Layth Yousif’s Arsenal column – Selling Giroud and Walcott without adding new faces is ‘Hammer blow’
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I talked to an old West Ham pal of mine this week.
A season ticket holder, old school, misses Upton Park, loves Julian Dicks. You get the idea, a loyal Iron who isn’t impressed by much.
I asked him what he thought about Olivier Giroud. He told me he’d ‘take him all day long’ that he’d liked him afar and - with the former Montpelier player’s unlikely scorpion kick no doubt in mind – said he might even bring a bit of flair to the side.
But it was his last point that brought Arsenal’s lack of transfer activity in sharp focus as he added Giroud’s possible arrival could bring ‘proper competition for places’.
That’s the crux.
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Arsenal selling Olivier Giroud to West Ham for a reputed £25 million could be argued as good business for a 30-year-old – but selling a forward who has struck 98 goals for the club in only 159 starts - with a further 68 off the bench – as well as netting 27 in 68 games for France, while not replacing him is not.
Ditto Theo Walcott – a forward who has flattered to deceive in the 11 years he’s been at the club, plus Giroud in a combined fee of a reputed £50m from the East Londoners doesn’t look too shabby either.
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Even if he was robbed of his finest form through that unfortunate injury against Spurs in the FA Cup third round back in January 2014 an 11 year spell is an age to give an underperforming player a chance.
But to allow him to leave without having brought anyone in quite simply beggars belief.
If you want to sell or release players because they’ve failed to show the form the manager believed they would, or just to lower the wage bill, then that’s fair enough.
But surely the powers-that-be should strengthen the squad before they start to release players.
We all remember the shambles in 2011 that saw five players arrive after the 8-2 debacle at Old Trafford that was so avoidable – but oh, so predictable at the same time.
Kylian Mbappe is not coming to Arsenal, let’s get that straight.
We might be able to land Alexandre Lacazette for £50m – without mentioning we could have landed him a year ago for practically half the fee.
But what has their formidable club president Jean-Michel Aulas said?
Lacazette won’t be leaving Lyon until they sign a replacement.
It makes sense and it’s called protecting your club and your squad.
Something Arsenal’s deal-brokers have singularly failed to understand for more than a decade now.
Now wonder my West Ham mate’s looking forward to Giroud joining – because he’s adding to his beloved team’s squad.
Arsenal on the other hand splutter on in what is becoming yet another underwhelming transfer window.
In the words of that old Irons anthem ‘like my dreams they fade and die…’