Former Arsenal great turned television personality Ian Wright recently made some interesting comments regarding the club’s current transfer interests. Wright, who also made headlines for labeling the Gunners as a “joke” a week ago, now claims that the north London outfit’s interest in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan seem “panicky.”
“Everything that is happening is being forced on them through other people,” Wright stated on Sky Sports. “Mkhitaryan is not a player Arsenal have been after – he’s a player that Arsenal have been handed. It’s the same with Aubameyang – a couple of years ago, he was on everyone’s radar but now he’s gone a bit cold. Then all of a sudden, he’s on Arsenal’s radar – it all feels panicky for me.”
“Of course they are both quality players,” the former Gunner continued. “But if you are losing Sanchez, you need players that will hit the ground running. I’m not sure about Mkhitaryan’s state of mind right now.”
There are, however, multiple issues with Wright’s comments. First of all, Arsenal have in fact been interested in Mkhitaryan for some time. The Gunners were in for the creative midfielder during the summer of 2016, prior to him joining Manchester United in a deal worth around £27 million. Also, seven years before his move to Manchester, Mkhitaryan even stated his affection for the Gunners, as well as manager Arsene Wenger. “My favorite team is Arsenal,” Mkhitaryan said. “I like their attacking play and fast style. Moreover, Arsene Wenger puts faith in young players while demanding results at the same time. I like that and want to play there one day.”
Secondly, Wright claiming that Aubameyang has “gone a bit cold” is perhaps the most laughable part of his questionable statement. The Gabon international is currently on 61 goals in 69 total matches since the start of the 2016/17 campaign. During this timeframe, that is more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Agüero, and Luis Suarez. Aubameyang is undoubtedly a prolific striker that practically any team in the world would want to man their front line of attack.
Arsenal’s reported interest in the dynamic duo of Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan, as well as Bordeaux’s Malcom, is far from panicky. It is actually what fans and pundits alike have been wanting the club to do all along: sufficiently replace outgoing players with established stars.
In past years, the Gunners have been ripped for replacing players such as Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie with young talent or a mixture of decent reinforcements. Now they are trying to replace Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez with established stars and that is an issue as well? Theoretically speaking, if the Gunners were to replace Everton bound Theo Walcott and the disgruntled Alexis Sanchez with the former Borussia Dortmund duo, the Gunners would be looking at an improved roster.
While these deals are not set in stone, Arsenal’s interest in the aforementioned trio appears very real. With the club currently sitting in sixth place in the standings, knocked out of the FA Cup, and losing a few established players this month, the Gunners need to be doing all they can to sign big players such as Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan. This is not “panicky” at all, it is just what Arsenal need to do.