Morning folks. I don’t normally make a habit of signposting people in a different direction to another part of the internet at the beginning of my usual daily ramblings, but I was particularly impressed with this week’s Arsecast, in which Andrew and James had a chat about transfers, what’s on the horizon (or not as the case may be) this summer, but most interestingly about the mechanics of transfers. I’mnot really well-read on the inner workings of how football deals happen. If you read my stuff regularly you’ll know that; this is an opinion blog and I’m frequently wrong and often happy to admit so. So to get a bit of an insight in to the way transfers usually happen was refreshing and given the summer hasn’t really properly even got going yet, I found it somewhat soothing amongst the much gnashing of teeth already happening at the disappointment of ‘losing out’ on Buendia and then potentially getting Ruben Neves from Wolves, a player with whom lots of people seem to be cold on.
As I think I said yesterday (I never re-read my own nonsense so why start now!?) the transfer on it’s own isn’t the most inspiring and neither is what feels like an inflated price, but I’d be surprised if we sign just Neves and nobody else so there’s no point losing our collective sh*t until we get closer towards the start of the season. By the beginning of August hopefully we’ve made a few more moves that give us a clearer indication of the squad for the new season and then we can start to judge how we think the season will shape up.
Something I did spot on my Twitter timeline though that I do think is worth pointing out, is that we have a few very exciting young prospects already at the club that we should be very much looking forward to seeing next season. Bukayo Saka should hopefully be A LOT better than he has already shown us this season and if he shows an evolution on what we saw last season then we will already be in for a better one than the tripe of a season we just had to endure. The same could be said for Martinelli if he can stay fit, as well as Emile Smith-Rowe. All of these players are at the age in which you expect to start seeing upside on their growth curve and that incline – if they truly are to reach their potentials – starts to increase quite dramatically.
It was Elliott on the Arsenal Vision podcast who referenced Raheem Sterling’s goal and assist contributions exploding in his season in which he hit 20 years old I think. I know Emile Smith-Rowe has already past that marker but in the context of playing time he’s probably the equivalent of a player a year younger or two than him. So if we can see the continued improvement from him that we saw from December onwards, then we’ll have quite a playmaker who can feed the likes of Aubameyang.
These types of young and hungry players will be starters from the beginning of the season too now. Let’s not forget that Mikel Arteta seemed to stumble on this deployment of some of these players from effectively the turn of this year. He now knows they can handle it and he now knows he can count on them from the start of the season. It means we already have an advantage on last season and hopefully Mikel has learned the error of his ways by starting next season with some of that young and hungry blood. I’m not going to go all revisionist on last season and try to legislates for the mistakes that Mikel made, but the second half of the season replicated over nine months should probably see us compete for the top four at least.
The challenge will be to ensure that we can replace the players that depart. Ceballos and Luiz I think are do-able and although there are noises about Saliba to Newcastle I just hope that is journo speculation that goes nowhere. Saliba could be a gem and I’ve said that a few times, but I hope that Arteta see’s it and he shows it in pre season. We could all do with that resolving itself to a positive conclusion for all parties and him playing more regularly next season. As for Ceballos, well, that feels like a pretty low bar for us and if that is Ruben Neves then I’m ok with that. £40million seems a lot though I will admit.
The challenge comes is if Neves is a Xhaka replacements, because we still need to go and find another player and if that is a cheap and low-quality alternative (look what we did when we needed a back up ‘keeper…that’s why I’d be worried about a low cost alternative, rather than unearthing a gem) to Ceballos, then it gets a little more difficult to swallow. But as I’ve already said above there’s no point crying over milk that hasn’t even been spilt yet. Better just wait until Edu knocks it over first…
I’m also optimistic over Partey too. He’s just been given permission to miss a couple of games for Ghana which effectively means his summer is freed up for rest and to be ready for the new season. Hopefully there isn’t anything bad behind his omission from these Ghana friendlies and provided that is the case we’ll get a rested and ready Partey for the beginning of the 2021/22 season. Which is exactly what we need.
So there you have it. A case for the defence of optimism over SOME of the players we already have the club, with whom I think we will see a greater up side than we saw this past season.
Look at me. I’m getting positive already. Must be all the sun that is enveloping Britain at the moment.
Catch you all tomorrow.