The Aubameyang Ultimatum

Afternoon, folks.

The Bourne Ultimatum happens to be one of my favourite films. If you want to see how to direct action scenes with a measure of kinetic reality, then there are few better that Paul Greengrass. I often go back to the third entry of the Bourne trilogy (I’m not counting Jeremy Renner’s Legacy and the latest not-quite-as-good-as-the-orginal-three-but-had-some-excellent-moments Jason Bourne) because, even at 10-years-old, it’s still a breath of fresh air in a genre dominated by jarringly sh*t special effects driven blockbusters.

What put me in mind of it today was an ultimatum set by Borussia Dortmund (SEGUE!!) regarding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Granted, there aren’t any super soldiers, no espionage, no mention of either Treadstone or Blackbriar or enemy assassins getting a good beating in a toilet after the good guy has just jumped through a window. But there has most definitely been an ultimatum. That ultimatum certainly hints at Arsenal partaking in some of their much-fabled ‘dithering’ and it would appear we’ve been trying to negotiate for quite a while now.

The statement/ultimatum came from Dortmund’s sporting director, Michael Zorc (who sounds like he could be a villain in a Bourne film):

“We are prepared to implement a transfer under certain parameters, and only if these parameters are fully met.

Arsenal have made several attempts so far to sign Aubameyang and they have all been rejected.

Either our demands are fulfilled, then there can be another transfer, or they will not be fulfilled and Aubameyang will play in Dortmund until the summer.

By the way, this has also been discussed with, and accepted by, the Aubameyang family.”

That is an extremely polite way of saying, “pay up or f*ck off, Arsenal” and it does immediately make me wonder what we’ve done regarding bids up until this point. Gazidis and Mislintat went to negotiate with the German club, so there has to have been a figure Dortmund projected and Arsenal failed to meet several times.

I have conflicting opinions on this subject. I fully understand that Arsenal can’t be seen to allow themselves to be held to ransom (so to speak) as it will weaken our position when negotiating transfers in the future. The statement by Zorc was made to ensure his Club aren’t seen as pushovers. I would assume there is still room to negotiate behind closed doors. However, at this point, I am seriously starting to question our practices. How, in the name of sweet f*cking Hades, are we always the Club that seems to think making several slightly offensive under-value bids does anything other than antagonise the party with which we are attempting to do business?

Why do we appear to leave things to the last minute with such frequency? It might be a slightly warped sense of perception on my part because I’m obviously invested in Arsenal, but when I see other managers and their Clubs conduct business, it seems to happen relatively smoothly. With Arsenal, we often see a player we like who is rated around £40-50m, and we staring off offering well, well below that value and only rise slightly over the course of a following 5-6 bids until we’ve just about p*ssed everyone off.

It’s easy for me to sit at my keyboard and type, “just pay Dortmund their value of their player” because that appears the simplest solution. We have mere days left until the window shuts and we currently have only one incoming player to replace 3 outgoings (Mavropanos not included). Walcott and Coquelin might not have set anything alight in recent years, but they were squad players that could be relied upon when needed. Sanchez was our primary source of goals for the past 3 seasons and he does need to be replaced very quickly. Mikhitaryan is a classy player, but I’m not sure he alone solves too many of our problems, if any. He’ll certainly help us become more creative in the final third but he’s not a prolific scorer and it’s a touch unfair on Lacazette to expect him to take the burden all by himself. We need to reinforce the team.

As we head into the last few days of business until the summer, I fear it’s going to be a poorly organised scramble to secure new recruits that will, in all probability, go down to the last day and end up being underwhelming. I sincerely hope I’m wrong here, but past experience and a little bit of pessimism lead me to feel otherwise. The next couple of days could be very important for our season and we should know a great deal more about where we stand by the time we take on Swansea on Tuesday.

That’s all for today, folks.The comments are below, do you think we will do significant business before the window closes? Let me know your thoughts.

I’ll be back at some point tomorrow. Until that time, and as always: Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards

Soundtrack to this post: 

Myd – ‘Bingo’

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