Morning Gooners. Provocative headline I know, but given some of the rumours that have circulated over the last 24 hours I thought I’d wade in with my opinion as to why I cannot see either Granit Xhaka or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joining the respective clubs they’ve been linked with by the gutter press.
Let’s start first with it on Emery’s side. He’s not achieved his goals this season. In order to get in to the top four he’s going to need the players that he thinks are his strongest. Xhaka started in 38 matches last season and Aubameyang started in 40. So both are clearly integral to Emery’s plans. If he wants to build a stronger team for next season he will want to do it with the players he has played regularly and trusted and whilst you can argue the toss about players like Mustafi, Mkhitaryan and Iwobi having played so many games and possibly out of the door, both Xhaka and Aubameyang are not too on their list.
I accept though that in today’s game if both players want to leave then the club will be forced to let them go. However both are on long contracts and if they are forced to sell then the club will command an absolute premium. Think about Xhaka. At 26 and with a few years left on his deal, Arsenal could be within their rights to ask for north of £40-£45million. Will Inter Milan pay that? Unlikely I think. They tried strong-arming us on Perisic and now the tables have turned so I don’t expect Arsenal’s new team to be anything other than tough to deal with on players they expect to keep.
And that’s a key point too. We already have a lot of upheaval coming this summer. Cech, Welbeck, Ramsey are all confirmed leavers. Mustafi is expected to go, as well as Elneny, possibly Chambers and if the club can shift them, I’d expect Özil and Mkhitaryan to be moved on. There’s a lot that needs to go on in the next few weeks and months and so looking to offload additional players just doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Many of us have said “blow it all up and start again” but let’s be realistic here; no football club ever goes through that level of turnover in a summer. We’re talking seven players in that quick list alone, which quickly goes to ten when you add that Lichsteiner has already gone, Koscielny could be gone and people are asking questions about Monreal. The number of ‘stable’ players in the first team feels like you can almost count it on one hand and so I don’t think Arsenal will want to take two more from the ‘safe’ list.
There is perhaps an argument that if the money is good enough then you do the deal and reinvest and I get that, but I just don’t think Arsenal will want to give themselves even more work to do. Imagine getting £70million for Aubameyang and then having to go out and find another guy you know will get you 30 goals. How many are out there? How many are so impactful, so quickly, not needing a season or two to bed in? They are few and far between, which is why they cost so much, and why I don’t think we’ll offload. Not unless stupid money – like north of £100million – comes in for one player.
The club will also be very mindful of the message that it sends. We’re already pleading poverty in the transfer market, but selling the best assets at the club, what will that do for the fans? It certainly won’t help after the end of season we’ve had. We know that Arsenal are a PR machine as much as a football club at times these days, so I can’t see how they will sanction a fire sale of some of the players you’d expect to be regulars next season, so I suspect neither of these rumours are coming true.
Anyway, just some Wednesday morning thoughts for you; please feel free to disagree or give me your comments.