Morning all – we all holding up ok? Are we all surviving after yet another transfer twist last night, after Ornstein and Fabrizio Romano both confirmed that Chelsea had swooped in for Raphinha and dropped a very attractive up front package to Leeds that was closer to their £65million asking price?
I have a few thoughts with regards to this. Firstly, I’m not going to sit here tapping away at my laptop and telling you that I wasn’t excited to see the prospect of Raphinha coming to The Carpet next season. He would have provided goals, assists, trickery, plus adding another bit of Brazilian flair to our expanding ranks.
But here’s the thing, which I think is important for all of us Arsenal fans to remember right now:
The didn’t get the RIGHT Brazilian.
Not for what we need, anyway, because if we were talking about Gabriel Jesus talking to Chelsea having just been gazumped as they swoop in for him, then I’d be a little more concerned. And this has nothing to do with the fact pictures emerged of him with Edu yesterday. No, this is about what we need versus what we want. We need goals in this team and we need a focal point and a guy that can play striker for us. There are question marks over Gabriel Jesus’ desire to play through the middle, as well as his ability to do it, but he wouldn’t be joining us if he wasn’t on board with how Arteta wants to play him. I don’t think Arteta has told Jesus that he’s going to play right wing and take Saka’s slot. He’s coming in to play striker and to be our high-intensity centre forward leading the line. He’s coning in to be the main man. He’s coming in to lead our line.
Raphinha isn’t doing that. Raphinha plays in Saka’s position or, at a push, on the left wing. So Raphinha was a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’. We may have been gazumped by Chelsea, but they didn’t gazump the right player for us, so let’s be chilled.
Secondly, I think us pulling out when the stakes getting too high is a good thing. Raphinha for £65million is a big chunk of change and if the club has finite resources and paying that would have meant stepping back from another deal, then that’s not where I’d want my football club to be. My hope is that we step back from this pursuit, we look at other ways to skin a cat – so to speak – and perhaps we even reignite the desire to get Tielemans in for that left eight role. If the price of £25million is correct that has been quoted, why not get in Lisandro for £35million and Tielemans for £25million. That’s your £60million that you were going to spend on Raphinha right there, lads, so let’s go back to the original thinking and who knows, maybe it’s a better thing for us?
It’s like the Management always says when she is trying clothes on; “if it is meant to be, then it is meant to be”. If The wife sees something on sale she isn’t going to buy it unless it is the perfect fit for her. She will happily walk away from a bargain (not me, I’ll buy it anyway and swear I’ll drop a few inches around the waste because it’s on 50% discount) and perhaps this is just what Arsenal are doing. We thought we could get a good deal for a good player, we went to the cashier’s desk, but when they told us it wasn’t at the price we wanted, we put it back on the rack and see if we can find something else.
And I’m good with that.
The other take I’ve seen, which I also like, is that if we’re willing to spend £55million on Raphinha, then we have the money to spend on players for that squad build and that in itself is a positive sign. We were willing to go for Vlahovic in January as we thought he’d be the right fit. We’ve changed our plan in terms of profile with Gabriel Jesus, but the work has been done to see how he’d fit in to the system and that due diligence I’m fine with. Perhaps we will take the view that if we can’t have Raphinha, then we don’t need a wide forward as we’ll get Vieira to deputise and we’ll prioritise other positions this summer. That’s fine with me.
What we should get excited about, hopefully today, is that we have ourselves a shiny new signing about to be announced. And this one is our main target for the summer. Gabriel Jesus has apparently done his medical and pictures have all been taken. He’ll be unveiled as an Arsenal player and we can all be excited about what he’ll bring to the table next season for our team. That’s the real news from tomorrow. That’s what we need to be excited about and when it is announced my hope is that those fans who were quite hot on Raphinha yesterday and over the weekend, quickly snap back in to excited mode as they see what a great talent we have coming in through our ranks.
I think I’ll leave it there for today. Hopefully there’ll be plenty of #Content for us to digest by the time I speak to you tomorrow, unless the club really are going to tease this out for a few days, which is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Catch you wonderful people tomorrow.