The grass is greener… but so is the money!

Apparently, the grass is greener everywhere on the continent (more on that below) because Barcelona haven’t given up on Mesut Özil.  The German playmaker is top on Ernesto Valverde’s list of names to replace the recently departed Neymar.

As we mentioned last week, Neymar leaves a void on the Spanish giants’ side that very few players can fill.  Apparently, one of those players is Özil.

The player hasn’t given anyone any indication that he’s ready to leave the Gunners, but a bid of £53m will likely be enough for Wenger (or his puppeteers) to allow his return to La Liga.  Barcelona are also helped by the fact that Özil is in his last year of the contract he signed with Arsenal.

French money strikes again!

In other news, Monaco are apparently making it rain for Alexis Sánchez.  According to The Sun, the French club have tabled a £45m bid for the 28 year-old, who didn’t feature in today’s Community Shield penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea.

According to just about everyone you talk to, the official excuse is the Chilean is “ill.”  Sure… he’s just sick over the tax-free salary of around £300,000 he’s missing out on while the saga surrounding him drags on.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the trade happened tomorrow.  You heard it here first, folks!  And yes… Manchester City are still interested, and Pep doesn’t like to lose at anything.

You know what else strikes?

Tim Cahill.

The Chelsea defender got a jump-start on a 50-50 header with a very tall Per Mertesacker, and unfortunately for the German defender, his eyebrow met with Cahil’s elbow.

According to Wenger, however, the injury doesn’t appear to be too troubling, but doubts remain as to whether or not the defender will be fit for Gameweek 1 against Leicester City.

It was evident from the match images that Mertesacker took a nasty cut above his eye – whether there’s damage to the cheek bone or nose remains to be seen.  As of the post-match conference, Wenger hadn’t yet spoken with the team medical staff, so it’s a bit early to worry about the Arsenal captain.

Cahill’s elbow was okay.

When you’re rich, import greener grass!

Let’s get back to the grass talk.  Roman Abramovich is filthy rich.  He can afford the very best bentcross grass seed money can buy.

And the grass at Stamford Bridge is pretty darn green.  So green, in fact, that it has attracted an ox.  THE Ox.

According to The Express, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain already refused to sign a new contract last week.  He’s a rebel, and rebels don’t sign contracts.  Err, not that easily.  He’s probably heard that Chelsea are armed with a £25million bid for his services, and he’s itching to go.  He’s a bad boy, and Chelsea has a few of those, so he’ll likely fit right in.

What does it all mean? 

If your FPL team has Arsenal players, then it probably has these four Arsenal players.  And the rumor mill surrounding at least three of them has been grinding non-stop for the past couple of weeks.

An exit for Alexis Sánchez would be costly for a guy like Olivier Giroud, as would Özil’s departure.  The Frenchman relies on the constant threat from the creative duo to get into scoring position, is often on the end of a critical pass from either player, or putting away an easy rebound should they miss.  Without either of them, (or both) his numbers will suffer this season – just when it looked like he’d secured a place in Wenger’s starting 11.

Throw in Oxlade-Chamberlain, and the picture starts to look grim for Wenger and all those Gunner-happy FPL fans.  You know… fans like me.

I’m keeping a very close eye on these proceedings, and so should you.

Don’t get caught offside.

– Rui