Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the pickings remain ‘slim’ when it comes to talking about any new stuff related to Arsenal. It remains quiet and whilst from a morning blog point of view that is somewhat problematic when you’re looking for inspiration to talk about, as soon as I send off today’s daily musings I’ll be quite content that there are no gnashing of teeth or any such issues following picking up 10 points from our last 12.
The closest thing to news we have is that the under-23s played yesterday and from a senior pro perspective there was Jack Wilshere in the stands watching on in an Arsenal jacket. Of course that led to a few sentimental Tweeters on my timeline last night and people tapping in to their nostalgia gene to speculate that he might be back, but I think we all know the reality was probably that it was a little on the chilly side and there was a spare jacket that Jack could put on to head outside and watch the team.
We all love Jack. But he’s just not part of our short, medium or long term future and that Arsenal are giving him access to their facilities to stay fit, to be playing with some other players and training – probably with the Under-23s – speaks volumes as to how the club act with class sometimes when it comes to the older players. I did wonder if Mikel Arteta would see it as a bit of unwanted media speculation, but he’s been pretty clear that he doesn’t think there’s a possibility for Jack to play a part in the first team and so for me it is more about ensuring that we do the right thing by a player who gave good service to the club and was only hampered by his own body at times in his Arsenal career.
I think the best possible outcome from him is to keep training, get his confidence back, then fire his agent because he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy that is going to walk in to negotiations with a lower league club and demand a six figure-per-week salary. Perhaps the global pandemic has hit teams hard and so many are wary of ‘taking a punt’ on a player like Jack, but as he’s already mentioned he just wants to play and with every week that goes by and he doesn’t, I suspect he will be looking to his agent to find any half-decent solution. He’s been injury-free for some time now and so has the evidence to back up that he can remain so for another club. He just needs to find the right club who will give him games and trust that he can do it. I hope he finds that.
As for the rest of the footballing world, well, it sounds like Newcastle are about to be the latest club who are going to win the footballing lottery and having spoken this week about how even the ‘Big Six’ feels like it’s becoming less of a thing, if the stories of the level of investment are true, it will be interesting to see how the other teams react to it. Another team who can spend a billion pound assembling a world-class squad is hardly good for the overall game, is it? Don’t get me wrong, you can’t blame Newcastle fans for getting excited and I don’t begrudge that (The Management’s family are all from that area so I have a soft spot), but the real issue isn’t Newcastle, or me being a ‘jealous’ fan because my clubs owners don’t spend Man City money (don’t be a fool and think KSE has dipped in to their pockets for the money we’ve spent this summer; it has been leveraged against the club in some form of creative loan, let me tell you that much). No, the real issue is how it will now over-inflate the market in to a false position, because an additional club willing to pay over-the odds will increase wages, demand, plus reduce more competition in the market.
If they wanted to create a real sense of competition in the league they could cap the total amount a club could spend through a properly enforced financial fair play system. People have already talked about how a salary cap wouldn’t work – I feel like I heard some nonsense about a restraint of trade or something like that before – but if you stopped a club from spending £250million a season then you could at least keep the spending down, which might stop those ludicrous £100million signings.
Of course the problem is working out where the cap would be because a Watford or a Burnley, for example, are never going to spend £100million+ in a summer, whereas we’ve just done it, so it feels like it would need a bit more thought than an Arsenal fan on a Thursday morning who writes for a hobby. But my sentiment is true and clear; do we really want to turn the Premier League in to a 50% haves and 50% have nots? I don’t. I want clubs to be run well, to rise up through the ranks. I have grown to dislike parts of Leicester over the recent past, but the way that they are run and their model has turned them in to a team who have bought well, sold well, been able to stay relevant towards the top of the league. I want more teams like that, not for the gates to open to yet more billionaires who are going to just pump billions in to a club just because they can.
But who am I? I am a nobody. I have no influence. I have no sway. I just say what I feel and the news about yet another billionaire today just makes me feel a little deflated that football in ten years time will no longer look or represent anything like what I first started watching in the early 90s.
Catch you tomorrow folks.