Gunner Thoughts

Morning blog grab bag: Saliba + Ozil + Partey

A continuation of the interlull’s slow news days, Monday fell right in line. We got a lovely bit of news from the club revolving around Gabriel Martinelli sharing that he feels stronger, more confident in his knee, and is on the mend. Exciting news, although by the sounds of it, Gabi and Arsenal will be shooting for a return around the new year mark still. It’s great news, it’s always nice to hear of good player recovery, especially surrounding someone as early in their promising career at Martinelli is, and we can look forward to having his services back once more in a few months. I am sure Arteta is looking forward to adding another option into the mix, but for now he has a few more pressing matters to consider.

One of the current matters needing to be solved surrounds another youngster, William Saliba. In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned that it seemed as though he would be destined for a loan away from Arsenal at some point during this week, given it is the end of the domestic window. Saliba hasn’t played a minute in competitive matches this season, wasn’t listed as a participant in Arsenal’s Europa League group stage squad — games you imagine Arsenal will look to rest other starters in — and reports that Arsenal had been working with St. Etienne to loan Saliba to them once more. That loan fell through at the end of the window, something Etienne is very unhappy with, but all signs pointed toward Arsenal’s intent.

Yesterday, David Ornstein of The Athletic, reported that there had been a late change of heart within Arsenal’s camp and that Saliba now seems destined to stay with Arsenal until the January window at least. Ornstein doesn’t really elaborate much on why that is the case, which leaves many Arsenal fans wondering.

Saliba hasn’t been registered for the Europa League, but will likely be added to the Premier League squad due on October 20th. Will that mean he gets playing time domestically? At the very least he will get additional months around the club to work with Arteta and coaching staff. Arsenal have signed Saliba until 2024 which means they have a lot of time to work with Saliba, cultivate his growth, and work him into the team, if he does go on loan. But it looks as though we can monitor some of that for a few more months.

Saliba’s aspect of Ornstein’s story was simply a footnote ending to his Arsenal update that mostly revolved around Mesut Ozil. In the quest for some level of clarity, Arsenal fans are in search of every bit if information and every clue to explain why Ozil is being left out and what his future in store for him.

Ornstein reported yesterday that Arsenal paid Ozil £8m “loyalty bonus” that is gets as a part of his contract. Surely that is a fee that will have been driving Arsenal’s desire to move him along even more.

“This stems from an arrangement negotiated with the former Real Madrid attacker when he ended speculation about his future by signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal in January 2018.”

“At that point, Arsenal would likely have wanted Ozil to stay until at least the end of his agreement and such a mechanism — which many players benefit from — would have rewarded his service.”

Obviously this clause is not something Arsenal will feel as gone the way they would have hoped when it was written initially. It feels unfair to suggest that Ozil’s fees or this loyalty bonus would have gone a long way in acquiring another midfielder that fit Arteta’s vision, although it didn’t take long for many to do just that.

It’s important to remember that much of the blame for this situation does lie at the feet of the club itself. Even if the decision was made by past leadership that have all gone now, and even some of whom have been replaced once over, it was the club that offered these terms. The question now is — how will the club see out these remaining months?

The next stop is October 20th when we see if his name is registered.

In international friendly news, Ghana played once more with Partey taking up a spot in the midfield. Last time out, there were a few worried faces at his overall stat line.

  • 37 Passes completed (78%)
  • Possession lost 14
  • Dribbles 2/2
  • 1 shot
  • 1 cross
  • 5 tackles
  • 4 interceptions
  • 1 foul.

Certainly the 5 tackles, 4 interceptions will be marked as a positive for those looking for glimpses of defensive quality. However, the 78% pass completion percentage and 14 losses of possession could be a bit worrisome.

However, as mentioned in my blog that covered that on Saturday, it’s a completely different system, different coach, and different ask from his talents than asking him to fit within Arteta’s system surrounded by higher levels of talent as a squad — no disrespect to the Ghana national team.

For anyone that had some of those fears, you can breathe a little easier. Still not a direct example of proof, but in Ghana’s match against Qatar, Partey registered 2 assists, including a spectacular ball over the top and right into the patch of his right winger. It looked a lot like Kieran Tierney’s assist to Aubameyang down the left hand side versus Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinals.

According to a few sources, Partey should be at Arsenal on Wednesday meaning we will finally get to see him in the red and white for real.

Exciting days ahead! On a final note, Arsene Wenger’s autobiography is released and available or you can get the recording, which I believe is narrated by the man himself! Exciting stuff, definitely going to be worth the read. Enjoy the day and hopefully the news picks up a bit more in the coming days!

Bye now.

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