Category Archives: Transfer Gossip
So its now public knowledge that Chelsea’s Brazilian maestro, Willian, is leaving the club after over 300 appearances in seven seasons with the Blues. He also managed to amass some silverware with the London-based outfit, winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and last season’s Europa League following their victory against yours truly in Baku.
At 32, you would expect that his last major contract would be in some retirement league, but all indications show that Willian is about to join Arsenal on a three-year deal, which is going to bring up some mixed emotions among the Arsenal faithful.
Many would look at the talent coming into the Chelsea team and see why there’s no more room for a talented individual like Willian in their side, but in all honesty, I believe that he will be a welcome addition to Arsenal and I will share my reasons. Firstly, Willian will give us some much needed depth and quality in attack as last season showed that we were heavily reliant on our dependable captain for the goods, and even though he always delivered, the supporting pack should have done better. Willian is the kind of guy that averages 10 – 15 goals per season from midfield, and that’s a big plus in my books. Another exciting reason for having Willian in our ranks is the fact that he can cut in from the left hand side of our attack, allowing Aubameyang to play through the middle. He’s also versatile enough to play on the right or in the attacking midfield slot. That’s the kind of versatility that modern day coaches dream about.
We also have to consider the fact that he’s an experienced individual that has seen it all, so it can only rub off on the younger wingers in the squad like Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe. Having a figurehead like Willian in the dressing room can only aid their development even further.
Then there’s the financial implication of the transfer – Willian will not cost the club any transfer fees if he joins the club. It will just be the issue of his salary that can certainly be sorted out with mininal fuss. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives and businesses adversely, with Arsenal even confirming that they are going to lay off 55 employees, getting a talented and experienced footballer for free serves as a good business decision.
Well, its all speculation till we get the official communication but I’m certainly a staunch member of the Willian-In brigade.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is one of the players in the current crop whose contract is scheduled to expire at the end of next season. David Luiz, Bukayo Saka, Mesut Ozil, Skhodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are in the same category, but it’s evident that if Arsenal has an option to keep one player from the aforementioned crop, it will be the man that has scored 61 goals in 97 appearances for the club, in just two-and-a-half seasons so far.
Losing Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck on a free transfer was shameful to say the least, as both players sales would have contributed massively to the club’s coffers, especially with Ramsey being one of the sought after deep lying playmakers in his position, but Juventus acted swiftly and snapped the Welsh Jesus for free when they were supposed to have paid some good millions for him. This prompted the club’s Head of Football, Raul Sanllehi, to state clearly that the club will not allow ‘key players’ leave on a Bosman. A few years have gone since Sanllehi’s famous words and here we are again, with the potential to lose one of Europe’s most feared center forwards for nothing, should the club decide not to sell him this summer.
At least, Aubameyang has not done a Robin van Persie yet, saying things that would irk the Arsenal faithful, but he has said the right words, stating that he’s focused on Arsenal, as confirmed by the head coach, Mikel Arteta. Since Arteta joined the club in December 2019, his impact has been immense and there have been several reports from the playing staff confirming how he has steadied the ship that was sinking without trace under Ser Ebening. Arteta has already proved his worth in the Granit Xhaka situation, after it was evident that he was odds on to leave to Hertha Berlin in January 2020.
This Aubameyang contract situation leaves us with only three plausible options, which I intend to discuss anon.
- Option One: Sell him off to the highest bidder and reinvest the money in another good center forward
- Option Two: Play hard ball and shove off all potential suitors, allow him play his final campaign and let him go on a free transfer next summer
- Option Three: Find a way to get him to sign da ting!!
Option One: Bye-Bye Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
It’s not a surprise that a quality player like Aubameyang approaching the last year of his contract with the club will be on the radars of the biggest clubs in the game, and when the Express reported that FC Barcelona declared their interest in signing the Arsenal ace, I was hopeful it was not going to materialize to something concrete. Barcelona will be a good fit for Aubameyang with legendary forward, Luis Suarez, in the September of what has been an illustrious career. The amount mentioned on these streets is £50 million, and it has also been reported by the Sun that Real Madrid is interested too.
Knowing that such big bad footballing wolves are huffing and puffing at the Emirates to blow the house down and get them some Aubameyang, the club’s resolve will be tested in the scenario where the player and his representatives don’t reach an amicable agreement with his contract. It’s not a good situation to be in, but for what its worth, Aubameyang will not be the first player to be in such a situation, and he will not be the last.
Option Two: Serve Your Time and Leave for Free PEA…
Arsenal is no stranger to this option as the memories of the Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck situation is still fresh in our minds. With Welbeck, it was evident that the club was no longer interested with his services, especially with the litany of injuries and his overall inconsistent plays, not to forget those world famous air shots. It was the contractual situation with Aaron Ramsey that left a lot to be desired. There are several stories and conspiracy theories of what went down between the club and the player’s agents, but what we know for sure was that Ramsey loved the club so much that he gave Arsenal 11 years of his career, 369 appearances, 64 goals, one broken leg and of course, three FA Cups.
Seeing how he was moved to tears on his final presentation showed his class as a player and what Arsenal represented in his life.
The potential exists for the club to take the same approach with Aubameyang, you know, meet with his representatives in the course of the season with the hope for him to sign a new deal, after closing the door to all the vultures trying to get their claws on him this summer, only for the deal to break down and it becomes evident that the talismanic forward will be leaving on a free transfer.
Yeah, there will probably be some gnashing of teeth and despair among the Arsenal faithful, but as the saying goes, soldiers come and go, but the barracks stay eternal.
Option Three: Find a Way to Get Aubameyang to Sign da Ting
Who remembers that protracted saga Arsenal had with Theo Walcott to sign a contract extension? At some point, it looked that Walcott was not going to renew that deal, despite all the attempts from the club, probaly some players and especially the fans to persuade him. We came close to another situation with Mesut Ozil, where he signed the famous £350,000 per week deal has become the stick we always use to flog him with.
The Telegraph has reported an interesting article stating that Arsenal gaffer, Mikel Arteta, is at the forefront in the charge to convince Aubameyang to remain at the club,
Arteta is preparing to initiate talks and hopes to impress the 30-year-old and his father. Rather than leaving the matter in the hands of the club’s contract and transfer chiefs, Arteta believes he can make a difference by taking a hands-on approach to Aubameyang’s future.
He wants to convince Aubameyang that Arsenal can once again finish in the top four and compete for trophies.
Arteta is a much loved and respected figure at the club, forging a wonderful understanding with the fans in his playing days and doing his bit to bring that connection back to the fans as a manager. It is clear that since Arteta took over, there have been massive improvement at everything connected with Arsenal, from the style of play, to the results, to performances of some individuals that performed so poorly under Emery, to even the atmosphere at the Emirates.
He convinced the deposed wantaway club captain that his future still lies at the Emirates and Xhaka became an important cog in the midfield machine. When clubs were struggling with finances following the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arteta convinced the players to take a 12.5% pay cut, which was hugely publicized, earning him the right plaudits.
He will have it all to do to convince Aubameyang to commit his long term future to the club but with Arteta on the helm, the club has been on the right direction, and Aubameyang has seen it first hand. Going far in the Europa League would have represented the best chance to qualify for the Champions League, but the Gunners still have 10 games in the Premier League to at the very least, fight to the very end.
Finally, it still boils down to one player – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and we can only hope that he makes a decision that is best for him and Arsenal football club.
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The January transfer deadline day is back again as clubs make those last minute deals required to solidify their squads ahead of the grueling second half of the football campaign. Arsenal, like other Premier League clubs, have had their fair share of transfer deadline day drama, with that famous ‘trolley dash’ of 2011 that saw Arsene Wenger sign five players after the humiliating defeat to Manchester United. We also remember the Andrei Arshavin saga that was protracted to the point the transfer window had to be extended for the deal to go through.
It was evident that defensive recruitments were required this January in the wake of the well publicized challenges faced from Calum Chambers’ long term injury and Skhodran Mustafi suffering a knock as well, which made the Gunners sign Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo. In addition to Pablo Mari, Arsenal has confirmed the signing of Southampton’s Cedric Soares on loan till the end of the season.
Arsenal’s Technical Director, Edu, had some good words to say about the new signing,
“Cedric is a defender with good experience of the Premier League, and of course at international level. He is another strong addition to our defensive unit who will provide our squad with quality. I know he is a player who plays with absolute full commitment and energy. We are all looking forward to going into the last stages of the season with Cedric as part of the club.”
Cedric has spent the best part of five seasons with Southampton and has been an ever-present for the Saints until this season, when he struggled with injuries and form. He had a very brief stint with Inter Milan but it didn’t work out with the Italian giants featuring him just four times. Cedric is a seasoned professional that has bags of experience and an instrumental part of the Portugal squad that won the 2016 European Championship.
His transfer to Arsenal clearly changes the dynamic for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, that has been a good utility squad member, filling in for the unavailable folk on specific occasions. AMN is a central midfielder by trade and has done very well under Mikel Arteta but having a natural like Cedric gives balance to the team.
His transfer is also regarded as a shrewd piece of business as he arrives to the club on loan and will be available as a free agent this summer. His loan spell will serve like an audition and let’s hope he does enough to secure a long term deal.
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