I didn’t get to watch the Arsenal Legends vs Milan Glorie yesterday afternoon, as I was out and about in Portugal with The Management, but I’ve had a look at the highlights on the official site and I must say, I was quite impressed with the standard of play that was on show from both teams. Some of Arsenal’s legends were a little dubious in terms of their ‘legendary’ status – let’s take Pascal Cyan or Justin Hoyte, for example – but in the main it was a decent collective of names that have made us all so happy in the past. What also surprised me was how well some of them still seemed to be able to interconnect their passing and movement with each other. I suppose when you’ve trained together for so many years, those ‘automatisms’ that Big Per has once spoken about, still remain in the muscle memory.
Anyway, it seemed like a great day and I loved the fact that The Emirates can be so full for a charity match.
In the world of present day Arsenal, the big talking point of the day appears to be Mesut Ozil and his contract. He was interviewed in Germany and, almost inevitably, conversation turned towards his current deal expiring in 2018. He’s said positive things about discussing it now that the Euro’s have finished and so from yours and my perspective, I suppose that it something to be hopeful for. But I just have a funny feeling about this, you know. Not a good one, either, I might add. I don’t know why, I have nothing to back it up, but I think this contractual negotiation will go right until the end of this season.
If it does, I think we have a problem, because then the club has a very real decision to make. Do you keep a £42million asset who could still recoup that value in the current market? Or do you try to remain steadfast and resolute in your determination to give him a new deal, knowing you could lose him on a free the following season.
I don’t envy the club’s negotiators, in this instance, because all of the cards are with Ozil. In the same interview I linked to above, he also mentions the MLS at some stage in his career. We all know he’s a magician and at 27 he still has many year’s of top flight football ahead of him. He has a lot of pace about him, but like Bergkamp, he has a bundle of pace in his head too. He is the sort of player I could see playing well in to his mid thirties and, if at 35 he wants to do what Lampard has done and move to the US, who would blame him? But the real question from an Arsenal fans perspective is whether he feels he has another move in him in Europe first.
I hope not. I love the guy. I love his style of play, I love how he seems to mesh us together as a team, I love how he instantly added 10% to our game when he came back as a sub after the Leicester game. He’s somebody the club simple must move heaven and earth to keep. Financially that could be within the club’s power, but what about titles-wise? Is that something that will invariably dictate his decision to stay with Arsenal?
If it is, then we might have a worrying time on our hands, because I’m still not convinced our current squad is good enough to win the league. I hope we are and I’ll have my fingers crossed between now and May, but I am not convinced at all.
Anyway, the season is long and there’s plenty of time to ponder the future of Ozil and of Arsenal’s prospects of winning the league. Right now, we’re slap-bang in the middle of another round of international matches, for which we might see some Theo tonight, having already learned of Giroud’s, Koscielny’s, Alexis’, Ozil and Mustafi’s exploits. I suppose we could have a mention for Joel Campbell, who came off the bench to play against Haiti yesterday, but in reality we all know he’s not coming back to Arsenal again. He’s had his final loan and I can’t imagine we’ll see him back in an Arsenal shirt, so there’ll be a perm move for him come next summer. But whilst he’s still technically an Arsenal player, I’ll keep track of him, and hope that he has a good season both domestically and internationally.
That’s yer lot from me today. I could have a word or two about Jamie Vardy, but I’m not linking to a story in which he’s talking about Arsenal again. I suspect he’ll regret not moving in the summer and I certainly hope that is the case. But if he wants to keep talking about it then that’s up to him. Arsenal have moved on and we have another player who we hope will undertake a similar role in the squad, so let’s focus on our new boy Lucas and hope that Vardy can focus on mid-table mediocrity.
Catch y’all later.