I spent most of yesterday hanging and most of Saturday drinking red wine and eating red meat and given there wasn’t any Arsenal to think about, it didn’t really feel worthwhile blogging about what’s going on. Because let’s face it; there isn’t really anything.
I don’t count players posting pictures of themselves training as news, by the way, which appears to be most of the content about Arsenal that is out there.
So it stands to reason that, as fans sit idle waiting patiently for the next Arsenal game to come around, the journos start to mischief make and as a collective online there are questions about players and former players.
Like Aaron Ramsey, who yesterday was the subject of a bit of a discussion online, after one of the Italian newspapers claimed that Juve are looking to cash in on the Welshman after only one season. Cue Arsenal fans talking about having him back, which of course is fanciful and ridiculous if we’re honest. Ramsey is not getting any younger and as a result his injuries will only become more frequent. Given he was a free transfer he’ll also be picking up some pretty tasty wages too. Then there’s the fact that Juve would want a fee. Even if we lowballed Juve we’d still probably need to offer £25million+ for him. Imagine coughing up that kind of money one year after you let him go for free?
Still, given the way we seem to be working the transfer market under Raul Sanllehi, as long as Ramsey has the right agent, perhaps it’s not as fanciful as we might think.
In reality he’s moved on, we’ve moved on, so it’s time to start looking at other options. I do think that kind of hard running, goalscoring midfielder arriving in the box late, might be somebody we’re looking at in the summer. Ornstein has already said in January we were also looking for a midfielder, albeit one on a short term loan, but I suspect that depended on Ceballos. His loan hasn’t worked out as we wanted and as it stands he’ll certainly be heading back to Madrid, which will leave a space, but what sort of midfielder would work for us?
My ol’ pal Dave has written a piece about Grealish as an option although there is online chatter about him going to United so perhaps that isn’t on the cards. But that profile of player makes sense. We’ve missed somebody who can connect between the lines and that somebody is supposed to be Özil, but he’s clearly failed to deliver last season or this – even when given a chance under Arteta – so that, as well as his exorbitant wages, leans me towards thinking that the position just behind the back three is up for grabs. And as I’ve said in previous blogs, we still don’t have an obvious heir-apparent in the squad to take up Özil’s mantle, so I wonder if that will be a key decision for the summer months.
But back to the here and now and it’s still Dubai for the players and the coaching staff. Arteta was interviewed on the official site and spoke about the importance of getting time together as a collective. It’s interesting though; he spoke about the importance of the downtime too and you do get the sense that this time away is about bonding as much as it is about working on drills, etc. When they train at London Colney they’ll do their sessions and head back to their homes and families. But by being in Dubai they’re all in the hotel, on top of each other practically, and that will enable the players to spend more time together away from the pitch. Fostering that kind of unity and camaraderie is essential in team sport and after what Bernd Leno said last week about the players perhaps not understanding as much under the previous regime, it must have also led to them not being as unified as a team too.
If you’re unsure of your position, if nothing is working, it’s perhaps inevitable that your head goes down and the spiral of negativity is perpetuated. But Arteta appears to have at least got them together looking after each other and having each other’s backs. Fostering that kind of positive culture isn’t going to come in days but over the last time it appears as though the players are at least starting to come together. Results haven’t been the best but I still think there have been mitigating circumstances. So now it’s time to bring it all together to create some kind of winning momentum.
We have quite a few home games coming up and that’s where I’m hoping the confidence will start to flow. Newcastle at home on Sunday, Olympiakos on Thursday, then Everton at home on the next Sunday. It’s three games that – should we get three wins – will start to feel like the real momentum is building.
Let’s go Arsenal. Let’s do this.