Depending on what you choose to read, who you choose to follow and when you choose to do either, you were either very excited, very disappointed, or just very confused yesterday.
All of the signs over the weekend seemed to have pointed towards an imminent arrival of Shokran Mustafi by the middle of this week, but after a few spurious rumours of a deal breaking down, the BBC’s David Ornstein awoke most of the Arsenal Twitter world to tell us all that both clubs need to agree on the fee before anything can move forward.
That message caused quite a bit of commotion amongst some of the people I follow on Twitter. “Arsenal dithering again? What’s going on? This is a disgrace!” and so on. Yet Ornstein is a man with privileged information. He’s a man who works closely with the club and is given information by the club to either whet the appetite of the fans, or quell the concern of the masses, so it was no surprise to me to see him follow up that message with one about the much talked about ‘madness’ that could happen. He both enraged some and pleased others in one tweet. That’s quite a skill, I must say, but it looked very much like a message fed to him by the club. If you’re going to deliver some pretty galling news (club haggling over fee of player, money is the issue), do it with a nugget of excitement (money being saved for big striker move).
The only challenge that might occur in the scenario, however, is that you end up with nothing. And we know exactly how that situation unfolds. We had it with Suarez, which led to missing out on Higuain, so who’s to say we won’t have a repeat scenario with <player x> not joining and the result meaning we’ve lost other options like Lacazette?
I’m not suggesting I want Lacazette instead of <player x>, but what I do worry about is having monumentally failed to improve the squad come 31st August and ending up with a Wilfred Bony, or somebody equally average at an over-inflated price. Arsenal do not have a decent track record with these kind of scenarios. Some may point to the signing of Özil as an example of how a deal was able to happen late, but I see that as an isolated incident. That deal was entirely dependent on Gareth Bale and so in hindsight we can all see that it was in the pipeline. But of all of the big name strikers this summer, how many are falling in to place, with an option for us to pick up alternate pieces from a buying club?
We’re at two weeks and counting folks and our inability to do anything all summer is making every day that we don’t blink, more and more uncomfortable. The risk factor of this transfer window is going up by the day and when Arsenal take risks and gambles, it so often fails miserably.
Just ask Aaron Ramsey, the latest Arsène Wenger ‘gamble’ that has left the manager with egg on his face. Again. He’s admitted that a player with a history of hamstring problems has been rushed back too early and will now be out for a month. This will force his hand for next weekend and he’ll move to the next option, which I suspect will be a Cazorla with rumours of a twangy achilles. We have to pray that Santi is fit enough to hold out, because this summers preparation is going down south rather too rapidly for anyone’s liking.
We can all see why Arsène stockpiled midfielders now, can’t we? Because he’s going to run them all in to the ground at this rate.
This has not been a great start to the season, has it? Embarrassing first game, injuries pre-season and on the first day of it, a transfer window that has left everyone scratching their heads, as well as mixed messages from those running the club (Ivan/Arsène and the whole “we can’t compete financially” debacle).
Now it seems we’re holding out on doing what many seem as the bare minimum – i.e. A central defender – because we don’t believe we have the cash to get all of our horses over the line. That’s balderdash and everyone knows it. Particularly because Arsenal don’t just slap the whole fee, wages and agents fees down up front, so whilst the club take in to account all of those factors in a transfer, it’s accrued over a number of years. So when we have £250million-odd in the bank, don’t we also, by the above logic, have £250million plus whatever future revenue we will make from TV deals, etc?
Sometimes, what the club say and do, as well as who they feed it to, just doesn’t make sense to me.
But I’m just a simple fan, I guess, and couldn’t possibly contemplate the complexity of buying players from one club to the other.
Anyway, if you fancy a bit of analysis on the game, I’d recommend having a look at Adrian Clarke’s The Breakdown on the official site. I always find it very interesting and worth a few minutes of your time.
Catch y’all tomorrow.