Happy Saturday gooners, from the sun and warmth of the Algarve, where I’ve decided to decamp to for a week.
Now, I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’ve got some pretty good transfer memories of being in the Algarve at the family house down the years.
Remember when we signed Mertesacker and Arteta on transfer deadline day in 2011? I was in Portugal. Remember when we sign Martinelli? Yep, I was in Portugal. And do you remember the infamous summer where we only signed Petr Cech? Yes indeedy, I was in Portugal. It’s like some sort of magical and mystical connection I have with the club. I can’t explain it, but you are so very welcome, when it happens. 😉
So, with all of that history behind us, I’m glad that Arsenal appear to have sprung in to life in the last couple of days with regards to some potential signings coming our way, because as the completely superstitious football fan that I am, I have now of course convinced myself that we’ll be doing a big chunk of our business in the next seven days as I sun myself in Tavira.
Hopefully that’s the case. It’s certainly the case that the club are on the verge of announcing Fabio Vieira from Porto, after the Portuguese club announced themselves in an open letter that they’d agreed to sell the player for €40million including bonuses. A good player, adding depth, who isn’t on mega money, who hopefully has come out of left field and have an impact next season. We’re all happy and the excitement amongst Arsenal fans was palpable.
And then some dude from Sky Sports pours a little cold water on the online atmosphere by saying Tielemans might not be coming to The Arsenal, that interest has cooled and that he might sign a one year extension at Leicester. I mean I could understand that from Leicester’s point of view as it keeps the player and it ensures they retain value for next summer. But why would Tielemans do that now? He could leave for free next summer, make a shedload more in wages and signing on fee as the club he joined would have no fee to pay, meaning that he would be quids in if he just saw out his contract. I’ve heard Leicester fans talking of ‘loyalty to the club’ but if that was the case why not sign a longer extension with a nice chunky buy out clause which means that Leicester can try to get Maguire money next summer.
To me it feels like the latest bit of noise around a potential transfer that happens. It could have come from the players agent to speed up a deal, it could have come from Arsenal in them saying they’ve “cooled” their interest because they want to make Leicester sweat. I don’t think it would come from Leicester because the way the Sky Sport journo framed it very much seemed like it was from the Arsenal angle. But to me it feels like the usual dance that is done to obtain maximum value for one of the parties. In this instance my gut feel is that it’s an Arsenal move effectively saying “look, we can look somewhere else, so don’t think you’ll shaft us” and providing that they can get Tielemans for a decent price and not an unreasonable one, then I suspect the deal might be ‘back on’ providing that the clubs keep talking. The Fabio Vieira stuff is surely not linked because they are two different types of player who play two different positions, so even if we have ‘cooled’ our interest in Tielemans (which I doubt we have) then I suspect we will still look for a similar player to him instead.
And because I’m out in Portugal this week, I’m also hopeful my good omens could rub off by that deal speeding along, although I think Jesus is currently on holiday so that might drag out a bit. But perhaps the talk of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax might be one that comes alive in the coming days. It makes sense that we might want cover for Tierney if Nuno goes on loan somewhere, but I can’t be the only one thinking it’s a little weird that we’re prioritising a left centre back over the other deals in attack, can I? Perhaps they aren’t. I’m sure multiple deals can be worked on at the same time and maybe all of them will come together at the same time, but given how sometimes from the outside we’ve been seen as a club that drags its heels a little bit on deals, you’d forgive an old Arsenal fan his worry with prioritising players in positions where I’m not sure there is an absolute an unequivocal pressing need. I think Nuno deserves another shot at showing what he can do and I think too many fans and people at the club got cold feet when he suffered a bit of a blip. What we saw was raw, but there are the materials there in his game to be a good and useful player for us. Perhaps what he needs is a little more trust. So for me I’d be fine about Lisandro Martinez – looks like a good player – joining, but only if we’re looking at getting in that striker, additional midfielder on top of Fabio Vieira, then maybe we start at looking at those other positions where we can make some upgrades from a squad build perspective.
What I do like about all of the players we’re heavily linked with, however, is the versatility of them all. Lisandro Martinez can apparently play left centre half, left back, as well as in midfield. Tielemans can play in a double pivot or a left eight in a 4-3-3, whilst Fabio Vieira plays as a support striker, an attacking midfielder, or a man to play out wide right. Gabriel Jesus can also play across the front three. So what it feels like we’re building is interchangeable parts to one machine. That is music to us all i’m sure, because the problem we had in thee run in last season was that when we picked up injuries, we had no players of sufficient quality to proper step up. If we lost Partey, Tierney, Tomiyasu, White and let’s just say Jesus for a length of time, there are multiple players who can play in those positions. You could switch the style to have Tielemans alongside Sambi. You could sit Elneny in the base and give Tielemans and Odegaard/Fabio Vieira the role of the eights. You could have Nketiah in for Gabriel Jesus, or even play Martinelli. No Saka? Well, that’s a blow, but Fabio Vieira, Gabriel Jesus, could step in and then you could have Nketiah up top.
Interchangeable parts that can be shifted based on player availability. That sounds a-ok with me.
Right, off to enjoy a glass of white wine Douro for lunch.
Have a good one folks.
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