Category Archives: Transfer Gossip

Kurzawa: A Good Short and Long Term Option at Left Back

Kurzawa with the ball

Kurzawa joined Paris St. Germain for €23 million on a five-year contract in 2015 after his spell in his first ever club, AS Monaco. He broke into the Monaco setup when he was 18-years-old and suffered the ignominy of relegation at the end of the 2010/11 campaign, but stayed with the club in the French Ligue 2 for two seasons before the South Coast club returned to the Premier division in 2013.

Kurzawa caught the eye in the 2013/14 season with his attacking displays as well as goals from the left back position, which earned him a call up to the French national team. In his time at Paris St. Germain, Kurzawa struggled to nail a first team berth, first by being a backup to the more experienced Maxwell, before playing second fiddle to Maxwell’s long term replacement, Juan Bernat.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, and no potential for a new deal in sight, Kurzawa remained hopeful of sealing a move out of the club and it seems he would get his desires as Arsenal has shown interest in his services with a loan deal that will see the Gunners pay his wages before snapping him up for free in the summer.

Arsenal are favorites to seal the deal for the French defender in July, but injuries to Kieran Tierney, and more recently, Sead Kolasinac, has made Arsenal fast track their plans to get the defender this month. As it stands, Mikel Arteta has only Bukayo Saka as his first team option in left back,

“We are playing with full-backs that are not full-backs. They are wingers or central midfielders and could we afford to lose full-backs? No, but we don’t have any full-backs.”

On the right flank, Hector Bellerin is unavailable for selection due to his consistent injury problems, and with Stephan Lichtsteiner gone with his pension funds, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, a midfielder by trade, does that job as an auxiliary right back. Sokratis Papastathopoulos featured as a right back against Leeds in the FA Cup third round, but he is not a long term option. Brazilian teenage sensation, Yan Couto, is a long term option at right back but word on the street is that Barcelona is interested in signing the lad as well.

If Kurzawa joins the club in January, he will slot straight into the first team with Tierney’s long term injury layoff and Kolasinac’s penchant for picking up niggles here and there. Kurzawa is a full fledged French international with 12 caps to his name and at 27, he is a very experienced option for Arteta to choose.

I also would not mind the fact that he poses a goal threat, which will come in handy, as the Gunners are over reliant on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for their goals.

Sayonara

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Smith-Rowe to Huddersfield: Good Move for Him and Arsenal

Smith-Rowe Arsenal

Smith-Rowe burst into the scene last season following some breathtaking performances for Arsenal in the Europa League. His goal against Qarabag in last season’s group stage made him the youngest goalscorer in a competitive match since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2011.

Just when we thought he would get more glimpses of quality in that competition, Smith-Rowe suffered an injury that sidelined him for a while, thereby stunting the fledgling progress he made in that spell of first team football. 

On the winter transfer deadline day of 2019, Smith-Rowe joined RB Leipzig on loan for the remainder of the campaign. Arsenal fans were ectastic of the prospect of the lad joining such an energetic club with the enthusiastic Ralf Rangnick at the helm and the additional fact that his fellow Englishman, Reiss Nelson, tore defenses apart with Hoffenheim made his move to Germany sweeter.

Smith-Rowe Arsenal

Smith-Rowe featured in only three games for Leipzig totaling just 26 minutes, and he found out that he did not recover from a groin injury, which halted his campaign. This season, he managed to make four appearances but it is evident that he needs a loan spell to further his football education.

Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, provided an update on the futures of some youngsters within the club, confirming that Arsenal seeks opportunities for the lads to play competitive football in the second half of the season,

“We are assessing the situation with these youngsters and evaluating all the offers that they have from different clubs. where would suit them more and if it’s the right time for them to make that step. In the next few days, we will tell you exactly what will happen”

Like Smite-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah requires a loan spell after his torrid spell at Leeds United, and the club will sort out his future. According to Arseblog News, Bristol City has shown interest in Nketiah, like they were last summer.

The Express and Football Insider reported that Huddersfield Town is the destination for Smith-Rowe and this news excites me for the following reasons,

  • Huddersfield currently struggle in the Sky Bet Championship with their 5-2 loss to Stoke City dragged them down to 20th place, just one point above relegation waters. They need a player of Smith-Rowe’s ability to help with their resurgence. 
  • Smith-Rowe is eager to prove himself and show Arsenal that their investment in him is worthwhile, so playing in a team like Huddersfield will give a chance to shine
  • With 26 games already played in the Sky Bet Championship, there is still some football to go round as each club end their campaign with 46 games. This indicates that Smith-Rowe is on hand to feature in at least 20 games, should he remain fit.
  • With Smith-Rowe going to Huddersfield, the Gunners can assign scouts to watch him and monitor his progress on a consistent basis.

I wish Smith-Rowe the best and I hope this loan move will give him the platform he needs to jump start his fledgling career.

Sayonara

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EDDIE NKETIAH: WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR HIM?

Image result for nketiah goal leeds

Nketiah celebrating goal for Leeds United

Eddie Nketiah burst into the scene with that brace in the League Cup game against Norwich a couple of seasons ago. He scored goals for the Arsenal Reserves with such regularity and it was a case of sooner, than later for the fans to get a glimpse of his ability as a predator in front of goal.

He was odds on to make a loan move to German outfit, Augsburg, but Danny Welbeck’s unfortunate long term injury made the club reverse their decision to send him out on loan, so that he could serve as a back up forward. Fast forward to the final Premier League game of last season, where he came on as a sub and scored his first goal in the competition, much to the delight of the Arsenal faithful.

Eddie Nketiah put up a composed performance, albeit a cameo and the fans want him to get that much deserved loan spell so that his we could monitor his progress. At the end of that campaign, Bristol City, Augsburg and Charlton Athletic declared their intentions in making a loan offer for Nketiah, but the confident forward expressed his desire to remain in the club and fight for his place in the first team against the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette,

“My ideal scenario is to play here, I want to play here next season but we have to see how that goes. I am confident enough in my ability that I am good enough to play here so I have just got to work hard and show the manager that I can. My aim is to play for Arsenal, that is my goal and my aim since I was a kid.”

“It is great to have two of the best strikers in the world around you and learn from them every day. I’m just progressing, trying to catch them and make the gap smaller and smaller.”

There was some excitement and fanfare when Nketiah joined Leeds United, the team that missed out on promotion last season, and there was some additional buzz when he decided to wear #14 in honor of his footballing idol, Thierry Henry.

August was a month to remember for Eddie Nketiah, as he scored three goals in his first four games for the club despite playing a handful of minutes. Even with this rich vein of form, the Leeds manager, Marcelo Bielsa, still favored Patrick Bamford, but it did not matter to Eddie as he scored his fourth goal for the club in just six appearances.

These goals in August did not faze Bielsa, as Eddie Nketiah continued to feature as a fringe player with 76 minutes from a possible 270 in September 2019 and 130 minutes from a possible 360 in October 2019. He missed out on a lengthy injury layoff in November and he amassed 178 minutes from a possible 450 in December 2019. These numbers are not pleasant for a lad that deserves to play consistent football with the likes of Charlton or Bristol City, if they had him in their ranks.

After what I would regard as a torrid time with Leeds, Arsenal pulled the plug on his loan spell there and Mikel Arteta confirmed that he will have meetings with the Arsenal hierarchy on the next line of action for the striker. The forward took to Twitter to send his appreciation to the club, which showed some class.

So what is next for this young forward? I would say another loan move to a club that he will play consistent football because the potential is there, but these gems like Eddie Nketiah flourish under the right conditions.

Arsenal will not offer him that platform at the moment, so one would hope that Raul Sanllehi, Edu Gaspar and Ben Knapper would find the appropriate brooding ground for Nketiah.

During pre-season we witnessed a glimpse of his quality, and his loan spell, albeit disappointing, showed his capabilities even in an environment he did not get the right opportunity to thrive well.

I wish Eddie Nketiah the best in his future endeavors, and I am hopeful he would find a decent lower division outfit were he would feature on a regular basis and do what he does best – score goals.

Sayonara

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