So Dinos has now been confirmed as heading out the door on loan to Germany and the next question is when Eddie will be sent out on loan. I said my peace on that yesterday so I won’t dwell on what happens in the next few weeks, but I’d be surprised if he’s not even on the bench on Saturday against Sheffield United, especially as the noises about his exit on loan haven’t really intensified much in the last 48 hours. Not from what I can see anyway.
What will have to happen is somebody is stepping up – like I said yesterday – and it isn’t too much of a surprise that Sokratis is backing his mate and talking up how Lacazette is a deadly finisher.
As much as we’d all love to agree though, the numbers speak for themselves, with the fact that he’s got just six goals in 1200 minutes on the pitch. That’s working out at one every 200 minutes which is just one in two and a half games almost. It simply isn’t good enough for a team in the league in our position. In my mind I always think that a decent Premier League striker should be getting one in two and the fact that he’s so far off this should be a serious concern for us all.
He’s working hard, he’s getting into the right positions, but his finishing has been off all season and I can think of a number of times off the top of my head where he’s had very simple finishes that he’s lashed at. It’s a real problem for us and my worry this weekend is an organised Sheffield United side who will not give up too many chances, so taking those that we do get will be crucial if we want the three points.
There are a number of players who have improved under Arteta, but now we need to see that from our main striker, because otherwise it’ll be grim watching on Saturday and then especially on Tuesday night against Chelski.
It is weird though, because for all of the talk of what poor form he’s been in this season, the rumours of a potential departure to Atletico Madrid remain and I’ve seen a few mentions on my social media feeds of possible exchanges with Thomas Partey or Thomas Lemar. Lemar was one we’ve been interested in before and Partey has always impressed me when I’ve seen him play, but I don’t think Arsenal would even bat an eyelid if a bid came in now, especially with Auba our for the next few games. And if Arsenal do wait until Auba is back before thinking about it, then we’d be talking Tuesday 28th January. It would give them no room for replacement sourcing and by then I’d expect Nketiah to be out on loan.
It’s why I just can’t see anything happening in January, much like I can’t see much happening in the defence either right now, for reasons I outlined yesterday.
So as we approach the halfway point in the transfer window I guess what I’m saying is that we should probably all expect very little movement at all right now. However what that does do is mean that the summer will once again become essential because we’ll be looking at centre halves, central midfield, right back cover for Hector (or maybe even long-term replacement if he fails to maintain fitness), then possibly one or two top-draw centre forwards to lead the line next season.
It’s why personally if I was in Arsenal’s shoes I’d be looking at filling one of those gaps sooner rather than later. Spread the work needed on the team across two transfer windows, even if it’s just one signing, and not a loan one with a broken back or who arrives and barely plays any minutes (Suarez).
There’s so much work to do and probably money that needs to be spent as well, which is why the latest Deloitte Money League is something that we should all be a little worried about. Our years outside of the Champions League has knocked us out of the top ten, down to 11th in terms of revenues generated, which given that we don’t have a sugar daddy to bankroll us means our position as an elite team is massively under threat. Our time in the Europa hasn’t been fun in terms of some of the teams we’ve had to come up against, but the money is drastically reduced too, which of course has a dramatic knock-on effect on the ability of us attracting the best players but also paying the best wages and having the gravitas that we once had.
It’s why I don’t really understand the people who say “a year out of the Europa would be good”. No, it really wouldn’t, because it would squeeze our revenues even more and with the Kroenke’s at the helm would mean more cost cutting and more spiralling into mediocrity. Simply put, no Europa League would be an utter disaster for us and our ability to eat at the top table.
We need to turn our season around and Arteta needs to be picking up more wins and more good results ASAP.
Right, that’s yer lot today, so I’ll catch you tomorrow with some more nonsensical ramblings that pop into my head whilst on the tube.