Happy Christmas Eve to you and your family. And what better way to celebrate Christmas Eve than with a little gift of football gossip that will have most Arsenal fans very pleased about indeed. It appears that Shkodran Mustafi’s agent has been in Barcelona this week to negotiate a deal to have him join the Catalan’s when his contract expires in the summer.
Wellety, wellety, wellety. How about that then, eh? The German must have one heck of an agent and one heck of a PR Team because the fact Barcelona want him is both hilarious and baffling. He has fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal, he was very poor in his last game and at least at fault for one of the goals conceded against City a couple of games ago, plus he has been a divisive player for a couple of years now.
Mustafi represents the worst of Arsenal and the current governance at the club and, sadly, he is indicative of all that is wrong with us right now. He was signed for a vastly inflated fee that was a complete waste of money, he has been error prone throughout his Arsenal career, plus he is another guy who didn’t want to move on for two summers because of his big wages that he was picking up at Arsenal that he couldn’t get elsewhere. He and a few more of these senior pro’s at the club are the leeches that are dragging us down and news that Barca want him is great.
We won’t get a fee and it’ll happen in the summer, but if I was in Arsenal’s shoes, once I know that he has a pre-contract agreement signed I’d be going back to Barcelona and asking them if they want him now for nothing. It would get his wages off the books and at least begin the clear out of overstocked and under performing centre halves we have at our club. Let Mustafi be the first of the cull to begin.
And it does need to begin in January. We have too many under-achieving players and we don’t have enough room in our squad. So the likes of Mustafi should be able to leave for free if they have already found a club. The same with Sokratis. Just get his wages off the books and get him out. Ozil is more troublesome because nobody would be stupid enough to pay £350k-per-week for his services, however if you can find a club to pay £100k-per-week, then you just need to fund the remaining £250k-per-week and get him gone. The culture within the club with all of these hangers on is all wrong and so what we need is for the culling to start now.
If Torreira is supposedly coming back from Atletico, then get his agent flights to Italy to secure a permanent move over there. Take the hit. If somebody can offer £15million then we just take it. That’s where we’re at right now. I have been one of the people who rated Torreira, was glad to hear the club holding out and not wanting to sell him too cheaply, but we just need to trim this squad and start the fire sale because as I wrote about a few days ago, we’re in free fall and there needs to be lots of changes.
Send Ceballos back if you can. Find a buyer for Elneny. Then bring in another midfielder or a Hale-Ender for the rest of the season. Play Maitland-Niles there for christ’s sake! He’s an infinitely improved option than the backwards passing Egyptian, so take the hit on Mo and get him out of the door to a buying club. Even if they only give you a couple of million. Just take it.
Where we’re at right now has to be about freeing up space, removing deadwood, as well as cutting some of the bad eggs out of the club and that to me feels like some of those senior pro’s stinking out the joint. If the rumours are true about Willian and Real Betis, then let him go. Give him to Betis for free just to get him off the wage books. Take the hard decision and the swift decision that it hasn’t worked and so we move on. It’s the right thing to do for the club.
But we need to make proper decisions. Offloading Xhaka to Inter but getting Erikson from them is just more of the same and will end up with the same results. Take low money on Xhaka but get money that can be reinvested on a different approach.
But the problem we might have is that Arteta has chucked his lot in with a few of those players. I hope he is sat at London Colney right now thinking about ways in which he can bin so many of them but I think he will stick by them until the end of this season at least. And that may well get him canned. He needs to be going to Edu and telling him to start the culling process now. He should be having conversations with players and agents now that as soon as the new year hits then there are some players out the door.
It will get some goodwill back from the fans too. They’ll see that Mikel knows there is too much fat in this squad and some trimming needs to happen straight away. Wins will make things better, but showing you are ready to cut out the rotting flesh from this team will also do him good.
It is time we saw action.
Catch you guys on Boxing Day with a pre match preview.