Two things need to happen this summer; we need to keep Mesut Ozil and get Antoine Griezmann. We all know and cringe when we remember what happened in the summer of 2014-with the whole Luis Suarez debacle, that cannot happen again.
Last season we were told there was no top striker available, this summer there is. Griezmann is the just the striker we need, he’s quick- dynamic – composed – and deadly in front of goal. Since his transfer from Real Sociedad in 2014 he has blossomed into a fully-fledged world class talent, and at 25 he is firmly placed to dominate the striker scene for many years to come.
Of course if this was 10 years or so ago he would never have left France for anywhere else other than Arsenal, any French wonder-kid would have been snapped by our scouts before anyone else had a sniff. His stats of 46 goals in 179 games for Real Sociedad (over 5 years mainly as a winger) have turned into 43 goals in 73 games (majority as out and out striker). Plying his trade under Diego Simeone has obviously helped, having someone who has instilled a confidence in him to lead the line that has previously seen Aguero, Forlan, Diego Costa, Falcao and more recently Jackson Martinez. Martinez couldn’t hack the intensity required so Griezmann has stepped up and that makes this season all the more impressive. Arsenal, on paper arguably have a better team that Atletico, but on the field we pale in comparison right now and if we were to prise him away from the Vincente Calerdon, the boost to the team would be something not seen since the arrival of Ozil.
Which brings me nicely to Mesut Ozil, I think it’s safe to say he’s an unhappy bunny right now, and he’s justified. Mesut is a winner and wants to win everything, yes he’s described as lazy and people can say he goes missing in big games, but he is a superstar. A world class play-maker that should have broken the assist record this season, set at 21 by Thierry Henry, for various reasons that seems unlikely and his recent body language suggests he could be off this summer. Do I think he’ll leave? No, but do I think his unhappiness could force a move? Yes. There are rumours Ozil and Alexis would both move this summer if an opportunity presented itself, and whilst I want both to stay, if we lost one, I’d keep Ozil over Sanchez all day.
Sanchez is also a world class player and we’re lucky to have him, his form last season was stunning but this year he hasn’t produced close to that standard. It’s harsh to criticise Alexis, he did miss 3 months of the season due to a hamstring injury and that would hamper any player who relies on quick bursts of speed – but his play this year has at times hampered our play, his dilly dallying on the ball in certain situations have led to breakdown in attacks and he is guilty of over playing at times due to his eagerness to do it all himself. Ozil on the other hand has created 141 chances this season, 123 of those have been ‘key’ passes and have led to only 18 Assists, to me that is criminal. How can we expect to keep a player of Ozil’s stature happy if we can’t convert the chances he creates? Yet he’s often the first criticised by the media and fans alike who say he’s lazy.
I don’t pretend to know what Arsene is thinking for transfers this summer, I don’t proclaim to be ITK one bit, but I would hope that someone somewhere in the Arsenal hierarchy can see that we need a consistent striker who is getting better all the time, and that is Griezmann. If we are bold and offer £45 to £50 million pounds (or euros) we could get him, Atletico are used to buying young, sometimes unknown players, improving them and then selling on for a high profit and will no doubt use the money to find another gem to lead their line. I believe Griezmann would come to us, it’s an easy sell in all honesty, be the lead man in our attack being fed chances by Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla, and Wilshere, whilst being protected by Xhaka (fingers crossed) and of course the ever reliable Cech in goal. Oh and promise we’ll sell Walcott ASAP and promise never to allow Flamini anywhere near the pitch. As I’ve said previously, this summer is vital and the window this summer is short due to the Euros and players wanting to focus on that rather than transfers. But if we don’t move quickly and Griezmann fires France to glory, we’ll have many more teams fighting for his signature.
For a bit of fun my ideal team for next season would be: Cech, Monreal, Chambers, Koscielny, Bellerin, Xhaka, Kante, Sanchez, Ozil, Mahrez and Griezmann
Ok, so that team has probably zero balance to it, but a man can dream can’t he…
Until next week.