Is it me or does this weekend, in which there is no Arsenal on, feel like a bit of a practice session for the summer? I mean there’s football on all right, but it isn’t The Arsenal and as such the stakes aren’t there, so I can dip in and out if I fancy it. Which I probably won’t. It’ll be the same in the summer, except the Euro’s will probably be more watchable than some of the Premier League games this weekend for me personally, mainly because I don’t really bother getting too emotionally invested in it.
I kinda like it. The pressure is off. This season was a busted flush long ago, so this practice session weekend prepares me for the freedom that will be afforded us in just a few short weeks time, which will be bliss compared to what we’ve had to endure at times in 2020/21.
Don’t get me wrong though, after a couple of week’s of no-Arsenal to speak of, I’ll be as desperate as the next gooner to get back up and running. It’s the drug you see, you can’t just ‘put down the pipe’, so to speak.
There’ll be plenty of football over the summer too, as the Olympics will also be held and that will include football in it, in which Brazil have called up two of our lads in Gabriel and Martinelli. Hopefully for them both it is a positive experience because after the pain of this season we will need those two to report back for training ready to go. The only frustrating thing, however, is that the Olympics goes on until August, which means there will be no time for either to get back in to the squad for the first game of the season I suspect. I think the club will probably give them both a couple of week’s off and that will mean we probably won’t see them until September. Which is a bit of a joke really, when you think about it. The Olympics shouldn’t have football in it in my opinion. Yes, of course it is a sport with global significance, but football has so many other big prizes that are standalone, that the Olympics shouldn’t need to be peddling football as one of the sports on it’s roster. I feel the same about tennis; I know the players would love to win medals, but tennis has it’s own world within it, so in my opinion doesn’t need to be encroaching on the Olympic family.
Perhaps I’m just frustrated because it feels like Arsenal are going to need to hit the ground running early when the next season starts, because if we don’t you can just tell that Mikel’s job could quickly be under threat. There are no more margins for error for the Spaniard, unfortunately, so if there are fans in the ground and a full stadium and we get off to a bad start it’ll quickly start to get toxic. Losing two key players for next season for the first few weeks is therefore not ideal.
And he’ll most likely be without another centre half in David Luiz, with whom the rumours are now coming out that the club that he will not be offered a new deal and will leave the club at the end of the season. To me this makes perfect sense. The player himself can get his free transfer move and probably go back to Benfica, we can move on and look at who partners Gabriel in the long term. It shouldn’t be Holding, Mari should be the left centre-back deputy, so there is a space to be filled.
For me that space simply must be filled by Saliba. There’s been rumours that Arteta is looking at getting in another experienced centre half but I really hope it isn’t true. For one thing we have so many other positions that need sorting this summer, that bringing in another centre half seems like it’s doing nobody any favours at all. We should put our faith in Saliba who, by all accounts, has had a good season with Nice by the sounds of it. That’s a problem solved and then we should look at the other problem positions we need to resolve. Right back, back up left back, another engine in the middle of the park, another number 10 if Odegaard isn’t sticking around, plus another striker.
I really hope we do go for another striker and we don’t give Lacazette that one year extension though, I have to say. He’s already paid rather too handsomely for his output and whilst he’s done ok this season – 17 goals and three assists – for somebody who cost £50million and is on a reported £180k-per-week, you really should be expectign an elite striker who gets a minimum of 20+ goals a season. Aubameyang has not delivered that either but he’s had more injuries, the malaria has impacted him, plus there appear to have been a few off-the-field issues, so I can kind of understand why his season has tanked. But Lacazette just isn’t at the level we paid for him and offering him a new deal would be a reward for a failure to deliver over an extended period of time.
So for me we should be cashing in. We gain nothing by keeping him around for another season, other than to have an ageing player who isn’t going to get better and will only decline in value. We’ve all talked for year’s about how poor we are at selling, well, giving Lacazette a new deal would just be another example of why we are poor at selling. Take whatever money we can and let it help fund the rebuild.
Anyhoo, that’s it from me today. Plenty of jobs to do so looking forward to a stress free Saturday.
See you all tomorrow.