Morning Gooners and welcome to Thursday. Lots to sink our teeth in to, so let’s get in to it…


All but the pictures on the official website are done, dusted and ready to rock and roll. He was spotted in Orlando yesterday, then was pictured smiling next to Edu, followed by Arteta admitting that he was here and they’re just sorting out the final bits of paperwork. A great signing, a versatile signing, a signing that takes the summer spending to over £100million for the club when it is announced, which currently stands at £87million received if you believe the numbers from TransferMarkt. We’ve signed four first teamers of note and for a club not in the Champions League that shows a fair bit of ambition in the market to have a proper go at inching ourselves further up the table.

The challenge is, however, that other teams will also spend that sort of money too, so we’re going to have to hope that the upside in our acquisitions has a more marked upside than that of our rivals. The Scum, for example, have spent £91million and if they go for Maddison at £50million, it just goes to show you how much the others around us are investing. Chelsea may have lost their sugar daddy, but they’ve replaced him with a yank who wants to throw his weight around and they’ve already added Sterling and Koulibaly for around £84million. I don’t think they are done, Man United (£65million) certainly aren’t done and Liverpool and City will also surely spend more. But for Arsenal it appears our main signings are done and now the attention turns to outgoings, as Arteta said in the early hours of the morning UK time when he spoke about the friendly against Orlando City. More on that in a sec but Arteta has admitted that he doesn’t know if there are more signings. That’s a slight change to what he said at the weekend when speaking about expecting more arrivals and I am inferring from his comments that he knew Zinchenko was basically done, which gave him the confidence to make the statement he made last weekend, but that other signings are probably contingent on exits.

That makes sense. We are not a club bankrolled by a sugar daddy and have always been one that needs to balance the books to some extent. That means we have to sell and the fact that – as Arteta also said yesterday – we have a big squad now, makes me think that we will be slow to move on players until we can move some out.

The good news – if you can call it that – is that we have plenty of players who we can sell to bring some cash in. Alright, they won’t fetch ‘mega money’, but the likes of Bellerin, Leno, Torreira, maybe even Pepe, should all bring in enough that the overall ‘net’ spend (a familiar word to the Arsenal fanbase!) will look a little more palatable. What Arsenal need to do is to hold their nerve though, because it feels to me like clubs are trying to tap in to that ‘Arsenal are terrible sellers’ narrative. We’ve got Betis pleading poverty over Bellerin, Valencia will no doubt try the same with Torreira, whilst Fulham are haggling over a few million for former German International Bernd Leno. Stay the course Arsenal. Be strong and get your market value.

Orlando City

New city, fresh kit and one heck of a downpour, by the sounds of it! I didn’t watch the game last night and I’ve only just caught up on the action on the official site, but it was another win for the team in pre season and whilst we can’t grow any conclusions from it at all as we all know, it is still nice to see Arsenal players getting on the scoresheet. There was a touch of fortune about Martinelli’s first goal as it deflected  in, but they all count and he’ll be happy to be off the mark in pre season. He’s got an interesting season ahead of him because he’s getting to the age where we need to see an upturn in his scoring prowess. Last season he had some patches where he looked great but then at other times faded a little in front of goal. I feel like he’s ready to kick on though and I’m excited to see what he can deliver for us when the real thing kicks off in just over a fortnight. And let’s face it, at this rate he’s probably going to be starting the season in front of ESR, who hasn’t played the last couple of matches due to injury.

When Arteta was asked about the performance after the match he talked about there being a lot that is needed to improve in the team, but it sounded like he was more talking about fitness, as he mentioned loading the players more with 90 minutes. Up until this point the minutes have been shared amongst players as he gets something in to every players legs, but if I was to hazard a guess I’d be expecting a more settled set of players to be getting minutes between now and the season start. For example perhaps on Sunday when the team plays Chelsea, White, Saliba, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Martinelli, Odegaard, Saka and Gabriel Jesus all get more like 70 to 80 minutes? That way you’ve given them a little more competition than they get in training. Then the Emirates Cup is used to solidify that and the first team gets an even fuller run out too. Of course with the five subs rule – something he was also asked about – it will mean that there will be more options for rotation and perhaps that will see more of those rotation players getting minutes, but we have to build up the fitness levels of those players who will start on Friday 5th August against Crystal Palace. Palace themselves played Gillingham on Tuesday and gave plenty of minutes to Zaha (80), Benteke (68), Schlupp (68), Doucoure (68), GUehi (68) and Eze (68), so you can see that Paddy V is already ramping up their fitness levels. When that game comes around on that Friday we are going to be ready for them, because they will come at us and try to blitz us like they did last season.

Right, I’ll leave that there for today. You enjoy whatever it is you are doing this Thursday and I’ll be back tomorrow with what I’d expect will be more confirmation on the Zinchenko news.

Catch you all tomorrow.