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October 2016
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Two dead cert Arsenal transfers to follow through and see how they pan out.

By Tony Attwood

I thought I would push Sir Hardly Anyone aside for a moment and do a transfer column of my own.

This is based around two players that several “sources” say are most certainly on, and about to go through.  One even has the player’s mother spotted talking to Arsenal, so that is absolutely certain certain, rather than part-certain.

But I just thought it might be interesting, given that these are are nailed on certs, that we might come back to these two and see where they lead to – if anywhere.  I could of course have chosen any others, but these two are not utterly impossible, unlike the bulk of them which are so far left field they’ve by and large fallen off the edge of the world and had to wait for the galaxy to spin round so they can jump back on next time.

So here we go.  The opening statement in the Independent (and pretty much the same everywhere else) is that

Arsenal’s midfield will soon be given a £52m boost, with deals for both Borussia Monchengladbach’s Granit Xhaka and Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot on the brink of completion, according to reports.

These reports are in the Daily Star, the Metro etc etc.   The Daily Star report says that the price is £37m for Xhaka, and £15m for Rabiot.

Here’s a few snippets I picked up about the two players.

Granit Xhaka is Swiss of Kosovo-Albanian descent who plays in the midfield for Borussia Mönchengladbach (the club most famous for its guy on the terraces who shouts out “Give us a B…” and then gets ejected from the ground.

He’s a Swiss international and was called by  Ottmar Hitzfeld the Swiss manager the “young Schweinsteiger”, and its a good job he’s not the old Schweinsteiger since he got crocked in the Man U game yesterday.

Here’s his record

Years Team Lge games Goals
2010–2012 Basel 44 2
2012– Borussia Mönchengladbach 95 6

And the international record

Games Goals
2008–2009 Switzerland U17 14 1
2009–2010 Switzerland U18 14 2
2010–2011 Switzerland U19 10 2
2010–2011 Switzerland U21 5 0
2011– Switzerland 39 6

Adrien Rabiot

He’s the guy with a mother who also acts as his agent, who has be spotted in London and who plays for Paris Saint-Germain as a central midfielder starting out in the first team in 2012.

Here are his numbers

Years Team Lge games (Goals
2012–2014 Paris Saint-Germain B 9 0
2012– Paris Saint-Germain 60 6
2013 → Toulouse (loan) 13 1


Team Games Goals
2010 France U16 2 0
2011–2012 France U17 5 0
2012 France U18 1 0
2012–2013 France U19 20 4
2014 France U20 6 0
2013– France U21 13 1

So add it all together and we get for the clubs…

  Lge Goals Cup Goals Euro Goals Total Goals
Xhaka 139 8 18 0 37 4 194 12
Rabiot 73 7 14 1 13 1 100 9

Nothing is confirmed of course but Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Freddie Ljungberg is back at the club, as a coach.

Freddie who famously had red hair made 328 appearances for us between 1998 and 2007 is going to coach the Arsenal Under-15s as he aims to gain his coaching license.

That’s it.  Dead certs all.

Any bets?

Untold Arsenal

26 comments to Two dead cert Arsenal transfers to follow through and see how they pan out.

  • Andy Mack

    Tony, “old Schweinsteiger” actually got crocked at Bayern a few years back and the Crocked old Schweinsteiger tool a knock in the game yesterday….

  • Mandy Dodd

    Yes, have read about these players. If we signed them plus Elneny, we would be very top heavy in Central MF, especially when Coq returns

  • nicky

    Never sign a player whose agent is his Mother. Mums are totally disruptive in the dressing room. Woe betide if their little lad is dropped from the team. And thrice woe if, during a game, the lad is not given the ball when he calls for it. Mum will storm into the dressing room afterwards (en route to Arsene’s Office for a row with HIM about poor tactics)
    Don’t do it Arsene….;)

  • John

    I would rather be top heavy than lite in that area.

  • John

    And Tony
    I thought you had some good news on Elneny.We can drag a transfer out can’t we.Probably waiting to announce it on deadline day as we normally do.

  • WalterBroeckx

    John, I think it is simple. If England give him a work permit he will come, if he doesn’t get a work permit he will no come. Will be picked up by some other big club in Europe and then we could buy him in 5 years time for 5 x his actual worth.

    But no way will Arsenal announce anything before the last obstacle has been removed completely.

  • Rich

    If Elneny’s coming, would be a big surprise to bring in another central midfielder.

    To bring in another two plus Elneny would top anything Madrid have done in terms of heavily overstocking and leaving a clear problem which will need solving soon ( Kroos, Modric, James Rodriguez, Isco, Casemiro..yeah, buy Lucas Silva…yeah, buy Kovacic)

    Felt it damaged the ‘Star’s… credibility a bit not to mention what an unusual situation it would create for us if we signed these two they claimed we may well sign.

    My vote: dead cert we’re not signing both; mighty surprised if we sign either should Elneny join; doubt we’ll sign either even if Elneny is scuppered by work permit.

  • Pete

    John – But the money wasted in fees and wages for players sitting on the bench/in the stand could be used elsewhere… Elneny is being bought for the long term – but may be able to help out for a few weeks before the likes of Wilshere, Coquelin, Santi and Rosicky are back (count ’em!).

  • Mandy Dodd

    If Elneny is refused,a work permit…..wonder if others are potential backup options, or just media BS more likely.
    If he is refused, they need to keep to the precedent, and not break it for…..erm…special clubs with special players and special agents , cannot have any such mendesity ,and if they do, hope our lawyers spring into action.
    Still, Wenger seemed confident it would be settled.

  • Andy Mack

    Guys, on the basis that he’d be buying with next season in mind, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we got another midfielder in this window, knowing that Rosicky and possibly Flamini and/or Arteta will be leaving this summer. Give the ‘new’ player half a season to feel at home plus a pre-season and they’re more likely to be effective from the 1st game of next season.
    That doesn’t mean I think we need one or that either of these ‘dead certs’ will come, but another MF is a possibility. How that fits in with Toral, A.M-N, Hayden, Iwobi, Jeff etc is another matter……

  • Pat

    Why should a mum be any worse an agent than any other relative? I bet Andy and Jamie Murray are delighted that their mother took an interest in their career.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I don’t think Elneny will be scuppered by a work permission anyway. I think the Boss will announce his signing on Monday or Tuesday this week on

    I’ve heard of Arsenal being linked with a Adrien Rabiot since last season. Well, who will him and Elneny be replacing in the long term? Arteta is seeming favoured to become one of Arsenal coaches as he’s torted will not have his deal renewed again beyond the end of this season.

    And it is believed Flamini and Rosicky will all not have their deals which expires at the end of this season renewed again by Arsenal. Arsenal have 2 midfielders in Iwobi and Adelaide in the making for 1 of the 2 to take over from Rosicky.

    So 1 out of Iwobi or Adelaide & Elneny will be stepping into the shoes of Flamini and Rosicky from now and after they’ve left at the end of this season.

    And will the Boss sign 1 of Adrian Rabiot or Granit Xhaka as a replacement for 1 of Flamini & Rosicky? I don’t know as I am not even in a position to know. But if at all the Boss will sign 1 out of Rabiot and Xhaka, it maybe Rabiot he’ll sign because Xhaka signing fee is too on the high side.

    But to me, the Boss has yet to address the main 2nd half of the season signing as a matter arising signing of a 3rd quality striker signing has arisen for this 2nd half of the season campaign for cover and option to alternately co-lead the line with Giroud for the Gunners.

    Walcott has been moved to the inside-right position in the Gunners 1st XI starting team and from every indication, he has accepted the moving as he has not shown any public resentment to the move out from co-leading the line with Giroud.

    Welbeck is torted to come back at the end of February to co-lead the line with Giroud. Let alone, I wouldn’t have agitated for the signing of a 3rd striker at Arsenal if not for the Ucl last 16 knockout match against Barca in February.

    Arsenal need to have cover and option on ground before the match with Barca comes up. And they could use the new striker for the Premier League games too to enhance their chances of beating the teams of Stoke City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Man City to quaranteed winning the title for us this season I should believe.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think you are right on Elneny SAA
    Also , Arteta starting as a coach… this space over the next few years….destiny calling?

  • Andy Mack

    SAA, as soon as Alexis returns Theo and OG will be competing for the CF position like they did at the start of the season. Theo played on the wing as we needed him there and he could regain match fitness, so he hasn’t complained.

  • Robert

    Premier League rules allow for a 25-man squad, of which 8 must be home grown.

    We currently have 22, excluding Bellerín and Chambers who are under 21, and so don’t count in the PL 25-man squad. Of the 22, 7 are home grown.

    What that means is we can recruit a max of 3 over-21 players in January, but only 2 non-home grown.

    If Elneny joins, we’ll have room for Xhaka (he’s 23) and Rabiot (he’s under 21) – so those 3 transfers are possible and they have the right age profile. But are they probable? Wenger doesn’t go for short term fixes, so they’d have to make sense as long term investments.

  • menace

    I would sign the mother as according to Tony she plays for psg! 😉

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Not a fan of Granit Xhaka. He appears to collect red cards.
    Bring him to the Arsenal and the PGMOL will give him plenty.

  • JohnW

    Xhaka is overrated, believe me. I don’t see the Arsenal signing either one of them.

  • nicky

    I’m sure Mrs Murray has a sense of humour, sadly lacking I’m afraid, in your case.

  • AJ

    Rabiot and Xhaka are very interesting players.

    Xhaka is definitely not worth 37M and if we did not pay 25M for Schneiderlin, we are not paying that much for Xhaka. He is much more defensive in his approach, has the physique to survive the bruising Premier League and is a decent distributor of the ball

    Rabiot at 10-12M is the player I would get. He is as close to an Arteta replacement we will get in terms of passing numbers with better defensive numbers. Is thin and tall so his physical adaptation to the League will be crucial but definitely a better buy than Xhaka

    However he has been given more playing time by PSG this season which was his major grouse so not sure if this deal will happen

  • Chris

    I am not sure, but I believe that Granit Xhaka was part of a Swiss U-xx which won the World Cup in Africa (Nigeria).
    Lucien Favre, the ex Borussia Coach (he is one who thinks only long term by the way…and for the love of the game….and lives and breathes the beautiful game)
    I’d rather see him in red, as I believe he is much more ‘weathered’ and stable than the french kid who, apart from technical quality that and based on what comes out in the press, seems to be quite a handful when it comes to contracts and terms and respecting them.

  • Tim Charlesworth

    How wonderful to be reminded of Freddie and his red hair. My favourite Arsenal song of all time was “we love you Freddie ….. Because you’ve got red hair”. How sad that it’s singing was so short in duration (mainly due to Freddie’s failure to maintain the redness of his hair). I wonder if any current player could be better persuaded to redden their hair? I feel Aaron Ramsey would be a good candidate.

  • Andy Mack

    Pat, what team do these ‘Murray’ boy play for?
    Only asking as I’m interested which team manager she ‘interacts/negotiates’ with? 😀

  • Gord

    PGMO’s referee game

    [ Maybe you should sing to yourself the “Name Game” song while reading this? 🙂 ]

    For each game, I am going to calculate the distance between the home team stadium and the referee’s home FA headquarters, and similar for the away team. And then I will count how many of the other referees are further away. And I’ll repeat this for the fourth official, since that person would assume the referee role in the event of referee injury.

    I had an approximate distance figured out, but why bother. I will use someone else’s work and calculate the distance in meters with the haversine formula.

    I ran across some points to amuse you. Wikipedia has GPS coordinates for many of the FAs. Using them is easy, they are in a standard place and none of the pages have funky javascript or images to interfere with things. The FAs in general have lousy websites, and do not consistently use the same name for the page with location information. I don’t think I’ve seen GPS coordinates on any page. A couple of pages only have street addresses. Many pages have links to Google maps. One FA has a link to Bing maps instead (I don’t do M$ if avoidable). A couple of FAs have so many images on their page, you can’t see the links.

    If Google maps are use, Google will show you where on the map the FA is, and gives you its street address, but it doesn’t show you GPS coordinates. And the easiest thing to get GPS coordinates is to click on some location close to the FA in question. So, if I am at scale where 200m is 100 pixels or so, and I click 20 pixels away from the FA, my location is good to about 40m.

    While not a FA problem, Chelsea has no GPS coordinates for Stamford Bridge, the only EPL team in this category.

    Wikipedia has links to the home FA of some referees. I haven’t run across a list of referees other than Wikipedia which does this. I see lots of lists of referees which mention names of home FAs for the referee, where the FA name has been deprecated (old data).

    I ran across a map of counties in England and Wales. And what is apparent, is that I would really like a list for each county, of what other counties abut it. Then, given which county all of the stadia are in, I could count the minimum number of counties I would have to traverse to get from stadium to county FA. I believe this is a well known problem in graph theory and in maps.

    Lastly, it would be nice if there was a list of “influence” for cities (or teams). Sure, a referee for Manchester FA could reasonably be expected to support one (or both) Manchester teams. But the region of influence of Manchester extends at least as far as all the counties which abut Manchester.

  • ob1977

    With Flamini, and Rosicky probably on their way, with Arteta maybe 1 more year, and Santi the wrong side of 30, that creates ample space for a DM, DLM, and AM in the next year or so…

    So with Le Prof thinking ahead for handing over a squad capable of challenging on all fronts I can envisage something along the lines of this:

    A midfield 3 positions covered by; Le Coq, Elneny, (Rabiot, Xhaka), Ramsey, Wilshere, The Ox, Santi, Ozil, a front 3 of Sanchez, Walcott, Campbell, Giroud, Welbeck, Iwobi, Adelaide, job done really…

  • arse_or_brain

    Arsene said in his presser that clubs will buy this window because of the inflation next season caused by the large increase in TV money. Could be a hint!