I did think it was strange that Pepe didn’t come off the Arsenal bench at Burnley. Near the end of Emery’s reign he was doing the same, as did Ljungberg, all in games where we needed a goal.
Now we all know the winger hasn’t pulled up any trees this season but in matches where we need a goal, are Torreira, Willock or Nketiah any more qualified?
Our owners have every right to expect a record signing at least to be getting off the bench, isn’t that what you pay 72 million for?
Then I heard a theory circulating, I stress this is just a rumour but an intriguing one that’s worth a discussion.
We all know that Lille were very flexible in how the payments to them are structured. What appealed to us over, say, a Wilfred Zaha is that Palace wanted the majority of their asking price paid straight away.
The French club, who don’t have the TV revenue of the Eagles, are going to be more flexible with any payment plan because how often do they get those type of bids?
So, the 72 million fee often quoted is not just spread over 5 years but based on criteria such as goals scored, if we qualify for the Champions League, etc (Lille might not be getting as much as they assumed.)
One trigger believed though is that if he features in 8 more League games, we have to pay more. Or to look at it the other way, if he doesn’t take part in 8 more Prem fixtures then we save money and we know Stan Kroenke loves to save money don’t we?
At first, I didn’t believe this. It’s how you expect a League 1 or 2 team to conduct themselves, worrying about every last pound.
Yet, if there is one owner who in the Prem who would worry about this it would be ours.
It’s a far-fetched rumour but again why isn’t he coming off the bench when we need creativity in the final third?
I refuse to believe that two teenagers would be ahead of him in the pecking order when we are drawing 0-0?
If it’s as simple as a new manager not rating him, then fine, but he has trusted him in every other game.
Don’t forget we are in a unique situation where very soon the League campaign becomes a write off.
It just takes another slip up before Chelsea are so far ahead we can’t catch them in 4th; if we get a couple more wins, we won’t get relegated.
So, if you have 13 games left with nothing really at stake, is it out of order to ask your coach to leave him out of 5 of them? Especially if you can hide behind resting him for the Europa League? It makes sense business-wise and that’s what we are ….a very well-run business. Maybe something to keep your eye on?
Do you believe this, Gooners?
Be kind in the comments..