Tag Archives: Wilfried Zaha

Willian likely but Zaha not as ITKs use Wikipedia as a source


So is today the day we buy Willian?

Could it be one of those ones where we are expecting us to announce Willian and we end up announcing Coutinho, Gabriel Magalhães or some other player?

Interestingly, Gabriel Magalhães (yes, I am copy & pasting his name) was left out of the Lille squad for a friendly.

I would still be surprised if we signed the central defender with Pablo Mari and William Saliba recent arrivals. But him joining would also highlight why Mikel Arteta was so desperate for David Luiz to stay.

Luiz could be key in helping his countryman settle.

In recent days we have had European football on the tele, and I could not care less.

I am actually happy that Olympiakos knocked us out of the Europa League. It allowed us to finish the season on the high of the FA Cup. A nice ending to the season.

Teams still in Europa potentially have another 3 games still to play, with the final not for another 11 days on 21st August. The Champions League final is 2 days later.

When you consider the new season starts on 12th September, teams still in Europe will potentially have a little more than 2 weeks off.

It will all be worth it if you lift the trophy at the end of it, but it is a hard slog to end up trophyless.

I am pleased our season finished with the high of the FA Cup win.

On a lighter note, I stumbled across one of those weird Twitter accounts that just copy and paste news headlines all day long. Their bio says they share “Reliable Arsenal FC News” and then they tweet this…

Bit of advice. Wikipedia is not a reliable news source! Do not do what I did 15 years ago and use it as a source in coursework for your law degree.

We have been linked with Wilfried Zaha again after he pointed to a “Zaha to Arsenal sign”. We have already outlined why Arsenal will avoid signing Zaha.

A few former Arsenal youngsters are performing well across Europe.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ismaël Bennacer doing well at Lyon and Napoli alongside Serge Gnabry at Bayern Munich. Might do a blog this week on how youngster should move away for 1st team football rather than sign a new contract and spend 5 years on loan (ala Chelsea).

Neither of these players looked great in an Arsenal shirt. Both took a step down when leaving, got the first team football they desired and are now performing well at a decent level.

More on that later in the week.

Cricket was great.

Have a good day.



Wilfried Zaha – Can Arsenal risk buying another African forward?

This summer Wilfried Zaha will likely be available, having been close to leaving Crystal Palace for both Everton and Arsenal last summer.

Arsenal should not longer be in the running for him.

For a start, we have recruited Nicolas Pepe. We also have Bukayo Saka on the left wing. We do not really need to go big for a winger when we have so many issues throughout the middle of the park – a defender, central midfielder and creative central midfielder as much more important.

But Arsenal’s recruitment team also need to ensure that we do not end up with too many African’s in the squad.

Now before you all start labelling me “racist” or whatever, there is plenty of logic behind keeping the amount of African players to a minimum.

The next African Cup of Nations is in 2022.

It was originally scheduled for January – February 2021, but due to the Covid19 outbreak has been delayed for 12 months.

Any player that is selected for their nation can expect to be unavailable for their club for around 6 weeks – 4 weeks for the tournament itself and 2 weeks for preparation.

Clubs will also be acutely aware of players returning from the continental tournament out of shape, over weight, and not ready to be thrown straight back into European football.

If you end up with a squad with too many African players in it, you could find yourself without some key players for nearly 2 months.

Taking a look at Arsenal, we currently have 2 key players who are African:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon)
Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast)

If Aubameyang is still with us in 2022, and we signed Zaha, there would be a high chance that we would be losing our entire front 3 for 2 months come the tournament.

This would kill any chance Arsenal have of being competitive in 2022.

The club will also be keeping an eye of Bukayo Saka.

The Ealing born England youth international is of Nigerian heritage.

Whilst the youngsters preference is to play for England, and the Super Eagles recently announced that they would not “chase Saka”, a lot can happen in the next 18 months.

If Saka continues his current form, and is ignored by England (highly unlikely), he may well decide to make the switch from England to Nigeria in the same way Zaha switched from England to Ivory Coast.

That would potentially leave Arsenal without Aubameyang, Pepe, Zaha and Saka.

It would be a terrible position for the club to be in and questions would have to be asked as to why the recruitment team have amassed 4 players in similar attacking positions that could leave for 2 months.

Thomas Partey is Ghanaian and would also likely play in the tournament.

Were we to sign him as well, that would potentially be 20% of our squad unavailable in January 2022. By the time you add in the usual injuries from a tough winter period, Arsenal’s squad would be depelted.

The difference between Partey and Zaha, however, is position.

As a winger / forward, Arsenal will already be losing 2, maybe 3, players for the tournament. In the middle of the park we do not have other players likely to play in Cameroon.

If we signed Partey and lost him, we would have the squad depth to cover as we would have 3 or 4 other central midfielders.

As for Zaha, there would not be the cover. Even if Saka remains with the England set-up instead of changing his allegiance.

You need to build a balanced squad, and part of that balanced squad is ensuring that you do not lose too many players over the January period to the African Cup of Nations.

Likewise, teams keep an eye on South American players – as the Copa America tends to be played in odd numbered years; either the year before and World Cup or year after. This results in South American players playing for 3 straight seasons without a summer break (arguably what led to Alexis Sanchez’s loss of explosiveness).

The time to sign Zaha would have been last summer, but we ended up plumping for Nicolas Pepe.

Arsenal’s recruitment team will be focusing on non-African attacking options this summer to offset the potential departures of Aubameyang, Pepe and Saka in 2022.

Everton face a similar dilemma having signed Nigerian Alex Iwobi from Arsenal last summer. Would they really want to lose their left and right wingers for 2 months in 2022?


Arsenal right to negotiate in crazy transfer market

Why do Arsenal always negotiate? Why do they not pay the asking price?

That is what Arsenal fans have cried in recent weeks as we negotiate deals for Kieran Tierney and Wilfried Zaha.

It shows the media bias against Arsenal that they make such a big deal out of Arsenal negotiating the price. They make it appear that we are the only club to do so.

This week we have seen Juventus make an initial offer of £58.3million for Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt. Juventus’ proposed offer includes £49.3m paid up front, with £9m in add-ons.

We then have Manchester United reportedly offering £70million for Leicester City’s Harry Maguire. Leicester want £90million.

Finally a deal that actually went through. Tottenham signed Tanguy Ndombele for an initial £56.5m but fee could still rise to £65m. Lyon were reportedly holding out for £72million paid upfront.

Negotiating is part of business. Part of every day life. Whether it is a transfer fee, players wages, a hour, car or building materials. Everyone negotiates. And if you go and buy a car or a house without negotiating, well more full you.

Yet it is only Arsenal that get criticised for negotiated.

Some might say that Arsenal’s problem is they always go in too low, and “incense” the selling club. But the reality is Arsenal will value a player at a certain price, and will begin negotiations at a lower price.

Take the Wilfried Zaha deal.

Arsenal’s 1st offer is £40million. Crystal Palace are reportedly demanding £100million. The clubs are a long way apart. What would be a “fair” price for Zaha?

Last season Manchester City signed Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.

How does Mahrez’s stats for the 2 Premier League seasons prior to him joining Manchester City in 2018 compare to Zaha’s last 2 seasons?

Mahrez obviously had a very good 2015/16 season that is not included in the above. Man City also have history of over paying for players to secure them. They can afford to do that with their bottomless pit of money.

On the assists, it has to be remembered that Mahrez was a set piece taker. He also took penalties. Zaha does neither.

I think it is safe to say that £60million is probably a reasonable price for Zaha based on what Manchester City paid for Mahrez.

Some will now argue “If Zaha is valued at £60million, why do we not just pay £60million”. That is because Palace want £100m.

Starting at £60million leaves you with no where to go.

Picture the scenario. You are buying a house that is on the market for £500,000. You think you can get it for £480,000. £480,000 is not your first offer. You would probably go in at £450,000. 10% less. This gives you negotiating room.

If you go straight in at £580,000, it means when you negotiate, you can only negotiate above what you believe to be what you value them out.

Back to Arsenal. By offering £40million, it then gives them the space to do a deal up towards £60million. If Arsenal started at £60million, Palace would still demand £100million and Arsenal would have to negotiate up from there.

When you look at the prices being quoted, especially by mid-table clubs, you understand why teams are negotiating hard.

Leicester City reportedly want £90million for Harry Maguire
In turn they have reportedly been quoted £40million for Burnley’s James Tarkowski
They also reportedly have a cheaper option of going for Lewis Dunk for £30million

Now imagine a scenario where you have bought both Tarkowski and Dunk at their clubs “asking price”. £70million spent on a mid-table defence.

And that is why teams negotiate.