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Thoughts on Arsenal’s Transfer Target, Kylian Mbappe

Image result for mbappe goal dortmund

With Arsene Wenger’s future sorted out, it’s only logical to change focus to two important things – securing the futures of other key players in the squad, like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and delving into the transfer market to sign quality players that would improve the team.

Arsenal’s rivals like Manchester City have shifted to second gear, already securing the futures of Monaco’s midfield sensation, Bernardo Silva, as well as a new shiny goalie from SL Benfica, Ederson Moraes. It’s gonna be a long summer for the club and there would be loads of transfer speculation surrounding Arsene Wenger’s side.

The Sun has reported that Arsenal has made a mind-boggling £87m bid for Europe’s hottest prospect, Kylian Mbappe. It’s kinda interesting to see how this pans out bearing in mind that Monaco has rejected offers from Real Madrid (via the Sun) and Manchester City (via Metro). Mbappe had a wonderful breakthrough season, with 26 goals that led his team to their first Ligue 1 triumph in 17 years, as well as a Champions League semifinal berth that saw him score a hatful goals in the knockout stage.

For a player that is just 18 years of age, it has been massive campaign for him and he has to ensure he keeps his head on his shoulders because he has the world at his feet literally. Credit should go to the Monaco gaffer for believing in the lad and thrusting him into the deep and the lad managed the pressure of expectancy well.

It’s only expected that he would cost a massive fortune and his exploits on the pitch has shown that he’s the real deal. Moneybags like Real Madrid and Manchester City have already declared interest and gone as far as making bids that were reportedly rejected by Monaco. So what makes Arsenal’s case any different? Did the club even make a bid in the first place? Remember that the club’s record transfer signing is Mesut Ozil and this supposed bid for Mbappe almost doubles it.

It’s evident that the Gunners need a new center forward to lead them to glory in the forthcoming 2017/18 and with no disrespect to Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck, I don’t have full confidence in their abilities to stand up and be counted when it really matters. Yes, they have contributed to the team’s cause as expected of them, but they will always be squad players at best, and Wenger knows that he needs to get squad maintaining a ‘sustained league title challenge’ and probably win the Europa League.

Mbappe is just 18 and has a great potential but the onus will be on him to prove that he wasn’t a ‘one-season wonder’, because consistency is key to excel in the top flight. The Thierry Henry comparisons are already up in the sky, but I’d hope he maintains focus and make a decision on his future.

I will keep monitoring this story as it develops but I will take it with a pinch of salt for now.

Sayonara.

 

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Arsenal Wins the Battle but Loses the War. Typical!

Santi Cazorla watches on as Arsenal were eliminated from the Champions League in Monaco on Tuesday

Monaco 0 – Arsenal 2 (Giroud 35′, Ramsey 79′)

Match Highlights Post-Match Press Conference

It’s times like this you wake up in the morning and ask yourself, ‘how the hell do you score two away goals and fail to qualify for the next round of a competition. Reality check – it’s because of a shitty first leg. The record books say that Arsenal has exited the Champions League in the Round of 16 for five consecutive seasons. Do all the departures have something in common? Yes, a pathetic feeling of what might have been. Following Arsenal’s disappointing semifinal exit to Manchester United in the 2008/09 season, the Gunners locked horns with Barcelona in the next campaign and were destroyed by Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp. Messi was the scourge of Arsenal in the following season then there was the case of AC Milan, and of course, Bayern Munich.

Losing to Monaco is very hard to take bearing in mind that they were ‘easier’ opponents than the likes of Barcelona and Bayern. This sentiment has also been shared by Aaron Ramsey,

“We’ve always played teams like Bayern Munich and Barcelona. “No disrespect to Monaco, but I thought we’d have a really good chance of qualifying. We were given a tough test from the first game. It’s not an easy place to come and their record has shown that. We’ve been full of confidence recently and we knew we could come here and give it a real go to maybe qualify, but we came a bit short in the end.

“We’re obviously disappointed that we didn’t qualify. We won 2-0 and gave them a good go. On another night we may have got three or four but it wasn’t to be. We have to learn to keep ourselves in the game in the first leg. That’s what we’ve been punished for again this year. We need to be a lot more wise in the first game then go to places like this and win. That’s the main thing that we need to put right as quickly as possible.”

More talk of how we need to learn. Same sh*t I’ve heard over and over again. Over the course of the two legs, Monaco didn’t really offer much of a threat. Arsenal had this, and Arsenal bottled it. So typical.

The game itself offered its frustrations mixed up with hope that the Gunners could actually do it. The first chance arrived when Hector Bellerin swung in a cross that was headed wide by Olivier Giroud. Many wondered if the spirits of the first leg were back again. The Frenchman has been in hot form in the league but sadly he couldn’t replicate that in the first leg as he was culpable for missing six chances in the first. Laurent Koscielny reacted quickly to a loose ball and was wrongly ruled offside as the replays showed that the ball came off Aymen Abdennour but his effort rattled the cross bar.

Arsenal broke the deadlock through some sheer determination from Giroud. After firing a shot that was blocked by Subasic, the Frenchman attacked the ball again and smashed the roof of the net with two defenders waiting on the line.

Giroud scored in the first half at the Stade Louis II to give Arsenal hope of pulling off a comeback in their last-16 tie

Danny Welbeck had a glorious chance to make it two but his lashed volley was blocked magnificently by Abdennour. Giroud was lurking for the follow up but the ball crept out for a corner. Welbeck then fired a dangerous cross that deflected off Giroud but the goalie was on hand to make an easy save. In the second, Arsenal continued to pile the pressure and Mesut Ozil had a free kick that was tipped over by Subasic. Ramsey and Theo Walcott came on to add some fire power but Monaco was very compact and managed to quell any threat Arsenal posed.

Aaron Ramsey scores against Monaco

Their feathers were ruffled when Ramsey fired in late on but it was a case of holding out the Gunners as the home side employed some time wasting tactics, just like what Bayern did in the 2012/13 season. The final chance of the game arrived when a dead ball was swung in by Santi Cazorla with Alexis Sanchez and Giroud getting in each other’s way but the goal-bound effort was saved by Subasic.

In the end, it was a case of what could have been. What if’s became the order of the day as the fans kept on asking themselves questions that couldn’t be answered. Why didn’t we top our group? Why did we allow ourselves to be in such an untenable position? How can a win feel so painful as the trend has always been for Arsenal in the Champions League.

Despite this disappointment, there’s still a lot to play for this season. The Gunners have a FA Cup to defend and the battle for qualification for the Champions League has intensified with Manchester City dropping more points.

Arsenal won the battle last night, but they lost the war against Monaco.

Sayonara.

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Mission Improbable: Monaco Edition

Agent Arsenal,

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go behind enemy lines in the Principality of Monaco for the battle that would shape your Champions League destiny for this season at least. I know that you’ve been on fire in the Premier League and at the frantic you’re winning your League games, qualification for the competition will be assured for the umpteenth time (something some folks don’t appreciate) but tonight you have a date with destiny.

When the villains from Monaco came to your turf, they detonated three missiles in our base and sadly, our last line of defense, David Ospina, was helpless even though many feel that he could have done better to stop the surface-to-goal torpedo launched by Ferreira-Carrasco. Tonight, all that doesn’t matter. I hear that George Graham has nothing on this lot – seven goals conceded in 22 games is no mean feat but on the night, we can put up a show that’s up there with the very best. They weren’t all that when they came to our turf as our profligacy came to bite us up the arse but I’m sure that there was a lessons learned session of a learning session that had something to do with the players learning…okay, it’s getting too much.

So our soldiers have been on the news recently, with Mesut Ozil stating that the team would fight from the first whistle. Per Mertesacker says we can beat anyone and will you blame him? Fuck yeah! We’ve bossed the city of Manchester twice already this season, a place we never had any measure of joy.  The confidence is there for everyone to see and the recent performances have been scintillating to say the least. David Ospina loves his clean sheets, Francis Coquelin is beasting in holding midfield, Aaron Ramsey seems to have gotten his mojo back and Olivier Giroud, my word, is red eff’n hot!

To fight a battle of this intensity, you need your troops to be fit and ready for battle and we have some good news regarding Gabriel Paulista. According to the boss, he’s fit for duty but the same can’t be said about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) and Tomas Rosicky (sickness) who would join the usual suspects, Serge Gnabry (lack of match fitness), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Jack Wilshere (ankle), and Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder). You must have noticed that I dodn’t add Abou Diaby to the aforementioned list. Saying that he’s injured isn’t news.

Looking at the form of both sides, they have piled up them W’s with style…

Monaco

  • Last Five Games: W D L W W
  • Last Result: Monaco 3 Bastia 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Dimitar Berbatov (8)

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W L W W W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 3 West Ham 0
  • Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (19)

Predicted Lineups

Monaco (4-3-3): Subasic; Abdennour, Kurzawa, Toure, Fabinho; Toulalan, Joao Moutinho, Kondogbia; Berbatov, Bernardo Silva, Martial

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

This mission seems improbable but we, the 12th man, will be behind you all the way. We have had some great European nights in the past and I’m sure we are in for the night of our lives.

This message will self-destruct in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

Sayonara.

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