Sports / In-Depth
Monday, 22 May 2017 13:59 EATakipchumba@kenyafreepress.com
The ambiance of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium is saturated with transfer rumours most of which are driven by the clubs ‘lackluster’ performance this season. Arsenal wrapped up the season at the fifth place with four points ahead of what they got last season.
It’s true to say that this has been one of the troubling seasons that Arsene Wenger has had to face; what with the barrage of criticisms from markedly impatient and frustrated fans who ‘ostentatiously’ waved placards printed “Wenger out”,”Wenger must go!”, without forgetting some ‘remorseful’ hashtags sending out one clear message: “The coach has outstayed his stay at the helm of the club.”
It is seductive to think that the Frenchman wouldn’t struggle under the shadow of the top four. But his miss for the champions league qualification by the skin of the teeth seems to paint a portrait of a football manager who has no such thing as ‘giving in’ in his vocabulary of competition.
However, “Arap Karanja” as I frequently refer to Mr Wenger, is cognizant of the popular aphorism that goes, ‘A miss is as good as a mile.’ And this underscores why the Manager won’t bother to talk of how narrowly he missed the fourth place that would have seen his team partake in Champions League.
Nonetheless, Arap Karanja is certain that the club will no longer a magnetic point for elite players, courtesy of its long seasons in the wilderness of major trophies like Premier and champion’s league. This is, in actuality, must have left the coach with butterflies in the stomach. His worries have been compounded by the educated rumors that some top notch players are planning to leave the club in the summer. Just mull over this.
With one year on his contract, the Chile international Alexis Sanchez who scored 24 goals with 10 smart assists is the target of Man city, Chelsea and the Germany’s illustrious club, Bayern Munich. Despite Wenger’s ‘rule out’ on permitting the brilliant player who couldn’t conceal his frustration whenever he feels his teammates aren’t playing up to the standard, “to leave for the premier league but not abroad…” Bayern are keen for a deal of around 40 million pounds. Sanchez, according to the Mirror, played a direct-hand in Arsenal’s 44.2 percent output.
His on-field performances are highly remarkable, too. But will Arsenal keep him [Sanchez] at the Emirates? Olivier Giroud is also reliably reported to be preparing to quit Arsenal this summer if arsene Wenger “revamps his striking force. “The striker is keen to ensure he’s playing regular first-team soccer next season, with a clear view to make his country’s squad for the world cup slated for 2018 in Russia.
Marseille have depicted strong interest in making the France international part of a major recruitment drive which they hope will result in the club contesting for the French tittle next season and booking a return to the champion’s league. Giroud has hit behind the net 98 times in 225 appearances.
The Arsenal’s center-back Laurent Koscielny is in talks with Marseille over potential summer transfer switch to League 1, according to report from Canal Plus. Koscielny has three years to the end of his contract at Emirates.
According to the French publication, the Gunners' invincible center-back is keeping his options open ahead of next season. And yes, this could have been aptly informed by the uncertainty surrounding Wenger’s stay at the Arsenal.
These are bad transfer rumours for both the ‘mercurial’ fans and stakeholders alike. But I still harbor the thinking that letting Sanchez leave Arsenal will simply aggravate the already ‘dismal’ Gunners' results.
The next FA cup finals that will see Arsenal square it out with the premier league champions, Chelsea, will have huge bearing on the step that the Club will follow towards rescuing it from becoming a pale shadow of former self.
Kipchumba is a staff writer/columnist at the Kenya Free Press