Daily Archives: January 3, 2020
In Unai Emery’s final weeks with the club, things went really bad and it was evident that the only plausible option was to terminate his contract with the Gunners after 18 months. The results were pretty poor, the performances were dire and the attitude of some of the players (no need to mention names) were shitty to say the least.
Two of the club’s senior players had been on the news lately, for all the wrong reasons I guess, speaking from a fan’s perspective. Firstly, there was the well publicized issue of Granit Xhaka and his falling out with the fans. The then club captain was going through a terrible run of form, but his manager chose to keep playing him, probably with the hope that he’d get back to form, and it didn’t work out.
Then the Crystal Palace game happened, and the back lash that came with it. Boy, things were really messy and at that point in time, the only plausible alternative was for Xhaka to leave the club to pastures anew and he tasked his well paid agent to work that out. It was no surprise when it was reported that the midfielder had agreed a deal with Hertha BSC, with only the transfer fee with Arsenal holding the deal. Yes, Hertha is no Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or RB Leipzig that are in the upper echelons of the Bundesliga table, but Xhaka is very familiar with that league, spending four seasons with Borussia Monchengladbach before we snapped him up in 2016. For the Swiss captain to join a club that’s 12th on the table, it looked more like him just doing his bit to get away from Arsenal, rather than move to an ambitious club that would challenge for trophies.
But hey, can you really blame the lad? Especially with what happened with the fans in that fateful game, how his psyche was so messed up that he required counseling and how he felt he wasn’t loved by the fans he sweats and bleeds for. He was even stripped of the captaincy just a month after receiving that honor. If Emery was still at the club, I am absolutely certain that he would have been taking photoshoots with his new Hertha BSC jersey, but there’s a new sheriff in town, and that sheriff, Mikel Arteta, wants him to stay,
“I think he’s going to stay. I really like him. The way we want to play, if we get him on board then he can be a tremendous player for the football club.
“It’s his commitment, I like the way he focusses, I like the way he lives his profession, he’s willing to learn and he’s a great football player.
“It’s also his range of passes and I’m just delighted to have him.”
In the two games Xhaka has featured under the new boss, he has looked like a player reborn and it would be an absolute nightmare losing him in the January transfer window, when targets are hard to find. According to the Sun, the Gunners are keeping tabs on Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot if Xhaka still leaves, and it seems plausible, with the French midfielder struggling to feature regularly for the Old Lady. With Dani Ceballos struggling to really replace Aaron Ramsey, in terms of fitness and form, the Gunners still lack some depth in central midfield, even though Matteo Guendouzi has shown some flashes of his ability, we all know he’s not a finished article.
Another player that had been dominating the headlines was club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, when it was reported by the Daily Mail that he had pulled out on contract talks with the club and was ready to leave the club this summer. There was also another article from Spain – El Desmarque (reported by Sky Sports) that Real Madrid are planning to make a 70 million quid offer for the Gabonese forward with James Rodriguez as make weight to sweeten the deal.
Typically, I’d take such news articles with a pinch of salt, but the pertinent question should be why the Gunner’s hierarchy should be allowing our best player’s contract get to almost 18 months without a renewal. I know the club employed Mr. Huss Fahmy to handle issues like this but we cannot have another potential Aaron Ramsey situation here again where we would get to the point were we are between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.
However, Arsenal’s manager, Arteta, has made his intentions clear to keep Aubameyang (via Sky Sports) and with the forward stating that he’s 100% with the Gunners, (via Goal.com), we can only hope that he means those words.
The signs are looking good with Arteta on the helm and that knock on effect is expected in all facets of the club. The players performances have stepped up a notch since he took over and even though he lost against Chelsea due to a goalkeeping gaffe and some good ol’ Mustafism, the fans commended the effort the players put and the defeat didn’t feel all too bad, especially with the virtuoso performance against Manchester United that followed it up.
There is still hope to compete for silverware with the FA Cup and of course, the Europa League that is currently looking like Arsenal’s best chance to return to European football next season. Arteta has clearly stated his forward plans to the board, his players and the fans. Let’s just hope that senior players like Xhaka and Aubameyang are 100% on board.
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