• Will Kylian Mbappe be the next Thierry Henry?

    From TGT Blog: Another French star could be on his way to Arsenal to emulate Thierry Henry.

  • Arsenal closing in on Xhaka

    Granit Xhaka could be Arsenal's first summer signing, as the Swiss international is close to signing for the gunners.

  • Joe Morrison: Wenger has the dignity not to make excuses. A true measure of the guy.

    TGT interviews TV anchor Joe Morrison. He talks about Arsenal and many related issues surrounding the club.

Welcome to The Gooner Thoughts!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Will Kylian Mbappe be the next Thierry Henry?

By Vidur Kalive (@vidurkalive)

After confirming his interest in the 18-year old from Monaco, Arsene Wenger went on to admit that the teenager reminds him of the Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry. The Gunners boss is not the first one to notice a similarity between the two Frenchmen. Mbappe first appeared on the scene last year when he broke two club records previously held by Henry. He became the youngest debutant in Monaco’s history to score for the first team aged 16 years 347 days and, two months later, went on to become the youngest goalscorer ever for the club. 

If you think toppling a couple of records does not warrant a comparison with the legendary Thierry Henry, you would be right, which is why it is necessary to look back at how it all started. Mbappe’s footballing career seems to have navigated a similar course as Henry’s up until this point. Despite interest from behemoths such as Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus, PSG, Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid, the youngster pledged his allegiance to his country choosing not to leave France. Even Zinedine Zidane and the glamour of Real Madrid failed to tempt Mbappe away from Monaco. Just as Thierry Henry chose to stay with Monaco all those years ago

The French club signed a 3-year deal with Mbappe last year, but Arsene Wenger is confident he can bring the teenager to the Emirates and mould him to take the mantle which remains empty since Henry’s departure. The ingredients are all there. Mbappe is fast and uses his change of pace effectively to send defenders into a tailspin. He is skilled and can use both his feet in tight situations while using quick passes to get his teammates into attacking positions. 

Arsene Wenger’s disciplined coaching is needed to strengthen Mbappe’s defensive capabilities and improve his decision making. When going forward, his inexperience brings out the showman in him and that unnecessary trick or run can cost his team dearly on the counter attack. Wenger is a master at weeding out such flaws having spent his entire managerial career developing young talent. 

One of the main reasons behind Mbappe’s decision to stay at Monaco was game time. He is reluctant to spend too much time on the bench during, what he believes, are his formative years. Arsene Wenger’s reputation of nurturing young talent should be a hopeful sign for Mbappe and a chance to ply your trade in the premier league is an opportunity that seldom presents itself. The rise of Anthony Martial at Old Trafford is a good example of young French talent shining on the big English stage.

Mbappe is already making his mark on the international stage after he scored five times in France’s U-19 Euro Championship winning squad. He produced the performance of the tournament when he single-handedly led France to a 3-1 win over Portugal. 

The teenager’s future looks bright, but he has kept his wits about him. This is an opinion echoed by his former captain at Monaco Jeremy Toulalan who praised Mbappe for his work ethic and interest in the game but warned him against complacency saying, “He has to be attentive and make the right choices”. If he does not leave Monaco during the summer, the offers from high profile clubs will sky rocket next season with Mbappe’s contract coming to an end in 2019. With his potential recognised, Mbappe should be wise and choose to play in a league which will challenge him to grow. The Premier League and Arsene Wenger are calling. When your fate is aligned with Thierry Henry’s, you should blindly heed the call. 

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Gunners swoop for Mkhitaryan

As the summer transfer window approaches, players are starting to make some moves in order to land at the desire club for next season. The latest reports are from Germany where Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rejected a new deal at Borussia Dortmund. 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan in action against Rot-Weiss Essen
(Photo credit: Dirk Vorderstraße)
The Bild newspaper today reported that Mkhitaryan has rejected a new deal at Dortmund. After Gundogan's departure, the German club have suffered another setback as their squad continues to weaken. Following the news in German media, various clubs are on alert and Arsenal have already been linked with a move. The understanding at the moment is that Arsenal officials are negotiating with his agent Mino Raiola, who is "looking at his options". Our brief talk with Mino Raiola also revealed that Mkhtiryan has already refused a deal with Juventus, while he has already held talks with Manchester United. The same was later confirmed by the Italian newspaper, Tuttosport. The outcome of his meeting with Man Utd officials is still not clear.

Mkhitaryan has been an Arsenal fan since he was seven and always dreamed of playing under Arsene Wenger. Considering he wants to live and play in London, Arsenal seems to be a likely destination for the Armenian. Tottenham and Chelsea are also monitoring the situation but according to German media, Arsenal are currently the front runners along with Manchester United.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Arsenal on alert as Hummels wants to leave Dortmund

With the season nearing its end, Arsenal’s defensive frailties have been exposed once again. While Arsène Wenger is expected to stay for another season and honour his contract, the manager is aware of where the squad needs strengthening. Arsenal have been on alert as Hummels expressed his desire to leave Dortmund for a ‘new challenge’.

Mats Hummels in World Cup 2014 final

According to BILD, a German newspaper, Arsenal and Manchester United are keen on signing Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. Our understanding, however, is that he could also make a surprise switch to rivals Bayern München. The German defender is said to be looking for a new challenge, as his current contract with Dortmund expires in 2017.

Arsenal have struggled this season to field a stable CB partnership, with Per Mertesacker and Gabriel being inconsistent throughout the season. Wenger wants to start next season with a fully strengthened squad and he will be ruthless with his selections henceforth. Signing Hummels will be the first step in his plans for next season, as he believes in a strong defensive unit.

Hummels and Koscielny can prove to be a strong partnership for Arsenal and in order to challenge for the title, it will be a good start. Wenger has always maintained his stand on signing new players and he still believes that he will sign new players only if the right player is available. Hummels fits his philosophy and wants to move, which makes Arsenal a possible destination for the German international. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Arsenal closing in on Xhaka

Arsenal are stepping up interest in highly rated Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka. The 23-year-old is being monitored by Arsenal and there are developments in Germany suggesting a summer transfer.

Granit Xhaka (on the right) - Switzerland vs. Argentina, 29th February 2012

Arsenal scouts are monitoring Granit Xhaka and as we understand, officials from Borussia Monchengladbach and Arsenal met one another discussing the price, which is expected to be around £24 million which will rise further with add-ons. Our understanding at the moment is so many Arsenal midfielders continue to struggle with injury, they are finding it difficult to maintain a healthy squad throughout the season and Xhaka will be signed to fill that gap. The further development is that there is a demand for wages that could be just over £100,000 per week.

As a senior international for Switzerland, Xhaka has earned over 35 caps and was also included in their World Cup 2014 squad. The former Basel player was highly rated by former Basel manager, Thorsten Fink:

"Xherdan Shaqiri is the best talent in Switzerland, after Granit Xhaka." - Thorsten Fink

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld labelled him the 'young Schweinsteiger' as he was one of Switzerland's top stars at Under-17 level, and helped his team win the World Cup in 2009. In 2011, he was the youngest player in the team at the U21 European Championship, and along with Shaqiri led the side to the final.

At the moment Arsenal are showing keen interest in Xhaka and if they do manage to sign the Swiss international, he will bring stability to Arsenal's midfield, which has struggled due to fitness issues.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Could Joachim Löw be the right candidate to lead Arsenal?

Arsenal are going through a rough patch and the manager Arsène Wenger is under pressure to rescue the season with the league title. The fans have started to turn against the manager and as we understand, the board has finally decided to look for replacements.

Joachim Löw has been approached by Arsenal to replace Wenger
TGT sources have revealed that after losing the game against Manchester United, the Arsenal board held a meeting and decided to approach German national football team manager, Joachim Löw for talks and convince him to take over as the Arsenal manager in summer 2016. We understand that Löw did not refuse the offer but wants to make the final decision after Euro 2016, which remains his top priority at the moment. It is also understood that Löw has asked for complete control of the team along with the finances, as he wants to target the Champions League in his first season with Arsenal. 

Initial talks cannot reveal much, however, Joachim Löw has taken a keen interest in the offer and the Arsenal board has already discussed the situation with the current Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger. With the recent FA Cup loss and a possible knockout from the Champions League looming ahead, Wenger continues to remain under pressure and also feels let down by the squad.

Joachim Löw has been the manager of the German national team since July 2006 and since then he has won 85 games with an impressive win percentage of  66.93. He also won the FIFA World Cup 2014 that eventually earned him the FIFA World Coach of the Year title for 2014. He also won the Sport Bild German Sports Manager of the Year in 2010, L'Équipe Sports Manager of the Year in 2010, German Football Man of the Year in 2011 and 2014, German Football Manager of the Year in 2014, World Soccer Awards Manager of the Year in 2014, IFFHS World's Best National Coach in 2014, 

It is too early to say whether Joachim Löw will be the next Arsenal manager but it is clear that right now Arsenal have added him as a possible replacement. We will be following the story as it develops and keep you updated once there is a development.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Barcelona star mocks Wenger's philosophy: "Arsenal squad is immature"

As we move closer to the big Champions League game at the Emirates, one Barcelona player has already launched his attack on Arsenal. In a recent interview in Spain, Dani Alves made some bold statements regarding Arsenal and completely refused to acknowledge Arsenal as a threat to their Champions League campaign: 

"Arsenal are a young team. They are immature and lack the experience that is necessary to play at the highest level.

They always fail to maintain a level of consistency that is required to win the Premier League. Their manager teaches them to treat the ball well and stay organised tactically but his methods are a failure. It is the same reason why over the years he has failed to make a statement in the Champions League.

Arsenal do not have a proper mix of youth and experience and as a result, they suffer at the big stage. Young players like to attack but there are times when you need to control the game. Arsenal can't do that." - Dani Alves

Spanish newspaper: "Wenger, do not flatter yourself"
Barcelona go into the tie as favourites and Alves making such statement should only motivate the gunners to play at their highest level and progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Arsenal gunning for Isco

After a quiet January transfer window, Arsenal are expected to be busy in the summer. Arsène Wenger has shown interest in Real Madrid's Isco and even made a bid for him in January. TGT understands the gunners have had a 45 million bid rejected. The main reason behind the bid being rejected as we understand is Zidane having Isco in his plans. The Real Madrid manager is interested in keeping Isco at the club till summer at least. 

Arsenal's current situation will force them into the market and make some significant signings. Ramsey is still not convincing, Wilshere is struggling with injuries while Rosicky seems to have played his last game for Arsenal. Arsène Wenger likes to have options in the midfield and the current squad situation reflects the need of reinforcements in the summer to compete against Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea. 

Isco has had a relatively quiet season scoring 3 goals from 18 appearances but the Spanish international is an intelligent player. He won the Champions League with Madrid in 2013-14 and was also awarded La Liga Breakthrough Player in 2012.

Arsenal prepare shock Mahrez bid

Arsenal are preparing a late bid for Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez as the January transfer window reaches its deadline. Claudio Renieri had previously ruled out any major exits from the club but at the right price, he may not be able to stop it from happening.

Arsenal keen on Riyad Mahrez
Rumours going around in the Leicester camp suggest that Arsenal have made £18 million bid for Riyad Mahrez. The player is keen to play in the Champions League, however, considering Leicester's current position in the league, they have power till summer to hold all transfers. Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Chairman of Leicester City FC wants £50 million for one his best superstars. Arsenal are willing to push the bid up to £28 million and are also willing to send Serge Gnabry on loan to Leicester as part of the deal.

Arsenal want to finish the season with the title and while they are alive in other competitions, they will need the right depth in the squad to go further in all competitions. Mahrez has been one of the contenders for the player of the season, scoring 13 goals in the league. Arsenal are observing his situation at Leicester and will be considering another bid in the summer, if Mahrez prefers to stay till the end of the season.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

TGT January report

Less than half of the season remaining and Arsenal are still on top. There is every reason for Arsenal fans to be optimistic. Despite injuries to key players like Coquelin, Wilshere, Cazorla and Sanchez, Arsenal still managed to get through the busy Christmas period and perform fairly well, considering how the rivals did in the same period. This is far from over for Arsenal who need to maintain a high level of consistency and with a bit of luck with the injuries, they could well be lifting the trophy come May.

Season so far

Looking at every game individually at this point may not tell the whole story. Arsenal lost to West Ham on the opening day, lost to West Bromwich Albion, lost to Chelsea and drew against Norwich. Dropping points against bottom half teams, which you expect Arsenal to win comprehensively, could have been fatal for the title challenge. Arsenal, however, managed to win against Leicester and Man City and taking six points from those fixtures is what keeps them ahead of both right now. So the story this season is not what we are used to witness with Arsenal. It has not been perfect but just good enough to make that final run a memorable one. 

January transfers

Arsenal have already confirmed Mohamed Elneny as the first signing of the window, however, we understand that he will be the only one. There are talks ongoing with some young Nigerian stars but for the senior team, Elneny will be Arsenal's only January signing. We are only half way through the window and things might change but right now our sources close to the club have confirmed that it is highly unlikely.

Regarding club exits, Mathieu Debuchy's Aston Villa loan deal seems in jeopardy as there is interest from Manchester United. There is also a possibility of Serge Gnabry, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Yaya Sanogo going out on loan for the rest of the season.

Players of the season

Picking one player is not fair, as Arsène alway stresses, football is a team game. So we have picked three players who we believe have been the top performers and played a huge role in Arsenal being top in January.

Mesut Özil
(Photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald)
The German Player of the Year is enjoying the best time of his career and it comes as no surprise to Arsenal fans, who have been behind Özil ever since he signed for the gunners. There is no need to go into stats at this point because Özil's contribution in Arsenal's attack is way more than just assists. It was apparent last season. For those who followed Arsenal every week last season, watched Özil being the orchestrator behind Arsenal's attack, despite not being the last man to pass before someone scored. 

Mesut Özil is doing a favour to the English Premier League by playing for Arsenal. The league is in desperate need of such quality and while some novice and sad journalists run their agenda against Mesut week in, week out, they should be thankful to the German for playing in England.

Petr Cech
(Photo credit: Christopher Johnson)

Roman Abramovich, what were you thinking? Nobody wins the title by selling their best players to direct rivals. Arsenal taught that lesson to everybody in the league (Robin van Persie, Nasri etc). Petr Cech has been sensational this season. 

“There’s talk of Arsenal signing Petr Cech and, if they do get him, he will strengthen them for sure. He will save them 12 or 15 points a season” - John Terry (June 2015)

Petr Cech certainly saved us points already. Ever since David Seaman left, Arsenal wanted a world class goalkeeper but never thought a title winning team would hand it over to us. As you can notice, we are repeating the same point again and again simply because it is quite hilarious how Chelsea sold him to Arsenal. 

With Petr Cech in goal, Arsenal have another security and another reason why the remainder of the season can be a memorable one for the gunners.

Nacho Monreal
(Photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald)
Arsenal struggled in the left back position after Ashley Cole left. Gael Clichy was never convincing and Kieran Gibbs despite being a talented player, proved to be inconsistent overtime. Monreal, however, is not just the best left back for Arsenal right now, he is arguably the best in the country. This season has been his best so far and Arsenal fans would hope he stays fit and takes them all the way to the title because he will be needed every week. Monreal's efficiency and intelligence has been remarkable and even though he may not be lauded like Mesut Özil, the Spanish fullback is one of the most important players for Arsenal right now.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Arsenal to offer Chamberlain a new deal

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still has a long way to go before his current contract expires but there has been interest from other clubs and Arsène Wenger wants to make sure the English international stays at the Emirates. TGT sources understand that Arsenal will be opening contract talks with Oxlade-Chamberlain in the coming weeks.

(Photo credit: Ronnie Macdonald)

Chamberlain has struggled to find his way into the starting lineup and hasn't been highly impressive whenever he got a chance to play. Arsène Wenger, however, has maintained his faith in Chamberlain and wants the 22-year-old to continue at Arsenal. 

Chelsea are one of the clubs who have been watching Chamberlain's situation at Arsenal and Wenger is not ready to sell him at this point. A new contract will close all doors for rivals to approach Chamberlain.

Despite a bad season by his standards, Chamberlain is one of the brightest prospects in England. He is only 22 and it is way too early to lose patience on him. Chamberlain is expected to get more game time in the FA Cup fixtures as Arsenal continue their run in the cup with Burnley visiting the Emirates next.