Over the weekend I didn’t really have time to compile any thoughts with what happened with the breaking Vardy news which started on Friday lunchtime, so I thought I’d add some thoughts in now, albeit slightly delayed and probably nothing you haven’t thought of read about somewhere else (way to ‘sell’ the blog to your readership, Chris).
I was undertaking a ‘Three Peaks Challenge’ which meant I had to do the three highest summits in the UK in 24 hours, but during the long walks and bus rides between Wales, England and Scotland, I had enough time to chat to fellow Arsenal fans about their thoughts.
I don’t tho I I’ve ever seen a prospective transfer for such a fee, stir up so much mixed emotions, if I’m honest. Logically, Vardy is an in-form goalscorer, he knows the Premier League so he’s ready from day one, he has pace and is a channel runner which will suit players like Özil. He’s also relatively cheap given his buy-out clause. So in that sense there are a lot of boxes ticked. So why do I still have a slightly unsatisfied feeling about the transfer which, at the time of writing, still doesn’t seem concrete yet?
Perhaps it’s because it feels like we’re taking a less risky approach in terms of the size of the transfer? I mean I know £20million isn’t exactly small change, but in the current inflated market, it does feel like the equivalent to the Giroud signing back in 2012. Arsenal knew That Dutch Bloke was off, so went for a decent striker with a buy out clause, before the selling to United of Him.
As its turned out, £12million for Giroud is probably a decent bit of business for a player who has shown himself to be decent, but not quite ‘elite’ level when it comes to being prolific in front of goal. To me, Vardy feels the same, in that he will be a decent buy and will hopefully score goals for us, but it feels like an alternative to Giroud, rather than an upgrade from the Frenchman.
Arsène does like Giroud. He also likes Welbeck. A megabucks deal for a Higuain or Aubameyang, however, puts all of those players firmly as second choice behind a big money striker. By signing Vardy, players like Giroud and Welbeck will feel that they have enough chance to take his spot in the team. They will feel like he’s not untouchable on the team sheet and perhaps that’s what Arsène’s going for. So in a sense I understand his motives. It’s clearly worked, because yesterday Giroud Decided to break ranks and talk openly about the players desire to join the club. Giroud is obviously looking to build his Twitter profile by going all ‘ITK’ on us in his post match interview at the weekend! I suspect he’ll have a few words spoken to him by Arsenal at some stage, but ultimately if the deal is practically done, then it shouldn’t really matter. But Giroud will be happy if it is Vardy and Welbz as his competition, so of course he’ll talk up the transfer.
Perhaps it also means that Arsenal are still after more players and this signing at this price means more cash for more players in different positions? After all, whilst we have plenty of cash reserves, we can’t just stockpile £50million footballers like City of Chelski. So our transfer activity will always be more restrained. If we sign Vardy and then go all out for a wide player, as well as another centre half (assuming Chambers is t given his chance, which would be my preferred option), then this Vardy signing also makes more sense.
It’s funny, because on Friday I was a little bemused and disappointed in hearing the news, but in classic football fan style, I’m able to try to turn around my views the more I talk it out with fellow Arsenal fans. It’s like some sort of ordinary man group therapy, or something.
One more thing before I go; isn’t it nice that after a few years of lastminute.com signings by the club, they are acting so swiftly? And they’re doing it in a way that will get the fans very excited for the new season in August. I said a couple of weeks back that the perfect summer would be Xhaka, followed by the announcement of a contract renewal of Özil, followed by a striker, then Alexis’ renewal, etc, every few weeks. Alright, perhaps I got the ordering wrong, but if the deal goes through this week, then the club are manouvreing the chess pieces very well so far in this off-season. The goodwill and excitement they will be generating ahead of the Euro’s is great and it also means that from a fan sentiment point of view, two signings in the bag early gives everyone a bit of a boost. I’m not saying that the club is reacting to fans in its transfer decisions, but merely that these early signings have an added bonus, which is the inevitable boosting of fan support that these early deals offer.
Let’s see how the remainder of this week pans out, but right now, it’s looking good.