Has Ozil joined Jeffers & Co as one of Arsenal’s most expensive mistakes?

Wenger’s most expensive mistakes!

The news that Mesut Ozil could be out of action until January because of a knee injury is the latest in a long line of setbacks for the 25-year-old. The injury was not picked up by Arsenal but by Germany when the former Real Madrid star reported for international duty. There will be plenty of international football betting opportunities this week as the Euro 2016 qualifiers continue. It is beginning to look as though the £42.5million Arsene Wenger paid Real Madrid to snap up Ozil less than 14 months ago was money badly spent.

The disappointment many Gunners fans feel about Ozil is not so much the hefty transfer fee or even the fact that he was so good in Spain, but that his form has fallen off a cliff after he made such an encouraging start to life in north London. The club record signing may still come good but the feeling is that Ozil does not suit life in the Premier League and he may be on his way in the summer. That means he will have to be considered alongside the following as Wenger’s biggest flops during the Frenchman’s 18-year stay at the club.

Andrei Arshavin

Ozil’s career is following a very similar path to that of the creative Russian who joined Arsenal for a then club record fee of £15million to great fanfare after impressing for his country at Euro 2008.
He was brilliant at first – who could forget that memorable game when he scored all four of the Gunners’ goals in the 4-4 draw against Liverpool in April 2009 – but the talented midfielder seemed to lose interest very quickly.
Towards the end of his time with the club, he was a peripheral figure and it was often a surprise to discover he was still contracted to the club until he finally left in the summer of 2013 and returned to Zenit St Petersburg.

Jose Antonio Reyes

Wenger spent a whopping £10.5million on Reyes in January 2004 but it quickly became apparent that the former Sevilla star was suffering from a severe case of homesickness. He did score some important goals but perhaps will best be remembered for becoming only the second player to be sent off in an FA Cup final. Reyes was shown a red card in the victory against Manchester United in 2005 before eventually being sold to Atletico Madrid. His career went into free-fall and he is now back at Sevilla where he is still failing to impress.

Francis Jeffers

Wenger famously bought his ‘Fox In The Box’ for £8million 13 years ago after Jeffers, then still only 20, had been prolific for Everton. But it turned out to be a disaster as Jeffers managed just four goals in 22 appearances for Arsenal before being jettisoned. After spells in Australia and Malta, Jeffers was last spotted playing for Accrington Stanley, although it seems that he was keen to sign for a club in Brunei.

Arsenal shock as Arshavin backs them for title

Andrey Arshavin was once hailed as being the star player that could possibly bring success back to Arsenal and to the Emirates for the first time. But despite a fruitful start in which we saw his excellent Euro 2008 performances transpire over to English football with the Gunners, his time at the club came to a much quicker end than may have first been perceived.

Arshavin joined Arsenal back on January transfer deadline day of 2009 and in fact he didn’t actually official sign for the club until a few days later because of terrible weather conditions. His transfer however seemed like it was one that was well worth staying up for long into the night and we arguably weren’t wrong because in his first and second seasons with Arsenal he worked wonders, becoming a key player alongside the likes of Fabregas and Nasri.

However as he approached the judgmental 30 years old stage, Arshavin seemed to lose something and inevitably our then record signing was quickly dropped from the team, to the extent where he was loaned back to former club Zenit before finally being released on a free transfer this summer.

Arshavin has always been quick to criticise Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger since his departure from the club and he blames Arsenal for the decline in his career. But I think if he was only ever good enough to play in Russia, that shows that he really wasn’t as a good as a player that many made him out to be. Don’t get me wrong, Arshavin was fantastic when he first joined but after a few years he lost his pace, his stamina and ultimately his interest in playing football.

But then just as the little Russian had done upon his record move to Arsenal, new club record signing Mesut Ozil has worked wonders and Arshavin reckons it’s the German star who has given the Gunners the capabilities to seriously challenge for silverware this season.

Arshavin said: “Arsenal are playing much better than they have over the last two or three years. I was surprised that they won so comfortably against Liverpool, because they too are in excellent form right now. The signing of Ozil has brought stability to the side and now this season Arsenal have a real chance to finish in first place.”

I think Ozil has definitely made this club more capable of winning a trophy this year; however it isn’t all down to the German, because in fact we are in the position we are because we have played together as a strong unit and a communicative team. The new look Arsenal team shows quality, experience and depth, so although Arshavin may have badmouthed Arsenal in the past, if we go onto win something this season, maybe he will not only regret his words, but his actions as well.

Have Arsenal actually got weaker this summer?

So far Arsenal have just the addition of young French under 20 international striker Yaya Sanogo to their name in terms of incoming players this summer. We are desperate for some more additions however as the club continues to struggle to answer our pleas because of being outbid, slow or inflated prices, or whatever other excuses Wenger can think of, we are quite simply starting to get very concerned that with the Premier League season being under 3 weeks away that we won’t be ready in time.

At this current moment we are no better than last year and it looks set to be a battle for 3rd and 4th place alongside the usual suspects of Spurs, Chelsea and even possibly Liverpool and Everton. It’s not going to be easy, especially as all of our rivals have been strengthening, but has it ever crossed your mind that technically we are worse than last year?

Arsenal have let a whole host of players go this summer, some of which will make little to absolutely no difference to the squad, but also some that had a chance of being a fringe player that could have stepped in when we needed them. We let a load of youth and reserve players go this summer, 14 if I am correct and this included the likes of Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond who were never going to make it, so these players haven’t really changed anything in the squad, except free up some small wages and some possibly squad places, depending on their age.

We have also released Arshavin, Denilson and Squillaci. All three never really had a chance of playing for Arsenal again, although I know a lot of people still liked Arshavin. I certainly did and felt he was an option if we needed him, however on £75k per week he wasn’t worth it. So these players too haven’t made a difference to our squad.

But now we come onto some players who have actually made our overall team weaker by leaving. Santos, Mannone, Djourou and Coquelin have all left this summer. The first two have left on a permanent deal and I felt Mannone especially was a disappointment to leave. I felt Don Vito could have provided cover for Szczesny, especially as I thought Fabianski was on his way out. But it is with Djourou and Coquelin that I am particularly disappointed about losing. At the moment we have just two fit centre backs and even then Koscielny is on alert with a possible injury problem. Although Djourou wasn’t the best defender he would have provided admirable cover in situations like this. Coquelin too could have actually got a lot of games this season, as Arteta becomes older and so probably will lose a lot of his stamina and fitness.

With all these exits and possibly still 4 players to go in Gervinho, Bendtner, Chamakh and Park, it technically makes our squad worse than last season. Not because of the players that have left because the majority never played, but we are worse in the sense that our backup players have been reduced and so if a mass injury list does occur we are basically screwed at the moment. Wenger has got a hell of a lot of spending to do in this last remaining month, not just to strengthen the first team but also the backup squad players, unless he plans on promoting half of the reserves squad, which in itself isn’t something I wouldn’t be overly surprised by.

Small squad size could cause Arsenal big problems

Although the transfer window still has around 5 weeks before it’s closed on the 2nd of September, it has already been 8 weeks since it was opened in June and so far we have seen several players labelled as deadwood leave the club, but we are yet to see any more additions to the club aside from young French Under 20 international striker Yaya Sanogo.

Although it’s great that Arsenal have let go of so many ‘deadwood’ players and cleared our wage bill, it’s worrying to think that technically we are a worse squad than last season, because we no longer have the same amount of depth in the squad. Of course our starting XI has remained the same, but in terms of back-up players and reserves in case of injuries, there’s been a bit of a swap around at the club and now we will soon be set to enter the new Premier league 2013/14 season with few options in terms of squad size.

Many have suggested that it isn’t a problem because nothing about the team has really changed because none of the outgoing players were ever regulars with Arsenal, with only Vito Mannone and Andrei Arshavin really getting a few run outs last term. But the fact is, although they didn’t play often, they were in the squad for squad depth, rotation and a bench place just in case of injury or suspension to a first team regular.

I suppose on a good note we can replace these fringe players with younger fringe players in the likes of Gnabry, Martinez and Miyaichi, who of course will all be on much lower wages and general demands, but what’s particularly frustrating is to see the fact that we all at one point expected Squillaci, Denilson and Arshavin to be replaced with good to average players who could provide admirable backup in the last case option. I suppose we do have that now in the young players mentioned above however it’s just frustrating to see the fact that we seem to have been lied to once again as fans of Arsenal Football Club.

Getting rid of Arsenal deadwood is only good IF they are replaced

It’s all well and good getting rid of a team’s deadwood players, as it allows a club to lose some player wages, gain a few squad places and in the meantime gather a little bit of income, but ultimately if you don’t then go and replace these players then the club goes into a period of further regression.

Arsenal have so far seen many players leave the club this summer and fortunately they have all been ‘deadwood’ players rather than the usual quality players we see leave the club. The players that have left so far this summer are the likes of Arshavin, Denilson, and Squillaci have all been released from their contracts, whilst Djourou has left on loan and Mannone has made the permanent move to Sunderland. And although some will argue that we needed to sell before we can buy, this period of inactivity in the transfer window has actually weakened the team!

On paper the team is now weakened. To many it won’t make a difference because none of the players above were first team players and it’s true that at the moment the actually starting XI isn’t weaker at all, in fact it’s exactly the same, just a year older. But what is weaker is our overall squad. A simple look at the announced team for the club’s pre-season tour of Asia will show you that this team would probably struggle for 3rd or 4th place and I know a lot of people would agree with that after reading the comments on some of the other articles.

The fact is, if this period of stagnation doesn’t end soon at the club, we will experience what happens every summer and Arsenal will lose out on their targets and then we will complain that we were too stingy on the price or too slow in our dealings. According to some people we had Higuain, Cesar and Fellaini in the bag, but now I’m sure you’ll see why you should not trust any of the Internet ‘in the knows’. With Bendtner, Gervinho, Park, Chamakh and Santos all also set to leave this summer, if we don’t act upon all this gathered income through fees and wages with high quality players then we really must start to doubt Wenger, Gazidis and the board’s mentality on transfer dealings.

Arsenal’s wage structure needs tweaking!

There have been some calls and claims about Arsenal’s wage structure and what we offer to players in terms of talent and so I decided to do a bit of research on the player wages at Arsenal and found the following results;

Lukas Podolski – £100,000
Theo Walcott – £100,000
Per Mertesacker – £80,000
Andrey Arshavin – £75,000 (Now released)
Santi Cazorla – £70,000
Thomas Vermaelen – £70,000
Mikel Arteta – £65,000
Laurent Koscielny – £60,000
Jack Wilshere – £60,000
Andre Santos – £55,000 (Coming back but must be sold or loaned)
Olivier Giroud – £50,000
Gervinho – £50,000
Marouane Chamakh – £50,000 (Must leave this summer)
Tomas Rosicky – £50,000
Aaron Ramsey – £45,000
Abou Diaby – £42,000
Bacary Sagna – £40,000
Nacho Monreal – £40,000
John Djourou – £35,000 (Expected to leave)
Kieran Gibbs – £30,000
Carl Jenkinson – £25,000
Wojciech Szcezesny – £23,000
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – £20,000
Lukasz Fabianski – £20,000
Francis Coquelin – £10,000
Vito Mannone – £5,500
Emmanuel Frimpong – £5,000

Now take of it what you will, I’m not 100% certain on the accuracy of these figures however apart from the odd one or two players I’m fairly confident that this is the basis of Arsenal’s wage structure. As you can see Podolski and Walcott top the list on £100k per week. Its widely known that Arsenal don’t have any players above that wage, however I feel if we are to progress as a club in the next few years then it’s important that this changes and we start to compete off the field financially with the top clubs as well as on the pitch.

It’s not something I particularly wish to be done as I’ve always been proud how the club hasn’t got into any financial difficulties however I feel that it is necessary we change our wage structure in order to progress and at the end of the day that’s all the fans of Arsenal want, although I’m not sure if I can say that on behalf of the Arsenal board as well.

Overall I think the majority of players on that list are on the money they are worth, in today’s footballing age. A few players to pick out are the extortionate wages of Santos, Chamakh and Arshavin, although in some respects you could argue it was a fair amount when they signed their first contract with Arsenal some years back. Diaby is also an obvious contender to look at and who knows what will become of him this summer, but apart from that everyone else’s wages seems to be of a respectable amount considering their talent on arrival at the Emirates.

Gervinho could soon join the dead wood leaving Arsenal

Marseille have contacted Arsenal about a possible loan deal for struggling Gervinho with a view to a permanent move in the future. Arsenal have already cleared out most of the “deadwood” this summer and Gervinho is seen by fans as one of the next players who must go because of his poor form since he arrived at the club.

Sebastian Squillaci, Andrey Arshavin and Denilson have already left the club which has freed up the wage bill a bit to fund moves for new players, which is why Arsenal seem to be active at the moment in the transfer window.

Of the “deadwood” left at the club Gervinho, Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner are on the highest wages and the fans will want to see the back of them as soon as possible. Bendtner has already spent the last two seasons out on loan because no club has been interested enough to make a proper move for him. I fear the same thing will happen with Gervinho if Arsenal do send him on loan to Marseille rather than look for a transfer deal.

Gervinho is still thought of highly in France because of his time at Lille where he formed a great partnership with Moussa Sow and Eden Hazard and became one of the most sought after players in Europe. He also impressed at the 2010 world cup for the Ivory Coast but has obviously failed to shine at Arsenal in the last couple of seasons.

Arsene Wenger should try and get rid of Gervinho, Bendtner, Chamakh, Andre Santos and more to free up funds for top, top players like Fabregas and Rooney who have been linked with moves recently. If the remaining “deadwood” players are only sent on loan again, they will remain a burden to the club for years to come.

What should Arsenal do with Deadwood wages money?

It has been announced by Arsenal that three first team players have/will leave the club come 30th June 2013, as their contracts will expire on that date. As I am sure you are aware the three players are Denilson, Arshavin and Squillaci, who alone will not only free up three important squad places under the Premier League regulations and restrictions but it also frees up an unbelievable amount of wages.

Sebastian Squlliaci was on a reported £50,000 a week, not only a ridiculous amount for a player of his calibre but not to mention he didn’t play a single league game for Arsenal last season, amounting to an unbelievable amount over the course of the year.

Andrey Arshavin who was still under his original four year contract when he signed was earning a wage of £75,000 per week and he too rarely featured last season and finally Denilson who hadn’t played for the club for several seasons was still under contract with Arsenal on a reported £35,000 a week contract. The Brazilian in fact still had 1 year left but both the player himself and the club came to the agreement to terminate his contract early.

These totals add up to around £160,000 of wages per week, although some reports have the figure as high as £190,000, which could pay for a single top quality player or even two good players on £80k. This goes to show how much clearing our deadwood really can benefit the club, even if its terminating a player’s contract like Denilson.

With Maroune Chamakh, Nikalas Bendtner, Ju Young Park as well as others reportedly on their way out and the expiring contracts of goalkeeper Lukas Fabianksi and midfielder Emmanual Frimpong, a lot more income could soon be generated and hopefully reinvested in wages available for incoming players. If all the ‘deadwood’ players are sold or their contracts end, the club could easily gain around £300k or more in wages, which can easily provide the wages of perhaps two world class players alone! What should Arsenal do with all this extra money?

Arsenal loan players make an impression at the Euros

It may be sacrilegious to make such a comment, but I’ll make it all the same. As a Gooner I really find it hard to be too excited about the European Championship, the World Cup or any international competition.

Sure I enjoy watching football, because that’s what those of us who love the beautiful game do far too frequently. I am a proud Englishman and want my national team to do well, but I find it difficult to cheer on an England team containing the likes of Terry, Cole and Parker; players I despise.

Arsenal is my first love, so when I watched England play France I was interested in seeing the performance of the Ox and sadly only a couple of minutes of Theo.

While Arsenal play beautiful, sophisticated, slick passing football; England play dull, turgid one dimensional football that is all too predictable.

It is of course no coincidence that the one English midfielder with the ability to make things happen is an Arsenal player. That the English national team is bereft of midfield quality apart from Jack Wilshere is a serious indictment of those running English football. Arsene Wenger has proved time after time that he knows how to develop young talent and it is England’s loss and Arsenal’s gain that he manages our club.

There was a real buzz watching Lukas Podoloski playing for Germany and his presence, plus the likely arrival of Olivier Giroud from Montpelier will hopefully convince RvP that Arsenal are likely to be serious contenders for top honours next season.

These signings also suggest that the Professor will have a more defined plan B, adding Giroud’s strength and aerial prowess to Arsenal armoury. While Arsenal will never play long ball football, there are times when this option is necessary.

If Ivan Gazidis’s comments that Arsenal plan to buy quality rather than quantity come to fruition then I am confident that the 2012/13 season will be a remarkable one for Arsenal and one that will see a return of silverware.

With one round of matches in Euro 2012 now complete, there have been mixed fortunes for current and ex-Arsenal players. RvP lacked his usual sharpness, missing chances he would normally have buried; while Szczesny in the Polish goal had a nightmare, being partly responsible for the Greek goal and also collecting a red card. However Bendtner, in a very different role, impressed for the Danes.

But for many of us Gooners, the performance of Andrei Arshavin raises a number of questions. How can a player be so bad for one club and so good for another? In the few months since returning to Zenit St. Petersburg on loan, he has by all accounts been outstanding, both for club and country; while in the first half of the season in red of Arsenal he was often an embarrassment.

Arshavin looked the perfect match for Arsenal and had some outstanding matches, but overall was a disappointment and worse often looked disinterested. It is clear that the player did not want to live in London and while it is not always easy to identify such a problem in a player, maybe the club should consider the player’s mindset as well as his fotballing qualities before making a purchase.

On the subject of mindset, if Samir Nasri, is as reported, surplus to requirements at Manchester City, should we consider trying to lure him back to the Emirates? He was so desperate to leave Arsenal; yet seeing him give a man of the match performance and score a quality goal against England makes you realise what value he could add to our team.

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About the writer

Phil Harris has been a season ticket holder at the Emirates and Highbury before it for 20 years. He maintains a critical eye on all thing Arsenal and sports and in his spare time can be found gambling at livecasino.smartlivegaming.com

Arshavin favourite to beat Rosicky tonight!

Russia and the Czech Republic are due to go head to head in the EURO 2012’s opening day, as they both will try to do their best to qualify into the knockout stages of the tournament.

Arsenal have once again sent most of their best players off on international duty, and although we have yet seen the likes of Robin Van Persie, Walcott, Chamberlain or Koscielny, we can be happy to see that the Gunners are ruling the opening day of the European Championships.

Andrey Arshavin and Thomas Rosicky are the best two players of their respective sides, and it seems that although they’re not in their youth anymore, people still expect them to be the ones who will clinch the winner.

Arshavin is currently on loan at Zenit and is expected to leave for good this summer, while Rosicky just extended his contract with the Gunners. Tonight the Russians seem to have the upper hand, as the bookies offer them a 6/4 odd of winning the game and rate the Czechs with a mere 9/4 odd.

Thomas Rosicky has a 5/1 odd of scoring in the game, being one known for his passes rather than for his goals, while Arshavin has a 5/2 odd of getting the ball in Petr Cech’s net.

Who do you think will be victorious tonight?