As Mesut Özil hits the 100 appearance mark for The Arsenal, what better way to celebrate it by the media, than talking up a story about a buyback clause that Real Madrid insisted upon? 

Does such a clause exist? I’d be surprised. Arsenal don’t tend to do those types of clauses unless they are the selling club. In that instance, we love a clause, we have clauses coming out of our ears. A ‘first option’ this, a “15% sell on that”, we practically live on clauses when we’re selling. It’s our ‘thing’.

But one on Özil? I’d be surprised. Not unless it’s one of those silly ones like the Spanish have to have. One of those ‘Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with a buyback clause of the Gross Domestic Product of the whole of China’ type clauses. Hey Real, it’s cool if you want Mesut, just give us the half a billion and we’ll talk. That kind of stuff.

He seems quite happy here too. I mean, you can never quite tell with footballers, but he’s been our best player this season so far and he seems to be enjoying his football. So why go back to Madrid when you’re just another one of the guys? I can’t see it happening, personally, but football is a silly industry where players like David Luiz not only command a transfer fee, but an astronomical one. So who knows what those crazy Spaniards might do.

Elsewhere in Arsenal land, the talk still rumbles on about the Chelski defeat, with players like Bellerin talking bout being positive and Cech saying he thought we played well with 10 men. It’s difficult in the immediate aftermath of yet another defeat, to try not to be drawn on a result based on the narrative, but as the dust settles I find my inner ‘chimp’ quietening a bit and it allows me some time for some introspective thought. When you think back to the chances we had in the second half and how we pushed Chelski for an equaliser, you wouldn’t have felt we were down to ten men. In fact, it probably made it worse for us fans, because we knew that had we been less profligate in front of the final third, we could have possibly got ourselves a draw. My brother is a West Ham fan and having watched it at home, he texted me to suggest that we played well, but our composure in the final third was pretty woeful, which is more of a concern than anything else. It’s more of a concern because we looked a little blunt against Stoke, so the sight of Alexis coming on against those scummers, was a lovely thing to see. If he can be given another run out against Burnley to prove his fitness, there’s no telling just how valuable he’ll be in the final few months of the season. At a time in which we are looking a little too worn down, the right players in the right positions are arriving, and in that I include Coquelin too. 

I can’t tell you how much I am hoping he will play some part in the Burnley game. Even if it’s to come on as a sub to get 20 minutes. Flamini has served his purpose and at the risk of sounding a little callous, he needs to be moved aside now for the energy of Le Coq. If he can make the Southampton game as a starter in just over a weeks time, the difference it could make for the midfield would be massive. He’ll cover more ground, win more tackles and be better at distributing the ball to Ramsey than Flamini, so his early return might just end up being one of the most important moments in the season.

A word of caution though: any hope that he will be ‘as good’ as he is when alongside Santi, must be tempered, because with the Spaniardin the team the distance between the two is rarely more than 20 yards. For Ramsey and Coquelin it will most likely quite often be more than that, so methinks we’ll be more exposed to seeing Coquelin’s long game than ever before. The good thing is that he has a half-decent long ball than Ramsey or Flamini, but let’s not expect him to pick up a dual role as destroyer and quarterback, like he does when Santi is in the team. Let’s just try not to get frustrated if he misplaces a few longer passes to the attacking players.

Still, we’ve got players back, we’re in a position where Arsène will be able to rotate, so now we just need to string some results together. We have Southampton at home, Bournemouth away and then Leicester at home, so if we really do still have a chance in the league (I have my doubts) then we have to pick up all nine points. No more excuses. Especially with players returning.