Sunday, July 21, 2024

Friday bits: Olise, the Euros, Xabi Alonso

Hello, happy Friday to you all.

There’s not much going on, so this could well be a short blog. May I just say first and foremost I thoroughly dislike the stories about Michael Olise and Chelsea. I note other clubs have been reported to have interest in him, but our name has not been mentioned. I’m a little bit sad about that, but I understand it.

But please, somebody have a word with him. Chelsea? Nah. I see Bayern are one of those other clubs. He should go to Munich. Lovely place, I hear. Never been. But if you want some Bavarian if your lifestyle, that’s the place to be. Bavarian all over the shop. Old Vinny Kompany, great guy. You get to play with Thomas Mueller, the king of pudding rice based snacks; Jamal Musiala (a guy who made the 100% right decision to leave Chelsea, so he knows what’s going on); Serge … the Gnabster, Gnaborama etc; Eric Die … er … scratch that; and some other good lads too. There definitely isn’t anyone there who is a complete curse when it comes to winning trophies. No sir.

If Olise goes to Chelsea, things might be all right at first, but given how they spend money willy-nilly, the PSR Police will come knocking at some point, Todd Boehly will reclassify him as a car wash he can sell to himself, and he’ll spend match days scrubbing the Ford Cortinas that are parked around the side of the pitch like the old days at Stamford Bridge. Don’t do it, Michael!

The Euros start tonight, obviously, and there will be Arsenal interest in the opening game as Germany play Scotland. Kai Havertz will come up against Kieran Tierney, who is likely to be part of a back three rather than at left-back. Hopefully it’s an interesting game, and in the absence of any Arsenal news or transfer stories, the European Championships are something we’ll cover on the site over the coming weeks. We’ll also have some exclusive podcasts for our Patreon members too – if you wanna sign up and be part of the cool gang, you can do that at

Elsewhere, I enjoyed this piece in the Player’s Tribune from Xabi Alonso, who talks mostly about his incredible season with Bayer Leverkusen, but also his formative years in San Sebastian with a little friend who was just as crazy about football as he was:

I was lucky to have a friend in our neighbourhood who was also crazy about football. His name was Mikel. Every day, we were taking our skateboards down to the beach to play tennis, to surf, and of course to play football. This kid, he was maybe even crazier than me about football. He was a little bit younger than me and my friends — just a few months maybe. But you know how you always push your “little friends” at that age? Well, we tried, but he was a competitive monster. He wanted to win so badly, even if it was just a game on the beach. It was a love for the game that you cannot teach. You are born with it, I think. It bonded us very closely. And it still does, to this day.

It’s quite funny to think that if Arsene Wenger had pushed the boat out and signed Xabi Alonso back in the day, things might have been very different for everyone. His arrival and his quality may well have had an impact on Cesc Fabregas, and I think we would have had a much better chance of being successful with a Fabregas/Alonso midfield. I don’t believe we’d have reached that point in 2011 when, after a horrendous summer and that game at Old Trafford, we went on that spree that brought Mikel Arteta to the club.

I still think Arteta would be a coach/manager now, but without that connection to Arsenal that has been very much a cornerstone of his experience in that transition from his on-pitch career to the one off it. So many moving parts in football, eh?

Finally for today, there’s a brand new Arsecast for you below, and it was a pleasure to chat to former Gunner Carl Jenkinson about his career, his time at Arsenal, and lots more. It’s a great listen, so I hope you enjoy it. Till tomorrow.


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