If Saturday’s results – including The Arsenal’s – were a positive day for us, then yesterday’s were the opposite, as Everton rolled over and let Chelski blow raspberries on their bellies, whilst Man City played the possession-based game of how to be toothless against A United side who had their number early on in the game. I haven’t seen such an insipid creative display from a Man City side in years and with our run of fixtures compared to United’s, it’s looking like they’ll be the ones profiting from City’s transgressions with FFP.
Whilst there’s still an outside bet then we have to hope for some kind of minor miracle, but you can bet your bottom dollar that Man City will be a whole lot more efficient and effective on Wednesday when we rock up at their gaff. It’s just how it goes.
And how it goes after a win is that the players do plenty of talking. Auba did a decent interview with Sky Sports last week and he talked about how he has a good connection with the fans, loves his life at Arsenal and is happy. I don’t doubt that at all and I think the guy has been nothing but positive for the club both on the pitch, but off the pitch as well, as he’s brought a camaraderie to the team. When we signed him we gave him a three and a half year deal and this is something I’m a bit confused over if I’m honest. He cost £55million, he’s a proven goal scorer, so why didn’t we just go for a four and a half year deal?
Perhaps his age made an impact on the decision making – which was the era of Gazidis so we can immediately call the decision into some question – but I just don’t get why you don’t protect your asset more by chucking an extra year on that contract. If we’d have done that we would have a year buffer and even if Auba was secretly making noises about playing Champions League football next season, we’d have an asset with more value because we don’t lose him for nothing next year. It could add an extra £10million to his overall value and give us more cash in the coffers to replace.
I understand that the players agent himself might have pushed for a shorter deal as they could renegotiate quicker, but I’m sure both parties would have done it if there was enough incentives in place. Like release clauses for set fees if we don’t qualify for the Champions League, etc.
It’s something that really should be sorted out and the hope has been that the new footballing structure at the club would be something that would eradicate these situations from occurring again. But as Arsène predicted years ago this is just part of top flight football that we have to accept these days i.e. players running down their contracts.
It’s why Willian is also being linked with us. He’s a guy who’s deal runs out in the summer and Arsenal could get a good player for nothing if they are close enough to his agent, which of course we will be, because he’s bound to be represented by a super agent. And we love all super agents these days it seems. So there might be some legs in that one.
Whether or both Willian is the type of player we ‘need’ given he plays wide in a front three I’m not so sure. We have Pepe, Saka, Martinelli and Nelson who has impressed since Arteta arrived, so I’m not sure why we’d spend big on wages to get a player like that in. Not unless we’re chucking one of the youngsters out the door with a big fee attached to raise some cashola.
Perhaps it’s just an opportunistic situation that a club shouldn’t dismiss because you can get a good player for ‘free’ but I’m not so sure. We always get linked with many players but in terms of free transfers we don’t exactly go for that type of profile. If we sign Soares in the summer he’s an example of a player we go for; not the best in the world, more of a squad player to fill a hole, like we did last season with Lichtsteiner. Willian wouldn’t want to be a squad player on big wages so I suspect that deal is more likely to fall into the ‘spurious’ category.
Anyway, that’s probably enough speculation for one day, so let’s just see what comes out of the club today in terms of team news. I wonder if Arteta might do a pre match press conference today at some stage, given we play on Wednesday and if so, where his head is at in terms of team selection?
Catch you all in the morrow to find out.