Finally. Finally what has been the most drawn out transfer saga in recent memory came to an end at the top of the new week. Alexis swapped Colney for Carrington and the Armenian god Mkhitaryan came to North London where frequently parked buses are not regularly seen.
Initially the word around town was that we were going to recoup some money back in the deal yet it seems, it ultimately was just a straight swap, a deal which is usually tough to finalize. Now the saga is over, and we can get back to business on the field, whilst hoping and praying the less divisive Ozil and Wilshere put pen to paper on new deals.
Many believe Arsenal may be the biggest losers in this deal with one world class player leaving the club with one with world class potential joining us, but I disagree, I feel there is one group which is going to lose hugely in this whole saga, and it has nothing to do with Arsenal.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Allowing the deals of several players, especially our better ones, to reach the final six months reeks of utterly poor management. This is especially so because we have been in quite similar situations before and seeing it occur again shows a fundamental problem along the chain of authority in the club. Yet, at the end of the day the club has not come out badly at all from this deal. We were fated to lose Alexis to Manchester City and Pep for a meagre £30 million or so, a sum which cannot be used to buy a player of the quality and ability of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
To come out of the deal with a technically sound player who since he came to England has not played under a manager who gives much leeway to technically sound players is good business. The club gets rid of this team dividing Alexis issue, whilst bringing on board a player on a longer contract who is ready to reclaim his status as one of the finest football players around the continent. It is my hope though, that the club does not allow such a contractual situation to repeat it into the season, threatening to unravel everything.
2. ALEXIS SANCHEZ.
He finally gets to play under a manager who plays progressive, attacking football, with a squad capable of challenging for major honours over the length if his contract. He may even end the season as winner of the Premier League title under his mentor, Pep. Oh wait! I got it wrong. He rather gets to bag probably what may be his last huge contract, at the expense of what would have been a better footballing move to City. Good riddance.
3. HENRIKH MKHITARYAN.
The Armenian before he joined United was a player who was made for Arsenal. His slick play, outrageous passing ability and his keen sense of finding space put him on par with some of the world’s best playmakers, including our favorite German player. Yet a move to United, allegedly to spite Arsene by Mourinho, stalled his career in immense ways, as he never got the opportunity to play with any sense of freedom. The United manager is famous for letting players who turn out to be class leave, and this could be one of such cases.
Henrikh with a huge chip on his shoulder gets the chance to turn out in front of fans who adore one who can thread through passes like he can under a manager who will grant him the freedom to reach his utmost best. The onus now falls on him to prove to all the naysayers that he is a big time performer who is world class, and he could go down a legend in a couple of years, unlike the Chilean Shaun Wright Phillips.
One gambit that could speed up Gunners affection for Mkhi will be for him to give his utmost best in terms of effort as well as effectiveness anytime he steps on the field, so as not to be seen as ‘uncaring’ like Ozil was early on.
4. ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE.
Lacazette upon his signing was hailed as the striker we have needed, ever since RVP made the same trip the Chilean just made. His performance has been just as expected except for one phase, consistent goal scoring. His movement, finishing and anticipation have been top notch, yet he has suffered from two main issues; having to play with two different attackers behind him in several games and playing with one who was not fully committed as well as having an alpha dog style of play.
The constant rotation behind Alex has ensured that it’s been difficult to build much chemistry with his teammates which is very essential to a striker, especially with those immediately behind him in attack. The presence of what could be a permanent duo of Henrikh and Ozil behind him is a proposition that could make any striker dizzy from what could be. We should see an upturn in opportunities and as a result goals from Lacazette now that he will be playing with teammates who will be looking to facilitate for him, rather than seeking for glory all by themselves, every time.
1. THE YOUNG ATTACKERS OF UNITED.
It is well known that Mourinho is not a fan of young players, especially young, talented ones, as their skill and freedom of play seems to cause him to age faster when he watches them play. Yet, this year due to poor planning in the transfer market, he has been forced to go with young players such as Martial, Lingard et al and at various points these players have performed brilliantly.
With the addition of a player who shreds what already was a high wage ceiling for United, it is clear one or most of these young players are going to have their playing time affected, stifling their growth. This ultimately will hurt the national teams of countries such as England and France, maybe in little ways, but it will hurt all the same, as some of these young players are quality squad players for them.
The modern day mentality of racking up star players at the expense of youth, to ensure quick glory is one of the reasons why transfers seem to be ballooning out of control, and it seems now wages are going to follow suit as has been the case in this transfer saga. Martial and Lingard amongst the other young attackers will definitely have to make do with seats on the bench, as a player earning £500,000 plus a week has no space there, unless injured.