Tag Archives: riyad mahrez

Arsenal’s Messy Numbers, Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez, and Jean Michael Seri

Messy Numbers

Lucas Torreira finally joined Arsenal yesterday and took the number 11 shirt. This caused a lot of fuss from traditionalists who dream of the days when players wore 1-11.

11 was always associated with a winger. We then have Bernd Leno, our number 1 for next season set to wear number 19.

Mohamed Elneny, who is unlikely to start, has the number 4 shirt, whilst Granit Xhaka, who is likely to start, wears 34.

And the less said about Joe Willock wearing 69 the better. Grow up son.

I guess at least it is not William Gallas wearing the sacred number 10. That is now on the shoulder of Mesut Ozil.

And we have a proper full back wearing number 2 in Hector Bellerin. It always looked odd with Aboue Diaby in that shift.

If Cech go’s, maybe Leno will move to number 1?

I just do not like it.

Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez

Yesterday Juventus sign Real Madrid forward for Cristiano Ronaldo for £99.2m.

Prior to the deal, the record transfer fee for a 33 year old was when Manchester City spent £16m on Claudio Bravo.

I can see why Ronaldo has moved; he is guaranteed winning the Serie A at least once with Juventus which will put him into an exclusive group of players who have won the league in England, Italy and Spain.

With his recent tax case, Ronaldo is set for a huge windfall in the later end of his career. €120,000,000 over 4 Years is the reported salary.

Some will say that he will earn that back for Juventus in shirt sales, but that is a fallacy as Juventus do not get a percentage of global shirt sales – they only profit o nwhat they sell in their own shop.

It just seems odd for Juventus to be spending that much on a 33 year old.

As for Riyad Mahrez, whilst the £60m is not a huge sum in this day and age – and he is probably worth it – it is incredible that Manchester City have spent the same on one player as Arsenal have on 4

What is even more incredible is that Manchester City already have Raheem Sterling (£44m), Bernard Silva (£43m) and Leroy Sane (£37m) in their squad. They have broken their transfer record on a player who probably will not start week in week out for them.

The signing also continues Pep Guardiola’s incredible spending since joining Manchester City.

Jean Michael Seri

The deal taking Jean Michael Seri from Nice to Fulham is an odd one.

After being linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea for the last 24 months for over £30m, to then join Fulham for reportedly half that just feels strange.

It reminds me of in days gone past when Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez joined West Ham out of no-where.

Why was he so cheap and why did he join Fulham?

My guess is that the interest from Arsenal and Chelsea disappeared. Neither club wanting to spend on a soon-too-be 27 year old whose hype is perhaps well above his ability.

Seri has been compared a lot to N’Golo Kante, but the feeling was always that this was because he was short, African and played in France; rather than him actually being similar to the Frenchman . Kante was also just 24 when he came to the Premier League.

You have to think his agent has forced through the move, knowing that time is running down for his client to make a big money move to the Premier League. That he had to go now to secure that big signing on percentage.

It will be interesting to see if Seri lives up to the hype in England, or if he justifies why Arsenal and Chelsea decided not to go for him.

Keenos

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Arsenal Targets: 10 Wingers

Everyone agrees that we need a goal keeper, centre back and defensive midfielder next year. But we also need a winger.

Since letting Theo Walcott leave in January, we do not have a natural wide man. Whilst Danny Welbeck can do a job there, we require a speedy wideman who is happy getting chalk on his boots.

Against Atletico Madrid in the first leg, we struggled to change game plan. Over the two legs, we bought on 1 substitution. I expect next season we will play fairly narrow, with Mesut Ozil and Henrik Mkhitaryan playing in behind a single striker.

This means that we need an option on the bench to change things up, take things wider.

Strikers Welbeck, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can play out wide, but it is not their natural game and they will only drift back inside. Likewise with Ozil and Mkhitaryan (alongside Alex Iwobi), both would start out wide but end up inside.

This would result in us making a change to go wider, but not having the players who will stay on the touchline. In turn they drop back inside and the in-game tactical change has not occurred.

Manchester City have Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane who provide excellent foils to Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Bernado Silva. Liverpool are also capable of changing things up, even it is using the same personnel.

When they wish to go for width, a simple change of Mo Salah on the left and Sadio Mane on the right completely changes the complexion of the team.

What Arsenal need is a young, intelligent winger. Someone whose natural inclination is to play out wide, but they also versatile enough to play across the front line positions. Someone with natural pace, but technique to match.

So what options are there?

Leon Bailey (Bayer Leverkusen)

The 20-year-old Jamaican has been in sparkling form for the majority of the Bundesliga season and has scored some spectacular goals to help Leverkusen to fourth place and Champions League contention. He ticks every box for Arsenal.

Justin Kluivert (Ajax)

The 19-year-old son of former Holland and Newcastle striker Patrick, young Kluivert is making a name for himself as a winger of note. Already valued in the £40m bracket, the Dutch youngster is perhaps overpriced and Ajax have recently been looking to extend his contract.

A new deal with Ajax would see a huge sell on percentage for both the play and super agent Mino Raiola. This would see him stay in Holland for a couple more years before he is moved on. Arsenal have recently dealt with Raiola in the signing of Henrik Mkhytarian.

Ousmane Dembélé (Barcelona)

The French teenager became the world’s second most expensive player, when he moved to the Camp Nou in a €105m deal, to replace Neymar last summer. However, he suffered a hamstring injury in September, which ruled him out for four months.

He returned in January, but got injured again.

Barcelona are expected to strengthen their forward line with the signing of Atletico Madrid forward, Antoine Griezmann this summer, which could lead to them attempt ro recoup some of their huge outlay on Dembele.

Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon)

The 22-year-old is super fast and has been tipped for the top by coach Jorge Jesus. Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool have watched the Portugal international extensively and he is a classic-style winger who beats his man and gets the cross over. Arsenal may demand he learns a bit more but certainly has the raw talent and has scored 10 goals.

Malcolm (Bordeaux)

Arsenal were favourites to sign Malcolm in January, but they delayed the deal after the dual signing of Henrik Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arose.

With Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund now interested in him, Arsenal now face more competition for the Brazilian youngster than they did earlier in the year.

Malcolm himself has come out and said he expects to leave Bordeaux, come the summer. The 21-year-old is a quality winger capable of playing on both wings, and also has the technique to move into the middle when required.

the Gunners are  suddenly set to miss out on a real talent.

Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)

Has two years left on contract and is regarded as one of the most talented teenagers in the world. The USA international can play on the wing or as a playmaker. He joined Dortmund during the time recruitment was overseen by Arsenal’s Sven Mislintat.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Still just 22, it is incredible to think that Manchester United shocked the footballing world by signing the then teenager for £36 million. What seemed like a crazy price in 2015 would now be considered a good deal.

He has fallen out of favour at under Jose Mourinho and could be looking for a way out this summer. Only questions are around whether he would want to move from Manchester United’s bench to Arsenal’s, and whether he is exactly what we need.

He is not a winger who gets chalk on his boots, more a frustrated forward playing out wide.

Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)

At 27, the Algerian is perhaps not as young as others on this list, but he his Premier League experience and versatility trumps that.

A £50m move to Manchester City fell through in January. He has 2 years remaining on a 4 year deal that he signed back in 2016, and Leicester City might decide this is the last summer that they can get a decent transfer fee for him.

Whilst we should go no where near the £50m that City had agree, if we can get him for closer to £30m a deal should be done.

And a blog about wingers would not be completed without mentioning the names Julian Draxler and Thomas Lemar.

Keenos

5 players Arsenal should AVOID signing today

Riyad Mahrez – I do not see the former PFA Player of the Year as Arsenal quality. If we sign him, it will be as a short term fix before we target better players last year (players who we perhaps missed out on this year). Mahrez will cost a big chunk of money, and command a high contract, yet he could be surplus in 12 months time and Arsenal will struggle to move him on.

Johnny Evans – £30m for 29 year old Johnny Evans? He might be Premier League experienced, but he certainly is not top class. Like Mahrez, you feel he is someone who would clog up the wage bill for years to come.

Thomas Vermaelen – It would just be a Wenger thing to do to let Shkodran Mustafi leave, to then sign the former Arsenal captain on loan from Barcelona.

Ross Barkley – We have just got rid of one overweight English “midfielder” who has flattered to deceive throughout his career. Why then spend big money on another?

William Carvalho – Long linked with Arsenal, he is now 25. Why have we not signed him in the 5 years we have been linked with him? Concerns of fitness and technique, that’s why. Nothing has changed. He is not good enough. Do not be tempted.

Keenos