Welcome to our weekly wrap of all the tasty tidbits from this week at the Arsenal. With not very much going on in the way of real football news, we dig through some of the more eyebrow raising stories from the week. Before that though let’s touch on the recent interview that former Gunner, Martin Keown, gave in regards to the future of Jack Wilshere.
After his recent seasons were curtailed by the famous Arsenal injury curse, Jack pushed for a loan move to re-establish his career and build the energy and confidence he brought to the Premier League scene way back in his 2008 debut season. While some of us may have queried the move to Eddie Howe’s Cherries side, the decision to go was a bold one for Wilshere to make. Coming into the final 12 months of an £80,000 pw contract signed in 2012, many thought the best thing for Wilshere to do was to find his fitness and regain a place in the squad at the Emirates. Given our always hectic schedule and sure-fire run of injuries, there would have been ample opportunities for a guy of Wilshere’s undeniable quality to break back into the Arsenal side. Wenger, however, went along with the wishes of his former prodigy and Wilshere found himself playing a key midfield role in the premier league once again. Wilshere managed 29 league games before fracturing his leg against Spurs, ending his season in mid-April. While some pundits would say that Wilshere’s move was not a successful one (he made only 2 assists during the season), the importance of his influence on the Cherries midfield is something harder to define but undeniable all the same, as Bournemouth found their way to a 9th place finish in the league.
The emotional toll on Jack and his mentor, Arsene Wenger, of having to deal with yet another long-term lay-off was not lost on Keown, who spoke with The Mirror this week. “We know Jack is a special talent, his injuries have marred his career. It must be tough for Arsene Wenger to watch. How many times has he broken ankles and had operations?”
“His quality isn’t in doubt, it’s his health that’s the issue. There are some big decisions to be made but I would feel he is someone Wenger would try to keep. Somebody that he will try to support.”
With his contract also a hot topic of discussion as he comes into his final year, Keown also predicted that there would be a new deal offered up for the Arsenal man, stating;
“Whether or not the player will get quite the lucrative contract he might have got in the past, or the length of the contract, may be an issue but he will try to support him because he’s a huge fan, he’s gone from playing for England to not being first team selection at Bournemouth and that will hurt him. He may well have got injured but he sat and watched a lot of football last season when he was at Bournemouth. He needs to get fit again, but we’ve said that so many times.”
In other news Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was again the subject of transfer speculation, with Liverpool mooted to be ready to table an initial £25m bid to secure his services at the start of the week before stories began to circulate of Liverpool considering a big money bid for Naby Keita. There is undoubted interest from some of our league rivals, with Chelsea also said to be monitoring the situation. As with the futures of Alexis and Ozil, much hinges on whether we can negotiate terms with the Ox. At this stage the ball is squarely in our court on all three counts and you would hope a deal to retain the 23 year-olds services can be sorted out in the near future. He is obviously at a point in his career where he sees himself as requiring more game time than he has perhaps been afforded to at this point. There is also the consideration that he may be pressing, in much the same way Walcott did when he negotiated for more time up front, for an increased role in the centre of the pitch.
Speculation over the future of our star man, Alexis Sanchez, also dominated parts of the week as interest from Bayern cooled amidst their vaunted transition to youth. The new player on the scene comes from the blue half of Manchester, with reports that City were increasing their interest in Sanchez and ready to stump up £50m to get their man. In what is a fairly daunting turn of events in this saga, the purported wages on the table could see the Chilean net around £300,000 per week, usurping the current offer from the Gunners of £250,000 per week. With Guardiola having signed Alexis already once before, during his time at the helm at the Camp Nou – this is a deal that we simply can’t allow to happen. Regardless of Alexis signing our extension offer or not, letting him go to a Premier League rival would signal a return to seasons gone by where the club had little choice but to watch on as rivals picked our team apart.
At 28, Sanchez (and his representatives) would know that his next contract will be the biggest of his career as he reaches the peak of his powers. With no shortage of interest his team will be able to play clubs off each other in order to maximise any deal put forward. Arsenal are in a position where they almost have no option now but to keep Alexis on.
Even if the player rejects the offer from us, he is an Arsenal player until his current deal does indeed expire and unless foreign interest comes back into the frame, he should be made to stay on rather than be sold to a direct rival. Sure, we could reinvest at least some of the money we may get from a sale, even if it is to City, but why go back to weakening our own squad and having to find a player that will obviously have the added pressure of needing to live up to the standards set by the man he would replace? The only thing that guarantees is that City get our key player and we have to trust the powers that be to go ahead and spend that money in the right way in order to “replace” him.
Sanchez’ Chile have made it to the final of the Confed Cup against Germany after their shootout victory against Portugal. With Alexis due for a much-needed break from football at the conclusion of the tournament, this could be a saga that continues on without resolution for some time yet.
A lot of uncertainty, but with the playing group yet to file back in for pre-season duty – I don’t think it’s time for panic just yet.
- Arsenal’s £30m bid for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar has been rejected. Monaco say their man is “not for sale”.
- Lacazette hunt continues, with our latest bid of £44m rejected. Possible swap involving Giroud also shot down.
- Chambers & Holding set to wrap up international duty with U/21’s after shootout loss to Germany. Neither player will attend the tour Down Under.
- Arsenal pre-season officially starts this Monday.
Righto, that’ll do yas for this week!