Morning folks and happy Friday! In some ways it’s potentially the best day of the week – all the promise of the weekend lies ahead of you and we are on a downward slope hurtling towards the restart and some Arsenal action on Wednesday.
And we’re bringing a new podcast to you as well, as I’ve been recording with the lovely chaps from GunnersTown to bring back the old crew from our radio show into a 30 minute podcast which is also going to be on YouTube, so if you want to see my ugly mug then you’ll be able to do that too. More info can be found over at GunnersTown here.
In terms of Arsenal news, as you’d expect, there’s not loads out there, but I do want to pick up on something that feels a little weird to me. Cedric Soares. He hasn’t featured at all so far this season or in any of the friendlies that have taken place in the run up. As far as I’m aware he’s fit, he’s been in training like the rest of the players, so why not give him a run out? Even players who we all thought were in the cold like Ainsley Maitland-Niles have been given a shot, but there’s been no sight of the Portuguese international. Does Arteta not fancy him? Has he seen something he doesn’t like? Does he just think he’s not good enough?
Apparently he suffered a facial injury which kept him out of the games, but with no football under his belt and the need for him to be up to speed, Arteta might be looking at him and wondering if it is worth keeping him around. Especially if Ainsley has bucked his ideas up a bit. As Charles Watts says in his article, there’s no extension that’s been agreed and with all deals needing to be agreed within the next week or so – I think it’s the 25th June – then he could walk out of the club for nothing on 30th June having had no impact on the club whatsoever.
And for me this brings into question a wider and more worrying situation that has been happening at the club. We’ve had the Denis Suarez debacle last season, but also we’ve now got this, so you’ve got to wonder about those operating above Arteta on the administrative side of the business. Many of us have raised eyebrows at the chumming up to the likes of Kia Joorabchian and other ‘super agents’, but if this ends up with Soares sauntering out of the door then you wonder about what they really are smoking at Highbury House. If the numbers are to be believed we paid a few million quid for a loan agreement for Southampton who, apparently, were quite surprised that we would do that given his contract was up in the summer. But we paid the money to them, most likely to Kia, plus we’ve been forking out for Soares’ wages. At a time in which the club have been counting out every penny it seems, decisions like this are being noted by all of us as Arsenal fans and if Soares continues to be a non-entity at Arsenal it’ll be another situation in which a black mark is placed on Raul et al.
We haven’t even mentioned the fact that the Saka situation hasn’t been cleared up. Sure, we’re all raising eyebrows and questioning the management of the club with deals like Suarez and Soares (which sounds like an 80s sit com about a private detective duo if you ask me), but if Saka is allowed to run down his deal and go to another club….well…there really will be no hiding at the club.
He is going to be one hell of a talent and we need to be doing everything in our power to keep him and if he decides he’ll just walk away from The Arsenal it will not only cast doubt on the football admin’s ability to retain and ‘sell’ the Arsenal project, but it’ll also show other players – as well as us – just how much ‘ambition’ the club appears to have.
It feels delicately poised and I know this Covid-19 global tragedy has been a key driver behind the football world being turned upside down, but we’ve been having a reoccurrence of these issues for a while now and it is getting to the stage where people are rightly starting to ask some serious questions about the ability of those running the club at the moment.
Who knows though. Perhaps there are machinations happening behind closed doors that will have us all breathing a sigh of relief in two to three months time. Maybe there’ll be a ‘be excited’ moment that is waiting in the wings. But right now it all feels like a little bit of a fudge job going on at the club.
I hope I’m wrong.
Catch you all tomorrow.