With both Per Mertesacker (and Santi Cazorla) signing a new contract with Arsenal, as well as Marco van Basten revealing what steps FIFA should make to football in order to keep it interesting, there’s been plenty to talk about this week.
Here’s this week in quotes.
Laurent Koscielny came out in support of Arsene Wenger earlier in the week, explaining how the boss hasn’t just made football players, he’s made men. The centreback hailed what Wenger had done for the club and genuinely has a lot of respect for his coach.
“You may say that we haven’t won the title for a long time, but he has not just built players, he’s built men too,” Koscielny told Arsenal Player.
“Every player who has played for Arsenal has grown here and has become a man. It’s a big number [of players]. For me and the others, it’s a good opportunity to be with him and learn from him.”
Per Mertesacker extended his Arsenal contract, which was due to come to an end in the summer, by a year. Although Santi Cazorla has also extended, the club haven’t announced it yet. Therefore, expect plenty of quotes on this next week.
“There were no negotiations in fact, because [Per] had an option for extension,” Wenger said. “So it’s not really a new contract, it’s just an extension of the old one. We had to take that option early in the season and the decision was made quite easily.”
After the announcement, Per took to Facebook to pen an emotional love letter to the Arsenal fans.
“I would just like to say how very grateful I am to have extended my contract with Arsenal,” he wrote.
“It makes me really proud and also a bit emotional.
“I’ve been out for six months now and to have such trust and belief from the manager makes me very humble and thankful. Trust me, I’ll do everything possible on a daily basis to make myself better and everybody around me better.
“I’m working really hard to come back and show that I’m still capable on the pitch, because I want to help make this great club as successful as possible.
“My love for this club is authentic. I care a lot about team-mates, about fans, and I want people to identify with us. It’s very important to me now and it always has been. I feel like there’s always been a link between myself and Arsenal.
“I’ve told the story a few times about when I came to London as a young boy and came back with an Arsenal shirt. I’ve never thrown that shirt away, and in fact it’s framed and is on the wall of my office back in Germany. I’ll always keep it because it’s a reminder of the circle, of the journey I’ve been on with Arsenal, and of the people who have supported me and have helped me to reach my goals.
“Wearing an Arsenal shirt is genuinely something that is special to me and that shirt always reminds me of that.”
Carl Jenkinson is set to sign for Crystal Palace this month. The permanent deal was rumoured to be off but Sam Allardyce insists it isn’t.
“Until the chairman rings me to say the Jenkinson deal is dead, it’s still on for me,” he said.
While on the topic of potential transfers, Wenger also set the record straight regarding Arsenal’s link with West Ham’s Dimitri Payet.
“I don’t need Payet because we have so many creative players,” the boss said during his pre-Burnley presser.
“I rate Payet as a player of course, but it’s not an area where we look for players. We have many players offensively who can play in this position. You’re interested by the quality of the player but there has to be a need as well, and we have no need in this domain.”
Elsewhere, Thierry Henry had some strong advice for Alexis Sanchez regarding his future at Arsenal since the Chilean is currently in negotiations over a new deal since his runs out in 18 months.
“If he ever leaves then you would think the likes of Bayern are going to come, Paris St-Germain,” he said.
“Maybe joining his friend [Arturo] Vidal at Bayern Munich so we’ll see. But stay… don’t listen to anyone, find a way, stay!”
Meanwhile, FIFA technical boss, Marco van Basten, has some…different…ideas about how we should make football more interesting.
“We must keep looking for ways to improve the game,” Van Basten said.
“To make it more honest, more dynamic, more interesting, so that what we offer is attractive enough.
“There are lots of variations which need to be tested in the coming years.”
He added that ditching the offside rule would put a stop to games that “resemble handball where nine players, plus the goalkeeper, pack the penalty area and [the defence] is like a wall”.
Wenger wasn’t too convinced.
“Changing in itself is not a quality, improving is a real target. Some of the proposals are discussable, some I don’t see any big interest in,” Wenger said.
“Maybe temporary exclusions, the one I don’t find interesting is suppressing offside.
“I think offside is what makes the team be together.”
On Sunday, Arsenal beat Burnley 2-1 at home.
After being 1-0 ahead for most of the game, Burnley got a penalty in the 90+3rd minute, which they slotted home. Wenger, irate at the decision, pushed the fourth official and was sent off. However, he admitted after the game that he regretted his actions.
“I didn’t see any penalty from outside but I should have shut up and I apologise, even if I was frustrated,” he said.