Reasons why Arsenal needed to sign Özil

7 Sep

Many people have been saying that Arsenal didn’t need to sign Özil, that it was an unnecessary signing and the money should’ve been used to buy a striker, a center back and a defensive midfielder. Almost all of these claims have come from non-Arsenal fans so one might say that these claims were born out of jealousy but in this post I’ll put forward some reasons why the Özil transfer was actually necessary.

* First of all Mesut Özil is one of the best players in the world. Players like him don’t come on the market too often so when you get an opportunity to get Özil you should grab that opportunity with both hands. He is better than any of our current players and everyone is so excited to play with him. That’s the kind of impact signing a world class player has. The whole dressing room was buzzing and many players have already expressed their excitement at the transfer.

* Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis made a bold claim of having the money available to get world class players and doing something that would excite the gooners. Throughout the summer transfer window
Arsenal were looking to make a marquee signing that was necessary to make the footballing world sit up and take notice. Transfer window closed 5 days ago and even today everyone is talking about
the Özil transfer so that purpose was definitely fulfilled. The impact of this transfer is massive as now everyone will take Arsenal seriously and think of us as a team capable of paying the big bucks to get top quality players. This signing has also changed the atmosphere around Emirates and gooners are now in buoyant mood and can’t wait for the next match. Quite a contrast to the toxic atmosphere witnessed after the opening day loss against Aston Villa.

* Arsneal kit sales have received a huge boost as well with thousands of Özil shirts getting sold within hours of the deal becoming official.

* In footballing terms people have claimed we had many creative players already and didn’t need another one. This is absolutely wrong. Anyone who has watched Arsenal play week in week out should know this is wrong. Right now we have only 2 players who can be called as quality playmakers, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla. However they are not in the same class as Cesc Fabregas who we weren’t able to replace properly before. Wilshere is capable but he’s a bit injury prone and has other attributes to his game as well so sometimes it’s left to Cazorla alone to be the creative lynchpin. It’s not a good situation to be in especially at a club like Arsenal where the passing game is the most important thing unlike at many other clubs. Özil is a great player and he should be able to have the same impact Cesc used to have.

*If we didn’t get Özil we were very likely to get Cabaye which would’ve been quite underwhelming.

* We sold Gervinho and then Ox and Podolski were injured so we were short in numbers to fill the 3 positions behind Giroud. We only had Theo, Santi, Wilshere and Rosicky who could play there. So it was important in terms of adding to the squad in those positions as well.

* Getting a striker was very important for us and our transfer team tried to get one throughout the summer. They couldn’t get Suarez or Higuain earlier. Even on deadline day they tried to sign one but the Ba deal didn’t go through and an apparent late attempt to get Palermo striker Abel also failed so I don’t think it’s fair to say that we didn’t sign a striker because we signed Özil. It was a failure of the transfer team that they couldn’t get a striker but that should not be linked with the Özil transfer at all.

The most important thing for me is the opinion of the gooners and every gooner is just over the moon with the Özil transfer and honestly we have not been this happy for a long long time. So lets just wait patiently for Özil to start playing for us and we’ll just let the assists and goals do the talking!

Till next time.

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Arsenal Transfer Window Roundup

5 Sep

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4 Players in, 10 players out. I know the actual number of players gone out is more than 10 but those were youngsters. Either way the number of players that came in was significantly less than the number gone out. But unlike recent seasons we have managed to keep all our key players and added some real quality to that. Personally I feel that we are just 1 striker short from having a pretty solid squad. However the transfer window itself was quite a mess with a great hurrah at the end of it.

First we had the Higuain saga which ended with him going to Napoli leaving us embroiled in a really controversial situation with Suarez. There was that infamous £40,000,0001 bid which was supposed to activate a release clause but didn’t. Throughout the summer we chased a striker but ended up not signing one bar Sanogo. Now we have Bendtner back in the squad to fill that role. Giroud must stay fit at least till January now otherwise we’re gonna be in a bit of trouble.

We needed a backup CB as well but Wenger’s solution was playing Sagna there and he’s looked really good as well so I can live with that. Vermaelen is also coming back soon so we are reasonably covered in that area.

We needed another body in midfield especially after the injuries to Ox and Arteta and we got one in Flamini. I was happy with that transfer as well. If everyone is fit we have Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Diaby, Cazorla, Flamini and Ox all capable of playing in the middle of the park. Flamini looked solid against Spurs when he came on and he was still a bit rusty then. I am confident that he will do well for us.
I’m a bit unsure about the Viviano transfer. He’s a decent keeper but hardly a great one. Don’t think he can become the no.1 keeper. I’ve seen a bit of him in Serie A and from being a keeper with great potential 3 years ago he’s become just an average one now. But the potential is there so maybe he will prove me wrong. I think Szcz is still our man between the sticks.

But more than anything we needed a marquee signing. A signing that will make everyone stand up and take notice, that will make everyone talk about it. A signing that will signal a change of era from Arsenal being a club not able to buy stars and having to sell players to a club that can afford to get a real top top super quality player in. A signing to show everyone that Arsenal mean business and are really going for the trophies. We have definitely managed that and have done it quite spectacularly!

When the Suarez deal went south the players that were linked with us were good but not great. For eg. Cabaye. He’s a decent player but not someone Jose Mourinho would fear. There were talks of us going for Benzema and Di Maria but that seemed like just paper talk. Frankly there were one or two rumors linking us with another Real player but I just never thought it was possible. I couldn’t even imagine us getting one of the best players in the world from Real Madrid. I could never envisage us getting Mesut f’n Özil! Honestly I’m still in shock.

 

That signing is an absolute game changer for us. We’ve not been this happy for a very long time and that happiness is a massive thing. The atmosphere was toxic at the Emirates before. Now it will be buoyant and rocking. Everyone will get behind the team and that’s really huge. Fans of other teams are now considering us a threat. I’ve seen Chelsea and Utd fans posting about Özil. They are genuinely scared.

However if I have to rate our whole transfer window I must say it was a mess. We went from one target to another, had a lot of failed bids and in the end couldn’t even sign that striker we badly needed. Getting Özil was unbelievable and amazing but it was an opportunistic deal. Our transfer team has to get better and fast. We really have to add a striker of real quality in january. They should start the planning now itself. Overall I’d rate our transfer window 7 out of 10. We couldn’t get a striker and right now we are very dependent on Giroud staying fit. That’s not ideal at all. I’d have liked to see us get another CB as well but that’s not that worrying as we have Vermaelen fit again and Sagna has proven himself to be a good enough option there. The impact of the Özil signing could prove to be massive and maybe we can paper over the cracks.

I think we have an outside chance of winning the league now. I know we don’t have the strongest and deepest squad but I think our first XI is as good as anyone else in the league. A bit of luck on the injury front and we’ll be right up there.

Till next time.
P.S. Özil is a Gunner!

Mesut Özil…that’s all!

3 Sep

Ramsey passes to Özil…he has 4 defenders in front of him…there’s no way through it seems…OMG what a defence splitting pass to Giroud and GOOOOOOOOOOAL!!! GIROOOOOOOOOOUUUUUD scores his 30th goal of the season and it’s Özil’s 20th assist! Arsenal are now 10 pts ahead of 2nd placed Chelsea with 4 games to go!

Özil is a Gunner! We can now dream. A more serious post about the transfer window will come tomorrow but for now lets basque in the glory. We have signed Özil! Mesut F’n Özil!gun__1378308215_ozil_shirt03

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Could Tony Moon’s strike spark a new dawn at Arsenal?

19 Aug

The season could not have started any worse for Arsenal as we gave away a 1-0 lead to lose 1-3 at home to Aston Villa and also lost a host of players to injuries and suspension. The result was terrible but the performance was even more horrific and it caused the angriest ever reaction seen at the Emirates. 

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The videos posted on Arsenal Fan TV showed the reactions of several fans and those were really telling. The mismanagement at the club is there for everyone to see and it requires something big to make the powers to be change their ways. The anger towards Arsenal’s transfer policy has been around for years but there never was such a reaction from the fans. Eight barren trophyless years and the words of CEO Ivan Gazidis about how we had the money available to afford the likes of Rooney which seem like blatant lies at this stage have sparked that angry reaction. Arsenal fans have been very patient for all these years. In any other major European club there would’ve been riots if a manager had failed to win anything for 8 years but we have shown a lot of respect to Arsène Wenger for what he has achieved for us but there’s a limit to everything. Whatever Wenger did was successful years ago but those things are not working anymore. But the most ridiculous thing is that he doesn’t even seem to be trying to address the problems. 

Wenger and Gazidis are two highly paid employees at Arsenal Football Club. For the money they are paid they must produce results. Gazidis has done very well in terms of bringing  money into the club and under him our marketing has improved immensely. This is why Arsenal are always in the top 5 of the richest football clubs list. There is no denying that Wenger also was instrumental in making Arsenal attractive to the global population of football fans. The style of football Arsenal played was what made me fall in love with this football club 13 years ago. I’ve never seen Arsenal without Arsène and I really wish he could turn things around and make us invincible again. But that seems more and more impossible as the seasons tick by. 

This season we had the perfect opportunity to launch a serious title challenge. Man Utd, Chelsea and City all have new managers. We ended last season really well and we all believed a few more additions should be enough for us to really go for it. To have to start this season without a single signing bar Sanogo is just unfathomable. Some say this is an over reaction to just 1 defeat but it’s not that. The anger was already there and it just reached a melting point when we saw all those players getting injured and all those goals going in.

There are serious questions to be asked. We lacked a striker even last season so getting one was top priority. Didn’t happen. Djorue and Squillaci were offloaded so we needed a backup CB anyways but then Vermaelen got injured so a CB was needed asap. Nobody has come in. 18 players have left the club this summer. Just 1 has come in. It’s true the players that have left were not first team regulars but you need a big squad to be successful and Arsenal started the season with a thread bare squad. With people getting injured we now go to Fenerbahce with a team of walking wounded. Why didn’t Wenger sign a CB as soon as Vermaelen got injured and a striker long before that? It just beggars belief. Any blind man can see what was needed at Arsenal. What are they doing with the 70million that was apparently available for transfers. Then Wenger asks to give him names of players to buy?! Are you kidding me?

I have never been to North London but I believe I’m as passionate about Arsenal as any native gooner. The state of this club makes me sad, hurt and depressed. Nothing was happening in the transfer market for us for weeks but right after the Villa defeat we have had a bid rejected for Cabaye and have apparently made inquiries about Michu, Pogba and Williams. This is exactly what happened 2 seasons ago when we signed 5 players in a week after the 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford. Nothing short of panic buying. Why does the team have to lose badly to make them wake up? The club is in hands of people who only care about the balance sheet. As long as we are in the CL the club will make huge profits every year, will make the share prices go up and that is all that matters to our owner Mr. Stan Kroenke. I don’t really blame Gazidis as he is an employee and I’m not sure if he is in charge of transfers or not but Kroenke taking over was the worst possible thing to have happened to us. 

It’s not gonna be easy to change the board’s mentality and it’s impossible to change Wenger’s philosophy. But it is possible to change the manager. If Wenger fails to win a trophy this season he has to go. Most of the fans are against him now and the reactions sparked by Luna’s goal have made that completely clear. I just hope this is the start of Arsenal fans actively demanding change.

We want our Arsenal back. 

Arsenal vs Aston Villa Match Preview….It’s back!!

17 Aug

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Premiership football is back! After a long hard summer break real football is back in our lives and I’m sure everyone is pretty excited about it. I know us Arsenal fans have had to endure a very frustrating transfer window and we are all quite angry at our board and our manager but today we have something else to talk about and it’s the opening game of the season at the Emirates against Aston Villa.

Looking at the team news things could hardly be any worse for us. Our stand-in captain and the heart of the midfield Mikel Arteta is out for 4-6 weeks, our original captain Vermaelen is also out but that we knew before already and he wasn’t first choice anyways so Arteta missing is the real blow. Monreal is also out however recent reports suggest Sagna is ok and so is Walcott so at least we have some positive team news. 

Starting Lineup

Szcz, Sagna, Kos, Mert, Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud, Theo

Opposition

Our opponents Aston Villa have a new look squad this season having brought in a number of new players. Their main threat is still the excellent Benteke who could really hurt us. Many gooners wanted Arsenal to sign him and he definitely has the quality to play for a CL side. Other than Benteke they have Weimann and Agbonlahor who are both capable of scoring. I think they will sit back and try to hit us on the counter, utilizing the speed of the front 3 so scoring the opening goal will be crucial for us. Their defence is not that solid so if they have to come out and look for a goal we should be able to take advantage of the space and score ourselves. I think this game will see a lot of goals.

Fantasy Picks

Walcott and Giroud

Prediction

Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1

Season Preview

15 Aug

This is something I did for Starting11 forum so thought of sharing it on my blog as well.

How will the season pan out for your team?

At the time of writing Arsenal still haven’t signed anyone bar Sanogo. It has clearly been the most frustrating transfer window for gooners and that’s saying a lot as we always have frustrating transfer windows. This time it was supposed to be different. We apparently have a lot of money to spend but can’t get any deals done. There is a reason for this. In the last few years Arsenal have generally bought players from smaller teams. We have never signed a top player playing for a top club that’s unwilling to sell. Last season we got Cazorla and Monreal from Malaga, Giroud from Montpellier and Podolski from Cologne. Getting players for big money from good teams is completely different territory for our transfer team. Maybe that’s why we’ve failed with so many bids. 
 
Another possible reason could be Wenger’s constant urge to find value in every transfer. Maybe he thought Higuain wasn’t worth 32 mil and decided not to pursue the transfer. Arsenal even bid for Bender which was turned down. Then 2 bids were turned down for Suarez. I don’t think Liverpool would turn down a 50 mil bid. But Arsenal are not prepared to pay that. What we have always done is take the transfers to the last week and try to force the price down. This is exactly the reason why we missed out on Xabi Alonso a few years ago. Everything seemed in place but on the last day of the transfer window there was apparently a disagreement over 1 mil pound over agent fees or something and the deal broke down. We missed out on Mata as well. 
 
There are gooners who just blindly support Wenger. If you don’t agree about anything Wenger says or does you are seen like a criminal to this group. In Wenger we trust, Arsene knows…these are the common dialogues of this group. There’s another group that has become completely Anti-Wenger. For the last couple of years there’s been constant tension between the 2 sets of fans. Personally I’m in the middle. I don’t like Wenger’s transfer tactics, haven’t done for a number of years now. I also think we require a change if we are to become a spending club and fight against the big boys in the transfer wars. Maybe it’s the board maybe it’s the manager that has to change. The way we are set up right now we will likely be scrapping for a top 4 spot again and won’t have any hope of challenging for the title. 
 
Final league placing?
 
4th.
 
Will your manager survive? 
 
This is Wenger’s last season. His contract is up after this and I’m not sure if he will stay on. Personally I hope he leaves if we fail to win any trophy this season.
 
Will the team exceed expectations or disappoint?
 
Right now it looks like the team will disappoint but the hope still remains for a few late signings.
 
Who is the….- Fantasy gold: who will bag the most fantasy points for your team?
 
Walcott without doubt. He now finishes off chances which earlier he used to miss. Giroud and Cazorla should also have good seasons.
 
Hidden Diamond: who is the most under-rated player?
 
In footballing terms Ramsey and Mertersacker are vastly under rated especially by fans of other teams. These 2 had really good seasons and became instrumental in our brilliant late season run. 
 
Young Pretender: who is going to have a break-out season?
 
I hope the Ox will establish himself in the side this season. With Gervinho leaving he should get more chances in the side. 
 
Chocolate Teapot: who is a waste of space?!
 
Apart from Bendtner the rest of the chocolate teapots have left the club so he’s the last man standing.
 
If your team was an animal what would they be and why?!
 
Probably an elephant. We have a big stadium, a big fan base but we are too gentle to become the king of the jungle. Arsenal always play pretty football, buy nice players and never acquire the competitive edge needed to become champions.

Transfer Musings

3 Jul

Finally the new season has started….officially. On July 1, the summer transfer window opened and with it everyone’s hopes and expectations have risen. Arsenal have already made a signing. French youngster Yaya Sanogo has joined us on a free transfer. He’s a 20 year old striker with a bit of an injury ridden career so far. Anyone else feel the sense of déjà vu?

http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/french-striker-yaya-sanogo-joins-club

Anyways the signing of Yaya is not that bad when you consider the situation of our youth team. Not that many players are coming through the academy. Last month quite a few young players were released and I guess we could do with a striker like Yaya at least in the Capital One Cup. It also adds to the squad depth and he was free as well. I’d say it was a decent deal to get a talented youngster in. But lets talk about the more serious stuff i.e. the first team players.

The much awaited clearing of Arsenal deadwood is in full swing this season. Arshavin, Squillaci, Denilson and Djourou have already left for pastures new and hopefully Bendtner will follow suit very soon. Arsenal actually released a staggering 14 players this summer.

Andrey Arshavin, Samir Bihmoutine, Reice Charles-Cook, Denilson, Craig Eastmond, Sead Hajrovic, Conor Henderson, Jernade Meade, Nigel Oldfield Spence-Neita, Joshua Rees, Philip Roberts, James Shea, Sebastien Squillaci, Sanchez Watt.

We still have the Chamakh problem to sort out but most of the unwanted players have left so spaces have opened up and wages have been cleared. We must be doing that to create space and clear funds for new superstar signings right? I guess every gooner around the world is telling himself that in order to stay positive but so far nobody has come in.

The name that has come up a lot this summer has been that of El Pipita Gonzalo Higuain.

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He is someone who can really improve our squad. A world class striker with a proven track record for Real Madrid and Argentina. We definitely need someone like that. A striker is top priority for us as we only have Giroud as an out and out Center Forward. I like Giroud but I don’t think he has the quality to lead us to the title. Higuain has the potential to do that so bringing him in in a no brainer if you ask me. Being a big Argentina fan I have seen a lot of Higuain and I had the privilege of watching him LIVE in Dhaka as well. If we get him I’d be over the moon as a personal favorite of mine gets to play for my club. But since it’s not been confirmed yet you have to wonder whether this will take place eventually or not. Reports like the following doesn’t help either

http://www.goal.com/en-sg/news/3875/transfer-zone/2013/07/03/4090621/arsenal-struggle-to-agree-higuain-fee-with-real-madrid

Fingers crossed we will get Higuain soon but I must say I’m getting more and more nervous about this deal as the days keep passing.

The next most likely transfer is that of Julio César. I think getting him would be good for us. Cesar is a quality keeper who is also experienced. He had a terrible season at Inter but after moving to QPR he seems to have rediscovered his form. He also was the best keeper in the recently concluded Confederations Cup. Szczesny has not managed to cement his spot and it seems he’s still not matured so I’d be happy if we get Cesar.

The recent reports of us failing with a big money bid for Lars Bender really surprised me. I don’t know that much about Bender to claim to know how good he is but he seems to be a top bracket talent and the fact that we are going in for players like that is very positive indeed. I hope we get him or Fellaini although the links with the Belgian seem to have cooled down a touch. Adding a defensive minded midfielder to our squad is vital. Fellaini and Bender both are quite young and if we have to pay over the odds for either one of them I say do it! 

Earlier we were linked with Ashley Williams as well but haven’t seen anything related to him recently. We already have 3 CBs so getting him as the 4th CB seems overkill. He won’t be happy to sit on the bench. I wouldn’t mind it if we promote Ignasi Miquel to the first team but if we sign a CB after getting Higuain, Cesar and Bender I won’t be complaining. 

I frankly don’t see us getting Rooney even though it would be simply amazing if we get Shrek. 

Just hoping to see Arsenal back playing again! This going through transfer news thing is boring. 

Till Next time!