Arsenal’s pre-season is developing the element of a thriller with truth stranger than fiction.
Following the raw courage of Sead Kolasinac on Thursday taking on knife wielding car-jackers bare-handed (one paper argues that Kolasinac should be made captain through his actions) now a body has been found at the Egyptian home of Mohamed Elneny.
Gazetta reports the house, close to the city of Mahalla Al-Kubra, is currently under construction. Police are yet to formally identify the deceased and it is not known whether it was a criminal act or an accident. It is thought Elneny is set to leave Arsenal, following a proposed move to Crystal Palace as a makeweight, after playing 89 appearances.
Something doesn’t add up when it comes to the William Saliba signing from St.Etienne. That’s the opinion of Neil Moxley in The People.
In the existentialism of the now that is modern soccer, why would Arsenal forego millions on the future, loaning him back for a season, when the crying need is now, he argues.
But hold on. News just breaking that Arsenal are interested in a loan move for Juventus centre back, Daniele Rugani according to Corriere Torino.
The 24-year-old, valued at 40m euros made 20 appearances for Juventus last season but appears unlikely to be a regular in Turin due to the signing of Matthijs de Ligt, from Ajax.
And on Pepe, Stewart Robson in The Express, (who we think has often had a very critical view of Arsenal – maybe subconscious) says if the signing goes ahead it spells the end of the Arsenal careers of Ozil and Mkhitaryan.
Maybe too premature as one Welsh paper is reporting Liverpool is attempting to hi-jack the deal. And too simplistic maybe – but one of them can’t play wide if Pepe plays – which no doubt he will, if he joins. Also, what about Alex Iwobi who had expressed concerns in This Day about Zaha taking his spot. Ironically it was Zaha taking Pepe’s right side spot in the Ivory Coast side’s African Cup of Nations team.
Iwobi says: “The manager gave me the confidence to express myself and to believe in my ability, which I have been trying to show. In training, too, he was always letting me try new things – be positive, be direct and prove it in the games. It is working for me so I just have to keep it going.
“Do I feel like a better player than a year ago? I’d just say I am more confident. I feel that even if I make a mistake, I am able to go again. I think that is the difference between me last year and this year.”
The i reports that goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is staying at Arsenal, despite a host of clubs wanting him on loan. Sensible with only two goalkeepers on the first team books, including the Argentine.
The Sun reports that Danny Welbeck hasn’t found a club yet – quoting a £100,000/week wages and a £5m signing on fee. It says he made 48 appearances for Arsenal in five years – that makes it nine games a year.
Do Arsenal sometimes put money before football? Yes, if the contract revelations over Alex Oxlade Chamberlain are to believed?
Alan Gernon in his book, The Transfer Market: The Inside Stories (summarised in the Mirror) says: “Following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Arsenal in 2011, Gunners fans became increasingly frustrated with the midfielder’s lack of playing time,” reads a section. “He was predominantly used as a substitute, often around the 71-minute mark. After his contract details emerged, it all became clear: Arsenal were obliged to pay Southampton £10,000 every time he played 20 minutes or more.”
The Sunday Times points out that Arsenal shirts for 2005-6 season, the last at Highbury before moving to the Emirates stadium sells for about £200.
Interesting football business story in the Sunday Times about the company selling them and how Doug Bierton and Matthew Dale bought shirts from eBay and second-hand shops to sell on at a profit.
A turning point came in 2010 when Bierton and Dale, both now 34, convinced the Italian club AC Milan to sell them 15 years’ worth of unwanted stock. It included shirts worn by the likes of David Beckham and Paolo Maldini.
Classic Football Shirts made profits of close to £2m on sales of £10.5m. The business sells 500,000 pieces of kit a year to 150 countries and employs 75 people, mostly in Manchester.
This season current authentic Arsenal kit sells at £145 (£100 shirt, £30 shorts, £15 socks) – the fifth most expensive in the Premier League for the team which finished fifth. Tottenham’s cost £161 and are top of the league.
Talking of money and figures, Arsenal come 42nd in Forbes Most Valuable Teams (£1.83bn). Man U, Chelsea and Man CO2 City are above them.
More facts and figures from the Sunday Times – about the rise of the Women’s game. The average attendance figure for the WSL last season was 996. Champions Arsenal, attracted a crowd of 3,019 for their match against Chelsea in January.
The manager of Arsenal Women, Joe Montemurro, said of the game at the Emirates against Bayern Munich prior the men’s match against Lyon: “It stamps where the game is going. Women’s football is an important part of the football landscape. It’s a great base for us to launch the game. We will see more games played in major stadiums throughout the season.”
Dave Kitson’s article in the Sun makes you angry if you are an Arsenal supporter and raises questions about retrospective damages. Chuck in Dan Smith’s career limiting assault on Abou Diaby, as well.
It arises as Ryan Shawcross broke a leg yesterday leading to Twitter comments that he deserved it after THAT tackle on Aaron Ramsey.
Kitson puts the blame fairly and squarely on Tony Pulis, the then Stoke City manager – and the methods he instilled.
“You put the keeper through the net and into the stand behind. If you miss the ball you make sure you take someone with you,” was one quote from Pulis he remembers before that game.
Or as Kitson paraphrases it: ‘don’t give them time, get in their faces, if the ball is there to be won go and f****** win it’. The dressing room was hyped up with super aggression and nervous energy – conducted by Pulis.
After the leg-breaking tackle by Shawcross: “Wenger gave me this look of complete and utter disappointment — the kind of look your dad gives you when you’ve f***** up, when he’s gone beyond anger. It was as if he was saying to me ‘I’m surprised that you would be a part of this’. That’s how I felt. I didn’t know where to look, I was totally embarrassed.
“Prior to that happening I was probably quite a tough footballer and a tough man. But, in that split second, Wenger gave me that look and I lost something inside of me.”