Arsenal to sell players who don’t extend contracts

Arsenal will be looking to sell any player entering the final 24 months of his contract who refuses to renew it. The club’s managing director Vinai Venkatesham has confirmed the stance in an interview on their official website, where he also revealed that they were happy with the progress made under Unai Emery. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and […]

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Second Captains

“The first captain in this group is Koscielny. Then I tell the players it is Cech, Ramsey, Özil and Xhaka. In my career I want leaders in the team. The representation for every player and in every time in the season [there is] the capacity to do that. Maybe there will be more leaders in the team to show this captaincy, not just in the captain’s group, but these five players are in this possibility to be the captain.”

So said Unai Emery last summer and it’s not an original observation, at this stage, to say that most of that inner circle of captains aren’t the future leaders of Arsenal. Cech is an excellent rolemodel, but lost his place in the team and is now retiring. Koscielny is very much a leader in the example he sets for his team and his organisation of the back line, but Arsenal surely have to pare his workload down.

Aaron Ramsey proved to be a technical leader of the team but he is moving to Juventus. Ramsey produced his best form at the business end of the season- unlike some of his teammates (more on that anon), before his hamstring inevitably gave way. Mesut Özil wore the armband but isn’t really a leader (which is not a criticism, most people aren’t leaders).

Being an introvert doesn’t make Özil unsuited to leadership per se, but he operates on the fringes of a game at the best of times. Besides which, he and the head coach have clashed oftentimes this season and he doesn’t exactly feel like the future of Arsenal Football Club any longer. I don’t think this is entirely his fault, I think, in truth, Özil and Emery just aren’t a good cocktail.

Like many modern managers, Emery has never really operated with a mercurial playmaker, ghosting around the perimeters of the game. He prizes hard running and uses the half spaces to create, either via the full-backs or the inside forwards. Özil’s game is built on finding space, which often means getting away from the action.

There is little point rehashing old ground with regards his contract, which moors the club’s spending power. If a cold war broke out between player and coach over the winter, a kind of ‘hot peace’ has prevailed in the spring, but it looks fragile. With only two assists this season, Arsenal will be keen to try to offload Özil’s salary. Though according Mesut’s agent, the player is not for turning.

When the season arrived at squeaky bum junction, Özil and the second highest earner in the squad, Mkhitaryan, hid in the bogs and waited for the inspector to pass. The team has moved away from them and exiting their wages will be high on the club’s lengthy to do list for the summer. Granit Xhaka was another player named as one of Emery’s trusted lieutenants last summer.

Only Mustafi, Leno and Aubameyang started more Premier League games than Xhaka this season. I admit I have been a fan of Xhaka’s qualities, while conceding that his habitual lapses are incredibly frustrating. At this point, I think I have given up on the idea that an improved tactical setup would see a smarter, less error prone player emerge. This season he has been well protected by Unai Emery’s system, but the brain-dead errors persist. It is surely just an indelible part of his make-up at this point.

His brand of self-destruction would have more of a home in a troubled 1970s rock band. I also wonder if modern football is moving beyond the concept of the deep lying playmaker, the sun around whom all of his colleagues orbit. Immobility is becoming more of a handicap in a league drunk on the lure of the gegenpress.

Spurs have managed Eric Dier out of the team in favour of Moussa Sissoko. Jordan Henderson found minutes easier to come by at Anfield when he convinced Jurgen Klopp he could be a shuffling number 8. Emre Can left Merseyside last summer, to be replaced by the more energetic Fabinho and Naby Keita.

And here is the rub; I think Torreira and Gunedouzi look better when Xhaka isn’t playing. Neither player operates with fixity; both look more at home in a more mobile, fluid structure. Xhaka’s presence is beginning to look a little like a forcefield. James and Andrew have observed many times in the Arsecast Extra this season that Arsenal are dependent on him but perhaps they shouldn’t be.

I think Arsenal’s midfield should evolve more to a modern, fluid 3 man structure that slots into a 433. I also think Maitland-Niles and Iwobi might be interesting options in one of the slightly wider roles within that structure. There was little comfort to take from Manchester City’s cool dissection of Arsenal at the Etihad in February, but I think I saw the future of the Arsenal midfield that day in Guendouzi and Torreira.

I’ve had the impression for a while that Xhaka is a ‘Lilly pad’ player in this project. He does not represent the most urgent boil that needs lancing from this squad, but I have long felt Arsenal would get to him eventually. All of this is to say that Xhaka is not a future leader of this team, which is a shame because on a good day, he really does look like one. If Özil and Mkhitaryan hid in the bogs when the journey got bumpy, Xhaka set himself on fire and tossed himself out of the window.

But… new leaders are emerging in this team in my opinion. Hopefully a better culture can be cultivated around them. Lacazette and Aubameyang have been the team’s shepherds from an attacking perspective. They have produced throughout the season. I think Guendouzi and Torreira don’t have that exalted status yet, but there is the potential at least for them to form the scuttling partnership the midfield needs.

The signs are good that Bernd Leno is emerging as a trustworthy performer in the Arsenal goal. When the bullets start flying, Arsenal have too many players that either duck under a table or swallow a cyanide pill. Leno has not (yet!) shown this level of fragility, he seems like a sturdy enough character who has comfortably taken on the mantle from Petr Cech. Whatever you think of Cech’s Arsenal career, if you’re a goalkeeper ten years his junior, taking over from Cech must be intimidating for a goalie given his standing in the game.

Earlier in the season I wrote that Arsenal fans had entered a kind of existential torpor, because many long serving players had departed and new ones had arrived. As a fanbase we lacked cult heroes. There will be more turnover yet and some of it will be painful as Arsenal move beyond their five anointed captains. In time, a new culture will take hold, with fresh reference points and different leaders.

Follow me on Twitter @Stillberto – Or like my page on Facebook.

Arsecast Extra Episode 287 – 13.05.2019

Welcome to another Arsecast Extra, the Arsenal podcast, with myself and James from @gunnerblog.

On today’s show we look back at the 3-1 win over Burnley on the final day of the season, two more goals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang which saw him win/share the Golden Boot, the final league position of 5th and some overall thoughts on our Premier League campaign, before we discuss Mesut Ozil after another away game in which he wasn’t even part of the squad. What are Arsenal going to do about him this summer in the wake of stories from his agent about how much he wants to stay? We then answer questions about the best and worst moments of the season, loan players, transfer business and which players from outside the top 6 we’d target, which academy players might make the step up next season and lots more.

Remember, you can send us questions via which we’ll try and get to each week. Send them to either @arseblog or @Gunnerblog (or both) using the hashtag #arsecastextra. Best to send them Monday morning so they get noticed more easily.

You can subscribe to the Arsecast Extra on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes).

You can listen without leaving this page by using the player below, download the Acast app for iOS or Android, or download the MP3 directly using the link below.

Also, if you’re a fan of the show, please leave us a rating/review on iTunes, it’d be greatly appreciated.


This Arsecast Extra was recorded with ipDTL

Arsenal Will Miss Ramsey Both as a Player and a Person – Ozil (Video)

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil says his team will miss Aaron Ramsey, who is set to join Juventus this summer after 11 years at the Emirates, both as a player and as a person. Ozil on Ramsey: "I'm going to miss him." #AFC #Arsenal — AFCMike (@AFCPW) May 1, 2019

The post Arsenal Will Miss Ramsey Both as a Player and a Person – Ozil (Video) appeared first on Soccer News.

The post Arsenal Will Miss Ramsey Both as a Player and a Person – Ozil (Video) appeared first on Soccer News.

Ozil wants Arsenal stay

Mesut Ozil wants to stay at Arsenal past this summer, according to Sky Sports. The attacking midfielder signed a new contract with the Gunners last year, one that has made him by far the best paid player in the squad, but his performances have since then been somewhat short of the mark when it comes […]

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Mesut Ozil throws jacket towards Everton boss Marco Silva during Arsenal defeat

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil threw his jacket towards Everton boss Marco Silva and his coaching staff following a touchline confrontation during his side’s Premier League defeat at Goodison Park.

Grumpy Guts: Arsenal Captain Mesut Ozil Hurls Jacket At Everton Coach Marco Silva During Unai Emery Technical Area Spat (Video)

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Arsenal missed out on the chance to strengthen their position inside the top four after succumbing to a single early goal against Everton on Sunday.

Phil Jagielka scored just inside the first 10 minutes and that was enough to settle a tie that leaves the Gunners teetering in fourth, level on points with Chelsea in fifth and, more importantly, a full point behind third-placed Tottenham.

Mesut Ozil started the game as captain and lasted 74 minutes before being subbed off but still managed to add one last exciting contribution from the bench.

With managers Marco Silva and Unai Emery squabbling on the touchline, an irked Ozil stood up and launched his jacket in the general direction of the pair.

He was then forced to sit and shiver through the final five minutes of the game while lamenting his choice of vital-layer-based tantrum.