We’re another Monday closer to the Premier League kick off boys and girls, with this week’s current noises from an Arsenal perspective being the eventual signing of Ben White from Brighton, who is expected to undertake his medical on Wednesday and sign for us by the time we play Chelski at The Emirates in the latest round of friendlies from the Mind series. Most of us have talked and talked and talked about Ben White already, so have become…I don’t know what the best word is for it, because I was going to go with ‘de-sensitised’ to it, but that probably isn’t right…but certainly the fact that we all already know everything there is to know about it means that when it’s announced it’ll come as little surprise to any of us. All we’re waiting for now is him wearing the shirt and then perhaps be at The Emirates to watch his new teammates.
So I’m going to stop the White chatter there and instead focus on those couple of games we’ve got over back-to-back weekends with both Chelski and the Totts. Because it’s going to be interesting, particularly that second friendly at their toilet bowl of a stadium, what with all North London Derby’s usually being a little bit spicy. The game against the financially doped oil whores are usually a little less spicy and we’ve seen the occasional match overseas game over recent years with them, but not usually against The Scum. Not that I can remember anyway. So it’ll be easy to see how seriously they take it, especially with there most likely to be a pretty full house when we rock up there. The Government has just said that they are going to request that all spectators to games are vaccinated and all of the clubs involved in this series are sure to want to get as many people filling the stadiums as possible, so they’ll be the first full houses for these games and that will naturally mean that there might be some vociferous noises in all the games, what with people largely being unable to get to games until now.
Although having said that I’ve just had a look at the tickets available on the Arsenal website and where I sit in Block Five there are loads of spaces still available. That might be due to the fact that the club appear to be charging quite high prices for what is essentially a friendly game. If I wanted to take my seat at the game in Block Five, for example, then I’d be looking at £31.50. They’ve dropped the price for concessions and so hopefully there can be plenty of people who want to go along and watch the game with their kids. Perhaps that will be a better option but given the amount of spaces still free, it does surprise me that the club haven’t gone a little harder at just trying to fill the ground up. The club are donating £5 to the charitable causes and Mind itself, but that still leaves £25 going in to the club’s own coffers and whilst I get that the stadium needs all of the staff, costs of putting on a game, security, etc, it still feels a little strange that for a charity match they are making a fair bit of cash. If they sell out all 60,000 tickets, for example, they’ll make at least £1.5million, not to mention all the merch and other retail and hospitality sales.
We all know that the club need to start recouping cash asap, but I dunno, maybe it’s just me, but I would have thought that this series would have been used to just get fans back in and enjoy the spectacle of once again having fans back in the stadium. If they charged adults who came with a kid like £20, then let one child come free, for example, they could probably pay for all matchday running costs, then also have money to give to Mind and the other charitable causes Arsenal support. Again though, I don’t know exactly how much it costs to put on a game so can’t say I am speaking with all of the facts. Just an opinion as always.
The only other bit of news worth talking about this morning was more of the Xhaka rumours, which are saying that the deal to send him to Roma has hit a snag. That snag being Roma not wanting to pay what he is worth. And honestly, I hope Arsenal stand firm on this, because I don’t think we are in a position to be handing over our first team players just because there is interest. We had interest in Ben White, but we weren’t getting him for £12million and vouchers to spend in The Armoury. Brighton stood firm, we’ve paid the asking price, so the deal is on the verge of being completed. It should be the same with Xhaka and now I wonder what the next step will be. Xhaka was making eyes at Roma during the Euro’s and he’s due to return to training next week with Arsenal. My hope is that he is a professional about this, keeps his head focused on the fact he’s an Arsenal player, whilst acknowledging that if Roma really do want him as their main man next season, they need to pay his value. And it’s not as if we’re asking for a ton of cash. The noises are of €20million, £17million, and for a guy who is 28 and has just had a blinder at an international tournament, that ain’t a lot of cash. We should stay firm and tell Xhaka to get his head firmly in the zone of being an Arsenal player next season, because if Roma REALLY want him that bad they will find a way to sign the player.
Right, that’ll do me for another day. Have a good one, enjoy your Monday, and I’ll catch you in the morrow.