Morning folks, how you holding up? All good? Still in this weird land in which you’re a little sad that there is no Arsenal on the horizon, yet the last thing you want to do is go through another nine months like we just went through? Tough, wasn’t it?
Having seen a variety of different Instagram stories over the last 24 hours of players who are on the move away from Arsenal this summer, back to parent clubs or just leaving, I thought I’d break down each of their tenures at the club. We’ve got a long summer ahead of transfer tittle tattle so I figured I might as well try a bit of reflection today. Starting with…
This was a transfer that, when it happened, had a load of us raising eyebrows because it came from left of field after Koscielny had decided he wanted out of Arsenal and effectively went on strike. We sanctioned the deal, went desperately around to Kia’s house and asked him for the first of a number of players the super agent would cosy up to us about. £8million for an experienced centre half like Luiz seemed ok and I remember the first thing I did when it was announced was drop a note to a few Chelski mates and some people I know on Twitter. The response I got was pretty consistent, which was “you’ll get some great games from him, but for every good game you’ll also get a stupid one”. And whaddya know, but that’s almost exactly what it felt like we got. No Arsenal player in a season conceded as many penalties as he did, no Arsenal player got sent off as much as he did, and yet whilst some of those brain farts drove us all insane it feels like he is leaving with a bit of good will from the Arsenal fanbase.
I think I have that too. He was our best defender last season when fit, that much was obvious, plus his long ball distribution was a major asset for us at times when other parts of the team weren’t clicking. Just think as recently as the away trip to Newcastle; a long ball forward to put Bellerin in behind, then the cut back to which Elneny finally got in on the end of for the first goal. That was what Luiz brought to the table.
But at 34 and already picking up injuries, the time was right to say “no thanks” to another year. We all know we need to move on, he does too, so despite how well liked he is at the club it was right to move him on after two years. The money we spent on him and the wages were too high, but overall I think i’ll still take positives from his time at the club.
This was one that I was quite excited about when he first arrived. Good reputation in Spain, a decent passer of the ball, plus he absolutely bossed it on his first game against Burnley. And that got me excited about the player we were getting on loan. Indeed, after that first game we wondered if after a season of success we were going to end up being priced out of any permanent move. But after that first impressive display it never really improved. Ceballos always wanted too many touches of the ball and in a league like the Premier League that just won’t cut it. The ball moves quickly, the players move quickly, the league is about physicality and athleticism and Ceballos just isn’t that athlete. Again, just look at the goal for the game against West Brom last week, in which Ceballos looked like a carthorse against Perreia, who just strode past him. We can’t have midfielders like that in the Arsenal team and when they also don’t contribute enough goals to the team – a massive problem we seem to have had since Ramsey left – there is no justification for keeping him. Overall a disappointing loan spell and althoguh I have nothing against the man, Ceballos the footballer I’m glad we won’t be seeing back at the carpet.
Said his goodbyes on the socials yesterday and by all accounts has made himself a well-liked member of the team. He goes back to Brighton but with a year left on his deal if he wants to come back as Arsenal’s number two then I think i’d be ok with it. He hasn’t played enough for Brighton to want a sh*tload of cash and so I reckon a deal could be done. It sounds as though Leno is sticking around and with no European football next season he might find his game time a little more limited, but he’d still be a player I’d be ok with us signing and I think he did well enough against Fulham and Villa when he got some time on the pitch.
Some people have gone a bit cold on the Norwegian and I can’t figure out if that is due to the fact that every Arsenal fan seems to have become an amateur accountant since we moved to the Emirates and espoused the concept of the self-sustaining football model. To an extent I can understand that; we have finite resources this summer and if Madrid tell Arsenal that they want £50million for him, then Arsenal probably should just walk away. Thomas Partey was a mainstay in the Atletico Madrid team and we paid £45million for him. I know that was due to a release clause, but in a post-pandemic world that we live in now, unless Real are realistic in their valuation, I suspect that isn’t a deal we go back in for.
I’d take him if the money was right and a deal could be done. I think we’ve seen flashes of what a good player he could be – the West Ham game and his assist for Martinelli against Palace last week – and if we’re looking at this six months as a beding in period, I think he’ll only get better if he was back here in an Arsenal shirt. Perhaps there is merit in trying for another loan deal but if Real need the cash and they know that at the end of the deal he’ll just have one year left on his contract, they will probably be looking for a permanent deal.
I don’t think those exiting will have us desperate to have back. The closest one for me is Odegaard, but that’s more for what he could be at The Arsenal, rather than what he actually has been at The Arsenal. It goes some way to explaining our approach to player acquisition over the last couple of year’s and also shows just how much work Edu and Arteta need to do to prove that they are the right men to take us forward from an incoming player perspective.
That’s it from me today. Have a good one and enjoy your Tuesday peeps.