Antonio Conte to the Scum, Unai Emery to the new Geordie Oil Whores, what is happening right now? What weird twilight zone have we fallen in to that sees this collective of randomness occur?
In fairness Conte has hedged his bets with an 18-month contract and you have to hope that is fails dismally and he takes his money and runs by the end of it, but I fear that he might actually get a tune out of this Tottenham squad. There are people on the internet who are just dismissing it because “it’s only Spurs” and I get that, but what I’m reading is people less worried because they don’t think he will win silverware. That’s not my immediate concern. My immediate concern is that a team that is ‘there or thereabouts’ in the league with us suddenly have a better manager, better tactician and a guys who will get more from his players than Nuno did. I’m a worrier; those of you who for some reason read my nonsense every day will know that, and my ‘antsy’ level just moved up a notch.
It’s the same with Emery, who is apparently the front runner for Newcastle and although he wasn’t great for us, he’s shown he’s not a completely busted flush and imagine if he’s given an unlimited budget. Maybe he could do more than he did with us, where he was just handed players he didn’t want (Pepe instead of Zaha is one we all know of). Plus as an ex-Arsenal employee I think it’s the unwritten words of football that he has to get one over on us. Ex players, Ex managers, they all seem to be able to get one over on us (as Paddy Vieira almost showed a couple of weeks ago) and Emery already has by knocking us out of the Semi Final of the Europa League last season. So that’ll be another consideration, another worry for my brains internal ‘worry wall’.
But let’s focus on the Arsenal here and now and with no game in midweek as all of the other sides at the top travel around Europe, we’re at home looking ahead to Watford and wondering what lies ahead for us against a Claudio Ranieri team. I would have thought it would be fairly easy to think about ways to beat Watford, were it not for that result at Everton, but their shock win there shows that even the teams that look in the doldrums are capable of a result and so I hope Arsenal are studying their opponents hard next week, because I don’t think Everton did and that coupled with some atrocious defending cost them.
There’s little going on for the official site at the moment, which is good, so naturally my eyes turn to the internet and social media and there’s a little bit of noise around Dominic Calvert-Lewin going around. Apparently the Scum are after him as well but a lot depends on Harry Kane and his departure. Given his form this season the hope has to be that they keep on to Kane for the whole season because an unhappy talisman in your squad is no bad thing and so my hope is that they don’t move at all because it’ll ensure that we have a more free run at the player if we want him. I am still to be convinced we do though. Given the profile of young players we brought in during the summer Calvert -Lewin makes sense and ticks the boxes; a strong, tall, physical presence with a good goalscoring record and ability to be a presence in the box, but the fact that he apparently has a contract until June 2025 – three years come the summer – says to me that it will take a lot more than £60million to prize him away. And I just don’t see us dropping £80million on a centre forward next summer, if I’m honest. I suspect that the club will look for the cheaper alternative abroad and if you think how football teams’ finances won’t have gone through the roof by next summer as a result of the global pandemic, it feels obvious that clubs from mainland Europe will be easier to deal with if you’re talking decent fees but not astronomical.
If Calvert-Lewin was Italian and playing for Fiorentina he’d probably cost Arsenal £30million.
That centre forward role is one that is in the post for us, that’s for sure, but right now we’ve got two options in Lacazette and Aubameyang who appear to be in form and that is good enough for me. I hope they can continue that form because if they do we’ll go a long way to achieving our goals this season. I do have a slight worry about the AFCON and the fact that Lacazette and Aubameyang are both playing at the moment increases the risk of injury or absence of both at any one time, but if you think of it from a glass half full perspective, the fact Lacazette is getting so many games is good if he remains fit going in to January, because he can hit the ground running as our main striker in Auba’s absence during the AFCON.
The only other news that emerged yesterday that I wouldn’t mind touching on was that of our loan man William Saliba, who is getting rave reviews in France. I make no secret of my admiration for him and he’s having a good season in Marseille by all accounts, but I’ve always worried about two things: 1) how are we going to get him in to the team if Gabriel and White are the main men, and 2) how are we going to convince him to stay and sign a new deal if he isn’t getting game time?
I know I am basically projecting an entire year away by having these thoughts now, but this guy looks mustard and I want him in an Arsenal shirt for years to come. I hope the club want the same and I hope he comes back, signs a new deal and starts getting plenty of game time. He looks the archetypal Arteta central defender so that’s pleasing, but he needs to be given a shot. The good news as well – as reported by Sam Dean of the Telegraph – is that apparently he wanted to sign for Newcastle in the summer until Marseille came along s he could get game time in the Premier League. He also fully intends on coming back to The Arsenal and fighting for a place next summer and is learning English lessons. For somebody like me worried we might bugger up an opportunity to have an elite defender in our ranks in a few years time, this is positive news and I just hope it is true. If it all is then you can see him coming back and having a big role to play in our team, but we shall have to see.
That’ll do me for the day. I’m jumping on the Bergkamp Wonderland podcast this evening to chew the fat with my ol’ pal Danny, so if you fancy listening to my drivel via audio format you can do so there tomorrow I think.
Catch you all in the morrow.