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Players with Expiring Contracts: Sell, Renew or Release?

Players - Arsenal

Both players contracts expire in 2021

Players within the current Arsenal setup will reach that point when the manager, Mikel Arteta, will make the decision on whether to renew their current deals, release them on a free transfer or sell them without batting an eyelid.

Arsenal, like every well run business oriented football club, handed contracts to certain individuals with the aim of enhancing their chances of winning trophies but as we all know, it does not work out every time for some of these lads. Gooner Daily takes a look at those players with deals expiring in 18 months’ time and provide some thoughts on whether the club’s stance should be to renew their contracts, release them or sell them to new employers.

Dani Ceballos: 17 apps, one goal (2020)

Losing a player like Aaron Ramsey was a bitter pill to swallow for every Arsenal fan, especially with the fact that he does not feature on a consistent basis for Juventus. Raul Sanllehi pushed some strings and Arsenal signed Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, which came with some good buzz and fanfare.

We witnessed him dazzle crowds for his nation, Spain, in the Under-21 European Championships, and he even took the number vacated by Ramsey, so we expected much from him. Bar the Burnley game early in the season where he shone like a bright star, Ceballos struggled for fitness making him a liability to the club, than an asset.

Ceballos

Ceballos celebrating his only goal for the Gunners

We still have five months left in the campaign and the fans expect him to contribute to the cause but he has been an underwhelming signing thus far.

Verdict: Release 

Sokratis Papastathopoulos: 61 apps, five goals (2021)

At 31, Sokratis enjoyed a career where he featured in Greece (Apollon Petalidiou, GS Niki Volou and AEK Athens) before he moved to Italy to play for Genoa and AC Milan. The Italian adventure ended a decade ago, as he went to seek green pastures in SV Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund before Arsenal came calling last season.

Since his arrival at the club, he has had his good moments and loads of shaky ones as well, but Arsenal fans can not beat their chest in confidence to say that they have an awesome defender in him. With the exciting William Saliba returning to the club after his loan spell at St. Etienne expires this summer, folks know that Sokratis would live on borrowed time, till the inevitable happens at the end of the 2020/21 season.

Did I tell you that I loved his run out as a right back in the FA Cup clash against Leeds?

Verdict: Release

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 59 apps, nine goals (2021)

Where to start? Oh yes! The worst swap deal in football history, to Arsenal and Manchester United fans at least. We believed that the talent and ability was there for all to see. This was the same lad that scored 41 goals and created 38 assists in three seasons at Borussia Dortmund.

Players Arsenal Mkhitaryan

We thought they would forge a good partnership

What we got instead was an inconsistent and underwhelming player that sat on his fat pay check and did not contribute as expected. Heck, Arsenal even sold Alex Iwobi to Everton and preferred to give Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe run outs in the team, while shipping Mkhitaryan off to AS Roma on transfer deadline day.

I have thrown more light on the Mkhitaryan issue in a an article I published at Gunners Town.

Verdict: Sell (but not for that paltry €10m Roma offered us)

Shkodran Mustafi: 125 apps, five goals (2021)

No need to waste any comments here!

Verdict: Sell with a thanks for buying hamper for good measure 

David Luiz: 22 apps, one goal (2021)

Arsenal did not resume this season with any plans of buying a player from Chelsea, especially David Luiz, that had lost his starting berth in the team to the younger and more exuberant defenders like Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori. The club’s captain, Laurent Koscielny, for reasons best known to Lord Voldemort, Darth Vader and Chuck Norris, bailed out of the club he served for nine years, leaving us in the lurch.

With Rob Holding injured, we had just Calum Chambers, Mustafi and Sokratis as the only available defenders for the campaign and those numbers were short by all standards. In what I, and many fans would regard as a surprise, Arsenal snapped up David Luiz from Chelsea.

We are already aware of his limitations as a player, and we commend him for the decent shift he has put this season but we are certain he would not be a Gunner beyond next season.

Verdict: Release

Mesut Ozil: 246 apps, 43 goals (2021)

Mesut Ozil continues to remain a divisive figure at the club but in recent times, his fortunes changed, especially with Mikel Arteta making him the hub of the team. I know that since he signed that whooping £350,000 per week deal in January 2018, the jury was out for him to perform wonders in the team but it ended in disappointment.

However, I see a different beast in Ozil and we are odds on to see him come back to his best under the tutelage of the new inspiring gaffer.

Verdict: Renew

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 90 apps, 56 goals (2021)

“I would also like to react to some of the rumors going around about me in the media.”

“People like making up stories and they should focus on what’s happening on the pitch. They talk too much and it does my head in!

“I am the Arsenal captain, I love this club, I am committed to it and desperate to bring it back to the top, where it belongs.”

Quotes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the year of our Lord, 2020.

Verdict: Renew

Sayonara.

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Arsenal’s Best Ever Premier League Midfielders

Arsenal has had some special midfield players in the Premier League and we look at the cream of the crop.

Arsenal supporters might not be too delighted with the team’s performances or results at the moment, although the Gunners are still among the best teams in England and they won their 13th FA Cup in May 2017 to become the most successful club in that competition.

In this article, we look at some of the best midfield players to don the red and white during the Premier League era, with the supporters being royally treated to a high caliber in this position over the years.

  1. Mesut Ozil

We start with a modern day player and Ozil has largely shone for Arsenal since arriving in 2013 from Real Madrid, with the German helping the Gunners win three FA Cups, while he was also the Premier League’s top assist provider during the 2015-16 campaign. That was an exemplary campaign for the German maestro as he provided assist after assist with each passing game, while playing some mesmerizing football.

The 29-year-old generally operates as an advanced playmaker who is comfortable playing on either flank or in a central position, with his trickery making him one of the most skillful players to ever wear an Arsenal shirt.

  1. Paul Merson

Younger football fans might only be familiar with Merson through his work with Sky Sports, although this was a player who made a grand total of 327 appearances for the Gunners and he managed to score 78 times between 1985-1997. Merson could play in a variety of roles across the midfield area, with the Londoner originally playing in a right-wing position although George Graham started to play him in a more advanced and central position as his career continued.

  1. Cesc Fabregas

While it rankles with Arsenal supporters to see the Spaniard now operating for Chelsea, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Fabregas was a real breakthrough star with the Gunners, making his debut at the tender age of seventeen (sparking the chant “he’s only seventeen, he’s better than Roy Keane”). The departure of Patrick Vieira saw Fabregas given the number four shirt and he quickly became the team’s midfield general. The lad had everything in his locker and controlled countless games as a box-to-box midfielder.

Image result for cesc fabregas arsenal

Fabregas became Arsenal captain during the 2008 / 09 season and should really have won more silverware with the club than a solitary FA Cup in 2005.

  1. Robert Pires

Pires spent six happy seasons at Arsenal and was part of the Invincibles team that went unbeaten in the Premier League during the 2003 / 04 campaign. The Frenchman was a fast attacking player who was especially noted for his link-up play with Thierry Henry, often forming a telepathic understanding.

Between 2002 to 2004, Pires was included in the PFA Team of the Year, with the midfielder having the knack of scoring spectacular goals as well as brilliant technical skill to beat opponents.

  1. Patrick Vieira

Vieira can lay claim to being the best ever Premier League player of all time. Between 1996-2005, he made 279 appearances for the Gunners and was the driving force behind them winning multiple trophies during this time.

Like Pires, the Frenchman was instrumental in Arsenal going unbeaten during 2003-4, with the team captain proving to be combative in midfield where he was able to win the ball back and distribute accordingly to more skilful team-mates.

Vieira had a long loping gait and one of the Premier League’s most iconic images is the player roving forward with the ball at his feet after dispossessing the opposing team.

 

We’d like to offer a big shout out to the football tipsters at Sportsgambler.com for contributing this article.

Sayonara.

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Latest Transfer Gossip: Mesut Ozil to Manchester United?

Image result for ozil manchester united

This has been quite an interesting campaign for Mesut Ozil. Like Alexis Sanchez, he has refused to sign a new contract with the club, even though the manager, Arsene Wenger, remains hopeful that he would remain at the club. The German maestro has really struggled with fitness and form this season, and was on the end of some vitriol and abuse last weekend following his glaring miss against Watford, which sadly led to an equalizer on the other end of the field.

When Ozil signed a five-year deal in 2013, many were hopeful that he would remain in the club for years to come as Arsene Wenger did his bit to build the team around him. Prior to his arrival, the Spanish diminutive magician, Santi Cazorla, played the #10 position in the 2012/13 season, scoring 12 goals and providing 12 assists to his teammates, including that four-assist masterclass against Wigan Athletic. With Mikel Arteta taking the holding role following Alex Song’s departure and the emergence of Aaron Ramsey in the box-to-box role, Cazorla was shoved to the wings to accommodate Ozil and his football somewhat waned. It was when Arteta left and he moved to central midfield alongside Francis Coquelin that we saw the best of Cazorla, but Ozil remained in his #10 position.

Arsene Wenger’s switch to 3-4-2-1 has seen Ozil play behind the main striker with Alexis Sanchez but he drifts to the right wing and hasn’t been at his best. He has actually been in and out of the team and for some reason, the manager hasn’t been playing him, claiming he’s ‘injured’, but I was surprised to see Ozil playing some qualifiers for Germany when he was meant to be in a treatment table at London Colney.

The latest transfer gossip dominating the back pages is the report from the Mirror stating that Ozil has informed his teammates in training that he’s planning to join Manchester United. You know you don’t have to necessarily believe any thing you see with these media vultures, but what if it’s actually true? I remember when news surfaced that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain told the manager to his face that he wanted to leave. Many thought it was just some rumor and when we saw the Ox in the early season games we thought everything was all well and good. Then he rejected a massive 180,000 quid-per-week contract and the rumors of his departure took center stage and we know how that has panned out.

Wenger would have to handle this situation with wisdom and it can cause friction in the team. If Ozil’s mind is made up and he really wants to leave, it will certainly affect his performances on the pitch. We have Jack Wilshere itching to make up for lost time and maybe it’s time to give him the football he wants, provided he remains fit. Alex Iwobi is another player on the fringes that’s trying to stake a claim for a permanent shirt and with Ozil’s situation hovering around, he can do his own bit to impress his manager.

Sayonara.

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