It’s the start of a new working week for me, but by the looks of things Ivan and Sven Mislintat got theirs going a day early, having been snapped by Bild in Germany picking up some luggage from a car from what was supposed to be Aubameyang’s silver ride; I’m not sure whether it’s an Audi or a Porsche and given I don’t spend too much time paying attention to footballers cars I really don’t care.
But what I do care about is making Arsenal better and should this transfer go through it will certainly do that.
It’s interesting though; in the summer it was Arsène and Ivan being snapped together in Nice, when everyone wondered who they were after that turned out to be MBappe and then latterly Lacazette, but now it appears Ivan has a new partner in crime and it’s the chief scout who’s now accompanying the Chief Exec on his business trips.
Maybe Ivan just fancied a different face at breakfast? Maybe Arsène told him it was his day off and to find somebody else? Maybe Sven has a better playlist on his iPhone and Ivan wanted somebody to share their headphones with?
Or maybe, just maybe, this is the first visible sign of changes happening at Arsenal to remove all control from one man. That’s certainly what I’d like to believe.
What I’d also like to believe is that with all of this extra free time being gifted to Arsène, he’s decided to spend it looking at opponents and trying to suss our how to exploit weaknesses rather than focusing solely on his own team. That’s what I’d love to think though. I’d love to think that he’s spent yesterday having a look at Chelski’s game against Brighton, the first leg against them at Stamford Bridge, the 2-2 home draw at the Emirates, and is hatching a plan as to how we can beat last years Premier League Champions. That’s what I’d hope, anyway. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest a leopard doesn’t change its spots though, so I guess we’ll just have to see.
What is most important is that the wheels are turning for the evolution of how Arsenal FC are run and by all accounts it’s happening now rather than all at once when Wenger does finally leave. There can be very few – even those die hard Wenger acolytes – who don’t see what is happening as a good thing.
We’re moving on and it looks like we’re getting the gradual evolution we all wanted.
Whether or not we’ll be seeing Aubameyang in the squad for next weekend against Swansea remains to be seen but hopefully some news can emerge within the next 48 hours.
What will most certainly emerge will be the Alexis/Mkhitaryan swap deal after somebody snapped the Chilean at Old Trafford in a United shirt and I won’t lie, my heart sank a little bit, I’m sad to say. I don’t know what it is about having to physically see the player in another teams shirt, despite the fact we’ve all known it for over a week now, but it just makes your heart sink a little.
He’ll be a good player for them. He’s a world class player. But I have a hope. The hope is that United have got a guy in like they did with Berbatov, like van Persie and like Michael Owen to a lesser extent – a man on big wages who is giving them a maximum of a year and a half at his peak before injuries and form start to dip. After two seasons van Persie was pretty much tossed by United and Berbatov was the same. They then became expensive people to have around and I can only wish Alexis the same fate. Sadly though, I suspect we’ll have at least the rest of this season and next season in its entirety, before that might happen.
We must move on, must now look to Mkhitaryan to be a more selfless team player than Alexis was, who will link up the team rather than be an explosive individual.
The good news is that we’ve seen this before. When Henry left we lost a talisman. Adebayor stepped up. When Adebayor left van Persie got out of his injury-prone ways and stepped up. When van Persie left Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla came in and between them stepped up and shared the goals amongst themselves. Now we find Alexis gone we need to have the same from the rest of the team.
That means more goals and assists from Özil. More from Ramsey. More from Iwobi. More from Welbeck, Lacazette and the new man Mkhitaryan. If all of the players unit together, if they use Alexis’ departure as a positive influencer on their own game as a collective, then we’ll be alright. But now is the time they have to do it.
We may have lost our individual spark and match winner, but the team need to show that they are a collective of match winners now.
That’s what I want to see.
Catch you all tomorrow.