Monday 18 June 2018

France FRA 2

Australia AUS 1

REPORT

Argentina ARG 1

Iceland ISL 1

REPORT

Peru PER 0

Denmark DNK 1

REPORT

Croatia CRO 2

Nigeria NGA 0

REPORT

Costa Rica CRI 0

Serbia SRB 1

REPORT

Germany GER 0

Mexico MEX 1

REPORT

Brazil BRA 1

Switzerland SUI 1

Full Time

Sweden SWE 1

South Korea KOR 0

REPORT

Belgium BEL 3

Panama PAN 0

REPORT

Tunisia TUN 1

England ENG 1

Ongoing

Colombia COL

Japan JPN

Poland POL

Senegal SEN

Russia RUS

Egypt EGY

Portugal POR

Morocco MAR

Uruguay URY

Saudi Arabia SAU

Iran IRN

Spain ESP

Denmark DNK

Australia AUS

France FRA

Peru PER

Argentina ARG

Croatia CRO

Brazil BRA

Costa Rica CRI

Nigeria NGA

Iceland ISL

Serbia SRB

Switzerland SUI

Belgium BEL

Tunisia TUN

South Korea KOR

Mexico MEX

Germany GER

Sweden SWE

England ENG

Panama PAN

Japan JPN

Senegal SEN

Poland POL

Colombia COL

Saudi Arabia SAU

Egypt EGY

Uruguay URY

Russia RUS

Spain ESP

Morocco MAR

Iran IRN

Portugal POR

Denmark DNK

France FRA

Australia AUS

Peru PER

Iceland ISL

Croatia CRO

Nigeria NGA

Argentina ARG

Mexico MEX

Sweden SWE

South Korea KOR

Germany GER

Switzerland SUI

Costa Rica CRI

Serbia SRB

Brazil BRA

Senegal SEN

Colombia COL

Japan JPN

Poland POL

Panama PAN

Tunisia TUN

England ENG

Belgium BEL

Wenger: £350k-a-week Ozil 'cheapest option'

Mesut Ozil’s new £350,000-per-week contract 'was Arsenal’s cheapest option in regards to a playmaker.' Photo: Nigel French/PA
Mesut Ozil’s new £350,000-per-week contract 'was Arsenal’s cheapest option in regards to a playmaker.' Photo: Nigel French/PA

Sam Wallace

It is indicative of where English football finds itself in 2018 that Arsene Wenger, the single biggest bulwark against the game's 21st-century financial explosion, should declare Mesut Ozil's new £350,000-per-week contract Arsenal's "cheapest option" in regards to a playmaker.

These are different times at Arsenal, or at least the latest attempt at change, following a month in which they have twice broken through the top end of their pay structure while selling their three leading goalscorers from last season, all to clubs within the top eight of the Premier League.

At the club where nothing ever seemed to change, January 2018 felt like a radical departure for Arsenal, and surely the first signs of the new hierarchy exerting its control. They face Everton at the Emirates today - an early return for Theo Walcott after his move to Goodison Park, where the Gunners' club record new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is unlikely to feature because of illness.

There was no introductory press conference for the new £56m man because Arsenal no longer do that.

Given their recent record in the transfer market, one can see why the responsibility has been handed over to Sven Mislintat, the new chief scout, and also, starting this month, the new director of football Raul Sanllehi.

The re-signing of Ozil has been presented by the club as something that Arsenal fans should feel thoroughly grateful about, a strange assumption to make given that he is being paid twice as much to do so as any player in their history. Of course, Ozil  even at 29, is a player whom Arsenal would rather not have lost but, having found themselves thoroughly outmanoeuvred by his stubbornness and Alexis Sanchez's departure, ended up paying far too much to stay.

Asked whether it might mean that a few of his other big names could review their own financial situation, Wenger tried to explain the thinking behind the new decision.

"When you let a player go you have to buy somebody of the same calibre and if you add the wages needed it will be similar," he said.

"On top of that we have to pay a transfer. So overall I think Mesut for us was the cheapest option.

"On the other side all of our players are Very well paid. To feel sorry for them - I'm not sure that it's the most objective assessment."

He called upon Ozil to be "the technical leader" of the new post-Sanchez Arsenal team, which is the least one could expect under the terms of his new contract.

As for the arrival of Aubameyang, Wenger could offer no consolation to last summer's record signing Alexandre Lacazette. He said that Aubameyang was a player whom he had admired for some time and was not worried about his reputation for poor discipline.

"I don't think that is a problem," Wenger said. "He (Aubameyang) spent four years in Germany and had some problems in the last year linked with the fact that maybe his transfer did not work in the summer and he did not have the same commitment as he had before.

"I know him from France - he played for Saint-Etienne and Bastia - and usually his behaviour was never a problem. He is a professional guy."

It was intriguing to hear that the Arsenal manager acquiesced to Olivier Giroud joining Chelsea, a rival for one of the top-four places and eight points better off, because the player and his wife Jennifer have just had a third child and wanted to stay in London.

It was a decision, Wenger admitted, that owed more to the club's admiration for the player and they will be well aware that it could come back to haunt them.

As for the defender who never arrived, Wenger simply said that situation would be improved by scoring more goals.

They have eight fewer than they did at this stage of last season, and eight fewer points. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Arsenal v Everton, Live, BT Sport 1, 5.0

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport