Morning folks and welcome to another Monday. It’s a William Saliba shaped one by the sounds of it and supposedly we are in for him and have finally come to an agreement with his representatives, with just the small matter of St Etienne needing to agree the fee, so in other words the hardest bit is left to do.
There’s various noises about him being loaned straight back to St Etienne if it’s agreed and I can understand why that is. It would give him another year to develop, he’d still be able to be around family and friends, as well as having the ability to mentally adjust to the fact that he’d be an Arsenal player for the following season. He could be brushing up on his English, taking trips across to the club when he has a little more free time, so from an ‘easing a player in to a new club’ perspective it makes perfect sense.
It doesn’t really solve Arsenal’s short term option though, does it, because we need defensive reinforcements and we need them now. If the Saliba signing is a ‘one for the future’ then we would also need to look at a ‘one for the now’ because that ailing defence cost us dearly at times last season and if the club don’t do something to address it this summer then 2019/20 will feel like a long old season from a defensive point of view methinks.
So what would the club do? Go out and get another player like Sokratis who is circa 30 and an upgrade on having to play a declining Koscielny and Monreal, or a calamitous Mustafi? Holding isn’t due to return until we’re way into the season I believe so unless the club are planning on giving Chambers another shot as a centre half, a new signing might just be another person in the way of someone like Saliba. Heck, I know that you can argue that if he’s good enough then he’ll manage to displace anyone as a centre half, but if this time in two years we’re talking about how Saliba has played his first season at The Arsenal and has displaced a guy we signed a year earlier, then it’ll be seen as more money wasted on a transfer for a player who only lasted a season.
Of course the other option could be to take a serious look at Bielik. He’s impressed at Chartlon, has supposedly looked very good in recent Under-21 games at Poland, so perhaps he might be given the shot? But given he’s only a few years older than Saliba would it not cause the same problem? Especially if Bielik is successful. Hey, I’m sure we’d all like to have a problem where we’re wondering which fantastic young centre half should play each week, but I guess the point I’m making is that unless we sign Saliba and go full ‘Tony Adams’ on him by chucking him in at a young age straight away, I’m not sure a signing of a player to be loaned straight back out works in any way, shape, or form.
I do personally believe that we should be having a proper look at Bielik, Chambers and probably a load of the young players right now. We’ve had a fair few exits from the first team this summer already and so there is space in the squad. Let’s get a proper look next season.
Of course the big question there is whether Emery is the type of man to do that. With just a two year deal and the need to get results it didn’t really look like he was too inclined to give the younger players as much of a chance as they might have done last season, so with him playing for a new contract the temptation from his side might be to go with what he knows and that would be more senior players. If that’s the case then we might be seeing a good crop of young players move out the door this summer and that could mean players like Bielik walking too.
It’s a very delicate situation we’re in right now because the club needs to balance success with providing the right platform to give young players the belief they can make it at the club. They’ve got to get this right. The longer term success of our team are relying on it.
Catch you later.