Morning folks and happy Saturday to you. Just 24 and a bit hours until we play Sheffield United, then 48 hours and a bit until the dreadful transfer window closes and I don’t know about you, but this is when football becomes more tiresome.
I joined Twitter in February 2010 to meet other Arsenal fans and I have to say back then it was quite good. Met a lot of people, started doing a bit of writing, enjoy my writing so it felt good, then started to meet people from the internets in the pubs around the ground and from there I’ve grown a friendship base of mates who I consider a great group who I love to hang out with. But in recent years with the rise of the ‘ITK’ nonsense, what used to be a fun period in the calendar where we’re all wondering who will be joining and when, as well as how that will improve our squad, is now a period I despise and look forward to the least.
I’ve said a few times how much I hate the North London Derby because of the nerves it brings me, but the general irritation that I feel towards this period in the year when the ‘summer’ transfer window closes is probably surpassing it. Why? It’s all of the ‘know-it-alls’ you see. All of the people claiming ‘this is done’ then ‘that is done’ on players joining. Tracking at what stage of a transfer a situation is at, talking about player agreement on wages, clubs second bids turned down, medicals, people who have got an inside scoop; frankly it is wearing me down.
It wears me down because Arsenal is my addiction. People will say ‘don’t pay any attention’ or ‘ignore it’ and I say those words to myself in my head all of the time, but I am an addict and like any addict I simply cannot just turn off the tap to my addiction. So I am always going to go back on to Twitter, I’m always going to look at NewsNow for the click bait articles, I’ll always be refreshing a feed to see whether anything concrete comes up from any credible source. Which is why I then get tired of reading some 18-year-old nobody proclaiming they have intel on something that then seems to catch like wildfire and suddenly everyone is talking about a message from some kid looking for attention.
So I for one will be so glad when we hit Tuesday next week and we can forget all of these attention seeking teenagers looking for their 15 seconds of online fame.
Of course before that game we have a very important match against Sheffield United to worry about and whilst it was pleasing to note that Mike Dean won’t be there to screw us over in this fixture like he did twice last season (remember Sokratis having his shirt pulled in the box in the opening minutes of the game at Bramall Lane? Or The clear trip on Pepe in the box at the Emirates, once again, not looked at by Dean on VAR?), we do have Lee Mason to worry about, another waddler who is a terrible referee. Expect some kind of farcical decision at some stage tomorrow, that’s for sure.
Mikel of course doesn’t need to worry about that, but only how we can create more chances and after two game sin a week against by far the best team in the league, the onus will certainly be on him injecting some creativity in to the team because he knows that Chris Wilder’s team pose a very unique threat with the way they approach their football. Last season they took four points from us and were particularly decent at The Emirates and Arteta himself seems to know the threat; he even said in his press conference yesterday that he’s been studying them for two year’s. I certainly hope that means he has more of a gameplan than when we played them in January because that draw at home I was at and it was particularly disappointing. They scored late but probably deserved the point – clear penalty for us aside – and the challenge we face is that we will probably only have one player available in Willian who was any different to those available to Arteta tomorrow. The up side is that the team has had a good 10 months with the manager now and so you’d hope that the understanding of his approach is embedded a little more, but given how West Ham set up and still outshot us like most teams seem to have done for the last two years, I’m just hoping it can feel like we have a little more control tomorrow.
He was also asked about Saliba, Torreira and possibly the addition of Aouar and as you’d expect he didn’t give too much away. But the noises of us loaning Saliba back to Rennes for a year do make you think about the lad himself. Apparently he has recently lost his mother and the last year has been one of turmoil for him. He looked very tidy when he played for us against MK Dons in the pre season and I’d have thought he’d have been in contention to play some football this year but the very fact that this appears to be gathering pace makes you wonder about him and his mental state. I don’t mean that in a negative way by the way; Arsenal are doing the right thing and he needs to be protected at his age. Arteta says he is convinced that Saliba will have a bright future at the club and I believe him. But we also need to think of Saliba the human. If going back to France is the right thing for him – perhaps to be around his family – then maybe it is best for all parties.
As for Torreira, well, I am not in the slightest convinced by this deal. There isn’t much coming out in terms of the loan agreement with Atletico Madrid with regards to figures, but for Arsenal to do this deal and not come out of it with our pants pulled down we’re going to need to:
- Get a good loan fee
- Get a good agreed sale price at the end
- Hope Torreira has a storming season and is a dead cert for Madrid to want to buy
- Have a replacement lined up.
For point four everyone is thinking Parety, but this is Atletico Madrid here, masters of dark arts and sh*thousery on the pitch and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were the same off it. I can fully envisage a scenario in which Madrid play very friendly with us until the Torreira loan is confirmed, then bat us away constantly when we ask them about Thomas Partey. And with just 48 hours to go on the deadline the noises of Jorginho being an alternative option are, frankly, terrifying. He has hardly impressed at Chelski – which is why they would be happy to let him go to a supposed rival – and here we are contemplating a midfield with potentially him and Xhaka in it. The very definition of ‘lack of pace’. It’s true. You’d probably look it up in the Oxford Dictionary and see their faces there.
But I don’t want to think about hat worrying reality at all at this stage. I just hope we have a better plan than the Italian from Chelski. Maybe it includes Aouar but there doesn’t appear to be any movement. Here we are once again scrabbling around at the end of the window. Like. Every. Summer.
Here’s hoping we can do something though. Something has gotta give soon because we are out of time and the current squad isn’t good enough to challenge as we stand. Fingers crossed. Let this all be over quickly.
Catch you tomorrow for a match preview.