Apparently Roma are ready to put Shkodran’s current limbo out of his misery by offering him a loan deal for a year, if you believe reports in Italy, which often we don’t.
This is about on cue I’d imagine. It’s 21st August and the European transfer deadline day is – broadly speaking as they are slightly different in some countries – about a week away from closing. That is about the time that noises start to be made and with English clubs no longer able to replace players, the only ones the European clubs will be able to pick up are the chaos who are ‘surplus to requirements’, as Championship Manager used to say.
So the tentative talks need to be in place, contact between agents needs to start and phones need to start buzzing, which I’d expect to start happening over the next week. It’s a good move for him as it will give him the chance to reignite his career and for Arsenal a loan will probably do because of the opportunity to get a bit of cash knocked off the wage bill.
I think if any deals get done it will be this one and despite to murmurings of Özil off to DC United, I’d be surprised if anything came to fruition. His wages are, and will continue to be, an issue for so many clubs and personally I’d rather have him at Arsenal than have us pay half (or more than half) of his wages and have him playing for someone else.
I still believe Özil has a big role to play at the club and whilst some people have seen Ceballos’ performance at the weekend as the potential end to Özil – because the Spaniard can play at ten – I wonder if we’ll see him drop deeper into an eight rather than a ten as the season progresses. That would potentially free up space in front and that’s why I believe Özil can still be valuable.
I also think that having watched the game live in the flesh on Saturday, Özil has an opportunity in this Arsenal team, because what I saw was a Burnley team who pressed high from the front to force pressure on us. But in defence they knew the pace of our forwards would expose them if they pushed their defence too high to cover the middle of the park. So when Ceballos started as a ten he found himself in so much room that he ended up in acres of space to pick the ball up, turn, then run at the defence.
Imagine Özil with that same amount of space. And in someone like Luiz we have the kind of defender who can just clip the ball accurately over a high press. Which is why Ceballos was able to find room.
Don’t get me wrong, it won’t happen every week and there will be teams that are better set up to deal with it, or teams that don’t press us high and remain compact in defence and midfield. In that scenario perhaps there’s an argument for playing a different way. But what I saw on Saturday gave me hope that our system of play will allow us to have players like Özil and Ceballos play together and also exploit space. You can say a lot of things about Mesut Özil but what you can’t disagree with is his ability to drift in to space and when he’s given that he can find room to manoeuvre teams about and find our attacking players in effective positions.
Call me an optimist, but I still think there’s a life for Özil at Arsenal, or at least I hope there is.
The other news bubbling along is ahead of the trip to Anfield and in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang we have a striker bang in form. He was lethal in pre season, has already scored in both games so far this season and in an interview with Canal+ in which he’s said we’ll be ready for Liverpool on Saturday. I hope so. And I hope he is. If our attack is on form then they will get us goals, which means we just need to make sure we minimise the brain farts at the back, which I’m not sure how we do that right now. Can we win the midfield battle perhaps? Liverpool’s midfield looks ok, but it’s their impressive defence and clinical attack that does the business for them, rather than that midfield. If we have players like Ceballos who can create space and be able to feed our attacking options, you never know, so as each day gets closer and I see articles like that from Auba I get a little bit more hopeful.
They say that’s what kills ya and, as a football fan, I can’t agree more!
And with that I’m offski for the day. Be good people!