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Latest Transfer Gossip: Mesut Ozil to Manchester United?

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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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Thoughts on Szczesny’s Potential Move to Juventus

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After seven seasons and 153 games for Arsenal, which included a Golden Glove, Wojciech Szczesny fell out of favor following the arrival of legendary goalie, Petr Cech, from Chelsea and he was farmed out to AS Roma to continue his footballing education. After amassing 81 games in two full seasons with the Italian giants, which also included a Serie A Golden Glove, Szczesny time in Rome was up and he was one of those players that needed to get his future sorted out with the club this summer.

The Polish shot stopper has just one year on his contract, and that’s the point where players have better bargaining power on their futures when it comes to transfers and contract negotiations. With Cech, David Ospina and Emiliano Martinez still in Arsenal’s ranks, it was evident that Arsene Wenger would be the person to make the final decision in that department, as the Gunners are fully stocked.

Sky Sports has reported that Juventus has reached a deal with Arsenal to sign Szczesny for about £14m. Apparently, the initial fee is £12.2m but there are some add-ons to the deal that makes it £14m in total. Juventus have also agreed personal terms with the player, which is believed to be about £3.5m a year. With the iconic goalie, Gianluigi Buffon, 39, having one more year left on his deal before he retires, Szczesny will be his understudy for one season before he hangs his boots in 2018.

I feel it’s definitely a good deal for the player and the club but it’s really sad to see how Szczesny fell from grace at Arsenal. This was a keeper that successfully saw out the threats of Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski but his shortcomings became glaring, probably due to cockiness and he lost his place in the team to David Ospina. The signing of Petr Cech was a rather opportunistic one, as the Czech goalie didn’t want to play second fiddle to the emerging Thibaut Courtois, and it was evident that he was going to be Arsenal’s first choice goalie when he arrived.

Many thought that Ospina was going to be shipped out to accommodate Cech and Szczesny but football is a surprising sport, and a goalie with so much potential and who was also loved by the fans was shipped away with minimal fuss by the club. I watched him closely in the Serie A and I must say he really impressed with Roma, raking in those clean sheets and putting up great performances, that has certainly caught the eyes of Max Allegri and Juventus, to the point they have made things official.

I really liked Szczesny and thought he would be our #1 for many years to come, but the reality of the situation is that he’s moving on to a really good side and I can only wish him the very best in his future endeavors. With Juventus, Szczesny will add more trophies to his current cabinet that has two FA Cups (2013/14, 2104/15) and one Community Shield (2014).

Sayonara.

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Thoughts on Arsenal’s Transfer Target, Kylian Mbappe

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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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