On Wednesday we got ourselves a new manager confirmed and it’s no surprise given what we now know about him that he’s been at the training ground and going hardcore on swotting up on everything about the club. Meeting all the backroom staff, having a quick chat with Kos, starting to get an idea on how he’s going to move Arsenal forward yesterday and if you believe some of the rumours, getting his first signing lined up in the shape of Stephan Lichtsteiner. And when you know the Oracle is talking about it the chances of it happening are pretty high.
My initial reaction to the deal was ‘why?’ but that’s mainly because I don’t really know that much about Italian football and so I only look at him as a player on paper. But when you think about it this seems like a very obvious and should be pretty easy decision to make. He would come to Arsenal as a free transfer. There’s wages to be considered as part of the ‘war chest’ but when you think that Big Per and Santi have gone and Jack is making noises about a new chapter it sounds to me as if we’ve got a bit of wages freed up to get somebody like that in. I’ll come to Jack in a second, but on Lichtsteiner it seems quite a decent move, because he’s a man with experience of winning and at 34 he’s not going to waltz in to the Arsenal dressing room and expect to dethrone Hector. Debuchy was signed as a first choice right back and the rise of Hector and his injuries meant he never really got the chance. But Lichtsteiner would come in knowing Hector is first choice, knowing he’s still got plenty of his career ahead of him and knowing that what he as the Swiss captain brings is experience, an older head and somebody in the dressing room who will talk to the younger players about what they need to do to be winners.
So with that in mind it’s hard not to see this as a good move. We’d run Hector into the ground last season and if there are games in which we can rotate in an experienced right back to give him some recuperation time then I’m all for it.
What this also shows is that Emery the Head Coach is focused on the first team. It’s not about thinking about the development of 100 players. It’s about him getting Arsenal as high up the table as possible and playing the percentages. I like the sound of that.
What this signing also does is mean that the cash is freed up for other signings and maybe if the club are as hot for Max Meyer as some of us want them to be, then we could have a couple of freebies and focus on spending that £70million on a centre half and a ‘keeper. Meyer would be a great signing, would fit into Arsenal’s team well, plus would be a decent replacement for a departing Jack Wilshere. We all love Jack, we know that he loves us, but it just hasn’t quite felt right for me last season and it may be best for him and us if he moves on and creates space for somebody else. I’ve talked about players like Maitland-Niles stepping up and perhaps that’s why the noises on Meyer appear to have gone quiet with Hoffenheim now sniffing around, but as a fan you just want to see the best players at the club and Meyer looks like he could be a future star.
Imagine bringing him in and being able to spend some proper cash on a new ‘keeper and a centre half. And whilst £70 million is the figure banded about let’s not forget that Arsenal account for transfers in a different way, as this excellent blog on SheWore explains,so it would still give us a sizeable bit of change to play around with and could help us to bring in some top quality talent in some ailing positions.
And when you start to break it down like that, with the club looking to make some sensible decisions in the transfer market and maybe even some rapid ones after years of dithering, it starts to get very exciting. The new season feels very exciting already. We’ve longed for this for quite some time and the fact that more and more Arsenal fans are unifying in this level of excitement is great to see. Everyone is happier. And that can’t be a bad thing.
Roll on August I say.
Catch you all tomorrow. Maybe. I’m doing an all-day festival in the sun, so it could end up being messy :-S