Well now that’s it’s official we can all start working out what next! Yep, Will.I.An is a gunner and that means he’ll be serenading the team with his dulcet tones and silky touch on the fields of London Colney as soon as they’re all back from holiday.
We didn’t quite get the fairytale Aubameyang signing on 14th second of the 14th minute of the 14th hour on the 14th day after our 14th FA Cup, but now that we’ve got our first deal over the line we at least have something to be happy about.
And look, I admit I wasn’t particularly overly enamoured by this deal because of the age profile of the player, the cost of the wages, as well as the alarming nature of our relationship with Kia Joorabchian, but gosh darn it, I just love shiny new things. I also love it when Mikel Arteta talks about his plans and yesterday we got a little video of him explaining the versatility of the Brazilian and why his characteristics were needed at the club. And they are needed. We have a lot of players who are quite young and we have a number of older players who we need to ship out. The likes of Sokratis, Özil, possibly Mustafi, all need to be moved on and when you take those players out of the mix and look at our first 16 or so players, there aren’t a lot of experienced heads out there. Aubameyang and Luiz is about it. So I can understand wanting to bring an experienced character like Willian into the dressing room and whilst I wasn’t behind it at first, now that it has happened I can certainly get behind the decision and the move.
Arteta spoke of the versatility and given how we’ve shifted formations even in game since he arrived, I can see why a player like Willian fits what he’s trying to do, and with him able to play across the front of the team I think we can be pleased that we have a ready-made creative midfielder to bolster our ranks. Let’s also not forget that in less than a month we’ll be playing Premier League games again so a guy who can literally hit the ground running in the league will be an important addition for the now.
And it is the ‘now’ we’ve got him for. We can all question the deal in two or three years time, but I don’t think anybody would doubt that for this upcoming season he will be a good signing. Hopefully he will chip in with goals and assists, I can see him with some much needed creativity in the team to bolster the ranks, plus we have another steady character in the dressing room. Both Edu and Arteta have spoken about that in regards to the player and I see that as a massive plus point. He’s a guy who will help some of the youngsters in the way he approaches the game and his professionalism and hopefully he acts as a good foil for us getting the best out of the likes of Martinelli, Saka and perhaps even Emile Smith-Rowe.
as for the player himself, there was something yesterday that I heard him say that also excites me, which was when he was talking about the current ‘project’ under Arteta. Perhaps it is just me, but I don’t remember players talking about the ‘project’ under Emery in his 18 months at the club. I don’t recall there being clarity on explanation of how the club are going to use players. We just got announcement and the usual ‘this is a big club’. But now we’re getting players actively talk up the influence of Arteta and that is fantastic. That shows us just how important he is to the talent attraction process and it also underlines just how much we seem to have our identity back.
It gives me faith for other arrivals because players want to play for a team and a coach that looks like it’s going in the right direction. The FA Cup win showed players that they can win silverware at The Arsenal. Mikel Arteta has shown that they can be part of something special he is building at the club.
It’s exciting times at Arsenal. Let’s hope we get more exciting news before the season starts on 12th September.
Catch you all tomorrow.