So it appears the current Arsenal online battle line being drawn is between Ryan Bertrand and a possible move to Arsenal on a free. The line appears to be whether you’d be accepting of this deal or not and I have to tell you honestly that I’m kind of not fussed either way. Bertrand is a decent pro, he’s done well at Southampton, played 34 times this season in all competitions and apart from the last four or five matches where he’s been left out of the squad – obviously because he’s angling for a move to another club next season – he’s been a mainstay in the Southampton team.
He’ll be 32 in August though and so I can see why some people are naturally hopeful that we aren’t just repeating the mistakes of yesterday with this kind of deal. Cedric was signed on a four year deal at 29 and has basically already been left out by Arteta, who has started to drop Chambers in at right back ahead of the Portuguese. That shows you what happens when you buy an average full back and suddenly realize he isn’t that great. But as somebody rightly pointed out yesterday on Twitter, Cedric hasn’t been that bad in an Arsenal shirt, he even earned a call up to the national team of Portugal after stringing a few games together. His situation also seems more acute because we haven’t really had any kind of form from any of our right backs all season. If Hector Bellerin was three or four year’s young, fitter and not as injury prone, as well as being in better form all season (think Tierney on the other side), then we would probably be saying Cedric is a half decent back up option.
The problem with the Cedric deal was also the length of it. We should have set it at two year’s and then we’d be looking at him as a back up for one more year and then we move on. That’s got to be one of the biggest worries with this Bertrand deal; i.e. the people running our club giving a longer term contract to a journeyman pro who will stick around too long. At 32 I would say Bertrand can be a decent back up option for maybe a season, two at best, which means if this deal gets announced as a two year deal and it’s clear he plays when Tierney isn’t fit and for the EFL Cup games, then fine. Crack on. But my biggest concern is the Willian effect in which we get a player looking for a big payday who is just terrible but has a nice big fat contract for a long period of time.
Speaking of Willian, at least that gave plenty of us hope that the mistakes of the past are being worked on to rectify for the future, as Fabrizio Romano said on his Twitter account yesterday that Willian is likely to leave n the summer and that the club are looking at offloading him. I’ve never seen so many gifs from Arsenal fans, or memes, of joy, jubilation. The idea that the club will shunt him out the door at Colney would be great; it’d be a move in recognition that it simply hasn’t worked and it would be better for all parties if he found a place elsewhere to play his football. The talk is of the MLS, or even mainland Europe and I don’t think there would be many of us shedding too many tears if it would happen sooner rather than later.
With the money he is on thought, I bet we’d end up funding part of his wages, which once again just shows what a terrible deal this was, but also puts a black mark on both Arteta who wanted the player and Edu/Raul who pushed to get the deal done. It is fair to say that there should be people at the club now asking questions and better scrutinizing deals and for me this Bertrand rumour should come up against a fair bit of scrutiny. If the player is short term, if the money isn’t astronomical like Willian, if we have a plan beyond him and if the question is asked about his motivation given he seems happy to be a bit-part player at a bigger club then fine, let’s have the check’s and balances and let’s see what happens. But I think we all worry that the power Arteta wields could result in another Willian situation if we don’t have somebody just challenging and questioning the manager and his desires for a player.
Let’s also not forget that Bacary Sagna signed for Man City from us at 31 and spent three year’s there, notching up 54 appearances and being a decent servant for a short period of time. Arteta was there for Sagna’s last season at City and he will have seen how that move was beneficial as a transitional move for Man City so I wonder if his thinking is along those lines. The difference is that City had a lot more game time to fill with squad players and so Sagna got more minutes than Bertrand probably would for us, so again, one does question the motivation for Bertrand if he’s joining us as an understudy to a mid table team with no European football to speak of.
But this is still all speculation at the moment, so today’s musings could be rendered as redundant as promise from a politician in a few week’s when the window opens, so let’s see how much fire starts to appear on this particular smoking rumour.
That’s enough of my waffle for one day I think.
Catch you lovely people all tomorrow.