Football is about trophies. But trophies for individuals are about as interesting to me as an all-day Abba and Beyonce concert, so to hear that Messi won his seventh Ballon D’Or last night just reinforced to me the pointlessness of it all. What does that award mean to PSG fans? Or to Barca fans? Are they really happy to see it happen? Will there be street parades? Of course not. That’s because individual awards just aren’t that important in a team game. Sure, it’s nice to see that you support a team that has the supposed ‘best player in the world’, but for me that nice feeling dropped years ago when Thierry Henry was overlooked by Pavel Nedved. All those years back when I was a little younger I wanted Thierry to win it as validation that we had the best player in the world in our team, but no more than that. I’d take a League Cup victory over something like that.
So to hear that the same guy has won this trophy again, well, it’s all a little…boring…isn’t it? I’m not even sure he’s the deserved winner. Feels like it’s just an arbitrarily decided decision to be honest. Lewandowski scored over 60 goals last season and yet he only gets runner up. It’s just…well…weird, is all.
Anyway, let’s extrapolate ourselves from this particular discussion, because it isn’t about The Arsenal and it isn’t very interesting. How about we talk about something else, like how the loanees are getting on, as well as what it might mean for them?
Firstly for that lovely lad Hector Bellerin, who got two assists in the Europa League against Ferencvaros, taking his assist tally to three for the season in all competitions. Hardly seems to have lit up the place but by the sounds of it he is starting to warm to his task of convincing Betis to make his move permanent and has started playing more recently it seems. He’s played ten times in all comps but in his last game was sent off against Elche which won’t help his cause. He’s also had that unfortunate own goal that he conceded earlier in the season and his season seems to be quite a topsy-turvy one so far. There are still plenty of games to play and he’ll no doubt get more opportunities, but given that he has no obligation to buy clause in his contract, for Betis to really want him he’s going to have to probably cut out some of those unfortunate moments.
The biggest challenge will be the fee and potentially the wages. Supposedly he’s on over £100k-per-week and if that’s true then it might make it a challenge for the Spaniards. I don’t know too much about their finances but the Spanish league is hardly awash with money and the COVID hangover still remains for many clubs. Betis will think they have an opportunity to strike a good deal for them with Bellerin only having one year left on his deal next summer, but whilst I’m Arsenal would be happy to sanction the move, the kind of Mickey Mouse bids teams like Betis will offer may not quite excite Arsenal as I’m sure they want to be.
Either way, it’ll be a tough decision that needs to be made, a bit like the Saliba situation, because Arsenal will have two years left on his deal and if he isn’t minded to sign a new deal then we could be looking at another difficult decision that needs to be made. The noises about Arsenal trying to sign him up now are good though. I think that rumour emanated from the Athletic, which means it’ll have a little more substance to it, but if Arsenal are taking measures already then that’s a-ok with me. It seems to me the player himself is growing in character and stature each week for Marseille and he’s playing in both league and Europa League competition and doing well by all accounts. I’ve made no secret that I think we could have a top player on our hands here so managing the next phase of his career could be vital of The Arsenal.
Guendouzi has also been playing regularly but we already know there’s a clause in there so I’m not really interested in talking about him. It’s the same with Mavropanos, who has an obligation clause in his contract and so in effect is only really and Arsenal player by technicality rather than reality.
The final one I wanted to look at was Lucas Torreira, who is getting in to the Fiorentina side now with more regularity and apparently they are looking to activate the clause that will keep him in Italy, according to some reports. Football London are running with that story and if true it means that around £15million is heading our way. It’s a massive drop on what we paid for him, but given how south his Arsenal career went, as well as the fact he barely featured for Atletico, it’s probably the best we can hope for. The speculation is that the deal might be done for January but I just can’t see that happening. Why would Fiorentina do that when they have a loan agreement until the summer? What benefit do they gain from it by fast tracking it? If they have an option to buy and are the ‘first option’, then they can just bide their time and pat the cash in the summer. Plus, I doubt Arsenal will be too fussed, because I’m not sure much of our business will be done until the summer anyway. So for me this feels like both parties will just wait until then before the Italians no doubt try to drive down a price they’ve already agreed with Arsenal on. More work to do there I suspect. But in the meantime we just have to hope that he continues to perform well because the better he plays, the more we can expect Fiorentina will be happy to stump up the cash.
And on that note I think that’s me done for the day. Hope you are keeping well and I’ll catch you in the morrow as we prep for a really tough away day to United.