Contrasting friendly fortunes for Premier League quartet

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At present English Premier League teams are engaging in intensive pre-season programmes, with four of the biggest clubs in the division having just played high profile friendly matches, three of which took place in the U.S.A and the other Gothenburg.

Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester United were all in friendly action against quality opposition, as they edged closer to the start of the 2016-2017 Premier League season.

Leicester suffer heavy loss

That is due to open on 13 August, when Leicester will begin the defence of their Premier League title with an away game against Hull.

Ahead of that the Foxes are currently competing in the International Champions Cup along with Barcelona, Celtic and Paris Saint Germain.

After beating Celtic 6-5 on penalties in their first International Champions Cup game, Leicester were comprehensively defeated 4-0 by PSG in Los Angeles.

The Ligue 1 champions, under new manager Unai Emery, coasted to victory courtesy of goals from Edison Cavani, Jonathan Ikone, Lucas Moura and Odsonne Eduoard. Subsequently Leicester will look to recover from that setback by producing an improved performance in their final International Champions Cup game against Barcelona.

Mourinho masterminds United comeback

A former Barca and PSG player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his Manchester United debut and scored a superb acrobatic overhead kick against Galatasary, as Jose Mourinho’s side recovered from trailing their Turkish opponents 2-1 to win 5-2 in Gothenburg.

Instrumental in United’s second half comeback was their captain Wayne Rooney, who scored twice, whilst Marouane Felliani and Juan Mata also found the net, as Mourinho astutely changed his team at half to great effect.

Hazard impresses despite Chelsea defeat

The Portuguese manager’s former club Chelsea did not fare as well in their latest friendly, as they lost 3-2 to Real Madrid before a crowd of 105,826 in Michigan. After trailing 3-0 at half time, Antonio Conte’s team produced a vastly improved second half display, with Eden Hazard scoring twice on his maiden pre-season appearance.

The Belgian internationalist was only introduced to the game after 65 minutes, as he played for the first time since captaining his country in their 3-1 Euro 2016 quarter final defeat to Wales. As such Hazard’s reintegration into the Chelsea team is likely to continue in the team’s next friendly against AC Milan, who were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool.

Lively Liverpool secure commanding win

Jurgen Klopp’s side delivered a calm and composed display, characterised by insistently accurate passing to comfortably overcome their Italian opponents. In order to do so, Liverpool played with great patience and perseverance, with Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino scoring second half goals following well worked attacking moves.

Subsequently Klopp will now prepare his team for a pre-season friendly against Barcelona at Wembley, before the club’s first Premier League game of the season against Arsenal on 14 August.

Quartet’s contrasting friendly fortunes

Ultimately in contrast to Claudio Ranieri’s concern over the manner in which his Leicester City side were overawed by PSG, both Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp will have been satisfied with the wins recorded by their respective teams, whilst it is possible for Antonio Conte to be encouraged by Chelsea’s second half performance.

French champions PSG running out of time to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic


With Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaving PSG after four glorious years, it almost feels like a new dawn for the French champions who have dominated French football since 2012.

Ibrahimovic’s lasting effect on the club who waited 18 years for a league title can not be underestimated. And whilst football of course is a team game there can still be no denying that Ibrahimovic was able to convert many chances created into goals. In his four seasons Ibra as he became known in Paris netted 156 goals in just 180 games. That’s an all time record for the club, as is the 50 goals he scored in a season, which included 38 just in Ligue 1, a national record.

PSG have won 12 trophies since 2012, last season the club recorded an unbeaten streak of 30 games which was a new Ligue 1 record, it also took them the same number of games to wrap up the league title, another all -time record.

But with Zlatan gone and coach Laurent Blanc waving au revoir times certainly seem to be a changing for the Parisians. Unai Emery so successful with Sevilla has been brought in and yet a new striker for Zlatan has yet to be seen too. Will indeed PSG replace him? Edinson Cavani on his day is a wonderful player but the Uruguayan can go uncannily quiet in games too.

The club have been very calm in the transfer market in fact, especially for a team that we are told have pocketfuls of dough. Hatem Ben-Arfa has been brought in – as the big name signing this season. Ben Arfa who has spent most of his career in the English Premier League had a solid last season at Nice where the club enjoyed minor success and the pacy winger should bring even more quality to the champions.

Grzegorz Krychowiak will team up with Emery once again from Sevilla and a deal has just been pushed through for young attacking midfielder Giovani Lo Celso from Argentina. That sentence usually evokes either excitement or despair, considering the quality of player that Argentina has produced in that position over the years.

But still no Zlatan mark II. One player that may be on PSG’s radar is Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette. But the club are more willing to sell their striker to foreign shores. The problem is that the only real suitor to have come in of late was Arsenal and their disgraceful £29m bid.

Surely PSG will dive into the transfer market once more and catch a striker, if they don’t this ‘new era’ as some French media have called might get off to a harder start than the four times in a row league champions would have anticipated.


Current most expensive XI in the Premier League

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English Premier League clubs are accustomed at paying astronomical sums of money to sign players.

That has increasingly become the case since the league’s inception in 1992, whereby the transfer fees paid by clubs have grown markedly.

Specifically in the inaugural season of the Premier League, Blackburn bought Alan Shearer from Southampton for approximately £3.5m to set a new British record transfer fee. Almost exactly 24 years on, that figure now stands at £55m, which Manchester City paid Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015.

Subsequently De Bruyne would automatically earn a place in a team of the most expensive players currently playing in the Premier League. In order to form that it is nonsensical to simply list the eleven most expensive players, since that would create an extremely unbalanced team.

As such to avoid that it is necessary to not only consider the most expensive players but also the positions which they play.

Subsequently by doing that in a subjective but logical manner enables the development of the current most expensive Premier League XI outlined below, with a 4-2-3-1 formation selected since it was found to be the one most commonly used by Premier League teams during the 2014-15 season, when Opta last published findings on the popularity of formations among Premier League teams.

David De Gea (Man United) £17.5m
Glen Johnson (Stoke) £18.5m -Nicolas Otamendi (Man C) £31.7m-Eliaquim Mangala (Man C) £31.8m – Luke Shaw (Man U) £30m
Fernandinho Luiz Roza (Man City) £35m Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) £35m
Raheem Sterling (Man City) £49m Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) £55m Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) £44.5m
Sergio Aguero (Man City) £38m

It is worthy to note that Glenn Johnson earned his place in the current most expensive Premier League XI by virtue of his £18.5m transfer from Portsmouth to Liverpool, which took place in 2009. Since then it is estimated that the highest fee paid for a right back by a Premier League club is the £12.7m that Manchester United paid Torino for Matteo Darmian last summer.

On the basis of transfer fees reported both in the media and by clubs themselves, the total cost of the current most expensive Premier League XI devised is in the region of £375m, with Manchester City being by far and away the most represented club.

Ultimately some of the most expensive players currently playing in the Premier League, such as Anthony Martial (Manchester United – £36m), Juan Mata (Manchester United – £37.1m) and Sadio Mane (Liverpool – £34m) have been omitted from the team, for the sake of ensuring that it is well balanced in terms of each position in the 4-2-3-1 formation being occupied by a suitably equipped player.

The latest addition to the team is Granit Xhaka, as the 23-year-old Swiss internationalist joined Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach for £35m earlier this summer to become the most expensive holding midfield player in world football.

Therefore Xhaka, along with each of the other players named, are likely to play key roles for their respective teams during the 2016-17 Premier League season, which is due to get underway on 13 August.


Granit Xhaka ideally suited to Arsenal

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The one major piece of business that Arsenal have completed in the transfer market this summer has been the £34m signing of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Wenger impressed by Xhaka

The 23-year-old holding midfielder made his debut for the Gunners as he came off the bench to play the second half of their recent 2-1 pre-season friendly win over the MLS All-Stars.

There was much to admire in terms of the manner in which Xhaka immediately stamped his authority on the game, as he seamlessly settled into Arsenal’s midfield by producing a robust performance, which met with the approval of Arsene Wenger.

“He (Xhaka) adjusted very well, his passing was clean and technically he did very well. Overall, I believe for a first game it is very encouraging,” Wenger revealed in his post match press conference to MLS, after he witnessed Xhaka demonstrate his all action approach which will undoubtedly be a major asset to Arsenal’s midfield, into which the player himself believes he can seamlessly integrate.

“I’ve been welcomed really well. I have the trust of my team mates. The club fits to me and I fit to it. Arsenal play attractive football and I enjoy that,” revealed Xhaka in an interview with Goal.

Many attributes to Xhaka’s game

As well as being composed and intelligent in possession, Xhaka reads the game extremely well, which enables him to make key interceptions and tackles, as does his aggressive and combative style. Whilst that is a major strength of Xhaka’s game, it can at times prove to be a weakness, with the Swiss internationalist having a tendency to be both overzealous and ill-disciplined.

Specifically in the last 73 Bundesliga games that Xhaka played for Monchengladbach, he collected 32 yellow and four red, cards, as the Swiss internationalist frequently allowed himself to be wound up by opponents.

Therefore controlling a fiery temper without taking the edge of his play is a challenge that Xhaka will be required to overcome in order to efficiently adjust to the demands of the English Premier League, which he is unquestionably capable of doing.

Blessed with a wonderful range of passing, natural leadership skills and an inbuilt desire to always demand the ball, Xhaka appears to be the ideal candidate to hold Arsenal’s midfield together, as indicated by his new team-mate Jack Wilshere.

“He’s a leader, he can hold the midfield together and get things going from back to front. He’s a good signing,” FourFourTwo has quoted Wilshere saying of Xhaka, who is vastly experienced despite only being 23.

Building an excellent career

After emerging through the youth ranks at Basle, Xhaka made his senior debut for the club in the first leg of their 2010-2011 Champions League third qualifying round tie against Debrecen. Xhaka capped a fine debut performance by scoring the second goal in his team’s 2-0 win.

Subsequently, he went on to win two Swiss Super League titles, a Swiss Cup and the Young Swiss Player of the Season award in 2012, before moving to Monchengladbach later that year.

During four seasons with the Bundesliga club, Xhaka made 140 appearances in all competitions and scored 9 times. As such, adding more goals to his game is likely to represent an ambition for Xhaka whilst playing for Arsenal.

In addition to having enjoyed an excellent club career to date, he has also performed brilliantly on the international stage, after making his senior debut for Switzerland aged just 18. That was against England at Wembley in 2011 during a 2-2 UEFA Euro 2012 Qualification draw between the sides, with Wilshere also featuring in that game, whilst so too did Arsenal‘s former Swiss central defensive pairing of Johann Djourou and Phillipe Senderos.

Just over five years on, Xhaka has now amassed 44 caps and is firmly established as Switzerland’s captain, having played every minute of his country’s Euro 2016 campaign. That ended in devastating circumstances for Xhaka as following Switzerland’s last 16 1-1 draw with Poland, they were eliminated on penalties, with him being the only player failing to score in the penalty shoot-out.

Set to prosper for Arsenal

Nevertheless given his strength of character and resolve, Xhaka is well equipped to recover from that disappointment to play a key role in helping Arsenal to enjoy an extremely successful 2016-2017 season, which they will start with a home game against Liverpool on 13 August.






Wolves sack Jackett and appoint much travelled Walter Zenga as manager


Walter Zenga has been announced as the new manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers, and whilst the pairing of these two parties does seem rather odd, it will be yet another adventure for the Italian footballing legend.

Zenga has been appointed after Wolves sacked Kenny Jackett who was celebrating his 3rd year in charge of the club. Some fans feel that it was undignified that Jackett who was indeed one of the longest serving managers at Wolves even for just those 36 months was fired. And it’s easy to see why. True his win rate was just 46%, but he did in is debut season get the club promoted back to the Championship, achieved a record haul of points and was voted joint LMA Manager of the season for League One.

How times change and how quickly especially in football. The writing for Jackett was on the wall the moment Wolves were taken over by Fosun International who clearly wanted a more European brand to head the team.

However will all due respect to Walter Zenga their choice of appointment does if anything seem rushed and unprepared. Zenga of course will always be remembered as the goal keeper who lit up Serie A in the 1980′s and early 90s where he was a constant figure for Inter Milan. But a great player doesn’t always make a great manager- and so this has come to be.

Should the alarm bells not be ringing for Wolves fans who will notice that Zenga has coached 15 teams in 18 years? The longest he has ever stayed at one club has been two seasons when he managed Dubai club Al Nasr.

As far as trophies are concerned Zenga has three of them at coaching level. A league title with Steaua Bucharest in 2005 and a couple of cup wins with Red Star Belgrade the following year. And so he has won nothing for the past decade.

The list of clubs Zenga has managed seems incredibly random- and Wolves just seems like another. But the big worry for fans has to be the new owners and what seems to be a short sighted deal to bring in Zenga. One feels that a club such as Wolves could have looked much closer to home, surely whilst being in the Championship the goal is for stability.

Now Zenga could prove us all wrong but right now it seems and with his record of jumping ship and or being sacked that Wolves are not taking the right steps to play any time soon in the Premier League.


Hull urgently seeking successor to Bruce

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Hull’s City hierarchy are set to begin interviewing potential new managers, as they intensify their efforts to find a suitable successor to Steve Bruce, according to the i

Since Bruce’s resignation, Hull are understood to have drawn up a shortlist of five managerial candidates, with one of those believed to be the former Everton manager Roberto Martinez.

Martinez among a quintet of candidates

Martinez, who also previously managed Swansea City and Wigan, was sacked by Everton at the end of last season. Nevertheless he left the club after enjoying an excellent three-season spell, whereby he led Everton to victory in 61 of his 143 competitive games in charge of the club, to give him a win percentage of 42.7%.

Subsequently Hull’s vice chairman Ehab Allam is thought to view Martinez as an ideal candidate to fulfil the club’s vacant managerial position and hopes to interview the 43-year-old Spaniard in the forthcoming days.

In addition to Martinez, Bruce’s former assistant Terry Phelan, who is currently in caretaker charge of Hull on their pre-season tour of Austria, is set to be afforded the opportunity to present his case for being appointed the club’s permanent manager.

Two other managers currently in work who have been linked with succeeding Bruce are Birmingham City’s Gary Rowett and Le Havre coach Bob Bradley, who has not only managed the U.S.A national team but also that of Egypt, as the 58-year-old American is by far the most experienced manager to be connected to the Hull post.

Another contender to become the Tigers new manager is Ryan Giggs, with Manchester United’s record appearance holder having left Old Trafford earlier this summer in search of his first managerial role.

Cutting it fine to appoint manager before start of new season

Despite it being unclear as to whether Giggs will apply for the Hull job, the interview process to find a replacement for the 42-year-old Welshman’s former United team mate Bruce, is set to commence this weekend, with the Tigers hopeful of making an appointment within a week’s time.

Should they do so, that would give the club’s new manager less than a fortnight to prepare for Hull’s first game of the 2016-17 Premier League season, which is a home fixture against champions Leicester.
So far this summer Hull have not yet signed a senior player with the Tigers only acquisition being the 18-year-old goalkeeper Will Mannion from MK Dons, whilst the club released both Sone Aluko and Ryan Taylor.

A lack of activity in the transfer market, combined with several members of their first team sustaining serious injuries, has left Hull with just 13 fit senior players, which means the Tigers new manager will have to work resourcefully to ensure the club’s return to the top flight starts well.

Manchester City youngsters impress against Dortmund

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Given Manchester City’s vast financial resources, the club are in the privileged position of being able to buy some of the best players in the world for large amounts of money.

Ultimately as a result of that it has been notoriously difficult for young players to break into Manchester City’s first team set-up during recent years.

Nevertheless that situation may now change, as Pep Guardiola appears intent on endeavouring to integrate some of the club’s most promising youngsters into his senior squad, just as he did for City’s penalty shoot-out victory over Borussia Dortmund in the International Champions Cup.

City’s promising youngsters

Whilst immensely pleased with winning that game, Guardiola will have been equally or even more satisfied with the performances of each of the young players he choose to field against Dortmund.

The 18-year-old centre half Tosin Adarabiyo performed superbly well throughout the game, as he was the only City player to complete the full ninety minutes.

Whilst Adarabiyo graduated from City’s youth academy, so too did the 19-year-old trio of Spanish holding midfielder Aleix Garcia, the Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho and Angelino Tasende, who is a Spanish left back, with each of those players producing assured displays against Dortmund during their time on the field.

The same compliment can be paid to Angus Gunn, since after replacing Joe Hart at half time, the 20-year-old goalkeeper redeemed himself for being at fault for Dortmund’s late equalising goal, by saving three times in the shoot-out. During that both Adarabiyo and Angelino showed great composure to score their penalties, with Angelino’s proving to be decisive.

Two other young players who staked reasonable claims to become members of Guardiola’s senior squad for the new season by performing well against Dortmund were the 19-year-old duo of Spanish right back Pablo Maffeo and Olesandr Zinchenko. Nevertheless despite attacking purposefully during the 45 minutes he played the Ukrainian internationalist, who played in each of his country’s three Euro 2016 group games, was the recipient of some stern words of advice from Guardiola.

Prospects of playing in City’s first team

As such on the basis of the impressive manner in which City’s young players performed in extremely testing conditions against an excellent Dortmund side, it is quite conceivable that they will feature among Guardiola’s plans for the 2016-17 season, particularly since the club will compete in not just the Premier League, F.A Cup and League Cup but also the Premier League.

Swansea in the market for two new strikers

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Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins has revealed that the club are currently in the market for two new strikers, according to the BBC.

Whilst the Welsh club are interested in buying the Sevilla striker Fernando Llorente, they have also made an enquiry about signing Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa.

Need to bolster attacking options

At present the only senior centre forward confirmed as being available to Swansea manager Francesco Guidolin for the start of the new season is Andre Ayew, after the club sold Eder and Alberto Paloschi to Lille and Atalanta respectively, whilst Bafetimbi Gomis is set to join Marseille on a season – long loan.

Subsequently with the Swans in desperate need to bolster their attacking options, they are understood to have identified both Llorente and Ulloa as potential candidates to help them achieve that.

Looking to Llorente

At 31-years-old Llorente is an aggressive, powerful and tall centre forward, who has scored seven goals in 24 appearances for Spain.

After establishing himself as one of the best strikers in La Liga whilst playing with Athletic Bilbao, for whom he made 333 appearances and scored 118 goals over the course of nine seasons, Llorente then joined Juventus in 2013 and stayed with the Turin giants for two years.

Subsequently at the start of last season Llorente moved back to Spain after agreeing to join Sevilla on a three-year contract. Whilst netting seven goals in 36 appearances for the La Liga outfit, Llorente helped the club to win the Europa League, as he scored twice as Sevilla beat FK Molde 3-0 in the first leg of their round of 32 tie, before going on to win 3-1 on aggregate.

Ultimately given that Llorente is a gifted centre forward blessed with great physicality, heading ability and touch, should Swansea capture him, they would be acquiring a player well equipped to play in the Premier League, just as another striker who the club are interested in signing has proven himself to be during the last two seasons.

Targeting Leicester’s Ulloa

After leaving Brighton to join Leicester on a four-year contract for £8m in July 2014, in his first season with the Foxes, Leonardo Ulloa helped the club to avoid relegation. The Argentinean striker scored 11 goals in 37 Premier League appearances, including a double as Leicester recovered from 3-1 down to memorably defeat Manchester United 5-3 at the King Power Stadium on 21 September 2014.

Despite not featuring as regularly last season, as manager Claudio Ranieri preferred to play Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki in attack, Ulloa was still an important member of Leicester Premier League title winning team, as he made 29 appearances and scored six goals.

Prior to switching to English football in January 2013 when he signed for Brighton, Ulloa spent two-and-a-half seasons playing with Almeria in Spain.

Other options being considered by affluent Swans

Whilst Llorente and Ulloa are two strikers understood to be of interest to Swansea, one of the club’s coach’s Alan Curtis has indicated that the Welsh side have a shortlist which features six attacking options, with one of those being Tottenham’s Nacer Chadli, according to the BBC.

At present Swansea believed to be in a strong position to buy new players, after receiving an injection of funds following an affluent US consortium buying a 68% stake in the club.



Liverpool well prepared for the new Premier League season

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It is now 26 years since Liverpool last won a League Championship. Under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish the club won the 1989-90 First Division title, which was the 18th and last time Liverpool were crowned champions of England.

Subsequently the Anfield side have come close to winning a 19th League Championship Trophy on four occasions with them finishing each of the 1990-91, 2001-02, 2008-09, 2013-14 seasons as runners-up in England’s top flight.

Therefore Liverpool have never won the Premier League, which came into existence in 1992.

Klopp building for a brighter future

That represents a source of great disappointment and frustration for everyone associated with Liverpool, which the club’s current manager Jurgen Klopp is currently trying to avenge by developing a side capable of winning major honours.

In terms of working towards achieving that the 49-year-old German, who previously managed Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund, is making extremely good progress. Specifically not only does he have a settled team in place but Klopp has also an excellent squad of players with a depth of quality which is arguably as great as that of any other in the Premier League.

So far this summer Klopp has made two marquee signings in the form of striker Sadio Mane and midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, whilst further strengthening his squad by recruiting the centre back duo of Ragnar Klaven and Joel Matip, along with Loris Karius, who will compete strongly with Simon Mignolet to play in goal.

Well prepared for the new season

Whilst it remains unclear as to whether Klopp will bring in more new players before the current transfer window closes on 31 August, the highly eccentric and knowledgeable manager has without doubt already assembled a talented pool of players who have the potential to make a strong start to the 2016-2017 season.

That is particularly the case since having completed a number of superb signings early in the summer, Klopp has afforded himself time to introduce those players to his way of working, which will be vitally important to suitably equip them to make a positive impact during the new season.

Positive signs during pre-season

Ahead of that Liverpool are currently on a pre-season tour of Alcatraz in the U.S.A, with that consisting of three games. They lost the first of those 1-0 to Premier League rivals Chelsea in Pasadena, following which they are now preparing to face AC Milan and Roma in Santa Clara and St Louis respectively.

Prior to being narrowly defeated by Chelsea, Klopp’s side had won each of their previous four pre-season games against Tranmere Rovers (1-0), Fleetwood Town (5-0), Wigan Athletic (2-0) and Huddersfield Town (2-0), whilst performing impressively in doing so.

Preparation for new season ongoing

Ultimately the challenge for Liverpool is to replicate those excellent showings against stronger opponents, such as AC Milan, Roma, Barcelona and Mainz 05, who they will play in friendlies ahead of opening their 2016-17 Premier League campaign against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 13 August.

Whilst that represents an extremely difficult fixture for Klopp’s side, it is nevertheless one which they can go into confident of winning, since they already appear to be extremely well prepared for the new season, whilst still having another fortnight to fine tune their plans for that.

Therein lies the eccentric and highly knowledgeable German manager’s ongoing assignment, which he is embracing with the utmost care and attention.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis admits Arsenal don’t have funds to compete for league title

Olympiacos FC v Arsenal FC - UEFA Champions League

It’s news that every Arsenal fan especially season ticket holders dread every summer- usually it’s the manager himself Arsene Wenger that reveals it- the news that Arsenal just don’t have the budget or funds to compete with the bigger teams. Stunning news on the face of it given that Arsenal should be one of those big teams. Today it was from the mouth of Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis. And it’s a real head scratcher considering Arsenal were the Premier League club who made the most money- just over £100 million from the new television deal last season.

Is it not the same old song and dance down at the Emirates though? Season ticket holders promised a team that will win trophies are lured into getting their seats for the coming season confirmed only for a few weeks to go to the start of a new season being told there are a lack of funds.

True Arsenal have spent just over £40 million this summer- the bulk of that money went on the young Swiss hopeful Granit Xhaka. However transfer deals have moved on since then- in short with the money now involved in the English game, English teams are playing it big- The average spend so far for the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea is £75 million and that looks like it will rise to £100 million. It also looks like Arsenal will be left in the shadows once again.

They have, if we believe the rumours, come in for three players and three times been rejected. First up was Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuian, who ended up signing for Juventus this week in a near £75 million package deal. No one has to be reminded that Arsenal would have bulked at half that fee.

Then there was talk of Jamie Vardy- a revelation at champions Leicester City. But Vardy who could well have been a success in London decided to stay with the Foxes. This decision was probably on the basis of entering the unknown with the club now in the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Over to Ligue 1 and Alexandre Lacazette who has now had two solid seasons with Lyon. Arsenal offered £29 million and were soundly and rightly rejected. It remains to be seen if Wenger will come in with a bigger and let’s face it respectable offer for the Frenchman who has scored 54 goals from his last 84 matches.

Gazidis’ words though seemed like a step back yet again for the Gunners, he said: “We would not be successful if we simply went out into the transfer market and tried to out gun our competitors. We’re run in a self-sustaining way, and a way that we believe in, because we believe it gives us certainty for the future, and enables us to plan our future with confidence.”

This all sounds very well, but the problem is that Arsenal fans have been hearing the same stance for nigh on a decade that has been filled with empty promises and no league titles.