Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Gotze: the truth -Wenger plan for squad clear out leaked -AOC's pay rise

Morning Gooners.

Well it's halfway through a week without football for us and it seems to be going ok. The players returned to training yesterday after two rest days and those with bumps and bruises have had time to put their feet up for an extra day ahead of this weekend's game with QPR.

The Arsenal press office have been busy talking to their friends in the media about Arsene's plans for the summer. There are lots of stories in today's newspapers - the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and The Sun amongst others - about a mass clear out at the club this summer designed to increase capacity in the squad ahead of a tricky summer discussing contract extensions with Robin van Persie, Theo Walcott and Alex Song.

We know the names of the players who seem to be sitting around collecting their wages and not getting anywhere near the first team. The likes of Manuel Almunia, Sebastien Squillaci, Ju Young Park and Marouane Chamakh are on the list as are Andrey Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos Vela, Denilson.

If you were questioning Arsenal efficiency of spend when it comes to those players, you can see that we aren't getting value for money. These players aren't troubling those in front of them for places in the team and the club must move them on to be able to reassign their wages elsewhere.

That will mean continuing to loan them out if we can't sell them at their full market value or selling them on the cheap, which Arsenal would rather not do.

If the departures take place, there will be room in the squad for new signings. The likes of Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen, Montpellier forward Olivier Giroud and Rennes midfielder Yann M'Vila have all been linked. As have Blackburn attacker Junior Hoilett and Lille forward Eden Hazard.

Who comes in is anyone's guess, although a deal for Lukas Podolski is almost ready to be announced.

One player we almost certainly won't be signing is Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze who signed an extension to his contract yesterday. It was hardly a surprise and it's something we do all the time. While Gotze may still leave this summer, it won't be in a cut price deal. A club who really want to add him to their squad are going to have to match the German club's full asking price.

The Bundesliga club know they have a player who is wanted by a host of Europe's biggest clubs so have offered the player an increase in his wages so he'll sign an extension, thus protecting his value. It's what Arsenal did with Cesc Fabregas by getting him to sign a seven year deal.

If a Manchester City went in this summer and wanted to take Gotze, they're going to have to pay upward of £35m. Arsenal are never going to be able to compete with the richest club in the world on transfer fees and wages.

But the player is currently happy in Germany and doesn't see himself moving away at the end of the season. So Arsenal could have a chance in the summer of 2013. However a move to north London seems to be unlikely at this stage even though Arsene Wenger rates the player highly. Every big club know his name, so when Gotze does finally decide to leave Dortmund, he'll have a pick of destinations. Arsenal have a chance but it will be a slim one.

But while there might be doom and gloom about us not signing Gotze, the surprise package of the season must surely be Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. No one expected the teenager to have the impact he has and according to the press, the manager has been so impressed that he'll sit down with the Ox and hand him a pay rise, which could almost double the £20-25k he currently earns each week.

I'm sure no one would have an issue with Alex getting a pay rise. He's been an excellent signing for us and will only get better.

More tomorrow.

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