Morning Gooners, how we all doing on this Sunday, eh?
Me? I’m feeling a wee bit fragile, as I went to a gin festival yesterday and basically drank about a litre of different spirits, followed by going for a few drinks after and drinking wine and beer. They say it is ‘Mothers Ruin’. They are exactly right on that I can assure you!
As for the Arsenal world, there’s still little going on in terms of concrete news, as the internationals continue to be played out. I mean, honestly, how many more of these pointless matches are taking place? Can we just stop now and let these players all get a rest before they have to come back for pre season? You look at players like Saka named in the England squad and you wonder just how long it is before he breaks down at this rate. If I was in Arteta’s shoes I’d be tempted to do what Wenger used to do and give him an extra week off and tell any player who has played regularly that they can report back for pre season training a week or two later.
Our first friendly of the season is less than a month away, when we play Nurnberg in Germany on 8th July. If Saka is able to go on a holiday from tomorrow, it means there are just under four weeks until that game. I think we should probably tell him to have four weeks off, then report back to London Colney week commencing 11th July and to just do light training for a week. Don’t even send him out to Germany. Let him do easy work for a week having had four weeks off. We head to the States on 17th July so by then you can earmark him as being ready to play after the team has gone to Germany and we’ve at least given him his first proper rest in ages. There’s all of this talk about player welfare but this needs to be taken in to consideration now. Any player who has been away on international duty shouldn’t be seen for that first game at the beginning of July. Maybe even four weeks isn’t enough, because when the international players return, they are having a Premier League season that starts earlier and finishes later because of the World Cup. So next season is going to feel like a mega long one because of the money-fuelled World Cup in Qatar that FIFA lined its pockets on in deciding to hold it when they did and where they did.
To be fair to the club I suspect that’s what they’ll do – give the international players a long rest and get them playing and training for the game on 17th July – so we’ll just have to see how many of those Arsenal players get on the plane at the beginning of July.
There might be a new face or two, depending on who comes in, with that chap Marquinhos who is joining from Sao Paulo in a £3million deal. It’s a win-win for all parties. We get a good player for a price which seems like it is well under his market value according to Transfermarkt, Sao Paulo get some money for a player they were supposed to lose for free, the player gets his big move to a big English club. Let’s hope the Brazilian contingent there, as well as the success Martinelli has had, will be a good platform for the player to thrive at the club. Whether that is this season remains to be seen and maybe the club will even loan him out, but it’s worth getting a look at him over the summer and hopefully he impresses. He’s a right winger so playing understudy to Bukayo Saka will be no bad thing for him or for us. If the club also unload Pepe this summer, then we will also have need of a player for Saka’s position because we can’t play him twice every week, nor should we.
I’m already starting to get excited about next season and seeing how some of our young players evolve. We’re all getting excitable over transfers, of course, but let’s just take a minute to stop and think about how much better some of our other young players could get. Ramsdale played for England last night and although I didn’t watch it, apparently he played well and made a couple of good saves. He’s only going to get better this season after impressing last season. Odegaard has evolved in to one of the creative fulcrums of the team and at his age he’s only going to get better. The possibility for Saka to add more goals and assists to his game is frighteningly exciting. If ESR can shake off any fitness concerns he will get better having added goals to his game this season. Martinelli too, should flashes of his brilliance and I’m expecting more there. We have Tomiyasu, White and Gabriel who will all get better and Saliba will be coming in to stake a claim at the club.
This is an exciting time for Arsenal. What I am looking at is only up side. I’m not looking at our team thinking we need a complete ‘blow it up and start again’ project. We’re already underway with it. It is exciting. We should be excited.
And that’s the overriding feeling I want to leave you with today, because regardless of who we bring in, we can be excited as Arsenal fans as to how far this young team can go.
Up the Arsenal.