When it comes to the exciting Nicolas Pepe story, we’ve had it all now, haven’t we?
Yesterday he was pictured in an Arsenal shirt as leaked footage emerged of him tapping the shirt and with that we know something will happen today officially but, as is the way of the modern social media world, it will feel a little like old news by the time the club announce it.
I was thinking this just the other day: the club videos and ‘player featured in team kit’ was almost the last part of a transfer that we could all look forward to. But these days – as this deal has shown – even that isn’t sacrosanct. The leaked footage was good to see but its numbed the excitement a little for me and I lament the times when these things came as a bolt from the blue.
Apologies, in treading a well-worn path that I’m sure I’ve already been down when talking about the transfers of the old days like Big Sol. So let’s just move on to the excitement and what Pepe’s arrival will do to the club.
I’m thinking specifically the players at the club. We all know us fans love shiny new signings and so Arsenal fans the world over will be delighted with this, but I’m also hoping the players will be boosted by such an arrival too. You could see it yesterday with Auba and Laca’s Instagram messages to each other where they are doing that thing when the sun is in your eyes and you’re looking for each other and saying “where are you?” That’s a not-so-subtle statement given that Pepe uses that as a goal celebration and did it numerous times last season. But if you’ve got players like that making comments like that on Insta, it’s clear that these type of signings give players the same level of excitement.
That message Arsenal are sending to the football world, as well as the fan base, is also getting through to players and whereas a few might rightly have looked at what is happening at Arsenal and wondered if they were part of a sinking ship, perhaps one or two are now getting excited for the new season a little bit more than they would have done.
There’s still more work to be done and particularly the hope has to be that we turn our attention squarely towards that back line, but it feels like our offensive options are looking pretty sound at the moment. Pepe adds more pace and directness and that’s what we need.
But back to the defence and the latest rumblings are Monaco preparing a €32million bid for Mustafi, so we are told and if true, then it’s good work for the club to get that amount of cash for a player clearly now out of favour. I still think he’s not as bad as everyone says and sadly it’s just his high profile errors that cost him and us in games. But it feels like his time is up and with so many people supposedly baying for his blood it feels like the best solution – like the Koscielny situation – is that we find someone to take him off our hands for us. Let’s hope that €32million deal is true. It’d certainly help balance the books and free some space for a centre half to come in.
Who that would be still remains to be seen but with lots of names circulating I have a gut feel the club are just waiting for outgoings before they make any moves. That makes sense. Right now we have Mustafi, Koscielny, Sokratis, Holding, Chambers, Monreal, Mavropanos and even Medley who has been promoted to the first team. That’s eight players who can play central defence and even though it’s not exactly a world class list, it’s still a large volume of first team players, so we need to move some on and it feels Koscielny is obvious because of what has happened this summer and Mustafi is one player we could most likely still get a decent chunk of change for. Let’s see how that pans out but with the window shutting in nine days time Arsenal need to have everything lined up ready to go.
They’ve shown us that they can move quickly with the Pepe stuff though, which is good, so now it’s just about making sure we can cover the other end of the pitch before that game against Newcastle in a week and a half’s time.
Catch you all tomorrow.