I thought about blogging yesterday but given Arsène was doing his presser at 8.45am, I thought I’d hold off until today before I compiled some thoughts, so here I am trying to make sense of what he had to say when sitting in front of the assembled media.
Firstly, having read and watched a lot of the conference, I found myself a little irate at yet more nothingness on key issues which remain unsolved. Arsène talked up building a team around the Ox, but with him still very much against signing a new deal, it feels like the only way that’ll happen is if Chelski decide that he’ll be their ‘go to’ player in the heart of their midfield.
Sky are running with the ‘more conversations planned’ approach, which is probably being fed via the Arsenal side, but with messages from both camps seemingly so at odds with each other I find it staggering that we’re days away from the slamming shut of the window and we’re in this position where the manager is talking up a player who doesn’t seem like he’ll be at the club come this time next year.
It’s just another example of how messed up things seem to be behind the scenes and, with the manager also bizarrely refusing to rule out Mustafi saying too, we’re getting all kinds of bizarre signals from the club at the moment. Chambers frozen out, Gabriel sold, Big Per not trusted to play against Stoke, and now Arsène is making comments about one of the few central defenders who does actually seem to be in the team at the moment?
I just don’t get what’s going on at the moment. If we’re in the same position as we are now come September 1st, it feels like things are going to get grim amongst many fans that I speak to, but more than that it will mean we could have an absolutely cataclysmic failure of a summer next year. Deals running out on star players, Deadwood unloveable, plus players who have been earmarked as new signings like Monaco’s Lemar, off the radar if you believe what Wenger said yesterday.
He called a deal for Lemar ‘dead’ and whilst many will cite that what he says and what he does are two different things entirely, I’m afraid I feel like we’re going to be in for another bumpy end of the transfer window. And to think that six weeks ago we were all wondering if the club might actually change its spots and get business done early so we could have a proper go at the new season with everybody in place…
Still, some positive from yesterday is that Koscielny and Alexis is back, both quite a relief because as we stand at the moment, Koscielny is one of the few central defenders we know will play regularly (providing his Achilles doesn’t explode in to a ball of flames) and Alexis is a player who will replace the quite frankly terrible Welbeck from last weekend. Honestly folks, I think that free header he had with the ball hitting his shoulder and going over is going to stay in my memory forever…
Everything feels a mess at the moment. For somebody who talks up the value of cohesion like Arsène does, it is ironic that both on and off the pitch Arsenal seem to be the antithesis of that word. We seem to have no succession plan for the manager, none for bringing in new blood and strengthening, none for sorting out player deals, no harmony in the back room staff – if you believe the rumours about Arsène and Ivan – and we just lurch from game-to-game hoping to cobble together some kind of unit to function.
We’re not even out of August and everything feels like it’s unravelling to me. In fact right now the fact that we’re in August and so early in to the season is the only reason why I’m still finding myself not completely losing my sh*t over what is happening at Arsenal, because a win against Liverpool – however unlikely feeling right now – will change the mood a little bit at least. I hope that happens for all of our sakes, because I don’t really want to contemplate the other alternative, because the mood around the club feels toxic enough as it is right now.
And so we move in to this bank holiday with little to go on in relation to what the plan is at Arsenal, hoping for three points on Sunday and hoping that despite the fact everything seems all over the place, football might still throw up some surprises. That’s where we’re at right now – we have hope rather than expectation.
Catch you tomorrow.