Here we are then. Transfer Deadline Day. One of the most hyperbolic days in the footballing calendar and a day that TV companies like Sky utterly adore because it puts eyeballs on their products and clicks in their advertising reports. For the rest of us junkies it is a hit of morphine at a time in which there is no football taking place, or a starvation of adrenaline if little happens.
And we have no idea which. I remember the summer TDD the season before last. If I remember rightly, the Partey news was broke relatively early in the morning by some of the journalists and Charles Watts was the first that I saw talking about it. But this time around there hasn’t really even been sniffs about what could happen today. The talk is very much that the club see it as an outside bet and they are not confident of doing any deals today. But things change and can change quickly. Notable changes I can recall are Nacho Monreal coming out of nowhere to sign for us, or even Danny Welbeck emerging as a signing and then getting the deal done as Wenger negotiated whilst in an airport I believe. We’ve also gone to the wire on big names like Ozil, or Arshavin, but those rumours had already started before TDD so we don’t really have much to go on in those comparisons.
Arsenal have proven that they can do a deal totally on the sly though. Remember Eduardo? That one was out of the blue. Nobody had any idea until it happened. Of course we all know about Big Sol coming out of nowhere, but that was at a time in which social media didn’t exist and the access to information that people have also didn’t exist, so probably has to be taken in the time and context at which the transfer happened. This window we’ve also seen how Arsenal can operate in the shadows, selling Chambers to Aston Villa without a sniff from the media. That deal was apparently done rapidly and if both clubs are willing to keep things to a small collective of people involved in the deal, maybe Arsenal have something up their sleeve today that is completely quiet.
I’d be surprised though. This feels very much like we are not budging on our decision making on players and on the one hand you have to admire that. We don’t want to be signing any duds and ending up stuck with players that we then have to pay off because bad decision making was made in a panic. I admire this approach to only certain types of players working with what we are trying to do and also that we won’t be shafted on price. That’s presumably why the club hasn’t made any progress so far, because selling clubs are asking for a fortune for players we are after. It’s also probably why the most likely deal feels the incredibly uninspiring Alvaro Morata on loan from Juve. The guy has been passed around most top clubs at Europe and never really delivered the goods, hence why it is uninspiring, so if it happens I’ll hardly be singing from the rooftops. I already wrote about him a bit a couple of days ago so won’t go in to much detail, but when the situation is such that somebody like that will end up being better than nobody, what can you do?
Well, patch up any differences with Auba – if that is possible – of course, but that ship looks like it has sailed off to Catalonia as Barcelona have agreed details with the player apparently and now it’s just a case of us sanctioning it and Dembele joining PSG today at some stage. If all of those dominoes fall in to place then we will probably end up with Morata instead of Aubameyang and that might even let the club allow Eddie to head off to pastures new if a deal can be struck with Palace or Newcastle.
A lot of balls in the air and a lot of dominoes that need to fall in order for some of this stuff to happen, it seems.
But whatever happens, it is hard not to look at this transfer window as a real disappointment. At a time in which top four is a very real opportunity, with our side able to focus in on it with laser precision due to being out of all competitions, we find ourselves not improving the squad, seeing others around us improve (West Ham are looking like they want to go big today as much as Tottenham with the two lads from Juve), it is hard not to feel like ‘keeping the powder dry’ might end up costing us big come May. I really hope it doesn’t, but we’re now at the stage in which the disappearance of Auba and Eddie would mean just 17 outfield players in the team. Now, there is perhaps a case to be made for having a smaller squad given the number of games we have left and the rest we should be getting between games, but putting all of your hopes on Alexandre Lacazette feels like a heck of a gamble for a guy who is blowing after 60 minutes most matches. Putting your hopes in to Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Partey and Xhaka all staying first is also a worry. With the squad as it is at the minute we are three or four injuries from the team looking like the side that started the season and failed so miserably in the first three games. It is not inconceivable that players are affected by impact injuries in games, etc. We may not have those types of knocks and strains that come about as a result of fatigue of the body, but football is an impact sport and hoping that everyone stays fit for the whole season – even just playing once a week – feels like a fools errand to me.
But we are struggling to even get one player in right now, so getting two or three feels basically impossible as it is. So we will just have to see what unfolds today and then tomorrow we can take a black and white reflection on this window. So far, not great, but speculation is what we’ve seen whereas tomorrow we’ll have clarity.
Buckle up folks.
Catch you all tomorrow.