In the early hours of this morning the kitten woke me up because he decided he needed some attention. So as I rubbed his head and slowly drifted back off to sleep, caught in that half world between proper slumber and being awake, my mind wandered in to this alternate world a bit like Back to the Future II, in which Biff Tannen goes back in time and steals a book of all sports results in history, then uses it to gamble himself to a fortune. I started to doze and imagine I had the same ability, had bought The Arsenal off KSE, then told Arteta he’s got a solid £300million to “Make Arsenal Great Again”.
I think that scenario, as wild as it sounds, is probably more feasible than the one in which KSE fork out that level of money to ensure Arsenal get half of the players they are supposedly looking at this summer. We’ve seen the Maddison rumour pop up quite a lot over the last few days and even our old friend TheAFCBelll wading in with his semi cryptic messages about how both parties have spoken and there’s been some back channel chats, but nothing concrete just yet. When you add that to the noises that we’re also looking at Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan as a possible striking option. I’m not linking to any of those media outlets that are running the story because I don’t want to feed their hunger for clicks, but suffice to say that it’d be a long shot and when you think he’s supposed to be available for £77million, it feels even longer.
So we’ve spent £147million already on two players and I’m only on my third paragraph! How about another one to chuck in to the mix to knock us north of the £200million mark, eh? That’s right, Bruno Guimaraes (sorry, can’t find the accent on the surname on my keyboard and I’m not spending 20 minutes looking for it!) from Lyon is supposedly available for north of £35million and whilst I’m still sceptical on most of these deals, this one at least ‘feels’ a little more realistic. The guy is in his early 20s, he’s had a good season for Lyon, he looks like he’s just breaking in to the Brazilian team, plus Lyon have just signed Paqueta and are known to be out of cash right now. Given they are looking at offloading Aouar for around £20million supposedly, this feels like a deal that can be done and we’ve got history of dealing with Lyon, having bought Lacazette from them for around £50million back in 2017.
The player himself I know little about, but you don’t have to be a genius to be able to see the type of player he could be for us these days. Just get yourself on to YouTube, plus any of the many football stats sites and you can find plenty of information on him, and I have to say it’s information that I like. Progressive with the ball, good at breaking up play and making interceptions, can sit deep in our midfield and if he’s quicker than Xhaka then we have ourselves a player who is worth upgrading on the Swiss international. I’m not sure how much more mobility he has but Xhaka doesn’t really have any at all, so it wouldn’t be hard to get an improvement there. The interesting point about this potential deal as well is that it looks slightly different than the Neves deal that we were linked with earlier in the summer. Neves is, to all intents and purposes, a bit more of a like-for-like Xhaka replacement. Maybe he gets more goals than Xhaka and is younger, but the price we’ve supposedly been quoted is around the £35million mark. That’s the same as Bruno and without having watched or read too much on him, I wonder just how much better he is than Neves. Are we just a little bit more excited on him because he is not as familiar to us? I would suggest that I might certainly be somebody who is guilty of that but I’m somebody who if you ask to go for the ‘mystery box’, I’ll always take that gamble.
So yeah, I’m pretty hot on Bruno Guimaraes, I must confess. I didn’t know him a week ago, but he’s the latest ‘mystery box’ prize and I’m down to see him on board and sat alongside Partey in our midfield next season.
Of course a lot of this depends on what we get for Xhaka and if we can get close to £20million, then you’re talking of a net spend on that replacement of £15million, which doesn’t sound too bad after all. But it’s a game of cat and mouse with Roma now, because we need to offload Xhaka before we get anybody else in and as I’ve said on social media already, I’d be ok with Xhaka sticking around if the deal can’t be done at our price. Of course the worry is that all of the good players are taken by the end of the window and we’re left with the bargain bucket to rummage around in, but where we’re at now I’d be inclined to say we have a player in Xhaka who would be better to keep around than go hunting in that particular bin.
Maybe a little more noise will start to emerge and that’ll give us an indication on whether a deal is getting closer, but these types of rumours always pop up every summer and often disappear as quickly as they appear, so let’s see if there’s any legs to this one in a couple of week’s time. Until then, at least we already have a player in Xhaka who can play for us for another year if we don’t get that replacement.
That’s about it for me today, but before I go I want to point you in the direction of the Arsenal Vision podcast, particularly for a comment made by Clive when talking about Ramsdale. It resonated with me whilst on my run this morning. They were talking about Aaron Ramsdale – a player I’m not particularly keen on and certainly not at £30million – but it at least gave me some perspective. Emi Martinez we all love and kind of wish he’d have stuck around, right? Sure. But Martinez is 28 and has grown in to the ‘keeper he is now. Ramsdale is 23 and still has a lot of growth potential. At 23 years old Martinez made 13 appearances for Wolves as they finished 14th in the Championship. He was never really thought of as an Arsenal first teamer until towards the end of his time at the club. Sure, he emerged and totally took his chance, but the perspective part is that if Emi managed to step up having been loaned out a load in the lower divisions and never really stepping up until about two year’s ago, when he was 26, what could Ramsdale go on to be?
I’m still not sure as what I’ve seen isn’t a worldie of a ‘keeper, but it is still worth keeping that comparison in your minds eye.
Catch you all tomorrow.