There’s a couple of stories relating to The Arsenal which appear to be getting the most air time at the moment, involving two of our players, although I suspect that one of those two is only really an Arsenal player in name anyway. I am of course starting off today talking about….
I never really got fully on board the Guendouzi hype train if I’m completely honest with you. I saw the talent in there, I saw how he established himself in the side as a good player and certainly he has a decent enough passing and technical range, but I often couldn’t ignore his flaws. Defensively he just switched off and often left space in front of our defence with little effort to recover, so when he and Arteta fell out and he was frozen from the team I kind of understood why it was easier for the manager not to bring him back.
The reason he was ostracised has been cited as off the field issues, but in reality on the field I always thought he was a decent player but not undroppable and certainly there are plenty of other midfielders out there who could do a similar job. So for me the fact we’re offloading him seemingly asap is no big problem. We need the cash, most of us acknowledge he has no future at the club and this helps to get our summer of reshaping underway. The money quoted of €15million kind of seems a little on the low side for a player of his age and seeming potential, but when I hear stories that in Hertha he’s not played as much because he’s a little ‘theatrical’ in his attitude, it all feels very familiar and I guess it’s another reason as to why you’re not going to get top dollar for the player, as well as the fact he has just one year left on his deal.
Hopefully it will at least represent a profit and we can move on a bad egg. I suspect we won’t make a profit on Torreira, for example, so at least moving on Guendouzi will be one we can get done and move on with our lives.
Of course the second player in the news relating to The Arsenal yesterday was our star of the show…
He’s apparently not going to the Euro’s and won’t make Southgate’s 26 man squad for the competition. It will be a bitter blow for him if confirmed today, but from a selfish point of view it means he’ll get rest time, recuperation time, be ready to fire for us from the off in August in an Arsenal shirt. I would be more than happy to see that Bukayo puts his feet up this summer and given that he did look like he was tailing off in terms of the explosive form he showed at the beginning and certainly in the middle of the season with us, that he gets to get rest time is no bad thing.
It does show what a tool Southgate is and when you’re leaving a versatile player like Saka – who can play left back, left wing-back, in the middle of the park, right or left wing, then you really are showing how clueless you are. But hey, his loss and all that jazz.
It does get me thinking though; I wonder how many of our key players might actually get a summer off and be fresher for August? Saka would be one, but there is no summer tournament for the African players, just a couple of friendlies happening over the next week, so that means Pepe, Elneny, Aubameyang and Partey get themselves a summer to recharge. ESR won’t be part of the Euro’s, as will Holding, Chambers, Lacazette, Nketiah, Pablo Mari or Cedric. Saliba too – assuming he is in Arteta’s plans – will not be playing for the French national team I don’t think. So it looks like the only players right now we need to be concerned about are Martinelli and Gabriel who are off to the Olympics, plus Leno, Xhaka, Tierney. That’s a small number of players we need to be worried about and whilst it speaks to how poor our squad is now that so few represent their national teams, maybe a summer in which Arteta gets more time with a lot of them will stand us in good stead for the 2021/22 season?
Perhaps I’m clutching at straws but weirdly I’m already starting to feel optimistic about next year. The prerogative of the delusional football fan, I know, but when all you have is hope, you cling on to it for dear life!
That is it for me for today I think. I suspect there will be more rumours circulating but they come and go so quickly that keeping track of them all is neither worthy of my time writing it, nor your time reading it, so let’s call it a day and I’ll catch you in the morrow.
Have a good one folks.