Bukayo Saka, anyone?

Our young protégé did it again last night and showed just why it was probably fanciful to think he’ll be given a rest for the summer by not being including in the England squad for the Euro’s, by bagging the only goal against Austria and generally looking like he was one of the better players on the pitch last night, apparently.

I’m pleased for him on a personal level. He’s shown with us how he’s slowly rising in class and quality and by bagging an England goal and looking very much assured at that international level, it will do him the world of confidence. And that will hopefully transmit to Arsenal next season. But what we need to hope for is that he gets the balance of game time for confidence with getting enough rest time for the new season, because if he continues his trajectory in to next season he’s going to be one hell of an important cog in our machine trying to get back in to the Top Four.

I didn’t bother watching the England game because international friendlies are always a bit of a yawn fest and by the sound of it this was hardly the football equivalent of the Thriller in Manila. Soi I think I dodged a pretty good bullet there if I’m honest. But I cans till be pleased for one of the Hale End boys and that I am, chief, that I am.

In terms of Arsenal-related news, the only official stuff to come out was that Arsenal will head out to Florida in July to take on Inter Milan and one other from Everton or Millonarios over two games at the end of that month. It’s a clever strategy I have to say; going out under the pretext of an elaborate overseas friendly tournament just to ensure Willian doesn’t get wind of what is happening, then leaving him out there as the rest of the team fly back to the UK. Bold, but I like it, because it will rid us of the expensive waddler and be another one ticked off the books of this summers fire sale. Good work Edu.

Of course the reality is that it will give Arteta the chance to take a proper look at his squad shaping up for the new season and by that time we’ll be about two week’s before the new season and the Euro’s will have well and truly finished, so the squad should be taking shape. And I hope part of that shape includes William Saliba, because these rumours of Marseille being interested in him as well as Guendouzi aren’t going away and that is worrying for me. I’ve heard talk of both permanent and loan deals and I have to just hope that they aren’t true. Why would we not have Saliba back and give him a chance to impress this next season? If we move him on before he’s had a chance to at least have a shot at playing for The Arsenal then, I’m sorry, but it is another black mark against Arteta. There are some Gooners out there that will say “trust Arteta. If he doesn’t fancy him there is a reason” but to those people you only have to point them in the direction of Willian as a hill his Arsenal managerial career died on to show how perhaps he isn’t always the best judge of character.

I’d also offer up this question to those people: If we hadn’t signed William Saliba and were speaking to St Etienne, or even Nice where he’s just played, about a deal this summer with him having just been named in the French team of the year, how many Arsenal fans would be over the moon that a deal like that could be done and how many would be expecting him to slot straight in ahead of Holding on that right hand side for next season?

We all would. So why are some raising these doubts now about a player who has shown nothing but impressive form when he has been given game time. And to those talking down the French Ligue Un, let’s look at Gabriel and Fofana as examples of centre halves who have come from France and delivered in the Premier League. It is time we gave Saliba – a player who was more highly rated than Fofana – the chance to cut his teeth in the Premier League.

I could just be worrying for nothing though. Just as the noises are that Marseille want to sign Saliba, doesn’t actually mean Arsenal have any other intention other than getting him in the first team this season. I guess we won’t know until Arteta is asked about it for the first time. In a similar vein there were some weird rumours yesterday stating that Villa are monitoring Emile Smith Rowe whilst his contract remains unsigned he could technically be a player that looks around at his options, but the noises from his camp and Arsenal are that he wants to stay and so quite why that kind of rumour ever makes it out of some journalists’ drafts is a bit beyond me. My hope is that this is the same with the Saliba noises; that it is just teams making tentative enquiries knowing that there’s no point in delving too much further than that. A bit like as if we asked City for Sterling. Even if they were open to selling they’d probably just quote us £100million and we’d be on our merry way. So that’s what I’m hoping for with the Saliba situation.

There’s not a lot more I want to go in to just yet, as a lot of those rumours out there at the moment seem to be the initial volleys fired over the bow in the skirmish that is any transfer rumour. It’s too early for anything to feel concrete so no point delving in to much more detail on some of the right backs we’ve been linked with, for example.

So I shall leave you to your Thursday and wish you and yours a happy one.

Catch y’all tomorrow.