Morning folks. Ahh man, after almost two weeks of not setting an alarm before 8am, to see the wet side of pre 7am isn’t fun, that’s for sure.
Still, at least Arsenal have made it a little more fun this week with a hard fought win against United and much like the intensity, drive and commitment he is asking from his players, Arteta was there for his pre-match presser yesterday giving an update ahead of Leeds on Monday night.
Personally I’d have just worked from home if I was him, then done the press conference on Friday, but perhaps he has more plans and scheming that needed to be done today and that’s why he wanted to do the press conference yesterday afternoon. That way he could get it out of the way.
What I’d love to think as well is that he’s been performing some minor miracles by turning water into wine in his spare time. I mean, he’s got us all gassed about his sleek and impressive press conferences, he’s got us excited after three performances that point to a certain style that we’ve all bought in to, even if results haven’t gone our way. He’s even talking up the need for reinforcements and compared to this time last year when Emery was basically told he could have a broken Denis Suarez or nothing, the hope is that Arteta is given the support to get us moving northbound in the table.
And with the news that Calum Chambers is banjaxed for this season and potentially the beginning of next season too, his hand must surely be forced by now, one would have thought. Sure, we got a couple of decent performances from Sokratis and Luiz, but one swallow doth make a summer n’ all that jazz. So I hope the club are looking hard at a replacement – and a decent one – that can see us through for the rest of this season. There’s talk of Upemencano from Leipzig and that’d be lovely, but Arsenal aren’t going to drop £60million on him this January. There’s also a question as to whether Leipzig would entertain it. People are talking about how his release clause kicks in at £50million in the summer but if you’re Leipzig you don’t rock your top of the league boat by offloading one of the key component parts. £50million in the summer and a league title would be good justification for keeping it as it is and that’s why I think that rumour will go nowhere.
Then in the summer we’ll probably take a look but Upemencano will be chased by most of Europe by then I reckon.
There was some chatter about Jerome Boateng last night but at 31 we don’t want yet another stop gap and so I hope we aren’t looking seriously at that. Not unless it’s a ‘loan with option’ approach.
Anyway, back to the presser from Mr Lego Hair, which was another impressive one. He was quite clear about wanting Xhaka to stay and the fact he has said he would stay, but he was similar in his steadfastness about Aubameyang yesterday too. All good stuff. It’s right too. There’s absolutely no point in offloading him in January as far as I’m concerned. When you think that he has been such an integral part of our goal threat this season, getting us out of jail so many times, it would be madness to sell in this window.
The only way it could be countenanced is if Arsenal get an offer so good that it would be madness not to accept. Plus, it would have to happen at the beginning of the window. So if there were clubs like Madrid or Barca sniffing around him they’d have to be told “you’ve got to bid big by 15th January so we can find a replacement”. And by ‘big you have to be talking of north of £65million I’d have thought. That would represent mega money for a guy knocking on the doors of 31 so would make sense to accept at that kind of price.
So for me I think it makes sense for all parties to give it until the summer and then most likely part ways. We don’t want another £350k-per-weeker on the books and certainly not one who’s 31 looking for a three year deal and Auba will probably want a final big move before his career finishes. In the summer we have more time to fins a replacement too so it makes sense for all to keep him in January.
Arteta also talked about rotation for Monday’s game and by the way he was talking about it in terms of injuries and fatigue, I’d be stunned if we didn’t see a mass rotation against Leeds on Monday. For me that’ll mean digging deep into the reserves and maybe even a youth player or two. Perhaps we’ll see a return for somebody like Holding, but by and large I think it will be a much changed team. Arteta talked about respecting the competition and I get that, but when you’ve had players dropping like flies in the last 10 days, plus the fact he’s got them working harder than ever with what he wants them to do, it just feels like this is a game and potentially a competition that might need sacrificing. Especially if Leeds bring their first team because they’re flying at the top of the Championship this season.
I haven’t seen anything from Bielsa on who he’ll take down for the trip to the Emirates but if he does heavily rotate – a possibility given that they’re fighting for the Championship title and playing even more games than we are at the moment – then that might give us a shot. But as it stands given respective form of both teams I’d be surprised if this wasn’t a very close game on Monday night. More on that as the weekend wears on.
And on that note I’ll take my leave for another day. Enjoy the Friday and I’ll catch thee all tomorrow.