Yo peeps. Nearly there. Slowly trotting towards the weekend and with it, by all accounts, a deal for a young Brazilian appears to be drawing to a close for £22million as Gabriel Magalhaes is on the verge of joining us apparently. I’ve seen it a few times on Twitter and a couple of people I know seem to think it’s all but wrapped up. Of course we all know these things go to the wire and the story of Willian finding out Chelski were interested before instructing Kia Joorabchian to leave Tottenham’s ground, gives an indication that whilst to all intents and purposes the transfer could be agreed by the club, player and even agent, things can still U-turn. Even if he’s on his way to get his pictures done.
Actually, probably not, because I’d imagine they’d get the contract signed before they take any pictures. Although, having said that, remember in 2002 when we thought we’d signed Carini from Juve on a season loan to be a back up ‘keeper? Arsene Wenger was even quoted as saying what a great addition he’d be to the club and I’m pretty sure he was either pictured in an Arsenal shirt or played in a few friendlies in Austria, before his wage demands – £34k-per-week after a certain period of games – were deemed to be too high for a guy who was going to sit on the bench all season. To be fair in 2002 that must have easily have been an established first-teamer wages and the Uruguayan was only 21.
So that broke down late into the process and so we can’t really get too excited until we get that official confirmation.
It’s the same with the Aubameyang stuff. I think everyone knows the deal was virtually there and Auba has posted his not so subtle Twitter comments with egg timers and the like, but until we get that confirmation, we simply cannot invest too much joy and happiness in the fact we’ve secured our leading scorer for the last two seasons. Imagine if Koeman in at Barca just tells his board to pay whatever for Aubameyang and Barca made a bid right now of something like £30million. We know Auba loves living in London and he enjoys being the main man in this team, but if Barca came knocking he would surely have a think about it. Champions League football essentially guaranteed each season, fighting for the league even though the team is an utter mess at the moment, a chance to play in a country he hasn’t succeeded in yet. Look, I’d love it if he stayed and of course I’m biased and I’d never leave Arsenal if I had the chance to play for the club, but I’m a fan and it’s different for somebody like Auba. He’s played in Italy, France, Germany and England. He’s been a football nomad and so moving clubs isn’t as much of an issue for him. But whilst all the signs have been good for him to extend with us, until we get that confirmation clubs can still test the water and even if they don’t bid, like, yesterday, they can still tell his agent that the bid is incoming and any element of doubt like that could force the holding off of penning any extension.
But let’s remain hopeful on both of the deals getting over the line and if they do, then I suspect we’ve just got the midfield to sort which means one position with which to find the perfect candidate and until October – at the latest – to do so. That’s much more palatable than the usual deadline day scramble we’ve been used to.
But back to the Gabriel Magalhaes stuff – and I’m going to have to find a new keyboard to get his name right to find the wavy line across the ‘a’ – it does leave me wondering about the future of someone like Rob Holding. Think about it; if the kid comes in then to start the season we have him, Saliba, Luiz and Holding as our fit centre halves to start the season. But the return back to fitness of Calum Chambers – supposedly by September – as well as Mari back to training in September, followed by Mustafi in October, means that the club will surely be forced to make some decisions. We simply can’t have ourselves seven centre halves for the season. That’s too much and even with all of the inevitable injury problems we seem to get you can’t look at that situation and think that we won’t see any exits. Holding is the one I think could be sacrificed if an offer came in. I know there is talk about Chambers and Fulham but they won’t buy him until he’s fit. That means we’ll probably keep hold of a few players as we get into the season before moving one or two on.
Supposedly Sokratis is one of those guys who will move on and Napoli are supposedly eyeing him up. Makes sense if they tried to go after Gabriel Magalahes and are trying to offload Koulibaly for big cash to City. Sokratis will provide depth and then with the Koulibaly money they can start to look at other options in defence. The Italian league is slower than the Premier League too so a player of Sokratis’ age and profile will probably do quite well.
But we do need to sort out our defensive options and quickly methinks. I suspect the arrival of any midfielder will be predicated on the sale of the likes of Guendouzi, possibly Maitland-Niles, Torreira or even Chambers. I kind of get that so hopefully the club can shift on these players if it is looking to make a big move. Let’s see though.
Right, that’s me for another one, so I’ll catch you all on that most wonderful of days – the Friday.