Arsenal potentially the big losers in Sanchez deal
It's hard to know what's fact or fiction when it comes to Alexis Sanchez but working on the basis that the Chilean will indeed be moving to Manchester United, you have to wonder how Arsenal even allowed themselves to get into this situation. I can understand why Man City withdrew their interest given that they want to stick to their principals and maintain the current spirit they have in the dressing room - you mess with that at your peril.
The money involved is obviously just another example of the rapid inflation of fees and wages that we've come to expect, but Sanchez will need to realise that he'll be under the microscope from the moment he kicks his first ball for Man Utd. He's going to have to earn the fans respect but he's a hard-working player and a tremendous talent who I'm sure will prove to be an asset to the team. I do re-iterate the point though that the whole ordeal has ultimately cost Arsenal a huge amount of money.
If they do indeed get Mkihitaryan in return then they're getting an excellent player who has two good feet and is very creative. He's the sort of player that I can imagine doing well at Arsenal, he just needs to be given a bit of confidence as he's obviously had a complicated relationship with Jose Mourinho.
Walcott success dependent on role
When I was at Southampton, Theo Walcott used to come across and train with us on occasion and - as I was getting older - I thought I must be getting slower as he was just so fast. It was of course simply that he possessed a blistering turn of foot...!
Looking back on his career at Arsenal, I don't think he quite fulfilled the potential that he had when he went there. He's a tremendously talented individual, an excellent dribbler of the ball but he's never been a player that you'd be absolutely sure of his best position. With over 100 goals in just shy of 400 appearances for the Gunners, he's perhaps achieved more than people have given him credit for but I think he could've had an even bigger impact had he been given a defined position.
Now at Everton, you have to ask the same question, where is he going to play and how is Sam going to get the best out of him. I think he needs to be given a specific role, not least to allow his new teammates to adapt to playing alongside him. Playing as a centre forward or coming in off the right are very different roles and while all players need to be adaptable, it has to be based on continuity.
At the age of 28, he'll be thinking he could perhaps still make an impact on the England squad and can take confidence from Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain's move to Liverpool. He's really hitting top gear at Anfield now after having to be patient to be handed a first team role there. His performance against Manchester City on Sunday was top draw; I don't think I've ever seen him play that well during his career at Arsenal.
Potential Conte departure is just part of the cycle
The Antonio Conte situation is a difficult one to assess, a lot of the noise in the media recently is based on transfer dealings & the departure of Michael Emenalo. And it's hard to try and find a different angle given all you've got to go on is press conferences and his body language on the touchline.
There was always going to be a lot of pressure after last season, the frustration for him must be that the team isn't able to match the consistency that they had during their title-winning campaign. It seems that they've lost some of the unity they had but then a lot of that has to come down to the changes that the manager has made to the system. I also look at the first team this year and they've become more functional and seem to be playing with less energy. I wonder whether they're enjoying their football as much and that's something that would potentially come down to their relationship with the manager.
Regardless of whether he stays or goes, the higher level managers now seem to be working to a three or four year cycle of rotating between the top clubs in Europe; I think that's just the world we live in now.