Morning folks. How we all doing? Feeling good?
I’m feeling pretty good. Hurtling my way in to the Big Smoke for a day at the office, with little proper Arsenal news to speak of, hopefully meaning they’re all getting themselves recharged at the club so that ‘we go again’ for pre season and the new season which will come around sooner than we think.
Of course there are a bunch of international matches that are taking place and going by what my ol’ mate Giles said on Twitter last night, it looks as though Takehiro Tomiyasu has reported for duty for the Japanese national team. Honestly, could a sensible decision not be made on this player that he avoids what is going to be meaningless friendlies against Paraguay and Brazil? The Japanese play Paraguay on Thursday and having missed a massive chunk of the second half of the season, then going down against Newcastle in the penultimate game, isn’t somebody, somewhere, having a word with all parties and saying “maybe he should just rest and recuperate”?
I remember having a chat with Giles about him a couple of months back. We were talking about how every season Tomiyasu has tended to pick up a knock which has kept him out for a decent period of time. At the time Giles speculated that it could be because he is one of these guys so desperate to play all the time for both club and country, that he over-extends himself and that’s why he breaks down. Perhaps that’s the reason he’s heading back to his homeland? If that’s the case, somebody should be finding a way to have a word. At 23 he’s young and his body recovers quicker, but at 28 if he’s still got the same mentality, we’ll end up with a player we don’t often see in a season.
And having seen and looked at his injury record, it does feel pretty clear to me that we need a very good back up, of whom Cedric is certainly not. There’s lots of hope in Norton-Cuffy and certainly he looks to have impressed massively at Lincoln, but the gulf between League One and the Premier League isn’t just massive, it’s a chasm. I’d love him to be the understudy and to succeed because it would be another big tick for Hale End, but we don’t want to ‘kill’ him by throwing him in too quickly.
I wonder if Arteta and his team will use the pre season to see how close he is?
Perhaps they will, or perhaps he gets a Championship loan next season with a view to him being ready the season after, but football is so often about timing and if Norton-Cuffy isn’t ready this summer, the club surely have to buy a new right back? Hector isn’t coming back to play second fiddle, Arteta will clearly move Maitland-Niles on and if we want to be competing in the top four that can’t mean we play a 30-year-old bang average right back for half the season, can it? Cedric did ok at times, but when he wasn’t being poor he was being ‘ok’. That’s his ceiling and we can’t have that if we harbour loftier ambitions than we had this season.
The good news will be that we should have opportunities in Europe and the League Cup for players to get more minutes and if Arteta and the staff feel Norton-Cuffy can at least be part of the squad and maybe slowly feel his way back in to the first team by getting some of those midweek games, I’d be much more up for that than another season of journeyman Cedric. We’ve seen that story before. We all know it ends with a ‘meh’.
But back to my original point, which was about these internationals, and at least Ben White has sensibly withdrawn from the England squad. Good decision. Go on holiday, recover from the injury you were nursing properly, then be ready for the new season. You will be needed. There’s not a lot we can do about the likes of Saka and Ramsdale heading off with England, but if Southgate can at least be sensible with Saka – as I feel like he has with many players who have played a lot of football – then hopefully his minutes are shortened a little over this international break we have.
I haven’t really bothered to look up who else is travelling with their country but I suspect it’ll be a fair few of our players. And with this international break being where it is now at the beginning of June, I suspect we won’t get too many transfer rumours until after the break. There will be stories, as there always are, but I suspect nothing concrete will happen until the back end of next week. And that’s when we all start to wonder what is happening at the club. There’s usually no meltdowns from fans until we start to approach July, but the murmurs begin as we start to see other clubs making their moves.
Maybe Arsenal will make theirs early this season, but I’d be surprised if that was the case. We all know the drill by now, and we’re slap bang in the middle of transfer rumour silly season, so most of us just have to strap ourselves in and wait for more nonsense to cross our paths.
And on that note that’s me done for today. I’m podcasting tonight with Amanda and James on the ‘Same Old Arsenal’ show so swing by this evening if you fancy listening to our dulcet tones do an end of season review.
Catch you all tomorrow.