With the Premier League voting unanimously that players can finally touch each other yesterday, it looks like we’re nearing the continuation of the mind-numbingly tedious situation that is the conclusion of this pointless season of Premier League football and I’ll be honest with you, I just want it all over with so the sooner they start the sooner they finish.
Of course one Arsenal player whose touching time in an Arsenal shirt may be coming to an end is David Luiz, who Sky Sports ran a story on yesterday, as apparently his contract with Arsenal is only 12 months with an option for another 12 at the end of this season. That means that unless Arsenal extend then there are question marks over whether or not he’ll get to trot out in that swanky looking new kit Arsenal have started selling in Cambodia recently. Of course Arseblog has gone a little further than Sky Sports and actually asked somebody at Arsenal, who by remaining quiet is effectively admitting that it is the case and that Luiz could leave on a free.
And if that happens we’re once again left looking at our club and wondering what the hell they are doing in that boardroom. Less than a year after we spent £8million on the Brazilian defender, we’re letting him leave for free, which would represent a heck of a chunk of wages as Arseblog also points out. It’s pretty crazy isn’t it? I mean we’ve got ourselves into yet another pickle and I just think that whilst we were all glad to see the back of Ivan ‘the Terrible’ Gazidis, his replacements have hardly looked like the polished executives we were hoping we’d get.
£8million for Luiz, a good £4million spent on Cedric Soares when he was a free transfer by the end of the season and was signed whilst he was injured, as well as question marks over Dani Ceballos and the loan deal done that has hardly set the world alight. It doesn’t exactly look good on them and whilst this summer every team is going to be a little ‘backs to the wall’ in terms of new signings and exits, we’ve picked one hell of a summer to have a surplus of players in a position where we need reinforcing.
Because that’s the only way I can see not renewing Luiz’s deal making sense. We’ve got to offload some players, Mustafi and Sokratis are probably on decent wages and will be tough to shift, whilst doubts remain over Holding and Chambers given both have faced quite serious injuries. It’s a bit of a crazy situation and the club may be forced to offloading the high earners. With Mesut in no mood to move on give his hefty pay packet (once again, thank you Mr Gazidis), saving cash on Luiz may be one of the few ways in which the club look to save a bob or two.
Which again has you worried about some of the other players in the team because if we’re so cash-strapped that we’re going to look to offload what has arguably been our best defender since Arteta’s return, then we’re looking at players like Aubameyang and the value he could potentially command, as what feels like an almost certainty to me to be moved on. And if that happens it will be a sad day, because everything about him and what he’s delivered since he signed for us has been a joy. Not just his goals, but the way he conducts himself, how well he’s liked in the dressing room, the whole shebang. But I guess we just have to live up to the new reality and that is that we are going to have to make some serious concessions in our squad to try to make ourselves more competitive and that means there will be some sad goodbyes in the summer.
The only other news worthy story that is worth picking up on this morning is Football London’s piece about where Saka could be plying his trade when everything restarts. Apparently Arsenal training had him in with the attacking players this week which, given that he was playing at left back and given that he’d shown defensive rather than offensive flaws when playing in that position, suggests that he won’t be resuming in that position. Makes sense when you think that Tierney is now back to full fitness and I suspect Saka will now be pushed forward to see what damage he can do from a more advanced position. What will be interesting, however, is to see what Arteta does with Auba because the return of Tierney and Kolasinac suggests to me that it is a perfect time to move Auba centrally and use Martinelli and Saka as the wide-left options. We can rotate both of those players, then on the right you can rotate Pepe and Nelson, which means Auba and Laca fight for the more natural position in the middle. It all seems to make perfect sense to me, but will it be something our Tricky Micky tries? We’ll have to wait and see on that one. One thing we’ve all done this season and last is bemoan the lack of balance in the side. If you move Auba centrally and see if the youngsters can continue to impress wide left, to me you’re adding more balance there and it’s certainly something i’d like to see us have a go at given there’s little to play for this season.
What do you think? Do we finally get to move Auba centrally after a season out on the wing?