Morning folks. Hope you’re well. Doing a little bit of R&R at The Management’s Northumbrian-based family over the next week, so some of my usual ramblings might be a little later in release than usual as I sleep in. But I’ll let you know if I see Joe Willock rock up in a hotel restaurant with Steve Bruce at any time.
There hasn’t been much news about him lately and I find that a little weird, because given there are appeared to be very concrete interest from Newcastle towards the end of last season, I’d have thought they’d be banging down his door, but it’s all gone quiet. Perhaps that’s a good thing.
There has been some noises about a few players though, mainly those younger players or those that are on the fringes of the first team. Like weirdly, for example, the noises that Arsenal want to give Reiss Nelson a new contract and then send him out on loan for a season next year. Forgive my naïvety, but I don’t really understand this one, because he was effectively frozen out last season clearly wasn’t part of Arteta’s plans, will get even less game time this season and therefore surely it is best for all parties for us to cash in on him?
I get that Arsenal will want to get him tied down to protect any future transfer value, but what is in it for him? He’s a free agent in 2023 and so he can command a decent sign on fee and wages if he avoids signing a new deal. Arsenal won’t want to keep him hanging around doing nothing next season so he’ll almost certainly at least go out on loan, so I don’t really see an incentive for him to sign any kind of extension. Perhaps if they doubled his rumoured £15,000-per-week wages and all he had to do was to add an extra year to his value, then go out on loan, that would be decent for the 21-year-old, but if I was in his shoes I’d say “thanks guys, but I’ll just head out on loan for a season and then you are going to be forced in to doing a deal for me next summer”.
Of course money changes everything and if he’s got his agent telling him to sign a one year extension and double his purse he might just take it, knowing he’ll never get in to the Arsenal team but at least he’ll earn more cash out on loan next season.
Look at me, I’ve managed to talk myself in to kind of understanding why he would do it if I was in his position!
They other outgoing yesterday was the confirmation that Ben Sheaf joins Coventry City on a permanent deal. There has been no sniff of noise around a fee so I suspect this is one of those free transfers with a big sell on clause, so good luck to Sheaf who, let’s face it wasn’t going to break through and so needs to step up in his career and get a permanent move to see if he can rise up through the ranks.
Upon first glance it is frustrating that we pay these academy players good wages, build them up through our academy, then lose them for basically nothing, but if Sheaf is a success over a couple of year’s at Coventry and earns a move worth £2million, for example, if we’re getting £1million of that then you retrospectively look back and say that’s probably what he was worth when he left Arsenal and so we haven’t really lost out.
I guess it’s just frustrating for us because we know we need to raise cash – despite all the noises of £50million Ben White deals, or big money deals for Locatelli of Sassuolo – and so we are literally in the zone of ‘every little helps’ when it comes to money coming in. Yet all we’ve seen is free transfer deals that aren’t strengthening our “WAR CHEST” at all really. We know the more experienced players are where bigger fees will come from, but if we’d have made a million pound from all of the players that have left us over the last few weeks, we’d probably already have the money for the Nuno Tavares deal.
So yes, it’s those ‘bigger’ and more experienced players that we need to offload, but some of them aren’t helping, namely Granit Xhaka. He’s really pissed me off with his comments actually. He knows he’s an Arsenal player and should let the negotiation play out, but he’s clearly trying to drive this deal harder and get us to drop our already low price by making comments about how interesting it is to learn a new language, how he knows what Roma represent and how he will speak after the tournament.
I tell you what Granit, how about you just don’t, eh? How about you just shut up, let the deal go through and stop trying to drive this price down by making cryptic public comments? I really winds me up when this happens. It smacks of a lack of class and whilst I’ve been a fan of Xhaka during his Arsenal career – in the most part – it kind of makes me want Arsenal to just shunt him out the door so we can get on with our lives. We need to cull some members of our squad and whilst I didn’t think it would be Xhaka, this is making me feel quite ok if it happened now. Shame, as he is such a polarising player, but I do think he’s been very good for us in the most part.
Life goes on. Nobody is at Arsenal forever except us fans (well, until we kick the bucket, that is!) and so we move on.
And so will I for today. The weather looks good and it’s time for a run.
Catch you all in the morrow.