Jose Mourinho would like everyone to know he’s still obsessed with Arsene

The Guardian reported yesterday that Manchester United scouted Arsenal record signing Lacazette and “it is understood Mourinho was informed of doubts regarding Lacazette’s suitability for the Premier League, his physical attributes and big-game mentality.” And so, Man U chose, instead, to spend twice as much on Romelu Lukaku.

Comparisons between the two players were inevitable but the timing of this “report” is hilarious. It basically reads like Jose Mourinho turning to the reporter following United on their pre-season tour and saying “we could have bought Lacazette, but he is too small, and he doesn’t score in big games.” Then that being turned into a 200 word blurb published in the Guardian.

Every team scouts every big player and not every player fits every team’s philosophy or style of playing. Would Lukaku be better at Arsenal than at Man U? Would Lacazette score as many goals at Man U as he would at Arsenal? We will never know because my quantum timeline machine has not been invented in this timeline.

Still, whether Lukaku is a better “big game” player than Lacazette is also unknown. Lukaku has a good scoring record against teams like Man U (3 in 12), Arsenal (3 in 12), Liverpool (5 in 13), Man City (5 in 12), and Chelsea (2 in 7),  for a total of 18 goals in 56 appearances – a goal every 3.1 games.

Comparing like for like between Ligue Un and the Premier League is impossible. The French football league is much less dominated by four clubs than the Premier League has been over the last 15 years. But if we use Transfermarkt’s team value ranking, the top five teams in France (Lacazette scoring record) are PSG (2 in 12), Monaco (5 in 6), Lyon, Marseille (4 in 11), Nice (7 in 9), and if we want the same number of clubs to compare I have to throw in Bordeaux (6 in 12). That’s 24 goals in 50 appearances – a goal every 2.1 games.

The criticism here is an old chestnut; the Premier League teams are more difficult, bigger, faster, and better and Lukaku is a “Premier League Proven Player”. This is true. But we have seen plenty of players come from non-Premier League sides and do very well in the Premier League. In fact, the Premier League is 66% foreign Johnnys. My guess is more than a few of them were not Premier League Proven Players (PLPP) before they proved themselves.

This wasn’t a rational critique of Arsenal’s summer transfer business. This was simply a poke at Arsene Wenger by the one man in England who constantly uses the press to jab at his perceived nemesis.

Welcome to the 2017/18 Premier League season, 10 months of Jose Mourinho being obsessed with Arsene Wenger.

As for the Lukaku/Lacazette comparisons, I’ll wait until at least one of them scores a goal for their new club before jumping to any conclusions.



  1. Surely Jose already talking about us is a good thing as he generally only ‘attacks’ those he considers as challenging for the title.

  2. Nah, I don’t read the story that way… to me it’s more “hey, look at Arsenal, still picking up other team’s scraps or hand-me-downs”. And to a certain extent that’s true. Lacazette, if everyone were honest, would admit he’d be off the Atletico if not for the registration ban. We were his Plan B.

    1. I don’t put much stock in the hand me downs or cast offs criticism. There’s only a handful of teams in football that don’t have to rely on hand me downs from bigger teams, cast offs or good luck. It just seems like the next thing to get mad about when someone can’t accuse the club of being a selling club any more.

      And frankly, the only thing that’s important when we sign a player is how they perform. I don’t care if we were his first choice or his 5th choice once he’s in the team.

      And another way of looking at the Lacazete signing is that we signed a player deemed good enough for recent double champions league finalists.

    2. How does that make lacazete a scrap or hand me down? We nabbed a striker destined for a team that knows excellent strikers because of a transfer ban. We had to break our transfer record to get him. We acted decisively amd boldly to secure one of europes top forwards. He is not world class, but he is now at a club in a league where he is going to find out if that is the higjts he can reach.

    3. I beg to disagree with your view, sir. January is just around the corner. Were Arsenal truly Lacazette’s ‘Plan B’, he would wait at Lyon

  3. This is the same talent-spotting genius who sold Lukaku to Everton for £28 million and bought him back 3 years later for £90 million.

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