I flicked BBC news on last night and as I watch half watching, half flicking through my Twitter timeline, I saw them talking about the international matches that took place last night. I count myself a proud man to have completely forgotten that there was international football on and if the Interlull can disappear as quickly as that i.e. that I barely even know that it’s there, then that can only be a good thing.
Of course come the weekend I suspect that will be far from the case. Unfortunately international football is just one of those things you have to deal with. It’s a bit like when you were a kid; you know when your mum used to make what was her ‘signature dish’? Only rather than a signature dish being like in a restaurant in whihc that is what the chef is known for because it is the best around, a signature dish from a mum perspective is just a dish that you seem to have all of the time. For me it was spaghetti bolognese. Every week. Never really touch the stuff any more.
So yeah, international football is like your mum’s signature dish; you know you have to get through it again, you know it’s on the horizon at some stage in the near future, there’s not a darn thing you can do about it.
All I ask for from the international football perspective is that we have players who come back to us in one piece and not smashed into as many pieces as the original ‘Mr Glass’ Abou Diaby.
In terms of The Arsenal-specific news, as you’d probably expect, it’s rather light at the moment. I don’t mind that. A bit of time away from the frequency of the mad house can’t be the worst thing in the world. It also allows me to go off into little tangents in my daily musings on here, which sometimes I enjoy, so I think i’ll have another bite of that cherry this morning…
Today’s musing comes off the back of a podcast I did last night with the lovely peeps from the Same Old Arsenal Podcast/YouTube channel. I did a session with Craig, Danny and Albert and we talked in all kinds of directions, but there is one thing that Craig mentioned that I’ve been thinking of ever since. It relates to centre forward position and ever since he said it I think it has become more and more of a sensible option for us.
Craig mentioned that he had been watching some of Martinelli’s videos on his training, how he is developing, how much emphasis Arteta appears to be putting on him and also how he is tucking away goals and finishing like a beast. Now, I know training and matches are very different. Ray Parlour tells a story about how the best person in training being – I think it was Alberto Mendez – who had all the skills and ability and he was really surprised with how good he was. But as soon as he got on to the pitch he just couldn’t do it. Whereas Patrick Vieira was supposedly a little lazy and couldn’t be arsed in training, yet he was a monster on the pitch. So I know that training and matches are very different. But Martinelli has already scored goals in all competitions so we know he can do it on the pitch.
A lot of people are worried about his lack of inclusion and we talked about how we all knew people who were fretting that we’re going to lose such a precocious young talent, but Craig’s theory is that Arteta is building him up for a big season next season and I have to tell you, it feels like that could be the case.
Think about it; in the summer we won’t have a lot of cash to play with. I hypothesized that I think we could get in around the £110million/£130million mark depending on valuation on players. If you are talking about getting in Odegaard – assuming Madrid will sell – I can’t see us not paying anything less than £50million in the summer. That’s just under half of a potential transfer kitty. My outgoings make it Willock, Ainsley, Nketiah, Elneny, Torreira, GUendouzi, Nelson, possibly Chambers, who could all go to help fund moves. But if we offload Lacazette I think we could get up to £130million. I think Arteta will want another left back. That’s another £10million at least I suspect. We will probably need to pay Brighton some money for Ryan, which is a couple of million. Then you have a potential deal for Odegaard. Again, I’m not sure on this as Madrid won’t sell, but even if that is the case his inclusion in the team has shown that we most definitely need another attacking/creative midfielder in Odegaard’s mold. SO that’ll probably be between £50 – £60million if we want a first teamer.
How does this relate to Martinelli? Well, if we sell Lacazette to open up some cash in the coffers, perhaps instead of looking externally for another centre forward, Arteta is already planning for an ‘internal solution’ in Martinelli. If you think about it like that, the current situation makes sense. Eddie has fallen out of favour, probably needs to be sold, Balogun is gone; I just can’t see him sticking around with the lack of game time he’s had. If you sell Lacazette for £20million to also get another very high earner off the books, you have a big gaping hole at centre forward when it isn’t Aubameyang. Martinelli has the attributes for it. The pressing from the front, he’s scored goals, he’s good in the air, he will make those channel runs. To me, he has all of the attributes of being a quality striker and if Mikel is thinking about that for next season then he is essentially giving him the rest of this season – which is practically a busted flush (Europa League aside) anyway – to have a long pre season and properly ensure that he is over all injuries and is back to his best.
I know that all of the training in the world doesn’t come close to actual game time, but if he’s being slowly eased in, if he starts to play more league games as it becomes clear the Premier League is done for us, then I think that is only lending itself to this theory. Perhaps the plan after all is a classic Wenger ‘internal solution’.
I think i’d be ok with that. I think it’s a good move and it will give us the chance to see how good Martinelli can be in a position that many of us have said should probably be an option.
Let’s see how this one plays out for the rest of the season.
Catch you all tomorrow.