Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Four reasons why Arsenal new boy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the most unlikely Arsene Weger signing

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the most unlikely Arsene Wenger signing.
Here’s four reasons why:

1. He is 29 in June.

2. He has a bad boy reputation.

3. He has cost £56million (or      €63.7m).

4. Arsenal already have the same  player in Alexandre Lacazette.

So what this says to me is that times are changing at Arsenal and Wenger is falling into line with the revolution going on around him.
Don’t be fooled by anyone who says this isn’t a Wenger signing. Of course Wenger gave the go-ahead but his influence and control isn’t as strong as it was.
Now other people - namely Arsenal’s new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and chief executive Ivan Gazidis - are putting their reputations on the line on signings.
If they don’t work out, then blame those guys and not Wenger. It’s no longer “his money” and so if he wants a player then he can get him and hang the expense.

Wenger always looked to re-sale value. But now he can let others worry about that. Let them get on with it. It’s a big price.
And for the negative points, Aubameyang is a classic Wenger player - quick, great movement, great technique and scores goals.
In terms of his reputation, Aubameyang looks like the classic football bad boy. But the reality is that, up until the last six months, he has actually been incredibly focused, driven and determined.
But Aubameyang wanted to move last summer, thought he was going to get his wish and then sulked and behaved badly when it didn’t happen.
He was suspended for being late, missing team meetings and then upset the club by missing the court case in Germany on Monday after last year’s terror attack on the Dortmund team bus.
But Mislintat has not only vouched for Aubameyang the player, but he has also vouched for Aubameyang the person.
He has assured Arsenal that the player - who he played such a big part in discovering and turning into a superstar during his time at Dortmund - is the classic misunderstood guy who is actually a good lad.
Mislintat is a cool guy himself, trendy stubble and haircut, dresses casually and has a man bag over his shoulder. He is very relaxed and friendly. He’s someone players will like and can relate to.
He has a connection with Aubameyang which meant that he was sure this deal could happen when Arsenal were given encouragement by Borussia Dortmund.
All this brings us to the final point on where does he play? Lacazette signed for £52m in the summer and now Arsenal have broken their transfer record twice within a year signing two strikers for a team which plays with one up.
When asked after signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan with Aubameyang on the brink of signing, where will they both play, Wenger just shrugged his shoulders and said he will just play them all.
That is classic Wenger. Sign good players, worry about the formation later. Maybe you can use them both, neither will want to play wide but Wenger will have to worry about either going back to three at the back with a 3-5-2 formation or, more likely, go 4-2-3-1 with one of them missing out.
I think Wenger will use Mkhitaryan as a No.8, Mesut Ozil behind the strikers and Aubameyang first choice central striker.
Lacazette hasn’t been the huge success Arsenal hoped.
He has struggled for goals, worked hard against Chelsea last week, lost a sprint race against at least two Swansea defenders last night.
Maybe Lacazette becomes the new Olivier Giroud and is the supersub or saved for the Europa League. I’m not convinced Wenger actually wanted Lacazette that much because he baulked at his price and paying over £30m in 2016, so you can imagine he had doubts at £52m last year.
But Lacazette will now have to fight for his future and maybe that’s the best thing about Aubameyang’s arrival. No-one can be assured of their place anymore.
Wenger also knows that he had to change if he wants to stay and see out the final year of his contract which expires in 2019.
So far, he is embracing that.
I keep reading that Wenger made a put down remark to Mislintat. I was at that press conference and he did no such thing, he was just talking about a new way of working and how Mislintat could find players in unexpected places.
It was a compliment, not a put down. Blimey, I saw all his rants about directors of football to knows one of those.Wenger likes the new contract guy Huss Fahmy and is clearly listening to Mislintat.
Former Barcelona director of football Raúl Sanllehí starts at Arsenal on February 1 which has meant that the outgoing transfer fixer Dick Law has worked on deals in this window.
And Aubameyang is one hell of a leaving present as he prepares to say his farewells. He helped oversee deals for Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Aubameyang.
The times they are a changing at Arsenal and Wenger is embracing them.


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