Everyone thought the Nuno Tavares move seemed sensible enough, right? Young, hungry to prove himself, low fee, good understudy.
Then we all poretty much agreed that Albert Sambi Lokonga was a good move for The Arsenal, yeah? Young, athletic, speaks decent English so should be able to slot in well in terms of communication, looks to have a good passing range and has defensive qualities. A very good upgrade on Ceballos that had us all in agreement that if that was the play by the club, they’ve done well.
Two moves that are designed to strengthen the team in terms of those sitting just on the edges of the first XI. Perfectly fine.
But then after that decent bit of work by the club, what we’re being served up in the rumour mill right now all seems a little, well, uninspiring I’m afraid.
Aaron Ramsdale for £32million? Please Arsenal, don’t get taken for a ride.
Tammy Abraham for £40million? See above.
Ruben Neves for £35million? See above again.
Jordan Friggin’ Henderson at 31??? Come on now.
Even Ben White is over priced at £50million but you can make a case for him given his quick trajectory and positive vibes being given from those that watch him. I think I already said in a previous blog that one of my colleagues at work is a Leeds fan and his comments to me were:
“I really rate him. He is excellent on the ball and a very good defender for us (in the Championship). Very similar to John Stones without the complete loss of all sense. I do think he will be starting for England in two to three years for example. Then again I think £50m is expensive for the player he is now – in Brighton for example he is seen by their fans as their third best CB, but then again if he continues to develop the way he is, he will be worth well above £50m. At that price tag though it does feel a bit of a risk on future potential vs the player he is now”
So in White we are trying to buy that potential whilst paying a little bit more over the odds. Not ideal in a summer in which we are pretty financially limited, but if that is Arteta’s man then so be it, let’s get behind it. I can go ‘ all in’ on Ben White. But the other names mentioned about just feel like we’re playing a premium on players who might notch us maybe one or two players higher in the league. And for where we are right now at this moment in time that just isn’t good enough.
I think that’s why fans – me included – look overseas at players rather than some of those that we’ve been linked with. If you play in the Premier League there is already a premium placed on you; we all know that to be true. It used to be an ‘English Premium’ – which still exists – but now it is a ‘Premier League premium’, so by virtue of the fact they have Premier League minutes clubs can try to charge more for their players.
Except Arsenal of course. Got a player who’s played 50-odd Premier League games? Had an England cap or two? Is young? Ooooooh…you’re talking £30million at lea……oh, wait, he’s at The Arsenal? Can it £15million, tops.
That’s why I think there are so many of us looking abroad, because we know we’re going to get shafted and if we had a billionaire who will pump money in to the club to improve us incrementally, then next summer do the same like City did until they got to where they are now, as a fan you don’t really worry too much about it. I’m sure no City fans worried that they paid £42million for Mangala, only for him to exit the club on loan after two seasons, because they knew the club would just get somebody else. That won’t happen at Arsenal. The reason Arsenal fans are all amateur accountants and worried about big fees for players is that we fear that it would be that player or bust. And whilst Ben White will be a good signing if/when it happens, as an Arsenal fan are you a little concerned as me that the clubs’ view would be “well, that’s that for the budget, so who’s available on the cheap we can get in at right back, centre midfield and in at number ten?”
THAT is where the real concern comes from and the idea that Arsenal will spend more money on players like Neves, Ramsdale and Abraham, means that we will be lumbered with players who might improve us a bit, but ultimately in three year’s time won’t have us fighting for the title but will be sat on nice fat contracts.
That’s what’s going to happen with Willian. We all know it. A big fat contract for a big fat flop, who we can’t get rid of and who bombed within about three months of joining us. It was a car crash of a decision and Arsenal find themselves in the Ozil situation again, which will probably mean that Willian stays and takes up a valuable space in the squad to do the square root of naff all. It’s probably also why so many of us are worried about Jordan Henderson joining. Decent enough player but his decline will soon be felt and we don’t want him seeing out the autumn of his career at Arsenal for three years, just so we can pay him a handsome wage and he ends up sitting on his contract for two of the three year’s we’ve signed him for.
So the names we’ve been linked with now are a little worrying for me. At least with an overseas player you might be able to get it for a cheaper price, but also there is an element of rolling the dice. Houssem Aouar from Lyon represents a young player who has shone in Champions League games, can play a few positions but also is an unknown quantity in terms of the Premier League. He could flop, but equally he could absolutely kill it. We have fallen so far down the Premier League pecking order that we need to start making some of these risks and I don’t see some of these Premier League-linked players as those that offer that level of risk.
Arsenal: take some risks. We’re at the point where we really need to, surely?
That’ll do me for today.
Catch you tomorrow.