By Tony Attwood
I must say I think Arsenal.com and via them the club as a whole did us all rather poorly over the match against Bayern. Licensed to an obscure channel through which one had to pay for a month’s football to watch one’s match, and know that they will put the credit card on a recurring payment… this is not how it should be for a pre-season game.
Arsenal get – and indeed have already got – my season ticket money, and I expect something better than… “you can watch it 24 hours later” for a pre-season friendly. Coverage on Arsenal Player live and free for all red, silver and gold members should be the norm.
Yes Arsenal got exposure in China, just as it did in Australia. For everyone else this should be an opportunity for fans to see the club’s youngsters and new players. Selling the rights to some TV firm whose channel we’ll never look at again… no that is not good PR.
And maybe it was just me that missed the fact that in the event of a draw there would be penalties. After all for much of the time I was following the game with a Spanish commentary so I wouldn’t have known if they were saying there would now be penalties. But was there a notice on Arsenal.com of penalties if it is a draw? Maybe it was and I missed it. But if it was, perhaps they could write it BIGGER for us old timers.
Somehow, sometimes, the club doesn’t seem to get the fact that more and better communication with us mere mortals who give them money wouldn’t go amiss. Anyway, in case you missed it – Iwobi equalised in the dying seconds, and we won on penalties. Cech was the hero of the game.
But now… Alexis. All the evidence points to the fact that Arsenal are not going to sell him, and if he won’t sign a new contract Arsenal are going to keep him for another year. Which means that as things stand we are going to have all of last season’s regular forward line plus Lacazette.
That implies either Alexis on one wing Lacazette on the other and Giroud in the centre, or Lacazette in the centre and one of our range of options on the other. Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Iwobi, Welbeck, Theo…
And that raises the question of why – why throw away an offer of £40m or whatever it is and let the player run down his contract?
First, because compared with the wage settlements that we are now seeing for Premier League players, we are getting Alexis for a year on the cheap. If we gave him a new deal, or brought in another player of his quality, the salary would probably be his current rate of pay plus another £10m or more extra in salary per year. A four year contract will take him to the age of 32, when most forwards are slowing down. His value by the third year of his contract will be far, far less than now – so he would be worth a lot less but being paid a huge amount more.
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But more than that – if we have Alexis for another season, he will give his all. He does that anyway but he’ll do it doubleplus because he wants to impress one of the big clubs that he so wants to move to, to get the extra salary. Which means he will do everything possible to get us into the Champions League again. Which is where the money is, which then helps recoup the money we would have got from selling him.
And there is the certainty. If we keep him for one more year we know he is then going to go elsewhere. So we know we need a replacement next summer and we can start working on it now. And in offering that replacement we will have a team that is back in the Champions League, irrespective of what the side does this coming season.
Plus there is a fair chance that by next summer we will know a little more about what sort of arrangements there are going to be in the new “keep the immigrants out” United Kingdom, and what those new arrangements mean for the pound. We’ll know if things are working out really well with a strong and stable set of arrangements, or whether it is all going down the drain.
All in all, making Alexis see his contract through could pay for itself as long as we get back into the Champions League, and quite possibly do rather well in the Premier League – and maybe the Champions League too.
Which raises that last question: what is there to suggest we would do “rather well” in the Premier League? I think there are two things.
First, adding Lacazette to the forward line while keeping Ozil, Alexis and Giroud is no bad thing, remembering (in the coinage so famously created and abused last summer by the Guardian) we already had three players who scored in double figures this past season in the League. And to be clear Arsenal were one of only two teams that did that.
Second, in the past two seasons the club that won the League had nothing to do with Europe. Now of course Arsenal does have something to do with Europe, because we are playing the Europa, but Mr Wenger has suggested that we will put together a full squad of 25 players, and have a bundle of youngsters who can join in. Players in the 25 not getting time in the first team in the league games will play in the FA Cup and the Europa, topped up by the likes of Reiss Nelson, Maitland-Niles, Bielik (who I thought looked very sound today), Iwobi, Martinez, Malen, Nketiah, and Bramall.
And those who don’t get enough games that way can always look to doing rather better in the League Cup than we have done of late.
Of course I am putting 2 and 2 together and probably making 22, but it is a possible approach.
- Arsenal – Bayern : 1-1
- Arsenal v Bayern Munich in Shanghai. The teams, the mind games, the TV options.
- Are we now in a two tier price structure when it comes to buying players?
The Index of Indexes
- The In Index: All the players tipped to be joining Arsenal this summer
- The Out Index: All the players tipped to be leaving Arsenal this summer
- The Purchase Index: All this summer’s player buying by the top 10 clubs of last season
- The Loan Index: The top clubs compared in terms of players loaned out