Another fun few games in the Euro’s yesterday, which was always good to watch as a neutral. I watched the second half of the Poland vs Sweden game and it had intensity, intrigue, plus a few goals to swing the momentum one way then the other. Then we had the France v Portugal game and that too had the same until it started to die out in the final few minutes as both sides knew they were through. But it was the Germany game that had the biggest impact in England last night, as their late goal against Hungary ensured that they qualified as runners up, which means they’ll be heading to Wembley to face England in the Round of 16.
That’s harsh on an admittedly poor England side so far. To top your group and end up having to play Germany is harsh, but Croatia in second play the Spanish, so it wouldn’t have been much easier for the English team. It is at Wembley which is perhaps a slight advantage, but not really that much when you look at England’s record. The last time they beat England in a competitive match was the 5-1 in 2001, which is a full 20 years ago. The head to head in all comps reads 13 to England and 15 to Germany, but when I tell you that seven of England’s 13 wins came between 1935 and 1966, it hit homes just how poor England have been in my life time.
As a person born in England but with German descent in my family, I’ve always been able to hold a little torch for the Germans and usually put more of my faith in them winning than the English, but i’d be lying if I said that I would have preferred this match, as well as Germany to progress beyond England. But I suppose any silver lining for me is that whoever wins next week I’ll be able to get behind.
The other positive side of the draw that both teams got is that the winner will play either Sweden or the Ukraine in Rome. I’d fancy either team being able to better either of those sides, so you’re then looking at a semi final and it probably being against the Netherlands. But these are all “ifs” and “buts” for now. Let’s just see how Tuesday unfolds.
In terms of the Arsenal world there hasn’t really been much out there if I’m honest. I’ve seen some noises about Bellerin replacing Hakimi, after PSG have reportedly agreed a deal for the right back. I guess this one would make sense; Bellerin is looking for an out, Inter will be on the market for a right back, they will have some money and Bellerin will be a decent addition for them. There is still a good player in there and at his age he still has at least another five year’s at the top I would say, so they would be getting a player in his prime who has perhaps stagnated a little. And if we offload for a decent price – let’s say, £20 – £25million – it is money in our coffers and we can look at who we want to bring in.
The only slightly concerning thing, however, is that I haven’t really been linked with anyone with any real intensity in the rumours as of yet. I have seem some tenuous suggestions that Lamptey from Brighton is being looked at, but nothing really concrete and when there is a bit of journo noise from those who are on the regular Arsenal beat, you know that something is at least happening in terms of interest being peaked. But that hasn’t really happened with Lamptey.
I really like him though. Quick, good beating a man and at times last season was one of Brighton’s top chance creators last season. He looks dynamic, is only 20-year’s-old but as we are seeing with Ben White, would probably be priced quite high if Arsenal went looking for his signature. There has been lots of talk this summer about how Arsenal are looking at players who have already established a level of Premier League experience and so he would fit the bill, but given our restraint on costs this summer I just wonder if for the right back position we should be looking at mainland Europe. All of the Premier League teams have been affected by the pandemic, but mainland Europe does not have the riches and opportunity to recover revenues as quickly as Premier League teams, so I don’t really know why we aren’t looking to raid Europe. Just look at Patson Daka probably going to Leicester. A very good player who is apparently going for a song. We should probably be looking at mainland Europe to do the same. It is encouraging re: the Lokonga rumours, but why aren’t we looking at other moves like that?
I understand that moving a player from a different league to the Premier League is a risk, but we don’t have the money to just raid the Premier League; the premium is too much and teams want about 50% more than what you get in mainland Europe for players of similar quality, from what I have seen.
Take James Maddison for example. Very good player, excellent numbers in terms of what he creates, but had a couple of injuries. In Mainland Europe a “Maddisinski” would probably be about £30million. But in our country he is being touted as north of £65million. It seems a lot to me. I’d love it if he joined and I probably shouldn’t care about how much he costs as I don’t have to fund it, but as with all these things it is not about what he costs, but how that money potentially takes away cash from other deals that are needed to be done this summer. I hear people talking about Arsenal spend big but I am still yet to believe it if I’m honest, I believe we have a finite pot and if that pot is, say, £100million, do we solve our problems as a team with James Maddison and Ben White? Not for me.
If you’re telling me we’re getting Maddison, White, a top quality right back, a decent left back back, Lokonga and then possibly getting Lacazette out the door with a suitable replacement in, then I’m all in for these deals. But I don’t think we have that kind of money and the firesale of our deadwood isn’t going to fetch that much I can tell you!
But we’re still waiting now and we just have to watch it unfold. Could do with it unfolding sooner rather than later though.
Catch you all tomorrow.