I was having a little mooch around online last night before I went to bed and I read Hector’s quotes about how the team was feeling after Monday’s defeat against Liverpool. Many of us – certainly me – chalked it down as a ‘free hit’ and expectations on getting anything from a team three solid years into their ‘project’ was limited, but Hector spoke of how down the dressing room was after the defeat. But he also spoke of the hunger to keep learning, to keep doing it Arteta’s way and to keep improving and from this particular part of the interview I am taking most heart.
Gary Neville said it in commentary a couple of times during the Liverpool game, but he admitted that we looked more organised, that you could see the players buy in to the philosophy that Arteta is building and that is probably why, from what I saw online, the pitchforks were not out on our Spanish manager. Not even close. Well, apart from the odd idiot lone wolf who is more interested in carving himself out a new ‘amgle’ from his Datsun rather than being an Arsenal fan willing to embrace real change.
Real change is happening in front of our very eyes and Bellerin’s interview highlights that. The words he speaks are of a guy who can see what is unfolding and is quite excited by it. He knows what Arteta is doing and he’s behind it, as it seems are so many other players, even with the fringe players who want to be part of the ‘project’ like Sokratis and Kolasinac. Both have fed to the press that they want to fight for their place, despite both being linked with moves away and I suspect both will be moved on if Arsenal can in the next few days.
Supposedly Leverkusen want to drop €10million on Kolasinac and if that’s true in this COVID world I have to say it is money that we simply couldn’t refuse for a player who will more likely find himself third choice in his natural position when we start to get some of our injured centre halves back. We’re in a financial position where we can’t afford to keep decent back ups, certainly not back ups who could fetch actual money for us, so that kind of money for a player who isn’t going to play that much will feel similar to the £20million we got for Emi Martinez. We all know how much we wanted to keep Emi at the club but as we’re coming to realise, Arsenal simply don’t have the finances to fund any kind of move for our midfield targets, so selling off players is essentially our only card to play.
Kolasinac feels like an easy one. Sokratis too. But if we’re talking about Parety AND Auoar, something massive has to give in the next six days. The Torreira to Atletico deal seems to have progressed, if rumours of his agents being in Madrid are true, which may help to free up some cash. Plus if Atletico are being so firm on Parety, then Arsenal can be firm on Torreira’s price. Tell Madrid it’s €30million and then if they don’t want to make the deal an exchange, then get them to pay for Torreira in instalments and then we can go back to them with an offer to get them to take it. If they try to play silly buggers, get Auoar in first and then leave them hanging until the end of the window.
Even if we do get the Aouar deal over the line though, which seems like it’s going to be difficult because Aulas wants closer to Pepe money (or so he says), then we’re going to need to see some proper jiggery-pokery from Edu and Arteta in the next few days. Personally it feels like they’ll go back for Auoar, look to use the Martinez and Kolasinac money (assuming that comes in) to fund a big chunk of that deal, then it’ll be on how many other players we can offload. We also need to remember we’ve spent £25million (ish) on Gabriel, so if we’re assuming that was the ringfenced pot of cash for this summer, it truly is a ‘sell to buy’ situation and if Torreira goes for anything close to what I have suggested, we’re still looking at having to drum up €20million worth of player sales to fund the Partey move.
Who could fit that? Guendouzi? Doubtful as nobody seems to be interested. Maybe Mustafi? Again, this seems doubtful because he’s injured and also in the last year of his contract. Chambers maybe? Again, still injured. Some people have said we’re open to seeing Laca out the door but that would mean we have to spend the vast bulk of any cash we get from his sale to fund a replacement.
All of this serves to highlight just how delicate a balance we find ourselves in. The dominoes need to all be lined up perfectly and they all need to fall in the right direction. Otherwise we’re going to be left with a playing game mess on our proverbial table. We probably need to see some movement, or hear more noises, today because if we don’t then I wonder if it’ll be us going with what we’ve got for the remainder of the season.
If that happens I think Arteta will be forced to reintegrate Ozil and Guendouzi because we simply don’t have the midfield options available for the whole season not to. We can’t have another season of us creating minimal chances and expect us to get to the top four positions, can we?
I shall be refreshing my timeline on Twitter all day in the hope of some kind of Ornbomb at some stage. Let’s hope we get one.
Catch you all tomorrow.