Saturday 27 January 2018


The answer to which team got the better deal in the Sanchez Mkhitaryan exchange is simple.


It goes back to the Media’s ability to control the narratives and generate more eyeballs and social media engagements / clickbaits.

More Nonsense. More money for the Media people with many lazy sports journalists who crowd source almost all of their articles from social media postings of lemmings pretending to be in the know.

First off. How do you quantify better deal?

Money gained / saved? Player impact? Trophies won at the end of the player’s contract? How pleased the fans are with the transfer? The manager? What exactly are you measuring?

What are the facts and not some meaningless search for social media engagements?


Arsenal were reported to have valued Alexis at between £30m and £35m. They had accepted (subject to been able to sign a replacement) a £60m bid by Manchester City lodged almost 24 hours before the end of the Summer transfer period. As Arsenal couldn’t sign a replacement, a decision was made to keep him.

There are rumors potentially now supported by the reactions of Arsenal players to Sanchez departure that Alexis was not popular in the dressing room.

Overall for Arsenal and in his career, Alexis Sanchez’s goals stats are phenomenal. However he was part of an Arsenal Team that finished Fifth for the first time in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal career.

Hi goals stats since he couldn’t join Manchester City in the summer and up until his last game for Arsenal was on a downward spiral. Seven goals, three assists and 38% shooting accuracy in 19 Premier League matches compared with 24 goals and 10 assists in 38 matches the previous season. Source         

His reputation for ball turnover / dispossession are legendary. While many passionately dislike him for this, others give him a pass because they believe he is trying to work some magic.

Since he joined Arsenal, his overall game stats have improved remarkably and shows that those who claim Arsene’s best days are behind him are misguided or just liars. Arsene Wenger improved Alexis Sanchez.

Fast forward to the January transfer window. The player still wants to leave. The numbers he wants cannot be matched by Arsenal. PSG and Bayern couldn’t make the numbers work and so eventually too Man City couldn’t cough up the dosh.


At the start of the January transfer window, Manchester City knew clearly that Arsenal wanted £30m to £35m. Just like in the summer, some smart arse in Man City thought they could low ball Arsenal and wait till the last day of the transfer window. They wanted to pay £20m. How utterly ridiculous and disrespectful?
They thought he was worth £60m the last window, why were they offering a third of his value in the next window?

It was either they didn’t really want him or they thought Arsenal were desperate. I suspect the latter and Man City’s dithering allowed Manchester United come in.   Had Man City coughed up the extra £10m to £15m, Alexis might be their man now since they reportedly already had a player contract agreed with his agent.

Now he is a Manchester United player with rumors that his total package can be something like £600k per week if you include bonus payments. Staggering.

Arsenal effectively got their £35m valuation although not in cash but definitely in a player like Mkhitaryan. If you don’t think he is worth £30m to £35m in today’s market despite all the issues he had with Jose, there is no helping you. Yes he is coming on possibly bigger wages than average squad players but just realize that Arsenal don’t get dicked about in the transfer market.

Arsenal have made a name for not paying over the odds. Whatever they are paying Mkhitaryan he is worth it.

In addition, they get a player very much in the mold of all of Arsene’s successful projects. A Dennis Bergkamp losing his way in Inter Milan, A Thierry Henry who had lost his confidence in Juventus, A Patrick Vieira who was out of sorts at AC Milan, a Mesut Ozil disillusioned with life at Real Madrid.

Arsenal get a player who is urbane, a citizen of the world and a gentleman who speaks six languages. No wonder he couldn’t get along with Jose Mourinho. A player who can start on a clean slate, bond with our growing German contingent and with the rest of his colleagues.

What does Manchester United get in return? A player who has publicly showed his disdain for his teammates. Sulking and throwing tantrums in front of the whole world both when things are going great and when the team is having a bad patch.

It is not as if Alexis Sanchez is going into a Manchester City who are winning absolutely everything except when they play Shaktar Donetsk and pesky Liverpool. He is going to a team who have struggled to win many matches this season. A team well known for their preparedness to win and lose ugly and throw silly tantrums unbefitting of a two year old because their opponents are playing music.

I honestly can’t wait for the looming confrontation between Jose Mourinho and Alexis Sanchez. And it will come. Mark my word.

If Alexis has no respect for Giroud, no way he is going to think highly of Romelu ‘Touch of a Bricklayer’ Lukaku or the midgets in the Manchester United dressing room.

In addition, Manchester United get a player who has already torn up their wage structure. Forget all the protestations about bonus payments etc. The top line figure is what other players like Pogba et al will be aiming for and they already are. 

Manchester United protesting that the overall deal is what justifies them paying him £600k per week doesn’t wash with me and shouldn’t wash with any right thinking person.

Paying a 29-year-old £600k on a 234 weeks contract till he is 33 or 34 on top of the £35m for Mkhitaryan makes it a total shell out of £175m for Alexis Sanchez if all the bonuses and image rates milestones are met. Plus rumored payments of £15m to Alexis’ agent and a pay off to Mkhitaryan and his agent and it is conceivable that the cost of the transfer can easily top £200m all in.

If United had waited till May, they could have saved £35m straightaway and the payments to Mkhitaryan and his agent. There is no guarantee anybody could have matched them on the wages anyway.

All of that is now spilled milk. However who got the better deal will be determined ultimately by the end result. Will both United & Arsenal play better because of Sanchez’ departure? I will say yes.

Will Manchester United win the big trophies they crave because of Alexis Sanchez? I will stick my neck out and say not a single chance. As long as the ‘money no object’ guys in blue are in the Emptyhad and the referees remain in their pockets, Mourinho is not winning the Premier League. Similarly in Europe, I expect them to go out in the next round or to be massacred if they get to the quarterfinals. It won change next season either.

Saturday 13 January 2018

Reaction To Coquelin Transfer Is Evidence Some Arsenal Fans Have Lost It

With his recent transfer to Valencia, I am 100% certain many now know a lot about Francis Coquelin.

He joined Arsenal at the age of 17 after been scouted by Gilles Grimandi. 2 years later he alongside Alexandre Lacazette & Antoine Griezmann won the U19 Euros Championship for France with Francis playing 84 minutes in the final game and Lacazette scoring the winning goal. Francis was also a member of the Arsenal 2009 FA Youth Cup winning squad.

As Francis himself commented in his goodbye message to fans, he came as a boy and Arsenal was part of his growing up to be a man. He considered Arsenal his second family.

I remember when I first watched Francis in the 6 nil League Cup defeat of Sheffield United. I heard great things about him that night – his versatility and the fact he was very much one for the future. He played at right back as a substitute. His all round play was good. He was confident and you could see he was enjoying himself.  He featured many times in positions he didn’t prefer just to do a job for his club and manager and this perhaps contributed to his delay in nailing down more starts for the first team. It is a measure of the lad’s level headedness that till today, he is not one for a social media circus. 

Like almost all the French players I have watched, he is technically gifted as a footballer and the comfort level on the ball is something you don’t see often with footballers trained in England.

Yes he didn’t turn out to be a world-class footballer. But world-class teams don’t have 11 World Class Players; there are many non world-class players in the Barcelona and Real Madrid squads. Also you don’t need to be world class to win trophies in your playing career. After all Jamie Carragher & Djimi Traore won the UEFA Champions League.

Also not all promising players fulfill their potential. Only Jack Wilshere has had a comparatively better career than Francis Coquelin at senior level amongst the Arsenal 2009 FA Youth Cup winning squad.  

Similarly with the French side that won the U19 Euros. Only Griezmann and Lacazette have done better than Coquelin. If you look at the England squad that went to that Euros, only Nathaniel Clyne could be said to have anything close to the career Francis has had at Arsenal. And Francis has won more trophies than Clyne.

While many are happy to jump on the ‘he didn’t progress’ bandwagon, I dare say he has been unlucky. He has had to wait his turn behind players like Diaby (before his injury), Denilson, Song, Fabregas, Rosicky, Nasri, Eboue, Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Benayoun and then Ozil and Cazorla before he got his opportunity in 2015 due to key injuries.

Apart from the Class of 92 at United, how many Academy Players have top clubs like Liverpool, United, and Chelsea produced? So Francis not developing into a top player isn’t the capital crime many want to turn it into. Just like Francis got his opportunity by chance, a player like Marcus Rashford got his opportunity the same way.

Everybody in United was raving about James Wilson who was going to be the new Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Van Persie combined into one person. But Wilson is now playing in the championship and Jose is gradually changing young Marcus’ game into a variation of his surname (THRASHford)

Another bandwagon that many jumped on is the low fee supposedly paid by Valencia to Arsenal despite the over inflated price in the market and the fact that Coquelin had a long term contract that was only renewed 12 months ago.

At something like £45k per week, handing Coquelin a contract extension was a no brainer. He does more than enough for £45k. Not renewing his contract at a time when his very good partnership with Santi Cazorla was still a thing would have been poor management. At the time Francis’ contract extension was announced, it was thought Santi was only out for the short term.

Deciding to sell him 12 months after extending his contract is what any business will do. Individuals wake up one morning craving a ‘Grande Macchiato Skinny Latte’ (If there is anything like that) and go to bed drinking some dross in a can. Businesses change strategic direction and reverse operating plans. Why should a club not change its decision when the facts change?

Coquelin wasn’t getting game time again because of competition. His partnership with others hasn’t quite worked out as it did with Cazorla. So the boss has let him go for the sake of his own career. Why is that such a hard thing to comprehend?

On the transfer fee, people accuse Stan Kroenke and the Board of Arsenal of not wanting to spend money. How can you then turn around and accuse them of throwing money away by selling a player at a lower fee than his transfer value? If they don’t like spending money, they are unlikely to be throwing it away.

Arsenal have gained something of a reputation for not paying above their own valuation of a player in the transfer market, why is this perception no longer true when it comes to selling a player? Why should Arsenal sell a player below its transfer value?

2 years ago, Nzonzi was £7m to the same Valencia. This season Konoplyanka left Athletico Madrid for Schalke for £11m. These are players that can be considered considerably better than Francis.

It might interest the moaners to realize that Valencia apparently paid Arsenal more than the players’ market value, contrary to their over inflated opinion.  

It is very arrogant for ANY Arsenal fan to believe they know more about player valuation than the professionals working inside the club.

Even if Arsenal sell Coquelin cheaply. So what!

To help him get a decent sign - on bonus and wage at Valencia. He deserves every penny. He helped the club recruit his good friend Alexandre Lacazette and served Arsenal loyally for almost 10 years. I don’t understand demanding loyalty and not reciprocating.

By the way, valuations are not about opinions. So please take a step back on this one and don’t plead that bullshit about the right to an opinion.

If Arsenal have a sell on clause, they might potentially be getting something out of the 80m euros buy out clause Valencia has slapped on Coquelin. Hopefully when Real Madrid, Barcelona or PSG pay that money in 18 months time, 25% of that will come into Arsenal’s pockets.