Well, it looks as though my assumptions based on the Vardy situation were a bit off, eh? You’d have to say so, after Arsène was interviewed on Chinese TV suggesting that the striker will most likely stay at Leicester. It’ll be a bizarre decision if it happens, but if that’s the case then I’m not sure why Vardy doesn’t simply stop any Leicester fans from any more angst, by coming out publicly.
As for us as Arsenal fans, we’ll get over this one quickly enough, providing Arsène goes back in to the market and picks up a better option. There’s been some speculation that after being declined by Vardy, we’d go after Lewandowski, which would be awesome but probably so very untrue. If Vardy was Arsène’s first choice, it’s unlikely he’d go for a player who is about five times better and likely to cost at least triple the price of the Leicester forward. But it is nice to be linked to better players. We’ve all wanted Arsène to go for a better calibre than Vardy, but I suspect his thoughts were that he could get a ready-made player for good value, which is why Vardy became first choice. I suspect we’ll shop around that £20million mark again, looking for somebody who is perhaps less well known overseas, but what we need to do is find somebody who can be proper competition for Giroud. We’d all love a Morata, Janssen, Higuain, etc, but we have to accept that’s probably not where Arsène’s headspace is, so let’s not pretend to get too excited that option B, C or D will be an elite player.
And for me that is a shame. It’s a shame because sometimes the most simple answer is the one you’ve got staring you in the face. We need a proven goalscorer with the hunger and tenacity of some of the elite strikers out there and the only way I think we get that is by going out and paying the top dollar.
As for Vardy, we’ll need to let Leicester fans have their moment, methinks. We’ll need to suck up the inevitable finger-pointing and laughing, because on face value it doesn’t look great, but the reality is that many other teams were probably relieved that we weren’t going to break the bank to bring a big name in. If he’d have committed to Arsenal and was now an Arsenal player, I’d have got behind him and hoped he could replicate last season’s form, but it’d be wrong for me to tell you that when I first heard of Arsenal’s interest, I was particularly excited. At 29 his best years are probably few in number ahead of him and when his pace starts to wane, you’d wonder what value he’d have at Arsenal. If this ‘snub’ allows us to get somebody who can develop into an elite-level player, then happy days.
I guess the real question is whether or not we need a short-term solution or not. Vardy was that short-term solution. Do we want somebody who can be a solution for the next three to five years? I would suggest that is what Arsène needs to be thinking about.
On a more positive and infinitely interesting note, how good is Granit Xhaka proving to be, eh? The guy once again proved his importance in the heart of the Swiss midfield and I for one can’t wait to see what he can do in an Arsenal shirt. Composure, ball retention, link play, bite in the tackle. Yep, this kid looks even more the real deal every time we see him, which for me is brilliant. It’s an absolutely brilliant move by the club to tie it up some early because you know there would have been competition for his signature after the three games he’s played at these Euro’s. And there was even time for a gif of Giroud and Xhaka hugging it out on Twitter after the game yesterday, which has been replicated and shared all over my timeline this morning, as some call it the beginning of a new bromance. I like the sentiment, that’s for sure. I’m glad we got little snippets like that though, because the game itself was pretty dull at times, having a real ‘this doesn’t mean a thing’ feel to it. Both teams through and nobody wants to get injured, so I can kind of understand it, to be honest.
Tonight’s instalment is England’s group and I suspect that England need at least a point to qualify, with Wales needing a win to secure their safe passage, which I’m not sure whether they’ll get. A draw would probably be enough to see them qualify, but I haven’t bothered working out the permutations because quite frankly, everyone seems to get through this first stage.
So on that note, I’ll leave you be, and catch you in the morrow.