I’ll level with you: I’m a little bit jealous of Liverpool and how in the last couple of seasons they’ve actually got their sh*t together. When Klopp arrived there was a period of adjustment and when he didn’t conquer all in his first full season at the club I was more than happy enough to think that Liverpool wouldn’t really ‘kick on’. But the imminent arrival of one of their biggest problem areas – Alisson Becker in goal from Roma – shows that actually they’re serious of having a go.
Of course this sort of stuff always happens in Football and when there’s no actual football being played it’s easy to look at the transfer dealings of another club and get a little jealous of their moves.
Before Liverpool decided to go hard on their piggy bank and bring in some of the players they had I hadn’t even bothered to think twice about them. I was happy with our signings and pleased with the direction the club looked to be going in. And perhaps after the dust has settled on Liverpool’s spending spree and the season starts it’ll be a different story.
The old adage of “you don’t win the Premier League in the summer and on paper” must ring true, but the ambition from that lot – who are unbearable most of the time anyway – does naturally make one think of their own team.
For Arsenal and Emery it is a rebuilding process and that process requires us to get from Z to A incrementally. It’s unrealistic to think of us as title contenders given the mess of a squad we were left in. And it was a mess. A hot mess. No width, no depth in certain positions (like right back) and no real ability to tactically shuffle our deck.
Yet with some of the signings we’ve made so far it feels like we have options. We have bought players who will help us slowly evolve and whilst most – Torreira aside – don’t appear to be too inspiring on the face of it, the fact that many of us are still pondering what playing style and set up we’ll have suggests to me that we’ll see plenty of variation next season.
Variation depending on the opposition and avoiding being out-thought before a ball has even been kicked would be mighty refreshing to see as an Arsenal fan.
We still lack width and obviously there are some rumours about Kingsley Coman that appear to be circling the gutter press, but I’d be surprised if we make any more acquisitions, not unless there are some exits first. Those exits need to happen soon though because as it stands we’re talking just over three weeks until the transfer window closes for the Premier League clubs.
That’s a delightful state of affairs and will ensure we know where we’re at in terms of a squad a lot quicker than the utterly ludicrous situation we’d found ourselves in during seasons past. I for one think it’s a fantastic idea and let’s just hope it becomes the norm and isn’t reversed for any reason.
The other news that came out yesterday is that Kelechi Nwakali has joined Porto B on loan with an option to buy. I would say it’s a strange one because he’s never really been given a chance at Arsenal and so many are questioning what the point in signing him in the first place is, but I wrote about these sort of deals a couple of years back, because my theory is that for a club like Arsenal these sort of transfers are low risk. Arsenal pick up a young player for next to nothing, he builds a reputation because he’s at Arsenal, goes out on a few loans, then Arsenal sell on for a few million quid, whilst inserting a percentage sell on clause and then getting a bit of cash if the player succeeds. It’s a way of still having an impact on players and if Nwakali makes it in Portugal and in two years time is the next big thing, I’d be shocked if Arsenal didn’t have a fixed fee first option on the player.
The youth set up at big clubs then becomes a bit of a side earner for the club so even if some players never get near the first team you can still make money out of them and you can also potentially have a signing for cheaper than their going rate if you’ve got the right clauses in. Chelski have been doing it for a few years now, although I suspect they haven’t added in the buybacks because they’ve seen Salah and De Bruyne turn into world beaters and just watched…
Anyway, that’s that for another day, methinks. Arsenal played Crawley in a behind closed doors friendly yesterday and won 9-0. It means little given the opponents, but let’s all not et too carried away, because we won’t win the Premier League by scoring eight against our opponents each week.
I’d be happy with just four ever weekend…