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Arsenal | Anorak - Part 6

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Arsenal football club news, Arsenal transfers

Arsenal vow never to let player contracts run down to final year

Arsenal’s ‘head of football’ – what a great title that is; as if Arsenal’s purpose his anything but football – Raul Sanllehi promises everyone that the club will no longer allow the contracts of key players to enter the final year. Right now Aaron Ramsey is nearing the end of their current deals, so too Danny Welbeck.

In recent seasons, Arsenal have allowed the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to enter the final six months of their contracts. This foolish negotiating tactic overseen by the not-in-the-least-bit-lamanted chief executive Ivan Gazidis, now at AC Milan, resulted in Ozil getting a whopping £350,000-a-week on a new deal and Sanchez heading to Manchester United last January. Jack Wilshere’s contract expired. He ended up getting a free transfer to West Ham.

“In general, I do believe that a player’s contract should never go to the last year, as a policy,” Sanllehi told the Sunday Telegraph. “But I don’t think I am inventing the wheel. Anybody could agree on that.” It appears that Gazidis did not agree. “Normally, the contracts of the players are for five years. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to do with that player when he is in the third year, at the latest.”

“We don’t take decisions overnight, on a quick reflection. We really go through not only a long period of thinking but also a lot of people are involved. People in which we have a high trust. In general I would like to make that point clear. There are no decisions that are left to the last minute. When we reach a decision, it is for a reason.”

To further illustrate how slack things got at Arsenal under Gazidis and Arsene Wenger, Per Mertesacker and Huss Fahmy, have been promoted to the club’s “executive team” as the club look to increase the “football representation” at decision-making levels. It’s the school of the bleeding’ obvious. Ignore the actual football, focus too much on marking and branding, and watch the club turn into, well the current Manchester United mess.

But it’s not all about the footy. Mertesacker, Fahey,  Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat are the only “footballing representatives” on the 15-man executive team, which “encompasses everything that we do as an organisation”. Eleven people do what exactly? As Sonny put it so succinctly on the night of the big dance-off in the hit movie Grease, ‘Let’s hear it for the toilet paper.”

Posted: 28th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Martial wants to stay at Manchester United

Do Manchester United buy players to fit the team or advance the global brand? Rumours abound that Manchester United want to sell Paul Pogba but any exit would blow a big hole in the club’s marketing scheme. The trick for United is less who wants Pogba, but which mega-star replaces him and why they’d want to? The Mail says the marketeers who run United are stuck on who could match Pogba’s commercial value. Think less of the overrated player and more of how much merchandise he shifts.

The media is full of stories about how Pogba would leap at the chance to join Barcelona – he’d leap higher than he did when he lost Antonio Rüdiger at a corner for Chelsea’s opening goal last weekend. The bigger question is: why would Barcelona want the hype-powered France footballer whose shown few signs of being worth a fraction of his £90m fee that took him from Juventus to United? The still bigger question is: why would Barcelona spend £200m for the privilege?

Another Frenchman less than chuffed with life at Manchester United is French forward Anthony Martial, 22. Last week he was all set to see out his contract and leave on a free. Today the BBC says he’s ready to to stay at the club. First Jose Mourinho heaps prise on Luke Shaw, a man he once branded a brainless plodder, seeing to it that the asset nearing the end of his contract was awarded a new contract; now Jose starts praising and picking Martial just as he looked all set to leave for nought. Who picks the side at United: Mourinho or the moneymen who run the club?

The Sun says LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to rejoin Manchester United on loan during the MLS off-season. He’s one for the future.

Across town, Manchester City fancy Juventus’ Brazilian full-back Alex Sandro, 27, and Japan midfielder Ritsu Doan. Down south, a resurgent Arsenal are monitoring Ajax’s Argentina left-back Nicolas Tagliafico, 26. Chelsea are closing in on 18-year-old Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali. And Crystal Palace like Inter striker Gabriel Barbosa, whose on loan at Santos having failed to command a place with the Italians. Barbosa tells Marca his “intention is to go to a place where I can be as happy as I am here [at Santos]”. Palace it is, then.

And Wolves – they’re after Inter Milan’s 25-year-old Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario and a striker. Maria is also liked by Leicester and Southampton.

Posted: 25th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Reasons to love Emery: Arsenal got rid of Wilshere

Reasons for Arsenal fans to love Unai Emery mass by the day. After last night’s Wenger-esque victory over Leicester City, a performance illuminated by three synchronised team goals of rare beauty, what one writer compared to “watching a tribute band play better than the act they are paying homage to”, comes news that were it not for Emery Jack Wilshere would still be at the club.

Well, so says Wilshere, who tells the Islington Gazette:

“If Arsene had stayed I would have stayed, because of the influence he had in my career and the trust he had in me. He gave me the armband and respected me a lot. So, I had pretty much agreed to stay. And then he left and that changed things. Arsene had said to me previously ‘stay and fight your way back into the team’. Because I knew Arsene and knew he had trust in me, I knew I could do that and fight my way into the team.”

Wilshere was a hugely promising talent who rarely delivered. Arenal fans will wish him well at West Ham, but would he really get into the current side, who play such a high-tempo game? No. And if he did, when the ball reached Wilshere, the move would slow.

Emery is now working his magic on Aaron Ramsey, who having seen his demands for £250,000 a week in wages and a four-year deal rebuffed is seeking pastures new when his contract expires in the summer. As Ramsey’s agent whines on twitter about there being “no other option” for their low-scoringinjury prone midfielder of a client to leave because he can’t get £1m a month wages (plus loyalty bonuses?), Emery’s stock rises.

 

Posted: 23rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester United chase Koulibaly, Arsenal take Malcolm on loan from Arsenal and Chelsea underpay Hazard

Cancel the trip to Jose Mourinho’s hotel room in Manchester and the one-way ticket to Real Madrid, Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea. The BBC says Chelsea will offer their best player £350,000-a-week to stay at the club. This, says the Express, will make Hazard “the highest-paid player in the Premier League”. Which is odd because the Express says Alexis Sanchez is the league’s number one earner on £500,000-a-week.

 

daily express sanchez

Daily Express facts by Dany Wilson October 2 2018

 

As the Express delivers the facts and then fact that counter those facts in a SEO blizzard of utter balls, the Express also says struggling Real Madrid want to hire Raheem Sterling to bolster a forward line missing Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50-odd goals a season. There are no facts to support the claim. The Mirror says Sterling wants more money to stay at Manchester City, who will of course find it down the back of the sofa.

Finally, the Star says Arsenal fancy taking Barcelona’s Brazilian winger Malcom, 21, on loan in January. That’s be the same Malcolm the press told us had agreed to join Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United before he went to Spain.

More facts from the twilight zone of football reporting every day…

Posted: 21st, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs, Tabloids | Comment


Arsenal fans lament the loss of their shares to a heartless Kroenke

When Arsenal fans watching their side thrash Fulham 5-1 began to sing “We’ve got our Arsenal back”, billionaire Stan Kroenke must have smirked. It’s not the fans who have Arsenal, it’s him. And he’s got the lot.

Not too long ago, the list of Arsenal owners with clout read like a Damon Runyon play: Peter Hill-Wood, Sir Chips Keswick, Lord Harris of Peckham, Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith. But they cashed in. The old school stability that had defined Arsenal for decades vanished when David Dein, the hymned vice-chairman, sold his shares to Alisher Usmanov, an Usbek billionaire, in 2011 for £75m – each share valued at £11,750. Fiszman wasn’t keen on Usmanov, so sold his stake to Kroenke for £159.5m. The Bracewell-Smiths got £116m for theirs. The so-called Establishment Club was no longer a rich man’s chattel; it was a brand to exploit.

It’s Stan’s Arsenal now. He’ll let you know his plans for Arsenal when he thinks you need to know.

To take full ownership of the club, Kroenke was required to buy all the shares, including those owned by fans. He ordered those fans to relinquish their little bit of the club they loved and felt part of. Not everyone has signed the forms and taken the £29,000 per share. But they will.

Rory Smith spoke to a few of them:

“Owning a share made me feel as though Arsenal was actually my club: It was a closer, more emotional bond,” says Martha Silcott.” That sense of custodianship is very important to me; it is right that fans, the lifeblood of a team, own a part of that team… I don’t like the idea of it being owned by someone whose only interest in it is money, buying up the shares of people who bought them for reasons that had nothing to do with money.”

“I have been a member of the family called the Arsenal for 75 years,” says Jeffrey Freeman. “..It upsets me that one man can decide the destiny of the Arsenal, can accrue all the benefits of ownership himself, especially given that he does not regularly attend games. Does he have the interests of the Arsenal at heart?..  By taking them, Kroenke has bought the body of the club. The heart, though, will always evade him. The heart will always belong to the fans.”

Arsenal fans will get their Arsenal back one day – but for now it’s the property of Mr Walmart.

Posted: 19th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Aaron Ramsey transfer balls: Everton ready to trump Liverpool and Man United for Arsenal player

Does the BBC need to clickbait Arsenal fans with news of Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey? The BBC says Ramsey is “set to leave Arsenal for Everton on a free transfer in the summer”. Wasn’t he heading to Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City or Chelsea? Earlier this week, the BBC told its reader that Ramsey was “open to joining one of Arsenal’s top six rivals if he leaves Emirates Stadium on a free transfer in the summer”. Everton are not a top six side. And that was “if” not “when”.

The BBC also told us that Real Madrid want Ramsey; and Liverpool and Man United were looking to get Ramsey in a “cut-price” deal this January.

Now we’re told, Everton are “ready to offer the 27-year-old a £15m signing-on fee”. Says who? Says the Sun, which actually says nothing of the sort. The BBC cites the tabloid as the source of its news, but when you head to the Sun, it tells us Ramsey “can command a stunning £15million signing-on fee.” He can. But will he? Everton could also pay the injury-prone player £150,000 a week to be “the main man in Silva’s midfield”.

 

ITV News also broadcast a rumour based on nothing but guesswork

 

Ramsey wants £250,000-a-week to stay at Arsenal on a four-year contract, working out at £52m. The Gunners rejected that option to nearly double Ramsey’s current salary. And now Everton will offer him £15m plus £31m in wages – that’s £46m over four-years. Although the Sun doesn’t say how long any contract offer will be for – just as it doesn’t says Everton are going to offer the player a £15m signing-on fee.

What next for Ramsey? The BBC hasn’t got the foggiest idea. He might yet stay at the Gunners. Look out for that theory on the BBC…

 

Posted: 17th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Manchester City’s Foden to Dortmund, Hazard’s Chelsea dream and Manchester United want Ake

Borussia Dortmund are keen to hire Manchester City’s cake-loving reserve Phil Foden to keep Jadon Sancho company. All the noises from those with vested interests in young Foden earning loads money at City say he’s very happy at the club. But he hardly plays for the first team, and if a big name in his position became available, City would surely swoop and push Foden further down the hierarchy. RB Leipzig and PSG also want Foden, but Dortmund with their reputation for developing young talent must be the pick.

Bournemouth’s Nathan Aké is talking about a rumoured move to Manchester United. “I’ve seen it pass by but of course it’s rumours,” says the former Chelsea loanee. “At the moment I play at Bournemouth and that is going well, so I focus on that. This does not say much about my status yet. They are rumours on the internet and as long as I do not hear anything myself, I will not go into that.” No comment is still a comment, Nathan. But he’s not heard anything himself about the things he’s chatting about to Dutch journalists so let’s just leave him alone.

Still at Chelsea is Eden Hazard, who having stated it his childhood “dream” to play for Real Madrid, no says he won’t head to Spain in January. He also says he won’t ever force a move to Madrid. Instead, he’ll just keep on talking about his ambitions in Spain, batting his eyelashes and seemingly talking abut Madrid every single day.

Heading back to Chelsea is midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 24. Reports are that AC Milan have “threatened” to cancel his loan deal because of “defects in his game”.

Arsenal are looking at cheaper options than Hazard, like Rennes’s Ismaila Sarr and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz. They’re said to be promising, young, athletic, skilful and cheap. You know the story. Some things at Arsenal never change.

At the other end of the pay scale, Manchester United are all ready to offer Spain goalkeeper David de Gea a new deal that would make the 27-year-old the club’s highest earner – m re than the £600,000-a-week they pay Alexis Sanchez to kiss the badge.

As for Spurs, well, Madrid captain Ramos says Harry Kane would be great in La Liga, and Mousa Dembélé will quit the cub at the season’s end to live out his own fantasy at Beijing Sinobo Guoan in the Chinese (Not So) Super League.

Posted: 15th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal balls: maths say Gunners will be champions and Ramsey will score 20 goals

We do all love the hyberbolic rantings of football pundits. Right now they’re raving about Arsenal. Stan Collymore uses his tired Daily Mirror column to tell readers Arsenal “will win 90 per cent of their games and lose the other fixtures they’re expected to lose, that means no titles”. It does? Since when have Arsenal ever won 90% of their matches over a season? Since Stan Collymore made it up.

If Arsenal win 90 of their Premiere League matches, they most likely win the title. Last season, Manchester City scored  records number of points by winning a mere 84% of their PL matches. In the Europa League, you can win the trophy by winning just 8 of 15 matches – that’s 53%.

Over on Sky Sports, Ian Wright is backing Arenal in their stance over Aaron Ramsey. Say Wright: “We’ve seen him [Ramsey] in the Euros dominating when he was absolutely fantastic, we’ve seen the season [2013-14] he has with Arsenal scoring 20-plus goals and was amazing, we’ve seen he can score in big games, winning cup finals.” Ramey has never scored 20-plus goals in a season. In the Mirror, John Cross also thinks Ramsey can be relived upon to score, noting:

It will be a massive blow to lose one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders on a free, and once again the north Londoners’ dealings in the market and over contracts will come under the spotlight.

Ramsey has scored once season. He did score 7 PL goals last season – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored – get this – one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? Does he get 20 goals season? No. In season 2013-14, Ramsey scored 13 goals.

But let’s spare some sympathy for the pundits. It’s not as though there’s an easy resource you tap into to access a myriad facts in seconds. And until there is, guesswork will triumph over homework.

Posted: 11th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transer balls: Liverpool and Manchester United fight for Arsenal’s Ramsey

Having scored his regulation one goal of the season, low-scoringinjury prone midfielder Aaron Ramsey is hot property. The BBC says that with the Arsenal player’s contract coming to an end this summer, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United are thinking about buying him in the January transfer window.

Ramsey can’t stay at Arsenal, of course. His agent explained all in a now deleted tweet: “There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on. It’s right [the grass] isn’t always greener and he [Aaron] didn’t want to leave but now there’s no other option.” Reports suggest the poor, suffering agent thinks his client is worth £250,000-a-week in wages for the next four years. Arsenal don’t.

The Indy reports that Ramsey’s rep was talking to foreign clubs last January about his client leaving leaving Arsenal on a free. So he can go.

Arsenal don’t seem too fussed about what the Press term ‘losing’ Ramsey. They’ve already lined up his replacement, a hard working tacking midfielder called Miguel Almiron.

All good, then. The Gunners will get some cash for a player who though skilful and capable, is slower than most, doesn’t score as many goals as pundits think he does and spends chunks of the season in the treatment room; Ramsey cashes in; a young Arsenal player gets the chance to move up the pecking order in Unai Emery’s energetic team; and desperate Manchester United sign a player who will surely make Alexis Sanchez shine…

 

 

Posted: 11th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal to replace Ramsey with Almiron

Transfer news: Arsenal are all set to sign Paraguay “striker” (BBC) or “midfielder” (Sky) Miguel Almiron, 24, for £15m (Mirror) or £11m (Sun) in the January transfer window.

Almiron plays for MLS side Atlanta United. And you kind of wonder how 12 goals this season in the US soccer league makes him a candidate for Arsenal in the Premier League. And then you wonder if Arsenal know more about him than the British media, who can’t even agree what position he plays in.

The story is rooted in Atlanta president Darren Eales, who told one and all: “Almiron’s future is already decided and he will go to England in the European winter market.”

Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martinez says Almiron has a “commitment to winning the ball back, pressing, he’s a player that’s always working.” He’s a player very much in the Unai Emery mould, then. “He’s an atypical No 10. Because he gives you everything that a No 10 gives you and he probably dispossesses players like a defensive midfielder.”

Adios, Ramsey?

 

Posted: 8th, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Aaron Ramsey’s massive wage demands are not his fault

It’s Aaron Ramsey and Avid Sports & Entertainment Group versus the forces of nature. Responding to news that Ramsey will be leaving Arsenal at the season’s end when his current deal expires, Avid reportedly tweeted: “There is nothing we can do, the club made a decision. Life goes on. It’s right [the grass] isn’t always greener and he [Aaron] didn’t want to leave but now there’s no other option.” We can’t find the tweet. It appears to have been deleted. But if true it’s refreshing to realise that football is not the agent-drive football market in greed we’ve held it to be, but an exercise in existential laissez-faire.

Arsenal’s decision was not to offer the low-scoring, injury prone midfielder Ramsey a four-year contract worth up to £250,000 a week.  His agent’s decision was to lower their client’s fee and realise that the £140,000-a-week Arsenal were reportedly prepared to invest in Ramsey was absurdly good money. No. Of course not.

 

 

Fans comments are not all pro Ramsey:

I know his agent is making it sound like Aaron has been totally shafted by the club but if you’re going to run down your contract for big money you run a risk…

Exactly what I was thinking as I was reading that “we had no choice” crap. They had plenty of chance for a long time to sign a contract and show some loyalty but it wasn’t enough and now Arsenal is like the Ex who doesn’t want to put up with your shit anymore.

Life goes on and I’m sure Ramsey will be looking at how life has gone on for Alexis Sanchez elsewhere. You don’t realise what you have at Arsenal until you’re 10 months into it and haven’t scored more than twice.

Life goes on, her, for the poor, selfless, sainted agents, who looked on helplessly as their player lost track of time and forgot to tell them his contract was running out and then asked for £13m a year to live his dream.

In other agent news, humble, down-to-earth Ramsey is an “ambassador” for a company that rents out private jets:

 

 

Oh, and here’s the chance to win one of Ramsey’s old shirts – no doubt with pre-kissed badge:

 

Modern footballers. They really are above the rest of us…

Posted: 3rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: £52m Ramsey bid but his replacement comes cheap

Dust off the piano, Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez is being linked with a return to the Gunners. Having been told by Manchester United’s negative and draining manager Jose Mourinho that he could never play for United again, Sanchez is considering his options. The Daily Star reasons that this includes the £600,000-a-week man taking a huge wage cut to rejoin Arsenal and seize the dream of coming fourth and winning the Europa League.

The Manchester Evening News says “Manchester United fans think Arsenal robbed them with Alexis Sanchez deal”. Nothing but desperation impelled United to give Sanchez a fortune. Clubs should be careful what they wish for.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are looking to replace Aaron Ramsey, who was seeking about £250,000-a-week to sign a new Arsenal deal. Ramsey told the fans it wasn’t about the money. Right. And Sanchez joined United to shop at the Arndale Centre. It’s all about the money.

Arsenal reasoned that paying a fading player £52m in wages over a four-year contract was too much – and that might not include loyalty payments. Ramsey turns 28 in December. Last season he missed 11 games though injury. The seasons before that he missed: 22 matches, 11 matches, 15 matches and 21 matches, respectively. Ramsey leaving Arsenal is being talked of as a disaster. The Daily Mirror called Ramsey one of the best goal-scoring midfielder in Europe. Last season Ramsey scored how many goals for Arsenal in the Premier League? Fifteen? Ten? No. One. He scored one goal.

Factor in any resale value in the transfer market and giving Ramsey a shedload of cash to stay looks nuts. So he leaves for the Liverpool treatment room or Real Madrid’s reserves, and the Gunners can look at getting a replacement, like Napoli’s Poland midfielder Piotr Zielinski. He’s 24. He’s no history of injuries. He’d have a resale value. And he’d a command a transfer fee of around £25m plus up to £100,000-a-week wages.

It’s not all about player power.

Posted: 3rd, October 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Aaron Ramsey takes his one goal a season and heads to Italy

Yesterday Arsenal fans learned something that had escaped them. The Mirror’s John Cross told them and readers of his Daily Mirror “exclusive” that Aaron Ramsey is “one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders”. Last season, Ramsey scored one goal in the Premier League. Are goals from midfield so hard to come by that one represents the apogee? That question to David Silva, Mo Salah, Deli Alli, Kevin de Bruyne, James Maddison, Bernardo Silva, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Pascal Groß. We could go round Europe looking at goalscoring midfielders, but the point is made: Ramsey is not as effective as his PR says he is.

But the impression that he hits the net pervades. Last night, former Arsenal star Ian Wright told Sky Sports: “…Aaron Ramsey is captain material… It should have been done ages ago. Ivan Gazidis [the Arsenal chief executive who left for AC Milan] has got a lot to answer for for this to happen because Ramsey should be a focal point in the team… He’s somebody that I’d like to see stay because I think he is that player who is never afraid. He scores goals.”

He scores very few goals. And another player on the big money Ramsey’s after might score more goals than him. Arsenal’s habit in recent years of sticking with players on the drift has seen them not challenge for the title and slip out of the Champions League slots. Unai Emery is building his own team. Why does he need Wenger’s journeymen?

So Ramsey’s off in search of vast riches and loyalty payments elsewhere. As soon as Arsenal agreed to pay £350,000 a week to Mesut Ozil, every other player; on Arsenal’s books thought themselves worth more. But they’re not. So Arsenal withdrew their contract offer to Ramsey – the one he hadn’t agreed to sign.

The Standard says he’s booking a one-way flight this January to Juventus or AC Milan. Or maybe it’ll be Chelsea or Manchester United? Anyone in the market for a skilful but slowing midfielder who scores one goal a season knows his agent’s number.

Posted: 28th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer balls: Arsenal prepare to sell overrated Aaron Ramsey

Transfer Balls spots this gem of an “exclusive” on the Daily Mirror’s back page: “Aaron Ramsey to leave Arsenal next summer.” The midfielder’s current deal runs until the end of this season. He’ll then be free to pick up a huge wad of cash at another club.  But after the original statement, the facts become , well, less factual.  We read that the Mirror “understands there is now NO new contract offer on the table”. Is understanding the same as knowing? No. Or ‘NO’, as the Mirror might put it.

 

ramsey arsenal leaves tranfer

Fact!

 

And then we pick up the powder and dust the story down for the agent’s fingerprints:

Midfielder Ramsey had been ready to stay and commit himself to a new contract, with the club confident of reaching agreement with the past few weeks. But there has been a sudden change and talks have completely broken down — to the point that there is now nothing for the 27-year-old Wales international to sign.

A sudden change from which side? The inference is that it’s not from fiercely loyal and not-in-the-least-bit greedy Ramsey who is holding his pen with “nothing” to sign. “Ramsey appears likely to play just one season under new boss Unai Emery,” we’re told. Appears. Likely. Not all that factual. This is less than 50 words after readers were told, “Aaron Ramsey will leave Arsenal at the end of the season”. Now it “is not known whether the Spaniard [Arsenal manger Unai Emery] wants to keep him.”

Arsenal’s wage bill has been escalating out of control with Mesut Ozil now on £350,000-a-week, but Ramsey has been keen to stay and this breakdown is not because he has turned down a new deal.

Maybe Arsenal think he’s not all that good?

It will be a massive blow to lose one of Europe’s top goal-scoring midfielders on a free, and once again the north Londoners’ dealings in the market and over contracts will come under the spotlight.

One of Europe’s top-scoring midfielders is, according to the Premier League’s stats-based Fantasy Football game, the joint 19th best midfielder in the PL. According to Wales Onlinewhich like the Mirror is owned by Reach – Ramsey isn’t one of the best midfielders in the PL. As for goals scored, Ramsey hasn’t scored this season. He did score 7 PL goals last season – the same number as: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford), Pascal Groß (Brighton) and Marcos Alonso (Chelsea). In season 2016-17, Ramsey scored – get this – one Premier League goal. In 2015-16 he scored 5; in 2014-15 he got 6; and in 2013-14 he scored 10. Is he one of the continent’s best goal-scoring midfielders? He was. But is he now? No.

Ramsey’s a good player. But Arsenal would be nuts to break the bank to keep him. And if he wants to go now, surely they’ll cut him loose in January. But the Mirror says:

They allowed both Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to get into the final year of their deals, and now they face an even more embarrassing own goal over Ramsey.

Ozil stayed. Sanchez went to Manchester United on a £600,000-a-week deal and Arsenal got the less difficult Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return. Arsenal are currently above United in the league. Sanchez has been poor. Embarrassing?

The tin lid on this balls comes in the next line:

Meanwhile, former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has turned down offers from China, Japan and France because he is enjoying his new-found freedom after leaving the club last summer.

Oh, him – the bloke who didn’t leave when the Mirror told us he would be:

 

daily mirror wenger quits sack resigns arsenal

2017?

 

See yer, Ramsey. First went fading Theo Walcott, then oft-injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the ordinary Kieran Gibbs. They were followed out the door by the pace-free Jack Wilshere and now Ramsey is set to leave. Arsenal fans, listen up, things are getting better. Tough players with presence can get in touch with Emery at the usual address…

Posted: 27th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Arsenal banned Low from speaking to Ozil

“NO PRONUNCIATION IN LONDON,” declares the headline on Bild, the German tabloid. The headline is viewed through the Google Translate mangle. But the next part is clear: “Löw locked out at Özil training.” News is that Germany coach Joachim Low, on a mission to see Mesut Ozil, rocked up uninvited to the Arsenal training ground and wasn’t let in. The story goes that Low wanted to make up with Ozil, who retired from the German national team after feeling the victim of “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish roots. So he flew to London for a chat.

You can picture Low stood with a few autograph hunters by Arsenal’s London Colney training ground, picking his nose, eating his bogies, scratching his arse and sniffing his fingers. And there’s Ozil in the security guard’ cabin watching the live CT footage and vowing never again to shake Low’s hand.

 

low germany bogie low germany bogie low germany bogie

 

Shake!

But it’s not quite true. The Standard says the trip to Arsenal was “pre-planned”. Low was invited to London Colney by Per Mertesacker, the Arsenal coach and former German international. It’s just that Ozil wasn’t there that day.

Posted: 26th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Transfer Balls: Abramovich wants $3billion for Chelsea and Manchester United offload Pogba

“We’re the biggest sports team in the world,” declared Ed Woodward, the Manchester United chief executive. A few hours after that boast, Derby County arrived at Old Trafford and booted United out of the Carabao Cup. That was preceded by Jose Mourinho, United’s miserabilist manager telling the club’s most expensive recruit, the well-marketed Paul Pogba, he’ll never captain the club again. Pogba wants to play for Barcelona, just as he wanted to leave United to play for Juventus, which he did, before coming “home” for £89m and earning the chance to fulfil his dream. The Mirror says Pogba will cost Barcelona £200m – which would give money-mad United a massive profit on a player who, if style and putting bums on seat, should outlast Mourinho at the club.

In other news, Cristiano Ronaldo is to return to Real Madrid after he’s used up the Touche Eclat at Juventus. “He is one of those that one day will come back,” said Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez. “I think that he is one of those players who will be in the hearts of the Madrid fans and will be remembered from generation to generation.” But when will return? Who knows but expect lots of stories on ifs and whens.

To finish: Arsenal like the look of Rennes’ 20-year-old Senegal winger Ismaila Sarr, who, says the Mirror, has been “likened” to Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele. In what way the cheap young blade is like the very pricey Barcelona star we’re not told. Maybe he just looks like him and the Arsenal board will sign the lad, print ‘Dembele’ on his shirt.

But the biggest transfer news of all is that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants at least £3bn to sell the club, according to Bloomberg.

Abramovich bought Chelsea out of near-bankruptcy in 2003 for £140 million (about $223 million at the time) and has since loaned the club more than £1.1 billion. Until he came along, Chelsea hadn’t won the top domestic trophy, the Premier League title, since 1955. His big spending changed all that and set off a kind of arms race in English football. In some ways, it was similar to the U.S. model: Buy talent, buy titles, and sell merchandise and media rights. But unlike owners of American sports teams, Abramovich didn’t seem bothered by racking up huge losses. (And he didn’t have to contend with caps on spending, until new rules came into force in 2010.) At the Arsenal game, Chelsea supporters taunted their rivals with the chant “We’ve won it all!” to which Arsenal fans sang in response, “You’ve bought it all!”

Chelsea fans still love their high-rolling owner, even as the U.K. government hits back at the Kremlin. Now Abramovich is mulling a sale of Chelsea, frustrated by his British visa problems and concerned about the potential fallout should the U.S. expand sanctions against wealthy Russians and target him. He’s already rejected bids for the club in excess of $2.3 billion—which would be a world-record price for a sports team—according to people familiar with the talks. Earlier this year, Abramovich hired Raine Group LLC, a merchant bank in New York, to advise on the possibility of a full or partial sale of the club. A person familiar with the discussions says Abramovich wants £3 billion. Abramovich’s representatives declined multiple requests for comment for this story and insisted all communication go through his lawyers, who also declined to comment.

If Chelsea is worth that much, imagine what the world’s biggest sports brand, Manchester United, are worth? And then try to work out the motives of the person who’d buy it…

Posted: 26th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Chelsea, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Media balls: Aubameyang was onside and Everton were lucky

Media Balls: a look at biased reporting in the weekend’s Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton, won 2-0 by the Gunners. The Mirror calls Arsenal’s second goal, scored by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a “flipping disgrace”. The Arsenal striker was well offside when he received the ball before planting it neatly past Jordan Pickford. The Express leads with news that Everton manager Marco Silva was “left seething” following the offside goal. He was “livid” says the Sun on its front page. The paper concurs that Aubameyang was “a yard offside”. The Mail says the goal “should not have stood”.

On the Arsenal website, we’re told this: “Auba…finishes off a swift counter involving Ozil and Ramsey.”

Offside? Not a bit of it: “Lacazette started the move for the second, stealing the ball and sending Ozil free. The German broke into the box, looked to pick out Ramsey, but the ball was slightly behind him, where Aubameyang was lurking to tuck home his third goal of the week.”

And in the Islington Gazette – the local Arsenal newspaper: “Aubameyang doubled the lead after getting on the end of a sweeping move to make it 2-0 as Arsenal revealed their attacking power, even if Moss should have called offside earlier in the move.”

The Everton website and Liverpool Echo both says the goal was offside. Much bias in north London, then.

And by way of evening up the reporting, a little, there was that moment when Arsenal could / should have had a penalty. The Islington Gazette reports:

Aubameyang should have won a penalty after Jonjoe Kenny reacted to a header coming towards him by lifting his arm. Yes it was instinctive but the laws of the game make it clear that type of action should be penalised with a spot-kick.

The incident is neither mentioned on the Everton website nor the Echo’s.

Posted: 24th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports | Comment


Liverpool: Arsenal didn’t miss Virgil van Dijk, they just lack Southampton’s coaching skills

News that Arsenal rejected Virgil van Dijk, 27, before Southampton bought him comes as no great shock. The final years of Arsene Wenger’s leadership at Arsenal are punctuated with a myriad bad decisions and indifferent coaching. The BBC says Arsenal could have bought the now Liverpool star for £12m from Celtic but thought him “too nonchalant”.

Former Celtic assistant manager John Collins, told BeIn Sports that Arsene Wenger liked Van Dijk but the club’s then chief scout, Steve Rowley, was less impressed. “Arsenal’s chief scout thought he was too nonchalant,” said Collins. “Maybe that was part of his game but he ticks so many of the other boxes. He’s got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air. He can be a bit nonchalant but he is a quality player.”

Easy to see this this as an Arsenal misstep. But given how Arenal stagnated under Wenger, what evidence is that that Van Dijk would have improved under the Frenchman? Yesterday former Gunner Santi Cazorla told the BBC Wenger’s Arsenal lacked belief. We needed to believe in ourselves more,” he told Football Focus. “To believe that we were capable of competing with the big sides in the Premier League and not just settling for third or fourth.”

Moreover, Collins says Van Dijk, who would up costing Liverpool £75m, wasn’t rated by Brendan Rodgers when he was in charge at Anfield. “He would’ve cost around £12m,” says Collins. “Every team watched him regularly but the worry was he was showing it against Scottish players but you could tell he was strong, powerful and a well balanced player.”

He was presumably all those thing when Celtic bought the Dutch national captain from Groningen for £2.5m. He did well there but it was at Southampton where he flourished. And what Collins does not say is how well he was coached at the innovative south coast club. Southampton’s system has produced Gareth Bale, Calum Chambers, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw. And players have improved at the Saints: Saido Mane, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren (all now at Liverpool) and Toby Anderweireld. Name one academy player who really improved under Wenger in his final four or five years at Arsenal, or a new recruit who looked like a bargain. It’s not easy.

Why did Arsenal fail? Matthew Syed took a look:

“We visited the Yehudi Menuhin Music School to see how they think about purposeful practice,” Edd Vahid, the head of coaching, said. “We also visit Saracens a lot. They do not have the best facilities in the world, particularly when compared to some Premier League football clubs, but they are fantastic when it comes to culture and innovation.”

Partly inspired by Saracens, Southampton now have an educational and skills programme running alongside the usual academy functions…

“If you want leaders on the pitch, you have to develop their qualities off the pitch,” Les Reed, the technical director, said. “In many academies, education is seen as a waste of time, a distraction from the game. We think that it is central to player development. We need England players who don’t crumble when they are on a big stage and go one-nil down.”

Southampton also have a Black Box Room, modelled on the aviation industry, so that they can constantly analyse the data from training and matches, just as aviation learns from the cockpit recorders. The analysts are striving to build better metrics to improve recruitment, despite the statistical challenges. They have studied a number of outside organisations, including Google.

Would Van Dijk have gotten that development at Arsenal under Wenger? No. Southampton (plus a dash of Liverpool desperation on paying such huge fee) turned him from a decent player into the world’s most expensive defender.

Posted: 23rd, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Liverpool, Sports | Comment


Gooners delight: Jeremy Corbyn vows to boycott Arsenal matches

More on Jeremy Corbyn’s obsession with the world’s one Jewish state. The story goes that the Labour leader mired in accusations of antisemitism was so upset by Arsenal FC’s 2006 deal with the Israeli tourist board he wanted fans to boycott the club. Corbyn is, of course, an Arsenal fan. So did he boycott any matches? Corbyn has voiced his support for BDS – the movement that wants to censor anything Israeli, including people – like, for instance, Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli who played for Arsenal in 2011.

“We must campaign against and boycott Arsenal football club for their arrangement with the Israeli tourist board,” said Corbyn to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign Trade Union Conference in 2006, as reported in the Mail. The paper pins the story to the noticebaord with this gem:

The £350,000 deal was approved by Dubai-based Emirates airline, Arsenal’s main sponsor, before going ahead. The UAE is known for its hostility to Israel and has never recognised its right to exist.

Ah, the noble Emirates, hosted in enlightened Dubai. Here’s what Human Rights Watch has to say about the United Arab Emirates:

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) arbitrarily detains and in some cases forcibly disappears individuals who criticize the authorities. The UAE plays a leading role in the Saudi-led coalition which has carried out scores of unlawful attacks in Yemen, some likely war crimes. The UAE was implicated in detainee abuse at home and abroad. Labor abuses in the UAE persist. Migrant construction workers face serious exploitation. Domestic workers’ rights are now enshrined in law, but some provisions are weaker than those accorded to other workers under the labor law. The UAE has denied activists and international human rights organizations’ access.

A Labour spokesman is cited: “Jeremy has never boycotted an Arsenal game.”

 

Posted: 20th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Politicians, Sports | Comment


Arsenal balls: Ozil’s not a patch on Federico Fernandez and Matteo Guendouzi

Mesut Özil’s agent, Erkut Sögüt, says Germany’s Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos are wrong in their to-deadline assessments of the Arsenal midfielder’s decision to quit international football. Kroos told Germany’s Bild that he’s studied Ozil’s lengthy statement about his reasons for quitting the German national team and spotted a “lot of nonsense”. In that statement Ozil spoke of the “racism and disrespect” he felt had been meted out to him by the German fans and FA.

Sögüt told German magazine 11Freunde: “Neuer indirectly accused Mesut of not having worn the German jersey with pride. This is unacceptable. Müller did not understand the whole discussion. And Kroos, as a seasoned national team player, should explain what he means by ‘nonsense’.” Adding: “There are only two explanations: they are either naive or scheming.”

All a bit messy. But that’s not all. As Germans debate to what extent if any they had it in for Ozil, the Daily Mail‘s Craig Hope makes Ozil the main thrust of his report on Arsenal’s 2-1 victory at Newcastle United, in which the German scored the decisive goal (A “cool finish” – Evening Standard). Below the headline “OZIL THE ORDINARY”, Hope writes:

“He scored and won the acclaim of his teammates, but to assume all is right now in the complicated world of Mesut Ozil would be premature… Ozil was just about superior to anyone on the opposition”.

He was. But not when you look at the scores the Mail gives for each player: Ozil gets a 6.5 out of ten, making him worse than Newcastle’s Federico Fernández (7) and on a par with Newcastle’s Dummett and Ritchie. The Newcastle Chronicle says of Fernandez (6): “Had a great first half but blotted copybook with needless foul on Aubameyang to concede free-kick which turned the game on its head.” The Mirror (Ozil 7; Fernandez 5; Ritchie 4, Dummett 6) says of Ozil: “GOAL. Buzzed around linked up play and a lovely calm finish to polish the game off.”

But here’s Hope in the Mail:

There was some good, some bad about Ozil here. One smart Cruyff turn on halfway left his minder floundering. But that is what he does, his ability on the ball acting as deception against his indifference off it. There was one instance where he refused to chase back, seemingly miffed at the non-award of a free-kick after a palm in his face, while his number of attempted passes – 38 – was less than teenager Matteo Guendouzi managed in 45 minutes.

Well, those numbers of passes might be because Ozil tries most of his in the opposition’s half – often around a packed penalty box – and Gunedouzi makes a lot of his in his own half, most often to Arsenal defenders stood behind him. Does Hope think Guendouzi should get the chance his passing deserves and play in Ozil’s position?

Posted: 19th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Back pages, Sports, Tabloids | Comment


Ivan Gazidis: the towering force who took Arsenal from 1st to 6th

Say it ain’t so. Arsenal’s chief executive has been transferred to work for a US hedge fund which took ownership of AC Milan after the outfit it loaned money to defaulted. These reluctant football club owners see in Ivan Gazidis the perfect talent to make their investment bear fruit. Ivan gets a few million quid a season to make AC Milan sellable; and if the once mighty Italians become really in demand a stake in the brand should make him millions. Just a few words Ivan: shut the door on the way out, mate. Ok, yep, if you must leave your ‘message to the fans’, keep it brief. Want to hear it? Go on, then:

“For the last 10 years I have been privileged to dedicate myself to this great club. Arsenal is entering a new chapter and I have done everything I can to ensure that it is strongly placed to take on that challenge. This includes world-class facilities and outstanding leaders in every sector who carry the values of the club, including, of course, Unai Emery, Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham in whom I have enormous faith.”

They were all employed in very recent times – Sanllehi in November 2017;  Emery in the summer 2018; and Venkatesham, who today begins his salute to the club by stating, “Although I joined Arsenal just months ago…”. They only came once the Arsenal owners realised that Arsene Wenger’s failure was impacting on their dividend cheques. Not competing for the Premier League title was fine, but when those Champions League pay days ran out, the board freaked. They finally had some work to do.

Gazidis then guffs on about “primary partnership deals” and the “new league broadcast deals” – things a mechanical rabbit running on an inferior battery could have managed to sort out. Arsenal have “updated our stadium” (let’s hear it for the toilet paper!) and “rebuilt our training facilities so that they are now world class”. What were they before Unai Emery arrived? He then comes over all X Factor and thanks one and all for being on “the journey”. And he thanks “Stan and Josh Kroenke for their support and guidance on everything we have done”. They’re the owners that have taken the club into private hands – theirs.

Time to hark back to what Gazidis said when he arrived at Arsenal in November 2008:

“The great thing about Arsenal is that it has been run to sustain itself. It is not dependent on an outside investor to pump money in year after year. That position is inherently a little bit unstable because it depends on one individual. Arsenal has positioned itself not to be dependent on one individual.”

But now they are. Cheers, Ivan, for helping make that possible. For good measure he said of himself (he was born in South Africa): “This is not going to be an American coming with no understanding of Arsenal looking to make it in to a Disneyfied version of Arsenal.” Go, Josh Kroenke! Whoop!

Let’s end with this – the Premier League table when Gazidis joined the club:

 

gazidis arsenal table

PL table on Saturday November 24 2007 – the week Gazidis joined Arsenal

 

And here’s the table at the end of Gazidis’ last full season of improvement – 2017-2018:

 

PL table season 2017 - 2018

PL table season 2017 – 2018

 

 

Ivan. Bye.

Posted: 18th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Key Posts, Sports | Comment


Arsenal 2, Newcastle United 4 and Manchester United beat Watford on paper

mark lawrenson bbc pundit prediction premier league

 

In his weekly predict the scores for the BBC, ‘football expert’ Mark Lawrenson says Newcastle United with beat Arsenal. He reasons:

I just have a feeling it might work this time. Arsenal’s players are not the only ones who have been away on international duty of course, but this might be a good time for Newcastle to play them.

How many Arsenal played an international fixture in the last week? Five. They were: Granit Xhaka, Stephan Lichtsteiner (both Switzerland) Danny Welbeck (England), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Greece) and Takuma Asano (Japan). Two of those were in the Arsenal first XI for their last Premier League match at Cardiff City.

Two.

On the other side, Salomon Rondon played for Venezuela in the early hours of Wednesday (BST), Fabian Schär played for  Switzerland on Tuesday evening, Ki Sung-yueng played for South Korea, and DeAndre Yedlin appeared as an 85th minute substitute for the USA in Nashville. Ciaran Clark was an unused substitute as Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 in Poland.

Five players. Of those, Rondon, Sungg-yueng, Yedlin and Clark played for Newcastle in their last PL match.

Four.

But Lawrenson says it’s a good time to play Arsenal because their players have been away.

Total balls.

The other odd prediction is Watford’s home match with Manchester United. Watford – powerful and full of confidence – have won four in four. United – dull and functional – have lost two in four, winning the last match against a Burnley side feeling the effects of defeat a few days earlier in the Europe League. Here’s Lawrenson:

Watford are flying, and much has been made of the part in that played by Troy Deeney’s partnership with Andre Gray up front.

This will be a real test for Manchester United’s defence, but it is one I think they will pass.

United’s win at Burnley last time out was a big result for them, not just because they needed the three points after losing two games in a row, but because they needed to stop all the chatter around Jose Mourinho’s future.

I am going to go for another United win here, although I think it will be close.

Lawro’s prediction: 0-2

Watford have scored 9 and conceded 3; United have scored 6 and conceded 7. Any football experts want to back the smaller club..?

Posted: 14th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, manchester united, Sports | Comment


Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester City can’t find enough bankers to fill their grounds

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) says every empty seat at the Emirates is “a tragedy for those who want to watch but can’t get in”. Too true. The suits buy the pricey seats then can’t be arsed to attend. And it could be a scam. Just as Facebook promises to show your advert to a defined number of accounts, a large proportion of which turn out to be operated by robots not humans, thus making the deal much more costly per head than advertised, Arsenal say the official average crowd for home games last season was 57,054. Balls, says the AST. It says the real average attendance was around 46,000. Any advertisers and sponsors are paying potentially 20% over the odds to reach the fans.

The BBC has  more:

West Ham: Newham council says the average attendance at West Ham was 42,779 based on the 12 games it attended – which is 12,530 fans fewer than the club’s season average figure of 55,309.

Manchester City: Greater Manchester Police’s average figures were 7,482 lower than club figures, again based on 12 games.

Southampton: Hampshire Police figures were an average of 4,246 fans lower than figures issued by the club.

Tottenham: Brent Council says crowds at Wembley Stadium were on average 3,740 less than the club’s stated numbers.

Chelsea: Hammersmith and Fulham council says its average was 3,505 fans lower than club numbers, based on six games.

And the most honest club whose figures were shared with the BBC was Manchester United. Trafford Council and Greater Manchester Police both said United’s published attendance figures matched its own, based on 12 games.

Why does it happen?

Most teams in the Premier League choose to publicise the number of tickets sold for a game rather than the number of people actually in the stadium. That means they include season ticket holders who don’t attend, and complimentary tickets that are not used.

If only you could still pay on the gate and just rock up with your mates. It’s all so corporate and organised. Where is the next generation of fans coming from?

 

Posted: 12th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, manchester united, Sports, Spurs | Comment


Arsenal can’t do any worse if Gazidis heads to AC Milan

Arsenal fans are invited to reappraise the work of Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive being courted by AC Milan. The Times says Arsenal are “irritated” and “exasperated” over the Gazidis situation. To which the response is: why? AC Milan are now a money project run by a New York-based hedge fund called Elliot Management (EM). EM owns AC Milan because, reportedly, the Chinese owner failed to repay it debt on high-interest loans. Gazidis, we read, is a pal with top EM hedger and billionaire Paul Singer, who has offered him shares in the club and loadsa cash to transfer to Italy. On taking over the club, Singer said “Elliott also strongly believes in the value-creation opportunity at AC Milan”. Depressing to realise the club you love is just a business.

The Times tells us that “Gazidis was key in Wenger’s departure from Arsenal in the summer”. Was he also key to the Frenchman staying beyond his use-by date? Gazidis has been at Arsenal for nine years. What was he doing for the first seven or eight years before the need for change became desperate? Wenger should have been shown the door at least four years earlier.

We’re also told Gazidis has been “instrumental in restructuring Arsenal’s management over the past couple of years”, getting rid of Wenger and appointing head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, head of football relations Raul Sanllehi, director of high performance Darren Burgess and contract negotiator Huss Fahmy.”

If they’re all so good at their jobs, why do Arsenal need Gazidis? And isn’t this the time to rehire David Dein, the club’s great chief executive?

Posted: 5th, September 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment


Loew brushes off Arsenal star Ozil’s claims of racism

When Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil retied from international football for what he saw as racism in the German FA (DFB), Joachim Loew, his head coach, waited. And today he delivered his response. “Mesut made allegations of racism,” says Loew, “but I can clearly say that in the DFB, there have never been racist comments.” Maybe the racism is more subtle?

“The players with an immigration background have always enjoyed playing for us and nothing has changed,” adds Loew (seen below). But it has changed. It changed when Ozil said: “I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose.” The player voted the German national team’s player of the year five times since 2011 by supporters says he’s the victim of racism. That is a change.

 

joachim loew sniffing

 

Loew seems keen to isolate Ozil. “His advisor called me to inform me that Mesut would issue the third part of his statement,” says Loew. “The player himself did not call me, which normally players have done in the past. Mesut has still not called and for the last two weeks I have unsuccessfully tried to reach him. I am sure there will be a chance for a personal conversation in the future. He has chosen this path – I have to accept that.”

The background to this is Germany’s failure at the summer’s World Cup and Ozil and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan – two players born in Germany to Turkish parents – meeting with Turkey’s first executive president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The president pumped out photos of the meeting. Cue Germans accusing the players of divided loyalties.

Gündogan recently told Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung: “Tell me, is it not racism when a German politician writes on Facebook: ‘The German national team is made up of 25 Germans and two goat-f***ers’?” Bernd Holzhauer, an SPD councillor, resigned after that outburst. “Such remarks must be labelled as racism. However, it does not mean that everyone in Germany is racist. Absolutely not. Almost all of my experiences in my life in Germany have been positive. But there are people who have used the photo for their political agenda. And in this context, the racism line was sometimes crossed.”

Loew’s response is to deny any problem. “His claims of racism are exaggerated,” said Low. “Within my team during my time here, there has been not even a hint of racism.” Ozil never said there was racism in the team. Maybe it’s time to raise your gaze…

Posted: 29th, August 2018 | In: Arsenal, Sports | Comment