Stepping in to a nice, ice cold shower, with the weather in blighty like it is right now, is some kind of heaven. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m loving the warm weather, because we get so little of it in this country. So you won’t get me moaning that it is too hot. Nosiree.
A place where it is frequently hot however, is Florida, which was due to be the scene for Arsenal’s US tour in the Florida Cup for pre season. The club were due to be flying out this week but sadly, due to a number of cases of COVID being reported in the Arsenal camp, the trip was cancelled yesterday and officially confirmed by the club. I have to say I feel for all the Gooners out there in America who were going to be going along to these games. There are a fair few in the States that I chat to and follow on Twitter and although these are friendly games, for some it is the only time they get to see The Arsenal live and in the flesh. My season ticket for the whole season is less than what most US fans would pay to go and watch one single game at the Emirates and so the idea that a more affordable option is taken away from them due to this dreadful global disease, is a sad and frustrating one.
Frustrating because it is nobodies fault, but also because most of the American Arsenal fans I follow agree it is actually in fact the right thing to do. Apparently cases are higher in Florida and a whole heap of Arsenal fans from the country descending on Orlando probably isn’t the best idea. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t harsh on those fans so I feel for them.
How this impacts Arsenal’s pre season prep remains to be seen. The players are back at London Colney and they are training. Apparently those that tested positive are asymptomatic and whilst they will have to isolate at home, that should mean that they can still train and keep their fitness up – the players that caught it anyway – although that is no match for an actual match and getting that match fitness though.
I suspect there will be a hastily arranged pre season friendly with a local London club like a Barnet, or maybe Arsenal can get Watford to call in sick for their friendly arranged with Stevenage?
The reality is that most teams have their pre season games already lined up so unless a side wants to shoehorn another match in for the benefit of Arsenal, it will be tough to get a friendly arranged. I’m sure someone will sort something out. The two games were due to be played on Sunday and then the Wednesday next week, so if Arsenal can get a game or two sorted on Sunday or Monday then at least they can keep to a rough schedule in terms of training and prep.
What we really didn’t need is this disruption now and the other worry is just how transmissible those that were infected are. Imagine if they’ve already infected some of the group and there are players who go down with something this time next week. So far it appears as though those affected haven’t been too bad, but as we know COVID impacts people differently. Just look at Saint-Maximin. He was out for over a month in total I think due to COVID and then the after effects and trying to get back up to full fitness. Imagine if a wave swept over the team and then we had half a dozen first team players suddenly out for a month at the start of the season? We already have one or two issues with late returning players from the Euro’s, injuries to players like Gabriel, plus question marks over whether some of the players are going to be moved on soon. This particular situation is the last thing Arteta needs.
He must be wondering when he’s going to have a normal life as a manager!
Hopefully the team can get through this with minimal disruption though. Let’s see and keep our fingers crossed.
Of course the other news that is constant at this time of year is transfer tittle tattle. Last week we saw Ornstein report that Ben White has had his deal agreed to sign for Arsenal from Brighton and of course some Arsenal fans went in to flight tracking overdrive to find out that he’s in Rome and was then boarding a private jet. The reality of course could be that he’s just heading home, or maybe somewhere else, but you know us Arsenal fans, we love putting two and two together to make 738.
I’m sure he will eventually be heading to Arsenal to sign but for now let’s leave him on his holiday’s and let the transfer play out with minimal fuss and speculation, eh?
No, didn’t think so….
The other news that is being kicked around a bit is that of a possible move for Tammy Abraham. Chelski are ready to offload him and apparently we are being quoted £40million as a loan with obligation to buy next season. He’s relatively young, English, plus has scored a few goals against us, but that still feels high. Last season he got 11 goals in 32 games in all competitions, including 15 appearances from the bench. He is clearly not wanted at Chelski and yet they are commanding a fair ol’ price for a player that seems to average roughly a goal every three games in the Premier League in his career. When you think that we’re having clubs bid £12million for Eddie Nketiah, yet Chelski are going for £40million for Abraham, I’m hoping Arsenal don’t have anything more than a sniff at the player and move on. He could be half decent at Arsenal, but not at that price I don’t think. I also think that unless we’re moving on Lacazette for cash this summer, then that move for Abraham is probably dead in the water anyway. If he doesn’t get a move from Chelski this summer then next summer he’ll have a year left on his deal and would probably be worth having a chat to Chelski. But not right now.
And with that I think I shall call it a day. Have a good one, be good, stay safe and I’ll catch you tomorrow.