Happy Friday y’all. Hope you’re doing well.
I have to level with you. Even these days, with some form of Arsenal involvement in the England games, I’m not going to rouse myself to actually watching any of a game between England and Ireland that is a friendly with absolutely no real meaning to it. The national press can try to whip up a little bit of supposed interest, but mine didn’t even peak enough to know which day to the week it was on.
Still, I kept an eye on my Twitter feed and a few people appear to be quite pleased with Saka and Maitland-Niles’ contribution on the night. I do think that we should be looking at Ainsley a little more closely than we are in our team. For example, I wouldn’t be selecting Cedric Soares for anything unless we had an injury to him or Hector. Both are superior full backs, more athletic and offer much more than he ever will.
I do wonder if, when we get to January, Ainsley will be asking Mikel to move on you know. He’s an England international now, there’s a tournament coming up in the summer next year and he’ll want minutes to maximise his chances. Arteta has preferred Cedric at times even in the Europa and Ainsley has even had a bit part role on the bench too, so if I was in his shoes – no matter how much he loves the club or not – I’d be asking the question as we rapidly approach the January window. There is also the consideration of his contract. His contract expires in June 2023. That means by next year he’ll have two years left on his deal. If Arsenal and Arteta cannot give him more game time then perhaps we should be looking to get absolute top dollar in January. If we were holding out for north of £20million in the summer, a couple of England caps should mean he’s worth at least that, probably north of £25million. Of course the big question is whether any team that would be after him can afford to pay that. I can’t see any of the financially doped clubs going for him and so that leaves the likes of Wolves. They’ve certainly spent a pretty penny but usually when they are recouping well too, like they did this summer by getting a fair fee for Jota and Doherty. So I suspect the only way Wolves come knocking is if we see an outgoing there and we know that the January market is notoriously difficult to get value.
Maybe a loan will suit Ainsley? He could go out, have a brilliant five months, get in the England team and then we have to ask questions as to whether he give him a proper shot at being a starter week in, week out. Perhaps the club are already looking at that and that’s why he hasn’t played too much?
Whatever the situation, it is a bit weird that we have a better player than Cedric, who is currently not getting as much of a look in. But then again we can say the same thing about Pepe and Willian, although I think I’ve banged that drum enough right now.
The other Arsenal man on show was Bukayo Saka and I think he won a penalty and had a very good game last night. It looks like he played as a wing back with Southgate going for three centre halves, so Saka would have certainly have been in a position he is familiar with. My hope is that a good performance on the night gives him a real confidence booster for next weekend. We just need him to not contract COVID or pick up any other kind of injury. Let’s not rule it out though. Saka has been one of those players who has underperformed in his last couple of Arsenal matches but this kind of performance for the national team is the sort of booster that could then see him g into the Leeds game full of confidence, so let’s not put it past Lady Luck to give us a good shafting by making something go twang in his legs between now and next Sunday.
As for the other players, well, I have even less of an idea, so I won’t bother going in to any kind of detail. Sorry for that.
And that’s pretty much it from me for today. These international breaks always do fail to inspire me to write anything of note. Hopefully I can pen some Arsenal thoughts over the weekend.