Middle of the week of the first week of the year folks. Two days down, three to go, then it’s the weekend and a cup competition we know so well. It’s nice playing in cup competitions. Especially those that have such historical significance. Plus, that we have won it the most and had to win last season’s FA Cup by beating some of the best teams in the competition is a rewarding feeling. I mean, it’d be nice to get byes in the first rounds of the competition, then only have to play lower league teams to get all of the way to a final, but some teams just have to work hard to get their rewards, eh?
Arsenal seem to be working hard on the transfer side of business at the moment though, with all of the noises coming out of the media that Mikel has been emphasising that the club needs to be making exits the priority rather than entries. Totally get it and to be fair I agree with the manager. We all know our squad is bloated, that there are some coasters just collecting their wage packets and not contributing, or just players that aren’t good enough, which may have impacted the team morale with those bad eggs funking up the place. But by offloading some of those players who simply aren’t getting game time, Arteta will hopefully create a smaller, tighter-knit, team with which to work with.
Of course we have already seen the club move swiftly to get a loan for Kolasinac, which gets his wages off the books until the summer, then we have Saliba who is going out for game time, but the latest rumblings are that Genoa are interested in Sokratis. They have had a look at a Lazio defender who is apparently now injured and so their attention turns to our smiling Greek and I think we can all be pleased that there is interest. I just hope that Arsenal accept that we’re not going to get any value from somebody like that and just let him go to get him off the books. It would be nice to pick up a couple of million quid for the player, but we need to be culling the squad and doing it quickly so the sooner we get his wages off the books the better for everyone, I think.
The Italian club are also supposedly interested in Mustafi and although I doubt they’d go for both, the fact there is interest there is a positive, because we have a surplus of defenders as we all know and he is one with a big wage and who is leaving in the summer for free anyway. There has been a few people who have talked about getting Chambers out and making some cash there, but right at this moment in time I’m not sure that’s the best play. I have made no secret of my admiration for Chambers, but what with the Brexit situation, we have an English guy who we could potentially get good value from in the summer, so personally I think it would make more sense to offload Mustafi now given he knows he has no future at the club, then keep Chambers around until the summer at least.
Of course you could make the argument that desperate clubs wanting central defenders might be willing to spend more in January to get an English centre half in, but I don’t really want to place too much reliance on a player who knows he is out of the club in summer for free (Mustafi). If he thinks he’s got a big money move on the verge of completion in June, is he really going to put all of the effort in if called upon in April or May? It’s human nature that he will want to protect his body more – I would.
So getting one of those two out, as well as Sokratis, would certainly have us looking a lot less bloated, but one other interesting turn of events came from Chris Wheatley from Football London, who broke the news that Mesut Ozil is currently talking to DC United about a possible move. Since that story broke last night he’s confirmed that it is most likely to be a summer move and that makes sense to me. DC wouldn’t have to pay a bean to Arsenal, or Mesut, until then and that would save them literally millions by getting him when the contract runs out.
There are a few Gooners who had hoped that something might happen in January and one of the lads from the GunnersTown post match Pub told me that the MLS season starts in February so a statement signing before then would be good for DC United, but during a global pandemic a statement signing that will cost you a big signing on fee, big wages, then you have to take on over £7million of wages that Arsenal are committed too, is probably a stretch too far.
I’ll do a bit of a footballing obituary on Ozil as and when it is announced, but for me it will be a sad way to end what should have been a fabulous Arsenal career. I was at the Sunderland game for his debut and it was a delight to see him assist Giroud for the first goal, then go on to give us a good five seasons before we had the Emery era and the end of his Arsenal career was clear, so I will probably be left with more sadness than anything else as to the way it’d turned out. But it’s football, players come and go, The Arsenal is the constant.
Catch you all tomorrow.