Morning all, hope you are all splendid today and feeling bright as a button for this latest week of rumour, counter-rumour, rage, fear and general angst that comes with a summer Arsenal transfer window. A summer in which – like every summer window since social media turned transfers into an opportunity to shout at a TV/laptop/mobile even more prominent and whilst so many of us know in our heart of hearts that 90% of what we read is nonsense, we still all get a little too worked up in it.
And hey, I’m not immune too and I will admit to getting frustrated with some links, irked with others, excited with a few and then a bit ‘meh’ about others. I am as guilty as the next fan and so whilst I write today’s thinking’s with a bit of a calmer head, I don’t want to fool you in to thinking that I don’t get as annoyed as everyone else.
For example the Buendia stuff, which turned from “ooh, this might be a thing” to “why have we let Villa get the drop on us?” over the weekend, had me pretty irked. I remember him doing pretty well in a poor Norwich side two seasons ago and he’s just smashed it in the Championship. He’s a player that by all accounts we liked, but didn’t want to pay over the odds for and it now seems it’s all done to Villa. I was thinking about writing something about it yesterday but I was over at my folks and going to enjoy a day in the sun so I thought that life was too short to start the day worked up by writing about something completely out of control. So I thought I’d leave it until today and with the benefit of 24 hours I am no longer irked, just a bit like “oh well, plenty more fish in the seas”.
The problem we will have, however, is that if Buendia does smash it in the Premier League with Villa, there will be many envious eyes – mine included – looking in the direction of the club and with what happened to Ollie Watkins last season, which looked like an expensive deal at the time but has worked out well for Villa, it’s hard not to get a little bit concerned that we’re just going to let another decent young player disappear off our radar. It would be nice to get an early deal like that over the line to give us some excitement, but there’s a long ol’ summer ahead of us and this is just the first disappointment that we didn’t even have two week’s ago, won’t be as worried about in two week’s time, so let’s just move on.
But it is what it is, we have to move on and by the sounds of it move on we have, as Ruben Neves from Wolves is the next player who is practically done, has already picked out curtains in his new home near London Colney, has given the tea lady the brand of green tea he likes to sip and has spoken directly to Gunnersaurus about his role at the football club.
In itself this rumour about Neves to me doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world. He got five goals in 300+ appearances last season from midfield, likes to take long shots, seems like a half decent tackler and surely would be an improvement on Elneny or Ceballos. But the very fact I’m comparing him to those two players should give you an indication as to what I’d hope from Arsenal this summer. In isolation the transfer would make sense, but the variables have to be right and one such variable is whether he’s coming in to sit alongside Partey as the main man, or whether he’ll be one of a few players who will be coming in to bolster our midfield. If we’re talking the latter then I think this makes sense, especially if Xhaka is sold. He’s five year’s younger than Xhaka, is a deeper-lying pass distributor who likes to spray the ball around, so you could see why Arsenal would do this deal. But we have spent the season season seeing athletic players run through the likes of Ceballos and if Xhaka is turned it can be painful to watch him running back towards his own goal. So in my mind if we are bringing in an athletic midfielder to be the first choice pairing with Partey then happy days. But if we’re looking for a younger version of what Xhaka does then this explains a lot. What might also be troubling is the fee. The noises we’ve heard is £35million. You don’t pay £35million for a squad depth player, so rather than Bissouma this summer, who does have that athleticism in his game, it may be that we’re looking at Neves instead. Two very different playing styles and so we have to wonder what the plan is.
Perhaps the plan is neither and that’s where I find myself giving myself a bit of a talking to this morning because the window hasn’t even opened and I’m fretting on a Monday. It’s also why I absolute detest the transfer windows, because of the outrage for something that isn’t even the football. I get enough frustration from Arsenal when they play on that green stuff with those goals at either end, so getting worked up about stuff in which 90% of it will never come to pass anyway feels like the biggest waste of energy that a human could go through.
The summer will be a long one at this rate. I just hope that at the end of it there is hope.
Catch you peeps tomorrow.