Howdy folks, y’all good? Feeling it? Enjoying life? Or are you moaning about the heat?
Not me, bring more on I say. Although I do have a garden and an adult swimming pool so I do recognise I am fortunate.
So too, were the selection of Arsenal fans who turned up to a pub quiz in Florida yesterday, getting to be part of the new black kit launch and meeting up with some past and present players for a pub quiz. The commentators ‘curse’ – if you can call it that – strikes again for me as it was only yesterday morning that I was talking about that new black kit and when they are going to release it. About five ours after I shoot my mouth off, obviously…
It’s a lovely kit though. I’m buying one for sure. It’s not traditional Arsenal colours, but if you’re going to deviate from the yellow and blue we all love, do it in style and this rendition is certainly that. It’ll be lovely to see Zinchenko in that kit come the game on Sunday! Because it seems that we’re nearing a natural conclusion to the signing of the player and that is good news. It addresses cover in midfield and left back and with Tierney supposedly already carrying a knock it shows that we’ll probably be needing it sooner rather than later. By the sounds of it all feels pretty much done so my gut feel tells me the next three days will be wrapping up the signing, taking the pictures, videos, etc. As I said yesterday he’s in the US at the moment so the timings could work. It would be nice to see him at least unveiled in the US as a new signing on the day of the game on Sunday. That’d be my feeling in terms of a timeframe. But other than that there’s not really a lot more to say on the transfer. When it happens we’ll all already know everything there is to know about it so if I can hold my tongue until the announcement is made official, then I’ll try to do that.
Aside from that potential new signing, I do like the noises from Emile Smith Rowe about Fabio Vieira. Hey, if we get a Bernardo Silva type player then I’d be all over that with excitement, because I think he’s a fantastic footballer for City. Silky. If Fabio Vieira is as good as Smith Rowe says – having played against him and now watched him in training a bit, then we have some exciting times ahead of us. The signing in itself came out of nowhere, I know I’ve kind of talked about it a bit already when it happens, but I do think it is interesting how much we are all talking about him being ‘one for the future’ and about being a ‘good squad depth option’. Sure, the expectation is that he won’t come in and rip up the place bagging goals and assists like a prime Dennis Bergkamp, but at £35million, there should be some level of expectation that he should feature quite heavily this season. You don’t spend £35million on a player to play Europa League games and a get a few league cup minutes. And the player himself won’t be expecting that either. He’s 22 years old and of course is young in his career, but he’s just come from a place where he’s featured 33 times for Porto in the league, Champions League and Europa League and he won’t be content with just playing six group games and a couple of League Cup matches between now and January.
That’s the attitude we want from all of our players though. We need them to be desperate to play and to become a pain in the arse for the manager because if they are, it means they’ll be determined to succeed when they get the chance. But it’s not just Vieira; there will be a whole clutch of those players who sit just outside the starting XI who will want game time and be pushing each week. How many players did we realistically have like that last season? Those players who are just on the fringes and are so desperate to play that you see it in their performances, sometimes where the odd mistake creeps in, because they are young and hungry. Nuno Tavares perhaps? Sambi Lokonga? Eddie Nketiah?
That’s three players. Arteta must want at least 17 or 18 players who are really pushing. They don’t all have to be youngsters hungry for minutes; Mo Elneny will be one you could add to that list. Fabio Vieira needs to be one and I think Zinchenko will start as a rotation option but will quickly be pushing to establish himself as a regular. If Tavares goes out on loan that means we’ve got 12 players who were that main core ‘first XI’ (if you think about Martinelli and ESR sharing minutes equally like they did last season), Sambi and Nketiah make it 14 from last season, Fabio Vieira and Zinchenko take us up to 16, then add ‘Like A New Signing’ Saliba to the mix, which means I reckon Arteta wants at least another one or possible two at best to get his squad to a point where it doesn’t look like it’s going to break with some injuries like we had at the tail of last season. To me, that feels like we’re nearly there. It feels like we’re just a player or two away now. Whether that translates to a top four finish remains to be seen, but as opposed to last year it doesn’t feel like we’re a million miles away like we did last summer. Last summer it was an end of the window coming together, which also cost us points at the beginning of the season, so I’m looking forward to going in to matchday one knowing that we’re in pretty decent shape to kick off our campaign.
And I’ll leave it there for today I think. Time to crack on with a bit of work and see if I can get myself a run in early morning again before the heat becomes a little too unbearable.
Have yourself a good one, guys.