It is a fair bet that even the most hard-hearted Gooner sometimes has to feel a little sorry for Arsene Wenger. He must have breathed something of a sigh of relief when the transfer window finally slammed closed last month, after lurching from one disaster to another.
The phrase “financial mismanagement” has been thrown around, and while that is a little strong, it is fair to say that if he played Monopoly the way he manages a Premiership team, he would have the stations mortgaged and be desperately trying to negotiate safe passage past Park Land and Mayfair.
Yet even now, Wenger finds himself on the wrong end of two free transfer headlines, relating to the almost certain departure of Mesut Ozil and the increasingly likely non-arrival of Leon Gorezka.
Online bookmakers predict a United coup
The betting sites are all agreed that both midfielders will be wearing United shirts next season. After the summer madness of Neymar’s record deal, the “will he or won’t he” surrounding Sanchez and the deadline day frenzy, the best football betting sites generate as much traffic these days regarding who will end up where as they do in relation to the matches themselves.
Goretzka was widely expected to sign for Barcelona, but having ruled themselves out of the chase, the battle is now seen as a three way one between the Gunners, United and Bayern Munich. The bookies have United as hot favourites to seal the deal, and slot him into the midfield to replace outgoing skipper Michael Carrick.
At the same time, Mesut Ozil will also be out of contract at the end of the season. If signing Lucas Perez from Deportivo for £17 million only to send him back there again on loan seemed bad, the thought of Ozil, who cost a record £42.5 million in 2013, walking out of the door on a free transfer defies belief.
Again, United is the most likely destination. Ozil and Mourinho formed a successful relationship at Real, and it is one that both parties are likely to want to rekindle. Bookmakers are quoting odds of 5/2 on it happening next summer.
More midfield woes
While The Red Devils are getting their midfield shop in order in good time, things are far less clear at Emirates. Alexis Sanchez is also out of contract at the end of the season. Given the strong rumours of a move to Manchester City during the transfer window and the fact that there is no sign of a new deal in the pipeline, it has to be assumed that he will be on his way next year.
Alex Iwobi told The Sun the loss of Ozil and Sanchez would be “a huge setback” to Arsenal’s hopes of playing in the Champion’s League.
Bookmakers have Sanchez at 6/4 odds to complete the move to City in January’s transfer window. If that happens, Wenger will need to have his eyes open and chequebook at the ready, or Iwobi’s words could well come back to haunt him.