Happy Saturday guys! Hope you are all well? It’s due to be an absolute scorcher this weekend, so of course I’m going to spend it inside watching the Euro’s!
Obviously not, but I might find a way to get my laptop covered so I can watch some of the games whilst bathing myself on that rarity of things in the UK: natural sunlight.
I did watch parts of the opening game last night and although Turkey were pretty poor….one might even say they were stuffed…..*waits for laughter and applause. Doesn’t come….makes a little clearing of the throat noise and carries on with the blog*…..by Italy last night but do you know what, I didn’t mind that at all. So many opening games have been cagey, frustrating affairs to watch as a neutral and so to see Italy press high, win the ball back quickly and look so composed with three goals in their opening game, it felt like the start of potentially something quite exciting.
There are three games today and Wales play in the first one and I might even find time to watch that. But it’s underway and at least that is a distraction from the pain that is the open transfer window.
It’s painful because already it feels relentless. Buendia, Bissouma, Lokonga, Onana, Neves, Bertrand, Celik and now the latest one from The Athletic is the noises that newly called up England International Ben White from Brighton is available if the price is right. I went on Twitter calling out this rumour from The Athletic – who are normally pretty good with publishing things that are credible – as utter madness. I got a bit of a backlash but the benefit of writing a daily blog is that I can show my workings in more than 250 characters.
The transfer itself and the player himself isn’t the thing that is madness. By all accounts Ben White had an impressive loan spell at Leeds, then last season came back to Brighton and has once again impressed. It’s the perfect example of using a loan spell well and then having a player come back to you in good nick and ready to make the step up. Ben White did that. But if that story might sound a little familiar, then it should do, because haven’t we just had a similar scenario in our other young centre half William Saliba. He has just excelled on a six month loan spell, so much so that he got in to the French League Team of the Season having just played half a season. I saw a few people retort that the French League and English Premier League are very different and of course that remains true. But it remains true for Gabriel who has impressed for us last season, as well as Wesley Fofana who impressed for Leicester City too. You can’t have one rule for one and apply different logic for another. Saliba may not gel, he may not be the answer to our troubles, although they are mitigated as apparently we had the third best defence last season. Which is another reason to scratch your head to see us linked with ANOTHER centre half. If it is true that we are looking for another centre half then it worries me. That’s because with Saliba returning we have that cover. We also have options beyond Holding, Mari and Gabriel in the shape of Chambers. We have PLENTY of centre halves. So why are we linked with another one?
Our problem wasn’t at centre half all the time last season, it was at full back due to injuries and form, it was in midfield due to the likes of Ceballos being terrible, but more than anything else it was in the lack of goals we scored. THAT should be our priority in this early stages of the summer. We should be addressing areas where there are clear deficiencies in our team. Then, if there is an opportunity for an upgrade – like a very likeable but average Holding being moved on and White replacing him, for example, I’d be all for it. But to me this rumour is worrying because it’s like all those days when we were just one player in a specific position away from challenging for the league, then we go and sign somebody in a totally different position. Like the January window where we needed defensive cover, so Wenger bought Arshavin. Or the window in which David Villa was available for Arsenal and we needed another attacker, but we bought Monreal I think and that was it. Monreal was a good signing, but we should have done him plus a striker and who knows where we’d have ended up if we did.
The problem we have now is that we appear to be looking at positions in which we are already fully stocked, but instead of us being one or two players in specific positions away from competing, we finished mid table. We are an average side. We don’t need to upgrade in a position or two, but in LOADS of positions, which is where the fee then comes in, because the talk is of between £40 – £50million. Now, I’m not convinced that good ol’ Uncle Stan from the States is going to pop up with a £250million war chest, are you? If you are then perhaps you should prepare yourself for disappointment, because KSE don’t give two sh*ts about Arsenal and dipping their hands in to their own pockets isn’t something that they’ll be doing any time soon. So if they are not doing that, where is the money coming from? Arsenal have to raise the cash through sales or take out some kind of loan to pay for this and if we’re saying that we need a right back, left back back up, another two central midfielders, a number 10 for rotation and possibly another striker if Lacazette and Eddie depart, how are we going to fund that if we’re spending £50million on Ben White?
Again, I must reiterate, if this was an upgrade on the likes of Holding then I’d probably be ok with it, but it just smells of a manager saying “not my player” with Saliba and if that’s the case then it’s sad really. It also taints my view on Arteta. I am utterly desperate for him to be a success at Arsenal but he’s made one or two decisions that have just made me a little sad really and this would be another one.
I hope I’m wrong. It’s still only speculation and all of the above thinking could just be trash for the gutter when August comes. I would certainly prefer that to be the case.
Catch you wonderful humans tomorrow with some more thinkings.