We take a look at the key news stories surrounding Arsenal.
Mesut Ozil has said that he wants the No. 10 jersey and that Arsenal have still not offered it to him. Jack Wilshere is the current owner of the jersey but with the Englishman – who has been linked with a move to Everton – out on loan, Ozil expected to be handed the coveted No. 10. However, there has been no word on this according to the man himself :
“I would love to wear the No. 10. I always wanted it, the club has known it from day one,” he said, in an interview with Kicker. “When I came here in 2013, Jack Wilshere had the No. 10. The club said I’d get the number once it’s free. Since Wilshere’s departure last summer, the number’s free, but I have yet to get it.”
Ozil has been locked in contract negotiations with Arsenal for the past year but it is unlikely that he will kick up a storm about the jersey number. Should Jack Wilshere leave in the summer, however, you would expect the German to get his wish as there is no one in the Arsenal side more suited to the No. 10 jersey.
One contract negotiation that looks to be at and end is that of Olivier Giroud’s. Giroud has had a fine month thus far for Arsenal, picking up 2 assists and scoring the equaliser in Arsenal’s stunning comeback against Bournemouth, and scoring the winner against Preston in the FA Cup over the weekend. And the Frenchman has now confirmed that he is close to signing an extension with the Gunners.
“We are about to reach an agreement for an extension [to my contract]. It was also a gesture of confidence, I want to continue the adventure here in this family of Arsenal. I feel good here,” he said, according to the Guardian. “When I spoke to the coach, he always told me that I was an important player. I know what I am capable of. I just needed to be patient, to work in training and wait for my hour to come.”
Giroud has been the man of the hour several times for Arsenal already this season, and has scored some very important goals after coming off the bench. The Frenchman divides opinion amongst Arsenal fans but there is no doubt that he is an important player for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger has reiterated the importance of the FA Cup and has said he has a lot of love for the tournament. The FA Cup is not taken as seriously as it once was, with many thinking that it is of no importance when compared to the Premier League and Champions League titles.
Having been a part of the English game since 1996, Wenger is no stranger to the tournament and some of Arsenal’s most special memories during his time have come in this very tournament. It was the FA Cup that ended Arsenal’s streak of years without a trophy, and Wenger has admitted that he still holds great respect for the competition :
“I don’t know why people have not a positive opinion of the cup. It’s more the press I think. I think so. Inside our game, I would have been devastated if we had gone out tonight. So we are all focused to compete, really. Somebody reminded me yesterday that I had not gone out in the third round in 20 years,” he said, according to the club’s official website. “That’s because I care about the competition, but overall, no I think it’s every year a debate. For me it’s no debate, it’s a fantastic competition.”
Wenger also hopes that Danny Welbeck can now stay injury free and build his career. Welbeck came off the bench in the 83rd to huge cheers and his popularity among Arsenal fans is clear for all to see. Welbeck even got some applause from the home fans, seeing as he spent some time on loan with Preston in 2010.
The man himself took to social media to share his delight.
Arsene Wenger was similarly pleased, and admitted that Welbeck endured a tough time after suffering a crushing set-back at the tail end of last season, despite having just recovered from a serious knee injury that had kept him out for most of the campaign.
“The patience you need when you have an injury at that age… it’s terrible [to go through],” said Arsène Wenger, according to the club’s official website. “To miss the European Championship and on top of he missed the start of the season, but he worked hard and certainly victory [in his comeback match] will make him stronger.
“But you have to go through it and that was a very difficult moment for him. I think he suffered a lot, but I hope, touch wood, he will now have a dream career.”
It is never nice to see players have careers ruined by injury no matter who you support, and Arsene Wenger is no stranger to seeing it having had the likes of Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere constantly injured and having their progress stunted. Hopefully, Welbeck has put his injury issues behind him and Wenger will get his wish.