Like you, I am hoping that Arsenal can feel in Shokran Mustafi from Valencia, but unlike many I feel like I’m one of the few people that has realised that if it actually happens we’ve still got a selection dilemma come the first game of the season.
Mustafi played in the same squad as Özil. He came back from holiday roughly the same time as Özil. He has been left out of Valencia’s most recent friendly against Bournemouth with a ‘foot injury’. So even if he rocked up at London Colney this very morning, we’ve still got the issue of who will play at the heart of our defence against Liverpool and then probably Leicester away.
I know that might sound a little short-termist and surely Mustafi will need to adapt and get games under his belt before we can make judgements, but it still seems a little off to me that we haven’t acted more swiftly.
For example, when Arsène found out about Big Per’s injury, he could have gone in for Mustafi over a week ago. That way, the deal might be done by now and we might even be able to give him some game time in a few friendly games, before the big kick off starts. Wouldn’t that make more sense?
Perhaps there’s another reason why he hasn’t gone in for the player fully yet though. Perhaps Arsenal have had chats with Valencia, with the Spanish club asking Arsenal for a bit of time to find a replacement, hence why we aren’t hearing anything. I’m sure there are a few of you now rage-typing a comment to me that Arsenal shouldn’t be pandering to these clubs, but you and I know that Arsenal try to do things ‘the right way’, but perhaps also this is what allows us to not always pay over the odds. The deal for Xhaka seemed relatively pain-free. Perhaps that’s because Arsenal have cordial relations with Monchengladbach? I’m no football expert and have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, but if Arsenal and Valencia have a good working relationship, if a scum-of-the-earth club like Chelski come knocking, maybe the way we conduct our business will have a positive impact on negotiations?
Of course I could be being completely naive. After all, football clubs are cash monsters and if Chelski whack another £5million on the asking price, the Valencia hierarchy are going to bend over backwards to see that deal get done. We only have to hope that negotiations are far along enough as to not derail any deal.
The other deal which has gone through is Wojciech Szczesny heading back to Roma for another year. It makes sense, but I’m surprised this isn’t just a full on sale, because unless something terrible happens to Cech’s form or a career threatening injury, you’d expect us to be in the same position next summer with Woj. Perhaps the loan fee is a different way of Roma paying for Szczesny, because if there’s a £10million buyout at the end of the deal, then if we received a couple of million quid this season and last season, both clubs will have been happy.
It’s a shame it hasn’t worked out for him. I thought he’d be our number one for a decade but perhaps this experience has served him well and been the jolt to his ego that he needs. Perhaps that’s why Arsenal haven’t sold him yet – leaving the door ajar for a Courtois-esque return for the Polish stopper next season? You never know.
Tonight we have one of our final two pre season games against the Vikings of Norway and I might just watch this one, you know. There’s been comments from Le Boss that Ramsey and Alexis may start and that’s a real plus. If both can get some minutes this evening, then more minutes on Sunday, you’d have to think they should at least be in the squad on Sunday next week, which would be a massive boost given our current concerns over squad absentees.
I’ll be interested to see how Chuba and Theo perform tonight, because surely they are the only players who will be given a chance up top, now that we’re on countdown to the season opener. If Chuba maintains his goalscoring, then maybe he’s in with a shot of starting, but we’ll have to see more from Theo I think. The guy has a real chance here. Play up top, play well, then do the same against Liverpool next weekend, and all of the moaners and groaners will be quiet for a while. I don’t know many Arsenal fans who don’t want Theo to do well, but I can say that about any Arsenal player, because if they’re all playing well then we’re winning games. And that’s all any of us really want, right?
Let’s see how our boys get on tonight. Catch all of you sexy people tomorrow.