Ian Wright has described Arsenal as an “absolute shambles” and expressed amazement that the club would sell Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Chelsea.
Gunners great Wright tore into the current crop of Arsenal stars after their 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool at Anfield, and spent much of Monday trying to avoid football.
But Wright then learned of reports that Oxlade-Chamberlain could be on his way to the Premier League champions in a £35million deal, and it left him at an even greater loss to explain Arsenal’s plight.
Arsenal and Chelsea have yet to confirm the widespread claims that a deal is in place between the clubs for the transfer of the 24-year-old England midfielder. Press Association Sport has contacted both clubs who declined to comment.
Wright, Arsenal’s second highest scorer of all time, was stunned by the reports after spending the afternoon with family, and said: “The first thing I hear is that the Ox might be on his way to Chelsea. That’s disappointing news.”
He added on BBC Radio 5 Live: “Chelsea want him – Chelsea, the champions will take him. That says we obviously have players that are good enough.”
Diverting his thoughts to Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who will reach the end of their contracts next summer and could then cash in on being free agents, Wright questioned why Arsenal’s players of recognised top-class ability are inconsistent when lining up for Arsene Wenger’s side. He suspects some are not committed to playing for the club.
“If Sanchez and Ozil are free, they will be snapped up,” Wright said. “Why can’t we get these players to play for us? Why don’t they want to play for us?”
Wright said Wenger “won’t quit”. The Frenchman signed a new two-year deal at the end of last season.
“He is literally a hermit to the game. He goes home and he’s probably on his phone. It’s all football and more importantly it’s all Arsenal. You do feel it’s almost like his blanket, his comfort blanket,” Wright said.
“If he’s not got Arsenal, I don’t know what would happen to him. I don’t know what to say about his future and what’s going to happen with him now.”
Wright said: “When you go through that list of everything that is going wrong, and you’ve got to throw in recruitment – whoever’s doing the recruitment, someone’s got to have a massive, massive word – it’s an absolute shambles and I’m really gutted for everybody involved.”
And he said Arsenal’s situation reached such a dismal low in the loss to Liverpool, he has found sympathy from supporters of other Premier League clubs.
“We got exactly what we deserved but I didn’t expect to see such a listless (performance) … the performance was terrible,” Wright said. “Watching Arsene Wenger on the bench playing with his hands at one stage, he looked very, very uncomfortable. It’s embarrassing.
“My mates – my Chelsea, Tottenham and Man United mates – they feel sorry for me.”
Provided by Press Association
Barcelona are ready to keep spending after parading £135.5million new boy Ousmane Dembele at the Nou Camp.
Around 17,000 fans attended Barcelona’s official unveiling ceremony on Monday for the 20-year-old France winger, who sealed his switch from Borussia Dortmund.
The fee agreed between the two clubs – an initial £96.8million with add-ons potentially taking it to £135.5million – makes the player the second most expensive in history.
It is eclipsed only by Neymar’s £200.6million move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain earlier this month.
The signing of Dembele may not be the last Barcelona transfer activity before Thursday’s deadline, according to technical director Robert Fernandez.
He said: “We hope to present another player before the end of the month.
“My intention is for one player to come or maybe two, if possible. I won’t go into names but I admit that the club is working on the possibility of signing new players.”
The Catalan giants continue to be linked heavily with Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho despite having three bids for the Brazilian rejected, the most recent reportedly worth up to £118million.
Dembele was filmed by the club arriving at Barcelona’s training ground on Monday and undergoing his medical. He then formally signed his five-year contract before being presented at the Nou Camp.
Dembele said: “I am very happy to be here in Barcelona. I have come here to win titles and am looking forward to integrating into the team.”
He added at a later press conference, shown on the club’s official website: “Barcelona is the best club in the world and I am looking forward to playing with some of the best players in the world such as Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. I will do everything possible to contribute to this team.”
Dembele has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence since breaking into the Rennes team in September 2015. He was named Ligue 1 young player of the year in 2016 and moved to Dortmund for £13million just 12 months ago.
Provided by Press Association
Naby Keita’s on-again, off-again move to Liverpool had threatened to become one of the bigger transfer sagas of the summer, until Monday, when the Reds finally landed their man.
The RB Leipzig midfielder has agreed a move to Anfield and will join next summer.
Here are five key stats that show why Liverpool were so keen to sign Keita.
DRIBBLING HIS WAY THROUGH THE BUNDESLIGA…
Keita tallied 2.7 dribbles per game in the Bundesliga last season for RB Leipzig. Only Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele (3.2), now at Barcelona, hit a higher mark.
The 83 take-ons he completed were more than any central midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues, and only Thiago had a higher dribbling success rate (70.6%) than Keita’s 63.8% among Bundesliga players who attempted more than 50 dribbles.
KEITA MEANS GOALS
RB Leipzig were known for their attacking play in 2016/17, and Keita was at the heart of that. Across 31 appearances, the Guinean midfielder scored or assisted 15 times.
BETTER THAN EVERYONE BUT LEWA
Keita was named in the Bundesliga fans’ team of the season for 2016/17, earning the vote of 70% of fans. Only Robert Lewandowski (75%) had more. In comparison, Thiago only got 59% of the votes.
BUNDESLIGA’S BEST BALL-WINNER
The Leipzig midfielder is a skillful presence in the middle of the park, but he provides steel to the midfield as well.
No player has won possession in the midfield third more times than Keita (188) since the start of last season.
DEFENDS AS WELL AS HE ATTACKS
Like a true box-to-box midfielder, while Keita was charged with providing the attacking impetus for Leipzig, he can defend, too.
The new Liverpool signing made 80 tackles in the Bundesliga in 2016/17, the sixth-most in the division. He also made 81 interceptions, again the sixth-most in the league.