Arsenal and Marseille are doing a lot of business by Dan Smith
With the news that Alexis Sanchez is on the verge of joining Marseille, It got me thinking that quite a few players have represented both Arsenal and The Phocaeans.
With Nuno Tavares scoring on his debut, it’s the 2nd season running that the French club have loaned a talent off us, last year borrowing Saliba and Guendouzi. They also convinced us to rip up Kolasinac’s contract early so they could sign him for free.
Clearly the two sides are comfortable negotiating with each other dating back to Mr Wenger’s era. Mr Wenger used his knowledge of the French market to purchase a young Flamini followed by Nasri.
It might be forgotten that Diaby tried to resurrect his career at Marseille but only featured 5 times due to injury.
Recently young talent has been going in the opposite direction. Under President Pablo Longoria he’s gambled on various situations that have developed at the Emirates, either willing to give talent minutes or to gamble on players with perceived behaviour issues.
Saliba and Guendouzi, already with huge reputations as teenagers, helped Marseille finish 2nd, their form earning them senior caps.
It was incredible business, Marseille had two of the hottest properties in France and hadn’t paid any money for them.
In what could turn out to be a bargain (although he’s already had a row with his manager), there was a clause in Guendouzi’s loan that meant a permanent switch would only cost 9 million.
His value had decreased since his reaction to a loss at Brighton was to boast about his salary. Having already warned him about his behaviour, Arteta would not include him in another Arsenal squad. It was our manager showing the world his cards. Why would anyone pay big money when the Spaniard was making it obvious how desperate he was to get him off the wage bill.
Given the relationship, Marseille was not shy in trying to rock the boat between Saliba and his employers. Encouraged by their national media, Longoria made it clear he would pounce if the 22-year-old did not want to return to London and even indicated that was the defender’s desire.
Like Saliba, Arsenal have inserted zero option or obligation to buy in Tavares’ loan deal meaning he has a long-term future still in North London, as he should.
The Gunners knew 12 months ago what they were buying a 21-year-old with raw potential.
After his mistakes at Anfield, he never mentally recovered or found his confidence, but it would be wrong for us to give up on him already.
While not official, Marseille have also become our feeder club, a side who we can lend our young players to who in turn can get a learning experience.
You play in front of 60,000 fans at the Velodrome, a passionate fanbase who put lots of pressure on the team to perform. I think it offers a great stage for Tavares’s development. It was enough to get his peers international recognition so who’s to say the same can’t happen for Tavares?
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A happy Arteta would have liked a couple more goals against Palace. Wouldn’t we all!
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