Morning all and welcome to Friday! Get in there!

I’m particularly excited because I’m going to blow up the big paddling pool I have and lie in it for large swathes of this weekend in my back garden, like some kind of beached whale. Bring. It. On.

What I don’t want to hear at all during my weekend, however, is noises about how “Juventus are edging closer towards signing Gabriel from Arsenal for €40million” or “Juve confident of getting their man Gabriel from Arsenal”.

Firstly, it’s THE Arsenal to you, Mr Italian journalist trying to create some unsettling headlines.

Secondly – and I’ll make myself clear of my feelings on this rumour that doesn’t seem to be going away – you can f**k the f**k off with your advances, Juve.

This is a club, let’s not forget, that took Vlahovic in January for £59million and are paying that over three instalments. This is a club who did a weird (and what from a far looks like incredibly dodgy) swap deal for Arthur and Pjanic just to do some weird book balancing exercise in 2020. This is a club who has just signed Pogba for big wages and even as early as November last year were being investigated for inflating the value of players. Juve are a dodgy Italian club in my opinion and so it comes as no surprise that I’ve heard they want Gabriel for that figure and that they think they can get him for that. OR – and this is quite amusing – that they think they can offer us a little bit of cash and fire players at us like Arthur Melo and Adrien Rabiot (who is on monster wages at Juve) in a hope to sweeten any kind of deal.

Let’s break this down then. Firstly, Gabriel was – in my opinion – the best defender at Arsenal last season. Secondly, he has three years left on his deal. Thirdly, he has said he is happy at Arsenal and I don’t see any murmurings to suggest anything else. We brought Gabriel for £23million just under two years ago. In that time he has got better, become a goalscoring defender for us and Arteta basically played him at every opportunity last season. He is a mainstay of our team.

So why on gods green earth would we sell him for €40million, or £33.9million – just £10million north of what we brought him for?

My hope is that if Juve even bother picking up the phone, they are greeted with an Edu answerphone saying “thanks for your message, I’m currently cooking up some real sweet churrasco, so if what you’re calling about is worth my time, I’ll get back to you” and Juve never get that return call. Keep your cast off players, keep your weird offer that will probably also come in 10 annual payments, keep off our lawn and go see if you can get a centre half for next to nothing from one of the smaller Italian clubs.


It does beg the question though; what would his value actually be? What would the boiling point be for Arsenal to say “fair enough”? Let’s bear in mind that Ajax are looking at north of €55million for Lisandro Martinez. Gabriel is better than that guy and if we’re also looking at the fact that Gabriel is now an established Premier League defender. He’s settled and he’s part of an ever-growing Brazilian contingent. I know we’ve been rubbish sellers and still are struggling right now, but that’s been for players who aren’t getting in to our first team. Gabriel is one of the first names on the team sheet. So the only thing that would surely tempt Arsenal is a mega offer. Given the price Ajax set both us and Man United, plus the fact that the player has said he wants to move to the Premier League and wants the deal done (as we are led to believe) Ajax’s bargaining position is arguably less favourable than the one we are in if Juve keep sniffing.

With all that in mind, I would hope that Arsenal don’t even bother responding to Juve unless they get closer to the £70million mark. And how can Juve afford that?

I don’t think they can. So my hope is that this particular rumour gets – quite literally – laughed off if Arteta is asked about it. Let’s see if we can just have this rumour die on its ar*e sooner rather than later, eh?

I’m only really talking about it because it doesn’t seem to go away. The first couple of times I saw it I thought it was funny. But like a bad smell that just keeps lingering, this doesn’t seem to have been odour neutralised, which is what I thought would have happened by now. Let’s see though. Hopefully it does fizzle out and we can go back to be worried about not doing the right incoming deals, rather than worried that we’re going to lose our best players for a song and a whistle.

And that’s pretty much most of what I wanted to talk about today. I know Ornstein said yesterday that we’re back in for Zinchenko and are talking to City about him. The rumoured fee is £25million and that seems like a decent price for a versatile player who would get plenty of game time in different positions. But let’s see if it shakes out a little more in the coming days because it still feels rather early in the process and feels like there needs to be more of the “are talking to agents”, “have agreed deal with the player”, “thinking about making a bid” and then “have made a bid” before any kind of deal is done.

So until we go through those stages in the transfer process I should probably leave a little bit more in the tank to discuss the practicalities of a player like that at The Arsenal.

Catch you wonderful people tomorrow. You have a good one.