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.
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The manager is going to make his first press conference this season as the Gunners as set to take on Singapore Select XI tomorrow and as you’d expect from the journos, the boss will be asked a lot of questions ranging from err…you know the drift.
When he was asked about Carl Jenkinson, the manager had this to say,
Jenkinson has been at the club since 2011 and has played a part-bit role as a right back. He replaced Emmanuel Eboue as Bacary Sagna’s understudy and got extended run-outs when the Frenchman suffered those long term leg injuries. With Sagna leaving for Manchester City, Jenkinson was hoping that the right back berth was his for keeps but Wenger signed an experienced replacement for Sagna in Matt Debuchy but like Sagna, Debuchy had been very unfortunate in his first season with the club, suffering two major injuries that saw him to lose his place to Calum Chambers, then Hector Bellerin.
With the Gunners having three competent right backs in the squad, one wondered what the future held for Jenkinson but the Gunners opted to loan Jenko out to West Ham and he gained a lot of experience, playing 32 of their 38 Premier League games.
According to the Daily Mail, Jenkinson has signed a new deal worth £45,000-per-week till June 2020. The article also reveals that Slaven Bilic has won the race to land Jenkinson this summer, beating Sunderland and Southampton in the race to take the defender on loan. It seems a bit strange to me though, bearing in mind that the Mirror published an article which revealed that the Gunners had reached an agreement with Sunderland over Jenkinson’s services.
With Debuchy aging and Bellerin hot on his heels, another loan move would be beneficial to Jenkinson because he’s clearly not in the manager’s plans for this season. Good luck to the lad in West Ham, or Sunderland, or wherever he’s going on loan. Bleeeh!
Elsewhere, West Brom are gearing up to make a loan bid for Arsenal speedster, Serge Gnabry (via the Mirror). Gnabry burst into the scene in the 2013/14 season and was influential in the 2-1 win over Swansea, a game he managed to get his first professional goal. The young German suffered a nasty knee injury last season and it sidelined him for the entire campaign but he managed to make his comeback against Newcastle Under-21s.
Gnabry’s progress has somewhat stifled and he’s not close to breaking into the first team anytime soon, so a loan move to West Brom would be beneficial to the player. It’s going to be interesting to see how things work out but I’m in full support of the youngster playing for West Brom.
Yaya Sanogo is another player that needs to prove himself elsewhere if he wants to make the grade at Arsenal. After playing six games for the Gunners last season, scoring his maiden goal for the club against Dortmund, he was loaned to Crystal Palace and he didn’t light any fireworks at Selhurst Park, scoring one goal in 11 games for the Eagles.
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Lille was interested in securing a loan move for the Frenchman but nothing materialized. The Independent has reported that Sanogo is close to securing a loan move to Ajax Amsterdam. I believe he could thrive in the EreDivisie but in all honesty, I’m not convinced about Sanogo’s ability. Yes, he has been good at Under-21 level for France and he scored a couple at lowly Auxerre in the French second tier but he shouldn’t be challenging for a first-term berth in an ambitious club like Arsenal.
We can only monitor his situation closely and we would see how things progress.
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It’s fair to say that Yaya Sanogo’s Arsenal career hasn’t started on the right track.
Yes, he scored four goals against Benfica in the Emirates Cup last season and he danced like a crazy bloke after most of the goals but when the campaign began, Sanogo was found wanting. Even though he wasn’t a regular starter, Arsene Wenger brought him on when the Gunners needed to salvage a point and get an extra presence in attack in games. When he made a start ahead of Lukas Podolski when the Gunners hosted Borussia Dortmund in the Group Stages of last season’s competition. There were some murmurs and discontent with the Frenchman starting the game but it took him 72 seconds to open his goalscoring account for the club.
With his chances of featuring further diminished when Olivier Giroud returned to full fitness, Sanogo was shipped out on loan to Crystal Palace when Alan Pardew took over and in 11 appearances for the Eagles, he managed to score only one goal in the 3-2 FA Cup victory over Southampton. Towards the end of the campaign, Pardew favored Dwight Gayle and Glenn Murray ahead of Sanogo and when the season ended, Sanogo was stuffed into a bag and returned back to the Emirates Stadium.
With Arsenal fans harboring hopes of a new forward from the transfer market, coupled with the fact that the likes of Giroud, Danny Welbeck and even Theo Walcott are capable of leading the line, Sanogo’s chances of playing regular football in the upcoming season are slim to none. French sports site, Le 10 Sport, reports that LOSC Lille Metropole are interested in securing Sanogo’s services on loan.
Lille endured a torrid campaign last season and was a far cry from the side that dominated the French Ligue 1 when they had the likes of Eden Hazard, Gervinho and Moussa Sow with Rudi Garcia on the dugout. With Rene Girard at the helm of affairs last season, Lille finished in eighth place in Ligue 1, and will not be competing in Europe next season. They were eliminated from the Coupe de France in the Round of 64 by SC Bastia and they lost out on Champions League qualification when they were beaten by FC Porto in the playoffs.
Their performances in the Europa League last season were downright shocking, as they finished in the bottom of a group that contained Krasnodar, Everton and Lord Bendtner’s Wolfsburg. The club had a great run in the Coupe de la Ligue and went all the way to the semifinals but they lost out narrowly to eventual winners, PSG.
Sanogo would be a good fit for Lille next season because the club struggled to score goals last season, even though it would be interesting to see if the Frenchman can contribute to the team’s cause though. The club’s joint top scorers last season were Divock Origi and Nolan Roux that manged nine goals apiece and with Origi returning to his parent club, Liverpool, a replacement is needed.
Sanogo has his best years ahead of him and a loan move to a club like Lille will expose him to more competitive football – something he’s in glaring need of.
It’s a move that’s good for the player and the club.
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