It seems like there apears to be some movement in the departure lounge at London Colney. Over the last 48 hours we’ve heard stories about Palace wanting Nketiah for £10million, Fiorentina wanting Torreira for €1.5million loan deal and €15million option to buy at the end of next season, as well as…drumroll…Corinthians wanting Willian on a free transfer.
It says quite something that in a summer in which the club need cash ASAP, the latter transfer has us all the most hopeful of an exit, such is the shocking nature of how the deal has panned out. When Willian arrived he told us Arteta had told him to help Arsenal win the Champions League within three years. As it stands right now it doesn’t look like we will even be in the competition for three years, let alone winning it!
A free transfer that has been an unequivocal failure. 20 year’s ago we didn’t think that could be a thing, yet here we are, saying our prayers at night hoping we get the tubby Brazilian off our books so we can all move on. He delivered one superb debut and nothing else and I don’t think anyone will be sad to see the back of him.
And I think it should be a very black mark on Edu and Arteta’s reign, because this was 100% their man and a free transfer exit within a year shows just how terrible their decision making was on that one. You can’t blame Raul for that one I’m afraid. That’s all on Mikel and Mr Gaspar.
There’s also no way Corinthians will pay all of his wages, so once again we’ll be looking a subsidising a player to go and play elsewhere. It’s criminal management by the club and represents a reason as to why we are in the mess we are in. It also should call in to question KSE, because they are the ultimate decision makers and unless there are some repercussions for the manager and Edu behind the scenes that we don’t know about, it looks from the outside like they have overseen a situation where a manager can get what he wants, with no checks and balances, and that leads to this deal which has cost the club millions at a time in which we’re scrabbling around for any kind of cash that we can.
That’s what bad owners are. They are people who don’t hold their staff accountable and don’t ensure that there are measures in place to assess success or failure. Mikel has nobody who will say “this won’t work, Mikel, trust me”. He has Edu who appears to just be his wing man. You don’t need that from a Technical Director. You need a guy who will challenge. The relationship needs to be good between the pair of them, but that doesn’t mean that one needs to be clearly subservient to the other. That’s what it feels like with Edu and Arteta.
Anyway, let’s move on, hope the deals get done, so we can shape our squad a little better. And we’re all praying for a right back right now, right? Like, if we offload Nketiah, Torreira, Kolasinac and Willian this week, let’s use that freed up wages and potential additional cash to go and get a half decent right back who has a bit more pace about him. Chambers was a good project last summer when the league didn’t matter from about February, but even though I am a fan, he was never a long term solution. He was always a sticking plaster and with Bellerin presumably out in the cold, the club needs to be making rapid moves to find somebody else.
Or, and this maybe crazy….we could, y’know, use one of the half decent options we have? Like Maitland-Niles. I have no idea why Ainsley isn’t banging down his doors and saying to Mikel “look, I know it hasn’t been great between us, I know you’ve been reluctant to play me, but if you give me a chance I’ll be your right back. Remember the FA Cup final? I know that was on the left, but I will give my all for that right slot if you give me a chance”.
Maitland-Niles got in to the England squad playing in that position. He impressed enough to start a cup final. He showed energy and athleticism. Heck, he’s even had a clobbermeister like Allardyce telling him to play wherever Arsenal want him to play. And he’s the best option right now if he wanted it! You can’t tell me Cedric is anywhere near as good as Maitland-Niles if Ainsley’s head is in the right place. Chambers has shown he gets turned more times than a pancake on Shrove Tuesday. So if Maitland-Niles really wanted it he could probably have already taken that slot and we might even have Arsenal fans saying we’ve at least bought some time with him there. It could re-launch his career at the club. Yet if the rumours are true that he’s adamant he’ll play central midfield, he could end up anywhere. I admire his courage and self belief, but football history is littered with players who didn’t take chances that were staring them in the face and then ended up costing them very good careers. It will be a shame for that to happen to him with his Arsenal career.
I do wonder if Arteta still turns to him when the window slams shut and if we haven’t done any business. I guess it also depends on whether Bellerin moves on but that all feels very quite. Hector might want to leave but we can’t just golden payment him on a free transfer to the team he wants. Or offload to a side who doesn’t want to pay anything other than a packet of peanuts. There has to be at least some value extracted from the player.
I guess it’s a problem the club will look to solve once these other deals are done and the wages are off the wage bill of the above mentioned players. And until that is 100% confirmed they probably have their hands tied behind their backs a bit financially. It is a binding that they put themselves in to be fair, but it is still one that exists.
Catch you all tomorrow.