I feel a bit dirty this morning. Not physically dirty, but mentally dirty, because I went on the hunt for some Arsenal content this morning and started clicking on transfer-related links from the click baitey gutter press. It was pretty, it wasn’t fun, I didn’t enjoy it and so the foray into the murky world of the online red tops was relatively short. Thankfully.
I did read one piece which talked about Aubameyang being a potential target for PSG. That also made me feel dirty because the first thing I thought of was “well, that wouldn’t affect us too much, we’d get top dollar from them, which would mean that we might actually have some cash to reinvest”. That’s not how anyone should be thinking. We have an absolutely elite world class finisher, a guy who is really good at the club and more often than not always smiling, somebody who has been brilliant since he signed and I don’t think you’ll find an Arsenal fan who doesn’t love him. Yet years of conditioning us all in to being accountants thanks to the Emirates stadium build and then having a billionaire owner who would rather shave his moustache off and be dipped in a vat of boiling oil before he gives a bean of his own money to improve the team, have forced us into playing imaginary games of ‘balance the books’.
It’s crazy really. Does any other fanbase pay as much attention to the P&L as we do? I’d wager not. So here I find myself thinking “well, if we can get £50million for him, that’s worth even more in the current market, so maybe we could strengthen the squad in multiple places?”. I should be thinking about how we are going to convince Auba to stay by surrounding him by some unreal talent, but instead i’m chewing my fingernails worrying how we’re going to borrow from Peter to pay Paul from a transfer perspective, to use a common saying.
But it is true. If PSG are interested and they want him, then certainly we’ll get the upper end of figures and with other clubs desperate for cash given the global pandemic, Arsenal with a bit of wedge in their pocket could drive a harder bargain. Remember how we got Monreal and Cazorla? That was through profiting from Malaga’s financial issues. Well because of this Covid-19 virus the whole footballing world – aside from the financially doped teams – has just entered that territory. So there may be opportunities to improve the overall balance of the squad if some sensible deals are to be done.
Balance. That is something that I don’t think an Arsenal squad has had for about ten years. The transfer policy has felt fragmented, scatter gun and not thought through. We haven’t looked like we’ve seen weaknesses in the team and addressed them completely. Heck, I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve basically been saying “we’re two or three players away from a good side” for the best part of 15 years. That suggests a lack of balance in the Arsenal squad and I think that is showing now.
Of course the other news that came from the same outlet reporting the Auba story is the return of Rabiot rumours. Apparently Juve are looking to sell him to raise cash for Pogba. Well, that’s that out the window then, because I think he’s on an absolute ton of money and I can’t see Arsenal dropping a big fee as well as astronomical. Supposedly close to £175k per week so how on earth can Arsenal justify that when they’ve just told a bunch of players that they have to take a 12.5% cut. And therein lies a big issue the club are going to face when the transfer window comes around. Making signings that don’t upset the first team apple cart. Players talk. They’ll be able to find out how much some of them are on and if players come in with big wages, I’d expect some of the first teamers to be asking if the first thing the club are going to do is to get them to take a 12.5% pay cut when they arrive. It’s a massively tricky situation the club find themselves in and I don’t envy the decisions they have to make at all. Spend big and the players will potentially start to grumble. Don’t spend at all and the fans will once again be accusing the club of a lack of ambition. So what do you do?
Beats me. I just write stuff. I don’t have to make these decisions. But I do hope that the club have some kind of master plan. The last 10 years or so it hasn’t really felt like there is one, but with Mikel Arteta at the helm at least we have a little bit of hope. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Catch you peeps in the morrow.