It is true that sheer incompetence will mean Arsenal lose 2 strikers for nothing?

by Tony Attwood

It is not surprising that the story behind this article comes from the Daily Mirror.  It tells us that Arsenal could lose Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah on a free if each doesn’t sign a new deal.

Now administrative incompetence is, according to the Mirror, the Arsenal curse, and as a result we lose good players on a free all the time.  As an example, they then cite Alexis Sanchez who of course did not leave on a free but went to Manchester United in exchange for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

So was this a bad deal?  In fact probably not, because for some reason Alexis had lost the ability to play well and score goals.  Indeed having scored 60 league goals in 122 matches (49% ratio) he went to Manchester United and scored 3 goals in 32 league games (9% ratio). 

Yes he really had lost it.  It happens, but we got him off the books and Man U took him.  If anyone was rather dumb in this exchange it was Man U, and yet the Mirror says we let the player “slip amid stand-offs over new deals.”

They then go on to quote Nasri, van Persie, Ramsey and Ozil as players who were “embroiled in contract disputes before eventually leaving for nothing.   For Arsenal, when it comes to contracts, there appears to be a Catch-22. They just can’t seem to win.”

So it is all stupid Arsenal then.  Let’s blame the board and kick them out.

But in fact, it is the Mirror itself that is playing their constant game of an eternal attempt to destabilise Arsenal by getting Arsenal supporters to turn against their club.

And I say that because of this list

  1. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain),
  2. Paul Pogba (Manchester United),
  3. Paulo Dybala (Juventus),
  4. Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona),
  5. Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea),
  6. Andrea Belotti (Torino),
  7. Franck Kessie (AC Milan),
  8. Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan),
  9. Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich),
  10. Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach).
  11. Andreas Christensen (Chelsea),
  12. Andre Onana (Ajax),
  13. Jason Denayer (Lille),
  14. Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax),
  15. Jesus Corona (Porto),
  16. Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich),
  17. Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach),
  18. Jesse Lingard (Manchester United).

That list published in the Athletic is of players who are in their 20s and will be out of contract next summer and available on free transfers.

So Arsenal have Lacazette and Eddie who may go on a free, and who have scored three (Laca) and two (Eddie).

The fact is that players used to go on a free transfer when they got into their 30s and indeed any club wanting an older striker can pick up Gareth Bale and Ivan Perisic (each aged 32), for nothing next summer. 

Clubs are now less likely to hang onto players they may or may not need simply because their finances are looking rather unhealthy after the year of lockdown and no income from the stadium.  But the players and their agents seem not to be believing this and so they are saying no to a renewal, expecting a better deal next year.

But what of Arsenal and the striker situation?  Here is our current list of goal scorers in descending order…

Sqd Player Position Games Subs Goals
14 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Forward 12 1 7
10 Emile Smith Rowe Midfielder 13 2 5
9 Alexandre Lacazette Forward 5 6 3
7 Bukayo Saka Midfielder 13 2 3
30 Eddie Nketiah Forward 2 0 2
21 Calum Chambers Defender 3 1 1
6 Gabriel Defender 10 0 1
35 Gabriel Martinelli Forward 4 5 1
8 Martin Odegaard Midfielder 8 4 1
5 Thomas Partey Midfielder 9 1 1
19 Nicolas Pépé Forward 7 2 1

The other possibility for a goalscorer to help us out during the Africa Cup of Nations in particular and in the future in general is Folarin Balogun who has made one start and had two appearances as a sub.  He has made 11 appearances for the under 23s and scored 15 goals.  Of course, the under 23s is not the same as the Premier League, but even so…

However, the complaint that we desperately need a new goal scorer is only partially born out by recent games.    In the last six games, we are seventh in the league measured on goals scored.  Not good enough but not a disaster.

Premier League Form (Last 6)
Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
3 Liverpool 6 4 1 1 22 5 17 13
2 Chelsea 6 4 2 0 16 2 14 14
1 Manchester City 6 5 0 1 13 4 9 15
7 Leicester 6 3 1 2 11 11 0 10
10 Crystal Palace 6 2 3 1 11 8 3 9
14 Watford 6 2 0 4 11 14 -3 6
4 Arsenal 6 4 1 1 10 7 3 13
5 West Ham United 6 4 0 2 10 6 4 12

If we measure the last ten games instead we are sixth.

So it is a long term issue and we are not improving; in fact all we are doing is keeping up with the clubs around us.   However, we should also note that one more goal every other game would put us on a par with the glorious Manchester City, of whom everything has been said.

I suspect Mr Arteta has something in mind, not just because of the lack of goals but because of Aubameyang going to the Africa Cup.   

I wonder.  Could it be Martinelli?


8 Replies to “It is true that sheer incompetence will mean Arsenal lose 2 strikers for nothing?”

  1. That list is not exhaustive at all.

    Arsenal have more than just Eddie in his 20s and leaving on a free, there is also Chambers, Elneny, Kolasinac, Osei-Tutu, Iliev, Hein, Dinzeyi, Akinola to name but a few.

  2. i like the idea of folarin becoming a first team player during the ACN a lot – he’s been an outstanding catain of the U23s ever since the season began
    eddie was remarkable every time he was picked this season too, his holdup play has improved immensely
    i’m not in the know, of course, but i wouldn’t be surprised he he had benefited from laca’s advice: alex was nurtured in the lyon academy, where CFs are taught (just think of benzema) to be both strikers and team players, in the image of bernard lacombe, aulas’s former right-arm, who used to be a serial goalscorer, but was also one of the most intelligent CFs french football has ever known
    laca captained lyon at a very young age, he has always been very open to other players, and i think it’s obvious arsenal youngsters like him a lot
    as for martinelli, i hope he’ll be used more often, after the top-class goal he scored sunday, but i think just like auba, he’s better when he can dart inside from a wing, just as he did sunday
    we’ll see … but we have in store the lads we need to improve our goalscoring record, no need to spend, spend, spend – and i think partey flying away to the ACN might be just the opportunity we need for a more creative midfield to be picked

  3. This eternal negativity, that is in no way unique to The Mirror, is absolutely ridiculous and tiresome in the extreme.

    The problem is too many of our fans lap this sort of thing up as fact, which is why it is crucial that we at least try to put some perspective on it and counter these attacks as best we can.

    One of our regular posters suggested the other day that in his experience nobody takes this kind of negativity seriously.

    I begged to differ.

    From my experience of speaking to fans of other clubs, as well as Arsenal fans, especially Arsenal fans in fact, they buy in to it big time, and endlessly repeat the same old cliches:

    We mess up when selling players. We mess up when buying players. We cant defend. We cant score goals. Our players are weak. We get bullied. We have no leaders. We are diving cheats, in fact we invented it. Same old Arsenal, always cheating.

    On and on it goes.

    Yet somehow we are the record FA Cup winners.

    Yet somehow we are the 3rd best Championship winners.

    Yet somehow we have never been relegated.

    Yet somehow we managed to set a modern day record by going a whole season undefeated.

    Yet somehow we set a record number of consecutive CL qualifications, second only to Real Madrid. Doing this for 10 years on a aggregate zero net spend on transfers.

    We are a fantastically successful club, with a stature and history that certain other much ‘better’ run clubs could only dream of.

    Even Man City and Chelsea are still way behind us in historical success and have only managed to pass us in recent history thanks to the injection of BILLIONS of pounds from mega rich benefactors. We have no such benefactor.

    Whether you agree with them doing that or not isn’t the point, the fact is, that is what they have done, and without it one of them could still be worth a pound and the other could still bouncing up and down the divisions. That’s how bad they were when left to their own devices.

    Has the Mirror had anything good to say about us for the last 15 to 20 years?

    I wrote to John Cross as long ago as circa 2005 asking him why he was always so negative about Arsenal only to be sarcastically informed he was an Arsenal Fanatic’ !

    You could of fooled me as he hasn’t stopped bitching about us to this day.

  4. The point of the article was meant to be concerning high value top players – every season a number of players come to the end of the contract and are free to move on. Indeed there is no chance that Kolasinac would want to re-sign for us as he is hardly getting any games.

  5. Off-topic in part, but a reflection on a former distinguished stiker.

    I have just heard the sad new of the passing of Ray Kennedy, who was part of a formidable striker partnership with john Radford in our first historic double of 1971.

    A sad loss of another Arsenal legend (who later became a successful midfield player at Liverpool, where he will also be remembered today.)

    Ray, who suffered from Parkinsons disease from a young age will be honoured as a successful player from a former era. Condolences to his family. RIP Ray

  6. sad loss indeed, @John L
    i guess we all have personal memories of ray, which we will cherish more dearly than ever from now on
    i got hooked by the arsenal along two stages: first when i saw them play in rouen in december 1969 (ray didn’t play that day), secondly when the 1971 fa cup final was the first game i watched on tv, sitting by my dad’s side
    of course i’d lie if i said i could remember ray’s performance that day as clearly as charlie’s winner, but i remembered him well enough in 1977 to instinctively celebrate his goal against saint-étienne in the champions’ cup quarter-finals …
    very sad day, RIP Ray

  7. Very sorry to hear of the sad demise of Ray Kennedy. I still remember feeling rather down when he was allowed to leave the Arsenal for Liverpool. He really gelled in that team and made them great.
    While his loss was the start of the dismantling of that fine 1970-71 side.

    As for the present, while most of us would like for most of our players to stay , it would only be fair to let them move on. They will be remembered fondly for fighting the good fight and being loyal to the Arsenal.

    As usual I look forward for young blood to be drafted in from our youth sides. Always a great feeling when one of our own , shines .
    Up the Gunners !

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