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Jeremie Aliadiere
Gender Male
Ethnic French
Job French Footballer
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Club as Player Arsenal FC
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2019 07 24 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere has revealed he is baffled by the club’s targeting of Wilfried Zaha and Everton Soares this summer] Defensively is where Arsenal need to strengthen the most. And they are pretty close to signing William Saliba. But I have heard they’re going to sign him then loan him back to France for a season, so I am a bit surprised by that. I am not sure if right now we can afford to sign a player for the future, we need a player to come in and improve the team right now because that’s where we struggled last year. Now we have Laurent Koscielny looking like he might leave the club, that’s another centre-back, and the captain, that could be going. Arsenal signing a centre-back is really important and yet I keep seeing us linked with a lot of forwards such as Zaha and Everton Soares, but they are not what we need for the moment. If Arsenal can get stronger defensively they can surely get back into the top four

[Aliadiere warned that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette cannot be expected to restore Arsenal to glory without help] Their partnership is a massive asset and how close they are off the field means they do a lot of work for each other on it. Arsenal’s problems are not up front. It’s the lack of quality at the back and in midfield. You cannot expect them to score two or three goals every game and last season it felt like to reach the top four that needed to happen. Obviously that is too much to ask because they are bound to have off days and that’s when you rely on the defence to save the game. I really like Everton Soares. I saw him at the Copa America and he was terrific. I am not so sure that a winger is an area where Arsenal need to buy at the moment

2019 07 24b Retrieve

[Former Arsenal forward Jeremie Aliadiere has blasted the club’s transfer budget] I’m an Arsenal fan. It’s frustrating when you see a club like Leicester, who with all respect to them are a smaller club, spending £75m so far this summer yet Arsenal can’t seemingly afford to spend the money that Leicester can. It’s difficult to understand where the money goes. There has been talk that Arsenal want Wilfried Zaha who Crystal Palace supposedly value at £80m and we were reported to have offered them half that. If that’s true, it seems a bit ridiculous and could be seen as disrespectful to Crystal Palace. We understand there are high salaries going on Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan but surely there is still some money around for transfers.

I can understand that if Emery is not a fan of Ozil he needs to move on so that Arsenal can get somebody else, but that is very difficult to do with the five-year deal. It’s a tough one because I feel when Ozil plays he does bring something different to the team and Alexandre Lacazette and [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang clearly enjoy playing with him. Obviously Emery sees things we don’t see and maybe in training his work-rate is not there and work-rate is really important to Emery. I think they have a different philosophy on how to play the game. It’s a difficult situation and I can see both sides, if they get an opportunity to sell him, Arsenal right now need to sell in order to bring in other players and when you look at the supposed breakdown between player and manager last year, I would understand if they decided to do that.

2020 05 15 Retrieve

[Aliadiere reveals Covid-19 family heartbreak] I just feel that if people were to go through what we’ve been through and lost a really close loved one, then they wouldn’t really be thinking about going back to play football. I can understand the money side of it and all that comes with it for the clubs, but I think life is more important than anything else. I just can’t understand how they are going to be able to play again. The most important thing for me is saving people’s lives and I don’t think we are there yet. We might have passed the peak, but we’re still losing a massive amount of people every day. The virus is still there, it’s not gone. I would rather wait another two months than go back too quick. In my view, we shouldn’t take risks. Having lost a loved one, I just can’t even get my head around football starting again when there are still hundreds of people dying a day and so many still being infected with the virus.

I can’t begin to tell you just how tough it’s been. It’s been devastating and the hardest thing is normally when you lose somebody you can all grieve together as a family. But we haven’t been able to do that. We haven’t even been able to see the rest of the family. So even though it has happened, it almost doesn’t feel real at times. It’s been so difficult for everyone to try and deal with

[To make matters even worse for the family, it wasn’t just Aliadiere’s mother-in-law who caught the virus - his father-in-law Mike did as well. He was infected while trying to care for his wife at their home before she died and soon found himself in hospital battling for his own life] He was 50/50. He was in hospital for more than two weeks with the oxygen mask and everything. He was really close to going, but thankfully he pulled through. But as you can imagine, he’d lost his wife, caught the virus himself and now he’s back home planning her funeral. How do you get over that? It’s just so tough and I can’t imagine being in his position. The worst thing about it is we can’t really help him through it at the moment. Usually, when these things happen you are able to support the person, to have the family together and to grieve together, but in this case we can’t do that. We can’t see each other. Everything is being done through FaceTime and messages. It’s crazy.

It has to be my wife on her own. And the really sad thing is it’s not going to be a usual funeral where she can go and cuddle her dad. She won’t even be able to comfort him because she has to stay two metres away. It’s a horrible situation for everyone. This virus is so serious and it’s having such an impact on so many people

When it all started coming out in China we didn’t take it too seriously. But then when it came to Italy and then France and Spain you could see how serious it was. And that’s why I must say I’m very disappointed by the way the UK has dealt with it. I’m French, but I feel more English. I live in London, my wife is English, my kids are English and I just feel more could have been done. First it was China, then Italy, then Spain, France. Could they not see that it was coming and just do the lockdown quicker to try and prevent things? And now, a few months later, we’re the country that’s been the most touched in the whole of Europe. To have all that time to see it coming, yet still not do anything right with it, it’s very frustrating

2020 05 18 Retrieve

[Wenger’s biggest Arsenal meltdowns revealed by Aliadiere] Arsene went absolutely mental. We got smashed in that first half when Igor Stepanovs was playing at the back. It was a joke. Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were absolutely killing us. I wasn’t even in the squad, I was just there as 19th man or something. And when I saw him losing it like that I was like: ‘Wow!’. I’d never seen him going that crazy before. He was throwing bottles across the room, they were going everywhere. He was shouting and swearing - and Wenger never usually swore. He was just going absolutely mental. He wasn’t doing it at anyone in particular because he didn’t want to start pointing fingers, but he was just going crazy for about five minutes before he started to calm down a bit.

[But there was one other occasion when the former Gunners boss saw red and it happened behind closed doors at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground - with his anger focused on one man] It was Sylvain Wiltord. We’d been told not to use our mobile phones in the dressing room. Arsene always said you had two choices with your phone, leave it in your car, or if you bring it into the dressing room you put it on silent and leave it in your locker.

So one day he comes into the dressing room and starts having a meeting, chatting with all the players and then suddenly Sylvain’s phone starts to ring so loud and he answered the phone as well. Arsene just totally lost it. He went crazy and screamed: ‘Sylvain are you taking the p*ss?!’ He started properly shouting at him and fined him 10 or 12 grand there and then. But it was at the time when there was a bit of tension with Sylvain and Wenger and Sylvain absolutely didn’t care, he just carried on his conversation on the phone. It was crazy.

Those are the only two times I really saw Arsene lose his temper. Normally, even when we’d had bad games, he would take time to not react in the wrong way. He always tried to give himself time to cool down and think more clearly before chatting to the players

2020 05 19 Retrieve

[Jeremie Aliadiere says Arsenal have no option but to sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this summer] They’ve got to sell him, 100 per cent. Arsenal can’t keep losing players on a free. To be honest, I still can’t believe we’ve again got a top player, our captain, going into the summer only having one year left on his contract. For me, it has to be sorted when he gets to two years. Last summer he should have signed a deal or been sold. Because when you get down to one year left, in a player’s mind there is a difference. If I was Aubameyang and I knew I only had one year left, I would sacrifice one year of my career to go on a free and get paid a ridiculous amount of money and have all the clubs in the world chasing me. Who wouldn’t?

That’s why I just think it’s wrong management yet again. It should be sorted at two years. You should not let a player end up with a year left on his contract, especially a player like Aubameyang. It’s not right. I just think players are playing on it, they keep letting negotiations drag on and the next thing you know, he’s just got one year left. And now, how much are we going to sell him for with one year left? Arsenal are in the worst position you can imagine again because you’ve got a top quality player who assures you of 20-25 Premier League goals a season who is one year away from leaving on a free. Or, he gets sold to Barcelona or Real Madrid and for what? How much can you expect for him now? Nothing compared to what if you’d sold him last summer. They could have asked for £100 million ($121m).

What you need to do is just build and the problem is, we don’t build. We buy a player, but he’s going to get sold two years later or go on a free transfer four years later and then you have to replace him. So you are going in a circle all the time. You need to build with players you are going to keep for six, seven, eight years. Then you get less turnover all the time and you’re not always trying to find someone who will be as good as the player you’ve just lost. If you are not doing that, it just never feels like you are building. It feels like you are just going year by year

People will say Auba is a top player and we’ve got all his goals if we keep him. Yeah, I get that, I totally understand that. But how can you build a club or a team if you keep doing that? By playing year by year and trying to keep your top player just for an extra season, you end up losing him a year later and you lose money. I just don’t think that is smart business you know? It’s things like this that upsets fans. This is how fans turn against the club. It’s because they feel it’s not right. You can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s crazy. How many top players are we going to keep losing on a free, or on very lower transfer fees? You just feel disappointed about it

2020 05 21 Retrieve

[It was January 1999 and Jeremie Aliadiere should have been celebrating one of the greatest moments of his life. Instead, the 16-year-old was spending the majority of his time locked away and out of sight] I was at Clairefontaine, the French academy that was basically funded by all the French clubs. All the kids were supposed to sign for French clubs when they came out of it and obviously the first one not to do that was me. I signed straight for Arsenal. So as you can imagine the French people went absolutely mental. I was in the press every day. I could not even go to school because all the newspapers, cameras and TV crews were all outside school waiting for me. It was really tough because I was in the France Under-16s national team as well, so every time I played everyone was saying ‘that’s the kid who signed for Arsenal, the kid whose parents sold him to Wenger for money’. It was a really difficult time. I wasn’t even allowed to go out because my French coach at Clairefontaine and my parents wanted to protect me. So it all felt really weird because I was just a kid who dreamed about signing for Arsenal and then suddenly it happened, but people judged me in a negative way because of it

I had every club in Europe after me. But the club I supported abroad was Arsenal because of Anelka and Arsene Wenger. And when Arsene directly called my parents himself that was it. I remember it perfectly, it was a Friday evening and the phone rang. My dad picked it up and I saw a reaction on his face that I’d never seen before. I thought ‘my God, who is he chatting to?’ He had a chat for a good hour and then we he put the phone down, he was like ‘I can’t believe Arsene Wenger called my home’. After that, my mind was made up and it was just a matter of negotiating.

I had mixed feelings. I had the feeling of happiness of being part of an incredible squad and playing with fantastic players, but at the same time I had the feeling of frustration because I was 20 or 21 and I wanted to play football. I wanted more opportunities, I wanted more than I was being given. So I was frustrated, but grateful to be part of that squad. For me though I had Henry, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Kanu in front of me. So I was thinking ‘where do I fit?’

That’s is the biggest regret I’ve got. It’s that I was too shy, I wasn’t confident enough in my ability. I feel like I could have had a much better career, at Arsenal in particular, if I had believed in myself more. I think when I was there, I always felt like it was too high a level for me. It’s just my character. I’ve always been very reserved, I keep it all in and I try to please people all the time. I would pass the ball so I didn’t get told off, rather than try and beat two or three players and risk having Thierry or Dennis shouting at me. I always felt that pressure of having to play for them, rather than for myself and I do think that massively held me back. I feel like I definitely had the talent and capacity to do it, but mentally I was just not ready or prepared.

Those guys were so intense and so demanding. They would fight in training and mentally, I think I was frightened by it. I saw how determined they were, how they had the capacity to be friends, but then two minutes later they would be out on that training pitch and would be animals. I was still learning really and would think ‘my God, they are going to smash me up’. I think it made me a little bit more apprehensive about it all. There were so many incidents, tackles, fights. It would happen once a week. But that’s what made that squad as strong as it was. And if Thierry and Lauren, for example, had a bust-up in training, they were clever enough to leave it at that and move on from it. I’m not sure players are capable of doing that now and it creates problems in the dressing room. But back in those days, with all the bust-ups, once training was finished everyone was best friends again. We’d all moved on

I always saw football as a team game. I grew up knowing you couldn’t be a selfish player. If I was in front of the keeper, but could square it to someone because he had an open goal, I would do that. So I’m proud that I gave those goals to Julio when maybe I could have tried to do it myself. And a lot of fans always say to me how good I was that night and it makes me feel happy because they know that it’s not just about scoring the goals. That evening was a very special memory for me

When I lifted that Premier League trophy in 2004, it was brilliant - but I expected at that time I would go on and play more of a part in winning more. So although it was great, because I wasn’t really part of the starting 11, I felt it was the other guys in that team who won that trophy more than me. But looking back at it now I’ve retired, it’s definitely the best memory because you realise what a special team and special achievement it was. It will never be beaten in my mind, it will still be talked about in 100 years and knowing you were part of it is very special.

2020 05 22 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal striker Jeremie Aliadiere says Arsenal shouldn’t have spent £72m on Pepe] I saw what he did with Lille last season and he is an amazing player. So, I’m not denying his talent. What I’m seeing, though, is the most expensive player in Arsenal’s history and even if you don’t want to think about the money, the fact is that money is, unfortunately, a big thing in football. And when you spend that much money on a player, you expect more goals and you expect more assists

Now, obviously it is not easy, as I know having been there, but the thing that has disappointed me a tiny bit is his decision-making during games. For a player who cost £72m, it’s the simple parts of the game that sometimes I see him lacking. And that’s what I pick on a bit. Yes, he goes on a good dribble and goes through two or three players - that’s amazing. But when you have (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang on your left and all you have to do is pass the ball in the right spot, and instead cut it back at the wrong time, that bothers me. And I’ve seen that quite a lot from him this season. Maybe with confidence, with more games, that will improve. But it’s that sort of thing - when he switches off and seems to lack concentration - that gets to me. That is something you can’t really have with top, top players who come for that sort of money. The easy stuff has got to be done properly.

I think Mikel could be the perfect match for Nico because he will not let him get away with things. As a player, Mikel was all about quality and simplicity. You can’t miss a simple pass if you are five yards away because that costs goals and points. When we go on a counterattack, with the speed and pace we’ve got, we should be scoring many more goals. But if the final pass is not spot on, then you waste chances. That’s where I just feel Pepe’s been a bit lacking and maybe that is me being a bit picky because of the price tag. And that’s really what I’ve been saying, it’s more about the price. If we’d spent £35m on him, you’d say ‘great signing’. But when you think we have paid twice as much, you think, ‘He needs to do more’. We don’t have the resources of Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, so when we spend big money, we need to make sure we spend it on the right players. You can see he has unbelievable potential, talent and quality. Technically, he can do incredible stuff, but the simple things, sometimes he doesn’t do them spot on. That’s why I feel maybe we shouldn’t have spent that much on him

2020 05 26 Retrieve

[Former Gunners striker Jeremie Aliadiere says Matteo Guendouzi must mature off the pitch if he wants to have long-term success under Mikel Arteta] Listen, I’m a big fan of the guy. He’s like my little brother and I always told him that Arsenal would be a very good team for his development as a player and as a human being. He took my advice and came to the club, but I just feel Matteo hasn’t grown up as a human being yet. He’s grown up as a player, he’s matured massively as a player and every year he gets better. But unfortunately as a man, he hasn’t grown and matured as much as I thought he would by joining Arsenal. I think that’s what he’s missing and that’s why he’s not playing as much under Mikel [Arteta] because Mikel is not really up for that. He wants players who are going to do a job for the team and do what they ask him to do. If they are not happy to do that, then he will have someone else do it for him.

Matteo’s a top player and he’s shown that since he’s been here. And that’s what I’m saying about him maturing as a human being and needing to grow up. I saw him coming through the academy when I was at Lorient and having confidence and believing in yourself is amazing and I think at that age it’s a massive quality. But I think at some point you have just got to respect and deal with the players and you’ve got to respect your coach. There are arguments that just don’t need to be done. I don’t know exactly what happened in Dubai when he fell out with Mikel, but that is not going to help him if he’s going to keep falling out with his coach or team-mates

It says a lot when you hear Pep Guardiola and he says things like ‘great player, but more than that a great human being’. You can be the best player, but if you don’t have the right attitude and right mentality, that will cost you your career. I don’t care how good you are. I would be gutted for Matteo if he has to be sold or if he doesn’t come into the plans of Mikel because of outside behaviour and not because of what he is doing on the pitch. I know him, I’ve played with him and saw him coming through as a kid, so I want him to stay here for years and become Arsenal captain. But to do that, you can’t just be a top player, you’ve got to have more outside the pitch and be an example

2020 06 23 Retrieve

[Jeremie Aliadiere on Matteo Guendouzi] He’s like my little brother and I always told him that Arsenal would be a very good team for his development as a player and as a human being. He took my advice and came to the club, but I just feel Matteo hasn’t grown up as a human being yet. He’s grown up as a player, he’s matured massively as a player and every year he gets better. But unfortunately as a man, he hasn’t grown and matured as much as I thought he would by joining Arsenal. I think that’s what he’s missing and that’s why he’s not playing as much under Mikel [Arteta] because Mikel is not really up for that