for just £500,000, Anelka became a key player in Arsenal’s double winning season of 1997/98 – scoring the second goal in the FA Cup Final against Newcastle.

Pace, power, and ice cool infront of goal, he dislodged Ian Wright from the side and showed the kind of ability that had people wondering just how long Wrighty’s goal scoring record would last.

17 league goals in 1998/99 saw Anelka be named PFA Young Player of the Year. And that’s where it all begun to unravel.

Anelka started to make noises about being unhappy in England, that press intrusion had resulted in unhappiness. The press nicknamed him ‘Le Sulk’. It all seemed like an engineered move, led by his brothers, to get Anelka a big money move. It was clear that same people in the Anelka camp saw the 20 year old as a cash cow.

After just two full seasons at Arsenal, he packed his bags for Real Madrid, where he lasted for 1 year before rejoining PSG. Moves to Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbache, Bolton, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua, Juventus, WBA and Mumbai City followed.

Anelka and his advisor’s pocketed million’s in signing on fees as a result of moving him on every few years, but Anelka never really became the legend which his talent deserved.

1999/2000

Davor Suker

Signed as part of the Anelka to Real Madrid deal. Lasted a year, missed a penalty in the UEFA Cup final. Joined West Ham.

2000/01 – 2002/03

Francis Jeffers

The young Englishman joined Arsenal with a reputation of being the next big thing, having made his debut for Everton at just 16 and scoring 20 goals in 60 games.

He joined Arsenal for £8million at just 20 years old. However a string of injuries and poor form meant he never became the ‘fox in the box’ he was expected to.

He ended up being loaned back to Everton, before joining Charlton. His career then took him to Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United Jets (Australia), Motherwell, Floriana (Malta) and Accrington Stanley.

He ended up scoring just 40 league goals, 18 of which were netted before he joined Arsenal.

2003/04 – 2005/06

Jose Antonio Reyes

Joined in January 2004 for £10.5m (rising to £17m), big things were expected of the talented Spaniard who had made his debut for Sevilla at just 16.

His Arsenal career got off to a rocky start, scoring an own goal in just his second game. But it was a two goal performance which knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup which will forever live in the memory of Arsenal fans.

For the remainder of the unbeaten season, he showed glimpses of his natural ability. Arsenal fans were excited.

2004 started brilliantly. Hat tricks in friendlies, a virtuoso performance in the Community Shield against Manchester United, where at one point he seemed to dribble past their entire team and 6 goals in his first 6 games. However, things started to go downhill when Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run was ended by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Reyes was continually singled out for rough treatment, with the Neville brothers taking it in turns to bring him down. At one point he nut megged Gary Neville on the half way line, and was immediately hacked down. No yellow card was given.

His struggles continued after the Manchester United match, with reports of him being homesick (rumours were he could barely read and write in Spanish, and could not speak a word of English). There was also the reported ‘bullying’ of Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, the race row started by Luis Aragones and a prank by a Spanish radio show where Reyes admitted he would welcome a move back to Spain and that there were “bad people” at Arsenal.

Reyes eventually left in a loan swap to Madrid for Julio Baptista (who took his number 9), but his career never really his the heights of 2004. He won his last Spain cap at 23.

2006/07

Julio Baptista

A long term Arsenal target, Julio Baptista chose Real Madrid over Arsenal in 2005. However, after just a single season, he was swapped for Jose Reyes for a year long loan.

Despite scoring 4 goals against Liverpool in the League Cup and a further 2 against Tottenham in the same competition, he only managed 3 in 24 in the league. He looked overweight, slow, and had poor technique. He certainly was not the player that scored 47 goals in 79 games for Sevilla. The loan deal was never made permanent.

2007/08 – 2009/10

Eduardo

So far the Curse of the Number 9 had claimed a few victims for reasons from greed, to homesick, to simply flopping. but the curse decided to do its worse to Eduardo Alves da Silva. It tried to rob him of his career through injury.

Everything was looking bright for Eduardo in the Arsenal Number 9 shirt. Joining in 2007 for £7.5m, his career started slowly with Wenger preferring a strike force of Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor. A string of League Cup performances, and an injury to van Persie saw Eduardo gain a place in The Arsenal first team over the festive period.

He scored his first 2 Premier League goals on 29th December, and then opened the scoring on New Years Day after just 72 seconds. Throughout January he was on fire, showing an ability as a creator as well as a goal scorer. Had Arsenal finally replaced Thierry Henry?

He sent Arsenal to the top of the league with a sublime effort against Manchester City.

And then the curse kicked in.

In a game against Birmingham on 23rd February 2008, he was a victim of a despicable foul by Martin Taylor. It left Eduardo on the floor, with a broken leg and an open dislocation of his ankle. It left Eduardo’s career in tatters and destroyed Arsenal’s title chances.

He returned to the side nearly a year to the day of the injury, and, despite doing enough to earn a new contract, looked a shadow of the player. His sharpness had gone. In 2010, Arsenal accepted a bid from Shakhtar Donetsk and he left.

The Curse of the Number 9 had taken Eduardo’s Arsenal career from him.

2010/11

VACANT

2011/12

Park Chu-Young

One of the oddest transfers of recent memory. Park Chu-Young was halfway through a 2 day medical with Lille when, overnight, he disappeared from his hotel room, and ended up in London.

Despite rumours of having to return to South Korea for National Service, Arsenal signed the Monaco forward.

Three seasons at Arsenal saw him play 1 league game – an 8 minute substitute appearance against Manchester United. This led to people wondering whether he had only been signed to sell shirts?

This was certainly one of the oddest transfers in Arsenal history.

2012/13 – 2014/15

Lukas Podolski

The mercurial striker joined Arsenal in 2012 following the relegation of his boyhood club Koln. Great things were expected of the man who, whilst At Arsenal, became the youngest European to reach 100 caps. But it never quite clicked for him.

A fans favourite due to his social media presence, he had a hammer of a left foot, scoring 31 goals in 81 appearances for Arsenal.

Despite averaging a goal every 145 minutes, he was never able to break into the Arsenal 1st 11 for an extended run (after his 1st season). Was it the player? Was it the manager? Or was it the Curse of the Number 9?

2015/16

VACANT

2016/17

Lucas Perez

A big money deadline day signing in 2016, Lucas Perez never really get a fair crack of the whip at Arsenal. Sometimes transfers do not work out, for whatever reason, and this was one of those cases.

Signed after Danny Welbeck was ruled out until Christmas, Perez found himself in the unfortunate position of being behind Alexis Sanchez in the pecking order.

When he joined the club, Sanchez was a winger, Welbeck was injured, and Giroud struggling after European Championships. Shortly after he joined, Wenger tried Sanchez up top, and it worked, with Alexis Sanchez scoring 30 goals.

Perez could also cover wide right, but again found his place taken by another man in sparkling form – Theo Walcott; who went on to score 19 goals himself.

Perez found his chances few and fair between, and in his defence, he did take them. But when Welbeck and Giroud returned, he soon found himself 4th choice striker and his Arsenal journey was over within 12 months

 

It will not take much for Alexandre Lacazette to be our best Number 9 in 20 years

Keenos

 

The Curse of The Arsenal Number 9

1996/97

Paul Merson

In Arsene Wenger’s first season at the club, Paul Merson played 40 games in all competitions. At the end of the season, Merson was sold to Middlesbrough for £5 million.

There are no reports of a falling out between him and the club, the move was purely money orientated. The club had offered the midfielder a new 2 year deal, but he had rejected it with Middlesbrough offering to double his money (this was the days before tapping up was so newsworthy). Merson was happy to go from the 3rd placed team in the Premier League to a First Division club.

Merson, who had a history of drink, drugs and gambling, clearly needed the money, so left for the North-West. Arsene Wenger’s 1st Number 9 lasted 1 season.

1997/98 – 1998/99

Nicolas Anelka

And so the curse begins properly. Whilst with Paul Merson, there were financial reasons for him to leave after just one season, the saga that surrounded Nicolas Anelka’s time at the club may well be what put the curse on the Number 9 shirt.

Signed as a 17 year old from PSG for just £500,000, Anelka became a key player in Arsenal’s double winning season of 1997/98 – scoring the second goal in the FA Cup Final against Newcastle.

Pace, power, and ice cool infront of goal, he dislodged Ian Wright from the side and showed the kind of ability that had people wondering just how long Wrighty’s goal scoring record would last.

17 league goals in 1998/99 saw Anelka be named PFA Young Player of the Year. And that’s where it all begun to unravel.

Anelka started to make noises about being unhappy in England, that press intrusion had resulted in unhappiness. The press nicknamed him ‘Le Sulk’. It all seemed like an engineered move, led by his brothers, to get Anelka a big money move. It was clear that same people in the Anelka camp saw the 20 year old as a cash cow.

After just two full seasons at Arsenal, he packed his bags for Real Madrid, where he lasted for 1 year before rejoining PSG. Moves to Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbache, Bolton, Chelsea, Shanghai Shenhua, Juventus, WBA and Mumbai City followed.

Anelka and his advisor’s pocketed million’s in signing on fees as a result of moving him on every few years, but Anelka never really became the legend which his talent deserved.

1999/2000

Davor Suker

Signed as part of the Anelka to Real Madrid deal. Lasted a year, missed a penalty in the UEFA Cup final. Joined West Ham.

2000/01 – 2002/03

Francis Jeffers

The young Englishman joined Arsenal with a reputation of being the next big thing, having made his debut for Everton at just 16 and scoring 20 goals in 60 games.

He joined Arsenal for £8million at just 20 years old. However a string of injuries and poor form meant he never became the ‘fox in the box’ he was expected to.

He ended up being loaned back to Everton, before joining Charlton. His career then took him to Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield Wednesday, Newcastle United Jets (Australia), Motherwell, Floriana (Malta) and Accrington Stanley.

He ended up scoring just 40 league goals, 18 of which were netted before he joined Arsenal.

2003/04 – 2005/06

Jose Antonio Reyes

Joined in January 2004 for £10.5m (rising to £17m), big things were expected of the talented Spaniard who had made his debut for Sevilla at just 16.

His Arsenal career got off to a rocky start, scoring an own goal in just his second game. But it was a two goal performance which knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup which will forever live in the memory of Arsenal fans.

For the remainder of the unbeaten season, he showed glimpses of his natural ability. Arsenal fans were excited.

2004 started brilliantly. Hat tricks in friendlies, a virtuoso performance in the Community Shield against Manchester United, where at one point he seemed to dribble past their entire team and 6 goals in his first 6 games. However, things started to go downhill when Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run was ended by Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Reyes was continually singled out for rough treatment, with the Neville brothers taking it in turns to bring him down. At one point he nut megged Gary Neville on the half way line, and was immediately hacked down. No yellow card was given.

His struggles continued after the Manchester United match, with reports of him being homesick (rumours were he could barely read and write in Spanish, and could not speak a word of English). There was also the reported ‘bullying’ of Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, the race row started by Luis Aragones and a prank by a Spanish radio show where Reyes admitted he would welcome a move back to Spain and that there were “bad people” at Arsenal.

Reyes eventually left in a loan swap to Madrid for Julio Baptista (who took his number 9), but his career never really his the heights of 2004. He won his last Spain cap at 23.

2006/07

Julio Baptista

A long term Arsenal target, Julio Baptista chose Real Madrid over Arsenal in 2005. However, after just a single season, he was swapped for Jose Reyes for a year long loan.

Despite scoring 4 goals against Liverpool in the League Cup and a further 2 against Tottenham in the same competition, he only managed 3 in 24 in the league. He looked overweight, slow, and had poor technique. He certainly was not the player that scored 47 goals in 79 games for Sevilla. The loan deal was never made permanent.

2007/08 – 2009/10

Eduardo

So far the Curse of the Number 9 had claimed a few victims for reasons from greed, to homesick, to simply flopping. but the curse decided to do its worse to Eduardo Alves da Silva. It tried to rob him of his career through injury.

Everything was looking bright for Eduardo in the Arsenal Number 9 shirt. Joining in 2007 for £7.5m, his career started slowly with Wenger preferring a strike force of Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor. A string of League Cup performances, and an injury to van Persie saw Eduardo gain a place in The Arsenal first team over the festive period.

He scored his first 2 Premier League goals on 29th December, and then opened the scoring on New Years Day after just 72 seconds. Throughout January he was on fire, showing an ability as a creator as well as a goal scorer. Had Arsenal finally replaced Thierry Henry?

He sent Arsenal to the top of the league with a sublime effort against Manchester City.

And then the curse kicked in.

In a game against Birmingham on 23rd February 2008, he was a victim of a despicable foul by Martin Taylor. It left Eduardo on the floor, with a broken leg and an open dislocation of his ankle. It left Eduardo’s career in tatters and destroyed Arsenal’s title chances.

He returned to the side nearly a year to the day of the injury, and, despite doing enough to earn a new contract, looked a shadow of the player. His sharpness had gone. In 2010, Arsenal accepted a bid from Shakhtar Donetsk and he left.

The Curse of the Number 9 had taken Eduardo’s Arsenal career from him.

2010/11

VACANT

2011/12

Park Chu-Young

One of the oddest transfers of recent memory. Park Chu-Young was halfway through a 2 day medical with Lille when, overnight, he disappeared from his hotel room, and ended up in London.

Despite rumours of having to return to South Korea for National Service, Arsenal signed the Monaco forward.

Three seasons at Arsenal saw him play 1 league game – an 8 minute substitute appearance against Manchester United. This led to people wondering whether he had only been signed to sell shirts?

This was certainly one of the oddest transfers in Arsenal history.

2012-13 / 2014/15

Lukas Podolski

The mercurial striker joined Arsenal in 2012 following the relegation of his boyhood club Koln. Great things were expected of the man who, whilst At Arsenal, became the youngest European to reach 100 caps. But it never quite clicked for him.

A fans favourite due to his social media presence, he had a hammer of a left foot, scoring 31 goals in 81 appearances for Arsenal.

Despite averaging a goal every 145 minutes, he was never able to break into the Arsenal 1st 11 for an extended run (after his 1st season). Was it the player? Was it the manager? Or was it the Curse of the Number 9?

Whoever is next to take The Arsenal Number 9 shirt is a very brave man.

Keenos

2 out at Arsenal but will any be coming in?

See it seems this morning that both Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo are set to leave Arsenal on loan until the end of the season to Inter Milan and Bordeaux respectively. What began as a reply on the She Wore Facebook page has ended up growing into a blog on the matter.

Firstly, I think both would have left in the summer, however the injury to Olivier Giroud (before we signed Welbeck) left us short and both remained. Sanogo was clearly in need of game time and Podolski had been surplus to requirement for some time, having been on the verge of leaving in the summer of 2013.

For one reason or another, neither’s Arsenal career has exactly hit the highs expected of them.

Yaya Sanogo has a lot of natural ability. Anyone who has seen him for France U21s will agree. The problem is he needs game time and to stay injury free.

Even before he joined us, he had injury problems. This led him to admit that he once considered quitting football:

‘I told my mum that because of my injuries I wanted to quit, I told her that I was ready to give up and go and work in the post office.’

Through no fault of his own, he was already starting his Arsenal career on the back foot.

Being part of the colossal mess up of a transfer window that was 2013, where we chased Steven Jovetic, Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, the signing of a 20 year old French youth international on a free, alongside his post office comment, led to   cruel mocking from Arsenal fans that all we had ended up with was a postman.

I could understand fans frustration’s, but they were targeted at the wrong man. Sanogo did nothing wrong. He was merely signed to the club, but became a scape goat. The anger should have been at Arsene Wenger, who failed to reinforce a sub-par forward line.

Sanogo’s signing should have been under the radar. A talented youth international who, given the right nurturing and time, could become a key squad player, but circumstances beyond his control thrust him into the lime light and onto the pitch when he clearly was not ready. It was not his fault.

If he gets game time and remains injury free  in France, he will score goals. I think he could return as a good squad player, and even if he is not good enough, wish him well. This is a kid who was just the wrong person at the wrong time.

As for Lukas Podolski, it is not really a mystery as to what has happened to him.

When we signed him, many spoke of a big risk, that he had not done it at his previous big club – Bayern Munich. Arsene Wenger probably thought he could bring his international form out of him. Unfortunately, despite showing glimpses, the same criticisms he suffered at Munich reared their ugly head. That he does not affect a game enough.

Podolski was always at his best (for Germany) playing alongside a big man (Klose) but two upfront is no longer in vogue. He is not quick enough, has enough skill, or good enough crossing to play wide left, and does not have the physicality or speed to play up top on his own. His one dimensional game is outdated with current formations. It is the reason why someone as talented as Jermaine Defoe is playing in America rather than the Premier League.

Arsene Wenger has come in for a lot of criticism from fans for ‘ruining’ Lukas Podolski, but I will defend him a bit here. Yes, he could have played him more, but the fact the Podolski has had the same issues at Arsenal as he did at Munich shows it is the player, not the manager.

Imagine an employee who blames his manager for his failings. He joins a new company, stating his under performance was due to poor management at the previous company. When at the new company, he shows the same failings again. Is it managerial issues at the new company? Or is it infact issues with the employee?

It is the later, and Podolski fits into the same bracket.

At Munich, Podolski played 71 league games scoring 15 goals. At Arsenal it is 59 league games and 19 goals.

At Munich he was manager by Omar Hitzfeld, Jurgen Klinsmann and Jupp Heynckes. At Arsenal he has been under Arsene Wenger. These managers have overseen:

16 league titles
12 Domestic Cups
4 Champions Leagues
154 international games

Maybe the reasoning behind Podolski’s failing at Arsenal and Bayern Munich is not the managers, but the player himself?

Of course, you could be petty and blame Arsene Wenger as he was the man who signed Podolski knowing his struggles at Munich. But that is petty and criticism for the sake of criticism.

Podolski has got a lot of love recently, but this is more due to his antics then his footballing ability. His instagram account, his tweets, his celebrations at Spurs. Maybe had he worked as hard on the football pitch to please fans as he did off it, he would have had a better Arsenal career?

I guess what sums up Podolski’s career at Arsenal for me is the away match against Galatasaray. Yes, he scored 2 great goals, but he was playing left wing. He attempted 0 crosses. This supports the analogy that if he is not scoring, he is not doing much else.

Good luck to both, but ultimately neither are Arsenal quality.

The big question is whether either will now get replaced. The answer is probably no.

On one hand, we do not need to bring in like for like. Between them, they have 239 minutes of Premier League football under their belt this season. With the likes of Sanchez, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Campbell and Gnabry in competition with Podolski for a place on the wing, and many of the above mentioned and Welbeck and Giroud competing up top, we are set for attacking players – unless a truly World Class striker is available.

We are still in need in defensive positions. The extra centre back and defensive midfielder. It is here we are likely to strengthen – using the wages saved from Podolski to reinforce. Personally, I would not be too surprised to see us buy a stop gap ‘utility man’ like Loic Perin who can cover right back, centre back and central midfield.

I doubt we will do much in January – we rarely do anything.

One a side note, the BBC have published an alternative league table this morning just for the 2014 calender year. No prizes for guessing where we finished…

Have a good New Years Eve, I am off to Southampton for the night before the game tomorrow. Good luck for 2015!

Up the Arsenal!

Keenos