You can tell it’s getting closer to the start of a new season because last night I had a dream about Arsenal. There was a mix up at Premier League HQ and we needed up playing West Ham at home on the first game of the season. They didn’t tell anybody though and so nobody showed up to the game, we drew 1-1 and Sokratis was sent off.
I woke up this morning feeling grumpy about a game that had never taken place!
But I think what my subconscious was trying to tell was:
“Mate, if Arsenal don’t do something about their back line this season, you’re going to have sleepless and grumpy nights”
So let’s hope that there is some serious movement in the next 48 or so hours, because from where I’m standing, there needs to be a series amount of shuffling going on. Both incomings and outgoings.
As it stands we have:
- A not-quite-fit Hector Bellerin
- An Ainsley Maitland-Niles who many are not convinced with as a full back
- A Carl Jenkinson who is clearly not in the managers plans
- A painfully out of form Shkodran Mustafi
- A not-quite-fit Rob Holding
- A want-away Laurent Koscielny
- A Calum Chambers who nobody seems to be 100% sure about
- A Sokratis who’s pre season has been up and down
- A Zech Medley who just doesn’t look ready
- A Nacho Monreal who we all agree is looking his age and declining in form
- A William Saliba who can’t play for us for a year
- The Tank Sead Kolasinac, Protector of Mesut Özil
Koscielny is supposedly out the door for €5million to Bordeaux and that takes care of one problem, but with nobody seeming interested in taking Mustafi or Jenkinson off our hands, my gut feeling is that we will be stuck with them this season, which poses a problem in itself because Arsenal simply don’t have the space in the 25 man squad to bring in another right back, a centre half and Kieran Tierney, who we’ve been linked with all summer.
So either the next 48 will be busy as hell or it’ll be a case of ‘stick’ rather than ‘twist’ with our defenders. If that happens then in order to get Champions League football we’re essentially going to have to hope that our attacking options outscore our opponents each week by at least two to three goals, because as it stands we’re conceding. A lot.
There’s links to Upemencano which sounds tantalising enough but again, as I say, I just can’t see it unless something major happens. I know we don’t have to sell in the next 48 hours as European clubs have the transfer window open until 31st August, but regardless of that, Arsenal don’t want to make a big financial outlay and then be stuck with an over-inflated wage bill and too many players they can’t shift on. We’ve already heard Josh Kroenke saying we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget and Vinai and Raul have both made noises about the essential belt tightening that needs to take place. So I can’t see a reckless approach to just getting players in without exiting other players for fees first.
Something’s gotta give. That’s why I don’t think there’ll be too much happening if I’m honest. Maybe we’ll bring in Tierney and maybe we’ll get a centre half, but that will be a stretch and before that happens I suspect Arsenal will try to ship out Mustafi, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a ‘loan to buy’ approach from mainland Europe. At this stage Arsenal would probably take that, even if they want to get cash in the door now rather than small pocket change through loan fees and wages off the monthly bills.
It’s going to be an interesting and probably hyper-inflated few days.
Strap yourselves in boys and girls.