Right, so, with internationals now thankfully and firmly behind us all, it seems like the wheels are turning and the cogs have been greased for the transfer engine to start purring. You only have to listen to the narrative from some of the decent journos out there to see that stuff is happening in the shadows with regards to deals being done and when you have credible people like Charles Watts saying he expects there to be movement on some deals – like Tielemans and Jesus – by the beginning of July, then you know that proper conversations are happening.
Apparently Gabriel Jesus is now back in Manchester and trying to sort out negotiations with City for his exit. They’ve got their man in Haaland, Jesus will know that he’ll only play second fiddle there at the club and hopefully he’ll want his future resolved pretty speedily. Arsenal – assuming that is his likely destination (which is certainly not guaranteed) will also want to get things done quickly, hence why when proper journos are saying the end of June/beginning of July, you expect there to be more movement in the coming days. We’re on 16th June now, players and clubs are talking and if that can be turned around within the next two weeks and we can get deals moving along then the mutterings of discontent by the fanbase will start to subside.
Until then, stories of ‘Edu willing to spend £100million’ or ‘Arsenal about to open the chequebook’ are kind of falling on deaf ears to a fanbase that has seen it all before. We’re all well-versed on summer dealings these days and we’ve all been to this party before. It ends up being a wash out only when you’ve started the season without your deals done. Until then, it’s all good.
My hope is that lessons have been learned and that the transfer team and Arteta are all ready to move quicker than last summer. We waited for the deals to fall and it cost us the start of the season as we were ill prepared. Had we picked up three points against Brentford or been in a better position at home to Chelski, then maybe we’d be talking about Champions League football for the season so my hope is that Arsenal are acutely aware on the nightmare start that we had and have vowed never to repeat that. That means get people in for July and get them at least partially ready.
What I hope they are also acutely aware of, which may be why they want to get the Tielemans and Jesus deals done in June, is that the Premier League season starts early this year, because of the ridiculous Winter World Cup taking place halfway through the season. I think it’s something like 6th August is when the start of the season happens and so realistically if you want your first teamers bedded in then you have to be looking at them being with their teammates a month before the new season starts. That takes you to 6th July which is just under three weeks away. It means the club needs to move quickly but it also explains why we’re seeing other clubs moving quickly like Liverpool, Man City and The Scum. My hope is that when I go away on holiday next week we start to get some exciting news trickle through, because if we do then it’ll feel like the right kind of timeline for a player starting training with his new teammates for those first few pre season games that we’ve got.
But the good news is that we feel like we have the basis of a good team providing everyone is fit for the start of pre season. We’ll have Partey back, hopefully KT will have recovered, then we’re talking about White and Gabriel being fresh, Saliba to challenge, Tomiyasu will have recovered and hopefully got some rest time, plus the likes of Odegaard and Smith Rowe will all be rested. Our team is still young, next season they will still make mistakes and we’ll still get weird and silly results like the ones away to Everton and Newcastle, but these players have now had the best part of a season together and they are all of an age where you see incremental improvements. We may not have any confirmed signings to get over the top excited about, but we have the basis of a team who, if starting the opening game of the season away at Brentford this time around, I’m pretty sure we’d give a better account of ourselves than we did last August.
Speaking of which, depending on when you read this, the new fixtures will have already been released. As I type they are just over an hour away from the Premier League releasing them and my money is on an away game to a newly promoted side. Last season it was Brentford, the season before that it was Fulham. The season before that was Burnley and so I suspect what we’ll get will be a team towards the lower end of the table. Ideally what you want as a fan is for the big games to be spread out. There’s nothing worse than a ‘death run’ for momentum and confidence so hopefully we don’t get back-to-back tough games. I wouldn’t be surprised if we did though, especially around March time. The Premier League may talk up the fixture computer as an automated algorithm, but I can’t be convinced that they don’t do a little bit of jiggery pokery to manipulate certain fixtures so that they happen at certain points in a season. For example, have you noticed how nine times out of ten it feels like we play the Scum at home earlier in the season, then they play us at home later in the season after Christmas? Look out for that ‘anomaly’ in the data.
Anyway, I’ll probably do a completely irrational analysis of the fixtures tomorrow when we all know who we’ve got and when. Until then, I shall leave you be and wish you a wonderful Thursday.
Catch you all tomorrow.