Morning folks. Happy…erm…what day of the week is it?

The classic period of between Christmas and the new year. I’ve got a lovely ol’ layer of blubber I’ve already cultivated from a solid eight days of booze and food, plus we’ve still got a few more before New Year’s Eve over indulgence. Last night I had a nice bit of football over indulgence as I got to re-live the goodness that was the West Ham result on the Same Old Arsenal podcast. It was nice because it feels like the world is slowly returning to normality and for me getting on the pod and talking Arsenal with friends is something I hadn’t done since the end of October. The football world is healing itself after the World Cup.

**Exhales out slowly**

I don’t know about you, but I’m still basking after that win. I think it was the manner in which we won that has me so pleased. There was a real air of this Arsenal team being a serious outfit. There was a feeling that we could win it from the first minute until the last, even when we went behind and despite what David Moyes said about Man City being a much stronger side than us, I wonder if City will have watched that game and thought “hmm…maybe these guys are proper contenders”.

We have all also seen by now, that Arteta was asked about Mudryk and him watching the game  whilst at home in Ukraine, with Arteta saying something like “glad we could entertain”. We all  know the bid is in now and clearly this is the guy that they are hot on, so are pursuing now to see if they could get a deal done quickly. That first bid of around £55million has been rejected, but I suspect Arsenal will move quickly in the next few days to get another one on the table. That is, unless, the Arsenal board don’t want to seem too desperate for the player. If we bid for a guy, then a day later go  in again for him, the selling club know how desperate we are to get him in and so will know that they can eek out even more for the player. It’s a classic game of cat and mouse and Edu et al will know that they have to strike the balance right so as to not appear to be going down the same route and making the same mistakes as what happened with the Pepe deal.

That deal got done quickly, but that’s because – as we now know – there was plenty of money being swilled around through third party ‘representatives’ and people who ‘make transfer deals happen’, so to speak. That hasn’t been Arsenal’s approach for some time now, so I would expect this potential deal to take a similar format to what most deals do. Drawn out negotiations and two parties who want to get the best deals for clubs, rather than line the pockets of lots of intermediaries. Not that there won’t be a bit of that, I know, but I suspect it won’t be as many as we used to do as used to happen under a certain Spanish Head of Football working at The Arsenal a few years back.

What could be helpful is the fact that the Ukrainian league has closed down for Christmas. Mudryk posting pictures of Arsenal games has us all chuckling, but he’s watching The Arsenal whilst being at home not playing, so there’s no distraction of his own team to have him focused on anything else other than chivvying along this deal. I think for Shaktar too, the fact that there are no games and a natural break in their season, probably means they might want to get the deal done and get some money in too. If Mudryk signs for Arsenal before 9th January, it represents a clean break between player and club, because that is when they all return to training before the Ukrainian league starts up again. This might be why we’ve now got wind of the first bid; the club have got their feelers out now, because they want to go back in so that if it’s accepted or an agreement is made early, they can get the player in so he can say his goodbyes to teammates and Shaktar can look to reinvest their new bundles of cash as their league season starts. Or, as is more likely, they can use any money  made to keep the team afloat, because there aren’t any fans in the stadiums because of the war in Ukraine I believe and that must be causing financial problems for all of the clubs in the country. Shaktar play their first match of 2023 in February though, so whilst Arsenal might want a nice clean break and perhaps Shaktar would prefer the player just stay away from training if he’s going to definitely go, it is not as if there is a tight deadline of early January because there are games on. So whilst returning to training might not be the deadline I just thought it was, perhaps it is something that all parties want to work towards.

I hope so. There’s nothing more annoying than a long, drawn out, transfer saga. So if we can get a deal done sooner rather than later, that would certainly be more preferable for everyone I think.

That’s probably all I’ll say on that stuff today. With our game not being for another three days I suspect there won’t be a pre match presser for at least another 24 hours, probably 48 hours, so we’ll most likely get some team news then.

Catch you wonderful humans tomorrow