Happy Wednesday folks, as we rapidly approach the ‘Sliding Doors’ moment that is our FA Cup Final on Saturday, given the possible outcomes we could face. Win and there’s a little more cash in the coffers and an opportunity to play European Football next season. Lose and we stare down the barrel of the no Europe, no money, probably no Auba, for next season. If that happens then we’re going to need to spend a lot of time scratching our heads as to how many players Arteta is going to be able to get in to jump start this rag-tag bunch of misfits known as the Arsenal squad.
We’re already hearing the Thomas Parety Rumours and Arsenal offering up Guendouzi as an alternative plus €25million. I’m sorry but if Partey is a €50million footballer still in the current climate, then you have to take Guendouzi at his value pre-covid too. That means we should be slapping €35million on his value, which means a deal to include the player plus €25million is already over playing.
I really, REALLY, hope we look elsewhere if Atletico Madrid are trying to play hardball. I’m sure we can find suitors for Guendouzi and if Atletico aren’t it then so be it. There are other midfielders out there too and it shouldn’t be Partey or bust.
What it should also NEVER be is Coutinho – full stop. An over paid, over rated, underperforming (at Bayern and Barcelona) and ageing midfielder with whom we’d have absolutely no resale value if we spunked all of our money on his inflated wages? No. Thank. You. Kia is hocking him around everywhere because he knows that the guy is overpriced and he’s doing his upmost to get him in at Arsenal because he’s bedfellows with Raul and Edu. I just hope that both aren’t biting this time.
And I’m kind of in the same boat with both Zaha and Willian too. For Zaha we went there last summer and Palace decided they wanted to suggest silly money for his services. £80million was ridiculous and that’s why nobody ended up going near it. Even Everton plumped for Iwobi instead in the end. Given how Atletico Madrid are approaching the Partey situation, how do we think Palace will respond this season, with Zaha their only major threat in attack? There’s been noises about them dropping their price but what’s that going to be to? £60million? We won’t – and shouldn’t – be going anywhere near that sort of transfer fee. So for me that’s a non starter. But I’m also not too fussed on Willian. Willian may be free, but he’s a Kia man and that means mega wages, mega signing on fees and a 31-year-old that wants a three year deal. Might I remind you all of the current situation we have with Ozil, who’s agent has once again said that he will honour his contract but beyond that he will probably leave Arsenal next summer. Well no sh*t Sherlock, he’s not played a single minute for the last month’s football, so he’s hardly going to be able to knock down Arteta’s door asking about a renewal now, is he?
So the last thing I think is a good idea is signing Willian in a position in which we are already well stocked. Pepe, Nelson, Martinelli, Saka, plus Aubameyang if he….aheam….stays… and we’re looking at adding another guy in? I understand that a lot of this speculation about the Brazilian, or Zaha too, is purely that right now, but it has come from Ornstein and usually he doesn’t speak unless he’s got some inside knowledge that tells us which direction the club are looking in. Ornstein has said we’re looking at a wide player which I really can’t fathom given the problems we need to solve in attack if/when Auba goes, in midfield through probably a couple of creative midfielders, as well as in defence by getting a better quality calibre of central defenders compared to the army surplus we currently have.
We have Saliba coming in and that’s great, but we also have a long injury list, which is going to be a problem for us at the beginning of the season. Chambers won’t be ready. Mari won’t be ready. Mustafi won’t be ready, as he’s been ruled out until October, which also poses us more problems. That’s because it becomes very difficult to sell an injured player. Not only would they pass the medical, but any club buying them will be looking at it as a massive risk given the financial outlay needed and when you consider how tight money is as a result of the Covid-19 situation, we have a problem in that we have a load of defenders we might want to sell, but a string of them are injured.
Let’s say, for example, that Arteta wants to deploy a back three come the start of the season. Well right now it’s Saliba, Luiz and one of Tierney or Holding, because frankly there are little other options. Already that is looking like we’re having to shuffle players around because we all want Tierney in that left back/left wing-back slot and before a new season has already started Arsenal have injury problems. I swear, does any other club have to deal with the volume of injuries we do? We’re perpetually at the top end of the Premier League injury table and it’s maddening.
But it’s just The Arsenal, I guess. We just have to deal with it and that’s why so many kids have been granted opportunities; that and the fact that we’ve been so terrible this season and rotating out of form players has been a common theme.
This is all really giving you a boost ahead of the cup final, eh?
Sorry about that. I’d love to be optimistic and after the Man City game I was, but as we’ve approached this cup final and as the realisation has set in that not only do Chelski have a better team than us, they also have less injuries, more form and more confidence going in to it.
We could really do with some of that ‘magic of the cup’ stuff on Saturday. We really could.
Catch you all tomorrow.