Archive June 2018

VAR: Success or Failure?

The World Cup has taken centre stage this past couple of weeks and whilst it’s been entertaining, enthralling and most enjoyable I think we can all agree VAR has been a major talking point.  Joined by former professional referee Keith Hackett and football journalist Harry De Cosemo we discussed the VAR’s implementation so far.

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Transfer Talk: Episode 3

Host @HarrySymeou is joined by Sports Reporter @cdavison_afc to reflect on the signing of Bernd Leno and the news Jack Wilshere will be leaving the club, ending his 17 year association.

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One In, One Out


Bernd Leno has officially joined the Arsenal; the German goalkeeper’s move from Leverkusen to London was confirmed on Tuesday evening by both clubs.  He’s believed to have signed a 5 year contract after the Clubs agreed on a fee in the region of £19.2m.  Leno has six caps for Germany to date and was part of the victorious Confederations Cup squad back in 2017.   Having held down a regular spot in the Bayer Leverkusen team for the best part of seven years Bernd has an abundance of top-level experience and most Gunners’ fans will be pleased with Unai Emery’s latest acquisition.

However, that wasn’t the only significant transfer news to come out of the Club last night as Jack Wilshere announced his imminent departure via social media, ending his 17 year association with the Club.  Jack spoke of his willingness to accept a reduced contract in order to remain an Arsenal player but the fact Unai Emery was unable to guarantee him significant playing time proved the decisive factor.

The Time is Right…

You may not see it right away, as supporters it’s incredibly difficult to detach ourselves from the emotion of it all.  Jack is a player with whom most Arsenal fans felt a special bond with and many feel deeply saddened by the news.  Wilshere joined the Club’s Academy aged just 9, made his first team debut at 16, has accumulated 197 appearances for the club and has lifted two FA Cup’s.

But put your emotions and feelings to one side, from a football standpoint this is a decision that makes perfect sense for both parties.  Everybody is well aware of the injury problems that have stunted Jack’s progression over the years but in truth even when fit, I personally feel he’s been unable to live up to the level of expectation around him.  He’s a player who’s style is pleasing on the eye however its perfectly fair to criticize his inability to influence games anywhere near as much as a young, fitter Jack could.

The injuries have taken their toll and despite making 40 appearances this season he still seemed to lack the sharpness and mobility required to perform at the highest level consistently.

Unai Emery has been honest with the player, shared his plans for the new season and clearly knows what he wants.  I suspect the Spaniard doesn’t believe Jack is physically capable of playing the intense pressing game he’s been known to demand from his midfielders and so his refusal to provide Jack with any guarantee’s is totally understandable.

The time is right for Jack to move on and embark on pastures new, whether he’ll join another Premier League club or rival remains to be seen.  A fresh start may be just what he needs to rediscover the form that initially put him on the map and reclaim his place in the England Squad.

I’d like to wish Jack all the best in the future and assure him he’ll always have a place in the hearts of most Arsenal supporters.  This is a summer of change at the Emirates and it’s vital our feelings and sentiment don’t hinder the much-needed rebuild.

Words: @HarrySymeou

Bernd Leno: Incoming?

Name: Bernd Leno

Nationality: German

Position: Goalkeeper

Previous Clubs: VFB Stuttgart

Bernd Leno has represented his country at every youth level & won the U17 UEFA Championship, he was also a member of the German Confederations Cup winning side in 2017.

Leno has made 361 professional appearances to date, so he comes with great pedigree and experience for a goalkeeper who’s just 26 years of age.

Leno was unfortunately left out of the upcoming World Cup squad that have travelled to Russia this summer.

By now I’m sure everybody is aware of the negotiations between Bayer Leverkusen & Arsenal football club in relation to the transfer of this highly rated German goalkeeper.

Arsenal have reportedly met the goalkeepers £21.9 million release clause with the deal being reportedly set for completion as early as next week.

The arrival of Bernd Leno will come as a relief to many Arsenal supporters this coming season with performances of current No1 goalkeeper Petr Cech being well below par during the 17/18 season.

Cech was culpable for 6 errors which led to direct goals last term, with the error at Swansea away being the first time I personally called for him to be replaced, However with Cech taking the No1 shirt for this upcoming campaign i see David Opsina being the goalkeeper to be moved on this summer. For what its worth, a regressed petr cech is worth more off the field than Ospina so it makes sense for him to stay and help guide a young Bernd Leno.

Cech is a model professional who has won most things, is well respected at the club and I believe his knowledge and advice could well help Leno take that next step!

For anybody unsure on why Bernd Leno will improve Arsenal then let me tell you, as a Bundesliga fan I’m very excited by the arrival. He has made mistakes during his time at Leverkusen and im certain he will make a mistake or two at Arsenal.

Unfortunately even the best in the world make mistakes so keep that mind for when he does!

He will assert himself quickly, is a very commanding goalkeeper with excellent shot stopping ability. He will inject that brickwall belief amongst the Arsenal fanbase in time, his distribution is pin point & isn’t the type of goalkeeper to hesitate under pressure.

Whoever the two Central defenders are in front of him they’ll be lucky to have him. Sven Mislintat has been a huge admirer of Leno from his days at Borrusia Dortmund and recently it emerged that Napoli were keen on taking him to Serie A. Real Madrid have also been known to keep tabs on the German, but luckily for Arsenal it seems pen to paper is all thats left for this deal to be concluded.

Words: Ben Turner

Yacine Adli’s change of heart…

According to various media outlets PSG starlet Yacine Adli has decided against joining former manager Unai Emery in a move across the channel.  The opportunity to work with the Spaniard again was said to be the reason Adli was keen on the move but according to RMC hes had a change of heart.

Adli was spotted in London, fuelling speculation he was about to sign for the Gunners but the French Media are now reporting he’s set to sign a new three-year deal with the Ligue 1 Champions completing a sensational u-turn.

Arsenal legend Robert Pires has backed the youngster to be a success in London were a transfer to materialise.

“He’s a talented player. He has very good qualities, very fast with the ball. Sometimes he can score.

I know Unai Emery likes this player. I don’t know what’s happened the last two days, but if he joins Arsenal, I think he will be a good player for the new squad.

He’s young and it’s very difficult to leave your family, your country and find new players, new football and a new philosophy. It’s very difficult, very tough, that adaptation. But I know Arsenal is like a family, so if he wants, he can make a success of his career at Arsenal.

Everything is new and you need to adapt. New football, new teams. So for him, if he joins, at the beginning it’s very important to learn and watch what happens on the field because you need to learn every day.”

Twitter: @chronicles_afc

Lucas Torreira – Fact File

Full Name: Lucas Sebastian Torreira Di Pascua.

Born: 11th February 1996 (aged 22), Fray Bentos, Uruguay.

Height: 5 foot 6 inches.

Position: Defensive Midfielder.

Senior Career: Pescara (2014-2016), Sampdoria (2016-present).

Despite not being particularly tall Lucas Torreira has proven there is plenty of steel in his locker.  The Uruguayan may not look like much of a ‘hard man’ but he’s certainly not shy when it comes to putting a foot in, winning back possession and pressing his opponents all over the field.

His playing style is often compared to that of PSG midfielder Marco Verratti and Robert Druda; the scout who brought him to Sampdoria believes he can go on to be better than the Italian.

At just 22 years of age Torreira has a great deal of top flight experience, he’s been starting games in Serie A for 3 years now, including 71 appearances for Sampdoria.

Given what we know of Unai Emery’s preferred style of play Lucas Torreira seems the perfect fit.  His current club are known for their aggressive pressing style and his part in their overall success has earned him many admirers.

Arsenal will be keen to close a deal sooner rather than later with the midfielder set to feature for Uruguay at this summers World Cup. A good tournament could see more potential suitors chasing his signature in which case the Gunners’ limited transfer budget could mean them missing out on this particular target.

Reports in Italy are suggesting Torreira has a €25m release clause and that Arsenal are willing to pay slightly more if their allowed to spread the payments over an unspecified period of time.

Twitter: @chronicles_afc

Frank McLintock MBE – Interview

Host @HarrySymeou had the pleasure of talking to former double winning captain Frank McLintock M.B.E. We discussed his impressive career, the highs and the lows. Frank is a true gentleman and we thank him for giving up his time and meeting with us.

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Transfer Talk: Episode 1

Episode 1 of our Summer Series ‘Transfer Talk’ – on today’s video we take a look at 5 players being linked with summer moves to the Arsenal and what they would bring to the side. Who of those mentioned would you like to see arrive at the Emirates Stadium and why?

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*On this week’s Chronicles of a Gooner Podcast we are joined by the Gunner’s former Double winning captain Frank McLintock M.B.E – available from Monday morning*

Follow us on Twitter: @chronicles_afc