Monday 25 September 2017

Arsenal & Alex Oxlade – Chamberlain

Some players leave Arsenal and you go absolutely ballistics due to the loss of their on – the football - field talents. Judas van Persie & Csnakes Fabregas comes to mind.

Some leave and you feel  - good riddance! William Gallas on my mind here.

Some leave and you shrug your shoulders knowing we will be fine. There have been many like these.

What I usually don’t like is when a player the club wants to keep ends up leaving.  Especially if they are in the first team, if they are a game changer or are very close to realizing their potential. In situations like these, it potentially results in the team and manager trying to rebuild which can hamper the team’s ability to compete or win titles.

Arsenal have suffered a lot from the last type of departure in the recent past. Principally because of money i.e. the financial constraints the club has had to deal with. A good technical player like Alexander Hleb left and left something of a hole to plug, even a barely above average player like Alex Song leaving had its impact.

Since the departure of Judas in 2012 and until the summer of 2017, Arsenal had not lost a single player it wanted to keep. That is very encouraging.

When the rumors started that Alex Oxlade Chamberlain (AOC) didn’t want to sign a new contract at Arsenal. I discounted the rumors. Surely not him!!! When the rumors got louder, I wanted the club & manager to make an example of him, dump him in the reserves and see how he feels with losing his England place.

While I admired his power and ability to take on defenders and his sometimes good crosses for some crucial goals, I didn’t think he was exceptional. Financially I assumed he was one player the club could afford to take a loss on as he signed for £15m in 2011.

I sort of kept my counsel when Arsene started to say these very nice things about him.  I had seen nothing to suggest that Oxlade Chamberlain is John the Baptist to Kylian Mbappe’s Jesus Christ.

Arsene sees him everyday in training so he knows what he is talking about. In retrospect seeing as Sir Alex Ferguson has unreservedly commended Arsene Wenger’s poker face during negotiations, I have come to believe that Wenger had the said poker face on when making those comments about AOC.

It would appear that Arsene Wenger & Arsenal ended up selling Liverpool a Custard Cream biscuit without the cream. Liverpool paid double the value Arsenal paid Southampton for AOC 6 years ago. And soon when Klopp gets to another final that he is fated to lose, they will pay Arsenal another £10m. In effect, Liverpool have paid Arsenal every single penny they paid AOC in wages and bonuses during his 6 year stay at Arsenal.  

On AOC taking a pay cut to go to Liverpool. This is not true. It is one of those urban legends. Here is David Ornstein, a man who appears to have top level access in Arsenal saying that AOC was offered a sum approaching £180k if Arsenal qualified for Champions League.

The base sum was comparable in my opinion to the salary he was offered at Liverpool. So AOC did not take a pay cut or forego any money to join Liverpool. This wasn’t some altruistic decision. He went for certainty, guaranteed money instead of ‘maybe’ money.

He appears to genuinely want to work with an expressive manager like Klopp. He has probably been regaled with stories by Adam Llallana & Nathaniel Clyne of how touchy feely Klopp is. Conte and Wenger although not outwardly alike are not the hugging / cuddling type.

I genuinely doubt it is anything to do with playing in the middle too. I dare say if Alex watched himself in the middle for England, he will never cling to the desire that he wants to play in the middle.

In terms of technical ability, he is nowhere near anything Arsenal has in the middle either as a screen for the back 4 or as the playmaker. I think he will need to cure himself of this harebrained scheme that he can pull the strings in the middle. Francis Coquelin has more football skills than AOC and needed to come to the realization in his own mind that his future in the Arsenal team lies in his ability to break opponents play up not ‘playmake’ for Arsenal before he got a decent run in the side.  If AOC thinks he is going to get in the Liverpool team ahead of Coutinho, Llallana, Emre Can & Henderson, I have some snake oil to sell to him.

With his departure to Liverpool, AOC has been jeered and derided by many including Arsenal fans. Nobody of note has stood up for him, or his move and his performance in the Liverpool shirt. These includes Klopp who made a glib remark about AOC needing a fresh start. I can’t imagine a 23 / 24 year old needing a fresh start! FFS! Leroy Sane is 21. Raheem Sterling is 23. They didn’t leave their club for a fresh start. They left to improve the club they are going to.

Emile Heskey, a Liverpool legend no less was very scathing about AOC’s performance in the League Cup loss to Leicester. See here When Emile starts to slam you, things must be really bad. I wonder if AOC’s dad had any input in this move. I will be staggered if he was supportive.

While AOC’s performance is new to the whole country and the big wild wide world,  it is regular fare for Arsenal fans who have tolerated his 6 years of injuries and stop start performance. Arsenal fans are not bitter at his departure, they are incredulous that a mug paid £40m for him and are determined that the mugs should not forget that fact.

People should stop making out that Arsenal fans are bitter with AOC leaving The Emirates. If there is any lingering bad feeling, it has to be down to AOC’s deceit. The word on the street is that he was committed to leaving way before the transfer window opened and already had his eyes on Anfield. He then changed his mind to Chelsea, changed it again to stay at Arsenal and changed a few more times before settling for Anfield on the eve of the closure of the transfer window. All of these while leaving a bitter present when he couldn’t even pretend he cared one bit during the Arsenal away game at Anfield.

Guess what Liverpool fans? The tongue that was used to emotionally abuse the ex is right in store for your lot.

I am disappointed with the deceit. I get the fact that club’s can generally dispense of players when they want but Arsenal don’t have this reputation. Be upfront with a manager who has stuck up for you for 6 years and tell him you want to leave not dropping rat poop all over the place by liking silly videos on the so called Arsenal Fan TV one minute and kissing the badge the next minute.

Last season, I watched an ill disciplined Oxlade Chamberlain flailing his arms all over the place during one of the Bayern matches. Also during the first league match this season, he was openly irritated with Theo at least twice.

While I feel somewhat chastened that a player has left Arsenal, I am happy to see the back of a player who didn’t want to play for the club.

I wish him well as long as he doesn’t turn out to be the next Kylian Mbappe. I am glad we have seen the back of him. The cheek of wanting to go to Liverpool and develop like Sturridge & Henderson and end up with Sweet FA.

On to West Brom tonight. Please. 3 points only. Even better if it goes in off the backside of Handsome Oli for his 100th Arsenal goal. A man deserving of all the plaudits and accolades for his consistent performance and loyalty to the badge.

1 comment:

  1. Great read again! You've written what most of us have been and are thinking.