Morning folks, how are we all doing? Watch any of the Euro’s yesterday? I caught bits of it but missed the Scotland game. See what happens when you don’t have yer man Tierney on the pitch? Carnage.
To be fair that second Czech Republic goal was a peach and we should thank Schick for also creating one hell of a meme for the world to go nuts over, with David Marshall I’m sure not loving waking up this morning to picture after picture of his jumping pose being super-imposed on a about a million different images. Funny as heck though.
I caught the last ten minutes of the Poland game against Slovakia and felt for the Poles a bit. The second yellow for one of their players seemed harsh to me and whilst I know it’s part of the game these days, but the theatrics of the Slovakian player just to ensure he got his man sent off, left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. I think most football fans would call it a ‘soft’ red, so it was quite funny for the ITV team to cut to Peter Walton who said that he had no problem with the red card, then basically went back to everyone in the studio who essentially said it was harsh. If ever you wanted an illustration of how out of touch referees in our country are with the rest of the footballing world, it was there in that short three minute debate.
As for the evening game, well, to say that was a snoozefest was an understatement. Spain couldn’t finish their dinner, whereas the Swedes were just happen to go starving, sitting back, booting the ball away when they got the chance, as well as ending the game with just 15% possession. I’d thought to myself in the morning that of the three games yesterday that was the one I thought would be the most interesting, just it ended up being the worst. The only moderately interesting thing was seeing the Swedish centre forward Alexander Isak, who is currently at Sociedad, almost get off the mark with a decent strike that came off a Spanish player and then off the post, then for him to dance around a few Spaniards before putting a chance for Berg on one heck of a plate for him to fluff his lines. Isak looks like one heck of a talent and of course it was inevitable that after the game my timeline was full of Gooners wanting Arsenal to go get him. I’m in that camp too, to be fair, but the only problem is that although he didn’t score he did look impressive and he’s now playing on an international stage with millions of eyeballs watching him. Any player that lights it up at any international tournament like this is immediately going to be hot property and that is probably where our interest cools. Simply put, we can’t afford ‘hot properties’ where we are at; we have no incentive of European football to offer, we have no money to speak of, so all we have is the silver tongue of Arteta and Edu and whilst that might be something to intrigue a player like Iask, you can bet your bottom dollar that his agent and Sociedad would be unmoved unless big money came in.
And that, is why we should probably already forget about it, because Arsenal won’t go big on a player who excels at the Euro’s. Not unless he has a buy out clause. But even if he does he’ll be courted by a wealth of other teams. I just Googled ‘Alexander Isak’ and although the stories showed a few links to Arsenal (probably because of the Google algorithm knowing full well what I Google every day), there were also links to Liverpool too. Spurious ones of course, but do any of us believe he’d choose us over Liverpool in a straight fight for the signature? I don’t think even the most optimistic Gooner would think that. So as much as I enjoyed him playing and looking every bit the player worthy of the Euro 2020 stage, I won’t hold my breath on that one. If we really wanted a chance of getting him then you’d expect we’d have already got a fee accepted by now to avoid the Euro 2020 premium.
The player who it does seem like we’re more closely sniffing around is Lokonga, who I wrote about last week but two week’s ago had never heard of. A couple of sources who are supposedly credible are now saying we’ve had a bid of €15million rejected and that Anderlecht are holding out for €20million. If he’s the guy that Arteta has his sights on in midfield then that feels like a fee that wouldn’t be insurmountable. The question is whether any kind of bid has actually gone in. Again, we’ll find out soon enough I suspect, but at this early stage in the drama there’s really not much more worth looking in to I don’t think.
Today there’s Portugal against Hungary and France vs Germany in the evening and that’s definitely one worth tuning in for I reckon. Not least to see Mbappe become the last line of defence for Thierry Henry’s France goal record as Giroud hunts it down, whilst bemoaning that nobody passes to him to get there. I got France in the company sweepstake so of course chucked a cheeky fiver on them each way too, but you hear noises like that from the French squad and immediately think this will probably be one of those tournaments where they get knocked out early on. But at least it’s better than what I usually get, which would have been somebody like Slovakia or North Macedonia. Right now I’ve got to take France; coupled with England as my country of birth and Germany as my grandmothers country of birth, I’ve got a few hats I can hang my hopes on for this tournament. Maybe one of them will actually do the business.
Catch you all tomorrow.