Tag Archives: Raheem Sterling

8 possible Sanchez / Ozil replacements

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are gone. They are not going to sign a new deal. I think we have to all come to terms with them leaving the club on a free.

And when I talk about all of us having to come to terms, I include the Arsenal management.

It often feels that Arsenal transfer windows are managed without a plan. It is disorganised. But with the clubs two best players set to leave for nothing, it will be a disaster if Arsenal are not already prepared.

The plans of action need to start in January. Even if Sanchez and Ozil are to not leave until the summer, Arsenal need to not only target, but secure at least one replacement for the pair now.

Replacing two in the summer will be hard. Getting one replacement in January will take the pressure off and also ensure that come the 2018/19 season, we already have a replacement who is settled in England having had 7 months to adjust to the weather.

So who should Arsenal be targeting in January?

Thomas Lemar

Our number one target from the summer will surely be re-targeted in January.

He wanted to join Arsenal, Arsenal wanted him, but we messed up and did not meet Monaco’s valuation until too late.

Hopefully since the summer transfer window closed, we have kept talking to both Monaco, Lemar, and his representatives, and that a deal in January could happen quickly.

Robert Pires recently claimed that he felt that a deal for Thomas Lemar to Arsenal will not happen now. A lot of people have jumped on this as to assume the deal is dead. But reading the full quotes from Pires, he is saying this due to the price tag of £90m. That he (and probably Wenger) does not think he is worth that much.

At the end of the day, if we have the money, we need to spend it. Every million that go’s unspent becomes less valuable every year as transfer fees continue to climb.

Julian Draxler

Another long term favourite of some, German international Julian Draxler could be available for a cut price fee as PSG attempt to balance the books.

Draxler is one of 4 attacking talents that are being linked with moves away from the club. Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura are the other 4.

Draxler has struggled to nail down a place since joining PSG, but if Arsenal could get him cheaply, a transfer could be on the cards.

Antoine Griezmann

With Diego Costa set to rejoin Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann may well be on his way out – if not in January, certainly in the summer.

It feels he has been itching for a move away for a couple of years.

Whilst Atletico have performed brilliantly in recent years, the trophies have dried up since Griezmann joined the club. He has only won the Spanish version of the Community Shield.

It is all well and good being competitive and making Champions League Finals, but if you are not winning trophies, players will become frustrated.

If he does want to move, there will be a scramble for him, with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona also interested. Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium to compete with these sides for the likes of Griezmann.

Griezmann would be a stellar signing and the perfect replacement for Alexis Sanchez.

Thomas Muller

Things have gone a little sour for Thomas Muller at Bayern Munich in recent months. After a slow start, the 28-year-old finished with 12 assists in 25 Bundesliga starts last season. However, he found the net just five times. This season he has scored just twice in 17 appearances for club and country.

An established world star, he would fit straight in and provide goals and assists from midfield. Signing him might also see Mesut Ozil sign a new contract.

Raheem Sterling

With the development and form of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling has found himself on the fringes of the Manchester City first team in recent weeks.

Add in David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and big money summer signing Bernardo Silva, Sterling is finding the competition for places tough to get game time. He has made just 5 Premier League starts this season.

Add in Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City are the envy of world football with their attacking talent. 7 into 3 (or occasionally 4) does not go, and whilst they might win the trophies and get the money whilst sitting on the Manchester City bench, many players want to play.

Sterling is a London lad (via Jamaica) and spends a lot of time in the capital visiting family and friends.

Despite his lack of game time, he has still managed 7 goals in the league this season – just two shy of his career high 9 at Liverpool back in 2014.

There has always been a world class player in Sterling, but he just needs an arm round him and get consistent playing time.

He would get both at Arsenal, and at just 23, still has plenty of time to develop.

Dries Mertens

It has recently been linked that Napoli’s Belgian born forward has a release clause of just £25m. This is a snip in the current market.

At 30, he would not be a long term replacement for Ozil or Sanchez, but he is having an Indian summer to what had been an average career since Napoli move him down the middle last season – no player has scored more goals in Serie A since the beginning of 2016/17.

Lorenzo Insigne

The diminutive team mate of Dries Mertens, he has also been in excellent form.

Reminds me of a young Santi Cazorla, he is great with both feet, and can play anywhere behind a front man. The only question for both Napoli men is whether they would want to leave a table topping side for Arsenal in January, and lose the chance to become legends.

Possibly not.

James Rodriguez

The Columbian has only recently joined Bayern Munich on a 2 year long long deal, but things have quickly turned sour.

Signed by the since departed Carlo Ancelotti, Rodriguez found himself on the bench in the game after the Italians dismissal and there are reports that both he and Munich are looking for ways to end the loan deal.

With Real Madrid unlikely to want him back, the only option will be for Munich to find a club to take Rodriguez for the remainder of the loan deal. Arsenal could well step in and Rodriquez could show the creative abilities to fill the void left by Mesut Ozil.

Keenos

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Should Arsenal fans be envious of rival’s transfer dealings?

In recent days, Arsenal fans have cast the green eye of jealousy towards their title rivals transfer dealing. Our opponent’s movements in the market have once again raised a lot of questions of the board and the management. Even on this blog, we have questioned as to whether Arsene Wenger’s dithering could cost us a title challenge.

But thinking with a cleat head, should Arsenal fans be worried yet? After all, it is only the 14th July, there are still 26 days until the season opener against West Ham, and the transfer window does not close for another 50 days. Plenty of time to do our business.

What is seemingly putting the pressure on Arsenal is the actions of others around us. It seems every other club in the top 6 have made big movements this summer, meanwhile, we have sat on our thumb.

Is it true, however, that our rivals have done lots of good business this summer, and that Arsenal fan’s have every right to be jealous and criticise the board? Or is it, to put it bluntly, a figment of our imagination?

Starting with League Champions Chelsea, there transfer dealing’s highlight the ‘figment of our imagination’ statement above. So far their dealings include a young Brazilian called Nathan who they have immediately loaned out of a year, Asmir Begovic, who joins for £8m replacing Cech on the bench, and Falcao, a washed up old man who is replacing another washed up old man in Didier Drogba.

So Chelsea are at nett zero in their transfer dealings. Their starting 11 has not improved, and you can easily question whether the 2 new squad players are any better than those replaced. Begovic is certainly not better than Cech, and Drogba scored 13 goals against Falcao’s four in all competitions last season. Add in the experience and loyalty that Cech and Droba bought to the Chelsea squad and they have certainly gone backwards.

It is the dealings of Manchester United over recent days that seems to have got the back up of most Arsenal fans.

The acquisitions of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin signal intent, especially as it is being reported that they beat Arsenal to the latter, highlighting that Manchester United are back.

It is no question that Schneiderlin is a good Premier League player. One we have pursued for the last year, and expected to sign. He would have provided good competition to Francis Coquelin. But at £25m and £120,000 a week, would he have provided enough of an improvement to make him our 3rd highest paid player (and I am sure make the agents of Ramsey, Wilshire, etc knock on the managers door). The stats would seemingly say not.

As for Schweinsteiger, he was one of the best midfielders in the world. 3 seasons ago.

Since the 2012/13 season, Schweinsteiger performances have dropped up massively. Arsene Wenger over history has always been reluctant to offer players over 30 long term contracts. The way Schweinsteiger has fallen off a cliff highlights why.

Since leading Bayern Munich to the Champions League in 2013, Schweinsteiger has been hit by injuries. Missing 50 games in 2 seasons due to them. Infact, over the last 4 seasons, he not playuerd 30 league games, and only played over 25 league games once (the Champions League winning year of 2012/13). His powers are clearly on the wain.

With the Premier League being a much more physically demanding league than the German – where often Schweinsteiger and Bayern Munich could cruise through games, it is when, not if, Schweinsteiger’s body breaks down.

Had they signed Schweinsteiger in 2013, it would have been a WOW moment. The 2015 Schweinsteiger is still a big name signing, but like Falcao last season, he is a player who’s best days are behind him.

Manchester United’s other big signing, Memphis Depay, is a bit of an unknown quantity. A young Dutch international, he clearly has talent. Where he is unknown is that scoring 22 goals in 30 games in Holland is very different to playing in the Premier League. Manchester United might have just signed the new Arjen Robben. But they might have also just got the new Afonso Alves. At £24.6m, he is a lot cheaper than a young British player whom we will come on to later but it is still a lot of money.

He could turn in to a world superstar, but the worry for United would be if he is to replace Angel di Maria. They would be losing a world class player for a player with the potential to be world class. Not quite the same.

There last signing, Matteo Darmian, no one can claim to know anything about other than what they read on Wikipedia. He is a good example of the rise of Social Media and the effect it has on peoples though process. Manchester United fans are holding him up as a great signing, solving all their defensive issues last year, despite having never seen him play, and probably never having heard of him up until a week ago.

The source of their information? Someone else on Twitter saying he is a great signing, solving all their defensive issues last year, despite having never seen him play, and probably never having heard of him up until a week ago.

Manchester City have not yet signed a player. To think, we as Arsenal fans are getting frustrated, envious, even saying we have fallen further behind the top 2 from last year, yet the team who finished 2nd have signed no one, and the team who finished above us are at nett zero. What is there to be envious of?

Of course, Manchester City are on the verge of signing Raheem Sterling. Now he is a player who I have wanted throughout the back end of last season when it became clear that he was set to leave. Talented and young, he could have provided the competition for Theo Walcott, and if he develops, he could become one of the best in the world.

But then we have the issue. And it is a big issue. Whilst I would have loved to have seen him in an Arsenal shirt, for £49m and £200,000 a week, it would be a no from me. He is good, but not that good.

When you think Depay joined Manchester United for half the transfer fee, and just £85,000 a week, and Paulo Dybala joined Juventus for £22m and a salary of around £60,000 a week, it highlights just how much Manchester City are paying for Sterling’s passport. Twice the fee, twice the salary, for a player of similar age and similar talent.

Would I want Raheem Sterling at Arsenal? Yes. Would I want us to spend £49m and £200,000 a week on Raheem Sterling? Hell no.

Going through our other ‘rivals’, Spurs have done next to nothing, bar take their spending on centre backs over the last 5 years past that of the GDP of a small country – every year they seem to spend £10m+ on a new centre back, just to end up playing Younes Kaboul. There other two signings are just nothing to shout home about.

Liverpool have been the most active club in this years transfer window. But they are to be compared to your mate who is the most sexually active, but only bangs mingers. There is no point having 20 notches on your bed post if their combined rating is only 20! And that is the best way to describe Liverpool’s transfer window. Six players signed, £38.8m spent, and their side is no better. Losing Gerrard & Sterling, replacing them with Milner and Ings. OK. The signing of Firmino has got some excited, but like Darmian, no one had heard of him a month ago, but now he is a world beater.

When you give Kolo Toure a new contract, you know you are in trouble. The issue with Liverpool is with the new stadium, money is not freely available. Will the Sterling money allow them to make more big signings (Like Lambert & Balotelli) or have the basically already spent the Sterling money before they have received it? Wait and see. But its nothing to worry about.

Here is where I sit. At this point, no other club has really signed someone who has made me stand up and think “WOW, I wish we had have signed him”. Meanwhile, Arsenal have had Petr Cech, who would be an improvement on anything our rivals have.

Monaco, Sanchez, Ozil & Walcott

Monaco

Last night Arsenal were not glorious defeat. Arsenal were not unlucky. It was not a result to be proud of. Ultimately, Arsenal were dumped out at the 2nd round of the Champions League once again. And we were victims of our own downfall.

Yes, 2-0 away at a side who had not conceded a home goal since November is a good result, and as a single game, it was an excellent performance, one of our best of the season, but the Champions League is over 2 legs, and having conceded 3 at home in the 1st leg, we did not deserve to go through.

We showed how average this Monaco team was last night and, infact, had finishing been better, both last night and at home, we could have scored 5 or 6. We should have scored 5 or 6. A 2-0 win away at Monaco should have been expected. It should have been building on a comfortable home victory. But we bottled it at home. That last second goal at the Emirates putting the nail in the coffin.

We are out and deserve to be so.

Spurs fans however need a reality check. For some time, we have known that there footballing lives is dictated by our failures, rather than their success, and their boasting about us being out, and them having made more quarter finals in recent years shows how small time they are. They got knocked out of the Europa League, are 7th in the league, lost in the League Cup Final, and are out of the FA Cup. Their season is over.

As things stand, Spurs will need need Arsenal to win the FA Cup for them to get into Europe next season. There is a sensible Spurs fan out there:

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez is a brilliant player. He plays the game the way everyone should. Realising you have a talent, working hard at it, and playing with a smile on your face. You know his life is football. You get the sense he is more interested in kicking a ball about than the money in the bank.

At times this season, he has single handedly won games for Arsenal. But in his last 11 games, he has gone off the boil, with just 1 goal and 1 assist in that time.

It is natural for players to have peaks and troughs throughout their career. Even more usual is foreign players to have an average 1st season. The fact Sanchez started so brilliantly just further highlights his current dip of form.

The worry for me is Sanchez’s response to this dip in form. Rather than keeping it simple, playing himself back into form, Sanchez seems to be burying his head in and complicating his game. Last night was a perfect example.

Sanchez continually gave the ball away, continually ran into blind alleyways. Yes, he was fouled a lot, and wrongly booked for diving, but it was certainly his worst game in an Arsenal shirt so far.

At 74%, his pass completion was only better than Olivier Giroud, of our starting 11 – Cazorla, Ramsey & Ozil were all over 84%, Coquelin 94.6%. Yes, I know that passing is not his game, but 74% is very low, that is dribbling.

He only successfully completed 1 dribble, and was disposed more than any other player 0 bar Giroud, and with just 1 shot, which  was off target, he contributed little.

You could see last night why he does not suit Barcelona and why they were happy to sell him. He is not a team player. It reminds me of when you play FIFA online in the mode where you play as a single player. There is always someone in your team who every time they pick up the ball, they attempt to run it the length of the field and score. They usually mess up. Sanchez is that sort of player.

He needs to learn to get his head up, to notice his team mates, to play the simple pass. He does not need to try and win the game single handedly every time.

Despite the criticism, he is a quality player and will continue to get better.

Mesut Ozil

Whilst Alexis Sanchez seems to be immune to criticism, Mesut Ozil seems to be able to do nothing right in the eyes of most journalists and some Arsenal fans. Since he has returned from his injury, he has been in sensational form, and last night was no different.

The reports from last night would make you think Ozil had a stinker. Bet lets look at things:

Successful dribbles – 6 (Match high)
Passes – 101 (Only Cazorla completed more)
Pass completion – 84.2%
Kay passes – 2 (Match high)
Touches – 126 (Only Cazorla had more)
Crosses – 8 (Match high)

Yes, he might not do the defensive work load some demand, but that is not his game. Complaining that Ozil does not put in enough tackles is the same as moaning that Mertesacker does not put in enough crosses, our Bellerin does not make enough saves. It is not his game.

As for the shirt swap. Some people were up in arms over this, but in my opinion, if you are the one being asked to be swapped with, it is actually a good thing, as it shows your opponent believes himself to be inferior to you. Kondogbia asking Ozil to swap was very different to Santos asking van Persie to swap.

Theo Walcott

What to do with Theo Walcott. Since he returned from nearly a year out, he has struggled. Struggled to make the starting 11, struggled to make an impact when he come’s on.

The chances he has missed since returning from his injury are into double figures. Against West Ham he could have had a hat trick, last night he should have scored – hitting the post.

The problem is he plays on the edge of the game. Bar hitting the post last night, he did little else. In 25 minutes of football, he touched the ball just 4 times. In comparison, Gibbs was on the field for half the time yet had 21 touches.

I have long been a fan of Walcott, and 2 years ago he was one of the best players in the Premier League and had finally looked to have become a man, then he got injured.

He is now 26, and as examples of Michael Owen and Fernando Torres show, players start to slow down in their mid-late twenties, and if you have not developed other aspects to your game (as Giggs & Henry did) you will struggle. Walcott is now in that boat.

With one year left on his contract, Arsenal have a decision to make. Do they offer him the deal he wants, which, with his recent injury record and dip in form could be a waste of money in a year or so, or do Arsenal cash in this summer.

I feel it will be the later. I would not be too surprised to see Walcott moved on and Arsenal sign Raheem Sterling, who also has 1 year left on his contract. Or even a shock move for Gareth Bale.

The fact is, our right hand side is the weakest part of our attack. Walcott can be improved on. I think he will be improved on.

Keenos