Saturday, November 27, 2021

Wenger: Big deals can put players in a comfort zone

Arsene Wenger says that players who receive massive pay increases can find themselves in a comfort zone because of that, but believes it’s a consequence of club’s having to find the balance between keeping existing talent and bringing in new players in the transfer market.

The former boss was speaking after being given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards – presented to him by one of his great successes, Cesc Fabregas – and it came with reference to the ongoing situation involving Mesut Ozil at Arsenal.

The German was handed a £350,000 a week contract to entice him to stay last February, a negotiation handled by Dick Law under the auspices of Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, but since then his performances and impact on the team have been far less than people expected.

This season he has completed 90 minutes in the Premier League just six times, and has been used just once since December 26th.

Wenger said, “I feel that the length of the contract has nothing to do normally with the selection of the team, but sometimes there are special cases.

“Most of the time now we think when we sign a player for five years we have a good player for five years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they practise or they play their best, because they might be in their comfort zone.

“He has a contract but the problem is that, if you want to buy a player like him, you have to spend £100m. And to maintain the value of the player, beyond the Ozil case, it is more about the way football is structured.

“To buy players of top, top quality you need £100m,” he continued.

“So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?”

Ozil is expected to be fit for this Thursday’s Europa League clash with BATE Borisov, whether he’s picked or not remains to be seen.

For more on Ozil, check out the new Arsecast Extra

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Okechukwu Jude

Oh! How I miss Arsene and his intelligent and diplomatic responses to the press. He has such mastery and was/is almost always right


Arsène Knows!

When in doubt, blame the manager!

You mean the same Arsene whose players on small deals like Walcott, Ox, Giroud were also put in comfort zones for large portions of their career?

Okechukwu Jude

I have a different view. Call Walcott all the names you can, he has over 100 goals for arsenal same as Giroud and as for ox, injuries stifled his progress at arsenal. Arsene got it right .


Wow, this is a lot of revisionist history.

Thierry Bergkamp

You can’t accuse those players of not trying

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I must agree especially for the first two.


The same Arsenal who bought Ramsey for 4.75m

The same Arsenal who bought Santi Carola and Monreal

And yes Giroud for 12m generating 20 goals a season.

The same Arsenal who bought Koscielny.

When in doubt, blame the manager!

Was Arsene also right in leaving Ozil/Sanchez/Ramsey’s’ contracts to run into their final year without any extension, leaving us in a horrible position when it came to negotiating contracts?

Crash Fistfight

What was wrong was the fact that it was him that had to make that decision. It didn’t have to be a case of wrestling away his power by taking away some of those decisions from him – it could have been something that was done with relieving him of some of the stress of the job in mind. The senior management at the club rested on its laurels for too long, letting Arsene pick up all the slack. Maybe if he hadn’t been doing EVERYTHING he might have got the on-pitch stuff a bit better in his last few… Read more »

J.M. Bapple

Wenger wanted to do everything. Indeed, he insisted on it. Recall his response to the idea that Arsenal should bring in a DoF. He claimed (ridiculously) that he had no idea what a Director of Football even does. Wenger got many things wrong; this was one of them.

John C

This was his rather pithy response to a question on director of football;

“No, director of football, I don’t know what it means,”

“Is it someone who stands on the road and directs the players left and right? I never understand what it means, director of football.”

John C

and for clarity here’s another excerpt from the same interview:

“I’m manager of Arsenal and as long as I am manager, I will decide what happens on the technical front,” he added. “That’s it.”

Okechukwu Jude

Wenger’s main problem was his undying love for arsenal, arsenal wasn’t a job for him it was his life so he took a lot of stick where other managers wouldn’t have and unfortunately, that became his undoing. Now he is gone, can’t you see the same problems exist?

Gooner Sam

Agreed but do you not think that the power to make all the decisions is what Arsene wanted?

John C

and The Ox, Van Persie, Nasri etc


I don’t believe that was entirely down to him

Maxin In The Shade

“When human beings at their best meet sport at its best, life becomes art.”
Arsene Wenger


Pretentious twaddle. No doubt Wenger’s little fan club will have hysterics at this – but that’s what it is. Football is a completive team sport. That’s why there are League tables and knock out Cup competitions. It sifts the winners, from the others. Yes, I can see what he is hinting at in terms of balletic movement ; but in fairness to him, I don’t think he was seriously suggesting that football is art. Any more than Covent Garden Ballet is a competitive sport. It isn’t. Needless to say, Wenger’s nutty cult followers, in true Monty Python style have taken… Read more »


I’ll take aesthetically pleasing football that consistently makes top 4 over shin kickers that don’t any day of the week.

John C

Because that’s the only two options available!?!


Exactly !


Who’s pissed in your coffee?


It’s called telling the truth, believe it or not.


On Beinsport he called the Man U v PSG game perfectly, tactics, how it was going to unfurl etc. The most alarming thing he said was to compare the current Spurs squad to United’s class of 92. I didn’t think he was being bitter either. But as folks have posted, hindsight is great now.


Not only would the new top player coming in cost £100M. He’d also likely still want a large (possibly not quite 350k) salary. I think we did the right thing in trying to retain and have at least one world class player at the club. Its just a shame that things cant be worked out between him and the new regime/manager.


Its easy, at this point in time, to say we shouldn’t have renewed his contract at such a huge salary. But those same people who make a fuss about it would likely have been in uproar had he left alongside Alexis. And God knows what the psychological impact would have been to lose those two and see our manager of 22 years go all within 6 months!

Ozil may be a burden right now but it was the right move to keep him a year ago.


Ozil is not a burden. He has been instrumental to the little success we have achieved in recent years. He can’t just turn bad overnight . The manager should play him when fit. He’s the best playmaker we have still got. Play him or not, he’d still get paid. Why not play him then?

Okechukwu Jude

Ozil is still one of the best things that have happened to arsenal recently. We endured a long trophy drought until we signed him and boom 3fa cups in 5 years.

Dave Cee

I wouldn.t. i was in uoroar the waste of space ever got that contract


But the thing is you’d expect the new player to be doing more than what Ozil has been doing over the last couple of years, much more. It is also ignores that no one was coming to us with a 100m offer for him at the time, so it’s debatable if we actually need 100m to replace him.


There have been plenty of games when Ozil has created 5+ goal-scoring opportunities and we’ve failed to capitalize on them. His job has always been to create goals, and he’s been more consistently good at that than we give him credit. Looking farther back, there was the one season he had a garbage bag full of assists and was heading for a record-breaking season, only to see our forwards miss just about everything in the second half. Ozil has been right with us when we’ve wondered, “how did he miss that”? Even Auba and Laca, both excellent finishers, have clattered… Read more »


Your comment kind of proves my point, no one is paying 100m for a player that only creates chances for other players of variable ability. The fact that even players of Auba and Laca’s quality can miss easy chances shows the limits of creating chances alone. The big money tends to go on players that can win the game themselves, Mbappe, Hazard and Salah types. Sanchez before he started believing his own hype. Ozil isn’t in that category. Also, not sure when Ozil made it crystal clear he was staying before signing that massive contract. Actually I recall him being… Read more »

John C

You’re absolutely right, chance creation in itself for an attacking player is no longer enough. Look at the competition, Salah, Mane, Firmino at Liverpool, Kane, Ali, Son at Spurs, Sane, Sterling, Aguero at Man City, Martial, Rashford and Lukaku at Utd, all those players will finish the season scoring double digits in the league, Ozil won’t and never will. You can’t compete with those teams if you can’t even match them and it wasn’t a mistake that when there was 12 months on both Ozil and Sanchez contracts only Sanchez was the subject of a bid from Man City. Ozil… Read more »


Fair enough — not everyone has to appreciate the beauty and the necessity of the assist, or the importance of creativity and imagination leading up to the ball in the back of the net. Ask any of the players you’ve listed if they’d like Ozil to be passing them the ball in the final third, but you already know the answer.

John C

It’s not about not appreciating assists, just a realisation that the numbers involved in modern football require attacking players to score regularly if you want to succeed


@ Futsboller but that’s the thing, the reason I used Mbappe, Hazard and Salah as examples, rather than say Aubameyang, is because those players are both regularly score AND create chances (and in big games too!). They’re just as likely to be the once making that telling pass as they are to be the ones receiving it. It’s as John C says, the 100m players are multifaceted. And if they really can only do one thing, that thing will always be scoring goals, not just creating chances. @gee, as Atom said your examples don’t stack up. Dembele is a wide… Read more »


Mesut Ozil will be last global superstar to wear the jersey if we continue with a stubborn almost mourinesque manager like emery, I have watched Arsenal for nearing 30 years and to be honest i cant be asked with what i am seeing at the moment. Ramsey And ozil should be in the starting 11, guendouzi is just a kid learning his stuff, (how many has he scored assisted this season) All this stuff about ozil not trying.makes me so very angry, his job is to create in the final third the chances that will be finished off by the… Read more »


“your comment kind of proves my point, no one is paying 100m for a player that only creates chances for other players of variable ability.”

Barca payed over 100mil for coutiniho and dembele. Countino is not very good and dembele got loads to prove.


@gee. Barca had to overpay for dembele bc they weren’t expecting to lose Neymar. But neither one of those players are solely chance creators as Ozil is and have resale value if they don’t work. No one is giving us more than a token fee for Ozil if we sell him


the comment was “no one is paying 100m for a player that only creates chances for other players of variable ability.”

I gave 2 examples. weather they over paid or what is irrelevant. fact is they paid.
not really arguing if Ozil is worth it or not, just that statement is not accurate


@gee – dembele isn’t a chance creator so that one is wrong. Coutinho was supposed to be the new Iniesta and score a fair amount of goals/ also put in defensive work.

no one is paying 100m for a player that does what Ozil does.


And we didn’t either. But if he leaves at that point too, he has to be replaced by SOMETHING. So then we’re looking at 100m to get someone with a different set of features. Whether or not someone would pay that for that skill set is moot. Ozil leaves same time as Sanchez and we’re stuck needing to pay a 100m transfer fee, for one, or possibly more for two to add up to what’s needed. Despite being very expensive wage packet, his contract was a lot cheaper than 100m transfer + contract for 1, 2, or maybe more players.… Read more »

John C

Sanchez should have been sold to City when they came in for him with 12 months to go and so should have Ozil but we were too busy trying to save face rather than build a coherent football team.


This to1000th


@mpls What’s done is done so all this arguing about whether or not we should have extended Ozil is pretty pointless. What matters now is what we do with him going forward. He clearly has his defenders – I’m in the camp that he has all the talent in the world but is just far too inconsistent for what we need. If we are going to pay someone the 2nd highest salary in the PL (clearly having knock on effects with wage cap etc. in terms of our ability to rebuild the squad) then we need a player who can… Read more »


Oh I totally agree it’s pointless to flog that decision. I don’t think anyone but maybe Messi and Ronaldo are worth that much, and then only so because they’re revenue juggernauts and the club’s and agents shouldn’t get all the money they bring in. I’m just a believer in context. I don’t agree with the contract but I get how it happened. And I think if a team is in its poorest form in 20 years, I don’t expect 1 individual player to be the messiah and somehow carry the team themselves regardless of their wage. Especially a player whose… Read more »

DB10s Air Miles

You think that Barca will recoup anywhere near what they paid out on those 2?

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Coutinho not very good. What have you drunk or smoked today ?


Coutiniho is hype. flatters to deceive. i admit he is better than Denis Suarez but both are not as good as Ozil.

And i’m smoking Gelato 41

Walmart Heiress

And right now we are creating nothing for our hungry strikers.

Pat Rice and Beans

The context back then (Alexis exit coupled with bad results) contributed to retain Ozil.
As Ali said, in hindsight is easy to see the mistakes. If we’re doing so, I think not selling Ramsey in the summer is much worse than giving Ozil 350k/week.

Dave Cee

All shocking decisions that were easy to call at the time. Along with not selling Sanchez to city, Wilshere, Welbeck etc. Should be a very simple sign up or fuck off strategy. Not this faffing around and being held over a barrel

takuma asano

Retrospection is always 20:20


In hindsight I’d agree


As if Wenger was to know that Emery would be unable to motivate Ozil properly and Ozil will prefer to sit out rather than fight for his place. There’s a lot of wrongs on each side. We need to work out a solution for the present, and fast!

Gooner Sam

Agreed you can’t blame it all on Wenger or on Emery. It should have been clear from his previous form for Arsenal that he has never been consistent why was that likely to suddenly change? Where we are as a team we can’t afford to carry anyone and Ozil is a very expensive cart at the moment

Monkey Nuts

Except that he doesn’t fit with how Emery wants to play so it’s a bit like having a Rolls Royce parked up in the garage because you live on a muddy farm.

We all know the club were scared to lose him so now we have an expensive flop taking the place of a couple of decent players who could really improve us.

Talk about ridiculous decsion making on the part of Gazidis and Wenger. How long will we have to suffer at the hands of the incompetence of Gazidis.

Oh and Kroenke out!


Yeah, let’s opt for mediocrity. Some clubs do it, they are mid-table.

Monkey Nuts

But he is mediocre in the majority of games he plays and Arsenal are nearer mid table than they are to the top.


If you don’t think we are already mediocre then you haven’t been watching us for the past few years.


It is claimed that unai emery had a dossier on all arsenal players when he did his interview. He should have known arsenals strength and weaknesses. A good coach should know how ro utilise his players but since he has come he is just destroying the arsenal I grew up loving. No flair playing 7 defenders against lower teams. We r losing Ramsey for free and pushing out ozil yet bringing in a suarez. We werent willing to give Arsene an actual legend time so y should we give emery time to destroy the club. We dont have the financial… Read more »

Monkey Nuts

He didn’t have a dossier and the mess this club is in is down to years of mismanagement.

John C

The last 10 years of Wenger’s (mis)-management has resulting in this and the worse thing about it is that many of us could see this car crash coming.


Well said Monkey…I can’t believe people still believe this piece of urban myth.

DB’s first touch

Point is you don’t hire a coach without being convinced that he has a strong plan to get the most out the players in the squad, particularly so called star players like Özil and Ramsey. Either the club was negligent in not asking emery about how he was going to use these players or emery misled everyone during the interview. If the squad is so ill suited to play emery ball as many are happy to tell you, it raises the question as to whether emery was the right choice for the position in the first place. And that is… Read more »

John C

Or maybe he made it clear he’d give them all a fair crack at the whip then make up his mind, which is what he seems to have done. I don’t get this argument that he had to explain how he was going to get an unbalanced squad that he had no hand in building, full of players with often competing and non complementary skill sets to become a champions league team. No manager was going to get the squad left by Wenger into the Champions League, it just wasn’t good enough. Any manager would also be needed to be… Read more »


you can’t know your players’ personalities by watching them on TV. Some things will only be learned by actually experiencing them. Icluding the compatibility of players to certain play styles or management techniques, which not guaranteed even if you think you know the player. That’s why many signings fail even tho a lot of time was spent scouting and studying said players to make sure they are compatible.

This whole talk of ‘ Emery should have known his players because he came with a dossier…etc’ is nonesense and would not be said by anyone who knows his football.

DB’s first touch

That’s a fair point but maybe people would be a whole lot less upset about the situation if the results and/or performances had improved after he jettisoned Ramsey and Özil but they have gotten worse instead, which naturally raises questions about whether emery knows how to get the best out of the squad he has available.


If I wanted to live on a muddy farm, I’d support Burnley. If that’s what we’ve got to look forward to for the next few years, wake me up when Arsenal starts playing attractive football again.


So what you are suggesting is part exchanging the Rolls Royce for a couple of Ford Cortinas? Banega and a n other? No decent player is going to fit in with the dross that Emery wants to play, so we would be better off getting rid of Emery.


Ozil isnt world class anymore. Football has simple changed, in the last couple of years. Nowadays you need your midfield to have a combination of tenacity and dominance on the ball (through physique and/or technique), and Ozil doesnt really add alot to this. He is technically gifted, but is still not the best at retaining the ball. Saying you need £100m to buy a player of his quality, is imo not true. Prices on players in terms of quality of players doesnt move proportionally with eachother. For example you might have to pay three times as much for a player… Read more »


This whole ‘football has changed’ thing funnily enough happens every few years. When Spain and Barca dominated for 6 or 7 years, there was no real tenacity or physicality. Soon the high press, all action, ultra-fitness model we’ve seen Liverpool and- to a point City- adopt will be replaced by the next flavour of the month. It also generally seems to correlate with which team has the best players (go figure). Football is very cyclical, so to say that someone with ozil’s ability has been somehow left behind isn’t correct- in my opinion of course.

Crash Fistfight

But how do you gauge which players are ‘best’? If you look at the technical versus physical attributes of players at some of the best performing teams at the moment, such as Liverpool, Tottenham and Dortmund, their players are more athlete than artist. I wouldn’t say their players would jump out as being the ‘best’ if they were playing for teams that try to play in a technical style. The ‘best’ players (as far as I would gauge it) are at teams that don’t press as much: Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Juventus, Man City (yes they press, but not with… Read more »


That’s true, but although those teams are playing well, none of them are dominating. I mean the teams that have inspired other teams to try to copy them; us/ United early 000s, then Barca, then bayern early 20teens- I guess now because the playing field is relatively level amongst the top level clubs everyone is sticking until one tactic comes out on top and perhaps then they’ll twist. Conte’s 5 at the back became the thing for a while amongst a lot of premier league teams but that’s gone away relatively quickly. I don’t know, it’s an interesting discussion, and… Read more »

Crash Fistfight

Not saying you’re wrong. It was just that your post suggested that the style of football that has become de rigeur is the one played by teams with the best players, which has made fans buy into the idea that it is the best way to play.

My point was that the high energy pressing style has actually been brought to prominence by teams that use it to make up for their lack of technical quality (not that I’m saying those teams are full of donkeys, just that technically I don’t think they’re of the highest level).


True. I wonder whether it’s part of a wider question as to whether there are as many good footballers as there used to be? I think back to early noughties/ late 90s; maybe the talent was more evenly spread and thus better developed before money came in and concentrated the majority of the ‘talent’ at four or five clubs. Don’t know if that’s true, may be a real rose-tinted glasses situation, but I think back to old video games and the Italian league had great players at four or five clubs, Spain probably more even with Valencia- England was probably… Read more »


There was a definite downturn in Ozil’s performances either side of signing his bumper deal, and we’ve seen Sanchez badly struggle at United. So it is possible but on the other hand, new deals don’t seem to have slowed down players like Sterling, KdB, Salah and Kane. It might be because they’re all still young enough to feel like they have something to prove. And the extra advantage of signing up those players is that they’ll still have real transfer value near the end of their deals, unlike Ozil and Sanchez.


You know injuries can touch Özil and Sanchez too. Nobody criticised Cazorla when the club paid him two years only to be in the hospital (btw, I love Santi.).

A Different George

Well, Alexis is a really good example, because he is gone and we can assess him more objectively. He has been injured, but when he has played for Man United, he has been quite poor. But, does anyone actually believe he is not as super-competitive as ever, as determined as ever to impose himself? Does anyone who watched him at Arsenal and has seen him play for Manchester really believe he has become complacent, is in a comfort zone, just wants to collect his wages? He look to me as hungry as he was for us–which means there must be… Read more »


Complacency comes in different forms. For Sanchez it might be his inability/unwillingness to adapt to accommodate his new team. He may still be working really hard, but he’s also only working hard his own way, not in a way that actually benefits United.


Is it me or Arsene Wenger has said more in two phrases than Emery has said in his whole Arsenal career interviews?


Top top quality


Of course Arsene said more, because he can say it, as he is no longer managing the club. If Unai said that you wouldn’t hear the end of it.

DB’s first touch

Arsene said plenty while still at the club, I know what you mean and of course you are correct in the context of the Özil situation but it is also true that emery doesn’t say much during press conferences even after taking into account the language barrier which emery earns a bit of extra goodwill for having to negotiate


The comfort zone is true too for a Spanish player who warms the bench in a high Spanish club coming here after knowing personally the actual coach of our club and the director of football of our club, both Spanish (hmm hmmm…) and doing nothing on the pitch despite being on loan and supposed to prove his month in a period of 3/4 months. For 6 year and half i have read that football has changed and that Özil has nothing more to do with it. For 6 years and a half the guy has picked up trophies after trophies,… Read more »


Which trophies has Ozil picked in 6 and half years? Did he played a pivotal part in WC 2014 and 3 FA Cups?


Another fairy tales from Wenger. Why didn’t you sell him for 100m? Perhaps he was not worth the money ever? And now we have a passenger in our team who does not want to play football, but wants to play Fortnite, for 350 thousand a week. And now the sitting old man telling nonsense with a clever look, about how “the world has changed.” No, Wenger, nothing has changed, you just went crazy.



Faisal Narrage

““So the decision you have to make is whether you re-sign the player, who costs us nothing, or do we have the money to buy a new player?”

Back in the day Arsene’s answer to such a question would be to buy the next new superstar for 10M, not buy a replacement for 100M.

Public Elneny

Very true

Nwanko Anelka

Back in the day 10m was close to club record signing.

Faisal Narrage

And back in the day, players weren’t 100M. Clearly missed my point.

DB’s first touch

Which would have led to cries of “spend some fucking money”


It all goes to show that more money has not really improved the game. Ozil’s agent has probably priced him out of getting a game one way and another.

The argument about football being a short career and the need to maximise money has long gone with even average players raking in millions. The consequence has been increasing the cost to supporters.


In Ozil’s case you buy a new promising player. Ozil is not worth hundred million and that’s exactly why you don’t have a job Mr Wenger. You were unable to judge top top quality anymore. ( I love Arsene by the way). Also Guendouzi and Torreira are proving him wrong. Just need bit of flair (which we may have fired recently). COYG anyway

Nwanko Anelka

Both Torreira and Guendouzi have a he’ll lot to prove. A 28year old with the stats Mesut had behind him is worth 100m in the current market


I wish


The clubs want shut of 350.000 type deals and Ozil is the fall guy


I still wonder what it would be like now if they “only” gave him a contract worth £250.000 a week.
First would his people eventually accepted it as he apparently loves the club?
Secondly would the board etc. act the same now and push Emery to freeze him out?
I have no idea but it makes you wonder…what if?


By the way, if you have watched the entire press conference/interview, Wenger also said he doesn’t want to share his opinion/feelings on the Özil situation because he is a fan now and the subject is very sensitive. He just wants Arsenal to do well. Sounds to me that his opinion could lead to even more controversy than there already is.
I guess we’ll have to wait for his book then ?


It’s good to hear Arsene say “top top quality”, again. 🙂


If Ozil had only £250,000 a week, it would be £5,200,000 easier to shift him. 100k by 52 weeks


Well thanks for sanctioning that contract then Arsene, you signed off on it. You mollycoddled Ozil from day one and it was not the correct way to man manage him long term, nor was it clever to not renew others contracts (sanchez, rambo, the ox), resulting in Arsenal being forced to spend this wage to avoid a PR nightmare, likely buying you another 4 months to save your job. 100m for a no10 or creative midfielder is at the very top of the market and it ludicrous to think that only this figure would provide a suitable replacement. Look at… Read more »

Gooners & Roses

‘I have only three words for you: I’ll miss you’

Walmart Heiress

Fuck me sideways! There sure is a lot of revisionist history going on here today, 15 years without a title and Arsene still knows best!? Good grief Charlie Brown!


Up vote for CB reference

Dave Cee i miss the false economics of pay him more..even his performances have rarely justified said pay walshit


As mentioned before, by the time this extension was done on Ozil, Wenger had left it to Mslintat and Raul.

You can blame them for overloading the wage structure then adding players like Mhkitaryan on high wages with little resale value . Compound that with Lichsteiner admittedly on loan but on 90 K

And some people think we are doing better business after Wenger.


With Mikhi I guess it was the choice to either give him that wage or let the Sanchez deal collapse and have him walk out for free in Summer. I am not really sure if we wanted that player. Guess Utd. weren’t prepared to pay more cash, thus it needed one of their players in a swap. And obviously Mikhi would cooperate only if his terms were met, which I also understand. Wouldn’t have done it differently, Utd. cannot ship just him out without his consent. Basically a collateral damage we took with a certain chance to actually pay off… Read more »

Cultured determination

I miss the ‘top,top quality’ quotes

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