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Wenger is loath to sign players in order to keep them from the clutches of other teams; Fabregas was the most recent example, opting not to sign the player due to Ozil’s status at the club despite knowledge that Chelsea would follow up with a bid. Similarly, Wenger recommended Antonio Valencia to Wigan back in 2008; having scouted the player for quite a while, Wenger recommended him to Steve Bruce as we were well stocked for wide players at the time. It is one of the attributes that makes him such a fantastic man to work with, his compassion and respect for his players is well known and is one of the reasons he is spoken of so highly of by former players. But with the financial arsenal at his disposal, it may now be the time to become rather more cold-blooded.

 

The truth is, loyalty doesn’t exist in football and Sterling owes Liverpool nothing. The argument that Liverpool allowed Sterling to play on the biggest stage, to start in their starting line-up whilst other, more experienced players sat on the bench, holds no weight. For if it wasn’t for Sterling’s own ability then Liverpool would not have given him the opportunity. Sterling earned his right to play at that level due to Liverpool’s lack of an alternative and the player’s own progress. His ability and importance to the team should not be used as a tactic against him to stay at the club; this train of thought can only be viewed as a form of emotional blackmail. You could argue that the young Englishman may not have made the progress he did without the help of Rodgers and his backroom staff

 

Bellerin struggled for the first few games but alongside the experienced head of Mertesacker, he soon learned to vary his point of attack. His pace meant that if there was a reasonable chance of winning the ball, he could take it; but if not, he could give himself a yard and push the attacker outside, knowing that a heavy touch would see his pace come out on top. Since learning this invaluable lesson, Bellerin has become paramount to our structured game plan, both defensively and

Further forward we have our most expensive player in the club’s history, Mesut Özil. Despite what his critics would have you believe, Mesut is a hugely important cog in this Arsenal team. His nonchalance is juxtaposed by his pinpoint precision. He conducts the play like a musical conductor, swaying the passing from left to right, probing for that crescendo moment. He has adjusted to the pace and physicality of the league exceptionally well and has cast aspersions aside through some pretty impressive statistics. NB: Only in Britain would distance covered statistics pacify fans’ unrest at a player who is clearly exceptionally talented.

Mikel and our BFG are both leaders, powerhouses in a previously fragile environment, but they don’t require an authoritative armband to maintain that. Their presence will remain central. Elevating a younger, more consistent and long-term thinking option into the role is exactly what we need. For long periods, Jack was lobbied as that individual but he has much to establish including an understanding of his best position and a search for tactical discipline seemingly lost. Laurent Koscielny doesn’t have the persona despite his borderline world-class technical attributes. Ozil, our other World Cup winner, needn’t apply. Alexis, perhaps the most inspirational to others, offers a different brand of leadership and under his helm, injuries would surely mount further with his unquenchable thirst regardless of positioning within the infamous ‘red zone’. Beyond that, the options dwindle.

Despite our improved recent financial clout, Wenger is still determined to nurture talent and introduce it on the biggest stage. There are a number of candidates in this current Arsenal team alone; Koscielny who arrived from Ligue 2 in France is one of the best centre backs in the league, Ramsey who was once the target of much derision proved his value last year with some unplayable performances and Santi Cazorla, who stepped into the centre midfield berth this year, is directing play much like a musical conductor. However, it is the continued improvement of Olivier Giroud that excites my nether region more than any other. The handsome Frenchman, bought at a reasonable £12 million from Montpeillier, arrived with little in the way of expectations. We had signed Podolski and

Sterling has been in the papers for the last few days having told Rodgers that anything short of £180k a week is a slap in the face; which has sparked a number of transfer rumours, with Arsenal apparently at the head of the queue. He is an interesting prospect but one that Arsenal need not pursue. There is little doubt that Sterling has the potential to be an exceptional player; his role in Liverpool’s title bid was significant and, from a neutral’s point of view, interesting to watch. He’s a valuable commodity, his talent and nationality confirm it. He is quick thinking, agile, possesses incredible close control and can change a game. He has proven himself in arguably the toughest league in the world and will continue to improve. Yet I somehow don’t feel as enthusiastic about a potential signing as I would have done in the past. It could be that I’m aware that his current stance could simply be a bargaining tool or it could be that I sympathise with Liverpool having gone through the same with

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more