If you believe the press then you will probably have been a little bit disappointed with the news emanating from Germany that Upemencano is most likely on his way to Bayern Munich when this season probably finishes.
I know there are a lot of Arsenal fans – me included – who would have loved the man mountain that is the RB Leipzig defender at the club, but as we all should know by now, you have to view Germany through the lens of the Bayern Munich gravitational pull that exists.
We’ve all known for years that Bayern almost get first choice on any German player, or player based in Germany, so when you’ve got a player who is so obviously a talent coming from the country, it’s more than likely that Bayern are snaffling him up at some stage. So it appears to be the case I read this morning, with James Benge having previously talked about it, and James is a guy who is to be trusted in my experience.
It’s ma shame of course if/when it happens, but did we really believe that we could get a player like that, with the current position we’re in? This is a guy who looks like he’ll become one of the best defenders in Europe within the next couple of years and that means that a host of clubs will be after him. If a host of clubs are after a player that usually means Arsenal are nowhere near them and I think this was always the case with this guy.
We don’t pay the highest transfer fees on that regular a basis.
We can’t afford to blow any team out of the water with the contract details.
We’ve just asked our own players to take a pay cut because our financial situation is the pits because of Covid-19.
We’re competing for a signature of a player not even knowing if we’ll have any European football next season.
It’s fanciful to believe that we could ever get close to a guy like this so in a way finding out the news this early will soften the blow for when it is all confirmed.
And besides, I feel like everyone is forgetting we’ve already got a precocious young talent in central defence that will be landing on our doorstep when the off season arrives. William Saliba has apparently continued to impress in France and I think we all have high hopes for him, so the fact that we aren’t going to get Upemencano can feel a little less of a blow by the fact that we have this excellent young French kid joining us.
You also have to look at the fact that we already have a glut of high paid central defenders to see that the hopes of Arsenal fans that we’d sign Dayot was a bit silly. The news coming from reliable sources like David Ornstein suggest that the Pablo Mari transfer will be made permanent and with that happening, it means that we have a surplus of centre halves that will need to be exited before we even think about getting a new one in.
And remember, like I said yesterday, this is a buyers market. Clubs don’t have money to buy players and so those clubs will be looking for potential swap deals instead. So what could Arsenal offer RB Leipzig that would tempt them to agree any kind of swap deal, compared to what Bayern could offer them? Are we going to wade in there and try to convince them that Sokratis and Mustafi are reborn characters who will be amazing in their team? I doubt it. And without Champions League cash behind us we can’t even outbid the likes of Bayern with some kind of ‘player-plus-cash’ malarkey. Think about it – Bayern could offer a few million, then tell RB that they could take Boateng, perhaps even a young player from their academy, in an effort to sway the club, and if you’re Leipzig you probably have a better understanding off how a player from Bayern will adapt in a league they’re already familiar with. It represents less of a risk than taking some of Arsenal’s defenders who have pretty much failed over the last 18 months.
Sorry, don’t want to put a downer on you on a Sunday morning, but just wanted to speak some home truths and some thoughts that have been going through my head today.
But like I said – and I’m not going to finish today’s musings on a downer – we have cause for optimism in William Saliba. We also need to remember that Mari could still be a useful addition, as well as think about the fact that David Luiz has improved his form since Arteta arrived. We have the likes of Chambers who looked like he was hitting a bit of form until he got injured, plus there are still hopes for Rob Holding. We have volume, but the question is whether we have the quality. I think that if Arteta can get an extra 25% out of some of the players already at the club, we’ll see a better defensive unit anyway.
Catch you guys soon.