Morning folks and welcome to the end of another week, only this week, it is sadly lacking in Arsenalness. Thanks very much international breaks, you pointless waste of space, you.
Still, at least with Arsenal there’s never usually not a talking point for us to chew over and the recent confirmation of the Europa League squads have done just that, with Arsenal confirming that Sokratis and Mesut Ozil won’t be making the Europa League team for the group stages. Now, we know that the domestic Premier League squads are yet to be announced and therefore there is a possibility that both players could be involved there, but given the calibre of opposition in Europe we have this season, if either player was to be featured at some stage I’d expect it to be the Europa League squad ahead of the Premier League squads. So I suspect this pretty much all but confirms that both players are surplus to requirements for this coming season.
It must be a very odd situation to find themselves in. You are paid to do a job but you are actively prohibited from doing it, or even having the slightest chance of doing it, but the rules that are in place. Of course we all know the rules, Arsenal knew the rules and I’m sure they’d have spoken to the players and their representatives before the current deadline shut. In fact if you listen to what Edu was saying yesterday when he was talking about the transfer window, new signings, contracts, as well as the two players that have been left out it was obvious that the club has been clear in its communication that the players would not play a part.
Which is why it is so curious that players like Sokratis in particular didn’t just move on anywhere. He was a player that I’m sure was quoted towards the end of last summer saying that he wanted to play and if he didn’t get the opportunity then he would happily look elsewhere for game time. By the sounds of it there was a definite move to Fulham on the cards that he flatly rejected, so there’s something a little weird about the fact that he is happier to just stay at the club.
Perhaps he knows that we’re less than three months away from the transfer window re-opening on 1st January and therefore he won’t have to wait to long to find another club? That would make sense and certainly if he wants to prove the old adage that players seem to improve in people’s eyes when they don’t play, this could be why he didn’t want to join a Fulham team shipping goals, as he still wants a number of decent European clubs vying for his signature come January or even next summer.
The other excluded player we all know enough about. Mesut Ozil is the very expensive asset that you’d have to call a white elephant right now, because he is going to be sitting around earning north of £300k-per-week to essentially manage his social media account. He’ll probably train with the under-23s but I saw a video yesterday of him with the first team and even fist-bumping Mikel Arteta, so lord knows how that one is going to unfold. It does just seem very odd that he doesn’t want to go anywhere though. We all know he loves London, but unless one of the other London clubs is going to stump up big cheddar for him – which will never happen – then wherever he goes next summer it will be away from the capital. So what difference does an extra six months make?
People are saying it is about money and maybe it is, but I’m not so sure, because if I was in Ozil’s shoes and I wanted more money I’d probably go to the club and say “look, you aren’t going to play me, so pay me off. My contract to the end of June is 32 weeks. I’m on £350k-per-week. That’s £11.2million you owe me. Pay me £10million right now and I’ll go find another club”. If it was about that and I was Ozil I could then go to Turkey, find a club willing to pay me £50k-per week for a few years, which also nets me around £1.6million between now and the end of June anywayu. So I’d actually be £400k better off.
Of course I am not privy to what is happening behind the scenes and maybe these conversations are taking place. Maybe the club has already made an offer to him and he’s just holding out for more? Or maybe none of the above. But one things for sure he is holding all of the cards and the club are going to either just suck it up and keep him running bleep tests every week, or they are going to have to cough up yet more cash to get rid of him.
Either way it is a very sad scenario for all involved. Many fans have just lost all faith in him and can’t stand the sight of him, but I will always look at what he has done, how we didn’t supplement his talent with players better than the likes of Giroud, and wonder what could have been. What could have been whilst he was at his peak, but also what could have been if the last couple of year’s had not seen his fall from grace come at such break-neck speed. I loved to watch Mesut Ozil at his best and there’s still a part of me that had hoped we’d get a farewell tour. But that is not going to happen now and this squad announcement is the final nail in a very sad coffin.
With that I think I’ll call time on today’s blog.
Catch you all tomorrow.