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New Deal for the Ox, Gibbs Set for Newcastle and Yaya Sanogone!

Image result for marriner ox gibbs

I’d mentioned a couple of days ago that with Wenger’s future sorted out, there is a lot fo work to be done on the squad in regards to sorting out player contracts and buying / selling some players as well. The boss also confirmed that he has a ‘heavy squad’ which essentially means that there would be a lot of business to and from the club.

Starting with the good stuff, it seems like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is going to commit his long-term future to the club and sign a new deal worth  £100,000-a-week (per the Mirror). Since he joined the club in 2011, last season has turned out to be Ox’s best season in terms of games played, goas scored and assists supplied. He has been around for quite some time but at 23, he has his best years ahead of him. Liverpool was one of the teams that was keenly interested in acquiring his services and it would have been painful to let the English midfielder leave when he’s finally finding his feet.

The Ox has been deployed in several positions in his time with the club but he has really flourished in the right wing back position since the Gunners switched to 3-4-3. His directness and pace became a powerful tool that saw him keep Hector Bellerin out of the side, but his fitness issues were on display as he suffered a hamstring strain in the game against Southampton where he was having a stormer. I’d monitor the situation as it develops.

Elsewhere, the Sun has reported that Newcastle is willing to meet Arsenal’s £15m valuation for out-of-favor fullback, Kieran Gibbs. Like recent campaigns, Gibbs was reduced to a handful of appearances and managed a brief run out as a left wing back when Wenger deployed the 3-4-3 setup. However, Gibbs continued to struggle with injury, which was his primary problem in all his years at Arsenal. As far as I’m concerned, £15m is an absolute steal for Gibbs and with Sead Kolasinac’s imminent arrival this summer, Gibbs will be further down in the pecking order, so it makes sense for the player and the club if he leaves for Tyneside.

He is one of our stalwarts and longest servants and I believe he deserves a testimonial for his years of service, but in most cases, testimonials are for old folks nearing their twilight in the beautiful game. Gibbs has many more years to go. Besides, Newcastle is a Premier League side, so he will still be playing competitive football in one of the best leagues in the world.

Finally, Metro has confirmed that Yaya Sanogo is leaving the club this summer,

‘I’m free. The adventure ends.

‘My left calf is healed. It kept me off the pitch for nearly seven months. I came back in January, with a fitness trainer. I was able to play again for the Arsenal reserves.

Arsenal bought Sanogo after a successful youth tournament that saw him score a couple of goals for France U-20s but he failed to reach that potential expected of him. There are a couple of loan spells to Crystal Palace, Ajax and Charlton but Sanogo struggled to make any impact in those clubs.

Sayonara

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Arsenal Reject Loan Offer for Kieran Gibbs

Last season was one to forget for Arsenal’s #3, Kieran Gibbs. After understudying Gael Clichy for many years, Gibbs got his breakthrough when the French defender departed to Manchester City but due to his fitness problems and Armand Traore certainly not good enough for the club, Arsene Wenger signed Andre Santos in that last minute transfer trolley dash in 2011. Things didn’t pan out so well for the Brazilian attacking fullback, making the Gunners take a punt at Malaga’s Nacho Monreal.

Monreal has grown from strength to strength at the club, at the expense of the English fullback, and Gibbs was reduced to just 15 Premier League appearances last season, with just a handful as substitute appearances. Unlike Matt Debuchy that was clearly vocal about his lack of regular game time at the club, Gibbs took a silent approach and did his thing when his services were required on the pitch.

Early in the summer, the Express published a piece of Liverpool gearing up to make a bid for Gibbs but it never materialized. Gibbs’ reps didn’t confirm or deny the news and the defender traveled with the squad for the tour of USA and featured in a couple of games.

According to the Evening Standard, Arsenal has rejected a loan move for Gibbs from West Ham. The Hammers are desperate to sign a new left back after it was confirmed that Cresswell was going to be out for close to five months with a knee injury. The piece also states that the Hammers are considering moves for Norwich’s Martin Olsson, Hull’s Andrew Robertson and FC Copenhagen’s Ludwig Augustinsson.

Gibbs has spent a decade in the club and at 26, he’s at the point in his career where he would preferred to play regular football. It’s evident that he missed out on a place in England’s Euro 2016 squad because he didn’t play enough games for his club and when you think of the fact that the two players ahead of Gibbs in the yesteryear, Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw, didn’t feature, it must have hurt the fullback.

With the Gunners rejecting the move from West Ham, Gibbs is going to be here for the time being. I’m sure he’s focused on having a good preseason with the club and he would fight to return to the starting XI, unlike a certain Debuchy that is edging closer to the exit door.

Sayonara

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What Should We Expect from Arsenal’s English Players this Season?

Will they finally break into the first team setup?

February 14, 2005.

Arsenal is set to play Crystal Palace in Highbury and the squad comes out of the tunnel led by the iconic and talismanic captain, Patrick Vieira. Behind Vieira, I see the mad Jens Lehmann. In no particular order, the lineup had Gael Clichy, Pascal Cygan, Lauren Etame-Mayer, Kolo Toure, Edu, Robert Pires, Jose Antonio Reyes, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry. Back then, you could have only five players on the bench and the dugout comprised of Manuel Almunia, Philippe Senderos, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Robin van Persie.

Goals from Bergkamp (32′), Reyes (35′), Henry (39′), Vieira (54′) and Henry (77′) helped the Gunners to a resounding 5-1 victory but the game will be forever remember as the match Arsene Wenger selected an entire squad full of foreigners and pundits wondered if the Gunners were going to produce any English talent for the forthcoming World Cup in Germany. Sven-Goran Eriksson went on to invite three Gunners in Ashley Cole, Sol Campbell and a young Theo Walcott.

Fast forward to July 2015 and Arsene Wenger has a squad filled up with foreign talent as well as some great English players. Arsenal currently has seven “first-team” English players in Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers, Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson.

Are any of these players the first name you’d see in the first team if Arsene Wenger chooses a squad when everybody is fit? I don’t think so.

It didn’t use to be like this in the past you know? Kieran Gibbs was the heir to Clichy’s throne after he departed to Manchester City but a combination of poor form and his niggling fitness issues paved the way for Nacho Monreal and the Spaniard never looked back. Jack Wilshere’s performances in the 2010/11 campaign were so awesome to the extent he even won the PFA Young Player of the Year award but he couldn’t build on it because he has had a career that has been blighted so badly by injuries. Theo Walcott was Wenger’s first choice on the right wing and he scored a lot of goals for the team but after suffering that ACL injury, he found it difficult to break into the team. The Ox had an extensive run-out this season but injuries halted his progress, Chambers had a great start to the season but poor form saw him lose his place to Hector Bellerin, Welbeck provided a stop-gap option in the wake of Giroud’s injury but he wasn’t a long-term solution and Jenkinson, well, was shipped out on loan because of the new acquisitions.

All the English contingent have their own stories but as it stands, the only way they could feature in the team is when the manager decides to rotate and staunch Arsenal fans know that Wenger doesn’t rotate that much. He’s certainly no rotation god like Rafa Benitez.

So what should we expect from Arsenal’s English contingent this season?

Gibbs should do better this season in challenging Monreal for the left back berth and I really hope he manages to stay fit. Injuries have been a bane to the fullback in his Arsenal career and he still needs to work on his positioning, something Monreal is very excellent at doing. He also needs to work on his output in the final third, because he really struggled to put in quality crosses or key passes when he was clean through on goal.

I consider this campaign a ‘make or break’ one for Jack Wilshere. There’s so much potential for everyone to see but what’s the point of having an asset when it’s more like a liability. Wilshere’s needs to work on giving out the ball in the right time because he has been on the end on some pretty nasty impact challenges due to mistimed tackles from defenders trying to win the ball back. I expect him to feature in the box-to-box role and he has to do his very best when he gets a chance because Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are ahead of him in the pecking order.

Theo Walcott has to sign a new contract with the club to show his commitment because I don’t think Arsenal needs to go through the drama they did when the club tried to tie him down to a long term contract. On the pitch, he scored four goals in two games he featured as a center forward and he offers Arsenal a different dynamism in attack. It’s going to be interesting to see how Wenger manages the Walcott and Giroud conundrum but if the manager has plans for Theo, I don’t expect to see any addition in this position.

As for the Ox, he needs to improve on his ‘numbers’. I love his directness and ability to take on defenders but the issue I have with the Ox is that he doesn’t rake in the goals and assists on a consistent basis. He’s a player with a lot of potential and he has had his injury worries in the past as well, but he has to do his bit to stay fit and give his manager something to think about.

Calum Chambers had a blistering start to his Arsenal career but he’s way down the pecking order in the right back and center back departments. I expect to see more of the lad in the domestic cup competitions and I hope he latches onto the opportunities he’d get because I don’t expect them to be much.

Welbeck is one lad I have high hopes for but in all honesty he didn’t really prove to me that he has what he takes to lead the line for a club like Arsenal. He needs to improve on his finishing and composure in front of goal. He has age on his side so there’s enough room for improvement opportunities.

Finally, Jenkinson will have to keep doing his thing while he’s out on loan.

I have very high hopes for Arsenal’s English players this season. Let’s just hope they can get the job done.

Sayonara.

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