I don’t know about you but my first full working week back in the office absolutely flew by, which is grand because a) I do love a weekend, and b) it’s the return of Premier League Football to (hopefully) wash that bitter taste in my mouth brought about by the Nottingham Forest FA Cup debacle.
The League Cup draw away to Chelski helped a little bit, but it’s nothing compared to what a win would do and so when we play Bournemouth this weekend, I’ll be crossing everything in hope that Arsenal actually do the business.
It should be press conference day today and once more I suspect the conference will be dominated by talk of Alexis. That is surely inevitable given that it appears the inevitable has taken its latest twist with Sky Sports reporting that Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be used as a juicy carrot to dangle in front of Arsenal to do a deal.
Perhaps that one is just a bit of agent or media bluster – especially given that swap deals never usually pan out – but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s something in this you know. Mkhitaryan is clearly not wanted by Jose, we know Arsène fancied a bit of him at Dortmund, a deal that involves us also getting a bit of cash too would probably allow Arsenal to save some face, plus it means we have a replacement who is knowledgable in the Premier League.
If it could be done then I say screw it; make it happen and let everyone else move on with their lives. But as was very passionately put to myself and others on the Gooner Ramble podcast last night, let us not use any potential incoming of a player as any kind of excuse or reasoning to exonerate Arsenal from the fact that despite we were told these days of selling our best players are over, we’re repeating the same mistakes we always do by selling them to another English club. Once again.
It shows that Arsenal’s long term player recruitment and retention strategies are woeful at best, deliberately negligent at worst and we have to be honest, with these same mistakes does anybody believe we won’t have the same problems again with a player in the next five years?
I have no faith that it won’t happen again.
Of course should it not happen and Alexis dig his heels in for a Man City move, then we have to look at alternatives and with Mustafi, Monreal and Kolasinac spending the evening together in London I’m sure they had nice things to say about Arsenal. Whether or not they believe them themselves given all of the perceived turmoil at the club is one thing, but we could do a lot worse than have a chat with his people and PSG and see if he’d be interested in making his time in London a little more permanent. Given that it looks like there’s a spot free for a wide forward it seems to me like an obvious discussion to have at least, but that will probably be ruled out by Arsène at today’s press conference. The man does like to pour cold water over any transfer tittle-tattle that we have as fans so I expect him to tell us that Joel Campbell could always be recalled from his loan spell…
Flippant remarks aside, I really hope Arsenal realise that the best way to manage this sh*t situation they are in is to get somebody in first rather than sell Alexis and then go looking for somebody. This about the way Liverpool played out the Coutinho deal. They got the excitement of the fans stirred up a week or two before with the arrival of a big money centre half, then sold a player and made some cash from a replacement. That’s how I hope we move when the Alexis deal goes through.
Get somebody in, give us some relief, then ship Alexis out and acknowledge that you f*cked up the whole situation and should have sold him towards the beginning of last summer.
Finally from me before I depart for the day, a word on Francis Coquelin, who joined Valencia for £12million. Firstly, the transfer feee which I’m sorry, but that is a joke. There’s talk of ‘add ons’ in the deal but unless those ‘add ons’ are “is seen in Valencia shirt” or “plays one single game” then once again we’ve had our pants pulled down. Everyone acknowledges that this market is farcical, but when you’ve got players like Bentaleb going for £18million, or the Ox for £40million, a defensive midfielder with three and a half years left on his contract at £12million is peanuts. I don’t know who does the transfer nuts and bolts but it’s a joke given that we gave Valencia £35million for Mustafi. It feels like we’re the only club in Europe still playing by 2005 transfer fees. Which probably explains why we haven’t had any decent money for players – and we baulk at some player fees – because we’re just completely out of our comfort zone.
But secondly, in terms of the player, you have to wish him well because he didn’t fuss or feud and despite his limitations you always knew what you were getting. Valencia will see that soon enough and I hope he does well there.
That’s about yer lot from me today. Thank goodness it’s Friday. Catch you all tomorrow.