By Tony Attwood
Transfer rumours concerning Arsenal have been continuing apace since Arsene Wenger announced he was leaving at the end of the season, without any question being raised about who the new manager is and what he wants. If that is actually happening it is a major change of policy for the club, and one that maybe not every manager will like. Most of the big players seem to want to recruit their own men to play for them. (Apart from Allardyce who just likes chewing and shouting at people).
Of course the club might be gambling on the person they get liking the transfers – so we are bettors could be the place to go to keep an eye on this. Indeed we can all join in for just like some managerial rumours, some such transfer rumours might be valid, as with the story that Chuba Akpom could be going to STVV (Sint-Truidense Voetbalvereniging), of the Belgian First Division A (the top league) where he has been on loan. Sports Witness has this, and it seems reasonable as the chances of him coming back and making a breakthrough at Asenal seem limited.
Other stories remain just fantasies like the constant tales coming from the Turkish media that suggest that Mesut Ozil is leaving. For this there is no evidence at all. The same can be said about the tale in the Express to the effect that Arsenal are going to sign Napoli’s Senegal centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly at a cost of £53m.
Well, maybe, but shouldn’t we wait for a manager until blowing the whole of the transfer budget?
And yet these stories continue by the hour. According to the Telegraph Arsenal are “pushing ahead” (whatever that means in detail), with a move for defender Çağlar Söyüncü from Freiburg (who holds the record for the most accents in any player’s name in the Premier League) – without waiting for the manager to be appointed. (Although the general consensus this morning was that it is Arteta. Could be different by the time you read this however).
Anyway, the Telegraph’s twist is that the transfer policy exists separately from the manager and that “whoever takes charge will have to accept Arsenal’s new transfer policy.” Continuing the tale, the Telegraph says that Arsenal have interviewed some people (we don’t know who, we don’t know how many) but didn’t ask any of them their opinion of Söyüncü, even though the deal is almost done.
So what can we say about Çağlar Söyüncü? He is 21, and he will cost £35m, and apparently Sven Mislintat is the man pushing this transfer through, exactly as he did (or so we are told) with the deals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Konstantinos Mavropanos.
Now this argument is being extended to say that Mr Wenger did not have a say in any of these and indeed didn’t even know who Konstantinos Mavropanos was – the old man was simply told the young man was coming to the club. If that were so then that in itself could have been a complete reason for Mr Wenger to resign.
But all those deals have looked very good indeed – especially with Aubameyang outscoring Alexis in the second half of the season to get to those oh so precious and important double figures.
Çağlar Söyüncü joined Freiburg in 2016 and has since played over 40 games, and scored one goal, and has also played nine times for Turkey. According to comments he has leadership skills, and is “good at playmaking, dribbling and timing.”
So, if this is true, and it is a big if, we now have a system in which the manager manages the squad he is given, but does not handle player transfers.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the club, according to the Independent, Boro Primorac will leave, which of course has always been on the cards. He’s 63 and has been at Arsenal since 1997, so he might well be thinking if Mr Wenger takes up another position he could get brought in for one last appointment.
Colin Lewin, we are told, is also going, along with Neil Banfield, Gerry Peyton and Tony Colbert, with Paul Johnson leaving his post as equipment manager. However the Indy also says that “Steve Bould and Jens Lehmann, recruited to the coaching staff just last summer, will remain under the new manager.”
Not sure where any of these insights come from, and everyone today seems to think Arteta is the man – but not in charge of recruitment of players apparently.
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