Tag Archives: fee

Buy and Sell – Trimming the Fat in the Transfer Window

This latest transfer window was viewed as a success by the majority, even though the need for a centre-back and a holding midfielder was glaringly overlooked.

Such was the strength of our additions, our paucity for defensive and midfield options didn’t really impact on the optimism in regards to our transfer actions. Bringing in Henrikh Mkhitaryan represented shrewd and much needed purchases, and puts our attack at the very front when it comes to goal threats.

There was another element that made this window a surefire winner though, and it was the fact we cleared our squad of the driftwood that contributed little to our results.

Coquelin in a Valencia shirt
Walcott left for Everton

Managing to cut loose Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin freed up valuable squad space that could be filled with superior options, or a chance for a promising youngster to come through the ranks.

Losing Alexis Sanchez would hurt any side, and the Chilean going to a rival only added to the burn, but having Alexis in the side means we had to play a certain way and limited our options. Plus, Alexis broke the record for amount of times a player has lost possession in one game in United’s 2-0 win over Huddersfield recently. A record he previously held.

It is no coincidence that since he joined, we have lost our regular ability to thrill the crowd and generate moves that draw gasps from the purists and fans alike. The first match we played without Alexis and with our new boys? We played the football that we’re famous for.

Of course it’s early days, we shouldn’t get too carried away, but having our goal threat spread out over Mesut Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette and Aubameyang is in-keeping with the passing moves we implement. We rely on runners into the box, rather than waiting for one man to produce.

Another loss that could hamper us is Olivier Giroud. The much-loved Frenchman has also departed for a rival, but Giroud’s role was selfless and his introduction into proceedings gave us something different to what we currently possess. We can cope, but having him to call on benefitted us. It would have been selfish to keep him as he needs to play with the World Cup looming, but I fear we may miss Giroud more than we miss the mercurial talents of Alexis.

Mathieu Debuchy and Theo Walcott hadn’t started a league game this season. Francis Coquelin wasn’t playing either. They get first team football, we get a squad place and some cash to reinvest, whether that is through a fee or recouping wages.

Debuchy in a free transfer to St Etienne

Recruiting wisely as we have done, and selling the squad players who were not playing, means we’ve trimmed the fat and not lost any ability to put out a strong side. We still have those players that can come in and do a job and help with rotation, and every man we have in the group can make a difference.

For once, we’ve ticked the majority of boxes and ended a window far stronger than when we started.

Aubameyang signs!

We’ve finally got our man, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has signed a long term deal with the club.

Figures are sketchy, but a fee in the region of £65m is reported, which makes the Gabon international and African Player of the Year our record purchase.

The striker has some incredible numbers during his time at Borussia Dortmund. He bagged 98 goals in 144 games for the Bundesliga side, and he will add to what is now looking like a fearsome Gunners attack.

He will link up with former teammate and new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan, from when they both terrorised defences for BVB.

With Aubameyang, Lacazette, Özil and Mkhitaryan in our ranks, goals surely won’t be a problem.

This may not be the end of the protracted saga, as Olivier Giroud is part of the merry-go-round that allowed Auba to join. With BVB signing Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi on loan, the Blues want Giroud to bolster their attacking numbers.

Loath as we are to help our rivals and also lose an adept Plan B, Giroud needs football to book his place at the World Cup. We may have to lose him.

Wojicech Szczesny – Were We Right To Sell?

Posted originally on Arsenal Mania

Wojicech Szczesny spent 11 years at Arsenal. In that time, and growing as a player through the Gunners ranks, his attachment to the club unsurprisingly grew. Over a decade at the club he supported as a boy, the bond the Pole had with Arsenal only became stronger.

So it was with an undoubtedly heavy heart that he bade farewell to North London recently, when he was offered the chance to play for Juventus and work alongside Gianluigi Buffon – the keeper that most consider to be this generation’s finest exponent between the sticks.

The prospect for his career was simply too good to turn down, but was it the right decision for Arsenal?

With last season’s miasma of horrors still so hard to erase from our mind’s eye, many of us fans looked to Szczesny’s efforts on loan at Roma, and with Petr Cech letting his high standards slip – it appeared as though we had the perfect remedy to clam up our porous team.

There are many other facets to this transfer though, that have not risen to the surface as prominently as the above though.

Szczesny performed way above expectation in Serie A last campaign, but the level of competition between the two league’s is still different. A perfect example of this is Gervinho – the Ivorian was an abject failure in an Arsenal shirt, but when playing for Roma only a few seasons ago, he looked like an accomplished professional. It is especially easier to grab clean sheets in the attritional playing styles of Italy too.

True, it looked as if the Polish keeper with a penchant for selfies at White Hart Lane had indeed acquired the one thing that stopped him being a great keeper at Arsenal – consistency. We can give him the benefit of the doubt, but can we forget?

Twice, the Number1 shirt was in his grasp in his time in London, and twice, continued erratic displays meant that Wenger had no choice but to drop him – once for Lukasz Fabainski and once for David Ospina. Five seasons was spent trying to establish himself and firmly rebuff all other goalkeeping competitors, but he never quite managed it. Whether it be silly mistakes on the pitch, like when he fouled Gabby Agbonlahor in the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa, or when he was caught smoking in the showers, Szczesny couldn’t quite leave the doubts behind.

Now, after two excellent seasons in Rome, he was given an opportunity to work at Juventus. It would have been impossible to turn down, but what really rankles is that, why did Arsenal not hold out for more money?

Considering the experience that Szczesny has, and his still relatively young age, his transfer worth must have been higher than the reported meagre fee that we have received. When a young English keeper plays one season of top-flight football, gets relegated and then commands a £30m fee – that should have correlated into a higher fee for Wojicech too.

The fanbase, when poring over tweets and posts on social media, seems to be undecided on whether Wojicech Szczesny was the long-term answer in goal for our club, but we can all agree that he is worth far more than Juventus are scantily paying us. 

Welcome to Arsenal – Alexandre Lacazette! 

It is finally official – Alexandre Lacazette is an Arsenal player.

The French striker has arrived from Lyon for a fee believed to be around £44m, with add-ons expected to take the amount closer to £52m. This of course tops the previous record – the £42m spent on Mesut Ozil in 2014 – but is it money well spent?

In short – yes. Very much so.

Consider this. 

Spanish international Alvaro Morata is in the market this summer and any move looks to be in the region of £70m. Morata has time on his side of course but he scored less than half the goals that Lacazette scored last season.

There are more reasons to reinforce belief in our new star striker.

Lacazette was rated in the Top10 for shot conversion rate in the Top5 Leagues last season, he has scored 20goals or more in the last 3 seasons and Lacazette was also wanted by Atletico Madrid – and they have one of the most amazing track records for strikers. 

The bearded Gaul is the real deal, and his all-round play is ready-made for the precision passing that Mesut Ozil provides. This hinges on the proviso that the German playmaker decides to stay at The Emirates, but it is certainly a tantalising prospect. 

There are naysayers though. They point to his failure to establish himself upon Didier Deschamps Les Bleus plans and the apparent weakness of Ligue Un competition. This can be disbanded pretty quickly though. 

Didier Deschamps once preferred Mahmadou Sakho over Laurent Koscielny so his judgment isn’t exactly indubitable. Also, recent seasons have shown French club sides have performed better than Premier League teams in the Champions League, so the gap in quality that used to be between the French and English domestic competition has shrunk considerably.

Lacazette scores in Europe, he makes intelligent runs and is ice-cold in the six yard box. He is adaptable and he is the finisher we have needed to give us a reliable source of goals. Every title winning team has one, and we can proudly say we have one of the best.

It is also a statement of intent. It shows we are ready to mix it with the big boys in order to strengthen. It will send a message to our rivals, and more importantly, to some of our stars who may be looking to other shores. They will be perhaps swayed by this purchase and who knows? It could be the push Alexis and Mesut needs to sign on the dotted line.

This is by no means finished business as far as our need to strengthen, but it is a huge move and it is early. Alexandre Lacazette is elite and has a pedigree hewn from four seasons at the top – and he has done the business in each of them. He is still only 26 and has yet to reach his peak. Under the tutelage of Wenger, Lacazette could even sway Deschamps, although there are an embarrassment of riches for France in attack.

Lacazette has signed a contract for five years, and if injury is avoided, we can look forward to our goal tally being bolstered by a large degree. 

We as Gooners should enjoy this moment. Our club are aiming high. 

Lacazette – What Is The Truth?

In recent days, the usual broth of transfer noise has seen certain ingredients dominate the usual recipe of lies, desperate agents and wannabee’s who would sell their closest relative’s for 1000 retweets. 

In amongst the detritus which should come with a health warning, certain names have risen to the top of the  bubbling mixture and it not only changes the whole mixture, but it also cranks the gas up a few notches. The more a name is mentioned, the more froth flies from fanbases.

In relation to this, step forward Alexandre Lacazette. 

The Lyon striker has probably had more lines written surrounding his near future than any other player – and this includes the stories about Cristiano Ronaldo announcing his ‘intention’ to depart Real Madrid. 

Yes, the French 26yr old striker has been this week’s back pages darling, and the hullabaloo surrounding him is embroiling Arsenal.

Lyon Chairman Jean-Michel Aulas has done nothing to keep a lid on this foaming pot either. Aulas – dependant on who you believe – has spoken regularly regarding his prized asset, and is whipping up this madcap auction in a bid to ensure Lyon receive justifiable payment for the loss of Lacazette.

In the space of one week, we have had a large amount of soundbites from Aulas, but the candid nature of his comments raises alarms somewhat. When was the last time a Chairman was so open with his hand regarding a transfer?

The sources are varied, but these are reportedly direct comments from Aulas, so if these were fabricated, then these publications would be in severe hot water if they had indeed materialised these titbits. 

What could well be the case is that there may well be something lost in translation. It wouldn’t be the first time a transfer link ended in a puff of smoke.

That being said though, there is definitely interest from Arsenal it seems. With daily column inches dedicated to the chase for Lacazette, there cannot be this much bluster without there being tangible truth somewhere.

What we cannot discern, is what stage our club is at with the player. 

Have we agreed terms? Has Lacazette even agreed to come to The Emirates? After all, according to his Chairman, Atletico Madrid have offered more money. The only stumbling block regarding this move is that The Spanish club are transfer embargoed until January. If they were not inhibited from spending, then Lacazette would surely now be in the colours of Atletico.

In amongst all of this smoke and mirrors, we have all had our say. With our club apparently chasing after French prodigy Kylian Mbappe as well, the gauge from social networks appear to favour a move for the younger Frenchman, and a lukewarm reception to our interest in Lacazette in some corners.

Is this fair though? Of course, if last season’s promise shown from Mbappe is the real deal, then he will be the next big thing in football. He will be a future Ballon D’or winner. It’s a hell of a gamble though. We have all seen our fair share of starlets burning bright before fizzling out.

Whereas Alexandre Lacazette can stand tall knowing he has shown enough to warrant a big move. 

Over 100 goals in just 203 appearances (over 30 of which were substitute appearances) which means a ratio of one goal in every two games. He has been in the Ligue Un Team of the Year three times in total. In 2016, he bagged 26 goals in a season – the most by a Frenchman in their native league since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991. 

Still not convinced? Well, according to Sky Sports News, Lacazette had the highest chance conversion rate in Europe’s top five league’s last season, with 38.9%. That beats Falcao at Monaco with 33.9% and Timo Werner of RB Leipzig with 34.4%. Also, there are only nine strikers who have scored more than Lacazette since 2012/13, and they are Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez, Ibrahimovic, Lewandowski, Cavani, Higuain, Aubameyang and Aguero. 

Lacazette is the real deal. He scores for fun in Ligue Un, in the big games against PSG and Monaco, in European ties. The striker is still only 26 and has not yet hit his peak. His finishing, his strength, his expert positioning, his sudden turn of pace  which gives him that crucial yard – all combine to give him the edge over defenders. 

Kylian Mbappe may still be possible, but all the while we are linked with Lacazette I’m not too concerned. 

Whether there is meat on the bone of this story is another thing, but keep your eyes on BBC Sport’s very own David Ornstein. If we are close to swooping in, then the Ornacle himself will most likely the man breaking the true story.

We are all seeking an improvement to the squad – and Alexandre Lacazette will most definitely do just that should he sign. 

Shkodran Mustafi – The Thinking Man’s Defender

Originally posted on Goonersphere

Shkodran Mustafi has earned his former club a decent sum via the defender’s transfer to Arsenal, and while there are mitigating factors to the high transfer fee, it should not overshadow what a special player we have signed.

The figure is a reported £35million, and Valencia were always going to hold out for the maximum amount. The Spanish club are in dire straights in regards to their fiscal situation, and despite their wishes to hold on to the German, a large amount of numbers on a cheque was always going to be the answer they were looking for.

With Mustafi also being 24, it means he can provide a stable foundation for many years to come. 

The German international is of course a World Cup winner, which addsa certain lustre to his name, but he did so playing on the right of the defence. His versatility is another string to his bow, as he is just as comfortable in either position. 

The man with the name that cannot fit into a chant can boast of a wealth of experience, which at such a young age is a huge asset over defenders of the same age. Mustafi started in the youth systems of Germany, but an early move to Everton – where he made a single substitute appearance – and subsequent transfers to Sampdoria and Valencia have given him a baptism to all styles of football. His spell in Italy in particular, where defending is an art form, will be of particular use.

His experience, his versatility, all make a huge difference. Another tick in the box is his exemplary technique. There are a host of videos on Youtube which showcase the German’s deft touch, juggling the ball with all parts of his boots and making it look simple. Not exactly in the typical defenders skillset – aside from Laurent Koscielny of course (who can forget his skill and rabona finish from twenty odd yards in a warm up last year?).

Mustafi you see, is more of your modern-day cerebral defender. The monolithic sentry-type of defender still exist, and the best partnerships are often a mix of the two, but Mustafi isn’t a tackle merchant. 

He is strong in the air, but what is most apparent is that there isn’t a weakness in his armour. He can deal with all types of threat, from the speedster on his shoulder to the target man with the flailing elbows. Physical battles, a flat dash to a loose ball – all of these situations Mustafi can, and has, dealt with succinctly.

He is the perfect successor to the aging Mertesacker. Our very own BFG still has much to offer, but his heir apparent is in the same mould as his fellow German. Both have excellent positioning and can quell threats with a simple movement, rather than a madcap reactionary run. With Mustafi also possessing adequate pace, we have potentially a Mertesacker 2.0.

Which should be excellent news for Koscielny, who formed the other half of one of our better partnerships in recent years – but also us fans.

With Koscielny and Mustafi in the centre of our defence, we have a bedrock to build on, and even when we have committed more men forward than we should have, with those two at the back, we will be on surer footing than in previous years.

We really can now boast of a defence worthy of a title tilt. Shkodran Mustafi is worth every penny if he can show why he was in last seasons LaLiga Team of the Season as part of a struggling Valencia side.

Shkodran Mustafi – German Defender Finally Signs For Arsenal

Arsenal finally announced the capture of Shkodran Mustafi, and the German could be the long term answer to our clubs defence.

click for official story

Whether you agree with Arsenal’s transfer methods or not, the signing of defender Shkodran Mustafi must be taken as a signal of intent. 

The German international has officially put pen to paper on a five year deal, and the £35m signing has the pedigree to go with the mammoth transfer fee.

At just 24 years old, the full German international is more than the stereotypical astute German defender, and his experience in his relatively short career give him an edge over many.

Here are some things you may not know about Mustafi, and why we Gooners can look forward to an assured presence at the back.

Mustafi is a former Toffee

Yup. Starting his career at Hamburg SV, he was snapped up by Everton in 2009 and played for their youth team for three years, and making one substitute appearance for the first team in that time. It means he will have an advantage regarding acclimatising to the fast paced Premier League, and can hit the ground running.

He has played in Italy, England and Spain

Leaving Everton for Sampdoria for a mere £64k, he went on to make 53 appearances in his time with the Italian club, which attracted Valencia to shell out just shy of £7m for his signature in the summer of 2014. Testing himself against a wide variety of opposition, and being able to settle in to life in different countries, means that Mustafi possesses a mental toughness which will be invaluable as a defender.In fact, he is the only German World Cup winner never to have played in the Bundesliga.

He can fill in at Right-Back

Mustafi earned the greatest accolade of his career – the World Cup in 2014 – largely being played out of position. Primarily a centre-back, he gained worldwide recognition slotting in on the right of Germany’s defence. A pretty valuable asset given our woeful injury record year after year!

He isn’t simply a defender, he’s far more than that

Type his name into the video section of your search engine, and there are a plethora of montages showing our new German displaying some rather excellent ball-juggling. He certainly possesses more than just a clearance, and playing out from the back is certainly within his skillset. For Valencia, especially last season, his coolness under pressure was tested to the max as his side struggled at times, but Mustafi performed well. 

There are many other parts that make up the defender, but those above are relevant as to how he will benefit our side. He is known to be good friends with Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker, and solidarity amongst his teammates cannot be underestimated. 

His price tag may be an albatross around his neck, but so far, nothing seems to have been too tough a challenge, from moving countries to learning new tactics implemented by the variety of coaches he has worked under. 

What has been noticed in his time at Valencia, is that technically he is sound, but he is not the shouty leader that many central defenders evolve into – although he certainly lets his teammates know about their errors if needs be! He showed enough to earn the captaincy temporarily for the Spanish team, so he can adapt if the need arises. 

So, we have acquired a young, talented World Cup winner who has experience playing in top leagues and can immediately make an impact upon the team. Shkodran Mustafi may be a masterstroke in the transfer market and he has the potential to be a cornerstone of the side for many years. 

Lucas Perez – Arsenal’s New Striker

Lucas Perez is officially our new striker at Arsenal – 

click the pic for the official link
It has been abundantly clear recently that Arsenal required another striker.

With Olivier Giroud missing the first few games of the season, and Danny Welbeck again on the injured list, the options for the spearhead of our attack were threadbare. 

Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez have both had spells as the sole striker, which only served to highlight the desperate need for another attacker to join the ranks – and the £17.1m capture of Spaniard Lucas Perez is a move that will allow adaptation during games.

Is the former Deportivo man the player we needed though? Is he good enough to make a mark on the team? Let us have a look at what he has done in his career thus far.

The striker known as ‘Lucas’ has acquired a fair bit of experience, but he started in the youth team of Atletico Madrid. He failed to make a first team appearance, and moved to Rayo Vallecano.

Then, in 2011, he signed for Karpaty in Ukraine. In 2013, he earned a loan move to Dynamo Kiev. His first season bore average figures, but eight in 18 in his second season was more of what he is capable of.

Fifteen goals in fifty one appearances in his short spell in Ukraine, but more interestingly, a Europa League game in the 2011/12 season versus PAOK Saloniki prompted the Greek side to purchase the Spaniard for £595k.

Ten goals, and fifteen assists in fifty appearances for the Greek side, are hardly world-beating figures. However, the assists figure hints at a player more than simply a goal-poacher.

His displays caught the attention of his homeland, and Deportivo acquired his services in 2014. His first season was nothing to write home about, but his second campaign – last season – is far more impressive.

17 goals last season, and eight assists, mean he has the goals that can make a difference for his new side.

Lucas is a converted winger, and it means he can adapt and shift when necessary, but his role for Deportivo was that of a striker, and it is this role that he can wreak the most havoc. 

He is well known for his exocet of a shot, and he plays on the last shoulder of the defender, which is a perfect alternative to Olivier Giroud. Alternatively, if played together, he could profit immensely from Giroud flicking airborne balls to him. Not only that, Mesut Ozil is crying out for a more mobile striker that his visionary passes can find, so our team will no doubt be stronger as a result of his presence.

His age means he is a short term option. Nearly 28, he can give 2-3 years of top level service. What is clear is that for all the clubs he has played for, Lucas takes a while to adapt, never truly gaining the figures he is capable of until his second season.

The problem is though, is that he has joined Arsenal. We expect dividends early, and if he doesn’t make an impact early, then a large slice of fans who already doubt him, will cast him aside as a waste of money.

Arsene Wenger knows far more than we do in regards to knowing if a player is right for our squad. Lucas can make a difference, but he also must work hard to get the fans onside. If effort is shown, then have no doubt that the majority will give him the leeway to acclimatise. 

Lucas possesses the weaponry to fill the void in goals, and we can hopefully look forward to the Spaniard registering double figures for the foreseeable future. He was on many top clubs radar for very good reasons, and acquiring his service can only be seen as a good thing.

Granit Xhaka – Tough by Name, Tough by Nature – The Lowdown.

Granit Xhaka is in London!!!  No wait, he is at a Borussia Monchengladbach training camp! Don’t be ridiculous, he just recently liked a photo on Instagram of a pair of clogs – he’s in Amsterdam!

Maddening, but Granit Xhaka is apparently joining our club…….Isn’t he?

The muddy waters of Twitter make finding the truth far more difficult than it should be. As Gooners though, we are used to it.

Most Arsenal fans are seasoned veterans when it comes to the seasonal transfer hype. There are a large number though, that cannot resist the herd of bandwagons that rumble through social media. Like a moth to a flame, they flock to the nearest story, regardless of substance, and greedily pore over the bogus words.

Continue reading Granit Xhaka – Tough by Name, Tough by Nature – The Lowdown.