Morning folks. Happy pre Premier League Thursday kick off to you. Getting excited yet?
I think I am. It’s always a bit weird knowing that with the world we’re living in where we’re seeing this rise in COVID cases and have just been told that sporting events could go behind closed doors again, yet in theory I’m still in the ballot to potentially be at a game in about a month’s time, but we all have to adapt and that’s just what all of us need to deal with.
A bit like how Arteta is going to have to adapt if the news about David Luiz is true and that he’s sustained some kind of neck injury in which the club don’t know whether he’ll be out quickly or for a prolonged period of time, which all sounds a little Tomas Rosicky to me, when he was out and the clubs medical people and external specialists couldn’t quite work out what his injury was. He then ended up being out for – if I remember right – nearly 18 months. I certainly hope that’s not the case for Luiz but the noises are that if he responds well to treatment then it could be a short term injury. Let’s hope he’s ok and it’s nothing serious. Imagine if we lost him for half the season? I know we all have some doubts about him, but he’s a presence in the team, can deliver good performances, like the semi final and final of the FA Cup, plus we all thought he’d be the man to be blooding the two new centre halves that we’ve got. The plan that we all hoped for was that Luiz would use this year to teach Gabriel and Saliba everything he knows, then slowly those two start to take over. But if he’s missing from the field then there’s only so much wisdom he’ll be able to impart.
I suspect we’ll get more from the clubs medical announcement today. What it will mean is that despite the fact we have a billion centre halves, we find ourselves short on options for this weekend. How very Arsenal of us, eh?!
It’s also why I can understand why Holding’s proposed move to Newcastle has been put on hold. If Luiz is out, that means he, Mustafi, Chambers, Mari, all all on the treatment table. Sokratis is supposedly on a verge of an exit so you wouldn’t want to include him in your plans, whilst the two new players were probably just going to be eased in by Arteta, in an ideal scenario, I suspect. It’s not exactly an easy position to be thrown in the deep end at. The French League and Premier League are two very different beasts in terms of pace and physicality. If you’re a forward or attacking/creative player then if you’ve got pace, or can show a few tricks, it means you can get by in being chucked in for the first proper game of the season. But if you are slightly behind in the timing and speed of the game as a centre half, Premier League forwards will roast you.
So if Luiz is out then who does Arteta turn to? As I said I suspect it’ll explain why Holding hasn’t gone yet, so I suspect he might get the nod this week, plus Tierney in at left centre half, with perhaps one of Gabriel or Saliba getting an opportunity. A back three can enable the newbies to at least feel less exposed as a back four and so you can understand why Arteta seems to have picked it during the pre season games.
It all adds to the spice to the start of the Premier League season; another Arsenal injury crisis!
And whilst we’re at it, why not chuck a shedload of rumoured exits into the mix as well? We’ve heard noises of PSG being in for Bellerin, Barcelona also having a sniff too, but yesterday after Matteo Guendouzi made comments about returning to work with Arsenal and being pictured training with the first team, it appears as though he is suddenly getting a wee bit of interest from PSG as well.
And what do the French club want to do? Why, resurrect an old fashioned Arsenal transfer saga by offering Julian Draxler, of course!
What I find amazing about that is that the guy is only 26. He’s been linked with us for seven years and yet he’s only 26. Does this count as a Kalou-esque ‘timeless’ transfer saga? We seemed to be linked with the Ivorian year-after-year at one point, but he never came. Yet here we are again with Julian Draxler being mooted as a possible Arsenal player.
Quite where he’d fit in is anyone’s guess. He plays wide left or as a creative attacking midfielder through the centre. We’ve just got Willian in who does the same thing, we also have Nelson, Saka and Martinelli who can play left and whilst Lacazette is still at the club, nobody gets a nod out there anyway because of the obvious need for Aubameyang. So chucking Draxler in there feels a little weird.
We need cash. We need to offload players for cash. A club backed by a country with a €billion budget trying to part-ex on us feels a little strange. I think Draxler is a good player, he’d probably feature a lot, but when we need players who have that energy to cover us and build from deep, or can cover ground all over the pitch with pace and physicality, is Draxler going to do that role in midfield alongside Xhaka, for example? Of course not because he’s not that type of player. That’s why we’ve been so heavily linked with Partey, because he IS that type of player, so to my mind I suspect Arsenal’s initial preference is to take the money for Guendouzi and use it to finance a move for such a player. It’s not a personal thing about Draxler, it is about a pressing need for this Arsenal team.
The pressing need is for players in positions we need to fill and that pressing need comes from cold hard cash coming in. So I hope Arsenal are making that very clear to any prospective buyers of our players.
I feel like i’ve been saying “it’ll be interesting to see what happens” for the last month or so and not a lot seems to have happened. I for one am therefore glad that we can get back to moaning about the football again and focusing on that!
And on that note, I’ll catch you tomorrow with some more thoughts ahead of the Fulham game.