Morning folks and welcome to another post-FA Cup final victory day. It really is rather blissful and I think i’m going to see if I can continue to ride the crest of this particular wave for as long as possible. If it can take me well into the weekend then that’d be just grand.
There’s plenty of content to digest on the official site, but it’s times like these I try to download and listen to ALL THE PODCASTS too, because it’s an opportunity to hear other fans at a time in which we are cooped up at home and not too many of us have had the ability to share the joy with people we might ordinarily go there. So I’m drinking in every last drop by listening, reading, watching and more.
That’s because this feels like the shot of adrenaline the club and us fans needed. We know this is going to be tough next season. We know we have a squad which is unbalanced and full of serious deficiencies. We know that the other big teams are clearly paying no attention to the COVID-19 situation, with Chelski, City and United already seeming like they’re going big on players for the new season, which starts in about five week’s time.
That’s also probably why I’m trying to eek out this happy feeling of winning a trophy as long as possible. Because it will be no time at all before we go again and that is consigned to history.
I think what I’m also liking is that because the post and pre-season is so short this summer, all clubs are forced to act fast to augment their squad. No more pussyfooting around for two months trying to play hardball until the last moment. If we want to get players in and ready for the new season then signings need to be made now.
Which is why, to some extent, I can see why the stories about Willian are so hot right now. The guy still probably has two seasons before the decline sets in, he’s Premier League ready, he knows how to win things and he will be a creative outlet. But for me that’s where the logic starts to run out of a bit of steam. Especially if we’re talking about a three year deal with the option for an additional one at the end. By the time that contract comes to an end Willian would be 36 if the additional year was taken up and at that age, and in a position in which pace is important, I can’t really see the logic.
I get that he’s a free transfer and that means we’ll be saving on a fee, but if the rumours of £250,000-a-week are true, that’s £52million a year. Of course it may not be that high now we are in the Covid situation, but even on £150,000-a-week it works out at £31,200,000 over four years. That seems fine now, perhaps it would be fine for a couple of years, but if his age starts to see his decline catch up with him given the position he plays in, it feels to me like we could end up with another situation where we have a player who isn’t getting much game time but is pocketing a huge wage from the club. Have we learned nothing from the Ozil situation I wonder?
The other element which leaves a slightly sour taste in my mouth is that he is a Kia Joorabchian client. It feels to me like Kia was the only name in Raul’s notebook, because that’s Luiz, Cedric and now possible Willian who he’s sent Arsenal’s way on massive wages. It worries me that we’re getting too into bed with an agent like that and I do wonder how long it is before it starts to turn really sour. Particularly amongst the Arsenal fans.
Look, I know I’ve just dropped a few para’s on why I’m not that keen on the Willian signing, but as always if he arrives he’ll have my full support and I’ll hope we can have the same player who has played and delivered for Chelski so much this season. It has been clear we lack creativity and a goal threat outside of Aubameyang and with Lacazette blowing hot and cold this season, Pepe still in his first season, then another guy who could potentially get into double figures would be good. But I thought we would be looking to ‘outsmart the market’ by picking up players who are low in value but have a high ceiling. I didn’t realise it would be for picking up players who are looking for their last big payday.
There is one argument that I can get behind though, but only if it’s true, which is that if Arteta is backing the players then we simply have to get behind it. I just hope that Arteta is behind this sort of deal. From a structural point of view with our team in mind, I’d love to know what Arteta would have planned for somebody like Willian, especially given that we have Nelson, Pepe, Martinelli and Aubameyang who have occupied the wide positions this season. Of all of the players and areas of our team that needs strengthening, those wide positions isn’t exactly my first choice. But I guess it depends on how Arteta sees us setting up next season. I suspect playing three at the back with wing backs won’t be his ‘Go To’ formation, so it will be interesting to therefore see how he wants to set up his team for the 2020/21 season.
We won’t have long to find out.
Catch you all tomorrow.