Morning all and happy Thursday I bestow unto thee…

I went to a place called the Blues Kitchen in Camden last night and probably drank a little bit too much for a random Wednesday, but hey ho, it was a lot of fun and the ribeye steak was flavourful enough to be worthwhile. I’m telling you this as a bit of excuse making in case today’s ramblings are even more tangential than it usually is, because I’m a wee bit fuzzy-headed.

There was an under-23 game yesterday and Arteta was in attendance to watch ‘The Smith’ get some more minutes playing time, as well as Fabio Vieira, so that was good to hear. Both have basically not had a pre season and whilst we’ll all be excited to see them back in action in the first team, I think patience will be of vital importance when we’re analysing their performances. I’ve heard countless pro’s talking about how important it is to get a good pre season so you can hit the ground running when it starts off proper and both players have missed all of that. Aaron Ramsey feels like a perfect example because the season he absolutely bossed it, bagged loads of goals and was our best player, was also one of the few seasons I remember in which he was able to get a full pre season under his belt and build himself up ready for the start of the Premier League that August. Last season Thomas Partey’s injury meant he didn’t really kick off his season until we were up and running in the league and even then it took him a while to get up to speed, so much so that I don’t think we saw the best of him until after the AFCON. So getting those minutes for those two players is important and hopefully one, or both, can make the bench on Saturday evening.

They’ve also missed most of the games in which the rhythm of the team has been building and that is important too. Important because if you’re in Arteta’s position you want to play the most cohesive unit possible and the XI that are currently starting in the league has been the XI that started the last two matches of pre season. They have started to forge their ‘automatisms’ and the result has been two impressive performances for us. It has meant that even the returning Tierney and Tomiyasu haven’t been getting in to the team and although we’re still a couple of days away from the game against Bournemouth on Saturday, I think that Arteta will be thinking that he doesn’t change a winning team and both Tierney and Tomiyasu will have to wait their turn.

Both of those players are already back and have been part of the first team squad already this season, so now imagine that you’re Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe; both players will be looking at the competition in the squad right now and wondering how they are going to get a start in the current set up. I know we all need to spend less time worrying about starts, as this has very much become a squad game with the introduction of the five subs rule, but as a player your ultimate aim has to be to be starting football matches and ESR and Vieira’s chances of that happening if the current first team keep dropping big performances in games, surely has to be quite remote. Both will no doubt get minutes, I’m sure of that, but if they covet that starting jersey in this Arsenal team, I reckon they might have to wait a few weeks.

On the transfer front I’ve seen links to Pedro Neto and Calum Hudson-Odoi, but I’m not sure how relevant they are to be honest. Neto is a good football and certainly would be a good option for us when looking for a wide player, but I wonder how much Wolves would want for him? He signed a contract extension earlier this year I think and that will big his transfer value up, with Transfermarkt valuing him at £31.5million. Picking up a a wide forward for that amount of money who you can’t say would be able to dislodge Martinelli and Saka feels a lot to me, but I guess we thought we could get Raphinha for £50million-odd earlier in the summer and the same question was being asked of where he would play then. I guess £30million is kind of the going rate for a player of decent quality these days; we signed Fabio Vieira for £35million and there’s a general acceptance amongst us Arsenal fans that he’s one for the future and a guy who will probably ply most of his trade in the cups this season, so £31million for Neto would probably be about right. Except Wolves will probably want closer to £50million given the player has signed that contract extension and that is where this transfer probably fizzles out to nothing, because I can’t see us paying that.

It’s the same with Hudson-Odoi. He’s got the right age profile in that he’s 21 going on 22, he’s a wide forward, but his value has dipped in recent times and with Sterling now ahead of the pecking order I’m sure he would fancy a move, but Chelsea would probably want big money for a player with two years left on his deal and the rumours that he’s on £120,000-per-week at Chelsea, I doubt he’s going to be coming to The Arsenal for less than £150,000-per-week. That would cause a few eyebrows to be raised amongst the first team I reckon; Martinelli is rumoured to be on around £90,000-per-week and Saka’s current contract – which we all know needs to get renewed sooner rather than later – is supposedly around £30,000-per-week, so you can’t drop CHO in on that money just for him to play the rotation game. So for me I think those two deals are probably unlikely and my gut feel is that we’ll be looking for somebody from mainland Europe who might have a little less of a reputation and therefore come at a slightly cheaper price. It’s why I can understand the links to Pino, although his price seems to be inflating every day. But I get the thought process.

Anyhoo, I think I’m done for today so I’ll leave it there for now, then catch you tomorrow.