My heart goes out to Arsenal fans. They are a great team, steeped in history and thousands of readers of this column support the Gunners. It pains me therefore to report that the Arsenal club chairman is very pleased with the club’s performance in the transfer window. How on earth could he say or even think that! Reading between the lines, Arsenal signed Alexandre Lacazette for £52million and Sead Kolasinac for free. However, they sold Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs and Wojciech Szczesny and combined with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Liverpool that raised £60million in transfer fees so Arsenal made a profit of £8million. That is why chairman Ivan Gazidis thinks the transfer period was a triumph. Never mind the fact that Arsenal is now a little thin on quality options in midfield. “At the end of the window, reviewing all activity, we have once again improved the depth and quality of the squad,” wrote Gazidis in a club-wide email. Really? Does he honestly believe that Arsenal are stronger than before the transfer window? Has he looked at the genuinely improved strengths of United, City & Liverpool following the transfer window? This is the toughest league in the world and you have to invest to stay at the top. Time will tell and I dearly hope that Arsenal fans are not let down because they are already disappointed with their beginning to the season.
Private jet for Liverpool v Man City
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Liverpool and Manchester City have teamed up to make their Saturday game at the Etihad Stadium much more competitive. Together the Reds and City flew their Brazilian World Cup international players back from South America on a private jet. Liverpool players Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho and City’s Gabriel Jesus, Ederson and Fernandinho all travelled together on a specially commissioned private flight. Perhaps they had a kick about in the ailse on the route back…it was all friends together but the match will be one of the toughest of the season for both clubs. Chelsea winger Willian also joined the players for the private flight.
The feud goes on
Diego Costa is one hard headed individual. You have to remember that the South American temperament can be strong, fiery and often difficult to understand to other peoples of the world. Players like Costa, Coutinho and Sanchez are all very similar in their characters and are often difficult to handle. They fight their corner and will not be told what to do. Telephone calls have been made by Chelsea staff to the Brazilian striker in an attempt to bring him back to London. Fans have spent their own money phoning and asking local people in Legarto, where Diego is staying, to persuade him to return to London. Antonio Conte has even included him in the squad which each club has to provide to the Football League and this is an indication that there might be a way back for the player. Every week Costa is being fined £150,000 for staying away. But still he refuses to return and says he will stay in his own country and will only play for Spain’s Atletico Madrid. Ever since Diego claimed that the Chelsea manager sent him a text saying he is no longer including him in the Blues plans there has been animosity between player, manager and the club. The club have told me that this did not happen and emphatically deny that any such text was ever sent. Meanwhile, back in Legarto, Diego is staying at his parent’s home and has said he will not leave there but Atletico are in constant touch with him and have offered to pay his fines when and if he eventually signs for them. Ironically, Chelsea’s mediocre start to the season could have been different if their charismatic striker was still playing and scoring.
Time for big stars to crawl back home
There is much making up and apologising to do for some of the biggest Premier League stars who wanted to leave their current clubs in the transfer window, only to find that they are still with the same employer. Southampton’s Virgil van Djilk has pushed for a move to Liverpool for the past three months and has even trained alone as he refused to play for Southampton because he “didn’t feel in the right frame of mind because he was leaving.” Can you imagine what your boss would do if you called in sick one morning saying that you didn’t feel in the right frame of mind to come to work today! Alexis Sanchez is also still at Arsenal despite telling his Chilean national team colleagues last week that his move to Manchester City was a done deal and he was out of the Emirates. His Chilean team mates even gave him a round of applause so imagine how sick he feels today as he heads back to London full of embarrassment and still an Arsenal employee. Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez left international duty with Algeria after being given permission to fly back to London to complete a move to either Chelsea, Barcelona or Spurs although no deal was actually going through. Only Italian side Roma made a bid for Mahrez and their valuation was well below Leicester’s. Leicester knew nothing of his flight back to London and nothing about any transfer deal. Now the player will have to explain himself when he returns to Premier League duty this week! Jonny Evans is another who was on his way of West Bromwich and told his family and friends he was definitely moving but then Manchester City lost interest at the last minute and Jonny is still at the Hawthorns. Football is a unique game where fans spend large amounts of their salaries to attend matches and around the world TV fans support their teams. Fans are loyal and deserve better but many of the big stars need to look at the people who fill their huge bank accounts. For Van Dijlk, Mahrez and Sanchez it will be hard work getting back in favour with their managers, fans and team mates.
Will the real Mesut Ozil please play for Arsenal!
I watched some of the Germany v Norway World Cup game. Mersut Ozil was simply outstanding…he scored one goal, created the chance for Julian Draxler to score another and was simply superb finding space, weaving, passing and driving his team on to a 6-0 win. So my question is: Why can’t he do that for Arsenal week after week instead of his poor performances like the 0-4 defeat to Liverpool when he was dreadful.
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