Category Archives: Premier League

The Big F*cking Academy Leading German!!!

I remember how Arsenal signed Per Mertesacker in August 2011. We had already lost club captain, Cesc Fabregas, and upcoming starlet, Samir Nasri, so things were uneasy at the club, with the fans voicing their displeasure over the club’s failure to even replace the stars that left. This was compounded with an embarrassing 8-2 defeat to Manchester United, and things got so toxic, then Arsene Wenger made his famous trolley dash, signing Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun (on loan) and Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen.

In his first interview with the club, Mertesacker said that he had an emotional connection to Arsenal and he was very delighted to realize his Arsenal dream:

“When I was young, I visited England with my auntie, as somebody who was football crazy, I simply had to come back with a shirt.’

“I can’t remember why, but I came back with an Arsenal shirt and my brother had a Manchester United one. This affinity has grown over more than 10 years and now the loop closes because I am delighted to finally get to play at a team I always supported and where I always wanted to appear eventually.”

 

“I think Arsenal had been watching me for a while and had intended to sign me for a while. It was a strange situation for me because it was not clear for a long time what would happen and it dragged out to the very end. After the medical in London, it took until late on deadline day and I was unsure it would work out, but then I was delighted in the end. It is a dream come true.”

Six seasons, 210 appearances, eight goals and four trophies later, it has been officially announced the BFG will become the new Head of Youth Development at the start of the 2018/19 season. This position was vacated by Andries Jonker a couple of months ago, when he decided to try his hands in football management at VFL Wolfsburg.

Arsene Wenger labeled the BFG as an exceptional character that’s a great example to young players and the German was clearly delighted with the announcement,

“This is the start of an exciting new chapter for me and I am delighted that I will be able to stay part of the Arsenal family. This season I will remain fully focused on my job with the team and am looking forward to a successful last season on the pitch. After that, I look forward to the exciting challenge of helping produce young players good enough to play for the Arsenal first team.”

Many fans have had their doubts about Mertesacker’s ability, using his slow pace as a benchmark for his ability as a defender, forgetting that he’s one of the most dominant defenders in the air, possessing the composure of a sniper  and his ability to read the game and make his world famous ‘merteceptions’ are second to none.

For what its worth, his last appearance for the club in the FA Cup final against Chelsea was most accomplished performances I’ve ever witnessed from a defender. Bearing in mind that he had not played a game in ages, it was really astonishing seeing what he did on that famous evening in Wembley. So awesome, that the losing manager, Antonio Conte, had this to say,

“Per Mertesacker for me is a perfect example for any young professional football player,” said Conte.

“What he did today was just a consequence of an unbelievable attitude every day, even if not selected, until the Everton game in the squad. “He played his first game tonight and when he was not selected he worked even harder, which is why I pay a special tribute for him tonight.”

Mertesacker will go into the new campaign, knowing that it’s going to be his last as a football player and Arsenal’s captain. We can only hope it would be another trophy-laden campaign, starting with the Community Shield next month.

I wish him the very best in his new role at the end of the current campaign.

Sayonara

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Thoughts on Alexis Sanchez and this Ridiculous £400,000 Wage Demand

While Arsenal fans have been basking in the euphoria of the Alexandre Lacazette announcement, there is still much work to be done in the team, with more signings expected as well as the important part of sorting out the futures of some of the club’s star players with a year left on their respective contracts.

To be honest, it’s rather unfortunate to see how we got to this situation with Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny and Matt Debuchy all left with only one year left on their contract with the club. There are certainly some players on the aforementioned list that have no futures with the club, while there are others that are regarded as indispensable to the team.

Alexis Sanchez certainly falls into the latter category and with 72 goals in 145 appearances for the club, he has risen to talismanic status in the team, especially after hitting the 30-goal mark that was a norm for the likes of goalscoring legends Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie before him. A player like Sanchez was expected to be in high demand and the wolves came sniffing with Bayern Munich and Manchester City reportedly interested in his services.

With Alexis contracted to the club, his primary obligation will be to honor his contract, which could make him a free agent next summer, but that leaves the club in a dilemma,

  • Does Arsenal follow the Robin van Persie route and sell Sanchez to a fellow Premier League rival like Man City? or
  • Will the club play hard ball and allow the lad leave on a Bosman?

The ideal scenario would have been to tied Sanchez down with a juicy new contract, but with the Metro reporting that the Chilean hotshot wants an astonishing £400,000-per-week contract to remain with the team, the situation becomes very difficult. Normally, I would take this sort of news with a pinch of salt, as the media always circulate all sorts of bullcrap to sell their content but what if it’s actually true? Why would a £140,000-per-week earner request for such a mammoth sum to hamstring the club?

If this is what is really happening, then I hope Arsenal keep him at the club for his final year of his contract, then send him packing at the summer, so that he can find his £400,000 elsewhere. It would some financial sense to take the £50m or whatever from Man City, but the backlash would be terrible from the fans and media alike. Arsenal is meant to be challenging for the Premier League this season and they stand a better chance of doing it if Sanchez remains with the club.

Like Hell, they can follow the Robert Lewandowski route and use him in the final year of his contract before allowing him go to wherever he wants. Alexis doesn’t strike me like the type that would be sulking on the pitch because he wasn’t allowed to leave to Man City. He is a professional and will be expected to do his job, which is play football for Arsenal.

I will follow this development closely and see how it pans out.

Sayonara

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Arsenal Sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon

Alexandre Lacazette

The Arsenal blogosphere was on fire as fans celebrated the arrival of the club’s record signing, Alexandre Lacazette, from Olympique Lyonnais.

Arsene Wenger had some nice words to say about his new recruit,

“We are very happy to have Alexandre join our group. He has shown over a number of years that he can score goals and that he is a very efficient finisher. As well, he has very interesting technical qualities and a strong character. So he is a guy who is a great addition for us, and someone who will help us challenge at the top level this season.”

The player went on to say the basics you’d from any new signing, about how he always dreamt of playing for the club,

“I am, of course, delighted and very proud too because Arsenal is a legendary club. Throughout my childhood, thanks to Thierry Henry and other French players, I always dreamed of playing for this club so today that dream has been fulfilled.”

Footballers and their dreams. At least, he didn’t get any message from the little boy inside him. Maybe he did and chose not to talk about it. Signing a player of Lacazette’s caliber speaks a lot about Arsenal’s aspirations this season, and it seems like Wenger isn’t done, with the Express reporting that the Gunners are interested in signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. There’s also the business of sorting out the contracts for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil among others but the progress being made this summer can be measured considerably.

With Sead Kolasinac coming in early, as well as some changes in the backroom staff, which includes Jens Lehmann, Arsenal has plans for big things this season, and we the fans are elated with the capture of our shiny new toy, Alex Lacazette. He will join the lads in training and will travel for some preseason action.

He’s set to make his unofficial home debut towards the end of the month when the Gunners host their Emirates Cup tournament. He would have memories of playing at the Emirates, as he was part of the Lyon team that got spanked 5-0 by the Gunners a couple of seasons ago.

I wish Lacazette the very best and I hope the goals flow in for him.

Here’s a highlight reel of his 37 goals for Lyon last season

Sayonara

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List