Howdy folks. Right, plenty to talk about today, so let’s get at it, starting with Willian who was apparently ‘done’ on Monday and now we’re obviously just waiting on official confirmation from the club and player and I suspect that might happen tomorrow or Monday depending on the Chelski result in the Champions League tonight against Bayern.

That all makes sense to me. Why would Willian and Chelski announce a deal which could have lots of noise around it as they are preparing for a Champions League game? They just wouldn’t and so if Chelski are knocked out then their season is over and the player is free to move on.

The terms of the deal are interesting and apologies for sounding all U-turney here, but if what we’re reading is true then it doesn’t feel as bad. If it really is £100k-per-week then we’re looking at a Premier League ready footballer still in his peak who can contribute next year. And as opposed to the Özil situation where you have a player on so much money that there isn’t a club out there who would touch his weekly wage with a barge pole – regardless of his talent – then in two years time if Willian starts to decline then we will find it easier to move him on.

So I guess what I’m saying is that it starts to make a little more sense. I’m still a little concerned with the fact we have Saka, Martinelli and Nelson who were all supposed to be kicking on and now will have another player in their way, but I guess this season is going to be long and we’re the Arsenal: we do ‘injury crisis’ better than most. Just look at this lockdown period where we’ve had the following injured or suspended at points:

  • Chambers
  • Mari
  • Torreira
  • Luiz (suspended)
  • Xhaka
  • Martinelli
  • Mustafi
  • Sokratis
  • Soares
  • Leno

That’s a heck of a list of first teamers given that we had a three month period where players were sat at home!

So perhaps we do need to improve the depth of the squad, but we do need to sort out the imbalance because it’s a big team right now. That’s why we need to do some trimming and whilst the talk is of incomings are the moment – and I’ll get to another rumour I’ve heard doing the rounds yesterday – we do need to start offloading.

Guendouzi, Elneny, Sokratis and Maitland-Niles are all names that we’ve heard mentioned of late and that might fetch a few quid, but we probably need to offload some more centre halves if we’re honest, and I also wonder whether there might be loans for the likes of Willock, for example.

But Lucas Torreira is the latest player who has been linked with a move away and I think this one has legs. This time last year there were rumours about him wanting to return to Italy because he is unsettled. Apparently his Italian girlfriend has always pined for a return home and the player himself has spoken out now saying he needs to play more, that he lost confidence this last season, plus he needs to keep his place in the national team.

A year ago the rumours hit hard when he was away with Uruguay. AC Milan were mentioned and him and his agent seemed to be happy with letting that speculation rumble on. It’s funny because a year ago I was desperate for him to stay, but if he wants to move on, after the indifferent season he’s had, I wouldn’t be so averse to it now. There’s also the fact that we’ve constantly heard the rumours about a return to Italy ever since he left and I don’t know about you but I’m getting a little sick of it. We need players fully committed and thankfully we have a manager with whom everyone seems to be bought in to. So much so that if Arteta is happy to say ‘cheerio’ to Torreira then I’m ok with it. Winning the FA Cup, demonstrating a clear vision and purpose for his team, plus the relationship the players clearly have with him, tells us all that we have something special in this manager we’ve got, so I’m fully supportive of what he wants to do.

If that means cashing in on Torreira and finding a replacement then so be it.

I had hoped they wouldn’t cash in and spend it on another Kia client, but by the sounds of it we just might be though, as Phillipe Coutinho was apparently at London Colney yesterday. That would also make sense given that Bayern play Chelski tonight in the capital, so if Coutinho was given permission to spend a few hours away from the Bayern team whilst in London yesterday to chat to the Arsenal hierarchy, it could be done easily enough. Of course this can’t be confirmed for sure, but a few people have heard it that I think are sensible enough people, and that makes me think that there is some unfortunate truth to this rumour.

I say ‘unfortunate’ because I think I’ve made my feelings pretty clear on the situation; I think Coutinho is overrated and was sold to Barcelona for a ridiculously over inflated price. He then didn’t really impress at Bayern and now he’s supposedly rocking up at The Emirates. It would be another expensive deal and I’m not sure whether it would represent financial sense given wages and the supposed loan fee, but let’s see if the rumours gather pace this weekend before anything else is said.

Of course if he arrives and is presented wearing an Arsenal shirt then he gets my full support and hope that we get a player that Liverpool fans seemed to find useful. That goes without saying. But until it is ‘fact’ I shall stick to my feeling which is that it’s not a player we should be looking at.

Catch you wonderful people tomorrow. Apparently today is a scorcher in England so I’m off to lather myself up.