Another day and another Kylian Mbappe story, as each journalist desperately tries to re-hash the same transfer, but with a new spin on it. We’ve had the initial interest, the ‘Wenger in France’, the Real Madrid intrigue, the ‘family member talks’ and now we’re at what is usually the final stages, which is the ‘increasingly confident’ story.
Step forward Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph who whilst is usually a bit more reputable than some, still probably has a quota to hit, so he’s serving us with the old ‘increasingly confident’ classic to satisfy his advertising revenue desperate overlords.
Perhaps there’s an element of truth to it. Perhaps we’re going to get our man. Perhaps we shall all rejoice. But personally I’m growing weary of it all, which adds to my existing cynicism that it can happen, which isn’t much fun. So this morning I tried to remember every signing I can remember Arsenal making and which one excited me the most and why. I came up with two, see if you can guess.
Dennis Bergkamp and Sol Campbell. Dennis was signed when I was 12 and I remember my dad calling me in from the front of our house where I was playing football to tell me. My dad isn’t really even in to football so for him to call me in to read some stuff on Ceefax just shows how big a deal that was.
I remember just being stunned. Bergkamp was a hero of a friend of mines – Russell, also an Arsenal fan -and when he signed the first thing I did was phone to get his thoughts. He was just jumping up and down and shouting. I spent the whole summer so excited at the prospect of seeing a superstar of world football at Arsenal. And he of course went on to achieve such great things at the club. Which makes that day which is so etched in my memory, such a wonderful thing to recall that even brings a smile to my face these days.
But believe it or not, it’s the Sol Campbell signing which I look on more fondly, because that really was a bolt out of the blue.
I think a lot of it also has to do with my age. I’ve always been massively in to football and Arsenal, but when it became an obsession I was around 16 probably 17, and that was when Sol signed, as I was 18 in 2001. This time I was round a girlfriends house and she was doing something boring upstairs, so I was sat on her parents sofa looking through Ceefax once again when the headline appeared at the top of the page SOL CAMPBELL SIGNS FOR ARSENAL.
Again, I was just stunned, but this time it was Johnny Cochrane I called, telling him to get Ceefax on as quickly as possible because he is not going to believe what he was reading. Johnny just sat on the other end of the line in stunned silence too. The Bergkamp signing was massive, but to me, at that age this felt like the biggest coup ever. We had an ageing Tony Adams who was starting to get more and more injury prone and it was clear this was where we needed to strengthen, but I never expected us to pick up Sol from our local rivals, never in a million.
The press didn’t even expect it either. Those were the days where you could pull off deals like that and nobody knew, which made a transfer all the more exciting and personally, made summers more exciting too. No agent talk, no backwards and forwards with different angles, you knew that you could wake up in the morning and your team could unfurl a brand new shiny player for you to get excited about for the upcoming summer.
Brilliant times, sadly confined to the annals of time, replaced by this attention-seeking, agent-driven, over-inflated age in which everyone knows everything before it happens and by the time a deal is done we already have chapter and verse of every part of it.
Which brings us back full circle to Mbappe, who we now seem to know everything about, but who still may end up going to Madrid, after we have spent all summer coveting him. Which is another reason to hate the transfer window and access to information we have, because if we knew nothing of Arsenal’s interest, we’d probably just shrug shoulders when he goes to Madrid.
Oh well, I guess we just have to deal with the world we live in, I suppose. Doesn’t make it easier or more fun, but it is what it is.
And that’s that for me for another day. I have put myself in a good mood thinking about Dennis and Sol. Makes for a nice change in a summer transfer window.
Do the same. Think about your favourite player signing and let it put you in a good mood for the day.