Morning campers, you all doing well?

How are there STILL international fixtures going on? What is the ridiculousness? I thought there was only going to be a couple but England play again tomorrow, which means there’s been like four matches in just over a couple of weeks. WHY ON EARTH ARE WE STILL PLAYING THESE MATCHES???

I do think that by Wednesday this week they’ll be done and the players will be able to go on their respective holidays, but my one hope is that at least some of the Arsenal players who are full internationals get bit part roles in any game. I guess because Ramsdale is a ‘keeper the worry of fatigue is less for him, so I wouldn’t be averse to seeing him in between the sticks, but there’s no way any of us want Bukayo Saka to get any minutes. Southgate will probably give him some though. Of that there can be no doubt.

As for other Arsenal news, it seems there’s nothing new on the horizon, although I’ve seen Raphinha’s name linked a bit in the last couple of days. Good player, decent player, I think he’d be good at The Arsenal, but he plays predominantly right wing and much like the discussions us Arsenal fans have had about Serge Gnabry, the same would ring true with the Brazilian. Why would we spend a big chunk of the transfer kitty on a player who would share a position with our best player and the guy that has just been voted player of the season?

To me it doesn’t really make sense. That’s why I don’t see this happening, not in the short term anyway, because we still have Pepe and unless a buyer is found there I don’t think we move for somebody like Raphinha. And if we did move on Pepe now, is he the right move, or would the club maybe look at somebody like a Gnabry? The noises from the journos are that we haven’t even explored it, but we’d be mad not to if we did move Pepe on and want a replacement to share the two wide positions with Saka, Martinelli and Smith Rowe. The added Europa League minutes mean that we have minutes to dish out, but you’re not going to blow a big chunk of your budget on a guy who’s going to be lining up against Alashkert Armenia, Mura, Sturm Graz or Zalgiris Vilnius. Those minutes will go to the guys sitting behind the main team, so you’re talking about the likes of Matt Turner, Rob Holding, Sambi Lokonga, Nketiah and one of Smith Rowe or Mertinelli depending on who played the weekend before. You’re not going to spunk £50million and have a Raphinha dropping heavy numbers against European minnows. So personally I just don’t see it right now. Perhaps I’m wrong though.

I also think it’s less likely to happen because of the need to sell Pepe and at this early stage in the window there isn’t going to be teams like Lille – rumoured to be interested in having him back – giving up big chunks of their change to have the player back in their team. They’ll wait until the end of the window. Or if they come in now, they’ll try to do what Fiorentina have done with Torreira and go so low that it doesn’t even warrant a response from Arsenal.

Honestly, I really hope we did just not even acknowledge the supposed €7million bid from Fiorentina, after they agreed a clause for €15million to make the move permanent. And I hope we can root out some other buyers for the Uruguayan, because if we can then we should find them and move him to other clubs after they decided to to play silly buggers with us. I wonder how much damage it has done – if any – to the relationship between the two clubs? I guess it’s all relative; in January we wanted Vlahovic and were willing to pay the asking price. Fiorentina were willing to sell at that price but much to their disappointment the player only wanted Juve and used us as a patsy so they could smoke out Juve to sign the player. That probably didn’t damage the relationship, but Arsenal know that Fiorentina got big cash for this player and so they have money to spend. So halving the value with an embarrassingly low bid was a bit of a dick move. What it showed is either that this was the first bid designed to be so low so that they don’t pay €15million but do get the player for a lower amount as the clubs meet in the middle, or that they think because the player has a design to stay in Florence, they have the upper hand in the transfer. There are links to Lazio and hopefully that can come to fruition because if Lazio are willing to step up their pursuit. I’ve also seen that Leverkusen are interested and that would also be useful in creating a bit of a bidding way. We paid a lot of money for him and we won’t recoup it, but we should be looking to get that €15million for a guy who has proven he is a good player and can deliver for a team in Serie A. Let’s just hope we can smoke out some other buyers to show Fiorentina that we aren’t being shafted.

There’s some noises about Aisnley Maitland-Niles to Forest and Leno off to Fulham makes sense, so hopefully we can start getting some cash in now that will help the purchases of some players. There is work to do on outgoings but I have hope that the club can start to move in the incomings sooner rather than later. The two we’re looking at in Gabriel Jesus and Tielemans being done sooner rather than later would be useful, but I guess on Tielemans it depends on how much Leicester are willing to play ball. We’ve seen they can be a tough cookie with them getting £80million for Maguire, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they dug their heels in on Tielemans, even with just one year left on his deal. We’ll have to wait and see about what is coming out on prices, because all I’ve seen so far is that we are talking to his representatives.

And that’s it for another day for me. I’ve got a full one of meetings, meetings and meetings, so I better jump off the blog and go get prepped.

Catch you all tomorrow.