Morning all and welcome to day six of me writing a blog whilst slowly melting away due to this wondeful heatwave we have going on here in the UK. Honestly I love it; we get far too much grey and drizzly weather and unreliable summers, that when it does shine, maketh the hay, and all that jazz…
That’s what I hope The Arsenal backroom team are doing right now, because we are now one month away from the new season starting. Yep, on 12th September we go full steam ahead into the Premier League season and I suspect we’ll soon have a bit of intel on what our opening fixtures have been. I think they’ve already been decided because a mate of mine WhatsApped me a supposed starting set of fixtures and let’s just say it won’t be easy for us if true. Think two of the top six in the first four games…
Anyway, that’s all speculation and we might even find out that it is not as difficult as I think it might be, so we just have to wait patiently, as well as hoping the TV companies can hurry up and pick the bones out of the remaining fixtures they want to hoover up for live broadcasting. Unless of course they’re going to do something similar to Project Restart and have all of the games shown on TV. I wouldn’t mind that, I have to say.
But yes, the Premier League need to get a wriggle on, as do The Arsenal, because right now we’ve got a squad that will already be hampered by injuries when we hit 12th SEptember and still with some players’ future hanging in the balance. Ideally you want to get stuff sorted before the first game and that should mean getting Guendouzi out the door, Ozil if they can find somebody to pay a portion of his wages (I think that’s the best we can hope for right now), as well as perhaps Lacazette and Torreira, both of whom apparently have suitors abroad. Hey, if that’s the case, then let’s case in because we need to do a bit of a shuffle of this particular pack and if any of the above players leave I’ll not exactly be as devastated as when Thierry went. We need the money, we need the churn, so we can bring in Arteta’s men.
But let’s not do it by just giving players away for less than what the market is dictating. I saw yesterday that supposedly Fulhma think they can get Chambers for £12million. Not for me thanks. I don’t think selling him would be a bad option given that we have so many defenders, but £12million is way below his market value and when you have clubs like Bournemouth rejecting £12million for Ramsdale their ‘keeper, or Ake going for £41million and Dortmund holding out for €120million for Sancho – which feels like pre-COVID prices to me, then I’d say we tell Fulham to ‘do one’ unless they’re coming back with a £20million offer. It’s the same with Maitland-Niles. Supposedly Brighton and Southampton are sniffing around him; absolutely fine but you guys need to drop closer to £25million if you want him then. That’s the approach we should be taking. We can’t afford to give away these players for peanuts and this is where Raul and Edu earn their coin. Getting chummy with a couple of agents and bringing in Brazilians is one thing, but you need to be able to do the work on the other side of the table, where you’re getting fair market value for our players. Even if that means the likes of Brighton or Fulham have to do it in instalments over a couple of season, just do it; you can bank the money as future incoming on the cash flow forecast and it enables you to look at deals for other players.
I hope there’s lots of work going on in the background right now. We all know about the Willian stuff, but with Ceballos apparently wanted back at Real Madrid – according to Madrid mouthpiece AS – we can’t be waiting around in the hope that we get their agreement that we can have him back for at least another season. Apparently we were quite confident that Madrid would send him our way but after hearing those rumours yesterday Madrid are either looking to beef up his price, or they’re going to keep him. Either way it doesn’t bode well for us in a summer in which every penny is going to count for the club.
Which is another reason why I’m thinking we should be looking elsewhere other than Thomas Partey. Apparently, according to a David Ornstein YouTube Q&A last night, the players wants £200k-per-week to join the club. That’s a phenomenal amount of cash for somebody who is good, but not exactly elite and at a time in which we’ve already got Ozil’s wages, potentially Auba’s, then Willian and Luiz’s big money deals going on, it makes you think twice about getting a player like that.
I think he’d be a good signing, but again, it needs to come at the right price. And before some people say to me “yeah, but it’s not your money, so why should you or we care?” I listened to the excellent Ted Knutson on the ArsenalVision podcast and what he said really resonated. It IS our money because we pay the club for season tickets, red memberships, shirts, merchandise, etc, etc. But it’s not just that, because by getting a player like Partey for €40million plus £200k-per-week, we’d be putting a lot more eggs in that basket compared to if we took a punt on somebody younger and more affordable. There will be people out there that will say “well, who?” and my response to that is “I don’t know. But whilst I don’t know who is out there, I do know that Thomas Partey isn’t the ONLY player of that ilk in the world!”. There is no such thing as a player – barring Messi and Ronaldo – who can’t either become a star or has the potential to quickly step up and fill the gaps in our squad. Virgil Vin Dijk is a fantastic defender, but he’s not the only guy in the world who can do what he does. You just have to be clever about finding them before they get picked up by the likes of Lille, St Etienne, Leicester, etc, which then turns their next move into a price which is beyond our budget.
That’s the ‘outsmarting the market’ I have been hoping for. Whether we’re going to get it with deals like Partey for £200k-per-week and £45million outlay remains to be seen.
Catch you tomorrow.