Morning campers, we all doing good? We all feeling fine and dandy? I have taken to wearing a different Arsenal shirt each day now in prep for the new season. Hoping the pink and black ones arrive this week so I can perpetuate the plan right up until the big kick off on Friday.
It’s funny you know, because before Adidas took over I hadn’t bought an Arsenal shirt in years. Maybe a decade or so. But gosh darn it, they’ve just been getting it right since they signed up to partner with The Arsenal. Not completely right, mind; I didn’t buy the home kit last season as I thought it was a bit ‘meh’. But the season before I went both home and away, last season I bought that lovely yellow shirt, this season I’m having all three. It’ll be the first time I’ve bought a third shirt in my life!
But hey, I’m a sucker for a nod to nostalgia and these Arsenal shirts have all had little tip caps to historical kits that I love. A little subtle bit of the old logo, or an iconic kit design, is spot on for me.
Anyway, enough about tooting Adidas’ horn when I don’t get paid a bean to do so from them, so instead we’ll look to what’s happening in the Arsenal world and it looks like the Torreira chapter is closing in terms of his Arsenal career, with a few people yesterday rolling out the Sven Mislintat signings and just how poor they’ve been. For reference we’re looking at Mavropanos, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Leno, Sokratis, Torreira, Guendouzi and Lichtsteiner. I thgink it’s fair to say that apart from Aubameyang until it went sour and Guendouzi for similar reasons, that collective of players hardly fulfilled their potential at the club. However, to label that as a Mislintat failure is – I think – incredibly harsh. We need to not forget that Mislintat was at the club at a time in which Gazidis was the head honcho, Sanllehi was heading up the football operations and between the two of those guys, they pretty much ran the roost. Now, if you’re a regular reader of my ramblings then you’ll know I have no great love for Gazidis; I think he presided over a period of slow decline and descent towards mediocrity, I don’t think he was a very good person to run our football club and I think he was a man of soundbites rather than substance. The evidence bears that out during his tenure.
We also now know that Sanllehi was a guy who was good at spending other people’s money and cosying up to certain types of people in the footballing world – most notably some high powered agents – and that didn’t really work out for us either. So When I’m looking at the Mislintat period of the club I find it difficult to associate him too much with some of those failures. He was told to go out and get specific types of players, i.e. those who have plenty of experience and are a little older, who could get us back in to the Champions League. It didn’t work, we fell at pretty much the first hurdle and it’s taken us five years or so to sweep clean the decks. He has an element of culpability, for sure, but he was given a remit and he went out and found players within that remit.
It’s different now and we are all in a better place with the squad, but the last remnants remain in Torreira and Leno and over the course of the next week – if the stories are to be believed – both will be moved on to Galatasaray and Fulham respectively. Both are going for paltry fees in comparison to how much they should be valued, but it is Arsenal just looking to exit players sooner rather than later. I understand that, but I can’t help but fail to shake my own personal frustration as to how low some of these fees are. Torreira off to Turkey for a total of around £5.8million is criminal to me. Here is a guy who did well at first for us, never settled in England and so we shipped off to Spain where he didn’t really play, but then found his form in Italy at Fiorentina. By all accounts he starred there and based on that you’d have thought we’d at least get somewhere around the £10million mark for a guy we signed for between £22 – £25million depending on the reports. If that fee from Galatasaray is real then I really hope that we’ve got some fee additions to add in to the deal if he is sold. At 26 years old it is not inconceivable that he has a year in Turkey, plays well, is then picked off by another European club for north of £10million and Galatasaray have managed to bag a tidy profit because we accepted too low.
I know there’s a lot of moving parts in my thought process there, but wouldn’t it just seem typical if that were to happen, eh? Perhaps I’m a little blinkered. I always thought Torreira was a good player, good at breaking up play and distributing from deep and I personally think he is a much better footballer than Mohammed Elneny. Perhaps his desire to be out of England means that such a move – to effectively be a back up for the likes of a Partey at the base of the team – was never really on the cards, but I would have loved to have seen him have another go at resurrecting his Arsenal career. But to see him be shunted out for what feels like practically nothing when he’s just come off the back of a good season, is just very frustrating for me.
I trust what Arteta and Edu are doing with the team. I think the signings we have made in the last two summers have been good and I think we look like a well constructed team. But the way we deal with outgoings needs to improve. We all know that KSE isn’t a bottomless pit; in fact I have suspicions that they are an empty pit and we’re doing a lot of this ourselves by moving debt around to have more favourable terms, etc. I don’t know how this works so I won’t pretend to be an expert. But what I will say is that the approach we have taken is not sustainable in terms of outgoings, based on the premise that this isn’t being bankrolled by KSE (which I’m pretty sure it isn’t), so that’s why who you exit and for what price is important. I have a fear that to pay for some of these mistakes we may lose a big player at some stage and if – IF – that happens, there will be a number of people looking at people like Edu and asking the question as to how and why we were so accommodating for exiting players.
Anyway, i’ll leave it there for today, before this turns in to a mega monologue of some kind! Catch you all tomorrow. Stay happy.