Bit off a late one from me today, mainly on account of a friends leaving do last night and one or two too many Heineken’s that were consumed until the early hours of the morning.
I’m glad i did wake up late and am writing this at lunchtime though, because we’ve had an Ornbomb that has gone off on Arsenal Twitter and everyone is starting to get a little bit excited. Nicolas Pepe from Lille is on the verge of joining us it seems and I have to tell you, this has come as a bolt out of the blue because I don’t think anybody has been expecting this. I mean, we all knew about Pepe, we all thought that there might be some interest, but I remember talking with Giles on the LoveSport Arsenal fans show we do on a Monday night, that he would be too expensive and some of the biggest teams in Europe would be after him.
But it seems we’ve made our move and in doing so are clearly showing our hand for this summer, which is that we can afford to bring in more than £45million worth of talent this summer, providing the deal can be structured right. Which also makes you wonder about how this has managed to happen and also about the Tierney deal. The reason that deal is taking so long is because Celtic want the cash up front and my take on that situation is that with him and the other moves we want to make this summer, we simply can’t afford to be paying big lump sums up front.
It’s probably the same with the Zaha situation. It wouldn’t surprise me if the reason we’ve gone cold on that is because Crystal Palace wanted more cash up front and simply put, we can’t do that. As Ornstein suggests the deal for Pepe will be made in a multitude of payments and with Lille seemingly amiable to that approach, you can see why this deal has been able to be done seemingly quicker than the Zaha deal.
Whether that deal becomes dead in the water I am not sure, but you’d probably think so, which I am kind of pleased with. Don’t get me wrong I’d have loved Zaha at The Arsenal, but Pepe feels like a better fit and better value for money. He’s a few years younger, he’s exploded on to the scene, he’ll be a very good asset on the right wing and it also means that we don’t have to rely on the shell of a player that is Mkhitaryan. In all aspects of this potential deal it just looks very positive from my perspective.
Ilf it gets done it will also show just how shrewd an operator Raul Sanllehi is too. He’s kept those cards close to his chest, there are no major leaks coming out of the club at the moment – well,compared to a couple of years ago, anyway – and we are going big for one of Europe’s hottest prospects last summer. Kudos to Raul, I say!
This deal also interests me because it’s come from nowhere. I can’t remember the last deal that was such a surprise like this. Maybe Eduardo? That deal just happened and this one feels like it’s come from nowhere too. Especially when you think that Ceballos and Saliba were in the pipeline for about a week before actually being announced.
Of course we still have to get it over the line and in 48 hours a lot can happen and we could always find it falling down for any number of reasons, but this is a great deal for the club and will have a lot of Arsenal fans getting excited for the new season.
There is still more work to do though. Another centre half simply must be prioritised and with Koscielny awol at the moment we need to find somebody to give us some cashola for him. We need to see if we can get Tierney over the line too and if he does come then you’d wonder whether Kolasinac is moved on, or at least just changes his job description to team bodyguard!
This is the sort of move – Pepe I mean – that also signals some intent that we’re gonna have a bit more of a go this season. It also feels like it might bring a little more balance to our attacking options. I really hope they don’t look at selling one of Auba or Laca, but with Nelson able to play on the left and potentially Pepe on the right, we look a little more like we have some naturally gifted wide forwards who can drive at defenders, something it felt like we were sorely lacking last season.
Things could be looking up people. Let’s just hope we get somewhere with this deal and by Monday are getting a little excited. Catch you tomorrow.