By Sir Hardly Anyone
The notion is beginning to circulate that Arsenal’s willingness to freeze out Aubameyang and Ozil before giving them away to other clubs is coming back to haunt the club.
Certainly, the way in which Ozil and Auba were treated was very unusual, with each player effectively being removed from the squad while the club was of course obliged to continue to pay their wages. But in the end this approach appeared to be justified by the fact that the players did leave, their salaries were no longer a burden on the club, and Arsenal were able to move on.
But because this approach over not just one but both players was so very unusual, the suggestion is now being made that other clubs who are interested in buying an Arsenal player are willing to wait and see if they can get the player for nothing.
As is common at this time of the year just before the transfer window opens (which is tomorrow as it happens) most of the focus is on the multiplicity of players Arsenal are thinking of buying (according to the media) but we might also note that the same media has suggested that the club is preparing to sell much of its squad at the same time.
Of course most of the focus has been on the alleged sale of Saka, but there is also a growing interest in players like Hector Bellerin. He earns £5.7m a year and has one more year of his contract to go. Given that he went out on loan last season to Real Betis, it is generally agreed that Arsenal have no more interest in him, and can of course leave on a free after one more season.
But if he can’t get a transfer at a salary he wants he could come back to Arsenal and just sit out his time, as Ozil and Aubameyang did.
Of course, many of these tales of players leaving never come to pass. Elneny for example has signed a new contract for a year having been expected by most of the media to leave at the end of last season.
Matteo Guendouzi is still an Arsenal player, Rob Holding is said to be waiting to be off loaded somewhere, Bernd Leno is still on the books, as is Maitland-Niles, as is Reiss Nelson. Nicolas Pepe appears to be stuck as a bit-part player, and Luca Torreira is also still an Arsenal player.
This is the sort of problem that can happen of course when a new manager comes in and has his own ideas on how to the club should continue.
So while the major headlines are of this type…
- Gabriel Jesus transfer boost as shirt number problem emerges
- Arsenal transfer round-up: Bukayo Saka talks ‘stall’ amid fresh Gabriel Jesus blow
- Gabriel Jesus’ Arsenal move under threat as Man City ‘offer’ to Tottenham emerges
- Arsenal do have other striker targets in mind but for now, they’re fixated on putting together a package that lands them Jesus.
… there is the suggestion that one reason that players are reluctant to consider Arsenal is the policy of “freezing out” players who are no longer wanted by the manager.
Of course, the media never help, as when the Mirror ran its infamous story on 19 December 2020, “One year on from his appointment as Arsenal boss and it seems the Spaniard is facing more questions than he’s delivered answers.”
Because the media refused en masse to look at the tactical changes the manager was making they focussed entirely on the fact that Arsenal were 15th in the league. However from that point on Arsenal’s results changed dramatically, and over the last two-thirds of that season (remembering it kicked off late because of covid restrictions) they were the second-best performing team in the league.
But this summer it seems we might actually have an off-loading issue, and fixing up the loans for unwanted players may well be the main task for the transfer team rather than looking to bring in all the players being hyped in the media.
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