So it appears the Emi Martinez situation has come to a conclusion last night with pretty much every news outlet now reporting that the deal has been done and he’s joined Aston Villa for around £20million. I say ‘ around’ because whilst most are reporting it at £20million, Sky Sports were talking it up as £16.5million with add ons that will bring it to £20million. I’m always wary of those ‘add ons’ because usually it’s essentially a way of clubs making it look like a deal that could be good for the selling club, but ends up not being. I know how it works; i’ve played Football Manager, dontcha know…
“Yeah, We’ll give ya £16.5million, then you can have a miml when he plays his 7,000th game, a mil when we win the Champions League, then a mil when our owner flies to the moon on his magical unicorn he’s currently genetically modifying…”
I suspect it’s more of a staged payments, or a “after 10 games” type thing, because Arsenal wanted £20million and that’s what they were holding out for. Plus, given the COVID situation, we need literally every pound and penny we can get to fun acquisitions, so I suspect the final payment of £20million is pretty much nailed on to be achieved. And as I’ve said all along I think this is a bargain. Emi showed what a good ‘keeper he is with us last season and I genuinely wondered whether he could display Leno this season as a result. But with Bernd coming straight in despite Emi’s great form, I can understand why the Argentinian wanted to move so he could become a number one somewhere else.
It was an unfortunate situation and had we not been so desperate to be balancing the books this season of all season, maybe the club could have swallowed it for another 12 months to see if Emi really could displace Bernd, but we need the cash and couldn’t afford two number ones in the team. The talk now turns to who will replace him and by the sounds of it Brentford want too much for Raya, so we’re going for the Icelandic goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson from Dijon as Bernd’s understudy. Apparently our goalie coach Inaki Cana is a fan and that’s where this interest has hotted up. He’s currently number two at Dijon behind the Senegalese ‘keeper they currently have there and only played 14 times for Dijon last season. He’s made five caps for Iceland and isn’t their number one so this one feels like a deal we’re doing on the mega cheap, especially if he’s only going to cost £1.5million. It makes you wonder just how competent he actually is and if he’s what we’re after then you wonder how much better than Matt Macey he is, but if the club are looking at a clear understudy and want Bernd to play most of the games it means we can’t be shelling out half of the fee we got for Emi on a replacement number two, so to me it kind of makes sense.
But £20million – or £18.5million net if you include the signing of a replacement – still isn’t enough to get both of the main targets this season. If you believe the noises Atletico are holding pretty firm on Partey at £44million. That’s steep for a 27-year-old who was good last season but had his off games, plus it would mean any move for Aouar from Lyon would also probably be unlikley, as the French club will probably want similar money. If we’re looking at raising £80million to fund those moves then we’ve got an awful lot more cash that needs to come in first and £18.5million represents just under a quarter of that. Could Lucas Torreira be one of those players? I would say it’s likely given he wasn’t even in the matchday squad on Saturday, but again the numbers we hear about are around the £22million mark. That still leaves us with half the money needed to be found from sales and unless PSG cough up a cool £25million from Guendouzi, there’s probably not much point holding out hopes for both players that we’ve been linked with joining the club. If we get £25million for Torreira you wonder if we could make that move for Partey, but I don’t see Aouar arriving at this stage. If you can ship out Elneny for £5million, moving on Chambers for £15million, get £25million for Guendouzi and maybe £3 – £5million for Sokratis, then you’ve got yourself circa £85million and it sounds doable. But it’s those big fees for Guendouzi and Torreira that I doubt right now. We just don’t have teams outside of the oilwhore/state-owned clubs coughing up that cash and even PSG aren’t exactly going hard on Guendouzi. It feels like they’re very much taking the approach of “well…maybe we’ll take him…but not at that price guys…” which I can understand given that I’m not sure they exactly need him right now.
So we’re still in the same position we’ve been in for a few weeks. We know we need to get some players out of the door but there just doesn’t seem to be the market for our ones. Which is why we’re struggling.
Let’s hope that this new streamlined Arsenal admin team have some aces up their sleeves. We kind of need them to.
Catch you all tomorrow you wonderful humans.