Episode 18: The ‘Turkish’ Inquisition

On this weeks show we discuss Mesut Ozil’s decision to retire from international football and the circumstances around it. The unclear futures of Aaron Ramsey and Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis. This weeks guest is @TurkishLDN and dont forget to subscribe to his YouTube Channel: ‘Turkish Arsenal’

Twitter: @chronicles_afc

Book on sale NOW: www.amazon.co.uk/Chronicles-Goone…rds=harry+symeou

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Matthew Santangelo Talks Torreira

I am delighted to bring you my latest interview – I speak to Italian Football Writer Matthew Santangelo who gives me his views and tells us all about our latest signing Lucas Torreira. Enjoy!

CD: With Lucas Torreira’s signing officially announced today….finally – what sort of player will we be getting?

MS: First off, Arsenal are getting an absolute steal in Lucas Torreira for €30m, not to mention it will be paid in multiple installments versus all upfront. Arsenal will acquire one of the best young midfield talents in the game today, and an individual who is mature beyond his years despite being just 22. Torreira is a well-versed defensive midfielder who can control proceedings at the base, and put in the work to support both in and out of possession. By all accounts, this is a no-brainer investment.

CD: He certainly looks like he is, but from your point of view, is he really the sort of player Arsenal have been crying out for in that midfield? – energetic, ball winner, very good position wise and reads the game well. What can we expect from him?

MS: Torreira is an ideal fit for Arsenal. What this purchase will do for their midfield is allow Unai Emery to get their monies worth on Granit Xhaka and free up Aaron Ramsey to influence further up the pitch. In some cases, a player in this role will help elevate others around him, and I believe this could be applicable to Torreira. Despite his age, Torreira’s energetic approach to fulfilling his duties should translate over from Serie A to Premier League – even if his size isn’t aligned with what we are accustomed to seeing from an operator at a big club in England.

CD: What would you say his strengths and weaknesses are?

MS: There is very little Lucas Torreira cannot do from this defensive midfielder position. Smooth, composed and decisive in possession. Reads the game well and circulates the ball to advance play fluidly and with confidence. He can play the ball long over the top to stretch the field, dictate the tempo and is able to play out of pressure without being flustered or mistake-prone. Add in his ball retention and strength, Torreira is a difficult assignment to dispossess. Defensively, he is a plus-ball winner and is quite calculated with his tackling; these are both due largely to his intense nature and feisty demeanor. Typically, a player his size would get bullied off the ball or outmuscled, but Torreira is the type whose diminutive nature works in his favour. There are no alarming weaknesses in his game. However, I suspect he would become less of an offensive force in England than he was in Italy with Samp where he showed glimpses of being a threat in the final third (see the victory over Juventus from last season)

CD: What sort of season has Lucas had at Sampdoria?

MS: 2017-18 was Torreira’s breakout campaign for a young, upcoming side under Marco Giampaolo. Without question, the Uruguayan was the Blucerchiati’s most influential player and tied the loose ends together in the middle of the park alongside Dennis Praet and Karol Linetty. Lucas showed tremendous growth and maturity, proving that he was ready for a bigger platform.

CD: Just how highly regarded is he over in Italy?

MS: Torreira wasn’t just one of Serie A’s best young stars last year, he was one of the best midfielders in the league period. Moving from strength to the strength, this jewel from Fray Bentos had top clubs with European pedigree chasing him as early as January, including Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. Believe the hype, because it’s real and not exaggerated. Everyone across the Italian peninsula recognizes that Torreira is something special and that Arsenal have a gem on their hands.

CD: When you’ve watched him play, what’s stood out to you?

MS: His ability to be such an influence on both ends of the pitch despite a small frame. Few players I’ve watched over the last several years have given me the satisfaction that Torreira has, and that is saying an awful lot. At 5 feet, 6 inches, and aged 22, Torreira is ahead of the development curve.

CD: At 5’6, there’s been a few concerns about how well he will do in the Premier League due to the physicality of it. From what I’ve seen of him, it doesn’t seem an issue at all, especially when you look at someone like N’golo Kante – what are your thoughts on this?

MS: Since Torreira bursted onto the scene this past season in Genoa, people labeled him the ‘Uruguayan Marco Verratti’ – quite the compliment for a 21-22 year old. But personally, I believe that slapping a label on him (i.e., Cazorla-Kante hybrid) is misleading. Obviously you can pinpoint certain qualities in Torreira’s game that support those comparisons, but Lucas is his own individual and one who exudes confidence in himself and takes the pitch with energy to burn. I’ve no doubts in my mind after closely observing him for the last two season in Italy that he should slide right into the Arsenal fold and make a difference.

CD: Do you think a move to Arsenal is the right one for him? Reports suggest there were quite a few clubs looking at him. How do you think Unai Emery can improve him as a player?

MS: A player of his ilk is a fit at many top clubs across Europe. As mentioned earlier, Torreira would have been perhaps the most ideal for Spanish football at either Barcelona or Atletico Madrid due to La Liga’ pace of pace and lighter physicality. However, with Emery’s experience and success at Sevilla, there is compatability between Torreira and Arsenal – just as long as the coach does not force the World Cup standout to occupy a different role on the pitch.

CD: It’s known that Arsenal had a pre-agreement with the player and Sampdoria before the World Cup started – Surely the Italian club must be kicking themselves a little bit after his fantastic performances in Russia? Maybe they could’ve easily got double the amount now but credit to Arsenal for doing what they did.

MS: I firmly believed that if Oscar Tabarez and Uruguay were to travel deep into this World Cup, Torreira needed to start. Initially, Torreira’s minutes came from the bench, but with every opportunity, he showed why he was a level above his contemporaries, similarly to Rodrigo Bentancur who also seized the moment as a teenager. Hindsight is 20/20 though, and Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero will receive roughly €5m for Torreira than his €25 million release clause. From Samp’s perspective, they made a large profit on a small investment and will continue this model as a club.

CD: Finally, overall and in your personal opinion – good signing for Arsenal and one which should get the fans excited? Even though the majority of them including myself are already!

MS: Slam-dunk bit of business here. €30 million spread out over two installments makes this both a sporting and financial heist. Lucas Torreira is the real deal and a player the Gunners should be extremely happy about.

I thank Matt for taking the time to do this interview with me, he has given myself and all Arsenal fans a fantastic insight into the player and i cannot wait to see Lucas in action for us next season.

Twitter: @cdavison_afc

Arsenal sign Guendouzi

Arsenal have completed the signing of 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi.

The youngster began his career at Paris Saint Germain before joining Lorient in 2014.  He made his first team debut at 17 and has made 30 appearances since, represents France at youth international level and comes with a great reputation.

“We are delighted Matteo is joining us. He is a talented young player and lots of clubs were interested in him. He has big potential and gained good first team experience last season with a Lorient. He wants to learn and improve and will be an important part of our first team squad” – Unai Emery.

He will wear the number 29 shirt formerly worn by Granit Xhaka.

Arsenal sign Torreira

Arsenal have completed the signing of Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira.

The former Sampdoria player joins for a fee believed to be in the region of £25m and is said to have chosen the Gunners over Serie A giants Napoli.

Torreira impressed during his countries impressive World Cup campaign and has received high praise.

“In Lucas Torreira, we have signed a young player who is a very bright talent in the game. A midfielder with great quality, I have enjoyed watching his performances for Sampdoria in the past two seasons, and we all saw him do very well for Uruguay in the World Cup.” -Emery

More to follow…


Calum Chambers signs contract extension

Calum Chambers has signed a new long term contract with the club.

At 23 years of age the former Southampton defender has already made 83 appearances since joining the club back in 2014.

Unai Emery said: “I’m delighted Calum has extended his stay with us. He played an important role last season and will be part of my plans this season.”

Congratulations Calum!

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