Howdy, boys ‘n’ girls.
I hope this Monday finds you happy and healthy. I’m all good, but I have witnessed something recently that I found a tad unsettling; the sight of Alexis Sanchez in a shirt other than Arsenal. Initially, when the stories of his move became more than just rumours, I didn’t feel all that bothered – there have been other departures in the past far harder to take. However, now it all seems to be official, seeing him in Man United’s shirt made a little bit of vomit make its way into my mouth. Fortunately, the sensation only lasted a few minutes until I realised that, whilst United have got a good player, they’re paying an absolute fortune for an attacker who has no more than a year left at his absolute peak. Perhaps that’s just the bitterness talking… (it kind of is.. a little bit…)
Anyway, I wouldn’t want to suffer alone, so here’s that picture that has been doing the rounds (I’m betting you’ve all probably seen it…)
Alexis Sanchez flies in to Manchester for medical ahead of Monday announcement.
— Indy Football (@IndyFootball) January 22, 2018
Now that it’s as close to being official as it can be without actually being official, we can all go back to calling him a “dog nonce” and complaining about the amount of times he gave possession away… Let’s just forget that he was a wonderfully talented individual that scored lots of great goals. My hope is that without him and his histrionics, we’ll be a better team. Assuming we do manage to sign both Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang (the former appears close to being finalised. Gazidis and friends are in Dortmund to negotiate the latter) it does beg the question of how we’ll line-up in future matches? Will Arsene play both Lacazette and Aubameyang? Does this spell the end of the 3-5-2 experiment that worked very well for a period?
So, I thought I’d have a pop at guessing…
Assuming everyone is fit, my best guess at the strongest team would be a 4-2-3-1 with someone (Ramsey) having to play a little out of their natural portion.
I can’t really see us playing two central strikers at the same time, especially given they’re quite similar as players. Perhaps, Arsene might use Lacazette in a manner similar to how he used Sylvain Wiltord, but I don’t see us making any wild changes in the way we play to incorporate two similar players. If we do manage to get the Aubameyang deal over the line before the window closes, I can see both he and Lacazette jockeying for the same position. Competition is a good thing, but I do feel a little bad for Lacazette who has shown plenty of signs that he is a quality addition.
In other news, Jack Wilshere has been linked with Juventus, who are looking to bolster their midfield options in the summer. With his contract entering into its last 6 months, Jack is free to negotiate with any club in Europe, as they are free to negotiate with him. At first I was a little concerned, but then I realised the story comes from Britain’s premier tabloid sh*t-rag, The Sun and it’s probably completely fabricated. Jack has been allegedly offered a contract by Arsenal at reduced rates, so a “new suitor” is a little bit of cheap news and will get a few clicks – I didn’t look the minute I knew where it was from, and neither should you.
That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if plenty of teams are monitoring his situation at Arsenal. Contracts and Arsenal don’t seem to be comfortable bed fellows at present and predicting what might happen this summer or the next with the amount of players coming to the end of their respective deals is maddening. And let’s not forget Ozil as well. There’s a great deal of contrary information around at the moment. Whether it be Emmanuel Adebayor claiming he didn’t want to leave Arsenal, but was forced, or Robert Pires claiming Alexis wanted to stay at Arsenal in, bizarrely, a Chilean publication (not sure about this one).
Pires is alleged to have spoken candidly and exclusively to La Tercera, and in response to Martin Keown’s “mercenary” allegations:
“No, he is not a mercenary. Martin is my friend, but I don’t think you can say that.
That’s football, and if City does not want Sanchez anymore, it’s their problem.
And if United wants him and is willing to spend a lot of money, good for him.
But for me, Alexis wanted to stay at Arsenal. I have not talked to him, but what I see, what I smell, is that he was very good in London, very good in Arsenal.”
Certain outlets reporting that article go as far as suggesting Arsenal’s lack of player recruitment has tipped Alexis over the edge and made him want to move. There could well be a degree of truth in that. All I know is that there appears a great deal of change on the horizon. The two stories above will give further ammunition to Arsene’s doubters. At this stage things are flirting dangerously with becoming an absolute fiasco and I hope we can get a few players sorted and look toward the future with a little bit of hope. But, this is Arsenal. So anything could happen next… Your guess is as good as mine.
That’s all for today, folks. I’ll be back with more tomorrow.
Until that time, and as always: thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.
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