‘They pay top dollar those Arsenal fans. When you’re paying that kind of money you have to be watching world class footballers at the club. You can’t just have two – you should have five and six in my opinion.’
I just had to check to see that I had not misheard the words of Arsene Wenger as gave the pre-match press conference ahead of the Arsenal away trip to face the Premier League’s second bottom placed club Swansea City. You can listen to the whole thing on the Arsenal website and he talks about many issues including the injury situation, but it was the comments about the possible striker transfer targets for Arsenal that made me scratch my head.
With the football press this week being full of Arsenal transfer rumours about our Chile international star Alexis Sanchez, linking the striker with a shock move to our Premier League rivals, Arsene Wenger was quick to declare that Sanchez would not be sold by Arsenal, even if it meant him running down his current contract and walking away from the Gunners for nothing at the end of next season.
Antonio Conte, the manager of the EPL club being linked with the transfer of our forward was always going to be asked about the rumours as well, and although he did not fan the flames by talking about Alexis, he did nothing to dampen the rumours.
The Arsenal and France international centre forward Olivier Giroud is already struggling to get a start this season, at club level anyway as he seems to still be in favour with his national coach Didier Deschamps. The problem Giroud has in north London, though, is that the current first choice centre forward Alexis Sanchez is playing so well that Arsene Wenger really has no option but to keep starting him.
Giroud has done brilliantly in recent weeks coming off the bench but even his place there could soon be in danger if the recent Arsenal transfer rumours are right. Already this week the Gunners have been linked with moves for two different strikers in the January transfer window.
There are bound to be hundreds of Arsenal transfer rumours for us Gooners to wade through before the closing of the upcoming transfer window at the end of January, with all sorts of players in all sorts of positions linked with a move to north London.
Some will be more believable than others but as we do not really know what Arsene Wenger is thinking but we are used to the Frenchman letting very little slip before any transfer deal is in the bag, we can only go with an educated guess.
Arsene Wenger is in the final year of his current contract with Arsenal, and many of us would like to see the back of him before the start of the 2017-18 season. Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone has been touted as a potential replacement for the Frenchman and may be just who Arsenal need if they are to undergo a renaissance.
Recent reports suggest that Inter Milan are ready to spend huge sums on bringing their former player back to the San Siro, though. And if Arsenal doesn’t want to miss out on one of the hottest managers in the world they should act fast.
There continues to be plenty of ongoing speculation about potential candidates to replace Arsene Wenger when Le Prof’s time at the club comes to an end. As a result, with Gunners legend Robert Pires stating he wants to work at Arsenal, it may mean some jump to conclusions. However the Frenchman is possibly in line for a director’s role at the club, rather than to take over at the helm of first team duties.
I am not saying that the people behind the secnes at the club and the Arsenal board are wrong to be making plans to replace our long serving manager Arsene Wenger. It would be daft if they did not put some thought into it, even if they are expecting the Frenchman to stay after his current contract runs out at the end of the year.
The timing, however, of the revelation by Ivan Gazidis on an Arsenal supporter’s forum reported by the Daily Express could hardly have been worse, as this week and specifically today the 22nd of September, marks the 20th anniversary of the prof starting his career as the manager of our great football club.
Arsenal were reportedly interested in more strikers than you can count if you were to believe every rumour told by the media this summer. From Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain, to Romelu Lukaku and Jamie Vardy, none of Arsenal’s big striking targets ever became a reality.
Whilst Jamie Vardy did openly have the chance to join the Gunners, it was understood that perhaps he was the only striker that Arsenal got into negotiations with (bar Lucas Perez of course.) The rest of the players that were rumoured, including Morata and Lacazette, may have never gotten the opportunity to speak to Arsenal, but one player who did was Mauro Icardi.
Arsenal have been on the receiving end of this sort of thing from the current Spanish La Liga champions before, most notably when the Barca players led an orchestrated and determined campaign to let our then captain Cesc Fabregas know that he was wanted at the Nou Camp without the Catalan club having to make an official approach.
The pressure went on and Fabregas made it clear to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal that he wanted to return to Spain to play for his boyhood club where he had been at the famous La Masia academy as a youth player. Just like he did with Fabregas, Wenger took our current right back Hector Bellerin from Barca and gave him the chances to p[lay that he would not have got had he stayed.