Yesterday we found out our fate in the next round of the FA Cup and as the The Totts got their second bye in a row at home to Wymcombe, and Chelski got their usual opportunity to rest players by playing Brentford at home, we have an away trip to Southampton or Norwich. So essentially we’ve got to go to Southampton at the end of January then.
That’s a harsh draw for us. Harsh because at a time in the season where you want a little rotation, Arsène will be almost inevitably forced in to picking as strong a team as possible. Then compare that to City, United, Spurs and Chelski, who will all rotate and have fresher legs the following week. And of course there would be two games in a week then, wouldn’t there? With Watford at home on the Tuesday and then Chelski away on the weekend. So the football gods are smiling on those reprehensible Chavs it seems.
Still, got to win what’s in front of you, no easy games, blah-blah-blah and all that.
Before then there’s a few other things to be done, like league games and also the potential signing of….and extension of…Olivier Giroud!
Ahh, did you think I was going to say Mes or Alexis? Like I had some kind of intel? No, probably not, because you’re not four and will believe anything someone tells you. But Ollie has said he’ll sign a new deal and perhaps in keeping with his Arsenal career, it seems to have been met with muted applause from some of the Arsenal fans I talk to on a daily basis. Which I actually think is harsh, because you only have to look at his form right now to see the value he’s been adding to the team this season. But because it’s Ollie, because he’s the guy we all like but not the ‘world class striker’ we always wanted him to be since he replaced RvP, his extension will feel like a side note in the saga of contract extensions that include Alexis, Ramsey, Wilshere, the Ox and Özil.
I’d like to say I feel sorry for him, but he’s four years younger than me and if he withdrew all the money from his current balance in his account right now, he’d probably still have enough left over to buy everyone ice creams after he’d bought mine, my brothers, my parents two houses and a row of convertibles. So I’ll not weep too much.
It’ll be interesting to see how long the deal is for though. He’s 30 now and if it’s a three year deal or longer then I take it the whole ‘one year for those over 30’ rule is being sacked off? That’s obviously a thing of the penny-pinching era at the club. Either that or Arsenal have realised that it’s a dated model. Some footballers can play well into their 30s these days and if you are a player that doesn’t have attributes that require youthful legs i.e. pace, then it is feasible that you can play to 35 if you avoid serious injury.
Giroud is the sort of player I could see playing for at least another five years. He’s never been blessed with those ‘fast-twitch’ muscles somebody told me about in GCSE P.E. once, so can operate as a target man and as long as he maintains his strength and aerial threat, he has the attributes to play top flight football for some time yet.
Can that be at Arsenal though? I would have thought so. He’s shown this season that he’s a valuable asset to the club. But at his age he’s hardly going to change and adapt who he is and his style. He’s not going to get any better and if Arsène does end up staying on at the club, it looks like the approach he wants to take with our football is for movement and pace across the front three. That ain’t Giroud’s bag, so if we are adopting that approach, then he’s going to find that spot on the bench coming on at 70 minutes all too familiar.
But I guess if he’s on northwards of £100k per week then he won’t mind. He’ll be on a nice little earner and who could blame him. It does seem weird though. The club are quite happy to have players sitting on the bench at £100k, but when it comes to first team players who are clearly the stars of the team, they don’t want to cough up the extra £20-£30k per week that might keep them playing for us. I say it’s weird, but we all probably know why, which is that the figures that the top players in the world are earning these days are well out of the club’s comfort zone. They’re happy with the ‘socialist structure’ approach to keeping players all similar in terms of salary. But when it comes to inking a deal which might be beyond what they’re comfortable with, there’s a hesitation that leaves us in the position we are in with Özil and Alexis.
That’s why the Ollie G deal will go off without any hitches. Because it’s well within the club’s comfort zone.
Still, they all earn obsecene amounts of money anyway, so I’m trying not to lose too much sleep over individuals who were born as I was entering secondary school.
The other bit of news bubbling along is that of Gedion Zelalem, who is apparently a target for Dortmund. This one could happen, given his lack of place in the Arsenal first team squad and his contract up in the summer, but I have a wondering on this. I seem to recall that similar news came out of Germany when Chuba Akpom was on the verge of running down his contract. Dortmund were supposedly interested and low and behold, he signed a deal with Arsenal, but hasn’t got near the first team since.
So this is a tough one to call. Zelalem has German roots, so it makes it more feasible, plus he’s seen what’s happened with Gnabry and will most likely be wondering whether he could replicate given the chance. But if he signs for Dortmund he could find himself at least another two years away from the first team over there as it is. So from an outsider looking in on that one, I’d question what the difference is. He could sign a three year deal at Arsenal and if he doesn’t break through, look to move on there, so although I’m completely biased, personally I’d probably stick where I’m at, especially as he’s still only 19.
But you never know what these boys have going on with their agents these days. So perhaps he’ll be offski this January. If he is it’d be a shame because he showed promise. But like Ganbry, he just never did that extra bit to force the managers hands.
And with that I think I shall make my excuses and leave you for another day. Make sure yours is enjoyable and do the things you love. Or if you can’t do that, just tweet pictures of funny cats, or something.