Happy Friday folks. Hope you’re all good and feeling fine and dandy ahead of the weekend. I bet Albert Sambi Lokonga is, because apparently his medical is today, which means we’ll all know a little more about the flight paths that exist between Belgium and the UK by the time we rest our weary heads this evening. Then, when it’s all announced, we’ll be so desensitised to the whole transfer that we’ll all be moving on to the next one, like the rabid transfer-starved dogs that we are.
Still, at least it’ll be something to chew on, so I won’t complain too much.
In terms of ‘fresh’ transfer news there isn’t really anything I’m seeing or hearing, but there does appear to be some recycled news rearing it’s head again. The Ruben Neves stuff is back and there are a few journos peddling the line that we’re back in for him. If it’s true then it means we’ve probably given up on Locatelli, probably because it was never going to happen, but it also means that the other options have been slowly weeded out.
I hope we aren’t going to be selling the family china to get him though, because it seemed like Wolves wanted a kings ransom and the idea that we’re going to pay £35million for a slight upgrade on Xhaka isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. Not unless Arsenal are going to get a big fee for Xhaka. The Italians have been reporting that the deal is ticking along and that Arsenal are ready to sell when that replacement – Neves – is in, but if you tell me we’re offloading Xhaka for say, £25million, then paying around £30million for Neves, it kinda makes sense to me. It’s not exactly the way I’d go I.e. similar type of player to Xhaka coming in, but if we do a deal that means we can still go big in other areas of the pitch then I’m all good with it.
That’s the problem with being an Arsenal fan, though, isn’t it? We all become amateur accountants because we know our finances are finite and limited. If somebody told me there was a blank chequebook that has been handed to Edu then I’d probably care less about getting someone like Neves, because I’d know we will spend big in other areas. Right now I just don’t know if that’ll happen, hence why the concern still exists on some of our proposed signings. We all know that KSE offers nothing in terms of trying to step in at this difficult time and they will continue to be absent owners happy to settle for the slow decline of one of their biggest assets. So we know that no massive ‘war chest’ exists. All that will exist is creative accounting and whilst I’m sure some of that will happen this summer, nobody can convince me that if we sign Tavares, Neves, Lokonga and White for north of £100million, we’ll be dropping another £100million in positions we need to improve on to stand a chance of top four.
It just ain’t happening.
So if it does happen with Neves, I think we might be looking at a ‘thank you for your interest in our transfer affairs. We’ll be back in January’ situation. Which will hardly get Arsenal fans up off their seats.
One transfer that might get people off their seats is Aouar from Lyon, who is apparently available at a slightly reduced price of around £25million this summer, which might peak Arsenal’s interest. If true then it would certainly be worth a sniff at, but the ESR situation – contractually still unresolved – complicates it somewhat. For example if we announced Aouar tomorrow, would ESR’s people be as minded to sign a new deal with the club if his path is potentially blocked by a player who specialises in that position that ESR wants to make his own? Maybe. People are talking about how Ben White’s potential transfer means that Saliba looks to have packed his bags for more game time and with less matches next season, is that one reason why Smith Rowe’s camp are stalling a little?
I could understand it. The money side is one thing, but if other teams are offering more money as well as more game time, you can see why the player could be supposedly considering his options. The noises remain that he will want to sign for us, but the longer this drags out, the more you wonder if his representatives want to see what Arsenal are intending on doing in the transfer market.
Of course what Arteta could do – like he did last season – is to give ESR games on the flanks. If he’s told by the manager that he’ll be a mainstay in the first team, he’ll play at least half the season in at no.10 but the other half as a wide forward, Emile might be happy with that. Why would he not be? But I guess he needs to be given those assurances that what Arteta did last season with him was going to be replicated this season. I wouldn’t have thought it would be too difficult for Arteta to give those assurances. After all, ESR was one of the catalysts for the upturn in form of the team last season, so it should be a little bit of a no brainer from Arteta’s side.
Again, we wait, as seems to be the soup de jour for Arsenal at the moment. Fingers crossed they change the menu soon though. I’m hungry for some transfer/contract news.
Catch you all tomorrow.